Thursday, 31 March 2011

Peacocks bird dress (or discovering Polyvore...)

I've just discovered Polyvore, which lets you create outfits from hundreds of different brands! I ordered this fantastic bird dress from Peacocks last week, after seeing it on About Your Dress, and this is how I'm planning on wearing it (except my Radley is a beautiful reddy-orange colour!)

I think I might do a weekly 'Allie's fashion tips' feature (in the style of Jesse's 'This week, I 'ave bin mostly wearing...' from The Fast Show, naturally!)

Monday, 28 March 2011

I've been fiddling about...

...with my blog layout! My list of favourite blogs was getting a bit unwieldy, so I've given them their own page (link under the header).

And I know I haven't posted properly in ages - I will remedy that very soon!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

British Summer Time...

...and a lovely sunny afternoon with a breeze blowing through the flat!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

A sunny weekend...

It was lovely having my sister to stay this weekend! Yesterday (after my incredible running triumph) we went for a super-healthy lunch in a local organic café, followed by a walk in the park, where we saw all sorts of springlike blossoms. Just a week to go until the clocks go forward! Then, as we had a friend coming round for supper, we made an amazing rhubarb and almond cake (from this Domestic Sluttery recipe) which (as you can see) went down rather well! Tastes very nice for breakfast, too...

Saturday, 19 March 2011

A new personal best!

1:07.49! Yay! That's a full two minutes faster than our run last Tuesday!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Emergency chocolate cake...

My sister is a bad influence. Not only does she force me to drink lots of wine (forces me, I tell you!) but she also leads me into chocolatey temptation. She's staying with me this weekend, and last night the after-dinner conversation turned to the fact that we both fancied something sweet and chocolatey. 'If only you weren't so difficult,' I said, 'we could go to Tesco and buy a massive chocolate cake'. And then she mentioned making one of those microwave-cake-in-a-mug recipes that swept the internet a while back, and that was it. I had all the ingredients in the house, so we went for it.

Of course, in our wisdom we thought 'Hang on, if that recipe is for one mug that's never going to be enough - we'll double the recipe and make it in a little mixing bowl'. And my goodness, did it ever work - we ended up with the most incredible chocolate cake with a molten chocolate sauce middle. All those Masterchef contestants who have failed with their chocolate fondants need to take note - microwave baking is the way forward! We used Doves Farm gluten-free flour and Oatly oat milk, and it didn't taste remotely gluten-and-dairy-free. Amazing.

Surprisingly enough I don't have a photo, because we ate the lot.

Emergency chocolate microwave cake

Ingredients (this is our doubled recipe):

8 tablespoons plain flour
8 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
About half a teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
6 tablespoons milk
6 tablespoons oil


1. Mix flour, sugar, cocoa and baking powder in a small mixing bowl
2. Whisk in eggs, milk and oil
3. Microwave for 2:30 on maximum power (800watt) - watch it, you want the edges to be cooked but the middle still liquid
4. Devour straight out of the bowl with a big spoon

I think it'd be amazing done in individual ramekins - they'd probably take only a minute or so in the microwave. It'd probably serve at least four people if you did it like that - doubling the recipe made a quite obscenely vast amount of cake!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Spring is springing!

I don't think spring has quite sprung yet, but it's definitely on the way. I've got the windows open with a lovely (if slightly chilly) breeze blowing through the flat, and the daffodils I bought last week are in full bloom. We're turning the corner!

I'm ignoring the fact that the weather forecast is for heavy rain this evening...!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

More 35mm fun...

I've just had my second film developed - it was a 36-exposure one, so it's taken me a while to finish it! There's a mix of good and bad, I think - a few photos that I'm really happy with, and a few I'm quite disappointed with. But I suppose that's what happens with film! I still don't really feel like I know what I'm doing - I can't seem to make the camera work at all in manual mode. But I'm chuffed with a few of the photos from this film and I do love that certain quality that they all have. Here's a few of my favourites from this time round...

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


Usually after a run, I come home and have egg and beans on toast and flop on the sofa. But as it was Shrove Tuesday yesterday (otherwise known as Pancake Day), Pete and I had a post-run pancake feast instead!

We started off with savoury pancakes, filled with mushrooms, spinach, garlic, cream cheese and a sprinkle of Cheddar. Here's a photo of me (complete with the 'I just showered and rough-dried my hair and I'm not wearing any make-up' look) doing a spot of tossing...

...and then we made a second batch of pancakes, which we had with maple syrup. I may not be religious, and I may not be giving anything up for Lent (I had a fleeting thought about giving up wine before I realised that was a stupid idea) but I know how to make pancakes!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Frugal February: Done!

That's it, my month of no spending is over!

And this week I've done exceptionally well - I haven't spent anything on clothes or accessories or anything except food and drink. I did possibly spend slightly more on wine than I should have, but the main focus of this for me was to curb the amount I spent on clothes, and I've definitely done that. My total spend from February 8th until today - on a pair of socks and a pair of gloves - was £2.50. I can't believe it! That's probably at least twenty times less than I'd usually spend in a month!

I'm going to carry on being as frugal as I can - I'm going to try to only buy things when I need them. I do want to buy that pair of black Topshop skinny jeans, because I have a pair in navy and they fit beautifully, but apart from that I can't think of anything else I want to buy. And I'm also going to try to continue to stay away from online stores, because online shopping is far too easy!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Gorgeous cake!

My mum made this lovely cake for a family christening at the weekend. The bottom layer was a huge chocolate sponge, and the top layer was a lemon sponge. It was delicious and it disappeared in seconds!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Frugal February: Week Three

My 'Frugal February' will be 'Miserly March' from now on - I started a week late, so I've got one more week to go!

This week has been excellent - I haven't bought any clothes, shoes or accessories whatsoever. I did spend a fair amount on my weekend away last weekend, but that doesn't count because it had been in my diary for months and I knew I'd be spending money. I only bought food and drinks, though, and we had vouchers for dinner at Pizza Express on Friday night and there were 2 for 1 cocktails on Saturday! And, of course, not being in London made everything seem cheaper anyway.

Before I started this, I assumed that by this point I'd be desperate to hit the shops, and I'd have a huge list of things I'd want to rush out and buy. But in fact, having had the chance to sit back and really think about whether I need things or just want them, I don't have a huge shopping wishlist after all. I've decided it'd be silly to buy those boots from Clarks, because I probably won't wear them until next winter (by which point there will no doubt be other gorgeous boots in the shops!) and the only thing I actually want is another pair of Topshop skinny jeans, in black, because the navy ones I have fit so well.

And I feel like I've been rewarded for not spending - yesterday, I found out I'd won £50 to spend at Aspire Style, thanks to Ria's brilliant About Your Dress blog! I'm so excited - there are some gorgeous dresses on there, so I'll have to have a proper browse and decide what to spend my winnings on!
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