That's an offal lot of food - cooking with Jenius Social

Excuse the TERRIBLE pun... it's was too good an opportunity to miss :-p Yup, I suck...

ANYWAY, thanks to my wonderful friend Charlie, I was invited to attend another blogger cooking class with Jenius Social. They have so many classes and events available, I'm pretty sure it won't be my last visit.

I got really excited by all the random food I had never heard of
I think this apron might be too big for me...
As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm quite picky with food, especially meat on the bone, so cooking with offal is never something I would have considered but if I had turned down this opportunity, I'm sure I would have regretted it. Plus, it's not very often you can say 'yeah, I did that thing'.

I had no idea what all this stuff was...
ALL the spices!

When we arrived, we found out that there was more than one class happening that evening, being asked if you were here for the cheese tasting made me really jealous because I obviously wanted to do that and eat all the cheese. However, I did know that our class was going to be more fun so was quickly presented with one of those never ending glasses of wine and an apron that made me look even smaller than I already am!

Our lovely chef and teacher
When we were in the kitchen, everything had been all set out for us and we had some time to take a gander and try to work out what everything was! Only the pigs ears were the most obvious to me!

After initially being grossed out by all the things, it was time for a demonstration on how it should all be cooked. Obviously, ours were not going to turn out the same way!

Making tortillas! 
Now this looks yummy
I'll give you three guesses what these are - not chicken breasts!
Cooking the above

There was always no way our would look this good

The difference between the class with Jenius Social compared to the other one was that there was a much smaller group of us, and even though there was only one chef rather than 3, it felt a lot more intimate and he made sure to come around and help everyone out, even if you were asking the simplest of things.

We also got to actually cook! Last time, we were mainly doing the prep and even though it was really helpful to learn how to skin and bone fish, I much prefer the actual cooking part, seeing the end result and knowing you did that.

It was finally time to get stuck into it, and I once again had to deal with that thing where I can't handle meat on the bone... shredding Trotters was my first job...

Can't believe I'm actually smiling here!

Some of the other girls had a lot more fun with their pigs ears and tongues!

However, Charlie and I had so much fun slicing and preparing TESTICLES! That's right, testicles. It was like something from I'm a celebrity and there was always a moment where fellow bloggers were squeezing between us to take photos, some of which were sent to boyfriends out of sheer hilarity...

Judging by the pictures above, I don't think we did a bad job!

Standing on a chair is the perfect vantage point!

The testicles look like chicken nuggets!

When it was finally time to eat I made sure I gave everything a go and ended up eating oxtail, tongue, trotters and ears! Something I never thought I would do. Some of it was surprisingly delicious but I don't think I'll be cooking any of it at home...

There are so many different classes available, I already have my eye on the bread making class as it's something I have always wanted to master, if you want to take a look for yourself, all their classes and events are listed here.

Disclaimer: I was invited to attend this class free of charge, prices for all other classes vary.

All the essentials - What every girl needs to get through life

This isn't going to be one of those posts where I sit here and tell you what you MUST buy,  I just happen to think there are a couple of things that are essentials in every beauty routine. I may be completely wrong.

Everyone has a signature look but there are a couple of things out there that will automatically make a girl explode with joy. Even if you don't use them every day, you know they're there and you can have a look for any occasion without worry.

For me, the ultimate essentials are:

The perfect red lipstick

This is actually surprisingly hard to find! Obviously everyone has different skin tones and with me some shades can end up making me look like Morticia Addams. It may be perfect for Hallowe'en but certainly not for a job interview.

Got to love a little pout

After trying what felt like all the lipsticks in the world I have finally found THE lipstick that I can't live without. It's not a fancy brand and it's really not expensive. 

Topshop have released this beautiful shade for their Red Lippy Project where you can raise awareness for cervical cancer in style. It's a fantastic concept and 30% of their proceeds go towards the project. Better yet, it's only £8 and is long lasting so fewer stains on my coffee cups throughout the day. If you want to give it a go and pout for a good cause, you can get it here.

Moisturise girls!

I'm going to be honest, I'm still pretty rubbish at this as I always forget at night but it's reach that point in life where soon there will be no escaping the ageing process. But I can damn well try.

Moisturising for me isn't just about keeping my skin silky soft or fighting back the inevitable lines that I have convinced my elf are starting to appear. Moisturising just makes you feel amazing as well, even when I have been horrendously hung over and hating the world, I just slap on my moisturiser and I automatically feel fresh faced and ready to deal with humanity.

Everyone will have different tastes, a girl I know uses cocoa butter because it gives her the ideal base for her makeup no matter what the weather, but if you're like me and have horridly dry skin/Eczema/Psoriasis I use the Eucerin Even Brighter Day and Night creams. I'm a lucky sod and got mine as a gift a few months ago and normally £22.50 would be a little steep for me but now I know how good it is, I'll never use anything else.

A signature scent

Everyone loves smelling good and have you noticed how certain smells can make you remember the strangest things? It might sound a little strange but I like the idea of if people smell my perfume, they automatically remember me. I do it all the time, like one of my closest friends uses a Ginger perfume and whenever I smell it in Lush I remember about that thing I need to get back to her about or organise drinks soon. You know, that kind of thing.

After trying many and have loads littering my beauty cabinet, my all time favourite is Marc Jacobs 'Lola', not only does it smell absolutely amazing but even looking a this exciting bottle makes me happy. I'm reaching the end though so soon I'll have to make an emergency trip to boots!

A bloody good mascara

Sometimes the cheap ones just don't cut it unless you get lucky. I've found that they're either icky and clumpy or end up streaming down your face the moment you get a sweat on and neither are pleasant. With mascara, there's no point in spending so much time on your face if you ignore the lashes, your look won't have quite the same impact. Even if you just haven't had time to do your whole makeup routine, just applying a bit of mascara can make a world of difference and make you look like you've put all the effort in.

Excuse the glitter!!!

After some discussions with friends and in the office, we have all reached a mutual agreement that Benefit's 'They're Real' is the best mascara in the whole world. Worth the splurge, doesn't run and gives your lashes a long fan-like appearance. Love it.

Always have a back up hairspray

This is one of the many things my mum taught me that I will never forget. Even if you don't use it a lot, you'll never know when you're going to need it. I normally keep one in my desk at work for one of those unplanned trips to the pub when you need a bit more oomph. 

A pocket mirror

This one is completely common sense really but we've all had those moments where we've woken up late, done our makeup in a rush and feel a right mess when we realise we have a big foundation streak along our jaw line. Buy cheap old 99p thing from Superdrug or even a cornershop, throw it in the depths of your handbag and know you'll always have one for emergencies.

What do you think are the ultimate essentials in a beauty routine?

For the love of books - exciting trip to Foyles

In case you haven't realised, I'm an absolute book fiend, I have probably spent more money on books over the years than I have on shoes and that's really saying something!

Last month my good friend Charlie and I parted ways after two years of living together. It turns out it was time to grow up and live with boys! Considering we're no longer going to see each other every day (which still feels strange), we're going to spend more time meeting up and doing random things.

Our first 'Friend Date' involved coffee and book browsing in the new Foyles flagship store and it was fantastic. It's absolutely bloody massive. Complete heaven. It has every book you could possibly imagine, we even found the Harry Potter books in Latin! I was completely kicking myself when my phone died and I couldn't take a photo.

Foyles from the first floor
Obviously, spending a couple of hours in a book shop is just a disaster waiting to happen because I have absolutely no self control. As can be seen by the state of our basket when we were only half way around the shop.

Probably picked up too many books...
One of the first sections was the (what seemed like a) never ending food section. We both absolutely adore cooking and the idea of having more recipes to hand fills with me with joy, I always like to try something new. My boyfriend has already been introduced to some of my new favourites after my book trip.

One of my favourite sections in any book shop is the sci-fi and fantasy section, it's full of some of my favourite authors and any book you'll get from there will just whisk you away to a whole new world and adventures you'll never want to leave. Well, they do for me anyway!

Absolutely loving this sign. 
While walking around my favourite section, I had to convince myself out of buying new copies of books I have already read, and authors I already new I enjoyed and ended buying a random book off a random shelf just because I liked the cover (bad book lover).

Realising we had gone a little bit over board, the time had come to sit in a corner and work out what we were going to get as the basket was far too heavy. Charlie and I both love people reading to us and the best way to choose between all the books we had picked up along the way was to have one of us read blurbs aloud with the other deciding which sounded the most interesting. We ended up cutting down our haul by half and I spent a lot less than I expected.

Charlie having to choose... difficult.
All in all, the Foyles flagship store may be my new favourite place in the world and I will be going back on my birthday! *counts down the days*

What was the last book you bought?

Harry Potter in Oxford

Hands up if you're also a Harry Potter nut? Yup, knew it.

We all know I am! Last year my cousin and I finally got to use our Christmas presents from our Grandparents to go on the Harry Potter studio tour. We were both so excited rocking our matching Time Turners, taking selfies in the Mirror of Erised and crying at the end. When my boyfriend offered to take me around Christ Church and see the actual locations and inspiration for a lot of the Hogwarts sets, I nearly exploded with joy. I don't think he has ever seen me that excited.

Excited on 'our way to Hogwarts' faces - #nomakeupselfie

Dude... that's Hogwarts. ACTUAL HOGWARTS!

From the second we arrived in Oxford I was a squealing ball of glee (annoying right?) skipping down the streets to Christ Church. and when we arrived I wasn't sure if I wanted to cry, scream or just go quiet in sheer awe. I've been around Oxford a couple of times and I always love how beautiful it is but Christ Church is just outstanding.

The first stop was OBVIOUSLY the Great Hall... it had to be done. When I went to the studio tour, I was allowed to open the doors to the Great Hall because it had just been my birthday and I remember the sheer exhilaration of being in there whether or not it was real. It didn't matter to me. When we got to the Hall in Christ Church, I was surprised to see how small it was in comparison but when you saw it you really saw Hogwarts. There are vaulted ceilings, portraits hanging from basically every inch (including ones of CS Lewis and Lewis Carrol!), beautiful fireplaces and the rows of tables. The only thing missing were the house flags but the loser I am imagine the gold and crimson Gryffindor colours everywhere.

Me wandering around in awe

Then we saw this and everything felt very 'The third floor is strictly forbidden'/ 'The chamber has been opened. Enemies of the heir beware'

*looks out for Basilisk*
We wandered around the church for a while which was equally as beautiful and I loved how someone was there just practising on the Organ. Then we went outside and through the cloisters.

Uh oh... Umbridge won't be happy with us...

Leaving via the gift shop is always dangerous. I did manage to control myself mainly because Gary is the sensible one and I already have a lot of Harry Potter stuff... However when I saw this shelf of Alice in Wonderland I had to put everything down...

Unfortunately there was no Honeydukes, but we popped over to a 'retro' sweet shop opposite the university that sold a bunch of official Harry Potter sweets and Gary treated me to a sugar mouse and some Cola Cubes.

Needless to say I had a whale of  a time and will have to go back soon to visit the library :-)

Have you had any fun day trips recently?

Freckles - Love them or hate them?

Some of you may have already seen/heard that people have started to spend money on having their freckles permenantly removed. I had a quick discussion about this on Facebook and it's still really bothering me. Obviously it may not be as the Daily Mail claims, a new 'trend' or 'craze' but people are definitely having it done and I genuinely don't understand.

The lady in said article says that she was self conscious about hers after being bullied which is understandable. Maybe I'm lucky in the sense that I was able to deal with being bullied over mine... and my glasses... and my height but I (personally) still don't think it's worth spending that much money to have some flecks removed. Plus, I don't think there should be a reason to no longer embrace who you are, but again, maybe I'm just lucky.

Freckles are one of the things that make me 'Me', if you know what I mean? I've naver made any attempt to hide them and I actually quite like how more and more appear when I'm in the sunshine. One of the reasons I look forward to summer is because I get more!!

My flatmate made the point of 'you wear foundation' but the only reason I wear it is because my skin is in a bad condition and I need to hide spots and pores. Luckily I have found a foundation that means my freckles are still proudly on show! During the summer, especially on holiday, the sun starts to clear my skin so I like to go bareface.

One thing I don't understand about this procedure is how surely you'll still get them back after you've spent a good few days basking in the sun so surely it's a waste of over £100 per session? Plus, after the success of #NoMakeupSelfie, you'd think people would be more confident with themselves following all the compliments received despite flaws? Now we hear about people being offered laser treatments to get rid of something truly beautiful.

Freckles add true character to your face and I know so many people who wished they had them. Freckles add to your own beauty and think about it, how dull would a leopard be without its spots?

Treasure every single 'fairy kiss' you have and NEVER let people feel like you aren't beautiful because of them. They're probably just jealous.

To celebrate freckles, here's me in all my freckled glory hoping for more to be on their way

What do you think? Do you love your freckles, hate them or whish you had them? 

A Lush Haul

It's reached that time of year again where I have run out of all of my favourite things and need to replace them quickly. There are things that you just can't compromise on afterall, it's those or nothing at all. So, I thought I'd show off some of my favourites from Lush with you that I can't live without and also some of the new stuff that may have accidentally slipped into my basket. Tricksters.

First off is my Tea Tree Water...

Tea Tree Water - £3.95 (100g)
This is one of my favourite things and is a real life saviour in the summer. Being Tea Tree and all that it does wonders for blemish prone skin like mine, which always seems to get worse when it's warm, and it feels amazing to spray a little on your face. Instant refreshment at the end of the day!

Sunnyside - £3.75

Oh Sunnyside, how do I love thee... Let me count the ways...

Sunnyside is one of the Bubble Bars and it's absolutely COVERED in glitter. So being a magpie, I have to buy it everytime. I used to be in love with Ruby Red Slippers that used to come out every Christmas but they no longer make it so this became my subtitute but very quickly turned into a must have.

It's perfect after a stressful day when all you want to do is have a good soak and don't mind your bathtub being stained slightly gold...

The Comforter - £4.50

The Comforter is another Bubble Bar that I normally save for days when I've struggled to sleep as it just makes me feel all cozy and it smells like Vimto. 

Breath of God - £7 (Solid)
Does anyone else remember Never Too Busy to be Beautiful? It was Lush's sister shop and makeup brand before the recession hit. I was devastated when they closed down as it made some of my favourite things disappear off the face of the earth. Breath of God was one of their perfumes and now it's back at Lush and this makes me happy beyond words.

Lifesaver - £25 (100g)
Oh my God. So Lush now do sun lotion. This is awesome because other than a select few, many sun lotions are tested on animals which is completely not for me. At £25 for a sun lotion it's a little out of my price range as I'm bound to use all of it in a short space of time (I burn so easily) but I made sure I got a little tester to try out.

'What the hell is that?' I hear you cry. To be honest, I still have no idea. All I know is it's awesome. When we were at the checkout, my boyfriend simply said 'I want this' and put it next to the till. It's one of those bars that can be used for everything, bubble bar, shampoo, soap - the LOT. Plus, it's all squidgy so you can play with it and make little models. I can't remember what me made... it looks like some kind of bird...

What are your favourite Lush products?

Foodie fun at the Underground Cookery School

As some of you may already know from my Instagram antics, I love cooking. Especially baking! I like to think I'm quite good for an amateur but there's so much more I need to learn and perfect before I can ever think of myself as a Monica or Bree Van de Camp - sadly I WILL be one of these two when I'm older and I really don't mind.

When Anneleise invited me to attend the Underground Cookery School, I jumped at the chance. Who could say no?

Annoyingly I missed the intro and canapes (silly tube) but when I arrived I was immediately greeted with what became a magical glass of Prosecco that was never empty. I also realised that I managed to miss the bit I was dreading, my flatmate shelling broad beans!

We got to experience a lot of things for this from making meringue perfectly (I thought I was already awesome at it but was proven wrong) carving a chicken properly and filleting a sea bass.

The latter were relative new to me, I don't like handling chicken on the bone and usually my flatmate does this part at home and because I'm scared of fish (don't judge me) I had never handled a fish that still has its face before. I usually get freaked out by them 'looking at me' when ever we go pass the fish counter in supermarkets! It was such a big deal for me, you have no idea.

Check out Charlie getting well into it
Carving the chicken properly actually went pretty well considering it's not one of my favourite things, I'm really short and have next to no body strength. I did have to do most of it while standing on my tiptoes!

As you can tell by my face, I was not impressed with this situation!
The sea bass was an entirely different matter. I ended up absolutely obliterating mine and the chef had to do an extra one :-p Oops. There was no point in me even taking a photo of this. It was shameful.

Now I've tasted it, I don't understand what my issue was with eating fish. My flatmate has got me eating things like cod but venturing any further seems strange to me but when we had it as our starter, it was absolutely amazing so I'm honestly considering making it at home... will have to buy fillets though!

All sat down and tucking into our starter.
The sea bass was served with a pea and mint dressing (another thing I hadn't tried before) and I never thought about how well these things would go together

The main course was with broad Beans, Jersey Royals and Salsa Verde. Normally I wouldn't even be able to handle beans being on my plate as they could contaminate the rest of the food but I was a big brave girl and the first thing I did was put all the beans on my flatmate's plate. Once that situation had been dealt with, I dove right in and I'm pretty sure this was my favourite dish on the menu!

And then came dessert of Strawberry Meringue Roulade. I am funny with sweet things. I love making them but very rarely eat them. I have no idea why. This was a completely different matter, considering we did every single step (excluding putting them in the oven) I had to give it a go because it would be rude not to. I ended up polishing the whole thing off a la Simpsons style when all the food is gone in a few seconds.

Charlie getting ready to finish off the dessert!
Look! She did such a good job! *proud*

At the end of the evening I went home with a very full belly and totally ready for a sleepy. I met some wonderful bloggers and had a whale of a time.

If you get a chance to go to the Underground Cookery School, you can book a place over on their website and if you fancy any of the featured recipes, just give me a shout and I'll send them your way!

Disclaimer: I was invited to attend this event for free but all opinions are mine and truthful

What I wore: New shoes and Tartan

I don't know about you but I fricking love Tartan.

Being half Scottish it's a part of my culture and we have our own colours. They are absolutely beautiful and my dad says he will only buy one kilt in his life and that will be worn to my wedding. Isn't he sweet.

An another sweet note my boyfriend bought me this Tartan dress completely out of the blue and I love it. It's one of my go to work dresses as it's nice and sensible and still screams 'me'.

Today I chose to wear it with my new platform shoes from the office sale which add a good few inches, making me look a normal person height, and some blue accessories including a TARDIS lunchbox as a bag. I'm cool.

I went for blue accessories because I have recently tried a new Barry M nail polish and wanted to make it a part of my outfit. It's an absolutely beautiful shade but the only downside is that it took 4 coats to get a good amount of coverage. It's going to be such a pain to take off but it still looks pretty.

How do you wear Tartan?