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Homemade | Cheese & Bacon Muffins

I'm not really into muffins as a general rule; I'd much rather a slice of cake or something chocolatey despite being a savoury lover. Do I want to be any more contradictory?

I've had a hankering to make these muffins for a while, and I found the recipe in my Basics Basic Baking Handbook - a fail safe recipe book with the most foolproof instructions for recipes (I even made choux pastry successfully on my first try using the recipe from this book (even though I added too much salt). Although I was desperate to try this recipe out, I've never actually had a savoury muffin before so I didn't know what to expect or really what I was doing - but I guess that's all part of the fun, eh?


So here they are, they were super easy and quick to make and I'd thoroughly recommend whipping these up for a special breakfast treat either the night before or heck, if you've got the time on the morning itself - imagine a hot cheesey muffin with some scrambled eggs and beans: yum.

I just used baking paper instead of muffin cases because I thought it might look a bit weird with my usual cake cases. They were a bit smaller than I expected but then again, I didn't know what to expect, which is also one of the beautiful things about using a book that doesn't have images. So I guess I could say; here is my interpretation of a cheese and bacon muffin, they're the perfect indulgent breakfast treat.

Have you ever tried these? Tell me your favourite breakfast treat, I'm on the hunt for some morning eats inspiration!

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation

I won a competition YAY! Just a retweet jobby on a Friday afternoon one week but low and behold a week later a nice little package of Bourjois makeup arrives on my desk.

I have to be honest, the only thing I really buy a lot of from high street type cosmetic brands is lip products and nail colours. I was slightly disappointed as there was a gorgeous duck egg blue/light green coloured nail polish advertised as part of the prize which I was most looking forward to receiving, but sods law, wasn't included. Ho hum.

I want to talk about the 'Healthy Mix Foundation', for which I chose the shade 52 'vanilla'. I almost went with the lightest shade, but glad I didn't because when applied correctly, vanilla is an exact match for me. What a touch.


As a rule, I only use high-end foundations; there's just some things I won't skimp on, and for me having a shade that matches my skin with good coverage and a nice consistency is something I don't mind paying for. As a comparison point, I have previously used the Bourjois 123 Perfect foundation, which I liked the shade of (their lighter shades seem to be more yellow based than the standard high street foundation) but wasn't wild about the coverage or consistency and at times it was actually quite drying on my skin.

Alas, I know the formula for the Healthy Mix is different. For one its a gel based formula which is something I was really pleasantly surprised to find out. I like the finish of a gel based foundation and the Healthy Mix is no exception.

The foundation itself applies well and you really don't need to use a lot, a couple of small pumps will do the job but you can definitely build the coverage up, which I favour for days when I'm not feeling so fresh.

On the bottle it states 16hr coverage, which I don't really believe, but I don't use a primer and I don't use a setting powder so that might be why it doesn't last all day for me. That doesn't bother me too much though.

And there's one last thing that I really liked about this, on the bottle is little images of berries, so naturally when I had some on the back of my hand I took a whiff. Yes ladies and gentlemen, this foundation is very subtly berry scented. And anyone can admit that it beats the smell of MAC's infamous paint stripper smell.

So there we have it, the Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation. I can't promise to use it every day because as I said, I favour the high end options, but if I run out or feel like mixing it up, I'll definitely be reaching for this one.

What's For Lunch Today? Carbon | Soho

You know that food place, you walk passed it all the time - everyday in fact - but never muster the courage to go in because you're a creature of habit and always find an excuse not to. Well today my friends, I overcame my fears and went into that place, and that place is Carbon.

I have to say, working in central London definitely has its positives and being on the edge of soho, I'm absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to food (and when I'm not being a good girl by bringing a packed lunch). I've been wanting to go to Carbon pretty much since my first week in my current job - three months ago and I finally did it.

Carbon as they describe themselves is an eclectic wood charcoal grill restaurant serving all sorts of yumminess. The smells coming out of that place are insane, and anywhere that more often than not has a queue out the door certainly rates in my books. And if you're still wondering what they mean by 'eclectic', they cater all different cuisines around their charcoal grill, Turkish, North African, Spanish... you get the picture - but they also do some amazing looking salads, burritos and wraps, as well as all the baked goods and snacks available on the counter.



Today I went for the Lebanese grill choice, consisting of Lebanese chicken taouk, with Lebanese spiced potatoes and aioli, and I have to say it was damn delicious and certainly lived up to my expectations. There was so much flavour and the sauces, OH THE SAUCES. A nice bit of kick but nothing that would blow your head off, and the chicken was lovely and moist. And let us not forget the roast potatoes, that were roasted to perfection, nice and fluffy - just how we like 'em.

I personally would have liked a bit more greenery, and by 'a bit more', I mean 'any' but that's just me. I guess if I wanted salad I should have got a salad. My only other gripe is the price, I got one of their cheapest (if not the cheapest) grill option at £6.50 - and now anyone not from London is thinking 'you're mental'. I'm aware of the fact £6.50 is slightly on the extortionate side for a takeaway lunch, heck you can get a whole meal down Leather Lane for £3.50, but we're in Soho now baby. I really do resent paying that much for lunch but as a Friday treat, when I've been uninspired by soup all week  AND didn't cave in to a Krispy Kreme yesterday, I think I deserve it.

On the whole Carbon, you're doing a damn good job. I'm now sat at my desk feeling wholly satisfied.

Springtime Warm Chicken Salad

I really love food, like I really do, and dinner is my most favourite meal out of all the meals. I wake up dreaming about what I'm going to have for dinner. No joke.

But sometimes, I don't fancy anything too heavy, especially when I finish work at 6pm (what even is a 9-5?!). More often than not, this means whipping up something quick and to avoid feeling stodgy all evening every now and then I'll avoid carbs - but don't get me wrong, I think I love pasta the most in the world.

Whilst browsing the Good Food Channel website on my lunch break, I saw this recipe for a warm chicken salad - bingo! Inspired. 

I made a couple of alterations to the recipe, I forgot the garlic to be honest, I didn't douse everything in oil because I'm not silly and I'm doing Weight Watchers, and I dislike anchovies with a passion so I left them out.

I used a red, green and yellow pepper for the craic, and had half of each in one serving and the shop didn't have green beans so I subbed in some asparagus and roasted it with the tomatoes.

Whilst peeling the pepper skins off (new skill, hello), the chicken (which I used a cajun seasoning on) was cooking nicely in the oven instead of being grilled because I prefer chicken baked, and for the last 10-15 minutes I chucked the tomatoes and asparagus in; seasoned with salt, pepper and a little chilli powder.


So really when I said 'a couple of alterations', what I really meant was 'changed completely', but the foundations of the recipe were still there, and I must say it was delicious - and I'm pretty proud of that picture too.

Throwback Thursday | Blind Faith

Well, here's to the start of another new series on This Particular. I have to give credit to MusicBeatJonny for this idea, as although we all know of Throwback Thursdays, it was on his blog where I first saw it applied in a music blogging sense.

So for my TBT, I'm going to focus on an album each week, and to make it actually a throwback, I'm giving myself the rule it has to be a decade or more since it was first released. These will either be albums I'm familiar of, or will have researched for this, so let's get into it.

Blind Faith - Blind Faith


Today I'm going to talk about Blind Faith's debut and only album - released in 1969 on Polydor Records. The album consists of a mere six tracks, but oh my days are those six tracks good. In this case, less is definitely more. Each track ranges from approximately three minutes to 15. 

I realise that this is a risky game by starting off with this album, but in my opinion, you can't really go wrong and I think if you give it a listen, you'll be pleasantly surprised. Generally, I hate describing music and putting it into well-defined boxes but alas, here I am. On a base level this album comes under 'rock', the kind of rock that fits exactly into that time period - the late sixties. But knowing Eric Clapton as the lead guitar and Ginger Baker on drums with Steve Winwood on vocals, the sound is very bluesy, but not blues as you might know it. Rock infused blues, shall we say. The guitar sounds are indulgent and every other instrumental factor fits together brilliantly. And just to dispel any preconceptions you may have, this is not a heavy sound in anyway shape or form. In fact, I'd probably listen to this whilst in the bath... if I liked having baths.

The riffs are catchy and will immediately get your head bobbing along - well mine does anyway. And what I like about Baker's drumming is that it's not just there to keep time, as percussion is with a lot of 'rock' music. The drums serve their own purpose and add another dimension to the sound, just listen to the intro of 'Had To Cry Today' to understand what I mean.

Most importantly though, I love this album because of Winwood's vocals - hot damn that man can sing. His voice is powerful but not overbearing, gravelly but not a typical 'rock' sound, and to top it off, the man clearly has soul.

I really don't want this album to intimidate anyone reading this who doesn't know it already; I know sometimes a long track or perhaps the unfamiliar can sometimes turn people off. This is the kind of album you can put on, in the background and just rock out to whilst going about your day. And sometimes, neigh, a lot of the time, it is really nice to just sit and indulge in some music and relax.

I'd love to know if anyone who hasn't heard this album before gives it a go, and what you think of it. I know it won't be up everyone's street but hey, variety is the spice of life after all, or so they say.

Just Some Snaps #1

It's about darn time I started a series on this blog. One thing I always find myself forgetting to do is taking pictures of the little things I come across - it's not always a bad thing because I'd rather be in the moment than reaching for my phone but y'know.

I don't think I'll be able to do this every week, for lack of pictures but I vow to to a round up of photos to remind myself of the things that make me smile and laugh throughout the day.

 

 

Me and Buddy - not easy taking a selfie with a dog, trust.
Half price Easter chocolate treat at work, plus how cute?!?
Trip to Mission Burrito in Reading on Saturday, best burrito in the UK hands down.
Sunshine in a glass, or a cheeky pint with one of my best friends last week.

A Polish Easter

With Polish ancestry, Christian holidays mean a lot and are a time of celebration and FOOD! Easter Sunday is arguably the most important date in the Christian calendar which means we celebrate in style. I thought I'd show some pictures from my traditional Easter, and something I look forward to every year.

The Easter bank holiday isn't just a time to chill with some time off work (although that's just a major bonus), but a largely family orientated time, filled with food. So much food.

A traditional Polish Easter Sunday involves an East breakfast/lunch, which is a typical continental breakfast, with coloured eggs and different types of Polish meat like kielbasa (smoked sausage) and wiejska (garlic sausage) and smoked hams. I guess every household does it differently but we have different types of bread, spreads and condiments as well as Ogórki (pickled dill cucumbers or gherkins). Just thinking about it now is making my tummy rumble. 

Perhaps to anyone else it doesn't sound that appetising but I associate this celebration meal with happiness, family time and celebration which always makes it so special. And the best thing about Easter is everyone has their own traditions and I definitely plan to carry mine on and continue as I get older and eventually have my own family.


EGGS!


Breads, eggs then meats down the far end.



I cannot take credit for this beautiful babka (kind of like a cake bread, panettone type thing), it is my mum's pride and joy and was deeeee-licious!


Record Store Day Saturday 19th April 2014

Cooey, only me. Just a quick friendly reminder that Record Store Day is happening THIS SATURDAY!

You've got no excuse to not go down to your local record shop and support the cause. You can find a list of the limited edition releases for the day here; I've already picked out which ones I would like to try and find.

Just under a month ago I dedicated a whole post to Record Store Day 14, which you can read here, if you'd like. Just to instil a bit of excitement amongst you music lovers and to get you as pepped up as I am. 



If you end up making it down to a shop, tweet me or let me know on here!!!

Baking For Charity

I had quite a jam-packed weekend to say the least, but the main event was baking.

I agreed to bake some cakes for a friends' charity event called All Day Sunday Funday in Whitechapel to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation. I ended up making 66 cakes in total (not including the ones that just didn't make the cut), in four different flavours; Guinness & Chocolate, Cherry Vodka, Chocolate & Vanilla and just Chocolate.

I love the challenge of baking and doing that many certainly gave me something to work towards. We ended up making a tidy £70 just from the cakes, after costs were covered, which I was mega pleased about. I also on the off chance got some business cards printed with my details on should anyone like what they see, and I had a couple of people ask for my card which was very flattering.

At the event there was live music and spoken word poetry all day and into the evening, tye dye pants and pillow cases, of which I bought a pair for the boy, and amazing photographic prints and illustrations on sale. A percentage of the takings from the bar was donated to charity as well. This was the second event and was even more amazing than the first. If you're in or around London and would like to sell your wares at the next charity event, please do get in touch, it's so much fun and you'll get to meet loads of like minded people.

Here's just a couple of pictures of the cakes mentioned...








Payday Wishlist April 2014

Well I'm obviously craving some retail therapy this month. There's a mix of clothing, beauty and homewares, let's get into it...

It seems that all of my footwear is very winter-orientated, so when I saw these online they immediately stuck out as not only something to wear in the warmer months but a pair of shoes that can be worn formally or casually. I love these sling back flats from Newlook

I'm actually in the process of losing some weight I casually gained over the last year and a half; and so I've promised myself some lovely trousers when I get to my half way mark which with a bit of dedication and motivation I should be at within the next few weeks. These H&M leopard print trousers will do the job just fine!

Basically, I need to stop buying nail colours, it's a terrible affliction addiction of mine, but this Essie nail polish in Play Date is just too good not to get involved. 

I've been wanting this colour for ages, I actually bought this last weekend, sshhhh don't tell anyone. Stay Perfect Lipstick in Gay Geranium is a gorgeous colour and apparently one of No7's oldest shades. Heritage in your face. 

So here's where the Debenham's wishlist starts... ahem. I'm trying not to make my kitchen too matchy matchy but I adore these cream Rocha.John Rocha storage jars for the kitchen. 

I love everything Betty Jackson does. Her clothes are stylish, her bags are divine (I have two and am on my second purse). Everything about her collections just shouts 'I'm amazing', and this Agapanthus candle is no exception. A little (a lot) more than I would ever spend on a candle but if anyone fancies gifting this to me, please do. 

Ok, this may not be to everyone's taste but this is right up my street and I will DEFINITELY be buying this lovely print from Debenhams for my new home. 

Has anyone smelt this yet? It's gorgeous, I'm desperately trying to use up at least one current fragrance so I can justify buying a new one. Dolce by Dolce & Gabbana is so fresh and perfect for spring summer.

L'Oréal Paris Superliner Blackbuster

What a disappointment.



I'm so behind in the eye liner, and liquid eyeliner game that when I realised how old my Rimmel liquid eyeliner was, I immediately went to Boots to rectify the situation.

I went in to the shop with the intention of trying out a gel liner, something I've not previously used. Obviously when it first came out everyone raved about the Maybelline gel liner in the pot, and Rimmel had an offer on their gel pot liner, decisions.

I ended up hovering around the L'Oréal stand and trying out their pen marker liners on my hand. I was impressed on first impressions so I took the plunge and bought the Superliner Blackbuster liner.

It wasn't until I got out of the shop and was leaving work later that day that I realised I had just ended up buying a liquid liner in marker form, which I was fine about because I wanted something different from the fiddly little brush that no one uses anymore.

So I was happy.

Until I actually tried it. It is SO difficult to use this liner; impossible to get a decently smooth line and even have both eyes similarly matching. I think the applicator is awful and the product itself is dull and takes at least two coats to get a decent black line.

I wore this liner to a meal out the other weekend with my family, and when I got home at the end of the night, the black line had transferred itself to my top eyelids. Not a good look. And the night wasn't even strenuous, and by that I mean I didn't even break a sweat. 

Overall, I would avoid this liner and absolutely wished I'd read up some reviews (like I do with pretty much everything else) before hand, because it cost me a stupid £6.99. Waste.

If you have any better suggestions for good liquid or gel liners, throw them my way as this will be out of my makeup bag as soon as I find a replacement.

The Power of APS Film.

I like to take pictures, whether I'm any good at it or not, well you can decide.

I'm still getting used to my Canon 100D, so bear with me on that one but I feel I have kinda grasped the concept of film cameras, namely my Holga 135BC and my Kodak Advantix F300. Ok ok, there's not much to these 'toy' cameras but I feel like I can get some good shots.

I personally love the effect that APS film gives, the colours are crass and the grainy-ness reminds me of the 90s. And although I guess APS cameras aren't technically classed as lomography, I still love 'em. I  love getting photos printed, in the past I've lost too many digital photographs due to computers crashing and not having them printed; I like to hold the physical artefact in my hands. And most important, taking photos on only a 24 or 36 exposure film makes the whole process a lot more precious instead of being snap happy.

I thought I'd share some pictures from Glastonbury last year because the weather was PRIME for a film camera and with the sun back in our lives and that, I've got major summer vibezzzz.

First day, green grass and feelin' fresh.

Wonky view of the whole festival site.

Lovely group shot (and a hat wearing photo bomber) in front of the Pyramid Stage.

Me and my boy.

Awesome panoramic shot of my sister in the Green Peace fields. I spilled Mango Rubicon and Vodka over my camera (by accident) but it gave a cool effect to the film.


Searching For Sugarman

Apologies if this isn't really your thing, but here's another post on an amazing music documentary that everyone must watch.

If you asked a South African who Rodriguez is, you'd probably get a look of shock and horror. I did that once, I asked a very good friend of mine who happens to be South African, 'have you ever heard of Rodriguez' and I got laughed at. In a nice way.

Searching for Sugar Man is an *Oscar winning* documentary about the artist Rodriguez and it, is, amazing.

I can't give too much away but it's the story of a little well-known artist, who came to release a couple of albums 'Cold Fact' and 'Coming From Reality' in 1970 and 1971 respectively. The albums gained moderate local success, but nothing remarkable. 

Until, someway or somehow Rodriguez' debut album made it across some oceans to South Africa where the success of 'Cold Fact' sky-rocketed. The album was as popular, if not more so, than anything by The Beatles. And I'm not exaggerating. 

Your'e thinking, who is this guy? And so were they. Maybe there was so much interest because there were wild rumours that the artist was dead and had killed himself. The documentary follows the journey of two fans from Cape Town, attempting to discover all they could about the elusive artist.

This documentary induces, happiness, sadness, shock, awe and most importantly, the music is fantastic. You need to watch this documentary.

Let me know if you decide to watch it, it'll be an hour and a half of your life well spent.