Recipe: Lime & Coconut Lamb

Sunday, 29 April 2012
Here's another fairly quick and easy dinner recipe that I used recently - lime & coconut lamb curry.  It only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, which is pretty amazing for a curry!

Ingredients

450g lamb fillet (I used a neck fillet)
55g creamed coconut
2 tsp sunflower oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp fresh ginger (or 1/2 tsp powder ginger)
2 tbsp thai green curry paste
juice and rind of 1 lime
2 tbsp coriander

You could also substitute the lamb for another meat (I'm going to do this with chicken later on this week).
Lime and coconut lamb recipe

Firstly, cut the lamb into strips.  Heat the oil in a pot, add the lamb, garlic and ginger and fry on high for 2-5 minutes.

Combine the creamed coconut with 300ml boiling water, then add to the pot along with the curry paste and the lime juice/rind and season.

Bring to the boil whilst stirring constantly.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Finally, stir in the coriander just at the end and serve with white rice.


A Week in Instagrams #7


1) to 3) Dinner and cocktails at Sygn
4) to 6) Relaunch at Dunstane House Hotel
7) Ice cream and a DVD, perfect Saturday night in
8) Avengers....ASSEMBLE!
9) Small Boots haul

Bit of a mixed up week this, with busy midweek evenings and a quiet weekend.  Started the week off with a lovely evening of gossip and cocktails at Sygn with some of my girlfriends - we all used to work together in Debenhams back in the day and have remained close buds ever since.  It was a nice catch up as we hadn't seen each other since before Christmas (we're a bit rubbish!), and we got planning our next "Debbie's Hams Adventure" which we've now decided is going to be a weekend in a log cabin near Alton Towers - can't wait!  

Later on in the week I went along to the relaunch of Dunstane House Hotel where I had more cocktails and got to perv around their gorgeous new fancy bedrooms.

Come the weekend I didn't have any real plans which was nice, since I've got stuff organised for like the next 4 weeks so it was good to just have a proper lazy weekend. On Saturday I did some very boring housework and a food shop at Lidl (it was our first Lidl experience and we got loads, it was amazing!), followed by The Voice and BGT then Attack The Block on DVD.  Then on Sunday B and I went to the cinema to see The Avengers at Ocean Terminal (couldn't resist a little nose round Boots too, as always) and I slow cooked us a steak pie.

Have a good week folks!

Dunstane House Hotel Relaunch

Saturday, 28 April 2012
Jemma and I recently went along to a relaunch event at Dunstane House Hotel*, which is in the west end of Edinburgh, not far from Murrayfield.  The hotel has recently undergone a £220,000 refurbishment resulting in a new bar/restaurant and 3 new boutique hotel rooms.  Also, as part of the relaunch the hotel has now added a beauty room (Revive at Dunstane) with spa treatments like massages and facials available for both guests and non-guests.

Restaurant


As well as refurbishing the Skerries restaurant, they also have new chefs and a brand new menu - and if the canapes that they were passing round are anything to go by then the new menu is going to be fantastic! The Orkney steak on garlic crouton was a particular stand-out - my mouth is watering just thinking about it!  I will definitely be bringing B along for a meal one night soon to get a proper taste of the menu.


There was whisky and cocktails on offer, unsurprisingly we went for the cocktails (of course!) - Jemma chose a gin one while I plumped for the Toffee Apple - they both went down very well!

Rooms

As part of the refurbishment the old bar on the ground floor was taken away and turned into bedrooms - there are photos from the refurbishment process on their Facebook page so you can see how the transformation took place.  

We were taken on a tour of the 3 new bedrooms on the night - the first we were told was a standard room but it looked pretty impressive to us- a really good size, and with gorgeous contemporary purple decor (forgot to take a pic of this room on the night, so I've nicked this from the website).  


The second room was HUGE (you can't really tell from my photo though!), with a modern four-poster bed and massive feature windows.  This room is called The Red Room due to the plush red furnishings (including 2 big throne chairs).  


Finally we visited The Blue Room, again another really big room with beautiful furnishings and 2 very cool looking chaise lounge type chairs.  I think the last room was my favourite - I absolutely love the colour, and those chairs were amazing. 


So if you're looking for a somewhere to stay on a trip to Edinburgh then I'd definitely recommend this place (it's not far from Haymarket station and there's a bus stop right outside so you can get into the city centre in a few minutes).  For anyone who already lives in Edinburgh (like moi) then why not pop along for a meal or a cocktail in the new Skerries restaurant!


*I've put a disclaimer on this as I work with the hotel as part of my day job in online marketing, but all thoughts and opinions are definitely my own! :)

Pro:Voke Touch of Silver Shampoo

I've been getting my hair bleached for the last year or so, with the aim of finally reaching a silver/grey colour (I'm almost there!).  One thing that really annoys me though is that within a week of getting my hair done, the platinum/white shade fades to a yellow and I feel like it looks really cheap.  I had read about a new silver shampoo in a magazine about a month ago, so when I was in Boots the other week I went for a wander round the hair section to see if I could find it.  I came across the Pro:voke Touch of Silver shampoo and was convinced that was it so bought it (I've since found out that this has been available for years, so it's probably not the shampoo I was actually thinking of).

I went for the Twice a Week Brightening Shampoo - as the name would suggest, this is a toning shampoo so you're supposed to use it twice a week at the most.  It's meant for grey, white, or platinum blonde hair and claims to neutralise yellow tones and add vibrancy and depth to bring a new lease of life to dull lifeless hair - just what I need!


On first use I was a bit taken aback at how purple it is!  It's also really quite runny, so after applying it looked a bit like a squid had inked all over my shower floor.  After leaving on for a few minutes (it says up to 5 minutes on the bottle) I rinsed and then used my normal conditioner.  After drying my hair I could immediately see a difference in the colour - and this was on the first use!  The yellow was toned down and it definitely looked more silver.  


I only wash my hair every 2 days as it's quite dry, so I've been using the brightening shampoo on every second wash (the rest of the time I've been using the Aussie Moisturising Shampoo).  A few reviews I've read online have said that they found it dried their hair out, but I haven't experienced any extra dryness myself.  I have to say I am really REALLY impressed with the shampoo - I've used purple shampoos before (like the KMS California Blonde range) but I've never had results as good as this.  

In terms of build up (which is also something I've noticed other reviewers mentioning) a few times I've noticed that I've got a couple of violet strands if I've left it on for a bit longer than you're supposed to, but I don't mind actually - I quite like the purple hair look!  In fact, I'm toying with the idea of going grey/purple at my next salon appointment, so I might try leaving the shampoo on for ages one day this week to deliberately turn it purple just to see if I like it!

Update - This post is now several years old but it is still one of my most viewed blog posts, so clearly there are a lot of blondies out there looking for purple shampoo advice!  My initial thoughts still stand - this doesn't make a *huge* difference to the brightness of your blonde, but it does help balance out brassy tones.  I wouldn't advise leaving it on longer than prescribed, despite my hope above that it might be a cheats way of getting grey/purple hair it does NOT work - unless patchy purple bits are the look you're going for.  Another reason for not leaving it on too long is that it can dry your hair out that way.  If used according to the instructions then I generally don't have issues with dryness, as long as I use a decent conditioner. 

Like I said, it's a few years later now and I'm still regularly buying it so that should say it all really.  And it's so cheap that it's worth a try to see if it works for you too!


Check out some of my more recent beauty reviews here - http://www.cocktailsanddaydreams.com/search/label/beauty, and please subscribe via Bloglovin in you'd like to keep up to date with my posts :) 

A Week in Instagrams #6

Sunday, 22 April 2012

1) Cocktails at Monboddo Bar
2) & 3) Dinner at The Bread Street Brasserie - Rarebit for Starter, and Braised Pigs Cheeks for Main
4) & 5) Me and Jemma at The Bread Street Brasserie
6) Bacon roll and a coffee....it was a tough morning!
7) Catching B reading my magazine
8) Derren Brown in Conversation at the Churchill Theatre
9) Saturday afternoon Mojito at Cafe Andaluz
10) Tapas at Cafe Andaluz
11) & 12) Me and B out for lunch
13) & 14) Sunday outfit of the day
15) to 21) Charity bake off at Sofi's

Charity Bake Off

I spent a lovely afternoon today at Sofi's Bar on The Shore with my friend Jemma from JemmaEatWorld.  We were there for a charity bake off hosted by the Edinburgh Cake Ladies, all in aid of The MS Society.  We hadn't done any baking though, we were just there for the tasting!

As you can see from the photos below the cakes looked AMAZING, and it was all for a good cause so we didn't need to feel too guilty about stuffing our faces!  You could vote for your favourite cakes by placing a token in a pot next to each display - it was a hard choice as they all tasted lovely, but the three I went for in the end were Peaches & Cream, Lime Butterfly Cakes & Strawberries and Cream.

It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon - cakes, wine and great company - can't wait for the next one!







Recipe: No Bake Maltesers Cake

Sunday, 15 April 2012
A super quick recipe post this one! Here's how you make this yummy no-bake malteser cake.

Malteser traybake recipe

Ingredients
85g unsalted butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp cocoa powder
170g crushed digestives
175g maltesers (half crushed, half left whole)

Instructions
Melt the butter and syrup in a pan over a low heat.  When melted, stir in the cocoa, biscuits and crushed maltesers.  Allow to cool slightly and then stir in the whole maltesers.

Line a tin with cling film, pour the mixture in and press down.  Chill in the fridge for 2 hours then cut and serve.

Simples!  I don't even want to think about how many calories are in this, but it tastes damn good.

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A Week in Instagrams #5

First of all, can I say a big thank you to Llymlrs - after reading a 'how-to' post on your blog I realised I'd been doing my "week in instagram" posts the hard way!


1) & 2) Bit of spring cleaning over the bank holiday weekend
3) & 4) Taking our old clothes to the recycling
5) Bday pressies for my wee sis
6) Mini meals from the new Chichetti menu at Zizzi's
7) A makeshift bday cake
8) Me and the sis
9) Off for a drive to Craigleith for some shopping
10) Car face
11) Made it home before the rain started
12) Boots goodies
13) New recipe fun - duck pappardelle
14) Best. Friends. Ever
15) Jelly bean love
16) Saturday night movie
17) Sunday outfit
18) B driving us to Ocean Terminal
19) Acting shady
20) Cinema to see Cabin in the Woods

Friday Favourites

Friday, 13 April 2012
I'm currently lusting after this lovely lot.



Paris Pocket Watch Necklace - £16.99 from Cheap Frills
Absolutely love this, saw it on Dainty Dresses and immediately thought I have to have it!

Tangle Teezer - £10.20 from www.tangleteezer.com
Since I started getting my hair bleached it has gotten more and more tuggy, to the point that I seem to rip out half my hair when I brush it when it's wet.  So when I read about this on Rani's blog it went straight to the top of my shopping list.

Green Pleat Shift Tunic - £30.00 from Dorothy Perkins
I've been buying a lot of green and peach/pink pastel coloured things lately, so this caught my eye.  It looks perfect for Spring!

Marshmallow Metal Chain Detail Loafers - £25.00 from ASOS
I've never really been a fan of loafers, they remind me too much of old lady slippers, but I really like these.  Can't go wrong with a bit of turquoise.

Nude Glitter Peep Shoes - £60.00 from Topshop
LOVE the glitter heel on these, although I think I'd like them more if they had a round toe instead of a peep toe.  Plus, even though it's not that high a heel I still think I'd struggle to walk in them unfortunately (I'm rubbish).

Spot Print Shopper - £16.00 from Topshop
How cute is this bag?!  It's one of the new shoppers from Topshop - it also comes in Green and Nude colours but the Purple is my favourite.

Lace Peter Pan Collar Belted Dress - £26.99 from Missguided
This dress would be perfect for work, smart but still cute.  Unfortunately I need to keep hitting the gym for a while longer before I can fit into anything at Missguided (so many online fashion retailers like this only go up to a 14 - damn you skinny minnies!).

Eyelure Pre-Glued Lashes

Thursday, 12 April 2012
As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I really struggle with false eyelashes for some reason - it's the gluing bit that I always seem to mess up and then when I do get them on the 2 eyes never look even - argh!  I've got about 5 different packs of eyelashes in my drawer and I've tried them all and failed, so I'd pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I just couldn't wear them....and then I found these babies!


When I was in Superdrug the other week I noticed these Eylure Ready to Wear lashes and was immediately drawn to them due to the fact that they are PRE-GLUED - ah ha I thought, surely I can't mess up with these!

I was going out that night round to Sam's for a flatwarming so it was the perfect opportunity to try them out. They were super easy to put on - you just peel them off the plastic and position on your lids as normal.  Unbelievably I managed to get the placement right first time, and both eyes were even!   

I had them on for about 5 hours or so and they didn't irritate at all, or lose their stickiness (which is just as well, as they are apparently reusable).  I also got lots of nice compliments on how they looked which is always good!


I haven't used them again yet, but when I took them off and put them back in the box they still seemed as sticky as they were at the start of the night so I'm hoping they last for another few goes.  I'll be annoyed if they do wear out quickly though, as at £5.09 they cost exactly the same as the other Eylure Lashes that you glue yourself (and therefore should last for ages).

There's a few styles in the pre-glued range and I'm quite tempted to buy one of the criss-cross styles, now that I'm a proficient false lash wearer ;)

Have you tried any of the other lashes from the Eylure Pre-Glued range?  Are they are reusable as they claim to be?

My Daily Face

Monday, 9 April 2012
Continuing with the theme of most of my other posts.....I saw a few other bloggers doing this and I thought it was a good idea, so I stole it.  I have a LOT of makeup but I do tend to stick to a routine and use the same few products all the time for a few months, and then switch to another bunch of products and continue the cycle.

Here's my current day to day favourites.


L'Oreal Studio Secrets Primer - this is a really great primer and leaves your skin matte and smooth, the perfect base for foundation - I love it!

Rimmel Wake Me Up & Estee Lauder Double Wear Light Foundations - I've been searching for what feels like forever for the perfect foundation.  I'd heard lots of good things about Double Wear foundation so I bought this last month and have been pretty impressed, although the only issue is that I think the shade is slightly too dark for me (the perils of buying online). 
 I'd never thought about combining 2 foundations together before, but after reading a daily face post over on ghostparties I got the idea of mixing my Double Wear with another foundation.  When I was out shopping last weekend I picked up the Rimmel Wake Me Up foundation that I'd read about on literally every beauty blog - the shade is perfect for me, and so when I mixed it with my Double Wear foundation it was ideal.  I've also been wearing the Rimmel foundation on its own some days and I'm really impressed with the coverage, it's without a doubt the best non-designer foundation I've ever tried.

L'Oreal Touche Magique Concealer - I've used this concealer for years and I haven't managed to find better. I've tried YSL Touche Eclat which is known for being like the best concealer out there, but to be honest I didn't think it was anything special - also, it's ridiculously expensive.  One of my friends used to work for Boots and she told me that the No7 concealer was basically exactly the same product as the YSL one, just in different packaging, so I tried that one fairly recently but I still didn't find the coverage as good as I get with the L'Oreal one.

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder - This is another product that I've used for years and have yet to find a "designer" product that's good enough to make me switch.  It gives my makeup a great matte finish, and even though I have quite oily skin I don't really need to touch up during the day.  Win!

Benefit Hervana Blush - Bourjois is normally my go-to brand for blush, but I decided to splash out on Hervana after reading some good blog reviews.  At £23.50 it's pretty expensive for a blusher, but you can totally feel the quality in the product.  The box is super cute, the colours are gorgeous and it smells lovely too.

Real Technique brushes - I used to go to E.L.F for all of my brushes, but I recently purchased the powder and blush brushes from Real Techniques and I absolutely love them!  

Benefit Instant Brow - I've only started using products on my brows in the last year or so, and I've noticed such a difference in my face that I'm wondering why I'd waited so long to start!  Up until last month I'd been using a L'Oreal pencil but when I bought the Benefit Hervana Blush in Boots recently they had an offer on (buy 2 items and get a free brightening primer) so I decided to try this Instant Brow pencil.  It's got a lovely soft texture and gives my brows great definition without looking too "drawn".

Avon Glimmerstick Eye Liner - My mum has been an Avon lady for as long as I can remember (and in fact I took over from her for a while when I was younger, to earn some pennies) so every Christmas and Birthday I get a selection of new makeup and beauty products from Avon.  In fact I got some nice new spa products for my recent birthday that I should really review for the blog soon.  Anyway, the glimmerstick eye liner is one product I've been using for years and is the liner that I always go back to.  It gives really great coverage that lasts all day, and has a nice subtle glitter fleck through it.  

Benefit They're Real Mascara - This is the first product I reviewed for the blog, I love it, it's my favourite mascara EVER.  

Front Cover Eyeshadows - I got the Front Cover eyeshadow book for Christmas a few years ago after I'd been lusting after it for months.  I tend to use the same 2 colours all the time (Twinkling Grape and Twinkling Gold) even though there's a whole array of different colours sitting in the book untouched (I really should try being a bit more adventurous!).  All the shades have a glittery/shimmery effect to them, although it's a lot more subtle than your usual glitter shadows - which also means that there isn't as much fall out.    

Lips - For day to day I tend to keep my lips simple and just use vaseline.  I'm currently using the Creme Brulee special edition that was out just before Christmas, it smells yummy and, as with all vaselines, keeps my lips nice and soft.



What are your daily go-to products?

A Week in Instagrams #4

Sunday, 8 April 2012

1) Nothing like getting into a freshly washed bed
2) My cute padlock at the gym
3) Panda shower cap
4) Good Friday breakfast
5) Malteser cake
6) Easter eggs
7) & 8) Sorting my shit out

Collection 2000 Lipstick

On my recent March shopping spree I popped into Superdrug for the first time in ages to snoop around the makeup aisle.  One of the things I picked up was a lipstick from Collection 2000 (which has recently rebranded as just Collection)  in a cute rosey/coral colour called Peachy Keen.

Collection 2000 Lasting Volume Lipstick Peachy Keen

I'm not really one to wear lipstick on a regular basis, I tend to keep my lips bare which I think is a habit I've got from my younger days when I used to wear quite dark eye makeup and so would only wear vaseline on my lips to balance the look out.  However these days I don't really wear heavy eyeliner or dark shadow so I'm trying to introduce lipsticks into my routine more.  

Collection 2000 Lasting Volume Lipstick Peachy Keen swatch

I really love this shade as it's quite subtle, has a nice shimmer and a sort of iridescent shine to it.  The staying power isn't bad either considering the lipstick only cost £2.99.  I really like the packaging too - can't go wrong with bright pink!


Real Techniques Make Up Brushes

Since I started reading beauty blogs I've found out about so many brands and products that I'd never heard of before - these Real Techniques brushes being one of them.

I've never really been one to buy expensive make up brushes, even though I know they are probably one of those things that you really should invest in as they make such a difference to your makeup application.  I'd read like a million reviews of these brushes on other blogs though so when I did my latest Boots haul I decided to try these babies out.

Real Techniques Brushes

Real Techniques Brushes

Powder brush £12.99
Blush brush £9.99

Real Techniques Blush Brush

Real Techniques Powder Brush

Wow, what can I say - I absolutely love these brushes!  The bristles are unbelievably soft, before I'd always used brushes from E.L.F and I thought they were pretty good but the difference when using these brushes is amazing - they feel so rough in comparison.

I've only got the powder and blush brushes just now but I think I might pick up some of the others from the range soon.  Have you tried any of the Real Technique brushes?

Lush Lip Scrub

Monday, 2 April 2012
I had a bad cold a few weeks ago and since then my lips have been really dry and chapped so when I was out shopping on Saturday I decided to pop into Lush to take a look at their lip scrubs as I'd heard good things about them on a few blogs.  I went for the Bubblegum one as it smelled amazing, and the cutesy pink colour looked the most appealing.  At £4.95 it seems quite expensive for such a small pot, but I reckon it's going to last forever so I figured it was worth it.

Lush Bubblegum Lip ScrubLush Bubblegum Lip Scrub

The directions tell you to "scrub and buff your lips to softness" and then....and here's the best bit...."lick off the excess" - amazing.  So not only are you left with lovely soft lips, but you get a sugary treat at the same time!

Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub
With the scrub (not sure if you can see it!)

Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub
After - super soft lips!
I'd never used a lip scrub before, instead I'd always used the old toothbrush technique to get rid of any dryness (and to be honest that never really worked that well) but I can safely say that this was a much better method and left my lips feeling so smooth.

Have you tried any of the other Lush lip scrub flavours?

Recipe: Springtime Lamb Stew

Sunday, 1 April 2012
Here's a nice and easy recipe (that seems to be theme for all of my recipe posts...."it's easy") for Springtime Lamb Stew that I found in one of my recipe books (BBC Good Food 101 - Low-Fat Feasts).

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
12 shallots, peeled
350g lamb fillet or steaks
350g new potatoes cut into chunks
1 can baby carrots (or fresh)
150ml white wine
250ml vegetable stock
1 can chopped tomatoes
100g frozen peas
1 tbsp chopped parsley
(the recipe serves four so I split the ingredients above in half so I made enough for 2 people)

Springtime lamb stew recipe - ingredients

Firstly, dice the shallots and lamb.  The recipe says to keep the shallots whole (just peel) but B is pretty fussy when it comes to onions so I chopped them finely instead to "hide" them in the stew.


Now fry the lamb and shallots in the olive oil until brown.


Next add the potatoes, tomatoes, stock, wine, carrots to the pot, season well and bring to the boil.  Leave to simmer with the lid on for about 30 minutes, until the lamb is tender.  I'd recommend keeping an eye on it though because I stupidly went away and left it for the 30 minutes and came back to find that all the liquid had burned off!  Luckily it hadn't stuck to the bottom of the pan though so I managed to rescue it by just adding more water - phew!


After 30 minutes add the frozen peas and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Finally, stir in the parsley and serve with some crusty bread.

Springtime lamb stew recipe

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