Thursday, 31 July 2014

Grove Farm PYO (Pick Your Own)

Hey everyone :)

So this weekend was rather hot - and what do you do when its hot?! Go to the beach, have a BBQ in the garden or go rather long walk with the dogs (if you have any).

No, we went to Grove Farm PYO (Pick Your Own). You can see it here on Google Maps.

There opening times are:

Monday to Saturday - 10am-6pm (last entry 5.15pm)
Sunday - 9am-1pm (last entry 12.15pm)

Times may vary as I know they change them every year.

If you want to contact them before travelling then their telephone number is: 01296 668 175.

They do have a website also: http://www.grovefarmpyo.co.uk

For those of you who don't know what it is - it's a farm near Ivinghoe, Leighton Buzzard around 80 acres in size where you can go and pick your own vegetables and fruits. You can take the car, park up, grab a couple of empty punnets and carrier bags from the small hut and head out into the fields to pick whatever they have available.

What they have depends on the season and time of year you go. They open around middle of June and close for the year around the middle/end of October. So around June you can expect to get Strawberries, Spinach and Gooseberries, then moving into July you can get Raspberries and Carrots. They also have onions, potatoes, broad beans, redcurrants, blackcurrants around July-time ... the list goes on ...

I am very much looking forward to October this year for the Pumpkins as I missed them last year.

They do allow you to try the fruit/vegetables while picking, but only 1 or 2 - they will kick you out if your found to be eating excessively which is fair when you think about it. Once you have picked to your hearts content - you can head to the little hut at the car park and weight and pay for everything. They also have a selection of ice-creams, mr whippy, cans of juice, honey, hen eggs and duck eggs ... again I could go on and on ... They take most bank/credit cards and cash. They don't accept cheques - not that anyone is doing cheques these days, although saying that - my dentist still use them).

They also have some stalls with already picked fruit and vegetables - I think (well last year) they cost a little extra than if you went and picked them yourself but today when we were there - they were the same price as normal.

Opening times have also changed this year compared to last year. Monday to Saturday is 10-6 and Sun is now only 9-1. Last entry is normally 45 mins before the closing time.

This weekend we managed to grab some Strawberries, Carrots and Raspberries - the Strawberries were massive (as you can see from the pictures).

grove farm pick your own carrots

grove farm pick your own raspberry

grove farm pick your own strawberry


As you can see we got plenty!

So if you fancy a nice family day out picking some fruit and vegetables - I highly recommend going - obviously I don't have kids or a family but while there I see lots of parents and kids and they looked like they were enjoying themselves!



shoutjohn


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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Boots Haul

So amazingly I am back on early shift at work rather than the late shift. So on Wednesday I finished at 1.30pm, popped home to change and headed over to St. Albans to do a little shopping.

It was also my staff meal on Saturday (few days ago) so I wanted to have a look for a shirt to wear - as the shirts in my wardrobe have been a bit over-used on nights out.

The main reason for going to St Albans and Boots was due to the fact I didn't have much facial creams or washes for my face apart from face scrub which is a bit rough for my face. So I opted to go to Boots as I had a couple in mind and I knew I would get them there.

Simple Facial Wash and Cream

I ended up getting the 'Simple' range of facial creams and facial wash. For 2 reasons ... 1. Because I had recently watched Zoella's Youtube and they were featured in her video. and 2. Mainly because they are good for sensitive skin and my skin ... is probably the sensitive skin you'll ever come across. I wanted to get a facial wash that was easy and quick to use as when I'm getting up at 4am for work - I can't be hassled with a fancy, laborious, long morning facial routine. So I bought the 'Simple' Moisturising Facial Wash (pictured above - on the right). It's pretty simple to use - wet your face, rub some on your hands, rub on your face, wash off. End of ... none of this ... leave on for 10 minutes or do it twice ... simple and easy :) I suppose that's why they call it 'Simple'.

I also bought some moisturiser, I was looking for the SPF 30 but they didn't have any in stock so I settled for the SPF 15 which is the same but less SPF. I didn't realise you could get creams that strong in SPF if I'm honest. This cream as mentioned on the bottle is a 'light moisturiser' (pictured above - in middle) so it doesn't feel heavy on your skin. It's very light and absorbs pretty quickly - which is a bonus for me as I don't want to be running around waiting for cream to dry on my face when I trying to get ready or pulling clothes over my head and getting cream on them (not that I put layers of it on my face).  Boots at the moment have a deal on for 'Simple' products so its 3 for 2 ... so I spent a good 15 minutes trying to pick my third product but couldn't decide so I got another day cream ... which thinking about it now I could have a gotten a night cream as I'm running low on that I've noticed. That one is very similar to the moisturiser but a bit thicker. To be honest with you guys though I've not used it yet but have looked inside and dabbed the cream on my arm to see what the texture was like.

Here are the links to the above 3 items (if you feel like checking them out of Boots) Feel free to shop around though as Boots are expensive and I know you can get these products in other shops - cheaper.

1. 'Simple' Kind to Skin Vital Vitamin Day Cream SPF15 UVA/UVB (£4.99)
2. 'Simple' Kind to Skin Protecting Light Moisturiser SPF15 UVA/UVB (£6.99)
3. 'Simple' Kind to Skin Moisturising Facial Wash (£3.49)

I also bought two amazing products which came highly recommended by a couple of blogs I have read recently.

Una Brennan Facial Mask and Sanctuary 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask

I have tried both of these - at the moment it is too early to say I have noticed any difference in my face yet as I've only tried each one twice. But I'll let you know what I think regardless of that :)

So the first product I have is the 'Super Facialist by Una Brennan' - You get a 125ml bottle for £5.99 (currently on special in Boots, so normally £8.99). Starting with the bottle - we have a grey bottle with green writing and a white lid. I actually think it looks rather professional and high-end regardless of it only being £5.99/£8.99. The image is of an atom which I think is to do with the fact that the use 'nature' and 'science' to help your skin. The product also includes 'salicylic acid' which helps with 'unclog congested skin'. The liquid inside the bottle is thin, but not too thin, so it was very easy to apply in my opinion. Once applied I set a timer for 5 minutes and wandered round my room tidying it up. As I did this I could feel the mask harden slightly and it became harder to do facial expressions (picture me looking into my mirror making weird faces - I looked rather odd). After 5 minutes I washed it off with my hands in the sink and patted dry with a towel. I will admit (as I mentioned above) my face is very sensitive so I don't know whether it was due to the fact this is the first time I've used this product or maybe the acid in it was too strong but my face felt like I had sunburn on it and was very sensitive for a few hours after the mask was off. However my face did feel smoother :) So obviously it works. All in all a good product ... I will continue to use it and see how my face feels afterwards, but would recommend to anyone whose looking for a new face mask to try out.

The second product I bought was the 'Sanctuary 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask' - This is a product by Sanctuary Spa/Covent Gardens. This is different to the other face mask in the fact that when you apply it - it heats up on your face (hence why its a 'thermal face mask'). This is the most weirdest feeling ever. For those who have never tried it before I highly recommend you do - you won't be disappointed. The texture of the mask is quite thick which meant it took me longer to put on than the last face mask however still a good face mask and well worth the money. It was £7.00 in Boots as it was on special (I believe it still is, as the time of writing this) however it is normally £10.50 which some people would say is a bit pricey for a tube of face mask.

All in all, 2 great products which I would recommend :)

1. Super Facialist by Una Brennan
2. Sanctuary 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask

shoutjohn


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Saturday, 19 July 2014

June Favourites

I only recently realised that it was the 11th July and I that I haven't had a chance to share my favourites of the previous month. However I feel I have to mention this is my first "favourites" blog as well my blog is new :)

I've had a few many favourites this month so the hardest part was limiting myself to only a few otherwise this blog is going to be very long!

june favourites


1. Cards Against Humanity - UK Edition - I was at work and my work colleagues were talking about this game and how terribly disgusting and offensive it was so I had to check it out and I did end up purchasing it.
The short version of how to play - black cards have questions and fill in the blank sentences, white cards have answers. A player draws a black card, and each person much choose their best white card that goes with the black card, the best answer wins a point. The game is good fun when alcohol is involved - every time you lose you drink! :) There are different versions of the cards - US and UK, and I think Canada also (not sure of that though), there are also different expansion packs for each deck also. The main deck isn't too expensive at £20, each additional expansion is £8. There's a lot more information on their website, I'll put a link somewhere!

2. Apple Mac Book Pro with Retina Display - Around December last year I had been toying with the idea of getting a Macbook but I kept putting it off because they were so expensive and I couldn't really afford a massive chuck of my credit card disappearing on just a laptop. But around Christmas time (well middle of December) Apple introduced a 0%  10 month Finance deal on their website - so a couple of weeks later I had a shiny brand new Macbook for the smaller price of £109 for 10 months. It's the best purchase I've ever made, apart from my car. But it's helped me so much especially with my blog which is why I'm mentioning it as I started my blog in June and every post has been written with it.

3. Final Fantasy X/X-2 Remastered for PS3 (Limited Edition) - I was introduced to this a few years back (actually Final Fantasy 7 was the first game I played in the series, and I instantly fell in love with it. Then I played 10 and I loved the levelling system (you have a sphere grid, and you collect spheres and use them on the grid) unfortunately this was the only game where they used the sphere grid (or that I know). Anyway I have been playing this on and off throughout May and June as I've been quite busy but it's exactly like the PS2 version but better graphics and it doesn't jump lol. I also went for the Limited Edition version - you get a box for the game, a little box and some pictures.

4. TRESemme Texture Style Velvet Creme - When I go to get my hair cut I always end up in Boots or some store where I can get a new wax/creme/hairspray/something that I can put in my hair. I popped into Boots after my last haircut and found this lovely little invention. It had just come out when I purchased it so it might have been around for a while now. But it's amazing - it does exactly what I want and your hair isn't left crusty or hard. It's hard to explain but as the name of the product suggests it textures your hair and gives it shelves (help?!) not sure of the correct hair terminology. Your hair is layered and it makes it look cool so that's all I'm interested in :)

5. Dove GoFresh 48HR Cucumber & Green Tea Antiperspirant - First off let me say it ... yes this is a girls/womans product however I have come to the conclusion that some girl products are better than mens ... I'm sure a lot of people can back me up on that. This stuff works and does exactly what it says on the tin (bottle). It smells okay too, I'm more interested in it working than the smell as I wear aftershave anyway.

6. Robinsons Fruit & Barley - Tropical - I have been looking for healthier alternatives to coke and fizzy drinks because when I'm at work its too easy to go to the vending machine and get a coke - so I bought this to try from Tesco and I love it. Most people will mix it with water (which I do) but its also nice with lemonade too.

7. Being Binky - My Life in Chelsea - A few people at work have been slating me for reading this book as everyone thinks that the people on Made in Chelsea are spoilt brats ... which is not true (well I don't think this). I watched the show from the start - made it to the third or fourth season, but I've not had the chance to catch up on it so I'm a couple seasons behind now ... I really need to catch up. Anyway I digress ... this book is about one of the shows starts - Binky Felstead and she basically explains about how she grew up, her parent's divorce, her family, brother and sister, how she came to be on the show, what its done for her etc ... it really is a good read, I'm only half way through but enjoying it none the less.

That's all my favourites for this month ... apologies on the length of this blog ... sometimes I talk (type) too much. I really should just vlog it all then it would make it easier ... apart from the editing (nightmare!).

Items are below for where I bought everything from - please note all the prices below are what they cost me ... they cost may have changed now ... so make sure and double check before purchasing etc.

1. Cards Against Humanity - UK Edition (£20.00 with free shipping)
2. Apple Mac Book Pro with Retina Display (£1099.00 with free shipping)
3. Final Fantasy X/X-2 Remastered for PS3 (£24.95 for standard edition, £37.99 for limited edition)
4. TRESemme Texture Style Velvet Creme (£5.75 or 575 boots advantage points)
5. Dove GoFresh 48HR Cucumber & Green Tea Antiperspirant (£2.00)
6. Robinsons Fruit & Barley - Tropical (£1.39)
7. Being Binky - My Life in Chelsea (£12.00)

Enjoy

shoutjohn



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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

What's On Your Lips ...?

I have been searching around for a bit and couldn't find any blogs about what people but on their lips.

Maybe it's not really an interesting topic to talk about ... but I thought I would go down that route and do a little blog about it. 

I have a search through my drawers and my table units, my bag, my car and found all the things I use on my lips or have done the past few months ...

I actually thought I have more than this ... but never mind :)

stuff for lips

1. Tesco Soleil Lip Protector (£3.00) - I used this when I was on holiday in Spain and had no issues with my lips, on previous holidays I've not used anything and ended up with burnt and crispy lips.
2. Carmex Cherry Lip Balm (£2.69) - I got this from Boots and really like it as its quick a thick application and I like that. Also cherry flavour :)
3. Balmi Strawberry Moisturising Lip Balm (£2.99, normally £4.99) - This is the most recent lip balm I have bought and I was very impressed with the little cube, it also has a triangle (pyramind) shape so you can easily apply to your lips, it also smells like strawberries, however the taste after you have applied is not as nice I think anyway.
4. Vaseline Lip Therapy with Cocoa Butter (£2.18) - This was the first ever lip balm I bought, I think I borrowed a tiny little bit from someones and after that I stuck to buying it all the time. I was really bad for putting it through the wash though or leaving it in my pocket and it ended up melting inside the tin - I still buy it though, it's very soft and easy to apply to the lips.
5. Burt's Bees Replenishing Lip Balm with Pomegranate Oil (£3.69) - I saw this in Boots a few weeks back and bought it as I've wanted to try it for awhile. I saw it in a Youtuber's video (think it was Joey Graceffa) not sure ... and he was using it. A few people also say that it dies your lips slightly tinged purple. But not sure about that. I like the smell and colour however it does leave a bit of a horrible after taste on your lips and if you lick them.
6. Carmex Moisturising Lip Balm SPF15 Lime (£3.25) - I love this lip balm/stick - I bought it from Boots and it smells and tastes like Lime (kind of reminds me of the Soap & Glory Lime Body Wash) which I love!! It's easy to apply not too thick.
7. EOS Blueberry Acai Smooth Sphere Lip Balm (£4.95, normally £7.99) - This is my favourite lip balm at the moment. You can't see it in the picture but when you open the lid, it's like a sphere/half circle of hardened lip balm and its the perfect shape for you lips, so you just pout and smeer it on and over your lips - perfect coverage. Only place I can find these is on Amazon and they're not cheap!

Anyway that's everything I use on my lips ... or have done in the past few months - hope you enjoy reading this blog post! 

If you want any more information or you want to buy the products featured in this blog, then I have linked them below for you :)

1. Tesco Soleil Lip Protector
2. Carmex Cherry Lip Balm 
3. Balmi Strawberry Moisturising Lip Balm
4. Vaseline Lip Therapy with Cocoa Butter
5. Burt's Bees Replenishing Lip Balm with Pomegranate Oil
6. Carmex Moisturising Lip Balm SPF15 Lime
7. EOS Blueberry Acai Smooth Sphere Lip Balm


shoutjohn


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Sunday, 6 July 2014

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush 'Fresh & Foamy' Body Wash

Hey everyone :)

So I wrote another product review as I quite enjoy doing them. Only to find I deleted it by mistake :(

This makes me really sad as I spent a good 2 days on it - I know I'm just getting started with my blog - but I'm sure any blogger will tell you that it takes at least a couple of days to put together a decent post about anything ... unless your just typing off the top of your head. Anyway I digress ...

I thought since I bought the 3 for 2 deal in Boots - I could review another of the products I bought that weekend. And since I love Soap & Glory that much - I decided I might as well do that.

So we are looking at the Soap & Glory Sugar Crush 'Fresh & Foamy' Body Wash - You can check out the product on Boots here.

The cost of the product was £6.50 however I got it free as part of the Boots 3 for 2 deal.

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Wash

As I mentioned in my previous blog - you get the lovely pink themed-bottle again with the colourful labels and similar to the other Soap & Glory products you get the fruit in black and white so this time we get a half wedge and half a lime on the bottle. Surprisingly even though the bottle is pink the body wash/lotion inside is actually a white-creamy colour.

The bottle design is quite different - I mean you see a lot of body washes and shower gels in normal bottles with a normal cap - let's face it - these are BORING! So this is different - as we have a pump-bottle. I like change ... plus it looks good in the bathroom among all the plain bottles.

The body wash liquid was very thin - which was a surprise, I expected it to be - thicker or more glossy or fancy considering this is Soap & Glory we are talking about - when you look at it in your hand - it's just a plain white-creamy boring colour. But ... there is a but!

The smell! The smell is amazing! I was trying to think of a good enough example to compare to the smell. It's like those citrus flavoured polos they used to do but discontinued, or lime tic-tacs or key lime pie or freshly grated lime zest. The smell is just over-whelming but a good kind of over-whelming not a bad kind.

In terms of using the body wash - as the instructions say you should get some in your hand and lather over your body, quick rub, then rinse off. I preferred using the body puff I have as it seemed to make the body wash last longer when I was washing, if I used just my hands I noticed I was using more of the body wash than with the body puff.

All in all a good product to have in your bathroom and one that I will buy again and again as I think its awesome and as I mentioned looks good among all the other bottles in the bathroom but the main point being the smell makes you smell amazing and even after you've gotten out the shower and lazed around for a bit you can still smell the lime.


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Thursday, 3 July 2014

Chocolate & Banana Cupcakes

I thought it would be fun to do some baking yesterday and thought I would share with you what I made.

After scouring the internet for a recipe that I actually had all the ingredients for. I decided to make 'Chocolate & Banana Cupcakes' - mainly because everyone at work keeps asking for Banana Cupcakes so I thought I'd make some (but with the added ingredient of chocolate).

For the cupcake recipe you will need:

> 200grams of granulated sugar
> 130grams of self-raising flour 
> 35grams of cocoa powder (I used Bournville)
> 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
> 3/4 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda if your from US)
> 1/4 teaspoon of salt
> 1 large egg 
> 1 medium-sized banana
> 120ml of milk
> 60ml of warm water (not boiling)
> 60ml of vegetable/sunflower oil
> 3/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the frosting you will need:

> 90grams of chocolate
> 113 grams of butter 
> 120grams of icing sugar (or confectioner sugar if your from US)
> 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

So in 1 large bowl - add the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Make sure you sieve them all. Mix together so everything is incorporated.

In another large bowl - add the egg, mash the banana and add, milk, warm water, oil and the vanilla extract. Mix that together also ... don't worry that it won't mix together properly - I noticed this as well - it looks all gloopy.

Once you have done that ... add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together - either using a machine whisk, food mixer or with a whisk and your hand - whatever .. I opted to be lazy and use a food mixer.

Once that's done - get a cupcake tray with 12 cases and put the cake mix into them, you want to try and fill 3/4 of the way. Pop into the oven at 180ÂșC and bake for around 20 minutes or until a knife or cake skewer comes out clean.

Pop them onto a wire rack to cool, while there cooling you can make the frosting.

All you need to do is melt the chocolate - either in the microwave, or over a pot of boiling water. Cream together your butter and sugar in a bowl (again with a food mixer, or by hand) I opted for food mixer as your hand gets too sore! Then once the chocolate has melted and cooled a little (this is important, let it cool, but not completely) add it to the butter and sugar, and add the vanilla extract too, beat till its all mixed together. Then either smeer on the cupcakes or if your feeling fancy like I did, pipe it on.

You should end up with beautiful cupcakes that everyone will love :)

chocolate cupcakes

I didn't really want to make it sound like I was 'reviewing' this recipe but in future I thought I'd mention ... I wouldn't use the frosting recipe again, there are much better recipes for frosting out there so I would probably opt for a ganache or something similar if I made these again.

You also want to make sure bananas you use are over-ripe (skin is starting to go brown) and not ripe or green bananas as they are too firm and hard.

Last but not least ... use a good quality chocolate cocoa powder (I used Bournville) the main flavour apart from the banana is the chocolate so you want a good quality chocolate so the cupcakes taste good.

I took the cupcakes into work and got some great feedback - 'best I've made yet', 'amazing' - some people even came back for seconds. I'm really happy people liked them :)

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