Burn Black

That ain't a vulture, that's a fucking pigeon…

Meow…


How cool is this?  Any word you like, made up of cats.  It’s that cool I had to share it.  Normal service will be resumed shortly and you’re welcome. 😉

The King of Stop Motion Animation…

Ray Harryhausen who was better known for his stop motion animation in such bank holiday classics such as Clash Of The Titans and Jason & The Argonauts (who can forget *that* fighting skeleton scene?) has passed away today at age 92.  Devastated just isn’t the word.  If you’ve never seen any of the above films especially, I highly suggest you do so.

 

Rock Star Massacre…

As if Chi from the Deftones wasn’t enough now Jeff Hanneman from Slayer has passed on (probably burning in Hell much to his delight, considering the bands disdain of the other guy). I must admit I’m not a huge Slayer fan.  I like them but I’m not obsessed by them.  I’m certainly not going to slate their work ethic, not at all because after Nine Inch Nails (who I fucking love and whom I’ve travelled hundreds of miles at every opportunity I could to see them) they are the only band who I can say I’ve seen more times than hot dinners, purely down to coincidence.

 

April Empties…

photo
It’s no secret that I work for Lush and as a result probably about 90% of toiletries that I review in this and future posts will show nothing but empty black pots.  I also own a shit load of toiletries so I’m on a self imposed ban from buying any in future unless it’s an absolute essential so we’ll see how it goes.
  • Angels On Bear Skin by Lush  – This to me is the best cleanser I’ve ever had the good fortune to use.  I have explored other avenues in the past only to find my skin will break out or whatever so I’ll go back to this and within a week or so my skin will be back to “normal” therefore I’m now of the opinion of “if it aint broke then don’t fix it”.  My skin reacts really well to lavender plus this doubles as a gentle exfoliator.  I’ve already bought a new pot as like I say, I’m sticking with this for life now. £6.25
  • Atomic Toothy Tabs by Lush – Atomic must be one of the better tasting toothy tabs that Lush make as far as I’m concerned and I’ve tried them all.  Others that I find pleasant are Ultrablast, Chou Chou I Love You and Sparkle.  I love taking these to Music Festivals/holidays purely because they really do a good job of cleaning your teeth, especially after drinking too much alcohol and smoking too many cigarettes.  You know when you go to the dentist for a scale and polish and afterwards you can’t help but lick your teeth because they feel so clean?  That’s what these make your mouth feel like after using them for a few days.  Some people like to use half a tablet, others two.  I’m a one tablet per use girl however.  The only negative I have is that I miss the crisp minty freshness that normal toothpaste provides and the confidence of not having a stinky breath that goes with it.  Saying that I don’t use Toothy Tabs all of the time, maybe every few days or so as advised by my dental hygienist.  I do think that I’ll continue to use these on occasion but I’m pretty happy with my normal toothpaste tbh. £2.50
  • Dirty Spritzer by Lush – It would seem I didn’t get the memo that decided that this Gorilla Perfume was for the boys.  Do I care?  Nope.  I love Dirty and I douse myself in it at every available opportunity.  Dirty is probably my signature “day time” scent and as well as the perfume I’m also an avid user of the body spray and shower gel too.  I don’t normally buy the spritzers in honesty, I just go straight for the Atomisers as I find that they last longer.  I also like to carry the solid perfume around with me to top up during the day and apply to my hair if needed.  £9.50
  • Enchanted Eye Cream by Lush – This lasts for ages, like best part of a year or so and although it is expensive I find it is worth it.  I use this whenever I remember but mostly on an evening.  It’s super light so perfect for the delicate skin around your eyes and I’ve found that one squirt is more than enough to do both eyes.  Any excess I just rub in anywhere else like my forehead, mouth or neck area. I will buy again purely because I’m 34 and well prevention is better than a cure innit?  £11.50
  • Hair Doctor by Lush – Is a scalp mask and is perfect for those who suffer from problem scalps.  Luckily for me I don’t but I still enjoy the sensation of this due to the peppermint and it makes my hair feel really nice and soft afterwards.  I used to use this religiously whenever I used to bleach my roots as it really soothed my scalp after bleaching but I don’t feel the need for it as much these days.  I’m personally a fan of shoving a whole pot on my head and using it all in one go.  It’s a fresh product so it has a short shelf life and needs to be kept in the fridge due to it’s lack of preservatives.  Not something I would normally buy these days but it was given to me and well waste not want not.  £6.75
  • Love Lettuce by Lush – Another fresh Lush product that you need to keep in the fridge.  Each fresh face mask lasts about three weeks and I normally get about 6 applications from each pot so applying twice a week is ideal to make sure you get value for your money.  Love Lettuce is one of my favourite face masks due to the Lavender and also the ground almond shells which really exfoliates and brightens my skin.  £5.95
  • Pied De Pepper Foot Cream by Lush – I only have about half a pot of this stuff left now.  It was discontinued about 18 months ago and I miss it loads.  Nothing else comes close for me.  Pied De Pepper was very spicy and as a result warming so if you suffered from bad circulation in your tootsies or if your feet were just cold then a quick rub with this stuff soon changed that.  In winter I’d also use it on my hands to warm them up too.  Not a clue as to why Lush discontinued this but I do wish they’d bring it back.
  • Skinny Dip by Lush – I bought this on a whim last year when it was released as a limited edition retro item.  I liked it that much I bought another pot shortly after.  It seems to make my skin feel really soft and I found it awesome to shave my legs with.  I have one tub left.
  • Superdrug Setting Lotion Extra Firm 150ml – I bought this for when I needed to pin curl my hair not that long ago and I have one more bottle of this left.  Cheap as chips and did the job no problems.  I may try the normal hold next time but overall for the price I’m more than impressed.  A must for anyone who’s hair is poker straight and drops at first opportunity.  It’s not tested on animals and suitable for vegans and on top of that it’s currently 2 for £2 otherwise it’s £1.49 a bottle.  BOOM.
Other beauty products that I’ve used up this month which had no packaging (better for the environment innit) but still deserve a mention:
  • Bubblebeard Reusable Bubble Bar by Lush – I was given this last Christmas and although personally I’m not a huge bubble wand fan this one smells like Dirty  and as a bath cocktail ingredient it’s proved quite versatile.  I did enjoy it but I’m not sure if I’d re-buy it if it comes out again next Christmas.
  • Ceridwen’s Cauldron by Lush – Easily my favourite bath melt by Lush.  Every time my skin is playing up or feels rougher than a badgers arse I fling one in the tub and after a rub all over with King of Skin Im as smooth as a baby’s bum.  Will be using these until the cows come home, despite the price but I’m happy to pay it as I find it really soothing. £3.99
  • Full Of Grace by Lush – I love this little bar of wonder.  I like to use it underneath a face mask for extra moisture and also is really nice on an evening either on it’s own or underneath your night time moisturiser if your skin is feeling dry.  One of these bars will last me months so in my opinion is definitely worth the price.  I keep mine in a shampoo bar tin (also from Lush) to keep it nice and clean.  I’ve since bought another one.  £7.95
  • Keep It Fluffy Ballistic by Lush – A rare item in my stash.  Originally from my Jon Burgerman tin, who’s contents I keep forgetting about.  I loved this fragrance when B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful was about.  I really wish I could get my hands on one last bottle.  Despite me loving other BNTBTBB fragrances now such as Dirty and Cocktail I never tried them at the time which is a bit of a regret as I love the old bottles.
  • King Of Skin by Lush – Where would I be without this beautiful beautiful body butter.  I’m that obsessed currently with KOS that I currently have 3 of these on the go.  One at home, one at my boyfriends and one in my gym bag.  I’m shit at remembering to use body lotion and if it wasn’t for this my skin would be positively reptillian.  Soon as you’re rinsed and about to get out of the bath/shower, just rub this all over you and then throw your towel on.  No need to rub in or rub off, just leave it be.  I would probably say that this is one of my top 10 Lush products.  £5.25
  • Magic Mushroom by Lush – I’ve had this in my stash since the first time it came out which was Valentine’s Day last year.  Shocking I know but I’ve always been loath to use rare items until now.  My top tip is to take the white stalk from this and crumble it in my washing machine which results in creamy strawberry milkshake scented laundry.  The red bit you can just use in the bath.  It would have been nice if these were in store again this year, especially since there were no new bath related Valentines Day products but maybe next year. They’re still available online as part of the Retro range. £3.50
  • Twilight Bath Ballistic by Lush – I love the smell of this but if there’s one thing I hate…  It’s glitter.  Especially when it get’s stuck to my skin in the bath.  I don’t suffer that badly from eczema but I do feel like clawing my skin off after a while.  Lush however have changed the glitter in a lot of their products as of late so once that change has hit these bad boys I’ll probably give em another whirl.  Until then I still have a load of the shower gel left from Christmas. £3.20

Mental Lentils…

I really didn’t know that a Dahl would last up to a week in the fridge until recently and since Im trying to be careful with regards to what I eat/buy I figured it may be a good idea to always have some on standby just in case.  Plus the fact that they tend to be high in protein but low in carbs and fat pretty much makes it the perfect food for whenever you can’t be arsed to cook anything.  I found the following recipe here but amended it slightly.


IMG_8204

Detoxifying Lemon Dahl

Ingredients

250g Red Lentils
1 tin of chopped tomato
2 teaspoons of Turmeric
1 teaspoon of Hing (Asafoetida)
1 green chili (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 lemon
Coriander leaf to garnish (optional)
salt

IMG_8197 

Instructions

In on pan boil the lentils with the tinned tomato and double the amount of water (2 tins worth).  In a separate pan, heat a tablespoon of oil and when hot, add the cumin seeds. They need to crackle and turn a little brown. Now add your chopped chili and take off the heat until your lentils are tender and cooked.  Add the fryed cumin and chilli to the lentils along with the turmeric, hing (I added this because I found out it helps prevent farting and well everyone can agree that flatulence isn’t “a very ladylike practice” despite us all doing it) and salt.  If you want to make this more of a soup then add more water or reduce to make it thicker .   Towards the end when the dahl is a nice yellow paste, add the juice of one lemon and possibly the rind if you like (I did but I thought it was a bit too much).  Add chopped coriander as a garnish.

IMG_8206

Music Mondays: One Love For Chi…

The first and only time I ever saw the Deftones live was at the Riverside in Newcastle back in 1998.  The room was really crowded and the mosh pit was mental.  I can remember sweat dripping from the ceiling and steam coming from me when we left.  I vowed from that moment on that I would never go to see the Deftones live again as *nothing* would beat that gig and to this day I’ve still haven’t despite having ample opportunity to do so.  I think I’m scared of disappointment to be honest.  Anyway many thanks to the band and to Chi for blowing my fragile little mind all of those years ago.  R.I.P.

More Foodie Delights…

Seems all I talk about on here lately is food.  I’m guessing that it’s because I’m off work so I have extra time to cook up some delicious noms compared to normal.  Anyway this is not only for all you coconut fans out there but also for those amongst us (like me) who still need a little gentle persuading.

Coconut Cupcakes

IMG_8193

Truth be told I fucking hate desiccated coconut but I don’t mind the “real” stuff which is what I’ve used in these and bloody hell they’re good.  I haven’t even bothered telling anyone that they’re Vegan and well no one’s asked so shhhhh! *wink*

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup coconut milk (I used the tinned stuff as I had some in the cupboard).
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

For the icing:

  • 1/4 cup margarine at room temperature. (I used Vitalite but I had a tiny bit of Tofutti cream cheese to use up so I added this in too).
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (from the same tin as above)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut

Instructions

Preheat the oven to about 350 degrees F and line a twelve-muffin tin with paper cases and set aside.  Sift together all of the dry ingredients and then add all of the wet ones and mix until everything is combined and then some.  Fill each paper case to about two-thirds full and stick them in the oven for about 25 minutes.  I did think I was starting to burn them as they browned but a quick prod with a skewer will confirm when the cakes are cooked.  Remove from the muffin tin and place on a cooling rack.

IMG_8189

Whilst the cakes were in the oven I made the frosting.  To do so I added all of the wet ingredients together and slowly added all of the dry ones until I’d reached what I thought was perfect consistency and popped this into the fridge until my cakes had cooled down.  Once they had I basically dolloped a good amount of frosting on each cake and smoothed with a palette knife.

I started a diet this week so I’ve had one which I thoroughly enjoyed and I’ve been brave and given the remaining 11 away otherwise I would have eaten them all.  Seriously beautiful with a cup of tea.

Recent Noms…

I stumbled upon Smitten Kitchen last week and the next day made this for dinner.  It seems that a lot of the ingredients used are relatively easy to come by and also cheap to make and I’m that impressed I’m considering buying the cookbook.  It’ll be getting made again at some point soon.

I also tried to make sourdough bread with the culture I started a few weeks ago and it flopped.  I ended up using the flat dough for chapatis.  All in all, not an experiment I’ll be repeating.  Never mind.

Last week I also stumbled upon this by the Hairy Bikers on the TV and quite intrigued I made it.  I wish I’d halved the ingredients as the recipe made much more than for just 4 people.  It was ok but I doubt I’ll make it again.  I have the remnants in my freezer for next time I fancy something sweet.

I’ve also realised that I have more or less a freezer full of food so I’m on a food shopping ban until it’s a lot more controllable.  I think it’s going to be pretty amusing to see what I can come up with at mealtimes in the meantime.

Culture and Potatoes…

Today it occurred to me that I still hadn’t started that Sourdough Culture that I said I was going to do ages ago (and even went to the trouble of buying some really posh flour from mmm… for this exact purpose) and that I also had rather a lot a) potatoes and b) onions that needed using up before too long so this evening has been spent in attempts to rectify all of the above.  Starting a sourdough culture seems relatively easy.  I’m using the information from this site.  It should be ready to use come Monday/Tuesday so expect an update around then.

When it came to the glut of potatoes and onions scenario I was a bit more confused.  I have no idea how I’ve came to own so much of both vegetables and I had no idea as to what I was going to do with them.  A quick google search that included the words “potato, onion, vegan” and I’d stumbled upon this beauty from the Post Punk Kitchen.  I should have known really considering I own quite a few of Isa’s books.  Anyway it took all in all nearly 2 hours to make but excluding tonights tea (it was delicious btw) I now have the equivalent of 4 more meals in my freezer and since all the hard work is done all I need to do is boil a pan full of water and chuck em straight in, similar to gnocchi.  Until today I’d never made Caramelised Onion too, never mind know that you could freeze it.  Jobs a good un.

5 Months Later…

…And it seems I’m back.  What have I been up to to warrant such neglect of this blog?  Quite a lot actually.  Been working lots, have been recovering from surgery, been tattooed, started going to the gym again, started smoking again, decorated my kitchen, celebrated Christmas and my birthday, made some marmalade, spent loads of money on vinyl and pretty much thats it in a nutshell.

How about you?

I am going to try my best in future with updating.  We shall see how that goes.

Last Saturday a few of us went to The Coquette Collective‘s Burlesque Show and since I hardly get to go out thought I’d go all out.  After trawling the internet I found this lady’s YouTube channel and decided to try and pin curl my hair.  For first attempts I was pretty proud of myself and my fella’s efforts as I had to get him to do the back for me.  I went to sleep with them in on the Friday night and went to work with a scarf on my head the next day.  I definitely think I’ll be doing this again in future.  Also kudos to Superdrugs who have a lot of vegan friendly toiletries these days.  I bought some old lady setting lotion from there and not only is it BUAV approved but vegan friendly too.  Boom.

Stoptober…


The older I’m getting the more I’ve slowly been reducing the amount of cigarettes I smoke.  Whilst at uni it wasn’t uncommon for me to go through 20 a day, more if I went out drinking in the evening (no smoking ban then however).  Back in 2007-2008 I successfully quit smoking for 9-10 months until the stresses of coming out of an 8-9 year relationship and finishing my degree became too much and I stupidly picked up the evil weed again.  I’ve smoked ever since, despite a few attempts here and there to quit that haven’t lasted more than a few weeks.

As of late anything up to 10 a day was considered the norm, 20 if I went out, maybe less.  Nowadays I can easily not smoke on a day to day basis and the only time temptation ever rears it’s head is when alcohol is involved.  These days I’m finding this excuse pitiful however and what with me also cutting down on the amount of alcohol I consume (I’m 33 and hangovers are just not funny anymore, not when they can last up to 3 days) figured it’s high time to end my relationship with the fags.  I’ve tried patches, gum, etc. in the past but this time I’m finding the good old “Cold Turkey” method is working just fine.  I say this but I will be taking some gum out with me next time I go out socialising.  I have no idea why I can’t let go of this booze + snouts = HEAVEN equation, maybe I just think “everything to excess” when it comes to alcohol.  I can’t go straight edge, nor do I want to so any suggestions would be welcomed.  I’ll have been “smoke free” for 3 weeks come Friday.  In honesty it’s been a piece of piss but then again I’ve only had two G&T’s and a glass of wine in all of that time.

p.s. The Stoptober app is rubbish.  I’ve signed up to it twice now and still haven’t received an email.  The app keeps crashing whenever I open it on my phone too.I can’t believe someone will have been paid a fortune for that.