30 July 2012

Little Fashion Dreams: June/July Haul

Okay.. I've bought a few pieces, both make up, accessories and clothes, over the last couple of months, not to mention a new iPod (hehe). So I thought I'd write a post showing you what I've bought.
 The day before we went to Cornwall, I had a last minute dash around town to pick up some new clothes, all optimistically summery (for a week that rained constantly!). I was in desperate need of new tops (still am tbh...) and shorts. I have to say, it is IMPOSSIBLE to buy shorts that aren't totally slashed or hotpants, unless you head for the 40+ shops and buy linen trousers... In the end, after trying on dozens of shorts, I managed to find these two -a high-waisted floral pair, and some pink hotpants, both from Parisian -and to avoid any camel toe I just went up a size for safety! The shirts and the shorts were all available at New Look when I bought them, and the tee (which I wear waay to much!!) is from Next.
 Next time I went shopping, I had just bought an iPod, and had a few other things that I wanted to get later, so I only let myself get a bikini. Why bikini top sizes are always in dress sizes I will never know, but I was really happy to find that this little baby from Dorothy Perkins fit :)
 At the airport, I caved into my need for a new pencil eyeliner and got Benefit's BADgal in grey. Duty-free airport shopping all the way!
I had been planning on buying myself a new school bag, although I wasn't expecting to find it in Northern Ireland, not least because shopping was not on the agenda (see what I got up to here: http://eleanorslittledreams.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/busy.html) But on the way back from a morning walk along the marina, TK Maxx called and I found this shopper from Edina Ronay for a crazy saving. So that's me sorted for a while.. until more funds come in, that is!!

29 July 2012

Round Up: And it all begins...

Whoo! Who's been caught by the Olympic Fever? (who hasn't?) I caught it full on watching our incredible (and crazy) Opening ceremony. Those rings! The Queen and Bond! Rowen Atkinson! And of course, the beautiful caldron.
I have just been watching the women's synchronized diving: incredible. Why oh why did I never learn to dive? Mind you -six years of gymnastics with a difficulty with jumping backwards suggests that diving is perhaps not my sport. Then of course there's the sailing: I've been tuning in and out because as far as I am aware the finals don't start until around the 10th of August, but I'm pleased to report that Ben Ainslie has so far got two second places, and everything else in Weymouth is looking promising.
Watching the volleyball has been inspiring too -I feel ready to join a club now! Of course, the real appeal of it is that gorgeous Australian beach-side ideal, but I'm sure I can manage...

Generally though, the last couple of days have been pretty quiet. I've had fun making healthy, yummy meals for myself, although I've fallen badly at the hurdle(s) of snacking.
For yesterday's lunch I made a Moroccan-style houmous, falafel and mango chutney wrap:
Its super quick and easy to make (although feel free to go all-out and make your own falafel, houmous and chutney if you want). Simply spread on some houmous -I used a peppery, Moroccan-spiced one- onto your tortilla, crumble on some falafel, chop up some gem lettuce and dollop a teaspoon or two of chutney. Wrap and eat! The falafel tastes even nicer heated up.

Later, I took my Grandma's dog out for a walk around one of our postcard villages. When we stopped for our customary up of tea at King John's hunting Lodge, my Grandma and I tried a 'lumb'. I'm not sure exactly how to describe it -it's exclusive to King John's -but it sits somewhere between a muffin and a scone, with possibly a hint of crumpet about it...
It is called a Lumb after the old Scottish word for chimney due to it's height. It is cut into three and then toasted with cinnamon sugar, which caramelizes into foodie heaven... I only wish I could get my hands on that recipe...

As we left the tearooms, we were met by a wedding party leaving the church. My eye was caught by a stunning dress, and I shamelessly chased down it's wearer and got a picture ;)
It is available from the fabulous Vivienne of Holloway http://www.vivienofholloway.com/?gclid=COrDiMm3v7ECFUVTfAod60kAzA

Little Sporting Dreams: Football at the Olympics

On Wednesday I found myself hopping onto a train into Cardiff after being invited to watch the Women's Football by Maddy. We got there early enough to munch on some noodles at the lovely Wagamamma's, complete with a glass each of fruit 'n' veg juices. I've yet to master the art of chopsticks, but I managed to shovel in my prawns and tofu without too much embarrassment...
 From there, we made our way over to the stadium. We managed to avoid the handbag search by alternatively cramming a tonne of stuff into one tiny bag, and keeping the contents of a canvas bag in a clear inner bag. So, we were among the first people to get into the stadium.

After a couple of hours being deafened by the enthusiastic Welsh hostess, Great Britain vs New Zealand begun.
I was expecting New Zealand to easily beat Team GB, especially as the first ten minutes were played pretty close to our goal, but the first match yielded no goals. It did contain a few yellow cards, dished out pretty fast, and involved most of the crowd shouting "PASS TO NUMBER 15!" who always seemed to be in space.
Soon into the second half however, Britain scored; and to my amazement I found my arms punching the sky as I screamed in victory. Now that is crowd atmosphere! That was it for goals, which meant that Great Britain won the very first match of the Olympics. :D

Match two saw Brazil utterly thrash Cameroon 5-0. The playing was a lot more aggressive, but the dancing of the goal-scorers was great to watch, as Brazilian supporters brought the stands to life with drumming
Getting back was interesting... the queues outside the station were staggering and yet somehow, by tactical platform positioning, Maddy and I managed to grab the last two seats on the train home -no two hour standing sessions -phew!

23 July 2012


I've had a really, good, busy week. Firstly, last weekend, I braved the mud and hit Devon for my sailing club's camping weekend. Luckily for me, I had camper-van access over a tent, and I actually remembered wellies, as the ground was a mud bath. The weekend was gorgeous -for most part sunny, and with a decent breeze. I got to try out Maddy's new boat, although we failed spectacularly on Sunday's races...
Then, I had my friend, Beth, over from California. There is nothing like having an old exotic friend over to help you reconnect with other old friends. We just had a total girl's week, full of shopping and catching up. On Thursday, we mixed shopping with Jimmy Spices, an amazing world food buffet. It's pretty cheap, especially on weekdays, but it is soo good! The stir fry's, made in front of you, are to die for. I decided to put my faith in the British weather, and bought a bikini too. When we got back, it seemed only natural to try out my bikini in Maddy's hot tub. :)
On Friday, Beth, my Mum and I hopped on a plane and landed in Belfast, so that my Mum could squeeze in some quality time with Beth's mother, Sain. We were lucky enough that the weather was on the turn, and I experienced Ireland in the sun (a novelty enough for England, never mind the rest of the British Isles...).
We also went to the Giant's Causeway, which was HEAVING with tourists. 
 Beth's little bro' Daniel was less than impressed by the walk to see a pile of hexagonal rocks, but we set him up as the photographer and he managed okay.
 The Giant's Causeway was made by the cooling of ancient lava, but I preferred the legend of the giant who threw the rocks into the sea to walk over to Scotland....
Before I flew back again I had time to laugh at Beth on her debut motorbike passenger ride. I'll say no more...
 And then it was back on the plane again!! I really am a bad flying partner; my Mother hates take off and landing, and I'll be sat there going "ooh look, we're really banking right over now! Gosh we're hitting the runway fast. Oh, I can see all the wires in the wing when the brakes go on...."

12 July 2012

Little Tavelling Dreams: St. Ives

On my suggestion, we went to St. Ives for the day, which is one of the more popular Cornish towns. It has been popular with artists for generations, and has recently opened a Tate gallery on the waterfront.
After hunting down a little cove, chosen by Mum for it's beach cafe ("Its award winning,dear") we settled down in the sunshine. To my Mother's amusement we were joined on this tiny stretch of sand by BBC Coast presenter, Neil Oliver, who spent much of the day carefully constructing an elaborate sand castle long after his boden-clad children had lost interest.
We stayed for lunch, not that I got to each much of mine. No sooner had I unwrapped my chicken ticca baguette that I found myself wrestling for it against an opportunistic herring gull. I won, but there was a sizable chunk that I was no way going to eat.
Shaking slightly, I took a more defensive stance in my deck chair while finishing my food.
Yet clearly the damn bird (sorry RSPB!) had set me out as a target, and at the slightest window of opportunity it snatched the rest sandwich. It ate it in one.
^^Not at all random...
I couldn't settle after that, but I'd chosen the right town to be in. St. Ives is full of little shops; high street, independent and touristy. I had plenty of places to rummage in safe (I hoped) from seagull attack.

11 July 2012

Little Travelling Dreams: Falmouth Boat Trip

Wednesday was an early start as we rushed off to Penzance to catch Maddy's early morning train home. It was a narrow thing, but she made it.
My parents and I then went back to Falmouth, where we had booked a boat trip up the Fal estuary. We stopped at Trelissick garden, which was given to the National Trust by the Copeland family, who still own the impressive mansion today.
The grounds are full of exotic plants and massive ferns, and thanks to all the rain we'd been having, there was definitely a tropical feel to the place.
The pretty little cafe courtyard was my favorite place though, because of all the little birds that had become tamed by feeding on crumbs. It had actually got to the point where we probably should have been feeding the birds as some were getting a little chubby.

It was hard not to though, because they were just too cute!
Later in the day it brightened up considerably, if briefly. We took the opportunity to walk along the coastal path behind our cottage leading to the Lizard.
We passed the Devil's Frying Pan, a collapsed sea cave, in picture-perfect blue sky and sea. The rain still held a strong presence though in the form of thick mud everywhere, slippery to the point that I had to haul myself along tree branches and a certain father of mine went sprawling....
It is amazing how different Cornwall looks in the sun -suddenly you remember why it is you came. In a word: stunning.

10 July 2012

Little Travelling Dreams: Surf's Up!

Day two in Cornwall dawned with the worrying realization that I was about to plunge into cold waters: we were going to use the boards, regardless of the weather, because this was going to be Maddy's only full day in Cornwall before she had to return home to her summer job.

After an undignified struggle into wetsuits, we waded in. The conditions weren't too bad with surf-able waves rolling in fairly often, breaking perhaps a little too close to shore, but hey, I was hardly going to need a long surf for my questionable ability!
For much of the two hours that Maddy and I were surfing, we were the only ones in the water. During that time I'd like to think that we provided lots of entertainment for the lifeguard and beach cafe guy, as we exhibited some pretty spectacular wipe-outs. Well: I hardly think what I did could be called a wipe-out seeing as I barely got standing: somehow I don't being almost horizontal by the time my legs straightened actually counts as 'standing'. My signature move generally involved me moving too slowly, or being too far forward on my board by the time a wave hit me, and then being tossed head over heels with my board flipping somewhere close to my head.
Unlike me, Maddy could stand on her board, and she didn't manage to snap off a fin from her board. *oops*

After that (and steaming cups of crunchie and fudge covered hot chocolate) we dumped the boards to spend an hour or so in Falmouth. In one area of the town, we discovered a gorgeous shop Kit's Boutique. Part haberdashers, part clothing boutique, part accessories haven, I could have spent hours amongst the Object d'Art beauty bags and the kitsch jewellery and mirrors, but I satisfied myself by returning by force the next day...

9 July 2012

Little Travelling Dreams: The Start

It was a rainy day to travel to Cornwall last Monday; though I shouldn't have been surprised. All UK holidays seem to involve rain for me!
We were staying in Cadgwith, a tiny village on Cornwall's Lizard Peninsular. It was the place that Monty Halls filmed The Fisherman's Apprentice, who I blogged about here.

We, my parents and I, all piled into our overstuffed car, along with my friend Maddy, who brought with her a pair of surfboards. As we drove further west, the conditions worsened: Devon was misty and Cornwall was near-invisible to us from the road. Everyone forgets something on holiday: I left my phone, after I took it out of my bag when I got an early morning text (from Maddy of all people!!), and my Dad spectacularly left the keys to unlocking his bike from the roof, after months of careful bike maintenance and buying new kit. Luckily, there is a little thing called a postal service that promised to send us the key by 9am the very next day (actually, it was a little after 10, but based on the miles of narrow, winding lanes, I'll forgive 'em).

By the time we got to our cliff-hugging cottage there seemed to be more water in the air than sea. And yet it didn't matter. As we explored our pretty cottage, which was surprisingly large and airy, I caught a glimpse of the view of the cove and my breath was taken away. I could barely see the coastline, but it was still amazing.

Maddy and I set out to discover Cadgwith, involving a walk down a narrow, rain sodden path. Although Cadgwith is tiny, it is well equipped with two pubs, a local shop and gallery, at least one fish monger's and a small fleet of fishing boats. Cadgwith is one of the last true fishing villages, untarnished by tourist shops in a honey pot area. When the weather is that bad, you can only laugh, and stare menacingly at the weatherman...

Little Tavelling Dreams: Home

I've just got home after a week spent in Cornwall. Due to the weather and my wimpish constitution, I didn't go surfing *quite* as much as I'd envisaged. It was still lovely though: we ate the freshest seafood, went for walks where possible (often in National Trust sites due to the impassable mud on cliff top paths), wandered around Cornish towns, and attempted to hit the beach once or twice.
^Look sun!!!^ Over the next few days, I'll write up some posts from some of my days.

1 July 2012

A Little Note...

Just to say, there may not be any posts for the next week as I'm off to go surf in Cornwall, and I will probably be sans internet. See you soon...

Little Eco Dreams: Phoenix Forum

I am a member of of the RSPB, and last year, I was elected onto the teen forum, the Phoenix Forum. I've had a few meetings now, and I just have so much fun working with everyone. There are ten of us involved, and we're a complete mix. Some of the guys are really into your traditional birdwatching, and their knowledge is so inspiring. Others of us are more interested in wider issues, which I think helps to represent all the young adults who care about the environment, but aren't necessarily interested in bird watching.
We delved into psychology and had this big discussion on the rebranding of the Phoenix to help it to become more of an identity whilst still being strongly linked to the RSPB. The logo is pretty old now and possibly outdated, so it seems that that is pretty likely to go.

We're also planning on expanding our facebook page to get more people involved and informed. With a bit of luck, we will soon have a Twitter page up too.
Our meeting was at Rainham marshes, just outside London. At this time of year, it is pretty quiet in terms of wildlife, but it was still so pretty, albeit very windy! There were, however, lots of egrets, which are really pretty, graceful, birds. In the distance there you can see the Shard and other big financial buildings.
So if any of you out there do have the slightest inkling of environmental consciousness, I would definitely recommend joining the RSPB. It is pretty cheap, helps the environment and is really worthwhile. You get a member-written magazine aimed at 13-18 year old's four times a year, and you have the opportunity to meet others and get involved if you wish.
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