Simple Pleasures

Simple Pleasures, Little Treasures

Sometimes, it’s the simple things in life that can give us the most pleasure. Unfortunately, they are often the things that we don’t take enough time to truly appreciate and treasure. So stop, look around, breathe deeply and take a moment to drink in the small things. Pay attention to the simple pleasures in life that make you smile on the inside and out. Here are a few of mine this week…

1. I’ve been making fresh lemonade by the bucketload! It’s been so warm and this is the most refreshing (non-alcoholic!) drink imaginable. It also reminds me of being in Sorrento, where we drank loads of the stuff, which makes it taste even better! Keep an eye out for my recipe, which I’ll be posting very soon.

Simple Pleasures 1

2. I’ve been spending much more time in the garden recently thanks to the lovely weather. Snoozing in the sun is such a lovely way to spend an hour – this has been my view. So peaceful and relaxing.

Simple Pleasures 23. Our local bakery sells the most delicious strawberry tarts I have ever tasted. The fact that the lady behind the counter now refers to them as my ‘usual’ is slightly worrying! They’re not really helping my beach diet, but they’re definitely making me very, very happy!

Simple Pleasures 3

4. I picked some gorgeous fresh lavender from my friend’s garden the other day. It looks really pretty and smells amazing!

Simple Pleasures 4

5. Life has been so hectic lately and there doesn’t seem to have been much time to get lost in a book. I’ve stocked up on magazines and loaded up my kindle and I plan on having a few well-deserved, lazy reading days. I might actually manage to finish a book – something I’ve been trying to do for months! I’m starting with The Paris Wife by Paula McLain which I have wanted to read for ages. I’ll let you know what I think!

Simple Pleasures 5

6. It’s becoming a bit of a tradition for us to go strawberry picking at our local farm each summer and this one is no exception. We managed to come away with £19 worth of strawberries, raspberries and tayberries! A little excessive, but we managed to eat them all – they were so juicy and sweet.

Simple Pleasures Strawberries

7. I love that summer evening dusky light that you get at this time of year just before it’s quite dark. It’s so nice to have the curtains open a little longer in the evening, but a few candles make everything still feel really cosy.

Simple Pleasures 7

8. This week’s naff inspirational quote is a reminder to be true to yourself, despite what others may think. Believe it or not, these profound words were apparently uttered by none other than Dr. Seuss! I think that makes me like it even more!

Simple Pleasures 8

I hope you all had a great week.  Have you been up to anything interesting?

 

…love, Lydia.
xxx
Choc Ice Bites

Perfect Party Choc Ice Bites

My poor little blog was hacked earlier this week, so unfortunately I’ve been unable to post anything for a few days. All seems to be okay again now though, so I’m back with these Perfect Party Choc Ice Bites!  If you’re having a gathering where a traditional, more formal pudding isn’t appropriate – a barbecue, for example – these bite-sized ice-creams may be just the job! You can make them with any flavour ice-cream and any topping that takes your fancy. They look so pretty and taste so yummy, your guests will be very happy when you pass them round at the end of your meal!

Ingredients Choc Ices

Ingredients:

  • Good quality ice-cream (not soft scoop)
  • Good quality chocolate – milk, dark or white
  • Toppings of your choice

Method:

1. Line a baking tray with non-stick paper and place in the freezer to chill.

2. Using a melon scoop (or small ice-cream scoop) make as many small balls of ice cream as you require and place on the cold baking tray. Return to the freezer for a few hours.

3. Once frozen solid, insert a cocktail stick in to each ice-cream ball.

Ice Cream Choc Ices

4. Return to the freezer.

5. Melt each variety of chocolate in a separate bowl.  Stir well and leave to cool to room temperature.

6. Once cool, work quickly! Remove the ice cream balls from the freezer. Hold over the bowl of chocolate and, using a spoon, drizzle over until evenly covered.

Chocolate Choc Ices

7. Quickly hold over a plate and sprinkle a topping of your choice over before the chocolate sets. I used chopped walnuts and freeze dried raspberries.  You could also use pistachios, popping candy, chopped stem ginger – whatever you choose! Repeat for each ball.

8. Once each ball is covered, return to the freezer to set.  Serve as required.

choc ices

These choc ices also make the perfect after dinner coffee accompaniment, especially when made with mint ice-cream or mint chocolate – my favourite!

Let me know what you think if you give them a try!

 

…love, Lydia.
xxx
The Summer Tag

The Summer Tag

The sun is shining and it feels like summer is well and truly here at last! I love this summer tag – thank you so much to the gorgeous Rachael (go and check out her answers and fabulous blog!) who tagged me to do it! Hope you enjoy reading my answers…

1. What’s your favourite thing about summer?

There’s nothing I don’t like about summer, so I don’t think I can easily narrow this down! I feel like summer is a real treat for the senses. The lighter, brighter days and nights and being outdoors soaking up the warmth of the sun makes me feel so much happier, healthier and more positive. Life is better when the sun is shining!

2. Do you have a favourite summer drink?

Without a doubt, it’s an ice-cold strawberry daiquiri. I’ve finally perfected the recipe! I also love a cheeky gin and tonic or glass of prosecco in the sun. My favourite non-alcoholic option is an iced coffee (have a look at my recipe here).

3. Is there a location you like to go to each summer?

The beach! Preferably somewhere hot, sunny and beautiful. I love the feeling of sand between my toes!

4. Favourite make-up look for summer?

I definitely prefer a light and natural look.  I love having sun-kissed skin and it’s the one time of year I feel like I can get away without much make-up! Highlighter is my favourite summer make-up product (see my current faves here). Swept over the cheekbones, it gives such a pretty, healthy glow and really enhances your tan.

5. Dresses or skirts?

Dresses all the way. For a start, they take a lot less thought as they are already a complete outfit!  I find skirts ride up and twist around and are just generally less comfortable!

6. Sandals or ballet pumps?

Decisions, decisions! Nope, can’t choose! I love them both equally. Is that cheating?! Ballet pumps are so easy to throw on and go with everything. They’re also perfect for those rainy summer days when you don’t want soggy sandal feet! I own a ridiculous amount of pairs! I love sandals, too. Being able to toe-wiggle is such a nice feeling after the restrictive winter socks and boots combo! I also love being able to see the pretty coloured summer nail polish on my toes all the time.

7. Do you prefer to wear your hair up or down for summer?

It’s more a case of necessity than preference as my hair is particularly badly behaved in summer! I much prefer to wear it down but it has a tendency to go very frizzy in the heat and humidity, so I usually wear it in some sort of up-do – anything to keep it tamed and under control, really! I’ve got pretty inventive with twists and buns and clips lately to stop me getting fed-up and chopping it all off!

8. Deep smoky eyes or bold lips?

Neither! I really don’t suit strong make-up at all! A sweep of liquid liner and long, defined, dark, curled lashes are my usual routine. I very rarely wear eyeshadow. On my lips, I prefer glosses. I tend to stick to natural pinky shades, although I am quite partial to a bit of bright coral during the summer.

9. Favourite perfume for summer?

My all time favourite summer scent is Prada’s Infusion d’Iris. It’s light, fresh and just a little bit different. I’ve worn it for years and it has definitely become ‘my’ smell. My most coveted scent is Acqua di Parma’s Blu Mediterraneo Fico di Amalfi – I’m determined that I will own a bottle this summer, it’s simply divine!

10. Last but not least, favourite music for summer?

Anything with a chilled-out, summery vibe. A bit of Bob Marley never fails to get me in the mood and transports me straight back to a beach in Jamaica! Is This Love is one of my all-time favourite summer tunes.

As I type this, I’m sitting in the garden in the glorious sunshine. I really do love summer! This was such a fun tag to do. I tag a few of my favourite bloggers, Sarah, Imogen and Rebecca. I look forward to reading your answers if you choose to do it girls! :)

…love, Lydia.
xxx
Hair Mask Main

Coconut, Almond & Avocado Oil Hair Mask: DIY Beauty

The promise of some intense summer sunshine now that our holiday is just around the corner has got me very, very excited! My hair, however, is trembling in its follicles. Growing out the major damage caused by my alternate bleaching/dyeing debacles is proving to be a painfully slow process. The combination of sun, sea and chlorine can be pretty devastating for hair – especially when it’s as damaged as mine already is – so I decided some major pre-holiday TLC was in order. This Coconut, Almond & Avocado Oil Hair Mask is a bit of a miracle worker. Think of it as a refreshing, hydrating drink for your thirsty locks. It’s equivalent to the relief you get from that first strawberry daiquiri or ice-cold beer once you’ve stepped off the plane – but for your hair!

Each of the oils used in this mask has amazing benefits for hair (and skin too, but I’ll save that for another day!). Packed full of vitamins, they all have wonderful moisturising properties and can help your hair grow strong, long and healthy. Best of all, you can buy them in the supermarket along with your weekly shop, they are relatively inexpensive and a little goes a very long way! I found these all in my local Sainsbury’s (the almond oil in the pharmacy and the avocado and coconut oils in the condiments aisle).

What you’ll need:

Face Mask Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (warmed slightly to liquefy)
  • 1 tablespoon almond oil
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil

How to do it:

  • Mix the three oils up well.

Hair Mask Mixture

  • Begin applying to dry hair ends.

Hair Mask Dry Hair

  • Massage in to the hair, working your way from tip to root.

Hair Mask Apply

  • Once applied, wrap hair in a warm towel and leave for at least half an hour (longer if possible).  If you want to speed the mask up and make it work extra hard, you can blast your head (through the towel) with a hot hairdryer for a few minutes. The heat will help the oils penetrate and make your hair even softer.

Hair Mask Applied

  • When you are ready to remove the mask, begin by lathering some shampoo in your hands with some water and then apply it to the hair.  Work it through well to begin dissolving the oil before you start to rinse with water.  It is much easier to remove if you use shampoo first like this.
  • Shampoo and rinse again.
  • Dry and style as usual.

You should notice an immediate difference in the shine and softness of your hair. Regular use will make your locks super healthy and luscious!

Hair Mask

Unfortunately, the ends of my hair are pretty much beyond repair and really need cutting off. I’m reluctant to do it all in one go, though, so I’m having regular micro-trims which are slowly getting rid of the frizz, split ends and damage. On a more positive note, I have around 6 inches of healthy, new root growth! I am determined to keep it this way and to look after it really well, so I’ll be doing this Coconut, Almond & Avocado Oil Hair Mask once a week to keep it tip-top!

If you have any amazing DIY beauty tricks and treatments, please let me know!

…love, Lydia.
xxx
Dreamy Creamy Iced Coffee

Dreamy, Creamy, Iced Coffee

One of my favourite things when holidaying in the Med, is an afternoon iced coffee in the shade. Cold, creamy, totally delicious and just the sugar-hit I need to refresh me from my mid-afternoon, heat-induced lethargy! I’ve tried them so many times in the UK and been totally disappointed – they are always too watery, tasteless or sickly. This may, of course, be purely psychological but I’m pretty sure things taste better when consumed beneath the shady branches of an olive tree, whilst looking out at crystal-clear, blue water! However, I decided that trying to replicate the kind of iced coffee that countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece do so well was definitely worth a try. This Dreamy, Creamy, Iced Coffee is what I came up with and, I have to say, it’s pretty delicious! All I need now is that olive tree and sea view…

Dreamy Creamy Iced Coffee Ingredients

Ingredients:

shot of espresso

glass of whole milk

caramel syrup or brown sugar

chocolate flakes

squirty cream

Method:

1. Make a shot of espresso. If you don’t have a coffee machine, mix an equivalent amount of very strong, concentrated instant coffee.  If you are sweetening with brown sugar, add a teaspoon (more if you have a sweet tooth!) and stir until dissolved. Cover and refrigerate.

Dreamy Creamy Iced Coffee Espresso

2. Once the coffee is totally chilled, take an ice-cold glass of whole milk and add the espresso. If you are using caramel syrup to sweeten, add to taste and then stir well.

Dreamy Creamy Iced Coffee Stirring

3. Decorate with a generous squirt of cream.

Dreamy Creamy Iced Coffee Cream

4. Sprinkle over some chocolate flakes.

Dreamy Creamy Iced Coffee Chocolate

5. Add a straw and serve immediately.  You can add some ice-cubes if you want it extra cold, but I find that this dilutes the flavour too much and, besides, there usually isn’t any need as it’s so delicious that it doesn’t last very long at all!

Dreamy Creamy Iced Coffee Coffee

Very, very simple but very, very addictive! You could try a different flavoured syrup or even a splash of alcohol – I bet a drop of Bailey’s would taste amazing in this! And if this is all too much of a calorie overload for you, just use semi-skimmed milk and miss off the cream and chocolate.

Iced coffee is the perfect drink for the hot weather we’ve been having recently – give it a try! Hope you’re all enjoying the sunshine!

…love, Lydia.
xxx