Wednesday, 31 August 2016

tB Cooks: Smoked Basa in Lemon and Paprika

This is so simple and literally one of the best dishes ever! JB has a couple of friends who are really into fitness. I would say I am a fitness fan, but I am nothing compared to these two super buff cross fit guru's! So having them round for dinner was a big worry for me, until I remembered this awesome and super quick little recipe that not only had them impressed, but is incredibly healthy too.

The finished meal

Okay so I perhaps need to work on my presentation. But once people taste this, they will not care how you've chosen to serve this. 

What you will need:
- Smoked Basa Fillets (These are from Sainsbury's and come in a beautiful yellow colour.)
- Spring onions
- Smoked Paprika (you can use normal, but I love smoked paprike the best.)
- Fresh Spinach
- Microwavable Quinoa (you can make this from scratch - but theres no harm in cheating!)
- 1 fresh lemon per two fillets of Basa
- Kitchen foil
- baking tray
- Sharp knife and one table spoon
- 1 sauce pan

1) Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.
2) Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice onto the Basa fillets. Put the fillets in to foil and on the baking tray. Include the remains of the lemon for more flavour and lightly dust with paprika. Finely chop the spring onions and sprinkle them on top. Put in to the oven for 20-25 minutes. (Keep checking.)
3) When the fish is almost done. Put the spinach into a saucepan with a little bit of butter and saute for a few minutes until wilted and yummy!
4) Microwave the Quinoa as per the packet instructions (2 minutes) and cut the avocado to your own preference.
5) Serve! Sprinkle more paprika as needed.

One super tasty dinner - and incredibly healthy too!

Before cooking...

I really hope you enjoy this recipe, and that your friends are just as impressed as mine! Let me know how it turns out or if you have flavoured it with anything different!

Much yummy love,
Alissa Marie

Monday, 29 August 2016

Happy Days: Mega Nyx Haul

Okay so you know I said I'm trying to save?! Well that all went completely out of the window yesterday when I stumbled across an almost deserted boots, where I didn't have to bob, weave and dive around the Nyx counter. It really gave me an opportunity to have a proper rummage through and to try out a number of their products at my leisure. The result? I couldn't help buying way too much! So let me share the bits I have pick up along with a review of the bits I've already tried this bank holiday

For your face...

Nyx Shine Killer - matte primer
I have tried a fair few matte primers in my time as I'm a person who does tend to get a little shiny as the day wears on. So I picked up this matte primer without expecting too much. However the clear, velvet like serum that I smoothed across the back of my hand really did seem to effortlessly matteify my skin but also seemed to help brighten it. Which is odd because the primer does not claim to brighten skin, nor does it have any shimmery pigments to it. But so far, I'm impressed. And retailing in at £xxx I thought I should give this one a go! Let me know if you've already tried this, and share your top recommendations for any others you think I'd like. 

Nyx's Matte Finish Long Lasting Setting Spray
I have never used a setting spray... (pause for all of your horrified gasps). I don't know if they work or if they are worth the investment, but i thought I would give it a go. If these turn out to be any good, I will re-update this blog post to tell you. Wish me luck!

For your eyes...

Nyx's Jumbo Eye Pencil Crayon
Now I'm not a huge one for eye shadow, and only use various nude and brown shades when I do. But I saw these crayon like shadows and just had to give them a go as when testing them on the back of my hand they were highly pigmented, really good creamy colours and defiantly stayed put even as I was trying to scrub them off with a tissues. Therefore to go with my blonde hair and blue eyes, I stuck to very natural and earthy tones. I also wanted shades that I could easily blend together to create a cool and effortlessly easy smokey eye.

The colours I bought were
617 Iced Mocha - Is the shade in the back of the photo, a darker smokey eye type shade.
625 Sparkle Nude - is the shade in the foreground of the photo below, perfect as a day time colour or base to use with the darker shade for a night out brown smokey eye.

Again I have not yet tried them on my lids yet, but on my hand they went on really easily, blended well and then stayed put during the rest of my shopping trip!

Nyx's small felt eye liner
I normally use liquid liner from Rimmel, but thought I would try this style of liner out to see if I could finally master a cat flick due to it pointed end and felt tip like quality. Not sure how easy it will be to master, so any helpful hints - please all throw them my way. However from trying this on the back of my hand it is highly pigmented, extremely black and will hopefully make my eyes - POP!

Nyx's Big and Loud Lash primer
I have only ever used a lash type primer once before and that was with the duel ended L'oreal mascara which was a hit back in like 2004, before we even properly knew about primers. So I cautiously picked up this little product and turned it over several times , reading the label back to front to try to work out whether this is something that my make up bag desperately needs! Again i am yet to use it but wanted to share my purchases with you all. I shall update you as soon as i have used it.

For your lips

Soft Matte Lip Creme and Long Wear Lip Liner
Okay so these are things I have already tried and I can tell you they are brilliant! Nyx's soft Matte Lip Cream and Nyx long wear lip liner. They are both highly pigmented, non-drying, come in a range of great colours and really do stay put for hours even if you've been eating or drinking. The last time I went on a day outing with my friends, I applied the lip liner as a lipstick at around 7.00am and didn't need to reapply till around 3.00/4.00pm! 

The colour I already had in my make up bag was Milan - SMLC11 a gorgrous summer pink. That is bright, cheerful and looks great on every skin tone. The others I bought in this haul are;

Madrid - SMLC27 - It looks like a brown colour from the outside of the tube, but it actually comes out as a very nice burnt red. I plan on wearing this on a night out for drinks after work to take my outfit from day to night.

Copenhagen - SMLC20 - It is a rich purple type colour. It will be fabulous for those long, dark winter months that i am dreading so much. But this this lip colour... i know i can get through it.

Istanbul - SMLC06 - This is a lighter shade than my Milan one, and therefore a little more natural. It is more of a baby pink colour and therefore will be my go to work colour. Subtle enough for work, but still absolutely gorgeous. 

As well as these, I also bought a giant crayon in pillar box red for my lips. This is an essential for any make up bag. I recently lost my Rimmel lipstick on a night out and so thought i would give this a go. After having tried it out on my lips - it looks fantastic!! I love it already!!!

Istanbul - SMLC06

Madrid - SMLC27

Copenhagen - SMLC20
Nude Shoes Lip Liner -  SLLP14
Finally my brows...

Nyx's Tinted Brow Mascara and Nyx's Sculpt and Highlight Brow Contour
I bought these two to complement each other, a blonde pencil to fill in my brows and give them a solid and defined shape and a mascara to set them in place and take them up a notch. I plan on using these before work tomorrow, so will update you on how they look!

I promise to update you guys on which products I love the most. In the meantime - get in touch with me to let me know your favourite pieces and lets share top tips too!

Much Love and Happy Bank Holiday!

Alissa Marie

Sunday, 21 August 2016

tB loves: Zara Autum/ Winter collection

Zara Autumn/Winter 2016

HEY GUYS – [quick apology that I have not posted consistently over the past 2 weeks. I have been manic at work and home, so I really have struggled to get any decent content together. Hopefully things will quieten down, and from now on and I will try to go back to my usual two posts per week. One thing I couldn’t ignore though was the incredible new collection at Zara….]
As a woman in my mid-late twenties I sometimes find it sometimes hard to dress my age, finding something which is still young and carefree but at the same time effortlessly glamorous and sophisticated. Know what I mean? 
Well praise the Lord, as many of the pieces in Zara's new collection can help. With luxe embroidery, casual but quality tees and stylishly tailored pieces, Zara is on top form to be the first stop for all of your Autumn/ winter conundrums! 
Lets start with the incredible coat and sweater above:
£38 -
This fairly thin but luxurious looking sweater from Zara is perfect for those autumnal evenings. Dress it up with a nice chunky gold necklace, or a delicate little silver chain for the perfect day look. Paired with these luxe trousers and trainers - you have a cool look for work as well as after work drinks.
£89.00 -
How is this coat £89.00?! Quick and get to Zara ladies as if this a mistake - they will not leave it on there for long!!!! I love a nice monochrome hounds tooth type jacket. Sophisticated British tailoring at its best. Literally tempted to abandon this article now to head on over to Zara!

Speaking of monochrome... loads of the other pieces I am loving seem to be black or white with the exception of the killer accessories.

This mustard golden embellished bag is absolutely gorgeous. As a self confessed bag addict, I am always on the hunt for new gems and this one really caught my eye. It's the perfect warm mustard colour for A/W, yet boasts these fabulous gold charms and insect motifs! Plus at £29.99 it really is a complete steal, and there seems no reason why I should not have it! 

 The amazing Biker boots to the top of this picture are £89.99. But with that very thick heal and great buckles, I think it will really keep in shape and that they will last a long time. Similarly the amazing red calf boots seen just hidden underneath the cream coat and trousers are retailed at £169.00. So ladies, we can either wait till sale time, or we save save save and take the plunge. They are statement footwear and won't look right with everything. But with black or blue jeans and a cool graphic tee, you will truly look a million dollars.

I really am so excited by all of these amazing finds. I am only awaiting pay day to see what I can possibly allow myself to spend when I am saving ruthlessly for a house. However I can live vicariously through you all - so go go go and let me see all of the beautiful things you buy.

Enjoy the Bank holiday weekend guys!

Much love,
Alissa Maire


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

My top tips for getting an 'A' for effort every single time.

Can you put your hand up and say that you honestly put 110% into your relationships with your friends, colleagues, family and partners? That you frequently go above and beyond to help them, look out for them or make them smile? 

I thought as much. Yet some of you may be thinking, it's not possible to put 110% into your relationships! I would argue that although it is difficult, time consuming and often draining to do so - we can all certainly do more than we currently do. I can hear some of your thinking... 'But why?! What do they do for me?' Or 'I'm so busy and barely have time for myself! I can't spend any more time on other people!' Again, I am here to tell you that you can and how it is possible. I am no expert by any means, on how to juggle your many commitments and mates, I'm here to tell you how I try to put in max effort and how I get max return. As you will find that the more effort you put in with the people in your life, you will inevitably get more out! 

So how do we do this?

1) Get organised! As little miss mentally organised who buys Christmas cards for the next year in the January sales, I know that by getting organised and getting in there early I am saving myself hassle by ticking things off my list ahead of time. You can get into the habit of planning ahead, although you may insist you don't want to, but it is a fact that when people are prepared and organised they are less stressed, more focused and happier. Go out, get yourself a small pocket sized notebook and carry it with you wherever you go. I love these ones from Zazzle or Not on the High Street which you can have personalised with your name! Or if you prefer, use your notes section on your mobile. That way you always have your planner at your fingertips and can easily stay on top of everything you need to remember. Now you have a planner and you've pushed your level of enthusiasm to overdrive after your morning latte, think about all of the important things you have coming up over the next year and most importantly all of the things your nearest and dearest have coming up over the next year.... Your mum's 60th birthday? Best friend is getting married? Sister is trying for a baby? Another friend is buying a house? Several more are moving up the career ladder? Right, jot all of these down and then arrange them into a rough timeline across the year. You are off to a great start! (Okay so I know we cannot always guess what we will be up to/ what your mates will be up to, but this is a full roof way to ensure you at least have your eye on the ball for all of the obvious stuff. Meaning that when other things do crop up, you aren't as stressed and can deal with it swiftly and efficiently!) Right from your list you can now see that auntie Mavis is turning 88 next month, and you have to start paying for a hen party. Ta da! You are already on your way to making yourself more efficient and putting in my effort into the people you love. 

2) Get a bday and events planner and stock up on cards. Okay for the not so crazily organised amongst you this tip may seem like a step too far. But trust me it's a god send! These planners are arranged month by month and allow you to list those who's birthdays/ anniversaries fall each month and you simply slot cards into them for specific people. That means you are never caught out and will never again be late for a friends birthday! Check out these cuties from A Place for Everything and Busy B.

3) Get a diary. I love this sophisticated personalised one on Not on the High Street. Or for the technologically advanced, use the calendar app on your phone. Don't just include dates to meet your friends, but make sure you write in little things that they've told you including; interview dates, their dogs birthday, or their brothers wedding. That way you can remember to text them a quick little message so say you've thought of them. Again I know this sounds a lot of effort, but it will make your mates day that you thought of them. Plus once your on top of this, it doesn't feel like a chore any longer and will in fact become a doddle.


4) Finally hop to it! Now you have your plan it's all about the execution! So next time you are in town/ doing your online shop grab a card for auntie Mav's, and get money out of your bank to save for the hen do. Going to a friends for dinner? Pick up a little gift before you go! Having a plan is only as useful as how you utilise it. So check it and update it regularly to stay on track! It will also help you to manage your money and spread the cost of expensive excursions. 

A little effort goes a long way, and as you up your game so will those around you. Hey - but what if they don't appreciate your effort? Then they were never really friends to begin with, and you should focus your energy elsewhere! You will always have those people who never give but take all of the time. But this doesn't mean you should be one of them. Lead the way, and show people how good it is to give, and I am sure you will get it back. As I personally really do believe that you get out what you put in.

Much love,
Alissa Marie

Thursday, 11 August 2016

My Top tips to showing gratitude

So as some of you will know, it was my birthday last week, and the message of love and thoughtful gifts I was given left me pretty bowled over with gratitude. So many people took the time to wish me well and to think of me and I wanted the thank them all and to make sure they know how much a appreciate them. 

But with everyone being so busy, and due to having limited funds, I know that many people just don’t know what they can do to show the people they love how valued and appreciated they are. Well here are my three top tips for helping to show gratitude.

First things first - never ever assume that people know how grateful you are. Even granny who sends you £20 every birthday and Christmas. She may be family, but never assume she knows how much you appreciate the security and cushion created by her £20, or the fact that with her help you can now afford that new bag you've been saving for. Pick up the phone, give her a call and thank her for her generosity. It will absolutely make her day, you will feel great for having done it and your gratitude won't have gone unnoticed. Hey - because of your good manners you may even get more next year!

 Take the time to send a text/ email/ or best yet a card to everyone who went of out of their way. I appreciate sending over 10 cards might be a little costly, so choose your recipients wisely. Did your Mum, Dad and Best friend do the most? Okay they get the royal treatment and a card! Buy a pack of thank you cards, as its much more cost effective, plus you have some stashed away for last minute acts of kindness. Then hand them out if possible. I live further away from my family now so I always post them. It may cost me a little more, but what is 80p for family who have put in so much love, thought, money and effort for you? For others, compose a generic message which you can quickly and easily add some personalisation to and message them via email, text or whatsapp. Honestly – it will make them feel a million dollors knowing you liked their gift and that you value their efforts.

Finally for the royal treatment. This hands down goes to my family every year, plus JB and my bestie Barney. They make so much effort to come and see me, surprise me, put on a party or really think long and hard about their gift choices. I always feel so in awe of them each birthday and Christmas and then stress how I will live up to them. But any how, I like to get a little something for these people to say a big thanks for all of their love. This might only be some chocolate for my parents and Barney, ice cream for Josh and a little plant for my sister but to show them I thought so much of their effort that I want to give them something too is very selfless and special. It only cost me around £15 to do, but I know it made their day. But if you don’t have the funds, can you make your parents breakfast in bed with a thank you note? IOU your bestie a glass of vino? Or pick up the bill for 2 cinema tickets when out with your boyfriend or girlfriend? It becomes so much more manageable over time and I know they will really appreciate it.

What are your top tips for showing gratitude?

Much Love,
Alissa Marie

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Happy Days: My Birthday!

What a week!

My birthday was actually on Thursday this week and so I was lucky enough to only have a 3 day week at work, followed by a glorious 4 day weekend! Hurrah! In that time I was completely overwhelmed by all of the love and birthday wishes that were showered on me over the weekend.

I know that I feel this way every single year, but it really does hit you by the sheer number of people who give up time during their busy lives to facebook, text or post a card saying - "Hey I thought of you - happy birthday!" I do always try to do this for my friends and family but it is worth remembering due to the pure joy i have felt over the past few days.

So what have I been up to? Well on Wednesday my lovely university girls took me to Polpo in Soho. An amazing Italian restaurant serving small tapas like dishes. I may try to do a review on this place - however I was too busy having fun that I basically took no photo's so we shall see! The staff were attentive and friendly but it has to be the knock out food that really makes this places - which is a good thing considering it is very pricey. For the three us us with starters, mains and desserts plus alcohol was over £200! But as it was my birthday I decided to treat myself. Check out the cakes my friends got me and the cute collage one of the girls made!

On my birthday itself, JB and my beautiful big sis planned a wonderful Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych which is on the Strand in Central London. Wowee was this magical! Firstly the setting for the tea is in the Hotel's lobby in their dining area, which features big and impressive sculptures and large floor to ceiling windows giving it a really expensive and luxurious feel. Our waitress was very nice, patient and explained each part of the tea to us in detail. The menu for the tea included mini leak and Stilton quiches, roast beef sandwiches, egg and cress little rolls, blueberry brioche rolls, a golden chocolate egg each with cheesecake with a mango coulis in it (like a giant creme egg looking thing!),  fruit salad flavoured candy floss, cake pops, mini milkshakes, a choice of tea and a choice of alcoholic drink for a little extra - and much much more! We were so full, we had to have a doggy bag! My top tip for this place would be that if you are going to having a alcoholic drink with this - definitely go for the cocktail. You can have champagne anywhere! But this cocktail is served in a glass tea pot with dry ice, meaning this is smokes and bubbles and looks incredible. Check out my collage below for further inspiration! 

Me and JB <3
On Saturday my sister invited my close family around for a BBQ which was basked in glorious sunshine! It was 27 degrees and thankfully we had umbrella's to sit under for a bit of a break - not that JB sat under them. He loves the sun and goes the most incredible deep olive colour. BOOOO. I take forever to tan and nowadays am too concious of sun damage to sit in the sun for long. The day was amazing. My brother in law and JB manned the BBQ, my mum and sister kept the pimms topped up all day and my dad looked after the needs of my grandparents, leaving me to just chill and enjoy the day and everyone's company! I was so happy to see my grandparents, my Grandad is 88 years old now and was determined to come to the BBQ even though he was completely drained at the end of the day. He told me with a wink that I am worth it! We even had a quick game of pinata! 

Being together was the best thing in the world and really made my birthday. It really is all about the people in your life and so its so important to value and appreciate them.

I hope you all had a great week/ weekend and if any of you celebrated your birthday's too - HAPPY BIRTHDAY... Leo's rule!!! Send me some pictures of your best birthday moments! Until next week. 

Much birthday love,

Alissa Marie


Saturday, 6 August 2016

3 of my favourite places to eat in Cornwall

Places to eat in Cornwall

Not only is Cornwall absolutely beautiful, it also tastes damn good too and boasts some of the best dishes and restaurants in the UK. Whilst in Cornwall JB and I always eat ourselves silly - so thank goodness we did a lot of walking and swimming otherwise I would have come back several stone heavier! Without further a do, here's my pick of the best dishes and places to visit if you are planning a trip down to Kernow. (Cornwall!)

1. Cornish pasties 
This is an absolute must for anyone heading down to Cornwall, whether is Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter. Pasties are a vital all year round Cornish staple and you need to get on the bandwagon whilst in Cornwall. They taste, by my calculations, about a million times better than the pasties we get in the capital and the best place to get em.... Barnecuts. A local and highly successful company Barnecuts has helped define standards of pasties and serves everything from traditional and jumbo sizes to more exotic flavour like chicken and chorizo in mini cocktail sizes! Whilst JB always cashes in on a jumbo traditional pastie, I go for a medium traditional or sometimes a steak and Stilton. Mmmmm....

2) Sam's on the beach at Polkerris
A small but gorgeous little restaurant right on the beach at Polkerris do mind blowingly good food with the most stunning backdrop against the sea. There is an option to sit outside or inside, and due to the fear that sea gulls would come and pinch or dinner, we decided to sit just inside on the divide between outside and in. The menu is changed seasonally with key pieces staying all year round. A really great spot for a date with that some one special. A quick warning though for any city dwellers like me, the roads down to Sam's are tiny, so make sure you park a little way up the hill from Sam's and walk down - unless you are confident reversing back a mile or so! All that aside, this place is definitely worth the trouble. 

3) Nineteen - Lanhydrock Golf and Country Club

This was a new place that JB took me too this time around in Cornwall, just on the outskirts of the small town of Bodmin (where JB is from.) It is aligned with the Lanhydrock National Trust house up the road as their grounds used to be part of the same estate, although not actually owned by the National Trust. Today it is a quiet and excluded hotel set within acres of luscious green grass making it perfect for the golf fans amongst you as well as people looking for some peace a quiet. Restaurant Nineteen is their higher end eatery, and the menu is absolutely delicious and cooked to perfection. The best bit - the views, the food and the very reasonable price tag! I had king prawns to start (the photo does not do it justice), roast beef for mains (I am salivating just looking at this photograph!), and then we were too stuffed for dessert so had coffees outside whilst watching the sun set. So beautiful and very romantic. Lovely lovely end to another great holiday in Cornwall. 

I have been to so many places in Cornwall now and there are loads of places that I could mention. However to not bore you all - these are my top three at the moment! 

I hope you enjoy these and feel free to send me pictures of your recent trip to Cornwall. 

Much Love,

Monday, 1 August 2016

The Happy Edit: Wedding Season

Okay so I know so many of you will look at this a go eugh - wedding season.... that really makes you happy!?

But, at the moment two of my very close friends are planning their weddings and its so wonderful to see them so excited and so happy. Although their days are going to be very different - one has quite a lot of money and the other not so much. But its the thought, little details and love that is going in to it that will really make their days so special. I am really looking forward to being a part of that.

Also one of my very best friends got married around this time 2 years ago, and my beautiful sister got married a year ago this August. So I already have had the privilege of sharing their special days.

My gorgeous bestie and her hubbie. Model worthy aren't they!

My favourite parts of a wedding are:

- The brides entrance: I love to see everyone's faces, how beautiful the bride looks and of course the look on the grooms face when she walks in.

- Favours: I know so many guests don't bother to take their favours and they leave them, but I absolutely love em! My friend Barney had little bags with two tea bags in, one from Austria (where her hubby is from) and one filled with Assam tea as her family is from Assam in India. Alongside it they had little teaspoons saying the perfect brew! Gorgeous! My sister had little love hearts that were personalised in little organza bags - beautiful!

- the disco: now I absolutely love a bit of cheese and having a dance so I really get in the mood for the disco. I like the old classics so everyone can get up and dance and how good it then is to get in to bed afterwards. I am usually so knackered!

- The couple: Literally by far the best bit is seeing how happy the couple are and its so wonderful to see! I a almost bursting with happiness when I see how radiant and in love and happy the couple are. Such a dream come true for me - seriously!

Me, My lovely brother in law, my absolutely stunning sister and the crazy best man. So proud.
So with wedding season coming up/ in full swing,take the time to appreciate the love around you as you are all part of that. As guests, bridesmaids, best men, and possibly even the bride and groom yourselves. If not, just look around you at the happiness and soak it up. Don't let it make you bitter, life is too short. Your time will come and you will then want everyone to be just as happy for you.

I know that JB and I will get married one day - which is awesome! But I am in no rush. Instead, I am just enjoying my other pals getting hitched and plus I get to stock up on all these awesome ideas ahead of time!

So let love fill you up and congratulate those who are celebrating this season!

Much love,
Alissa Marie
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