17 April 2014

la marinière

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Oh dear, I've just discovered la marinière, a highly addictive website featuring Breton stripes and Breton stripes only. So dreamy. Hx

16 April 2014

bedroom tour

I thought it was about time I showed you our (almost) finished bedroom makeover. I say almost, because we are still owners of a particularly disgusting pink carpet (we plan to rip it up sometime in the near future as I've spotted some rather lovely floorboards beneath it), the walls could do with a lick of fresh white paint, and a few more plants are needed to make the room feel complete. Otherwise, I am super happy with the results and Phil loves it too :) So with apologies for the awful pictures, and without further ado, here are the before and afters, if you'd like to see..

15 April 2014

firmoo

Possibly one of my favourite things to receive in the post is new specs, so I was delighted when Firmoo asked if they could send me a pair to add to my ever-expanding collection. I've been wanting some tortoise shell patterned frames for a long time but haven't been able to find the perfect shape frames until now. These beauties are unisex and acetate and surprisingly good quality considering the price. They were delivered super quickly and arrived in a lovely world map patterned glasses case. They're really comfy and I forget I'm wearing them! I got them fitted with prescription lenses for reading and computer work but could quite easily wear these as a fashion accessory if I was that way inclined :)

For the photos above I matched them with a nautical cotton knitted jumper from Gap and my beloved new rose gold watch by Marc Jacobs (similar here, also better picture on my Instagram). I'd been saving up my freelance pay for a while and wanted to buy something precious that I would treasure for a long time so it was super fun to go and try on lots of fancy watches!

Also, I finally got my hands on a copy of The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of the Window and Disappeared. Have you read it? Thoughts? I can't wait to get stuck in!

So what do you think of my new specs? Have you tried Firmoo before? They're a highly popular online optical store that ship worldwide and are loved by fashion bloggers across the globe. I highly recommend giving them a whirl if you're looking for affordable and fun frames. Hx

14 April 2014

apologies

You may have noticed things have been a little quiet around here lately, I'm ever so sorry! It's been a particularly rubbish few weeks (with the exception of my uncle's 60th birthday celebrations and my sister-in-law's 30th birthday celebrations; both immensely fun!) and I've mostly wanted to curl up and forget about the world. However, life doesn't get better by chance, it gets better by change so it's time for action (just as soon as I can shake off this killer cold.. ;) Another honey and lemon, you say? Don't mind if I do..

I've lined up a few fun posts on the blog this week including a product review, a tour of my newly improved bedroom and an Operation Nice Wife update. So see you here again soon and thanks for sticking around! Hx

28 March 2014

operation nice wife - week twelve

A rather unimagintive week of Operation Nice Wife but many nice things nonetheless :)

Day 78: An evening unplugged - no phone, no tv, no laptop. Instead: a game of Scrabble (as you can see, it was pretty slow-going!), a long run, a candlelit bath and good books. Bliss!
Day 79: I totally forgot to do a nice or surprising thing! Such a busy day and didn't see Phil at all so it sort of slipped my mind and I couldn't for the life of me think of anything to make it up to him when I did remember. Oops!
Day 80: A fantastic day - lunch at The Clink Cymru (review here), a trip into town and an evening of drinking wine, chatting and making plans.
Day 81: I adore takeaway pizza but it's incredibly expensive so we never order it. Instead we discovered a while back that for a fraction of the cost the big supermarkets do 'make your own' pizzas where you choose what you want on it and can either get it baked in-store or take it away to cook at home. Normally I'm quite insistent on what we're having on our pizza but today I let Phil choose all the toppings (so there was a lot of meat, extra cheese, chilli sauce and no veg!) and what film we watched (Cabin In The Woods; a terrible horror movie).
Day 82: I've been working away on our bedroom makeover for the last couple of weeks and on Sunday I finally pulled it all together. The grand unveiling was supposed to be a surprise to Phil as he was watching football but that ended sooner than I'd thought so he ended up coming to help me put everything in place. Still nice! And those bed covers are dreamy.
Day 83: Saw this weird new Ritz cheese biscuit/Cadbury milk chocolate combo and thought Phil might be interested to try it. He kindly let me have a taste and it was strangely nice.
Day 84: Bit of a lame one. Got home from work early so offered to go out of my way to collect Phil from squash but he didn't want to me to go to the trouble. So I used my surprise spare time to wash up, do the laundry, put the bins out, tidy and make supper before he got home (when really all I wanted to do was laze on the sofa and work on my current fun knitting project!)

More Operation Nice Wife (and other personal pictures) on my Instagram - @helenlimbrick - and the rest of the series is here if you'd like to see. Hx

26 March 2014

pucker

Just came across this hilarious photo series, Pucker, from photographers April Maciborka and David Wile who gave toddlers slices of lemon to try for the first time and captured their reactions on camera. I love the range of emotions portrayed in these pictures: surprise, disgust, confusion, uncertainty, dismay..! More pictures on the photographers' websites here and here if you'd like to see. Hx

24 March 2014

the clink cymru

On our day off last week we were super excited to be able to lunch at The Clink Cymru at the prison in Cardiff. The restaurant opened in 2012 and gives prisoners the opportunity to gain work experience in customer service, food preparation and cleaning and to work towards gaining a national qualification. The Clink Cymru is one of three restaurants operating under The Clink Charity, an organisation which offers opportunity for change and aims to reduce re-offending rates by providing practical support to prisoners upon their release, including helping their reintegration back into society and offering guidance to finding full-time employment within the hospitality industry.

The Clink Cymru uses organic, fresh and local ingredients and I was delighted by the amount of Welsh produce on the menu! It was so difficult to decide what to go for as everything looked amazing but I settled on sardines with celeriac and capers to start, which was perfect and reminded me of our holiday in Croatia, followed by Welsh lamb (the best I've ever tasted) with dauphinoise potatoes and wilted spinach, and ending with a creamy lemon tart (not sharp enough for my taste, but still delicious), ginger sorbet (amazing!) and local berries. It was one of those rare meals where each course is as good as the last and we didn't want it to end, despite being stuffed! The service was excellent; our waiter was very attentive and made us laugh, and the restaurant had a good atmosphere - despite its small size it had a busy and bustling canteen feel to it and we could see the chefs at work while we were eating, which was fun :)

Currently the restaurant is only open daily for breakfast and lunch but on one day a month it opens for supper and is also available for private hire. We really enjoyed ourselves at The Clink and would highly recommend. Hx

Ps, sorry for the bad pictures, I was trying to take them subtly..

21 March 2014

operation nice wife - week eleven

What an amazing week of sunshine and days off! Really needed this ahead of the next few weeks at work dealing with financial end of year nonsense which I neither understand nor want to know. A few of the nice things I made happen..

Day 71: Phil had annual leave to use up so I also took the afternoon off and we went to see The Grand Budapest Hotel at the cinema. I provided surprise snacks and it was an excellent afternoon.
Day 72: Phil and I have both been saying we'd like to make some ice-cream and all the recipes I want to try require a metal bowl so I bought one ready for our culinary adventures. I think it's fair to say that Phil isn't exactly delighted with this picture I took of him wearing the bowl as a hat..
Day 73: I don't work Fridays and Phil took the day off work so I took him for brunch at the amazing Juno Lounge. They do the best coffee and we enjoyed a full English breakfast, yum!
Day 74: Discovered the local greengrocer was selling dragon fruit for cheap and thought Phil might like to try some. I had no idea they're bright purple inside! I thought it tasted OK, a bit like kiwi, and Phil loved it.
Day 75: Phil bought waaaay too many cheap blueberries and I didn't want them to go to waste so I made a baked blueberry and lemon cheesecake. Delish!
Day 76: St Patrick's Day! Surprised Phil with Guinness to celebrate.
Day 77: Today I left work early so I could get home before Phil to do the washing up and make a start on supper. Unfortunately he was already home by the time I'd fought my way through the traffic but I think he still appreciated the gesture.

Have an amazing weekend! We're off for lunch at The Clink Cymru and I'm looking forward to finally finishing our bedroom redesign. Hx

19 March 2014

just a minute in march

I totally forgot to play Just a Minute last month! Well, here's a snapshot of March..

Watching: Season 7 of Dexter. It took a dip in season six and I wanted to give up on it but it's getting better. Also The Great British Sewing Bee, of course, love it! And First Dates and One Born Every Minute if I fancy it.

Reading: Almost finished the very witty and light-hearted Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls, such easy reading.

Listening: Crazy for Gruff Rhys' Hotel Shampoo which Phil bought me for Christmas. Think I'll be playing that one all summer long.

Eating: One of our favourite things to do (because we're really sad, but we don't care) is to go to the posh Sainsury's which is near our home at the time when everything is about to be reduced and pick up amazing fish, meats and fancy things we could never normally afford for a total bargain and then creating amazing meals with them. Last week we enjoyed king prawn and chorizo stew and cod with vine-ripened tomatoes and this week we're looking forward to lamb shwarma kebabs, Singapore noodles and sweet chilli beef. I also made Phil an epic baked blueberry cheesecake.

Working on: So many projects! Slowly giving our bedroom a makeover, growing crops in pots on our patio, knitting a huge blanket for our bed, making clothes for little people, improving my photography and photo editing skills, trying to find a new job (don't worry, my boss knows ;) and my fitness - am running four times a week and hoping to be up to 10k by the end of April. Phew!

What are you enjoying this month? Hx

Ps, Just a Minute last March.
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