France Weekend | Part II

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A few weeks ago I wrote about a surprise hen weekend that was organised for one of my friends. During the weekend we stayed in a beautiful chateau in a little town called Eynesse in a region of France called Aquitaine where they make lots of beautiful wine.

The weekend involved lots of wine, cheese and food, and a whole lot of relaxing. I unfortunately couldn't partake in the majority of the cheese and food fun because of my annoying dairy intolerance, so my diet over the weekend consisted of lots of bread. And champagne.

It was slightly hard to adjust to the child free life. Because it was such a relaxing weekend there was lots of sitting around and being still, something I'm not used to at all. On day one I really ached for Orlaith, I felt like I was missing something. Then on the last two days I let myself relax and it was just the best and most rewarding feeling.

I never usually get to sit down for long periods of time, I'm always fetching something or participating in a game. Just sitting, relaxing and having adult conversation without having to get up every five minutes was so refreshing and by the end of the weekend I felt like I'd been away for a whole week and my stress levels were so low.

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RECIPE | Sweet Almond Balls

Sweet Almond Balls

I'm slowly taking steps to reduce the amount of refined sugar and flour in my diet. So, instead of those lovely packets of biscuits I'm used to picking up from the shops, these days I try to make my own puddings and sweet treats when I get the chance.

These almond balls are such a winner in my house, the only problem is they are so moreish that every single one gets eaten regardless of how many I've made, so I always have to make them in small batches.


Ingredients:
(makes approximately 8 small balls)

80g ground almonds
1 tbsp manuka honey (or agave syrup)
3-4 tsp water
ground cinnamon


Directions:

If you have a grinding mill grind your almonds (I use the milling blade on the nutribullet for this). Knead the almonds with the honey or agave syrup and water with your hands until you've created a smooth mass. If it's too thick add more water until you're reached your desired consistency.  Form the paste into small balls and roll them in the ground cinnamon. These can be eaten immediately or kept in the fridge to eat later.


Quick Tip:

If you're using agave syrup for this recipe I would try adding less water (1-2 tsp). Manuka honey is thicker and therefore needs a bit more water to soften the paste up. 

Sweet Almond Balls
Sweet Almond Balls


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ZSL London Zoo

giraffe London zoo

I haven't been to that many zoos in my time, however we always pop into Barcelona Zoo when we're over there. London Zoo has always put me off a bit because of the high entry fees, but during Orlaith's half term I decided to treat us both to a day at the zoo. We both love animals and it seemed like the perfect day out for us.

Well, what I learned from my trip to London Zoo is that it is a very good zoo indeed. There were lots of 'shows' however it simply gave us the opportunity to watch animals being fed while someone explained some interesting facts about them, there were no animals doing tricks or anything (unlike Barcelona Zoo who's dolphin show made me feel pretty uneasy on my last visit). There was a little petting section with goats and sheep which was great for having some hands on interaction with the animals .

My favourite thing about London Zoo is that they try to educate people on animal conservation and the threats to their habitats and give you tips on how you can play a part in saving the animals and the earth (although, in my opinion, the way things are going the earth is way past saving). Also a portion of your ticket price goes to ZSL's conservation efforts so, essentially, you're not just paying to get into the zoo, you're also giving to charity. Yay.

ZSL stands for Zoological Society of London and is an international conservation and scientific charity based in the UK. Their conservation efforts are tremendous and you can read about them at the ZSL website HERE.

OK, not all kids are thrilled by a whole day of traipsing around a zoo looking at animals. Orlaith got bored from time to time. To tackle the boredom I presented her with a project book and a pencil. Every time she saw an animal she liked she drew and labelled it in her project book. This was a great way to have little breaks in between animals and do something more creative. As a last resort there was a playground in the zoo which we visited a couple of times throughout the day to have some longer breaks.

Now when we talk about the zoo Orlaith immediately starts discussing how we can help to protect the animals natural habitats through our actions. Well done London Zoo, you've created a little animal activist.

butterfly London zoo
penguin window London zoo
giraffes London zoo
hippo London zoo
clown fish London zoo
lemur london zoo
monkey London zoo
london zoo trip
giraffe feeding london zoo
penguins London zoo
london zoo aquarium
hippo london zoo
lemur London zoo
anteater london zoo
sheep london zoo
piranhas london zoo
goat london zoo
pigs london zoo
penguins london zoo
london zoo aquarium
my froley london zoo
butterfly house london zoo
camels london zoo
penguin london zoo
hippos london zoo
penguin london zoo
butterfly london zoo

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An Update + A Change Of Direction

Blossoms blossoms everywhere <3

Hello! So, I'm aware things have been a bit quiet around here lately. The truth is I've changed a lot since starting this blog and the things I care about have changed. And the goals in my life have changed. And what I want this space to represent has changed. I was so close to closing this blog down recently. So close! I'm just not feeling passionate about the things I write about anymore.

But instead of giving up and closing it down I'm going to change the content to represent what I currently feel passionate about... So simple, yet kind of scary. Because it's always scary to put yourself out there fully and be different than to just follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing. I'm just not in that frame of mind anymore and sometimes, I feel like there needs to be a voice to raise a certain amount of awareness to some things. Haha, and while I'm not an influential voice I'd love to share my knowledge and my views.

I won't necessarily be posting a whole lot more than I am now while I adjust (quality over quantity) and I only want to post and advocate the things I truly want to share and feel passionate about. What to expect more of from this space:

-Health + Nutrition
-Family Life
-Minimalism
-Art + Inspiration
-Environmental Stuff
-Clean Living
-Travel

So if any of the above doesn't float your boat then I promise I won't be offended if you never come by my blog again :) When this blog takes a certain amount of hours out of my life to upkeep and maintain (too many hours) I need it to fill me with passion and be a positive thing in my life. I guess trying to adopt minimalism within my life made me evaluate how this space was serving me and, to me, my blog was becoming a stagnant and uninspiring place that just was't filling me with joy. I'm going to try and change that. Thank you for reading, and thank you if you decide to continue reading.

Colour Outside The Lines with VALSPAR

Colour Outside The Lines

It's no secret that I am in love with a bit of re-decorating. I'm always re-painting rooms in my apartment and up-doing furniture. So when Valspar asked me to take part in their Colour Outside The Lines challenge I was really excited. And their main theme is... COLOUR! (duh!)

According to Valspar not only do 78% of homeowners choose to predominately paint their homes in cream, white or neutral shades, but one in five of us are actually scared to use colour in our homes. Umm guilty! Ok, so colour freaks me out a bit and it took me ages to decide where to add colour to my home. And then I found out that I may have to move home soon and couldn't really justify painting my apartment any more. So I called upon a friend and convinced her to let me paint a wall in her house (thank you friend)!

We started by looking for some inspiration online and decided on a look and colour scheme to aim for. I then headed to B&Q, freaked out at choosing a colour for my friends house from the hundreds of colour cards on my own (Valspar actually claim to mix up to 2.2 million different shades of paint colour), and I ended up borrowing a colour book from them instead. My friend and I then spent a night drinking champagne and going over colours.

Colour Book
Colour Book

We narrowed it down to two colours and I went back to return the book and pick up my tester pots (for only £1 per pot!). They even had gold and silver sparkles you can mix into your paint, which I really want to try in the future (Orlaith's room?), and a machine that lets you see how your colour will look in different light settings which I personally think is a great tool because colours change so much under different lights.

After trying out the tester pots we decided on a colour called 'Wispy Skies'. I went for the Premium Walls & Ceilings paint in a matt finish which is a paint, primer and undercoat all in the same product. It saves painting these extra layers on separately when it's all in one tin, and time saving is always a big hit in my book.

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I returned to my friends house one rainy day and began work. The Valspar paint was really enjoyable to work with and the coverage was great. We only needed two coats to get perfect coverage and the end result was lovely. We chose a great colour to fit my friends room and the end result was really great. In fact, it's made me want to go home, ignore the fact that I may be moving soon, and start painting colour onto my walls.

The Harris Icon range has been cleverly designed for ease of use which means effortless painting with fast results. I was excited to receive a Harris Icon pack as part of my Valspar challenge, including the Harris Icon brush set and roller set. The products were both light and comfortable to use, and were the perfect painting tools to use with Valspar paint. The painting process felt effortless and there was no bristle loss on the brushes. They were incredibley easy to clean. The range is also available at B&Q.

If you could add colour to your home which room would you choose and what colour would it be? Visit the Valspar website for more inspiration here: http://www.valsparpaint.co.uk


BEFORE
bedroom before

AFTER
blue statement wall
blue cushion
blue details
blue statement wall

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