february resolution

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

February is my favourite month of the year. Mainly because my birthday is in the month of February, so even better! January is almost over which means it's time for another monthly resolution. This month is inspired by Gemma over at Gemsmaquillage and her Jar of Happiness. I read her post on it and was inspired to start my own jar. Why didn't I start it in January I hear ya ask? Well, I thought February would be more fitting as it's my birthday month and it's also Chinese New Year so in honour of my ethical origin, February will start my year off.

The idea behind the Jar of Happiness is to fill it with things throughout the year that will serve as a reminder for that year. I feel 2013 will be a year full of adventures, friends and exciting things! It will sit on my cupboard/dresser and it will be a constant reminder for me to take exciting opportunities in an effort to fill up the jar with awesome memories.

I bought this jar from TK Maxx for about £1.99 but you can use any jar you like and I tied a craft ribbon around it to make it more special and unique. Once items start flying into it, it will look amazing!

Have you tried the Jar of Happiness before? Did it push you to take more exciting opportunities?



review: blog inc by Joy Cho

Monday, 28 January 2013

It's always been said in the blogging community that one should blog for themselves and therefore readers will love your content because you're writing for yourself. I saw this book on the Urban Outfitters website on sale and I was intrigued by the premise of a book about blogging. 3 weeks later (don't get me started on the delivery!), this book landed on my doorstep and I started reading it with an open mind.

The book is written by a blogger Joy Cho, writer of Oh Joy!. Immediately, I could already tell it was well written and from the points of view from bloggers who have started where I'm sitting right now. At a desk with only my imagination and words to give to my readers. Each chapter takes you through a blogging journey from choosing a blogging platform, design, name, content and how often to post etc. 

Between each chapter, there are interviews with other bloggers and their experience as to how blogging has changed their lives for the better. My favourite interview being from Kate Spade and their creative use of social media to interact with customers. 

The book even takes you through how to monetise your blog and growing it further. In all honesty, I would never envisage Parisian Orchid becoming massive and me actually making any money from it. Once a hobby becomes a full time job, I feel you will grow to love it less because it's something of the ordinary. 

Have I learnt anything more about blogging from this book? A little I'd say. There's nothing you can't learn through experience and actually doing the blogging. About 3/4 of the book I had already known about through starting my blog, speaking with other bloggers and how to use social media to find like minded people and others who share your interests. But, it was interesting to read other views (especially from blogs over the pond!) and how blogging can change your life. I would say, save your pennies and experience blogging in your own way. There shouldn't be a set of rules as to how to do this, because a mistake made by another blogger could be something you've done that has worked. 

Are there any tips and tricks that you've picked up through your own blogging journey?



photo a day january: week four

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Yay! It's almost the end of January! That means one of my all time favourite months is about to begin! Next week will be a round up of the last few days of January so next month's resolution post will be up soon!

January 21st 2013: I've been feeling so grumpy the last few days (definitely woman time!). All I've been wanting to do is stay in bed, eat my weight in cheese puffs and watch Dexter. 

January 22nd 2013: I always feel absolutely terrible after my second early shift. 5am wake up calls plays havoc on my skin and my under eyes! I look like the living dead! Attractive. 

January 23rd 2013: One of the worst things about shift work is that I rarely get any time to myself or even to think, so this is a last minute photo. Curled up in bed just before midnight with a book. Two of my favourite B's.

January 24th 2013: The snow is slowly melting away up here in the North East and turned to slushy mess. The car park at my work is bumpy with a capital B! I'm so glad the snow is melting and the temperature is getting a little warmer.

January 25th 2013: One of my work colleagues is leaving work so I made some cupcakes for her leaving do spread. Half are vanilla and the other half are chocolate Rolo. I got so many compliments about them, feels good to be baking for other people again!

January 26th 2013: My last night shift which means I'm finally on days off! I switch desks every time I work so I have to carry around my desk essentials in my bag all the time.  You can usually find a coffee flask, Nivea lip butter and locker keys littered around my desk!

Quite a boring week I must admit! I hope you had an even more exciting one! I'm away to Edinburgh tomorrow for the day which I'm really excited about!



review: tangle teezer

Friday, 25 January 2013

Ah. The Tangle Teezer. I had heard so much about this supposed amazing hairbrush. Every time I went into a Boots, I pick up the box, read it, put it back and sigh. I could never justify the £10.20 price tag for what looked like a plastic brush but I had some Christmas money left over and I decided to make the purchase. 

The premise of the brush is that it doesn't tug at your hair and detangles it with one swift brush. It can be used on wet or dry hair and it won't pull. Results? IT'S AMAZING! I had a lot of trouble with my hair in the past in that huge clumps used to fall out every time I brushed or washed it so you could imagine my panic when my hair just fell out. I changed up my shampoo with a slight improvement but this hairbrush just glides through my knotted hair like a dream. The bristles are a mixture of short and long bristles so I'm not sure about the exact science behind the Tangle Teezer but it doesn't yank out any of my precious hair. 

The design itself is very sleek and ergonomic (ooh er!) and fits perfectly in the palm of my hand. There is even a compact design to take around with you in your bag (which is slightly more expensive which confuses me...)

Worth the £10.20 price tag? Yes! If you're fed up of the standard hairbrushes that yank at your hair, definitely give this a go and it'll be a revelation you won't regret!



review: rimmel match perfection foundation

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

I've been trying my hand at different liquid foundations and one day whilst innocently perusing the makeup stands at Boots, I saw that Rimmel had £2.00 off their foundations. I spent about 20 minutes swatching and colour matching foundation and I finally settled on this one. I picked the shade, 201 Classic Beige and I must say, it's pretty much a perfect match.

The foundation itself isn't too liquidy at all and usually one pump of this will be enough to cover my face. I do like the pump design as it helps me judge how much foundation I need and there's very little room for any wastage.

It applies like a dream with my Real Techniques stippling brush and has a slight floral scent to it which I found pleasant and not over powering. It has medium coverage and leaves a nice dewy, natural finish. For me, it's the perfect daytime foundation. 

Staying power wise, it's pretty good. For your standard 6 hour day, you'll find you won't have to touch up during the day but I've worn this for a 10 hour shift at work and it's almost all but gone by the time I come home.

This foundation retails for £6.99 which I think is a great price for a drugstore foundation but I like waiting for some great offers that Boots and Superdrug do. 



photo a day january: week three

Sunday, 20 January 2013

As Sunday rears its head, it's time for another photo a day January post! If you would like a daily update of my photos, click that little Instagram logo to your left and you'll won't regret it :)

January 13th 2013: The day I woke up and had more than 5 hours sleep! I was feeling so refreshed it was unbelievable! Damn my long hours at work!

January 14th 2013: The day snow hit the North East! It was short lived as now we don't seem to have any and England and Wales is covered with it! Not that I'm complaining, I fall into the 50% of the population that actually dislikes snow.

January 15th 2013: I've been giving gluten free pasta a good go and I actually really like it. You would not believe the amount of bread, rice and pasta I eat so I thought changing small bits of my diet might be good for me.

January 16th 2013: I cannot stop playing The Cup Song. I first heard The Cup Song on Pitch Perfect where Anna Kendrick's character plays it in the movie. I YouTubed it when I got home, learnt how to play it with a plastic cup and now I can't stop. It's so amazing to see people's faces when you do it. It's not that difficult. Really.

January 17th 2013: My first day off work and I popped into town to buy myself a 16-25 railcard in an attempt to have more adventures! Then one thing led to another and I ended up shopping and buying a Starbucks. I think they're still trying to use up their Christmas cups cos I was lucky to get one of the last ones!

January 18th 2013: I have been waiting to see this Les Miserables for about a year! I've been wanting to see the stage production in London for quite some time but no-one quite understands my obsession with it. I dragged my Mother along with me to see in on Friday night and ended up sitting about 4 rows from the front. Cue my aching neck but the movie was so good! I commend the actors who were amazing at the live singing! Had me in tears by the end.

January 19th 2013: At the beginning of January, I told myself that I would have a life plan by the end of the first week, but no, I still haven't got one. My Mother is insistent on pushing me to pick ANY other job and that I can't afford to be picky. Yes, yes I can. 

January 20th 2013: Been making lots of yummy pot stickers this morning. They're so delicious that I'm already craving more. How can that be?

How has your week been? Were you a graduate struggling to find any career direction too?




Saturday, 19 January 2013

A post about my hair. I know...I've officially lost it.

My hair has only ever been one thing. Unmanageable. It curls in places I don't want it to curl and my (non) fringe likes to separate from the rest of my hair making me look like a fool of a took! But recently I've been wearing my hair like this and I really love it.

I straighten my hair like usual and then I pull the front part of my (non) fringe to one side and start braiding. Then I clip it to one side either using kirby grips or my cute bow clip. I found this clip lurking around my savings jar (which is no longer a savings jar, but a 'put the things you have nowhere to put' jar). I think it looks simple and wearable whilst keeping that pesky fringe out of my face! 

How do you keep your hair manageable?



my unsung hero: smog eyeshadow

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

I rarely blog about a specific eyeshadow but 'Smog' from the original Urban Decay Naked Palette is becoming one of my favourite eyeshadows. When I first got this palette, I didn't really deviate from the lighter toned eyeshadows that can be found at the left hand side of the palette but one day out of curiosity, I decided to try the middle golden toned ones and I must admit, it's love.

It's pretty difficult to describe but I think it's brown with golden tones through it. So it's essentially a golden brown. It has great staying power with a good primer underneath it and I love using it with a little bit of 'Creep' in the outer corner. With a bit of careful application, you can create a lovely daytime smokey eye look or layer it with other eyeshadows for a great night time look. With my pesky (non) eyelids, the pigmentation of the eyeshadow means it can look slightly sloppy if I don't make sure it goes where it is supposed to go.

If you tend to stick to your usual eyeshadows, I urge you to look again at some of the other unsung heroes because you may just find your diamond amongst the mess!

Have you discovered a favourite eyeshadow hidden amongst other colours?



photo a day january: week two

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Week two already?! Where does the time go huh? What with being back at work this week, my photos have gone a little downhill and just features mainly food items but let's crack on!

January 7th 2013: I finally went to see Pitch Perfect and it is such a good film! Love the music, actors and storyline! I quickly went home to download the soundtrack, now all I need is a plastic cup so I can learn the cup song.

January 8th 2013: My Dexter marathon continues. I've finished season 2 now so I'm about to start season 3 but with long hours at work, it'll have to wait until I get a good block of time on my hands,

January 9th 2013: My old uni friend came to visit me from Kirkcaldy and we exchanged belated Christmas presents. I yelped with joy in the middle of Starbucks as I opened my gifts! I'd been lusting after the listography book since November and she amazingly remembered which one it was I wanted. My mug collection is growing quite nicely as well with my new Edinburgh Starbucks mug! And the Mini Eggs are a recurring joke in our friendship. Let's say it involved a tube of Mini Eggs and a Megabus. 

January 10th 2013: I did have plans to go to the cinema but I decided to stay at home and watch Dexter whilst baking a cake. I got some new cake utensils and I was trying out a bundt cake. Turned out good on my first attempt I feel.

January 11th 2013: Yup, back to the daily grind of work. Trying to be healthy and opted for a homemade salad then I realised it looked ridiculous in my kiddies lunchbox. *sigh*

January 12th 2013: Came home from work and left promptly again to meet my friend for dins. I didn't realise how busy town is on a Saturday. Mingling amongst family dinners, friends get-togethers and dates...I felt like a fish out of water! But we ended up at TGI Fridays and I chowed down on my meal before snapping a picture of my glorious burger! But, I did get a new book in the post. I can't wait to read this, I've heard good things about since my purchase on Amazon.

A rather mediocre week but how is everyone's January going? Resolutions still intact?



recipe: winter warmer

Thursday, 10 January 2013

You're probably used to baking recipes going up on the blog but little do you know, I'm quite the little chef as well. This winter warmer is perfect for those days where the weather is atrocious outside but you're inside snuggled up with a pile of DVDs. This is what I like to call the 'one pot wonder'. I made this recipe up so you can adjust it to add whatever you want to put in it!

1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 can of the beans of your choice (I've used cannelini, chick peas and haricot beans before and they all work really well)
300ml of stock (chicken or vegetable)
Cubed lamb (any type of meat works well. I like using lamb or pork for this)
Handful of pearl barley
2 handfuls of red lentils
1 onion
Chopped garlic
Variety of herbs and spices

1. Prepare all your ingredients, this includes chopping up all your vegetables, washing your pearl barley, opening your cans and cube your meat (not to be cubed too small)

2. With a little oil in your pot, fry your onions together with the garlic until soft. Add the carrots. Mix in the meat of your choice until browned.

3. Add the chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil. Then add your stock. Again, bring to the boil. Turn down the heat to medium and add your lentils and pearl barley. Give it a good stir and then leave it to simmer on a very low heat for about 1 hour.

4. Stir every so often so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. About 45 minutes into the simmering process, add your flavourings. I use rosemary, oregano, salt, pepper and mixed herbs. You can use whatever you like. Add the mushrooms and your choice of beans at this point. Stir and leave for another 15 minutes or until the pearl barley is cooked and the mixture thickens.

5. Turn off the heat about 5 minutes before serving so it can thicken up further.

6. Serve immediately.

Can be served with rice, warm crusty bread or garlic bread. I love making this recipe because it's so simple to make. The only skills you need is adding and stirring. Simples.

Bon app├ętit


primark haul

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

I'm one of those get in and get out shoppers. The less time spent in a store the better but today, I didn't have any firm plans with my afternoon so I did a proper rummage around Primark. I came out with quite a few gems and saved quite a bit of money. 

First, I got a dress for £13.00. Navy and burgundy are my favourite colours so I could resist this lovely combination. Next, I hit up the discounted section and got a textured navy skater skirt for £2.00 reduced from £10.00. I've been looking for a skater skirt for a while so this will be a great addition to the wardrobe. 

I've been favouring shorts as opposed to my usual jeans so I couldn't not get these tweed shorts for £5.00 reduced from £10.00. Not a big fan of the leather detailing but I can easily get over that. Lastly, I got some new tights because I managed to get a hole (or 2) in my favourite pair. Sad times but this pair is only £2.00. I somehow managed to stop myself from putting more socks and tights in my basket. I seem to have a small (read: massive) obsession with socks and tights. I have a problem. 

My three clothing items are three different sizes which is not unusual for me. But Primark really need to get their sizings under control. Seriously, we're talking sizes between 14 and 18 here!

Have you picked up any bargains from Primark recently?



review: lush popcorn lip scrub

Monday, 7 January 2013

I've never really bothered with lip scrubs. It all seemed a bit pointless to me until my lips started flaking a lot after using lip balm and I realised to get baby soft lips, I would need to exfoliate them in some way. I had heard so much about Lush's lip scrubs but always a bit scared at the fact you have to lick it off. During a #bbloggers chat one night, someone who worked at Lush offered to answer any questions about their products so I asked if it was a necessary step to lick it off and to cut a long story short, no, you don't.

I mosied my way over to Lush and picked up this little jar of sugar scrub and left feeling about £5.25 lighter. I use this after my night skincare routine and wash off the excess with some warm water. Might seem pointless to wash it off but I did really try to lick it off one time and I just did not like it. It leaves my lips feeling soft and you can just about taste the remains of popcorn-y goodness on your lips. The taste is exactly what it says on the lid; a buttery caramel taste. 

You do get quite a lot of product in the jar and you really don't need that much each time you use it. Would I buy a lip scrub again? I would say a tentative yes but the price tag is enough to put me off. 

Lush lip scrubs are £5.25 each. Not sure if the Popcorn scrub is still available as it is limited edition but they have a variety of different flavours to try out!

Have you tried this lip scrub? What do you think of lip scrubs in general?



photo a day january: week one

Sunday, 6 January 2013

If you read my resolution post, you will know that I'm doing 'photo a day january'. This is a quick round up of my week so far.

January 1st 2013: I barely slept a wink on Hogmanay and I was up at 5am to start the year off by working a 10 hour shift. After work, I nipped home and swiftly went out again to have some dinner. Exhausted as I was, I managed to make it through dinner without falling asleep in my dinner!

January 2nd 2013: More food! It was MamaOrchid's birthday on the 4th January but we food we wanted to have is only on Monday-Thursday. We had some delicious Chinese hotpot which was so good but so filling at the same time! It's also a healthy alternative to a heavy meal as everything is cooked in a pot of boiling water with a little stock.

January 3rd 2013: I had some annual leave hours to take so I left work early and came home to make a start on my pile of DVDs I bought last week. The 3rd also marked the first day of my week off! I didn't get any time off work over Christmas so this week off is definitely well deserved.

January 4th 2013: MamaOrchid's birthday! I made her a lovely cream chiffon cake and it went down a treat! Exhausting to make but the end result is tasty!

January 5th 2013: Town was surprisingly very quiet at the weekend but me, MamaOrchid and BrotherOrchid went into town to run some errands. We went to the Monkey House for lunch as my Uncle said the food was good there. I can't comment on the other food items, but the chips here are amazingly tasty!

January 6th 2013: I made plans to go to the cinema today as I still haven't seen any of the movies that I wanted to last month but I decided to spend the day at home blogging, watching old skool CITV and watching Dexter. I started it last night (which was probably a bad idea seeing as it was quite gory!) but it's soooooo good! Such a loveable character and the storyline is fantastic!

So here is my round-up. Not a very exciting week I must admit but all I really need is a little downtime that doesn't revolve around work!

How has your first week of January been?



january resolution

Friday, 4 January 2013

We all do them don't we? New Years resolutions that is. By week one, we're fed up of the gym, eating salad and picked up the phone and ordered your favourite chinese meal. I'll admit, I'm like that too. It's so difficult to keep up resolutions for an entire year so I thought I would do a resolution month by month.

Each month I will be picking a resolution and dedicating a month to it. It's much more do-able and it'll always be fresh in your mind. I've made a chart and stuck it on my wardrobe door so I always see it. If I managed to complete the chart, I'll get it framed at the end of the year and will be able to reflect upon the year where I actually committed to something!

January is 'photo a day january'. If you follow me on Instagram (loch_nessssss), you will have already seen the first 4 days go up but worry not if you don't have Instagram, I'll be sure to do a weekly round up of the photos I have taken. They don't have to be of anything special, just something that I have done that day, be it food, activities, friends or just chilling out at home. 

I haven't made any long terms plans for the rest of the months but the idea is just to take it one month at a time and see what things I would like to achieve at that time. I'm havering towards the 'Jar of Happiness' idea in February and as it's my birthday in February, it's going to be a good starting point.

Have you ever done monthly resolutions or are you going for the whole year sha-bang? 

P.S. I hope you all had a brilliant Hogmanay and New Year! I'm finally on annual leave from so I'm finally enjoying a well deserved week off work!