Wednesday 23 January 2013

RECIPE: Spicy Breakfast (YB)

Right, you all know how much I love sharing my own cooking creations with you, so here's another. It's my 'Spicy Breakfast' recipe (or vegetarian option, like I make for my husband). Probably an ideal breakfast if you are only having a small lunch, or more suitable for a brunch really...


8 slices smoked back bacon (for vegetarian option, replace with vegetarian bacon)
?g smoked sausage (for vegetarian option, replace with vegetarian Lincolnshire sausage)
?g mushrooms, chopped small
1 small onion, chopped roughly
6-8 slices of jalapeño
1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional)
3 eggs
1 tsp paprika
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp sunflower oil

1. Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan
2. Fry the onion until soft and opaque
3. Trim the bacon of all fat and chop into small pieces
4. Add the bacon and mushrooms to the frying pan
5. Fry for approx. 10 minutes until bacon is lightly browned
6. Add smoked sausage and jalapeño to the frying pan and fry for 2-3 minutes
7. Add the chilli powder and stir in well and cook for a further 2-3 minutes
8. In the meantime, whisk together the eggs in a jug or bowl along with the paprika until well mixed
9. Remove the spicy meat mix from the frying pan
10. Fry the egg, stirring constantly throughout cooking until it's cooked well

Serve the spiced scrambled egg next to the spicy meat mix and serve with fresh halved cherry tomatoes.

Spicy Breakast

Vegetarian Spicy Breakfast

Saturday 19 January 2013

FUN & FROLICS: Turning 30 (YB)

12th January saw my 30th birthday come and go...

I feel old... I was dreading turning 30, it wasn't so bad, but it makes me feel old.

I hate surprises and I'm not into partying - I made that clear to my family. My sister, Yasmin, decided to throw me a party though! She invited us down for a celebratory meal  she was cooking for me the night before my birthday (11th)... Or so I thought...

But it turned out it was a surprise party!! Grrrr... I appreciate the thought very much, but I'd have been a million times happier if it would have just been a meal. I don't drink (partly due to health reasons, mostly due to lifestyle choice) and I'm not a social person, therefore partying/going out etc., just isn't for me.

Nonetheless, I put a grateful face on and said thanks and again, I do appreciate the thought, but I would also appreciate being listened to!!

Anyway, Yasmin got me a gorgeous 30th birthday cake made...

It was as delicious as it looks! I actually can't believe my sister went to so much effort overall - I would have thought a 19 year old would find me boring, even if she is my sister! So I really can't re-iterate how much I appreciate the thought...

In fact, all of the food she chose and made was lovely. I wouldn't have expected her to go to so much effort for me - what a lovely sister :)

On my actually birthday, I spent it how I was happiest though... At home with hubby and son doing what I wanted to be doing - entering comps mostly lol :P

I got some lovely (and some unusual) presents and money from family and friends. And at the end of the day, I realised being 30 wasn't much different to being 29!!

However, it did make me realise that life is maybe passing me by, so I am going to kick off this year by getting fit and doing some of the things I really want to do. Watch this space...

Thursday 3 January 2013

COMPING: My Year In Comping 2012 - 2nd Comperversary (YB)

Here's my run down of my second full year of comping (I began comping in December 2010)...

Well, I ended 2012 with a fab tally of 60 wins in December thanks to the advents! Though I must admit, I was glad when boxing day came as I was rather overwhelmed by the amount of advent competitions this year!!

December 2012 also is my 2nd full year of 'comping' thus it is my 2nd 'comperversary' as well.

2011: 394 wins, approx. value £20,461
2012: 249 wins, approx. value £10,674

Well, 2012 sees a decrease in wins and value of wins. I put that down to 2 things - firstly, there's the fact that I didn't put anywhere near as much effort into my comping this year as I did last year and secondly, I didn't use Twitter for comping as much this year and concentrated more on Facebook where I think it is significantly more difficult to get a win. Oh, and this being my second year of comping I concentrated on entering more for things I want/need rather than every single competition I could find!

I'm not at all complaining though as I have had some truly fantastic wins this year that I'm really proud of! Here are my best (in terms of value) and favourite 2012 wins...

12 months DVD & game rental from BlockbusterUK on Facebook
Hard to choose between the rentals from BlockbusterUK (FB), £100 Westfield gift card from American Express UK (FB), DKNY watch from Watches2U (FB) and DKNY fragrance bundle from DKNY Fragrances (WS)
BEST £75 to my PayPal account (was meant to be Levis jeans but was given the money for them instead) from HotPants on Facebook
FAVOURITE Again, hard to choose between £75 in PayPal from HotPants (FB), movie themed gift hamper (sweets/crisps/drinks) from @giftsoutthebox (TW) and a year's supply of Tetley tea with mug, cosy & flask from The Tetley Tea Folk (FB)
BEST iPad 2 from MORE TH>N on Facebook
FAVOURITE Again hard to choose between iPad 2 (which I kind of regretted winning in some ways as then my son desperately wanted one from there on and I felt really mean having one when he didn't and he wanted one for his birthday or Christmas on his wish list but then I never won one for him) from MORE TH>N (FB), meal for 2 from @tobycarvery (TW) and a box chilli heat wave from @doritosuk (TW)
BEST £500 cash from the Heart website
FAVOURITE I can be more decisive about this one, it was definitely the £500 cash (well cheque to be specific) from Heart (WS)
BEST £200 Selfridges gift card from Joliebox UK on Facebook
FAVOURITE Again, easily decisive with this one as it has to be the £200 Selfridges gift card from Joliebox UK (FB)
BEST Viva HotPants from Zaggora Girl on Pinterest
FAVOURITE Hard to choose between Magners spice apple and rhubarb pack from @MagnersUK (TW) and strawberry shower gel from Original Source (FB)
BEST So...? Fragrance goody bag from the So...? Fragrance website
FAVOURITE Hard to pick between my £25 voucher from @hungryhouse (TW) and my £25 gift card from @eds_easy_diner (TW)
BEST 3/4 night Butlins break from the Baby Expert website
FAVOURITE Definitely the Butlins break which we have booked for May this year from Baby Expert (WS)
BEST Nike+ SportWatch GPS from TomTomUK on Facebook
FAVOURITE A box of chocolate truffles from @AnythinButPlain (TW)
BEST Logitech Harmony Touch Remote from Logitech on Facebook
FAVOURITE Another hard one to choose between a Stephen Wiltshire calendar from @StWiltshire (TW), a £50 Evans voucher from Curvy Wordy (BL) and a £25 Amazon voucher from Car Rentals UK (FB)
BEST Holiday to Barcelona from Krave on Facebook
FAVOURITE Definitely the holiday to Barcelona (2 return flights with return transfers to the hotel, 3 nights accommodation inc. breakfast, day ticket to Port Aventura with return transfers, travel insurance) from Krave (FB)
BEST Trip to Venice including a guided photographic tour and €250 of photography equipment from Manfrotto Imagine More on Facebook
FAVOURITE Whilst I had some lovely wins in December (60 of them!), my favourite by far has to be the trip to Venice (2 return economy flights, 2 nights bed & breakfast, guided photographic tour and €250 of photography equipment) from Manfrotto Imagine More (FB)

All in all, a very, very good year for me. Overall I had so many great wins, have won lots of lovely things that I would not have been otherwise able to afford and as always it's been fun and entertaining and has filled my days. It's also given me the opportunity to meet even more new great comping friends too!

Here's a review of my 2012 wish list (the things I was hoping to win) and how well I did:

  • 32" or bigger LCD HD/3D television X
  • PlayStation 3 X
  • iPad 2 ü
  • iPhone 4S or latest Sony Ericsson phone X
  • iPod Touch X
  • Foreign holiday (ideally Egypt) ü
  • Suite/settee X
  • Dining table & chairs X
  • Garden table & chairs X
  • Clothing and/or shopping vouchers ü
  • Car X
Well, I guess 30% (sounds more than 3/10!) of my wish list isn't too bad! Here's what's on my 2013 wish list:
  • Holiday to Egypt (my dream destination, specifically Cairo!)
  • Big cash win
  • Clothing and/or shopping vouchers
  • Laptop (any with a decent spec, but ideally an Alienware)
  • Good spec DSLR camera
  • PlayStation 3 (PS3)
  • OK, this one is a bit 'Out There' (pardon the pun), but I am hoping for a third 'The X-Files' movie and to win premiere tickets to it
  • Red stand-alone cooker (ideally gas, but would be happy with electric)
  • Bed (ours is beyond wrecked)
  • Sony Xperia T, Samsung Galaxy S III or LG Optimus 4X HD (though will undoubtedly change as more new ones are released)
And that's it for my summary of my second year in my #1 hobby, comping! I hope all of my comping friends the very best of luck for 2013 :) xxx