Sunday, 17 May 2015

Green Fingers!

After visiting my brother's new home last weekend I felt inspired to make my own flat more 'homely'. 
My first purchase to give off a 'cosy' ambience was a string of flowered fairy lights. I wrapped these around the balcony doors and they look brilliant when lit up with the lights down. I also bought some vanilla oil to drip onto the potpourri in our table, as well as a vanilla room spray (this beats the febreze we usually use which results in the house smelling of a bathroom!)

Flowered Fairy Lights - Home Bargains

The next change I wanted to make in order to make my flat a 'home' was to replace the dying house plant that was left behind by the landlady, which we had conveniently forgotten to water for a year. I still wanted something 'green' to replace it with, but something more...alive! After thinking long and hard about this I set my heart on a lemon tree. My reasoning in that it will give off some much needed colour as well as giving something back - unlike the useless Betty we previously had. I got my Mammy on board to take me to a garden centre and what a jolly it was! 
The first garden centre we went to had no lemon trees in stock, with staff explaining they were out of season. Undeterred we continued on our hunt where we next travelled to 'Poplar Nurseries'. After driving about 40 minutes out of our way and almost ending up in London (thank God for Sat-Nav) we arrived at our destination. The garden centre was brilliant with a range of different gardening delights and even a steam train you could go round on. 
I strolled the centre fraught with worry that I'd be out of luck in finding my tree due to the time of year.  
Praise the lord I found him - Lemony Snicket in all his glory! Along with my lemon tree I also found a statue of Ron, my sausage dog, who I will be buying in a few years. My Mammy was kind enough to buy them both for me and I bloody love them!

 After arriving home with my goodies I planted some 'erbs to have on my kitchen windowsill. I chose to plant Basil, Chives and Parsley as these are the herbs I use most when cooking. I will post another Blog to show off their progress in a few weeks :) 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Camella's Cookies - Recipe

Milk Chocolate & Honeycomb cookies / White chocolate & Marshmallow cookies 

After finishing work at lunch time today I was in the mood for some baking! As my brother has recently bought his first home I thought it would be nice to take over a homemade chocolate cake (post to follow) as a mini house warming gift and something for him to peck on whilst he is getting settled. As I had my apron on I thought I'd also bake some scrummy Cookies for myself and Mr Barrett to have over the weekend - the recipe of which I have been kind enough to share with you :) 

The recipe is very easy to follow and the cookies taste delicious and gooey. Please note this certainly is not Slimming World friendly - although definitely worth coming off plan for a couple of days ;) The cookies I have decided to bake are chocolate & honeycomb and white chocolate & marshmallow - although you can chose whatever you like to add and alter the recipe accordingly.

  • 125g butter
  • 100g light brown soft sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g self-raising flour 
  • salt
  • mini marshmallows, white chocolate chips, milk chocolate chunks & chocolate covered honeycomb (or whatever you choose to add) 

Everything you need to bake your delicious cookies 
  • Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees, gas mark 4. 
  • Cream butter and sugars, once combined add the egg and vanilla extract.
Butter & Sugars
Added egg and vanilla extract

  • Sift in the flour and salt.
  • As I have decided to make two different types of cookies it is important to divide up the mix and then add your fillings accordingly. If making the same batch it is fine to keep this in the same bowl.

Marshmallow & White Choc-chip
Honeycomb and Milk Choc-chunks
  • Roll into walnut size balls - be mindful of going any bigger than this as the cookies will expand due to the self raising flour. 
  • Place on an ungreased baking tray. I cover mine in foil as it is easy to then peel off the cookies once baked. Ensure you don't grease the baking tray as this prevents the cookies from firming up. 
Cookie dough ready for the oven

  • Bake for just 7 minutes if you want the cookies to be a bit gooey, if not leave in till 10 minutes. Don't worry if your cookies still look doughy; once they have had time to cool they should firm off their own accord. 
  • Leave to harden for a few minutes - then enjoy:) 
Enjoy :) 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Caprese Chicken with Prosciutto wrapped Asparagus (Recipe)

This evening I made Caprese chicken for my dinner served with prosciutto wrapped asparagus and rice noodles. 

Having previously attended Slimming World and achieving my target weight I tend to maintain this by following the SW principles during the week and trying to eat as healthily as possible. Therefore the majority of my food posts on here will be Slimming World friendly unless otherwise stated.

Caprese chicken is a delicious light dinner perfect for the spring and summer months. It is also very easy to prepare and cook whilst still packed full of flavour and well worth the handful of syns. I would recommend this as a main for anyone throwing their first dinner party as it is easy to follow and will allow you more time with your guests as you can make some of the preparations beforehand. I have adapted the recipe so it is for 2 – of course if you are cooking for more just double the quantities accordingly. Also do ensure you check the syn values as these often change week by week and vary for different plans (I follow extra easy).

Chicken Caprese

· 2 whole chicken breasts
· 2 slices of fresh tomato
· 2 slices of fresh mozzarella (Use as HEA or syn – approx 4.5 syns)
· 40ml balsamic vinegar
· Fry light
· Fresh basil to garnish

Prosciutto wrapped Asparagus 

· 8 asparagus stalks & tips
· 4 slices of prosciutto ham (1.5 syns each)

Everything you will need for this delicious dinner
Cooking Method 
  • To begin preheat the grill to high. Salt and pepper each side of the chicken and grill on each side for about 7 to 9 minutes until cooked through. Use fry light to spray the baking tray & chicken rather than oil to save on syns. 
  • Meanwhile heat the balsamic in a small sauce pan and bring to a light boil. Reduce and simmer down. Ensure you stir every so often and leave this on a low heat as you wait for the chicken to cook. This will eventually become a lot thicker and the quantity should reduce slightly.
  • Whilst the chicken is cooking and the balsamic simmering I recommending preparing the rest of the dish e.g. chopping up the basil for garnish, slicing the tomato and mozzarella and wrapping the asparagus in prosciutto. (See below.)

  • After the  chicken has almost cooked spray a tomato with fry light and add to the baking tray to cook on both sides for a couple of minutes. During this time fry the asparagus on a medium heat in a frying pan; this should take around 4 minutes. Remember to turn regularly to ensure the prosciutto crisps through. Alternatively you can grill the asparagus. 
  • Proceed to place the mozzarella on each chicken breast and top with the tomato and basil cooking for an additional couple of minutes.
  • Serve by drizzling over the reduced balsamic accompanied with the prosciutto wrapped asparagus and additional veg or rice.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Alresford Adventure

On this beautiful bank holiday Monday I, Mr Barrett and Dingbat decided to take a stroll along the Wivenhoe to Alresford trail with the idea of having lunch at 'The Pointer'.
The trail starts near Wivenhoe Quay spanning all the way to Alresford with breath taking views of the River Colne and lots of hidden secrets to see along the way. 

We set off just after midday so the sun would be at its highest point as we were in luck as the weather was mild and the sun was shining for the most part of the day.
Find below the pictures from our walk featuring the River Colne, the Alresford trail and an abandoned church ruin we stumbled across which burnt down in 1971. 

Do remember to scroll down to the bottom to read a pirate ghost story we were told of during our adventure. 

St Mary's Church - Wivenhoe
Secret Passage Way to Wivenhoe Quay
Wivenhoe Quay
Wivenhoe to Alresford Trail
The River Colne

The walking party 
St Andrews Church ruins
Church doorway
Do you believe in ghost stories? 
Reached our final destination - The Pointer Pub

Do you believe in ghost stories?
On wandering around the church ruins Mr Barrett got talking to an elderly gent who was visiting his wife's grave with his poodle. The chap told us of a pirate Robert Bray who was buried at the church in 1724. He led us to his grave which is positioned away from all of the other graves with a skull and cross bone to symbolise his pirate status. Apparently he can be seen some nights roaming the church grounds with his peg leg looking for gold – spooky!   

Weekends are for...

Family time!

The bank holiday weekend is upon us! To kick start the weekend on Friday evening I, my partner in crime Mr Barrett and his mum and step dad took a trip to Chiquito's, Colchester for some Mexican delights.

Having never been here to dine I had heard good reviews about the lively atmosphere, delicious Mexican food and sombrero hats and I was not disappointed. 

The restaurant itself was kitted out in accordance to the Mexican theme with Mariachi music to boot and as promised sombrero hats and stick on moustaches placed randomly around the restaurant for those lucky enough to stumble across them. 

After choosing to opt for mains and desserts I chose the chicken and pulled pork fajitas, as recommended by the waiter and for dessert the trio consisting of chocolate brownie, churros and sweet pineapple pastry.  The fajitas were delish and came served on a red hot plate with a range of fillings ready to assemble to my liking. Whilst portion sizes were reasonable I didn't feel hideously full, leaving just enough room for my dessert. Mr Barrett's whole rack of ribs on the other hand almost covered the table which he polished off like a speedy Gonzales. Unlike my main, my dessert was somewhat disappointing. As I went for the trio I felt as though I got leftovers from the main desserts and I wasn't giving any chocolate sauce for my churros - disaster! 

All in all it was a good meal, with a decent atmosphere at a reasonable price and I would recommended taking a trip there.
After we had finished off our food and wine we headed home and went to our local (the station pub) for a few more cheeky drinks! 
My outfit to Chiquitos - Dress: Forever21. Shoes: Dorothy Perkins.

On Saturday once I was finished with my driving lesson I spent the whole day shopping with my older sister (known as Dingbat) who was back from Leicester for the weekend. We were in Colchester for a good few hours shopping and I came away with two new dresses and a nomtastic bag of pic-a-mix. We also broke for lunch at the recently refurbished Yates – I recommend the roster wrap!

Dress: H&M

Dress: Miss Selfridge

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Run Forest Run!

Now I’ve never been good at running, especially long distance due to being more of a sprinter. Anything over 3 minutes would give me the puffs, my legs would ache and I’d get cotton mouth.

I’ve always been envious of those who can run the distance without breaking a sweat, it looks so therapeutic and if I’m having a bad day I’d love to be able to run my worries away.

Due to living very close to a scenic walk which stretches over 4 miles I thought I’d try my luck at this running malarkey one final time and try and make the grade. I can honestly say after giving this another shot I now look forward to my runs and have seen great improvements in my speed and also my stamina. 

Don’t get me wrong this has been no easy task! I initially started off just running for 3 minutes, and 3 minutes back. I was knackered after this but I’d then increase my time slightly the next time I went out. This slowly built up my stamina and it has gradually become easier. I currently run 1.1 miles which is still early days but yesterday I had my own personal success in completing this under 12 minutes. I was very proud of this as I read on a running forum that this is a reasonable time for a beginner. I’m also considering signing up to a half marathon to give me even more motivation to keep going with this. 

There are a number of things that helped me get up to speed. Firstly I highly recommend the phone app ‘Strava’. This not only measures you time, distance, average speed and heart rate but you can also view your run on Maps and add a photo after each run. As well as this you can set yourself mini goals and send your friends ‘Kudos’ which really helps to keep you Motivated (thanks Dana!)
I also recommend taking a trip to Primark and having a look at their sportswear. Currently they have a very good range and at a reasonable price. I can personally vouch for the women’s cropped sport tops which so comfortable and they support you without having to wear a bra. They also come in a range of bright colours so definitely worth a look see. 

In addition I have also purchased a waist band to keep my belongings in whilst I run. As it is tight there is no jiggling around and it also has a hole for your head phones. This is perfect to keep your phone in so you can listen to music as you go. I personally recommend putting on a running album on Youtube as these tend to have no adverts and last for over an hour – and it is free! To go with the waist band I also bought some running head phones. These are brilliant as whilst they go inside your ears there is also a band which goes behind the back of your head so you don’t have the issue of them falling out whilst you run. 

Just remember – if I can do it, anyone can! :)

Wednesday, 29 April 2015


Good day and welcome to my Blog!

My Name is Camella, I am 25 and I live in a beautiful town called Wivenhoe in Essex.

My lifestyle Blog will consist mostly of posts relating to my interests such as cooking & baking, health & fitness, fashion & shopping, mini getaways & travelling as well as a couple of diary entries and personal successes / inspiration. 

 (This is me - pleased to meet you!)

Life Goals
Short term: Pass driving test and buy a car
Medium term: Find a career and save for a house deposit
Long term: Buy a house and buy Ron the sausage dog
Longer term: Buy Cecil the sausage dog