30 March 2015

The Liebster Award

Okay, so I realise that most of you have no idea what this Liebster Award is all about but it is such an honour to receive a nomination by Becky @ Typical Beauty Blog after only a few months of blogging.

In a nutshell...

The Liebster Award was set up by bloggers to raise awareness of us smaller blogs just starting out in the big blogosphere.  The idea is if you have been nominated, you do a little Q&A and then nominate 5-10 other smaller blogs to do the same, providing them your own questions to answer. 

So here are my answers to Becky's questions.

If you could do anything in the world for free, what would it be?
If money was no object I would 100% travel the world. See as many countries, cultures and religions as I could possibly take. 

If you could take one beauty product with you to the desert what would it be?
This has got to be hairspray.  I cannot leave the house without my hair covered in it.

What's your dream car?
Not all that into cars so unlike most I don't have an answer already lined up to this one. I quite like BMW's so maybe a really snazzy one of those!

If you could be anyone from any era, who would it be?
Another hard one! When looking through my mum's old photos I always feel a bit jealous when I see photo's from the 70s, so someone from that era.

What country would you like to visit?
After my recent mini trip to LA, I would love to explore more of the U.S.

What's your natural hair colour?

What made you want to start blogging?
When I started upcycling furniture I learnt everything from watching vlogs and reading other blogs. Once I was confident and had nailed the technique I wanted to help others and impart my 'wisdom' so started a blog to do just that.

If you could meet one band or musician who would it be?
I would have loved to meet Michael Jackson.  I grew up listening to his music and he was the king of pop after all!

Who's the most important person to you?
My family. My husband, my sisters and my mum.

What's the funniest excuse you made so that you didn't have to attend school or work?
What? excuses to not go to work? I don't know what you're talking about! I did once have to tell my teacher that my dog ate my homework, but that was 100% true - he really did!

What's your perfect pizza?
Pepperoni all the way.

What cheers you up?
Good food, a glass of wine and a long, hot, bubbly bath.

I nominate the following bloggers:

And here are my questions to you:
1. What motivated you to start a blog?
2. If you won the lottery, what's the first thing you would do?
3. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
4. What is the hardest thing you have ever done?
5. If you could witness any past or future event what would it be?
6. If you could be really good at anything, what would it be?
7. What is your favourite sound?
8. If you were reincarnated as an animal, what would it be?
9. What was the last film, tv show or book that made you cry?
10. What one piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Here are the Liebster Award rules:
Write a post on your blog answering these questions.
Link back to the blogger that nominated you
Choose any number of bloggers that you nominate
Make sure you let them know you have nominated them (twitter/facebook)
Provide 10 questions for them to answer.


Nicola Bhamra

28 March 2015

Lifestyle & Beauty: My Little Box March 2015

I can honestly say that these little boxes are getting better and better every month. I was so excited when I unwrapped my long awaited brown package a couple of weeks ago. Especially since it was address to 'The Marvellous Nicola Bhamra'.  Nothing quite like a confidence boost to start my Monday morning! The March edition to My Little Box was centered around Super Heroes, and was aptly titled 'My Little SuperBox'.
So what wonderful little treats did I unwrap this month?

This absolutely gorgeous t-shirt was the first thing I noticed and I have to say, I was so impressed! I have been after a new grey slogan t-shirt for a while and when this arrived I was over the moon. These boxes really do pay themselves off when you get amazing gifts such as this. I have lived in this t shirt for the last couple of weeks, its so comfy and the perfect fit.  And I love the slogan too 'I believe I can fly' perfect inspiration for my new quote postcards!

The second part of the lifestyle element this month was these little stickers. Not really sure what use I will have for them to be honest. They obviously blew the lifestyle budget on the T-shirt, but who cares, I would have been happy with just the T-shirt.

The three beauty products this month were also pretty awesome, things I will actually use! A perfect shade of coral/pink lip and cheek tint by My Little Beauty £10.22, a gorgeous smelling hand and nail cream from Caudalie £4.00 and a lovely Kerastase conditioner £15.75 for 200ml. Winner winner chicken dinner! I've been using all three of these little products all week and my lips have never looked better, my hands have never smelt sweeter and my hair has never been smoother.

Thank you My Little Box!


Nicola Bhamra

25 March 2015

15 life lessons I would tell my younger self.

Do you think, if you ever got to sit down in front of your younger self, there would be anything you would tell them, encourage them to do, discourage them from doing or just let them in on any secrets?

There is so much I would tell my young self, so much I have learnt from my mere 26 years on Earth. And I can imagine that in another 26 years time, I would have learnt even more life lessons.

Life is about learning, and we have to go through crap in order to be able recognise and appreciate the good times. But nevertheless, I would still want to give myself the following important pieces of life advice. Just to make it that little bit easier, and maybe to help those of you that may not be coping with the struggles of growing up.

1. Care less about what other people think of you. They don't care as much as you think they do, really they don't.

2. Follow your passions. Don't get stuck doing something you absolutely hate.  It's a waste of time, and ultimately a waste of a life. Do what you love to do. Find your calling and follow it to the ends of the earth.

3. Don't be a sheep.  Sure, you want to fit in at school and not stick out like a sore thumb but as you get older you will realise that being your own person and being true to yourself is far more important. You have to love yourself before anyone can love you.

4. Surround yourself with people that make you happy. It's okay, in fact it is vital that you get rid of negativity in your life.  If that means ditching those 'friends' that fail to pick you up when you are down, cause you to feel like crap and just don't make you happy, then do it.  And don't feel guilty about doing it.

5. Be positive. Positivity is the root of happiness. Happiness is the meaning of life. Moan less, only talk about good things, and wake up without feeling dread for the day ahead.

6. Bad things will happen.  It's inevitable that bad things will happen in your life, and most of these things are likely to happen at a young age (even though you may think they are bad things, as you get older you will realise that being dumped by your 11 year old 'boyfriend' that you never actually spoke to does not constitute itself as a bad thing).  But these things are important as we learn so much from them and they make us better/stronger people.

7. ..But don't worry. Worrying won't stop the bad stuff from happening, it will just stop you from enjoying the good.

8. Appreciate those you love.  Find the people you love and never stop loving them because one day they wont be around anymore and the one thing you will regret the most is not spending enough time with them.

9. Push yourself. 'Feel the fear and do it anyway', one of my favourite mottos. The best way to build your confidence is to jump in head first.

10. Don't rush important decisions. Take your time, think things through.  If you can, mull over a big decision for a couple of weeks.  Ultimately, listen to your gut, learn to read your inner feelings.

11. It's okay not to know what you want from life. Want to build a big career? want to settle down and start a family? or do you just want to travel the world? If you don't know what you want to do with your life it's okay.  You have time to work it out, not everybody knows that they want to be a doctor at the age of 5.

12. Travel often. See the world, as much of it as you can. Learn about other cultures, other people and other religions.

13. Live your life to the fullest. Everyday. We aren't here very long so enjoy it, and that means enjoying every moment of your day, your week, your life. Say YES more often and take all those amazing opportunities being thrown at you.

14. Remember your age. Act your age and not 10 years older. Enjoy your youth as much as you can, as you wont be getting that back again. Don't grow up too fast.

15. It gets better.  Growing up is hard and everyone has to go through it but trust me, life gets easier. If you are anything like me, nothing beats the feeling of feeling settled and secure. Once you get there, all your hard work has paid off.


21 March 2015

Food: Chorizo Pasta Bake

Chorizo and tomato pasta bake

This recipe is my quick, easy, go to mid-week dinner that hubby and I just can't get enough of.  No, really... I think we have had this dinner every week for the past few months and it is showing no signs of being bumped off the dinner list.

What I like most about this recipe is that you can literally throw anything in to make it slightly different from last week and feel like you are eating a completely different dish.

This recipe is my own adapted version of the Waitrose 'Baked Spaghetti Pie with Chorizo and Tomato'.  I have taken a couple of ingredients out, added some in and replaced the spaghetti with pasta.

*You will need to have mastered the skill of making a classic white sauce.  Once you have done so, this recipe will be a breeze.*

Here is what you will need every time:
300g Penne pasta
250g Cherry tomatoes
190g Chorizo (diced)
2 Garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 pinch of pepper
50g Parmesan (grated)

White Cheese Sauce
568ml Milk (I use semi skimmed or whole.  Don't use skimmed)
170g Unsalted butter
140g Plain flour
150g Cheddar cheese

Optional extras:
A handful of spinach
1 Cooked chicken breast
1 Bell pepper

Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees.
Add diced chorizo to baking dish and bake in the oven until nice and crispy.

In a medium saucepan melt the butter.
When it is foaming add in the flour and stir until it has absorbed all of the butter.
Slowly add the milk bit by bit, whisking as you go until it has formed a smooth white sauce.
Add in the cheese and stir until all melted.
Put the sauce aside.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add the pasta.
Cook for about 5-10 minutes (not fully cooked)
Drain and put aside.

In a frying pan heat a little oil and add the garlic and tomatoes.
Take the chorizo out of the oven and add to the frying pan (with all the chorizo oil too).

In a large oven proof baking dish add the pasta, tomatoes and chorizo.
Mix together then pour over the white cheese sauce.
Mix again and sprinkle the pepper and parmesan cheese on top.

Turn the oven down to 190 degrees and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Serve and enjoy.


18 March 2015

Home Decor: Spring/Summer 2015 styles

Home decor spring summer 2015 styles

Laura Ashley Spring/Summer 2015

Laura Ashley has always been one of those shops that I get lured into (usually due to their amazing smells) but after a quick nosey round realise I definitely cannot justify spending £60 on a new wall clock that I just don't need. Nevertheless, it doesnt stop me having a weekly peruse around, getting lots of inspiration and then feeling like I ought to buy something and grab one of their gorgeously enticing candles or reed diffusers.   Spring/Summer 2015 is all about the classic, never going out of fashion, duck egg blue teamed with creams, whites and mochas. 
Ikea Spring/Summer 2015

Ikea has grown on me over the past couple of months. I am becoming a little bored of my country, shabby chic style home and want to move somewhere I can play with a bit more colour.  Ikea have fantastic retro style decor and the fashionable trend at the moment is monochrome geometric prints mixed with bold pops of colour.  I wish I had the guts to buy myself a bright pink corner sofa but I just don't think Hubby would be too pleased.  I have definitely got my eye on that rug and grey retro chair for my next home though.  I am also lusting after house plants.  Preferably very real looking fake ones that require zero maintenance.  I want to fill my home with these and team them with cute colourful little plant pots.
Next Spring/Summer Homeware 2015

Next has always had my heart when it comes to gorgeous homeware. I have been seeing gorgeous rose gold elements popping up all over the home decor scene and Next have nailed the trend.  A small amount of this pretty metallic colour works best when coupled with natural wood tones and neutral cream fabrics. I love those rose gold lanterns and the antler chandelier.  You can also see some more retro vibes coming through with the three legged floor lamp (love) and cute little coffee/tea/sugar canisters.
So what homeware trends are you lusting after this spring/summer? I always feel like I want to completely change the look and feel of my home every season and it is so difficult choosing just one trend to work with.  I need to spend more time working out what I love the most and just stick with it.
Happy home shopping!