22 Before 23 Update: Try/Cook A Brand New Dish

One task on my 22 Before 23 list that has taken me far too long to complete is "Try/Cook a Brand New Dish." While technically, I've definitely tried numerous new things in the past 12 months, including trying some cod just a few nights ago, I decided I'd feel much more accomplished if I actually cooked something myself that I hadn't done before.

While living at my mum's house I used the excuse that I wasn't in charge of the food shopping as a reason for not ticking this one off my list and when I did move out, I used house decorating as a reason to be "too busy" to cook new things. 

A few weeks ago though, I decided enough was enough. On a whim, I loaded up BBC Good Food just to notice that I actually had an account on there and had even saved a few recipes on there. These were:
Now, I'm useless at following recipes, I only use them as inspiration and a starting point. So, after reading this recipes, looking at the ingredients I recognised and picking out the steps I agreed with, I went off to cook something that was probably quite different from the author's original intention. 

Thankfully, if I may say so myself, I'm actually a pretty good little cook, and all of these new dishes turned out a success.

First up, miso prawn skewers. If you take a look at the picture above, you'll notice that I decided to ignore the skewers. Instead, I took the ingredients for the sauce from the recipe, mixed them all together and marinated the prawns in there for a bit. Then, I cooked up a stir fry as I normally would, tipping the prawns and the sauce on afterwards. To say I'm not familiar with ingredients like miso paste and rice vinegar, this turned out pretty well!

Next up, the risotto! Technically this wasn't really a "new" dish because once you've cooked one risotto, you've cooked them all pretty much! However, the risotto I often refer to as my speciality features copious amounts of goat's cheese and if I don't use that, I expect my risottos to at least have cream. This has neither! In all honest, I barely followed the recipe for this one. I simply took the ingredients I fancied and made up a risotto how I normally would - just minus throwing in some goat's cheese at the end. I will say when I make risotto I never, ever make up to the stock separately. I tend to just crumble a stock cube in directly when the stock is needed and add more water as necessary. Makes a good one-pan meal that way! I also always find risotto to be a bit rich and so serve it with spinach, rocket and watercress salad - not only is this healthy, it means I can eat more without it being too rich!

The miso brown rice and chicken salad ending up being pretty much the same as the "skewered" miso prawns. I made up the same marinade, definitely did not use brown rice and instead of using the suggested vegetables, I used up ones that needed using up - mainly courgettes and leeks. However, I deem it a success! I don't like plain chicken at all, it always needed a sauce or marinade or I just won't eat it. This was delicious and suited my needs perfectly.

Finally,the most daring item on my list was the soy and ginger salmon. I'm not a fish person, but James is. Fish is also really healthy, so I decided to use these things as motivation to make me like it. I'm still not entirely sold on fish, although salmon is definitely growing more and more tolerable. With this recipe, I did actually follow it quite accurately. I did switch the soba noodles for udon noodles and skipped the frozen soy beans as we have no freezer right now, but everything else was done by the book. Despite featuring my fishy nemesis, this was probably my favourite of the bunch. The flavourings were spot on and I love udon noodles.After cooking this, I knew I could definitely tick "Cook a Brand New Dish" off my 22 Before 23 list!

My birthday is just a fortnight away now, stayed tuned to see how well I do on my list!

Urban Decay Vice 2 Makeup Look

So, funnily enough, I barely ever wear makeup anymore. Tragically, it's not because my skin has improved so much I feel like my naked face is way better to show to the world. It's more because I live over an hour away from where I work these days and have to get up obscenely early and sleep takes precedence over makeup application.

However, watching this video has made me miss wearing makeup a lot! Back in December, I received the Urban Decay Vice 2 palette for Christmas and it was true love at first sight. At the time, this was one of my favourite looks I created centred around the palette so I thought I'd film a "How To" type video about it. It's not a tutorial because I'm fully aware my makeup application skills leave a lot to be desired...

After applying my based and eyebrows, I add some blusher to my cheeks. In this case, it's Benefit's Sugarbomb blush, I lovely pastel peachy blush that I adore. Naturally I paired it with Benefit's High Beam highlighter on my cheek and brown bones to add a bit of light to my face.

For my eye makeup, I start with the shade X-Rated from the UD palette and sweep it across my lid. Then I take the darker pink shade, Coax, and apply it to my crease. I finish the eyes off with a flick of black liner on my lid (Rimmel Scandaleyes Micro Precision Liner) and the kohl pencil version on my waterline. Add Arbonne It's a Long Story Mascara and the job is done.

The lipstick I used for this particular look is the MUA One Direction Kiss You Lipstick - this shade is Moments, which is Niall's shade.

There we go, pretty simple. Pink and winged eyeliner is pretty much me down to the ground! Or it was, in my makeup wearing days!

Your Dream Job Does Not Exist

“Your dream job does not exist, you must create it”

Although I am not participating in the Blog Everyday in May Challenge, I have most definitely been inspired by a prompt from the other day: Passion Projects - What Do You Love, What Would You Like To Make Money From?

I was in my first year of university when I first decided I wanted to work for myself. I’d just started reading Gala Darling’s blog and she thoroughly inspired me. I’d started my own blog at the time and while there was no hope of ever monetising that particular project, reading the blog of a female, self-employed entrepreneur made me realise that being an employee forever is not my style.

It’s certainly something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. Although I adore my Arbonne business, I’m acutely aware that I’m selling another person’s products and dream. I like to think of myself as a creative person and I know I won’t be truly satisfied until I’m making money from something I made.

While I know my end goal is owning a business I can live and enjoy life from, I’m not entirely sure what this business is going to be yet. As it stands, I’m planning to go away on 2-week long retreat all by myself in June while James is gallivanting around Europe again to try and figure it all out.

It’s not that I have no ideas, it’s more like I have too many ideas! There are a lot of things on this earth that I truly love doing and luckily for me, I can even see ways to earn money from these passions of mine. What I need to do, is hone in on exactly what I’m best at and maximise my potential.

One of my favourite quotations, which I have chosen as the title of this post, particularly inspires me in this area. Your dream job doesn’t exist, you must create it. Paired with the idea that the ideal job is one you would do for free, I have a very good base to work on.

Perhaps the hobby I find most enjoyable is writing. I’m lucky enough that my day job actually involves writing and I am eternally grateful that while I build my own business, I’ve got something enjoyable to pay the bills with in the meantime.

My other favourite hobby is one that I do not spend enough time on and a lot of people are surprised to hear that it first began at the lovely young age of 11 years old.

I love web design. I asked for a domain name for Christmas aged 11 or 12 and I would spend hours and hours every day making the site as perfect as I could manage. Content was secondary at the time, it was playing Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro and learning HTML and CSS that I really loved back then.

With that in mind, blogging sounds like the perfect career for me doesn’t it? However, I’m not sure I want to go down the sponsored post or advertising route because I’m fussy about the content I write and how my blog looks. So...I need to come up with something a bit different.

In the vein of some of the people who inspire me most, I’m thinking of offering useful eBooks or even blog design services. I haven’t quite decided yet.

Now, what use is this blog post for you? I want to make it absolutely clear: you can do anything you want to do. The Internet is a beautiful thing that has really changed the game for business owners and those who would be. Somehow, there is a way to turn your passions into an income. It’ll be hard work, but if that’s what you want from life, you can do it.

In the meantime, I’m a member of Leonie Dawson’s Amazing Biz and Life Academy, which although I’m not yet strictly a business owner, I find highly, incredibly, wonderfully useful and inspiring. Leonie is one of my favourite bloggers and her products are the best digital investment I’ve made. Not only is her forum great for chatting in a safe, non-judgemental and like-minded space, Academy Membership gives you access to every product she has ever made and anything she releases in the future. I can’t recommend it enough!

This post contains an affiliate link. Click here to read my full disclaimer and disclosure policy.

The Vixen Thinks: Your Retail Job Is What You Make Of It

Retail. Never have I ever seen more people complain about their jobs than I have done when it comes to retail. Whether I'm browsing Tumblr or aimlessly scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, it seems every day I manage to come across someone complaining about their retail job. Whether it's the hours they work or the customers they serve, there's always someone having a good go at the sector.

Just stop it. 

Personally, I believe it is far more of a reflection on you than it is on retail when you are constantly whining about your job.

Let me explain where I'm coming from. For a year and half, I worked for Superdrug. In this time I worked for two different stores, one large one and one small one, where I made the decision to become a Team Leader. And I loved it. While working in a beauty store as a beauty blogger was obviously enjoyable, I enjoyed being active and on my feet all day and I enjoyed the large variety of people I got to speak to on a daily basis - elements common to all retail jobs.

Sure, some people that came in that were less than pleasant. I've had customers demanding refunds for opened ear plugs and obviously used makeup, I've had to ask others to leave after being so rude to a member of my staff. Yet, at the end of the day, this is no skin off my nose.

When someone walks into a shop and makes the decision to be rude to the staff or be overly demanding, they choose to be that way. People who are nasty to shop staff, waiters, taxi drivers and the like are nasty people full stop, it is very rarely a genuine reflection on the service they receive.

So why should you be bothered when you deal with a tricky customer? Just as they can choose to be awful, you choose whether to be affected by it. You can choose to let someone's impoliteness ruin your whole day and view of working in retail, or you can choose to forget about it and enjoy the positive side of your job.

When you says things like "I hate people" or "The customer is always WRONG," you're not making revelations about society, you're just revealing what a little ball of negativity you yourself are.

There are elements that suck about every job, just as there are benefits to every job. Personally, I choose to focus on the positives. Watch how quickly your mood changes when you change your attitude!

There are definitely worse jobs than retail out there, how would you like to be the person responsible for cleaning up murder scenes, or the cleaner at a peep show?

Your shop job doesn't sound so bad now does it?