30 July 2014

Wieght Loss Wednesday: A Small Hiatus and a request!

I'm guessing that you can tell from the title of this what is happening, I am taking a small break from weight loss wednesday posts.  You might have noticed I missed last weeks, his is because I went away and got snowed under with a project, and a similar thing happening this week.  My family have also just booked a last minute holiday, I leave next Tuesday, meaning of course that there won't be any updates for a couple of weeks.

I don't want to drop this all together though and it's defiantly something I want to pick back up in a couple of weeks.  However I'd want to start a fresh, as I'm guessing after this holiday my weight will be back at the start (at least!).  But if I go back to titles such as weight loss wednesday: week 1, I will already have posts with this name and I I think this will get confusing.  If anyone has any idea's I will greatly appreciate it!

Finally on to my request.  As I am going away for the week I am worried about leaving this blog abandoned, so if any of you want to guest post on my blog, now is the time to volunteer!  It can be about anything as long as it vaguely fits in with my blog.  The hard part is I would probably need them by this Saturday, which gives only 4 days (eek!).  There is a possibility that I can stretch to late Monday night but we shall see!  If you are interested, leave a comment or email me at shystrangemanic@gmail.com.

Kariss xx

28 July 2014

Manchester Bloggers Meet: July 2014

Saturday marked my second ever blog meet, and the first one where I didn't know anyone!  I saw on twitter that NicoleAlice and Emily were meeting people at the train station so I met up with them so that at least if I got lost, I wasn't alone!  We managed to find our way to the Milton Club without much trouble.  This is a members only club and it is stunning!  However it's yellow lighting really made my photo's hard to work with as you can tell!  I even treat myself to a mango collada which was amazing!

Lucy was super friendly and made us all feel welcome and settled in.  There were a few brands there throughout the meet,  so we could browse throughout day and ask any questions we wanted to.  Then it was on to the games.  Bloggers bingo was a great way to meet people even though we didn't manage to finish so missed out on the skinny tan (boo!).  Then Rock on Ruby challenged us to design a t shirt.  Before I knew it the hours had flown by and we were grabbing our goodie bags and heading home!

And here is our goodie bag!  It had plenty of samples and discount offers that I am looking forward to trying out.  Including products from W7, Benefit, Kiss, Primer Spa Shop, Lylia Rose, Eldora Lashes.  I even won a stunning statement necklace from Flaunt Jewellery in the raffle!

Kariss xx

27 July 2014

99p fashion sale (an I'm selling some beauty stuff too)

After having a pile of clothes, shoes and accessories lined up in my room for months I have finally bitten the bullet and put it all on ebay.  I did intend to do this as a blog sale but in the end this was the easiest option.  This almost means that almost everything I am getting rid of is starting at the super low price of 99p!  Take a look here.

I am also getting rid of some beauty products, which I have added to a facebook group.  You can find what I am selling here ( You can find me on there as Kariss Ainsworth).

Kariss xx

25 July 2014

Illamasqua and Soho's weekend discount codes!

Two of my favourite shop's have discount codes this weekend, so after taking advantage of them myself I thought I would pass them on to my readers! 

First up, one of my very favourite make up brands Illamasqua has 20% off everything on their online store to celebrate them reaching 200,000 likes on Facebook.  Just enter code 200KFB at the checkout.  I have already jumped on and re-bought my skin base foundation as my current one is starting to run low.

Next, Soho's Clothing is also offering 20% off everything on their site this weekend!  They have great alternative and rockabilly clothing lines including my favourite, Hell Bunny.  I've taken advantage and ordered 3 dresses, one dress I've ordered in two sizes to pick the best fit.  Soho's offer free returns so I am confident doing this, I will let you know what I end up keeping!

So there you are!  Go forth and spend! 

Recipe; Greek Gyros

Well the sun is out, and I wanted to cook something that matches the heat!  There's nothing better then eating delicious food outside when it's warm, so when I was contacted by Villa Plus to take part in a food competition there was no way I was going to say no!  I was given the Island of Kefalonia as inspiration and it didn't take me long to decide what I was going to make.  Gyros is a really tasty Greek street food that is a favourite with my family when we've been to Greece, so I thought I would give it a go!

Ingredients (to feed 4 people 2 gyros each)

For the meat
1 pound of minced lamb
1/2 onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
origano, chile flakes, coriander and paprika to taste.
salt and peper

For the Tzatziki
Cucumber, chopped into cubes
1 cup of greek yogurt greek yogurt
1 garlic clove
2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of dill

To Serve
Plain wraps
3 peppers cut into strips
2 onions cut into strips

All this comes to only £2.35 per person, bargain!

First up, blend all the ingredients for the meat until fairly smooth.  Then, moisten your hands and begin compacting it into a ball shape, trying to get rid of any cracks.

Then, shape into a loaf and place in the oven.  Cook at 300 degrees F for 30- 35 minuets, then take out and leave to rest for another 10.

While you are waiting you can make a start cutting up the vegetables to go into the wrap.  I like to use different coloured peppers to jazz it up and put me in a summery mood!

The Tzatziki is really simple, just mix all the ingredients together!  I made lots to go inside and on the side as a dip because it is my favourite part, really refreshing! Yum!

Next, carve the lamb loaf as thin as you can.  Then lay on a baking tray and put under the grill for around 5 minuets or until they go slightly crispy on top.

To serve simply place the meat, and veg into a wrap, cover in Tzatziki and serve while it's still hot for a perfect summer treat!

So what do you think, would you give it a try?  Would you like to see me do more recipes?  Drop me a comment and let me know!


22 July 2014

Booktubeathon 2014- the aftermath

Phew, Booktubeathon 2014 is over!  And what a week!  It actually felt really good to prioritise one thing in the week and just knuckle down!  I also forgot how your perception of a book can change when you read it fast so that you don't forget a thing!  Here is my reading round up!

Monday I started and finished all 367 pages of Alice in the Country of Hearts and I loved it!  I haven't read any manga in years and this has a really interesting story.  I thought it was going to be just the Japanese version of Alice in Wonderland but it was so much more!  Kind of creepy and strange but really interesting and unique, i'd defiantly recommend it.  This also completed two of my challenges the read a genre you've read the least of this year and read a book with pictures.

After reading and loving Eleanor & Park my sister chose this novel also by Rainbow Rowell and it was a perfect easy read for the booktubeathon.  I loved this, it really stayed in my mind after words and the childish part of me identified with the characters.  I am defiantly a fan of Rainbow's writing!  I read this between Tuesday-Wednesday, some stuff came up Wednesday and Thursday which slowed down my reading but I finished this never the less.  I finished two more challenges with this, read a book picked out for you ( my sister chose this for me) and read a book with red on the cover.

I started and finished this on the Friday, I fancied a smaller book I could quickly get through on the train after work.  Metamorphosis it's self was alright but I didn't like the other stories.  Overall it was pretty disappointing.

I started this on the train Friday, then I got to my boyfriends and reading was largely put aside for the weekend, I didn't really pick it up again until the train home on Sunday.  I only got about a quarter of the way through this but I am really enjoying it so far.  I wanted this to be my read the book, watch the film challenge (I have actually seen the film already) but unfortunately I didn't get chance to finish it.

Overall I am pretty happy, if I had a more clear week (aka more like my first two days!) I would have easily made the 7 books.  I managed 1045 pages which is ok all things considered!  How did you do?


18 July 2014

favourite quotes and lyrics #10

I had a beauty post planed for tonight but life got in the way and I'm in a less then fantastic mood so I thought rather then skipping the post altogether, I would do a new favourite quotes and lyrics posts.  It's been so long since I have last done one of these, and this one is really special!  

If you're born in Barnsley and set your sights on being Virginia Woolf, it isn't going to be roses all the way
- Alan Bennett

Last year I went to see an Alan Bennett play in London, when I opened the program this was smack in the center.  It really hit home (literally) and it's something I need to keep in mind now more then ever.  I've actually asked a friend to create me some art work based on this, hopefully it will come off.  I think this is my favourite quote ever.

Whats your favourite quote?


16 July 2014

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 7

Start Weight: 11 stone 4 1/2 pounds
Last Weeks Weight: 10 stone 12 pounds
Current Weight: 10 stone 13 1/2 pounds
Loss, gain or Stay the Same: 1 1/2 pound gain
Total Loss: 5 pounds

I know, I know! I loose a week, I gain a week!  The truth is I never realise how often I went away at weekends until I tried to diet!  It's defiantly harder for me in the Summer as it's my favourite time of year and puts me in exploratory mode which makes me struggle to stay at home and miss all the fun!  As I mentioned last week, I had a big night out in Newcastle and big night out it was!  Ouch!  So much drinking happened, followed by drunk pizza and hungover Indian, not a good mix.  I was a lot heavier so I've done well to bring it back to be honest, I honestly thought I would have put on 5 pounds.  Even though I am only the same weight I was 2 weeks ago I feel a LOT heavier, uncomfortable and bloated, ugh!  

Next week I am away at the weekend again!  I'm off to my boyfriends in Hertford and were having a day at the seaside in Southend but we will see!  Food shouldn't be too bad aside from a seaside ice cream and eating out.  As long as I don't let Harry talk me into sugary treats!  Let's say a 1 pound loss.

Does anyone else struggle in the Summer?

14 July 2014

Booktubeathon 2014

Stock image

It's that time of year, time for the second annual booktubeathon!  I failed last year, I panicked and didn't read at all, so it can't be any worse then that right?  

I know some of you are asking yourselves, what the hell is she talking about?  Well the Booktubeathon is an annual event ran by book tubers (youtubers who talk about books) and try to read as much as possible in a week. There are also challenges to try and complete as you get your book worm on!  This year it's running from the 14th (today) until the 21st.

So here are the official list of challenges, the ones in pink are the ones I am attempting:

The Reading Challenges:

A book with pictures.
Start and finish a series.
A book with red on the cover.
A book someone else picks out for you.
A book from the genre you've read the least this year.
A book to movie adaptation
Read seven books/ 350 pages a day.

Video Challenges:

Day One: Show your top 3 book you read because of booktube.
Day Two: Find the items on three covers.
Day Three: Draw a better cover for any book.
Day Four: Write a story using all the words from three titles.
Day Five: Make a rainbow of you favourite books.
Day Six: Find 5 things from one of the books you've read this week.
Day Seven: Show us where you've read during the booktubeathon!

You can combine 2 challenges but not more then that, for instance the first book I am going to read is Alice in the Kingdom of Hearts, which counts as a book with pictures and the genre I've read least of this year, but although it has red on the cover I can't use it for all 3.  I'm not attempting any of the video challenges because I'm not prepared for it, maybe next year I will have my Youtube channel up and running but right now I haven't got the time.

I'm away at the weekend but I have train travel everyday so I should still have plenty of chance to read, not sure how my boyfriend will feel about me coming to see him and reading the whole time but I will fit it n where I can.

Are you taking part this year?  What are you starting with?  Follow me on twitter, instagram and Goodreads for updates!  Now I am off to read!

11 July 2014

Cannon Hall Farm and Museum

As you might remember from my long time no see post, on my birthday weekend I went to Cawthorne to visit Cannon Hall Farm and Cannon Hall Museum.  We got up early and headed towards the Farm first of all.

I hadn't been to this farm since I was a child so I was presently surprised by how much had changed!  It was around 4 times the size, had lots of new and different animals, playgrounds and entertainment.  After we passed through the shops and entered the farm I was handed a leaflet detailing the days activities, the first thing I noticed?  The next activity was ferret racing, yes ferret racing, officially the most Barnsley thing I've ever heard of!  We went to see some of the birds, sheep and other livestock before heading towards the 'arena'.

Ferrets are a lot slower then I thought!  However this was really funny to watch, we both lost our 'bets'.  We wondered around the rest of the farm and there was a lot to see, a great variety of animals from the usual sheep, goats and pigs to lamas and bunnies.  Also, as it was spring, there were lots of baby's, so much cuteness!  I did a lot of petting!  Soon it was time for the next organised activity, sheep racing!

This was much more fast paced then ferret racing!  For each of the activities you go to a fake betting office and place your bet ( no money is exchanged, you just get a ticket) and if your sheep/ ferret wins they pick a number and you get a free return ticket, a great idea!  I have to say the course and how it was ran really impressed me.  I obviously picked the red sheep as it had a minnie mouse teddy 'jockey' but we lost again!  We had a few more hours looking at the animals before we left for lunch.  Honestly I thought we would have been about an hour here but we were actually here about 4, if you have kids you can expect to be here even longer, there's around 4 playgrounds so lots for children to do!

After this we headed away from the farm towards the museum and grounds, it is worth noting that these are ran separately, even though they are in the same area.  We didn't go into the museum at first, instead heading around the front for a picnic on the grass.  The grounds themselves are huge and is a popular place locally to come play ball games, have picnics and hang out with family and friends.  From where we were at the top of the hill we had a stunning view and it was a beautiful sunny day, great for a picnic.  We hung out here for a while before heading towards the museum.

The museum is inside what used to be a stately home and the building itself is beautiful.  I wasn't expecting the museum to be very big but it was a pretty good size, you can easily spend an hour or two in here and it's completely free.  The museum is split into different areas, part is about the history of the house, containing original artwork and furniture, and the rest is a regimental museum.  Both were really interesting and the staff are very knowledgeable.

From here we headed back to Cannon Hall farm for ice cream before walking around the grounds, there are two specific gardens, the fairy garden and the cottage garden that we looked around quickly before heading back for tea then home.  Honestly I wasn't expecting to be here for more then a few hours but we filled the whole day easily and the only thing we had to pay for was the farm which at £6.95 each was very good value.  Opening in June they also have a maize maze so I would defiantly recommend it if you are looking for a day out in the area.

9 July 2014

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 6

Start Weight: 11 stone 4 1/2 pounds
Last Weeks Weight: 10 stone 13 1/2 pounds
Current Weight: 10 stone 12 pounds
Loss, gain or Stay the Same: 1 1/2 pound loss
Total Loss: 6 1/2 pounds

It seems like I have been so quiet on my blog this week!  I haven't abandoned you I've just been suffering from various illness and feeling generally pretty down, I'm not going to go into it but needless to say my efforts to write this week haven't got me very far.  I didn't want to miss a #wlw though so here I am!

Well I did loose again finally!  To be honest I think I would have lost 4/5 pounds but I had a weekend slip up and I've been feeling bloated ever since.  Also general illness hasn't helped, I didn't eat on much on Friday as I was pretty much bed ridden and that isn't good.  But a loss is better then nothing so I'll take it!

This next week is going to be difficult as I am away in Newcastle for a big night out with my mum, sisters and their friends (illness/ frozen neck pending!)  Which means lots of alcohol which means hungover food.  My plan is to be strict in the week as some kind of damage control, if I loose 1 pound I'll be really happy (and have hit my 1/2 stone mark)!   Incidentally I know some of my fave blogggers are in Newcastle so if your around this weekend leave me a comment! 

Sorry this is short, as I said I've been physically ill and mentally I'm not great either at the moment but I'll just leave it at that.  I am going to get another post up this week one way or the other though I swear!  

4 July 2014

#LincsBlogMeet - The goodies!

You may have noticed in my first Lincoln Blog Meet post I held back from talking about the goodie bags, and this is because they are so overwhelming they deserved a post all of there own!  Amy and Bel did such a great job working with the brands and of course the brands themselves were so generous!  So without further adieu, lets get stuck in!

First of all I got this beautiful scarf from Scarlett fashion, it's light, colourful and so soft!  I've never owned a scarf like this and I love that it is so versatile.  This morning I actually wrapped it round myself and made a dress out of it!  I am generally terrible at accessorising but I am going to have fun finding different ways to wear this.

Next up the goodies the lovely lady from boots brought us, she really could not have given us much more!  Included were products from Nivea, Flexitol, Neutrogena, Eucerin, Dermalex, Avene and more.  I have never had a skin care routine in my life and over the last couple of weeks I have realised how much I need one so this gives me a perfect chance to try some products out and see what works for me.

The woman who came to talk to us from Weleda was nice enough to give us all a full size product!  I received this Citrus Refreshing Body Oil which smells incredible and feels so nourishing, I can't wait to try it out after my shower later, or I might even have a bath and add it to that!

I also received the Spring 2014 Discovery Club Box from The Fragrance Shop, this is a great way for you to try out new fragrances and I think 4 times a year is the just the right amount.  This had a variety of women's and men's fragrances (that I am going to pass on to my boyfriend), I've tried a couple of these already and I am looking forward to going through them all and finding some new favourites.

Bel, who was co-host of the event, has her own business Jewellery Ever After, she makes fairytale, TV and movie inspired jewellery and I was lucky enough to receive two Harry Potter items, a necklace and a Hufflepuff bracelet which I am totally in love with!

And then all the rest!  I got a full size Dark Angles from Lush, that I've been wanting to try for a while, a mini dry shampoo from Batiste and a mini Paul Mitchell hair spray, perfect for traveling!  A lolitint sample from Benefit which I've been dying to try since it came out, Lipcote lipstick sealer, samples from Manuka Doctor, Neal Wolf shampoo and conditioner samples and a One Love organics skin care routine sample set.

Finally we did a beauty swap, which was such a great idea.  I had kept stuff to one side for a blog sale but never got round to doing it so this was the perfect opportunity to get rid off it and pick up some more products to try.  I donated a lot and picked up quite a bit in return.  I got an aragon oil sachet for my hair, a soap and glory moisturising spray because I just love the sent!  A cleanser from the body shop because I currently don't own any cleanser and I've been trying this for the last week.  I got a whole brightening skincare set by Melvita curtesy of John of http://mr-wharff.com/, a skin mask which I got for my mother, vanilla sensed body lotion, a facial elixir, as I have been dying to try one, and another baby lips, lip balm!

So there you have it!  Is there you have been dying to try?

2 July 2014

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 5

Start Weight: 11 stone 4 1/2 pounds
Last Weeks Weight: 10 stone 13 pounds
Current Weight: 10 stone 13 1/2 pounds
Loss, gain or Stay the Same: 1/2 pound gain
Total Loss: 5 pounds

My weight is slowly creeping up but I can't pretend I don't know why!  I have had a very bad week so only putting 1/2 a pound on is a miracle!  I've been very tired and stressed which equaled sweets and chocolate, pizza and a hot dog....it's been one of those kind of weeks!  

As for this next week I have an almost clean week!  I'm staying home this weekend for once, so the only thing in my way is a night out (I'll just have to be steady with the vodka) and a trip to Manchester after work Thursday which to be honest I had totally forgotten about!  So I am hoping for a successful week, I'm going for 3 pounds, I am even going to keep a food diary!  I need to kick myself in the ass this week!

1 July 2014

London Gay Pride 2014

This Saturday marked the 3rd year I have volunteered for London Pride, my first year I was parade steward, last year I was part of the stage team at Leicester Square and this time I went back to parade steward, as this is by far my favourite part.  It's a long hard day, you deal with some rude and angry people but for the most part it's great.  You get the best view of the parade, get to work with lovely people, most of the public are fantastic and you get to dance, clap, make noise and just generally keep the crowds up beat.  

This year was a wet one, a very wet one, but this didn't put off the parade and all 30,000 people passed through central London in the 3 1/2 hours without a hitch.  This is the first year me and both my sisters all volunteered as my youngest sister finally turned 18!  Here are some pictures I took when I got chance, enjoy!

A very early tube trip, on route to the assembly point.  Wearing my new Harvey Milk t shirt my sister got me from San Francisco, very on point!

Around 9 I had met my group and we had arrived at our area, I was very lucky as we got a great area on Oxford street.  The parade wasn't due to start passing us until 1.30pm and the road was still open until around 12.30 so much caffeine was drank, and much speaking to the public which was great.  Now, on with the parade pics!

Did you spot Sir Ian McKellen and Sinnita?  

Finally, thank you to Tesco for not only providing our lunch but giving us these very appropriate snacks!

Have you attended a Pride event?

Kariss xx
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