Saturday, 29 March 2014

46. M is for March, Miranda and Mum

Hello everyone! How are you all? You know when you just have one of those great months? Well March was certainly one of them and let me tell you, it was certainly overdue. I hope you all had a wonderful month too and here's to many more :) Since I last posted, I have been a busy bee and it was nice to have a life again for a bit after my dissertation and before revision for the summer exams. 

As I mentioned in my previous post, I went to see Miranda with my lovely friends Michael and Soleil! Sadly, no photography was allowed during the show but it was brilliant :D The whole theme of the show was a party so Miranda had a little finger buffet and she passed stuff like Doritos and chocolates to the audience members at the front. She also sent two audience members on a date during the interval but it was so awkward at first as there was a 40-something year old woman who came forward to go on a date with the man who was 19 but luckily Miranda asked the woman her age and fairly politely told her that a younger woman would be more suitable. After the interval, she asked the pair how the date went but they only gave each other 6/10 so sadly, I don't think Miranda will be going to their wedding! My personal highlights were when Miranda was complaining about changing the bedding and how fitted sheets are a nightmare because once you've put it on 2 corners, the whole sheet just slides off when you reach the third :'( She also told us that she lies inside her duvet cover as she is putting it on to ensure the corners all match. Now the best bit of the show and probably one of the best things I have seen in my entire life was when Miranda walked out to Beyonce's Crazy in Love. Oh my word. I was crying with happiness. She did the whole one leg in front of the other walk and it has completed my life, I am not exaggerating. She received a standing ovation and rightly so. I bought the Miranda goodie bag and in the programme, there are instructions on how to make vegetapals! SUCH FUN! The goodie bag also contains plasters, a poster and stickers and the bag is a canvas one with the logo for The Official Miranda Hart Gallopers Association. Honestly, I love Miranda Hart, there should be more people like her who simply spread joy throughout the world. Gallop to your heart's content kids! 
March also marks my Mum's birthday and Mother's Day of course. For the second year running, I baked my Mum's birthday cake and she said she liked it which is always good! This year, I went for a carrot cake with orange and cream cheese frosting (recipe taken from John Whaite Bakes). I loved the frosting because it is so much lighter and refreshing than normal buttercream! I think I might make some cupcakes and decorate them with it. I love my Mum to bits but it does my head in when I ask her what she wants and she ALWAYS says "Nothing, I have you and that's all that matters". Yes I know you have me and have had so for almost two decades but PLEASE just tell me so I don't end up getting you something you hate. I mean if you make a slight error when buying a friend a present, it isn't too bad as you don't have to live with them! Anyway, I eventually took my Mum out to the local shops so she could buy a new birthday outfit and a matching headscarf. I also bought her a new alarm clock from Clas Ohlson as she needed one and I am definitely one for practical gifts! I bought her a bouquet of flowers and a bird print scarf like mine from Primark. Here are some photos from my Mum's birthday:

For Mother's Day, I bought my Mum some pistachio, vanilla and strawberry macarons from Patisserie Valerie. I also bought her some white chocolate truffles and chocolate hearts from Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe. Both the Mother's Day and birthday cards were from Moonpig. Moonpig is the one. What did you all get for your lovely mummies? 

As well as baking my Mum's cake, I also invited my best friend, Sammia over who I had not seen since January because of my dissertation so we could do same baking at my house! Sammia set me three challenges a bit like The Great British Bake Off when they have the showstopper, technical and signature bakes. My three challenges were: one bake should have 3 colours, one bake should contain chocolate and one bake should contain two flavours. I only made two bakes as they both contained chocolate so it was silly making a third. We baked Smarties cookies (recipe can be found here: and white chocolate and apricot flapjacks (recipe taken from John Whaite Bakes and can also be found here:
The bakes tasted a lot better than they look!

As I am only in university 3 days a week except when I have my field course or go in to work on assignments, I have been spending a lot of time in my room and when it looks like this, who can blame me?! On Wednesday night, I lit some candles and treated myself to Lush Henna and Jasmine Fluff Ease hair treatment which left my hair feeling so soft! I would give the hair treatment 4/5 because I wasn't too keen on the henna smell and applying it was messy too. Also, if you worry a lot like me then don't be afraid that the treatment contains henna as it will not dye your hair in the slightest, I promise you.
I also discovered the wonder that is the pumice stone in March. I know nobody likes their feet and I have a few friends that cannot bare to even look at theirs but the pumice stone really helps with calluses and cracked heels and because it's natural, it is even better. We had one but when we had the bathroom done a few years ago, it just disappeared. When I was younger, I didn't have an issue with the skin on my feet but I think wearing my heeled ankle boots has caused some areas of hard skin. Anyway, I purchased my pumice stone from good old Amazon and here is the link:

Hope you've enjoyed this post and have a wonderful day with your Mums tomorrow. If you are a mother yourself then Happy Mother's Day. I am looking forward to April as I am going to The Cake and Bake show with my friend next weekend so I will put a post up about that. It is also Parkinson's Awareness Week between the 7th and 13th April so I will be doing my bit for that. If you live in the UK then don't forget to turn your clocks one hour forward tonight (boo, less sleep). Until next time, take care.
Mancunian Sheep x

Monday, 24 March 2014

45. 8 week Clinique and Origins Skincare Update

Hello everyone, it was exactly 8 weeks ago today that I went to my local Boots and bought bags of potions for my skin (see my post titled "Investing in my skin" to read how it all started). Anyway, as promised, I thought I would update you all with how successful the products were in improving my skin's condition. 

I'll start with Origins which I bought to help my bacne and I'm sorry to say this but the products made my skin worse than it already was. I am aware that breakouts can occur depending on the hormonal cycle but pretty much immediately after using the Origins Skin Diver shower gel, I always noticed a couple of large painful spots. Now, I know I could have stopped using these products but I wanted to see if it was just a case of it will get worse before it gets better but I think 2 months is long enough to say that it won't get any better. I'm not sure if because it was a men's skincare product that it may have been too harsh on my skin but the assistant at the Origins counter insisted it would be fine. The Origins spot remover blemish treatment pads were not any better and all they seemed to do was aggravate the large spots the shower gel seemed to cause. Again, these products are made for the face so I'm not sure whether they were strong enough to tackle back acne but I don't know why the assistant would have recommended them otherwise. I wish I could have shown you a before and after of my back but that would have been rather odd. It is safe to say that I won't be purchasing Origins products again. They are overpriced and quite frankly, do not work! If any of you suffer from back acne and know of a miracle product then please please please let me know! I made an appointment for it with the GP today but don't have much faith truth be told.

On a slightly more positive note, Clinique's anti-blemish three step skincare system did work! Personally, I think the most marked improvements have been on my forehead and chin. You can compare the photos below with the ones on my investing in my skin post to make up your mind. I have had a few breakouts due to hormones and stress but the products help clear them up quicker than before. I'm hoping with time, the blemishes on my neck will also reduce but I think that may have something to do with my headscarf pin... The facial soap does what it says on the tin and is not harsh on your skin and feels really light and refreshing. I use 2 pumps in the evening to remove all the grime that accumulates during the day and 1 pump in the morning. The clarifying lotion liquid exfoliator is really good and there has been a marked reduction in the blackheads on my nose, I'm still surprised by how dirty the cotton pad can be even after using the face wash. When you have a red painful spot, it does sting a bit when you apply the liquid exfoliator but it definitely does the job. The all over clearing treatment prevents your skin from becoming too dry as the exfoliator can be quite harsh and it leaves your skin looking shiny. Also, I'm not sure if this has something to do with the products but since using them, I have stopped picking my spots (yes, I know it is a disgusting habit)! I know the three step system can be quite pricy but I have used the products twice a day for two months and still have enough of the facial soap and clarifying lotion to last me another two and I think the all over clearing treatment will last another month too. I have also been using the Clinique All About Eyes cream and although it leaves the skin around my eyes smooth and hydrated, it has not reduced the appearance of fine lines or improved the dark circles beneath my eyes so I won't be buying it again and it costs £25.
Below are some "after" photos:

I hope this has been useful and do comment below letting me know what your favourite skin care products are! Watch out for my next post which will be a book review on The Compatibility Gene, I can't put it down and woke up early this morning to read it so I should finish it in a few days. Until next time, take care.

Mancunian Sheep

Thursday, 13 March 2014

44. Millionaire's Shortbread Recipe

Hello everyone! I do realise this is my fourth post this week but I think writing my dissertation has given me some sort of writing bug. I realised that I had not baked since November when I made a chocolate finger cake (check out my post Shameless Shepherd Selfies for photos and details of the recipe) so today I decided to make Millionaire's Shortbread for the first time. I bought a loose bottomed 20 cm square cake tin from Home Sense so was excited to try it. It was very easy to clean and did not leak! I did a Random Spring Haul video over on my YouTube channel which you can check out here:
Anyway, here is the recipe and some photos of the Millionaire's Shortbread that I made. I'm taking some to uni tomorrow for my tutorial group because at the start of the year, our tutor went round the group and asked us what our hobbies are and I said baking and he said he wanted to try some of my baking. I hope they like it!


For the shortbread:

115 g butter
175 g plain flour
55 g caster sugar

For the topping:

175 g butter
115 g caster sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup
400 g canned condensed milk
150 g plain chocolate


Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 20 cm square cake tin.

Combine the butter (115 g), flour and caster sugar (55 g) by stirring with a wooden spoon and using your hands until the ingredients all bind together.
Press into the tin using the back of a spoon to level out the shortbread mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and remove to cool.
Whilst the shortbread is baking, place the butter (175 g), caster sugar (115 g), golden syrup and condensed milk into a saucepan and stir on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Raise the heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and stir occasionally for 10 minutes until the mixture is golden and very thick.
Leave the caramel to cool for 5 minutes and then pour onto the shortbread. 
Place in the fridge until the caramel has set.
Melt the chocolate using a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water. Leave the chocolate to cool for five minutes and then pour onto the caramel.
Return to the fridge so the chocolate can set.
You can store the millionaires shortbread in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days to enjoy to your heart's content :)
Here are some that I made earlier! (I should be on Blue Peter).

If you give this recipe a go then do comment below! Hope you found this useful, I will be doing baking posts more often as I've really missed it with such a busy academic year. Until next time, take care.
Mancunian Sheep x

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

43. Song of the Month-March

Hello everyone, yes it is that time of the month again! I do realise that I've put up three posts in 24 hours but I really have missed blogging. After their superb performance at the Brits (which you can watch here:, it is only fair that March's song of the month goes to the Arctic Monkeys. Alex Turner's acceptance speech turned out to be like Marmite and divided the nation but I personally loved it because it was different. He didn't just do the typical "I would like to thank my Grandad's neighbour's cousin" and used it as an opportunity to instead say something that had real impact. I have had AM on repeat whilst writing my dissertation and love the entire album so I was not surprised when it won album of the year at both the NME and Brit awards. My favourite song off the album is Snap Out Of It just because it is so damn catchy and the chorus is phenomenal. It's definitely one of the ultimate songs to power walk to the bus stop to. 
Let me know what you think of Snap Out Of in the comments below. Also, what's your favourite song off AM and favourite Arctic Monkeys song in general? Until next time, take care.
Mancunian Sheep x

42. Sweet inspired Barry M nails

Hello everyone. Hope you're all doing okay, as promised here is my first beauty related post. I don't wear make up but love doing my nails and I like lip products too. My nail varnish collection  looked like it needed some new additions for the spring/summer and Superdrug currently have a buy one get the second half price special offer on all Barry M products so I just could not help myself! I do love Barry M nail varnish as a second coat is rarely required, nails do not chip easily and they are so cheap! All of the products were £2.99 except the confetti nails which was £3.99.
L-R: Bright Purple, Spring Green, Pink Flamingo, Dolly Mixture Confetti
 Nails and the 3 in 1 base coat, top coat and nail hardener.
I really did love the look of the confetti nails as they reminded me
of hundreds and thousands that you get on a Flake 99. However,
it was an absolute nightmare to take off but in all fairness I did use 3
coats of the confetti nails to give maximum effect.

This is my favourite look as my favourite colours are green
and purple and it reminds me of a Ribena carton/ blackcurrant
and lime or apple sweets.
Make sure you use a base coat with the spring green otherwise it
will stain your nails and you don't want mouldy looking nails! The green
was quite difficult to take off but I've found that with other brands too such as
Collection 2000.

I am yet to use Pink Flamingo but it will go perfectly with one of my summer dresses so I will probably post a photo of that on my Instagram (my username is shazia_4 if you'd like to follow me). Keep your eyes peeled for my Clinique skincare update which will be up later this week. Until next time, take care.
Mancunian Sheep x

Monday, 10 March 2014

41. Marchuary

Hello everyone, hope you're all well. I am sorry for not posting in almost a month, for once I do have a valid excuse in the form of a 9 page dissertation on Parkinson's disease and deep brain stimulation. A lot of Mancunian Sheep news has been accumulating over the past 4 weeks and I've been dying to share it all with you so here are the headlines, enjoy (there usually isn't much to enjoy on the actual news but I promise there is here)!

I don't think I can hold this in much longer so watch this and everything will become clear:
This is why I had to get this post up without further ado because I still can't believe I've managed to get tickets for the second Thursday of Wimbledon. It took long enough for Andy's win to sink in so at least the organisers have given me a few months to prepare! I will of course take lots of photos when I go to SW19 to post on here :)

I received some more good news at the end of February when my exam results were released. After a very tough semester to say the least, I passed all my exams surprisingly as I was convinced I'd failed 2/5 of them. I won't lie to you, there were times during the last few months when I thought there was not a light at the end of the tunnel but hard work does pay off, trust me. I hope everyone else receiving their GCSE/ A-Level and univeristy exam results are happy with them.

As mentioned above, I've been busy writing my dissertation and as Parkinson's Awareness Week is coming in April, I will do a post and/or a video to explain what I've learnt about the condition from writing my dissertation and how it has affected me personally. For now, if you'd like to find out more about Parkinson's then check out this website: 

I feel like this post is turning into a dissertation with the lack of photos so here are some I took last Saturday when I went to see Jack Whitehall at the Phones 4 U arena in Manchester. He was brilliant as ever and despite this being his first arena tour, he did not seem nervous in the slightest. Just to give you some context, Jack loves the Lion King hence his costume and as for the Emporio Armani underwear, he was talking about Cristiano Ronaldo being a really unrealistic underwear model. My personal highlights of the night were when Jack explained his motto "Get it wrong, gotta be strong" and when to use it e.g. mishearing someone's name and by staying strong and calling them the wrong name until they doubt their own name. I was also in stitches when he ended up turning what was supposed to be a Geordie accent to an Indian and then Jamaican accent. I will be seeing Miranda Hart in Manchester this weekend so that will definitely be what I call, such fun (see what I did there?)!

In typical British fashion, I just had to mention the weather. I'm not a fan of very hot weather as it makes me even more grumpy than I usually am but since Friday, I've just loved waking up to a sunny bedroom. I'm hoping the storms don't return as I'm starting a field course in the Greater Manchester area next week. The other thing I like about summer is that I am a lot more healthier during it. I've embarked on a no sugar diet. I've not gone completely cold turkey so have allowed myself fruit. During the winter, I end up having a lot of sugary coffee and tea, chocolate and cakes and I just wanted to cut down because I'm scared of getting diabetes and I'm hoping it will have a positive effect on my energy levels, skin and weight. I've been loving clementines and plums recently and they are a lot more colourful and tastier than brown biscuits and chocolate.

I hope you've all enjoyed my Marchuary news. I've not forgotten about updating you all on my Clinique skincare regime, I will be putting up another post later this week to make up for my absence because I've been painting my nails quite a bit lately so it makes more sense to do a separate beauty related post.

Have you received any good news in the last few weeks? Make sure you all make the most of the sunshine after the horrendous storms. Until next time, take care.


Mancunian Sheep x