Thursday, 28 February 2013

Book Swap!

I found my AOW book swap questionnaire SO difficult to fill out (and I wasn't the only one).  Of course, I cheated a bit (I even included a link to my Goodreads to help out my person) but I was still worried my questionnaire would flag me up for the true reader I am, a shallow one!  I don't read books more than once, even if I love them.  I will happily watch a film multiple times but with a book, I get so much enjoyment from a story when I read it, I can't bear to read it again knowing it won't be as good the second time round as I'll know what happens next throughout.

I read for escapism, to get fully involved in a story, imagining all the characters and thinking of what might happen next.  I get fully swept up in a book and am fully emotional when reading it.  But I don't read difficult books.  I need to be grabbed and find it easy to read, be it a quick paced crime thriller or an adventure or a magical fantasy.  I can't manage books which take effort, have too many characters and don't get me excited or intrigued in the first few pages.  Basically I just love a good story but if it's a difficult read, I can't enjoy it.  The Hobbit was the first book that, as a young teenager, was recommended to me and I just couldn't get into and is a perfect example of what I mean.  I'm sure it's a great story but it was just too difficult to get into and I consequently gave up.  I suppose I'm a lazy reader, I don't challenge myself with reading, it's just for fun.

So there are no great literary works in my list of favourites and desert island books.  And among the amazing readers of the AOW community I was a little nervous of letting my swapee down with my questionnaire...(I filled it out in capitals so it was easier to make out the answers from the questions.)


Q1. Hello! What is your name (real and commenter if they differ!) and whereabouts in the world are you?  BEX,  (OLIVEDRAGONFLY), GLASGOW

Q2. A quick business question (let's get the boring stuff out of the way.) Is there anywhere in the world you currently are NOT able to post a book to? ie. If you are US based and would like to only send to a US based participant, please do say so. Similarly for the UK, Europe, Antarctica...you get our drift. We want to be able to match to your perfect partner in every way, so let us know!  NOPE

Q3. Who is your favourite author?  TESS GERRITSEN

Q4. What is your favourite book of all time and how would you describe it in three words?  THE MAGIC FARAWAY TREE - ADVENTURE, FRIENDSHIP, MAGIC!


Q5. What was the best book you read in 2012 - again, describe in 3 words?  I CANT DO IT!  THESE ARE THE BOOKS I READ IN 2012 IN THE ORDER I RATED THEM http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/6584778-bex?format=html&shelf=2012&sort=rating (I SUSPECT I'D HAVE TO SAY THE MILLENIUM TRIOLOGY AS I RATED ALL THREE BOOKS 5 STARS BUT WAR HORSE MADE ME CRY FOR HOURS AND REALLY TOUCHED ME AND REMINDED ME OF MY HORSEY DAYS AS A TEENAGER, ALSO I LOVED LOVED LOVED THE BEGINNING OF THE DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE TRILOGY FOR THE ORIGINALITY  CHARACTERS AND, AGAIN, MAGIC, CAN'T WAIT FOR BOOK 3!


Q6. What was your least favourite book you read in 2012 and why - in no more than 50 words?  A IS FOR ALIBI - IT WAS RECOMMENDED TO ME AS A CRIME THRILLER (ONE OF MY FAVOURITE GENRES) BUT IT DIDN'T GRIP ME AND I DIDN'T CONNECT WITH THE CHARACTERS.  NOT INTERESTED IN READING THE SERIES EVEN THOUGH I WAS EXCITED THERE WERE 26 OF THEM BEFORE I STARTED (I HOPED TO DELVE IN AND LOVE THEM ALL).


Q7. If you could only take 3 books to a desert island, what would they be?  I'VE NEVER READ A BOOK TWICE SO I'D GO FOR SOMETHING I HAVEN'T READ BEFORE - DEFINITELY SOMETHING FANTASY STYLE WITH ADVENTURE AND EMOTION (SIMILAR TO THE MAGICIAN'S GUILD BOOKS THAT HAS TENSION AND WELL DEVELOPED RELATIONSHIPS  I'VE JUST FINISHED THESE SO MAY BE BIASED AS I'M STILL GRIEVING!), A GOOD, LONG CRIME THRILLER AND A CLASSIC I HAVEN'T READ YET AND WOULD HOPEFULLY WANT TO READ AGAIN AND AGAIN.  ALTHOUGH I'D OBVIOUSLY CHEAT AND TAKE MY KINDLE SO I COULD HAVE HUNDREDS OF BOOKS IN ONE!


Q8. What was your favourite book as a child?  THE MAGIC FARAWAY TREE OR ANYTHING BY ROALD DAHL


Q9. We'd like to run some 'The Book I Received' posts in the future, collections of short reviews by some of the participants of the first ever Book Swap. Would you be interested in taking part in these features?  ABSOLUTELY!

Q10. What is your full postal address? (Please don't worry. We're not going to sell it to anyone. Probably.)  REBECCA...


Not only that but I was supremely anxious regarding what to buy MY person!  I tried stalking them on Goodreads but couldn't find them (I thought I had but then realised that person lived in a different country).  What if I pick something they'd already read?  What if they hate the author I have in mind?  (Potentially likely but I have my reasons for choosing it!)  What if they read it and hate it?  Nightmare, why did I sign up for this??

Well, my books have been chosen and are ready to post tomorrow (today) only crap I've just realised that this is February and they were to be posted by the end of the month and February is shorter and tomorrow IS the end of the month!  Oops!  Sorry to my person!  I won't share here what they are yet just in case they see this and it ruins the surprise, but they are on the way, I promise!

My parcel arrived on Tuesday.  I can't even convey how excited I was to collect it from the post office when I thought I was just going to be collecting my new felting supplies (already exciting enough!) to discover my book swap parcel as well!  Not only that but it felt like either one massive book or two books!  (Just as I have done for my person due to the above mentioned anxiety!)



Inside I found a super cute wrapped package and inside that, my two lovely new books and a specially made green card (love the picture of Matilda, the holographic green and the quote!) and hand-made green oriental bookmark!  (They'd seen my posts on AOW so had a very correct hunch about my love of green!)



The books were The Night Circus (one that was on my reading list but not yet read) and one I'd never heard of - Throne of Glass.  Both were bought because of my obvious love for magical themes and the second was also related to adventure, fantasy and trilogies!  Perfect choices, I am SO delighted with them!  I can't wait to read them but am currently reading my kindle copy of one of the books I bought my person* and still have to read Gone Girl for Blook Club by next Sunday!  Just as well I have 10 hours on the train to and from London this weekend!!


Thanks so much to Emily for the excellent choices and to the Any Other Woman ladies for organising such a brilliant swap!  :D

* incidentally this choice has turned out to be somewhat awkward as it's about (no spoilers!) a woman who's daughter has died and although I'm finding it interesting so far (I'm 19% in) I'm rather glad I didn't have the lovely Aisling as my person as I've since found out the daughter's name was Stella!  Bit weird/horrid to read when you just had a baby called Stella!

Heart Swap!

I've been meaning to blog about my amazing Heart Swap package for ages!  (My Book Swap post is coming up this afternoon!)

I was swapping with the lovely Anna herself (due to a little mix up I think she ended up with me as a bonus swappee so I wasn't left out, bless her!) and she didn't disappoint!  (You can see what I sent her below.)

I received...



Packaging decorated with hearts and a dragonfly sticker!


Beautiful gifts wrapped up in doilies and olive green ribbons and a cupcake card!


A heart hook, heart pralines, a gorgeous notebook.


And my favourites - green magnetic nail varnish and 
a hand-made (by Anna) necklace of green gems.


They go perfectly with my green jumper and scarf!


Thank you SO much to Anna for organising such a wonderful swap and for my beautiful gifts!!

Here's what I sent her:




Home-made heart shaped bath bombs


Home-made chevron friendship bracelet in mint and grey


Home-made Oaties


Note-lets and a notebook 
(blue and turquoise, her favourite colours - I forgot to photograph them before I wrapped them!)




Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Pin It Do It Challenge - Pretzels

I have loved pretzels for years!  I remember visiting New York when I was about 13, we were staying with friends in Connecticut and travelled up to visit Boston and New York and I'm pretty sure that was when I tried my first pretzel and I've been in love ever since :)
I never really thought about making them myself until I got into watching the Great British Bake Off, one of my favourite rounds is the bread round and although I've never seen them do pretzels on the show, they did feature bagels and that lead me to thinking about pretzels.  A quick search on Pinterest and viola!



The recipe is really easy to follow and makes 12 generous sized pretzels.  The dough is quite a sticky consistency  so I found adding a few extra spoons of flour when it was mixing in my Kitchenaid worked a treat.


It takes a bit of work to get the dough rolled out and the pretzels shaped and whilst mine are by no means perfectly shaped, they do taste amazing!

To achieve the chewy outer crust, you dunk your shaped pretzels into a solution of warm water and baking soda.  The recipe says to use 3 cups of water and a third of a cup of baking soda, but you really do not need to use so much baking soda.  I used a generous tablespoon of baking soda and enough water to cover my pretzels.


They only take about 8 mins to cook in the oven and brushing them with melted butter whilst they are still warm and eating them straight away is highly recommended, yum!!



I did make a few sweet ones with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top of the butter at the end, but the savoury ones are by far the best in my opinion.
Has anyone else made pretzels before?  Or fancy giving it a go after seeing this?  We'd love to see your pictures :)
Roz xx

Olive Dragonfly Pin It Do It

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

My weekend

As I mentioned, I had a few plans this weekend!  I didn't do quite as much crafting as I planned and haven't finished any of the projects yet although have started a couple of new ideas.  I did borrow a few punches from Sarah, including a cute house which I've used to make a couple of 'welcome to your new home' cards.  (I just stuck them down so I could take the picture!)

Rainbow houses!
Obviously they're higgledy piggledy on purpose (it's easier that way!)


On Saturday night I had a lovely time at Sarah's house and met the lovely SingleMan75 (whose blog is hilarious and sweet, not always at the same time!) as well as catching up with a few friends.  We had Chinese food and drinks before they all convinced Nik and I to join them in the local club for a boogie!  It was great having a proper catch up with Sarah and Claire as we haven't all had a proper night out together since my hen do(s)!  It's difficult to all get together at the same time as we're all busy and they both have young children.  We made up for it last night and had a great time dancing away!

Me & my girls on the dance floor!  :)

It was nice to get out with Nik as well as we tend to just go out for dinner these days and haven't had a full on night out together for ages either!  (Was going to include another pic here but not sure he'd approve of me sharing the ones I have of us on the dance floor - it was getting a bit late in the hot club so we weren't looking our best any more!)

The next day I met up with Vikki and her gorgeous daughter, Emily.  I got to see all 3 of my awesome bridesmaids in one weekend!  :D

Why would you keep your shoes and socks on in a restaurant if you can get away with bare feet??

A girl after my own heart - mouth full of cheese!

We met in town for lunch and ended up indulging in a Sunday Roast at The Living Room!  Yum!  (Review to follow.)  I had such a brilliant weekend, we'll need to do it much more often girls!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Meal Planning by Roz

Since the beginning of the year B and I have sitting down and planning out our meals for the week. We have always cooked dinner most nights from scratch as we don't really eat ready meals at all. A chilled out night might involve a pizza or some fresh pasta, but generally we have always cooked something from scratch as we both enjoy cooking.  Or eaten out.   Now it's the eating out bit that got out of hand!   We are spoiled for choice when it comes to eating out, living in the West End of Glasgow, there are so many great places to eat within a short walk from our flat such as Bibi's - maybe the best Mexican in Glasgow.   It's really small so if you want to go at the weekend you need to book.   The frozen margaritas are ace! - or the Butchershop Bar & Grill - I think this might be one of my favourite restaurants in Glasgow. The food is always great and the staff are lovely too.


But with the new house purchase we have been planning our meals and eating out is generally not a feature. We have honestly only eaten out once since the start of the year. I have an EAT notepad, which you obviously don't need to plan out your meals but it appealed to my love of stationery and list making.  It has a section for each day of the week and lets you plan out what you intend to have for lunch and dinner.

We try to plan out at least 6 days worth of meals and then buy what we need in one shop, it's amazing how much money you end up spending when you just pop into the shop on the way home from work to pick up an item or two. 

We have discovered a number of quick and tasty meals and I wanted to share a few of my favourites, in the hope that you might share yours in the comments below!  I have the epicurious app on my phone and really like it. You can browse for recipe ideas under breakfast, lunch, dinner or for special occasions, but it also has a collection of recipes under mid-week dinners when you are less likely to want to spend a long time prep-ing or waiting on your dinner to cook!  You can also search for recipes based on a particular ingredient, which can be useful to use up leftovers  It also lets you save your favourite recipes and creates you a shopping list if you need it.   We have made this Spicy Orange Chicken for dinner a number of times, I love it as it's really quick to make and nice and healthy.

Source: epicurious.com via Bex on Pinterest


Last week, whilst off work with a few fractured bones in his foot(!), B looked up some new recipes for us and the Chicken Tortilla Bake below was one of my favourites.   We regularly have fajitas for dinner, they are so quick and tasty, we make them with chicken, peppers and onions, and I think they are a pretty healthy dinner as long as you can control how much cheese and sour cream you add!!   We often have a number of tortillas left over and whilst I am happy to make up wraps for lunch or freeze them for next time, this recipe uses them up nicely.


Source: food.com via Bex on Pinterest


The first time we made it we only used two tortillas as that was all we had left, but it still worked and tasted great :)

Do any of you fancy the recipes above or have any good mid-week dinner recipes to share? If so please drop us a comment below.
Roz xx

Saturday, 23 February 2013

New Facebook Page (& a DIY craft haul!)

We have a shiny new Facebook page where I have made a few albums of my favourite outfits, nail art, tried and tested recipes and projects including #ODCC crafts and #PinItDoIt ideas.  I've also added one for pictures from readers who've been inspired to try out a project they've seen on the blog or those who've sent in a Pin It Do It project themselves.  I love being able to have albums for all my favourite blog posts and to be able to share even more photos!

All blog posts will be updated there too so if you don't already follow us via google reader, RSS or Bloglovin' then you can follow along via Facebook!  (Obviously you can follow us on Facebook as well as the above options if you want, we'll be adding more content there too with the added reader photos.)

This weekend I'm mainly crafting, catching up on blog posts for next week, heading to a party with friends at Sarah's house and catching up with Vikki and the super cute Emily on Sunday!  Last night I went to get a few more paint swatches and may have got a little carried away.  Nik had the FAB idea of getting a few wallpaper samples too, all for adding a bit of pattern and texture to the garlands I'm making!  There were some lovely designs and I chose quite a few (all of which I would actually consider for a future feature wall as well!) and restrained myself to just the amount I would take to decide whether to buy it for my wall - i.e. one full pattern repeat.  I may have gone slightly overboard with the paint swatches too but I have so many ideas for what to make with them.  I went to two different stores so I wasn't taking too many from each as I did feel a little guilty taking so many.  If any of you see any paint colours or wallpaper you love, email me and I'll pass on the details!  :)

I can't wait to make a rainbow garland!

Taken standing on the sofa!
(They're all scraps not full rolls like they appear when rolled up!)

I first had the idea to make garlands when I saw this in Good Homes Christmas magazine...


I then did a search on Pinterest to find some images I could pin to our #ODCC board and just this morning I saw this amazing gold version pinned by Naomi.


Source: etsy.com via Bex on Pinterest

Friday, 22 February 2013

Pin It Do It - Outfit - Red Maxi

I'm actually doing SO many of these Pinterest inspired things at the moment it's all I have to blog about!!  I've had a super busy week (a rather tired one after Monday's shenanigans and a busy week at work!) so haven't had time to do another Splurge Vs Save yet again, next week I promise!  (This is why I shouldn't try to do a specific post on a specific day, although I like the idea of it, I'm so bad at blogging to a schedule, I tend to write about what I'm loving at the time!  Ah well.)

This Thursday I went to meet Lynsey (who I met for the first time at Craft Club) for a coffee and we had a good old time chatting away about work (more of a rant really) and books!  I had so much fun I even forgot to tweet about my scrummy caramel shortbread and latte!  I tried out another outfit idea from Pinterest...

Source: polyvore.com via Bex on Pinterest


Obviously I had to winter proof it so I added a jumper under the denim jacket (I didn't have a short cardigan - since been remedied £9.99 from H&M after coffee!) and wore tights and boots instead of sandals, it's pretty chilly here at the moment!  As I don't have a brown or white jumper, I changed the tan belt and white vest for black but wore my awesome brown beaded necklace (Although I think that's a beaded bracelet above) I picked up at a craft fair from the lady next to me when I used to sell my photos, she gave me an amazing discount and I love it!  It must have taken her ages as all the beads are wired together on the back.  As it's such a statement piece, I didn't wear any other jewellery for once!  I did add my huge red scarf to keep me extra cosy though.



Skirt - Zara, Vest - H&M, Jumper - Miss Sixty, Necklace - Craft Fair, Denim Jacket - H&M, Scarf - H&M, Belt - Wallis, Boots - Next.


Lynsey also brought along the muffin tray she bought for me after telling me about it at craft club!  Perfect for making dragonfly shaped bath bombs (tutorial coming soon!) and only £6 from TK Maxx!  :)



Olive Dragonfly Pin It Do It
Click this image to see more about #PinItDoIt

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Cocktail & Burger and Yelp Glasgow

A couple of weeks ago I received an email via the blog (actually through my photo website alerting me to the fact I had no obvious contact button on the blog) asking me if I would be interested in joining online community, Yelp Glasgow.  Yelp is a site that allows people to join and connect with each other while also reviewing places in and around where they live.  Not just restaurants but shops, hairdressers, garages, dentists...  Basically any business where you receive some kind of service.  It's a great idea and I've already used it to decide where to eat when I fancy somewhere I know is decent due to honest, local reviews.

I'm slowly building up my own profile now I've joined and added my review of Zizzi.  Just a week after I replied to the initial email from Chris (the Glasgow community manager), he emailed me again to tell me about Yelp Elite and invite me along to one of their events if I wanted to see what it was all about and meet some fellow foodies!  They were going to Cocktail & Burger which opened on Sauchiehall Street in November for some food tasting and cocktails.  As I hadn't met any of these people before I, rather cheekily since it was an Elite event and I was invited along, asked if it would be OK to bring along my new blog partner who also loves eating out around Glasgow.  He said that would be fine so off Roz and I went on Monday night to meet these lovely Yelp people and enjoy a burger!

Photo by Alasdair 
Me fully Yelpified with my yummy peach Daiquiri!

I wasn't sure what to expect never having been to such an event or the venue before but the place was buzzing, even on a Monday night!  At one point I think the whole restaurant was full, which speaks of the food on offer.  We had our own area at the back of the restaurant, easily spotted by the Yelp balloons and party atmosphere.  We found Chris, got our name badges, found a seat and began chatting.  Everyone was lovely and the first cocktail soon arrived!  The bar has a massive slushy machine which makes strawberry and peach daiquiris.  I sampled the peach one and it was gorgeous, so fresh tasting and zingy!  I would definitely return just for one of those babies!  (I'm an idiot and forgot my camera - devastating! - so my crappy phone pics will have to do, sorry!  I've also included some pictures by the lovely Alasdair who was the 'Photo Dude' on the night!  You can see the rest of his pictures here.  Oh and my phone battery died - bad blogger! - so Roz lent me her phone for some piccies!)

Photo by Alasdair 
Peach Daiquiri and some of the Yelp  merchandise!

We then got to sample some food, starting with chicken skewers, again delicious, just the right amount of heat for me and nice moist chicken.  The best thing was the slider though, a mini burger on a brioche bun (all their burgers come served in brioche) with amazing burger sauce oh and Stealth Fries seasoned with salt and ground black pepper - AMAZING!  We then sampled chicken wings with a super spicy smoky sauce (managable as I just had one dunk, I'm a wuss!) and a herby yoghurt sauce which was lovely.  We were then asked to choose another cocktail to sample and I couldn't resist trying the pineapple and ginger martini, yum!  (Roz was driving so I also got to sample a very nice Mojito on her behalf, thanks Roz!)

Photo by Alasdair 



Chicken wings with dips
Delish cocktails!


We enjoyed the food so much, Roz and I ordered a couple of sliders as we were still hungry (£7 for two meat ones) although I was gutted they had no pork left as that sounded divine!  Slow cooked pork belly served with Kopparberg cider onions!  I'm definitely going back for a large version of that bad boy (and with 2 for 1 on the big burgers it'd be rude not to!)  So we each had a mini lamb slammer and a mini cheese burger and more stealth fries, we couldn't resist!  I asked for my beef slider to have the blue cheese which is on the menu with the mushroom burger and they said that was no problem.  They did however get the order slightly wrong and that turned up as a large version!  No complaint here as we were still charged for the mini version as it was their mistake.


The staff were lovely, attentive and friendly and they make awesome cocktails!  I can't wait to take Nik along, he'll love it there, especially as there's a 2 for 1 deal, he loves a deal that boy!  All the Yelpers we met were lovely too, we didn't really mingle much as were were the newbies and feeling a little shy but a few people did come over to say Hi and we had a great night!

You can read all the reviews from the event here and see what everyone else had to say about it.  :)

Cocktail & Burger on Urbanspoon

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