Recipe: Leek And Potato Soup

Sunday, 30 June 2013
Ok, so it's summer. But I'm still making soup every week and taking it to work with me for lunch. I'm  not a massive veggie person(it's bad, I know) so soup is a good way for me to sneak in some veggies. My personal favourite is leek and potato with carrot and coriander coming a close second. I was making some for my lunch on Friday and I decided I'd do a recipe post. This recipe will make a lot of soup, which you can then freeze for using when you can't be bothered to cook. Even if it's not the most seasonal thing, this still tastes really great. And if you want to spoil the party you can always save the recipe for winter.

4 reasonably large potatos, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 leeks, chopped
2 stock cubes(my personal favourite combo is 1 chicken and 1 vegetable but ham ones are also nice)
Salt and pepper to taste

Step one: Add the onions to a pot and lightly fry them in the bottom of the pan for a few minutes. Not quite sure what this does but my gran gets pretty annoyed if you don't do it so...

Step 2: Remove from the heat, then add the other vegetables and stock cubes. Cover with water and then turn the heat back on. It will take about half an hour to cook and all the vegetables will have gone soft.

Step 3: Liquidise. I prefer my soup to be really smooth but you can leave it a bit chunky if that's your personal taste. Then season it to how you like it, I like a lot of pepper with mine as you can see but not salt. If my mum makes this she adds salt when she's cooking it but I don't like to add unnecessary salt to my food. 

Step 4: Enjoy with some lovely bread and an episode of your favourite tv show.

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A Photo An Hour - 28/6/13

Saturday, 29 June 2013
 Even though it's the school holidays, I don't like to sleep in too late. I don't really deviate from my normal sleeping pattern so if I need to get up early then it's not too painful. I decided to spend some time in bed this morning reading Carrie by Stephen King. I'm totally captured in it. I only started reading it yesterday and I'll probably end up finishing it today.


By 9am I was starting to feel quite hungry so I got up and got myself a yoghurt and some strawberries for breakfast. I also had some orange juice but I never photographed it. For some reason I have so many YouTube videos to get through so I was watching the latest ItsJudysLife video as I ate. Horror story: I actually found a slug on one of those strawberries, so gross!


I then decided to go through my news feed and comment on a load of blog posts. I also replied to comments left on my own blog. I'm so close to 700 followers on GFC at the moment. So exciting. I know there is a lot of hoo-haa surrounding GFC at the moment. Google Reader and GFC are two different things and I think people are getting a little bit confused. Hope GFC doesn't disappear because I'm not a huge fan of BlogLovin'.


By this point I've gone for a shower and am now drying my hair. I honestly hate drying my hair so much, total chore.


Really not a massive fan of my appearance in this photo. But it was my little sister's last day at primary school and her and all of her friends were getting a 'boogie bus' to a bowling alley so my mum and I went to see her off. She looks so grown up.


I started making myself some leek and potato soup for my lunch. I know it's summer but I just love soup so I'll eat it all year round, leek and potato being my particular favourite. Would you like to see a recipe post? 

I got a bit distracted whilst making the soup ie playing with the dog so it took me longer than the usual half an hour to make my soup. I think it's best served with some French bread and I love it when it has seeds on it too, preferably sesame seeds or poppy seeds.


I decided to head down to the living room to read for a bit. I finished Carrie by Stephen King which I really enjoyed and am now halfway through Death Of A Salesman by Arthur Miller. I was hoping to finish this as it's very short and get started on The Crucible but I guess I'll just get on that tomorrow.

Sam decided he'd join me on the sofa for some cuddles. Officially my new favourite selfie, look at that nose! Poor numb nutts here has hurt his paw so we aren't allowed to walk him for a week. I feel so horrible. He's not even allowed out in the garden if he's not on a leash. He's so confused and keeps crying and bringing people their shoes.


Dinner time! Steak with bread and butter because I've kind of gone off chips. I'm obsessed with this French bread stick I got at the Co-op today, it's so good. Couldn't wait before taking a photo, there's something so good about Lurpak. 


Out of interest I decided to go through the blogs I follow and see how many of them were unactive. I ended up unfollowing about 150 blogs because they hadn't posted in months/had deleted. So sad! At the same time it means I can find blogs easier. I don't want to end up using BlogLovin but if I do then at least I have it all organised.


Extremely long phone call with the bestie. She doesn't live near me and I'm hopefully getting to see her next week, yay!


Ok so I'm starting to get bored now so I'm doing a few sudoku puzzles. I'm actually impressed with how much of this book I've done, it has 201 puzzles so I'm nearly finished.


My mum was out so I snuck Sam upstairs for some cuddles, he was too engrossed by my candle though!

What did you think of this post? I really enjoyed doing it and would like to do more if you all enjoyed reading it.

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Summer To Do List

Friday, 28 June 2013
So today my school broke up for summer break and I am very excited. I'm determined to have the best summer ever so there are lots of things I want to do. It wasn't until I started working every Saturday and Sunday that I realised the worth of a day off, definitely going to make the most of all the ones I'll have.
1. Have plans 3/4 days of the week. I really want to see my friends loads through out the summer. A few of them will be moving away soon for university so I want to see as much of them as possible before they go away. Whether it's a full blown shopping spree or just a little walk around with a friend, I want to get up to lots!

2. Start making YouTube videos. I've been making videos for Paperbacks And Beauty Facts for a while now and I've really been enjoying it. Even though I have a beauty blog I think my videos will mostly be about books as I find it easier to talk about them at length than I do beauty products. Hopefully a few of you will subscribe! If you want to do so now in anticipation of this my channel is TheHayleyyRussell.

3. Bake something off my food board every week. A lot of free time also means a lot of free time to bake. I'd like to make at least one thing from my ever growing food board on Pinterest every week. I think I'll aim for two but I'll put one as a safety net. I really love baking/cooking but I don't do it enough.

4. Stay at both of my Granparent's houses. I don't spend as much time with my grandparents as I'd like to. So this summer I'm going to go visit them and stay over at least once.

5. Blog, blog, blog. I really want to get lots of exciting new blog posts up for you all. I've been wanting to do DIY posts for ages so I'll finally get crafty and show you how to make something. I also want to so more outfits and just generally improve my content.

6. Get a new bookshelf. My bookshelf is very nearly full so I need to take a road trip to IKEA and get myself a new one. I have a smaller bookshelf so stack my books horizontally which I think looks really nice. I want to get one that's identical to my own and then place them side by side to create one very long bookshelf.

7. Try out my local library. I haven't been to my local library since I got a new card a few weeks ago. I haven't actually taken books out  for years. Last time I went they had a really poor selection of books and the staff were really rude and kept on ushering me to the children's section(I was 14). I normally just use my school library because it's easier to get too but I'd like to see what my local library has to offer now. Hopefully it's a lot nicer.

8. Go to events at the Edinburgh Book Festival. I always say that I'm going to go to something at this but can never find someone to go with me so I never end up going. I was speaking to my friend Sarah and she really wants to go so hopefully I'll get to go this year! We also want to go to Paperchase and get lots of cute stationary for our final year at school(how scary).

9. Visit Forever 21 in Glasgow. A few weeks ago a Forever 21 opened in Glasgow and I really want to go. My blogging friend, Charlotte, is always talking about it and it sounds amazing. From what I can tell the clothes are very stylish but similar to Primark prices, what's not to love?

10. Finally finish watching Grey's Anatomy and House with Stuart. Think we started watching the both of these around October, it's taking us too long as we've both been busy this year. We'll have plenty of free time this summer though so we should get them finished. We only have a few seasons of each one left.

11. Spend a whole day cleaning my room. Hoovering, dusting, polishing etc etc. The lot. Also want to go through all my stuff and throw things out or give them to charity.

12.  Go to a blogging meet up/event. I was going to try and organise my own but honestly I don't think I'm up to the challenge. I love meeting other bloggers and have hundreds(literally) of business cards to give out so if you are organising one then I'd love to attend.

13. Spend a whole day cleaning the house. I know my mum would really appreciate this so I think it would be a really nice thing to do.

14. Decide what university courses I want to apply to. Yes it's not the most exciting thing, but I'll be applying to university after summer so it would be a good idea to get everything sorted so I can focus on my personal statement come August. If anyone has any tips that would be much appreciated.

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Review: Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

One of my favourite products from Lush is this: the Bubblegum Lip Scrub. I wear a lot of lip products and this means that my lips aren't always left in the best condition. I've been using this lip scrub for about two years and I've only used one full tub and a little bit of this one, so it lasts a long time. The best part of this is the smell/taste. It's such a realistic bubblegum flavour and you can eat this off your lips when you are done. This can be a little bit messy so I recommend doing this over a sink so you can just wash away and little sugar granules that fall away. There are a lot of debates out there about whether this is worth the money, at £5.25 it isn't actually cheap. However, it will last you months and is a nice little treat. Far more exciting than mixing olive oil with sugar at home. Overall, I love this product and will continue to repurchase it although I'm interested in trying the popcorn one.

If you want to buy it you can find it here on the Lush website or in store. They also have ones that are mint and popcorn flavoured but my personal favourite is the bubble gum one.

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Week In Photos #46

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Crafty Creatives kit / FINALLY / Prizegiving
Loving these / Samstagram / My boys
45000 pageviews!!! / DS date / Straight hair

Had quite a busy week this week. I had my head girl interview, I was unsuccessful. Although I was pretty gutted when I found out, the team this year is great and I'm sure they'll do an amazing job. I got the dux award at the school's prize giving ceremony this year and that really cheered me up. At the moment I'm just wanting it to be summer so badly. One week left at school and then 7 weeks off!

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Recipe: Pretzel & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

So I was scrolling through tumblr the other day and saw a photo of pretzel and chocolate chip cookies. I love pretzels and I love the combination of sweet and salty flavours so I said to myself, 'Hayley, this is happening'. I couldn't trace is back to a recipe so I adapted a cookie recipe by crushing up some pretzels and mixing them in. Simple huh? These were so delicious, they disappeared very quickly.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
4oz butter
1 egg
Few drops of vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 packet of chocolate chips
A handful of pretzels, crushed.

1. Cream together sugars and butter. If your arms aren't aching then it isn't finished properly.
2. Add egg and vanilla essence and mix.
3. Gradually add the flour bit by bit and then the baking soda and salt. Then stir in chocolate chips and pretzel pieces.
4. Roll into small balls and flatten on a greased baking tray.
5. Cook at gas mark 4 for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Enjoy.

This never happened.

Neither did this.

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Pet Peeves

Monday, 10 June 2013
Now I don't know about you, but I have quite a few pet peeves. I know it's bad to let myself get so wound up over such little things, but oh my god some things are just too irritating to let go. I like hearing about other people's pet peeves so I thought I'd share a few of my own with you.

1. People that leave doors open when they were originally closed. People do this all the time at the shop I work in. They just walk in and leave the door wide open. Fair enough in the summer but I've seen people doing it when it's snowing, what are you doing?! My mum does this with my bedroom door and she always seems to leave the door open enough to let in enough light making it hard to get back to sleep. Nice one, Gillian, I see the plan.

2. People that are really loud in public. If we aren't sitting at the same table in a restaurant, then I don't want to hear your conversation. Fair enough you're out to enjoy yourself, but be considerate to other people. I especially hate seeing other teenagers act like clowns and shriek buildings down, it's embarrassing. That's how teenagers get a bad reputation. Turn it down a decibel would you?

3. People that think it's ok to make jokes about races, religions, sexualities or diabilities and then go 'it's only a laugh' when questioned on it. I remember seeing a Facebook group called 'Getting your ankles out for the lads because you're a slutty muslim.' A) That's highly offensive to the muslim faith. B) There are parts of the world where that actually results in women being beaten. I for one think that's sickening, not funny. Understand the meanings behind your words.

4. People that leave pee or pubic hairs on toilet seats. What are you doing with your life?

5. People that try to prove teachers wrong, but never do. There are a few people in my classes that seem to constantly try to pick out faults in a teacher's work. This happens primarily in calculation based subjects like maths and physics. But these people are never right and the teacher is never wrong. Stop it. You're just wasting time!  

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Week In Photos #45

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Nail art / Applying for head girl
New dress / Parrot fish

This week I went back to school to start my 6th and final year of high school. Oh my god, what a scary thought. Even though I'm doing maths, chemistry and physics(all at advanced higher level) I'm loving my new timetable. The best part is that I have last period of a Friday free so I can go home early! I'm applying for head girl which is so exciting and nervous at the same time. I really want to get it! I also organised a picnic with some friends at a local park. It was a really great day but I burnt my arms. I'm so annoyed with myself for that!

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Book Reviews: Starter For Ten and One Day by David Nicholls

Saturday, 8 June 2013
David Nicholls has became a rather popular author, especially well known for writing One Day after it was made into a film starring Anne Hathaway. I wanted to see the film but I hate watching a film without seeing the movie first so I said to myself I'd read the book. I wasn't desperate to read the book so I kept on forgetting to ask someone if I could borrow it or search for it in the library. But my friends, Maria and Melissa, bought me One Day and Starter For Ten for my birthday so I finally got round to reading them. I really liked both of these books.

Out of the two, Starter For Ten is the least well known. It's about a boy called Brian as he moves out to go to university. He doesn't have a clue, and this makes the book hilarious. He's running around trying to get through university and chasing after a girl called Alice. To Brian, she is the most gorgeous girl to have walked the planet. To me as a reader? She's a complete bitch. I love it when a writer can create a character so realistic they can anger me. Brian and Alice both end up competing for their university's University Challenge team, and as you can imagine, things go a bit tits up. The antics that Brian gets up to in this novel actually made me laugh out loud, it's astonishing how clueless he is at some points. I can't quite decide if I liked this as much as I liked One Day, but it was certainly an entertaining, easy read.

One Day follows two people, Dexter and Emma, on one day(funny huh?) for the years after they first meet. This book is definitely a romance novel, and I'm not a romance novel fan. But what I liked about this is that it wasn't a perfect love story. Things happened that moved them further apart just as often as things happened that brought them together. Emma is a character that I could identify with a lot, she seems very passionate about things. Dexter on the other hand is a bit of a player, yet he has a natural charm that makes it impossible to dislike him as a character. I loved this book. I wish I got to hear more about their lives that just the one day every year. The ending of this was absolutely awful though, no spoilers but why?!

Overall, I liked these books a lot more than I was expecting to. I have a crazily long to read list but I will definitely be reading David Nicholl's other book, The Understudy. Have you read either of these? If so please let me know what you thought about them.

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Pin It Forward

Friday, 7 June 2013
Some of the most popular blog posts on my blog are my Things That Make Me Happy posts which I do every Thursday. These started off as a selection of photos from a range of websites but now I only use Pinterest because I find it's the easiest to use and sourcing things is a lot easier because I can just link the pin and people can follow it from there. The main thing that I like about writing these posts is the reception I get from readers, I often get comments saying things like 'I really like these posts' or 'these posts always make me feel hungry' and I love reading those!

I was recently contacted by the people over at Pinterest if I'd be interested in blogging about their Pin It Forward campaign, which is basically the official launch of Pinterest in the UK, and of course I decided to say yes! I would love to see more of my blogging chums(did I really just say that?!) on Pinterest. I need lots of people to follow so that I can find lots of inspiration for my Things That Make Me Happy posts! If you don't know what Pinterest is then listen closely, or read closely shall I say but you know, it's a website that allows you to make an online notice board. Say you're looking around on Tumblr or a blog and you see an outfit, recipe, DIY, cute baby elephant photo and you think "I wish I could put that somewhere so I could go back and see it later". Well now you can. You can also download apps for Pinterest to most phones and tablets, I actually enjoy using Pinterest on my Kindle Fire HD more than I do on my laptop.

My favourite board is my food board, go figure! I'm making a summer resolution to do make at least one recipe a week from my board. So expect some foodie posts soon! I'm also going to share a few of my my favourite pieces of food porn with you.

If all that mouth-watering-goodness has not convinced you to join Pinterest then I don't know what will. If you would like to join then follow this link and you can. It's set up so you'll be automatically following my food board when you sign up, what a bonus ;)! If you have an account please follow me heree and leave your link below and I'll follow you back! If there are any pinners that you love then link them to me as well, happy pinning!

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Book Haul

Wednesday, 5 June 2013
It gets to this time of year and I just buy books. I think it's probably because all of my exams are over and I suddenly have a lot more spare time in which to read. I'm lagging on my GoodReads 2013 Reading Challenge, to read 75 books this year, so this is good motivation. I've started watching a lot of 'booktubers' lately and it's inspired me to read more. You can add me on GoodReads here, the more the merrier.

When I came out of my last exam I went clothes shopping with my mum and there wasn't much that was catching my eye. She asked if there was anything else I wanted and I said I wouldn't mind going to Waterstones so she gave me a twenty to get myself a book. Little did she know you can get a lot more than a book for £20. I saw an advert on a YouTube video for If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch and it looked really good. It's about two girls who are kidnapped by their mother and kept in the woods for 10 years, then she hands them over to social services and you follow them as they readjust to normal life. I've already read this and it was amazing, really recommend it. I heard one of my favourite booktubers talking about The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey and this made me want to read it. It's about an alien take over of the earth that is done in 5 stages or 'waves'. Hopefully it will be good! And Reached by Ally Condie is the last book in a trilogy that I've been reading for a few years. I'm reading this at the moment and I'm finding it quite hard to get into. I really enjoyed the first two books so hopefully I'll get into it soon.

My town only has one charity shop, not good for hunting for fashion gems but pretty decent for books. I don't go often but I can always find a few I like. The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is so well known so I picked it up just to see what the fuss was all about. I don't really know much about the plot but hopefully it'll be as good as everyone makes it out to be. Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson is about a girl who forgets everything every time she goes to sleep(I think). It should be interesting. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion has gotten a lot of press lately because it was made into a film. I like to read the book before seeing the movie so I picked this up. I'd of preferred to not have a movie cover but for the price I couldn't object.

These were all books I bought online. The two on the left are from Waterstones using a gift card and the one on the right is from The Book Depository(which is a really cool website). Shades Of Grey by Jasper Fforde isn't an erotic fiction novel, it's actually dystopian. It's set so that your place in society is determined by your perception of colours. I've heard a lot of good reviews about this so I'm really looking forward to reading it. Unwind by Neal Shusterman has gotten a lot of press recently. In the society in the book, troublesome teenagers can be 'unwound' and their organs donated to other people. I've heard a lot of correlation between this book and abortion debates so this will probably give me a lot to think about. After I read Nothing To Envy I wanted to read a lot more books about North Korea. All the reviews on Amazon pointed me in the direction of The Aquariums Of Pyongyang by Kang Chol-Hwan and I'm so glad they did because I've read it and it was so gripping. A truly amazing life story.

And that's it! What books have you been loving recenly?

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Bangour Village Hospital

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Ever since everyone's favourite Labrador, Sam, walked into our lives we've been trying to find new places to walk him. He's not very good on a lead and lately we've been enjoying driving to places where we can just let him out the boot and straight onto a trail. One place we've found that's turned out to be a right gem is Bangour Village Hospital. Which is actually an old, derelict psychiatric hospital.

The hospital opened around 1900 and is built as a 'village'. It's very strange as all the parts of the hospital are built like houses in a street and you have to walk between them. The place is enormous, we walked around for two hours whilst taking these photos and still didn't see everything there was to see. The hospital hasn't been out of use for long, ten years or so I think. Yet somehow it feels like it was abandoned a long time ago. The building especially show it, with their boarded up windows and sagging roofs. 

Walking around, the scenery was so beautiful. It seems like such a shame that all these beautiful buildings are just being left here to rot. Yet at the same there's something about the way that everything is systematically falling apart that makes it so beautiful. There are rumours it's haunted, we were there just as the sun was setting and I can imagine that it's rather spooky at night. A film was shot here a few years ago, it was called The Jacket and I think Kiera Knightley was in it.

I get the feeling that anyone waiting at this bus stop would be waiting a very long time. Yes that is grass growing on top of the bus stop.

Him? He tried.

Nice little family portrait, although numb nuts is missing. At this point I think he was chasing rabbits across an overgrown bowling green.

Now I'm not religious, an atheist if anything, but this church was so beautiful. It seems such a waste to have it boarded up.

I couldn't not include this!

Sometimes you forget that such a beautiful place was used for rather horrible things. The majority were locked wards as you can see by the bars on the windows. And by horrible things I don't mean the insane, but considering the time this hospital was built in I can imagine a lot of dodgy treatments occurred here.

And I just had to get a snap of this before leaving. Kudos to whoever is responsible.

He looks rather happy with this trip, don't you think?

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