Gratitude Gems





Happy New Year! 2016 was a long roller-coaster of a year, it feels like it’s passed so quickly, but when I look back at things that happened I can’t believe it was so recent. Thinking back to all the lows, I’ve realised if I can get through those moments, and still have a good year, and still enjoy so many good things, that I can get through anything. So, I’ve set some intentions for this year. Nothing about climbing mountains, losing 12lbs, or sipping cocktails in Mauritius. Just things I think might make me happier in my day to day life. If I do them, great, it’ll make my life a little happier, and if I don’t, I’ll try harder next year.

  1. Eat Breakfast, lunch and dinner, no skipping, no cake as a substitute.


Read daily – it’s good for your peace of mind as well as keeping it sharp.


Clean and keep the place tidy – outer order contributes to inner calm.


No spending – save for adventures, say nay to consumerism.


Meal plan – save money, use up leftovers and actually cook decent meals.


Connect. Doesn’t matter how – text, call email, face to face, a day, hour, 5 minutes, anything.


Gratitude. Find something daily. Preferably a few things.


Eat fruit and veg. Monitor how much and make an effort to eat more.


Eat less sugar – and don’t act dumb when I do.


Take photos. It doesn’t matter how bad they are, no one else will see them. Just do it, it makes me happy. Worry less about the outcome, and just enjoy the process.


Take a self portrait or two, doesn’t have to be a selfie.


Stop saving things for best. Celebrate today. Wear my pretty dresses. Use the bath oil.


Remember that life is short. Remember this and live life more fully. Treasure my time, don’t waste it.

88d6375ffb97b43d947757b1413c670cWhat will your intentions for this year be?

Our VW T5 camper van conversion

Back in March we bought a VW T5 van, and decided to turn it into a camper van. There were a couple of reasons for this, the main one being having a big dog and it being hard to find accommodation, the other being we thought it’d be cool.


So we looked at campers already done, and they just looked a bit… naff. They were really over priced too. People were asking for £30,000 for vans just because they could. We both had quite a clear idea of what we wanted and what we wanted to spend, so decided to make a van ourselves.


We bought a standard T5 van, cleaned it out, pulled up the floors, washed it all properly because it was a worker’s van before that, and basically just stripped it back to basics.

Version 2

Windows help the van to look less of a van and more of a camper, and bring a bit more light into the back, so we took it to a local garage and got the rear panels cut out, then asked a local company called bow windscreen repairs if they could install the side windows, which they did beautifully.

Then we put up sound proofing. We bought Silent Coat as we’d read loads about people’s opinions on the best thing to do and how to do it, and I think it comes down to your budget and preference at the end of it, but seriously check out forums like the VW T5 forum – it saved us from making so many bad choices and mistakes. Turns out, a cake spatula is actually really handy for putting this stuff up – it helps to push the sound deadening into the sides and under gaps you can’t do with your fingers, plus the stuff’s so sharp that you cut your hands without even realising it. This was pretty easy to put up and it’s sticky on one side. We did all of the side panels and a bit of the floor with one pack.

Next, we put the insulating in. We had heard so many different opinions about this in the T5 forum, and after looking into it a bit, decided to go with B&Q home eco loft insulation, was really easy to put in and did the job quite nicely, although it was really smelly when installing it.

Not sure if it’s the right logic, but my thoughts behind it was the one we got is a polyester and wool blend, covers 1.11m2 but is 4.55m²K/W and 200m thick. The other option we were looking at was Knauf Ecoroll which covers 8.3 m² but is 2.25m²K/W and 100m thick, so we would have had to double it up. Plus  it was glass fibre, which I’d heard mixed reviews about.

We also used flashing tape to seal up gaps and connect things together and we used this loft insulation as a vapour barrier.


Tony set up the wiring after that, before the boards went back in, we bought 6mm panels pre cut from Ebay and they were pretty easy to install.

He also put in some shiny new headlights that he was obsessed about and I have to admit it does make a difference, plus they’re so pretty haha.


The fabric for the side panels is the one thing I’d advise you pay someone to do. Tony and his friend Andrew put this in, and it took them two days non stop. It was really difficult to work with, hard to cut, was a pain to install, the clips wouldn’t go in so we had to order extra long ones and they hated every minute of it. Both of them said if they’d known what it’d be like they wouldn’t have done it, and would happily have paid someone.

The ceiling was actually surprisingly easy. After the walls, they were dreading doing the ceiling but the panel was easy to cut, the lights were easy to install, and the fabric went on like a dream.

We then put the floor panel down, which was pre cut from Ebay too. We decided to go with 9mm as I’d read 12mm can sometimes be too much, and the 9mm turned out to be perfect. Then we laid down the vinyl floor, let it sit for a couple of days and then glued it down.

The units were a pain to build. We bought the  4.4 flat pack kit from Evo Design. Ordered it on the weekend, and it was delivered by Thursday which was an amazement, as it had a 2 week prep time quoted. The instructions though, were terrible. They were literally just 2 drawings of what the units would look like once they were put together.  We basically had to guess everything. But once they were in, they looked ok. There were a couple of snags with the finish, like a bit of the panel didn’t have a groove in for the trim, and the draw catch above the fridge didn’t meet no matter how much we tried to adjust it. I emailed the company and they replied quickly with advice about moving the catch (although we’d already tried it and it hadn’t worked) and offered to send a replacement panel out, but by that time we’d already installed it and didn’t want to take it all back out. All in all though, it really does look pretty and it’s functional which is perfect.


There’s loads of steps and loads of work Tony did, such as the wiring, and installing the gas etc that I haven’t put in, simply because he’s just good with things like that and doesn’t follow instructions, it’s all in his head how to do it, and he did a lot of it while I was at work so there aren’t any photos. I’d say it’s definitely worth doing your research beforehand though. Look at your budget, price things up, put a bit extra aside for things you might not expect. There’s a great thread on the T5 forum called Hindsight- or “What you’d differently if you were converting your camper again?” which is fantastic, loads of great tips found on that too. Any questions, please do feel free to just ask.


Hopefully, we can get out and start using it soon, just in time for summer.


Rum and raisin ice cream

The last time I made this ice cream, I decided I couldn’t really taste the rum, so added more in. Then I decided I still couldn’t taste it, and poured a bit more. Then I added a little splash for good luck and the pure satisfaction of adding an extra splash of anything.

When I gave it to my mum as a Christmas present (it’s her favourite ice cream), she sent me a text a few nights after saying it had made her hot warmed her up and she and my little sister and her friends were getting drunk eating it, which gave them the giggles and made a good Christmas story.

Since then, my mum’s been pretty wary of my offerings to make her another tub. This time though, I’m sticking to the recipe, and I borrowed some Captain Morgan from my dad’s stash in the garage, as they’re not big drinkers and last time it cost me over £10 to make.

So here’s how to make rum and raisin ice cream:


heat the raisins, rum and lemon zest in a saucepan, simmer for 2 minutes, then cover and let it stand for a few hours or up to a day in advance.

warm the milk, sugar, 125ml of the cream and salt in a saucepan. Pour the remaining 250ml cream into a large bowl and set a sieve on top. In a different bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.


slowly pour the warmed milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so it doesn’t scramble, then pour it back into the saucepan. Stir constantly over a medium heat, scraping the bottom as you stir, until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

IMG_2798Pour the custard through the sieve and into the cream and stir until cool over an ice bath.

IMG_2799.jpgchill in the fridge (the mixture, not you). When ready to freeze, drain the raisins over a bowl and reserve the rum and discard the lemon zest. Measure the drained rum and add more if necessary, so that you have 45mls, (do not add more, you’ll make your poor mother drunk). Stir the rum into the custard,  freeze in your ice-cream maker, and add the raisins during the last few minutes.

David Lebovitz’s rum and raisin ice cream


  • 100g raisins
  • 125ml rum
  • 180ml full fat milk
  • 375ml double cream
  • 130g white sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 inch strip of lemon or orange zest
  • pinch of salt

How to make

  • heat the raisins, rum and lemon zest in a saucepan
  • simmer for 2 minutes
  • cover and let it stand for a few hours or up to a day in advance
  • warm the milk, sugar, 125ml of the cream and salt in a saucepan
  • pour the remaining 250ml cream into a large bowl and set a sieve on top
  • in a different bowl, whisk together the egg yolks
  • slowly pour the warmed milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so it doesn’t scramble
  • pour it back into the saucepan
  • stir constantly over a medium heat, scraping the bottom as you stir, until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon
  • pour the custard through the sieve and into the cream
  • stir until cool over an ice bath
  • chill in the fridge (the mixture, not you)
  • when ready to freeze, drain the raisins over a bowl and reserve the rum
  • discard the lemon zest
  • measure the drained rum and add more if necessary, so that you have 45mls, (do not add more, you’ll make your poor mother drunk)
  • stir the rum into the custard
  • freeze the mixture in your ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • during the last few minutes of churning, add the rum soaked raisins

Instagram photos I love


WSTBND #tinycollective #ricohgr

A post shared by Dan (@dan.cristea) on

Heading in the right direction.

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@yakooza family first 🔪

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The search for the perfect makeup remover

I’ve been on the search for the holy grail of makeup removers. I’d like one that doesn’t leave me tugging at my eyes when I wipe it off or with scary panda eyes the next day. I can’t seem to find any official reviews I find satisfying online. Most of the ones I do find say that most of the products are about even, which from my own experience, just isn’t the case.

I’ve tried a couple but have never fallen in love with any. My first was Clinique’s Take The Day Off, which I found to be too greasy and I had to rub quite a lot.

Benefit B.Right Remove It make up remover was awful, too scented, didn’t remove much and stung like hell.

Garnier fresh eye makeup remover was good-ish, removed eye makeup, still tugged a little and very greasy though.

As much as people like Simple Kind to Eyes makeup remover, I didn’t get on with it, it didn’t remove my mascara at all and I really had to pull and wipe my eyes a lot.

I used the Mac Pro Eye Makeup Remover, but can’t remember much about it, which means it was either just meh, or it did the job so well that I didn’t really notice it.

No7 Beautiful Skin eye makeup remover was my go-to default remover until I found…

La Roche-Posay Micellar Water which is amazing and removed everything, but leaves my skin really dry.

Currently I’m using Soap and Glory Peaches and Clean, which is lovely, but I feel that it’s better for your face and it’s honestly useless on eye makeup, even if I scrub my eyes the night before, the morning after I still wake up looking like a panda.

I’ve been reading reviews and next on my list to try are Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remover, and Dior’s Instant Eye Makeup Remover. I might also try the Lancôme BI-FACIL – Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover, but we’ll see what the others are like first.