Monday, 17 March 2014

Two Week Window

It is terrifyingly real to say now - only two weeks (actually, 13 days!) until we move to Australia for a year! The past few months have flown by, and it feels like only yesterday Mr C and I were sitting in our apartment and deciding what to do for the rest of our lives. We have packed up our home, and rented it out to another young couple in love. Hopefully they will love it and take care of it and have as much fun as we did living there. I found the packing up really, really hard, but the worst moment was the actual closing of the door as we left for the final time. It felt deeply poignant, hugely significant and felt heart-achingly final. As we quietly closed the door on that particular stage of our lives, I was overcome with emotion. I know it is still ours and we own it and it will be there when we come back, but when that happens, if it does, it won't be the same. We will have changed as people, as a couple. Things will have moved on, though undoubtedly for the better. 

We have moved to my parents house, where just over 7 months ago we had our beautiful wedding reception. It is an incredibly strange feeling living back at home - it feels like I have never left. The familiar feel of the bannister, the squeak of the floorboards, and the ability to navigate round the house in the complete darkness all contribute to making me feel like a child again, in the best possible way. Not to mention being back with my amazing parents, who are treating us (and feeding us!) like kings. A rude awakening is going to happen when we leave them I feel!

We now have a two week window in which to pack (not an issue for Mr C, who is convinced he is taking a small backpack and nothing else), say our final goodbyes to friends and family and finish work. Only 9 working days left, and a hell of a lot of emotions are coursing through me at the moment.  I cannot wait to get to Australia. It is my spiritual home, the place I feel most myself. I don't know what will happen when we get there, where we will eventually live, work, travel. But I do know that without question this will become a defining moment for me, as a person, and as a wife. Mr C and I are already stronger in a way that I didn't think we even lacked. A sense of complete reliability I suppose. I feel closer to him, deeper even. It's actually rather hard to describe without it sounding a bit seedy!

In order to squeeze as much into our remaining time in the UK as possible, we had the most fantastic weekend. The weather was simply beautiful and we were outside for most of it, and on Saturday night had the first of our leaving do's at a local pub. Highlights included a beautiful walk at Virginia Water lake with my family...

...followed by the most wonderful lunch al fresco with Mr C's Mummy at the Thatched Tavern, a local pub with a gorgeous garden. I had a delicious fillet of roasted haddock with herb crushed new potatoes and a heritage tomato and red onion salsa. Fresh, seasonal and absolutely delicious. First prize has to go to the Surf and Turf, which the others both had. A delicious, perfectly cooked fillet mignon with a gigantic tiger prawn, triple cooked chips and a fricassee of shellfish. Just perfect.

It doesn't seem real that in less than two weeks we will be flying far away from our incredible families and friends and leaving behind the place that we have grown up, fallen in love and made our home for the past 28 years. Our remaining days are to be filled with farewell get-togethers, and I am both looking forward to and dreading each and every one.

Laura xx

Friday, 7 February 2014

Moving to the other side of the world....

I know, I know. Two months since I posted anything - utterly rubbish.

Not that I am making excuses, but December was as full as December always is, and January has passed us by in the blink of an eye... probably because, after a serious case of January blues and 'oh god I really don't want to go back to work and where is my life going and how am I ever going to be successful at anything', Mr C and I decided, almost overnight, to pack it all in and move to Australia!

Via Pinterest

Have you ever woken up and just realised you're basically living like a machine? That all excitement and inspiration from day to day life seem to have vanished? We were generally feeling like that. My job, which once I LOVED, just wasn't doing it for me any more. Any view of promotion was dashed in December, and really, that gave me the push I needed to start to change our lives. That and reading this post from my favourite blogger, Jessica at How Sweet It Is. That really made me think. I need to be more positive. I need to set myself goals and go out there and achieve them, because I can. Stop listening to the voice in my head (or at work...) that says you aren't good enough. Because frankly, it's bullshit. I spend so much time comparing myself to others, worrying about what other people think that it's crippling. I cant even go out for dinner with friends without having a mini breakdown because I look so hideous in everything I own. Which again, is ridiculous. I look fine, nice even. But the whole 'comparison is the thief of joy' thing really sums it up for me. I spend forever comparing myself to people I know, people I don't, friends, family, people online, and in the end I end up so wound up that I sacrifice my own happiness. Why?

We got married in August, and pretty much all we have heard since then is 'when are the babies coming along?!'. Now, don't get me wrong, we cannot WAIT to be parents, but we just have too much living to do first. We have never travelled properly, haven't had much life experience, and to be honest, just feel like we need another year or so under our belt before we really settle down to have a family. It's strange how everyone assumes that as soon as you get married you MUST be immediately going to have children. Any other newlyweds suffering with this? Luckily our families have been brilliant, and aren't putting the pressure on at all. They just remain as incredibly supportive of us as ever.
So, there it is. Terrifying and exhilarating, all rolled into one. We leave on the 30 March, and are in the process of boxing up our beautiful little apartment, saying goodbye to family and friends (not QUITE at that stage yet, thank god), and preparing to move to the land Down Under.

My new motto is the above. I'll keep you posted, promise.

Laura x
Friday, 6 December 2013

Rocky Road

So. Rocky Road. I'm not even going to pretend this is a recipie, more a mixing of gorgeously delicious ingredients, pouring into a tin and chilling. Big of flavour, hugely customisable and such a good gift. I made this for my sister in law's birthday. Coupled with a MAC 217 make up brush and a Topshop statement necklace, I think thats a pretty awesome present (not biased in any sense of course...)

It is also a brilliant thing to take to parties, you can make a batch up the day before and either take the tin along (in which case I  use the disposable aluminum tins as its makes it SO much easier) or get some pretty bags or cellophane and tie some squares up with ribbon. I imgaine its also a great recipie to make with kids - assuming you dont get them involved in the chocolate melting stage.

I made this with brazils, mini marshmallows and rich tea biscuits as my main 'rocks'. However, add whatever you'd like - walnuts, macadamias, pecans and almonds would all be amazing in this, as would biscotti or gingernuts? In fact, gingernuts with crystallised stem ginger would be amazing. All over that one. Marachino cherries could be good if you like that sort of thing? Raisins, dried cranberries (so festive!), or other dried fruit would be lovely. You could add cinnamon or allspice for a seasonal take on it. I personally need the mini marshmallows in there, so small and squigdy.

Taken from Nigella Lawson's Rocky Road

125 grams soft unsalted butter
300 grams dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids) broken into pieces
3 tablespoons golden syrup
300 grams Rich Tea biscuits
200g Brazil nuts, bashed in their packet
150 grams mini marshmallows
Icing sugar (for dusting)
So naughty, but so, so nice...

Friday, 15 November 2013

The Friday Feeling

Woohoo! Its Friday! The sun is shining, which always puts me in a good mood for the weekend. I am heading up to town to celebrate my sister in law's (SO weird typing that) birthday. Really looking forward to spending some time in London and visiting Anthropologie on the Kings Road. My favourite shop in London. Sadly I can't afford anything in there. Not even the hair clips. £16 bobby pins, are you bloody kidding me?

Anyway, I thought I would do a quick round-up of all the lovely things that have brightened a gloomy November week up for me.

My new ASOS bag. Kudos has to go to my sister for this one. She is pretty much the most fashionable person I know and so hinted/instructed that I needed this bag in my life. And that she would need to borrow it. Done. It's a gorgeous colour, a brilliant size, furry AND on SALE! Win win win.


This slouchy oversized Zara jumper. They are calling it a coat for reasons I can't fathom. Who would ever call that a coat? Must be a Spanish thing. They clearly don't get the British weather system. Regardless, it literally is the perfect snuggly, bonfire-night-attending, hot-chocolate-drinking, give-me-a-cuddle piece of kit in my wardrobe. #obsessed.

And of course, a snuggly jumper needs a snuggly friend. Enter dream furry stole from Zara. It's perfect. I dont want to take it off. Ever. I am seriously considering getting a spare for when I spill hot chocolate or chilli down the front of it. You know it's going to happen. Is that weird? Do you buy spares of your favourites? No? Just me? It's so lovely infact, that it has spurned a series of copy-buys from my nearest and dearest. You know who you are...! (I just found out it comes in Leopard. This could be dangerous...)

I am taking daily inspiration from Jessica's blog. She writes with the most amazing humour and candour, and I want to eat EVERYTHING she makes. Like, everything. I mean, this girl hates vegetables. And loves bacon. And bourbon. And chocolate. How can you NOT love her? This week I made my second batch of the most delicious Banana Bourbon Cupcakes. I finished mine off with a dusting of cocoa powder rather than the bourbon chocolate ganache because I have the patience of a flea. They were sooo delicious I actually forgot to take any photos.

Twitter. I am so rubbish at this technology lark. I need help with the whole Twitter thing. Or mainly getting over my 'does anyone actually care what I have to say?' confidence nightmare. #writersblock

And lastly, this sunset at work. I mean, how beautiful are the grounds? So, SO stunning.

So, what are you guys up to this weekend? Tell me, tell me!

Laura x
Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Who's a pretty girl then?

Mouse and Lola has had a little makeover!

Okay, so with only two posts up its not exactly normal to go through a re-brand, but having messed about a bit with Blogger and being a complete novice with anything like this, I started to research into employing someone to make it look beautiful.

Silly I know, but the perfecitonist in me would NOT let me post something until it was perfect. Hence only two posts in two months. One of which has crap photography... But anyway. I wanted to put my thoughts down on a virtual space that looked absolutely gorgeous. So shallow. I like pretty things. Messy, half-assed things, not so much. I want you guys to stay and feel happy to mooch around this space and click and pin all the pretty things, all the time.

Enter Steph from Bonjour Belle. A gorgeous and totally talented Blogger who is also a brilliant designer. She whipped up the new design in no time and I am eternally grateful for her help in getting me set up. She is literally the only person I know (and that's only in internet-world) that has an actual blog, isn't that sad? 2014 resolution is to make more friends through blogging. And to get my real life friends into it.

Hang on, I definitely cannot start thinking about 2014 yet. So many more exciting things are still to happen in 2013! Birthdays, parties, secret thank-you extravaganzas, fireworks, engagement parties, BRUNO MARS and weekends away, all to fit in before the end of the year. Oh and it's eight weeks 'til Christmas tomorrow people, EIGHT WEEKS.

And in the meantime, now I have such a pretty virtual baby, you can expect lots more posts. No excuses now...

So, she's up, looking all sparkly and new. Go on, tell her she's pretty...
Monday, 9 September 2013

Peaches and Cream Salted Caramel Cake

I came across this recipe in the Waitrose Kitchen Magazine and could practically taste it from the beautiful photos. My little sister had made it for a birthday and a leaving party respectively, and it was so well received that I had to have a go myself. Sugar-coated sibling rivalry and all that...
Now, not to get all Nigella food-porny with you, but this cake may well be the sexiest thing you've ever eaten. Light, caramel flavoured cake, softly whipped, vanilla bean scented cream and salted caramel sauce layer over juicy peaches, and (for the perfect crunch and contrast), roasted pecans. Oh. My. God.

You could easily do some serious damage to this on your own, slumped in front of the TV, but it is definitely best served as a dessert in my opinion. The caramel and whipped cream make it decadent, and yet the fruit and the pecans mean that its not too cloying. For those that haven't jumped on the salted caramel bandwagon, this is a great recipe to try. The sea salt just gives enough tang to make the caramel even more delicious, and it works beautifully with the pecans. I have to say I did half the quantity of the sea salt in the original recipe after my sister reported that perhaps it was a little too strong, but each to their own. Also, the triple cake thing looks stunning, but the cakes are super thin and a little flat - so in my version I just halved the recipe to give two beautiful, plump cakes and just squidged all the filling in the middle and on top.

Perhaps the best thing about this cake is the fact it uses the gorgeous Seriously Buttery Caramel Dipping Sauce - both in the cake and as the oozy, groan-inducing filling. Don't even get me started on the uses for this pot of heaven - think dipped fruit, marshmellows, cookies, drizzed over ice cream, pancakes, Ryan Gosling (whoops, my mind wandered off there...) stirred through yoghurt, you name it. I may have had to test several (ahem, six) peach slices by dipping them in this sauce as I went along. All in the name of research, obviously.

Being new to the whole blogging thing I stupidly didn't take photos of this as I was making it, nor did I have the good camera (or any idea of how to style food photos!)  Hey, sometimes it just doesn't work out like that. These photos are trusty iPhone jobs. I couldn't find the original recipe from Waitrose online for some reason, but here is the beautiful picture of it on their Pinterest page.

If you only make one thing before Autumn truly settles upon us, make it this. Perfect dinner party delightfulness, but hey, even if you just make it for yourself, you won't be disappointed
Laura x

Sunday, 1 September 2013

My first time...

No, not what you're thinking. My first blog post. This is the beginning, the very first blog of hopefully many. The process of allowing your thoughts to spread their wings and enter the virtual stratosphere. Nerve wracking, exciting, terrifying and thrilling rolled into one big 'dare-I-push-the-'Publish'-button?' panic.

So; me. I am a twenty-something with a passion for make up, baking, interior design and fashion. I live in the South of England with my new husband, and our little yellow budgerigar. More on her later.

The aim of Mouse and Lola is to share ideas, inspire, and excite. I am starting this blog mainly to have a creative outlet. I love Pinterest (follow me here!), but feel the need to gather my thoughts in word as well as picture form. It's just for me, with the hope that you will join me too.

I will be blogging about beauty products I love, different make up techniques, easy how-to's and tutorials. There will be recipe recommendations, baking secrets, dinner party fail-safes and naughty little treats. I will be sharing with you my favourite interior design projects, cute home wares and ideas to make your nest even cosier, whatever your budget. Finally, I am hoping to share my style with you, listing and discussing my favourite looks and accessories of the season, and how I am interpreting them.

I love discovering new blogs, and hope you will find Mouse and Lola a place to kick back with a cup of tea (and a biscuit, obviously), browse the posts and get involved.

Thanks for dropping by, stay a while and feel free to leave me some feedback - comments or email are both greatly appreciated! Let me know what you want to see. More fashion? Less tutorials? I'm in your hands people. Oh, and tell me, do you remember your first time?

Laura x


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