31 Dec 2014

A Walk Down Memory Lane 2014

From non-existence to 112 published blog posts, Written In Black & White has grow and still is! It has been an honour to spend my days curled up on the sofa with a mug of tea, typing away to my hearts content. And now 10 months down the line I'm still here. Stronger than ever. I know I may never reach the top of this mountain and gain worldwide fame and stardom, but that is not why I started this blog. I started to share my passion for writing and show that nobody can be perfect, no matter how much they try.

I could bore you with the rest of the 'new year, new me' speech but I think I should let you choose what you want to read instead. So here is a handful of mine and your favourite blog moments from throughout the year. I wish you a very Happy New Year. But for now snuggle down, bring out the biscuit tin and take a walk down memory lane. See you on the other side! 

My favourite day trip -Harry Potter Studio Tour 

My proudest moment -Guess Who's A Published Author Now?!?!?

Your favourite book review -My Sister's Keeper- Book Review

The most popular 6 Things... post -6 Things That Made Me Smile This Week! 

The best blog review -Josie's Journal

Something this blog allowed me to do -The Blog Award's Ireland 

 Our family holiday -My Holiday Dairy

Something to make you think -Lecture Tuesday

My favourite post to write -Happiness Is...

Which one was your favourite post? 
Love Beth xx

30 Dec 2014

NYE Party Food: Mini Roll Reindeer

Where has the year gone? It feels like only yesterday I was sitting down on the sofa ready to watch the Opening Ceremony of the London Olypmics or studying the doors of the Lindo Wing of St  Mary's Hospital waiting for baby Prince George to emerge. But as they say, time flys when you're having fun!

So to make the most of the very last day of 2014 tomorrow (bearing in mind nobody will ever see that day again in history!) why not spend the morning before the NYE party you are very likely to be attending/ hosting, doing some Christmas baking! These Swiss roll Reindeer are the perfectly chocolatey treat for all the family- plus they are SO easy and quick to make!

First melt some white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water). Dip one end of a chocolate mini roll in the melted chocolate, twisting it until the chocolate stops dripping. On a tray stand the roll so the dipped end is pointing up, then pop a red Smartie on top, for a nose and two edible Silver Balls for eyes. You may want to put them all in a fridge to set, otherwise it takes ages!

While the rolls are setting, start breaking a handful of salted pretzels so they look a bit like antlers, two pre roll but you knew that anyway! Line up two mint Matchmakers and cut them in the middle, equally to form the reindeers legs. Be careful that they are all the same otherwise you will end up with a wonky reindeer! 

When the chocolate is set, use a sewer or knife to poke two small hole in the top of the reindeers head  and wiggle in the pretzel antlers. Do the same underneath the roll and put in the matchmaker legs. And Ta-daa you have your naughty Christmas treat! How cute are they :) 

What do you think? Easy enough? 
Love Beth xx 

29 Dec 2014

On My Nails | Christmas Day

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, but can I just say something? I hate the fact that after Boxing Day I have heard people starting to  complain and grumble that "Oh that's it until next year" and "Ah Christmas shit is over then". But in my eyes, I don't think Christmas is truly over until the end of December or at least until I've taken to Christmas decorations down! So please stop being a Debby Downer, play with your presents and look forward to NYE & NYD. So that said you might still be finding a few Christmas posts around here! Much like this one...

  This year I found it really difficult deciding what to do on my nails for Christmas Day. It had to be eye-catching, neat and extremely Christmasy. So I did what I always do: look around online for some nail inspiration. And this is what I came up with: 

Four different nail polishes and two hours later, my favourite ever nail art design was finished. I just loved how the reindeer came out and how the white background makes them stand out. My old Barry M Nail Pen had dried up (because I left the lid off...)so I had to paint the antlers free hand, yet they still came out lovely even if my Mum called them wonky! 

I used two Barry M nail polishes, red and white (as seen in this design) which I just love because the colour is so bright. The main body of the reindeer was the beautiful gold nail polish from
Maybelline NY and their antlers were an old black polish I found hidden in my draws from Claire's that I have had for years! 

Tell me what was on your fingers at Christmas
Love Beth xx

Harry Potter Studio Tour!

I mentioned my visit to the studio in my last post so I thought I should share some of the pictures that I took that day! It was an absolutely amazing day. Being able to see all the sets, costumes, props and behind the scene films was just an dream come true for a Potter head like me. Its a bit expensive and tiring walking around as there is just SO much to see, but really worth it!



Has anyone else gone to the Studio?
Love Beth xx

24 Dec 2014

We Wish You A Merry Christmas!

*Cue the entrance of the pompous conductor and his choir as they sing their awful rendition of We Wish You A Merry Christmas*

The only thing I'm looking forward to about January: no more Christmas songs playing on repeat. FREEDOM!! 

But anyways, I just wanted to quickly wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year after such a long and tiring year. My little blog is not yet a year old but I still have a wonderful following. So for that I am very grateful! When I began blogging it was like I had walked into a dark room with a blindfold on- I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going for that matter. All I knew was that I wanted to write, although I'm sure many of my first posts were read by minus numbers of people!

Now I've progressed and learnt about so many new things and met so many wonderful people. I truly appreciate the fact that people bother to read and comment on what I write, especially as I live the most ordinary life you could imagine. Family first, cats second and all that jazz, you know? Still I can't wait to see what the future holds and fingers crossed we continue to grow and bloom like a little daisy in spring. POO-F!

I will be taking a few days off for the Christmas period to spend the time with loved ones, eat chocolate as much as I can possibly hold down and play those embarrassing games like Charades that I quite literally suck at. But hey-ho, it's Christmas!

The tree is currently sitting comfortably in the corner of our lounge, nesting on this massive pile of presents that I can't wait to open tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn. Ah, the only day of the year I voluntarily get out of bed before 9! We will definitely (after a few mugs of tea) be taking this as an opportunity to appreciate all that we have and are thankful for and hope that the new year brings just as much happiness as the last.

So here's a toast to the blogging community *raises imaginary glass* hoping you all have a very safe Christmas wherever you may be and that you come back in January refreshed (maybe a little bloated!) and ready to start 2015 with a bang. Expect to see a few changes around this place as well, but more on that soon. Oh and remember that Christmas dinner is just a roast dinner with turkey- no need to flap!

P.s. Have you seen  yesterday's post that contains my little Christmas gift  yet?

Love Beth xx

23 Dec 2014

My Little Christmas Gift For You!

Earlier this week I was sent some products from Coloristiq. They are a wonderful UK based brand that offer the first ever online nail vanish rental service. Or put simply, the Netflix of the beauty world! So say goodbye to dried-up, unused and boring bottles- with this monthly subscription you will be sent three different polishes to use for nine applications (three paintings per bottle) for a month and when they are returned, the next three shades will be posted! 

"It really is like having your own nail salon at home!"

I think this is an absolutely genius idea since I am terribly guilty of buying millions of nail polishes and then a few months later finding them still sitting on my desk, unopened. Sometimes I didn't like the colour, or I realised that I had almost exactly the same shade at home already. But with Coloristiq this is never a problem! And what a lovely Christmas gift it would make. 

First up is the China Glaze I'd Melt For You* polish. This was my favourite out of the three because it's such a pretty colour that reflects the light really well and looks so Christmasy. Super easy to apply on clean nails, only needed one coat to get the finish you see above and dried within a minute or so. Plus it is one of the only colours I don't have in my collection! 5/5

I have quite a few white nail polishes at home because I always think that it's a must have colour before you start doing any form of nail art. So when the China Glaze Snow* lacquer arrived I was pretty judgemental, comparing it to my others. It was bright colour that lived up to its name but I found you need quite a lot of coats to achieve a smooth finish and therefore took a long time to dry. 3/5

 Lastly was the China Glaze Meet Me Under The Stars* a very glittery black/silver polish. It really does look like the sky at night! However it was darker than I thought it would be when applied but still very pretty and unusual. The formula was good- sheer at first but easily buildable- however a right pain in the backside to take off with nail polish remover! 4/5 

You may also be wondering what the title is about? Well as a BIG thank you to everyone for being such lovely readers of Written In Black & White, Coloristiq has kindly offer to you all the first month of their service for free when you subscribe and use the my promo code: BlackWhite1 as a little Christmas gift. And last not least, everyone who will subscribe before Christmas Day will receive the subscription for £9.99 per month throughout, instead of £14.49 each month!

So if I were you I'd better hurry over there ASAP, 
Have a very Merry Christmas and I'll be in touch soon. 

What do you think about Coloristiq? Will you subscribe?
Love Beth xx

21 Dec 2014

Time For Tree Troubles!

With only four days to go until Christmas the blogging world is in fall festive swing- and joy that school has finished for two week! I have absolutely loved snuggling down in bed with a mug of tea and my laptop to scroll through some Christmas posts. From some yummy food to gifts for book nerds to the true meaning of the season, my favourite blogs are alive and twinkling with Xmas spirit.

However, despite my childish excitement (who doesn't love paper chains), we left it quite late to put our Christmas tree up this year. That is because a. I didn't realise it was Christmas in 4 days and b. we were terrified that Toby would pull it down again like last year.

He is such a cute little thing that people just don't expect him to be so mischievous. More so when he was a kitten, he used to be obsessed with the tree- knocking off the ball balls to play football, chomping away at the branches and burying himself under the pile of presents beneath it. However last year, we were gathered in the living room watching a film only to be disrupted by the tabby ball of fluff launching across the room, flying through the air with outstretched paws and sticking to the side of the tree like Velcro! It was literally the funniest thing I have ever seen- although we weren't best pleased at the time since most of the decorations and presents were crushed.

But this year Toby didn't seem very interested in the whole Christmas experience, preferring to take a nap while I worked hard erecting the tree. Our old fairy lights of ten years finally stopped flashing so we had to make a quick stop at B&Q to grab some more before we began. I was Chief Ball-balls, hanging up the decorations we have had since I was a child, while my Mum demonstrated the art of wrapping lights around an artificial tree. Sorry but real ones just make too much mess!

And since Toby, who is currently eyeing me from the other side of the lounge, yawned and rolled over on his back. "Your boring me now. Nobody cares about your tree troubles". I think I will leave you now with a hearty smile and wave goodbye.

Please tell me you have tree troubles too? And that your cat is involved?
Love Beth xx

17 Dec 2014

Guess Who's A Published Author Now?!?!?

You may have seen my post about the Mystery Parcel on Sunday and this is what was inside!

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At the start of the year I entered a Short Story Writing Competition that I fell upon on the Born Free Foundation website, an brilliant international wildlife charity that works tirelessly to help animals in danger from poachers who hack the tusks off elephants while they are half alive. From being kept completely alone and isolated for 20 years in a zoo. From people dressing monkeys up like humans. From being used as 'props' for tourists to take pictures with. From being bred in farms simply to be hunted and brutally killed when they are older. From being turned into rugs on a floor. From laboratories who test beauty cosmetics on their sensitive skin. And from people who think of animals as worthless as litter- bully them because they speak in a language their brains cannot understand.

The competition needed people to write about what it means for an animal to be truly free and bring to the attention of the public some of the horrific dangers they face, both natural and human base. So I quickly wrote up a story about a Polar Bear, submitted it and thought nothing of it. And then a few months after, I got email telling me I had come runner up in my age category (I wrote a post about it here*) and that my story would be PUBLISHED in a book, with the royalties going to the Born Free Foundation!

Obviously I was over the moon as the judges, talented writers and animal enthusiasts themselves,  actually liked what I had written and thought it worthy enough to be in a book! And last Friday, after ordering 7 copies for my family a few weeks back, they finally came through the letterbox. I immediately loved it from the glossy, hand-drawn cover to the thought provoking foreword. And not forgetting that overwhelming feeling of joy when I saw my name on the content page!

It truly is a wonderful collection of stories by some very talented children- I cannot believe that a nine year old could write something as beautiful as that. And throughout each short story there is that underlying message that animals are born free and that is exactly where they should stay.

I would very much appreciate it if you could buy a copy or two, especially as the money goes to such an amazing charity. It would make a lovely Christmas present or stocking filler for anyone or even yourself and since the stories are only two or three pages long, it won't take you long to read.

You can purchase it from Amazon, WHSmith , Waterstones and many other shops. 
Let me know if you do happen to buy one,
Love Beth xx

15 Dec 2014

Take A Look At...

Happy Monday everyone! I just thought I would let you know that tomorrow I am Guest Blogging over at the wonderful Sarah's blog, Daydreams Of Summertime.  This is a momentum occasion in my blogging journey as it will be my first Guest Posting experience! And I cannot wait to see what you think of it. You can find the post here

Remember you can keep in touch with my musings on Twitter, Instagram and Bloglovin'

Speak to you all soon,
Love Beth xx

14 Dec 2014

6 Things That Made Me Smile This Week!

With only 11 days left until Christmas, my household is full of people rushing about wrapping up the last few presents, writing cards, food shopping and pulling the decorations down from the attic. I swear this is the only time of year we ever venture up there. But that is mostly due to he fear of a) falling off the ladder or b) being ambushed by an army of angry spiders. I really don't mind insects and animals like snakes but there is just something about spiders that give me the creeps. I just have images of them lurking in with the ball balls & paper chains and getting rather annoyed then they are rudely awoken from their slumber by a couple of humans dancing to Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

What else have I been up to this week, I hear you say? Take a look (and yes I know there is only technically 5 things but lets just pretend there is 6!):

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-Beautiful mornings: Monday mornings are always the most horrible and dullest mornings of the week. However I was pleasantly surprised to be woken up on Monday to a beautiful red sky, so bright it almost looked like it was burning. And on my walk to the bus stop, I saw how frost had covered the grass and rooftops so it appeared as though they had been painted white in the night. What else could you ask for on a Monday morning?

-RVP: The following day was the broadcasting of my one my favourite shows, The Royal Variety Performance. When this programme, along with it's usual collection of comedians that make you burst out laughing and the breath-taking, inhuman variety acts, comes on TV I know Christmas is just around the corner!

-Birthday meals: On 11th it was my Mum's birthday so all of our family went out for a meal at the Mexican restaurant Chiquito. I had never been before and was excited to try the food as I'm currently obsessed with Mexican food. It was a nice place but I didn't like the main meal very much. However I did really enjoy the Lemon Cake and Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream I had for desert! Typical me.

-Laptop problems: As my laptop is quite old I have been having some problems with it for the past few months. I hoped it would sort itself out but eventually it got to the point where I couldn't even get onto the internet because it took 5 hours to log on! But thankful a friend of my parent's saved all my documents onto a memory stick and switched my laptop back to factory settings. So now its just like having a brand-new computer, but for half the price!

-Parcels: And lastly after waiting for a certain parcel to arrive for ages, it finally came on Friday. And what was in that parcel? You will have to wait until the middle of next week to find out, but rest assured its a good one. I promise.

Hope you had a great week! And remember to tune in later next week to find out about the Mystery Parcel as well. Yes, I'm just as excited as you too!

See you then,
Love Beth xx

13 Dec 2014

The Devilish Progession Of The Winter Cold

With everyone hyped up about Christmas and busy rushing around with last minute shopping because they want it to the 'most perfect Xmas ever', we often forget to look after ourselves. And this is especially important in winter where for some scientific reason our bodies are more prone to illnesses like flu and the dreaded common cold. It is enough to ruin anyone's day, maybe even their week. It's unattractive, embarrassing, disgusting and frankly a pain in the arse! And that pretty much sums up my week...or we can sum it up in a more honest report, after all I'm not a sugar coater:

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  • It all starts with an uncomfortable, tight throat. You know something's not right but you just think you're making too big of a deal out of the fact you have been singing in the shower too loudly again.
  • Then it becomes scratchy and you find your self struggling to swallow without your throat hurting and looking like a bit of an idiot taking tiny bites from a chocolate bar. Like who does that?
  • After a while, your voice goes and if you don't constantly talk 24 hours a day, your voice comes out really husky and manly. When did I hit male puberty eh?
  • The worst bit comes next. The nose starts to run, slowly at first and then like a tap. You can never fit enough tissues in your pockets and your organised system of clean tissues in the left pocket, used tissues in the right goes completely out the window. The noises that come out of your nose are frankly inhuman!
  • Sneezing at least 5 or 6 times in a row every 5 mins, quickly follows. But of course I have now mastered the art of silent sneezing. Fun fact: If you were to sneeze with your eyes open (they automatically close) they would both pop out of your head due to the force of the sneeze!
  • Then there's that relief of having tissue free pockets and accidentally washing your jeans with a whole wad of hidden tissue inside. Oopsy!
  • Then from all that sneezing and nose blowing, you get a rather red, sore nose which hurts to even touch. And no I'm not channelling the Rudolf spirit before you ask and yes I'm aware that my eyes have randomly started watering.

Now I'm in the last stage of the cold with ears that keep popping, a left nostril that randomly runs whenever it feels like it and a craving for chocolate because I've been cold turkey for 3 days! Throwing myself into Christmas preparations helps me to forget that I'm ill. I don't know about you but I can't just stay in bed all day.

Any tips for beating the blues and this cold? Please tell me it involves lots of film watching and tea drinking.

Speak soon,
Love Beth xx

9 Dec 2014

Christmas Cards,Wrapping Paper & Glitter

As you probably know, I spent the majority of my weekend knee deep in Father Christmas wrapping paper, bits of screwed up cellotape and plastic bags. But before we begin can I just ask you to take a moment to relish in the adorable-ness of those glittery reindeers. How cute are they?

Anyway as I was saying...We think of Christmas as a time to relax after a very long year- or at least that's how the adverts on TV protray it. (Just imagine a world with adverts that contain droopy trees, arguing in-laws and burnt turkeys!)

But the truth is that it can be a pretty stressful time and despite the fact I tried to minimalize this by setting myself the goal of finishing Christmas shopping by November, it never goes to plan! We have a couple of bags of food and presents in our online shopping basket but that's all. And the more flaps I open on my Cadbury's advert calendar and the more Christmas songs I hear on the radio, the closer I realise we are getting to 25th!

So that's how my weekend of gift wrapping and letter writing began. And to some that may seem like a chore, but I couldn't help getting in the merry festive spirit with all that red and green blurring my vision. I love giving gifts, almost more than I love receiving them! And I think that is the most special thing about Christmas: spending time looking for that right gift, attempting to perfectly wrap it in the most festive paper you can find and taping a beautifully written hand-made card to the front.

If your struggling with gift ideas this Christmas (I swear it gets harder each year!) I've made you a very mini list of the best places to buy:
-Wrapping Paper (my fav is the peas wearing Santa hats!)

What do you love about Christmas? Is it the wrapping too? 
Love Beth xx

7 Dec 2014

6 Things That Made Me Smile This Week!

We're now 7 days into December! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? The weather is quite clearly brewing up for a storm and how lovely would it be to top off the year with a white Christmas? But more on Christmas later in the week. For now we shall all harmoniously jump for joy at the thought that I only have ONE MORE mock exam to go. I'm so glad that this week is finally over because I can't wait to get back to blogging. I do feel that I struggled to get the  balance right between studying and writing, but I promise that I'll get better come GCSE time. And to treat you, my dear reader chums, you can look forward to weeks upon weeks packed full of festive fun and cheer. This will be my blogs first Christmas so I hope I can make it a memorable one!

So what me smile this week? Come to think of it did I even smile? Take a look:

1. This week, I took part in my first ever Twitter Chat! I've heard lots of bloggers talking about them and how beneficial they can be for putting your blog out there, but I didn't really know what to do. That was until I fell upon this little post and realised things weren't as complicated as I had expected them to be. I really enjoyed the experience and am atcually planning to try the #lbloggers chat tonight!

2. With the weather getting colder, the nights are absolutely freezing. But nothing a good hot water bottle can't fix right?

3. Almost every night this week Toby has somehow managed to wiggle himself upstairs and onto my bed without anyone seeing him. It was such a wonderful surprise to go up there and see him snuggled at the bottom of the mattress, cuddling a toy sheep named Larry. He stayed in extactly the same position all night long and came down for breakfast with me- which normally involves him sticking his head in my cereal bowl to lap up the milk when I'm not watching!

4. I've seen a few posts flying around this week about Beauty-vent calendars, where rather than getting an chocolate each day you open a flap, you get a nail vanish or eyeshadow. But for me I think I'll stick to the traditional Cadbury's one, thank you very much. You can't beat chocolate!

5. The end of revision, as already spoken about, I thought needed its own little Things That Made Me Smile segment so we can all just appreciate how nice it is to not feel guilty about watching a film because there's an algebra equation you should be doing instead.

6. And lastly on Friday as a little well-done gift my mum brought me The Fault In Our Stars on DVD. But that's probably because she wanted to watch it, but still it was a nice evening...with lots of tissues to go alongside it.

Hope you all had a lovely week too,
Love Beth xx

P.s Hello to those new readers. I really appreciate it!

5 Dec 2014

Guest Blog: The Makeup Addict Tag!

So it's December I have yet to write about anything Christmasy! I'm such a bad blogger. So to keep you entertained, I have recruited Jessica for the final Guest Blog. She has kindly offered to write this tag for me while I am busy with studying. But as of next week, I will be back an better than ever. I have some post planned and I'm hoping to get a new blogging template soon! Speak soon x

Today for you I have a little tag, this one is the Makeup Addict tag. I hope you enjoy!

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1. Which product do you keep still buying more of despite having plenty in your collection?
Most definitely eye shadow palettes. I have way too many- so many of the same shade! But I just love the packaging!

2. What’s the one product you couldn’t live without?
An eyebrow palette/pencil. I'm terrible as I can’t leave the house without filling in my brows. I’ve spent years of over plucking and it is a much needed product.

3. Favourite make-up brand?
Hmmm...I have quite a mixture of brands in my collection; I’d say Revlon would be my favourite. But I do have a lot of Collection (what was Collection 200), MUA and Max Factor which I really like too.

4. How big is your make-up collection?
I would say average, not small but no-way-near as huge as some I've seen! But its an ever growing collection, that has way more than I need!

5. And how do you like to store it?
I have a few Muji draws and acrylic storage I got in TK Maxx that I keep it in, plus a couple of cheap pen pots to keep brushes, eyeliners, mascaras etc in.

6. How many items of make-up have you got in your handbag at the moment?
I have two lipsticks, one Revlon and one Collection, an eyebrows brush and a lip balm.

7. If you could raid another blogger’s stash, who would it be?
I think it would have to be Tanya Burr's or Miss Budget Beauty’s stash, they both have some amazing products and I’d love to see them.

8. How long does your usual make-up routine take and how many products do you use?
It usually takes me about 20 minutes although sometimes as long at 45! It depends on how long I have in the morning or what look I’m going for. (Or how many mistakes I make and I have to correct…) I use about 10 items on a daily basis.

9. Have you ever bought make-up knowing you wouldn’t use it?
Not so far, I love to buy new things to try out and sometimes they don’t work out so they just sit in my collection.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. I tag you ALL! Let me know by commenting if you do it so I can check it out!

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