Sunday, August 28, 2011


Manchester is the closest 'proper' city to me, where I'm currently based. It's about 90 minutes away on a good day and is the nearest place for full scale shopping, the opportunity to have an overnight stay, and feel like you're somewhere else completely without needing to spend a day traveling.

The Guy and I have our birthdays about 2 weeks apart, and as a joint (but mostly for The Guy) birthday present, my parents bought us an overnight stay in an apartment hotel and a Greek Meze meal in Manchester. We decided we'd book it for later into the summer as something to look forward to, and as it happens, I'm glad we had this at a time when there's so much going on, as it gave us a chance to spend some time together, away from everything else that's going on in our lives. Oh.... and I accidentally booked it and realised that it was our first "anniversary" (we think, anyway). I'm not a big believer in celebrating anniversaries unless you're married, but it was nice to reflect on how much things have changed in the last 12 months.

Anyway... onto the good bits.

Apartment in Manchester City Centre
The apartment is right in the city centre- for anybody vaguely familiar with Manchester, it's bang opposite the Printworks (the side with all the coloured lights). It was a one bedroom affair in a great location, the only thing we felt spoiled the place was the attention to detail- missing or blown lightbulbs, dirty crockery in the cupboards, busted extraction in the bathroom, stained rugs etc.

We weren't sure what to expect from Bouzouki by Night, the Greek restaurant we had our meal booked at, what we found on arrival was a simply furnished restaurant that was busy and lively and smelled pretty damn good. Our dinner was a 15 course Mezze some of which was brilliant...

Cold dishes from "round 1"
Centre- Tomatoe, Aubergine and veggie dip
Clockwise from top
Chickpea Salad
Stuffed Vine Leaves
Yoghurt Dip
The deep fried Haloumi cheese and the aubergine slices were also divine, but I didn't take many pictures of the food (sorry folks) as I was enjoying having a bit of a night off and enjoying conversation.

A couple of snaps from our wander home, I'm a bit fascinated by photographing lights at the moment...

Princess St, Manchester

The Printworks Dantzic St Exit, Manchester
One of the things The Guy and I really noticed whilst in Manchester this week, is the strong police presence couple with the I ♥ MCR campaign. After the social unrest recently, it's good to see Greater Manchester Police taking things seriously (they're also on Twitter and have been doing lots of naming and shaming. Check them out @gmpolice) but even better to see people standing together to show that they're not prepared to have their city wrecked by thugs. The I ♥ MCR campaign seems to have all sorts happening around the city, such as a "Love Wall" in th Arndale Centre and lots of posters and t-shirts about.

I did do a little shopping whilst in the city- it's a rare chance to get near a Primark for me, so I grabbed it with both hands. They seemed to have some very nice bits and pieces in for Autumn and I really loved the neutral/oatmeal/rust type autmnal colour pallettes. But more on my goodies next week.

As well as a few new additions to the wardrobe, I've been having a bit of a clear out. In fact both my mother and I have been clearing things out, the consequences of which, are a few bits we're selling. I've set a new SALE page, where you can see the first few bits that are up. I'm gutted that I have bigger feet than my mother, because it pains me to sell a beautiful pair of shoes, exactly what I'm looking for, never worn, but a size to small for me.

A sneeky peek for you....

 Pretty shoes...

...VERY Pretty Shoes

                                                                                    New Wardrobe?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fighting Fit

As you might know from here, I'm on a bit of a mission to get fit. And not just a bit fitter so running up the stairs doesn't leave me out of breath, but military selection fit.

When I first started out on this, I was concerned about having to find a gym to join, to make it work. I also wasn't sure how I was going to make it all squidge into my day between work, work experience and all those tedious things that seem to refuse to get done by themselves (washing, I'm looking at YOU).

Luckily for me, HM Forces has anticipated that people like me might want to try and get fit enough to join. So they've created a handy little 42 programme that you can see online or have as a widget on your phone.

Best things:
ok, maybe chips is not the best analogy... But anyway
No need to pay out for a gym membership. last time I check running on a pavement or public footpath was free and doing simple exercises in your own home wasn't exactly costly either. The only thing you really need is a decent pair of trainers and to want to get fit.
20-25 minutes per day is actually very little and....
... because you don't need to go to a gym or fitness centre, it really is just the 20-25 minutes of exercise. No travel time, no faffing about signing in to something.

And to give you a feel for what you could do, here's what I did in Week 1- days 1-7 of 42

Day 1.
Test yourself:
As many press ups as you can manage in 1 minute
As many sit-ups as you can manage in 1 minute
1.5 mile (2.4km) run in your best time

Day 2
Low impact aerobic activity for 20 minutes at gentle intensity
i.e. a 20 minute walk? 20 minute swim? I did 20 minutes of Wii Fit boxing, you could also try cycling.

Day 3
2 Circuits:
15 tricep dips
20 sit ups
7 press ups
15 dorsal raises
25 step ups

Day 4

Day 5
20 minute run at moderate intensity

Runner I am not. I have tried and failed several times to get into, so I spend these running slots doing Couch to 5K. More info on that here.

Day 6
2 Circuits as Day 3

Not to self: STRETCH afterward!

Day 7

For someone not that fond of exercise, I didn't think this looked too horrendous. To me, 20 minutes really isn't that long, and because there are several different activities as well as choices to be had for some of the activities I'm so much less likely to get bored or worse disenchanted with *just* pounding the pavements *again*.

If you fancy getting involved in the programme or you want to tkeep up with me in virtual training, go check out my new Fighting Fit Page, where I'll be posting the week by week programme. Let me know how you're doing if you decide to have a shot at it. There's no doubt that military training is tough, but the build up to it doesn't have to be ball breaking.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chloe Likes To Eat

Christmas- love it or hate it, there are some foody things that are instantly recognisable.

Christmas Pudding
Christmas Pudding for example.... Now, I'm not going mad, and these pictures are not from Christmas 2010 either. We ate Christmas Pudding this week. In August. With custard.

I'm not really a massive fan of the festive period, I like Christmas to remain firmly in the latter half of December and much prefer a New Year shingdig. That said, I don't loathe it either, and one reason is (naturally, this is me we're talking about...) food.

I really like Christmas Pudding, though not as much as my mother does. My mother is the reason we do in fact have a Christmas Pudding in the cupboard that needs using up, in August. To explain- my mother loves Christmas Pudding so much, that we had a spare one in the cupboard in case we couldn't get South to our family due to bad weather, because for Mum you can't have Christmas (however unconventional some of our other meals/activities/preferences may be) without pudding.

It's rich, it's boozy, it's very British and I'm firmly in the custard camp (ice cream... and pudding... NEVER). The Christmas Pudding might be a bit eccentric, but we enjoyed it.

Pudding and custard.
FYI ours was a Tesco Finest version, and one of the nicest I've had (including several homemade ones) for quite some years.

Away from foody things for a moment, I also wanted to thank those who commented on Let It Be. I've often been nervous, both online and IRL when sharing hopes, dreams and ambitions. So often they attract a lot of negativity.It was heartwarming to read encouragement and words of compliments on determination. So thank you. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Let It Be

And that's another week done and dusted. It feels a bit like everything has slotted into place as if it was always meant to happen with all of the goings on of the last 7 days. I have decided to start a law conversion course this September, which I've duly applied for, now I just have to hope I get onto the course. This is couple with the 1 day per week work experience that starts tomorrow. A solicitor networking colleague has kindly agreed to have me in his office and send me off to whoever is doing the most interesting things on the days I'm there.

And something which I know has been a bit of a surprise to some of the lovely ladies I speak with regularly. I've applied to join HM Forces. I won't be going into massive detail about which force or the specific job on here, because provided I get in, it could be a bit tricky if it's plastered all over the web, but this is actually something I've been wanting to apply for since this time last year. I spotted a recruitment ad online last summer, and gave it some serious thought having never entertained the idea of a military career before, and realised that it offered me everything I wanted: a challenge, the chance to use my language skills and learn new languages, the motivation I need to get fit and stay fit, a life as much as a job and (yes I know it sounds corny and stupid) the chance to do something that makes a difference to the world we live in.

In short, my DREAM job. Some people have questioned why I'm taking the GDL this year if I intend to go into the Forces, but the chances are, that if (and let's not forget it's an IF) then it'll be a year from now before I begin training (at the very least) and I need something to do in that time, as much as I need a plan B. It's going to be an interesting year.

In other news, these are the nails I've been rocking (read shoving into the shredder at work and chipping to hell) this week

Ring Finger, Mad Hatter OPI
Others, Purple Heart GOSH
Thought I'd give the ring finger accent thingy a go, not sure this colour combo is quite right, so off to try it with some shades of pink today. Totally in love with the Purple Heart polish though. It was my £3.99 treat to myself when I was in London earlier in the month and although these pictures don't really show it, it's a gorgeous duochrome of darkest green and purple

GOSH- Purple Heart

And now I'm off to read some more of the blog posts I've neglected to read this week, drink some Cherry and Berry fruit squash and maybe have a nibble of one of the cakes I made yesterday.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Words To Live By

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead vest, Topshop
Martha Jeans, Topshop
Jersey blazer, ASOS
I think I may have a problem. I think I may have a t-shirt addiction.... Ohwhatashamenevermind.

When wearing this I got thinking about words to live by. I'll sleep when I'm dead is something some people take to heart- carpe diem etc. I used to think mine were: Who dares, wins, but I'm not sure that's strictly true. By nature I'm quite skeptical and wearing my swallow dress last week, I hit upon the words that I live by: One swallow does not a summer make.

Do you have words to live by? Is there a little phrase that remains embedded in the grey matter to get you through the day?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chloe Likes To Eat

Sunday Roast. I love it, do not take this post to mean that I do not adore the smell of roasted chicken wafting through the house, the crunch of a roasted potato, the savory goodness of stuffing and best excuse EVER to fill half of my plate with vegetables. But Sunday is a day I rarely eat a roast. For some people a take-away or going out is their Sunday treat and for many the roast is still the only meal to be served come the end of the week. For me Sundays are all about pizza.
Thin, crispy base, garlicky tomato sauce, the crunch of a pepper, the richness of chorizo, soft mushrooms, sweet and crunchy onions, exploding cherry tomatoes, mozzarella pools and chunks of feta and maybe even some goat’s cheese. Plenty of black pepper, a good dusting of oregano and a *quicker than I’ve moved all day* hot plate. Perfection, no?

Pizza is a serious business in our house. My dad even bought an extra pizza tray to ensure I wouldn’t have to share my Pizza with The Guy- who has very quickly worked out that Sundays are good nights to be about chez moi. My dad makes the bases- very simple, basically bread dough, and the tomato sauce- equally simple- blitzed tinned tomatoes, garlic, onions, black pepper, teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt, reduced on low heat until consistency of choice. Whole buffalo mozzarella is pretty much a must. Toppings may also include (but are not limited to) seafood, olives, anchovies, capers, home cooked ham, fresh basil, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, extra cheese…
I struggle with a whole one of these. If someone puts it in front of me, I can make myself eat a whole pizza, but I always feel very uncomfortably full afterward, and wish I hadn’t. Leaving a third of it is all a question of will power. That remaining third becomes my Monday lunch.
Do you have a regular Sunday dinner? Is there a food institution in your house that cannot be missed?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rings On Her Fingers And Bells On Her Toes

Ok, so maybe not bells on my toes but rings are one of my favourite pieces of jewellery, and some recent rediscoveries and a recent aquisition prompted the thought that maybe I showed you some of my very favouritest rings.

Silver Rings, rediscovery. Originally from small shop, somewhere Spanish speaking 5-6 years ago

Silver Rings, rediscovery. Originally from small shop, somewhere Spanish speaking 5-6 years ago.
Middle Finger- ASOS Kissing Mice Ring
Ring Finger- Antique gold ring, gift from my grandmother. The green stone does have a name, I'm just not sure of it.

Silver ring, bought with money given to me by my family for my 18th birthday.

Middle Finger- As above
Ring Finger- another rediscovery, as above. I think this one is a British High St Special.

Birthday/Graduation present from my parents. More on this one HERE
Bought with money given to me by my family for my 21st Birthday, Shaun Leane

What are you reaching for at the moment and are you as jewel-addicted as I am?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

And The Winner IS...

thanks everybody who entere the Thank You Giveaway and especially thanks to Hero and Cape, Temporary Secretary and Lady Umbrella who sponsered some of the prizes.

Now, for the Winners who were picked using

The winner of Prize one is......

The winner of Prize 2 from Hero and Cape and Temporary Secretary is.....

And the winner of Prize 3 from Lady Umbrella is......

BEX from Futures

And lastly, the winner of the *Mystery Twitter Prize* is....

MARIA from Frills 'n' Spills

All of the lovely ladies have been contacted and I hope you all enjoy your prizes. Thank you to those who entered and thank you everybody who comes by Chloe Likes To Talk.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Swallows and Amazons

Dress, Primark
Cardigan, Primark
Coat, Primark
Leggings, Topshop
Bag, Nica
Matryoshka Necklace, ASOS
And so it RAINED. And not only is it raining in August (not such a surprise) but it's cool and windy enough to warrant a coat today.

On a more positive note, this coat was a steal last year in a Primark sale- all of about £5 and I buried it in my wardrobe for future use. I only pulled the tags off it last week and I'm super happy with it. It's a perfect spring/summer coat- lightweight, smart-casual, and it has flowers all over it.

In other news I've been having a very odd sort of a week. I ended up with a bonus day off on Tuesday as it was quiet, a welcome day of pottering about doing the washing, poking my nose into a newly opened TK Maxx locally and eating some pretty delicious home made chinese. Wednesday made me think hard about a lot of things after a bad reaction to what was simply meant to be a little gift. It's just been a peculiar kind of week with odds and ends going on in the background and decisions to be made that are really quite crucial- even though I don't think that's registering yet.

Anybody else not quite sure where their head is right now? I've decided that the remedy to this is to eat plenty of Aero Cookies, enjoy a cup of Apple and Cammomile Tea and enjoy the thoughts of some of the re-arranging planned for my space at home (more on that soon).

And if you're looking for a bit of a pick-me-up, there's still 2 hours left to win something on my Thank You Giveaway.

*Giveaway now closed*

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Boys Do Make Passes At Girls Who Wear Glasses

Last week saw the launch of Hero and Cape, independent British fashion label and man do they have some cracking designs. They also have some amazing jewellery and very cute accessories on their site, and you might have noticed their prize in my little giveaway that's running at the moment (SHAMELESS, I know!) As someone who's been wearing glasses since they were 2 years old, and someone who has to read the boards at the optician every 6 months, this one jumped right out at me.

T-Shirt, Hero and Cape
Martha Jeans, Topshop
Shoes, ASOS
Lightweight Jersey Blazer, ASOS
And it turns out I'm not the only one with *ahem* impeccable taste and amazing style. When Alex from Odd Socks and Pretty Frocks saw the very same one, we decided T-Shirt Twinning is the way forward. This how Alex styled hers.


The prints available at Hero and Cape are pretty damn amazing, the other tee I'm completely in love with is this Just Touched Down in London Town (yes all the designs have cool names). The designs are hand drawn and the t-shirts are hand printed to order, so not only do you have a great design, bur you can be safe in the knowledge that you're wearing something truly individual.

Much as I love the designs, and the concept of plain white tees, I was a touch disappointed by the actual t-shirt sizing. The t-shirts are unisex which isn't so great for me having, as someone so eloquently and accurately put it "too much tits and arse".

Not to be defeated, I decided to take the sewing machine out and have a bit of a play. First job, taking some width out. I removed about 6-8cm (I didn't measure, I just kept on until it fit how I wanted. Technical, I know) by giving the shirt some seams at the side, If I were to order another shirt, I'd just order a smaller size. With the neckline, I cut it a bit wider and more of a boat neck and used white binding tape to edge the seams. Et voila.

The Hero and Cape blog is well worth a look for a few exclusive pictures of behind the scenes on their lookbook, and go check out their awesome designs on their website. I've got my eye on this little beauty. And don't forget to go check out Alex's version.

*Giveaway now closed.*

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chloe Likes To Eat

I missed Chloe Likes To Eat last week because I was away in London. That's not to say I didn't eat lots of things that were well worth a mention here (my aunt's roast chicken and trimmings springs to mind, as does the beef fillet she wandered in with on Saturday night), it's just I failed to take any photos of anything and I had no Internet access to get the post up last Tuesday as I was somewhere between London Euston and the Lake District.

I am, however back with a meal full of yummy things to share. This was dinner for 6 of us one night last week when we had family visiting. It started off being "just" a simple a dinner- a pasta bake, then dad was able to spend a whole afternoon in the kitchen....

In pairs (top and bottom) from L-R
Pasta Bake
Mezze Plate
Strawberry Pavlova
Shall I start from the beginning?
Clockwise from Top Left
The full plate,
and again
Spadini cooking
Spadini on the plate
 A mezze plate can be a great starter- lots of flavours without going overboard on quantity. This particular version is probably as far from it's North African roots as possible, but it was tasty never the less.

On ours you will find.... (Clockwise from top centre of top right image above)
Vine leaf stuffed with rice salad and a drizzle of minted yoghurt
Spadini- minced chicken, garlic and herbs, rolled into a long thing cylinder, coated in bread crumbs and shallow fried.
Potato Salad
Rocket Leaves
Manchego Cheese
Cherry Tomato
Our own Hummus
Carrot and Sesame Seed salad (centre)

My dad also made some very yummy focaccia with pine kernels and sultanas in it and the top is drizzled with our own tomato sauce and chunks of mozzarella. So. Damn. Tasty.

Onto the main course next
Main Course
Pasta bake before on left and after on right
 A pasta bake. I love a pasta bake. They can be so simple to put together and yet they're so tasty and they can be pretty healthy if they have a lot of veg and you're not too heavy handed with the cheese.

This one is a break from the usual tomato sauce based version. The sauce is a saffron bechamel and it had courgettes, french beans, spinach and green peppers in it, topped with a light sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. I love the pre-cooked look of it, as the colours are just so happy, that said the cooked version I'd happily have in front of me a few meals running!

Dessert. A must say, when he announced he was making pavlova, I wasn't really sure what to say to my dad. I hate cream, in particular desserts covered or filled with it. My mother also doesn't eat cream. But this is a clever pavlova.

Clockwise from Top Left
Ready to go out
It's actually made with yoghurt and creme fraiche instead of cream. A 50:50 mix of both with vanilla to add some flavour, it really lightens the dessert (both in flavour and calories) and makes it a touch healthier. The sharpness of the yoghurt, although less intense with the added vanilla, still cuts through the sweetness of the meringue and the strawberries nicely.

We served it with a little splash of chocolate sauce, which was a little bonus and added a bit of richness to the whole thing and to say it went down well would be an understatement. In fact, I hoovered up about a half of the leftovers, which may or may not have equated to half of the whole pavlova...

Do you have a go-to family dinner that you use when there are a lot of you to feed? Do you like to mix up ideas- Italian, North African, British and Spanish all on one plate?!

Oh... and if you haven't already entered, I'm running a little Thank You giveaway at the moment, 4 chances to get your hands on a little thank you from me for following and supporting Chloe Likes To Talk.

*Giveaway now closed.*

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Biscuits With Bubbles

Yesterday I ended up doing a touch of unexpected weekend baking. As you do, I had a bar of Orange Aero kicking around in the fridge and thought I'd make these...

Clockwise from Top Left
The dough
The Cookies
The most important ingredient
 The Guy discovered Orange Aero, he rocked up here one evening with a bar, and I've been addicted ever since. Personally, I think it's best chilled.

The recipe for these is pretty simple... You will need:
250g Butter
140g Caster Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
300g Plain Flour

I added 1 whole 110g bare of Orange Aero too, but you could put other chocolate, dried fruit or whatever you fancied in it.


Pre-heat oven to 180C

Soften butter and beat sugar into it until smooth.
Add the egg yolk and beat into the butter and sugar mix.
Add half of the flour a little at a time and mix.
Break up your Ornage Aero (or whatever you're adding) into small chunks (I used a knife and cut it so the chunks were roughly half the size of the pre-moulded pieces).
Mix goodies through your incomplete mix so that said goodies are evenly distributed.
Continue to add the remaining flour bit by bit. You may need to get your hands in there as the last of the flour goes in.

Break off pieces of dough in size of your choice (I went for golf ball size) and roll into a ball.
Lay onto a non-stick tray or tray with baking parchment and lightly push down on balls of dough so they are almost flat. Remember to leave plenty of room between each cookie on the tray because they will spread a bit.

Cook for 12-15 minutes- I like to check mine at the 10 minute mark.
Cool on a wire baking tray.


*Giveaway now closed.*

Friday, August 5, 2011

98, 99, 100 ... 101

A give away I promised, and a give away I am here to present. A little thank you for showing an interest in Chloe Likes To Talk. To give as many of you as possible a chance to win a little something, I've got three different prizes for you. So without further ado...

A slice of cake and a good book, what a way to spend a day

A favourite read of mine, the first of the Becky Bloomwood Shopaholic novels and a book CHOC FULL of cakes and slices to make.

To win:

You must be a follower of Chloe Likes To Talk via Google Friend Connect

Leave a comment on this post, telling me that you'd like to win Prize 1 and your e-mail address

Hero and Cape & Temporary:Secretary

The Guy and I had to work hard to resist having a play with these 'taches and I defy you to tell me these bicycle clips are not cute? This little bundle of fun comes from the lovely people at Temporary:Secretary and Hero and Cape

To Win:

You must be a follower of Chloe Likes To Talk on Google Friend Connect

You must be a follower of Hero and Cape on Twitter (you can do this here)

You must be a follower of Temporary:Secretary on Twitter (you can do this here)

Leave me a comment on this post telling me that you'd like to win Prize 2 and your e-mail address

Lady Umbrella

The ever generous Rob and Elena at Lady Umbrella are offering up prize number three- a t-shirt of your choice from their website
Above are a few of my favourite designs and the tee they sent me earlier in the year

To Win:

You must be a follower of Chloe Likes To Talk on Google Friend Connect

You must be a follower of Lady Umbrella on Twitter (you can do this here)

Leave me a comment on this post telling me you'd like to win Prize 3 and your e-mail address.

A few rules, just to make sure it's all fair and square:

Winners will be picked at random by yours truly.
I will be checking the winners picked fill the given criteria- if the chosen winner does not, I'll draw a new winner.
You can enter for as many of the prizes as you would like to.
This giveaway is open to followers worldwide.
The giveaway will open until 1700 (GMT) on Friday 12th August- any entries after this time will not be counted.

Now I'm also offering a special bonus mystery prize for anybody who follows me on Twitter (you can do this here) and tweets the following before 1700 (GMT) Friday 12 August:

@chloelikes2talk has a thank you giveaway ft @tempsec @heroandcape @ladyumbrellaltd

Good Luck everybody and thank you all so much for following Chloe Likes To Talk

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hot Damn, Summer In The City

So, the one time I need to wear a jacket, it's 30+ degrees in London. PHEW! I was away for a few days doing interviews in London, thank you all for your good wishes and now it's a case of waiting for the outcomes and cracking on with more applications.

A little confession to make- I was a bad blogger whilst away in London, I didn't take a single photo worth showing you. As I was really only in the city for my interviews, I didn't really go anywhere or do anything to show you and I didn't even manage to get a proper outfit shot. To give you a little flavour, I do have these phone pictures though...

Duchess Grey Dress, Tesco
Cropped Tux Jacket, La Redoute
Bag, H&M

Pussybow Midi Dress, ASOS

And these pictures I took last night. I just happen to spot them in the garden at home and the colour drew me closer.

Oh and I love the little spots too. They remind me of animal print in an odd sort of a way.

The other excitement (well from my perspective certainly) is that there are now 101 people expressing an interest in what I have to talk about, and I do like to talk. Hello all *waves* and welcome. Thanks for visiting.

As a little thank you, I'll be launching a give-away tomorrow featuring a few lovely faces you might recognise. There'll be three prizes up for grabs so come back tomorrow to see more. Until then...