Monday, 11 February 2013

Sunshine Food

Ok, so here goes... This is my first stab at a foodie post so please be gentle with me as I haven't found my food blogging sea legs yet. 
England has been lost under a permanent grey cloud of drizzle, sleet and the occasional snow flurry for too long now, it's perpetually cold and everyone seems down in the dumps. So, as I had the day off I thought I'd bring a little sunshine to our home and cook one of my favourite dishes. I'm going to issue a disclaimer now and say that I am by no means a fantastic cook, but I can cook nice food that 9 times out of 10 tastes good, my picture quality is not professional but then again neither am I.
This recipe is for sticky chicken legs with pineapple salsa and sweet potato fries (sort of). Sticky chicken doesn't sound too appealing and I would love to be able to call it BBQ chicken legs but, unfortunately, these chuck legs have not seen a grill and the sauce they're in would make a Texan weep. Although the name may not sell them, this recipe is deliciously easy and seriously tasty and can be made fairly quickly.

Lets start with the marinade for the chicken, I use the term marinade in the loosest sense as the chicken legs aren't in it for any great period of time but it is used to cook them in. Quantities are by no means strict and really don't matter, the consistency just needs to be thick enough to coat the chicken but thin enough to pour over them. You'll need:
1 large tbsp of honey
4 tbsp (roughly) of soy sauce
1 chicken stock cube
1 squeeze of tomato ketchup 
1 squeeze of a cheap bbq sauce
1 1/2 tsp of white wine vinegar.
Combine all these ingredients in a large bowl, big enough to fit all your chicken drumsticks.
Put your chicken legs in the bowl and toss throughout the sauce so that each one has a slick of sauce on and put to one side while you prepare the sides.
Cut one large sweet potato into chunks/ wedges/ any shapes you like, don't remove the skin and throw onto a baking tray. Using the flat side of a knife crush 3-4 garlic cloves dependent on size, scatter these on top and pour over some olive oil. I've added some dried herbs but as most people think these are criminal to use I'll leave it up to personal preference.
Next comes the pineapple salsa which is by far my favourite part of the meal. It's so sweet, juicy and instantly uplifiting and, although the picture is slightly washed out due to the flash, it's vibrant and colourful to look at. A perfect pick me up. You'll need:
1 ripe nectarine
1/2 a red onion
1 slightly under ripe avocado (so it keeps it shape and doesn't "mush" as easily)
1/4 of a fresh pineapple or 1/2 of a tin.
All you need to do it simply cut everything into similar sized cubes and mix together, the acidity from the fruit will prevent the avocado from turning brown.
I also made a salad to serve on the side, nothing miraculous just some lettuce leaves with a spring onion, some cubed bell pepper, thin slices of radish and some crunchy raw sugar snap peas.

Now that's all done, transfer your chicken to an oven proof dish that fits them all in snuggly. Pour over the remainder of the marinade and put in an oven preheated at about 180 Celsius for about 35 mins. I put the sweet potato in the oven at the same time and by the time the chicken is cooked the sweet potato should be soft, with crisp chewy skin.
And there you have it, sunshine food.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Welcome home.

Well, hasn't it been a long time and don't you look different. I apologise for my lack of posts but I have had no computer for the last 18 months and have finally saved enough money to get a shiny new one, and so here I am.
First off I should probably mention a few changes that will be going on around here. This blog will no longer just be dedicated to my love of all things beauty, ToBeFrankie will now be a "lifestyle" blog. I say "lifestyle" as I'm not really sure what else to call it. Of course I will continue to blog about any new beauty finds and secrets that I come across but I have found of late that my zeal for the beauty world has some what dimmed. There are so many wonderful beauty blogs floating around the internet that really there isn't need for another, half arsed one. 
I want this blog to be something I can look back on in later years to remind myself what I was doing in my twenties, and a way that my family and friends can keep a track of what I've been up to without having to sift through meaningless facebook updates.

So, what have I been doing with myself that past year and a bit? Chris and I moved house in October of 2011 and have made a lovely home for our little family. We both started new jobs and have been working very hard at them. Lolly finally achieved her goal bikini body and is just as gorgeous and cuddly as ever. Life has just been moving on really. My health has improved some what and I am relishing having a sense of normality about my day to day comings and goings. In the middle of last year I began to write my first novel, which although extremely exciting had stalled slightly due to my laziness.

On a beauty note I have been through a range of different hair colours this past year and am pleased to say that I didn't visit a salon once! All these hair adventures have been done with my own fair hand.
I've been ombred.

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Dark brown with a fringe.

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Red with a growing out fringe.
And finally as it is now, blonde and considerably longer than it's ever been!

I'm afraid that's all for now as I have to go and make tacos for dinner but I am fully back in the blogging saddle and shall return to you very soon.

lots of love

Frank x

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Better in beige

Hello there,

This is only my second nail post which I can barely believe as I change my nail varnish so regularly. This nail look is one I believe sums me up perfectly, beige. People that know me, know that my wardrobe is a symphony in beige and I am completely unashamed at this, "beige is cool".
So when I came across "Threadbare" nail varnish in Topshop I instantly fell in love, true this is more of a "greige" (grey/beige) but I still think its gorgeous. I think this colour is effortless and chic and more importantly requires no thought putting it on as it goes with everything.

As much as I love neutrals I thought I might pep up this nail look by adding spots.. obviously. I used Ciate - After Dark which is a gorgeous deep purple that is almost duochrome and has a lovely warm gold tone to it. I used the back of a hair grip (bobby pin) to create the spots and have only dotted them on my ring finger.

The trend of having your ring finger a different colour or pattern to the rest of your hand is one that I am a little late too and I have to say I can't really understand why you'd do it. But for this particular look I think it works really well.

Peace, love and lipgloss
Frank x

Monday, 17 October 2011

Hair today.. long tomorrow.

Hello there,

This post should really be called "Hair today, same bloody length tomorrow", for the past 3 years or so my hair has just refused to grow. I did bleach my hair which can cause it to have difficulty growing but over the last year I have been phasing out my blondeness (much to the benefit of my wallet) and taking much better care of my barnet, and still it is just hanging out on my shoulders. 
I had begun to think that I was destined to have this length hair forever, and so began to buy clip in extensions and had even considered forking out for bonded ones. I've always wanted long hair, really just so I could swish it about and so was quite upset when my locks just decided not to grow. 
When I was about 12 years old I had nice long hair which I stupidly cut to a bob and bleached, and it's never been the same again (cue sad music). I've been trying for such a long time to grow out my hair and had resorted to trying "hair growth tablets", eating specific foods, even rinsing my hair with tea! Alas, nothing helped, so imagine my joy when I read of a miracle hair product which promoted hair growth.
I read an awful lot about Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment before I purchased it, it did make some bold claims and talked a lot of nonsense about fertilising the earth but I was so desperate to get long hair I was about to try anything. 
I have been using the grow treatment, which is a cream which you massage into your hair in between shampoo and conditioner, for about a month now and I have to say I haven't noticed any dramatic differences in growth. I have however noticed that my hair had been getting greasy so much quicker, which tends to suggest that the natural oils in my hair are working overtime, this makes me wonder whether this treatment is stripping out too much from my natural hair rather than putting things in. That aside, I have noticed my hair seems a lot softer and more manageable, which for £7.99 a pop I would expect.
My hair has been getting slightly longer but seems to have stalled in its growth, I can't be sure as to whether this growth is because I have been using this treatment, or because I have stopped bleaching and using heat on my hair.
All this being said I will be buying this product again as I believe it helps my hair absorb conditioner better and I am still holding out the hope that one morning I will wake up with waist length hair. I can't confirm that this products  "works" but it does make you step up and take much better care of your hair which all in all is a good thing.

Lots of love
Frank x

Monday, 19 September 2011

Living with Bipolar Disorder

Hello there,

As you may have guessed by the title this is not going to be you average blog post. I hope this doesn't put you off reading my blog, but I understand that mental health issues are not something that every one is comfortable talking about or reading about. If you hadn't twigged by now I have bipolar, and I thought I would share with you my experience and how it effects my day to day life. 
It seems recently that every man and his dog have been being diagnosed with bipolar (which in case you didn't know is mental health disorder which causes your mood to fluctuate between extreme depression and really "high" manic periods) and so it is becoming almost a common phrase and in my opinion it is not being represented fairly. I'm going to say now something which may cause some suffers to get quite cross but hear me out, bipolar disorder is a terrible illness which effects people very differently and is a daily concern, however I do think some suffers let it take over them and almost "blame" bipolar for ruining parts of their life. 
I think it's probably time now that I talked a little about myself and my experiences, I am not going to go into every minute detail as some things are really quite personal. Right, lets get into it, I began to notice I was feeling different things to my friends at the age of about 12, there didn't seem to be any really obvious idea as to why I was feeling as miserable as I was I just felt lost and angry. I hadn't had your stereotypical childhood, but there were no real "traumas" that could have "triggered" this depression (I'm calling it depression as that is what it was diagnosed as at a later date). As I progressed further into my teens I went through CAMS which is the children mental health service in the UK and really had an awful experience with it. Basically, they were shit! There was far too much focus of things that had happened in my childhood and no one seemed to listen to me about the fact that I was noticing that these periods of sadness would last for a very long time and then I just seem to go to that opposite extreme. For a while the Dr seemed to put it down to "teenage hormones", now if any one that is a teenager now I completely understand how frustrating it is when feelings you know aren't normal are described as "teenage hormones". If we move on a little bit to when I was about 16, this is really when things started to become out of control for me. I lost huge amounts of weight and my self confidence was at an all time low, I contemplated suicide almost daily and actually tried to commit suicide (badly I might add) a number of times because I was just desperate to feel nothing as I was being to understand that I wasn't going to feel "normal". As you may have guessed this put a huge strain on all my relationships, I wanted to be left alone but at the same time I craved attention because I just wanted to feel needed, it was a pretty rough time for every one close to me. Things hit an all time low when I was hospitalised, I was admitted to the Priory for treatment. For anyone reading this who is in a difficult place, try your hardest to talk to people and not shut yourself off so you don't end up becoming an inpatient as it is horrible. I was lucky enough to be in a private hospital so I had my own room, but during the day I was surrounded by incredibly troubled young people who I had no choice than to try and be friends with as I was away from everyone I knew. As odd as it sounds I did find some comfort in the girls who were in the hospital the same time as me as I knew they understood part of what I was feeling. Anywhoo I'll move on, Dr's in the Priory took note of the fact that my moods seemed to change dramatically and tried to tailor my treatment to deal with the depressive side, but at that time it was the mania (high periods) which I was finding the most scary because as sad as it sounds, I had become used to feeling depressed. I left the Priory just before my 17 birthday and tried to integrate back into sixth form, this did not go well. To begin with I had to deal with the fact that it was now common knowledge that I had mental issues and so to teenagers "psycho" and also many people thought I was a drug addict and told me to "go back to rehab". I am however not blaming my difficulties at school completely on other people, when I came out of the Priory there were a number of incredibly personal and heartbreaking issues that happened which seemed to trigger a complete manic period, one like I have never known. I am going to copy and paste some "symptoms" I have found which explains some of the things you experience in manic stage:
  • Easily distracted
  • Little need for sleep
  • Poor judgment
  • Poor temper control
  • Reckless behavior and lack of self control
    • Binge eating, drinking, and/or drug use
    • Poor judgment
    • Sex with many partners (promiscuity)
    • Spending sprees
  • Very elevated mood
    • Excess activity (hyperactivity)
    • Increased energy
    • Racing thoughts
    • Talking a lot
    • Very high self-esteem (false beliefs about self or abilities)
  • Very involved in activities
  • Very upset (agitated or irritated)

    Poor judgement was something that really plagued me at school, at this time I was so fed up of being the odd one out (because up until then I had some of the most amazing friends), that I lived in my own world completely. In this world I was normal and just trying to carry on with school and everyone else was different and had the most exotic and scandalous lives. I lived in a blur and was not certain what was real and what was fantasy. Basically, I was living up to my psycho nick name, and it was impossible for people to understand that it wasn't just me being a dick, I was almost drowning in my own illness. It was a horrendous time, where I didn't recognise myself and my family didn't know what to do with me.
    After trying for some time, my parents and I believed it would be best if I left school. This was a difficult decision as I have always been fairly good at school and received excellent grades, in my final year at school I performed really poorly in my AS levels and decided to cut my losses and leave with out A levels.
    In the following year the Dr really started to take my seriously and I was now old enough to access the adult mental health team in my local area. After just one meeting with them, the term Bipolar was being thrown around and I was adamant that I didn't have it. By this time I had lost all faith in myself and hated what I had become and I was certain that I was just born crazy, my plan for my life which used to be career, family, happily forever after and the sunset, was now unemployment, mental health institutions and ill health, being alone (dropping down to such a tiny weight had caused some problems with my health and had almost ruined parts of my old life plan) and finally and early death.
    I spent the majority of a year just sat on the sofa or in my bed just staring at my life going by. Miraculously during this time I met my now boyfriend who was at uni, and seeing his success and extreme normality sort gave me a kick up the arse and I knew I had to complete my A levels from home. 
    If we return back to the Dr, just after the first meeting with the mental health team the Dr decided to try me on some different medication. For those with bipolar taking anti depressants can actually make symptoms worse and I had been on a cocktail of anti depressants since the age of 16, almost as soon as I was off the anti depressants I started feeling better or at least more in control.
    I think the feeling of being out of control is the scariest part of bipolar, it's almost as if someone else is in charge of how you feel that day and there is nothing you can do to change it.
    If we fast forward in time, I completed my A levels from home and some how managed to get all A's, I had a stable boyfriend who seemed not to care that I was this loony and I was a part time nanny to earn a bit of money.
    I was seeing a mental health profession regularly, and although I think talking therapies are a bunch of balls, if I hadn't been to seem them I never would have been diagnosed with bipolar and would not have received the right medication.
    Now onto grown up stuff, it is ridiculous that people think bipolar sufferers aren't able to work, yes it is difficult because you feel constantly tired ( bipolar meds are normally taken at night because the make you so sleepy and really no use to anyone, and you are constantly either climbing the walls being manic, or weeping into your cereal being depressed... exhausting!). It is because of this tiredness that I think a part time job is ideal and I was able to get a job and work extremely hard at it and enjoy it.
    I'm using the past tense as I have since had to give it up due to physical health problems (nothing to do with bipolar).
    I honestly believe that I will be able to live as normal a life as anyone, even though I suffer with something hard, everyone deals with things and none are more important that others. Yes I sometimes have really extreme moments where I revert back to how I was when I was 16 but it's 4 years on now and they are much less frequent. It does effect me daily and it is a constant up hill battle, but I have come to terms with this and am able to deal with it almost independently.
    To any bipolar sufferers out there I know it's difficult and makes you want to give up, and I know how much you want to punch people when they say "life is a roller coaster"...well duh (Ronan Keating I HATE YOU). People are sometimes scared of mental health but as long as you accept that you are always going to be different it becomes much easier to deal with. Being different does not mean anything bad! It just means that you exceptionally un-average, which is a far more exciting place to be.
    It is super hard for people to grasp how intense the hold is that it has over your life, but you can not let it ruin you. I think bipolar chooses people who are strong enough to cope with it. As harsh as it sounds, I get quite cross with people who pin all their troubles on having bipolar and yes I do completely understand that it effects people differently and in different ways, but the constant thing with bipolar is that it is never constant! So you can never be stuck in a rut because the next day/week/month you will feel completely different.
    Surround yourself with people that are willing to help and love you regardless (your family is a good place to start... they don't have a choice), don't get upset that some people wont understand and will leave your life.
    I am very grateful for people in my life now, and for those of you who have left (mainly school friends) I apologise for how I was but no one is perfect yo!
    Any way that's all sorry for it being long and rambley and probably doesn't make much sense, I just thought I should get it out there and hopefully it will clear things up for some people.
    I am not angry or upset that I'm stuck with this illness ( as really that's all it is an illness, something that can be treated), and really normal is BORING.

    Peace out

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Autumn/Fall Wishlist

Hello there,
As we start a new season it's time again for my wishlist for the coming colder months. Unfortunately for my bank balance this wishlist is MUCH longer than the last one. Anywhoooo, I hope you will all enjoy having a browse of what I'm loving this season.

From Topshop:

 From River Island:

From New Look:

 From H&M:

 From ASOS:

I best get saving my pennies
Lots of love
Frank x

Friday, 26 August 2011

Cosmopolitan Blog Awards

Hello there,

By now you must be feeling really neglected as I have written a post in forever, and unfortunately this isn't a proper blog post.
I really am sorry that I'm in such a blogging funk but I promise I will be back soon.
This post is really a desperate plea to any people still reading this blog to vote for me in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2011, it might just help me get my mojo back.
All you need to do is head to and fill in the nomination form and under the section it says blog URL pop in
It really would mean a lot to even get a few nominations.
Lots of love and I will be back soon.
lots of love
Frank x