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Sunday, 10 December 2017

I've found that since going vegan, I've become a lot more creative with my food but one thing I don't have much of anymore is a curry. So when I was asked if I wanted to try some Yutaka products to make a Katsu vegan curry, I was right on board!

Unfortunately it took me a while longer than I hoped to get this curry made. First of all our flatmates stole some of our ingredients (by accident, of course) and second of all I waited until a day I could make the curry early on in the day so I could take some decent photos in a natural light. Oh the woes of being a blogger.

I finally got around to making it today, although with the snow, the natural light wasn't amazing. Still, what's important was the curry.

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Food | Vegan Katsu Curry | Cooking | Vegan | Katsu

I was sent Yutaka Panko (bread crumbs) and Yutaka Japanese-Style Curry Cube to create the dish. The recipe advised me to use either vegetables as the base (an aubergine and a sweet potato) or tofu, and I chose tofu simply because I'm trying to experiment more with it in cooking.

The recipe - which I'll post below - was easy enough to follow, although the only issues I had was that not a lot of breadcrumbs stuck to the tofu - normally when you cover something in breadcrumbs, you use egg yolk to help them stick but obviously I couldn't do that. My boyfriend advised me to use a little oil and this made a lot of difference, but overall it would have been better if it was more 'breaded'. This didn't defer from the taste though!

The second issue was - and I always struggle with this, so this is through no fault of the products - is that the sauce came out more like a watery sauce then a thick one. I didn't mind one bit because it was still packed full of flavour but, next time if I want it thicker, I'll remember to add some flour.

I quickly realized (after some research) that I was actually making a traditional katsu dish - which differs from what we know as a curry. It was delicious. The dish overall reminded me of food I used to always get from my local - breaded chicken with a thick curry sauce. This definitely rivaled it and the sauce itself had tons of flavour without being too spicy.

I added some vegetable samosas too!

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Food | Vegan Katsu Curry | Cooking | Vegan | Katsu

It was so delicious and we were actually left with lots of sauce left over which I think will go great with some vegan chicken nuggets and perhaps even pies at a later date. 

I'll be honest though: when serving up with the less-than-thick sauce (due to me never being able to make a thick sauce) and slightly breaded tofu pieces instead of a curry, I wasn't expecting much. 

But it was amazing. I'd somehow managed to re-create one of my favourite pre-vegan dishes and the whole thing was super filling and filled with flavour. My boyfriend absolutely loved it too and has already asked me if I can buy a few more products and make it again next week.

Which I definitely will. Because I've fallen into the trap lately of just shoving frozen food in the oven and not actually cooking, and making this has reminded me that proper cooking doesn't have to be long or inconvenient. 

Here's the original recipe:

· 1 Large Onion
· 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
· Water 800ml
· Yutaka Japanese-Style Curry Cube 100g
· 1 large aubergine
· 1 large sweet potato
· Plain flour 100g
· Salt & Pepper
· 50g cornflour mixed with water
· Yutaka Panko 200g
· Olive oil
· Steamed White Rice

Chop onion into small pieces. Add a little oil to the pan and gently fry chopped onions on low heat until lightly browned. Add 800ml of cold water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to medium and simmer for 7 minutes. Then let the sauce cool down for a few minutes. Add 100G of Yutaka Curry into the sauce. Stir until fully dissolved. Simmer on low heat and stir until sauce thickens.

Cut the sweet potato and aubergine into half cm slices and season with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour then dip into the cornflour mixture and coat with Yutaka Panko. Add oil to pan and once hot, cook the slices on each side for a couple of minutes or until golden brown. Leave to drain on a paper towel. Serve with boiled rice and add the sauce.

The whole dish took around twenty minutes to make. My tofu was quite crumbly so I had to abandon some and there was a lot of sauce left over so this would have easily have served between 3-4 people. I will note that the sauce came in one big chunk divided into six, so next time I'll ensure to only use what I need when just cooking for two.

Overall, my first vegan Katsu curry exceeded my expectations and even now I'm wishing I made enough to go back for seconds! It rivaled my favourite pre-vegan dish and will serve as the perfect week night dinner.

Have you ever tried any Katsu products? Would you try this curry/dish? Let me know!

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Friday, 8 December 2017

This week I dragged my boyfriend to Waddesdon Manor, a beautiful 1870s country house near to Aylesbury. To be honest, I say I dragged my boyfriend, but he was actually very happy to go! 

The reason I wanted to go is because the manor (and it's grounds) has so much on at Christmas and I visited years and years ago with my nan and parents, having an amazing time. I'd always wanted to go back - and we always tried to - but it just didn't happen. So as part as my birthday present, my boyfriend agreed to take me on a day that the Christmas fair was on.

We also booked tickets to go inside the house and see the decorations as on my last visit, my family and I only visited the grounds.

After just an hours drive, we arrived near to the house where we were welcomed with two tall beautiful Christmas trees. We were actually nowhere near the house but already I felt festive! We drove down through the gates and to the car park, where we hopped onto a shuttle bus that took us down to the house.

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A seasonal visit to Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market

Though the walk itself is only twenty minutes or so long, it was very chilly so we decided to take the lazy option! As soon as we stepped off the bus I was blown away to see the magnificent house in front of us. Pretty Christmas lights twinkled in the trees surrounding the house and down each side of the long lawn, pop up cabins/chalets hosted the Christmas market.

We got stuck in, admiring the decorations from each cabin and the delicate string lights criss-crossing from cabin to lampost, emitting a romantic glow as we walked beneath. The first cabin we visited was a foodie one and even had a vegan burger on offer - perfect! Vincent scoffed his in no time (it was too spicy for me!) and we began a slow walk to check out what was on offer. Though we saw lots of great things, we actually forgot to buy any gifts and just bought some chilli sauces for ourselves!

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A seasonal visit to Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A seasonal visit to Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market

After a mooch around the market, we explored the grounds. The stables looked particularly festive - and the walk from the house to the stables was nice. It was a winding path through trees but lit up with small lantern lights. We spent half an hour in the playground too - there were some fun things to do as adults! - and generally just spent the rest of the time gazing at the festive decorations.

When it was almost time for our timed entry into the house, we walked up and realized there was an outdoor light show. With floodlights changing the colours of the trees and sound effects, we were treated to a short but sweet show held against the backdrop of the house. We saw colourful butterflies fly over the walls outside and even snow! It was really beautiful.

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A day at Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market

Inside the house was even more festive. Even though we only saw a handful of rooms, each had a different theme and the trees were out of this world. I got so many ideas for our tree (when we eventually get one!) and loved walking through the old walls and delving into the houses past.

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A seasonal visit to Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A seasonal visit to Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | A seasonal visit to Waddesdon Manor | Waddesdon Manor | Christmas Market

My only qualm is that we didn't get to see much of the house at all. Obviously not every room is decorated for Christmas, but as we spent £30 for the both of us to visit the house, I was quite surprised to find we were in and out within only twenty minutes. Still, I was glad we got to see inside and the trees really were beautiful!

We also had issues finding somewhere to eat, though this is through no fault of Waddesdon. There was lots of food on offer, but this was mostly pop-ups or cafes which of course served nothing vegan. We should have booked in advance to eat in the restaurant really but didn't think that far ahead.

Saying that, I was pleasantly surprised to find even a vegan burger on offer at the market, it's just a shame that it was too spicy for me! We found solace in the raclette cabin which offered cheesy chips and gravy - we ordered it without the cheese to make a delicious but light vegan snack.

All in all it was a really lovely and festive day. Waddesdon Manor is still one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited and there really is nothing like it come Christmas. From the Christmas market to Waddesdon Imaginarium (the light show projected onto the house), there really is so much to see and do this winter, proving that it's worth risking the cold to make a visit.

Have you ever been to Waddesdon Manor? Let me know!

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Monday, 4 December 2017

- by Christine Cook

Cleopatra's beauty is still a frequent subject of discussion even decades after her death. She became known for exhibiting her exquisite looks to seduce powerful men for political gain. However, her ethnicity has become a hot topic in recent years and ThoughtCo revealed that some biographers insist that Cleopatra was in fact black. Conversely, some historians believe she was Macedonian, seeing as she was a part of the Ptolemy dynasty that ruled over Egypt. 

Regardless of the debate, her physical appearance helped her gain her status, and Cleopatra remains a legendary queen. Her name and image has become synonymous with that of Ancient Egypt's prime.

Even nowadays, Cleopatra is still seen as a beacon of beauty, and her makeup styles are often used because of how effective they are in cultivating long-term health especially in terms of skincare. 

She has many skincare hacks to thank for her looks, some of which you can do as well, and we have listed below. 

Beauty and Tips Magazine claimed that Cleopatra bathed in a mixture of donkey milk, fresh honey, and almond oil. To do have your own Cleopatra milk and honey bath all you need is to mix a half cup of honey with 3 cups of (cow) milk and add 5 tablespoons of either almond or olive oil. You can pour this mixture into your bath or directly on your skin while you shower. 

Cleopatra was also said to have achieved radiant skin by applying a combination of sea salt and olive oil. The practice was included by The Alternative Daily in their list of 13 natural beauty secrets from the Queen of the Nile. The mixture exfoliated and moisturised her skin, as well as helped replenish it after being exposed to the hot Egyptian sun. 

For her face, The Manila Times reported that a clay mask was a main component in the pharaoh’s beauty regimen. She used it to remove impurities and retain smoothness. It was said that the compound is comprised of clay, honey, sour cream, and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. All ingredients were of equal parts. To do the same, mix the ingredients and leave it on your face for about 20 to 30 minutes. Then, wash it off with warm water followed by rinsing with cold water to close your pores.

To this day, Cleopatra’s beauty resonates in society. She has been played by many beautiful actresses in movies over the years such as thespians Claudette Colbert and Vivien Leigh. She has also appeared in many other facets of pop culture, including TV programs and video games. Take for instance, the online slots game Cleopatra on Slingo that showcased the Pharaoh in her iconic look, complete with the classic eyeliner extension – a popular beauty trend. Considering all the modern works tied to her name, the Egyptian ruler’s image evidently transcends time, and her skincare rituals only add to her status in terms of her appearance. 

While there might never be a conclusion to the argument regarding her true ethnicity, her allure still remains and will continue to do so for decades. A lot of methods in Cleopatra’s skincare regime still on hold true today, and for that reason alone, the Queen of the Nile already lives on. 

Have you tried other skincare tips that Cleopatra also implemented? Don't forget to share them through your comments below.

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Saturday, 2 December 2017

Firstly, massive apologies that this post didn't go live yesterday. First of all, my blog was down for some unknown reason (I left it to GoDaddy to fix it entirely and it was fine again this morning; yay!). Second of all, I totally didn't even realize it was the 1st. I mean can you even accept the fact that it is now the FIRST OF DECEMBER. IT IS THE MONTH OF CHRISTMAS. WE ARE LIKE ONE MONTH AWAY FROM 2018/NEXT YEAR.
I can't believe it. But I do know I'm in full on Christmas mode and have been gearing up for this for a while now. It's finally acceptable to be excited for Christmas now though.

Here's what I'm looking forward to this month.

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | Hello December | Waddesdon Manor | Dark | Year One | Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I love dystopia/survival books, so Year One (Chronicles of The One #1) sounds right up my street. The premise is based around a sickness wiping out the world and a small group of people trying to survive after the end. But where science and technology failed, magic has risen instead; both good and bad. Lana and Max begin an adventure to survive and the book tells the story of the other survivors they meet along the way.
Year One will be released on the 5th December.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is finally coming to our screens. We've all purposely avoided all trailers as we're all going to go see it at the IMAX in the new year, but everyone knows it follows on from the last movie when Rey finds Luke. It was the last movie that really made me a fan of Star Wars, so I've no doubt this one is going to blow me away also.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released on the 15th December.

Seasonal days a plenty! On Wednesday, I'm dragging my boyfriend along to Waddesdon Manor to see their Christmas fair again and to finally see inside the house. Saturday is my work's Christmas do and the following week I'm starting early birthday celebrations. My boyfriend has a super fun surprise planned for me which I'm so excited about but it's been so tough avoiding reading all about what's going on in London this month in fear of ruining the surprise. Next Saturday my sister and I are heading into London for my annual birthday celebrations and we're going to The Vaults for their Dance Before Christmas. Not quite sure what it entails but it's clearly gonna be really fun and unique based on the venue; so I better get a new dress! All these events will be covered on the blog, so keep an eye out.

New Netflix drama, Dark, is here to satisfy your Stranger Things shaped hole. In my eyes, it's Stranger Things meets The Returned, only much darker than the latter. It's a supernatural thriller based around a two missing children in a small German town. It won't be an easy one to watch - and has subtitles - but it's also going to be very addictive. 
Dark is available from the 1st December.

In all honesty, the closer we get to Christmas, the quieter it's going to get around here. Not only am I working in retail again this Christmas (long hours), but I'm also planning a move from Blogger to Wordpress for the new year, as well as some other blog changes. It'll involve a lot of research and planning ahead so although I'll be trying my best to blog as normal, plz don't hate me if I go completely stone cold quiet for weeks on end ;)

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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

I've always wanted to travel and earlier this year, during my first time travelling in Mexico, I knew that that trip wouldn't be the last one. I fell in love with discovering new cultures, exploring thousands of years of history and travelling different landscapes, from sandy white beaches to plush green jungles. 

During my trip, I travelled with a backpack I'd hastily ordered from Amazon just a week before. I wasn't sure what type of luggage to go with and although I loved my backpack, I do wish I'd picked something more ideal for travel. It was a good size for my day-to-day activities - as I also brought a suitcase - but wouldn't have cut it for long term travel. One of the straps also broke within the last few days of my trip too.

So I was delighted when CabinZero got in touch recently and asked me if I'd like to try out one of their specialized travel bags (how ideal would this opportunity have been back in April!). I had a look at the brand before choosing my bag and was overwhelmed with how ideal this company is when it comes to what they're selling.

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | CabinZero's Classic Travel Bag Review | CabinZero | Travel

CabinZero are actually avid fans of travelling - just one look at their blog will tell you that. Posts range from their favourite travel instagrammers to guest blogs about America's best cities for fall travel. Basically, they know exactly what they're talking about and what exactly a travel bag or backpack needs.

I picked the Classic CabinZero which is ideal for zero-hassle travel - perfect for a new traveller like me! I ordered it in Lipe Blue and the website states that backpack’s colour is inspired by the sea’s reflection of the last rays of a stunning Thai sunset - how inspiring is that?

My first impression of the bag is that the colour is beautiful. It's bright and eye catching, meaning there's little chance of it getting lost, but the colour is also slightly subtle too. It's not too bright or in your face and I think it'll go with anything.

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | CabinZero's Classic Travel Bag Review | CabinZero | Travel

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | CabinZero's Classic Travel Bag Review | CabinZero | Travel

The bag is super spacious inside with smaller zipped compartments for things like toiletries and important documents, and another large elasticated section which fits my laptop nicely. On the front of the bag there's also a zipped area which works for bits that need to be accessed quickly.

It's also very sturdy and a good size. It's more square than anything, which works really well, and as well as a zip to get inside, there's also four clips you can use to be extra safe if you so choose. My favourite part, however, is that there's also a handle down the left side of the bag. This means you can wear it as a backpack as normal, or you can carry it as you would a briefcase.

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | CabinZero's Classic Travel Bag Review | CabinZero | Travel

This is such a genius idea and one I haven't seen before. I'm used to backpacks with one small handle at the top and I always worry the handle will break with how much I've overpacked. So with a larger and more sturdy handle on the side, it also means when you pick it up you're lifting where most of the weight is, rather than the empty area/gap at the top of your luggage/items if you haven't packed to the brim.

I have yet to 'travel' with this bag (but keep an eye out as we're heading back to Romania after Christmas!), but so far, I use it when travelling between my boyfriend's flat and home. Normally I shove all my stuff into my day to day bag (which I take to work with me), which means it's heavy and weighs me down, or just in a plastic bag with my laptop in its separate bag.

Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Travel | CabinZero's Classic Travel Bag Review

Lately, I've been able to keep everything in CabinZero's classic travel bag and it's perfect for that use. Of course it will obviously be perfect for travel - weekend, week or longer - but for the meantime, I've been getting plenty of use out of it.

Additionally, the bag is water resistant, designed to be the perfect cabin size, has a ten year warranty and has a lost and found tag built in - how nifty is that?!

Overall, I don't think I would pick anything else for a travel bag now. It's light but durable, it has all the compartments you need, it's got extra safety additions and it's really bloody stylish too.

What do you think? Would you benefit from a CabinZero Classic Travel Bag on your adventures? Let me know!

P.S Interested in purchasing your own CabinZero bag? You can use promo code CZLOUISEJOY for 10% off your entire order until 7th Jan!

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