Egg Free French Toast Recipe – Perfect For Egg Allergy Sufferers

One of my big goals in life is to find egg-free alternatives to all my favourite eggy foods. One of the first on the list was French toast, although it has taken me twelve years to find one that I liked since my egg allergy diagnosis. I had to do a bit of shuffling of ingredients to get the right mix, but when I did find it, it was absolutely delicious and so simple, I can’t figure out why it took me so long to get here.

So, here’s the ingredient list:

1 slice of white bread (not too soft)

125 mls skimmed milk

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

1/2 teaspoon of cornflour (you call it corn starch in America)

2 slices of fatty bacon

2 teaspoons of olive oil

Obviously, this recipe is not vegan or vegetarian. And it’s very fattening, so it should be kept as an occasional treat! The method is simple. Fry the bacon, without oil, in a non-stick pan. Drain the fat and set it aside as it is cooking. You’re going to use this. Once the bacon is cooked, remove and set that aside too.

Next, beat the milk, cornflour and vanilla together. Then dip the bread in for just long enough to get it coated. Fry the bread with the olive oil in the same non-stick pan you cooked the bacon in, at a medium heat. While the bread is cooking, dribble half the bacon fat onto one side. It should be cooked for a couple of minutes until it’s golden brown on that side. Then turn and drizzle the rest of the bacon fat on the cooked side. After a couple of minutes, when the underside is cooked, give the bread one more flip and cook that side again for thirty seconds.

You can eat it with the bacon if you like. It’s delicious on it’s own and you could use the bacon for something else. Try it and let me know what you think.


Charles Worthington Smooth and Control Finishing Serum Review

Hair serum. It’s one of those phrases that doesn’t automatically roll off my tongue and I have, on more than one occasion, accidentally called it hair semen. Thanks to the movie, There’s Something About Mary, this conjures up all sorts of mental images and people tend to laugh rather than think I’m weird. I thought I’d do a hair serum review today since I haven’t actually done that before. Like a lot of women, I have a love-hate relationship with my hair and one of the many issues I have with it is that my hair has a fine but frizzy texture. Serums generally weigh my hair down and make me look like I have dipped my head in oil, so I have to be really careful with which ones I buy. I also have to keep a close eye on the ingredients thanks to my paranoia about nut oils. This is not a paid-for review. It’s based on my own experience with a product that I love, Charles Worthington Smooth & Control Finishing Serum.

charles worthington serum review

Sadly, I don’t have a funny story to go with this product the way that I did with the Ben Sherman cologne I reviewed the other day, but it’s just as awesome. I use a tiny pea-sized amount on my hair, which is currently shoulder-length and very fine, especially at the front and sides. This small amount does the job. I use it just after washing, when it’s still soaking wet and then again after styling to finish off. Using it twice doesn’t make it feel greasy or weigh my hair down.

So, what I like about this product is that there isn’t a list of ingredients the length of your arm. I hate when products have too much going on. I also like that there’s coconut oil in it. I’m a huge fan of coconut oil, because as we all should know, it’s not a nut, it’s a fruit. It moisturises but according to one of my hair dressers, it can also have a slightly drying effect. That would explain why this particular serum keeps my hair in check and makes sure it behaves but it also has the added benefit of not making it greasy. In fact, I would say that when I use this, I wash my hair slightly less. That could also be attributed to the fact that I’ve styled my hair so it is holding shape better, but I found this really unusual and unexpected.

What I don’t like about this product is having to wash my hands after I’ve used it. It’s not sticky but it does leave a weird feeling on your skin that a quick rub down with a towel doesn’t fix. Also, there’s no organic products in it, which is a bummer, but it isn’t tested on animals and it is paraben free, so that’s something.

Overall, this product gets 10 out of 10 from me. I love the product, I love the slightly coconutty scent, I love the packaging and I love that it is cruelty free and paraben free. If only it contained organic fair-trade coconut oil, it would be perfect. It can be purchased online from Amazon but it seems slightly more expensive there than it is on the high street, where it’s £6.99. You can also read more about it on the Charles Worthington website.

Have you ever had an unexpected side-effect of a hair serum the way I did with this?

A To Z Blogging Challenge 2018 Theme Reveal

This year, I am participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. For those who don’t know, it’s basically a blog hop where a bunch of bloggers agree to write 26 blogs with their chosen theme, each post being alphabetised. On the 1st of April the post is the A of something, on the 2nd the post is the B of something and then on the 30th you reach Z, because every Sunday, except the 1st of April, is a day off.

a to z blogging challenge 2018

It’s a fun challenge but there’s also a reason for bloggers to participate. It gives us an excellent chance to network with each other and find each other’s blogs. We discover new blogs and writers we’ve never come across before and they might become our new friends or favourite coffee break reading material! If you want to sign up, you can do so here.

a to z blogging challenge 2018

I haven’t participated for a couple of years now because I’ve been too busy but this year I’m a little more organised. Plus, it’s a good distraction from all the crap going on in my life. So, I’m posting today to reveal my theme. This year, I will once again be blogging about one of my favourite subjects – LINGERIE. I chose this theme in 2014 and it was fun but I was in Cyprus for most of the blog hop with dodgy wi-fi, so I didn’t get the full benefit. This year, I’ll be at home for the whole month so hopefully, it will go much better.

I’ve already decided that next year I’ll do perfume but for this year, I just want an excuse to go shopping and do lots of research!

Are you participating? What is your theme?

Spill The Beans About Your Celebrity Encounters: What Were They Really Like?

Why is it so much fun to read about the lives of celebrities? My friend J is in love with a celebrity.  She feels the same ups and downs everybody does when they’re in love, but she has to stand back and watch while tabloids, stalkers and millions of tweeters tear his private life to shreds.  Harsh.
My initial plan for the sequel to The Tangled Web was to write about the next stage of Flic’s life, when she is an investigative celebrity photographer (in other words, she paps reality TV stars) but I lost enthusiasm for that once I started to really think about it.  Flic was generally unlikable before.  Why would her new life make her any more likeable?  Who would want to read about that?
Then I started to think about my own encounters with celebrities.  Here are some of the encounters I’ve had with minor celebs.
  • I shared a toilet with a Spanish flamenco dancer and TV star.  Can’t remember her name.

cadiz flamenco dancer

  • I shared a lift with the guy who puts his hand up Basil Brush’s arse and shouted “Boom Boom Basil!” as he was leaving.
  • I was waiting to cross the road in Monte Carlo and David Coulthard drove past me.
  • Berni Flint asked me a question at one of his stand-up shows (ask your parents)
  • Leapy Lee said excuse me to me when I bumped into him in a hotel (ask your grandparents)
  • The producer of my favourite radio show sent me a DM on Twitter after I tweeted about putting my car into the garage.  I sent him a public reply.  I don’t care who you are, you don’t DM me unless you know me.  It’s effing rude.
  • I was standing outside Fopp in Glasgow, and Fran Healy walked past me.
  • I sat at the table behind the woman who played Sadie in Family Affairs in a restaurant (I know, as celebrity encounters go, this was really poor).
  • I was in the front row at a gig by one of my favourite ska bands and the bass player winked at me, smiled at me and was grinding his hips in my direction all through the show.  True story.  And quite awkward since my husband was standing right beside me.
  • I was queuing to get into a Reel Big Fish gig in Glasgow and realised just as I was going inside that the guy standing at the door having a cigarette was only Brian bloody Klemm!  I may or may not have swooned.  How embarrassing.

brian klemm suburban legends lacey dearie

  • I met Alex Salmond at a book signing. We were second last to meet him. He had a very sore hand.
  • I stalked tracked down three members of Suburban Legends at a Reel Big Fish gig when they were supporting and I got my picture taken with all of them. Although I was too shy to have proper conversations with any of them.
  • I met Mr. Maker at Butlins.

mr maker butlins

  • I met Rastamouse when he was switching on the Christmas lights at Silverburn. Highlight of my life!
  • Then there was the time I spent a morning following Peter Andre around Glasgow. That is worthy of a whole blog post of its own, I assure you.
Can I share any scandals?  It depends on what you call scandal…see if you can guess who these celebrities are.  There are no A-listers here.  No Brad Pitts or George Clooneys.  But you might work out who they are.
  • A guy I’d never heard of from a band I barely knew followed me on Twitter and for a while, we were pretty good Twitter-friends. It even spilled over into Facebook until his band did a gig in Glasgow and he asked me if I knew where he could get drugs for after the gig. Pretty soon after that, I had a Facebook cull and he didn’t make the cut.
  • I once visited the home of one of Scotland’s most famous comedians, and sat at his kitchen table.  He had a broken ankle at the time and hobbled around after me, serving me drinks and chocolates.  The real shocker was, he’s not the coarse drunkard he is portrayed as on TV.  The best word I can think of to describe him is eloquent.
  • My step-son was standing in line waiting to use a portaloo at a festival.  He turned around and who should be standing behind him, also queuing up for a pee, but the most shocking industrial metal star of our generation.  He chatted to my step-son and apparently he was actually a very nice man.
  • Back in my Torquay days, I was walking along the seafront one Friday afternoon and almost got knocked down by a cheesy musical double act, once described as the UK’s answer to Milli Vanilli (by my Dad).  Their reaction to this?  They shouted “woohoo” and drove on.  Charming.
  • When I was in my late teens, my friend and I were approached by an English TV presenter at a Corrs gig and he asked if he could interview us.  We reluctantly said yes, although we weren’t sure why he had asked us.  He was a total creep. Said TV presenter was clearly giving my friend the – ahem – glad eye. At the time he was involved with a model/TV presenter and the two of them are now married and he has, during his marriage, been involved in two infidelity scandals. His creepy co-presenter, who was a has-been even then, stood there smiling at me and my friend in a really leery way.  A few years later, the co-presenter was on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. I voted for him every night to do the trials.
Do you have any scandal to share?  (Please do not include names when sharing unflattering details.  It’s more fun if you just hint at who you mean and we all have to guess!)

The Men’s Fragrance Responsible For My Son’s Existence

When I began blogging back in 2005 I had one aim.  That aim was not to sell books, write reviews or get freebies.  It was to relate funny or interesting stories about things that had happened to me personally.  Whatever else a blog is, it should begin by being personal.  Somewhere along the way I seem to have forgotten that which is why I am going to start using this beauty blog to write stories about how certain products have affected me and my life.  I want to begin this new phase of my blog by telling you about the men’s fragrance I credit for my son’s conception.

pregnancy test ben sherman london calling men's fragrance

I have to begin by going back to 2007.  I started a new job at a solicitor’s office in Paisley.  Every morning I would park in the nearby multi-story car park and I would walk past the same people.  I would get to know their clothes, their mannerisms and how they smelled.  There was one man in particular who smelled absolutely freaking amazing.  I admired his aftershave.  I thought to myself, “I wonder what that is?  I’d love to buy that for my husband.”  It’s a random thought many a woman has had.

Fast forward to 2010 and I was having a personal crisis.  Make of that statement what you will, but I began doing things I would never normally have done.  One morning in May of that year I was thinking about buying a birthday present for my husband and I saw the man with the absolutely freaking amazing aftershave. I was in the right frame of mind so I approached him.

“Excuse me,” I whimpered, then reminded myself I am a confident woman of almost thirty years of age (at that point) and I can say and do whatever I want in life, so long as I’m not hurting anyone.

“I hope you don’t mind me asking, but I’m buying a birthday present for my husband later today and I really like your aftershave.  Can I ask what it is?”

He murmured something about it being a Ben Sherman one, turned the colour of beetroot and ran away.  I never saw him again.  I think he started parking somewhere else.  I’d feel bad about it but when I related the story on Facebook all my girlfriends were impressed and one even said I was her hero!

pregnancy test ben sherman london calling men's fragrance

So later that day I took myself to Superdrug and got smelling until I found the one I was looking for.  Ben Sherman’s London Calling.  I bought a gift pack with two other Ben Sherman fragrances and gave it to my husband for his birthday.  

I can’t tell you how excited I was at the way he smelled that weekend.  Well, you can guess because nine months later my son appeared.  

pregnancy test ben sherman london calling men's fragrance

The moral of the story is: 

1) don’t be afraid to ask what someone is wearing if you think they smell good, 
2) some men just can’t take a compliment and 
3) Ben Sherman should start providing condoms with bottles of London Calling.

pregnancy test ben sherman london calling men's fragrance

Have you ever been affected that much by a particular fragrance?

Review: Native Unearthed Activated Charcoal Natural Deodorant Balm

Those who follow me on Twitter will know one important fact about me: I have debilitating anxiety issues and have had for most of my adult life. What’s strange about anxiety is that the symptoms often change. My brain shifts the goalposts. So, I could work really hard to get control of the panic attacks and hyperventilating, but then my brain will change focus and make me sweat. It’s exhausting and I’m always searching for new ways to cope with it. What has happened in recent years is that I’ve started sweating a lot in situations that make me fearful. So, while I still have to deal with the anxiety, I now also have to deal with the embarrassing symptoms too and my deodorant is regularly letting me down. So, I decided to try a natural deodorant balm instead. Step forward Native Unearthed‘s Activated Charcoal Natural Deodorant Balm!

This is completely different from any deodorant I have used in the past. I hate aerosols and as I previously said, my usual deodorant, which is a Nivea roll-on, is not doing much to help at all. The activated charcoal deodorant comes in a small jar with a screw-top lid. On opening my first impression was that it looked disgusting, but smelled like heaven. There’s a subtle scent of lavender which isn’t overpowering and is just pungent enough to feel soothing.

The balm itself is firm. It takes a little bit of effort to get it out of the jar, so perhaps some kind of spatula in the lid might be a good investment for the brand – but I know this all costs money to produce and would cut into the brand’s profits and since they’re not well-known yet, I can see how that might not be viable. According to the side of the jar you should “use the spatula” but I didn’t get one of those. I used the back of a teaspoon to get it out and put it onto my skin, using a pea-sized amount as directed.

What’s great about using a natural deodorant is that it is paraben and aluminium free. To be honest, I didn’t know that deodorants needed to be aluminium free, but here we are. Every day’s a school day. It’s formulated mostly from baking soda, charcoal and some nice scented oils, such as coconut, rosehip and lavender. There’s also shea butter in there to keep your skin lovely and moisturised and arrowroot, which kills fungi, kills bacteria and is just an ideal natural product to have in a deodorant.

Ok, to sum up, the things I liked about this were the smell and the fact that it’s all natural. It didn’t work any better than my conventional Nivea roll-on deodorant, but that’s ok because it didn’t work any worse than it either. I reapplied about the same number of times I would with a roll-on too. So, the question is whether I want to pay a little bit extra for a natural product and feel all virtuous or stick to my chemical laden cheap roll-on. This Native Unearthed product is not tested on animals, uses high-quality, vegan ingredients and can be easily purchased on the high-street for £7.99 at Holland and Barrett, so it’s not like I’ll have to jump through hoops to buy it, but it does seem a bit expensive just for a deodorant, especially when I’m currently supplementing my income with Carer’s Allowance. The short answer is that yes, I would re-purchase but only when my finances are healthier.

How important is wearing a natural deodorant to you?

Review: LaRitzy Lip Pencil

I’ve always associated lip pencils with the 1980s and Caroline (aka Caggy) from Big Brother series 1. I’ve never been a huge fan of them. However, when I received a sample of one recently as part of a subscription box, I decided to give it a go. LaRitzy Cosmetics weren’t a brand I was familiar with, so I’m not only discovering lip liner for the first time, I’m also trying a new brand.

LaRitzy Cosmetics are a Montreal based brand who are passionate about creating and selling products which are high-quality, vegan and cruelty free. So that’s already three awesome things about them. The lip liner I tried was also paraben free, so that’s another box ticked. For those who don’t know, it’s claimed by many people who frequently wear lab coats that parabens are linked to breast cancer as breast cancer tissue has been found to contain parabens. So, that’s why you should always opt for products that don’t have parabens in them. While I do this as far as possible, I try not to obsess about it. If there’s a really useful and otherwise brilliant product that contains parabens, I will buy it. I just don’t overload my skin with them like I used to.

There’s one thing that annoys me before I even open this product though. It says “cruelty free” on the box. It also says “Made in China.” I’ve already written about the Chinese policy on animal testing in a previous post and I’m not exactly sure how it can be made in China and cruelty free at the same time. Perhaps someone can enlighten me?

The pencil came packaged in a cute pink and white box. The pencil thankfully says “Beau” which was the name for the colour I received on the side of the pencil itself, so there’s no doubt as to which colour I have and re-ordering would be simple. However, the colour of the pencil itself and the colour on the sticker are quite different. That’s disappointing, to say the least. When applied, the colour is nowhere near to matching the sticker.

On their website they have four colours available and they are priced at $18.00 which I think is reasonable for a pencil, but I certainly wouldn’t pay any more for that, especially when it’s made in China and the whole animal testing thing is a grey area. I know products sold in China have to be tested on animals by Chinese laws, but can they be made there, for sale in other countries, and stay cruelty free? I just can’t find any clear cut answers online.

The pencil glides on easily. There’s no dragging or having to re-colour and it didn’t dry my lips out. What I did find was that it smudged a fair bit, so if you’re looking for a lip liner that stays put and holds in lip colour, this probably isn’t a product for you. If, however, you want softer edges, this could be ideal.

It blended well with a similar coloured lipstick and didn’t require too much effort to remove. I used baby wipes once, Simple cleansing wipes another time and the third time I tried it I just used a little soap and water.

I would give this lip liner 7 out of 10, but please bear in mind that I’m not a lip liner person and I’m new to the lip liner game. It hasn’t converted me and I still don’t think there is much point in using lip pencils, but if I was to use one, this would be one I would stick with. As things stand, I will keep this product, but it will probably lurk at the bottom of my make-up bag and get used when I feel like changing things up rather than being a staple item.

Which make-up product have you never really been into?

The Problem With Subscription Boxes

I’m a huge fan of subscription boxes. I’ve tried several now, including Pink Parcel and Secret Scent Box and my husband has even jumped on the bandwagon and subscribed to a shaving box from Harry’s (review coming soon). But there is one thing that really annoys me about subscription boxes. There are often products in them that you cannot repurchase.

Back in September 2017 I received an awesome Pink Parcel box and inside was this Styl London Oval Face Brush. I instantly fell in love with it. It’s compact enough to fit into my make-up bag, has the softest bristles I’ve ever felt and it blends foundation, primer and blush to perfection. The problem is, I now cannot find it online – except on eBay where a few Pink Parcel subscribers are re-selling products.

If this was on the market, I would expect to pay around £10 for something of such good quality. And this is coming from a woman who won’t spend money on make-up brushes and only ever uses the ones she gets at Christmas in various gift sets. It really is that good.

The other thing that bothers me about this brand, apart from the fact that you can’t buy the products they’ve already spent a lot of money promoting, is their brand name. Is it Styl London? Is it Stylondon? Or StyLondon. I just don’t know and this is a problem because the digital market is huge and if I don’t even know what I’m searching for, it’s going to be too difficult to buy their products. Nobody wants to jump through hoops just to get a decent make-up brush. It has to be easy to find.

I would give this product a solid 9 out of 10, but it loses that crucial point and misses out on being a 10 because of how impossible it is to repurchase.

Have you ever discovered a product and fallen in love with it only to find you couldn’t repurchase?

Does Anyone Need A Travel Bucket List?

Away back in 2012 I wrote a blog post about a travel bucket list. This was at a time when travel was still high on my list of priorities and a huge part of my life plan. Then came the autism diagnosis, debt and health issues for everyone in my household (meaning travel insurance is a bloody nightmare) and travelling was suddenly not on my radar.

world's 50 best beaches palm trees fantasy beach

Then I started tidying up old posts and republishing them here on RockPaperSpirit and I came across the travel bucket list post from 2012. To be honest, I had forgotten that I had ever wanted to do some of these. Here they are:

1) Walking the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
2) Having a mad weekend at Glastonbury.
3) Visiting the Arctic Circle in June to see what 24 hour daylight is like.
4) Watching a ballet in Russia.
5) Eating a sausage in Germany (not a euphemism).
6) Making a face mask out of fresh Dead Sea mud.
7) People watching in Scandinavia.  Any part of it.  I have a Viking fetish.  I just want to go and perv on the men.
8) Drinking Colombian coffee at a cafe in Plaza Bolivar, Cartagena, Colombia.
9) Sunbathing in Punta del Este, Uruguay.
10) Seeing a Grand Prix at Interlagos.
11) Hawaii.  Just being there.
12) Seeing Suburban Legends play in Orange County.  Because I ❤ them.
13) Making love outdoors in Tuscany.  Never got to do that last time I was there.
14) Using monoi I’ve bought in Tahiti and not through mail order.
15) Building a sandcastle in the Caribbean.
16) Going snowboarding in New Zealand.
17) Eating Pakistani food in Pakistan.
18) Going fishing in New Caledonia.
19) Eating proper fondue in Switzerland.
20) Visiting Canada.
Almost six years have passed now and I haven’t done a single one of them. There are maybe three I still feel passionately about doing one day (1, 10 and 12) but the rest I honestly couldn’t care less about. So, I started wondering about my 40 Before 40 List. It was written less than a year ago and even after that short space of time, I’ve already decided those things aren’t important.
world's 50 best beaches palm trees fantasy beach bora bora
I saw a video recently where Tim Minchin, the comedian, was giving a speech at a university. He advised against setting long term goals, the reason being that while you’re striving for something really far away, you’re missing out on what’s close. You’re so busy looking twenty years ahead that you’re not thinking about the short term. At least, that’s what I took from what he said. When I first saw this video I wasn’t sure I agreed with him but having thought about this, and compared the 2012 me with the 2018 me, I am starting to think he’s right.  It might be a good idea to now review my 40 Before 40 list, to ensure that I still feel passionately about the things that are listed there and that they’re still what I want.
Did you ever set a goal and feel very enthusiastic about it and then realise a while down the line that you didn’t want it anymore? What did you do?

What To Do When You Fall Out Of Love With Your Book

I wanted to write a blog about my latest book release, Waiting For Magic, however I have one major problem. Everything about the book annoys me. I don’t think I’m alone, as a writer, in saying that I sometimes fall out of love with my books, my characters and the world I created. In fact, it’s probably quite common. A large number of novels that are started are never completed. You start off with tons of enthusiasm and your imagination in overdrive. If you’re anything like me, you start living the book in your head. You jump out of bed in the morning, excited to start writing. You really, truly feel like this could be the book that helps you make it big. And then you hit an enthusiasm dip and sometimes, you never get back out of that dip.

Ladies and gentlemen of the writing world, I feel ya. This is not uncommon and there are many ways you can deal with this.

studying, writing

The first, probably most common way is to give up on the book and start something else instead. You don’t have writer’s block, do you? I personally subscribe to the Jerry Seinfeld theory about writer’s block. There’s no such thing. It’s just an excuse for not doing your work. So, start writing something else. Maybe you’ll love that next project until the end, or maybe you will hate it just as much, but at least it’s progress.

The second way to deal with it is to put it aside for a while and go back to it when you’re in a better frame of mind. It’s possible you’re just fatigued, so go and read some of your favourite books, have a day out, watch some movies or make love. Whatever your thing is to unwind, do it.

l k jay agony aunt webcam modelling

The third way to deal with it is to keep going and force it out. Some people really stick by this method but to misquote an old joke about love, writing a book is like a fart – if you have to force it it’s going to be shit.

During the writing of my fairy tale trilogy, I did lots of things to try and force the writing process. It took me three years and four months from start to finish and during that time I filled five notebooks full of plot changes, made Spotify playlists full of songs that I was convinced were inspiring me and drew maps of the village where the story was set. I sketched characters, wrote poems and set release dates, hoping that the fear of a deadline would help move things along. Were any of these things the “right thing to do?” Well, they weren’t wrong, and I did end up with three books but I also ended up with a really unsatisfying experience that I’m really glad is over.

lacey dearie waiting for magic fairy tale

The one good thing to come out of this whole experience is knowing that my strength lies in writing about cat detectives and everything else is just me wishing I was someone else. So, the question now is, shall I write a new Leger story or start another cozy mystery series?