Sunday, 28 December 2014

Gingerbread Snowflakes

This year I've made so many batches of these delicious gingerbread biscuits that I just had to share the recipe! They really have been the perfect home made gift, great to munch while watching those Christmas films and have gone down a storm!
The recipe I've been using is this one, from BBC Good Food. Can never go wrong with them.
Christmas might be over, I hope everyone had a wonderful few days relaxing with family and loved ones; slowly eating your own body weight in cheese, chocolate and minced pies! But I don't think it's any excuse to not keep those festive, cosy vibes going through the next few months.
So when those January blues sink in, I urge anyone to go do a bit of backing and whip up some of these tasty little guys. Oh, and guess what?? They're super easy to make!
Only downside is they aren't the best for my waistline ...

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

White Chocolate & Peppermint Candy Cane Bark

I'd never come across this festive treat until a girl on my university course brought some in for everyone to get us in the Christmas spirit. I'm never very much into minty things but white chocolate I love, and I was pleasantly surprised by the combination. It is, in fact, rather yummy; but even better than that is how insanely easy it is to make! Melted chocolate sprinkled with crushed candy cane pieces,brilliant! This year I'm definitely having to be very crafty with my presents and anything I can make on a tiny student budget is right up my alley.

All you need are two ingredients; white chocolate and some candy canes, pulverised into pieces with a blunt instrument - this was great for venting my essay writing frustrations! (Pop the candy canes in a zip lock freezer bag for this bit or it can get quite messy)
You will then need a vessel of some kind to pour the chocolate that you will be melting into.
Here is where things are super flexible; you could go ultra thin and use a baking tray, or something smaller and deeper like a tin or glass dish. Either way you will need enough white chocolate that, when melted, will fill your tray/tin/dish to your desired thickness (for example, I used 400g of chocolate and a 18x25cm tin so my pieces were just over 0.5cm thick).
Be sure to line this tin with kitchen foil to ensure you can pull out the chocolate when set.
To melt your chocolate you can simply use a microwave and a heat resistant jug, or use a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. With both methods make sure you keep stirring the chocolate at frequent intervals.
When your chocolate is completely melted pour it into your foil lined tray. Shift the tray around slightly if you need to spread the chocolate to the corners.
Now simply sprinkle over your crushed candy cane chunks, as many as you like!
Pop into the fridge and allow to cool for at least an hour.
When it's done you can pull out your slab of bark with the edges of the foil and proceed to breaking into pieces as big or small as you desire.

It's that simple! A really affordable festive treat, and a great gift for any chocaholic!
Fill a cute jar with bite size pieces and adorn with a label and bow, wa la.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Autumn Nails | Natural Collection Cosmic Crush

Autumn is well ant truly here, in fact the festive season is looming; only a few weeks away and I haven't even started my Christmas shopping! I've not really been in the mood so far to paint my nails in an obligatory dark autumnal shade yet. But yesterday I decided I needed to see something of the outside world ... and I wanted cake! (Check out my Instagram for the DElish Costa gingerbread muffin I tried - foodgasm!) So I swung by Boot's, just to browse and see if I could make use of the current 3 for 2 offer ... again!
Being a student my money is mostly budgeted for the important things; food, bills, train tickets home. Make up, nail polish and clothes don't really feature prominently on any kind of essentials list, I need a job asap guys. When I do decide that I need something outside of the essentials spectrum, the cheaper the better! At £1.99, the Natural Collection polishes are a massive tick in that box! I've never tried any of these before but when Cosmic Crush caught my eye I decided it would be a chance to rectify that.
This polish is a beautiful iridescent purple; transitioning from quite a warm plum tone through to a midnight navy/purple with a lovely sheen and the most subtle shimmer. I urge you to have a nosy at this shade when your next on a trip to Boot's because photo's of this polish (especially mine taken on my iPhone) will never quite do it justice as seeing it in real life will.
The price is of course amazing, but for £1.99 I was already anticipating that it wasn't going to be the easiest to apply. I actually was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the polish it's self. The tricky part for me was the brush ... Oh dear the brush, it might just have been a bad one that I had but there were bristles sticking out in any which direction. It was a bit of a pain so I ended up trimming some of them off. I found that the polish came up very streaky when trying to apply a thin layer, I don't think the brush was much help here. But when applying a thicker layer it evened its self out nicely and actually dried pretty quickly!
I used it with my Barry M clear top and base coat so I'm hoping that will give the polish some longevity. But overall I'm really in love with this polish! I adore the colour and, as you can see, I love how it look's with my khaki parker. It's the most affordable polish in the drugstore and if you've got the patience when applying it I think it pays off. Thumbs up from me!
Has anyone else tried these little polishes?? I'd love to know what you think ...

Oh, and another highlight of my day - finding out I have £8 worth of points on my Boot's card!
Has anyone ever had that happen to them?? Best feeling in the world!

Monday, 3 November 2014

M&S Mango, Pineapple & Passion Fruit Smoothie

It's that time of year where the whole world is raving about Pumkin Spice Latte's and guys, I have to confess, I actually don't drink coffee! ... or tea! I will sip the once in a blue moon hot chocolate but I never have that craving for a hot beverage no matter how cold it is outside.
I like my drink's fruity and thirst quenching, which 90% of the time means squash of varying flavours, but I sure do love a good smoothie. Here is where I introduce you to my favourite drink this autumn, the Marks & Spencer's Mango, Pineapple and Passion Fruit smoothie.
This stuff is d e l i c i o u s and I am obsessed. I love it so much I just had to feature it on my blog.
So smooth and thick, bursting with fruity flavour, and contains one of your five a day!
Who can say no?? Not me!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Apple, Cinnamon, Date and Fig Crumble Squares

Being at university, one of the biggest things I'm missing is baking! Having my stock of ingredients, equipment and the oven I'm used to (there's no way I'm putting anything more complex than a frozen pizza in my questionable student hall oven!)
Definitely my favorite Autumn/Winter desert is the crumble! Apple crumble, apple and blackcurrant, apple and rhubarb; any combination of fruit I can get my hands on! Warm and served with ice cream - perfect!

These slices are great for taking with you on your day, wrapped up in some paper or foil; serving with tea in the afternoon, or even warmed with some ice cream on a cold evening like the classic crumble and offer complete flexibility on fruits and flavors. They are so delicious, easy to make and went down a storm with my taste testers!

I started with this recipe from BBC Good Food for an apple and raspberry crumble slice. Unfortunately when I went shopping for my ingredients there were no raspberries to be found (it was late on a Thursday night after I got off my train from uni, keen bean) so improvisation would be mantra of the day!
The revisions/additions I ended up making to the recipe with what I had were to add dried figs and dates, which I came across in the cupboard, instead of the raspberries; and to add a more rich Autumnal vibe I softened the apples in 2 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg and 1 tsp dark muscovado sugar (I think any grade of a brown sugar would work well here if you don't have the dark muscavado to hand)
This really adds flavor to the slices and I don't think there's any better combination than apple and cinnamon. The figs and dates just add a bit more variety to the slices, as the apple blends into the sponge it's nice to get a bite of something else and they add a bit of visual interest too!
I also added a sprinkle of oats to the top of the crumble, again this is something I picked up when making crumbles to add some more texture and enhance the topping.

Using the BBC Good Food recipe for a base you really could experiment with what fruits and flavors you use. It's a really great recipe that I will definitely be reaching for again.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Autumn Beauty Wishlist

Being a student who loves to read fashion and beauty blogs can be a little frustrating; when people are talking about all the wonderful products you can't afford. I've got plans to get myself a job in the new year so hopefully I won't have to be quite so mindful of my pennies in 2015. Until then anything that catches my eye will just have to shimmy on over to my Christmas list. But I thought I'd share some of those bit's while I've got a Saturday evening with not a lot to do.

I've seen a couple of people mention the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick's which were released recently and they sound right up my alley, but it wasn't until Vivianna Does Makeup mentioned and swatched the colour Sexy Sienna that I really sat up and paid attention!
I'm a very peachy pink kind of gal when it comes to my everyday lipstick, and especially blush; but this colour I think will be outside of that spectrum, with it's more apricot tone, enough to be also outside my comfort zone ... but not  too much!
On the theme of peachy pink, I've been thinking how much my make up bag could use the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Blissful. I already own the blush in Captivating, and it's no doubt, hands down, one of my favourite blushes. I loooove the peachy colour but I think having something that was leaning more down the pink hue would add some versatility to my repertoire. Oh, who am I kidding?? I can back myself up till the cows come home! Honestly it's a really pretty colour and I need it in my life, I'm officially hooked on the Tarte band wagon, okay??
Someone that I haven't tried any products from if Bourjois! Of the drug store brands they aren't the cheapest. Always a smidge outside my justifiable budget for make up. But the Happy Light Foundation has caught my eye of late. Or the qualities it boasts have caught my ear and they sound like something new for me that I'd like to try out. Luminous, glowing, natural, undetectable, moisturising and breathable ... mmm yes please Bourjois!

This week I went into one of the best smelling shops on the high street with a friend on my course. Where she had a nice tasty sized budget to play with, I had to just make do with getting high on sniffing all the products three times over and covering myself in glitter (I swear it's just impossible to leave Lush not looking like some kind of mythical fairy!)
But, you see I was making a mental note on what I would or will be buying when I have some dosh to spend! I know the Christmas line is all anyone is B lining towards this month but I can't say no to my favourite smelling Bath Bomb of the whole shop, drum roll please, the Dragon's Egg Bath Bomb! It's a classic and it's got everything my heart desires from a Bath Bomb; a fresh, invigorating fruity scent and lots and lots of fun fizzing. Yay!
From their new range, however, I'm rather set on trying the So White Shower Gel. I was pondering the other day how The Body Shop don't have an apple scented range of products and how, if they did, I would probably be in love with them! But Lush heard my musings. This shower gel smells lovely and fresh, I just love the light crisp apple scent. It claims to leave your skin soft and fresh, and who doesn't want that??

On the skincare side of things; I'm really lucky that my skin behaves itself in terms of blemishes, although I do have my fair share of black heads, and I'd say I've got combination skin with dry patches in the winter and an oily T zone. I tend to opt for washes and skincare that have deep cleansing or brightening qualities. Just to keep me looking fresh and mildly awake!
Una Brennan is a skincare range I've been keen to try for a while (I'm being a good girl and using up the washes I've got in my stash) they are only just outside my range of 'student affordable' but from the fabulous things I hear about their products I think I can stretch!
For my first dabble I've got my eye out for the Superfacialist Tea Flower Purifying Cleansing Wash. Purifying and cleansing? Ticks my boxes!
Another skincare selection I'm intrigued to try is The Body Shop Seaweed range. It is recommended for combination skin, that's me, to 'restore balance and control excess oil' with a 'shine free and matt finish' which all sounds great! Oh, and it smell's lovely! Again I'd probably pick up the Cleansing Facial Wash to try first and go from there.
Finally on my radar is First Aid Beauty. Popping up in a lot of beauty Bloggers and Youtubers video's the last couple of months. This brand is definitely outside of 'student affordable' but I've been considering recently how I should probably have an eye cream in my skincare routine, prevention and all that, and the First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Eye Cream might be a worthy investment. Just a pricey one ... hmm, this one might be for the Christmas list!

What beauty products are you day dreaming about atm??

Friday, 3 October 2014

Thing's I Loved in September

I've been really working on developing my wardrobe these last few months. Quite minimal, monotones with khaki and denim blue's. I'm loving shirts right now! They make me feel more grown up but I love toning that down with Converse or Birkenstocks. This blue chambray shirt is, of course,  a Topshop piece via eBay. I love the colour, with black jeans and a casual choice of footwear it's been my favourite ensemble in September.

I've been adding touches of colour to my rather minimal wardrobe with nail varnish and my favourite to go with the blue's and khaki's is this polish from Barry M in Copa Cabana. It feels like a very Autumnal combination for me. So far I'm not craving too many dark colours yet! Barry M polish is always great, this is one from their Matt collection and I do like the effect but if I'm not in the mood for that I'll just add a layer of the Barry M Base & Topcoat for some shine.

I have to include the film About Time this month. I have watched it on an almost weekly basis since I got to university, even with everything Netflix has to offer! This film is just so heart warming. I just love the main character Tim; his perspective and narration on life, the beautiful relationships he has with the people around him and how he is such a hopeless romantic.
The film will have you laughing, crying and in my case; feeling really broody for that normal family life! The film just has the most beautiful message about making the most out of your life, no matter how seemingly ordinary, and to remember to take a moment to enjoy the little things. This last month moving to university has been so stressful and emotional, full of anxiety and nerves. I feel like watching this film just grounds me and reminds me what's important.
(Oh, and Rachel McAdam's is one of my favourite leading ladies! I always love the artistic women she plays in romance films like The Vow and the Time Travellers Wife. I always want to be her!)

Two posts ago I shared a Lush haul with you guys and no surprise the Ocean Salt Face & Body Scrub is making appearance in my most loved items of September! My skin feels so good after I've used this scrub, so clear and refreshed! It can be quite abrasive, I wouldn't recommend using on any blemishes - owch! Even with my combination skin it always manages to right what ever is happening on my face. Oh, and it smell's beautiful!

For my birthday I received a wonderful gift box of 6 Jo Malone Perfume Mini's. They're designed to be combined to create a unique scent along the lines of fresh or warm. I've had a lot of fun mixing these scents together but they are also really lovely on their own! I've taken to carrying one around in my handbag for any top ups. They're just so cute and mini! I love them.
I think my favourite has been Pomegranate Noir; it's got that fruity touch with notes of pomegranate, raspberry and plum but it's laced with a more spicy element that makes it warmer and darker. It makes it the perfect transitional scent for summer to autumn. It feel's like an adult scent to the fruit kinds I would normally sway to.

Finally to my absolute favourite blush this month, and probably many more months to come, is the Topshop Powder Blush in Do It Again. I love blushers, I guess it's my thing. This one is the perfect peachy pink but has a gold shimmer to it that I just love. Again I feel like it is a really perfect early autumn blush, with the gold to warm the face and add a lovely touch of highlight. I've pretty much worn it every day this month! ... I don't know if I will ever need a peachy pink shimmery blush!

What have you been loving in the month of September??

Friday, 12 September 2014

Today I Love | Kat Von D Tattoo Liner Pen

Who hasn't heard good things about the famous Kat Von D liner?? Well I am here to tell you that those good things are all true! This liner is just fabulous ...

Oh the nib, so sleek and precise! Until now I've only used the pots of gel with the little brush and the definition you can achieve with this pen in comparison just blows the gel pot out of the water.

I also have quite hooded eye lids, so I've always had to keep any eye liner really thin to avoid it rubbing off on my upper lid but I'd still manage to get a smudgy line appearing as the day went on. It was just unavoidable with any liner in the tiniest line but no more! The Kat Von D Liner dries perfectly, quickly and lasts all day! I've been having so much fun creating thicker liner shapes without the worry of any smudging, or any random line in the middle of my eye lid.

The amount of times I accidentally start to rub my eye during the day, forgetting my mascara and liner! But with this fabulous liner I'm always pleasantly surprised, after I've fumbled in my bag for a mirror expecting to see black smeared across my face, it's always looking as perfect as it did when I applied it.
Next time I have the opportunity to get to a Sephora, or someone can on my behalf, I'm going to be buying a lifetime supply of this beautiful liner! I anticipate never using another liner again!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Lush Haul

I adore Lush! Their products and shop smell divine. They have a wonderful ethos. Fabulous branding and packaging. They're just great. I went through a phase a couple of years ago, when I was working two jobs and had a little more change in my back pocket, of purchasing quite a few of their products. But since I had to cut down to part time don't cha know, I've not been in!
August was my birthday month and I had a wonderful time and got some beautiful present and a little bit extra spending money and I knew straight away where I wanted to go and treat myself ...

There's just so much choice in Lush, it's overwhelming! I could have walked out with one of everything, but as I'm about to become a student with a small very tight budget. I decided to be selective!

Avobath Bath Bomb
You can't go shopping in Lush and not buy a bath bomb! It would be a crime. I went for this Avobath bomb with refreshing lemongrass and bergamot oils and moisturizing avocado and olive oil. It sounded like the perfect soothing, revitalising pre winter bath!

Ocean Salt Face & Body Scrub
I love a good exfoliating scrub. My skin never feels better than once I've cleared away all that dead skin and dirt. It's one of the most essential parts of my skincare routine for me. This one smells so refreshing with the sea salt and grapefruit, right up my alley. I do love how you can try out the products right there on your own skin in Lush. This scrub is feels nice and gentle, not too abrasive. I'm really excited to start using it, I'm already anticipating a new favourite!

Magnificent Soap
Lastly I picked up a small block of the Magnificent Soap. I've got my own little en suite when I go to university in a couple of days so I thought having a nice bar of soap in my bathroom would feel like a nice luxury. This one is fruity and tropical with dried mango and Sicilian lemon oil, perfect! These bars of soap are great because you can slice them up into smaller chunks so they last longer.

What are your favorite Lush products?? I'd love some recommendations ...

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Today I Love | Bath & Body Works Lemon Hand & Body Cream

In fitting with the name of my blog, I bring you the 'Today I Love' series. Just whenever I come across something I really love, I'll be letting you guys know about it!
To kick start it all I've got this Hand and Body Cream from Bath & Body Works in Meyer Lemon ... 

I just adore the scent of Lemon's. The Meyer Lemon Candle is one of my all time favorites; so this cream is right up my alley, I just can't stop sniffing it!
It's a Hard Working Cream that contains 7 intensely moisturizing ingredients that leaves skin feeling beautifully soft and it smells beautiful! I've been applying a little bit to my arms, elbows and knees in the morning after the shower.  It's great on those patches of stubborn dry skin and the fresh citrus smell lingers while I'm putting on my make up. Extra bonus, it's not sticky or greasy! So I don't feel like I have to stand around drip drying before I can get dressed!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

TMI tag | August 2014

Since my little blog is still fairly new I thought it might be nice for anyone reading to know a bit more about me! I love watching YouTuber's doing things like the TMI tag, so here is my blog version; and it's easier than trying to generate interesting facts about myself! So if you would like to read a little 'too much information' on yours truly, then proceed ...
(Featuring my new ombré hair, ooo, what do you think?? Blog post coming soon.)

OOTD | At the Beach | 22nd July

Topshop Dress | Urban Outfitters Batwing Cardigain | Topshop Studded Bag
Black Birkenstock Arizona Sandals | Trollbeads Bracelet | Barry M Nail Polish in Peach Melba
This week I went with my boyfriend up to Newcastle to visit his family for a few days. We had lot's of fun running around with his cousins, who are 5, and being plied with biscuits and cake by his Grandma! The weather was beautiful and we managed to fit in a lovely day at Tynemouth beach.
I managed to quickly snap my accessories while relaxing in the shade and then layed out the ensemble when I got back. I am SO in love with this new Urban Outfitters cardi! I've wanted it for so long and finally nabbed it on eBay. It's perfect for the summer when the breeze gets up or for those evenings when the sun's gone down. And I've never felt so girly or summery as when I've got Barry M's Peach Melba on my nails - it's my summer favourite!
As always I'd love to know what you think of this OOTD format, let me know in the comments your summer staples ...

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

OOTD | Studs & Stripes | 16th July

Topshop Striped Shirt | Topshop Jamie Jeans | Topshop Studded Bag
Black Birkenstock Arizona | Trollbeads Bracelet | Barry M Matte Polish in Copa Cobana
I've never claimed to by stylish by any degree, but I think I'm getting closer to discovering my own personal style. Today's ensemble is comfy and casual! I just received this Topshop shirt from Ebay today and, although it look's a little like I'm wearing a mens pajama top, I rather like it!
I don't think I'm one for taking a full body shot for an ootd, logistics and aesthetics wise. So this is my attempt through Instagram type photo's, they're so easy to snap!
Let me know what you think of this ootd style, I'd love to do some more.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Body Shop Haul

I always used to love going into The Body Shop with my Mum when I was a kid. I used to run around smelling all the different soaps and bottles. It's taken till now for me to really shop for myself in their beautiful, heavenly, fruit bowl scented, wonderland of a shop!
This pay day I decided to go and treat myself to some things ...

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Salted Caramel Shortbread Bites

Oh good grief! These little bites are ridiculously delicious and even more ridiculously easy to make! I used an adjusted Millionaires shortbread recipe but instead of chocolate, I sprinkled with sea salt. I can't believe how good the caramel tastes with the added sea salt. It's a beautiful combination. They are extremely moreish and addictively yummy! Bake at own risk ...

Monday, 7 July 2014

What's In My Bag: Mini Summer Essentials

I do love getting a look into other peoples bags. Seeing what they love to carry around in their day to day basis. I'm a nosy lass in essence! So I thought it would be fun to share what can be found in my current favourite bag ...

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Topshop Makeup: Highlighter & Cream Blush

Topshop has been my favourite high street store since I was about 13! I won't buy jeans from anywhere else, and probably 90% of the clothes in my wardrobe when you look in the back feature the familiar black Topshop label. Yet, I've not yet tried anything from their make up range. A horrible confession for a self confessed Topshop addict! Immediate rectification required ...

Monday, 30 June 2014

Soap & Glory: One Heck of a Blot

My new handbag staple is the 'Soap&Glory: One Heck of a Blot' Translucent Powder, and I am just in LOVE with this product! I'm going to pit it out there that I am pretty much a novice on make up and beauty. I'm hoping however to expand my knowledge and my collection of make up and I'm starting by tracking down those most highly recommended and loved products out in the beauty blogger world. This powder comes very high on the list of high street products so I knew I had to try it out, and I'm not disappointed!