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??