Monday, 31 March 2014

March Favourites!

Its that time again, I cant believe we are almost another month through the year already time seems to be going so quickly! Like usual here are my favourite and most loved beauty, skincare and lifestyle products throughout march.

My skincare routine has changed dramatically this month not only have I been trying out TONS of new products I have found some absolute stars which has fixed a firm place in my routine for the foreseeable future. The first game changer has been this Bioderma lookalike by Garnier called the Micellar Cleansing Water. Gone are the days of removing my makeup with a baby wipe this liquid magic is efficient, soothing and is such a bargain. You see my full review here!

With spring arriving and the whether warming up I have been grabbing products which are more likely to help with that spring glow. The nspa illuminating beauty serum has been my go to morning moisturiser it is another great budget beauty buy available from most Asda stores which helps your skin look extra glowing from underneath your make up.

I cant live without a bottle of Batiste in my bathroom cabinet and this time I went for a different scent then usual going for one called 'Blush' which is a pretty floral scent great for spring which leaves me sniffing my hair all day.

Talking of pretty scents this limited edition Molton Brown Rhubarb and Rose hand cream actually smells of sweets, its also nicely hydrating without leaving your hands sticky or greasy its one I may have to repurchase after my sample has run out.

I have been sporting pretty pastel nails throughout most of March and so far Essie 'full steam ahead' has been my favourite. A soft sheer lilac shade which seems to go with most outfits its long wearing and easy to apply although takes about 3 coats to be completely opaque even better I got it in a boots sale for only £1.50!

For make up these are the products I haven't been able to live without this month! Im really starting to appreciate the stunning finish of L'Oreal True Match foundation, at first I was a little unsure as I was used to something dewier but now together with a good primer this foundation gives a great flawless looking base although I sometimes still mix it with a little of my Rimmel Wake Me Up foundation.

Benefits 'Gimme Brow' has been a complete winner for me since its release, adding a little tin and volume to my brows really enhances a make up look and frames my face nicely making me look so different. Its the perfect product for any brow primping newbie like myself and I cant see myself using anything else.

I've liked adding a little glow both under and over my make up applying a little of Benefits High Beam just to the tops of my cheek bones to give a nice natural looking highlight. I've also been loving a nude lip and especially mixing these two lip crayons firstly applying a layer of Cliniques 'curviest caramel' chubby stick which is the perfect my lips but better shade and then a little of Revlon Colourburst Matt Balm in 'elusive' a neutral dusky pink over the top. I've been trying to wear a very natural make up look so far this spring and all these products help me do just that.

Next is a fashion favourite, I've been wearing these boots almost everyday since I picked them up at the beginning of the month. They were £29.99 from H&M and they go with absolutely everything, they are a very low ankle boot and I love the buckle detail. They are such a versatile spring wardrobe essential which can be worn with jeans, dresses, shorts...practically anything.

And Lastly for lifestyle I have been really loving the music of the band Foxes and will possibly be seeing them in Brighton in May which I am very much looking forward to. I also have rekindled my love for herbal tea my favourite right now being Twinings gingerbread green tea.

Thank you for reading!


Sunday, 30 March 2014

My Mother's Day In Pictures.

Happy Mother's Day everyone I have had such a lovely day today and have been completely spoilt by my boys. I woke up to the most beautiful gifts, a beautiful bunch of flowers with pink roses and lilies each hand picked by Greig for my bouquet. Not only this but a pretty yankee candle burner and wax tart set with the most perfect floral scents for spring and lastly a bottle of perfume that I have been coveting for months! Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay is now mine and I absolutely adore the subtly sweet fruity fragrance. I also received a sample of the Peony and Blush Suede cologne which is the next fragrance of theirs I am lusting after. 

The morning was mostly our usual lazy sunday morning with a grilled breakfast and herbal tea then it was off to see my mum and go out for a nice slice of cake at a local garden centre. The pamper jar I had made for her was a bit hit and we had a nice wander browsing all the pretty flowers and home wares. Whilst Greig went to visit his mum I spent the afternoon playing on the balcony with the boys as it was lovely and warm outside. In the morning I had put a leg of lamb laced with garlic and rosemary in the slow cooker along with a couple of glasses of red wine and by late afternoon it was lovely and tender just falling off the bone. Greig cooked the crispiest roast potatoes as well as honey and mustard parsnips and fresh vegetables, it was a very yummy treat. Overall I have had the best day with my wonderful family and I love all my boys so much.    

Free With Glamour Magazine.

The April issue of Glamour magazine has a pretty good make up freebee! With a choice of either a lip gloss, mascara, eyeliner or lipliner from the brand ModelCo and a magazine cost of only £2 thats not bad value especially if you are a regular magazine buyer anyway. I picked this up for a long car journey I have on Monday and chose the one with the free lip liner has its something I don't have in my make up collection. So heres what I though of this little freebee:

So this is called the Illusion Nude Lipliner by ModelCo which is a 'my lips but better' nude shade. Im so glad that it came in this shade because I can actually see myself getting quite a lot of wear out of it, especially because its a very similar colour and works really well with my favourite nude lip crayon which is a Clinique Chubby Stick in Curviest Caramel. I have been using this product to line and roughly fill in my lips then applying a coat of Curviest Caramel over the top. This not only makes my favourite lip product last a lot longer on the lips but it also gives my lips a very defined edge which you don't usually get with a lip crayon on its own. Here is the comparison of colour and swatches of both the liner and lip crayon. 

This lip liner is quite a universal colour which will work with many different nude lipsticks or even on its own to give an illusion of a fuller natural lip so will make a great addition to any make up bag. It also come with a handy pencil sharpener incorporated into the lid so no need for hunting high and low for a sharpener for when it gets blunt. Overall I am pretty impressed with this product especially as it was a free gift with a retail value of £16!!

Go grab yourself a copy of Glamour and check it our for yourself.

Thank you for reading.


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Ganier Micellar Cleansing Water - Review!

As the famous Bioderma finally becomes available to buy in the UK Garnier brings out its own almost identical version for only a fraction of the price, so here is what I thought of this Bioderma dupe! 

Firstly Bioderma has been on my wish list for quite some time but I have not actually got round to trying it so I unfortunately cant do a comparison as such. But what I can compare is the packaging...the clear oval bottle with pink accents is almost identical to that of Bioderma I think Garnier really went out of there way to create this as a dupe as there wasn't anything like it on the UK high street.

Marketed as an extremely mild but effective make up remover that requires no rinsing....I mean that just sounds like the perfect product! This cleanser is the consistency of water, is completely clear with no scent either so could even be mistaken for just a bottle of water. I used a couple of squirts on a cotton wool pad and wiped it all over my face and then the same again one two pads one for each eye, pressing them down over my eyelids for a minute then gently wiping away any makeup. The fluid feels extremely pure and soothing on the skin, leaving no residue and without being drying. It is extremely effective at removing almost all traces of make up even removing heavy eye make up and stubborn mascara. This left my skin feeling incredibly fresh and clean and is now holds a permanent place as the first step my evening skin care regime.       

I picked this bottle up in Asda as most places I tried including Boots had completely sold out and now it is obvious why. At only £3.30 and claiming to last for 200 uses this is a great quality and great value for money product. I would love to know how it compares to Bioderma and if it has converted anybody?

Thank you for reading.


Gingerbread Recipe - DIY Mother's day Treats.

I've been told I make pretty excellent gingerbread, I baked a lot over the Christmas period with Eli as my little kitchen helper of course and gingerbread became one of his favourite festive treats. I feel that the rest of the year gingerbread gets a little neglected so I thought I'd add it to one of my Mother's Day hampers and today I have been baking tons of it.

Here is what you need:

  • 350g plain flour.
  • 1tsp bicarb.
  • 2tsp ground ginger.
  • 1tsp cinnamon.
  • 175g light brown sugar.
  • 125g butter.
  • 1 egg.
  • 4tbsp golden syrup or honey. 

Your first step is too measure out and add your flour, bicarb, ginger and cinnamon to a bowl giving them a good mix around. Then add you butter cut up into small chunks (this makes it easier to work with) and with your fingers gently rub the butter into the flour mixture until I looks like a breadcrumb consistency, this can be done in a food processor if you are impatient but I find it quite therapeutic!

Next measure out your light brown sugar and stir it into you butter and flour mix. After that crack an egg into a jug or cup and add 4tbsp of either golden syrup or runny honey. I tent to use honey as I feel it tastes exactly the same without the tons of refined sugar thats in golden syrup which is better for me and my son who loves these lots! beat these together until combined and pour onto your flour, butter, sugar mixture.

Initially you can start to work the mixture with a wooden spoon folding the honey and egg into all the flour but once it starts to clump together its better to just get in there with your hands! Press the mixture together until it starts to form one lump of dough then tip it out on a floured work surface and kneed it a little until smooth. Place the ball of dough on some cling film and wrap it up and place in the fridge to chill for a minimum of 20 minutes this will make the dough more firm and easier to work with.

Remove the dough from the fridge and preheat your oven to 180 degrees and flour your work surface and rolling pin ready, I like to roll the dough out on cling film as i find it a lot easier to clean up afterwards. Choose your cookie cutters I have a large selection including many difference sizes of gingerbread man, I particularly like the smallest one as it is the perfect bite sized biscuit but you could use any shape you want or have. Roll out the dough to 0.5-1cm thick (the will rise a bit in the oven) and cut out as many biscuits as you like, remember don't feel like you have to use all the dough up at once as you can freeze any left over dough and it is very handy to just defrost and make some more when needed. Bake for 12-15 minutes on a baking paper lined try until the biscuits are lightly browned.

And there you have it! This is just one section of the tower of treats mothers day hamper I have created for my mother-in-law tomorrow, I still have to make some chocolate muffins for the last section. Oh and of course I made enough to fill up our own biscuit tin so I will be having a few of these little men with a nice cup of tea later on.

Thank you for reading.


Friday, 28 March 2014

Instagram Catchup.

From L-R.

Avon calling | Indian invite | Garlic chilli spaghetti | Chicken & leek pie | Boys | Prebaby posh frock | Little squirrel | Tomato tart | Indian inspired | White chocolate & raspberry muffins | Essie stoke of brilliance | Chinese chicken & noodles | Veggie breakie | Big hair | All the fruit | 25 year old trains | Wheres my baby? | Boiled egg and green soldiers. 

Recent Purchases.

I've been on a bit of a spree recently, purely because there was a lot of things I needed that I had run out of. Firstly in a few weeks time I am going to a Sikh wedding of a school friend of initial thought was pure excitement which quickly turned to absolute terror thinking of what I was going to wear and what was appropriate attire to wear to a sikh temple. After a lot of last minute searching I think I have found the most perfect dress which I picked up a few days ago in the Debenhams sale. I knew I wanted something long and not to revealing, so I was looking at maxi length dresses but something nice and colourful and detailed. The dress I bought is by Quiz and it is the most beautiful vibrant blue with the most stunning beaded detailed top. Im just completely in love with it and cant stop trying it on....I even got it in a size 8!! I don't think I've worn a size 8 since being a teenager! Sorry for the awkward photo the dress is so long Its hard to get it all in the picture.

Today I went into town to pick up some eggs and look what I came back with! Finally the Garnier micellar cleansing water which has been sold out everywhere I go....most probably because its supposed to be an exact dupe of the famous Bioderma cleansing water....don't worry I will review it!

I also picked up another Revlon Matt Balm this one is called 'mischievous' I already own 'elusive' but what can I say they are fabulous!!

Also I needed a nail polish to match my dress so I thought I'd try Rimmel lasting finish in Azure which is a beautiful bright blue with hints of turquoise! I've never tried these polishes before so I'm excited to see how long they last, they certainly dry quickly which is a big plus!

Lastly I'd been looking for a leather (or leather look more like) skirt that doesn't break the bank and that doesn't make me look too slapper-esque either haha and finally I found it in the Oasis sale. Knocked down from £40 to only £15 this black faux leather high-waisted pencil skirt looks to classy and is such a versatile piece to add to any wardrobe. I cant wait for it to arrive, I hope it fits well. 

Dont worry guys there are soooo many reviews coming up, I have found some amazing skincare finds that I will share with you all. 

Thank you for reading.


Thursday, 27 March 2014

Learning Through Play - Activities For Toddlers.

The best way to teach toddlers skills and basic pre-school education is through play, games and fun activities are an important part of a child's daily routine and in this post I will show you just a few ways of getting involved with your child's learning.

1 - Colour Sorting. 

This activity can be done with almost anything! Different coloured lego bricks, pencils, pompoms or a mixture of coloured objects. Getting your toddler to differentiate between the colours, match them and label them. This is ELC toy is great for this, I put all the bugs in a pile he either picks one up and I ask him what colour it is (if your child doesn't know just tell them each colour) then he will place it on the correct leaf. Sometimes I will ask him to give me a certain colour bug instead this means he will have to recognise the colour by its name and associate it with the correct colour. If any mistakes are made you just gently correct them by pointing out the colour of the bug and the colour of the correct leaf it should be on....they will quickly remember next time. After only a a few days of doing this activity Eli had learnt all his colour names and how to sort, we started doing this at 18 months old and it had being a favourite activity of his since.

2 - Counting. 

Again this can be done by simply writing numbers on separate pieces of paper and using counters, bricks or pennies to count the right amount. We started this activity at about 2 years of age when Eli finally (maybe a little late compared to others) started to count 1-10. Once he could count 1-10 and was getting the numbers in the right order we started to associate the name of the number to the written number until he could see the number 4 and know it was 'Four'. Placing the objects down and counting at the same time stopping at the correct amount he then started to understand quantities. This activity is a little more advance and will need more practice Eli still needs a little help but it all aids his understanding of numbers. As well as this we tend to count everything we come across...the amount of stairs we walk down, the amount of cars parked outside or the number of bananas in the fruit bowl. 

3 - Coordination, Concentration and The Alphabet. 

For this activity we use a giant alphabet floor puzzle something easy to handle and not to complicated to complete. I put all the pieces in one pile and ask for Eli to find me the letter 'A' and then the letter 'B' each time he will tell me a word beginning with that letter...A is for Apple....B is for Ball. I then show him how the two puzzle pieces go together and encourage him to do it himself and then asking for the next letter. After a few pieces he gets the gist of how the pieces go and I no longer have to help him and you can see the concentration in his face as he turns the puzzle pieces around finding their correct placement once the puzzle is complete we usually sing our ABC song and I ask him to point out different letters. If your toddler doesn't yet know the alphabet this is a great way of teaching them by doing the puzzle together sounding out each letter as you go. 

4 - Pictionary! ( Please excuse my awful drawing) 

Not just a silly board game for adults, toddler pictionary can help word association and vocabulary. I like to use an etchasketch but you could easily use just a pen and paper, chalk board or white board. Drawing pictures and seeing if your toddler can guess what it is makes an extremely fun activity, dont forget to keep them simple though you don't want to cause confusion! You can also do the same with letters and numbers writing a letter and getting your toddler to tell you what it is, this is how Eli mostly learnt and practiced his alphabet we do it daily.

5 - Begining With and Sounding Out Words.

This toy is great, A-Z board books filled with words beginning with each letter. How about making your own flashcards with a letter on one size and the other filled with pictures of things that letter begins with. Eli loves listing words what start with any letter that I give him but we have these little books for inspiration. I also use these or you could used alphabet blocks to spell out simple words and help your toddler to sound them out, this enforces the basic skills needed for reading.

6 - Coordination, Patterns and Shapes.

These Melissa and Doug lacing beads make a great tool for learning, not only does it take hand eye coordination to string the lace through the bead but also patterns or groups can be made with the different shaped or coloured beads. Basic shape learning like star, square and circle can be taught and grouping beads of the same shape, size or colour....the possibilities are endless! As you can see Eli likes to stack the beads and make towers instead haha. 

There are so many different ways to learn through play and there are some great toys available to help you, equally it is very simple to make little activities just with whats available to you around the home. Getting involved and making it fun is key and as always practice makes perfect.

I hope this gives you a little inspiration and thank you for reading!