Sunday, 31 August 2014

My Blush Collection.

When it comes to make up I'm totally a lipstick and blush person, I am content with the eyeshadows I own and I only ever buy more then one mascara, eyeliner and brow product at a time but lipsticks and blushes just sing out to me and I like to have a little collection of them.

I absolutely love my blush collection so I thought I would share them with you, there is not one that gets neglected they are all in full time rotation in my make up bag so here they are:

Swatches from L-R

TheBalm Cosmetics, Hot Mama.

Benefit, Dandelion.

Clinique, Iced Lotus.

TheBalm How Bout Them Apples, Pie.

Clinique Cheek Pop, Peach Pop.

Bourjois Cream Blush, Rose Tender.

Thank you for reading.


The Must Have Hair Care Duo For Tangle Prone Locks.

Whenever I take that spontaneous trip to the hairdressers to get a substantial chunk of length taken off (That I always regret!!) Its always because I struggle to manage my long locks. My hair is quite dry and very tangle prone in fact when wet it is a complete nightmare, brushing through it is painful and damaging I can tell by the amount of hair that accumulates in my hair brush!

I have tried a ton of different conditioners and hair masks that generally make my hair nice and shiny and soft but never help my wet hair become more manageable but I recently I have made two changes that have completely irradiated my problem.

I have always stayed away from any sort of leave in product, I almost always find them too heavy for my hair and they also leave my hair feeling super greasy. It was only by chance that I picked up the Aussie Miracle Hair Insurance Conditioning spray whist buying my usual Aussie shampoo and conditioner on a 3 for £10 offer. With a liberal spray through the ends of my hair it really did a great job of helping detangle my matted wet mane and when dry my hair was extra soft and not at all greasy.....I was so impressed with this product, it also smells lovely!    

The second change I made was to switch to using 'The Wet Brush'. It is well known that you shouldn't brush wet hair because its most fragile when wet but thats not always practical, The Wet Brush has long flexible bristles that help reduce damage to the hairs and detangle without tugging.....and it does exactly that. Since using this brush in combination with the conditioning spray brushing through my matted wet hair is no longer a painful chore, the brush glides easily through my hair untangling without pulling or breaking my hair. I don't have anywhere near as much hair collect in the brush compared to my old one and it has made the most dramatic difference when it comes to managing my long hair.

Thank you for reading.


Friday, 29 August 2014

Nspa Shower Scrub review.

This is not the first product I've tried from the Nspa range, I absolutely love their Illuminating Beauty Serum and often brows their products whilst in Asda. Recently I picked up these two Nspa shower scrubs after running out of my Body Shop one, what lured me in was the 2 for £4 offer which you could mix and match products from their bath and body range including body butters and shower gels. Individually the scrubs were £3 each so it seemed silly to only buy one and because I only really needed the scrub plus I couldn't choose between all the yummy smelling fragrances I ended up getting both the Honey and Coconut scrubs.

Like I said the scents were delicious smelling and had a really great variety too with many others to choose from. I really like the packaging of these and much prefer a scrub in a tube opposed to a tub as fiddling around screwing a lid on and off whilst trying not to get water in the product when in the shower is just hassle....Take note Body Shop!

I have used these several times now and I have to say I am very impressed with them, they are a very gentle body exfoliant with very small and sparse scrub particles much like the Body Shop Blueberry Scrub-gelee I had just finished. Unlike the body shop scrub this exfoliant is suspended in a thick creamy body wash that actually lathers slightly when scrubbing which reminds me a lot of Soap & Glory Scrub Of Your Life. I believe its more of a body wash come scrub all in one which is always really handy and because it lathers up it feels very luxurious on the skin which is really surprising for such a reasonable price tag!  

Over all it did they job, smelled great, left my skin feeling soft and great value for money, I also really like the fact you can buy complimenting body butters and shower gels in the same fragrance if you wish. I will definitely be trying more from this range sometime soon.

Thank you for reading.


Face Of The Day.

I have been a bit of a foundation floozy recently, I have been been testing several new ones that I found I really like so my usual Rimmel Wake Me Up foundation has been a bit neglected. Today I felt the need to use it as it has been a while and wanted to be able to compare the finish to that of Nars Sheer Glow and Maybellines Better Skin foundations. First thing I noticed was that I must have got a little sun over the summer as the 'Light porcelain' shade is now a little too pale but I kinda liked the snow white kind of look it gave. The formula is a lot thicker then others I had been using which gave a bit more coverage but too longer to blend but left a very flawless I remember why I liked it so much!

Being that my base was pretty pale I thought that a rosy coloured blush would compliment I nicely and my Bourjois cream blush in 'Rose Tender' fit the bill nicely. I love these cream blushes they are so fool proof, the cream to powder formulation looks subtle but is easy to build up some colour and I like to apply it with the Real Techniques contour brush.

For my eyes I went for something subtle using this Clinique eyeshadow quad in 'Pink Chocolate' a wash of the palest matte pink all over the lids with just a little of the shimmery darker pink blended into the crease for some definition. A couple of slicks of one of my favourite mascaras Soap & Glory Thick & Fast, I decided to boycott the eyeliner and keep my brows natural giving a very minimal day time look.

Lastly as I went for a pale base with rosy cheeks subtly pink eyes I though that the best lipstick that would compliment this look was my Clinique Long Lasting lipstick in 'Matte Beauty'. A lovely matte dusky pink with great staying power and very comfortable to wear.

So thats my face of the day, I really love this combination of products I must remember to wear these more often especially in the winter I think they would look really pretty.

Thank you for reading.


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Second Star To The Right And Straight On Till Morning.

I love typographic wall art, inspirational quotes or words of wisdom, most probably because I did a degree in graphic design and when we move I plan to cover our new walls with such pictures. Recently I stumbled upon the cutest Esty store selling lovely typographic art and what caught my eye in particular were these three amazing quotes from our families favourite film Peter Pan by JM Barrie.

Not only are these quotes so appropriate and great little reminders to have around the house by what an amazing tribute to the recently deceased Robin Williams who's films filled our childhood with laughter. Hook will always be a firm family favourite so these are so fitting to have on our walls. 

You can find these beautiful prints here

Thank you for reading.


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Top 5 Autumn Lipsticks.

Autumn is my favourite month....I literally love everything about it! The chill in the air, the changing leaves, warming comfort food, hats, scarves, boots and good Autumnal inspired make up. So whilst shopping my lippy stash for season appropriate choices I thought I'd share with you my top 5 Autumn lipsticks.

From left to Right.

MAC Craving, an Amplified Creme formulation which packs a pigmentation punch. A beautifully deep pinky plum, it has good staying power and is very comfortable on the lips.

Cliniques Long Lasting Lipstick in 'All Heart' is a berry red with pink undertones which is very easy to wear.

Revlon Lip Butter in 'Candy Apple' the name describes it perfectly a vibrant red with a balmy texture, great starting point for those who are new to red lipsticks.

Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in 'Broadest Berry' a deep dark plum/wine colour a very bold colour with a ton of pigmentation and lasts really well too!

Clinque Chubby stick Intense in 'Curviest Caramel' the ultimate my lips but better nude, makes your lips look fuller and fabulous.

And lastly a little bonus edition as you know Autumn/Winter can cause havoc on the lips and not only does Vaseline Limited Edition Paint The Town Red give a lovely rosy red tint to the lips it will help prevent them from getting chapped.

Thank you for reading.


A Mini Review Series.

I have been lucky enough to get my hands on several mini products that I have been testing out recently, I always have my eye out for when brands give out free samples as its a great way of testing out a range of different products without any commitment. So here's what I have been trying.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil - This I received in Latest In Beauty Glamour Edit box and have only just got round to give it a try. Compared to my usual The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil this feels a lot heavier and more nourishing I feel I can really work it into the skin although I don't think it removes mascara as well so I wouldn't rush out and purchase it.

NARS Sheer Glow - The holy grail of foundations and a blogger favourite! Not having a NARS counter locally meant that I haven't been able to try it until now! My local John Lewis has just opened a brand new NARS counter and when I visited the customer service was fantastic. I was matched to the shade 'Mont Blanc' but she didn't have any testers in that shade so here I have the shade 'Deauville' which is a little too yellow toned but gave me a chance to test it out. I was not expecting such a great free tester I think it is very generous of them, it comes in a little glass vial which has a little paddle applicator in the lid which helps prevent waste. I use quite a small amount and have been wearing this foundation for 2 weeks and I've hardly made a dent in this little bottle so it will last you quite some time. This is a medium coverage foundation which is not dewy but not completely matte either, it gives a great natural flawless finish with a ton of natural glow without being shiny. I cannot describe how brightening this foundation is, I will definitely be purchasing a bottle in my correct shade soon!

MAC Prep & Prime - I never thought to try a primer from MAC but when I saw they were giving away samples I couldn't wait to try it. Its nothing like my current Porefessional by Benefit as its no where near as silicone like I can actually very much liken the texture of it to Benefits That Gal primer but without the brightening properties. I have been wearing it all week underneath the NARS Sheer glow foundation and I think it makes a lovely base to apply your foundation and would possibly consider purchasing it in the future.  

Benefit Instant Come Back Facial Serum - Now I was a little disappointed with this one, Benefit recently revamped their skincare range and as a result received a sample to try. From a serum I have come to expect to see results almost instantly, other serums I have used leave my skin feel incredibly smooth but this left my skin feeling sticky and not very moisturised or nourished. Its a shame because this product smells fantastic but for the very high price tag I have tried much better serums from Clinique for a similar price, It didn't float my boat I'm afraid.

Bank Holiday Instagram Update.

This weekend has been a pretty good one, mainly because Greig got an extra day off to spend with us and the boys loved it loads. Even though it rained all weekend and Eli has been a little under the weather we still had lots of indoor fun playing with playdough, baking carrot and raisin muffins and warming up with a bowl of thick beef and kidney stew. I took my new coat for a test drive to do a little shopping and now I am more in love with it then ever and whilst I was in Asda I stocked up on toiletries so watch out for some reviews coming soon. We also had a little family outing to Nandos for dinner to have a little catch up with Greigs brothers which was really nice we were all completely stuffed afterwards.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.


Whats In My Basket - H&M.

One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six

Do you ever add a load of things to your online shopping basket and sit there staring at it for days wishing you could justify just ordering it all? I'm sure I'm not alone and right now my H&M basket seems to be the one screaming out for me to purchase so I though I'd share with you what is tempting me. 

My hunt for a faux leather jacket continues as a vital missing staple component of my wardrobe but this fitted biker with peplum is really ticking all the boxes! I have spoken about this skirt so much and yet I still haven't got round to acquiring it, its a pencil skirt and its leopard print need I say more?! I absolutely love Autumn/Winter dresses and these two are just perfect a dark floral which would look amazing with that leather jacket and a bright graphic print which colours remind me of Autumn leaves. I am in desperate need for new jeans and I love the wash of this pair as well as the ripped knees they are exactly what I have been looking for. Lastly a slouchy white blazer is the perfect smart casual cover-up, it looks sophisticated without being over the top and will make any outfit look effortlessly chic. 

H&M are also offering a 25% off one item code which is tempting me even more into purchasing at least one of these but how do I choose!!! 

Thank you for reading. 


Friday, 22 August 2014

What My Wardrobe Needs - The Autumn Edit.

The Simple Cami.....I prefer layering in the colder months as opposed to wearing one thick item of clothing so simple cami tops are great for wearing underneath cardigans. I love these ones from River Island as they have a lovely little extra strap detailing which makes them look a bit more interesting I also think this red wine colour is perfect for Autumn.    

The Boxy Top......I need some plain coloured tops in my wardrobe I have a tendency to always go for prints which are a bit harder to match with other items of clothing. I love both of these boxy tops from Topshop firstly because their plain colour and shape are jazzed up by lovely detailing on the edges of the sleeves and seam. I like this shape of top because I find they look really nice with a pencil skirt or high-waisted jeans.     

The Printed Cami.....You've got to love a bit of animal print in the Autumn and this leopard print Topshop cami makes such a statement and would look lovely with a pair of jeans or a basic pencil skirt.  

The Autumn Dress.....Dresses, tights and boots are an Autumn staple for me and I am loving all the darker floral patterns especially these dresses from Zara and Topshop but you also cant go wrong with a bit of monochrome and this shift dress from River Island is stunning and I love the leather detailing.       

The Casual Shirt.....Shirts can be very comfortable and easy to wear in the Autumn as they are so versatile, I adore this lightning bold print one from Topshop it would look great with a colourful jumper thrown over the top.

The Oversized Sweatshirt....For when you want to be extra comfy, the ultimate item of clothing for lounging around in when its cold. This one from Zara comes in the most beautiful powder blue colour.

The Leather Jacket....Is an item that has been missing from my wardrobe for years and a staple that everyone needs. Faux leather is much more affordable and this collarless one from Topshop will only set you back around £50.

The Leather Shorts....I wanted a pair of brown leather shorts last year but unsuccessful in my search for them. This year H&M have a pair which are very affordable, I like them because they can be dressed up or down.

The Platform Shoe.....I think this style of shoe looks so cute with dresses or skirts, halfway between a shoe and a boot they give you a little hight without aching your feet, you can find these ones in New Look.

The Cigaret Pant.....These are the most comfortable fit of trousers and I love them in bright bold prints, these ones from Zara are amazing I can't wait to get hold of these.

The pencil Skirt.....I am a bit pencil skirt obsessed especially printed ones and this leopard print skirt from H&M is the most perfect Autumnal colours and a great way of adding pattern to an outfit.   

The Black Jeans.....Are another staple that everyone should have....and I don't!! I really like these biker look ones with zip detailing from Topshop they would look great tucked into some black boots.

The Blanket Scarf.....A scarf so huge you could use it as a blanket, these are definitely needed when winter comes rolling in, this one from River island is monochrome aztec print which will go with almost every outfit!

The Slip On Sneakers.....Another trend I have seemed to have missed so far, they look really comfy and I love this snake skin print pair from H&M.   

Thank you for reading.


Autumn Primark Haul.

Its has started to get a little colder this week and when I looked at my wardrobe the other day I honestly couldn't find a single thing to wear! My problem is I am a very sporadic clothes buyer, often buying lots of things and then never having anything to wear them with I also feel that my style had changed a lot recently meaning I no long like a lot of the clothes I own. What I did own that was Autumn appropriate was mostly a good few years old and so I decided to start slowly revamping my wardrobe getting rid of everything I knew I was not going to wear again and start purchasing more of a capsule wardrobe with a less is more approach. To start organising my wardrobe I decided to purchase a load of these ultra thin non-slip hangers from Primark, these take up less space therefore make your wardrobe feel less cluttered they were also discounted being only £2.50 for 10 hangers instead of £4. I didn't quite buy enough to do my whole wardrobe but they have made such a difference already, I really want to be able to see what clothes I have instead of it looking like a cluttered sale rail and these are a great help.

I have a severe lack of tops, I am such a skirt/dress buyer that I always fall short in the top department and when having a little organise I realised that most of my tops were way too summery. I packed away everything that I didn't feel would transition very well into Autumn and picked up some staple basics when I was in Primark. The first thing I picked up was this gorgeous grey long jumper/dress, it is made of a thin knit which is perfect for when it starts to get chilly and is oversized and slouchy which makes it super comfortable. It feels really soft and good quality and I love seam detail that runs down the front, this would be great to wear with leggings or thick winter tights and was only £6.  

The other top is actually one I already own but in a different colour, I absolutely love these distressed tee's from Primark they are so comfortable to wear and they are a great basic to have and look great tucked into a pencil skirt of just with jeans.

I also picked up two skirts as I love wearing skirts in Autumn with thick tights, the first again is another wardrobe staple just a grey pencil skirt this one being a bit longer and comes just below the knee. The second is a knitted skirt which I think is supposed to be a part of a knit twin set but I couldn't see any of the tops in stock yet. Its thick and warm and a beautiful Autumnal red I like how it sits high on the waist and really flares out this would look lovely with boots and I am very excited to wear it!

Lastly this wasn't bought on the same trip as everything else but I have been keeping it aside waiting to combine it into a larger haul. I treated myself to a new winter coat I couldn't help myself when I saw it on the rails, this stunning pale pink duffle coat with beautiful gold detailing and the softest fluffiest hood. I had real trouble last Winter finding a coat that I liked with a hood so as soon as I saw this I knew I had to have it and I think it looks a lot more expensive then the £25 I payed. 

I really think to get a wardrobe that your happy with it really helps to plan. Look at seasonal trends that your interested in, work out what your wardrobe is lacking and replacing things that have seen better days. Also try to create a mix and match wardrobe so things don't go unworn, when you are about to buy something ask yourself....Do I have something similar? and What am I going to wear with it?

A few things I would like to get this season include a new pair of quality jeans most likely from Topshop or H&M, a Winter patterned dress and a leather jacket but I'm sure I'll think of plenty more! 

Thank you for reading. 


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Budget Slow Cooking - Pork cheeks In Cider and Apples.

Im always trying to find ways of keeping the food shopping bill down without compromising on quality fresh family meals, lets face it I do have to feel 3 extremely hungry boys and it can get expensive! Im an Aldi shopper, I find you cant beat the quality and the price but recently when The Sun newspaper had been printing amazing money off vouchers for Morrisons I couldn't turn them down. Last Thursday they had a £5 off voucher for £10 worth of fresh meat at Morrisons and to try and get the most for my money I looked at the more unusual cheeper cut of meat and in the end for only £6 I managed to get a pack of beef mince, 2 packs of diced lamb, a pack of stewing beef and kidney and these pork cheeks....AMAZING!

Some people may turn their nose up at pork cheeks but for £1.70 you cant argue you great a great amount of meat for your money. Pork cheeks seem to be a fashionable cut of meat right now I have seen them on many a cooking show and they are a great meat to use in slow cooking. I absolutely adore my slow cooker so after researching a few recipe ideas I decided to cook my pork cheeks in cider with apples onion and thyme so here is what you will need:

  • One red onion.
  • One leek.
  • One cooking apple.
  • Two carrots.
  • 1tsp of dried thyme.
  • A chicken stock cube 
  • 1/2 a bottle of cider.
  • Beef gravy granules.   

As always with slow cooker recipes you pretty much throw all the ingredients into the pot and its done, although I do like to cook my leek, onion and apple a little first until they start to caramelise just to add some extra flavour. Sprinkle the thyme and crumbled stock cube over the ingredients and add half a bottle of cider and top up with some boiling water just so everything is covered in liquid. I cooked this on a low setting for 7 hours and just before serving adding a few gravy granules to thicken up the reduced sauce.

This recipe is so so delicious.....the other half actually telling me it was one of the best dishes I have ever cooked! Such a great twist to your usual casserole, slow cooking the pork makes it just melt in your mouth and the cider and diced apples give the sauce a rich sweet flavour that compliments the pork perfectly.

I like to serve this with creamy mash potato, sage and onion stuffing and peas but would also taste lovely with a pile of roast potatoes! Overall this is an amazingly tasty yet extremely cheep meal I urge you to give pork cheeks a go!

Thank you for reading.


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Tagliatelle Carbonara - A Recipe

There are a few reasons why I have never attempted to cook a carbonara before the first being every pre-made carbonara I had tasted was overly creamy, sickly and heavy which kinda but me off the dish. The other reason was because it always seemed a fiddly and easy to screw up....well boy was I wrong.

When looking for a recipe I came across several different variations using different ingredients some used eggs some used cream others contained wine, being a bit confused on which one to try or which was more authentic I ended up combining them a bit and it turned out perfectly delicious. So here is what you will need:

  • Dried or fresh tagliatelle.
  • Bacon lardons.
  • Handful of mushrooms.
  • 1 clove of garlic.
  • 100ml of white wine.
  • A splash of double cream.
  • 3 eggs yolks.
  • A large handful of grated or shaved parmesan. 
  • Freshly ground pepper.

Firstly put a pan of water on to boil for your tagliatelle then fry your bacon for 5 minutes or until slightly crispy, then add some sliced mushrooms and diced garlic. Once your mushroom have cooked for a few minutes add 100ml of white wine and cook out the alcohol for another 5 minutes. 

Add your pasta to your boiling water, remember that dried pasta takes a little longer and fresh pasta will be ready in a matter of minutes. Next separate 3 eggs keeping the egg yolks in a bowl, you can freeze the egg whites and make meringue with them another day. Add to your egg yolks the parmesan cheese and a generous amount of black pepper and combine. 

Add a small splash of double cream to your bacon mixture then tip in your drained tagliatelle reserving some of the pasta water incase your sauce needs loosening. Give everything a good mix and take off the heat, then you get your parmesan and egg yolk mixture and stir this into your pasta also. The residual heat from the pasta will cook the egg and melt the cheese leaving a rich creamy sauce. If it seems too thick and cloying add a small amount of the pasta water to loosen and then dish it up!

Carbonara is such a delicious meal and now I have made it fresh I can safely say that it is so much better then those overly creamy stodgy jared sauces you can buy, it honestly tastes completely different. This sauce is rich yet surprisingly light and packed full of flavour and so much simpler to do then I expected and ridiculous quick too! Give it a go you wont regret it!

Thank you for reading. 


MAC Lipstick In Craving & Discounts With Cohorted Review.

If your both a lover of beauty and social media you may have already heard of if not then I will give you a quick little run down on what this little gem of a website is about. 

Cohorted is a social shopping experience which allows for you to buy branded beauty products with great discounts. Every monday at 6pm four beauty products will go on sale in very limited numbers with a certain percentage of discount, the full discount can only be obtained if the product sells out the more people who buy the bigger the discount. When the Cohort closes or sells out everyone who purchased will get the discount that it ended on not matter what point they clicked to purchase. 

There have been some amazing products that have been on Cohorted in the past month from high end and high street brands. I have been very impressed to see a lot of MAC, Urban Decay and Illamasqua....including very popular or recently released products not just the leftovers that are difficult to sell. Be warned because of the limited numbers some popular products will sell out within minutes of a Cohort opening so I would suggest setting a little alarm or reminder for when they open as I have missed out on many a great Cohort already!

Ok so onto my first Cohorted purchase. Last monday I saw a beautiful MAC lipstick crop up on Cohorted that was right up my street, after quickly googling some swatches I knew I had to have it! This lipstick is the Amplified Creme lipstick in 'Craving' which is a beautiful deep raspberry colour perfect for Autumn. 

I only own one other MAC lipstick which which is a matt formulation in 'Russian Red' and I have been wanting to increase my collection for a long time but spoilt for choice I had no idea where to start. Now the Amplified Creme formula I have got to say is beautiful! It is so creamy and moisturising a complete contrast to the matt formulation but still with incredible pigmentation. I am no good at describing colours but this is a very rich raspberry/plum colour with slight pink undertones, a great shade for the colder months with lots of depth. It applies so smoothly and has good staying power for its formula but obviously no where near as long lasting as a matt formula. 

Cohorted Offers free delivery and with the discount I only paid £12 for this MAC lipstick and it took exactly a week to come, I will be definitely be keeping my eye out for future cohorts that may spark my interest. Have you tired Cohorted?

Thank you for reading.



Monday, 18 August 2014

Sunday Family Funday.

This sunday consisted of cooking an epic lamb and potato vindaloo in the slowcooker, I had picked up a load of meat from Morrisons as The Sun newspaper had a £5 voucher in for fresh meat and fish. I managed to get two small packets of diced lamb, a pack of beef mince, a pack of diced beef with kidney and some pork cheeks for only £6! 

Whilst the curry was cooking away we too a chance on the weather and went for a walk around the park, it had been raining all morning so everything was damp but we were prepared with our boots and raincoats. The sun had come out but there was a very chilly wind that really reminded me of the start of Autumn my favourite season. Wesley loved running around the park and thought the wind was hilarious, he was a cheeky sausage all day climbing all sorts of things he shouldn't and then falling asleep in his highchair with a mouth full of sandwich.    

Our curry was so delicious, by far the best curry I've ever made and very very hot! I used a recipe from the Hairy Bikers Cook Book and it turned out perfectly. I served it with rice, nan bread, homemade cucumber raita and onion salad whilst the boys had a ham, mushroom and mixed herb omlet with baked beans which was equally a hit with them! 

We were lucky to have a lot of goodies from the allotment this week, runner beans, garlic, onions, cooking apples and tons of raspberries and blackberries so I decided to make an apple and mixed berry crumble for desert. Here are some pictures of our day...mainly of food just to warm you!