Friday, 27 September 2013

Smarties Rainbow Cookies

For some reason, the majority of all my recipes seem to involve chocolate...but in my opinion these are always the best types of recipes! Yesterday I baked my second batch of cookies ever and they turned out so yummy I couldn't wait to type up this post. After experimenting with a Mary Berry basic cookie recipe the first time (I love her) I tweaked the recipe a tiny bit and think this batch is even better. The best thing about this recipe is that you can keep the base mixture the same but add whatever you want to it for different flavours and textures. The addition of smarties in this case was an amazing idea as they taste so good! You could also do plain chocolate chips, or another idea for my next batch which is to add rolos. They are also really easy to make so perfect for novice bakers and children. Makes around 15-20 cookies depending on your sizing.

* 100g softened butter
* 75g caster sugar
* 50g light muscovado sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 large egg
* 150g self-raising flour
* 100g smarties
You will also need: 3 baking trays

1. Preheat your oven to 190°C, fan 170°C, gas 5. I prefer fan because it means the heat is distributed evenly throughout the oven. Lightly butter your baking trays. The reason for no reusing just the one is because you want the tray to be a normal temperature to put your batter on so that they cook evenly and at the same rate.#

2. Beat both types of sugar and the butter in a bowl until smooth, evenly blended and pale. The addition of the light muscovado sugar gives the cookies a lovely caramel taste.

3. Add the vanilla. Beat the egg and add a little at the time to the mixture while beating until completely mixed. 

4. Stir in all the flour until the  mixture is thick and smooth, with all pockets of flour mixed in. 

5. Finally, add the smarties to your bowl and mix well until they are distributed evenly throughout the mixture.

6. Use a teaspoon to measure out large teaspoon sized balls of batter onto your baking trays, making sure to leave gaps for the cookies to spread. Bake for 8-10 mins, one baking tray at a time, on the top shelf until golden and slightly chewy. I found the best way was to cook for 8 minutes, check on them, then turn the baking tray round for the last two minutes to make sure they brown evenly.

7. Cool on the trays for a few minutes before transferring them with a palette knife onto a cooling rack. Once completely cool, store in an air tight tin for up to a week.

Let me know if you try the recipe and tweet/instagram me a picture - my links are in the side bar and my Contact tab xxx
Monday, 23 September 2013

Review: Revlon | Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain | 'Crush'

My love for lip products is boundless, with three boxes full of the stuff and growing its surprising that I have done hardly any posts on them. So I'm going to try and rectify this and do a few more posts dedicated to the lipstick lovers out there. I thought I would kick off with a beaut colour suitable for Autumn/Winter, which is the shade 'Crush' by Revlon from their Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain range. 

I actually bought this around a year ago now so that's why the packaging is looking a bit battered now! The JBKBS were the first 'dupe' high street range to rival Clinique's Chubby Sticks - I have a few of those too and will be popping up some comparisons soon :) A pinky burgundy with hints of glitter (which is a little darker than the swatches show), 'Crush' applies to a glossy finish which lasts well and is slightly tingly, and once worn away leaves a matte stain. Personally I like to build up a few layers of the colour to deepen it and make it more opaque. If you have chapped lips this colour will emphasis that so it would be wise to use a lip scrub prior. The stain lasts pretty well - during every day activity around 4 hours including drinking, however after a meal only a slight colour is left, giving a lip liner effect, which I don't think is too bad going. The best way to apply these to get a lasting stain is to apply a layer, blot and then apply again.

I'm not too fond of the smell which is kind of minty, but luckily this doesn't really translate to the lips. The application is lovely and smooth, although now the tip has become quite rounded it is a little bit more tricky to get precision. The formula is quite moisturising until the gloss has worn away and doesn't bleed at all, which is a big plus point. It is super handy to pop into your hand bag as if you need more product you simply twist the silver part at the bottom so no sharpener is required.

I'm a big fan of Revlon anyway, and these lip crayons are lovely. There are so many out on the market now but these ones are definitely one of my faves. I would love to try out Honey as my next shade. Have you tried these Balm Stains? What colour is your favourite? xxx
Thursday, 19 September 2013

Review: The Body Shop | Camomile Cleansing Butter |

Recently, the Body Shop have been on a roll and released some amazing products, and when I heard about the new Camomile cleansing range I was really excited... is that lame? The range includes an eye make up remover, a waterproof eye and lip remover, the butter and a cleansing oil. I only picked up the cleansing butter as I had run out of cleanser and wanted to try another balm product, but am really interested in testing out the oil too.

The product comes in a decent sized and flat screw top tin which is easy for travel. The easiest way to get the product out is with a little plastic spatula or something similar - mine is from a travel kit from M&S and I also think Muji do something similar. It just makes the process of getting the product out easier, less messy and a lot more hygienic. It took me a while to judge how much to use as I ended up using too much in the beginning -  a little really does go a long way as the product melts so easily into a lovely lightly scented oil. The texture is very slippery, much more than the RMK rose balm I've tried before and the Clarins Pure Melt Gel. I really like this though as I feel like it is properly breaking down my make up and enables me to massage my face lightly without dragging and pulling. In terms of make up removal, even when facing taking off Double Wear or Revlon's Colour Stay this cleanser makes a light job out of it. I find the scent isn't over powering so would be suitable for those with sensitive skin and it leaves my skin feeling cleansed without feeling stripped, soft and smooth. 

Usually I take off the majority of my make up with a micellar water (at the moment one by Vichy, with a review to come soon) and the this cleansing balm after, however you could use the balm as your primary way to cleanse but I would recommend double cleansing if this is your preferenec. It's also best if you remove this cleanser with some form of flannel or muslin cloth to make sure you remove it all properly as it is oil based and therefore can leave a residue on your skin.

I think it's great value for money as the tin is filled right to the top and only a small amount of product is needed to do the job. I look forward to using this in the evenings and it is a great alternative to the popular and more pricey balm cleansers out there. I definitely recommend this for all skin types and can't wait to check out the rest of the range. I also have my eye on the new Honeymania range too.... think it will be on my Christmas list!

Have you tried this cleanser? What do you love from the Body Shop? xxx
Monday, 16 September 2013

The Fragrance Shop | Discovery Club |

I've always thought the concept of beauty boxes are great and there are so many different types on the market now ranging from high end, teen and even eco boxes. So when I was contacted by the Fragrance Shop to try out their version of a beauty box I jumped at the chance. They have named it the Discovery Club* and included in the 3rd Edition were 6 samples of newly launched fragrances, 2 of which were for men which was great to pass on to Matt, and money off vouchers for each perfume all for just £5 each quarter.

The box is smart and compact and the samples are housed in matching dark blue tissue paper which I thought made it feel more luxurious. I'm rubbish at describing scents myself so will give you a quick low down of the women's perfumes I received, their costs, the key notes which are mentioned and what I thought.

1. Thierry Mugler - Alien Aqua Chic:  Top note of orange blossom, heart of pink grapefruit and lemon tree blossom and base notes of amber and jasmine. I thought this was a lovely light version of the popular original, which lingers for ages and makes it more suitable for day. I really liked the scent of this and have put it on my wish list! £39.50 // 60ml

2. Loewe - Quizas Quizas Quizas Pasion: Inspired by the tango, it is meant to be a fruity and romantic fragrance. Top notes of bergamot and mandarin, hearts of magnolia, freesia and orange flower and base notes of cashmere wood, amber and vetiver make it a complex mix of scents. I was surprised at how light and floral this turned out to be as from the description I thought it would be quite heavy. This smells more grown up and would be lovely to wear on holiday. I really liked this one too which was a nice surprise as I hadn't heard of the brand before. £36.50 // 30ml - £51.50 // 50ml - £71.50 // 100ml

3. Elvis Jesus - Eau de Toilette: Unlike the other samples, this one didn't come with a diffuser, which was quite annoying. It was different to the other samples as it was a bit more earthy with top notes of grapefuit, chery, bergamot and peppermint, heart notes of rose, jasmine and lily of the valley and base notes of cedar, coumarin, amber, vanilla, tonka and leather. It was nice and different but I wouldn't purchase it myself. £38.50 // 50ml - £48.50 // 100ml

4. Mont Blanc - Legend Pour Femme: This sample was fruity and light with top notes of neroli, crunchy pear and bitter orange, heart notes of orange blossom, lily of the valley and Indian jasmine and base notes of musk, vanilla and blond woods. I quite liked this as it was different to something I would normally go for and it isn't too expensive. £28.50 // 30ml - £44.50 // 50ml

I'm normally quite sentimental with perfumes so don't have a huge collection but the samples have been great at introducing me to some new scents I wouldn't normally consider. The Discovery Club is a lovely service which is perfect for those of you who have a passion for perfume and are keen on trying new things. It is great value for money, especially with the inclusion of the vouchers and suitable for both men and women. The 4th Edition has just launched, so will you be testing it out? xxx
Wednesday, 11 September 2013

NOTD: Barry M | Gelly Nail Paint in 'Dragon Fruit' |

There have been plenty of posts already where I've harped on about my love for Barry M, and I've been steadily adding to my stash of their latest release of Gelly polishes. This particular colour has gained a place as one of my favourites of the moment. Dragon Fruit is a perfect Barbie pink, with the tiniest hint of sparkle giving the polish more dimension, which you can see the best in the bottom picture. I think this colour looks best on finger tips as on my skin tone it looks a bit dull on the toes unless you jazz it up with some glitter.

The texture is thicker than normal polishes but took around two layers to become streak free with this particular shade. I also really like that the shine doesn't dull after a few days wear and I was chip free until around the 3/4 day. These version of nail paints have been really hyped up with people either loving or hating them, but I am most definitely on the love side! I've got my eye on a few darker shades for Autumn and Winter so am looking forward to picking them up and testing them out.

What are your opinions on the Gelly range? xxx
Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Review: L'Oreal | Skin Perfection 3 in 1 Purifying Micellar Solution |

During the past year micellar waters seem to have made a big impact on the beauty community. I used to think each one was pretty much the same as the next, but after trying many brands including Bioderma, No 7, La Roche Posay and more I've realised they can vary quite widely on performance. Most seem to be in the same price range of about £9-14, however this is only £4.99 full price and is mostly on offer too. I had seen loads of good reviews and combined with the lower price point thought it would be great to pick up next in my search for the perfect micellar water for me.

So what is a micellar water? To briefly sum up it is a micellar solution with microscopic oil particles suspended within to effectively draw out dirt and cleanse away make up. I much prefer them to make up wipes not only because they are kinder to your skin but I find wipes quite dry and therefore have to tug and pull a lot more, where as with a micellar water you can soak a cotton pad with as much solution as you need. You use them on dry skin either in the morning or evening as your cleanser. I personally choose to use them in the evening to get off the excess of my face and eye make up, then follow up with a balm or cream cleanser to thoroughly cleanse my skin.

The L'Oreal version promises to dissolve make up, unclog pores and remove impurities as well as toning and soothing skin. It is supposed to be suitable for face, eyes and lips and is hypo-allergenic in order to be suitable for sensitive skin. However, I think it fell dramatically short of these claims. I don't wear heavy make up on a daily basis, especially in Summer, but this micellar water did not remove my make up completely (although most waters fall short in this respect) or make any difference in reference to unclogging my pores. The main gripe I had with this product however was that it made my eyes so sore. I don't have sensitive skin at all, and yet within a few days of using this it made my eyes sore, red and the skin very dry. I stopped using it immediately once I figured out it was this product, but it still took a few days for my eyes to recover.

It is a shame to write up a negative post as there are many people who have had positive experiences with this product, however, because of the influx of good reviews I thought it was important for people to realise that it isn't amazing for everyone. I wish it had worked as it is cheaper and I like the brand, but unfortunately I just didn't get on with this at all. 

Have you tried this product before and had a better experience? xxx

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

August Favourites

Hey guys, I'm officially back, yay! All my exams are now completed and I have officially finished Uni forever, which has given me such mixed feelings of excitement, sadness and nervousness. I'm so excited to put some more love into this blog - there are so many ideas on posts that I want to write buzzing round my head and I'm also looking to update my layout too, so if you do blog designs or know someone who does let me know :). I haven't done a favourites post in such a long time, but decided to try and start them up again as they are one of my favourite types to read and are great to give readers some product recommendations. Even though this is a bit late, I have quite a few for August as I've recently been trying out new things.

001. Paul Mitchell Curls Ultimate Wave Cream*: Ever since I received the Curls range from Paul Mitchell when I attended this event, this particular product has become a staple in my routine. It is a lightweight cream that helps to maintain and define my natural waves without feeling sticky or heavy. A little goes a long way and the smell is gorge - a must have for beachy waves.

002. Dove Hair Therapy Oil Care Leave in Conditioner: Again, this hair product is now a firm favourite in my haircare routine. I use it on wet hair to detangle and in between washes to keep my hair soft and sleek. The spray is so fine and the formula lightweight that it doesn't weigh down fine hair. It has really helped to keep my hair in good condition and smell lovely.

003. Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo Two*: Used once every one or two weeks, this clarifying shampoo helps to cleanse excess product and oil from your scalp and hair that can cause dull, lifeless styles. It leaves my hair thoroughly cleansed without feeling stripped or affecting my colour, which other deep cleansing shampoos failed to do.

004. Estée Lauder Pure Colour Eye Shadow Duo in 'Raisins': As you would expect, the quality of these eye shadows are amazing. Buttery soft with barely any fall out, they apply like a dream and have great wear time. This particular colour pairing is not something I would normally choose but after seeing a few swatches online I saw that they are a great combination for blue eyes. 

006. Revlon Lip Butters in 'Watermelon' and 'Sorbet': You may already know that I'm a massive fan of the lip butters as they are easy to apply, have a great colour selection and are nourishing as well. At the beginning of summer I added these two shades to my collection. I've worn these pinky red and hot pink shades a lot during the day as they have good colour pay off but are not too harsh and opaque like a lipstick, which is a bit more summery and easier to up keep in the warmer weather.

007. Color Club Nail Laquer in 'Mod in Manhattan': This colour is so pretty and a great first step into the trend of tippex nails. It isn't too stark white to be scary, but has a peachy tinge which warms things up a little and is different to anything else I own. It looks elegant by itself on short nails, or is lovely as a base coat to a colourful glitter (as seen here).

008. No 7 Brush Cleanser: I've been after a brush cleanser for ages to use as a spot cleaner in between deep cleans. This has been an absolute godsend, especially for eye brushes which I don't have too many of (yet) and makes creating different looks much easier. It's completely changed my make up routine and wouldn't be without it now.

009. Yankee Candle in 'Salted Caramel': Salted Caramel is one of my favourite things, so was really pleased when I received this from Matt as a good luck present. Yankee Candles are amazing at getting every scent just right, and this combination of butter and sugar makes it perfect for the colder months that will be upon us soon.

All these products will have in depth reviews going up in the near future, so keep a look out if there is something you like the look of and want some more info on. What has been your favourite product during August? xxx


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