Monday, 25 March 2013

Beauty: what’s in my makeup bag

I seem to splurge on makeup every four months, although from time to time I buy bits to test out. Most of the time, they go in the bin or I give them away because I don’t like them. After my November post, here’s what is currently in my makeup bag:

Fit Me range
I’d heard so many good things about Maybelline’s Fit Me range: excellent  and smooth coverage, long-wearing and reasonably cheap; not to mention a big collection, so a shade for everyone. I bought the foundation first and based it on the colour of the one I currently use; unfortunately it wasn’t what I was expecting and looked different on my skin to the colour on the swatch. It looks quite orange in the bottle, but luckily when it’s rubbed in, it doesn’t look so bad. I then checked out the Maybelline website and found there’s a ‘find your perfect shade’ quiz, so I followed that to find the shade of my powder. I found my shade is 225, or medium buff. The foundation looks quite pale in that shade though, and I do like one with a bit of colour. You can find your match here.
I always buy Maybelline mascara because I find it’s best for making my lashes really thick, long and dark. I recently got some Boots coupons in the post and one of them was for 17’s new mascara, Doll’d up. Normally priced at £6.29, I could have it for £2.00 – even better when I could use my Boots points instead of paying too. At such a cheap price, I couldn’t resist and I’m looking forward to trying it out. I’ll let you know what it’s like.
Smoky eyes
A trend that will never die and one that I absolutely love, mainly because I wear black for work and it’s a must on a night out, teamed up with big hair. I got this kit free on the Boots website after I spent £3.99 on the 17 brand (my bronzer). The best thing about this is the little instruction booklet which helps you perfect the look. The only thing I dislike is the pencil eyeliner, largely because I always use a liquid liner – I always put the liner on afterwards as well so it doesn’t smudge as much (in a messy way!). If I had the time and patience, I’d probably have smoky eyes every day.
Think pink
My makeup bag is the perfect size for my daily necessities and anything else just goes in my drawer (which is totally disorganised and finding things takes a bit of time!). I think I’ll struggle to get everything in it when I go on holiday, so I am on the look-out for a slightly larger one. I love pink though, so it’s absolutely perfect. Believe it or not, I managed to resist temptation on their website when I bought it too!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Sunday Snapshots #4

Starting the day well ~ Last floodlight game ~ Something to look forward to ~ New hair ~ Snow day

In Sunday Snapshots #2 I wrote about my purchases from Candy Hero. This week I opened the Smorz cereal (yes, one of the highlights of my week!) and I cannot believe they don’t sell it over here! It’s obviously ‘cos the sugar content is so high, but it was amazing! I had it with some natural yogurt and freeze-dried strawberries and it set me up for the morning. I love it.
Tuesday night I went to Barnet with my daddy. The club are moving grounds next season so it was the last night game ever at Underhill. For some reason, there’s something really special about playing under the floodlights, even though it’s always really cold. We beat Fleetwood 2-0, but I’m really going to miss the place.
On Wednesday I received this invite in the post to an engagement party. I lived with Natalie in my final year of Uni and saw Anthony a lot as he used to come and stay at weekends. He proposed on Valentine’s Day and I’m really looking forward to celebrating with them both – as well as seeing everyone from Uni, as it’s been a while! It’ll be the third engagement party I’ve been to over the last two years, which reaffirms the belief I will be a crazy cat lady! Now, I just need to find something to wear and get the accommodation booked up, as I’ll be travelling to Gillingham.
I got my hair done on Saturday, as my roots really needed sorting and I could do with a cut. I had a couple of my layers put back in and although I’ve wanted a fringe for ages, I thought against it as I’m so bad at maintaining them! I’ve known my hairdresser Leila since I was about two or three, she used to be the Saturday girl – she works miracles!
On Saturday afternoon, I was back at Barnet with dad – braving the snow in the process! The conditions were really horrendous and by the time I came home, my hair was pretty much ruined. I love the snow when I’m inside and looking out of the window, all wrapped up in a duvet or onesie, but I actually hate going out in it and getting wet and cold! The game finished goalless and I couldn’t wait to get home!

I hope you all had a good week. Did you get up to much over the weekend? x

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Nails: Experimenting with Ciaté caviar manicure

Last month I blogged about Ciaté’s caviar manicure, which you can read about here. On the back of the box were a number of suggestions of ways you could experiment using the kit, so last week I went slightly creative and the result was this:
I used 17 Nails Xtra nail recovery as a base coat (which doesn’t seem to be on the Boots website anymore), before using Barry M’s shocking pink shade. I got this nail polish free when I bought my sleep-in rollers – great purchase! I used two coats of the pink, because I always think one coat of Barry M nail polish is too thin and looks too opaque. Once dried, I added a third coat to my ring finger on each hand and while wet poured on the caviar, just following the instructions on the box. Once left to dry for 20 minutes or so, I added a top coat to ensure the pearls would stay in place.
Again, I think the results look better the day after applying:
It lasted a lot better than my last attempt, I think that’s because I only did two fingers and had a lot more time to fully concentrate. I did my nails on Friday morning and the caviar lasted until Monday night.
Next time I want to try something a little bit more adventurous.

What nail art trends are you currently loving?

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Graze: 06.02.13

In this box, I got:
·         Hot cross yum (sponge pieces, cinnamon and honey almonds and orange infused raisins)
·         Mississippi BBQ pistachios
·         Veggie sushi plate (ginger and nori peanuts, Japanese seaweed rice crackers and wasabi coated peas)
·         Summer berry compote (wholemeal shortbread dipper with berry compote)

·         I think I’ve mentioned before how much I love the hot cross yum punnet, it’s probably my favourite from the Classics Reinvented range. It’s weird actually, because I don’t even like hot cross buns, but I absolutely love this! The almonds are amazing, because they’re sweet and the cinnamon is subtle. The sponge pieces are my favourite thing that Graze does and because they’re so light you don’t feel as guilty as you would, had you had a piece of actual cake. Each element in the hot cross yum tastes so good on its own but together is even better! LOVE

·         In my last entry I wrote about the chilli & lime pistachios. In this box I got to sample the BBQ variety, which I’ve actually had a couple of times now and is definitely my favourite. The pistachios are sweet yet smoky and if you love BBQ sauce as much as me, you will love these. My mum seems to think they taste like smoky bacon crisps, but I disagree. These make the most perfect snack for a night in front of the TV or a film. LOVE

·         The veggie sushi plate was in my undiscovered food and as a fan of rice crackers and the flavoured nuts, I was looking forward to this. If you love wasabi and really hot flavours, you’ll love this. For me it was too much though – and I love horseradish with roast beef and wasabi with my sushi. The rice crackers were fine and I picked those out, but unfortunately the nuts were contaminated with the coating from the peas and the heat just went straight up my nose. BIN

·         The summer berry compote is another from last year’s summer range. I don’t think I could put in to words how much I love this and even on a winter’s day, reminds me of summer and makes me feel summery. The shortbread and fruit compote is the perfect combination and they complement each other really well. My only gripe is that I could do with a couple more shortbread fingers! Perfection in a punnet! LOVE

Remember you can have your own box for free by checking out the website and entering code: B1MFKZN

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

My new obsession: Sleep-in Rollers

After seeing so many girls tweet about Sleep-in Rollers, I just had to see what all the fuss was about. My hairdresser too had talked about them and with my hair being so boring and flat, I needed to buy them! I always wear my hair down and straighten it, I just needed it to have a bit of life and volume. Sleep-in Rollers are my life saver!
As soon as I opened them, I fell in love! They’re pink and squashy, and come in a really cute pink drawstring bag. Gorgeous and because of their size, you can take them anywhere: if you’re staying overnight at a friend’s, getting ready for a night out somewhere other than home, a weekend away... they’re just perfect!
The rollers come in packs of 10 and I bought two packs. My hair is thick and long and I easily get through all 20, and sometimes feel like I could do with more! It is recommended you use all 20 and put them in place with Kirby grips so they don’t fall or slip in your sleep. That said, this will be my next purchase ‘cos frankly I’ve had enough of balancing clips in my mouth and then rummaging on the floor, trying to pick them out of the carpet!
Before using these, I had never used any kind of roller before so I had no idea what I was really doing, or where I should place the rollers, or how thick to section my hair etc. The packet recommends you use them on dry hair, but the tutorial video on the website shows using them on wet hair. This confused me somewhat but from experience now I use them on damp hair, being sure to apply loads of mousse.
I’m still struggling with where to place them, but I’m finding working from the sides first helps, before doing the middle section going back. I don’t have a fringe either, but I’m thinking about getting this in the hope that the front of my hair will sit better – as opposed to either side of my parting.
After browsing the website here are a couple more bits I have my eye on which I know will end up being essential:
·         Hairdryer Hood – they say: “Setting your Sleep-in Rollers will provide a more enhanced finish for bigger hair in less time”. I say: “fixing my rollers with minimum fuss is what I need”.
·         Bun Rings – they say: “5 easy steps to fab hair in 10 minutes”. I say: “this is a must-have to create a sophisticated up do”.
·         Shower Hood – they say: “Wake up in the morning and jump in the shower wearing your Sleep In Rollers shower cap”. I say: “To maximise the time you keep your rollers in, this is perfect and doesn’t interrupt your morning routine”
I thoroughly recommend Sleep-in and it’s true – I always sleep through the night despite having these in. They do take some getting used to once they’re in your hair and because they are so soft, you can’t actually feel your pillow. But they’re amazing!
First attempt

Second attempt

Third attempt

Monday, 11 March 2013

Sunday Snapshots #3

St Paul’s Cathedral: trip to London ~ Standard sleep-in roller selfie ~ Red velvet cupcakes ~ Interview selfie ~ Barnet v Morecambe ~ Happy Mother’s Day

On Monday I went to London for the day. My mum’s a teacher and her class had a trip to the Golden Hinde. She needed extra helpers to look after a group of children so I went along. It was a really good day, despite being absolutely freezing. I got a few pictures along the way, but St Paul’s looked beautiful with the sun on it!
I’m addicted to my sleep-in rollers now and this time round I used them on damp hair, being sure to use loads of mousse. I think practise makes perfect and my hair looked better this time round. The following night I wore my hair in a bun and when I woke up on Wednesday it was even curlier! I love having big hair!
I failed my driving test on Wednesday (boo!) so to console myself, I baked red velvet cupcakes. You can find my blog post here (thank you Vicky!). It was the first time I baked them and they turned out really well, other than the icing – which I will need to practise. I think baking Wednesdays have made a comeback!
I had an interview for a receptionist job in London on Friday. I think it went really well, but we’ll have to wait and see. Unfortunately a 15 minute walk from the station in the pouring rain did my hair no favours. My dress is the one I wore for my Valentine’s meal and is from AX Paris (cost £25).
On Saturday, daddy and I went to Barnet. The Bees won 4-1, despite losing. One of the players girlfriends was sitting in front of us (the other week she sat behind us and my dad spoke Spanish to her, because she doesn’t speak much English!). Whenever we win, my dad buys me a milkshake from ShakeTown, but once again the parlour was shut – gutted!
Sunday was of course Mother’s Day, so here’s a picture of bubba Luce and my mummy. My brother and I made Sunday lunch for her and it turned out really well. We cooked a joint of roast beef with vegetables, my brother made the starter and I baked a cake with custard for dessert. It was really lovely to be able to do something for my mum that we know she’d appreciate – she’s so selfless.

Did you all have a good week? How did you spend your Mother’s Day?

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Sweet Treats: Red Velvet Cupcakes

Wednesday baking is back and this week I baked red velvet cupcakes (for the first time!), courtesy of the recipe on the lovely Vicky’s blog. My nan knows I’m really into baking, so bought me a few bits as part of my birthday present. One of the things I got were some silicone cases so I could not wait to try those out!

Makes 12 (although I had enough mixture for one extra, which I ate hot!)

You will need
    12 cupcake or muffin cases
    Two six hole or one 12 hole muffin tray
    Piping bag
Ingredients - for the cupcakes
    120g unsalted butter
    300g caster sugar
    2 large eggs
    20g good quality cocoa powder
    40ml red food colouring - the better the quality the better the colour of your cakes
    1 teaspoon vanilla essence
    300g plain flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    240ml buttermilk
Ingredients - for the buttercream icing
    200g unsalted butter
    400g icing sugar
    A drop of vanilla essence

1. Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees. Line a 12 hole muffin tray.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric whisk. For best results, do this for at least five minutes until the butter and sugar are combined, light and fluffy.
3. Break the eggs into the bowl one at a time, whisking in between until well combined.
4. Place the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla essence into a small bowl and stir to create a paste. Add this to the cake batter.
5. Sift the flour and salt into a separate bowl. Add half of the flour and salt mix into the cake batter and mix/whisk until well combined.
6. Add half of the buttermilk to the mixture and mix well; add the remaining flour and mix to combine. Finish by adding the remaining buttermilk and mixing well.
7. Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases and bake for 20 minutes.
8. To make the buttercream icing place the unsalted butter and icing sugar into a bowl with a drop of vanilla essence and whisk until the buttercream is smooth.
9. Spoon the buttercream icing into the piping bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

I had an absolute nightmare with piping the icing and after adding extra butter, I made the huge mistake of adding a teaspoon of water – DO NOT DO THIS! I had to end up spreading the icing on with a knife and it was just horrendous!
I decorated mine with mini smarties and red velvet cupcake bites (which I bought from here)
Happy baking!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Sunday Snapshots #2

Ready for work ~ Barnet v Southend ~ My new favourite snack ~ Sleep-in rollers selfie ~ Sweet treats

On Monday evening I was working at Upton Park, the home of West Ham. I think it took me longer to travel than the actual time I spent working – plus it was absolutely freezing outside! I only did a couple of hours before the game, so it went reasonably quickly.
Tuesday night was back to Underhill with my dad. His friend came this time and we went for a drink at the Green Dragon beforehand. They’ve changed the decor and menu in there again, but it looked really nice. We were sat by the fire as well so it was really cosy – I need to go there for lunch before the end of the season.
I’m currently obsessed with frozen yogurt. Yoomoo do the nicest varieties, I think. You can buy individual pots for an indulgent treat, but my mum bought the plain and strawberry swirled one. I made a blueberry compote to pour over the top and it tasted so good! I’m trying to think of other fruits and nuts I can use as a topping.
I used my sleep-in rollers this week again. They’re my new life savers! My hair is so boring when it’s down, because it lacks volume. After a lot of hair spray and fiddling, it ended up looking alright this time! If anyone has any advice on where to place them and what to do to the finish, please let me know – I’m still a novice!
I’m making red velvet cupcakes in the week, so wanted to buy those cupcakes bites as a decoration. I ended up spending loads of money on various American sweets (and the cereal!). I use Candy Hero and I absolutely love the website. There’s so much to choose from and if you spend £15 or more, you get free delivery! I recommend it.

Did you all have a good week? Do anything exciting over the weekend?

Saturday, 2 March 2013

February’s book: The 100 most pointless things in the world

Anyone that follows me on Twitter will know that I absolutely love the weekday afternoon game show, Pointless. My mum bought me the Pointless book for Christmas (I didn’t even know there was such a thing) and I just could not put it down once I started reading. The little quizzes and trivia along the way were also great – although not much fun when playing alone.
Basically the book is a countdown of the 100 everyday things that are deemed to serve no purpose and each contains an anecdote or story connected to why they should not exist. I found myself agreeing – and in some cases, disagreeing – with each and so the book really got you thinking, or worked up!
For example:
92) Wind chimes – do these serve a purpose? Pointless!
96) Pandas – they’re cute, I’d love to see them in the wild!
83) Ready salted crisps – the most boring flavour, how are they popular? Pointless!
79) Duty free – how else would I kill time at the airport? And where would I get cheap(er) perfume/make up/alcohol?
37) Chip forks – surely we eat chips with our fingers? Pointless!
34) Mickey Mouse – If Mickey didn’t exist, neither would Minnie. I love her.
16) Phone boxes – we are in 2013 – pointless!
6) Zoo filler­ – they include giraffes in that – I love giraffes! They’re cute too!

Having read the book, it got me thinking. There are so many things that were omitted from the book that I encounter on a regular basis which are not only infuriating but also pointless. Here are my top 10:
10) Ticket machines
I regularly use the train to go to my boyfriend’s and unless I have pre-booked my tickets for collection at the station, I would much rather speak to an actual person than have to use those machines. Too many options on screen, the touch screen never works and there is never a queue for them, because they are so atrocious. Last time I had to use one (because there was 3 minutes until my train and the queue for the attendant was out the station), I missed my train because it said it wasn’t taking cards, yet rejected all my £20 notes. I eventually used my card so obviously the wrong options were showing. If they are the future, we are screwed. POINTLESS.
9) Queuing, full stop
I am an impatient person, thus I hate any form of queue. The worst queues are those you find yourself in because the place where you are queuing cannot be bothered to open more cashiers/check outs, or cannot be bothered to employ (and pay!) more people. The bank is the worst for that – five or more cashiers, yet one person working and you’re always queuing behind some really incompetent people who rarely leave the house. The second worst are places like Primark and H&M. Loads of cashier assistants but the majority don’t know what they’re doing. Or you’ve spent no more than £20 and every single person in front of you appears to have bought the entire shop. It’s not worth queuing 40 minutes! POINTLESS.
8) Nude tights
I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Worst thing ever. If you want cold legs, don’t wear tights. If you want to keep warm, wear blue/black (whatever colours your work uniform etc are) tights. If you are wearing nude tights because you haven’t shaved or fake tanned, please don’t. They are vile. POINTLESS.
7) Slogan tees (now also jumpers, onesies etc)
You think you are ‘cool’ because the word is sprawled across your clothing? You aren’t, you just look stupid. The worst are those ‘geek’ tees which everyone seems to be wearing. It’s even worse when they try and look geeky, by teaming them with those horrendous big thick black framed glasses without the lenses in. Whoever thought they were a good idea as well?! They’re awful. You just look a twat. And if you’re wearing something labelled ‘chill’ aimed at me to calm down, I won’t. POINTLESS.
6) Clown brows
They seem to be all the rage in Essex at the minute. You must permanently remove your eyebrows and then have them tattooed on. If you cannot afford to this you must get a thick black marker and paint them on. The final outcome is for you to look permanently surprised or confused and then you’ll look like everyone else! I may as well go one better and over-do the blusher, go lipstick crazy and learn unicycling! No, no, no. Why?! POINTLESS.
5) Cooking for one
I love cooking, I always have. I loved it at Uni because I shared a house with three girls and we would cook together and when I wasn’t cooking for them, I was making dinner for Jake. It was so much fun. I’m now back at home and as my mum and dad eat at 8 (too late for me), I spend every evening cooking for myself. Let’s be honest, cooking for one isn’t fun and is pretty pointless – why else do they sell ready meals in the supermarkets? I love that I can create different meals and I do eat well and healthy, but slaving over a cooker for an hour or so for meal just for me, it’s so much effort. POINTLESS.
4) Paying for delivery and then it doesn’t arrive
A standard delivery costs £3.95 and then there’s a big leap to £7.95 for next day delivery. I’m never that desperate for something to arrive and if I know I want something to arrive before a certain date, I just order it earlier, rather than leaving it ‘til the last minute. I am not a fan of paying extortionate amounts for delivery when the items don’t arrive on or before the date I have been told they arrive. This has happened on a couple of occasions and I wasn’t even given a refund, or any kind of compensation. I don’t give you money to pocket and then be inept. An apology would also have been nice. POINTLESS.
3) Paying for returns
By a similar token, I refuse to pay to return an item because it isn’t my fault. I understand if something is too big, or too small, or I don’t like it because it doesn’t look how I expected. But when something is broken, has a hole in, a rip or tear, why should I pay good money to return it, when I also paid for delivery? I recently bought a few bits in an online sale and while all my clothes were fine, I ordered a ring that arrived in an unsatisfactory condition. It had snapped and was in two pieces. Maybe I shouldn’t have cared because I had only paid £5 but I did. And it cost about £3 to return it. Why should we have to pay for things because company’s quality control departments are shoddy?! POINTLESS.
2) Football scores on the news before Match Of The Day
With social media and phone apps, it’s very rare that I don’t check or know what the football scores of the weekend are. Sometimes I’ve been busy so haven’t checked them and other times, have simply forgotten. The words I dread at around 10:15 on a Saturday evening are “if you don’t want to know the scores, look away now, or better still, leave the room”. I imagine everyone has the BBC news on because they are awaiting MOTD, where they will see all the goals and know all the scores, if they don’t already. If you’re not going to be watching MOTD, you will have checked the scores online, you will not be awaiting the 10 o’clock news to see what they were! POINTLESS.
1) Broken make up
It has no purpose, it’s money down the drain and it means you have to fork out for a replacement. Whether it’s powder, bronzer or blusher, it’s an annoyance. Bronzer is the worst and it ends up everywhere – in my case, mainly trodden into the carpet, which then doesn’t come out! Someone once said to me, when it happens, mix it with moisturiser but that didn’t go down well – orange and lumpy is not a good look. The best place for it is in the bin and then have a little cry because it’s more expense! POINTLESS.