Monday, 28 April 2014

The Body Shop : Hits & Misses

If I were to pinpoint one brand that pops up regularly in my routine at the moment, it's The Body Shop.

I've always been a huge fan of their body butters (aka heaven in a pot) but I've found myself branching out into their skincare & make-up range a lot recently. So, I thought I would do a little post on a couple of my favourite things (and only one I wouldn't entirely recommend), in case you were thinking of having a little splurge! ;)

Hits

The 8hr Over Night Serum - In - Oil (£12) is my favourite of the bunch. It's now a staple in my night-time skincare routine and it really packs a punch in the moisture department, which is just what my skin needs! It's lightweight yet effect, plus it's a two in one product that saves a couple of precious minutes when aiming to dive into bed as quickly as possible!

I think everybody has at least one body butter in their collection & one that I've been particularly loving is the Almond Body Butter (£13). There's pretty much a scent for everyone, from chocolate to blueberry - you're going to find at least one you like! No matter how many other body moisturisers I use, I always come running back to these. You just can't beat them! 

The Honey Bronzer, Shade Light (£13) is a recent purchase, but one that I haven't been able to put down since I started using it. Being fairly pale on a regular basis means I have avoided many bronzers in my time for fear of looking 'muddy' or just plain tangoed, so The Body Shop get a huge thumbs up from me for supplying a very light, natural bronzer. It's the perfect amount of sun-kissed for my skin & I've been applying it like a crazy woman lately. 

Another huge hit has been the Almond Hand & Nail Cream (£5). I've really been trying to take better care of my hands. My nails are an absolute horrid mess and so I just tend to ignore that part of myself completely. But, this little gem is lightweight, no fuss, no greasy feeling & perfect for what I need! Plus, it smells delightful! 

Finally, the Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter (£12) has been a cleanser I've been reaching for a lot lately. Mainly out of confusion, but also out of pure wonderment; it's definitely one of the most unusual things I own! It's a solid balm that turns to a very sheer oil with the heat of your skin. You simply apply to your dry, make-up full face and watch as it all just melts away. It's so simple & gentle; I can't get enough. It does have a fair scent, which may be one to watch for those sensitive to it, but I've experienced no irritation or break outs since using this!
Miss

Of all the above products that I've tried, only one has been a slight failure (which is quite good going really!) The Camomile Eye & Lip Make-up Remover (£10) claims to remove even the most stubborn of waterproof mascara, while still being gentle. Yes, this product is very gentle, but when it fails to completely remove my non-waterproof, non-super long lasting mascara; I can't help but feel a little let down! It's not entirely useless though, and I will use it up - it just isn't my favourite. I think I'll opt for Bioderma next, as at least I can use it all over my face!

And there you have it! Another huge plus point for me, is that the majority of these items were purchased with huge discount (40-50%). The Body Shop definitely know how to lure you in! So if you are tempted, I'd suggest waiting until they have one of their (fairly regular) discount sales! 

What have you tried/do you recommend from The Body Shop? 
xo

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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Cream Knits & Coral Bits

I never thought I'd be someone that bought a 'cropped' anything.

My hips are wide (wide being an understatement), so buying a piece of clothing that accentuates that fact is a little bit far from my 'cover everything up in the comfiest way possible' motto. It actually came about as a bit of an ASOS induced accident; why things can't be described properly I have no idea, but either way I've decided to keep this knitted top from Monki (£10) - and actually, I kinda like it!

Personally, the thought of wearing just a bra underneath is not something I'd be doing in a hurry - rolls, anyone? - also, I still consider this cold weather, so I'm more than happy to layer up! So, I paired it with a v-neck coral top (£6) to add a bit of colour!
Keeping to the coral theme, I added a swipe of Revlons Kiss Me Coral Lip Gloss (£6.99) and, although it's not technically coral - at all, I've really been loving a bit of The Body Shops Honey Bronzer, Shade Light (£13). It's absolutely perfect for lighter skin tones & adds just the right amount of 'sun kissed' tan to my winter-y pale chops!

This is my first Monki purchase & I'm so pleased with the quality and thickness of the piece. For £10, too, it's an absolute steal! I can imagine I'll be getting plenty of wear out of this and in true 'me' style; I'll probably end up wearing it until it no longer resembles a jumper. 

What are you enjoying wearing at the moment? 
xo
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Saturday, 19 April 2014

A Few Of My Favourite Things #3

It has been a while since I grouped together my current favourite things! So here they are…

The Charles Worthington Volume & Bounce Texturising Spray (£6.99) probably needs no introduction as it has been blogged to death, but for very good reason. It's just pure volume in a can! My hair is in desperate need of a cut, but until then, I've been faking good texture and choppy layers with this. It does leave my hair feeling a liiittle too gritty for my liking (so I always use on second/third day hair), but when my barnet looks double its original thickness in a few sprays - I can forgive that.

Their Strength & Repair Masque (£5.99) is also a little pot of miracles. I LOVE this stuff! It was a 3 for 2 purchase, or else I would've normally overlooked it - but I'm so glad I threw it in my basket! It's a one minute, in-shower hair mask that you simply apply all over, post shampoo. How it works such softening & detangling magic in sixty seconds is beyond me, but I can't get enough. As soon as I rinse it out, I can instantly feel the difference in my hair. Soft, silky & a lot healthier! The best part is, that it isn't overly heavy & it doesn't weigh my hair down any more than my usual conditioner. I will 110% repurchase this once it's gone!

Sticking to the hair theme - my Tangle Teezer (£10.99) has been getting a lot of love from me recently. In fact, it was only when I was at my sisters last month that I realised; I hadn't used any other form of brush in over a year. If you have thick, tangly hair - these are an absolute life saver. I know there are a couple of other rivals on the market at the moment; but I don't know what I'd do without mine! I only use it on dry hair, and a wide-toothed comb when wet, but it's perfect for what I need it for & stops me forming  unwanted dreadlocks.
As for skincare, The Body Shop 8hr Serum In Oil (£12) has been my absolute favourite discovery - possibly of the whole year! I picked it up after seeing Caroline Hirons recommend it, and as it's definitely purse friendly; I thought I'd give it a go... I'm SO glad I did! As the title suggests, it's a serum and an oil in one and it has really helped my dehydrated skin & it's pesky dry patches. It's very gentle, calming & extremely lightweight AND it does as it claims, which is always a bonus in a very over-exaggerated market! If your skin is in need of a little boost and your purse a day off, I would highly recommend this.

This month I decided to invest in my yoga practice a little more, so I bought a Manduka Yoga Strap (£10). You can use it in multiple different ways, but I've been particularly enjoying it for helping me reach my feet in a couple of different poses! Yoga isn't supposed to ever hurt, but I found myself over compensating and, in turn, over stretching when I shouldn't have been (queue me, rolling around with cramped muscles). It's made from 100% cotton so it doesn't rub or irritate my skin, plus it's extremely sturdy and gives me a bit more confidence when trying to get my feet to touch my head!

Finally, L'Oreal Rouge Caresse (£7.99) lipstick in Sweet Berry. It's the prettiest, most subtle, hydrating lipstick I own & it's pretty much one of those shades that you can apply with your eyes shut - y'know, in case you're ever in that situation… It's very natural, with a slight sheen to it & I know I'll be getting a lot of use out of this this season. What's your favourite Spring lipstick shade?

And there you have it! Six products I've been loving lately. 
How about you? xo

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Thursday, 17 April 2014

5 Reasons to Smile

I'm normally quite a positive person, so finding moments that make me smile isn't particularly difficult!  

However, these past few months have been very testing for one reason or another, so I like to remind myself of the small things that are definitely worth turning that frown upside down for.

One. Hot cross buns. I mean, what's not to love here? I had my first hot cross bun (who am I kidding; that's definitely not singular. I ate half a pack) of April this week and it. was. delicious! I love the sticky, sugary, cinnamon-y goodness and would eat them all year round if I could. I don't like to toast mine, but I do love a shit load of butter. How about you? 

Two. Painting. I've had a very positive reaction to some of my illustrations lately too, which, although that isn't what I do it for - it's definitely encouraging! I really, really appreciate the support and it has been wonderful to be able to put pencil to paper and just immerse myself creatively! It's a hobby I've always loved & it instantly takes me to my happy place. 

Three. Tulips. They are EVERYWHERE at the moment & they're such a happy looking flower, I love them. I love all the different colours they come in & how the just cheer up any room. I must buy myself some soon!

Four. Stats. I'm not a blogger who's obsessed with stats or my 'follower' count, but I've really loved being able to have the time to put a lot more effort into my little piece of the internet. Its been even more lovely to see newcomers & older readers alike enjoying the new content; so thank you! It really makes me smile to know what I type about is remotely interesting to others!   

Five. Living. Seeing my boyfriend recover from a stroke has been an eye opener, to say the least. It's almost a cliche to say how 'precious life is' & how we should 'live every day like it's your last'; but I can't help but feel it has truly sunk in this month. Even though I may not be travelling the world or working in my dream career or even earning a lot of money; I think finding myself feeling happy, no matter what the reason, is far more important lately. Don't sweat the small stuff. Our health & happiness are what's truly important.
… I also caught the last of the sunshine before the sun set & that made me smile too.

What makes you happy? :)
xo

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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

NARS Pure Radiance Tinted Moisturiser

After um-ing & ah-ing over purchasing a second tube of Nars Tinted Moisturiser (£29); I finally took the plunge.

I previously owned shade Alaska, which I bought for my sloth-based Costa Rica trip last year, but it is now far too warm for my pasty winter skin. I knew that the lighter shade; Finland, would be ideal & I also knew that I loved the formula, so really it was a no brainer. I had to have it. Here are some of my reasons for loving it so…

First up, it's incredibly lightweight on the skin. That could be something to do with the fact that you need so little product to cover your entire face! It's a lot more pigmented than any other tinted moisturiser I've ever tried, so a small blob is really all you need. I prefer to use my Real Techniques Buffing Brush to apply it (foundation hands & white sheets don't go well together), but it does apply wonderfully with your fingers too.

Brace yourselves for my foundation-free-face...
above: no base, concealer or primer *shudder* - sorry! // below: one application of NARS TM

In terms of coverage; it's a very honest light-medium, it is, after all, a tinted moisturiser, so I wouldn't expect anything too heavy duty from it. Having said that, it really does a lovely job of brightening my entire complexion and it does still cover the majority of light scars & blemishes very well. My freckles still pop through, but I think that's one of my favourite things about this product; it's very 'skin-like'. 

I know when I apply this that I won't have any issues with cakey-ness or oxidisation. It glides over my dry patches and yet it lasts unbelievably well on my oilier parts, even on warm/sweaty days (yum!). It's also oil free & contains an SPF - perfect for the (hopefully) sunnier months ahead. It does have a slight scent, but nothing that lingers on the face and I've never experienced any kind of breakout or blemishes because of this. 

Overall, one of my favourite, easy to apply, natural coverage products that I know I will be reaching for a lot over the next few months.

Which is your favourite tinted moisturiser? 
xo

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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Happy Birthday, Herbert!

Yes, I am one of those pet owners who celebrates their pets birthday…

Guilty! Anyway, today is Herbies 2nd Birthday & I thought he should have a treat to celebrate (a chicken one; his favourite)! He's the grumpiest little hedgehog I've ever met, but that doesn't mean we love him any less. He's full of character & enjoys the odd belly tickle here and there (even if he does have a cross expression on his face while we do it). He's a very special hog.

Do you celebrate your pets birthday? Or am I just crazy? … In fact, don't answer that! 

Happy Birthday Herbs! 
xo
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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

What's In My Make-up Bag : April

Spring is officially here & a change in my makeup bag is as necessary as it is for my wardrobe.

For Spring/Summer, I tend to opt for lighter bases, peach toned shades & brighter blushes; so here are a few of my current favourites!

The main difference between Winter & Spring for me, make-up wise, are foundations. I tend to lean towards slightly heavier coverage in the colder months, but much prefer a fresher, dewier base as the weather warms up. Nars Tinted Moisturiser, Alaska is perfect for this. For a tinted moisturiser, it's highly pigmented; enough to let your freckles show through but corrects most of my imperfections at the same time. Alaska is a little too warm toned for me at the moment, but it does sheer out nicely. 

For hints of colour, I've been using my Mac Quad which contains; Arena, Wedge, Soba & Omega. All very natural toned, but all add just a little bit of something to brighten up my eye area.  Omega is also my go-to shade for filling in my eyebrows, so it's always handy to keep it close by!

In Spring I also tend to lighten up on eyeliner and opt for softer browns & golds. Mac Powersurge is absolutely lovely & such an understated eyeliner. It's a bronze pencil with hints of gold, that's extremely subtle on the waterline but adds just enough to highlight the eye area. I've been using this a lot this month for a bit of extra definition! 
Two blushes that seem to be showing their faces more are Laura Mercier, Lush Nectarine & Origins Pinch Me Blush, Tropical Pink. Both perk up my face no-end, adding a subtle yet buildable hint of colour that lasts all day. To top it all off, Benefit Girl Meets Pearl adds a lovely, dewy pink/gold highlight that looks effortlessly natural.

Finally, for lips I've been loving Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector, 02 & Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain, Honey. It took me a while to get used to the Clarins Lip Perfector as it doesn't add the usual amount of colour I like, but I do like the glossy, yet not sticky, effect. Plus they smell almost edible. As for the Balm Stain, Honey adds a nice pop of pink. I'm not the biggest fan of pink, but this is the only one I've found that suits my skin tone, while looking fairly natural at the same time!

What's in your make-up bag this month?
xo

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Sunday, 6 April 2014

Chewy & Crumbly Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love cookies. I love cake. Hell, I love anything sweet.

But have I ever tried to actually bake any of the above things? Nope. Because I am absolutely useless in the baking department, so I tend to avoid it like the plague. That was until I spotted this fairly simple looking recipe on Lotties Little Kitchen blog and decided it was about time I got out the wooden spoon and ate all of the cookie dough baked some cookies! 

I was very, very pleased with the results and actually found the whole process quite relaxing - when I wasn't hyped up on the excessive amounts of raw cookie dough I'd 'tasted,' that is. So I thought I'd share the process, as, if I can do it - rest assured that you can too. Because I am a complete cooking dunce.
What you will need :

♥ 250g plain flour
♥ 1tsp baking powder
♥ 170g unsalted butter
♥ 100g white sugar
♥ 220g soft brown sugar
♥ 1tsp vanilla extract
♥ 1 egg & 1 egg yolk
♥ 200g milk chocolate chips
♥ 100g white chocolate chips
♥ pinch of salt

Process : 
Whack on the oven to 170c (I did slightly less for fan - I don't know why, it felt right), sift your flour into a bowl & add the baking powder and salt. 

Add your white and brown sugar into another bowl, then pour over your melted butter. Beat in your egg and egg yolk, plus the vanilla extract until you have a brown, sludge-y consistency (mm). Slowly add in your sifted flour to the sludge mixture; keep going until it's all thoroughly mixed together/your arm feels like it's about to fall off - then you're probably done. Next, throw in aaaaalll of the chocolate chips. And mix, mix, mix.  Grab a spoon & taste the dough… Resist all temptation to eat the whole bowl. It's hard, I know.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper & plop (technical term) teaspoon size blobs of dough on. Leave enough space in between as they spread/grow like crazy. If you're feeling wild, add a tablespoon dollop - and be prepared for a monster sized cookie. That's what I did, and I don't regret a thing. 

If you go for the small option, bake for 10-12 minutes. If you go for ones as big as your head, try 12-15 minutes instead. This recipe makes quite a large batch, so don't be surprised if you have to put two/three lots in the oven; not that it's anything to complain about. More mixture = more cookies. Win, win really!

Even if they're a little gooey looking, don't fret, they will harden on the cooling rack, but still keep that chewy-ness we're after.  Next step? Eat as many as your stomach can handle. Because they will be delicious. That, I can promise! 
*drool*

I'm already planning on making another batch as they went down a storm & I really just want another excuse to eat excessive amounts of sweet stuff! 

Let me know if you decide to make this recipe and how you get on!
What's your favourite thing to bake? 
xo

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