The Body Shop Primers- Matte It & Instablur

Oh primers. I'll be honest there was once a time I swore by primers nowadays not so much. I often find myself pondering over the purpose of primers, I mean essentially if your serum/day cream are on point isn't primer just an added unnecessary layer? The majority I have tried have left me underwhelmed (with the exception of a NARS offering & Clinique) I find they do nothing in terms of prolonging foundation and I'm almost sure the majority are to blame for congested skin. So as the weather heated up (for a day, damn you British summer) and my skin got a little more oily I decided to give primers another go, here are my thoughts on TBS's offerings-

Even with the 40% discount code there's no denying both primers left me underwhelmed, save your pennies ladies. TBS 'Matte It' primer has a clear consistency and almost feels gel like in texture. It's a silicone based primer, something I'm not usually a fan of but I thought I'd give the texture a go. This melts into the skin and feels tacky in texture. So tacky that I actually felt the need to cleanse my skin again after applying the primer. This smooths over the skin, but does nothing in terms of pores/blemishes. I'll be honest this felt greasy, so, so, greasy. If anything I actually think this made my skin more greasy after using despite it's claims to offer shine control. Oh yes, its also worth mentioning in terms of shine control (if you didn't guess by the greasy texture bit) there is none. This doesn't prolong foundation, if anything makeup had a tendency to slide and wear away more throughout the day with this primer. This ones a total no go for me and is now gathering dust at the bottom of my makeup bag. What a waste.

Okay, so I know what you are thinking there's still hope but nope I'm afraid The Body Shop Instablur left me equally underwhelmed. Now when a product makes as many claims as Instablur it really does build your expectations. Instablur is marketed as a five in one primer promising to extend make up, unify the complexion, offer 12 hr shine control, reduce pore size and even hide blemishes. So the obvious comparison is going to be to Benefits Porefessional (something I didn't like) the biggest difference is texture and colour. TBS offering is translucent making it more universal and suitable for all skin types. The texture is pretty similar to Porefessional, although a little less cakey/pasty. It terms of shine control I'd give this a thumbs down. If you've tried the NARS Matte primer or Clinique Instant perfecter (both primers that genuinely reduce shine) this primer will seem a little meh. For me this offered zero shine control my t-zone still looked oily throughout the day. I also didn't notice that this prolonged foundation. Pore minimising/blemish hiding, again I have to say I noticed no difference as this applies translucent I didn't find it to do much in terms of concealing spots. With the texture I expected this to smooth over the skin, blurring pores/spots but this sadly wasn't the case. In terms of complexion again as this is translucent I don't really see how it can 'unify' the skin, to promote an even skin tone I'd almost expect a slightly tinted primer.

It's also worth mentioning if you suffer with sensitive skin (like I do) tread carefully, as both primers had a tendency to leave my skin feeling a little congested and in good need of a deep cleansing clay mask. I feel like this was a little bit of a negative nelly one, but if you are going to market a primer as a 5 in 1 with big claims you do expect something a little more spectacular. I'm still on the fence with primers and whether they actually make a difference to make up application/longevity. Perhaps my expectations are too high, who knows. My theory is if it doesn't prolong or make application easier why  bother?

Have you tried TBS Instablur? Fan of primers?


It's Love -June

Here's a shocker although I have the 'Beauty Blogger' title I don't actually purchase that many products monthly. This can often mean that my favourite products remain the same through months (hence why I haven't really included monthly favourites on my blog before.) Once I find something I love I tend to stick with it, which often means I only have one/two products per category in my makeup and skincare collection. I decided to introduce an 'It's Love' series (basically monthly favourites) but with a more 'flexible' name. Here's my loves from June- 

The Soap and Glory Breakfast Scrub will always be a firm favourite of mine when it comes to body scrubs. The breakfast scrub is still one of my favourites for scent, it smells amazing and does an incredible job of buffing away dry skin. Unlike some S&G body scrubs that end up straight down the drain (I'm looking at you Sugar Crush scrub) this one actually sticks to the skin allowing you to really get your scrub on. I feel like the texture is slighter more abrasive than other S&G scrubs too.

This HURRAW Vanilla Bean lip balm has to be my most reached for balm, I'm in love with this stuff. This 'all natural' organic, vegan friendly balm is super moisturising on my lips. What I like about this is that it stays for the longest time, instead of disappearing like other lip balms I have tried. My lips  have been in a much better state since introducing this into my morning makeup routine. This also creates a lovely layer before matte lipsticks. Sorry, but I just have to mention the smell, it's just amazing like vanilla and cocoa. Thanks to lovely Rachel (AllNaturalAspirations) for recommending this product - it's a keeper! 

Well, I tell you what this Clinique lipstick has been well and truly loved throughout the month of June. There's nothing else I've reached for. The shade is called 'All Heart' and it has to be one of the most wearable shades I own. Having naturally pink/red lips most nudes look odd on me, but this provides me with a perfect everyday neutral shade, it matches my natural lip colour perfectly (see instagram picture here) The formula is super moisturising on the lips too.

The Bare Mineral Ready Touch foundation is the only base product I've reached for through the hot sticky month of June. This easy fuss free base has survived pretty well through heat/humidity. This just creates a natural, even looking base. It's so lightweight on the skin, and it's just quick, easy and fuss free. I can tell how much use this has received throughout the month as my RT Buffing brush is sitting spotlessly clean, my powder brush on the other hand not so much.

If you read my little book post over here you'll know I'm a fan of the crime genre. I finished this book in a week. What a cliffhanger, a brilliant 'who done it' style book that has you clinging on to every word. If gritty, blood, violence, gang crime isn't your cup of tea you won't like this book as it can be pretty explicit and hard to read at times. Throughout the book you constantly play the guessing game and when you're super sure who the killer is, something happens and a new potential suspect appears. There's just twists and turns throughout. I must say though I've read a few Neil White books and they seem to be pretty hit and miss.

At the gym I make a conscious effort to stay hydrated. I aim to drink at least a litre throughout most workouts yet I still face that dreaded post workout headache. After reading a few fitness style articles a supplement drink was suggested. 'Everything But The Cow' is a fat free, dairy free, gluten free, no artificial anything post workout drink. The aim is to create a a drink that's as creamy as a milkshake but still remains as fruity as a smoothie. I must say the blend works well. I love the Mango and Orange one, and the Banana & Kiwi are equally yummy.  Super tasty and my headaches post workout have eased. If you're after a healthy drink that's a great source of carbohydrates and protein for post workout this yummy drink may be for you.

So there we have a little mix of the products, reads and drink I've loved throughout the month of June. I'd love to know what products have been a standout for you this month? Any book recommendations I need a good lighthearted holiday book.


Debated Decisions #3 Too Old For Uni?

It’s not often a lifestyle posts crops up on these parts but it is something I’m hoping to get on board with as I personally love a blog that has a mix of posts, it creates a little balance and sometimes it’s just nice to throw something different into the mix.  My ‘Debated Decisions’ series seems to have gone down well in the past, so today I thought I’d share some more ramble with you lovely readers. It’s a dilemma that’s been on my mind over the past few months, so today I thought I’d write it all into a post to see if there are any thoughts or opinions on the subject. An unbiased view can often provide a lot of reassurance.

The dilemma I can imagine is probably one that is relatable amongst people in a similar age group, but I’ve mainly begun to think about my goals, future, career and ambitions. I’ll be honest it’s something I usual sweep under the rug but after a recent wake up call (by my supportive colleagues) I came to the conclusion that I may be underselling myself in my current line of work. When I think about my current role I ask myself is there career progression? The answer is most certainly yes. There’s scope for progression through grade structure (more money) a chance to take on more responsibility and shift through Departments. But when I ask myself do I see myself here in five years’ time? The answer is definitely a no. So if I’m not here where am I? Good question right. 

I’ve always been one of those young people who had no idea what they wanted to be. I even recall the painstaking 1 hour career meeting in my school days where I left feeling disheartened. I feel like so much pressure is put on young people to stay in study. After leaving school I was keen to earn an income through small part time jobs and my apprenticeship (something I have successfully completed) but when I suggested this at my school it was almost frowned upon. It feels like expectation of young people is school, college, University, some people are very reluctant to suggest any options outside of academic study and as a young person it can be extremely confusing. 

So after a long (so long) think I’ve finally decided further study may aid me in career progression. I’ve researched the degree I am interested in (Psychology.) My current BTEC qualifications aren’t  sufficient enough for the course I want to do, so I’ll most likely need to take a year out to complete an ‘Access to HE’ course. I’m hoping to continue in my current role and study for my degree part time.  

The thought of returning to study is very much a daunting one. I even began to question am I too old for Uni? This probably sounds like a ridiculous question from a twenty something year old, after checking the age gap I’m not classed as a mature student but still. I guess studying till the age of 28 (the degree part time would be six years) isn’t something I originally envisioned I’d be doing. Working at a University we have many mature students that study with us and successfully complete the course, I don’t have anything against studying as a mature student but I just don’t know if it's necessarily for me. By 28 I'd hope to have my own place, a mortgage, full time income. Six years of study will be a huge commitment for me and I only feel like I have a certain amount of time to make my final decision (I’m not getting any younger!)

I guess sometimes you have to view the bigger picture, remain in jobs that you don’t necessarily enjoy or put the extra study in for a career you’ve always dreamt off (cheesy!) Although it may seem like a huge commitment it could be truly worth it long term, this degree could open up so many opportunities. 

Did you study as a mature student? Am I worrying over nothing? Have you studied a part time degree?  Do you feel that there’s a lot of pressure placed on you as a young person to remain in education? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Soap & Glory Orangeasm Range

I'm a huge fan of Soap and Glory (and have been for many years.) With their vintage inspired packaging, quirky names and affordable prices they really are my go to brand for skincare, makeup and body care. I was super excited when I first heard about the cheekily named 'Orangeasm' range after waiting for the hype to die down and finally getting my hands on a couple of products from the range I must say, I just can't get enough. 

As you can see I picked up the shower gel and body butter, there's also a perfume (I thought it might be a little overkill!)  I'll go right ahead and say I love this scent, it's fresh, zingy and super uplifting in the mornings. However, I can see why some people haven't been a fan.The orange scent has a sort of spicy smell to it, I love this though as it makes it both summer and winter time appropriate. If you are expecting a similar scent to say The Body Shop satsuma range you will be disappointed, as the TBS range has a more artificial orange scent whereas S&G have gone down a more spicy route. The scent is very overpowering though so if you're not 100% definitely have a whiff at your local Boots before buying. 

As with all S&G shower gels these bottles last for yonks. Only a small amount is needed to create a foamy fruity lather. The showers gels are super moisturising, and the smell really lingers even before applying body butter. I think it's so handy that the S&G shower gels come in a pump form too. 

The body butter is just amazing and so addictive. The scent just smells divine. This texture is like no body butters I've tried as it has tiny beads, similar to those you'd find in a body scrub. They disappear and melt into the skin as you apply the lotion. As with all S&G body butters this feels super moisturising without feeling greasy or sticky. The smell lingers throughout most of the day too.

I've really enjoyed incorporating these two products into my daily shower routine, it's amazing how such an uplifting scent can really make those early mornings a little more bearable. I feel energised, fruity and summery. I was a huge fan of the Sugar crush line but I think Orangesam may have taken the top spot. Now all we need is a scrub, a scrub in this scent would just be a-mazing especially if it had a similar texture to my favourite S&G body scrub of all time..Pulp Friction. 

Have you tried Orangeasm range?  Favourite products from Soap and Glory?



Topic 12: Apple & Lemon Cake Recipe

I thought I'd share a recipe with you today. Yes, I know cooking apples are pretty much out of season, but I just can't help myself I love an apple pudding all year round. With the lemon juice and zest there's something real summery about this pud. This recipe is designed for a standard cake dish, but the mini dishes mean less calories (50 calories!) 

What you need 
Cake Tin/Individual Ramekin, Cooking Apples 6-7, 1tsp Lemon Juice (add the zest too), 250g Self Raising Flour, 2 Large Eggs, 100g Caster Sugar, 200ml of Semi Skinned Milk, Icing sugar optional (makes them look pretty, and hides any burnt patches!) 

1. Preheat your oven to Gas mark 5 (190 degrees)

2. Peel your apples (yawn) rid the core and slice into thin slices you can be neat if you like but I just chop them in random sizes. Place the apples into a bowl. Juice the lemon and grate the zest. Add this too your apples and sprinkle a generous amount of sugar, make sure to coat all the apples   

3. Mix your flour and baking powder in a large bowl (add cinnamon and ground mixed spice if you want a spicier taste) 

4. In a separate bowl mix the sugar, eggs and milk (ew gooey)

5. Pour the eggy,sugar milky mix into your flour mix. Get your mix on (or cheat with an electric whisk like I do (#weenyarms.) Mix until the batter is even 

6. Chuck the apples into the bowl and mix again

7. Pour the mixture into a cake tin or individual ramekins, sprinkle a little sugar evenly over the top. And cook for 1 Hour. Leave too cool for 10 Minutes. Enjoy! 

What are your favourite dessert recipes?
P.S For some silly reason I pictured butter, the recipe contains no butter! 


Teeny Tiny Beauty Bits

Well, you sure know you're buying far too many new products when you have a draw full of minis (my bad.) Today I thought I'd share my thought's in a 'first impressions' post-

 Kiehl's Midnight Recovery
Would I purchase the full size? Yes.

Okay, I'm a cheapskate I've actually gone through about five of these (sssh don't tell Kiehl's) I think it's time I purchased the full size, but genuinely believe the hype this 'do it all' oil helps to control oil, it soothes spotty skin and just keeps my skin clear.

Kiehl's Multi Corrective face cream
Would I purchase the full size? No.

Not a fan, for sensitive skin types (like mine) this sadly is a no go it's heavily fragranced and has a thick (almost greasy) texture.

Clinique All About Eyes
Would I purchase the full size? Yes.

If you read my 'Eye creams I just don't get' post you'll know me and eye creams haven't always gotten on in the past. However, I absolutely love the Clinique All about eyes it hydrates my under eye area. A full review should be up on my blog in the near future.

NUDE Pro Genius Oil
Would I purchase the full size? Yes.

I'm a big fan of oils that make your skin look great in the morning and this oil is one of them. Over time this has improved the overall condition of my skin.

Elemis Tri Enzyme Mask
Would I purchase the full size? No.

On paper this mask sounds brilliant, targeted at blemish prone skin the mask aims to brighten and lighten hyper pigmentation using natural fruit acids to add a little exfoliation to the skin. Unfortunately this was far too harsh for my skin type it tingled and stung my skin pretty bad.

Clinique Moisture Surge
Would I purchase the full size? Yes.

More of a rediscovery for me this one, I used to repurchase this religiously back in the day I'm not sure why I stopped. This hydrating gel moisturiser is the perfect texture for my combination skin, this provides so much hydration whilst still feeling super lightweight on my skin.

Phillip Kingsley Elasticizer
Would I purchase the full size? No.

Sadly I already did purchase a full size, what a waste! The first few times I tried this it was love. Over time though I found my hair started to look a little greasy, a little lank, a little weighed down. I stopped using this and truth be told the greasiness after washing disappeared. I ensured all the product was thoroughly washed out, but this was just too rich for my hair. I have thick hair too so fine haired girls may want to avoid this.

Benefit Stay Don't Stray - Eye primer
Would I purchase the full size? No.

Eyeshadow stayed in place with minimal creasing but I just felt like I could get something similar at the drugstore. I also wasn't a fan of the texture, it felt like a paste.

Benefit Porefessional
Would I purchase the full size? No.

Yes, this does control oil keep make up in place and makeup looks fresher for longer however, this irritated my skin. I'm not sure why but I just had way more blackheads and congested skin around my nose area, even after double cleansing. I stopped using this and the build up of spots disappeared so I can only assume this disagreed with my skin.

Clinique clearing Gel
Would I purchase the full size? Yes. (I already did here's a review)

The best spot treatment I own. This works, and works fast without drying the skin or causing any pigmentation. Big fan of this product I can't imagine being without it.

Kiehls Skin Rescuer
Would I purchase the full size? No.

I found this moisturiser pretty basic, I managed to nab myself a few samples so I've used this on and off for awhile now. I like that this has a lightweight texture but it didn't hydrate my skin in the slightest. It just felt really similar to Nivea or Garnier day moisturisers I've tried in the past that are less than half the price.

Clinique Moisture Surge Mask
Would I purchase the full size? Yes.

This stuff is a-mazing, although the scents not quite up there with my Origins drink up mask I actually find Clinique's offering more effective. This moisturisers and hydrates and just feels a little less tacky on the skin, it's hard to describe but I find this one sinks into the skin whereas the Origins one seems to sit sticky on the surface.

Origins Modern Friction
Would I purchase the full size? No.

I used to love this but now I just find this far to harsh on my sensitive skin.

What products have you been loving lately?


LUSH Tea Tree Water

Back in January (feels like yolks ago) I purchased this little toner in the Lush January sales, six months later and Im barely half way through but today I thought I'd write up a little review to share my thoughts.

Last month I raved about my Liz Earle Skin Tonic I'll go straight in and say I do prefer Liz Earle over this one as it's more cooling, hydrating and just generally works better for me. However when thing's are spotty and I get that once a month breakout I reach for this tea tree toner. Most people know about tea tree's healing properties so I won't harp on about that, but I will say I often find tea tree products a little harsh on my sensitive skin (spotty and sensitive skin what a combo) after trying and disliking The Body Shop Tea Tree toner which is pretty heavily fragranced (it almost seems like artificial fragrance) I haven't really tried or reached for tea tree products since. 

This toner manages to soothe irritated skin. It leaves the skin feeling squeaky clean but it's also super gentle on sensitive skin types like mine. I won't say this rids spots, but it certainly helps kill off bacteria and long term use I can imagine this helps prevent breakouts. After reading an article somewhere that said tea tree should only be used as a short term measure I only use this when my skin is spotty. For me this does speed up the healing process, it hydrates and just leaves my skin feeling refreshed. For those that prefer a facial spray toner in appose to a cotton pad I wouldn't recommend as it doesn't have a mist texture, this sprays product onto one area of the face…

This toner also works really well on those pesky under the skin spots, used along my nose I also think this has helped with congested skin and blackheads. This does a fantastic job of balancing out my combination skin too, this lifts oil but doesn't leave my skin dry.

So do you need this? Well no. It is a nice addition to have in your skin care line up for those spotty moments as like I say it's soothing. I think this toner will be perfect in the summer time when my skins a little more on the oily side. I guess I'm just so in love with my Liz Earle Skin Tonic I no longer feel the need to use other toners.  

Have you tried the Lush Tea Tree toner? Are you a fan of Tea Tree? 


On The Wishlist #3

Wishlist for July

Sadly as my super scrimping continues (I'm currently saving like crazy for a car) my beauty wish list seems to be growing, at the moment I just can't justify making any purchases as I'm very much a one in one out kind of girl. Today though I thought I'd give you a sneaky peak of what's on my wish list-

1. Sarah Chapman Skin Tone Perfecting Booster
Me V's Hyperpigmentation 0-1. Yup, that old 
chestnut.  If you're a regular reader around these parts you'll know that pigmentation is a never ending battle for me. This isn't a product I've heard much about on the internet and there doesn't appear to be many reviews, I'm intrigued. 

2. Clarins Hydraquench range 
I've never tried much from Clarins. The Hydraquench range seems to appeal to me at the moment, in particular the day cream, serum and moisture mask. Watch this space.

3. L'oreal Mythic Oil 
Since the dreaded day that my beloved Moroccan oil ran out I've been hair oil less and trust me my hair has noticed. The overall texture and condition of my hair seems to have gone down hill. I've heard a lot about the mythic oil, so hopefully this may be a cheaper alternative to my much loved moroccan oil. 

4. Urban Decay Naked Powder 
I've seen this in action in a lot of Youtube tutorials and it just looks pretty good, I haven't tried any base products from Urban Decay before.

5. Soap and Glory Sexy Mother pucker Gloss stick 
Big fan of the formula, I already have a couple in my collection but I want to add 'Nudist' it looks like the perfect everyday shade.

6. REN Invisible pores detox mask 
I recently saw a review of this over on Aspiring Londer (a lovely blog, go and share the love if you don't already follow) I don't currently own a decent clay mask in my collection and this one sounded really lovely. 

7. Bliss Fuzz Off 
So um, I won't even tell you what I'm currently using to remove upper lip hair as quite frankly it's hazardous (TMI?) This Bliss Fuzz off has been on my wish list for the longest time I really want to try this, and I really should be using something designed for the sensitive skin on the face.  

8. Bourjois 1 Seconde Mascara
Woah not sure how this happened but  I currently own no mascara, I repeat no mascara.  Although I'm a beauty blogger I surprisingly only own a small amount of makeup I generally have one or two items in every category, but recently I threw away lots of out of date mascaras and the one I had left has sadly gone missing, pity party over here. 

9. Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil 
An oil aimed at oily/combination skin types, I've heard a lot about this, all positive. I really must try this. 

10. John Masters Bare Shampoo 
A product I've already brought, I wanted a shampoo that was sulphate free and had clean ingredients as my scalps been extremely unhappy a lately, I seem to be getting a lot of product build up too. It's early days but expect this to be featured on the blog in the near future. 

11. Estee Lauder Double wear BB cream 
This stuff looks like a serious glow giver.  Need. Want. Must. 

12. Ojon Revitalising Mist
I love multitasking hair products, and I love Ojon. Fizzy hair is a no go in summer time, and the thought of owning a 'mist' style hair product appeals to me. 

Have you tried any of the products on my wish list? What are you currently lusting after? 

P.S You could have a chance of winning a £25 MAC Giftcard! Yup that's right, so if you fancy your chances and you're in the UK why not enter over here 


Clinique Superdefense SPF25 Moisturiser

If you’re looking for an everyday moisturiser that protects your skin from everyday aggravates the Clinique Superdefense may be for you. This lightweight moisturiser not only contains an SPF25 but it also protects your skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays. This moisturiser also protects your skin from everyday pollution, and stress. This contains antioxidants which apparently help to protect the skin, but I won’t be going into this further as ‘antioxidant’ for me seems to be a fad word that skin care companies like to throw in there. 

This moisturiser is slightly thick in texture but feels lightweight and weightless on the skin. Unlike other moisturisers I’ve tried this one doesn’t sit on the skin, it doesn’t feel tacky or sticky. This moisturiser is fragrance free but with it containing an SPF it does have 'that' smell to it, I’m an odd ball though and quite enjoy the smell of SPF because it lets me know that it’s there doing its job, and also it just reminds me of summer/holidays. Although this won’t help to control oil I don’t find this makes my skin overly oily, it seems to give my skin just the right amount of hydration it needs. As with all Clinique products you can buy a Superdense moisturiser targeted for your skin type, I have the tub aimed at oily/combination skin.

Although this is super creamy I haven’t found that this moisturiser causes unwanted breakouts, and it doesn’t leave my skin feeling congested. I use this moisturiser all year around as it works really well with my skin, through the winter months I like to reach for something richer but I think this year I’ll just buy a new pot of my Superdefense moisturiser aimed at dry skin types, as this just seems to work really well with my skin. I definitely recommend double cleansing when wearing SPF just to ensure all products are removed (I use the Clinique take the day of balm.)

What are your favourite moisturisers? Have you tried the Clinique Superdense? 

P.S Are you in the UK? Fancy a chance to win a £25 MAC Giftcard enter here


Topic 11: My Cookbook Collection

If you don't follow me on Instagram/Twitter (if not, why?) it may come as a surprise that I'm a foodie, I enjoy eating out, trying new recipes and experimenting in the kitchen. For me cooking has a fantastic social element there's nothing better than slaving over an oven to have people sit down and enjoy your creations. Over the years I've somehow bought a ridiculous amount of cookbooks, so today I thought I'd show you some of my most used cookbooks. Believe it or not the pictures above are only about a quarter of my collection (say what!) I'm not sure how or why I collect cookbooks, as we're in the 21st century the Internet is full to the brim with new recipes but for me there's something quite satisfying about reaching for a book, spending my Sunday evening browsing and choosing recipes I'd love to try.

Top 4 For yummy sweet treats 

The Best Ever Book of Cakes- Ann Nicol

Why I love: This is just one of those books where no matter what recipe I try it somehow comes out a-mazing and looks like the picture (bonus.) Simple recipes using everyday ingredients and non complicated methods. This book is full to the brim with easy quick recipes theres a real mix of recipes for beginners or for those who would like a challenge. Everything I've tried from this book has just been yummy, there doesn't seem to be a dud recipe.

Fave recipes- Sticky toffee squares, Millionaire Shortcake, Lemon & Lime drizzle cake, Lemon Chiffon cake

The Best of Cadburys Chocolate Cookbook

Why I love: Self explanatory really but it's a cookbook full of chocolate recipes, need I say more? If you love chocolate you'll love this book. Whether you're a fan of Cadbury's or not the recipes in this book are fool proof. If you need recipes that you can rely on for say a bake sale or party then this book is perfect. I do lots of baking for family and friends parties and this book is a firm favourite as there's something for everyone!

Fave recipes- Fudge Cheesecake, Warm chocolate slice, Chocolate Filigree Torte, Orange drizzled chocolate sponge, Chocolate lime creams…the WHOLE book!

The Usborne Beginners Cookbook 

Why I love: This book is actually the very first cookbook I ever owned, and it's still my go to for simple easy recipes, especially chocolate cake to this day I've never found a recipe quite like it as it contains ground rice (the secret ingredient for a moist light sponge!)

Fave recipes: Chocolate brownies, Chocolate cobweb cake, Lemon layered cake, Marble cake, Cheese and tomato tart, Stuffed peppers

The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days 

Why I love: I'm a huge fan of the Hummingbird cafe in London (if you haven't been and you love cupcakes you HAVE to go!) this book is my way of having a little bit of Hummingbird in the comfort of my home. The book is split into holidays, so you have cakes for valentines, Easter, mothers day, Halloween and Christmas. The muffin recipes are foolproof, if you're after a cookbook with recipes that add a little modern twist on the traditional cakes this book is for you.

Fave recipes: Carrot cake whoopies pies, Chocolate fondant cupcakes, Gingerbread cupcakes, Lemon and cranberry cupcakes, Red velvet cupcakes, Butterscotch pecan cheesecake

Top 2 Cookbooks for savoury treats, dinner and tea

Jamie Oliver 15 minute meals

Why I love: Quick, easy, nutritious, healthy yet delicious recipes. The photography in the book is just stunning totally Pinterest worthy. If you enjoy the show 'Jamie Oliver 15 minute meals' you'll love this book as it's basically all the recipes from the series grouped into one easy to follow book. The recipes are simple, easy and use ingredients that you can easily source from your local supermarket (no hard to find ingredients.) I've tried lots of recipes from this and they've all been foolproof, it's also great for dinner parties or impressing a special loved one. These recipes look like they've required lots of effort when really you've whipped them up in an hour. If you don't quite want to commit to the book but fancy trying some of the recipes visit  Jamie Oliver's website it's full of recipes.

Fave recipes: Korean Fried Rice with steak and mushroom, Cajun chicken salad, Pork steaks with Hungarian pepper sauce (there's also some lovely fish recipes for any veggies who may be interested!)

The Hairy Dieters Eat For Life 

Why I love: One of the best cookbooks I own everything I've tried from this has tasted incredibly yummy. A lot of the meals in this book are low calorie, but still taste incredibly yummy I'm a huge fan of the savoury meals, but the desserts section is also brilliant if you're after some low calorie yummy dessert ideas.

Fave recipes: Fluffy banana pancakes, Beef Goulash, Chicken Biriani, Chicken bake, Chicken Chow mien, Chicken tikka massala,  Chocolate mousses with raspberries, Very berry fool, Spiced apple cake, Warm Nectarine tart

What are your favourite recipes, food blogs, or cookbooks? I'd love to know and add to my ever growing collection!

P.S Fancy winning yourself a £25 MAC Giftcard see here for details.


House of Fraser MAC £25 UK Giveaway!

As a huge thank you for allowing me to reach another a-mazing milestone, 700 followers (300 followers in three months is cray) I decided to host a little giveaway, the lucky winner will win a House of Fraser MAC £25 gift card, all the terms & conditions are set out below. Thanks a lot ladies/gents for your continued support, my little blog's almost been running for a year now and I'm surprised at how much it's grown in such a short space of time, something that wouldn't have been possible without the support of you lovely bunch (the blogging community truly is a lovely place) okay enough hippy talk, time to get entering good luck guys!


1. This competition is open to those aged 16 years or over
2. You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget below, a winner will be chosen at random. If the winner does not respond within 24 hours I will draw again. 
3. All entries must be received by the closing date Saturday 5th July 2014, 12pm closing time. 
5. The winner will be contacted via twitter/social media platforms, if you do not wish to be contacted in the following way please leave a direct email address in the comments section below 
6. This competition is only open to UK residents 
7. I will not be liable for lost/delayed post, please note giveaway will be dispatched within two weeks of closing date
8. Giveaway prize will be sent 1st class Royal Mail 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


VO5 Smoothly Does It

If you're a Hollyoaks fan like me then it's only a matter of time before you too are purchasing something from the VOS Smoothly does it line. The power of advertisements ey? But yes after seeing these products countless times on the Hollyoaks ad break I decided to try the Straightening Lotion, and Heat protect serum. Boots had a two for £5 offer on at the time so these products didn't break the bank but how did they perform?

Well, the VO5 Straightening lotion was one big disappointment. I liked the concept of this product, it's basically a cream that can be applied through the ends of hair to protect from heat styling, it's also meant to offer up to three days of straight frizz free hair. My current haircare routine consists of a balm for blow drying and a heat spray for straightening so if this worked it would have cut my styling routine down to one product, minimal haircare at it's finest. So after washing my hair I got my shake on, and pumped out some of the product. My first reaction was only that of surprise as this had a clumpy/bitty texture. Weird comparison alert but you know when you make icing and it's a tad lumpy resulting in those tiny clumpy bits throughout? Well that was the texture of this product, assuming the bits would some how disappear I went for it and applied through the ends of my hair. Well, the bits transferred to my hair white clumpy bits. Being the lazy girl that I am I continued styling as usually and the finish result was uber straight hair, super straight I even ventured out in the rain that same day and the moisture didn't affect my hair in the slightest, however the white bits were visible. You'd have to be super up close and personal to the see the bits, but it did disturb me a little that I'd taken freshly cleaned hair and put clumpy white bits in. This product is a thumbs down for me, it may just be that I was unfortunate enough to buy a faulty product, but even after shaking vigorously the product remained the same. If you'd like to avoid that "I have dandruff look"stay away from this product, it's a no go especially if you have darker hair like mine.

Negative nelly moment over, time to tell you about the product that saved the day the VO5 Heat protection serum. I'll start by saying, I really don't know how this product is meant to be used (I'm a helpful blogger) I used this before blow drying and followed up with my regular heat spray, as I didn't feel like the serum alone would protect my hair. There's probably instructions on the back of the box that currently sits ripped up in my blue recycling box but hey ho. Before blow drying I applied this through the ends, I did think this would feel sticky or tacky but it was actually quite the opposite the serum felt super lightweight in my hair, it didn't make my hair greasy or weigh it down. I can imagine that this is one of those serums where if you're a little heavy handed the end result won't be greasy locks, as my hair literally drunk this stuff up. I'd even recommend this to people with fine, thinner hair types as it was weightless. After blow drying my hair it felt and looked visibly smoother. It just felt soft (but not to soft you can work with it and add a little grit) the end result was smoother, sleeker hair that actually stayed frizz free for a little longer.

So I'd give the straightening lotion a miss, but if you're after a new hair serum that won't break the bank I definitely recommend checking out the VO5 Heat protection serum, as it's highly comparable to serums I've tried from Redken (especially the Anti-snap serum) but for less than a fraction of the price!

Have you tried any VO5 haircare products? What are your hair care favourites?


OOTD: Talk That Talk

River Island

Love it or hate it there's no denying some pieces of graffiti truly are a piece of art. The detailing on the graffiti above is just incredible, it's so tasteful and adds a little character to the area. I think the detailing and colours used on some of the pictures are amazing, someone happened to be working on a piece when we took the pictures above and it truly does require a steady hand and attention to detail.

Anyway onto the outfit, I think this outfit works really well (if I do say so myself.) I'm loving all things canary yellow at the moment, I'm thinking it will most likely be my colour of summer 2014. Pairing bright colours with simple monochrome pieces adds a little 'something something' to the outfit. I love the print on my shorts, they're high waisted but I have to admit they're not the most flattering of shapes. Thing's can look a little puffy which can add on a few pounds but as they were only £20 I'm prepared to rock them. My trademark sandals (that I seem to wear in almost every OOTD) were from New Look a good few years ago, I seem to recall them being a little pricier than your average sandal (£30 I think) totally worth it though as they still look good as new three years later!

Shorts- River Island £20
Top- River Island £16

Thoughts on graffiti? Do you mix monochrome pieces with bright colours? How do you style your high waisted shorts?

P.S I recently joined 'Lookbook' so if you'd like to be a fan (teehee!) give me a follow here


Two Step Concealing

After reading this post here on The Beauty Department, I had a route through my makeup stash and decided to try two step concealing. In the 'Lumin-eyes' post The Beauty Department actually uses the concealer to highlight the brow bone area, I've not shown that step here as realistically for my everyday make up times limited, so it's a step I feel I can miss.

Everyone should have at lest two concealers in their makeup collection, a creamy/thick one that conceals dark circles/blemishes, and a luminous sheer concealer that has brightening properties and can double up as a highlight. The two I used are the NARS Creamy concealer (the best I've tried, words can't describe my love for this) and the YSL Touche Eclat, unfortunately this product receives a lot of hate in the beauty community I believe when used correctly it can be a fabulous multi use product to have in your makeup collection.

Apply the creamy concealer to the outer eye area. Random fact but when I conceal my dark circles I literally apply this just to my eye area, I'm a firm believer in pin point concealing, I'm always surprised by how many ladies apply tons of concealer on their whole face, I believe if you find a foundation that works well there's no need for the added layer of concealer. By using the thicker concealer on the outer part of the eye area there's no fear that dark circles will shine through as you still have your coverage.

Next take your luminous concealer, and apply from the centre of your eye right through to the inner corner. This step makes your under eye area look a little brighter and almost adds a sort of highlighted effect. Everyone knows the wonders of a slight bit of shimmer in the inner corners, I find blending the concealer makes my eye area look a lot brighter.

Once you've blended the two concealers your left with a brighter eye area, dark circles are covered and this just transforms my overall look everything looks a little more fresh and radiant. I see this concealing method as double duty it's a saviour for those mornings where I haven't had much sleep, (which seems to happen an awful lot a lately.)

Do you mix concealers? What are your go to concealers for dark circles?

P.S If you like my blog don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin here 
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