Saturday, 24 October 2015

EXPENSIVE MISTAKES

Going on about how much you love something is one thing but I think there's just as much value (if not more) in saying that something hasn't worked for you, especially if you feel as if you're in the minority as I do in this case! I don't write too many negative reviews, I often think that leaving things unsaid is as good as a negative review but in this case I wanted to give my 2p because there are so many rave reviews out there of these particular products.


Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray £9.00
Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara £19.00
Dior Star Foundation £32.50


Honestly, it does break my heart a little bit when I spend money on something high end and it doesn't work out for me, although it does tell me that 'you get what you pay for' doesn't always apply. These three products cost me over £60 which isn't the kind of money I can afford to be laying out to not like the product but I guess you win some, you lose some.

Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray - Rather than actually hating this product I have more of a 'meh' feeling towards it; it just doesn't really do a lot for me. I've been using it to try and prolong my makeup during the day rather than on a night but it just doesn't seem to be doing its job. Maybe I picked the wrong one? Maybe 'de-slick' would have been a better option given my oily skin, even my husband mentioned that my face looked oily the other day so it must have been bad! All I can say is I'm glad I bought the smaller sized bottle.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara - What annoys me more about this product is that I recommended it to my step-sister because I'd seen so many people rave about it but it turns out that I don't actually think it's that great! The first time I opened it I wiped all the excess product off the wand because there seems to be a heck of a lot on there to begin with but it still didn't make any difference because after that every time I took the wand from the tube it was caked in product making it really difficult to apply it evenly. Unless you've got time to use this really carefully it clumps really easily and is just generally hard to use. 

Dior Star Foundation - Unfortunately with this I fell victim of another beauty counter advisor advising me against what I originally went to buy (which I'd used before!) and I stupidly went along with her and came home with a product that was a shade darker than I would have liked, it doesn't give me the coverage I wanted and there's no real oil control at all. It'd be more suited for someone who just wants to even out their skin tone, I need to cover blemishes and this just doesn't have the ability I don't think. 



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Friday, 23 October 2015

PROSECCO COCKTAILS & PROSECCO CRISPS

I went round to my friends house the other night for a candle party (the best kind!) and just to have a bit of a wind down after a hectic week. I went round armed with drinks and was nicely helped out by Aperol and the ingredients of their Aperol Spritz cocktail. It's actually really simple to make; only 3 ingredients and no shaking required you just pour and drink! It does say to use a larger glass but because I didn't have one at hand I used a champagne flute...

- 3 parts Prosecco
- 2 parts Aperol
- 1 splash of soda

So it really is as easy as 3, 2, 1! 



If you didn't already know, Aperol is an Italian Aperitif, bright orange in colour and with a unique bitter orange kind of taste. It pairs really well with Prosecco because it makes a really refreshing drink without being sickly sweet as some cocktails are; I really enjoyed it because it gave my usual drink a bit of a different edge. The ease of actually making the cocktail is a winner for me too because there's so many out there which involve buying 5 or 6 different ingredients whereas you can get the ingredients for this for under £25 and your bottle of Aperol would still last a fair while.

Along with some nibbles like the funky crisps we had (like the Tesco Finest Prosecco and Elderberry flavour), Aperol Spritz is the perfect cocktail to bring along to your friend's house!

Have you tried Aperol Spritz?


ALWAYS DRINK RESPONSIBLY
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Monday, 19 October 2015

HEALTHY EATING TECH YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE

Obviously you can follow most healthy eating plans without the aid of any kitchen appliances (aside from a kettle, an oven and possibly a microwave) but there are some which make life quite a bit easier. 

You've probably already heard of the Tefal Actifry, I've had mine for 3 years and I've made countless batches of Slimming World chips in it because it saves so much messing around. Without an Actifry, Slimming World chips involve par-boiling then oven baking and turning and I still don't think they turn out as good. Obviously chips aren't the only thing you can cook in an Actifry but that's the main thing I use it for.


It's so easy, you just cut your potatoes in to chip strips (I always leave the skin on because I'm extra lazy), spray them with Frylight, add whatever seasoning you like (in my case this time it was salt and cajun seasoning) and then set them to cook for around 35 mins for a full load. The Actifry turns them periodically and cooks them to perfection, I don't even know what it does to them but it's bloomin' good. The timer tells you when the time is up and you just serve them straight from the bowl. 

The newest addition to my kitchen is the Tefal OptiGrill* which is ideal for cooking all different kinds of meats and you can also grill potatoes and vegetables on it. On the face of things it looks a bit like a George Forman grill but trust me, it's so much more...



The Tefal OptiGrill uses sensors to identify the thickness of the meat and adjusts the cooking time accordingly. There are 6 different meat settings (burgers, poultry, bacon, sausages, red meats and bacon) as well as a setting for frozen foods and a manual temperature setting. To begin cooking you just select your desired setting, leave it to pre-heat then add your product, close the plates and leave it too cook how you like it. It identifies and adapts to the thickness of whatever you put between the plates and cooks it to perfection.

At each stage the OptiGrill tells you that it's complete and the indicator light changes colour accordingly. I'm so impressed by the whole thing and how easy it is; just being able to pop stuff in there and taking it out when it's cooked perfectly suits me down to the ground. I've managed to ruin so much food by over cooking it and not turning it when it's under the normal grill but this cooks everything evenly on both sides and leaves all the flavour in there. The fat drains into the drip tray at the bottom (although in SW Burgers case, there's very little fat). 

I thought that frozen burgers would be a test of how well this cooked things as it's so easy to char frozen foods whilst leaving the middle still cold. To set it going on the appropriate setting I pressed the 'frozen' button then the 'burger' button and then pressed 'OK', after the pre-heating stage it was good to go and after trusting it to cook the burger to 'medium' without looking at it once I lifted the top plate to reveal a perfectly cooked through burger which was juicy and flavoursome. I didn't add any oil or even Frylight as the plates are non-stick and the burgers didn't show any signs of sticking at all. The best thing about this is that if you can't fit everything on one cooking you don't have to wait for it to cool completely and reheat you just set it to pre-heat again (which doesn't take long at all) and do the cycle once more (one cycle of cooking should be enough for between 2 and 4 people depending on portion size). 

I was a little concerned about the cleaning process as I remember that my old George Foreman didn't come apart very well to allow for it but this is the total opposite; the plates unclip easily and can be washed in a dishwasher or manually as long as you don't use abrasive scrubbers.

I'm so impressed with this gadget and I would honestly recommend it to anyone regardless of whether you're healthy eating or not because it's just so easy to use and it produces such tasty meat! It retails at only £100 from Debenhams and I would say that it's well worth it, especially if you struggle to know when meat is cooked because this does all the hard work for you! 

Do you fancy either of these healthy eating gadgets?

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Sunday, 18 October 2015

AN ODE TO BATH & BODY WORKS

Ah Bath & Body Works, the elusive store which has all us British women lusting over their products, but I've been lucky enough to get myself over to America recently armed with my list of most wanted products (with a baggage allowance in mind, of course). If it's your first time in Bath & Body Works you might want to set aside an hour or so out of your day to immerse yourself in all it's fragrant goodness, seriously there's so many different products and scents it'll take you a while to take it all in. I spent a good amount of time on the website before I went to America so I could get an idea of what I wanted because it's so easy to get carried away in there, without further ado this is what I picked up on my last trip:

 Travel Sized Fine Fragrance Mist 3 for $12

I got some full sized versions of these last year and still haven't got through those but I couldn't resist getting some of these smaller versions in some more autumn-y kinds of smells. I've started using Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte already and it smells beautiful and they last surprisingly well considering they're just like a body spray.  


Hand Sanitizers 5 for $6

I know there are lots of people who are obsessed with these and you can buy them on eBay for a little more than they retail for in a store but I decided to grab 10 while I could. You may have noticed that they've changed the bottle to a shorter, wider design which I actually think is better because the product seems to be easier to get out. The Cocoa Mint is a particular favourite of mine but I'm going to try and save it until December to use around the festive period.

 Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte Shower Gel $12.50
Black Cherry Merlot & Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte Hand Soap $6.50 each

I totally missed out on some great deals with these, I should have got 2 more shower gels which would have meant that they worked out at just over $8 each and I could have got 4 hand soaps for $18 but because I bought them on separate trips to the shop I never took advantage of the deals. Which is why you should always have time to browse or have a very good idea of what you would like! The foaming hand soap is lovely to use, it's very gentle on your skin and they both smell incredible.

Scentportable Fragrance Refills 4 for $10

A Scentportable is a clip on base for these little cartridges, they're great for fragrancing cars or other small spaces and you can get them in lots of different designs. I can see that I'll be buying more refills on my next trip!

Black Cherry Merlot 3 Wick Candle $22.50

I've never actually owned a 3 wick candle before so when I saw that they were actually on special at 2 for $25 I got one for myself and one for my friend who wanted a 'Leaves' one so they worked out at an even better price. The fragrance is powerful enough to fill a room and it has a clean burn which can last between 24-45 hours, I'd definitely get another one of these. 

So isn't it about time you came to the UK, Bath & Body Works? I hate having to bulk buy all my favourite stuff!

What would be on your Bath & Body Works wish list?



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Saturday, 17 October 2015

OCTOBER BLOGGER BEAUTY BOX

If you haven't already heard, Blogger Beauty Box is a monthly box with contents sourced by one of our very own beauty bloggers: Vix Meldrew. She works very hard to try and get the best brands, both new and existing, to get involved with the box and it's only £10 delivered which is at least £2-3 cheaper than other beauty boxes on the market. But just because it's cheaper don't think that quality has been compromised, this month (October) the box contained 3 full sized products and 2 deluxe samples which I think is fab. 


Blogger Beauty Box, £10 (find out more details)

Puriskin Resurfacing Formula - I was quite excited when I saw this in the box because it mentions the ability to help improve the appearance of skin which has been damaged by acne, stretch marks, burns etc. I make no secret of the fact that I suffer with acne (both active and scarring) on my face and back (at almost 25 I do wish it would do one!!) and I have weight gain stretch marks so I'm looking forward to seeing what this can do.

Elizabeth Grant Supreme Essence of Torricelumn - Not gonna lie, I'm a bit confused as to what this actually is; it says to apply before moisturiser which makes me think that it's a serum. It claims to have powerful anti-ageing properties which I know should be something I should probably start thinking about but in all honesty I don't think this will be for me unfortunately. 

John Gosnell's The Original Vitamin E Cream - The design of the little tub was the first thing that drew me to it; it's got a retro feel to it, simple and no fuss. On first impressions the cream is really light, easily absorbed by the skin and has a subtle but pleasant fragrance. I'll definitely be giving this a proper test run, fingers crossed my skin agrees with it!

Xenca Perfection Lipstick - The packaging of this reminds me of Tarte lipsticks, it's kind of like strong cardboard which is quite fitting as Xenca is an organic brand. The colour 'Candy' really isn't my shade, as you can probably imagine it's a light pink which isn't something I'll ever wear which is a shame because the pigmentation and formula of the lipstick is actually quite nice. 

P&G Organic Facial Cleansing Oil - Another natural and organic product this cleansing oil is packed with peach kernal, sweet orange and lavender and smells beautiful. A little obviously goes a long way and it's easy to apply with the dropper, I reckon this will be another product I'll have a go with because I've ready reviews which say that it helped to calm their acne down!

In terms of value for money I'm very impressed with the Blogger Beauty Box and I think Vix does so well to curate so many products from a wide range of brands. Obviously not all the products in the box impressed me but isn't that what monthly boxes are all about; finding out what you do/don't like?! 

If you fancy receiving a box then all you need to do is follow the Blogger Beauty Box Twitter and look out for the announcement, the November box is available now and there's not many left so get one while you can!

Do you think you'll treat yourself to next month's box?

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Friday, 16 October 2015

YOOHOO! MAIL STATIONARY BOX

I've always been a little bit obsessed with nice stationary; I always made sure I had nice note books for college and university and a new set of pens still gives me a sense of excitement that only a stationary lover can understand. So when I heard about YooHoo mail stationary boxes I knew I had to try one for myself; YooHoo mail is run by a lovely lady called Gemma who designs every piece which lands in the monthly boxes so it's nice to know that some real thought and effort has gone into these and you can really tell with the quality of the stationary. 

Each monthly box contains a mystery selection of creative paper products from greetings cards and art prints to gift tags and colouring-in prints. So naturally, I was excited to see what would be in October's box which came through my letterbox just recently...




What I think I love most about this months box is that I've been able to fill my emergency card drawer with some beautiful greetings cards. I'm a bit rubbish at remembering birthdays and just sending cards for occasions in general so I always end up taking a trip to the late night supermarket and paying over the odds for a bog-standard card so to know that I'll have some actually nice back ups for the next upcoming birthdays is really handy. 

The postcards probably won't be used in the strictest sense of actually sending them anywhere, I actually prefer them as decorative pieces. You could easily pop them into a frame and use them as typography art for your wall. Every piece is printed on beautiful quality card and paper and all the designs are eye catching and unique; I think a stationary box is such a good idea because chances are you'll actually use most if not all of the contents.

You can either buy a one off box for £12 + £2 P&P (£5 for outside the UK) or you can get a 3 month subscription for £36 with free P&P and you can also send it directly to someone as a gift. You can still get October's box which is the one I received or you can wait until 7th November and order a brand new mystery box. There's also greetings cards and art prints available to buy on the YooHoo! Mail website, my personal favourite is this one, no need to ask why! 

Is a stationary box something you'd be interested in?

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