A place to share my two loves: beauty and food.

Monday, 29 December 2014

December Highlights

1. Christmas Day

Christmas is my favourite day of the whole year - I mean what other day can you drink champagne before breakfast? But in all seriousness I do love everything about the day. The way my brothers, sister and I still pretend to believe as in our house if you don't believe then Father Christmas doesn't come! How we all sit in front of the fire in the morning opening gifts before starting on the lunch. This year was much quieter than others as we had 14 and actually we had done so much the night before we ended up making a chocolate roulade as had so much time! Then all the family come over and we eat ourselves to bursting before more presents in front of the fire. Although as a family we often all get together, it is never quite as special as Christmas Day. 

2. Seeing Friends. 

Christmas is the time for a ridiculous amount of parties, either with novelty themed jumpers - Hello Primark! - or more civilised affairs like seeing friends who are normally abroad. Again, I am lucky that everyone from my hometown has moved to the same area of London so I never have to venture out that far. Over the last few weeks it has been so much fun getting into the festive spirit, a highlight has to be the screening of Love Actually with snow and mulled wine - see post here.

3. Crisp Mornings

The winter weather can be atrocious - flash back to my last rather wet Christmas post - but there is nothing better than the crisp sunny mornings for dog walking and horse riding. I think I will always be a country bumpkin at heart!

4. Olympia

I was a horse mad child and have always gone to Olympia every year. I now go with my Aunt, cousin and sister and although I no longer look after my horse I love wandering around the stalls lusting after all the products and wishing I could win the lottery so I can buy it all! The horse riding is immense and although the show jumping might not be everyone's cup of tea, there are many other performances that make it a fantastic day out for anyone. This year there were the dare devil Cossack riders who spun upside down and did head stands whilst galloping around the ring; then the Metropolitan Police Riders who can ride through fire and take their saddles off whilst jumping; and of course the Shetland Grand National which was my dream as a child! 

I am not going to do a December Beauty Favourites post this month as I have just posted My 14 Beauty Favourites of 2014 so there will be many similarities! 

What have been your monthly highlights?

Saturday, 27 December 2014

My 14 Beauty Favourites from 2014

I always love these types of posts as I find it so difficult to narrow all the products you have used throughout the year to a handful of favourites. Therefore you know the chosen ones must be good! So from top left to bottom right here are mine:

1. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser (full review) This cleanser has definitely helped sort out my skin and at £8.99 it is such a bargain. You can find it in the Pharmacy section of Boots. 

2. Super Facialist Una Brennan Vitamin C Glow Boost Serum (full review) I don't know how I lived without this product. It is amazing for adding much needed hydration and radiance to my complexion. 

3. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum II (full review) This is definitely worth the price tag as I feel it does exactly what it sets out to do. 

4. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair II (full review) This is a product I have repurchased again and again and can always tell when I have used it. 

5. Soap and Glory Solar Powder (full review) This deserves all the hype it gets. Two perfect bronze shades in one package, with a decent sized mirror and very affordable. 

6. Revlon Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie (full review) I don't think I have reached for a lip product more than this. It is the perfect pinky lips that is so hydrating and can be applied without a mirror - winner!

7. Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage (full review) This is a holy grail for me as it covers anything and can be mixed with more liquid concealers to give them more oomph. It also lasts years so is well worth the investment.

8. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush (full review) I don't think any other colour has graced my cheeks this year. The ultimate all rounder colour that gives a soft highlight as well. Also the packaging is beyond dreamy! 

9. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light (full review) Another product I have used every day as it calms down shine without losing any radiance and helps my makeup last so much longer. Also I have hardly made a dent over the year so well worth the investment! 

10. Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers It was very close between these and my Japonesque Power Curlers (review here). I have very straight stubborn eyelashes and curlers are a must. These two have the longest lasting impact and I could not live without them! 

11. Urban Decay Naked Cannot believe I haven't dedicated a whole post to this palette before as I love it so much. Half Baked is definitely my favourite but you can get so many different looks with one set of eyeshadows and the quality is amazing. 

12. Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat Again considering I have repurchased bottle and bottles of the stuff I cannot believe it doesn't have its own post! I am someone who smudges their nail polish within seconds of applying, not matter how careful I try to be. This however, is amazing as it dries so fast and leaves the most  beautiful glossy shine. 

13. Soap and Glory Archery in Hot Chocolate (full review) The best dupe of the Anastasia Brow Wiz and leaves my brows looking natural but much more defined. I have used this everyday and can see me repurchasing for years to come. 

14. Topshop Glow in Polished (full review) I love a highlight but I also love it to be natural and this little pot ticks all the boxes. 

What are your top products of the year?

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Ciate Advent Calendar

I must confess this was actually purchased a fews days into December from TKMaxx for £20. I have always wanted a beauty based calendar but could never justify the price tag so when I saw this I thought I would see if they were worth the hype and believe me they really are! Although I definitely will be raiding TKMaxx again next year to see if I can pick a bargain up. 

In this collection you got one large glitter varnish on the last day, a strip of transfers and 23 miniature bottles that are a range of sparkly topcoats, glitter you pour out (slightly annoying there is no brush), vibrant summer colours, neutral shades and then some metallics thrown in too. There is such a diverse range and the miniature bottles mean they are perfect for travelling. Hopefully I won't be browsing the aisles of Boots for any nail polish for a while! 



Monday, 22 December 2014

Estee Lauder Enlighten EE Cream SPF 30

This stuff is seriously good and I have been using it non stop for the last month. I find the Estee Lauder Enlighten Even Effect Skintone Corrector to be the perfect product to counter the cold weather sapping the glow from my skin, changing my dull grey complexion into a healthy radiance - despite the ridiculously long name! The EE cream is the latest alphabet related beauty product to be released and is a very light weight formula that evens your skintone so is very much for your no makeup days! Although the coverage is minimal I love how it brightens my complexion and really does look like I am not wearing anything. I just team it with the Clarins Instant Concealer - read more here - and I find them the perfect combination. 

The Estee Lauder Enlighten is the latest skincare range that works to correct any skintone issues you make have such as: dark spots, sun spots, post blemish marks, redness or discolouration.  The EE cream is the last step of your routine  and can be used on its own or under foundation. It is full of anti-oxidants that work to smooth, hydrate and soften your skin. I have definitely noticed the benefits from using it and will definitely repurchase. 

I absolutely love the light weight feel and the luminosity it brings to my skin. The SPF 30 is also an additional bonus as the weather in London has recently been surprisingly bright and sunny as well as crisp. You can purchase it for £34 - although many shops have fantastic Christmas deals on at the moment! 

What is your Winter base of choice?

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Clarins Instant Concealer - Worth the hype?

Clarins Instant Concealer

The Clarins Instant Concealer has been getting a lot of hype in the beauty blogging world and I was intrigued to see if it lived up to expectations. Although I love my Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage for pin point concealing blemishes, I find it too dense and the texture too hard for under my eyes and I was on the look out for something new and I have definitely found it! I think that all the hype that surrounds the Clarins Instant Concealer is justified and it is well worth the investment. 

I actually have Shade 01 and 02 as the sales assistant assured me that 02 would work better under the eyes and over the rest of my complexion.  As you can see above the two shades are very different so I would definitely recommend getting matched in store! However after loving the formula so much I went back for the 01 to add more highlight under the eyes. The formula is very pigmented and a little really does go along way! Although it is a liquid formula it does cover really well and I love the glowing and hydrating finish that it gives. Also the high water content means it does not settle into fine lines - an absolute bonus! I find the formula to be perfect for under the eyes as well as any large areas of discolouration - like my chin, which always suffered from redness. Despite loving the glow - as I find many concealers too matte - sometimes it can be a little too much on my forehead or chin but that is easily rectified with a little powder. 

Some people have said that at £21 this is a pricey concealer and although I do agree it does seem a lot, it is definitely worth it. Also you get 15ml and the smallest amount is needed therefore it will last a very long time. I would just recommend swatching berfore parting with your money as there is a big difference between shades!  

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Love Actually by Pop Up Screens

On Saturday night a few of us headed to Notting Hill to see a screening of Love Actually in a listed theatre with fake snow, Christmas trees and mulled wine. It was an amazing festive night hosted by Pop Up Screens. We kicked it off with dinner at our flat where we served Prosecco, this Salmon Risotto recipe and Egg Nog for dessert. 

You arrived at a dining room with a roaring fire and a table ready for food. In the corner there was an ornate wooden wardrobe full of fur coats and as you passed through you entered into the theatre which was ankle deep in fake snow and full of Christmas trees. The bar served mulled wine and snacks and we settled down to watch Love Actually. I have never seen the festive film in a cinema and it was really nice to watch it with an audience. I had such a lovely evening and thought I should share it with you as many of the other films aren't sold out yet. You should definitely check out Pop Up Screens to book tickets. 

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Christmas Party Makeup: My favourite products

This has been the makeup I have been reaching for this Christmas period as the golden eyeshadow really compliments blue eyes, whilst the red lip makes me feel so festive! 

1. Laura Mercier Radiant Foundation Primer

During Christmas parties you want you skin to have a radiant glow but you also want that glow to stay in place all evening so a radiance primer is always a favourite of mine. Full review here

2. SPF Free Foundation

No one wants to look like Caspar the friendly ghost the next day on Facebook so using foundations without SPF is a must. My favourites are the Giorgio Armarni Luminous Silk (full review) and the NARS Sheer Glow (full review) as both have medium coverage and a gorgeous satin finish to the skin. 

3. Adding the Glow

Everyone wants healthy looking skin and I think the Topshop Glow in Polished (full review) is the perfect product to give a natural glow. 

4. Golden Eyes

Half Baked from Urban Decay Naked One is my favourite golden shadow as it is applies like a dream and gives a lovely shimmery warm colour to the lids. I often pair it with Naked or Dark Horse in the crease and a winged liner. 

5. Red lips

Nothing screams Christmas like a bold red lip and whilst lots of people don't like a glossy bold lip I still remain obsessed with the Rimmel Apocalips in Big Bang (full review). I have not found a product that matches this for colour, price and lasting power. I line my lips first, apply the product, blot then reapply and it lasts all night.

What are your favourite products to use at Christmas?


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Makeup Revolution Awesome Double Flick Eyeliner

Makeup Revolution Awesome Double Flick Eyeliner
Makeup Revolution Awesome Double Flick Eyeliner
Makeup Revolution Awesome Double Flick Eyeliner
Makeup Revolution Awesome Double Flick Eyeliner

I have heard so many amazing reviews about Makeup Revolution products so when I saw this eyeliner for the very affordable price of £3.50 I was excited. The Makeup Revolution Awesome Double Flick Eyeliner is a great concept where one end has a thin long felt tip and the other has a shorter and fatter tip to make the process of getting a perfect flick easier. I absolutely love the sleek packaging and how pigmented the product is. They are so easy to use and make applying liner an effortless step in your makeup routine. 

However, they smudge very easily and whenever I have worn it I have ended up looking like a panda by lunchtime. I have tried it on several occasions and have let it completely dry before applying eyeliner or another product to the eye area but it made no difference, by the middle of the day people were politely whispering to me that my eyeliner was all over my face. This is not a problem I have ever encountered before and it is such a shame as I really do love everything else about this product. 

What is your favourite eyeliner?

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Chocolate Roulade Recipe

Chocolate roulades are one of those dishes that look complicated but aren't. You also don't use any flour making it perfect for gluten free guests! 


5 Large Eggs
5oz Caster Sugar
6oz Dark Chocolate
3 Tablespoons of Strong Black Coffee
Cocoa Powder
Three Quarters of a Pint of Cream
Stemmed Ginger (optional)
18 x 12inch Baking Tray

180 Degrees Celsius

1. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until white and thick. 

2. Melt the chocolate and coffee in a bowl over a pan of pooling water. Once melted leave to cool slightly. 

3. Beat the egg whites until stiff and stir in the chocolate. Don't over stir it or you will get a pancake! 

4.  Pour and spread the mixture carefully into your baking tray. Put in the over for fifteen minutes and check with a knife. Do this by playing the knife into the centre and if it comes out clean then it is ready!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Monthly Round Up : November

So I have tried and failed to continue my weekly posts despite how much I love writing and looking back at them! Either not a lot happens in a week so I think it would be a little dull or far too much happens and I have no time to write anything. Therefore I thought I would start a monthly round up post until I am more organised and back into the swing of scheduling posts. 

Highlight 1

The other weekend I went to see James and Starsailor with my Mum and her best friend Jo. Growing up these bands dominated all other music so when I saw tickets I knew I had to take them both. We met in Brixon village and went for pizza at Franco Manca and cocktails at District 19. Both of which I would highly recommend. The concert was great too and the energy and dulcet tones that both bands produced were inspiring to watch and dance along to and reminded me how much I love going to gigs. It was also lovely to catch up with them both and I ended up going home for the rest of the weekend to snuggle up next to the fire and cuddle Jo's new Bengal Tiger Kittens. They are incredible and now most definitely on the list of animals I want when I am older! 

Highlight 2

There have been many events with friends this month including dinner parties at mine, birthdays to be celebrated and a rather red wine fuelled steak and games Sunday, which I particularly enjoyed. We went to Roxie Steak in Fulham and then were supposed to go for a walk around the city but with the rain we decided to run to the local Coop and continue drinking back at the flat. This quickly turned into numerous games and was definitely my favourite was to spend a Sunday. My friend runs thisbecause.com which looks at buying sustainable products and the hamper she created was actually shown in The Observer last weekend so it is definitely worth checking out. 

Highlight 3

Giff Gaff Tour of London was definitely a highlight as when you live in a city you often don't fully appreciate how amazing it is and rarely do the touristy things. This all changed one chilly Wednesday and I am so pleased that it opened my eyes to someone of the wonderful spots London has to offer. Read more here

Highlight 4 

With the school I was lucky enough to go and see War Horse at the theatre and I was completely blown away at how lifelike the puppets were. Having grown up around horses I was fascinated at how realistic every movement was and the subtly in which the frames could be moved. You completely forgot about the actors inside the horses and just saw them as real animals on stage. I also was overwhelmed at how much it showed the futility and sadness of the war from all sides. I went to see it with Year 7 boys and I definitely wasn't the only one who shed a tear at the end! 

What have been your highlights this month?
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