Thursday, 7 March 2019

Review: Loreal Infallible Magic Essence Drops

Primer drops are becoming quite a trend in high street beauty but they can be very hit or miss. MUA's Oil Primer Drops are brilliant and worked wonders for me whereas Barry M's Unicorn Drops didn't quite hit the mark. So when Loreal released their Infallible Magic Essence Drops, I was unsure where they were going to fall on the scale.

Now I thought I had a good idea of what these drops did but when I checked on Boots to make sure I had my facts correct, I actually learnt more about them. Where I thought these drops were just blue for the sake of catching a consumers eye, they're also blue as they contain blue toned light diffusing technology which helps to reduce sallowness and give skin a radiance boost. And whilst I already knew that the texture was ultra lightweight and felt like a splash of water to the skin, I didn't realise that it was actually a hardcore cocktail of ingredients aimed to love your skin even whilst you're wearing make up. Packed Acai, Kiwi, Goji and Hyaluronic Acid, this works to brighten, revitalise and hydrate skin without weighing down your skin or disrupting your make up.

As I said I was quite wary about these when I first brought them but it only took one use to have me hooked. I did add these to my Maybelline Master Prime Anti-Redness Primer but that didn't take away from the results. Instantly my skin felt cooled and hydrated and as I rubbed it in, my skin looked more and more radiant and felt silky soft to the touch. It didn't leave skin feeling tacky or greasy in anyway but it did adhere my make up really well and helped greatly with it's longevity. Usually around my nose and chin my make up disappears after a few hours but with these drops, my make up stays in place all day, doesn't break up or go powdery or cakey and my skin feels soft and hydrated, even after my make up has been on for a few hours. And they're suitable for all skin types as well, my friend Lauren brought them on my advice and she loves them even though she had an oily skin type. So I highly recommend trying these out if you want to try some primer drops or if you're in the market for a lightweight primer that's not going to weigh your skin down or leave it feeling greasy, Loreal Primer Drops are the way to go.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Recipe: American Style Pancakes

I've never been a big fan of pancakes and never really understood the hype of Shrove Tuesday. I think it's because here in the UK the pancakes are always really thin, plastic looking pancakes that never taste right no matter how much Nutella you douse them in. And online all I've been seeing lately is thick American style pancakes and it got me thinking that maybe they're the answer to my prayers. Now you may think that these are hard but they're actually surprisingly easy and don't take that long to prepare. So heat up that frying pan and get ready to make yourselves some delicious. fluffy pancakes that taste delicious with maple syrup, nutella or anything you want on top.

Ingredients
- 135g Plain Flour
- 1Tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 2 Tbsp Caster Sugar
- 130ml Milk
- 1 Egg, lightly beaten
- 2 Tbsp Melted Butter
- Knob Of Butter or Butter Frying Spray

Method 
1- Pre heat your frying pan on a medium heat. I tend to get this started before I make the batter as my hob takes forever to heat up.
2- Into a bowl sift the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar. Lightly mix together with a fork.
3- In a seperate jug, lightly beat your egg. Add your milk and melted butter to the jug and mix together.
4- Pour your milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together with a fork. There will initally be lumps but they'll soon disappear as you batter comes together.
5- Add some butter to your now warmed pan. You can use normal butter or a lighter butter spray like I did. It's just to help cook the pancakes and stop them from sticking when you flip them.
6- When your butter has melted, add a ladle of batter to the pan. The pancakes may not be round and look rather thick but that's the exact look you want them to have.
7- Wait until the top of the pancake starts to bubble and then flip. It may seem tempting to flip them before they're ready but that'll just cause a mess in your frying pan and be a waste of batter. I did that with my first one and it sadly had to go in the bin.
8- Once your pancake is cooked through, place in a bowl and store in a low temperature oven to keep warm. Then repeat step 7 until you've used up all your batter, with each new pancake being added to the bowl.
9- Once you have all your pancakes, douse them in your topping of choice and enjoy. I actually made this for me, my mum and nan for breakfast the other day. We added a dollop of Nutella to them and they were absolutely delicious.

Friday, 1 March 2019

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Chip And Lavender Shortbread

Pinch, punch first of the month. Today I am back with the first of five recipes I have planned to share with you this month. Some of them center around upcoming day's such as Shrove Tuesday and St Patrick's Day but the rest of them are centered around Mother's Day which is rapidly approaching for us in the UK. And today is the first of those. Today I'm sharing with you my simple yet tasty recipe for dark chocolate chip and lavender shortbread. Now I know lavender is a slightly more acquired taste but when paired with the dark chocolate chip, it's got a kick to it that isn't too overpowering when you get that mixture of sweet as well.

Ingredients 
- 115g Butter
- 55g Caster Sugar
- A Pinch Of Salt
- 175g Plain Flour
- 100g Dark Chocolate Chips
- 1Tsp Lavender Extract

Method 
1- Pre heat oven to 180C. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
2- In a bowl sieve your flour, salt and sugar.
3- Add your butter and rub together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. This is the grim bit but it's worth it as you get better results using your hands rather than a food processor. Sure you'll get a cramp after a few minutes but it's well worth it.
4- Add your dark chocolate chips and lavender and continue to rub together until it starts to form a dough. This doesn't take long and you don't want to overwork the dough otherwise it'll end up being too crumbly too roll out or cut.
5- Once you have your dough, roll out onto a lightly floured surface until it's about 1/2 an inch thick. Make sure to cover your rolling pin in flour as well so your dough doesn't stick and rip as you roll it.
6- Taking a cutter of any size and shape cut out as many shapes as you can, rerolling your dough when necessary so you get the most out of it.
7- Place your shortbread shapes onto your prepared baking trays and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. You'll know when they're ready to come out as the edges will be firm whilst the insides will still be a little soft.
8- Once cooked, leave too cool on the tray until they've firmed up and then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Then all's that left is to enjoy them.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

What I Read: February

Happy Thursday! I said this in my monthly favourites but I'll say it again. How on earth is it the end of February already? It's almost like I've blinked and missed the entire month but I think it's more like I've had my head buried so deep in my books, the month has passed without me realising.

Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets- J.K. Rowling
The first book I read this month was Harry Potter and The Chamber Of Secrets. This year I'm planning on rereading the entire Harry Potter series and last month I made a good start with The Philosphers Stone. I found I enjoyed Chamber of Secrets more as there were more details in the book that the movie doesn't show and that I'd originally forgotten about. I read this in a day as I get so easily lost in the magical world and everytime I finish one I always have the overwhelming urge to start the next. Yet I have to restrain myself as I had other books that I wanted to read this month.

Rogue- Rachel Vincent
The next book I read was another sequel to one I'd read in January. Rogue is the follow up to Stray from Rachel Vincent. It continues right after Stray finished, exploring a couple of plot bunnies that it started towards the end of Stray. Following Faythe and her pride as they tracked down a killer who's hunting tom-cats, Rogue is a good second book but lacked the suspense that Stray had. I felt it ran slow in a lot of parts and the action, especially towards the end was rushed and tied up nicely without there being a full explanation or solution. I'm still going to carry on with the series and plan on reading Pride in March but I thought Rogue was a little bit of a dip in the road that hopefully Pride will pull it out of.

Gallery Of The Dead- Chris Carter 
Last year I read a book called The Caller. It was singlehandly one of my favourite books of the year so when I saw Chris Carter has released another book, I was eager to read it. Gallery Of The Dead is the ninth Robert Hunter novel and follows the Violent Crimes Unit. This particular book follows Hunter and his partner Garcia as they hunt for a serial killer that's leaving mysterious Latin messages engraved into his victims. I was so eager to get my teeth into this but finished it a little deflated. The Caller was a gruesome, physcological thriller that had me hooked and whilst Gallery Of The Dead had that exact same format, I felt it was a little long winded and parts were either drawn out or rushed which made binge reading this harder than I wanted it to be. Carter does have another book coming out this year and after reading the excert in the back of this book, I'm dying to read what will hopefully be another gripping tale.

Evermore- Alyson Noel 
My penultimate book this month was one I picked up on a whim, finished in a day and whilst I was a little disappointed in it, I'm also eager to read the next one. Evermore follows Ever, a physic who has been able to read the thoughts of her peers since a devastating car crash of which she is the sole survivor. Then enter Damen, a mysterious new student who Ever can't get a read on yet she's inexplicably drawn to. The premise of Evermore was promising but it read more like another version of Twilight. A young woman who spent the entire time following the mysterious hot guy round like a lost puppy, until the very end when she realises her own strength and becomes a kick ass warrior. With all that being said, I did in fact read it in a day and even though I couldn't say it was my favourite read of the month, it was one that I needed to know what happened next and that alone stopped me from putting it down for more than two minutes to pee.

The Thousandth Floor- Katharine McGee
And the last one book I read in February was one I finished the same day as I write this post (27th). The Thousandth Floor is one that's been on my TBR since the end of last year and this month I finally got round to reading it. Following six teens from different walks of life, The Thousandth Floor is a futuristic YA novel that reads a lot like Gossip Girl with many intertwining twists and turns that interlink each of our characters. This is the one book that took me the longest to read as there were days when I could only read a few pages before putting down again. However as the end drew near and the secrets and lies started to unravel and become common knowledges between the characters, I couldn't put it down. Especially the last few chapters that threw a massive curveball at me and left me desperate to read the second book in the series. 

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Monthly Favourites: February

Can someone please explain how the hell it's going to be the first of March on Friday? Like where on earth did February go? It's like I've blinked and missed it but I can't complain as it means I'm just that little bit closer to two amazing trips to London I have planned with Jasmin in March and April. But before I bore you all with them, let's get into this month's favourites. Now there aren't as many as January but there's still a fair few.

The first of only two beauty favourites this month comes from Loreal. Their newly released Magic Essence Drops have changed the way my make up looks and feels on my skin. These ultra lightweight hydrating primer drops smooth, hydrate and prep skin perfectly for any base you apply over top. They don't cause foundation to pill on the skin and really help with longevity. What I like the most about these drops is that they're extremely cooling on the skin and help to reduce the appearence of any redness that I may have. Plus a little goes a long way so this bottle will last for ages.

The only other beauty favourite I had this month came from a brand I'm so glad I can get my hands on. Flower Beauty has finally been released in the UK and after watching an interview with Drew Barrymore, I knew I just had to pick up at least one product from the range. The one I chose was the iconic looking red liquid lipstick. In the shade Scarlett Letter, their Miracle Matte Liquid Lipstick has been the only liquid lipstick I've worn this month. Sure it's more of a powdery matte finish but it's still ridiculously comfortable and I've loved pairing it with flawless skin, big lashes and big but natural looking brows. If you've been trying to decide on a product to try from Flower Beauty then I highly recommend their liquid lipsticks, I've even brought another one for a wedding I've got coming up in June.

 The only style favourite I have for you this month is this pair of jeans from Marks and Spencers. One thing I wanted to do this year was buy more bottoms. I've grown bored of just wearing plain black jeans and wanted some blue ones. I thought it was going to take me forever to find a decent pair but M&S sure know how to impress a girl. These are their super skinny, high waisted jeans. I love them so much. I haven't worn black jeans apart from when I'm at work since I brought them. They go so well with so much of my wardrobe and fit like a dream. I do have to roll the bottoms up ever so slightly to stop them from cutting my ankle off at the wrong point but apart from that they are the best £19.50 I've ever spent.

A show I haven't quite finished but have been/am absolutely loving is Umbrella Academy. I was intially drawn to it as I love Tom Hopper but after watching the advert I didn't think I'd actually watch it. It didn't seem to be my cup of tea but on a whim last week I watched the first episode and I was hooked. I still have three episodes to watch but as you can tell I'm stringing them out for as long as possible. I adore Tom Hopper's portrayal of Luther, it's so different to his usual roles and I like that whilst he's still the brawn of the operation, he's also got a gentle side. Robert Sheehan kills me as Klaus and whilst Ellen Page looks a little out of place in it, I'm intrigued to see what happens to her character Vanya in the last few episodes. If I go MIA on social media in the next few days then you know I'm binge watching the end of this series.

I have only listened to one album this month and it comes from the goddess that is Ariana Grande. When I first heard Thank you, next in it's entirety I was so unimpressed. I didn't think the album would grow on me and I'd like a couple of songs if I'd heard them repeatedly. Oh how wrong I was. I gave the album a second and third listen and I was hooked. It's literally the only album I've listened to for the whole of February. It's particularly good when I'm baking even if it means I have twice as much mess to clear up afterwards. Ariana is spilling that tea and it's shocking to think of everything she's been through lately. I have so much respect for her since she released this album and can't wait to see what the live performances look and sound like. When I first added this to my favourites list for the month there were only a few songs I picked out as favourites but as times gone on the whole album has become one big favourite and whilst I still have my absolute favourites from it, I don't dislike any of the tracks. Fake Smile, Bloodline,  Needy, NASA and In My Head have to be my absolute favourites, the ones that I turn it up that little louder for. I can't promise that there will be another music favourite for a while as this album is such a bop, it's going to take a lot for me to stop listening to it.

Last month my inner fangirl came out as Strike Back returned and whilst I desperately wanted to include it as a favourite again this month, I restrained myself. However this season, there is an amazing and I mean amazing podcast that is released every Saturday after the latest episode has aired. Hosted by Kelsey and Debs, Sit Rep is a fan made podcast for fans of Strike Back. Alongside a deeper look into the episode it features behind the scenes facts from showrunner Jack Lothian as well as amazing interviews with the cast and crew. Dan Macpherson, Bill Eagles, Jamie Bamber, Victoria Smurfit and Varada Sethu are just some of the amazing interviews so far with even more insightful brilliant interviews to come. I'm keeping everything crossed that Strike Back gets renewed for another season so that there will hopefully be another series of this brilliant podcast hosted by two lovely ladies who didn't have to go out of their way to do this but did because their love for the show, the cast and the crew is just as big as the rest of us fans.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Why Taking Time For Yourself Is Okay

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Life is hard. Life isn't all sweetness and light. Life can be the biggest bitch out there. But life is also the greatest gift any of us can be given and it's completely what you make of it. That may mean that sometimes it's hectic, filled with dinners, lunches and nights out whilst other times it's just you in your pjs with the cat, watching a rerun of your favourite show. And whilst the former is filled with amazing memories and mementos, sometimes the latter is exactly what your mind, body and soul needs.

I for one am a big believer of taking time out for yourself. It can come in any shape and form but as long as you come out of it feeling grounded and ready to take on whatever life has to throw at you, it's served it's exact purpose. Holding together a job, social life, love life, social media presence as well as the million other commitments life throws at you can be stressful, can push you to breaking point at it's worst but are not worth comprimising both your physical and mental health for. Cancelling that dinner date, that cinema trip or taking a break from social media isn't going to make your life crumble down around you feet. Don't concern yourself with what others will think of you for taking time out for yourself, take the time to do what you love, the things that make you feel more you, that put you back together and help you bounce back from what ever stress or low that's been bogging you down.

There have been many a time when I've disappeared off social media for a few days, not replied to texts for a few days and just taken time to recenter myself and sort my shit out. My friends understand why it happens as they do it as well so they never get angry or judgemental about it, they just accept that's what I've needed to do and that if there is still anything I need to talk about, I'll do it in my own time. And that's one of the main things I want you to take from this. It's okay to take a time out, to spend time caring for yourself both physically and mentally whether the people around you understand or not. If they judge you, get angry when you cancel plans or stop including in plans afterwards, I think it's safe to say you need to reevaluate the people in your life. If your family and friends truly love you, they'll understand the pressure of life; especially in this day and age, and that it can take it's toll.

What I'm trying to say is that it's okay to take a break. To cut off from all the pressures of life for a while to regroup, ground and pull yourself together. Not replying to a text isn't going to be the end of the world and neither is not retweeting that viral meme that's doing the rounds on twitter. Taking time out to bake, read, sleep or binge your favourite show or film isn't a waste of time that could be spent doing other things, especially if it help you to forget about all the stress you've got going on. Time for yourself is vital if you want to life a happy life. Trust me, you may feel guilty about doing it but after a while that guilt will disappear and you'll be able to see the good it's doing for you as well as being able to recognise when you need to take that break and focus on yourself for a while. 

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Review: Revolution 30% AHA+2% BHA Peeling Solution

When Revolution dropped the Make Up and added a skincare line to their brand, I was dubious. There make up was already a little hit and miss for me and I thought that their skincare would be exactly the same, especially when it came to their take on a high alpha hydroxy acid based mask. And I wasn't wrong about their products being hit and miss, but their 30% AHA+2%BHA Peeling Solution blew me away in the best possible way.

Blood red in colour and claiming to contain a whopping thirty percent alpha hydroxy acid formula, this intensive, ten minute mask aims to resurface, retexturise and brighten the skin. This mask is not for the faint hearted and definitely not for those with extremely sensitive/reactive skin. It can be quite intense, even for my skin that's used to having a high concentrate of AHA on it everyday. However the results are worth it and I can't go a week without using it. A quick ten minute go with this mask and your skin will feel like a baby's butt. Sure it tingles, leaves skin a little red but that's nothing a little facial mist and moisturiser can't cure. Yes it's intense but in my opinion it's a lot gentler on skin than a physical exfoliator, it doesn't pull at the skin like a sugar scrub would which for me helps my skin feel less irritated and sensitive afterwards.

Sure it looks like an slightly more pricey copy of the The Ordinary's 30% mask and whilst I have never tried The Ordinary's version, I think I would always prefer this one more. It has a slight fragrance, leaves skin looking a little red but it also leaves skin smooth, soft to the touch and the day after, make up just glides over top like a dream. Plus the way Revolution has marketed all their skincare products, they're a lot easier to understand than that of The Ordinary. It's only £7.99 and works wonders so if you've been thinking about buying The Ordinary's version, I'd suggest checking this one out before you make your final decision. It's definitely one I'll be repurchasing over and over again.