29 March 2013

Happy Easter!

Nearly...

If any of you haven't bought your eggs yet or are looking for an easy alternative for an Easter gift then you should give these nests a go! These are ideal if you have have to buy for lots of children as you can make them in batches, package 'em up in cellophane wrapping, whack a ribbon round the top and you're good to go. 
Bish bash bosh.

They are the simplest thing to make and make for a darn cute picture.
The next photo shows exactly how to make these scrumptious little delights. 
I followed the measurements from the BBC's recipe here. All you need to do is melt 225g of chocolate, 50g of butter and 2tbsp of golden syrup into a big bowl. Once everything is all melted and smooth, mix in 75g of cornflakes, spoon them out into cupcake holders and pop a couple of mini eggs on top. (Don't be tempted to eat the eggs before you know you've got enough. Alright, 1 or 2 won't hurt...) Now leave them to cool in the fridge for an hour until they set.

Ta da!

This recipe makes 12 but you can double, or even triple it to make as many as you want. Feel free to get a little carried away. I know we may have...


Hope you all have a lovely Easter and don't eat too much chocolate!

A x

P.S. Seeing as it's actually Good Friday today why not go with traditions and follow my hot cross recipe here. You won't regret it, promise! 

26 March 2013

NOTD: Blue With Gold Sequins

After a season filled with a bunch of rich wintery shades, mainly dark purples and maroons, I found myself feeling the urge to rock something with a little more... 'pizazz'. Unfortunately I don't possess much skill in the nail art department therefore glitter is my savior when I want a more interesting look.  
  

For the base colour I chose Rimmel 704 'Sweet as Sugar' which, as you can see, is a pretty pastille blue. I just want to say as a side note that Rimmel's 'I Love Lasting Finish' line is great if you want a pick up a fun colour for a mere £2.99 but I'm afraid you do get what you pay for with these polishes - the formula is very watery and I can only just about get away with wearing two coats (I don't really like going for a third because it makes it too thick and easy to dent). As for their title don't be fooled into thinking the longevity is going to blow you away; they last around 1-2 days before the chips start to appear. On top I added a layer of Revlon's dazzling gold sequins which I think they were giving away for free around Christmas time if you spent over a certain amount on Revlon products. I've used it quite a bit since and it's great for adding a touch of glitz without much effort. Now that's what I call a good freebie! And lastly a quick sweep with Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri top coat and you're good to go! 


A x

18 March 2013

REVIEW: BaByliss Waving Wand

I am extremely particular when it comes to my hair - I know how I like it and I know how I don't like it... which is poker straight. Unfortunately for me, that is the natural state of my hair, however I've discovered a little tool which has been a godsend in adding a bit of life into my poker locks.

The styling product I've been reaching for to achieve my desired look is my BaByliss Waving Wand. 



Slim and easy to use, this iron is ideal for creating beachy waves.
The box includes the waving wand, an information booklet and a heat protective glove.



The wand itself is a 25 mm nano-gold ceramic coated barrel - I find that this is a good length as I have quite long hair and am able to get it all wrapped around. There is a heat protective cap at the end of the wand to prevent burning your fingers when styling the tips of your hair. Unlike the traditional curling iron, this wand has an oval shaped barrel which helps to create a soft, natural wave. In the middle of the iron there is a small stand which elevates the actual tong so you can put the wand down when you need to without the risk of damaging any surfaces.


There are five different heat settings, starting at 155˚C and reaching 200˚C. You can adjust the heat settings depending on the style you are going for - if you want looser waves then lower the temperature or if you want them to be more defined opt for the highest heat setting. If you are in a hurry, or you want to create bigger waves you can take thicker sections of your hair and go for 200˚C - the larger the section, the larger the wave. 

As my hair is quite thick, I divide it up into the 3 horizontal sections; starting with my bottom layer I work my way up. Holding the wand with one hand to the opposite side of your face, you want the tip to be facing downward. With your other hand you want to place the strand of hair in front of the wand and wrap it backward around the iron, away from your face, in a downward spiral motion. 

It usually takes me around 10-15 minutes to complete my whole head which I think is pretty good and the wand is very lightweight at 246g so even my weak arms don't feel the strain! Once I've finished styling, the waves hold for the most part of the day which is great. They do have a little drop, naturally, but I prefer the more relaxed look anyway. 

Lastly, the extra styling products I use include the TRESemmé heat Defense Spray (you can use whatever one you prefer but don't be tempted to skip out this part!); Moroccan Oil for getting that healthy, glossy finish; and if I'm going out and really want my hair to stay put then I give it a spritz of my VO5 Strong Hold hairspray. 

So here are the before and after pictures... 
(please ignore my horrible split ends - I'm getting them cut soon!)


As you can see in the photo above, the waves are quite springy. One of the best things about this product is you can achieve a couple of different looks, so if you want something more subtle then run your fingers through the hair with a bit of serum and pull the waves down gently. 

Here is a more 'just came back from a day at the beach' kinda look. (Though I'd be lucky if my hair did actually look like this after being in the sea!)



By taking sections of your hair at random instead of dividing it up and curling every strand, you can achieve more naturally tousled looking tresses. Basically just play around with it and find the look that works best for you!


Overall I would really recommend this product as it's so easy to use and priced at just under £30 I think it's worth every penny. I bought mine from Boots about 6 months ago but I can't find it on the website anymore so if you are interested click here to purchase it on Amazon instead.

I hope this was helpful to anybody thinking about buying the Waving Wand, and I'd love to hear what your favourite styling tool is if you have one! 

A x 

14 March 2013

REVIEW: Korres Lip Butter

Cracked and chapped lips is not a good look on anyone so to combat the dryness encouraged by the chilly English weather I've been reaching for my Korres Lip Butter... Which I LOVE.

It has quickly become my new favourite lip balm - like magic in a pot.

There are 7 different flavours including Guava, Jasmine, Mango, Quince, Plum, Pomegranate and Wild Rose, and they vary in shades starting with Guava which is clear to Wild Rose which is a sheer deep red. Perfect for if you need to add a touch of colour to your face but don't want to go all-out with a lip stick. 

I decided to go for Jasmine, the sheer neutral pink option, as it looked light and fresh - very fitting for spring.


First impressions? Great. The packaging is très cute, lightweight but doesn't feel cheap so durable.
Size wise it's good too as you can chuck it into a small on-the-go make-up bag without it taking up too much space.



Now onto the actual product...
This little dose of goodness is made from shea butter which claims to 'protect the skin against climate and UV aggression; helps prevent wrinkle formation; soothes irritated and chapped skin and moisturises the epidermis.'

This butter has a smooth and creamy texture which melts into your lips rather than leaving a film on top of your skin like some cheap balms tend to do. The formula is very slightly sticky but I think that's due to the subtle glossy sheen finish, but most importantly this product definitely left my lips feel soft and hydrated.
Oh and it smells great too!

The only negative for me is the fact that it comes in a little tub as opposed to a tube or in chap stick form which would be a lot more hygienic than having to dip your finger in and out to apply it. 

These Korres Lip Butters are priced between £6 - £7 depending on where you purchase it, and although there are hundreds of lip treatments you can pick up for a lot less, you do get good value for your money.

You can order them online here from feelunique.com (I did and the service was great, they arrived within 2/3 days and it's free delivery!) or you can also pick them up in larger Waitrose stores or order from their website here

Do you have a favourite go-to product when your lips are in need of a bit of extra care?

A x

12 March 2013

Go Green

I've heard a lot about 'green juices' and their benefits so in a bid to begin clearing up my not-so-healthy appetite I decided to have a go at making my own.
Now don't be fooled into thinking that just because it's super healthy it doesn't taste good too. These make for a deliciously nutritious alternative to your usual breakfast, and what's more is that they are quick and easy enough to whip up before school or work in the morning. Perfect.

INGREDIENTS 
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup of frozen pineapple
- 1 cup of frozen mango
- 1 cup of spinach
- 1/4 of lemon
- 1 cup of water 


METHOD
The evening before you want to make your green juice, chop up your banana, pineapple and mango into small/medium sized cubes, pop them in a tupperware and store in the freezer overnight. 
The next day roughly chop up your spinach and chuck in to your blender along with your frozen fruit. 
Squeeze in the lemon and pour in the water. 
Blend until smooth and runny. 

Et voila!




For me this is the perfect combination for a green juice - it's tropically fresh and the pineapple gives it that succulent edge which is great for those who have a sweet tooth like me!

Nutritional Info
Spinach - low in calories, high in vitamins and minerals; good source of protein, dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids
Pineapple - rich in fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants and is great for hydrating skin 
Mango - helps lower cholesterol; has high levels of fiber, pectin and vitamin C
Banana - packed with fiber and potassium which lowers blood pressure, good source of vitamins B and C
Lemon - high in vitamin C and aids in digestion 

If you want to make your own green smoothie remember that you don't have to use these fruits and vegetables. Just use what you find tastiest! Kale is a popular choice, along with blueberries, celery, cucumber and melon.

A x

9 March 2013

Hair Envy

I've never been particularly adventurous with my hair. 

I played it safe throughout the whole of my school life and never once strayed from my natural dark brunette colour which kept my mum happy. I guess I was always a bit scared of ruining my hair or for it to turn out wrong and never be able to get it right again. However there comes a time in a girls' life when you just want a change from the norm, so after my friend gave me some wise words of encouragement in the form of 'yolo, Aggie' we took a trip to Superdrug and I got myself some hair dye. 



Of course, being me, I didn't brave going the full stretch and dye my hair all over, so instead I purchased the L'Oreal Wild Ombre kit and got a friend to dip dye my ends. I think it turned out pretty well. Thanks B.



Since that little venture it's been five months and I decided I'm ready for a another change... exciting! The top half of my hair is still my natural colour which is very dark, almost black but not quite. Since gloomy winter should soon be behind us, and bright and sunny spring is (hopefully, fingers-crossed) on it's way, I'm thinking of going a teeny bit lighter. I also want to sort out my ends as they have gone kind of brassy and I'm paranoid that it looks slightly ginger. Not that I have anything against ginger, my best friend is a red head and I personally love the colour, but on me? No. 

In need of a little inspiration I turned to the wonderful world of Pinterest

Here's the kind of colour I would ideally like to have...



More of warm, chocolate-y brown shade.

If I could just swap my hair with Mila or Audrina that would be perfect! And whilst we're on the subject of swapping I wouldn't mind their faces either...

If you could swap hair with any celebrity who would you choose?

I'm meeting my friends for a spot of shopping later today so I'm going to pop into Boots and see what they have to offer. Hopefully mission chocolate-brown-transformation will be underway pretty soon!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

A x

5 March 2013

Hot-Cross Bun Recipe

So I've got another recipe to share with you today which you may have already guessed by the title... yep you got it, it is indeed hot-cross buns. They might not be as pretty as the pancakes I made last time but they sure are just as tasty!

INGREDIENTS

THE BUN
625g strong white flour
1tsp salt
2 tsp ground mixed spice
45g unsalted butter
85g sugar
1 lemon zest
1½ tsp fast-action yeast
1 free-range egg
300ml tepid milk
125g mixed dried fruit

THE TOPPING
4 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp boiling water
1 egg 
golden syrup 



The first thing you want to do is melt your butter. You can do this either by popping it into the microwave for a few minutes, or by pouring boiling water into a bowl, and putting your butter into a smaller bowl and placing it on top of the water. 

Whilst your butter is melting, start the mixture by sifting your flour into a large mixing bowl. Next add the salt and your ground mixed spice. By now your butter should have melted so add that into the bowl and mix it all together. 


(I should probably mention that this is not one for those who don't like getting their hands dirty!)


Now create a well in the centre of your bowl. 
Add in your sugar, lemon zest and yeast. 

In a separate bowl beat your egg and pour in your milk. 
Mix them both together before adding them to the rest of the mixture. 
Pour in gradually, mixing with a wooden spoon as you go along. If you find your mixture is too dry then just add a touch more milk.

Take out your dough onto a flour-sprinkled surface and roll in your mixed fruit. 


Knead dough for about 5 minutes until the fruit in is properly mixed in and the dough becomes elastic-y. 


Place your dough into a large bowl and cover it with a tea towel.
Leave in a warm place for an hour or so. I put mine in the oven at a very low temperature. 

When you take it out your dough should have risen. 

Separate the mix into 12 and roll them into individual balls. Press down gently to flatten and create a hot-cross bun shape. 




Grease a baking tray and place your buns on there, making sure they are not too tightly packed together as they will expand.

Leave for another 30 minutes in a warm place. 
Whilst you're waiting, mix together your flour, sugar and water for the crosses. Also whisk an egg in a separate bowl. 
After 30 minutes create a cross indent on the top of each of your buns using the flat side of a knife. Fill these crosses with your paste using piping. Give your buns a sweep over with the egg wash. 

Pre-heat oven to 160. Cover your tray and buns loosely with grease-proof paper. Place tray into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. 

Remove the grease-proof paper and return tray to oven for a further 10 minutes until they become a lovely golden brown. Keep an eye on them for the last bit to make sure they don't burn!  

Put them on a cooling rack and coat the top all over with golden syrup.

When you're ready to eat, turn on your grill, slice the bun in half and place on baking tray with the insides facing upwards and pop them in for about 2 minutes.  




Last and final step: spread a generous helping of butter onto your bun and take a bite. Enjoy that deliciously fresh taste of homemade bread infused with the sweet blend of mixed spice and lemon. Ever want to buy a super-market bun again? No? Thought not!






So there you have it - the recipe to a perfect tea-time treat!

A x
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