26 April 2013

NOTD: Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint

I know I'm a little late to the party here but I've only recently picked up one of Barry M's Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paints. Today I'm sporting the shade 'Prickly Pear' which is a really nice lilac. 

So what's different about these compared to their normal polishes you ask? Actually you probably already know as I'm that late on the bandwagon but I'll tell you anyway. These Gelly Hi-Shine paints have been formulated to 'provide an extra glossy finish' and yes, as the name would suggest to make your nails look gel-like. 

I guess the real question is do they do as they claim? Well I've only tried one shade but from what I've seen they do an alright job of achieving that glossy effect. Maybe I was expecting too much but for one I thought it would be a lot shinier - I can't say it stood too far out on the front line against any of my other polishes.

That being said I genuinely do like the formulation of this polish; it applies evenly on your nails leaving a smooth coat of colour and the pigmentation is stronger than their normal nail paints. I applied two coats and found that the drying time was pretty average so luckily I had distraction in the form of Escape to the Country (ha ha, I'm such an old woman) so that I didn't go and mess up the polish before they dried. 

Overall I think these are great polishes and for a bargainous £3.99 you can't really go wrong! I've got my eyes set on the bright pink and orange colours next. You can check them out online at Boots here. Have you tried any of the gelly hi-shine paints? 

A x

24 April 2013

Carrot Cake

I meant to post this a while back but better late than never hey! Anyway the 18th March marked my mum's 30th (ha ha) birthday. Being the wonderful daughter that I am I decided to make her favourite carrot cake.
Instead of cheating like last year and using the Betty Crocker mix and insisting it was all me, I decided to bake it properly from scratch. This called for a little expert guidance so I enlisted the help of good ole Jamie Oliver. This was a good move. It's true that the healthiest thing about carrot cake is the name but that's totally excusable when tastes as delectable as this one did. 

Needless to say it didn't last long. 

If you want to have a go at making this then click here for the recipe. It does require you to get your hands on a quite a few ingredients and more spices than your basic sponge but the result is a truly yummy cake that you can imagine enjoying over a good catch up with an old friend in a cute cafe, whilst sipping on mugs of tea. If you drink tea that is. Still being fully intact with my youthful taste buds I'd have a huge hot chocolate with a mountain of cream and marshmallows, but you get the idea.

A x 

12 April 2013

Hey, Sheryl

The other day I got some post.   

I don't know about you but receiving parcels always really excites me even though I usually know what it is. 

However this delivery was particularly exciting as it was something I had been lusting over for a while and here they were, finally mine! (I feel like that would be a cue for manic laughter, it wasn't meant to sound that creepy.)

Say hello to my new Sheryl Platform Slingbacks from Topshop. 

Ain't they beautiful?

Kit Kat chunky and ridiculously high, these heels are surprisingly not as hard to walk in as you'd expect. However I haven't managed to put them to the real test of a night out just yet, but from tottering around the store and of course my own bedroom, I found them to be pretty comfy.

Here's how I styled them last weekend for a friend's birthday meal and drinks. 

top - h&m sheer white blouse // bottoms - topshop leigh jeans // shoes - topshop sheryl slingbacks
I didn't actually end up wearing them as we were in such a rush as usual that I forgot to swap them over from my driving flats before we sprinted across the car park to the restaurant 30 minutes late! Oops. But we can just say we were fashionably late, right?

I know they're kind of bulky and won't be to everyone's taste but I love me a huge fat heel - so much easier to walk in than stilettos. At £85 a pop they're not too good for the old bank account but they are 100% real leather which is great and probably the reason for the hefty price tag. If you're interested in getting a pair then check them out online here. They also come in tan and taupe which are both lovely so you'll have some decision making to do!

Overall I just adore them. What do you think?

A x

10 April 2013

Triple Chocolate Cookies

In a recent post I mentioned that I had a go at making Anna's amazing triple chocolate cookies which went down a treat with my friends. They are super easy to make and seriously tasty so I thought it was only right to share this yummy little recipe. 

200g unsalted butter
300g caster sugar
1 large egg
275g self-raising flour
75g cocoa powder
three BIG bars of chocolate (white, milk and dark)
a splash of milk

Start by mixing your softened butter and caster sugar in a big bowl then add in your egg. Once it's formed a smooth consistency, sift in your self-raising flower and cocoa powder. Lastly break up your bars of chocolate and throw them into the mix. It will probably be very dry at this point so add a dash of milk just to soften it a tiny bit - you still want the dough to be slightly firm so it will hold shape. 

When you're happy with your mixture, take a small handful and roll it into a ball. Lay it onto a tray covered in grease-proof paper and push down gently so it is more of a cookie shape. Make sure to space them out giving the cookies enough room to expand. Once your tray is full, pop it in preheated fan oven at 220°C (200°C for non-fan) for 10 mins. When the time is up, your cookies should still be quite soft so leave them to cool for half and hour. 

Finished result:

Someone was pretty happy with their cookie...

If you want to serve it a la Ben's Cookie style then pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds before you eat. No more, no less. This has been trialed and tested by my friend R and she swears by it. The result will be a deliciously warm cookie with oozing chunks of chocolate. Mmm dreamy... 


A x

4 April 2013

REVIEW: Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation

With the arrival of Spring and warmer weather (I know, I know. I'm being optimistic here, okay!) also comes the search for a more suitable foundation. By this I mean something with a little less coverage, slightly lighter on the skin and a tad more radiating. Succumbing to all the hype around Revlon's most recent foundation release I went out and bought myself a little bottle of Nearly Naked in 150 Nude.

Being a massive fan of the Revlon Colorstay edition I had high hopes for this foundation. I tested it out on my hand a few weeks before actually purchasing it and I kind of knew it would end up joining my collection sooner or later. Despite not really being able to compare the two against each other as they have been formulated to achieve different finishes, I have to say that both are equally high in quality. 

Nearly Naked is a silky smooth liquid foundation with a light consistency. When applied on my face using just fingers it blended seamlessly onto my skin. It's definitely not a matte finish but regardless of what I've read from other reviews personally I wouldn't say it was completely dewy either. Just somewhere in between. It allows light to reflect off in the right places which helps it to look natural yet radiating. Overall it somehow just makes your skin look really good without looking like you're wearing too much. In that sense the name is well suited to the product. Well done, Revlon. As for longevity it's alright, nothing amazing. It looks nice on the skin once you've applied it but I felt like an hour later it looked even better. Around the 6 hour mark I was need of a touch up through the t-zone as I hadn't powdered after application so it probably would have lasted longer if I had.

1. Nearly Naked bottle | 2. Blob on the back of my hand | 3. Foundation blended in
I like the glass bottle packaging but yes, Revlon have gone and let many people down again with the absence of a pump which, if I'm being honest, doesn't bother me too much as I've gotten used to it but I can see the inconvenience this would cause if you needed to do your makeup on the go. Other than that all is well from the outside. 

Here are the before and after shots so you can get an idea of the coverage. Now as you can see my skin is far from perfect and I look really scary without makeup so I'm sorry to spring this on you! (someone at work even asked me if I was ill when I came in bare faced one day, not doing that again!) About a week ago I suffered a huge breakout around my chin and cheeks where I literally never get spots and I wasn't going to post this but then I thought F it. Sometimes you gotta stop being so vain. It also gives you a better idea of the foundation's performance this way. 

It evened out the redness, scarring and hyperpigmentation leaving my skin with a smoother looking complexion. However it by no means completely masked my skin, allowing my rosy cheeks and freckles to still show through. As it is very sheer you can build it up with a second layer to achieve medium coverage and use a concealer for specific areas. 

Something I probably should have mentioned earlier is that I have normal/combination skin and up until now I've always steered well clear of foundations that don't produce a matte finish as I was worried they would make me look shiny but this is just so natural looking, I really love it. Great for those ironic 'no makeup' makeup looks. And it has SPF 20... yay! 

At £8.99 I think it's fairly priced for something so promising. Available to purchase in Boots, there are 10 different shades in total, however not all shades may be available in store so you can also buy them online here

I'm super impressed with Revlon as a brand in general. Their standards are high and even though they aren't the cheapest makeup brand on the high street I feel like most the products are worth the cost and they keep coming out with great releases. 

Have you tried out Nearly Naked? What are your thoughts?

A x

3 April 2013

Time For Tacos (+ Midnight Skating Antics)

Every month I meet up with my fellow gap year chums and we enjoy an evening of food and catching-up. As I recently got a new camera (Canon Powershot G15) I thought this would be a good time to try it out especially as it's a lot easier to carry around compared to my big Nikon, so I thought I'd share a few snaps with you!

April's Mexican themed dinner soiree was hosted by my bestie, B. We were all assigned a section of the meal to prepare. R arranged starters which kicked off with Doritos, carrot and cucumber sticks, Ryvita thins and plenty of spicy dips. Yummy.

M provided a fruity concoction of drink which tasted suspiciously like J20... 

The main which consisted of tacos was served up by the hostess herself with assistance from her helpful boyfriend who even greeted each guest at the door and hung up all our bags and coats. What a gentleman, eh! 

After a break of nibbles and gossip we decided we were ready for my favourite part of any meal: desert. This task was taken on by P who made a delicious strawberry topped flan, and myself who made Vivianna's naughty Triple Chocolate Cookies. 

Several servings of various deserts later someone got their pose on.
Someone remind me why we're friends?! Heheh...

After indulging in more food than entirely necessary we were all about to head home with sleepy heads and full bellies when R got a text from her mum checking if she had a house key. When she had a look to check, she also discovered she had the key to her indoor skate boarding park which we decided to take full advantage of, regardless of the fact that none of us could skate. Annoyingly my camera ran out of battery at this point but here are a few photos taken from my phone so sorry about the bad quality! 

Here's the lowdown on how us pros got on:

M was having a whale of time letting her inner skate chick run wild...

...Until she had a nasty fall and had to take time out with the company of an ice pack.

Meanwhile P whizzed around showing off her skills on the scooter...

And L taught attempted to teach me how to skate. Unfortunately due to my lack of balance this didn't go down to well...

So instead B and I sat on the boards and raced down the ramps.

Khloe and Lamar anyone...?

After a few cringe worthy group shots we finally decided to call it a night and head home to our warm beds, satisfied with the fact that we had probably managed to burn off all the food consumed earlier that evening!

A x
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