Wednesday, 30 July 2014

July Favourites

Upon compiling these few bits that I've been loving this month I realised that over half of them are things that I've been using to make sure I smell good this month. It's been so hot and muggy here in July that things like a good deodorant are super important.

Black Clutch Bag 
So, I went a little crazy this month and actually left my house for an evening out. I realised that I don't actually own any clutch bags or even small handbags for taking out with me on a night out. I ventured into Penneys and found this beauty for only €3, which for the amount of use I will get out of it was about all I was willing to pay for a clutch. It's exactly what I was looking for, super simple, matte black faux leather effect with gold detailing and I am in love with it. I may even have to go out a few more times just to use it. 

Last week, I talked about the body butter and scrub from this range, you'll find my review here. I decided to use up the body wash this month as it smells amazing. That's all I'm really looking for in a body wash and this delivers. The smell also lingers on your skin for quite awhile after, so I find myself sniffing my own arm at various points of the day.

Maybelline The Rocket Volum' Express Mascara
Everyone has been raving about this mascara for so long and I am now ready to jump on the bandwagon. It does exactly what it says on the tin, creates amazingly voluminous lashes with no clumps in sight, fabulous! 

Like I said above, it's really important to keep yourself smelling fresh all day. This deodorant does exactly that. This has been a favourite of mine for many months now but I decided to add it to this months favourites as it has been well and truly put to the test this month. 

I am a big fan of body sprays, I think they're great to keep in your handbag or overnight bag and spray generously throughout day. something that you're unable to do with a perfume without using up a whole bottle. I'm really enjoying this one at the moment as I find that the scent actually sticks around, so I don't feel like I'm just using it as a room spray! On the boots website the scent is described as "a sparkling creation of mandarincherry and white musk", in case you were wondering. 

So those are the things that I have been loving this month! Leave a comment below telling me what your favourites have been in the month of July! 

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Chocolate Swirled Banana Cupcakes

Chocolate Banana Cupcakes

I can't believe it's Sunday again and I haven't blogged since Wednesday. I knew I couldn't go more than a week without posting a recipe though. That's something I want to keep to, if nothing else. I do really miss blogging though, and I cannot wait for my two days off this week to just sit down and blog. Anyway, this week  I am bringing you Chocolate Swirled Banana Cupcakes. Anything that includes chocolate is always a hit for me and there's nearly always bananas in my kitchen that need to be used up.

Banana bread was the first thing that I ever made from scratch, so it's an old favourite of mine. I decided a few months back, after getting bored of the plain banana bread recipe that I would throw some chocolate in the mix, to change things up a bit. This got mixed reviews in my house, some people didn't like the chocolate taste with the banana, but I liked it. As I said earlier, anything with chocolate in it, I will probably eat.
These cupcakes are so easy to make and I made around 18 cupcakes with this recipe. Happy baking!

Chocolate Swirled Banana Cupcakes


150g caster sugar
120ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 bananas
220g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp vanilla extract
3tbsp cocoa powder

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and line the cupcake tin with cases. 

2. In a large bowl, mix  the flour, cinnamon and baking powder. 

3. In a separate bowl,  whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. 

4. Mash up the bananas, in the third smaller bowl. 

5. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until they're fully combined. 

6. Fold in the bananas.

7. Take two small bowls and divide up the mixture, 1/3 in one bowl and 2/3 in the other. 

8. Add the cocoa powder to the bowl with the smaller amount of mixture, add 2 tablespoons of milk if it becomes to dry. 

9. Place 1 teaspoon of the plain mixture into the cupcakes cases, followed by a teaspoon of the chocolate mixture, then a further teaspoon of the plain mixture on top. Continue to do this with all the cupcakes.

10. Swirl the mixture in the cases, lightly, with a toothpick to make the swirls. 

11. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Sandal Ready Feet

Today I am tackling the subject of a certain body part that most people do not like to talk about, feet. Before you click off this instantly after hearing the word "feet", I promise you there will be no foot close ups or I will not be letting you know the full extent of my foot neglect. I just want to show you guys the little routine that I put into action when it's time to ditch the heavy socks and boots and bring out the sandals.

Firstly, I soak my feet in a dish full of warm water. Most of the time it's more like hot water because I find that softens them the best. I then go in with generous amount of Soap & Glory's Scrub Of Your Life, I mostly use this on my heels. I would also suggest buying a foot file and using it after you wash off the scrub to really get your heels nice and soft. After that, I soak them again, in clean hot water. All that's left do then is to pat your feet dry and apply a generous amount of moisturiser. I use Boots Extracts Cocoa Butter Body Butter all over my feet and I then go in with Soap & Glory's Heel Genius on just my heels. I would suggest putting on a big pair of fluffy socks until all the moisturiser has been absorbed.

My favourite kind of polish to apply on my toes is Rimmel's Salon Pro Nail Varnish. The one pictures here is in the colour, Jazz Funk. I find Gel Effect nail varnish's look best on the toes. They last a super long time and they look really good and shiny for quite awhile. Minimal touch ups required!

Anyone else guilty of neglecting their feet?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Sunday Soup: Carrot, Orange & Lentils

So, my blog has been somewhat lacking in posts this week and I must apologise for that. I really haven't felt myself at all this week and I started my new job yesterday. After breaking my camera and realising that the quality of my photos was going to be awful (and has been for a few posts) it really got me down. I know photos aren't the most important thing about the blog, but in my opinion they are something that needs to be of good quality. So now I am stuck as to what to do next. I'm thinking of buying a compact canon camera that will do me until Christmas when I've saved up some money for a DSLR. I hate uploading a post with really bad quality photos, it doesn't look good and I know people will notice. I'm hoping to get organised on my few days off before working the end of the week & weekend. I really enjoy blogging and I always feel bad when I don't post regularly!

However, earlier this week I started experimenting with soups and although I am well aware of how hot it is, I still can' help myself. I am praying for Winter. I made this wonderful carrot, orange and red spilt lentil soup. The orange makes it quite zest-y and the lentils are a great source of protein. The potato is optional depending if you would like to thicken the soup up or not. It's been tried and tested by myself and my brother this week and it is a hit. So I knew I had to share it with you guys!

Carrot Orange and Lentil Soup

600g carrots
1 small onion
2 tbsp butter
1 medium potato (optional)
200g lentils
1 zest & juice of orange
2 vegetable stock cubes
800ml boiled water

1. Place the butter in the pan, along with the onions. Simmer on a low heat for five minutes.

2. Add the chopped carrots and potato, simmer for a further five minutes. 

3. Mix together the boiled water and stock cubes, add this to the vegetables. As well as adding the juice and zest of the orange then also add the lentils.

4. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the carrots begin to soften. 

5. Remove from heat and leave to cool before liquidizing with a hand blender. 

6. This recipe makes four big servings and I kept it it in air tight containers in the fridge and freezer!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

FOTD // A Casual Wednesday

At the moment, I can't do an "Everyday Make Up" routine because I don't wear make up everyday. I think this will be changing soon those as I think I would probably scare everyone at work coming in with a bare face. For now, I thought I would show you the products I throw on my face when I'm just running errands.

As a base, I used the Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation and dotted some of the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer under my eyes and onto any spots. I then used the Mavala Transparent Pressed Powder anywhere on my face that my get oily throughout the day. To add a bit of colour to my cheeks, I used the Natural Collection Blush in Peach Melba.
For the eyes, I kept things pretty simple and used two shades from the Make Up Revolution's Iconic 3 palette. I lined my tight-line with Rimmel Soft Khol Kajal Eye Pencil and added a coat of Maybelline The Rocket Volum' Express Mascara to my lashes.

I apologise for the poor photo of this look. I am awful at taking pictures of myself and taking pictures of make up looks is totally new to me, so hopefully I will improve. 
Leave a comment below letting me know if you liked the format of this post & if you would like to see more of them! 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

REVIEW: Boots Extracts Body Butter & Sugar Scrub

Boots Extracts Cocoa Butter Body Butter:  I'm sure we can all agree that moisturising isn't top on any of our lists of things to do. The only time I really moisturise is when I've just shaved my legs or I'm having a pamper evening. Neither of which happen too often. However, this body butter makes me want to make more of an effort. It smells amazing and leaves my skin feeling super silky soft. The smell also lingers on your skin, which I really like. It't not extremely greasy and doesn't take too long to dry in. I would call it a dupe for the body shop's body butter and at half the price you can't really go wrong!

Boots Extracts Cocoa Butter Sugar Scrub: This is my favourite scrub to use before shaving my legs. It's the perfect consistency, really easy to scrub in, almost melts into the skin. It's not extremely abrasive, so if that's what you're looking for I would try a salt scrub. However, for me and my sensitive skin, this is perfect. Again, it smells amazing and leaves you feeling moisturised before you even use the body butter.

This is my first ever review, so I'd love some feedback. I would highly recommend these products, let me know if you've tried them or anything else from the Boots Extracts range!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

A Sunday Chat

Good morning and happy Sunday to you all! I'm taking a break from "Seven Happy Things" this Sunday and just sitting down to have a chat with you guys. This week has been crazy for me. I feel slightly disconnected with my blog this week and I didn't get the chance to get involved with blogger chats last week.  Exciting things have been having in my life this week though so I thought I'd share them with you.

I finally managed to find a job. This has been an ongoing task for way too long now, which has proved to be very difficult and often just plain upsetting and disheartening. However, I am happy to report that it has happened and I could not be happier. I don't think it'll be something that I will be mentioning on my blog again, as it probably won't be relevant, but as a life event for me, it is huge. I'm hoping that my blog won't suffer massively because of it. I'm excited to see how I'm going to organise everything, I'm sure I will get into the swing of scheduling posts. I feel like a lot more than that has actually happened this week, but it's just such a huge thing that has included a lot of little steps along the way.

My confidence has taken a massive hit in the past two years. I became a lot more shy and reclusive, I had trouble talking to people, online and in real life. I didn't feel like myself and I didn't feel worthy of being around other people. Within the past few months, that has all changed and it is mostly down to this blog and it's readers. It has given me something to focus on and something to be proud of. I'm not as afraid to talk to people, in fact I really enjoy interacting with everyone. So I would just like to say a massive thank you to everyone that reads, comments, follows me on twitter and all that jazz. So I took my new found belief in myself and wandered off into the real world, I would like to think it helped me secure my place in college and my new job. I am so happy I started this blog and I am so thankful to everyone that supports me.

I am extremely excited for all the positive changes that are happening in my life and I hope you guys will stick around to see things out with me. I can see a Boots Haul in the not so distant future, people underestimate how hard it is to be a beauty blogger when you're broke. I have a list as long as my arm of things I am lusting after, you have been warned.

So thank you again and I hope you all have had a wonderful week. Leave a comment below telling me the positive things that have been happening in your lives lately! 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Chocolate & Raspberry Cupcakes

Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Cupcakes

One step down from my favourite ever baked treat, brownies, are chocolate cupcakes. I've made chocolate orange cupcakes before, you can find the recipe here. However, this week I thought I'd try a new fruity addition in the form of some freshly picked raspberries. Creating the perfect chocolate cupcake is something I am still striving towards. Although, everyone's definition of what the perfect chocolate cupcake is like will be different, I'm sure. I think I would rate these a 8/10 on perfect cupcake scale.

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

The addition of the raspberries was wonderful. You're first greeted by the rich taste of the dark chocolate then the sweet, almost sour taste of the raspberries hits and it is magical. This may be how I am justifying the fact that I ate nearly the whole batch in a matter of days. I also added a tablespoon of coffee to the water, which is totally optional but I really think it helped to enhance the flavour of the chocolate. This recipe makes 18 cupcakes and they are super simple to make, I promise! Happy baking!

Dark Chocolate Cocoa powder


60g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
60g dark chocolate
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
120ml vegetable oil
1tsp vanilla extract
140g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1tsp baking powder
100ml water ( +1tsp instant coffee, optional)
250g frozen raspberries

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and line your cupcake tin with cases.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the butter and sugar.

3. Melt the chocolate, leave aside until it is cool to the touch, add to your butter and sugar mixture. 

4. Add in the eggs and egg yolks, one by one. Whisk until fully combined. 

5. Mix in the oil and vanilla. The oil may lay on the top for awhile, so be sure to give it a good mix with an electric mixer. 

6. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Slowly combine with the wet ingredients. 

7. Add in the water and give the mixture on last stir. If you're adding coffee, brew it at normal but leave to cool until it's at room temperature before mixing  it in. 

8. Fill your cases to be about 3/4 of the way full and pop in the oven for 20 minutes. 

9. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Kitchen Wishlist

I have been wanting to make a "Kitchen Wishlist" for awhile now. I am obsessed with cute little kitchen knick knacks and baking utensils. Of course, I had to included the KitchenAid, every girl dreams of some day owning one, right? I also absolutely adore the wooden egg house, we have one in our kitchen at the moment, but it's no where near as adorable as this one. I hope you liked having a look at the things I'm dying to put into my own kitchen. Have you seen anything you like in this wishlist? 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Seven Happy Things #8

You know those weeks in which you have so much going on by the time Sunday rolls around the week seems to have flown and you have no idea what you've done? That's the kind of week I have had. I know this week has been pretty hectic but the days have all muddled into one and I'm finding this Sunday post quite hard. Maybe I should write down my things from the day as they happen. 

  • At the beginning of the week I had a day of just running errands and getting grown up things done. Productive days are great.

  • Tuesday was a baking day. I made Shortbread biscuits, you can find the post about them here. I used my Disney Cookie cutter for the first time and the biscuits looked adorable!

  • I have been letting my hair grow for over a year now. I really should have gotten it cut before now but I just couldn't do it. However, I took the plunge this week and got most of it cut off. I absolutely love it. All the dye has been cut out of it too now so I'm back to my natural blonde colour now.

  • If you read Friday's post, you will know that I had an accident with my camera and it has died. I have spent the last week looking for a new replacement but I am lacking in funds at the moment so for awhile camera photos will have to suffice. I was really worried about the quality being very poor but I was surprised by the pictures I could achieve using my phone.

  • I popped into Boots on Friday after an interview and treated myself to a blusher and a nail varnish. I am very bad at treating myself, I rarely do it these days so I was very happy with my purchases.

  • Yesterday morning, I got up early and made chocolate and raspberry cupcakes. They were amazing and I ate too many of them. I cannot wait to share the recipe with you guys next week!

  • Sunday has found it's way around again and as I am writing this I am contemplating taking a nap and then eating the rest of the cupcakes I made yesterday. Sunday's are not my favourite days. 

That has been my week! I'm feeling very nervous right now, I'm hoping for good news tomorrow, trying to send out positive vibes.
 I hope you all had a wonderful week, let me know what you have been up to! 

Friday, 4 July 2014

Best Ever Shortbread

I have decided to call this the "best ever" shortbread because I have tried a lot of different recipes and chopped and changed between different ingredients to get the perfect shortbread. It may seem super simple (which it is) but I found that depending on how much of each ingredient you use and which sugar you use, the end result can differ. I also added a little something extra in the form of vanilla sugar that my Mum happened to randomly pick up last week which proved to be the perfect addition to these biscuits.

Unfortunately, there was a fatality while I was baking these biscuits, my camera fell off the kitchen counter and onto the tiled floor. The lens has gone all funky, and because my camera is a bridge camera, the lens is attached so therein lies the problem. The pictures of the biscuits in the making were taken on my camera, before it's incident but the pictures of the finished product were taken on my phone, hence the horrific quality. If anyone has any recommendations on a good DSLR that isn't too expensive, I would really appreciate it.

You'll notice that I took this opportunity to use my Disneyland Eiffel Tower cookie cutter and also that I then got annoyed with using it so the rest out with a circle cookie cutter instead. In theory, it seemed like a great idea to use my Disneyland souvenir, but it turned out not to be so practical as it is an awkward shape. They did come out looking adorable though and I will definitely be bringing it out for special occasions.

What I would usually do with shortbread, would be dip one side in chocolate or drizzle some melted chocolate over the top. However, we didn't have any chocolate in the house at the time I was baking these. Don't worry though, this problem has been rectified and we are now fully stocked with chocolate. This recipe makes about 20 cookies, depending on what shape you decide to cut them into. Happy baking!


300g plain flour
150g caster sugar
50g icing sugar
200g butter, softened
1tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp water
4tbsp vanilla sugar/caster sugar, for sprinkling

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, two types of sugar and vanilla extract with an electric mixer. You need to mix this really well, until there's no chunks of butter left. 

2. Gradually sieve the flour into the bowl. Combine together with your hands. 

3. Add in the water and continue to mix together. Wrap in cling-film, place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Grease a baking tray or line with parchment paper. 

5. On a floured surface, roll out your dough to be about 1cm thick and then cut into your desired shape.

6. Place on the baking tray. Using a fork prick a few small holes in each biscuit then sprinkle with sugar.

7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until slightly golden. 

8. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack until completely cooled. 

Thursday, 3 July 2014

June Favourites

It seems that I'm slightly late to the party with this month's favourites. It's been a hectic week with lots of exciting news. My Thursday post was going to be my favourite shortbread recipe but that will have to wait until tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that. Back to the task in hand, what I have been loving this month! 

Coconut & Almond Leave In Conditioner - This product featured in my hair care post, so it is a staple in my hair routine. However, when I went to Paris earlier this month, I couldn't bring it with me as it was over the 100ml liquid limit and I was unable to find a travel size spray bottle in time. In those five days without it, I realised how much I rely on it when my hair is wet. I drench my hair in this before I brush it out after I shower and it makes it so much easier to brush through. I have just got all my hair cut off into a bob though so I don't think I will need as much of those but at just €2 a bottle, I will definitely continue to pick this up.

Simple Kind To Skin Moisturising Facial Wash - I used this facial wash to wash my face after removing my make up with a wipe. It removed every trace of my make up and left my skin feeling so soft. The boy also used this, while it did leave his skin moisturised, it also broke him out, which just goes to show how products work differently on different skin types. This is just a travel size but I will be repurchasing a full size when this runs out.

KIKO Nail Laquer in 344 Light Misty Green - I mentioned this in my Paris Haul, I got the colour wrong though. None of the nail polishes have names on them, just numbers, that don't match up to the names or numbers shown online. I had been looking for this colour for such a long time, so when I saw this one I knew it had to be mine. I've had it on my nails ever since returning home. It takes just two coats to gave a very opaque colour and there is minimal chipping with this polish.

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor Deep Conditioner - Again, I just have a travel size of this product but I do have a reason for this. I find that with Aussie products my hair gets used to them really quickly so I only use it once every so often. However, I used this for the second half of this month and I found that it took a lot of the frizz out of my hair, as well as making it smell uh-mazing. I may have to pick up the full size.

So that is everything I have been loving this month. I usually have a TV favourite too but I am still making my way through Gilmore Girls (still perfect) so that's pretty much all I've been watching this month. 
Leave a comment below telling me what your favourite things have been this month!