Bourbon Brownies

These little goodies are the perfect step up from your traditional brownie, especially if you are a biscuit lover like I am!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup margarine (melted)

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup all purpose plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

4 tbsp cocoa powder

HOW TO: 

Grease a baking tray with butter and line with grease proof baking paper.

Carefully half each bourbon biscuit in half.

Place bourbon biscuits onto the baking tray evenly spaced out.

Melt the margarine, add in the sugar, cocoa and eggs and mix well until smooth. Add in remaining ingredients and mix well until combined. This mixture is quite thick so can be tricky to work with!

Add the mixture carefully to the baking tray, trying your best not to move the bourbons too much.

Bake the brownies for 30 minutes at 180 degrees, and then leave to cool before removing from the tray and cutting into bourbon sized pieces.

 

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Mrs Valente

We did it! On the 12th of May, we tied the knot! It honestly was the most amazing day of my life, and I now can introduce you to my Husband (eeeek!), Dino. We have been together for just over five years, and as you may have read before we got engaged last July in Disneyland Paris. I wrote a few posts about the intricate process of wedding planning, but since we only gave ourselves nine months, I’m afraid I didn’t get around to sharing too much.

We had an outdoor Humanist ceremony at Prestonfield House in Edinburgh, which had the most picturesque backdrop of the Arthurs Seat which was covered in the yellow veil of broom. Which happens to be one of my most favourite sites of Scotland in the Spring time. We then danced the night away at the same venue celebrating with our nearest and dearest, who travelled from all over (and we mean all over, like Canada, the US, Japan, Italy and Germany!)

Dino and I were beyond lucky to be able to have the most stunning day of our lives becoming Mr and Mrs Valente.

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Christmas Treat

This Christmas it was my turn to be in charge of the desserts. I love doing this for my family, and each year I want to get more creative.

I decided to go for a traditional apple crumble for Christmas Eve, and then a Pavlova for Christmas Day. Truth be told this was my first time ever making Pavlova, but I’m very happy with how it turned out, and even more about how easy it was to make.

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 4 egg whites
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

HOW TO: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C, and line a large baking sheet with grease-proof paper. Using a pencil, place a large dinner plate onto the paper and trace the circumference.
  2. Whisk the egg whites with a hand mixer or stand mixer until they form stiff peaks, then whisk in the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, until the meringue looks glossy. Whisk in the vinegar, cornflour and vanilla.
  3. Spread the meringue inside the circle, creating a crater by making the sides a little higher than the middle. Bake for 1 hour, then turn off the heat and let the Pavlova cool completely inside the oven until room temperature.

TO TOP IT OFF:

I whipped up one large pot of double cream and spooned the mixture onto the centre of the pavlova. I decided to go a little different with the topping and add a mixture of raspberries and blackberries, and add a drizzle of a fruit coulis- I was in Sainsbury’s the night before so I picked up the Mango & Passionfruit Coulis- which surprisingly went really well!

The thing I love about Pavlova is that you can get creative and add a variety of different toppings, and at the end of the day it will still look amazing!

 

Kiehl’s First Impressions

Recently I’ve been really trying to review my skin care routine, and almost go back to basics. As I may have mentioned in previous posts, my skin is ridiculously sensitive. I suffer from the occasional flare up of facial eczema, so I really need to watch what skin care products I use. I stick to my usual prescribed moisturiser, which is a very bland emollient which has worked for my skin for the last six years or so, however in the last few months I found my skin just wasn’t looking it’s best at all. I found it began to look dull, flaky and tired, and I finally came to the point where I knew I needed to do something about it.  I wanted to get into a good skin care routine, you know, the usual cleanse, tone and moisturise… But I first needed to find the products for it.

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After lots of searching online and asking friends I decided to look into Kiehl’s for skin care. I carefully read reviews on other blogs and thought that I would give it a go. I was quite hesitant at first, as they are on the more pricey side, and I’ve never really invested in skin care products in the past, especially high-end brands. I decided to take the plunge and order a few products from their website directly. I went for an eye cream, as I always found my eyes are the driest area of my face, and I suppose it’s never too early to start anti-acing skincare, right?

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I ordered the Keihl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado. All of the reviews said that it was the kindest eye cream for sensitive skin. After using this product for the last 2 months I can safely say that it 100% agrees with my sensitive skin. It does exactly what it says it does; moisturises your delicate eye area. It contains Shea Butter, Avocado Oil and Beta-Carotene.  With all the recent hype over avocados I’ll fully admit I’m not a fan when it comes to eating them, however I really love the effect it has when used in this product. Keihl’s says that Avocado Oil is a rich, fatty-acid emollient, which is known to be the most moisturising of any fruit oil. It has a natural source of Amino Acid proteins, Vitamins A, D, E, and potassium. Helps to restore the natural moisture of the skin.

I ordered the 14ml pot for £22.50. Although this is such a tiny size of pot, you only need a small amount of product each time, so it will last a while.

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The great thing about ordering directly from the Keihl’s website is that you are able to choose two samples of their products to try. I decided to go for the Creme de Corps Body Lotion, and the Daily Reviving Concentrate. I really did love using these products, however I found the Creme de Corps lotion to be quite greasy. I felt that I needed to use the Daily Reviving Concentrate for a bit longer to get the most from the product.

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The next product I bought has become my most favourite part of my skin care routine. It is the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. I only use this facial oil after cleansing my skins in the evenings before bed, and I found it actually helps me relax and unwind in the evenings, thanks to it’s gorgeous scent. The oil contains Squalane (which helps to restore skins moisture), Evening Primrose Oil and Lavender Essential Oil.

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I bought the 30ml bottle for £30. Yes, I do believe this is a bit pricey, however the majority of Keihl’s products are, but I would definitely say that this product in particular is worth it’s price tag. I’m amazed by how it transformed the look and the feel of my skin overnight. I wake up with hydrated, smooth skin which I have been lusting for.

After using these Keihl’s products I will definitely being re-purchasing the Creamy Eye Treatment and the Midnight Recovery Oil. I am very happy that I decided to take the chance to buy them and it paid off.

 

 

Charlotte Tilbury First Impressions

I absolutely adore Charlotte Tilbury! I’ve binge watched her You Tube videos, learning lots of tips and tricks over the years.

I have always really been a drugstore makeup gal, with occasionally splurging on high end beauty products or being gifted them for birthdays and Christmas. However only recently have I decided to purchase some Charlotte Tilbury products to get a taster. I decided to go for the and the Charlotte Tilbury Unisex Healthy Glow, and the Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick  in ‘Penelope Pink’- I adore the name of this lipstick, and it is the perfect every day nude colour! I purchased these products from Feel Unique.

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The Unisex Healthy Glow is a tinted moisturiser that gives a natural glow to the skin. I love a tinted moisturiser, and my go to one is definitely NIVEA’s Daily Essentials Tinted Moisturising Day Cream (at £3.99, you can’t really go wrong). So I was excited to see how Charlotte Tilbury’s £35 tinted moisturiser matched up. When first applied, the product is white and quickly blends into a pigmented cream to give a lovely natural looking tan that blended effortlessly into my skin. I found that I definitely had a subtle glow that I loved, and I’m sure I will love this product even more come the dull Winter months.

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My skin is notoriously dry, and I found this tinted moisturiser really did help with this. It didn’t cling to any dry patches on my cheeks at all, like some foundations and other moisturisers that I’ve tried in the past. The product claims to have “natural moisturising actives that contain a combination of moisture regulating ingredients that mimic bouncy lipids in your skin.” I love wearing this product on it’s own. It is so light weight and doesn’t make me feel ‘cakey’. I loved this so much when I was in Italy, I could just pop some on and blend to give my skin a super natural glow that felt effortless.

The only down side to this product is that it doesn’t contain any SPF, so you will need to add in an extra step for sun protection into your skin care and beauty routine.

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Next up is the lipstick. I have to say it is one of the softest and creamiest lipsticks I’ve used so far. I always have the issue of making sure my lips are ridiculously moisturised with layers of Carmex otherwise the colour will just flake off! However I didn’t have this issue when using the K.I.S.S.I.N.G lipstick. This lipstick also has good lasting power, I regularly top up my lipstick throughout the day/night and this lasted several hours longer than other ones I have tried.

I would say that the colour is more of a nude off-pink rather than a bright pink, but I prefer this, as I am comfortable to wear this on a day to day basis.

I am also in love with the rose gold case! It is so sleek and is definitely my style.

After reading the products description, the product claims to be enriched with their secret ingredient, the Lipstick Tree, which is an anti-oxidant that naturally protects lips from UV damage and external pollution, which is a big thumbs up from me!

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Overall, I was quite impressed with Charlotte Tilbury’s products. I’m very keen to try more and discover some of my new makeup favourites. I get the impression that she truly cares about her products and thinks about each ingredient that she puts into them to make them unique and work well on every skin type.

Have you tried any Charlotte Tilbury products? What did you think, and did you have any favourites?

 

 

A Primark Jo Malone Dupe?

I’m going to fully admit it, I’ve never purchased a Jo Malone product. They are on the pricey side, but I know the quality of the product is well worth it. I lust after their colognes and candles, and even just last week when I was heading to Italy on holiday I had to sample nearly every product at Edinburgh Airport.

When I was browsing my local Primark I decided to head to the beauty section- as you get some decent beauty bargains there- and I kept smelling this gorgeous aroma. I eventually found a new stand which had a selection of reed diffusers, perfumes and home sprays. I was really impressed with the range of scents and how amazing they smelt.

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They have very similar scents to the Jo Malone products, such as Primark’s mandarin & basil, which smelt almost identical to Jo Malone’s lime, mandarin and basil cologne.

This was obviously a very popular product as the majority was sold out. But I managed to get my hands on the mandarin & basil room spray and the eau de parfum rollerball fragrance collection which was perfect as I was able to try out each scent.

The eau de parfum rollerball fragrance collection set came with 6 miniatures of each of their scents. This included; Vanilla Absolute, Amber Noir, Mandarin & Basil, Rose Out, Pomegranate & Black Tea, and Jasmine & Honey.

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I’m fully aware that the quality of these perfumes don’t match Jo Malone products, however I was very impressed with the actually scent of them. The only thing that I have noticed is the staying power. They are strong when put on, but the scent doesn’t stick around for long. This ended up making me apply more perfume as a top up throughout the day, but I didn’t mind seeing as I only paid £8 for the roller ball set.

Overall I’d probably buy the room sprays again and I’ll definitely be back to try out the reed diffusers. I’d say the perfume is good if you just want a light scent, but I can see myself treating myself to a Jo Malone cologne in the future.

 

 

L’Oreal Low Shampoo Review

Since I’ve started wearing my hair natural more often, I’ve done a lot of research into how to keep my hair healthy. The majority of the advice I’ve found is that conditioning is the go to for curly hair- so I invested in various hair masks to try and soften and hydrate my locks. I wanted to know what the best shampoo was to use for curly- and coloured hair, and I stumbled across rave reviews on Low Shampoo.

Low Shampoo is sulphate free (=no foam) which gently cleanses hair, removes impurities and conditions in one step. Sounds brilliant right? The product states that you should use this 1-2 x per week in place of your current hair care routine, however I’ll admit I’ve been using it a bit more.

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The Low Shampoo I purchased and have been using religiously is the L’Oreal Elvive Colour Protect Low Shampoo.

To use this product you apply 10-15 pumps (yep this sounds like a lot, but you get a fair amount of product in the bottle) from your roots to the ends of your hair. I massage the shampoo into my scalp and rest of my hair to ensure I get a good clean. I them leave it on for about 3 minutes while I do the rest of my shower routine. After a few minutes I rinse my hair thoroughly, and style my hair as I normally would.

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I’ve found that after using this product my hair feels clean however very conditioned. I’ve been finding my hair hasn’t been feeling as greasy as it usually has been when I used ordinary shampoo and conditioner. I’m currently on my second bottle and still really enjoying using the product.

I feel that this product works very well for naturally curly hair, as it deeply conditions the curls without making it too greasy or drying it out, which equals frizz!

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L’Oréal Paris Mega Volume Miss Baby Roll Mascara Review

I’m all for trying out new products, especially when it comes to mascara. I’m always on the hunt for a new product to top my favourite Benefit They’re Real- preferably one that’s cheaper too!

L’Oréal’s marketing campaign for this mascara was brilliant. Every time I popped onto my Facebook or Insta, they’re was an advert for the product. I loved how they used bloggers like Just Jodes as well. 

The mascara claims to give mega volume, curl and hold all day. They have a selection of colours to choose from as well; black, black waterproof, indigo, lilac, and teal. I’ll be honest, I’m not one for bright makeup so I went for black (boring I know!).

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Packaging: 

I love the packaging for this mascara, I think it is very simple yet eye catching! The pastel pink and mint green instantly caught my eye when I was browsing the makeup aisles in Boots.

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Brush: 

A mascara wand is the most important thing for me. I normally like thinner wands that make it easier to catch and coat each lash. I also prefer silicone type wands over the classic brush style. The Miss Baby Roll wand is made of silicone, however has a larger round barrell shape, I think this makes it easier to achieve more volume for your lashes. I found this made the application of the mascara trickier, as I kept on getting specks of the product on my eyelid (maybe I might just need more practice!)

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Product & Application: 

I liked the consistency of the product, I felt that it didn’t clump, even when I applied to layers- hurray!

I found that the mascara definitely gave more volume to my lashes which I loved, and I found the results very similar to that when using the Benefit Roller Lash, however the roller lash was a little bit more defined.

Wear:

Like the majority of mascara that I wear I always find it was fade and run down to my lower lash line throughout the day. This happened with the Baby Roll as well. But I did expect this.

Removal: 

Since I didn’t get the waterproof version, I found the mascara very easy to remove. I usually use a makeup wipe to initially remove the product, and then wash my face with cleanser and a wash cloth.

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Egg-travagent Shortbread

Happy Easter Weekend everyone!

I got a little creative yesterday in the kitchen after splurging on all things Cadbury and Easter related! I love making tray bakes, and so I thought I would put an Easter twist on the classic Millionaire Shortbread.

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INGREDIENTS:

Easter chocolates- I used Cream Eggs and Mini Eggs (my favourite!) 

1/2 bar salted butter 

126g shortbread biscuits (You could also choose to make your own shortbread if you like for the base) 

300g milk chocolate 

100g white chocolate 

1 tin condensed milk 

1 tbsp soft brown sugar 

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METHOD: 

Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.

Using either a food processor, or a good old rolling pin and plastic bag, break up the shortbread until there are no large chunks.

Melt the butter and mix into the crushed shortbread until well combined, and placed into the baking tray and flatten with a spoon.

To make the caramel, pour the condensed milk and brown sugar into a pot over heat, and stir with a wooden spoon constantly until thickened. Pour the caramel over the shortbread and smooth out.

Allow caramel to cool and set before adding the chocolate.

Melt the milk and white chocolate (I use a microwave,  however you can use a bowl over boiling water), and pour over the caramel layer.

Next up is the fun part! Before the chocolate is set, drop a couple of hand fulls of Mini Eggs over the chocolate, followed by a few cut up Cream Eggs. Decorate this part however you like!

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Pink Parcel March 2017

I was thrilled with my first Pink Parcel back in February. If you haven’t read my review on it you can check it out here! So I decided to keep my subscription to the service, as what girl doesn’t deserve a little pick me up each month?

I received my March Pink Parcel around a week ago and was so excited to open it and see what goodies were inside. I was pleasantly surprised again with the selection of beauty bits, accessories and sweets.

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As with every box you receive a top up supply on your choice of either sanitary towels or tampons. I didn’t realise how handy this actually was until the last two months since I subscribed to Pink Parcel. I think everyone can relate to the panic of not having one handy or running out completely!

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The first thing that caught my eye was the cute pin from ‘Lapel Yeah’ . It says “Happy Everything”. I love the colour and think it will jazz up a jacket or bag! I’ve got a few Disney Pins on my gym bag so it will fit in perfectly.

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I love having a big selection of lipsticks so I was thrilled to see a full size of Rimmel’s new ‘The Only 1’ lipstick in this months parcel. I fell in love with the colour and thought it was the right timing with Spring just around the corner. The shade I received was ‘120 You’re All Mine’ which is a gorgeous pop of pink. I tested it out and found it very pigmented and moisturising.

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I feel like Pink Parcel know me too well- with last month sending me my favourite peppermint tea- as this month they included a little sachet of ‘Kneipp Bath Crystals Cold Season in Eucalyptus. This was perfect timing as I was on the brink of a nasty cold so this helped me feel so much better.

I’m not a coffee fan, however I wish I was as I love the concept of this next gift, as it is a coffee bag! Yes just like a tea bag but for coffee. It is by ‘London Coffee Bag’  and they specialise in gourmey coffee on the go.

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I also received some lovely toiletries this month; a little sample-size of Dove’s new ‘Advanced Hair Series’ range, the Pure Care Dry Oil Shampoo, and a lovely smelling ‘Boozi Bodycare’ Cheeky Woo Woo Body Wash sample.

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A little packet of the ‘Beauty Papier- Green Tea Blotthing Paper’ was included in the parcel as well. I love the bright leaf print on the packaging! I’ve never actually used blotting paper as I find my skin is dry and I don’t get too much excess oil throughout the day, but I may find these useful during the summer or if I’m on holiday.

Last but not least, I received a treat size ‘Maza Chocolate’ bar- just perfect!

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