Instagram

Hello everyone!

I just thought I would write a quick update to let you now that I have started using my Instagram account again for Baking and Bobby Pins. I feel that it is a brilliant platform to share blog posts and discover other bloggers. I’ll also be posting about what I’m up to day to day and lots of coffee/tea/cake photos- sorry in advance!

Please share your Instagram accounts in the comments below and if you’d like please feel free to give me a follow @bakingandbobbypins.

 

 

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Classic Brownies

This is my go to recipe for gloriously gooey chocolate brownies. It has been passed down in my family and is a classic recipe that never fails to deliver the perfect treat for chocoholics like me!

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Ingredients

1 Cup Margarine – Melted

1/2 Cup Caster 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

Optional- Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (as many as you like!)

Method 

Pre heat the oven to 180·c. Melt the margarine and add in the caster sugar, cocoa powder and eggs. Mix in all of the remaining ingredients. Place in a greased pan, and bake for around 20-30 minutes. Once done, allow the brownies to cool in the pan before dividing them.

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USA Haul – Beauty Bits

Ah, America, home of outlet malls and amazing brands you can only dream of getting in the UK! I couldn’t resist splurging on a few things while I was holiday in Orlando, and I couldn’t resist even more sharing them all with you.

First stop was Sephora (surprise, surprise!) and I actually took two trips there. I stocked up on a few essentials, like their skin care line, their own brand makeup brushes and beauty tools, and a few high end goodies.

Sephora have a huge selection of makeup brushes, I was in awe when trying to pick the ones I wanted. Eventually I ended up with the ‘Sephora Pro Blending Brush Large 27’ and the ‘Sephora Crease Shadow Brush 73’. I also picked up a Beauty Blender. Although I’m a devotee to my Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, I’ve heard good things about the Beauty Blender so I thought I’d give it a try seeing as it was a little bit cheaper in the US.

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I recently hit pan on my NARS Laguna Bronzer, and when I went to re-stock, so I decided to buy the NARS Blush/Bronzer Duo in Orgasm and Laguna for the best of both. Sephora has the worst thing for when your queuing… the sample sized section! I threw the Benefit Roller Lash and the Origins Clear Improvements Active Charcoal Mask into my basket at the last moment. They are both really great products that I’d love to buy again in full size.

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I wanted to invest in a new eyeshadow palette. I picked up the Tarte 2 In Bloom.. Which actually smells delicious! This is the first (of many) Tarte products I’ve tried and I’m falling in love with the brand. The neutral palette has a mix of matte and shimmer shades, and is part of their Amazonian Clay Range. My favourite colours have to be Smarty Pants, Rocker, and Funny Girl.

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This next product I totally didn’t just buy it for it’s name… The BECCA ‘Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured’ in ‘Moonstone’. It is a super compact cream highlighter that blend so smoothly into your skin. It is quite subtle, but you can layer it up for a more intense effect. It’s quickly become part of my everyday makeup.

What are your Sephora favs? And what should I definitely pick up next time I’m across the pond?

Thanks for reading! X

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Top 3 Tips for Keeping Organised

I feel like I’ve always been a pretty organised person. Yeah sure there have been times that I’ve been a little bit all over the place, but give me a little while, and I’ll be back on track. Having gotten through tough Uni exams and nearly a year into graduate working life, I think I’ve gotten into the swing of day to day life. So I thought I’d share with you my 3 top tips for keeping organised day to day!

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Keep a diary/ calendar to keep track of events and give yourself reminders…

I’ve always kept a diary, and I recently bought this gorgeous new one while I was in Florida. It’s by the brand Sugar Paper, and was about $10 from Target. I’ll also use it to keep a note of my work hours, deadlines and little reminders.

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I love this wall calendar from Primark which helps to keep myself right on what I’m doing each day. I’ve got it hanging in my bedroom just now as I still live at home.

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Pack your bag the night before and plan your outfit…

I admit I don’t do this every day as I wear pyjamas (aka scrubs) to work everyday, but on my days off and if I have a day out planned the next day I love laying out my outfit for the next day the night before. That way I’m not running around like crazy the next morning deciding what to wear, and have more time to spend on the importance things like breakfast and catching up on Instagram! I usually have everything I need in my handbag, but sometimes I’ll go through it and pop in anything that I’ll specifically need for the next day.

And Finally, Lists…

Yes, I’m one of those sad people who just love lists. Wether it’s for shopping, or things to do, I have to make one to ensure I’m not going to forget anything! I love using the ‘notes’ app on my iPhone for this as I always have it on hand. I feel like if I have 101 things to do, it sets it out clearer for me and keeps me right.

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Being a Witch for the Day

Dragons, wands, broomsticks and butter beer? There’s only one place that has all of those and that’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! I had the most magical and action packed day at Harry Potter World at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure in Orlando, and I wouldn’t have to think twice if someone asked me to go back.

As I walked into Hogsmeade I was greeting by snowcapped hatched roofs and cobbled streets that were nestled with crooked buildings, including the recognisable Three Broomsticks Pub, Honey Dukes sweet shop, and stalls offering butter beer (a must have!). It seemed almost surreal as the heat of the Florida sun baked down on me, but I couldn’t help but be whisked away into the magical universe of Harry Potter.

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We quickly jumped into the queue for Dragon Challenge before it got too busy (We went on the Blue side, AKA the Hungarian Horntail). I’ll say that all of the rides at Harry Potter World are a must do, but the Dragon Challenge is one of the best roller coasters at Universal in my opinion. We then took a tour through Hogwarts Castle, which is like an attraction in itself. The ride at the end of the queue is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which I believe is quite a new ride. It’s definitely not for the faint hearted, as it is so immersive you feel right at the heart of the magical world of Harry Potter. I won’t give too much away, you’ll need to experience it for yourself!

Diagon Alley is the newest addition to the Harry Potter attractions in Orlando. In order to get there from Hogsmeade you need to take a trip on the Hogwarts Express. As you hop off the train it actually feel as though you’ve arrived in London Kings Cross Station- they really have done an excellent job!

Diagon Alley really goes above and beyond. You’re instantly drawn to the eery dragon perched on top of Gringotts Bank (Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is another ride not to be missed!) which breathes fire down on the shops below. The Leaky Cauldron, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and Ollivanders Wand Shop are just some of the stores you can browse while you’re making through your list for your term Hogwarts.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is hands down a must visit on your trip to Orlando. Even if you’re not into roller coasters and rides, it’s the immersive, truly magical experience that counts.

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NYX Dewy Finish Setting Spray Review

Probably like most makeup addicts in the UK, I’ve been loving how easy it is to pick up NYX products now (thank you Boots!) and the product I have been using pretty much every day is their Dewy Finish Setting Spray.

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The reason I went for the dewy finish over their matte finish setting spray is because I have very dry skin, and I hoped that this would help, or at least not cling to dry patches like powder does.

Now I’ll be honest, this is the first setting spray I have ever used, mainly due to the fact that I found other setting sprays quite pricey, and I never really thought I would benefit from it. It comes in a small bottle but it lasts for a while, and it doesn’t have a scent, which is good for me. Once I apply my foundation, concealer, bronzer & blusher, and blend, I evenly spray 2-3 pumps over my face. I wait about 15-20 seconds for it to become ‘tacky’- a little bit like when your waiting for eye lash glue to slightly dry before applying the lashes- and then I take my makeup sponge/beauty blender and gently pat my face. I’ve been doing this for a while and I find it really does set the makeup and leave a nice smooth finish. Before using this spray I always found my makeup to be patchy or even worn off by the end of the day, but now I find it looks pretty good after a long day at work!

Overall I’ve been super impressed with this product, and for £7 (from Boots) you can’t really go far wrong. Give it a go and let me know what you think! What other NYX product have you been loving?

 

Thanks for reading!  X Signature

Toronto Blog

It’s been a few weeks since returning from the True North and I’m missing it so much! I thought I’d write up a little recap of what I got up to when I was exploring Toronto and the Niagara Region with my sisters!

 

Niagara Falls 

This was one of my many visits to Niagara Falls in my life. We had a wonder down by the falls and then went for a wonder up and around Clifton Hill. We stopped by Hershey World for a look around as well.

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My Sister was lucky enough to be working at this music festival doing photography so we got to tag along and help out. It was an amazing experience and we saw some brilliant bands like The Wombats (flash back to 2009!), Daughter, and The Cure.

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Food

Oh my how I missed the food! I may not have been the healthiest, but I was only there for a week, can you blame me? Timmies was first on my list for a food pit stop, and ice caps and the maple dip donut are my new favourites. We took a trip to Fran’s Diner, and had the most amazing diner experience! I would highly recommend the chilli!

To top everything off we went round the corner to Dutch Dreams… A family run ice cream parlour who go above and beyond your average ice cream cone. I had mint choc chip and mango ice cream and said yes to the ‘free toppings’ = cotton candy and lots of fruit!

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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis 

I have to be completely honest and say that Macklemore is the best performer I’ve ever seen live, it’s not just his music, but his personality comes out so well during the show. I had the best night down at Echo Beach- which is also a really cool venue, right on the lake front with sand by the stage- singing my heart out (and trying to rap…) to Downtown and Thrift Shop!

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Take me out to the ball game…! 

We got last minute tickets to see the Blue Jays play against Philly at the Rogers Centre. We won by a whopping 3-11! The atmosphere was crazy. It’s a must do when visiting Toronto!

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Toronto Islands 

On one of the nicest days we took a trip over Lake Ontario to Wards Islands (the Eastern End of the Centre Island). We had a little swim in the lake and had a wonder around seeing all the cute houses. You get the most amazing view of the Toronto skyline at the island as well as on the ferry.

 

Thanks for reading! XSignature

 

June Birchbox Review

Hello everyone! Long time, no post!

I’ve really been meaning to chat all about one of my most recent deliveries, my June Birchbox for some time now, so here we go…

I have to quickly say that this is probably going to be my last Birchbox post for the foreseeable future. I’ve been getting them for only about three months, and I always say to myself “maybe it will be better next month!”, but unfortunately I’ve never really been over the moon with what I have received in the boxes, and I decided to cancel my subscription.

I tried updated my profile on the website to get more tailored boxes, but I was never thrilled with the samples they supplied. I always see boxes from bloggers in North America and in my opinion, they seem to get better items, for better value of money per month.

I’m not saying I will never get Birchbox again, I may give it another chance in the future, but at the moment I’m going to do my research and try out other subscription box services. Any recommendations? Leave them in the comments please! ❤

So I’ll move on to what I received in my box this month. First off I’d like to start by saying I really do like the designs on the boxes- they are very cute-  this month was a Summer theme called “Paradise Found” and I really loved the palm trees on my box.

As usual I received 5 samples…

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Percey & Reed Reassuringly Firm Session Hold Hairspray

This is handy for travelling. From using this product it didn’t really do anything different to what any other hairspray I have used will do. The package design is lovely, however I wouldn’t go on to purchase this product in full size. 

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Whish CC Body Cream

This was an interesting find. I’ve heard all about CC creams for the face, but for the body?Totally different story! This cream smells like Summer in a bottle, with hints of coconut! It adds a shimmery bronze glow to your skin, blends away imperfections and makes it feel super soft. I would consider using this again! 

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Benefit Air Control BB Cream Eyelid Primer

I really wish this came in a bigger size! It primes and colour corrects the skin on the eyelids for smooth application of your favourite eyeshadow. It also has SPF 20 which is brilliant. 

Pure and Light Organic Essential Face Cream 

I’ll be honest, I didn’t try out this product. My skin is ridiculously sensitive that I will only ever use a moisturising cream that I know won’t cause my eczema to flare up. I donated this product to a friend as I’m sure she will benefit from it more than me! 

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Jelly Pong Pong Paradise Pigments in Cake Pop.

Now this is probably one of the only Birchbox samples that I absolutely love. I have been using this lip & cheek stain every day in my makeup routine. It is very creamy and heavily pigmented, that adds a pretty pink pop of colour. I use it mainly as a blusher, and I place a tiny dab onto each cheek and blend it out with my Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. A perk of this product is that it smells like just like sweets! 

 

 

What do you think of Birchbox? And if there are any other subscription boxes that you love, please let me know in the comments below! 

Thanks 

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Quick Update

Hello everyone!

Just wanted to give you all a little update on what I’m up to at the moment. I’m currently in Toronto visiting my Sister, and having an amazing time exploring the city and living it up at some amazing events.

When I’m back I will be posting my regular blog posts and write a summary of my trip, but in the mean time you can keep up to date with what I’m up to on…

                             Snapchat                           Twitter                             Instagram

Speak soon! 

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April Favourites

Hello everyone! I’m sorry this post is a little bit late… But here it is!

April was a busy month for me. It started off quiet and chilled as I was on a family holiday, but by the time I got back I had started working full time, which I know the majority of people do, but I am shattered! 😅 So I was definitely in need of the Monday bank holiday!

Now on to what I’ve been loving this month…

Adidas Los Angeles Grey Trainers 

These little beauties were on my ASOS wish list for a while, and when I saw that they were on sale, I had to pop them into my shopping basket. They’re unbelievably comfy and go with lots of outfits.


NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream

I wanted to try NYX products for a while. I believe they now stock their products in Boots, however I ordered a selection from ASOS. I got two of their Lip Cremes, in the shades Athens and Milan.

I find it leaves a gorgeous matte finish, that lists for ages! But I always make sure to moisturise my lips with my fave lip balm (Carmex) before application!

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Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair – Lush Shower Gel 

I’ll be honest, the name of this product may have influenced my decision to buy it just slightly 🎤… It’s a song from one of my favourite musicals, South Pacific! It smells very fresh and leaves you feeling super clean.

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Sephora Vitamin C Booster Serum 

As mentioned in my Prague Sephora Haul… I’ve been using this almost every morning. I just pop two to three drops into my palms and massage into my face. I find it leaves my skin dewy and glowing.


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