Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

My Top 14 Winter Products

Winter is a time of year that can wreak havoc on your skin, and here in the UK, we're in the midst of it. Going from hot to cold throughout the day is never good for the old pores, and chapped areas seem to increase in their size and numbers when the temperatures plummet. Today I've rounded up 14 of my Winter saviours that I can't live without in the colder months.

1. Vaseline (Rose and Almond Oil) 

Vaseline becomes my saving grace when the temperatures start to get a bit colder and I love that this one has a slight rosy tint to it if I'm just not feeling lipstick that day. If I'm going out out or to somewhere when I quite fancy a bit of a stronger colour, I'll usually apply this before I start my makeup so they have a bit of time to absorb the rosy goodness and make it easier for my lipstick to stay put.


2. Soap and Glory Hand Cream - £6


Without sounding like a middle class aristocratic woman, this hand cream smells absolutely divine. I usually carry this round in my handbag as it's the perfect size and then I'm ready for all occasions. I find this one is slightly thicker than some others I've tried, but it doesn't leave your hands feeling greasy or risk you dropping your phone after 0.265 seconds.


3. NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream (Madrid) - £5.50


If you're looking for a deep red/berry shade for the Winter months then look no further. I found this shade in my local boots and after swatching about 6 slightly different versions of it, I treated myself to this one. It's a little bit darker than something I would usually go for as a pale girl, but I feel like you can get away with shades like this when the festive season starts. One of the reasons I always go back to NYX is because of the applicator: I find that you don't need a lipliner because you can be quite precise, and they last for hours without needing to reapply (ok that's two reasons...)


4. Aveeno Daily Moisturiser - £7.65


I tend to suffer from quite dry skin in general, but more so when the weather gets colder. I started using Aveeno a few weeks ago and I already love how soft it makes my skin feel. I usually it as an all over moisturiser after showering and secretly hope that it'll turn me into Jennifer Anniston.


5. Aussie Reconstructor Oil - £9.99


I don't know if anyone else finds this, but my hair hates winter. I have dry hair in general, but I think the mixture of being in the cold and then going inside to heating doesn't do it any favours. I find this Aussie oil doesn't make my hair look greasy when I use it, but I tend to only use it on damp hair and then blow dry. 


6. Sally Hansen Miracle Cure - £9.99


Is it just me who finds their nails don't cope well with the cold weather? I was bought this as a present a few years ago and loved it, but only reaffirmed my love of it recently as it isn't a cheap product, but I really think it works much better than others I've tried. Treat yo self!


7. Urban Decay Naked Palette - £38.50


I tend to reach for this Naked Palette more than the other two in general, but especially when I want a more goldy, smokey eye look for Christmas. For everyday makeup I tend to use 'Buck' and 'Naked' all over the lid and normally leave it at that, but for a more festive look, I go for 'Sidecar' and 'Half Baked'.


8. Benefit That Gal Primer - £22.50


I received a sample of this a couple of months ago but kept it in my 'sample box' (cringe) as I was in the middle of another primer but I picked it up the other day to give it a try and loved it. I've only been using it for about a week, but I will definitely be purchasing a full size one when I've run out of the current one.


9. Garnier Ultralift Day Cream - £10.49

Ever since a beauty therapist told me you should start using anti-wrinkle cream at 25 (I'm 26 and apparently late to the game...) I've been on the hunt to find one that I like. Although I haven't noticed a drastic change in my 'fine lines and wrinkles' (although at this point I'm hoping this is more of a preventative measure) I do love how thick this moisturiser is and nourishing on the skin.


10. Clinique Pep Start Eye Cream - £25


I've tried all measure of products to get rid of my dark circles, and although this cream doesn't specify that it does that, I've really enjoyed using it for Winter puffiness. I tend to get quite sore, red eyes when its cold, and this is a good cream to use when you just want a bit of soothing. I tend to mainly use it at night after I've taken my eye makeup off.


11. Nivea Eye Makeup Remover - £3.89


I picked this up at the end of summer when a lovely woman in Sainsbury's recommended it to me after my usual Simple one was out of stock. I usually don't take my mascara off every night because quite frankly, it takes me too long and I'm lazy, but with this dual effect formula, it literally takes seconds. And bonus... I don't wake up with mascara smeared all down my eyes.


12. Revlon Primer - £12.99


Until I tried this as I had read some positive reviews on people's blogs, I had never really tried anything by Revlon. It's one of those brands that you see in Boots but never really feel the need to wander over to because you know what you like, but in all honesty, I really, really love this primer. It's not as heavy as some of the other ones I've tried, which I really like, goes on easily and lasts all day.


13. Original Source Shower Gel - £2.30


Original Source have done a lot of work recently with some familiar faces in the blogging world, but it was actually my boyfriend who picked this up (manly right?) If I can say one thing about this shower gel it would be that it smells good enough to eat, but please don't... I don't want to get in trouble...


14. LUSH Snow Fairy Shower Gel - £7.95


Keeping with the topic... What can I say about Lush that you don't already know? If you haven't smelt Snow Fairy before, take this as your warning that you just need to! 


I'd love to know your favourite Winter essentials!

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Monday, 14 November 2016

Food | Wren's Christmas Kitchen


It won't come as a surprise to you that like most other 20-something girls, I absolutely freaking LOVE Christmas... but if you know me personally, you'll know that the love starts around July.

One of my favourite things about Christmas (apart from the festive drink choices, watching Elf on repeat, markets, mulled wine and general festiveness) is the food! I'm not talking your traditional Christmas turkey dinner on the 25th, but more so the cheese boards, the salamis, the puddings, the camemberts for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the yule logs, the *omg this market has waffles* waffles, the crepes, the fudge etc. etc. you get the picture.... I bloody love Christmas food!

When I was contacted to take part in this campaign, I thought, why the hell not? It brings together my love of baking (not cooking... I hate cooking) with Christmas! The brief asked for a twist on a Christmas classic so I got my thinking cap on (and maybe asked some of my friends to help/text them over and over again until they gave me an idea, thanks guys!!) and took to the internet.

I originally wanted to do a different kind of Christmas cookie, but when I thought more about it, cookies aren't really that Christmassy to me (but I did a batch anyway...) When I had a look around YouTube, I found this recipe for no-bake, Rice Krispie Christmas puddings which looked simple enough, and were a twist on a conventional Christmas pudding (which lets face it, no one is really that keen on anyway...) To give my puddings more of a twist, I decided to use Chocolate orange instead of regular cooking chocolate, plus I think this gives it more of a festive flavour.

Let's get started... (honestly, these puddings are one of the easiest things I have made and they taste amazing so please please do try this at home!)

You will need;
50g butter (I used stork because I already had this in the fridge, but non-baking butter will work fine)
180g marshmallows
100g rice krispies
200g milk chocolate (this is what I substituted with the chocolate orange)
100g white chocolate for decorating
Holly decorations / red & green fondant icing



Method;
Step 1: Melt the butter and the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water or directly in a pan like so...



Step 2: Mix in the marshmallows and stir until they have melted. (This step did take longer than I expected and I didn't think the marshmallows were going to melt, but they did!)

Step 3: Add your rice kripies in and take off the heat. Stir the mixture well until all the ingredients have combined.

Step 4: Leave the mixture to firm up in the fridge. Once firm, mould into balls and leave on a baking tray in the fridge for a further 15 minutes (I left mine for slightly longer)



Step 5: Melt the white chocolate and put in a piping bag (I actually just used a spoon for this bit as I felt it was easier)

Step 6: Pop the holly decorations on top and back in the fridge to fully set. For my decorations, I used green fondant icing and cut the holly shape out with a cutter. 



Step 7: Eat them! 



How easy was that? And they taste delicious!

If you would like to know anymore information on Wren Kitchens, or any updates on this campaign the campaign can be found here

Enjoy! x

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Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Uncertainty


I didn't feel like I knew what to call this post hence the one word title... I assure you I'm not trying to be cool, punchy or original - in fact it's quite the opposite. But I think it sums up the overall feelings going around the world right now.

2016... where do I start?

What a year... To say 2016 started differently to how it's ending is an understatement: I had such high hopes for this year. 2015 was very tough on me and my family but it ended on a high with spending Christmas and New Year with my favourite people and making promises to myself for the year ahead.

I'm not massively into New Year's resolutions, but I tend to focus more on the things I wanted to achieve for the next year - I was going into 2016 with a new job under my belt with brand new challenges, wanting to put more time and effort into my blog by posting more regularly and really getting into the Manchester Blogging scene overall - some of which I feel I have done to a degree. So where did it all go wrong?

The funny thing is, not one person I have spoken to about this year is saying they've had a good time - not one. Isn't it strange? Maybe humanity as a group was meant to face a tough year to bring us all together (which in some ways it has) but ultimately, it feels as though the world is falling apart around us. I'm not into politics, and I'll be the first to admit that, but what I do know is that my generation hate living in a time of so much uncertainty and in a world where people aren't seen as equals for what they believe, what they do as a job, who they want to marry etc.

We've grown up in a time where men and women still get paid differently for doing the same job, mother's struggle to juggle their newborns with their careers and the amount of women in CEO and MD positions is decreasing... yet women have continued to fight against this regardless. Truthfully, we were so close to having a real woman powerhouse in charge of such a great nation, and it just feels as though the rug has been pulled from under our feet yet again.

But I'm not posting this to be Pro-Hillary and act like I have a degree in American politics...

It's more of an observation that 2016 has managed to not only affect me in ways that I wasn't expecting, but also the world as a whole. Life has been so hard this year, and I just hope that in the years to come, it manages to get a bit easier.

My main aspiration for 2017 is that things will start looking up, not only for me but for the rest of the world. I'm tired of feeling deflated when I read the news, or look at Social Media, and I think it's time as influencers that we do something about it. I'm not saying Social Media is the answer to everything, but as a group, our impact on other people is huge, and if used in the right way, I think amazing things can happen... Or at least that's what I'm hoping; I'm not going to single-handedly try and change the world or anything...

In my own personal life, I'm going in to 2017 without putting too much pressure on it, as I think that was one of my major downfalls this year. I'm not saying I don't have things to look forward to, because I do, but if I don't have high expectations then I can take each day as it comes and appreciate the little things that add to the bigger overall picture.

I've had some of the biggest challenges I've ever faced in 2016. Nothing can be worse than this year in my eyes.

x

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Saturday, 5 November 2016

Fashion | 3 Ways to Style Trainers


I'm not really a trainer wearer... To the gym yes, but in my every day fashion, not really. I don't have anything against them, and in all honesty, I probably need to pick some up as my trusty old Topshop boots are looking a bit worse for wear at the moment, and with Winter really picking up in the UK, they would be a good alternative to ballet flats that may or may not give me frostbite...

When I was sent these Woden Animal Print Trainers, I saw an opportunity to mix up my wardrobe and challenge myself to find three outfits that would work with them.

Outfit 1



Coat - Primark | Jeans - Jamie Jeans, Topshop | Scarf - Primark
Trainers - Woden

For this outfit I went for an autumnal mix of a coat, long sleeve top and jeans combo with the trainers. The one great thing about the animal print was that they mix up a normally quite plain outfit (I am the queen of grey and monochrome) by adding a splash of colour without being too garish like some other animal prints out there. And because the trainers themselves are so comfortable, I ended up wearing this outfit all day!


Outfit 2


Top - H&M | Skirt - Topshop
Shoes - Woden

I know this outfit screams Lily Allen circa 2007, and it is definitely something that I felt out of my comfort zone in, but when I was looking through the pictures I actually didn't hate the look on me, plus it shows how versatile the trainers are. I know a lot of girls swear by trainers and dresses/skirts/shorts, but I have never really been one of them. Although it's slightly too late in the year to bare my legs (plus look how painfully pale they are) I think I could possibly fashion this look more in Spring/Summer. Watch this space! 


Outfit 3


Hat - Zara | Shirt - Topshop | Jeans - Mom Jeans, Topshop
Shoes - Woden

I thought this outfit was the epitome of a casual all year round look. I added the camel hat in to give the outfit more of an autumn feel (plus I bought it last year and still yet to wear it) plus it gives a slight bit of colour to a very simple look. 


This particular pair of trainers retail at £70 on the Tessuti website who have a mixture of men's and women's fashion, not only trainers. These trainers were very comfortable yet sturdier than just a lightweight pair of running shoes, and I would recommend this brand if you are in the market for a new pair of shoes! 



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