Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Top 5 Beauty Picks | October 2016


It's time for a favourites post, and it's been a real long time coming! I have decided to restrict myself and only write about my top 5 beauty favourites so as not to overload the post with products. Trying to narrow it down has made me really have to think about my choices so these really are the best of the best (for me this month)!



See below for waffle about some beauty products...




1. First up is a foundation - the L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Glow to be precise. You are probably wondering what the hell I'm talking about (well you're probably not...) but I bought this in America when I was there earlier this year (read the blog post here) and I am l-o-v-i-n-g it! It's super glowy and a nice coverage (I'm going to say it's medium?) - and it seems to last pretty well throughout the day. My only complaint is that it hasn't launched in the UK and I NEED it in my life always. Pls L'Oréal, sort it out!!




2. Second goes to the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara - a strong claim but I'd say this mascara is still pretty damn good. This was another purchase from the States but a lot more easy to gets your hands on and I would seriously recommend this for length and volume - provided you don't want complete separation (not saying it's clumpy...just, what's the word? ...thickening?)





3. Thirdly, the NYX Butter Gloss in Tiramisu - yas NYX. This lip gloss smells divine and is such a good nude-y pink colour. If you're low maintenance on the lip colour like me then this is perfect because it doesn't require constant checks and top-ups! A classic "my-lips-but-better" but with a shine. I actually recently bought one of my friends this as a gift because I love it enough that I feel everyone needs one.




4. Next up is the Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Collection Face Palette - what a bloody mouthful!! But THIS. I have lusted after the Champagne Pop highlighter for the longest time so when I was raiding the Sephora shelves in San Fransisco I just had to pick this up - 3 blush shades and 2 highlighters - gorge. My fave combo is Amaretto (middle blush shade) and Champagne Pop (left highlight shade).






5. Last but not least, skin care! I have been loving the Soap and Glory Beauty Sleep Accelerator - this is sold as a night and flight cream so I apply it to my face before bed, after my serum and eye cream. Firstly it smells like The Body Shop's Mango Body Butter - so if you like that then you're onto a winner with this anyway - but it also does a good job at moisturising my skin overnight and leaves it looking not-too-shabby in the morning, which I'd say is what you want really! I have recently bought some more products in this range so I'll be testing those out and if I like them, they may feature in a favourites in the future - keep your eyes peeled!





Thanks for reading, I hope you liked it!
What have you been loving recently? I'd love to know.




- I

  

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Chocolate Cookies



I read on Twitter that it was National Baking Week this week which gave me the perfect excuse to bake more for my blog - today it's chocolate cookies!



Recipe:

4 oz (125g) unsalted butter at room temperature
3 oz (90g) caster sugar
3 oz (90g) soft light brown sugar
1 egg
2-3 drops of vanilla extract
4 oz (125g)  chocolate spread
7 oz (200g) plain flour
1 oz (30g) cocoa powder
1 pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
Chocolate of your choice for the chips - I used a bar of galaxy chocolate and half a bar of milky bar (I used the other half for the drizzle)












1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (180 degrees)

2. Cream together the butter and both types of sugar

3. Add the egg, vanilla extract and chocolate spread and beat until smooth

4. Measure out the dry ingredients and sieve them into your mixture

5. Mix together and then stir in the chocolate pieces

6. Place heaped spoonfuls of the dough onto your baking trays - you'll probably get around 6 onto each tray if you leave room for them to spread

7. Bake for 14 minutes and then leave to set for 2 minutes before moving to a cooling rack



Optional:
8. Melt half a bar of white chocolate in a bowl and use a fork to drizzle it over the cookies



Voila!



I've made these so many times before - and they're usually all gone in about a day in our house!



Hope you liked the post!



- I

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Party in the USA



In July I went to America for the first time - it was pretty fab.









We flew into Las Vegas to begin with which was insane - and excessively hot (and I mean excessively - A/C was a godsend). Aside from the heat, the first thing I noticed was the food...WHAT. If it wasn't deep fried, full of sugar or both then was it even food? I wasn't quite 21 at the time of our holiday so I feel as though I didn't quite experience Vegas to the max, but it was cool nonetheless. 











We then hired a car and drove to the Grand Canyon for a couple of nights which was genuinely the most impressive hole in the ground that I have ever seen. 10/10 would recommend.

The Grand Canyon



Sunrise at the Grand Canyon





We  drove back to Vegas, briefly stopping on Route 66 where I embarrassed myself in a local shop by knocking over a fridge full of glass coke bottles (mortifying), and then flew out to San Francisco which, after Vegas, felt like the barren wasteland of the Antarctic - it did mean that I had to purchase a really cool 'San Francisco' hoody that just screamed 'tourist' though, so that was a nice addition. San Francisco was also the place that I discovered IHOP, the place of dreams - petition to bring IHOP to the UK?



San Francisco Skyline - as seen from Alcatraz


We visited Alcatraz whilst in San Francisco too which was really interesting - another recommendation from moi.











Dreamy IHOP Pancakes...


















Yosemite was next and wasn't 
something that I was particularly keen for, but it turned out to be my favourite place of the whole trip - it was so beautiful. I will be going back here without a shadow of a doubt!





Mirror Lake


Yosemite Appreciation - this was during an early morning hike in the mountains


Yosemite Falls






This was followed by 3 nights in Monterey, where the food started to get a bit more normal (finally). We went to the aquarium which was horrifically busy but was pretty cool, and then we went whale watching...which made me feel so sea sick that it lasted for about 2 days... (grim), but we saw humpbacks and about an eighth of a blue whale.








We then drove down the Big Sur, stopping at Cambria and Santa Barbara for a night each and then finally arriving in LA where we stayed for 4 nights. This last leg was the most relaxing part of the trip, which was much appreciated after the hectic-ness we had just experienced, and the LA sunshine was the nicest way to end the trip!


Bixby Creek Bridge

Big Sur

Santa Barbara











The Californian Coast Line - as seen from Hearst Castle
























Hollywood


It was honestly such a great holiday - I am v grateful to my parentals for taking me. Hope you enjoyed the photos!



-I







Sunday, 9 October 2016

Pink Lemon Cake




I know I've not long done a baking post but I have just bought an icing turntable and piping kit so had to give it a try! This is a 3 tiered lemon sponge disguised in pretty pink ombré icing - yum!






For the cake:
9oz (250g) unsalted butter at room temperature
9oz (250g) caster sugar
The zest of 1 lemon
4 large eggs
The juice of 1 lemon 
9oz (250g) self-raising flour

This mixture makes 3 thin layers, you might want to adjust the recipe if you want it to be a bit taller.

For the icing:
14oz (400g) unsalted butter at room temperature
28oz (800g) icing sugar
A few drops of pink/red food colouring

It's a lot of icing! I actually had a bit too much in the end but you can store any leftovers in the fridge in an air tight container.








1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (180 degrees celsius)

2. Grease and line three (if you have this many) baking tins - if you don't, bake in batches!

3. Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the lemon zest

4. Add the eggs one by one and beat mixture

5. Add the lemon juice bit by bit - this is so important because it will curdle otherwise!!

6. Fold in the flour and mix until smooth

7. Split the mixture evenly between 3 tins and bake for 18-20 minutes - or until golden and firm to the touch (you could use the skewer technique here too)

8. Place the cakes on a rack to cool whilst you make the icing...

9. Beat the butter until light and creamy and slowly add the icing sugar to it so as not to create a powdered sugar cloud - you may need to add some milk here to make the icing smoother

10. Once smooth, and once the cakes have cooled, use a small amount to sandwich the layers together and add a thin layer around the edges of the cake - this is a crumb coat and will stop the crumbs sticking to your outer layers of icing!

11. Split the remaining icing evenly into 3 bowls and add a varying amount of food colouring (it doesn't have to be pink!) to each bowl - you are aiming to have three shades of whatever colour you choose so you can create your ombré effect - you can do more colours/shades if you are feeling adventurous!

12. Fill a piping bag with the lightest colour and begin to pipe around the edge of the cake. Once done, fill the bag with the next colour and work down the outside of the cake. Do the same with all the colours

(It was this point where I realised that I didn't have enough icing so had to make some more to fill the hole in the top that would have only had the crumb coat on it - not cute!)

13. You could leave it piped around the edge if you are good at it - or if you like it like that - but I chose to use a spatula and smooth mine out - the piping helped to make the icing evenly spread though so wasn't completely pointless!

14. I then chose to pipe around the top and bottom edge with the extra icing that I had and topped it with lemon for my photos - so pinterest!!










- I





Saturday, 1 October 2016

Editorial: Blush





I have decided to attempt a series featuring some amateur editorial makeup looks. I say amateur because the first is blush, and you could argue that I just look sunburnt...but I hope you like them nonetheless.
















- I

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Strawberry Cream Cake





I appear to be clutching on to the remnants of the summer with this fresh strawberry and cream cake, maybe you'd like to do the same?




Recipe


For the cake:

175g (6oz) unsalted butter (softened)
175g (6oz) caster sugar
3 eggs
A few drops of vanilla extract
175g (6oz) self-raising flour


For the filling/topping:

400g of double cream - the recipe I followed called for 250g but I definitely used a lot more
1 tbsp of icing sugar
A few drops of vanilla extract 
400g of strawberries













  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (gas mark 4)
  2. Grease and line two 7 inch cake tins
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth
  4. Add the vanilla extract, followed by the eggs one by one, and mix until smooth
  5. Sieve and fold in the flour
  6. When the mixture is smooth, split evenly into each cake tin
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown (check the middle is cooked with a skewer)
  8. When the cakes have cooled, whip the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla extract until stiff
  9. Spread half the cream inside the cake
  10. Hull and half about half of the strawberries and lay them on top of the cream
  11. Place the other cake on top of the other and spread or pipe the remaining half of the cream on the top of the cake
  12. Decorate with the remaining strawberries



STORE IN A FRIDGE - unless you want a melted cream cake...




The top of my cake looks a little...rustic?





Alternatively, you can use the same recipe to make 12 cupcakes. I decorated these with just a spoon of cream and a strawberry.





Hope you like the recipe!


- I



Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Guess Who's Back




2016 has been a busy year so far, and it appears that my blog has come to a standstill because of this. I know that I go through phases of posting fairly regularly, stopping for a while, and then following up a few months later with a 'been a while' type of post, and I guess this is just another one to add to my collection.




Here's a very brief summary of my life since I last posted:


  • I completed and passed the second year of my degree (yay).
  • I went on holiday to America - which was amazing and I have about a gazillion (no really) photos, which I will share some of and some point.
  • I turned 21 - where I had the cutest tea party (which will be the focus of another post I'm sure).





I can't wait to get writing again and basically use this blog to document my beauty chats and fun days out.


Here's hoping to regular posting - rhymes like this will not be a frequent occurrence.


 - I


Friday, 29 January 2016

January Favourites | 2016




Hello!

In typical blogger style I'm going to ramble on about things I've been liking over the past month. I haven't written a favourites post in ages (I don't think) but 2016 is a fresh start so maybe I'll be writing one every month from now on...we'll see.

Things for my face:

1. L'Oréal True Match Foundation - a recent purchase to break away from my usual bases and a great decision. Build-able coverage with a dewy finish - perfect for day and night.

2. Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer - who doesn't love this? I've loved this product for a while but I thought I'd give it a little shout out for brightening my under eyes around the stressful time of deadlines and exams.

3. L'Oréal False Lash Sculpt Mascara - saw this was a new release recently and made an impulse purchase based on the face that L'Oréal mascaras are yet to let me down, and this does not disappoint. This product has a really unique wand that gives long, voluminous lashes. The product does clump a little when new but once it dries out a little it works a treat.




Things to fill my time: 


4. Vampire Diaries - needed a new series to binge watch on Netflix since I finished Making a Murderer. I've been enjoying watching vampires cause havoc more than I probably should but I have no shame!

5. Actually going to the gym. Yes, I know. I'm as shocked as you are. If you didn't already know, one of my New Year's Resolutions was to use my gym membership, and whilst it took a couple of weeks, I finally got round to it. I don't have a set schedule or routine yet but I actually find myself wanting to go and get a work out in, which means I am sticking to a resolution - even if it is mostly for procrastination purposes!

6. Finishing all deadlines for the semester. Self-explanatory: I'm free!! ...for a few days before my new timetable starts but I will revel in my lack of responsibilities for the weekend, I'm sure.




What have you been loving this month?




Talk soon,
Imogen. xo



P.S. I hope you noticed (and like) my new theme I've got going on


Sunday, 17 January 2016

Very Berry


Hello,


This is the makeup post I promised in my New Year's Resolutions post but it's been over two weeks since then.. I blame second year uni issuing enough work to provide a nice layer of insulation for my arctic uni house, whilst simultaneously crushing my hopes and dreams as it does so. Despite my work load, I felt the need to upload this makeup look whilst it's still seasonal - it also acts as a great procrastination method...



This look is my take on berry eyes and berry lips. I can't remember all the products I used but the eyeshadow is MAC's cranberry and the lipstick is Topshop's Called Up. This look would be perfect for a night out in the colder months, or a slightly toned down version could be great for everyday.

** You could tone it down by keeping the eyeshadow to a light wash, or by using a tinted lip balm or gloss instead of having such a bold lip.





The photo quality isn't great because I took these on my phone, but I just wasn't happy with any that I took on my camera!



Thanks for reading!

Talk sooner than last time,
Imogen, xo