Saturday, 15 November 2014

What I'm wishing for this weekend..

Weekend wishlist




Black embellished dress from River Island
White and red bow Christmas jumper from M&S
Pastel pink pea coat from Miss Selfridge
Grey pointed heels from River Island
Ripped knee skinny jeans from Miss Selfridge
Black leather skirt from River Island

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Banana bread breakfast muffins- sugar free recipe.


The moment I spot overripe bananas in my fruit bowl, I immediately make a banana bread loaf because it's my favourite cake ever. I also love oats and muffins, so I decided to make a healthy-ish alternative to muffins that I can just grab for breakfast on the go (or eat 3 in one sitting with a cup of tea in front of the tv...). I've been trying to cut out sugar for a while, so I substituted sugar for agave nectar, but you could use caster sugar or honey instead. You could add chocolate chips, sultanas or nuts, basically anything you like, but I prefer them as they are. This recipe is super easy and takes literally minutes to put together. This recipe makes around 10 large muffins. 

You will need:
1/2 cups of flour (I used self-raising but plain will be fine)
1 cup of porridge oats
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten

A pinch of salt
1/2 cup of milk if using agave nectar or honey. Use 3/4 cup of milk if using sugar
1/3 cup of oil (I used almond but any will do)
1/2 cup of agave nectar/honey/sugar

2-3 small mashed over ripe bananas

1) Preheat your oven to gas mark 6/ 200 °C/ 180 °C fan oven. Line muffin/cupcake tray with cake cases
2) Stir together- oats, flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.
3) In a separate bowl, mix the beaten egg, milk, oil, sugar or agave/honey and mashed banana together until combined. 
4) Add the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix together gently until fully combined.
5) Fill your muffin cases and pop into the oven for 13-16 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before popping out your muffins to fully cool- if you can wait that long before you eat half of them- guilty!






Enjoy!

Monday, 21 July 2014

A little life update #9- Corfu

Although my holiday seems like a distant memory now and my tan is fading (hmph), it was only two weeks ago that I was lying flat out on an inflatable lilo in the pool in peace. Before this holiday, I had never been to Greece before, Corfu is such a beautiful island! What I loved most, aside from the weather obviously, was the fact that the island is so green and has so many gorgeous flowers everywhere. I went away with my boyfriend Alex and his parents and older brother. We had such a lovely time, the food there was incredible and the fortnight was so relaxing and perfect. Alex and I didn't take as many photos as we would have liked but I thought I would share a few.

 
                             My favourite dress from the holiday- from New Look. Be aware if you do buy as it is stupidly long! Even with wedges I had to hold it when walking up the stairs so I didn't fall! I definitely couldn't wear it without heels (I'm 5ft6") It's beautiful in real life, its flowy and has slits which makes it soo comfy and cool in hot weather.



This photo pretty much sums up what Alex and I did in the day... 




 I didn't actually drink this haha.

Have you ever been to Corfu before? I would love to know where you're going/you've been on holidays this year!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The perfect holiday reads


There's nothing quite like chilling by the pool on holiday with a good book. I can easily get through three books when I go on holiday because I always go for the light hearted chick-lit type and end up not being able to put them down.I love chick-lit books as they're really easy to pick up and put down, I wouldn't want a confusing, deep story to read while relaxing on holiday, especially ones with story lines that are quite dark and sad! These are a few of the best books I've taken on holiday with me in the past, The Wish List is definitely up there with one of my favourite books!

Lauren Conrad LA Candy series-
The girl we all envy for her beautiful hair, wisdom-filled one liners and miss watching on The Hills has proved that she really can do no wrong. I read her first fiction series LA Candy- which consists of three books, all based on a reality show, that's very similar to The Hills. It's not based on her own life, but it is full of drama and is a really enjoyable read. LC's second fiction series, The Fame Game, which is a spin off from the first, featuring a few of the characters is equally as good for a easy chick-lit read, that you will not be able to put down! I have the The Fame Game series on my kindle, but the covers of the LA Candy books are just so pretty.

Lindsey Kelk, I heart series-
I don't think I've ever read a book series so quickly in my entire life. I think I read the entire series in the space of a three weeks- there's five books, as well as a Christmas edition. I think this is the best chick lit series I've ever read. The main character, Angela is just so likeable and hilarious, I really could not put any of these books down! The series revolves around Angela's journey after she escapes from London to New York after finding out her fiancé has been cheating on her- it's full of drama, laughs, ups and downs and it is just so so good. If you're a chick-lit reader, you have to read this series! The first book in the series is I Heart New York, make sure you google the order as my mum got confused and ended up reading them so muddled up as they're not numbered haha.

'The Wish List' by Jane Costello-
I read this on my last holiday and it is so good! Another chick-lit book, if you haven't already guessed this is my favourite kind of holiday read! The story revolves around the main character, Emma as she is approaching her 30th birthday and wants to be able to tick off everything she wrote on her wishlist that she made when she was just 15. It's so funny I think I actually had some funny looks as I was laughing out loud in public a few times- embarrassing!

'I've Got Your Number' by Sophie Kinsella-
Sophie Kinsella is known for writing The Confessions of a Shopaholic series, which I haven't actually read yet but my mum loves it. My mum gave this book to me after she read it on her holiday and she also really enjoyed it. I think that Sophie Kinsella is really good at creating characters that are equally interesting and entertaining but also relatable to the readers. This is again, very light hearted but has a good story line and is really funny at times.

I hope this has given you some ideas if you're looking for some new holiday reading material, or if you're just a chick-lit lover like me. I haven't got that many books to take with me on holiday on Sunday, so some recommendations would be much appreciated! What light hearted, chick-lit reads do you like?





Friday, 9 May 2014

'I Quit Sugar'- The sugar detox programme


A change in my diet is something that I have been considering for a long time now and I know it has to be done as I'm constantly just filling my body with rubbish. My unhealthy eating habits are probably why I always feel sluggish and tired, why I have a very weak immune system and the condition of my skin. I'm pretty sure that I am genuinely addicted to sugar. I've tried to cut it out in the past, but I found it way too hard. I recently picked up a book, by Sarah Wilson, called 'I Quit Sugar' as I've seen it popping up on a few blogs recently. As well as eating clean in general, I would love to be able to kick my sugar habit once and for all.
I'm yet to read the book from cover to cover, but I've read quite a few sections and I found it so incredibly interesting. Before reading, it hadn't really dawned on me how poisonous sugar is for the body. I always thought that cutting out sugar would be pretty damn hard as when I've attempted to go cold turkey before I shoved some dairy milk in my mouth after a few hours (seriously!). I find myself always craving something sweet after every meal, I drink a lot of sugary drinks and juices, I'm constantly snacking on chocolate bars and cakes and I've had genuine mood swings if I haven't consumed sugar in a while. The thought of that is quite scary considering the major health issues that have been connected with refined sugar.
After a little skim through the book, I have managed to convince myself to try the 8-week detox programme to try and wean me off sugar. It doesn't seem that difficult as foods are gradually cut out and replaced with others until you go completely cold turkey. I like the thought that its a gradual process, so it won't be as much of a shock to my system. I know I'll probably be seriously grumpy and miserable for a week or two,but I'm sure I can get over it! I love the fact that the book has loads of recipes (108 to be precise) that range from breakfast to baking, so that its not difficult to make healthy, sugar free meals. The thought of cutting out sugar was always quite disappointing in a way as I love baking, but I think with some experimentation, I think I can get back to baking in no time!
I think I'm going to start this on Monday as that gives me time to pick up the main ingredients that I'll need. I'm planning on doing an update each week, telling you how I'm feeling, how the detox process is going and I might show what I've been eating throughout the week if I remember!
Have you ever tried a sugar detox before? I would love to know your thoughts!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

The Little life update #8: Alex's 21st birthday- Our little trip to London









Now uni is done and dusted for the summer (ridiculously early I know) I'm hoping to get back into blogging all the time yay. 
Easter Monday was my lovely boyfriend, Alex's 21st birthday so the weekend before was full of baking, baking and more baking! I told Alex that I would make him a chocolate birthday cake, and after a lot of stress it finally all came together and I'm pretty please with how it turned out in the end. I also made lots of cake pops- I have a recipe post, here
The day after his birthday, as my present to him, we headed off to London for lots of food, shopping and sightseeing. We stayed for three days and it was perfect. I finally fulfilled all my sightseeing wishes as I've been to London three times and didn't do anything touristy so I was longing to go on the London Eye, see Buckingham Palace and Big Ben etc. 
As a lot of the blogs I read are written by Londoners, I had all the places we had to go for food in my mind (and many lists..). We went to Wahaca, which I knew Alex would love as he is obsessed with Mexican food. Wahaca definitely did not disappoint, it was amazing. Stupidly I didn't take a photo of our Wahaca feast- we were clearly just enjoying getting stuck in haha! Alex and I are massive fans of a good burger so a trip to Byron was a must! We also visited Five Guys and both burger places were incredible. I'm drooling at the thought of the Five Guys cajun fries mmm. 
The Breakfast Club was also a must, the pancakes were incredible, however I don't think Alex was too impressed with the place as it was so so cramped he couldn't fit his legs under the table and we were so so close to the people either side of us haha! He cannot deny that the food and juice in there was way too good though.
We stayed in the Vauxhall Travelodge, which was a lovely, simple and clean hotel. It was in the perfect location for us as it was literally two minutes walk away from Vauxhall station, which was only a stop or two away from proper central London. 
We both had a really lovely few days away and we definitely want to go back soon. We both absolutely love London and would love to live there at some point, so you never know what the future holds! 

I'm not sure if anyone else enjoys reading them, but lately I've really been enjoying writing more lifestyle posts and I love reading them too. If you have a lifestyle blog, I would love it if you could leave your link in the comments so I could have read :)
I hope you all have a lovely weekend. Do you have any plans for the bank holiday?

Saturday, 3 May 2014

How to: Cake pops without candy melts



Hello you lovely lot, after I tweeted about making over 40 cake pops for my boyfriend's birthday party, I received quite a few tweets asking for recipes, especially since candy melts are hard to get hold of in the UK and are pretty damn annoying to use in my opinion. I did have a bag of candy melts but I ended up not using them because they were so thick and hard to work with. I have sub-situated candy melts for chocolate flavoured cake covering as it has a very runny consistency and sets quickly. You can't use ordinary chocolate for cake pops as it will need tempering etc. and it is much thicker in consistency to cake covering or cooking chocolate. The chocolate flavoured cake covering was so easy to use and dip my cake pops as the consistency was so thin and runny. I was worried that they wouldn't taste as nice as normal chocolate but I didn't notice any difference. So here's how I made my cake pops, they're quite strange in consistency as they are quite 'truffle' like in a way and are surprisingly rich (due to the frosting etc) so it's obvious why they are so small. I think next time I would probably use left over cake or buy a cake and just crumble it rather than baking one as it obviously made the process longer and it does seem quite wasteful.

This recipe makes approximately 20 cake pops
For the cake I used: 
120g unsalted butter (I used stork as I prefer it for baking but ordinary butter is fine)- leave out of fridge to soften
150g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
2 medium eggs- at room temperature
180g self-raising flour
4 tbsp milk- at room temperature

Method- 
  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/ 180 degrees C.
  • Lightly grease baking tin- size and shape of the tin doesn't really matter. However I used a medium sized tray bake. You don't want the tray to be too long as it will end up mostly crust which you will remove anyway.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until it becomes light and fluffy- this should take around 3-5 minutes by hand (this feels like a work out in itself- you have been warned!)
  • Add in the vanilla extract and mix together
  • Add in the eggs on at a time, mixing well in between. Be careful not to add them in too soon as this will make the mixture curdle. 
  • Add in half of the flour and half of the milk. Mix well. Then add the remaining milk and flour. Mix well again
  • Pour mixture into baking tin and bake for around 25-40 minutes depending on the size of your baking tin. It's best to keep checking it and check if its done by using a skewer to test it.
  • leave to cool on a wire rack.

Making the cake pop balls:

  • Once your cake has cooled, cut your cake into four sections
  • Cut off the edges
  • Take two sections and rub them together to make crumbs, repeat with other two sections
  • Take a fork and ensure all cake has dissolved into crumbs
  • Take your frosting (I found shop bought is actually better than home-made for this) and add a desert spoonful to your crumbs
  • Mix well with a fork and blend with your fingers
  • Your mixture should form into a dough- like texture- don't add too much or it will create gross soggy cake pops!
  • Add frosting a little bit at a time if you find it isn't forming together well, but one desert spoonful was fine for me- it shouldn't be crumbly, you should be able to mould it 
  • Gather all the dough into one piece, wrap in cling film and refrigerate until firm- usually about an hour



Once your dough is firm enough to hold it's shape easier, it's time to form your cake pop balls..

  • Take small pieces of dough at a time and form into a ball using your hands
  • I found wetting my hands a little bit helped the dough roll into balls easier
  • Repeat until you've used all your mixture
  • place onto a plate or in a container and place in the freezer for 15-20- we don't want to freeze them we just want them to be really firm.

Egg holders are an amazing way to store your cake pops upright whilst you're decorating and dipping! Just carefully add a hole into each section using a skewer.

Dipping and decorating:
  • Melt your Chocolate flavoured cake covering in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure you stir well and heat it up slowly to avoid burning the chocolate
  • Take a cake pop stick and a cake pop ball.. Dip the stick into the melted chocolate and insert it into the cake pop ball- only insert it less than half way as you don't want it to break
  • Repeat with all of the other cake pop balls until they're all on sticks. The chocolate sets pretty quickly so you don't have to wait longer to dip them fully
  • Dip the cake pops into the chocolate gently, do not stir them in the chocolate as it will loosen them off the sticks. You need to fully submerge the cake pops into the chocolate and gently move from side to side if needed.
  • As this chocolate is very runny, you will need to gently tap off the excess. Do this by gently tapping your hand that's holding the cake pop for a minute or so. 
  • Before the chocolate coating sets, decorate with sprinkles etc. Act quickly and do this as you go as they set pretty quickly.
And that's it! What a long blog post.. These little cute sweet treats seem really difficult as they have quite a few steps, however they are pretty easy. Using candy melts just makes things so much more difficult in my opinion! I hope you found this blog post helpful if you are interested in making cake pops. 
 As I was making these for my boyfriend's birthday, I wanted to make a holder that was pretty simple and would look nice on the table. My dad found some styrofoam so I just wrapped it up in pretty wrapping paper and punctured holes in it with a skewer- easy peasy! Have you ever made cake pops before? I'd love to see how yours turned out!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Little Life Update #7


1. Possibly the best burger I've ever tasted from Got Beef; 2. My March favourites; 3. Birthday celebrations with the boyfriend and brother; 4. Day watching Alex play rugby with my little munchkin; 5. American buttermilk pancakes are my new obsession; 6. Last night out of uni;7. Finally dyed my hair; 8. The finished result- its faded soo much since this was taken though :( ; 9. Pancake stack for brunch yum!

Hello there! I thought I'd share a little update as I've been really bad at posting so far this year. To be honest, there hasn't really been much going on in April so far apart from tackling all my last uni assignments in my month off. It's my boyfriend's 21st birthday on Easter Monday so I've been trying to knuckle down and get everything sorted before his birthday weekend but I'm seriously lacking in motivation recently. We're off to London on Tuesday for a few days which I'm really looking forward to. Before I go though I have three more assignments to do before I go back to uni on 28th April so it isn't looking good is it haha! I am the biggest procrastinator ever, it's getting a bit ridiculous now! I promised my boyfriend I would bake him a birthday cake, which seeing as I've never made a big fancy cake before is a bit scary. I'm terrified it's going to go horribly wrong and I might end up having a trip to Sainsburys early Monday morning.. I am going to be making a post on the cake if it all goes well. I've got my Mary Berry obsessed mother on my side so hopefully it will all be ok!

This weekend I'm having a little sleepover with my niece so we're planning on having an Easter egg hunt in the garden and a movie night- she has Frozen which I haven't seen yet- I must be the only person that hasn't watched this film! I think we're going to make some cake pops and Easter egg cakes too as she loves baking with me when she comes over!

What are your plans for Easter weekend? 

Sunday, 30 March 2014

March favourites 2014


Helllllo, remember me? So I've had a lot of deadlines in uni in the past two months so I've been a very bad blogger. But I'm back to blogging finally and I've really missed sharing all my favourite things with you.

Victoria Secret Love Spell fragrance mist
I bought a bottle of this a couple of summers ago, when the Victoria Secret store in London first opened and was obsessed with it. The scent is very sweet with Cherry Blossom and Peach, but I love it so much. I bought another bottle for quite cheap on Amazon and I will definitely be picking up a few more bottles of this and some other scents when I go to London next month. I love fragrance mists instead of perfume sometimes as its a lot lighter and fresher to spritz on after the shower and the staying power is pretty good. I've found people always ask me what I'm wearing when I wear this and tell me I smell like sweets!

Amazon Kindle & Book series- I heart.. by Lindsey Kelk
I love reading but I found myself having little time for it since starting uni as I have a pretty big reading list which completely put me off reading anything else. But over the past few months, I've picked up my kindle again and found myself completely obsessed with reading again. I bought I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk on my kindle and read it in two days because I was completely engrossed in it. The series is so easy to pick up and read, has gripping story lines and is so funny. I quickly bought all the rest of the series and finished it in about two weeks. I love reading light chick lit rather than watching the tv etc because its so relaxing before bed. If you're into chick-lit and haven't read this series yet- read it! I don't know why I didn't read it sooner- I'm now looking for a new series so if you have any recommendations for chick lit- send them my way please!

Benefit Hoola bronzer
As spring is finally here (albeit it's still freezing!) I've been enjoying bronzing my face up a little. This bronzer is the perfect shade for pale skinned girls as it isn't orange toned at all and is quite subtle, but can also be built up to a darker shade. It's matte so perfect for both contouring and bronzing the face up. It's also really pigmented so it will last forever like many of the Benefit boxed powders!

ELF High Definition Under-eye Setting Powder
I love this powder for setting most parts of my face as well as the under-eye area as it's really finely milled and quite brightening as it has very fine shimmer reflects. It doesn't make you look like a disco ball, it's really not that noticeable but it just brightens up the under-eye area and anywhere else you highlight. With it being a loose powder, I was expecting it to be ridiculously messy but it's not that bad as long as you're careful and use quite a small brush with it. I like using the Real Techniques Contour brush with it as its perfect for powdering smaller areas like around the nose and under-eyes. I'm pretty sure this is really cheap as it's from ELF so if you're after a powder similar to the Bourjouis Java Rice powder, give this a try!

Tanya Burr lip gloss in Aurora
I haven't worn anything else on my lips since I bought this in the end of January! It is literally the perfect everyday lip gloss shade as it goes with every make-up look, it isn't too pink or too bright- it's just so flattering on every skin tone. I love love love this shade and formula and I love the shade names of Tanya's lip glosses- how cute!

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer
This concealer is literally perfect. Its really pigmented so you don't need a lot of it at all, it's not cakey and gives a natural finish on the skin. Usually concealers that aren't matte leave my skin tacky or rub off really easily but this lasts really long on the skin. It's really hard for me to find a concealer that isn't cakey or doesn't break up after an hours wear! I like how natural this looks on the skin but gives just the right amount of coverage- I would say its probably medium coverage. I've really been enjoying using this with a lighter coverage foundation like Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum or Nars Tinted Moisturiser.

Stila Convertible Colour in Lillium
I couldn't not mention this cream blush as I think this may be my favourite of all time. The formula is perfect- not too sticky, not chalky, natural finish, stays in place almost all day. The shade of this blush is stunning- a muted rosey pink shade that looks so so natural on the skin. I love wearing this on natural make-up days as it looks like a subtle flush on the cheeks but I also love wearing it with heavier make-up as it doesn't detract the attention away from the eyes or lips. It's very subtle but can be built up for a stronger flush of colour- but the shade itself is inoffensive- very pretty and natural looking. I will definitely be repurchasing this when this eventually runs out- which I'm pretty sure will be never because you only need the tiniest amount.

Morrocan Oil
As my hair has gone through quite a lot of bleach and heat appliances, it is in need of TLC. I love using oils in my hair but I definitely felt like I was missing out by not trying the infamous Morrocan Oil. After a chat with a few girls on twitter, I decided to order a mini bottle just in case I didn't like it. I can't even describe how nice this has made my hair already. I bought it in January as I have noticed such a difference in the condition and feel of my hair. I'm glad I bought a small bottle as I can take this away with me on holiday. But I will be buying the big bottle when this runs out. I use a tiny amount through the lengths of my hair when dry if I've curled my hair or let it dry naturally as it gives it so much shine and softness. I always use it before blow drying- I only use a tiny amount though as a little goes a long way so this bottle will last forever. This seriously is amazing stuff and is definitely much better than the high street imitations!

I feel like the post was very long and rambly so pat on the back if you actually read it all! What are your favourites this month?:)

Saturday, 29 March 2014

What I used to dye my hair- Blonde to brunette

Hello! So yesterday afternoon I was feeling daring and decided to finally bite the bullet and dye my hair brunette. I've been pretty unhappy with the colour and condition of my hair for quite some time now. I'm naturally a blondie, albeit a very dark blondie these days. By now, I think my hair would be very dark blonde almost light brown if I didn't start highlighting my hair. From what was a few subtle blonde highlights to naturally perk my hair up at around 15-16 years old, I had been gradually getting lighter as I got older. However, my hair had gone way too blonde for my complexion and bank balance to handle so I decided I would go back to the beginning again.
My natural shade is very flat and dull looking so I tried to go for something that was a bit warmer so it would be a bit more flattering. But with that being said, I was told to go for a hair dye that was a dark blonde as they come out much darker than they say on the packet- which was true so I'm glad I didn't go for the 'iced mocha' or 'chocolate' as they would have come out so dark on me, especially because my hair has been bleached loads. I was also told to steer away from shades that promised a 'golden ', 'champagne' or 'warm' dark blonde/brown result as they would make my hair go ginger- which I didn't want. A few people that I spoke to told me to get medium ash blonde or dark ash blonde, and also recommended Nice'n Easy by Clairol, so off I went to Boots and took the plunge. I've been wanting to do this for quite some time now but I'm a big baby when it comes to drastic changes, especially with my hair! I bought Nice'n Easy semi permanent colour in the shade Medium Ash Blonde. My Mum was a star and applied it for me, there is no way I would have been able to do it myself as I have so much hair to cover! She used one bottle to cover my roots and the start of the mid lengths, another bottle for the lengths and another bottle to cover the ends and go over all of the hair. 



This is the shade I had before I dyed my hair.. As you can see it had gone way too brassy for my liking and my roots had become awful after only a few weeks of having highlights done because my natural colour is becoming darker as I'm getting older: 


Here's after I dyed my hair:


As I have thick hair and a lot of it, I needed 3 whole tubes of hair dye to cover the whole thing. I'm so glad I bought the 3rd one because it really made sure everything was covered. As my hair was really bleached in some places, some highlights didn't go completely dark and went a lighter shade of brown. But I do actually quite like that because it gives it a bit more dimension rather than it being one solid block colour which isn't very flattering on me. Even though I chose the Medium Ash Blonde shade, it is quite dark- for what I'm used to anyway, so I'm really glad that I didn't choose a 'brown' labelled shade! It is a warm brown and has a few subtle coppery tones in the light because of my highlights that I had to dye over- they were a mixture bleach blonde,ash blonde and some golden blonde. I really like the fact that it is quite a warm brown rather than a flat brown shade, I think if I picked up a 'golden brown' etc, it would have gone really orange-toned so I'm glad I chose the one I did. 

It really is a massive change for me as I haven't ever been this dark but I really like it and intend to stay with this shade for a long time as it will be so much cheaper than spending a ridiculous amount on highlights! I bought 2 packets for £7 in Boots which was a bargain, but they only had two left on the shelf so I had to buy one in Sainsburys which was £6 for one packet- how annoying! So definitely shop around because there's always offers on hair dye! I think this shade makes my hair look and feel much healthier and in better condition so I'm really enjoying embracing the change!

What do you think of my new hair colour? Have you dyed your hair brunette from blonde? I would love to hear your thoughts on home-dying kits!

Ellie 
xxx

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan review



Hello! Even though I'm a major milk bottle and love feeling bronzed, tanning to me just requires way too much effort. I would love to be one of those girls that has perfectly applied fake tan constantly but I am way too lazy for that. All that scrubbing, applying, ruining the sheets, ending up with patches, orange hands and fingers (guilty of this every time) and it fading off patchy just leaves me feeling defeated every time. I was a fan of Xen Tan Dark Lotion for quite some time but for £24 a bottle and I didn't really feel like it lasted on my skin for very long, so I've been on the hunt for a new tan.

I've seen Cocoa Brown One Hour Tan by Marissa Carter pop up on quite a few blogs recently and at only £7.99 a bottle I decided to give it a go. What I love the most about this tan is the application. It's a mousse formula which blends really easily and when applied with the tanning mitt (which I purchased for really cheap from Primark) you can achieve a smooth, even application really easily. Both the fake tan and the mitt are available for the same price in Primark as well as Feel Unique which I think is really great as it is quite readily available. The mitt retails for £2.99 and is of a good quality but I don't have any other fake tanning mitts to compare it to.. I didn't photograph it because quite frankly, it looks gross right now haha.

The main thing that attracted me to trying this tan was the claim that it develops in just an hour which sounds amazing. The tan does develop within an hour but if you want to achieve a deeper tan, which lasts longer it definitely needs to be left on for a bit longer. However, I applied it before bed and woke up with a really really deep tan as I am so pale, which although was worrying, I wasn't orange at all and it did calm down to a lovely natural colour once I washed off the guide colour. I think if you want to have a light bronzed glow then leaving it on for an hour would be fine, but if you want to be slightly darker, I would leave it on for 2-3 hours max.

Praise the lord, finally a tan that doesn't stink of mouldy biscuits or curry! The scent of the tan is pleasant and doesn't linger on the skin after the guide colour has been washed off which I really like. Although the tan is a mousse formula, I didn't find the tan drying at all which I have found with other mousse fake tans. I actually find the formula to be quite moisturising and it felt nice on the skin. According to the Feel Unique website it has 'vegetable derived DHA and No parabens' which is good to know if you have sensitive skin. Marissa Carter has brought out a few variations of tan in her Cocoa Brown range which include a Chocolate Whip moisturiser and Night & Day instant wash off tan which I am dying to try. I've seen Cocoa Brown One Hour Tan and the mitt from the range in Primark but not the rest of the range. However the full range is available on Feel Unique and is shipped worldwide.

I've inserted pictures of the tanning process and before & after shots as a reference of how deep the tan is on my skin tone (these haven't been edited at all apart from the size) I applied one coat and left it on for 3 hours before rinsing off the guide colour. Excuse my ghastly milk bottle legs :



Overall I do really enjoy using this tan as it really is simple to apply, develops pretty quickly and doesn't smell. The only downside I would say is that it is pretty difficult to remove- which leaves me red raw after scrubbing my poor arms for hours as it tends to go patchy on my wrists, elbows etc. after a while. I applied the tan on Friday evening and the tan only really started to go patchy and fade on Thursday so really, that is pretty good! If you're not a lazy so and so like me and actually look after your tan- i.e moisturise every night, don't have 1000 baths a week instead of showers then you will probably find the patchiness is minimal!

Have you tried any products from the Cocoa Brown range? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Ellie
x x x

Friday, 10 January 2014

The Weekend Wishlist

The weekend wishlist

Hourglass Ambient Lighting powder in Diffused Light- I've heard so much about these powders over the past few months and I'm certain that I need this little beauty in my life. As I actively despise powders, although I have to wear them otherwise my skin is a nightmare, this seems like the perfect solution. They definitely do not come cheap but I think I've heard enough hype for me to justify trying one out..

NARS Tinted Moisturizer- After a few months of consistently wearing full coverage bases I feel like it's time to give my skin a bit of a breather. The past few weeks I've been wearing low coverage bases and really enjoying it so this tinted moisturiser seems perfect.

OPI What A Pair! Nail Envy duo- I'm not allowed to wear nail varnish in work which makes me sad as I have some beautiful shades that long to be applied but it seems silly putting it on for one day then taking it all off :( even though I hardly ever paint my nails any more, they are really weak and brittle. This little duo seems  like the perfect little treat to perk up my nails with the original and matte formulas both included in the set.

Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins- 2013 was the year that I really took an interest in skincare. I've finally grasped that majority of the time you get what you pay for with skincare, resulting in me trying products from brands such as REN and Origins. My skincare stash is rapidly growing but I don't think I own one night cream *slaps wrist* This has been raved about for so long and after falling in love with other Origins moisturisers, this is a definite must-have!

'Daisy' by Marc Jacobs- Stupidly I didn't ask for a perfume for christmas as I thought I had loads of my Taylor Swift Wonderstruck perfume left... little did I know that come January it would all be gone. Stupidly I didn't even realise how little I had left because of the stupid coloured bottle grr. I think I'll have to pick up Daisy as I've wanted the full size for so so long after using a teenie tiny bottle ages ago. I've been put off buying it in the past because of the price but you don't need a lot of the fragrance itself and the bottles are bigger than the average size.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer- Yet another hyped up product that I cannot wait to get my hands on. I held off purchasing this at first because I had quite a few concealers on the go at the time it was released. But after the hype has settled a bit and I'm still hearing people rave about it- it's time to try it. I'm yet to find a concealer that ticks all the boxes- hopefully, this could be THE one.

What beauty bits are you lusting after this weekend?

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Building my MAC eyeshadow palette



After scouring YouTube videos and blogs for a glimpse of which eyeshadows were chosen to be placed in MAC eyeshadow palettes for months on end. I thought it was time I finally bought myself one. Even though I have been lusting after all of the Urban Decay Naked palettes for ages I thought that creating my own MAC palette would be much nicer. By creating your own palettes, you have the freedom to put in any colours you chose, in any order arrangement making your palette personal to you which I really like the idea of. Of course if you're a bit of an eye shadow noob like me it can be confusing trying to find colours which go nicely together. But that's nothing a bit of looking on YouTube tutorials and scouring a few blog posts can't sort out.

Now onto the palette.. When I first bought the empty palette and the insert I purchased four shades and decided that I would gradually build it up by buying one a month and asking for one or two for birthdays and christmas.

The eyeshadows currently in my palette are (left-right)
Nylon- Frost finish. Pale gold almost cream with an icy shimmer. Amazing as an inner corner highlight
Naked Lunch- Pinky shimmery champagne shade. MAC describes it as "minimal pink with shimmer"
All That Glitters- Shimmery beige champagne shade with "gold pearl" my favourite for all over the lid everyday look
Amber Lights- Warm toned gold with copper/orange undertones. Shimmery- almost looks like foiled effect on the lid
Bronze- Golden bronze with gold shimmer
Woodwinked- Described as an "antique gold". Warm gold with warm copper tones.
Satin Taupe- taupe with silver shimmer. Lovely in the crease with Naked Lunch or All That Glitters
Omega- matte muted beige taupe shade. Perfect for blonde/light brown eyebrows. Lovely lighter shade for the crease

As I have blue eyes a lot of my picks are aimed towards suiting those- Amber Lights, Woodwinked and Bronze particularly make blue eyes really stand out. I can't really chose a favourite out of the palette because I literally love every single one. I would say though that I would like to try and find how to use Amber Lights properly because it's such a gorgeous shade but it is very different to anything I've usually used.

As expected, all the shades are amazing quality and are incredibly pigmented and easy to blend. I can't wait to have a full palette they are just so beautiful! Next on my list are- Carbon, Smut, Wedge, Concrete, Cranberry, Mulch and Swiss Chocolate

Have you created your own MAC eyeshadow pallette? I would love to know what shades you have chosen

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Hello, 2014: new year wishes


Hello again, I know I've been a rubbish blogger these past few months with posts scattered here there and everywhere. I think 2014 is the year for me to become organised with a proper blogging schedule so I'm not disappearing for weeks on end!

As always, I've set myself a little list of new year wishes that I'm pretty sure won't succeed but this year I will try my hardest! I did actually join a gym this year which was one of my goals last year, whether I've gone every week is a different story...

For 2014 I wish to...

Start going to the gym regularly and stick to eating clean- I'm one of those people that goes through phases of going to the gym every day and eating really well for three weeks straight then I won't go to the gym and eat rubbish for the rest of the year. I know realistically it's impossible for me to go every day so I'm going to set myself a realistic target of twice a week for now and try to improve from there. I'm feeling very motivated to start eating clean again as when I do I actually enjoy it and feel a lot better in myself. Let's just hope it lasts this time..

Ditch sugar completely- I couldn't tell you how many times I've attempted to cut sugar from my diet and failed miserably. I am a sugar addict and have been since I was really young. I genuinely have mood swings and headaches if I don't consume some sort of sugar which is just not right at all. I've wanted to change this for a while as it's awful for my health and skin. I actually bought a book that helps you through a sugar detox which I'll be writing a post about so hopefully I can eventually kick this stupid sugar habit!

Be more organised- I'm a bit of an organisation freak anyway but I find that if I'm really organised with one aspect of my life, other things start to suffer. When I'm super organised with my uni work my blog suffers big time so I'm going to try and make a blogging schedule so I have time for everything. I'm going to try and write lots of draft posts when I find some free time also to make this easier for myself!

Stop wasting money- every month it pains me to see all the money I have wasted on complete rubbish that I don't need. The amount of times I see Starbucks crop onto my bank statement since I've started uni is ridiculous- having a Starbucks on campus is waaay too tempting for my liking. I'm going to attempt to only buy things I know I will get use out of and I need to stop buying clothes that I will never wear.

Do more & travel more- This summer is going to be a long one so I plan to do lots of exciting things and travel to lots of amazing places.

Starting tomorrow I promise I will be back will regularly posting reviews, favourites etc. 
What are your New Year wishes for 2014?