Saturday, 27 April 2013

Aero Bubble Cupcakes

Hey lovelies! This is going to be a fairly short blog post today, just because I've got a very busy weekend ahead of me but I still wanted to contribute to the blog. With university deadlines looming over the next few weeks and a dissertation proposal just round the corner, I definitely needed a bit of perking up. I'm also helping my brother and his girlfriend move into their new flat on Sunday and figured I would bake them some housewarming cupcakes to help get them nice and settled.

I was casually browsing Becky's recipe archive (because her creations are just awesome and so easy for a baking novice!) and decided to give these little beauties a go.

Now, I was a bit lazy - and also short of time - so I bought a Betty Crocker chocolate cupcake mix (complete with sprinkles, icing and cupcake cases) and it seemed to work really well. 

For this recipe, you will also need:
A bag of mint Aero bubbles
2 tablespoons of sunflower or vegetable oil
4 tablespoons of water
2 medium eggs

It's important that you freeze the bag of chocolate overnight so when the cupcakes bake the Aero bubbles do not melt completely. When you get round to baking the next day, they should be hard and easier to work with! To get started with the baking, preheat your oven to gas mark 4 and mix together the dry cupcake ingredients with the water, oil and eggs until light and fluffy. Chop your frozen Aero bubbles in half as best you can (they can be a little tricky to cut as you can probably see) in preparation for your surprise filling. Spoon a teaspoon of the chocolate cake mixture into each cupcake case, then place as much of the chopped up mint chocolate on top as you want. 

It should look a little something like this:
Cover the chocolate with the rest of your mixture and bake in the oven for around 12-16 minutes, or until you can stick a knife/skewer in the centre and it comes out clean. 
Then decorate as you like when your cupcakes have been left to cool on a wire rack for a while. I used the Betty Crocker icing and sprinkles which came with the cupcakes and topped with a whole Aero bubble. Easy peasy!
These cupcakes are so delicious! I mean, I had to test one to see if it had worked, you know? They have just the right amount of ooey-gooey chocolate with a nice little mint kick thrown in there for good measure! The Aero bubbles melt to create this sort of chewy middle which adds a bit of crunch to the cupcake. Yum!

So, what do you reckon to these little beauties? I think my brother and his girlfriend are going to be rather happy with these to chomp on while they're sorting out all of their flat-pack furniture! Hope you enjoyed, and have a lovely weekend whatever you're doing!


Thursday, 25 April 2013

Revlon Photoready Cream Blush in Pinched

It's safe to say that I'm officially on the cream blush bandwagon after trying out the Illamasqua cream blush (read the review here) earlier in the month. Today I have a much more affordable alternative for you guys in the form of Revlon's Photoready.

Created by Global Artistic Director Gucci Westman for the Spring 2012 collection, these cream blushes were inspired by the glowing skin of a beach beauty, and glide on smoothly to provide a dewy flush of colour and a healthy glow. The lightweight formula is buildable, with a silky soft feel on the skin. Photochromatic pigments bend and reflect light to provide your cheeks with a lovely glow. I either apply it with my fingers or use my Real Techniques stippling brush to dot it on without removing any of my foundation underneath.

This product is available in three different shades:
  • Pinched (100) - A peachy pink natural flush of colour which is very subtle on the cheeks.
  • Flushed (200) - A bright pink shade in the pan, sure to blend out to leave a nice pop of colour.
  • Coral Reef (300) - A coral pink which gives you that "just come out of the cold" look.

I would love to properly try out the other two shades; I managed quick swatches in my local Boots branch but from what I experienced they all seem pretty promising for a high street cream blush! I will definitely be repurchasing when I run out, for £8.00 it's a bit of a steal!

So, the question is, which shade is your favourite?

Monday, 22 April 2013

MAC Lipstick: Lady Danger

Lady Danger is a daring bright orange-based matte red lipstick which gives the wearer a stand-out pop of colour. As you can see from the swatch, this lipstick is super pigmented and certainly doesn't skimp on the fluorescence! The matte formula is not drying at all on my lips and provides a great lasting power - just make sure to really prep your lips with scrubs and balms, otherwise it's going to sink into any dry cracks and really mess up the application. I would also recommend applying this lipstick with a lip brush, because you really need the precise application otherwise it's a little difficult to fix. Therefore, you can probably tell that it's also extremely opaque and takes nothing to build it up.

I've been looking for an orange lipstick for the longest time, and even though Lady Danger is still very much red, I feel like it's a great transitional shade to go for if you're feeling a bit brave. It's not for everyone though. After purchasing this shade I definitely have my heart set on Morange next, which is very much the full orange lip. What a great colour to gear up for the summer!

What do you think of Lady Danger? Which orange lipsticks are your favourites?

Friday, 19 April 2013

Bath Time: Fig + Yarrow Bath Milk

Okay, I have to admit something to you guys... This is going to sound a bit weird but I can honestly say that I hadn't had a bath in literally years. Well, that was until I started working out every day and then the bath became my solace. There's nothing like soaking sore muscles in a relaxing bubble bath, and it certainly beats those horrible water needles you get in the shower after a workout!

So, needless to say I've been looking for a couple of products that would enhance the bath time experience, and I was immediately drawn to this bath milk when the lovely EssieButton blogged about it a few weeks ago. I've never really come across these kind of powders which you pop in the bath before, so when I ordered this I was pretty excited to try it out.

Fig + Yarrow floral milk bath is described as "an aromatic blend of beautifying florals in skin softening milks and therapeutic salts". When I first had a sniff of the stuff it smelt pretty strong; I could certainly catch a floral scent - the light yellow powder reminded me of pollen, actually - but when the smell settles I think it actually begins to smell like sherbet lemons, although that could just be me! All you need to do is run a bath and sprinkle a tablespoon or two into the water just before you get in. The powder is a blissful blend of milk, salts and fragrant essential oils. Featuring rosewood, ylang ylang, geranium and jasmine, sea and epsom salts and sweet cream buttermilk powder, the aroma-therapeutic crystals emulsify in the water to nourish your skin, eliminate toxins and restore calm whenever there's crisis. I must say that my skin felt incredibly soft and nourished after soaking for half an hour so I guess it worked quite nicely.

As far as I'm aware, you can only get Fig + Yarrow products over at Cult Beauty if you live in the UK. At £24.00 for 14 ounces, it is definitely an investment buy, but you can also get a smaller 5 ounce packet for £8.00 if you don't want to splash out on a huge jar right away. Overall though, I really love this bath milk, and already have my eye on a couple of other Fig + Yarrow products (hello, pink love salts!) And, of course, what bath time isn't complete with a couple of delicious smelling candles? I bought a couple of small glass jar Yankee candles (strawberry buttercream and fluffy towels) which not only look great but really relax you when lit! I usually watch the new episode of Game of Thrones while I'm in the bath but last night I settled for one of my favourite episodes of Never Mind the Buzzcocks instead (Mousecat: he chases himself!)

Have you tried any Fig + Yarrow products? What products relax you during bath time?

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm for Lips

Giggles about the name aside, I have to say that I'm really glad to have discovered this product. It's a tiny tube full of balmy wonderment! I carry it with me everywhere in my coat pocket at the moment, especially as my lips are still getting chapped and dry in this cold weather. I tend to apply some aloe vera vaseline first, just because it's a bit thinner and helps the balm to settle and do its work properly.

Made from 100% medical grade lanolin, the balm has no scent or taste which I have to say I prefer - then I know I won't be licking it off my lips. The formula is incredibly thick and can be a little tough to work with when you first use it, and when it's colder (the balm can harden or soften depending on the temperature). You don't need to apply much for your lips to feel moisturised, nourished, and protected throughout the day when you're braving the weather, but you can apply it thicker if you want it to double up as a gloss. I prefer to use the bare minimum, just because I never really get on with thick layers on my lips - plus no one wants hair stuck to sticky lips on a windy day, not a good look!

I can see why it's been labelled as a cult beauty product, simply for its formula and versatility. Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm can be used on dry and sensitive skin, eczema, cuticles, burns and abrasions, sore lips, sore nipples, and even baby's bottoms. The price is not too much to ask because of this. I think if a product does its job well then price shouldn't be too much of a deciding factor.

Have you tried this product? If so, how did you find it? If not, what's your ultimate fix for dry and chapped lips?

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Lazy Sunday: Baked Eggs in Avocado

This is one of my favourite breakfast dishes to make; it's super easy and filling! I think it's great for a Sunday brunch and makes a healthy change to a fry-up. I absolutely love avocados - especially guacamole - but this is a different way to serve up your eggs in the morning.

You will need:
1 medium ripe avocado
2 small eggs
2 rashers of smoked bacon
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to gas mark 5, and also switch on your grill to cook the bacon rashers. Grill these to your liking. I'm one of those people who likes super crispy bacon so I leave mine under the grill for 10-15 minutes. Drain any excess crap off the bacon with kitchen towel, cut into small pieces and set aside.
Next take your avocado, and with a sharp knife, cut it in half and remove the huge stone in the middle. This is your starting point for the space to pop your egg in. With a teaspoon, hollow out the avocado so that a small egg will fit inside; you can eat the discarded avocado flesh, or set it aside to make a small bowl of guacamole. Make sure the yolk is centred and not broken and, if there's any spilt egg white, try and spoon that in too so that the hole is filled to the brim.
Place the avocado halves into a baking dish, taking care to keep them upright so the egg doesn't spill over. I baked one half because it was just me eating, so I lined a small dish with baking parchment and surrounded the avocado with ceramic baking beans. Stick the dish in the oven for 10-15 minutes, depending on how baked you want your egg. I left mine to cook for 15 minutes and the yolk wasn't as runny as I usually like it, but I wanted to make sure the egg white was cooked all the way through.
While it's still hot, give it a twist of salt and black pepper and sprinkle the chopped bacon pieces on top. Serve it with wholemeal toast and a nice cup of tea!

And there you have it - baked eggs in avocado! It would be awesome if anyone gave this easy recipe a go; let me know if you do. It's a pretty yummy treat if you love avocado!

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend!


Friday, 12 April 2013

Maybelline: The Falsies Flared Volum' Express Mascara

What a mouthful! I remember using The Falsies waterproof mascara when it first came out when I was much younger, and obviously not thinking much of it, I didn't come back to it for a good few years. I'd like to think I'm a little more experienced and educated in makeup nowadays however, and I picked up this Flared version during a small haul in my town's Superdrug.

First of all, I still absolutely love the packaging. It's so unique to the other high street brands of mascara that it draws you straight to it in the shop. The fuchsia tube is bright and attractive, and the little wings on the top of the tube make it seem so cute and girly!

The brush applicator has much longer flared bristles in comparison to the original Falsies mascara. The bristles are grouped together in many small sections which results in a concentration of mascara in groups on your lashes, creating the effect of volume. One side of the brush is flat, while the other side is curved. Maybelline calls this the "spoon curler" brush. The directions suggest first applying the product with the curved side, then again with the flat side from root to tip to finish with a flared effect. The formula is also slightly different. It seems to be a little bit stiff in consistency but dries much quicker than the original. I love how it creates a more subtle look, with wispy and almost fluttery lashes. It doesn't lengthen your lashes as much as the original, and I've found it does have a tendency to flake after long wear.

Overall, I think this mascara has both pros and cons, but for a high street product I find it does its job well. Quick-drying formulas can be a bit of a pain if they get onto your brow bone or eyelid by accident. What we all really want is a great pigmented formula that works well and doesn't flake after a long days wear, and I don't think this is the one.

What do you think of the Maybelline The Falsies range? Which one is your favourite, if at all?


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

OPI Lacquer: Samoan Sand

Ahh, an oldie but a goodie. I have been wearing this shade so often recently and I love it even more every time I apply it. It's definitely a staple colour to have in your nail polish collection. I bought Dulce De Leche (a darker nude, even dusky pink/beige) at the same time I bought Samoan Sand, and I have to say I prefer this one for a more Springtime look.

Described as a classic by OPI, Samoan Sand is a lovely warm peachy nude that doesn't make you look sallow at all, but chic and sophisticated! I really love this shade as it's more on the beige side as opposed to a pink - which I already have so many of. It was almost entirely opaque after just 2 coats, but I applied 3 to get that full gloss and coverage. And, of course, I strengthened it with a top coat. It makes your hands look fresh and clean; I think it's a great default nail colour and a refreshing change from brights and pastels alike. It would also be brilliant for the base of a French manicure.

Which nail polishes are your staples? Do you like the nude look?


Monday, 8 April 2013

If I Was A Rich Girl...

A girl can dream, right? This is my current wishlist, with some affordable items and some not so!

001. YSL's lovely Rouge Volupté lipstick is near the top of my wishlist,  and when I get some money I will definitely splurge on this beauty. It seems like a really creamy formula with shiny gold packaging - which I love! I would love this in No 13 Peach Passion or No 7 Lingerie Pink; they're both bookmarked for the future!

002. This is my ultimate handbag. It's just so gorgeous and classic, and would go with just about everything. My brother's girlfriend has the tan Bayswater, which she received as a graduation present (lucky lucky lucky), and admittedly I'm always jealous as hell when she comes over with it. I would love to own one myself someday!

003. Growing out my eyebrows has been the bane of my life. I've been trying to regrow them in sparse areas (idiotic move overplucking them in my teenage years), and it's an incredibly slow process. I know there are much cheaper renewing serums on the market, but I've seen some amazing results from people who have had the money to purchase M2 Brows. Obviously on a student budget this one is pretty much a no-go; I couldn't justify spending near enough £100 on a 5ml bottle of serum.

004. I know, I know, hopefully there won't be any need for knitted jumpers soon with Spring upon us. I really love this one from Daisy Street, though. The monochrome aztec print is a great transitional pattern to move with the seasons - perfect to slip on during a chilly Spring evening!

005. I've heard lovely things about Millie Mackintosh's range of false eyelashes and having browsed her website I have to say I will most definitely be ordering some of these very soon! I love the more dramatic lashes, but she also does some understated everyday false lashes too. I know that Tanya Burr is a big fan of these so I can't wait to try them out. In my wishlist I selected the Shoreditch lash, but there are tonnes of others to choose from, each named after a different area of London.

006. My dream is to own a pair of Charlotte Olympia shoes, and the Dolly pump is the most sophisticated and gorgeous of them all to me. I would love to own them in this black suede with the classic gold platform, seeing as I would want to get a lot of wear out of such an expensive designer shoe. As they say, black can go with anything; I think the Dolly pump is one of those shoes that will never go out of style. I've also fallen in love the neon Debonaires - another expensive pair of shoes to add to the list!

What are your dream buys? I'd love to know!


Saturday, 6 April 2013

Easy-Peasy Pitta Pizzas

Hi guys! I'm back with another yummy recipe for you to sink your teeth into. It's silly to even call this a recipe really, but since I've been eating more healthily and trying to get fitter with the 30 Day Shred (post for that coming soon!) I've found some awesome tricks to lower calorie intake but allow me to eat what I like. This "recipe" is so simple, and you honestly won't regret attempting it.

What you need to make 4 pitta pizzas:
2 white or wholemeal pitta breads 
4 teaspoons of tomato puree
Grated cheddar cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Lean meats
Spinach leaves
Dried mixed herbs for garnish

This could serve 2 people, or just yourself if you're starving.
First, using a sharp bread knife, cut your pitta breads in half lengthways so you have 4 separate pizza bases. Place them on either a baking tray or a griddle, depending on whether you want to bake or grill them. I prefer to grill them, because all you're really doing is melting the cheese and toasting the pitta bread. Stick the bases under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes to prevent the bottom getting soggy when the toppings are on. 
Once toasted, spread a teaspoon of tomato puree on each base - you really don't need a lot as it's quite rich but still gives you a nice tomato flavour. Also, avoid using tomato ketchup for this part, just because it's way too watery and won't taste as good. Next, layer each base with your desired toppings and stick them back under the grill or in the oven for 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and those amazing smells permeate your kitchen. 

While they're still hot, sprinkle a tiny amount of dried mixed herbs on top to garnish. Dried varieties of herbs can be crazy strong so don't ruin it with a huge pinch of the stuff.
And there you have it! Pitta pizza!

You can choose to top your pizzas with anything that you like, I just love a meat feast. It may not be the same as a large Domino's but I can bet you that it's at least a quarter of the calories and still super filling.

Depending on your toppings, each pizza is about 120-180 calories each. For this recipe, the pizzas amount to 600 calories altogether, which for four of them is pretty great for a dinner. You can eat all of them and not feel guilty if you so wish, or have two for around 300 calories!

Hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know if you attempt them!
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