Thursday, 23 July 2015

I HAVE A NEW INSTAGRAM

Follow my NEW Instagram: @thelastsouvenir 

Yes, I have a new Instagram account. Some of you may be thinking "why?" and I thought the exact same thing when I came home from work one day and found that my original account had been deleted. I'm still not entirely sure why they decided to delete it. I was a bit miffed because I had just reached 1000 followers this month as well! Apparently I violated a term of use but I have literally no idea what could have sparked that - unless, of course, some bitter troll just wanted to report a load of my photographs for no reason... You would think that Instagram would at least notify you to warn of any reported content instead of just deleting the account outright, wouldn't you? But no! Either way, I started a brand new account today so I thought I would let you all know that. In a way it's a bit better because the username is the same as my blog (@thelastsouvenir) so people will hopefully be able to find me a bit more easily.

I've calmed down about the whole episode but, my god, I was fuming and very confused as to what had happened. And I'm still none the wiser! I'm looking at this whole debacle as a chance to reinvent my account a little bit and maybe become one of those themed Instagrams. I'm not sure how long I'll keep it up - there's got to be something that messes up the grid, am I right? But I'm going to give it a good go nonetheless!

So yes, apologies if I'm not following you anymore... Apparently I no longer exist! It would be fantastic if you guys could leave your Instagram links in the comments, just so I can get reacquainted with your accounts. Also it would be lovely and very much appreciated if you could spread the word about my new account, especially if you liked it and would like to see more little life snippets in the future.
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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

AMERICAN STYLE BLUEBERRY PANCAKES


Sometimes you've just got to treat yourself. These blueberry pancakes are a little bit naughty but insanely delicious - and easy to make too! If you're looking for those thick fluffy American-style pancakes I can guarantee that you've come to the right place.

To make 4 good-sized pancakes you will need:

135g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
130ml milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tbsp melted butter, plus extra for cooking


Begin by sticking your butter in the microwave until it has just melted. I would always do this step first because you need to allow the butter to cool slightly before you add it to the rest of the wet ingredients - we're not looking for scrambled egg pancakes here! 

While the butter is cooling down, add all of your dry ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and incorporate. I don't bother to sieve my flour; it's a bit of a useless step as you'll be whisking everything together anyway, and you might as well save on the washing up while you're at it. Also, I've used self-raising flour and baking powder in this recipe to ensure that infamous super fluffy pancake consistency, but if you don't fancy that you can either switch to plain flour or even omit the baking powder completely. 

Meanwhile, in a small measuring jug crack an egg into your milk (again, use whatever milk you fancy - I used whole milk to add richness) and then whisk together, slowly adding your melted butter. Make sure to whisk this mixture really well to avoid cooking the egg. Once you're happy with it, make a well in the centre of the bowl and add the wet ingredients to the dry. Whisk 'til your heart's content. It will resemble a rather thick batter that will comfortably coat a ladle. Set aside for a few minutes to allow the baking powder to do its job. At this point you can add whatever you like to the batter - in this case I added half a punnet of fresh blueberries but I've also tried chopped apple or semi-sweet chocolate chips in the past too!

Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a small knob of butter. As soon as it has melted, pour a ladleful of batter into the centre of the pan and let it spread. The mixture will be quite thick so it shouldn't spread too far. Allow to cook for a few minutes until you see little tiny bubbles on the surface and then flip with a spatula, cooking for a further few minutes. Transfer to a warm plate and repeat until all the batter is gone.

Now for the best part! Stack 'em up and add your favourite toppings. I went for more fresh blueberries and lashings of maple syrup - yum!

Recipe adapted from the BBC website.
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Sunday, 19 July 2015

MY LITTLE BOX • ROAD TRIP

Ahh subscription boxes... There are so many out there these days that it's tricky to decide which to invest in. I mean, you want to come back month after month with something different each time, right? I've never bought into the hype of beauty boxes, but give me a box full of varied lifestyle gifts every month and I'm completely on board. 

I've been subscribed to France-based My Little Box for nine months now and every month I'm impressed with the surprises inside. The premise is pretty easy. You sign up on their official website with your details, set up a direct debit for £14.95 per month, and you receive a beautifully illustrated surprise box full of beauty, fashion and lifestyle goodies. Each month there is a theme. Previous favourite boxes include: My Little Frenchie Box, My Little Dream Box, My Little Cosy Box, and My Little Provence Box.

Inside each box you receive:
- A drawstring bag containing coveted beauty products, including one from their very own beauty range, My Little Beauty
- Fashion and lifestyle accessories pertaining to that month's theme
- My Little World magazine
- Little notecards providing you with product information (including prices)
- Adorable illustrations by Kanako

July's My Little Box is centred on the road trip, which is loads of fun. I can honestly say that I love every single addition to this month's box, so much so that I decided to share it with you all. First of all, the illustration on the box is super cute - I love the map detailing all around the edges! 

Here is a breakdown of this month's goodies:
- A Travel Organiser (£10.50) with useful compartments for your passport, money, cards, tickets and whatever else you decide to travel with. It's made of clear plastic, thin and practical.
- A set of golden temporary tattoos by DCER (£3.50), perfect to play around with on your summer-bronzed skin.
- A Ready-to-Send Notebook and BIC biro pen (£4.90) which I think is a really sweet idea. We should embrace life without technology and revive the lost art of the written letter. Send this envelope d notebook to a friend detailing your fabulous holiday (while they're stuck in their office working, no doubt)
- A pretty little tube of Summer Sorbet After-Sun Body Gelée by My Little Beauty (£9.00), great for sticking on after spending the day at the beach. It cools and soothes the skin, and makes you smell good enough to eat too! 
- A mini version of the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water (£1.99), handy to stick in your case as a makeup-removing travel companion. I'm really excited to try this one as I've seen and heard great things but never indulged.
- Essie Nail Polish in DJ Play That Song (£7.99) - Well, you know how much I love Essie nail polishes. The formula is fantastic and the colour is gorgeous. This one is no different. It's a pretty bright purple sure to enhance that tan of yours. I believe it's luck of the draw with this product, and there are two other shades that you could possibly receive instead.

July's My Little World magazine contains a fun little word search, a beautifully photographed interview with globetrotter Lily Rose, a demonstration on how to create the perfect holiday manicure with Essie, and Garnier's top tips for an all-natural summer look for your skin. It also folds out completely into a fashion poster you can stick on your wall if that's your thing - as a 23-year-old I'm a little past that, to be honest!

Overall, as you can probably tell, I'm always super impressed with the originality of every box I receive. I like how you get a real mixture of brands - both well-known and brand-new - and how everything feels so personal and unique, despite it being so widely available to people in both France and the UK! At £14.95 per month I think you get fabulous value for money, especially as most of the products you receive are full-sized and great quality. 

What are your opinions on subscription boxes? Is My Little Box something you would buy into? Do you subscribe to any other boxes?
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Sunday, 12 July 2015

ESSENTIAL BEAUTY TOOLS

Anyone who's anyone knows that flawless makeup looks cannot be achieved without the right balance of workable products and correct equipment. Here are my favourite, and personally essential, picks for the beauty tools that I think everyone should have in their cosmetic repertoire. 

BEAUTY BLENDER
Ahh, what did I do before investing in a sponge blender? This one from Real Techniques is my go-to for flawless application. It's such a versatile tool to have in your makeup bag. I like to use it to apply foundation, cream products and, most recently/often, concealer when contouring and highlighting. It helps to evenly perfect your base and is really handy for cleaning up areas too.

BOBBY PINS
Oh my god, the amount of bobby pins I've been through in my lifetime... Seriously, where do they go? Well, they may disappear into Narnia every so often but I couldn't be without them. I bought a tin box of 100 blonde 'Get A Grip' pins from a hairdressing wholesalers for about £2 a few months ago and I don't think I've lost one yet. Tin boxes over those little card holders are the way to go!

COTTON BUDS
Another cheap tool I wouldn't be without. Aside from the obvious uses (cleaning ears etc.) I like to use cotton buds to clean up any eyeshadow or mascara drop-down on the lower eyelids. The skin is quite delicate under the eye so a little dip of the end of a cotton bud in some micellar water and the cleanup is quick and easy. Similarly, I use them when painting my nails too. Simply dip the cotton into some nail polish remover and clean up around the nail - works a treat.

EXPERT FACE BRUSH
This is my favourite brush to apply foundation with. I'm a pretty loyal follower of the Real Techniques brand; I've used them ever since they were released and I actually have two of these expert face brushes because they're so affordable. They have an ultra-firm and broad head full of plush synthetic bristles so it's great for applying liquid products. When I'm done with foundation and there's a little left on the brush it serves as a tool for blending contouring on the cheekbones and jawline. I do love a bit of duo-purpose in both my products and tools.

EYELASH CURLERS
I love eyelash curlers. More specifically, I love Shu Uemura eyelash curlers. They're a bit of a luxury buy but I really think they're worth every penny - although I'm not entirely sure how they're so fabulous at lifting and curling eyelashes they way that they do... I guess it's like magic! If I'm having an off-day makeup-wise (and god knows there are many of those) then a little tweak with these curlers and I know I'm good to go. 

EYELASH ADHESIVE
Duo Eyelash Adhesive is arguably the best eyelash glue I have tried. I love to wear false eyelashes - hell, I'm wearing them right now on a rainy Sunday with no intention of leaving the house - and I know that these bad boys will stay on all day with the help of Duo. I use the striplash clear adhesive, if you're interested. It tends to go tacky within about 30 seconds once applied to the false lash (due to the latex-based formula) and dries clear so there's no need to worry about having to go over any mistakes with black eyeliner. The little tubes last forever as well. I bought two together last Christmas and I'm still on my first one!

MAC 217 BLENDING BRUSH
Blending eyeshadow is a real treat with this brush. Yes, it's a bit pricey, but I believe that it's worth it. I actually have three of these brushes because I'm totally lazy when it comes to cleaning them, and it's always nice to use one for dark eyeshadows, one for more neutral eyeshadows and one for brights. And that's me justifying my spending decisions... But in all seriousness, it's such a lovely brush to work with, it's really soft and blends like a dream. 

TWEEZERS
I received Tweezerman Tweezers for Christmas last year and I haven't looked back. They're so sharp and precise, they can grab even the shortest hairs. I owe the neatness of my eyebrows to these guys! I also use them to hold onto false eyelashes and apply them really close to the top lash line. The thin tweezers are great for tucking in the end of the strip lashes so they don't look too fake or like they're about to fling off at any moment!
What are your essential beauty tools?
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