Sunday, 30 October 2016

CHOCOLATE CHIP HAZELNUT COOKIES

Happy weekend everyone! I'm back with yet another recipe for you to sink your teeth into. So after a truly horrible week I came to the conclusion that I required a much-needed pick me up. I had already booked a nail appointment for next week but I just wanted an instant hit of happy. The way to any girl's heart is obviously food - glorious food.

What should I do on a free Saturday afternoon after work? Bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies, of course! And yes, it was decidedly difficult to not just eat the cookie dough straight out of the mixer, especially for someone who has zero self control...

INGREDIENTS
Makes 24 cookies
200g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
125g unsalted butter
100g light brown sugar
90g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
400g milk chocolate chips
75g chopped hazelnuts

Begin by preheating your oven to 180ºC (350ºF/gas mark 4) and lining two baking sheets with parchment paper.

I prepared the hazelnuts first. If you buy them whole, pop them in a blitzer and pulse until they resemble a mixture of fine crumbs and chunky chopped pieces. Similarly, you can always use a sharp knife. Set them aside for later.

Next, combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. In a separate bowl, or standing mixer, beat the room temperature butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar together until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and the egg, continuing to beat with either an electric mixer or wooden spoon. Gradually add your flour to this mixture, making sure every bit of the flour is combined. At this point, you want to begin adding your chopped hazelnuts and chocolate chips while the mixer is on a slower speed. 

You can use either an ice cream scooper or a heaped tablespoon (my preferred method) to drop the cookie dough onto the baking sheets, spacing them about 5cm apart in order give them a chance to spread when cooking. Bake your cookies for 10-15 minutes, until the edges are a golden brown and the tops feel firm when lightly touched. Allow them to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. In this time they will harden slightly more, but still be gooey and warm on the inside - yum!
Seeing as my family is on a diet and avoiding most sugars, I halved the recipe above and still managed to make 12 good-sized cookies. I baked half of them and froze the other six, separating the cookie dough with parchment paper to keep them from freezing into one big blob. I like the idea of being able to pick a couple out of the freezer after a stressful day and baking them into hot soft gooey loveliness!

Original recipe from Williams-Sonoma Taste 
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Monday, 24 October 2016

RED CHERRY DEMI WISPY LASHES

If you know me at all, you'll know that I love to wear false eyelashes on the daily. I'm a huge fan of MAC 34s and 35s for day-to-day wear but oh my goodness they're so expensive to stock up on. For more special occasions, if I'm feeling particularly luxurious, I tend to splash out on mink false eyelashes (Esqido are my favourite brand for minks, just FYI) but I'm here to confirm that there is absolutely nothing wrong with more affordable brands, especially if you're looking to enhance your everyday makeup.

Red Cherry are one of my go-to brands to stock up on. They deliver on looks, quality and price - all of which are markers for great false eyelashes. I went for the Demi Wispy* style this time around and, having tried them before, I knew they were going to be a great choice for everyday wear and essentially foolproof.

One of their most popular styles, the Demi Wispy lashes are subtle yet make your natural eyelashes look fuller and longer. I'm a big fan of long voluminous lashes; I think they really complete any look and add a bit of style to your everyday eye makeup. 

The band is transparent and thin, and actually comes quite tacky already, making it easier to apply the lash close to the lash line. Allow your additional glue to go tacky - I use DUO adhesive, the best in my opinion - and apply with tweezers, making sure the edges are stuck down first. Once the lashes are applied and the glue has had time to dry, I like to press them between my fingers to blend them into my natural eyelashes. The Demi Wispies really accentuate that "doe-eyed" look. I apply a coat of mascara on top if I want to thicken them up, but I actually think they look nicest when they're more natural, especially if you're going to be wearing them during the day. 

The good thing about any kind of strip lash is that if you remove them carefully they are reusable. I have gotten so many wears out of my Red Cherry lashes it's crazy. They're certainly great value for money. So if you're looking for a brand that offers affordable yet beautiful quality, look no further.

Red Cherry Demi Wispy false eyelashes retail at £3.99, and are available from falseeyelashes.co.uk

*PR Sample
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Thursday, 29 September 2016

NEW TO THE BATHROOM SHELF: KIEHL'S


I’ve wanted to update my skincare routine for the longest time. And I know what you’re probably thinking: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it; but I think it’s good to mix it up a bit, especially as the colder months roll in and the weather affects your skin differently. Luckily (or unluckily, however you want to look at it) I have combination skin so I can get away with a variety of products, although I do suffer with rosacea on my nose and cheeks which causes the skin to be a lot more sensitive in those areas – so gentle and unscented is the route I tend to go down here.

An avid user of Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily Defense SPF 50 moisturiser during the summer months, I decided to have a cheeky browse to see if the company provided a more enriching moisturiser that could cater to my winter needs. Now I don’t know about you, but I personally hate a moisturiser that takes f o r e v e r to sink into my skin. Who actually has the time or patience to sit there and not touch anything? Not me, that’s who! If you need a moisturiser that is nourishing yet lightweight, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream is the answer. A facial cream perfect for daily use, I have switched up my routine and used this both morning and evening to leave my skin feeling quenched and ever-so-smooth. This jar of loveliness is formulated with moisturising squalane and water-retaining imperata cylindrica to protect your skin throughout harsh weather conditions. It is available in 50ml (£24) or 125ml (£43.50). The price may seem a lot, but you don’t need tons to hydrate your skin so it’s going to last you ages!

I have a confession to make… I rarely take care of my under eye area (criminal, I know). It’s a step I’ve often missed during my nighttime skincare routine and it has definitely taken its toll. It has made me realise that I need to start taking preventative measures sooner rather than later – after all, droopy dark under eye bags are hardly going to be the latest trend, are they? It could catch on if those bags were Chanel perhaps, but that’s taking this post on a tangent I never thought it would go… The point is an eye cream is now needed! I’ve heard great things about the Avocado Eye Treatment (14ml, £20) so I thought, “treat yo’self” and in it went to my virtual basket. I use the tiniest amount on my clean ring finger after cleansing and toning in the evening, letting it sink into my orbital bone. The texture is very rich and creamy yet it absorbs quickly, instantly brightening the under eyes. Pair with a good night’s sleep and you’re golden.

I’m afraid the Cactus Flower Hydrating Mist (75ml, £18) was a purchase made due to Alix aka I Covet Thee raving about it in her August favourites, but I’m so glad I bought it. It contains a blend of lavender, geranium, and rosemary essential oils to help detoxify and protect skin from environmental aggressors. The travel size is amazing for taking out and about; a quick spritz and you feel hydrated and ready to set off again. The scent is super refreshing too. Oh, and it can double up as a makeup setting spray – bonus!

My final recent purchase is actually a repurchase of sorts. I’ve come to the conclusion that I always need a lip balm to hand, whatever the season. Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1 (15ml, £9.50) works wonders for chapped lips, and I decided to try a newer scented version, eventually settling on refreshing pear. It was incredibly difficult not to immediately lick my lips clean, so sweet and delicious! Packed with soothing emollients like lanolin and sweet almond oil as well as vitamins A and E, the formula is thick and kind of waxy but it’s not annoying once applied. It is also available in unscented, mint, cranberry and mango.

Have you tried any Kiehl’s products? What’s your favourite?
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