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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