Friday, 24 August 2018

EASY CAPRESE


Are you ready for the easiest, most delicious and versatile salad you'll ever make? Okay so I'm the first to admit that salad for lunch is less than exciting, and while this is wildly simple, I promise you'll be going back for seconds. I totally believe it's all about the quality of ingredients and that's not me trying to be a food snob, that's me making the most of simplicity and getting the best out of the produce you can pick up in your local supermarket! 

If you're feeling indulgent, substitute the mozzarella for a gorgeously-creamy burrata from the deli; add some cold meats if you're a carnivore who's craving; add olives and/or anchovies for that seasoned kick or croutons for extra crunch. You really cannot go wrong with a caprese just as long as you have the core ingredients down: basil, tomato, mozzarella, olive oil and seasoning. 

Now a traditional caprese will have you slicing big beef tomatoes, but I personally think the only use for those is in a juicy burger! Baby plum tomatoes have so much more sweetness and overall flavour, and these ones are from just across the sea on the Isle of Wight. A top tip is to sprinkle them with rock salt before consuming - my goodness, does that make such a difference! I finely chopped the basil (grown from our garden from a trusty Tesco plant) and mixed it with lots of washed rocket to bulk out my salad. And seasoning your mozzarella with fresh black pepper always makes it a winner.

It's all about making a salad that you would want to eat, and I know this is one I can fall back on when I'm struggling to find something healthy for lunch! It's also a great side salad, especially if you're entertaining for a larger crowd.

What's your go-to salad? I find it so much easier to eat salad in the summer so if you have any winter salad recipes I'd love to hear them!
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Tuesday, 21 August 2018

A LITTLE LIFE UPDATE


Hello everyone! It's been a while since I've shared a little life update on this blog, chatting you through what I've been up to and plans for the future but this is a big one. So when I say little, I guess you could say I'm playing it down slightly. In true 90s Kenan and Kel style: "Here it goes..."

I GOT A NEW JOB! 

Yes, after five years working in a minimum wage job that was slowly taking my soul, I bit the bullet and applied for a job in the NHS. I'm so excited for this new chapter in my life, you have no idea. I was starting to feel like I would be working in a bakery until I popped my clogs but this opportunity came up and something in me decided that I should grab it with both hands. And I'm glad I did! 

I finished my last shift on Saturday 18th August and I start my new job on Monday 3rd September, gosh it's like the first day of school! I suppose in a way it will be. I'm the new girl and I have a lot to learn, but I am so ready to get going with everything. So I'm currently on a two-week break between jobs - I'm calling it my FUNemployment phase - and I'm mostly using it to have a bit of rest and relaxation before the inevitable madness begins! This week I'm house/cat sitting for my friends who have gone away to Cornwall, and it almost feels like it's my own place. It stands me in good stead now I will be able to afford to put more money away for a flat deposit. I mean, you know, fingers crossed.

There are obviously things I will miss about my previous job (so weird to call it that right now) but I guess you could say that I won't miss the 5.30am wakeup alarms, or working weekends, Christmas and bank holidays. Yes, my days will be longer and probably much more stressful, but that's something I'm more than prepared for. It will be a whole new set of challenges for me to undertake, and that's what I've been craving.

I would love to know if any of you currently have or have had a job in the NHS, and what your experience has been like! I know it's such a broad sector, so any pros and cons in any capacity would be greatly appreciated. I have so much respect for anyone involved in our health service and I'm really looking forward to being one of them soon. Oh god, I'm starting to sound like I'm in a job interview now! Hopefully it's onwards and upwards from here; I'm finally going to be putting my degree to good use, guys - hallelujah! 
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Sunday, 15 July 2018

THE POREFESSIONAL PEARL PRIMER



I remember when the original Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional primer was released all those years ago. I was the tender age of 14 and had no clue what a primer was, or how I was supposed to use it. You kids will never know the struggles of not being able to look up a makeup tutorial on YouTube at the click of a button; believe me, we were all complete tangerine messes... I think back to my high school days and this primer was a daily staple in my makeup routine. I say "routine" but what I really mean is orange complexions and a Barry M kohl eyeliner heated up to oblivion with the help of a Bunsen burner during science class. Was anyone else's science teacher completely cool with that?! Anyway, what I'm trying to say here is that my makeup skills have come a long way since then. I'm not sure that I've touched a kohl liner since my high school days (my eyes would appear tiny if I filled in my waterline) and I've steered clear of the POREfessional primer for a similar amount of time as back then I just didn't think it worked for me. Naive little me, completely unaware as to how to even use the product, had truly scarred grown-up me from repurchasing in my twenties.

Until now...

The POREfessional Pearl Primer released in the UK at the end of last year and, having not been as involved in the beauty blogging world for a good eight months or so, I had absolutely no idea! Bad blogger, eh?

The product is marketed as a "soft-radiance face primer to minimise the look of pores" and provides the brightening qualities that its original counterpart does not. It claims to not only minimise the look of pores, but also lock on makeup and boost skin to look bright and awake. Much needed if you ask me; my dull tired skin was ready to be remedied. The consistency is much less opaque and silkier than I thought, and boasts an oil-free matte finish. It also smells really good, slightly floral, and the scent stays put for a while once applied to the face.

I apply primer with my fingertips, much like a moisturiser, and more often than not in place of moisturiser. That's probably a cardinal beauty sin but sometimes I completely forget this step in my makeup routine, which is weird because I always remember to moisturise at night! I definitely need the help of a mattifying primer, as my skin in this hot weather veers more on the oily side, and then of course my makeup just doesn't last. There's an importance to primer that is overlooked by a lot of people, including myself. As soon as I apply this pearly beauty I can feel my face just drinking it up as it masks my pores and creates a smoother base to work on. You can use it under makeup or on its own for those, admittedly pretty rare, no foundation days due to its brightening qualities. The box also says that you can pat on top of makeup to touch up but I have to yet to try that, not completely sure that option is for me if I'm honest!

Benefit conducted a little bit of market research and discovered that, after one week's use:
90% of 100 women said their complexion looked brighter
91% of 100 women said it minimised the look of pores
96% of 100 women said it created soft-matte radiance

Overall, I really like this version of the coveted primer. Gone are my fears of applying wrong and looking like an orange moonface. The consistency and application of the pearl version has restored my faith in primers. My pores do look less prominent, and makeup does apply much better over the top. I'm fully convinced that primer should be a necessary step in anyone's beauty routine, even if you're going for a rest day on the foundation front. And let's not forget Benefit's cute packaging either; they never let us down on that one.

Have you tried this primer? What are your thoughts?

Benefit the POREfessional Pearl Primer retails at £27.50 (full size) or £10.50 (travel mini) and is available here
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Friday, 29 June 2018

WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING • THREE



QUEER EYE
I am absolutely obsessed with this show. Like, full-on, binge-watch in 8 hours, o b s e s s e d. Honestly, I just adore it. If you haven't seen the original, or this Netflix remake, let me tell you the premise. Five gay guys have access to all areas of a nominee's life, and they basically life-coach them to become more confident whilst simultaneously making over their appearance, style, diet and home. In the original, the Fab 5 would makeover a straight man, but in the new remake the first season focussed on all types of men, and season two included women and a transgender woman. I love each of the Fab 5 in their own little ways. Their enthusiasm to make people become the best versions of themselves just makes for wonderful, heartwarming viewing. Their ability to transform someone's mindset in a week actually blows my mind. And the people they help out are so sweet, open and willing to change for the better for their loved ones. It's so emotional, and I dare you not to shed a tear when watching. If you watch one thing from this list, let it be this one!

LOVE ISLAND
I promised myself I wouldn't get into Love Island as much as I did last year but I've found myself waiting for 9pm to roll around every single night. And while it's not nearly as dramatic as its Aussie counterpart (there are some seriously insane clips circulating Twitter and YouTube) it has definitely had its moments. Jack and Dani are clear frontrunners, and I really like them as a couple so I hope it stays that way! Plus I've been keeping myself entertained with all the amazing memes when the show isn't on as well. Too easy.

THE STAIRCASE
Talked about like it's the new Making a Murderer, I'm only a few episodes into this true crime investigation. So far, so good; but I'm also wondering how they're going to string it out for 13 one-hour-long episodes. Still, I'm finding it very interesting. 

UNSOLVED: TUPAC AND BIGGIE
It's funny. You look at me and you probably don't think "hey, that girl's clearly into 90s hip hop/rap" but guess what? I love it. I was such a big fan of both Tupac and Biggie Smalls growing up so this show was right up my alley. It's kind of along the lines of the American Crime Story series; in that, it's a dramatisation based on true events. The actors who play Tupac and Biggie bare a striking real-life resemblance. It's actually pretty freaky how similar they look and sound - great casting! To this date, no one has ever been convicted of either man's murder so this series follows a fictional police investigation, led by Josh Duhamel in which they uncover the fatal events and try to come to a conclusion.

THE WORLD CUP
Because who can really avoid it? I'm not particularly into football - at all, actually - but there's something about the World Cup that suddenly brings a home supporter out of me. Obviously I'm here for England... until they embarrass themselves then I'm back to not caring in the slightest. I've done the classic girl thing (which probably isn't painting our gender in a good light) and based how good teams are by how attractive the players are! I also got Japan in my work sweepstakes so I kind of have to support them too. I have to say it's so nice how an international football tournament can bring everyone together though. The pubs have been mad! So far, it all looks good for England. Maybe this time football really is coming home...
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