Thursday, 23 October 2014

Guess that I'll be on my way...

Hi dolls, apologies for the radio silence. I wanted to come here and say hi, apologise for my absence, and to ensure you I've not spontaneously forgotten that my blog exists. Between a pretty nasty bout of illness, followed shortly by a family member being in hospital, things haven't been ideal over here and my blogging schedule has had to fall by the wayside for now while I've been playing patient/nurse respectively! Things should be back to normal soon as everybody's on the mend but thank you for bearing with me.

Just for now, I am featured in an article over on the Joshua James Jewellery blog, confessing my love for Thomas Sabo's rose gold and silver bangles and sharing my favourite jewellery trends for Autumn Winter 2014. Do head over there and check that out as some amazing bloggers have contributed to the article, and I hope to see you back here sooner rather than later - fingers crossed!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Ain't no worries, I'm all fired up...

Hi dolls, I hope you're well and have had a lovely weekend! This week all of my blogging plans have fallen by the wayside as I picked up three consecutive full-day shifts at work the day, all three of them at the last minute the day before, leaving me with no time to write or photograph anything. Between that and my immune system failing on me, I'm planning on spending today curled up in my pyjamas, trawling through my flooded inbox, compiling a wishlist post, and drinking endless cups of tea. That's what Sundays are made for, right?!

Scarf - I might be the only blogger in the world that hasn't rocked a plaid scarf yet. I'm fond of blackwatch tartan so I'm really keen on this beauty from Monsoon.
Beanie - Desert Rat Apparel are a local brand who have recently relaunched. They have some incredible shirt designs (I do love a decent graphic tee!) and their signature beanie is pretty awesome as well.
Fur Cape - I've never had a cape before but this one looks so cosy and I love the colour!
Plaid Skirt - Because Clueless, and monochrome.
Caterpillar Boots - I really cannot resist chunky black boots with a heel! These Caterpillar beauties are so well made and would be amazing as winter comes around.
Sansa Ring - I'm mainly blaming Olivia for putting this ring on Instagram, it's gorgeous and I want it!
Check Coat - This winter I seriously need to invest in a coat, and can't decide whether I should opt for something plain and practical, or a little bit more fun like this one.
Fur Bag - Every blogger and their cat has this bag, either in black or pink. I still want it.
Jurassic Pink Dress - Ooh Vintage Style Me have commissioned an amazing new dinosaur fabric! My boyfriend loves dinosaurs and I really want to get this dress to impress him haha (plus code 'VSMLOVE' gets you 20% off your order eep!)

Wolf Kimono - Seriously though, it's a kimono covered in wolves. I need this in my wardrobe.
Dawnlight Drusy Ring - Bloody Mary Metal make this ring with various coloured Drusy stones, but surprisingly this colour appeals to me even more than the black for once. The golden stone looks like it has a tiny world trapped inside it and looks perfect against the silver ring. It's just stunning.
Furry Heels - Public Desire have very kindly provided a purse-friendly alternative to the Topshop Rabbit heels, and I love the stunning oxblood shade. Want.
Leather Look Skirt - I've been eyeing up leather-look skirts for a while now as I think they'd look really cool worn with heavy knitwear or a band T-shirt.
Lilac Fur Coat - It's from Whistles, it's nearly sold out, I could never afford it anyway. But oh, isn't the colour just perfect?
Little Soul Necklace - I have the Vortex choker from Regal Rose which contains a similar sparkly, crescent moon stone, but I'd love this little necklace for work days where a choker isn't appropriate.
Silver Velvet Dress - Wouldn't this be a perfect party dress as the weather gets colder?

So these are the items I'm loving most this month. Which of these items do you like the look of?

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Stars, in your multitudes, scarce to be counted...

The finale of The Great British Bakeoff has come around ridiculously quickly and I'm so sad it's already over! The Great Blogger Bakeoff series has been a lot of fun to partake in and this week the bakers on the show are making showstoppers. For me though, it didn't make sense to make a huge, all-guns-blazing showstopper as there's only four of us at home and we wouldn't finish it, so I decided to follow my instinct and bake something I'd been craving that's still what I'd consider to be a showstopper in this context: a massive, gooey chocolate fudge cake.

This recipe makes one big gooey chocolate fudge cake. You will need two round 8 inch cake tins and the following ingredients:

250g self-raising flour
6 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
300g margarine (plus extra for greasing)
300g soft light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
6 eggs
180g chocolate
160ml single cream
Optional decorations

Begin by preheating the oven to 170 degrees, then by greasing the tins and placing baking parchment in the bottom of them. I greased the baking parchment lightly, too.

Begin by creaming the margarine and sugar together, then add the vanilla and beat well. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a separate bowl. Add an egg to the margarine mix along with one tablespoon of the flour mix and beat well. Repeat this process with each egg.

Fold the remaining flour into the mix, then separate the mixture evenly into the cake tins. Bake for approximately 40 minutes.

When the cakes are ready remove them from the oven and leave to cool for five minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each tin and transfer to a wire rack to cool, removing the baking parchment beforehand.

Then it's onto making icing! Boil the kettle and pour about 5cm of water into a pan, simmer gently. Break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl (I used a mix of dark, milk and white chocolate.) Add the cream into the bowl.

Place the heatproof bowl on top of the bubbling pan and stir as the chocolate melts. Eventually it will become smooth and glossy. (Be careful of steam when removing the bowl from the pan!) Leave on the side to cool, then transfer to the fridge, stirring occasionally.

Spread a third of the icing on one cake. Put the other cake on top of this, then cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining icing.

Then, decorate the cake as desired!

(I'm actually yet to taste this beauty, I'm saving it for the Bakeoff tonight...)

I've really enjoyed participating in this series. Although my recipes have been fairly simple I've tried so many new things which have taught me a lot. I'd really like to continue with the odd cooking post here and there, and for any new readers you can catch up on the rest of my Great Blogger Bakeoff series here. Have you guys enjoyed this series? Would you try making this recipe?

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Out of this lifeless valley, bones in hand...

As the cold weather sets in, I've found it's time for a skincare shakeup and, inspired by Helen from The Lovecats Inc, I've decided to write a 'currently testing' post. I don't write as many beauty reviews on here as I would ideally like to, but this is because I like to give an honest opinion and test the products thoroughly before I come to an informed conclusion (most often delivered in my monthly favourites posts.) However, when I try a new product sometimes I get excited and want to write about it right away, hence the introduction of the 'currently testing' series where I can share my initial reactions without anything feeling too set in stone...

So anyway - skincare is so personal it's like an alchemy finding the right combination of products for your skin type - right now I'd describe mine as dry and quite sensitive. Between trying a new foundation, a harsh exfoliator, the newly cold weather and a few nights' negligence regarding night-time makeup removal, my skin got a little upset with me recently. Some patches were red and blotchy and I had a bumpy, rash-like texture near to my jawline. At first I thought it was the beginnings of a breakout but later I realised my skin was upset because it was dry, and using tea tree products on it wasn't helping! So I nipped to The Body Shop and bought some new products that (so far) have helped it so much. This is what I'm currently testing, that so far has done wonders for my skin...

Previously I was using the cleansing butter from the same range but I prefer the way this oil uses a dispenser as it's more hygienic - my butter is smeared with makeup streaks now which is kind of grim. Two pumps of the oil is plenty to remove a full face of makeup and it leaves my skin feeling so soft and cleansed. I noticed it also seemed to even out my skin tone a lot which is always a welcome bonus! The assistant in store did recommend using a toner after this however, to ensure no residue oil is leftover. This product would suit any skin type but I'd say it's a particularly good choice for dry skin simply because it's not overly harsh on the skin like some cleansers.

The concept of an intense moisture cream is scary to a lot of people as nobody wants overly shiny, oily skin, however as my skin is dry/combination this sinks in straight away. Whilst I bought it to use as a night cream, it also sits fairly well under makeup (it gives a slightly more dewy finish, but I'd always prefer that to makeup caking on drier skin.) My skin feels much softer and less irritated than before, with hardly any redness or blotching. Additionally the Vitamin E products are meant to be good for reducing scarring and marks as well as protecting against pollution, premature aging and UVA/UVB rays. If I get any more dramatic results I'll report back!

Overall I'm really pleased so far with these products and I think I'll be particularly glad of them when the winter weather really sets in as it's so ravaging. What are your current skincare must-have products? Do you change things up according to the season?

Monday, 6 October 2014

Lies are a funny thing...

Hi dolls, and happy Monday! It's rather bleak and miserable here and the temperature seemed to drop considerably over the weekend, it looks like autumn is finally making it's presence fully felt! Today I have an outfit post from yesterday when I stopped by the local Oktoberfest for a pint of cider and a wander (in much nicer weather than today's drizzle, might I add.) Enjoy!

Necklace - Bloody Mary Metal
Dress - Depop

I found this dress for £8 on Depop and couldn't resist it as a payday treat. Originally a Chelsea Girl design from River Island, I'm in love with the voluminous sleeves and monochrome paisley design. It felt perfect paired with simple black Dr Martens and my beloved Lovehunter's Arrow necklace, layered with a biker jacket in the evening.

I couldn't recommend Depop enough at the moment as I'm finding some amazing bargains on there and it gives an extra breadth from the high street options, not to mention that over there worn-once dresses in perfect condition are cut to fragments of their original price. I'm already eyeing up options on there for Christmas, not that I'm getting ahead of myself..! (You can also stop by and shop my Depop account here, pleeease check it out as I'm accepting offers, I just need to clear out!) Find this outfit on Lookbook here...

I very much enjoyed drinking a pint of locally brewed cloudy cider and enjoying late autumn sunshine! Not bad for October, eh? How did you spend your weekend?

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

It was autumn time, and thickly fell the leaves...

Hi dolls, how are you? I'm afraid there's no Bakeoff post today - as you know the past few weeks have been really hectic and with my brother away at training no one else at home seemed all that keen on eating anything 'patisserie' themed (I've mentioned my family aren't all that sweet toothed and it'd be silly to make things just to go to waste!) Next week I should be coming back with a lovely big finale bake, though. :)

In the mean time I have got my September favourites post lined up: stay tuned to read about the items I've been loving most this month!

Earrings - Your Dreamcatcher*
Some of you may remember that I have bought dreamcatcher earrings a few months ago - disappointingly they have since broken, and I was a little heartbroken as they were my favourites! Luckily Your Dreamcatcher came to the rescue: I fell in love with these at first sight and was so happy when they arrived at my door. The earrings are handmade in sterling silver with onyx bead detailing, with beautiful little feathers hanging just underneath. I love them even more than my original pair because the detailing is black (we all know how I feel about black!) I've worn them almost every day since they arrived and am hoping to collect all the matching jewellery over time.

Joggers - Your Dreamcatcher*
I also received a pair of Your Dreamcatcher joggers in the post - I change into loungewear the minute I get home after work as I like to curl up in something comfy, and these are perfect for the job. I liked the cute motif and they are incredibly thick and warm. I sized up as I like my loungewear loose, but I'd recommend staying true to size as these are a little too baggy over the hips, luckily there's a drawstring tie to reign them in! Overall I'm really pleased with these, next I'd love to see Your Dreamcatcher bring out some wide yoga-style trousers as that's my preferred shape of loungewear and I think they'd look adorable with the bohemian-inspired logo.

Nike Air Force 1 - Schuh
I needn't tell you I'm not a sporty kind of gal, so I'm as surprised as you are that these are on my list. However, I needed a shoe to wear at work: I have a high instep and wanted something really supportive for running around all day, as well as something that would be fairly waterproof as winter comes around and I begin walking to work in the rain. My brother told me they looked like school shoes but personally I love a fat black trainer and I can't get over how comfortable these have been.

Desk Pad - Paperchase
Lately I've been really beating myself up for not being organised enough, despite the fact that I'm an illustrator without a desk, not to mention organising myself around a new job and a to-do list as long as my arm. I picked this desk pad up at Paperchase for just £6 to try and help me get more organised, splitting my to-do list around work shifts and trying to set realistic goals per day. I'm really hoping this will help me to balance everything and feel a little less stressed. The fact that it's pretty will hopefully make me feel more inclined to use it...

Scrunchies - Topshop
I'm really bad at putting my hair up, I keep pondering over Pinterest trying to master some new styles but in all honesty I'm just rubbish at it. However I've lately become a big fan of these bunny-ear scrunchies from Topshop as they look really cute sticking out of the messiest of buns, there's wire inside the bunny ears so you can adjust how they sit which is handy!

The Sweet Poison Quit Plan by David Gillespie
I know this one's pretty ironic given that I've been taking part in The Great Blogger Bakeoff for the past six weeks but this book has really opened my eyes about sugar and I'm only a few chapters in. I'm really hoping that, after next week's Bakeoff finale, I can have a go at detoxing from the white stuff and seeing how I get on. Feeling healthy is really important to me and I'm hoping that by dramatically lowering my sugar intake I will feel much more healthy and energised. Fingers crossed!

What were your September favourites? Have you tried any of these item? Oh, and guys... please link me to some decent Pinterest hair tutorials if you know any!