Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Helloooo everyone!

Being October and all now, I think it's okay to start cracking out the seasonal treats and products to use and bake - come to me Christmas trousers. The smell of cinnamon and warming festive smells just makes my excitement levels go all haywire, so why not take all that yumminess and make it into something edible?

My quest for a perfect healthy gooey cookie is a progress but we're almost there, and this batch certainly tastes da bomb. A nice drizzle of chocolate or honey on top will really give it a sweet kick to blend with the orange, and those spices - oh lordy it's good.

200g Flour (105g Rice Flour + 95g Plain Flour) | 225g Soya Butter | 70g Rapadura Cane Sugar | 1 Tbsp Almond Milk | 1 ½ Tbsp Soya Yogurt | ½ Tsp Baking Powder | ¼ Tsp Bicarbonate Soda |  Xanthan Gum |  Star Anise | 2 Tbsp Cinnamon | 1 ½ Cap Orange Flavouring (or orange zest) | ¾ Cup Raisins Optional Toppings 30g Raw Chocolate | 2 Tbsp Honey

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°c. Measure out the butter and sugar, and cream together for 2 minutes into a gorgeous smooth paste before adding in the orange extract.

2. Measure the flours, and sift into a bowl along with the baking powder, bicarbonate soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon, and ground up star anise. (To grind, use a spice grinder or blender to ground the spice to a powder)

3. Add in 3 Tbsp of the dry ingredients to the wet at a time, alternating between adding flour and the yogurt and milk, mixing until a creamy dough. Scrape down the mixture between each mix to make sure everything gets blended!

4. Using a spatula or spoon, add in the raisins and stir through. Then with a big tablespoon, dollop the dough onto a baking parchment lined tray in equal sizes. Cook for 15-20 minutes.

5. The cookies should be lovely and golden, and just allow them to cool on a wire rack. Whilst these cool, take your chocolate or honey and get them melting. I chose chocolate, so place the chocolate into a heat-proof bowl, melt on a medium heat for a minute until it is all liquid. Taking a teaspoon, drizzle the chocolate back and forth in a quick motion to coat the cookies. Once it's done, allow to cool - or not, embrace the warm chocolate!

Spiced Orange Cookies - divine. These are perfect for Halloween and the autumn season, and when it comes to Christmas, you can up the cinnamon and anise for a real festive treat. Now it's time to convince everyone else to get on my festive level and start hanging lights everywhere...Tis the season to be organised and jolly!

Are you excited for Christmas? Do you love spiced cookies? What are your favourite flavour combos?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Website | Flickr | Tumblr | Twitter | Follow my blog with Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest
Click here for more ...


Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Helloooo everyone!

Although it's the end of September and I should be freaking out right about now because it's only three months until the new year (okay, I'm freaking out now), I am so super excited for autumn weather and Christmas. I am one of those people who has a list ready for presents to buy and ask for, bakes planned, and the one who will fall for anything gimicky and Christmassy - just give me the festive pjs already!

But I digress, as this post is all about what I've loved this month and not festive loungewear. At first I didn't think there was much I'd been pining on, however once I rifled through all my purchases and most used pieces there was actually quite a bit, and mostly beauty which is very rare indeed.

From face saviours to phone saviours, simple eyes and nourished lips, here's my top September picks.

Bee Good Lip Balm - If you haven't read my #BloggersFestival posts yet (here's one, and another!) then you are missing out my friend! I picked up this lip balm from the Bee Good stand and it's seriously given my lips an overhaul; no more dry, flaky patches, uber-soft all day long lips. It's love, and it came at the perfect time.

Clarins Super Restorative Day and Night Cream - I won't go on too much about these products as I'm doing a full post on my love for it soon, but let's just say that if you have a really bad skin week, and your hormones are everywhere - you need this.

Sleek Make Up Face Form Kit in Light - A bronzer, highlight and blush all in one place, and all in the shades you need for autumn? That's pretty darn good. The full review of the palette can be found here, but I love how all the shades work with my skin to create lovely contoured and natural skin. Perfect.

Quick Fix Facials Exfoliating Scrub Mask - I am yet to find fault with this brand yet. Don't you love it when that happens? You take a gamble and it works! This mask, when applied to a steamed face, works by cleaning out the dirt and grime from in your pores and bringing out the impurities. Paired with the Super Restorative, it's made me skin look clearer instantly. It's available here for £4.99, but if you're clever, you'll find it in TK Maxx £2 cheaper - you can thank me later ;)

Sleek Make-Up True Colour Lipstick in Liqueur - Another Sleek favourite, which is always great when discovering a new brand. This particular shade is fabulous for nude newbies and also in playing up the metallic trend this season; there's a lovely matte metallic edge to this shade which you can see here and you can just easily slap in on through the day.

EasyAcc Portable Phone Charger - Coming back and forth from London all the time, you're battery suffers massively - anyone else find their phone just does not last from one day out in the city?! Thankfully when you hit the 20%, you can plug any phone you so desire into this charger (which holds 2.5-3 charges FYI amazeballs) and you'll be full of juice in no time. Get it here for 46% less than the RRP - bargain!

MAC Pro Palette - Just when I thought my NAKED palette had overtaken everything, good ol'MAC snuck right back in. Thanks to my absolute love of the Burberry SS15 make-up look, I have been using this quad so much more as it replicates the neutral eye perfectly. Brule highlights the brow bone and inner corners, before washing Wedge over the eyelid for a 'natural, but better' shadow hue. Paired with a red lip, you're already ahead of the trend.

So  it's safe to say I've been majorly pleased with my beauty this month - loads of new discoveries and treats to try, and lots that has made me skin just look so good which is always a win. As it gets to autumn and winter, I'm going to be taking more care with hydrating and renewing my skin, making it glow naturally, and also delving into those deep plum shades - ooooh I love a plum shade at Christmas! Now, for those novelty pyjamas...

What are you loving this month? Do you have a new beauty find? Are you exciting for autumn/winter?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Website | Flickr | Tumblr | Twitter | Follow my blog with Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest
Click here for more ...


Monday, 29 September 2014

Helloooo everyone!

Make-up and skincare are things I don't like to compromise on lightly; I need quality, something that will suit my skin and keep all problem areas happy whilst making me feel fabulous dahling! 

With an unhealthy obsession for natural eyeshadows and lipsticks (well, what girl or beauty blogger wouldn't agree with that?) starting to build up, it only seemed fitting for this box of goodness to land on my doorstep - and also whilst I was wearing my pj's and not looking fabulous, but I digress. Probably one of the best packages to arrive in a while, I am so excited to share with you some of the products Simple and Sleek have teamed up with Superdrug on to get a new season glow that will make you look awesome.

To get a great glow, you need to feel confident in your skin, and what better way to do so than with your skincare routine. Simple prides themselves on being a range tailored towards sensitive skin, and are a great brand to check out when you're first entering the somewhat daunting skincare world. An affordable brand with all the products you need for quick cleansing and nourishment.

Included in the package was the Kind to Skin Purifying Cleansing Lotion*, Soothing Facial Toner* and Hydrating Moisturiser* - the three basics you need for stripped back starting out cleansing. I find that lotions, gels and balms are much more nourishing for any skin type when cleansing as they keep the natural oils balanced whilst removing or providing extra hydration when needed, so this lotion is great for first-time cleansing to get your skin used to being cleansed.
A toner should help remove any deep, extra dirt and dead skin cells but should not strip the skin. A soothing solution like this one from Simple will help to cleanse the extra dirt in the pores whilst locking in the goodness from the products. Finally, a light moisturiser is great to replenish any lost moisture from the day and cleansing, and with Vitamin E it will help soften your lovely skin - perfect for skin newbies and those with sensitive skin.

Now although I don't use face wipes anymore, I do remember how useful they were for removing eye make-up and left-over product as a teen. When you're starting out with skincare, sometimes you don't have a lot on and a quick wipe with one of these Cleansing Facial Wipes* will get you feeling fresh and clean again; remember though to do a proper cleanse and moisturising routine afterwards, as you don't want the skin to become dried out or react harshly to a concentrated solution, and don't solely rely on make-up wipes either as they aren't the best thing to use everyday for removing make-up - save it for the late-nights and in-between refreshes!

Now I've only ever heard of Sleek make-up and had never tried their products before, but after this little sample of goodies for the 'Guide to Glowing Skin' range I am really converted to their eyeshadow palettes! To get my glow, I tried the Bare Skin Foundation in Bamboo, Brow Kit in Light, Face Form in Light, i-Divine Eyeshadow Palette in Au Naturel, and True Colour Lipstick in Liqueur and boy was I impressed.

First off, I have to say I love the sleek (pun intended) black packaging - simple, fits in your bag or make-up storage easily and it works. Yes you may get some foundation fingers on it, but it's great quality for the bargain price.

The Face Form Palette is great on the go; with regular travelling, I need to have everything in one place be it my eyeshadows or blush and contour products. Sleek has made everything easy by packing their blush, highlight and contour bronzer into one compact, and the shades are aweeesssome - the bronzer is matte which is great for a natural look, and although it's quite dark it means it will last longer and also force you to use a light-hand and blend for a natural look; if you find it looks too blocky, take a lighter powder and blur out the edges to it appears softer.
The highlighter is also a lovely shimmery shade; not too shimmer shimmer but rather a cool-toned glowing illuminator which looks fabulous on my cool-toned yellow-based skin, and is a perfect highlight for winter when your tan as faded away. Finally, the blush is a lovely pink-mauve shade with a dusty blue undertone - perfect for autumn winter blushed cheeks. Just a subtle wash at the top of the apples of your cheeks will look fabulous!

I'm all about the dark brows as mine are naturally quite dark, but if you make a mistake filling in you can sometimes end up with slug/cartoon brows - not always the look you want! Trialing this Light shade, I was able to outline the shape I wanted and fill in the main areas before using a darker powder in the arch and front of the brows. The wax is light enough to add some dimension and keep the brows in check all day long.

Natural, cool toned and brown eyeshadows are my favourite so I was mega excited to try this palette. I love that it comes with a protective cover printed with the shade names (so easy to tutorials), and also that it's mainly matte pigments with key shimmers that suit all combos of looks. The grey and khaki shades (Nubuck and Cappuccino) are my go to for an everyday natural look - and are also perfect for recreating the SS15 Burberry look FYI - with a little Taupe for natural shimmer. I am looking forward to creating some darker looks with the bottom row of shades so watch this space!

Liqueur is a delicious shade, fact. For a real lip enhancing shade, you need this. It's easy to throw on throughout the day as it literally matches your lips and adds a slight metallic edge which is great for the AW14 metallics trend. I carry this everywhere and it's perfect to wear on a date night as there's no smudge - hurrah!

Finally, the Bare Skin Foundation is lovely and lightweight; unfortunately it's too dark for me so I can't show you it on, but from the swatch and working it into the skin, I have found it blends like a dream and if very light on the skin. I would suggest to coverage is light-medium and best in the summer or for those good skin days when you don't want to pile on the products - I would definitely consider swatching this in a cooler shade to buy.

Overall, this collab is genius; a great starter kit for skin or make-up newbies plus the make-up really does create a lovely natural glow. I have to rate Sleek make-up, I never really looked into them before but now I want so many of their palettes for different looks - here's to finding new awesome brands!

Do you use Sleek Make-Up? Are you a Simple fan? Will you be rocking a natural glow this season?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

*This post contains gifted press samples. All views are 100% my own and are not influenced by the company. Please see my disclaimer for more.

Website | Flickr | Tumblr | Twitter | Follow my blog with Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest
Click here for more ...


Friday, 26 September 2014

Helloooo everyone!

Jeans are a staple in everyone's life; skinny, flared, straight cut, vintage, recycled into something new - the styles and possibilities are endless. Our genes are also an endless possibility, and we all have our unique traits thanks to the blend of our ancestors from generations gone by - I do sometimes wish I had  more than 1/100 Irish in me but I'll let it slide for now.

I remember partaking in Jeans for Genes Day pack in Primary School, and is a fun way to raise money for an important cause; 1 in 25 children are born with a genetic disorder, and the health problems caused from these are some of the biggest killers for those under 14 with gene disorders. With a younger sister, I can only imagine the heartbreak of losing a young family member so soon, which is why it's important we help out these causes and appreciate our family every day.

To raise awareness, M&Co contacted bloggers - including myself - to style our favourite jeans for the cause, and have complied all our lovely images and tips in their latest blog post here. I ended up shooting two looks for the piece, one more day time (albeit a bit Spring inspired but that jacket does have autumn tones) and one as a day-to-night, easy to dress look, and all the pieces are linked below!

Look 1  Blazer - Sparkle and Fade @ Urban Outfitters similar | Top - Topshop similar | Jeans - M&Co* | Heeled Boots - Red Herring at Debenhams similar | Bag - Deena and Ozzy @ Urban Outfitters similar
Look 2  Printed Jacket - H&M similar | Top - H&M similar | Jeans - Topshop similar | Trainers - Office at Topshop similar | Bag - Homemade!

As a new jeans convert, you'll be sure to see these M&Co beauties popping up in a few more Fashion Friday posts, and some very autumn themed ones too - so excited for hats and boots! But, until then, take some time to enjoy this post and the meaning behind Jeans for Genes. Support those around you, and spread the love.

Are you a jeans lover? Have you bought from M&Co? Do you support Jeans for Genes?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Website | Flickr | Tumblr | Twitter | Follow my blog with Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest
Click here for more ...


Thursday, 25 September 2014

Hellooo everyone!

Most of us have a niggle, you know, the thing that reeeeeaaallly makes your eye-roll rival Lucy Watson's and curse the heavens as to why this is happening right now. It could be losing your keys in your bag, people who zone out of conversations by scrolling through Twitter instead, or it could be something unseen like an uncomfortable bra that's been digging in all day long. Yeah, that.

You can get fitted and measured all you want, but unless you take the time to find the right shape style to fit you and the right brand that won't neglect your lingerie needs, you'll probably end up investing in a bra that will need to be removed by lunchtime.

I've always been a Debenhams gal when it comes to bras, and my latest venture into new brands left me spending some dolla on bras with poor service and returns which was not acceptable in my books (I'm looking at you Marks and Spencers, shambles). That being said, I was very surprised recently when I was invited along to the Triumph event in my local House of Fraser to try out the new Magic Wire bra, which has been designed with comfort and support in mind - minus the wires.

You've probably imagined some sort of old lady monstrosity of a design, but the team at Triumph have created a very feminine and luxurious bra that really does support you, and really does feel like second skin.

Heading off to try the new bra, I wasn't sure what to expect really - would it have shape? What was the design? How does it work?! The past t-shirt style bras I've bought have had a sneaky wire in, and my last from M&S whilst minus the wire mainly flattens my chest (and caused a lot of problems - I won't be dropping this anytime soon as you can tell) so I was interested to see what Triumph had come up with.

Upon arrival, I was whisked off for a fitting where the lovely assistant talked to me about how important it is for lingerie to fit properly, and to measure me up correctly. She also explained how different designs would change what size you fit - so helpful - and how the new Magic Bra would work for me and all the other ladies out there who want comfortable all day long.

The Magic Bra works so well thanks to an invisible integrated silicone strip inside the moulded cups, which supports the contours of your bust like any old wired bra but creates the perfect natural cleavage without pinching or constricting your every move. There's been no expense with the design either; a combination of silky lining, smooth side panels and a soft hook-and-eye closure creates a second skin feeling with a touch of lace and scalloped edges for a sensual appeal.

It turned out that I needed to go up a cup for a perfect fit, and the bra really did deliver all the promises they'd set out. It looked seamless under my top and was such a gorgeous colour that would sit perfectly under any dress or top in your wardrobe.

After the fitting, there was the chance to chat to Sally Bradford, the speaker who talked about how to fix niggles in your daily life and think positively about your life. It was amazing sitting down with her to discuss how to approach various areas of your daily life, figuring out how to 'nudge' yourself in the right direction for you and that by putting yourself out there, you're more likely to get what you want - maybe one day I can stand outside Space NK and be given all the NARS I want for free, that would be nice.

After discussing the many niggles that came top of a recent survey - no loo roll in the toilet, lost keys and slow drivers were in the top 5 - we thought about how we can fix our niggles to make everything better again. The best option we found was to talk it out with a friend or someone close to you, which was also the top response in the survey; talking it out always makes you feel better so remember guys, whatever the problem, get chatting! For sorting out my niggles, I told Sally that I like to step away from the situation, listen to some music and have some chill time out - being British, a good cup of (herbal) tea always sorts you out.

All the ladies wrote down their niggles to be posted on the tree, so that everyone could share tips and advice on how to resolve the issue. No loo roll? Keep some hidden in a separate drawer to the rest or carry tissues on your bag in case of emergency. Lost your keys? Either attach a really big key-ring to them, buy a bag with sections or invest in a remote or app that locates metal products or a device to find them easily!

There are so many solutions to be found, which is why Triumph have launched the #nigglefix hashtag where people can shares their niggles and advice with others online - always the best and quickest way to find advice, just 'Google it!'.

Thank you to the lovely ladies at Triumph and Havas PR for inviting me along; it was great to have amazing service and information about bras, and to learn more about how bra design is becoming more accommodating for all shapes and sizes - hurrah! The bras are now in department stores nationwide and online, so I'm off to get my #nigglefix by getting my own Magic Wire bra, and I know for sure there will be no more eye rolls.

Have you tried Triumph bras before? What are your biggest niggles? Who loves a comfy bra too?!

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Website | Flickr | Tumblr | Twitter | Follow my blog with Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest
Click here for more ...