BEAUTY: THE BEAUTY QUARTER HAUL WITH COVENT GARDEN

Monday, 22 December 2014


Helloooo everyone!

Two hauls in the space of a week is some serious business considering my last one was posted back in March, but everyone loves a bit of snooping now and then so with a little goodie bag lingering around from my trip to Covent Garden, I thought it would be a little treat to show you what products Katie and Covent Garden gave us for heading down to The Beauty Quarter a few weeks ago.


A bag consisting of MAC, Chanel and Bobbi Brown isn't one to downplay, there's some serious high-quality products from each brand that have become new staples in a short time, and definitely left me wanting more - Bobbi Brown is next on my wishlist for many products due to the sheer range they have. But we're all here to see what products we picked up, and they're all party perfect pieces.



I said before about MAC that when you get a Pro-Palette, you feel as if you've been inducted into an elite beauty society, and to get a second  one is just pure excitement especially with the range of shades picked out for us. Firstly Nylon, a perfect shimmery base which adds a gorgeous highlight and winter frost to your lids, and is currently my new obsession for fresh, Christmas makeup. Wash this all over the lid with a matte crease shade and your eyes are instantly brighter. Brun is a beauty blogger classic and used loads for the brows, however I love this as a dark matte crease shade, blended out into a deeper brown smoke with the help of Satin Taupe. It's a gorgeous mauve/grey undertone that helps add a little shimmer and depth to your smokey eye, plus it look lovely against a lighter eye-colour. My current go-to shade to use with my new eyeshadow sticks is Star Violet, the new Cranberry to add a festive sparkle to your makeup and colour to your eyes. I love how this looks against my green eyes, and it's easy to blend on for a sweep of colour when you want an easy make-up look.



One of the most raved about holy grail products when it comes to gel liner, Bobbi Brown certainly has it covered. I used to use gel liner to death and now I'm back on the hype again; the pigmentation is bold and sleek, and it applies like a dream. Lots of small lines and an angled brush will give you the cat-flick of your dreams, long-lasting and a new essential to your collection.




Since Max Factor all those years ago created a non-budging stain, I've ummed and ahhed over whether these dual-ended lip products worked. I like a matte finish and was pretty content with my lipsticks until Katie tried this on me during her talk - now I'm converted. This is hands down the best long lasting lipstick I've used ever, and I'm so impressed with how it all stays on the lips. A similar shade to MAC's Russian Red, and also a UK exclusive to the Covent Garden store, the liquid lipstick is applied all over the lips with the brush (line your mouth first for more precision) and I like to use two layers for a bold colour, and then the gloss applied over the top to seal the colour and moisturise the lips. If you're a matte girl like me, do not fear, as the gloss dries down to a slick, lipstick finish that won't budge when you drink or eat, and even if it appears to have come off, you can check your reflection with confidence as no colour will have melted away awkwardly, and your bold lip will be in place all day long - just use an oil based product to get it off!


If you're looking for luxury, outstanding products, make sure you head to #TheBeautyQuarter when you're in London to be spoilt for choice by many beautiful brands. With some of the only standalone stores in the country, you'll find exclusive products and walls covered in your favourite pieces, so try picking up something new for your beauty bag from Covent Garden and prepare to be impressed.


Have you shopped at The Beauty Quarter before? What is your favourite luxury brand? Any long-lasting lipsticks to recommend?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


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BEAUTY: THE CIATE MINI MANSION ADVENT CALENDAR

Saturday, 20 December 2014


Helloooo everyone!

This may seem a little late seeing as Christmas is on Thursday - can I get a whoop whoop?! - but if you're like me and not one to rush your advent calendar then you may have heard about the awesome beauty calendar steal from TK Maxx - the Ciate Mini Mansion Advent Calendar, and what a steal it is!


I picked up last year's highly coveted calendar for £19.99 down from £50, which adds up to about 83p a polish; I mean, what a steal! If you're not fussed about last year's news, then try scouring this bad boy out in store or online - if you haven't crazily missed it already! But for a real treat, then this year's calendar is now being sold half price in stores - what is this beautiful madness?!


I'd never actually tried Ciate before this calendar but I've been really impressed with the range of colours ( Boudoir and Pillow Fight are my faves, gorgeous bold blue-red tones and a well blended purple-lavender-grey for any occasion) They last about 3-4 days with Seche Vite, and although the glitter and caviar tops are lovely, the sparkles formula can be quite gloopy and thick and both reduce the longevity of your polish lasting I find. Okay when you're switching up for new shades around Christmas and getting a new one every day, not great for a week away or a long period of time to show off your talons.

Whether you're on the hunt for a last minute present for a beauty junkie, or you want another advent calendar to open (there's never enough!), then head to your nearest TK Maxx for your own glittering caviar mansion courtesy of Ciate this Christmas.


Are you a fan of Ciate? Have you picked up a beauty calendar this year or a chocolate one? What's your fave nail polish to wear at Christmas?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


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FOOD: CHRISTMAS HOT CHOCOLATE


Hellooooo everyone!

Saturday's are for curling up on the sofa after a week of work, relaxing and indulging in some good TV and a warming drink under a blanket. One of the most Christmassy drinks you can so indulge in is a good ol'hot chocolate, and since the spread of festive flavours at Costa and Starbucks, I have been keen to try my own at home - behold, the Vegan Cinnamon Caramel Hot Chocolate with Coconut Vanilla Cream. A mouthful in two instances.

Ingredients (makes 2)
Christmas Mug (a must) | Milk of choice to fill 3/4 of your mug | Hot Chocolate Powder (I'm using Presat Cinnamon Flakes and Montezuma's Christmas Spiced Mandarin) | 1/2 Carton Coconut Cream | 1 Tsp Vanilla Bean Paste (or a few caps of essence) | Sweet Freedom Choc Shot (optional) | Caramel Syrup



1. Get your Christmas cups all ready, you want something big for a filling drink! Measure 3/4 of milk in each mug and leave to boil in the pan, turning to a simmer near boiling point. Add in 4-6 heaped Tbsps of Chocolate powder - for a cinnamon taste I've used a blend of the Spiced Mandarin and Cinnamon Flakes, however you can add 2 Tbsp of Cinnamon Powder to the milk with the chocolate. Whilst your hot chocolate blends, pour in Caramel syrup as desired to taste.



2. Turn off the heat and allow the hot chocolate to settle and continue to heat up. Decant the cream into a jug with the vanilla paste and whisk until thick, also adjust the vanilla to taste as you may want a stronger vanilla flavour. Transfer the hot chocolate to mugs and dollop your cream on top, swirling on some Choc Shot for decoration and taste.



Et voila! A big mug of yummy chocolate goodness that's perfect for the start of your Christmas holidays, sitting in front of the TV watching Elf or Love Actually, and definitely filling you up until your next meal. If you don't want it too sweet, skip the cream and sip away at the cinnamon, caramel delight, and sit in wonder at why you haven't already opened up your own coffee shop - let's give Costa a run for their money!



Are you a hot chocolate fan? Do you like the seasonal flavours each year? What do you top your festive drinks with?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


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FASHION: WINTER DAILY OUTFITS #2

Friday, 19 December 2014


Helloooo everyone!

I seem to start every post at the moment with a countdown to Christmas, and this one is no exception; we are a mere 6 days away from Roast Dinners, Presents and classic TV specials, get excited!
What's even more enjoyable are the crisp, bright days we've had recently, which are perfect for wrapping up warm whilst enjoying a bit of crisp sunshine on your face - it's like all of Britain's seasons at once - and what better way to enjoy a light afternoon than in a Winter White outfit to inject some freshness into the festive wardrobe.

Hat - ASOS (see similar) | Coat - Warehouse (see similar) | Scarf - TK Maxx (see similar) | Cable Knit - Miss Selfridge (see similar) | Trousers - Maison Jules | Boots - Topshop (see similar) | Bag - Urban Outfitters

I mentioned Maison Jules a few weeks ago, and these trousers from their first collection have to be my all-time favourite trousers ever - they are so so soft and are very  forgiving which is what you need at Christmas amiright? Just like your staple black trousers, this creamy white pair can be dressed down for the day, or paired with a nice open-toe heel for a classic evening look - a very refreshing update to your evening wardrobe, just be careful not to be a messy easter!

Two of my biggest staples this year have had to be this scarf and Urban Outfitters satchel; very versatile pieces with gorgeous reds and browns that are always going to compliment either my makeup or fave red boots, so they really help lift the whites in this outfit in a really lovely contrast of tones.


The winter essential? A big furry hat. I picked this one up from ASOS a few years ago and it's so super snuggly as we get into the depths of the cold weather, and when it gets really cold I like to slip a beanie hat on underneath as it adds that extra bit of warmth and grip - problems of a smaller head. It also goes nicely with my hair now so it appears as one continuous poof of fluffiness - if only I had hair this big waaah.

Keeping your outfit palettes to three similar tones is a winner in any season, but by injecting some colour and freshness into your wardrobe this winter, you'll lift yourself out of the grey skies and pack a punch to turn all heads when you dash off for your last minute shop. Keep your Christmas countdown cool and breezy this season, just like your style.



Are you a fan of colour and winter whites? What kind of hat do you wear in the colder months? Are you excited because SAAANTAAAA, I know him!?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


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BEAUTY: SPACE NK HAUL

Thursday, 18 December 2014


Helloooooo everyone!

In case you didn't know it yet, the reality is that Christmas Day in one week today. Absolute madness, but also very exciting! Even though Christmas is usually about giving presents to your loved ones, you gotta spread some happiness for yourself and indulge sometimes, which I most certainly did at Space NK a few weeks ago - that birthday gift card needed well and truly spending!

If you're looking for some makeup inspiration, or a last minute present for your girlfriend or mum (naughty), jump on in to my Space NK bag and see what delights you can find...




I've been wanting the NARS Sheer Glow Foundation  and NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer  for months - after much raving from Anna, Lily, and nearly every other beauty blogger on the internet - and I'm so glad I finally got my hands on them! Originally I was colour matched to Mont Blanc for Sheer Glow but my shade Deauville is much better for my skintone, practically melting into the skin to blend beautifully and naturally with the smallest pea size amount - if that doesn't sell it to you I don't know what will!
The concealer, a perfect blend of creamy but not too much so to settle in the creases. You only need a bit to cover those blemishes and the eye area, but it really matches well to my foundations and covers up 100%.



The amount of times I've been people rave about NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils  is beyond me, but it was an obvious choice for my shopping bag. I have a few bold reds so steered away from the HG Cruella shade and went for the more dusty Bahama pencil, which is a little deeper than the Revlon Colour Matte Balm in Sultry so if you love that then you'll love it. Yes, it's drier on the lips, but making sure you have a slick of blotted lip balm will help ease the feeling throughout the wear.



The reason for this purchase was due to my family buying the same thing for someone else - and after I did all the Space NK testing it turns out I quite wanted my own set of the Laura Mercier Mini Caviar Sticks. 6 beautiful shades that so super creamy and easy to blend, they swish on like a dream across your lid or the crease. I really love the range of shades - I've had quite a few nice comments on my eyes since wearing Amethyst and Cocoa together - and they are a great introduction to the brand without paying £20.50 for one stick (the set costs £38 equating each stick to £6.33 and saving you 49% - major bargains) so really, it would be mad for you not to try and get your paws on this. It's selling out fast, so be quick!


It's only in the last 3 years I've properly got into high quality beauty and make-up, and Space NK is no exception. There's so many high class brands such as NARS, Laura Mercier, Lipstick Queen, and Hourglass, that any product from the ranges would be a luxurious treat for yourself or a special lady in your life. Now that I'm a full on Space NK convert, I cannot wait to save up all my pennies for key pieces and products in the next year - so I guess it's time to purchase some more MUJI drawers...

Are you a Space NK lover? What's your favourite high-end make-up brand? Have you picked up anything from NARS recently?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


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FOOD: RAW CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

Wednesday, 17 December 2014


Helloooooo everyone!

The week running up to Christmas can be one of calm and excitement if you have all your gifts wrapped and the food shop ordered, or one of sheer horror when you realise you need to buy everything now and that the price of turkey is higher than ever. A quick way to make a special gift for someone from the comfort of your home is to whip up a batch of indulgent treats that they'll love and can't put a price on other than time and care - Chocolate Truffles.

The ultimate messy treat to make but totally worth the deliciousness, especially if they're made up of guilt free ingredients. Packed with natural cacao and coated with a lovely festive blend of flavour, these treats will go down perfectly for your foodie friends or fam, or served at your Christmas party as a cheeky snack after a drink.

Ingredients (makes 12)
50g Cocoa Butter | 4 Tbsps Cacao Powder | 2 Tbsps Coconut Oil | 2 Tsps Lucuma Powder | ¼ Tsp Vanilla Bean Paste | 6-7 Tbsps or 1/5 Pack of Coconut Cream | Sweetner of choice | 6-8 Tbsps Sweet Freedom Choc Shot


1. Weigh out the butter and oil and melt in a pan. You can get a Raw Chocolate starter pack from Choc Chick here, or simply replace the butter with Coconut Oil which you can find in most supermarkets including Sainsburys. When almost melted, turn the heat to the lowest setting and add in the Cacao Powder, mixing thoroughly until all combined.



2. Measure out the cream and whisk in the vanilla paste to knock back the coconut flavour. When combined, pour in the chocolate and add the lucuma powder and sweetener to taste.



3. To make the truffles as chocolaty as possible, use the Sweet Freedom sauce to add depth of flavour and thickness to the truffle mix, varying the amount to taste. I used around 8 tbsps to get a distinct chocolate edge rather than just a creamy melt-in-the-middle treat - although there's nothing wrong with that ;) Allow to set in the fridge until scoopable and firm.


4. Now the messy bit. You want to use a teaspoon to scoop out the desired size for the truffle, and due to the ingredients it will begin to melt a little, so scoop, squish together, shape, and then lightly cover in powder. I used a mix of cocoa powder and cinnamon, plus some icing sugar for the sweet tooths out there, but feel free to use chopped nuts or any other spices of your choice. Repeat until all the mix has been used, and don't worry if it's not neat, it looks more homemade! Present in a little case or in a bag, and voila, presents done!



These truffles literally melt in your mouth - in 6 seconds they go from solid balls of truffle goodness to liquid chocolate that melts down and leaves you wanting more. The key is to not coat the truffles in powder too much otherwise it's an inconvenient Cinnamon Challenge circa 2012, and to get your mix of cream and chocolate just right for a creamy texture that sets firm.

If you like the idea of homemade chocolate, then try picking up the Choc Chick starter pack and give this Chocolate Bark recipe a go - a lovely easy present to make which tastes amazing (I've had several 'yummy' comments from this so you're in good hands) and contains less of the processed ingredients in regular chocolate. Be the calm, cool, collected present giver this year, and melt away all truffled expectations with these delicious bites of goodness.


Are you a fan of Chocolate truffles? Have you got all your shopping done? How excited are you for Christmas?!

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


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BEAUTY: SLEEK CHRISTMAS MAKE-UP

Monday, 15 December 2014



Hellooooo everyone!

We're less than two weeks away from the big day - I'm so super excited for more festiveness! Now is the time for Christmas parties, dinners and events, and you want to feel and look your best at each occasion. To give you a helping hand, I've collaborated with Sleek Makeup to show you how you can use their awesome cosmetics to get a showstopping finish to your look at an affordable price, and what's even better is some of their products are now suitable for Vegans - yay for health and kindness to the Earth!

I have so many key faves from Sleek including the great range of eyeshadow palletes, so you're in for a 2-in-1 post - a run down of  their Christmas package and products, and mini finished tutorial of how I used the makeup to achieve my party look - let's get sparkly!



i-Divine Eyeshadow Palette in Oh So Special- Another steller palette from Sleek, with creamy and easy to blend shades in a range of mattes and shimmers. Although I'm not a pink girl, the 5 pinker shades, including Gateau, Organza and Ribbon, look gorgeous on and have a lovely freshness in the lighter shades, but also a deeper hint of raspberry in the darker tones which I love. The dark blue Glitz shade reminds me of Creep/Gunmetal from NAKED 1 and applies beautifully, a great alternative to black smokey eyes.


Eye and Cheek Palette in Dancing til Dusk* - One of Sleek's new launches, I love the clever play on words to emphasise the orange and setting sun colours that soak the sky each night. The brown shadows create a lovely subtle smokey eye for the day, and don't get put off by the orange blush as it swatches as a gorgeous burnt browny peach - lovely against a brown or nude lip for glowy skin. The sparkly pink/plum shade comes out mainly sparkly, so if you're one for shimmer then go all out for a flush of deep pink with lots of highlight (a great dupe for Hourglass Luminous Flush).


Blush by 3 in Pink Lemonade* - For blush on-the-go, Blush by 3 is for you. A mix of powder and cream blushes in blendable formulas, you can layer up the shades with a light hand for a unique finish, or go for a statement flush to last all day long. I also love the shade Sugar which is a gorgeous brown, autumnal hue - maybe I'll need another palette or three...


Eye Dust in Starry Eyed* - Oh, oh, starry eyed; hyper pigmented and super sparkly, pop this on over your smokey eye for added drama and you'll be good to go! I'd recommend tapping a bit out and using a fluffy brush to press it into your lids for a more noticable shimmer.


Eyebrow Stylist in Light* - This is my absolute holy grail brow product. The combo of a spoolie to really get into the brows, and the light wax to fill in the gaps - perfection. I was wary of the light shade as I have dark brows but it fills them in perfectly for a natural finish, and you barely need any pressure to slightly sketch the lines in, if you buy anything from Sleek, get this. To use, I run the spoolie through my brows to shape, fill in my gaps and arch lightly until even, and then run the spoolie through again to distribute and shape my brows for a natural shape - amazing. It's love.


True Colour Lipstick in Smoulder* - Sleek know how much I love a dark lip, and Smoulder is no exception. Apply straight from the bullet for a strong, vampy lip or using a lip brush, apply in strokes for a sheer stained tint that looks gorgeous and is easy to wear for any dark lip newbie. True Colour Lipsticks are the perfect balance of matte and creamy nourishment, long lasting with great pigmentation and with added Vitamin E, your lips are soft all day long. I'm already eyeing up the shades Vamp, Barely There, Bare All, Vixen and Mulberry - here comes the #feelingspendy...




The finished look - a blend of light and smokey shimmers, subtle contouring and a hint of vampy plum on the lips. Don't be afraid to wear a strong eye and lip, but a light hand can make them work in harmony so you don't look too done. I am in love with the eye-shadows and brow pencil, and the quality of the contour palettes and lipsticks is exceptional.
To achieve the smokey eye, I covered my lid in () before blending () into my crease and outwards for a dramatic smoke. Layering () into the crease adds depth and a multi-dimensional shimmer, with () taken across the lashes as a liner. Super easy, and all in one palette!

If you're on a budget but want high quality, there's no where sleeker for your beauty needs this Christmas ;)


NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Deauville | NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla | Sleek Eyebrow Stylist in Light* | Bow all over the lid, Glitz and Noir in the crease and smoked out, and Gateau in the lower crease from Sleek i-Divine Palette in Oh So Special* | Bare Minerals Lash Domination Mascara* | Sleek Face Form Contour Powder and Highlighter in Light* | Sleek True Colour Lipstick in Smoulder*


Are you a fan of Sleek make-up? What is your go-to festive look? Would you rock a smokey eye with a dark lip?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


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