March Favourites

Hey everyone! It’s that time of the month again to discuss the things that I have been loving over the last 30 days or so! Without further ado let’s get started….

Beauty Favourite

I received a tangle teezer for my birthday in January and I have been loving it ever since. I have fine hair that tangles so easily and nothing helps comb my hair back to normality the way this does! I was given a really cute one as well, the blue and pink version as you can see from the photo! I would seriously recommend this to any of you, it detangles your hair without ripping it out or damaging it for £10.99.

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Skin care

My skin care favourite this month is the seaweed mattifying day cream from The Body Shop. I wrote about this in a skin care haul post a couple of months back and I’m still loving it. It helps control my oily skin throughout the day, keeping my makeup looking good!

TV/Film:

This months choice is pretty random but I’ve really been enjoying Scrubs! I hadn’t watched every episode before and just seen random ones whenever they happened to be on TV. My boyfriend ( a scrub’s obsessive) decided it was time that I watched it the whole way through and it’s really been keeping me entertained.

Food:

As spring seems to have finally arrived in the UK I’ve been enjoying fresh strawberries! They have always been my favourite fruit and it’s always wonderful when you get to that time of year when properly ripened strawberries appear in the supermarket. If you fancy cooking with strawberries try out my recipe for strawberry and cream cupcakes!

Random:

My random favourite this month has to be ItsJudysLife Youtube channel. I’ve really been enjoying watching their daily vlogs especially as Judy and Benji had twin girls this month! If you haven’t ever checked out their channel then get over there now!

 

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Quick Herb Growing Update

It’s been several weeks since I did a post about planting basil, parsley and chives to keep on my windowsill. ( See that post here: https://beautyandthebaking.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/first-time-herb-growing/)

I thought I would give a quick update to show how much (or how little) they have grown and give my thoughts on what I would do differently next time I plant herbs.

 

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Top left: Parsley, Top right: Chives, Bottom: Basil

So as you can see from the photo all three have started to grow. The parsley began growing a lot sooner than the other two and has filled out the pot much faster than the other two. The basil has only just started to rear its head, just as I was giving up hope. After doing some research online I’ve decided that I’m going to need to take out some of the parsley seedlings as the pot is becoming increasingly overcrowded. I’m a bit nervous about doing this as I don’t want to kill them all off! Anyway I’ll let you know how that goes!

Things I will do differently next time:

  • Despite me being initially drawn in my the cuteness of the metal buckets to grow the herbs in, they don’t have any drainage holes in the bottom. I now realise that drainage holes are quite important and stop your soil from becoming water logged. Next time I will just use basic plastic growing pots from somewhere like Wilkinsons.
  • The instructions on the growing set lead me to believe that you should put all the seeds in the pots but I think on reflection it would have been much more sensible to spread them thinly and just save some seeds for another time. This would help to reduce the overcrowding problem and maybe help me to avoiding weeding out or transplanting some of the seedlings.

Anyway, I’m just glad that the seedlings are growing!

P.S.I have also planted some seeds/bulbs from the box below so let me know if you want any updates about how tomatoes, radishes,mixed salad leaves or onions are growing!

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Review: Pixi Wakeup Concealer

Today’s post is just a simple review of a product that I’ve had in my makeup storage for a while, the Pixi Wakeup Concealer which retails online for £12.00. Here are my thoughts on the product…..

The lighting was really bad yesterday so I couldn’t manage to get a photo that really did the packaging justice. As with all the Pixi products the packaging is super cute and feels quite expensive. I got my concealer in the shade 01 cream which is the lightest shade, although I found this to be a good match for me I have noticed that there are only 3 shades available so I’m sure that some people would find it hard to get a decent match. The main problem I had with this concealer is the formula, as I personally find it too drying for use under the eyes. Even after applying eye cream I find that it’s difficult to blend in and worst of all it creases throughout the day. Although it does brighten up the under eye area, I can’t get past the dry formula so have never managed to get much use out of it. I was obviously disappointed as it’s not the cheapest product and most of all I genuinely love every other Pixi product that I’ve tried so I had expected to be really pleased by this.

Let me know what under-eye concealers you’ve been using!

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

As Mothering Sunday is coming up in the UK (March 30th) I thought it would be helpful to share some gift ideas with you. I know that the date of mother’s day varies from country to country but hopefully this will be of some use to you all at some point. I wanted to make options that were versatile and would be able to fit into anyone’s budget as I know that younger people still at school have limited funds but want to give something just as special. With this in mind I decided to go with a kind of “make it yourself hamper”, simply meaning get a pretty box and fill it with things that your mom will love or love to try. In this post I’ll be giving a few different examples of the types of hamper you could do based on your moms personality ( i.e food lover, beauty lover relaxation lover) and the sort of stuff you could fill it with. I just did two examples so you can get the general idea. Obviously these are just ideas and you could choose as many or as few of these things depending on your budget. Anyway I seem to have waffled on far longer than I should of so lets get started!

Right so the basis of your “hamper” is going to be a pretty box or gift bag. You may well have one lying around your house but here are a few options…….

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It might be best to actually buy the box after you’ve bought all the gifts, just to make sure it’s big enough.

Now on to what you could fill your boxes with ………….

For the food lover…….

My mom definitely has a sweet tooth so I’d be filling it with some of these:

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  •  A gift card for her favorite restaurant or one she would like to try. Loads of places do these like Nando’s, Pizza Express etc and it’s sweet because you could go for dinner together and spend quality time with your mom!
  • Bake some little cupcakes or a nice cake to give to your mom. Homemade gifts are always the best and she’ll really appreciate it!

Box 2: For the beauty lover and relaxation lover

  • This is probably my favorite category and I’m finding it hard to narrow my picks but here’s what I think my mom would like!

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This is £14 from The Body shop. I think this is a good pick for moms who don’t have much time in the morning to pamper themselves as this provides a kind of pick me up!

  • No beauty or pamper gift would be complete without some Lush products, here are my picks from their collection.

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Or this re-usable bubble bar to add in to your hamper

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This little set from The Body shop would be a lovely addition….

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And if you’re really treating your mom then maybe a luxury item like the following…….

The Sacred Hour Compact palette £34

The Sacred Hour Compact palette £34

I think this is a lovely present that feels luxurious and has beautiful, wearable colours that most women can make use of.

http://www.asos.com/Illamasqua/Illamasqua-The-Sacred-Hour-Compact-Palette/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=3397091&cid=5020&sh=0&pge=1&pgesize=36&sort=-1&clr=Reflection+palette

I hope this was in some way helpful. There are a tonne of things you could fill your box with but I think it’s a really thoughtful way to build a gift as it shows you’re aware of the things she likes or would like to try.

Recipe: Strawberry and Cream Cupcakes

As the weather has begun to pick up in the UK and the generally elusive sun has appeared, I’ve been getting excited for spring/summer. Strawberries and cream is something that always reminds me of hot, sunny days and I wanted to make a cupcake that reminded me that summer is finally coming! I should say the recipe for the actual cake is from the hummingbird bakery book, the best cupcake sponge I’ve made so far, So here’s my recipe for yummy strawberry cream cupcakes…….

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Ingredients:

  • 120g SR flour
  • 40g unsalted Butter
  • 140g sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 120ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the filling and icing:

  • 12 teaspoons of jam
  • 300ml double cream
  • 3 tbsps icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • handful of ripe strawberries

Equipment:

  • Fairy cake/muffin tin
  • 12 cake cases

Method:

1) Pop the cakes cases into the muffin tin and preheat the oven to 170 degrees.

2) Mix the butter, sugar, flour and salt together with an electric whisk until it resembles sand.

3) Add in half of the milk and mix thoroughly.

4) In a separate bowl beat the remaining milk, egg and vanilla extract, then add this to the flour mixture. Mix thoroughly until you have a smooth batter.

5) Spoon the batter into the cake cases ( as equally as possible). Fill to about 2/3 full to make sure you leave plenty of room for them to rise.

6) Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Check they’re cooked by poking the thin end of a spoon into the middle of a cake and making sure it comes out clean! Leave the cakes to cool.

7) While the cakes are cooling, beat the cream, icing sugar and vanilla together with an electric whisk until it begins to form peaks.

8) For decoration I cut my strawberries into slices and used a small heart cutter to get little heart shaped pieces of strawberry ( see the photos below). If you don’t want to do this just slice the strawberry in half to add on top!

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9) When the cakes are cool enough, cut a small circle of the top of the cakes and fill them each with about a teaspoon of strawberry jam but you can always add more of course!

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10) Ensuring the cakes are cool enough now you can pipe your cream in a swirl on top starting from the outside of the cake moving inwards. If you don’t want to pipe you could make the cakes into butterfly cakes or simply smooth some cream on the top of the cake!

11) Add the strawberry for decoration and voila!

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Hope you enjoy 🙂

 

 

Review: Graze Box and Get a Free Box!

For a while now I’ve been wanting to try a graze box as I loved the idea of healthy snacks being delivered to your door every once in a while. I watched a few unboxings on Youtube and was really impressed at the kind of snacks people were getting. I received a voucher for a free box with an ASOS magazine so I thought it was time to finally get one. It was really easy to sign up online and only took a few minutes, you can easily change how often you want a box to be delivered choosing every week or fortnight. What impressed me the most was the range of snacks available and the degree of control you have over what you can get. They have a feature where you can choose snacks you want to be sent soon, bin those snacks you never want to receive and like or love those you are interested in trying in the future. After signing up I was told I would receive my first box on Wednesday (today) so I was super excited and looking forward to finding it this morning. And here it was, popped through my letter box……..

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And  here’s what was inside……

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I received:

  • Microwaveable slightly sweet popcorn
  • My Thai-  sweet chilli sauce and soy bites
  • Green Olives with Harissa
  • Honeycomb Flapjack

Inside the box is a welcome booklet and the little leaflet you can see above which has the nutritional information for the snacks in the box which is always nice to look at. They also include a napkin and I got an olive pick so this would be great if you get your boxes delivered to work.

These were all things I clicked to be sent soon so that’s proof that they take note of your ratings and preferred choices.

So moving on to my general thoughts. I think the service is great and the delivery was right on time which is great seen as its free andthe choice of snacks is excellent. The most important thing really is that the snacks I received were super tasty and I will enjoying finishing nomming them hehe. The normal price of a box is £3.89 which I guess can be seen as kind of expensive as the snack boxes are kind of smallish but still they’re unique snacks and I’ll enjoy the excitement of wondering what I’m going to receive every fortnight.

So if you’re interested use the code below to get your first, fifth and tenth box free! You can cancel at anytime, even after you’ve received your first free box, no strings attached!

Here’s the code: Y1XGXW6JB

 

First time herb growing!

So today’s post is pretty random. I seem to be finding new and more exciting ways to procrastinate! Rather than finishing off my dissertation or starting to prepare for my final exams, I have developed an interest in the world of growing green things. I’ve never really had much experience with plants apart from brief encounters with sunflowers that only ended up feeding the large population of slugs and snails in my garden. On account of this I’m trying to start off with fairly uncomplicated things that I can keep in doors to monitor. I saw some great grow your own kits in Tesco and decided to pick up the one below and another more adventurous salad vegetable set which I shall probably talk about later!

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So this was the first set I got and it’s just to start growing Chives, Basil and Parsley. As I like cooking, particularly things like pasta and making salads, I thought that these would be three good choices that I would definitely be able to incorporate into my food. There is something exciting about planting up the seeds and waiting for them to grow with the initial hope that one day you will stand over  a plate of food that you not only prepared but that you partly grew from a tiny seed. (Maybe I need to get out more to learn what most people find exciting :’0 )

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So for £5 you get the three sets of seeds, three little bucket pots and three compost cubes. Everything you need to plant the herbs up. I was mostly convinced to buy this set because I liked the cute little buckets that came with it but you can probably just buy the seed packets and plastic pots for a cheaper price, particularly at shops like Wilkinsons.

I planted the seeds up about a week ago and they’re sitting on my windowsill as we speak. As of yet no signs of life but I’ll keep you all posted!

If any of you out there have greenfingers, please leave me tips in the comments 🙂