A free rainy afternoon doesn’t come along very often but lets face it this Bank Holiday Monday was a real wash out! Not one to moan… what it did offer us was the perfect opportunity to do something productive, with results that will last long after this wet, disappointing weekend leaves us. Yes, we decided to do some DIY.
For a while now I’ve been wanting to do something with all our old pictures and I was inspired by Pinterest to create a picture wall in our living room, after seeing images like these…
So after talking about it for weeks, we finally got down to tackling the ‘picture ledge’. We got out ‘that’ box of old pictures and collection of frames I’ve been sporadically buying from Ikea, Marks & Spencers and Zara Home. Dom (after getting back from a stag do) got out his spirit level and power drill and I went through the pictures. It was fun going down memory lane but so difficult to choose which pictures to have on display. I wanted a good mix of old and new images, black & white and colour ones. This was the end result…
As you can see I do like to have my pictures around me! We got our ‘picture ledge’ from Ikea.
Any day that involves a carousel, water fountains, wahaca for lunch and a stroll around the Tate Modern is not a bad one in my book. Knowing full well that the Bank Holiday Monday was going to be a complete wash out (and it was), we decided to make the most of Sunday’s warm sunny weather.
My husband was away on a stag do, so his sister and her family came down from Derbyshire to keep us (my daughters and I) company over the long weekend. Wanting to show them the sites of London, I thought I’d take them to the Southbank as it’s one of my favourite parts of town. There’s always something going on, be it a live concert, a workshop, an exhibition… or just about anything. Also from there you can see some of London’s biggest landmarks, including the London Eye, Big Ben, St Pauls and of course the Tate Modern.
At the moment they have the Festival of Love going on, with lots of vibrant stalls and street art – it was amazing. We had such a great day, here are some of the pictures we took…
For the last ten years I’ve worked in the beauty industry and been surrounded by beauty products. In that time I’ve picked up a fair few ‘tricks of the trade’ and insider secrets. With this is mind I thought I’d share some of my beauty tips with you all. So sit back, get a cup of tea and indulge yourself in my top 10 beauty tips…
1) The Cheekbone Illusion
Make your cheekbones appear higher and give them more structure by apply bronzer directly underneath your cheekbone. You can also add a little highlighter to the cheekbone itself for added affect . Try it and see!
2) Dry Out Spots
You don’t need to spend money on spot creams, simply dab some toothpaste onto your spot before going to bed and by morning it will be on it’s way. Believe me this is a tried and tested trick.
3) Blot Your Skin
The easiest way to clear your skin of oil and prevent your make-up from sliding (especially during the summer months) is to use blotting papers. They’ll soak up any excess oil from the top layer of your skin – and prevent breakouts. I like these ones from Boots.
4) Don’t Fade Away
Lock in your new hair colour by using a deep-conditioning hair treatment every two weeks. This is a great two-in-one tip as you’ll obviously also benefit from super soft, well condition hair. My current favourite is this one by Kerastase.
5) Have Oily Skin? Use A Face Oil.
I know this sounds ridicules but using a face oil can help your skin produce less natural oil. Why? Using a face oil will trick your skin into thinking it doesn’t need to produce more oil. I really recommend Clarins Lotus Oil. It’s been my skin saviour for years.
6) Use Eye Cream on your Cuticles
Don’t waist money on cuticle cream, when you can double up by using a moisturising eye cream. I love a multi-purpose product and this tip works a treat! Bonus tip, keep your eye cream in the fridge, this will help reduce the appearance of dark circles and ‘bags’. You can also apply a think layer of eye cream under your eyes while soaking in the bath – as an amazing eye mask! I like Eucerin AQUAporin Active Moisturising Eye Cream
7) The Reverse Wash
If you suffer from thin hair, try the ‘reverse wash’! This means conditioning your hair first and shampooing second. Many of my old colleagues swore by this tip to increase volume.
8) Keep Your Makeup Brushes Clean
Clean your brushes using a little shampoo and warm water after every couple uses. They become a breeding ground for bacteria, which can cause breakouts and other skin conditions. Prevention is always better than a cure!
9) Seasonal Changes
Our skin needs different things depending on the time of year. So it’s important to change your beauty routine depending on the season. During the winter months your skin needs more moisture and comfort, while in the summer months you should use a lighter hydrating cream or lotion with an SPF.
10) A Body Beautiful
Immediately after stepping out of a shower or bath, apply a body lotion, cream or oil. Water and soap washes away your skin’s natural oils, so applying a moisturising product will prevent your skin from drying. Also, apply your cream or oil to slightly damp skin – not only will it be easier to rub in but it will also be more effective.
Let me know if you enjoyed reading these tips as I have plenty more up my sleeve.
I may be a chocaholic but when it comes to cake, I’m not too fussed. I can quite easily say no to a slice of Carrot Cake or a Victoria Sponge. However, once I tried a Leon Better Brownie I was hooked. They’re gooey and moist with a subtle orange flavour – and totally delicious.
If you’re not familiar with the Leon chain, their focus is on good quality fast food, that’s organic and fresh – they also cater for special diets. These brownies are flour-less, so are great for those with an intolerance to gluten or wheat, which is obviously a bonus.
After falling in love with these brownies (while working in London) and going on and on about them at home, my husband bought me a copy of their cook book so that I could attempt the recipe at home. Since then I’ve made them quite a few times, including today!
The original recipe is a little fussy, so I’ve simplified it a little (taken out the coffee and toasted almonds, and substituted some of the other ingredients). However, it’s important to follow the order in which the ingredients go in or you might end up with a scrambled mess.
This is my version
- 180g unsalted butter
- 200g 54% chocolate
- 1 teaspoon orange oil
- 4 free range eggs
- 100g ground almonds
- 100g 70% chocolate chunks
- 150g caster sugar
- pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees
- Melt the butter and allow to cool slightly.
- Separately, melt the 200g of chocolate in a bowl over warm water until fully melted and glossy, then remove from the heat.
- Add the orange oil to the butter and stir.
- Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat lightly.
- Add the ground almonds and stir well.
- Add the cooled melted chocolate, the 100g chocolate chunks and the caster sugar to the egg mixture and stir well.
- Stir in the salt and vanilla, followed by the butter mixture. Mix until just combined.
- Spoon the batter into a well greased baking tray (30cm x 30cm) and bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes. It should end up slightly crisp on top and soft in the middle.
Do test with a knife before taking it out of the oven though, as I’ve had to increase the time to 35 minutes on a few occasions. You want the middle to be gooey and not raw.
Give it a few minutes to cool, then cut it up and transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy!
My word of the week is Shopping! Like most women, I love shopping. Before I had kids I liked nothing more than spending a Saturday afternoon going from one shop to another – but lets face it shopping with little ones is just not fun!
I have two daughters (age 4 and 1) who at the moment hate shopping. They don’t mind popping to the grocery shop if they think they might get some sweats as a ‘reward’ for being good but clothes shopping, forget it! Having said that, this week we were shopping with my mum – Poppy was being very quiet in her pushchair and Lili was happy as she’d just had an ice cream at Pizza Express. At the risk of pushing my luck I decided to venture into Monsoon Kids, as I hadn’t done any sale shopping and saw some cute pieces in the window.
And boy am I glad I did! Lili was in excellent spirits and for the first time ever, she picked up a dress and said “mummy I like this, do you like it?”
The sale was amazing, the jacket was £9, skirts £6 and playsuit £11. If you like a bargain and let’s face it we all do, head down to Monsoon or head over to Monsoon.com. I’m over the moon with our finds.
Plus, it was lovely to have a little glimpse into my shopping future with the girls.
This morning the lovely Kate from Pouting in Heels asked me to share my style advice. I’m not too sure if my advice is of any great use but it did get me thinking about ‘My Style’. What exactly is my style? When I use to go to work, my uniform was black skinny jeans and a smart floaty shirt or colourful top, usually with a blazer in the colder months.
However, now my office is my kitchen and my colleagues are my daughters, so I don’t need to get dressed up or conform to any dress code. These days my style is very casual, my big thing is to wear much less black!
Having thought about this for a while, I realised that the outfit I’m wearing today sums up my style to a tea! I’m still wearing skinny jeans but now I’m sticking to a more relaxed fit and a lighter shade of blue. I’ve done a lot shopping around for jeans and my current favourites are from River Island. The fit is amazing as they have a clever 4 way stretch, which means they’re really comfortable and look good.
What I’m Wearing to Today…
My Summer Style Tips
1) Big Sunglasses – They’re stylish and hide a multitude of under eye sins. Having two young kids does mean that my Tom Fords have been stored away (for now) and replaced by these River Island pair. Lets face one of the girls will be trying them on at some point during the day!
2) A Pretty Peasant Top – I’ve loved this trend this year and have bought a few from Mango and Zara but this one has to be my favourite. They cover up all my sins and look super cute! My major style crush is Olivia Palermo, who’s always sporting a pretty peasant top on her Instagram account. If it’s good enough for her…
3) A Large Leather Bag – I think a big bag looks stylish and it’ll make you look smaller than you are. After all you can literally hide behind it! Also, as a mum it’s super practical! I can carry around all I need from nappies and wipes to drinks and toys.
4) Gladiator Sandals – A good pair of gladiator sandals will make most outfits look that little bit ‘cooler’ and these pair literally go with any (summer) outfit. I use to live in wedges during the summer but these days that’s just not practical. Running around after a 1 year old in wedges is a recipe for disaster.
5) Painted Toe Nails – I know this may go without saying but I saw a few bare toe nails today, which is not a pretty sight!
Shop The Look
1) Top – Phase Eight (Was £65 Now £25)
2) Jeans – River Island (£40)
3) Sandals – Mango (Was £60 Now £30)
4) Glasses – River Island (£10)
5 ) Nail Varnish – Essie “too too hot” (£9.95 )
So there you are, a few of my style words of wisdom. I hope you’ve enjoyed the read, even if you haven’t learnt anything new.
Also linking up to Street Style Sunday.
Last week I wrote a post all about my favourite Clarins skincare products and promised a make-up edition was to follow. True to my word, here are the make-up products I’ll be missing the most following my departure from Clarins towers.
Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch – This is essentially a primer but it’s no ordinary primer! Like magic it fills in every fine line and enlarged pore – it’s like a real life ‘airbrush tool’. Quick and easy to apply, it leaves your skin looking flawless and ready for your Foundation or BB Cream. It also helps your make-up ‘stay put’ and last longer, which is an extra bonus.
Instant Light Brush-On Perfector – Being a mother to two young girls means I always seem to have dark circles under my eyes. This under eye concealer pen is what I use to ensure I look semi-human after a late night. Again, it’s quick and easy to use with it’s ‘click and brush’ application – it makes an instant difference!
Skin Illusion Loose Powder Foundation – I’m not one for heavy make-up but I do want my skin to look healthy and glowing. This mineral powder foundation comes with its own brush and leaves my skin looking natural and flawless. What more can I say? It basically gives you that illusive ‘no make-up’, make-up finish. If you know what I mean?
Be Long Mascara – Mascara would be my desert island product. My lashes are naturally short and quite weak so I more or less sleep with mascara on! Does that make me sound high maintenance? I’m really not, just a big mascara fan and this was/is my Clarins mascara of choice. It’s a lengthening mascara that has a nourishing formula and a clever tilted brush, which makes it easy to apply.
Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector – I’m not one for lipstick or a bight colour lip. I wish I was but I’m not! That being said these natural coloured lip balms are perfect for me. They condition, plump, taste sweet (but not sickly) and leave my lips looking shiny and feeling soft. My favourite shade has to be (03) Nude Shimmer. Needless to say I’ve stocked up on this one!
Waterproof Eye Liner Pencil – As I’ve already mentioned my lashes are naturally quite short, so I use a black eyeliner to give my eyes definition and the illusion of longer lashes. I only draw a very fine line, so it’s not instantly obvious. This pencil is waterproof, which means it lasts longer and is easy to apply. I tend to have one on my dressing table and one in my handbag at all times.
So there you have it, my must-have Clarins make-up products. Again, I want to mention that I no longer work for the brand, so am not getting paid for these reviews – I just wanted to give you my personal recommendations as someone who has used these products a lot over the past 10 years!