Saturday, 24 October 2015

Feeling Happy

"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions." - Dalai Lama

  

This wonderful quote really sums up how I feel about happiness.  It is something everybody strives to feel.  I wanted to write this post because I am at that stage in life where I am meeting a lot of new people and doing a lot of new and exciting things.  Being at university has definitely changed me as a person and I am now a lot more independent and have a lot more responsibilities.  However I have had a few moments where I have either missed home, been stressed with work or just generally not been feeling my best.  I chatted to my friends and asked them what they think is the best way to stay happy and positive and the following quotes during this post are directly from them, so thanks guys!


"Doing the things you enjoy most"

 Feeding goats at a farm - August 2015
 I believe happiness can be sought through your actions and mental attitude.  Also, having loving people around you keeps you feeling positive and supported. Going shopping, watching films, going out for a meal, whatever it is that you love doing the most, make sure you do this regularly to give you that essential life balance that you need.  
I grew up doing ballet which I absolutely loved and I did it for 15 years.  However when I came to University I stopped and I wanted to find another alternative.  This year I have joined the Badminton club which was a great investment as it is a great way to keep fit and meet new people.

"Taking time out for you"
 On holiday in France with my friend Agie - May 2014


Everybody has things they need do in life, but taking the time to nurture yourself and your mind is arguably, just as important.  It will ensure you have a positive and relaxed mindset which will ultimately allow you to complete day to day tasks much more successfully.  My favourite way to wind down and relax is to get into comfy clothes, spend time on my skincare, paint my nails, and watch YouTube videos in my room (probably with some chocolate too).  I also love spending time with my wonderful boyfriend, Ciaran, who I love very much (and loves me too, what a bonus!) 

"Being around people that love you and make you laugh"
 The birthday cake from my birthday with all of my friends - July 2015


I don't have a huge group of friends, but the close friends I do have I cherish and love.  I love chatting to them, hanging out with them and just having a laugh.  Apparently children can laugh up to 400 times a day, whereas adults only laugh around 15 times a day.  That is a sad fact and it can be changed!  Watching a comedy film or just chilling out with your best friend can make you feel so much more relaxed and happy.  

"A healthy lifestyle not only nourishes your body but your mind also"
 
Some of my favourite healthy snacks from summer 2015

A smoothie I made in summer 2015

Since I have been at university I have had to start buying my own food and cooking a lot more.  Luckily I like cooking so this isn't an issue for me, but I can understand that this may be quite difficult for some people to adjust to.  I have a wheat intolerance so I naturally can't eat a lot of fast foods or takeaways etc, so I have often had to find my own alternatives.  Apart from my love of chocolate and pasta, I am quite a healthy eater.  I would say 6/7 days a week I exceed the recommended 5 fruit and vegetables a day, just because I love eating them.  I definitely feel much happier and more energised when I eat healthy food.  You don't have to spend loads of money to be able to eat healthily, just shop at Lidl like I do and you can fill up your cupboard and fridge with some very delicious food without breaking the bank.  (My favourite snack is avocado on toast..yum.)

Here are some pictures of some of my favourite moments from the last few years. 

 Trip to the beach with Ciaran and his friends - June 2015

 Trip to a National Trust property with Ciaran - June 2015

 The cakes I made for my Grandma's birthday - July 2015

 Seeing Ellie Goulding live at the Eden Project with my friend Alysha - July 2014

 Trip to Hyde Park on holiday with Ciaran - July 2015

 Visiting my friend Lily at her University - November 2014

 When my friend Laura came to stay - July 2015

 Visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour with my parents - April 2015

 Enjoying a delicious Easter cake made by my Auntie - April 2014


A day at the zoo with my parents for my birthday - July 2014
I hope this was an interesting read for you.  It's something a bit different but I have had this topic in mind for a while because I love going and doing things that make me happy with my favourite people!
  
Speak soon, Molly x

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Products I've Used Up | My Views

 Here are some of the products I have used up over the last few months.  Some were excellent, and some weren't so great.. but nevertheless I enjoyed finding out whether I liked them or not. 

Makeup

 Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer 
 
Shade Pictured | Fair 

Price: Roughly £4 from Boots or Superdrug

This concealer has been raved about by many in the beauty community and there is a good reason for it!  Not only does it have good coverage and staying power, but at only £4, you can't go wrong.  The only thing I would say is that there are only four shades to choose from and the lightest shade is almost always sold out!  The writing always rubs off over time but I can't complain as the product is so good.  This product is great for covering hyper pigmentation, redness and spots but it does tend to crease and look a bit cakey if applied under the eyes.   

Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer
Shade Pictured | 100 Ivory 

Price: £5.49 from Boots

This concealer is also a great one.  The creamy consistency allows for a smooth application and doesn't look cakey.  It is great for use under the eyes and on any blemishes you may have.  I already have the Wake Me Up foundation which I love, but I don't use them together too often as it can look a little too dewy! I would definitely recommend using a setting powder over the top of this product as it can rub off throughout the day.  Love the packaging and it is great for travel.

Skincare 


 Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

Price: £3.49 from Superdrug

I absolutely love this micellar water.  I am on my third bottle now I believe!  I originally joined the micellar water bandwagon by using the L'oreal Skin Perfection one (featured below) but this one was slightly cheaper so I gave it a go.  I have tried Bioderma as well which is a lot more money and quite hard to get in the UK.  I can't really tell much difference to be honest!  You get a decent amount of product in the bottle (400ml) so it lasts a good while.  It is so gentle on the face and removes makeup (even waterproof makeup) very easily and quickly.  It's not ideal for travelling as it is quite bulky, but I saw in Boots last week that they now do a mini version yay! They are 125ml so a much more convenient size for travel.  
I would highly recommend this product for everyday use, but it doesn't give your skin a deep cleanse (it doesn't claim to) so I would say to use another cleanser alongside as part of your skincare routine. 

L'Oreal Paris Skin Perfection Micellar Solution


Price: Roughly £4.99 from Boots

I do like this product and it does remove my makeup, but it's nothing to write home about.  I found that because there's only 200ml in the bottle, I went through so many of these too fast.  It is not as affordable as the Garnier one and that has twice the amount of product so I quickly switched to that one!  I found that this product left a slight oily residue on my skin after use which I didn't like because I felt that I then needed to wash my face (which defeats the point of this product really).  Nonetheless it is very soothing and gentle, and if you see it on sale then do give it a go as it is good at removing waterproof makeup. 
 I personally don't think it's worth the full price for the amount of product you get.  There are much better ones out there from Garnier, Simple and Boots Botanics.   

Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser
Skin Type: Normal/Combination

Price: £20.25 from Liz Earle

I have been using this moisturiser for a couple of years now and it is virtually the only one I use.  I used to use one from Simple but I just found that my skin wasn't getting the moisture and hydration it needed so I turned to my Mum for some help!  She was already using this moisturiser and was in love with it, so I thought I would give it a go.  It's fairly pricey for a moisturiser, and as a student, I feel like I am spending more than I should on a skincare product but it is totally worth it.  My skin has been transformed since using this and it really gives it the hydration my skin longs for.  I like the fact that it is in a pot rather than a tube because you can really use up every last drop of the product and you know exactly when you're going to run out.  (This product is available in pump form).  50ml is a decent amount of product and a little goes a long way as it is so hydrating.  It sits beautifully under makeup and it great to use morning and evening. Highly recommend!!!

Soap & Glory Clean On Me Shower Gel

Price: £6.50 from Boots

I got this as part of a set for Christmas last year and at first glance I thought it was amazing how much product there was in the bottle.  You get 500ml which lasts for AGES! So it is a great investment.  It smells amazing, lathers up really nicely and feels so soothing and creamy on the skin.  It doesn't leave a residue it just leaves your skin feeling soft and nourished.  It smells SO good out of the bottle but doesn't have an overpowering lingering scent for hours afterwards which is nice.  I have nothing bad to say about this product, apart from that this bottle isn't very travel friendly, but luckily you can get a very handy travel size of 75ml!

Haircare


TRESemme Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo

Price: £4.99 from Ocado

I'm just going to put it out there.. I hated this product! There isn't really anything good I can say about it apart from that it wasn't too expensive (but maybe there's a reason for that..). You get 200ml which isn't that much at all when you have to spray so much of the product onto your hair each time to even start to notice it doing anything.  Even then, my hair still looked greasy and there was the horrible white residue left on my hair.  The point of a dry shampoo is to make your hair look as good as if it had been washed, but unfortunately this product made my hair look like it needed a wash even more!  This isn't a reflection on the brand as I normally love TRESemme products - I am currently using their Natural Moisture Shampoo which I love, but this product was a bit of a let down.  Sorry TRESemme. 

So there we have it! These are all the products I have used up recently.  I hope you enjoyed reading my reviews and found them somewhat useful. Keep your eyes peeled for more posts coming your way very soon!

Talk soon, Molly x






Monday, 1 June 2015

Beauty on a Budget | 5 Make-up Must Haves

 Top 5 Make-up Products

Top 5 Make-up Products
Unfortunately being a student generally means living on a budget.  If you're anything like me, this is not good for your beauty-purchasing needs.  Here I will reveal my top 5 make-up must haves which are purse friendly and get the job done.   

Good make-up and beauty does not have to be expensive.  There are so many beauty bloggers out there who post amazing posts and videos about make-up and beauty, but lots seem to be higher end and more expensive products.  As much as I would love to buy all of my make-up from Chanel, Benefit or YSL, this post is going to join the posts on 'drugstore' products, for those of you who want to spend a little less money on buying new products for your beauty regimes.  

Base


Rimmel Lasting Finish 25hr Foundation

Shade Pictured | 100 Ivory



This foundation is definitely a 'must have' for anyone's make-up bag.  It gives good coverage without being cakey, and can be applied using either a brush, make-up sponge or your fingers (I prefer to use a brush, for example the Real Techniques Cheek Brush).  The foundation claims to have 25hr wear, which I doubt it lives up to (I've never had foundation on for 25hrs before) but I'd say it lasts a good 6-8 hours on a normal day.  I have normal/combination skin and this works really well for me.  If you have drier skin I would say to definitely make sure your skin is moisturised before applying it to prevent dry patches appearing.  For those who have more oily skin, just make sure to set it with a powder to make sure it doesn't budge throughout the day.

I love the fact that it has a pump, as it means less product wastage.  Also, I do like the glass bottle as it feels more expensive and pleasant to use.  It is easy to store at home or in your make-up bag, so is great for travelling. 

Overall, a wonderful foundation with good wear, coverage, and comes in a good variety of shades. 


Maybelline Dream Touch Blush

Shade Pictured | 02 Peach

Two swatches | Left (Blended) Right (Un-blended)

When I first bought this cream blusher I have to say, I wasn't a fan.  It seemed to disappear within a couple of hours and I felt the pigmentation wasn't great.  However, after trying it a few different ways, I have now found it to be my go to blusher.

I would recommend applying this product with your fingers and then blending out with a brush to get a good amount of product on your cheeks.   Apply a few loads of blusher on with your finger, as it does sheer out when blended.  It comes in a few different shades so there is a colour to suit most skin tones. 

It has a very very creamy texture, which is great, but if you have oily skin I would say to avoid this one.  For those with normal-dry skin, I would highly recommend this product as it really gives a beautiful glow to the cheeks and doesn't look too cakey either.  As my skin can get a little oily throughout the day, I sometimes add a tiny bit of powder blusher in a similar shade on top just to lock the product in place all day.

I think the packaging is quite cute, and I do like that it is made of glass.  However it is quite bulky, especially considering the amount of product you get in it.  For travel I would recommend one of the Max Factor cream blushers instead as this Maybelline one is far too big!



Bourjois Healthy Balance Unifying Powder

Shade Pictured | 52 Vanille

This powder has been my favourite powder ever since the day I bought it.  When I saw it in the shop I had never heard of it before.  I already have two of the healthy balance (mix) foundations and concealer which I love, so I thought I would give the powder a go.

It is such a lightweight powder which doesn't make your skin look cakey at all.  I usually apply it with either my Real Techniques Duo-Fibre Face Brush or my EcoTools Bamboo Powder Brush.  It claims to last 10hrs which I wouldn't agree with, I would say 6-8 hours wear is about it's max.  Nonetheless, it does keep shine at bay for a decent amount of time which is all you need from a powder, right?

The packaging is perfect.  It is slimline, fairly robust and has a mirror.  This is a great travelling product that you can just throw in your handbag.  The powder also smells of apricots which I really like as well.  It also comes in a fairly good variety of shades; I would definitely recommend this product to people with all types of skin. 

Eyes


Collection Eyes Uncovered Nude Palette

Shade Pictured | Nude Palette

Shades Pictured (Left to Right) | White Chocolate, Biscuit, Brown Sugar, Espresso

I have heard some people talking about how good this palette is, and that it is comparable to some higher end eyeshadows, so obviously, I had to try it out. 

For only £2.99 it is an absolute bargain and you get a great variety of shades, both matte and shimmery.  The pigmentation from the shadows are fantastic as you can see from the swatches pictured above.  The shadows blend out beautifully and last a good 6-8 hours if not more (with an eyeshadow primer).  I tend to use my EcoTools eyeshadow brushes to apply the colour and the Real Techniques Angled Shadow Brush to blend it out. 

I would say this palette is quite similar to my Urban Decay Naked Basics palette, in terms of colours, packaging and even longevity of wear.  If you are looking for a new neutral palette I would say save your money and buy this one!

Lips


Revlon Lip Crayons

Shades Pictured (Left to Right) | Lovesick, Provocateur, Striking

Swatches (Top to Bottom) | Lovesick, Striking, Provocateur

These are my most favourite lip products, like, ever.  With three different types and finishes, there is definitely something for everybody.  The original formula, the 'Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain' (what a long name) has a finish which isn't too matte but isn't too shiny.  Later Revlon brought out two more formulas, the 'Colorburst Matte Balm' and the 'Colorburst Lacquer Balm'.  Hence the name, the Matte Balms give a very matte finish which I quite like.  The Lacquer Balms give a very glossy finish which I also like.

The pigmentation of all three formulas is just amazing, with just a few swipes on the lips and you are good to go.  The packaging is great, I love the Chubby Stick-esque  design and you can easily twist up the bottom to get more product.  I also love how the colour of the packaging reflects the colour inside as it makes it so easy to find the shade you want. 

All three formulas leave a slight stain on the lips after a couple of hours which is good, however if you like the glossy finish then you do have to reapply fairly often to keep it topped up.  Furthermore, the matte balms do tend to be a little drying on the lips.  Despite these little downfalls, I would 100% recommend these products to anybody.  They are inexpensive, pigmented and easy to use, which a great range of colours and finishes. 

And to finish.. 


I hope you enjoyed reading about my 5 make-up recommendations on a budget.  With all the products coming it at well under £10, they are very inexpensive without sacrificing the quality of product.  Feel free to leave your budget beauty recommendations in the comment section below as I would love to know!

Talk soon, Molly x  






Tuesday, 17 March 2015

My Take on a Classic Victoria Sponge

My favourite cake has always been a classic Victoria Sponge.  I love the taste, and the the simplicity of it. They are so easy to make, and tend to always go down well with family and friends.  I have used the recipe from Waitrose Online, but have substituted the jam for fresh strawberries and cream.

Compared to my post on healthy banana pancakes, this recipe is definitely not a healthy option, but is perfect for when you just need a treat with a cup of tea. 

- The completed cake -

Ingredients you will need for this cake:

  • 220g butter, softened at room temperature
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs, beaten
  • 220g self-raising flour
  • 600ml cream (I used double cream)
  • 400g strawberries
  • a few drops of vanilla extract (optional)
For the Waitrose recipe,
  • 4 tbsp strawberry jam

- Ingredients - 


Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes, plus cooling

Method (by Waitrose): 

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C, or Gas Mark 4.  Take two cake tins (roughly 20cm in diameter) and use a small amount of butter to grease them so the cake mixture doesn't stick.


For this recipe the butter and the sugar are added together in a large mixing bowl, and beaten together until light and fluffy. ( I used a wooden spoon and a bit of elbow grease, but it's fine to just use an electric whisk.) It is important that this stage is done well, so plenty of air can get into the mixture - making the cake light in texture.






Add your four eggs into another bowl, and whisk.  Use a separate bowl just in case any shell falls in and it can be easily removed before adding to the mixture.   Add small amounts of egg at a time, (about a quarter each time), alongside a spoonful of flour, whilst beating the mixture until all the ingredients are incorporated.




This stage is optional, but I decided to add a few drops of vanilla extract to the mixture, just to give it a little more flavour. 



The mixture should be of dropping consistency - it should drip off a spoon, but not be runny.  If the mixture is too dry just add a little milk.

Divide your mixture between the two greased cake tins.



Smooth over the tops to ensure the mixture reaches the edges.

Place the cake tins in the pre-heated oven on the same shelf, for around 20 minutes.  After this time, get a skewer or a knife and make a small hole in the middle of the cake - if the cake is cooked, no cake mixture should appear on the skewer or knife.

After the cakes are cooked, place the tins on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes so the sponges can cool.  Then, remove the sponges from the tins and leave on the side.




Now it's time for the strawberries and cream.  Place the cream in a large bowl, and whisk until it becomes firm, but still runs off a spoon if held sideways.  You don't want to over-whisk the cream, as it will lose it's shine once placed on the cake.


Next, wash your strawberries and cut off the ends.  It is up to you how you chop the strawberries but I decided to slice them so they would lay flat, and I could create a pattern.  


Once the cream and strawberries are prepared, take one of the sponges, and spread a generous amount of cream onto it.  You don't have to be neat!  


Add the chopped strawberries any way you like. Then, place the second sponge on top, and repeat the stage on the top of that one. 



Now, your cake is complete, enjoy!