photo botslide.jpg

The Holiday Shopping List 2015

21 May 2015




EEK!! It's just over a week until I go on holiday to Sorrento! I have wanted to go here ever since I was a little girl and my Nanny would tell romantic stories about going out in the evenings, the gorgeous shops and having coffee in little shops. We're planning on going to Pompeii and Vesuvius but don't know where else to go yet so if you have any recommendations please let me know! 

I've started shopping for my holiday and I thought I'd take you through what I am buying

Daytime

I got some glitter sandals for walking around in the day around Pompeii. They were £20 from a shop called Zig Zag in Chichester but these ones are similar from New Look 


I got this plunge swimming costume from ASOS for £30. There's no real beach for sunbathing but we can go jumping off cliffs and boats so I need a proper swimsuit. This one is beautiful and has a low back.


I am big into my sun protection so a big brim hat is necessary. This floppy hat was £12.99 from New Look

I like a little handbag for holiday and have been watching this mint bag on The Cambridge Satchel Company website for months. They recently had a huge student discount event and I finally got my hands on it for less than the £75 it currently is. It's been sitting on top of my wardrobe, taunting me for about a month and I can't wait to wear it!

I'm going to be smothering my face in Clinique City Block SPF 40 in the day (which my mum really recommended) underneath Clinique CC cream which also has SPF25 in.

I find denim shorts really hard to buy - I want something short but not TOO short so I've bought two pairs and I'll return the one which don't fit me.


I got these ones from Boohoo which were £15


and these ones from New Look which were £17.99


I also got this crop top from Boohoo which was £8 to go with the shorts

Evenings


I got these palazzo trousers from Long Tall Sally which I will wear in the evenings with a crop top

This stripy one is was £7.99

and this tropical one was also £7.99. I got them both in a 2 for £12 offer.

I also got a couple of day to night dresses

This Boohoo Nina dress was £20


And this Boohoo Libby backless dress was £10. 

We'll see how much I keep and how much I send back when I get them all delivered this week! If you have any holiday recommendations or any ideas of things to do when in Sorrento please let me know! 

Review: Imperial Candle (with a hidden ring inside!)

19 May 2015

 When I heard about Imperial Candles I needed to try one! Imperial Candles are scented candles which contain jewellery! You burn down the candle to find a little jewellery package embedded in the wax. Each piece of jewellery it worth between £10 - £2,000 and you can choose between earrings, necklaces and rings.

I tried out the Wild Passion Fruit candle which is £28.99 for a huge candle


The candles are made with soy wax and have two wicks for an even burn. The scent is a mixture of peaches, strawberries, pineapple, orange and coconut with vanilla and smells really strong - the scent can fill a large room within about 15 minutes of burning. The candle is £28.99 but burns for 150 hours. You can see how big it is compared to the other candles. 


I burnt mine most days for about 3 weeks to get to the ring which was halfway down the candle. Soy wax is meant to be better than traditional wax as it burns without soot, for longer. It's also pesticide  and additive free. 


The ring I got was a Stirling Silver, Gatsby style green gem and diamond ring. It was meant to be £30 and is so sparkly! I was absolutely thrilled with it, I love the style and it definitely made burning candles a more exciting experience. 



Overall, I'd totally buy another candle! I love the idea of getting a ring inside a candle, the element of surprise is very exciting! I also think although the candles are quite expensive, they're on the same level as a Yankee candle and are massive so will last a long time! I'm really pleased! 

My BFF's Hen Weekend

17 May 2015

In August my BFF Becky is getting married and I'm going to be a bridesmaid! I'm so excited. We went away last weekend to the Isle of Wight for a classy hen weekend. We stayed in Binfield House which is near Newport - a huge house with super cosy beds and lots of room for hanging out. 

On Saturday, we went out for an afternoon tea in Newport at God's Providence House. This is our beautiful bride  Becky

Look at her red Michael Kors bag! It's so beautiful. 


Our afternoon tea was a crazy affair with hundreds of sandwiches, mugs of chips, loads of cakes, cheese scones, normal scones and gallons of tea! 



We then came home, chilled out with a romcom and drank wine before getting ready to go out

 Look at everyone looking gorgeous!


First we went to the Marina for delicious food and a bucket full of wine!



and then on to Ryde to party! We were meant to go to a silent disco but there was a massive queue because people kept stealing the headphones! Instead we went to Joe's 



Where we met a touring rugby club who kept us company! 



and I got a dance with my girl!




The next day, to recover from hangovers we had a PJ day and two ladies came round to do manicures, facials and massages! I had my first massage which was surprisingly painful!



We then had a massive roast dinner which was cooked by the amazing Tracey and I made a penis shaped cake for pudding! Our weekend was so classy we had to do something naughty!



My first hen weekend was awesome, I had the best time meeting all the other girls and I can't wait for the reunion at the wedding! 

Recipes: Eaton Mess and Trifle Cupcakes

15 May 2015

A few weeks ago I went to see my boyfriend's family in Dover for a weekend of paddle boarding. It was Sam's cousin's birthday so I made cupcakes as usual, but decided to invent my own recipes.

Fancying something fresh and summery, I decided to base cupcakes upon 2 of my favourite summer puddings, Eaton Mess and Raspberry Trifle.

Eaton Mess Cupcakes 
(makes 12)


Ingredients
For the cupcakes
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g butter
  • 3 eggs
  • baking powder
  • vanilla flavouring
For the meringues 
  • 3 egg whites
  • 150g caster sugar
  • few drops of vanilla essence
For the icing
  • 250g icing sugar, sifted
  • 80g room temperature butter
  • 25ml milk
  • couple of drops of strawberry and vanilla flavouring
  • pink gel colouring
  • Strawberry jam

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees, line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases
  2. In a mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the other ingredients and whip until smooth. 
  3. Pour into the cupcake cases until two thirds full.
  4. Bake for around 20-25 minutes, until they spring back when you touch them gently. 
  5. While the cupcakes are baking, make the mini-meringues. Line a baking sheet with grease-proof paper. Then whip up the egg whites until they are in stiff peaks. Finally fold in the sugar and flavouring with a metal spoon. Using a piping bag, make little meringue shapes. 
  6. When you've taken the cakes out, turn the oven down to 110 degrees and let it cool. Then pop the meringues in for an hour. 
  7. When the cakes have cooled, using a teaspoon, cut the middle out a cupcake, put a blob of jam in the well and put the core of cake back over the top. 
  8. Mix together the icing sugar, milk and butter in a mixer until really smooth and creamy. Separate the mixture into 2 different bowls. Into one bowl, add a drop or two of vanilla extract and mix. I used one with vanilla seeds in. Into the other bowl, add a couple of drops of strawberry essence. I have a very strong one and you only need 2 drops! Give it a taste to make sure it's the right flavour and add some pink colouring. Mix them both up well. 
  9. Get a piping bag and put on a star nozzle. Then layer the 2 icings in the bag, first drop a tablespoon of pink in, then a table spoon of white. Repeat, but don't worry if it's not uniformly spread. Twist the bag to secure it and prod it a little to make sure the colours are mixed.
  10. Swirl the icing from the outside in using the piping bag. Pop a meringue on top and you have lovely Eaton mess cupcakes! 

Trifle cupcakes
(makes 12)





Although not quite as pretty, the trifle cupcakes were really yummy. They use fresh cream and custard rather than butter icing making them really fresh, light and more-ish. Perfect for the summer! Next time I make them, I think I'll pipe the topping on, rather than dolloping for a neater finish. However the more ugly a cupcake, the more delicious in my experience!

Ingredients
For the cupcakes



  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g butter
  • 3 eggs
  • baking powder
  • vanilla flavouring
For the icing
  • 1 large pot of double cream (not Elmlea)
  • 1 tin of Ambrosia custard
  • Raspberry jam
  • Raspberries
  • (optional) Sherry or Amaretto

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees, line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases
  2. In a mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the other ingredients and whip until smooth. 
  3. Pour into the cupcake cases until two thirds full.
  4. Bake for around 20-25 minutes, until they spring back when you touch them gently. 
  5. When the cupcakes have cooled, use a measuring teaspoon to scoop out a core from the middle of each cupcake. Then blob some jam into the well and replace the core you removed. You can quickly soak the cake core in some sherry or amaretto if you want the sherry trifle experience! 
  6. Using an electric hand whisk, mix the cream to stiff peaks, being careful not to over-mix. Then fold in custard about a tablespoon at a time until you have a mixture the consistency of butter icing. I made sure I didn't over-mix to ensure there were stripes of custard within the cream. You can blob this into the cakes with a palette knife or pipe it on. Then pop a raspberry on the top and eat! 


Review: How Sk:n saved my skin from spots

19 Apr 2015

A long time ago, Sk:n Clinics contacted me about their laser tattoo removal service. I told them I don't have tattoos, but if there was anything which would save my skin from acne, I would love them forever. In they swooped with their anti-blemish range to save my skin. Having suffered from acne since I was a teenager, I have tried everything from antibiotics to Roaccutaine to save it, and usually settle for skincare which makes it slightly better. I started this range in the hopes that something might actually help a little more than "slightly better". 

Spoiler alert: It's amazing. My skin has never been as good. (skip to the end for comparison photos!)



I tested out the vitamin rich cleanser for oily skin, skin hydrator for oily and acne prone skin, pore refining lotion, blemish control lotion, intense spot cream and maintenance serum. When I got them I was really confused as to what product to use when, on what problem! However I read and re-read the leaflets inside and so I'll talk you through the review, grouped in when to apply them. 

The Morning Team


Mornings are the most confusing in this skincare routine. 

First you wash your face with the Vitamin Rich Cleanser for Oily Skin £16.75. This cleanser contains glycolic acid which exfoliates old skin cells and keeps skin really clean. It also is pH balanced and contains lots of nice vitamins for your skin. First impressions were scary - this is a slightly foaming cleanser and I haven't used anything slightly foaming in years because of my very sensitive skin. However I didn't have any bad reactions and felt my face was very soft and clean after using, rather than tight like other soaps for oily skin. The cleanser applied well and had a fresh scent, although my partner said it smelt like cottage cheese! 

Next you apply the skin hydrator for oily and acne prone skin. I think this is £20 although I can't currently see it on the website. This product is soothing and hydrating, and is a real must when applying lots of acids to protect skin. It also smelt a little odd, but at least wasn't full of artificial scents which could have irritated my skin. 

After 10 minutes you can apply the next product - here you have a choice of 2: the Maintenance Serum which contains malic acid and mandelic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid), or the Blemish Control Lotion (£26) which contains all acne sufferer's best friend, salicylic acid. The Maintenance serum works to reduce how oily your t-zone is and prevents spots from forming in the first place. It's a really good product but I did find that if you apply makeup over it, it tends to "pill" up and look like dry skin. It could be left to the night time but the leaflet suggested it was best during the day so I stuck to the rules. The Blemish Control Lotion  is for skin which inflamed, spotty and suffering. It reduces the redness and swelling in areas of spots and slows oil production and therefore bacteria growth. 

With all the acids, you have to make sure you are wearing an SPF during the day to protect your skin against damage. 


The Evening Team


Evenings are much more straight forward (thank goodness!). Again you wash your face with the cleanser and apply a thin layer of hydrator. However after 10 minutes (or after you've brushed your teeth and fed the cat), you apply Pore Refining Lotion (£27.25). This contains Vitamin A and more glycolic acid to clear pores, improve the texture of damaged skin (yes please on my acne scars!) and hydrate. 

If you have a spot crisis, the Intense Spot Lotion (£15.75) reduces the redness, size and bacteria in the spot to kill it quick. This has been a great potion to have in the cupboard and use only now and again. I can see it lasting for ages (unless my boyfriend keeps pinching it). 



So overall, how has it worked for me? Over the course of a month, I tested these products every day. I took horrible makeup free before photos and after photos and have compared some for you. Please don't say anything mean about a mid-20s person with teenage horror skin. 

 

My post-teenage acne face is a bit of a mess. I still get spots on my chin, and strange under the skin lumps. My nose is plagued by blackheads and I have an acne pitted scar on my right cheek which I am strangely ashamed of. My skintone is uneven and looks rough which isn't helped by the huge-looking pores and damage marks. 


 

 Yay my face!


4 weeks later, and here's how it looks, again with no makeup (apart from mascara)

My skin is so much better! I still have some marks from where recent spots are healing, but I think my skin tone has evened out a lot. I also think my acne scars are looking less obvious (or at least I'm less bothered by them). Although pores can't change in size, I think they are looking smaller and clearer, any my blackheads seem to have almost gone.




Here are some comparisons 



 Look how much that scar has reduced on my cheek! 


I think the main change is also that I'm confident! I'm bouncing into the bathroom after I've taken off my makeup and saying "look at my face!!!!!" to Sam and I've gone some days without foundation. The products are quite expensive, from about £10 to £30, but only around the same as Clinique or Dermalogica. However when you have acne, I think a lot of us agree that'd we'd do anything to improve our skin. If that means using my credit card once every 6 months to buy a lot of products I'm ok with it. Next on my skin renovation list: I'd love a chemical peel! After seeing how much change the acids have had on my skin, I'd love to try an all-over deep peel to show unmarked skin and turn a new leaf on my skin story. 
 photo envye.jpg
envye blogger theme