28 April 2014


Weight Watchers #StepintoSummer Campaign

Those of you who have been following for a while, will know that I am a Weight Watchers member and hope to lose overall 6.5stone. For me, Weight Watchers is the best way to do that, because Weight Watchers allows me to re-teach myself about the right foods, foods I should and shouldn't be eating, as well as portion sizes. Portion sizes is my biggest problem when it comes to food, which is why Weight Watchers is the best plan for me. It's not just a plan to follow whilst I lose weight, it's a plan to live by forever making permanent and beneficial changes to my health as well as my shape. I often share snippets of my Weight Watchers journey both here on the blog as well as other social platforms like my Twitter or Instagram, and it's a journey I love sharing with you all for the support and encouragement you all give me.

Back in December I shared the brand new plan from Weight Watchers, Simple Start, an introductory plan which helps you pick the right foods before you begin the task of pointing and weighing foods for the ProPoints plan. Simple Start is a super easy plan to follow, a great introduction into ProPoints and you can find out more in my post introducing Simple Start. Simple Start has proven to be both hugely popular and successful with Weight Watchers members new and old, a healthy-eating plan comprised of simple, nutritious and yet absolutely delicious recipes using fresh, natural ingredients. It's the perfect way to ease members into their new lifestyle change and journey - and let's be honest, no matter what size we are, it's a journey everyone finds tough, so the simplicity of Simple Start, for me, is fantastic.

I was recently asked to take part in a new Weight Watchers campaign, called #StepintoSummer, and as someone who can never turn down a challenge, I couldn't resist. The #StepintoSummer campaign will run for five weeks with five challenges, one for each week. The idea of the campaign is to encourage ourselves and each other to try something new, to go about our lifestyle changes a touch differently with set of easy to follow challenges each week. Each week I will be sharing a new challenge with you all, which I personally will be completing as well as hopefully having a few of you lovelies take part with me! Each week when I share the new challenge, I'll also be sharing delicious recipes and my own experiences of both Weight Watchers and the challenges set. As well as weekly challenges, the #StepintoSummer campaign will include prizes to be won each week, with super simple ways to enter. But more about this weeks competition and prize later!

Weight Watchers #StepintoSummer Challenge One

Challenge one of the #StepintoSummer campaign is to eat at least one portion of fruit or vegetables with every meal. Sounds easy right? It is! It's already recommended by health authorities that we eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and this is probably the healthiest thing I personally do; I love fruit and veg, I'm always bulking out meals with vegetables and snacking on fruit. Fruit is easy to snack on throughout the day, but fruit can also be added to meals to bulk out your foods. I love adding blueberries and other fruits to porridge, or having fruit on the side of breakfast. Lunches are easy to bulk out with fruit and veg; again you could have fruit on the side of your lunch, but you can also bulk out lunches with salads or by adding lots of yummy veg to your meals. I've never had a meal that couldn't be bulked out with fruit and vegetables; the possibilities are endless! A super easy challenge for the first week of the #StepintoSummer campaign - will you be taking up the challenge and having at least one portion of fruit and vegetables with each meal? 

Easy ways to add fruit and vegetables to your meals

Breakfast; You can add fruit to practically any bowl-breakfast; porridge is great topped with berries, as is muesli and granola. Tomatoes (technically a fruit!) and mushrooms are an easy way to bulk out a breakfast. Asparagus is great with eggs, as is spinach. Loved banana sandwiches as a kid? Why not try banana on toast. Banana pancakes are another great way to get fruit into your breakfast (check out The Black Pearl Blog banana pancakes recipe here) You could have a fruit bowl or fruit salad as or with your breakfast, or simply have fruit on the side! 

Lunch; Having a sandwich? Add some salad and vegetables in there! Omelettes are a great way to bulk out a meal with vegetables. You could snack on vegetables like cucumber, carrots and celery with tasty Simple Start recipe dips, or finish your lunch with a fruit salad. Fruit kebabs are a great light lunch and pineapple is especially tasty this way. Homemade soups are one of the absolute easiest ways to bulk out a meal with vegetables, or you could roast some vegetables to add to your meal. 

Dinner; Stir fry's and curries are a simple way of adding vegetables to meals, in fact vegetables can help make any meal perfect. Add a side salad or cooked vegetables to your meal (I like to have at least 1/3 of my plate at dinner time to be veg!) Roast vegetables in bulk and portion, popping them in the freezer to get out when you need them. Adding spinach to curries bulks them out, as well as being a superfood that's really good for us. 

The possibilities really are endless! Here's a delicious and super-easy recipe to help you on your way...

Weight Watchers Simple Start Prawn and Courgette Curry

Weight Watchers Simple Start Hero Recipe
Prawn and Courgette Curry (serves 4, 8ppts per portion)
Preparation time; 10 minutes, cooking time; 20 minutes
Calorie controlled cooking spray
1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 small courgettes, cut into batons
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
200g can chopped tomatoes
400g raw peeled prawns
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1/2 lemon, juice only
240g dry brown basmati rice

Step 1
Pop your brown basmati rice on the hob to boil. Brown basmati rice generally takes around 20 minutes to cook, so starting your rice off first will ensure it's ready by the time your prawn and courgette curry is done. 

Step 2
Heat a non-stick frying pan or wok over a high heat and spray with calorie controlled cooking spray. Add the garlic, ginger and green chilli and cook briefly before adding the courgettes. Stir fry for a minute before adding the turmeric, cumin, cayenne pepper (optional) and chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes before adding the prawns.

Step 3
Increase the heat to reduce the sauce and cook the prawns. When the sauce has thickened, and the prawns have turned pink, add the coriander and lemon juice. Season to taste and serve immediately with brown basmati rice.

My partner and I had this last night, and it was surprisingly delicious. I love vegetables, I love seafood, I love curry! But I've never made a prawn curry before and yet I found it so tasty, I'm having it for lunch today too! As the recipe makes four portions, instead of halving the recipe for just my partner and I, I decided to make the full four portion batch and both of us are indulging again today. Today I will be changing up the recipe slightly, and added spinach to bulk out my meal with even more vegetables! You can eat the curry as is; that's how I ate it last night and it was so flavourful that added extra's weren't necessary (I didn't even add salt, and I always have salt!) I also slightly adjusted the recipe last night, choosing to add coriander at the start of cooking as well as the end (I really love coriander) as well as finely slicing the courgette as well as making batons with them. I did this because I usually bulk out meals with lots of different vegetables, so I'm used to different textures and wanted to try the courgette two ways - plus, I think it looked nice too! At just 8ppts a portion this is an absolute hero recipe, it's incredibly filling, tastes delicious and indulgent. Will you be trying Prawn and Courgette Curry?

Weight Watchers Simple Start Prawn and Courgette Curry
Interested in joining Weight Watchers yourself? You can find out more on the Weight Watchers website as well as checking out the latest sign-up membership offers available. You can also find Weight Watchers on Twitter and Facebook, as well as YouTube.

Win a fruit power juicer!
Each week the fabulous Weight Watchers team will be giving away a prize. For our first week, the prize is a fruit power juicer - the perfect addition to any home to help ensure you're getting all those important portions of fruit and vegetables! Fancy winning a power fruit juicer? Entering is super simple! 

Simply upload a photo of you taking part in the challenge (such as one of your meals with fruit and vegetables) to Twitter using the #StepintoSummer hashtag, for your chance to win! 


Post your challenge photo on the Weight Watchers Facebook wall using the hashtag #StepintoSummer for your chance to win! 

Challenge one: Accepted! Keep up to date with my week on challenge one by following me on Twitter and Instagram, where I will share meal ideas, tips and tricks as well as recipes. Be sure to let me know if you decided to take part in the challenge - and if you need a little extra encouragement, I'm just a tweet away! 

Win a power fruit juicer with the Weight Watchers #StepintoSummer campaign

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*This post is part of the #StepintoSummer campaign for Weight Watchers UK. Food was provided by Weight Watchers UK for me to complete the recipe above. All thoughts and views are my own. For more information, please see my disclaimer

27 April 2014

The Sunday post # 17 | Savvy Shopping

When we moved into our new home, I hated how bare it looked. We (OK, I) have a lot of stuff so it's not like it was a completely empty house. It just didn't feel like home, it wasn't cosy and it wasn't 'me'. Living on a budget means I couldn't order all those perfect yet out of my price range home bits and bobs that I craved, and I had to find things on a smaller budget. It's actually been a lot easier than I thought it would and if you caught my Home Sweet Home collective haul post, you'll know that I love grabbing a bargain, especially if it's a lot more expensive elsewhere! I have a proper full room tour coming up soon, but in the mean time, here are some of my favourite picks from our bedroom, dressing a room on a budget. 

Supermarkets are probably somewhere you probably wouldn't think of for home stuff, but I think the supermarkets here in the UK have amazing home ranges which work for any budget, and the majority of our home bits, whether for our bedroom or anywhere else around the house, have been supermarket buys. Our bedding is all from ASDA, of which we have a couple of different sets and each is really well priced. The lovely Minty Birds set was just £14, as was my favourite set, the summer perfect Potting Shed duvet set (see this Instagram photo) Asda bedding is super cheap and there's so many other bedding sets I have my eye on! Like our bedding, all our little extras have been purse-friendly too, things which aren't necessary but which I find perfect for dressing a room and making it cosy. I adore our red heart and button cushion, which we picked up from Wilkinson's for just £5, unfortunately it no longer seems available! There are however some lovely alternatives from Asda and Tesco. I love cushions so of course, one isn't enough. A pair of faux silk duck egg blue cushions*, £10, make our bed much cosier and comfy, and perfectly match my slowly expanding duck egg blue obsession. I am a sucker for a good blanket and I had my eye on so many once we moved in, but all were well over £50 and well out of my price range. Our Asda George Home cream bubble knit throw*, a much more budget-friendly option at £20, is perfect and keeps me warm when I'm enjoying a good book, or sneaked down to the living room to get cosy on the sofa with Game of Thrones. 

Moving away from my favourite place (is there anyone who ever wants to get out of bed?), I love adding lots of little details to our room. I'm really not the glossy-magazine interior type girl. I like my home to feel cosy, I like nick-knacks and trinkets, I never follow a room scheme. Having fresh flowers in our home is one of my favourite things, but they are a luxury and not something I can always indulge in. Perfectly sweet and a great alternative, our Wilkinson's Lustre Flower Vase*, £12, gives our room a lovely feel, and a lovely addition to my dressing table. Living on a budget means every penny helps and we have different money boxes scattered around the house; one for coppers, one for silvers, and one for everything else. My favourite money box is our huge bright pink metallic ceramic skull*, £16.99, from Tesco which is oh so very me, I love it! Candles are always a necessity in our home and I love figgy scents, and have found a perfectly budget friendly offering from Wilkinson's, with the stunning Fig and Black Pepper candle, for only £4. I haven't lit mine yet - as I actually really love the simplistic design and the scent lingers slightly in the room. I may have to stock up on this scent range at Wilkos! What's a bedroom without something perfectly shabby chic? Our white shabby chic Tin Heart Jug* is just £10 from Sainsbury's, and will soon be home to more false flowers to keep our bedroom looking pretty.

What do you think to the little touches to our room? Of course there's no denying sometimes I'll see something high-end and wish I could add it to our home, but most of the time I actually prefer supermarket versions not only for being cheaper but often more practical, too. If it wasn't for supermarkets home ranges, we would still have a long list of 'things to get for the home'. Moving home isn't cheap, it costs a hell of a lot of money and for me, supermarkets offer just as much for the home as any high-end brand. If you'd like to see a post like this for other rooms around the house, let me know, and I'll be sure to pop a full room/house tour up soon! 

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*Some of the items featured in this post were provided on behalf of Debt Free Direct as part of the Savvy Shopping campaign; a campaign which shows how easy it is to make a home perfect on a budget with supermarket brands. All items were selected by me, and all opinions are entirely my own. For more information please see my disclaimer

25 April 2014

Turkey Meatballs with Mozzarella

Turkey Meatballs with Mozzarella

I love food and I love cooking. I watch cookery programmes or flick through recipe books all the time wishing I could make food look absolutely divine, but mostly my food tastes pretty darn good, and looks pretty darn messy. I want to start sharing recipes more often, especially as a Weight Watchers member being able to include propoints values/information, keeping me on track with my own journey in not only trying to shed the pounds, but to learn how to eat healthier and better for my body, forever. Last night I decided to experiment with some turkey mince we had and I decided to take photos and note down the recipe, to share here on the blog. We had already planned to have meatballs, but I wanted to make it different to the usual, feeling a little bored of the same old food right now. After some rummaging in the fridge for inspiration, I decided to make turkey meatballs with a coriander, onion and green chilli kick, in a tomato sauce topped with cherry plum tomatoes and mozzarella cheese (mouthful!) I am absolutely horrendous at taking photos of food (kitchen lighting and steam are not my friends), so you'll have to trust me that it's super easy and really delicious! If you end up trying my turkey meatballs with mozzarella, I'd love to hear what you think!

Turkey Meatballs with Mozzarella

1/3 white onion 
1 green chilli
a handful of coriander
a handful of cherry plum tomatoes
70g mozzarella
a pinch of salt
a pinch of black peppercorns
80g spaghetti
315g turkey mince
1/2 jar tomato and basil sauce
low fat cooking oil/spray
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
This recipe makes 12 meatballs, suitable for two portions
ProPoints value per portion: 13ppts

Step 1
Turkey mince is one of my favourites as it's much lower in Weight Watchers propoints than beef or lamb. Pork is also another lower pointed mince meat that's a great alternative! That said, turkey mince can be fairly flavourless so I always like to add seasoning. You can finely chop your onion, green chilli and coriander by hand, but I love using my chopper which finely chops absolutely anything you put into it! Putting these ingredients into the mincemeat whilst they are raw, will cause them to not cook through in the meat. Pre-cooking and softening the onion, green chilli and coriander will flavour the meatballs, without having to eat raw onion and chilli. Once your ingredients are finely chopped, pop in a pan with 1cal cooking spray (or a light offering of oil) on a low heat, and cook until softened. 

Step 2
Whilst your onion, green chilli and coriander are cooking, pop a pan with water on the boil for your spaghetti. I always like to add a couple of drops of olive oil to the water, which prevents the spaghetti (or any type of pasta) sticking together. 

Step 3
Once the onion, green chilli and coriander have softened enough, take them off the heat and leave them to cool before mixing in with your mince meat. Turkey mince is pretty moist so once I've mixed everything in together, adding a touch of salt and pepper, I get the flour out. Now I have no idea whether you should do this with meatballs nor if I even used the right kind of flour - but it works for me! Adding a touch of flour to each meatball as I make it, it makes the meatballs stick together as well as making sure they don't fall apart when cooking. Pop a large pan on to heat, with a spray of 1cal oil; once the pan is hot, add your meatballs. I like to cook mine on a low heat for 15 minutes, turning every few minutes, although on a higher heat they will cook quicker. I prefer to cook on a low heat for longer, as I find the meatballs are then perfectly cooked inside, even more so on the outside. 

Turkey Meatballs with Mozzarella

Step 4
Once your meatballs are almost cooked, add your cherry plum tomatoes, cut lengthways, to the pan to soften. This should only take a few minutes, and you can season with a touch more salt and pepper, plus mixed herbs if you prefer. 

Step 5
Add your tomato sauce to the pan. I used a jar of tomato and basil sauce, however you can use any tomato pasta sauce, or even make your own! Add the sauce to the pan and cook for a few minutes until the sauce is warmed through. 

Step 6
Turn on your grill and allow to heat for a few minutes. Chop up your mozarella (the smaller pieces the better!) and add to your turkey meatballs and sauce, before popping under the grill for five minutes. Drain your spaghetti.

Step 7
Once the mozzarella looks fairly melted, take the pan from the grill, portion your spaghetti and your ready to serve! 

Turkey Meatballs with Mozzarella

Making 12 meatballs for two makes it easy to dish up equal portions, as well as the meatballs being pretty big! You could add a touch of yoghurt or a garnish, even have a side salad with it. I had mine as it was, to see how the meatballs came out. I loved the taste, perfectly seasoned but with a green chilli kick that's subtle but enough to make up for the lack of flavour in turkey mince. Usually I would have a 60g portion of pasta, but we were on our last bunch of spaghetti so we had 40g each which was more than enough. Having fresh cherry plum tomatoes in there adds a portion of veg in to the mix, too. Which is always good! I was full up for hours afterwards, we'll definitely be having it again soon! 

So that's my turkey meatballs with mozzarella - what do you think?!

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My top coconut oil uses

Going over my top uses for Viridian 100% Organic Raw Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil is cropping up on blogs everywhere at the moment, and as someone who uses this fantastic multi-purpose product on a daily basis, I thought it was time I shared my thoughts. Coconut has both nutritional and medicinal properties, being suitable for use with anything from cooking through to beauty treatments. Containing a unique fat called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), which is said to aid weight loss, coconuts are also high in Caprylic Acid, which has medicinal purposes for the digestive system, as well as Lauric Acid which works as an antiviral. There are lots of varieties of coconut oil available on the market, ranging from high-street to high-end, but my personal favourite is the Viridian Raw Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (ViridianNutrition*, 500g, £15) which comes in a huge glass tub. I have been using mine for around five or so months now, and I'm only just half-way through! For hygiene reasons, I always use a a clean spoon to get the desired amount of product out, whether I'm using it for beauty treatments or cooking, rather than delving in with fingers, especially as it's such a versatile product which gets used for a lot of different tasks. With coconut from the Philippines and certified organic by the Soil Association, it's an everyday essential for me. So much so I also have the mini version which sits by my bed! Below are my top uses for coconut oil, and if you have any extra ways in which you like to use coconut oil, I'd love to hear your recommendations. I always love finding new ways to use what is the most multi-purpose product I've ever come across!
  • Hair treatment; Coconut oil makes a super-easy and quick nourishing hair treatment, I scoop some coconut out of the tub before warming between my hands. Running through my hair from mid-lengths to ends, it works fantastically as a deep-treatment, leaving hair stronger, softer and with a natural and healthy shine. You can pop it on whilst in the bath, or leave on overnight before shampooing in the morning.
  • Dry skin treater; Coconut oil is perfect for dry skin and I find massaging a touch into cuticles (both hands and feet!) as well as elbows and knees every night before bed, really helps keep my skin softer and happier. 
  • Cooking; Coconut oil is my favourite ingredient to cook with, particularly for making roast potatoes for which it is just heavenly! Just swap coconut oil for your usual oil and cook as normal. There's no overpowering coconut taste, although your kitchen will soon smell heavenly! A little goes a long way, the first few times I used it to cook with, I seriously overdid it. Less is more.
  • Cleanser; Coconut oil is a fantastic cleanser which effortlessly removes even the toughest of makeup. It also feels lovely to massage into the skin, and done as a once-weekly treat, I find it leaves my skin looking noticeably clearer. 
  • All over moisturiser; Coconut oil in it's raw form is very firm and solid in texture, but a little goes the longest way. Half a level tablespoon is enough for me to moisturise my body with, which I like to do once a week before bed, to help keep my skin soft, healthy and glowing. 
  • Overnight treatment; Coconut oil can also be used as an overnight treatment, much like an overnight hydrating mask or moisturiser (although I would advise a patch test first) If my skin is ever in need of a real boost, coconut oil as an overnight treatment leaves my skin feeling super soft and smoother in texture, with any awkward dry patches sorted out no problem. It's also fab as an overnight treatment for hands and feet! 
  • Lip balm; Coconut oil makes a fantastic moisturising lip balm, without all the added extra (and sometimes unnecessary) ingredients found in standard lip balms. It's also often hailed as a fantastic product for making your own lip scrubs and body scrubs, too, which I hope to try soon! 
  • Smooth skin; Coconut oil is a great alternative to commercial hair removal products and I like to use some when shaving, which I find leaves my skin much softer and with no irritation afterwards, opposed to usual shaving creams. 
  • Hair styling; Coconut oil is also great for hair by working to add a touch of shine and controlling flyaway hairs and frizz. I find my ends can look quite dull and static, and using coconut oil helps to smooth the cuticles and tame frizz, leaving my hair looking healthy too. 

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*The post contains a PR sample. All thoughts are my own. For more info, see my disclaimer.

24 April 2014

Revlon ShadowLinks

Revlon ShadowLinks in Sand and Taupe

Revlon ShadowLinks in Sand and Taupe

Revlon ShadowLinks in Sand and Taupe

When I saw the Revlon ShadowLinks (Boots, £2.99) popping up on my favourite American YouTube channels, I was instantly intrigued. One of the things I think the drugstore massively lacks, is decent eyeshadow palettes. Although not a palette, the new ShadowLinks are made to lock and fit together, meaning you can add as many shadows together as you like creating a makeshift palette, but with incredibly lightweight packaging that's perfect for travelling. When I spotted them on the Boots website I had to add a couple to my basket and see whether they were as good as I was hoping they would be, including them in my recent Spring beauty haul. With 20 shades available, I opted for Taupe and Sand. Taupe is a good all over wash of colour that's subtle enough to work alone or teamed with other shades for more intensity. Sand is a highlight shade, a super pale beige gold. But pretty shades and innovative packaging is where my love for ShadowLinks stops.

Unfortunately, both shades are completely lacking in colour pay off and I was really disappointed to find the shades don't translate well onto the skin. Neither have the nicest formula, feeling firm and bitty in texture opposed to the buttery soft powders I am used to from high-end brands. Although both work fine for a wash of colour, it's still a touch too sheer and other shadows always have to be added to really create a look. Although I could have picked two dud shades, it has definitely put me off of trying more shades from the range and I wouldn't personally recommend trying them, which is a shame as I was really excited for their release! 

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NOT ANOTHER BILL Review | Giveaway




Brace yourselves, because this is going to be a complete rave review. I am absolutely besotted with NOT ANOTHER BILL, everything about the brand from the service and packaging, to exquisite and luxurious gifts. For those of you who are new to NOT ANOTHER BILL, they are a monthly subscription service with a twist. Instead of sending boxes of product samples, NOT ANOTHER BILL send out a monthly surprise present, based on your taste preferences and chosen with high quality, unique and innovative design in mind. The idea is instead of only having bills pop through your letterbox every month, which are never fun to receive, you can have a surprise present instead! You can subscribe for yourself, if you're looking for a pick-me-up throughout the month, or you can subscribe on the behalf of someone else, perhaps a friend you want to spoil as a thank you just for being them! Each month the present is chosen depending on preferences you specify when you sign up, and each present is picked to perfectly match each subscriber.

I was very kindly sent my own NOT ANOTHER BILL present for myself, and when my present arrived, I was instantly wowed. Even the packaging for NOT ANOTHER BILL looks fantastic, with a black chevron design, it just feel more special and chic than the usual bill popping through the letterbox! When I opened up my present, I saw a flash of bright, vivid, almost neon pink and when I pulled my present out of the packaging, I realised what it was. An absolutely stunning Recycled Leather Document Folder (NOTANOTHERBILL*, £20) from a brand called UNDERCOVER. I've never actually heard of UNDERCOVER before, but having fallen instantly in love with my present, I decided to check out the official website. Created by Sally Leonard-Morgan, UNDERCOVER creates beautiful pieces from leather, sometimes using recycled leather, which are lovingly handmade in the humble UNDERCOVER workshop, right here in the heart of England. UNDERCOVER is one of those websites where you literally want to add every single product to your basket. I particularly love the Bug Patterned range. But that's not all! Inside my cheerfully bright leather document wallet, I found two Luxury Notebooks (NOTANOTHERBILL*, £6) as well as an adorable bracelet. The notebooks come from a luxury British stationery brand called StudioSarah, created by Sarah Silver, who creates chic, stylist and modern stationery products. I love the colour scheme for both notebooks, which will stay in my document wallet for important notes and ideas. The bracelet inside my present is a lovely, simple yet unique piece from Fairley, created by Australian born designer Susannah Fairley. For me, my present was perfect and absolutely spot on. I'm always grabbing new notebooks to fill with dissertation notes or blog ideas, and the document wallet is just perfect for keeping all my blog and beauty notes, press releases and wishlists in one place. The bracelet is really cute and definitely a piece I would wear on a hot summers day when I want a touch of something-something, but nothing overdone.

So what do you think to NOT ANOTHER BILL? Pretty awesome, right? I'm really, really happy with my presents and they completely blew me away - I wasn't expecting something so 'me' and so perfect for everyday use, yet still luxurious and unique. NOT ANOTHER BILL have surpassed all of my expectations and more - I think I might be hooked! You can find out more and sign up on the NOT ANOTHER BILL website. Sign up before May 7th to make sure you receive a NOT ANOTHER BILL present through your letterbox in May!

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*The post contains a PR sample. All thoughts are my own. The giveaway prize has been provided by NOT ANOTHER BILL. For more info, see my disclaimer.

23 April 2014

The Bases: Bobbi Brown

My holy grail bases from Bobbi Brown

My holy grail bases from Bobbi Brown

If I had to pick just one brand for bases, it would be Bobbi Brown without a seconds thought. As soon as I tried the Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation, I started a love affair with Bobbi Brown bases and I've never looked back. My skin never looks more radiant, healthy and flawless as when I am wearing Bobbi Brown bases, I really can't recommend them enough. In fact, get down to your local Bobbi Brown counter - the Bobbi Brown teams are incredible and so helpful, they can match you up to any of the bases available as well as offering free makeup lessons. But back today's post! Here are my favourite bases, my holy grails. Cuppa and notepads at the ready? Let's go...

The Bobbi Brown Creamy Corrector (Selfridges, £18.50) and Creamy Concealer (Selfridges, £18.50) are some incredibly coveted products. When I finally got to try them for myself, they had a lot to live up to! Although not my everyday correctors and concealers, I turn to these if I am out all day or have an appointment, wanting something which will last. Each has a beautiful creamy texture, with the Creamy Corrector being applied first to neutralise skin tone, disguising any discolouration. There's 16 shades available in the range, with pink or peach tones which match the your own skin tone. I use Light Peach which I find perfect. The Creamy Concealer is just as easy to work with, a touch softer in formula but with great coverage and easy to blend. Of the 15 shades available I use Beige, which is yellow toned and works perfectly to disguise tired eyes, making me look refreshed, healthy and radiant as well as brightening, making me look more awake. With the right setting powder (I love teaming both with the Ben Nye Luxury Powder in Banana) the longevity is enough to last from morning until night, with no creasing or fading. 

My holy grail liquid foundation and base overall, Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation SPF15 (Selfridges, 30ml, £30) is perfection in a foundation bottle. It's my go-to for everything, favoured above all my other bases. A dreamy base, Long-Wear Even Finish is a medium to full coverage that can be built up easily to your desired coverage, with an oil-free formula that doesn't cake or fade on the skin. Ingredients including Glycerin and Shea Butter work to keep the skin moisturised with a gel base that feels lightweight and comfortable on the skin. Warm Beige is my shade, and the most true colour match I have ever found, really making it look as if it's my skin that looks flawless and not the work of a base. Longevity wise we're talking all day and all night, even holding up with my oily skin and very rarely requiring a touch up. If all of that isn't enough, it also works to protect the skin with a broad spectrum SPF15 and antioxidant Vitamin C and E. 

If you love a liquid base but prefer a lighter, more natural coverage, then the Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF35 (Selfridges, 40ml, £29) is the base for you. A skincare/makeup hybrid, this BB cream is a potent base that multi-tasks as a moisturiser, treatment, SPF and lightweight base. The added SPF35 is fab, and much higher than SPF you find in a lot of bases - although I'd always suggest wearing a regular high SPF above moisturiser too. For me this applies beautifully with a good buffing brush and provides a light yet good coverage that disguises any imperfections or blemishes, whilst looking natural and barely there. It's long-lasting, too, easily keeping up with some of my high-end bases and doesn't oxidise like many BB creams I have tried. Available in 9 shades, I use Natural which I find very similar in shade to my Long-Wear Even Finish.

The cream partner to my Long-Wear Even Finish is a product which surprised me, liking it much more than I thought I would. The Long-Wear Even Finish Compact Foundation (Selfridges, £32) is available in 17 shades, a fuss-free alternative for liquid foundation presented in a perfectly handy compact providing 12 hours of flawless coverage. Preferring to use a traditional pointed foundation brush (although the handy firm sponge inside the compact is just as good), I find this incredibly easy to apply if you use the right amount of product. A little goes a long way and you won't need much product at all, but too much can be tirelessly hard to blend. Using Warm Beige, I find this looks just as lovely on my skin as my liquid alternative, feeling so lightweight on the skin you almost forget you're wearing product. The longevity is just as good as the liquid base, with the Long-Wear range being one of the best for long-lasting products. 

Last but not least, the latest base to join the ranks, the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick (Selfridges*, £29), a unique transparent base available in 24 skin tone correct shades. A firm yet creamy formula presented in an easy to use twist-up bullet, making application easy - just apply in the areas you need coverage, blending until you are left with an even skin tone with a good medium coverage and amazing longevity. Containing an innovative blend of emollients, such as Olive extracts and Shea Butter, it feels comfortable and light on the skin, with a finish that's smooth and flawless. If you're a minimal fuss makeup kind of girl, it's the perfect product for popping in your handbag for on the go, too! It's perfect for that natural, barely there but fantastic coverage look.

What's your favourite base?

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*The post contains a PR sample. All thoughts are my own. For more info, see my disclaimer.

Bourjois Rouge Velvet Peach Club

A gorgeous liquid lacquer from Bourjois, Rouge Velvet Lipstick in Peach Club

Bourjois have finally created a lip product I can get on the bandwagon with. I am a lip product fiend and when reviews starting popping up of the new Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick range, I knew I had to add one to my collection. Liquid lacquers are some of my favourite to wear, as with the right formula I find the colour intensity and longevity is just that touch better than your typical traditional lipstick. I've dabbled in a couple of high-end lip lacquers, but find drugstore alternatives to be just as good. The new Bourjois range is fairly priced for a Bourjois product, at £8.99, only a touch more than my beloved Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquers (Boots, £6.49) 

The first thing you notice, of course, is the packaging. Although I love drugstore products, the packaging is always a touch too much on the cheap plastic side for me. Yet the new Bourjois Rouge Velvet Lipsticks are perfectly sized and feel more luxurious, sturdier, with little details such as embossing on the outer casing. With a doe-foot wand applicator, which is firm and nicely sized for applying with precision, its easy to work with and fuss-free. I really like the formula, which is thicker than the Apocalips range, but feels creamy and moisturising on the lip. The shade range is pretty decent, with six shades in total ranging from nudes through to vivid pinks. I opted for Peach Club (Boots, £8.99), a gorgeous muted apricot peach. It's just as wearable as any nude and works well with so many different looks, one of those 'perfect for any occasion' shades. Longevity wise I can pop this on and get on with my day without having to reapply until the afternoon, even through eating and drinking, which is much better than I thought it'd do! 

I'm a fan! What about you? Have you tried the new range? What shade do you think I should go for next? And if you have a favourite brand for lip lacquers, I'd love to hear your recommendations! 

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22 April 2014

April Birchbox | Plus Offer

A look inside the April Birchbox UK box

This month's Birchbox is packed with brands I adore, brands I've been eager to try, and a delicious extra treat. Covering skincare, body care and makeup, the April box is a fab box themed around Spring and Easter. The first thing I spotted, like a magpie whenever I see the brand, was a sample size of theBalm How 'Bout Them Apples Lip & Cheek Colour (Birchbox, £26) in a lovely sheer red, Pie. The full size is a palette featuring six shades, and my sample size is one of the six shades. The size is perfect for popping in my handbag on the go and will last a while to get some good use out of it. A multi-purpose product, it promises to be easy to blend, perfect for both lips and cheeks, providing a long-lasting colour that's buildable and won't fade throughout the day. I love, love, love theBalm, so I'm really excited to try this. A brand I've had my eye on for a while is Yes To and inside my April Birchbox there's a handy sample size pack of the Yes To Cucumbers Facial Wipes (Birchbox, £4.99) As someone who doesn't generally use face wipes and often encourages friends to ditch the wipes, I'm not sure yet whether I'll actually put these to use. But, I have heard fantastic things about the brand and in particular, their facial wipes, so after devouring some more reviews, I may see how these fair! 

A brand which has featured in many beauty boxes was hiding inside my April Birchbox, with a teeny tiny sample of the Lord & Berry Couture Kohl Kajal Eye Pencil (Birchbox, £10) in black. Everyone loves a good black liner, but I can't help but feel this product is a dud - in other beauty boxes, Lord & Berry products are always full size. A full sized product would have been more lovely to find in this month's box! A product I am excited to try, is a very generous sample of the Laura Mercier Ambre Vanille Body Butter (Birchbox, £27), which for someone who's just started to dabble in the brand, was a really exciting product to find. For me, this makes the box completely! Can't wait to try this, and you can definitely expect a full review! The final beauty product in the April box is a lovely sweet Color Club Gala's Gems Collection Nail Polish (Birchbox, Collection of 4, £15) in Gold Struck, a lovely soft gold that would be perfect for any occasion. The lifestyle extra for the April box was a bag of delicious Propercorn Sweet Coconut and Vanilla Popcorn (Waitrose, £1.59) I've been wanting to try Propercorn for ages, and after this bag I think it won't be long until I'm tracking Propercorn down in my local town. These were scrumptious!   

What do you think to the April Birchbox? Did you get the same contents as me or maybe some different products? I'm most excited to try the Laura Mercier body butter, and I can't wait to give theBalm Pie a try! If you'd like to subscribe to Birchbox you can use my exclusive offer code for Tattooed Tealady readers, to get a free Birchbox for a friend (or an extra box for you!) Just pop the offer code BBXTTL in at the checkout when subscribing to a 1 month, 6 month or 12 month subscription, to receive your full box!

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*The post contains a PR sample. All thoughts are my own. For more info, see my disclaimer.

Benefit High Brow Review

Benefit High Brow

Benefit High Brow
Benefit High Brow

I really think that adding a touch of highlight to the right areas of your face can make a world of difference and one of my favourite places to highlight and define, is my brow bone. Because I'm very much a 'big bold brows' kind of girl, adding a softer touch of highlight to the shape and line of my brows, can really make them look more natural and well-done (which is a great trick for someone who usually massively messes her brows up) A new product recently added to my arsenal is the Benefit High Brow (Birchbox*, £15.50) has been on my wishlist for quite a while, being a favourite brow product for some of my favourite American beauty YouTubers. The benefit of a product like High Brow, is it doesn't only help shape and define your brows, but can also work wonders at disguising discolouration and any brow maintenance you've got behind on. Benefit High Brow promises to keep brows looking polished with a soft pink-toned matte in an easy-to-use pencil, that is effortless to blend. It's perfect, if I'm honest, and much better quality than others I have tried. The product is itself firm, as is the nature of pencil products, but it's just soft enough to apply easily with no dragging on the skin. Blending is easy, and it can be blended with either a brush or your fingertips. I also really like this as a liner on my lower lash line, with a soft hand to apply, as it really brightens up my eyes.

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