Sunday, 27 July 2014

Blog Birthday Giveaway!

My blog turned one this month and it was my birthday yesterday (I'm 20 now - yikes) so holding a giveaway seemed like the perfect thing to do! As you can see there is a lot of makeup involved in the prize bundle and everything that's pictured above is what the winner will receive. Just to clarify, this includes: a makeup revolution brow shaping kit, bright blue lipstick, pink blusher, lilac nail varnish, concealer in the shade 'fair' and two Lush colours in shades 'dynamic' and 'strong'!

The entry terms are straight forward as usual and all you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is enter the rafflecopter form below as well as following me on twitter. There are other options to gain extra entries but none of these are required so you can do as little or as many of the extras as you like! Just one final word, unfortunately this giveaway is open to UK residents only, so if I draw someone who has entered from outside of the UK then I will have to choose a new winner - sorry about that!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you like my little way of saying thanks to you for sticking by this blog over the past year, GOOD LUCK!

Keep up to date by following me on:
twitter // instagram // facebook // bloglovin' 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Meet Coconut Oil - My New Best Friend

I've been meaning to write this post for ages now but for some reason other things always came up and pushed it to the back of the list - well not this time! I am determined to sit down today and tell you all about my new wonder product and why I have fallen so head over heels for something that really markets itself as a cooking ingredient! Funnily enough, I haven't actually been 'cooking, baking or spreading' it as instructed above (apart from spreading it all over my face that is) so if you have any recipes that use coconut oil please do share them in the comments!
Anyway, I have 3 main uses for coconut oil so I'm gonna start by telling you all about those and then I'll run through a quick list of other things you can use it for!
1. An overnight hair mask - I start by brushing my hair to get rid of all the knots then I take a handful of this stuff and just smear it all over as best I can from roots to ends! I mainly focus on the ends because they suffer the most from being dry and damaged but I'm not shy on the roots despite it being such an oily product. The reason for this is because I also want my scalp to benefit from the soothing, moisturising properties of the oil as it supposedly encourages hair growth - whether true or not I can't be entirely sure, but I have definitely seen a big difference in the condition of my hair since using this. I usually sleep with coconut oil in at least once a week and then I thoroughly wash it out in the morning to make sure there is no greasy residue left. Just a word of warning - I wouldn't recommend doing this if you're about to use your best pillows, either use something old or sleep with a towel wrapped round your hair!
2. A moisturiser - For the past few weeks I have completely removed all of my old moisturisers from my evening skincare routine and have only been using one product - this! Following my cleansing and toning, I scoop up a little bit of coconut oil and work it all around my face, focusing on my T-zone as this is the most sensitive area and will soon start to feel all tight and irritated if it isn't moisturised enough. The benefits of using this are just overwhelming! When I wake up my skin feels so fresh and plump in comparison to how it used to be and the best part is that I don't wake up with any greasy residue whatsoever! It also really seems to be helping with keeping my skin clear and any spots to a minimum, don't get me wrong I do suffer from the odd break out like most people but this oil is so gentle and soothing that my skin gets back to normal in no time. What can I say - I'm in love!
3. A nail strengthener - I have been a terrible nail-biter my whole life, but recently I just could not bare the sight of my ugly stubby little fingers anymore and I knew it was time to kick the habit. The problem is that every time I've given up in the past and my nails actually had a chance to grow, they would end up so soft and fragile that they'd eventually break, snap and peel off leaving me super frustrated and desperate to just bite them all off to the same length, ew. However, if you take a look at my instagram you'll see that lately I've been doing pretty well and my nails are actually the nicest they've been in a loooong time. Apart from a good lick of polish and the obvious lack of biting going on, I would put this in part down to my good old friend coconut oil. Every evening after I slather a load on my face, I rub the excess all over my hands and nails to soften the cuticle and strengthen the nail itself, which has definitely helped to prevent my nails from becoming brittle. Not only is coconut oil great for keeping your nails in tip top condition but it also has infection fighting properties that can eradicate horrible problems like fungal nail infections and other nail-related nastiness's... who knew this unassuming little pot of oil had such super strength!
So, now you've heard all about how I like to use coconut oil, let me give you a brief run down of all the other things you can use it for: makeup removal, fighting frizz, a dry skin fix (really good for dry skin problems like eczema), an energy booster (it's a great smoothie ingredient), a homemade body scrub when mixed with salt or sugar, oil pulling (some celebs swear by this to kill bacteria and generally improve oral hygiene) AND there are many claims that coconut oil can also help aid weight loss - but I'll let you read up on that!
What do you think? Is organic coconut oil something you'd consider using? Maybe you have a favourite use for it that I haven't mentioned yet? Let me know if you do!
Keep up to date by following me on:
twitter // instagram // facebook // bloglovin' 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Compassionate Cooking #7 - Italian Feast!

Okay, who doesn't love Italian food? Not only is this meal tasty and guaranteed to go down well with like 99% of people, but it is seriously simple to make too - perfetto! (Sorry, I just had to). Grab a baguette, some vegan-friendly pasta (usually the dried kind is fine, but fresh most likely has egg in it) and a few other easy to find ingredients (chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, dairy-free butter) and you're good to go!

Start by crushing two large cloves of garlic over a bowl and then when you're finished add a generous spoonful of vegan butter and some vegan-friendly pesto for an extra bit of flavour if it takes your fancy. This isn't at all essential but I decided to give it a go and it worked pretty well! Just something to be aware of - although you wouldn't think it, most pestos aren't even suitable for vegetarians because they contain parmesan cheese, which most unfortunately contains animal rennet (you don't wanna know where that comes from) so be sure to pick out one with the right ingredients for you if you're following a vegan/vegetarian diet. 
Mix the butter, garlic and pesto together then spread generously over the sliced baguette and cook in the oven for just a few minutes. We bought bread that came uncooked so we gave it about five minutes to begin with without the garlic butter spread, and then the remaining five minutes to cook with the spread on. It should come out like this...

*heart-eyed emoji*
I can almost smell it through the screen...
Anyway, now you've got your delicious garlic bread sorted, all that's left is the pasta, and to be honest you probably don't need me to tell you how to do that.. but I'm gonna go ahead anyway!

Chop up the onion...

Fry in some olive oil...

Add the chopped tomatoes (and my special little secret ingredient to give it a kick - KA-POW!) then serve it straight up alongside some pasta!

Pretty darn delicious if you ask me! Not only does this satisfy the taste buds, it's rather filling too if you're after a nice hearty meal.
What do you think of this recipe? Is it something you'd be tempted to try? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Keep up to date by following me on:
twitter // instagram // facebook // bloglovin' 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Hey, I put some new shoes on..

T-shirt - Topshop / Jeans - Topshop / Shoes* - Office at House of Fraser
I was ever so kindly sent these gorgeous sandals to review recently and let me tell you I have been walking around with a spring in my step! I first tested these bad boys out on a short walk where I pretty much managed to conquer my fear of hand-feeding big birds - yipeee! I once fed a goose when I was really little in York many years ago and much to my dismay it nipped my fingers and most probably left me in tears. However, yesterday when I saw this beautiful swan all on his lonesome I tentatively reached out and gave him some food and he didn't hurt me at all, it was awesome.
The shoes themselves are so great for chilled summer strolls and make the perfect addition to any casual outfit with the bright flash of gold, especially with the amazing sun we've been having reflecting off them! I'm always really drawn to simple items as well so the style of these sandals really appeals to me and I'm sure that they'll go with lots.
I have no real explanation for the bizarre hair wafting photo/gif but my sister was playing around with camera and it certainly gave us a giggle!
*Products in this post were sent for me to review, but all words and opinions are my own as always.
Keep up to date by following me on:
twitter // instagram // facebook // bloglovin' 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Bathing Beauty Soothe Body Oil Infusion

I picked up this wonderful product at the V Delicious show I posted about the other week, so although I haven't been using it for ages, I still have a pretty good idea of what I think about it. I love it. When I began talking to George, the creator of Bathing Beauty, one of the first things that she mentioned was how her products are really well suited to those with sensitive skin and eczema - instantly I was intrigued. Strangely, I never suffered from eczema as a child, instead it crept up on me in my late teens and has been pretty persistent ever since, with even prescription creams making no difference to my painful dry skin (I know, yuck). So, as you can imagine, it was quite hard for me to ignore an award winning product that had been skilfully created to soothe sore skin by the lovely lady that I was chatting away to.. obviously I had to have it!
Well, what a super buy it turned out to be! There's always a part of me that's slightly sceptical of product claims when I know how angry and determined my eczema can be, but do you know what? It's GONE. Obviously it hasn't gone forever because the whole nature of eczema means it flares up and down, but the key is to learn how to manage it as best as possible, and this really is my dream product for doing just that! I use it straight after a shower to restore the moisture that you lose when you wash with scented shower gels and other products, and I just rub the oil as sparingly as I can all over my body, focusing on the bend of my elbows and my thighs which are my main problem areas. I also use it in the evening if my skin feels particularly dry or itchy and it really works a treat, especially as the lavender scent is perfect for bedtime. I should also mention that the smell of this product is incredible. Initially I was slightly worried at the lavender oil content because for a long time I viewed lavender as a very dated kind of scent, certainly nothing that would interest me in the slightest, but the lavender in this smells so fresh and pure that I just can't get enough of it! Even when I can't smell it on me anymore, Tom has come over and been like 'why can I smell lavender around here?' haha!

The oil itself feels so luxurious to use and sinks into the skin beautifully without leaving a horrible greasy residue. It's not too heavy or too light, in fact, I would say it's the perfect consistency as it moisturises and cares for your skin without sitting on it at all.
I really could go on and on about how much I love this product, but I think I'll leave it here as I've covered most of the key things that I wanted to say! If you're looking for something that, in my opinion, 100% does what it claims to do as well as feeling completely amazing to use then I would really recommend treating yourself to this like I did!

Keep up to date by following me on:
twitter // instagram // facebook // bloglovin'

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Ideal Festival blogger challenge!

Hello lovely readers! I've decided to take part in the 'Festival Blogger Challenge' in association with and thought this would be a great opportunity to share a snap of me and my buddies at Parklife in Manchester earlier this year - n'awwww! The challenge itself sounds really fun and is a chance to create your dream festival, so here goes!
I would share a tent with... My besties of course!
My headliners would be… Prince, George Michael, Genesis and Go West. Don't judge - I am SO into my old music!
Candy floss!!….. would be free for all attending.
The item that I could not go without would be… my foundation, not a fan of my natural face!
Wellies or Wedges? 100% wellies (this just autocorrected to willies..ha!)
Beach or Field? Field. I can't bear that horrible feeling when sand sticks to you!
The theme would be… Ooooh this is a toughie. A toss up between Disney or hippie but I've already experienced Disney at my 17th birthday party (I dressed up as Cinderella, it was awesome) so I'll go with happy hippie instead!
Celeb spot of the weekend would be… Alex Pettyfer.. *drool*.
This is what I would wear…    
All items in my ideal festival outfit can be found on! I absolutely love the gorgeous white dress, it's so simple but really pretty and summery at the same time - perfect!
I've actually had a lot of fun writing this post and might have to have a look back over all my Parklife photos now as I've been reminiscing about it loads while doing this. Although, I have to say that if I went again I would hope for better weather!
Keep up to date by following me on:
twitter // instagram // facebook // bloglovin'

Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Topshop Crop

Jumper - Topshop / Shorts - Topshop / Tights - Urban Outfitters / Boots - River Island

I picked up this cropped jumper in the Topshop sale a couple of weeks back, and although I was a bit hesitant about buying knitwear in the summer I just couldn't resist the fantastic sale price. Not only that, but I've always been drawn to these kind of earthy colours as they seem to fit with my brown hair and green eyes, and have always been a safe option for me. I'll admit I could've paired this jumper with something a little more fitting than my bright denim shorts, butttt I didn't fancy rooting through my whole wardrobe so I just stuck with these - sorry! You can actually see me wearing this outfit in my previous post as I wore it to the V Delicious event in London and was super cosy for the whole day in my new purchase.
This jumper (along with the tights) might not be making an appearance for too much longer as it's meant to be getting really warm in the upcoming weeks, but I'm still really glad I found it as I have a feeling it'll make a great staple throughout autumn paired with some jeans!  
Has anyone else picked up any knitwear in the sales recently?
Keep up to date by following me on:
twitter // instagram // facebook // bloglovin'