Wednesday, 31 December 2014

What I Got For Christmas 2014

I saw this post on two of my favourite blogs, Emtalks and milkbubbletea, both of which I really enjoyed. After reading their posts, I decided to share with you what I received for Christmas. I am aware that some people can be negative about these posts but I love seeing what other people have received.

Dan gave me this beautiful Samsung WB350f camera. After doing so much travelling this year, I mentioned how nice it would be to have a proper camera instead of using my phone. I am still learning about the functions and fancy taking a photography class. The tripod will be really useful for my travels in Canada that are coming up...I hope to get a photo like this one

In a world now where having photographs printed is rare, I think this digital photo frame is brilliant. I was really excited when I opened it as I had never heard of it before. 

A woman at my mum's work makes these lovely air fresheners. I hung mine up in the bedroom and it smells so fresh.

I'm sure everyone in the UK is aware of the John Lewis penguin Christmas advert this year. I was delighted when I opened my very own penguin on Christmas morning. My mum was super happy that she managed to get her hands on one before they sold out in John Lewis. It is so cute and fluffy.

I got these lovely bath & shower gels. I am a big fan of Philosophy and got the eggnog bubble bath. The smell reminds me of Starbucks eggnog lattes. I love how they have the recipe for eggnog on the bottle. I may have to have a go at making it. The other shower gel is coconut sugar by Beautannia Brighton. Coconut is one of my favourite scents and I adore this.

More bath goodies! L-R: Shoot For the Stars, Sugar Scrub and Holly Golightly. I also received Fizzbanger but have already used it. It was a treat! On the outside it was yellow, then blue on the inside. There was also popping candy inside and once it had dissolved a piece of paper with "bang" on it appeared.

I was very lucky and received two of MAC's holiday season sets. The Keepsakes plum eye bag contains Triple Impact eyeshadow, Round Midnight eyeshadow, In Extreme Dimension mascara and Permaplum eye liner. The Keepsakes Smokey Face set contains three eyeshadows, pressed iridescent powder, cream colour base and two lipsticks. I will do a separate review of both sets.

I originally posted about this Cartier perfume here. It is such an elegant fragrance and one of my favourites.

I am a huge fan of Marc Jacobs perfumes but I hadn't smelt this one yet. I really like it and as usual the bottle design is lovely.

My mum gave me a book full of photographs. Such a thoughtful gift and I love it.

There's nothing better than putting on a new pair of pyjamas after Christmas dinner and I had plenty of choice!

These cute slippers are from Accessorize and they are so cosy!

Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep but Dan found the perfect solution. A lavender eye-mask and "SleepPhones." I will do a review of "SleepPhones." They are a headband that have speakers in them to help block out noise. They have an app which is full of sounds that help you fall asleep. After finding earplugs absolutely useless, I have a lot of faith in this.

Visiting Canada in February means it will be chilly and my family took that into consideration. I got loads of beautiful winter wear and it will certainly keep me snug as a bug.

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. If you posted about your gifts send the link to me! 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Beauty Product Round-Up 2014

I purchased Bioderma in Paris and loved it so when it was finished I wanted to try and find something similar in the UK. Garnier's micellar water is the closest product that I found. It removes my make-up really thoroughly and leaves no residue behind.

A big fan of REN, I was excited when I purchased this product. It is a very gentle make-up remover and I use it to take my eye make-up off without any problems. The main ingredients are rice bran oil which helps soothe and hydrate the skin and rosa centifolia to help reduce pore size. 

I have had this little bottle of tea tree oil for months. Whenever a spot crops up, I dab some of this on and it helps reduce the size and redness. I also put a few drops in some hot water and steam my face over it to help clear out my skin.

Placentor Hydrating Cream
When in Paris I went to the trusty pharmacy to get a face cream. I ended up having a long conversation with the woman who worked there about what would suit my skin and she recommended this. I love it and use it as an everyday moisturiser.

I occasionally get an oily t-zone and when I do I use this lotion before applying my make-up and primer. I have been using it for about 9 months now and I can really see a difference in my skin.

I repurchased this after getting it in a set last year. I use it twice a week and apply it before I get into bed. It makes my skin so soft and I swear I can feel my skin "drinking" it, haha. It has quite a strong smell of apricot and I love it but other people might not.

I am a little bit obsessed with having white teeth. I first started using Crest Strips years ago and they are my favourite teeth whitening product. Unfortunately they aren't available to buy in stores in the UK but they are available on eBay. I use them once a year and they make my teeth very white. When I tweeted Crest saying I would love their products to be sold in the UK they pointed me in the direction of Oral B. It turns out they are part of the same company. I love Oral B's 3D White toothpaste. It is the best whitening toothpaste I have used. If you have sensitive teeth I recommend using a toothpaste like Sensodyne alongside it.

I started purchasing this deodorant when it first came out and since then I have seen loads of bloggers raving about it. I can be a bit of a sweaty Betty and I used to have to change my deodorant every couples of months until I found this one by Sure. It is pricy at £5 but it is so worth it. The idea is that you apply this before you go to bed (your body temperature balances out when sleeping) and then it will work better during the day. I apply it in the morning and it works just as good and keeps me fresh all day. 

Bourjois magic nail polish remover  is one of my favourite products ever. It is genius. You stick your nail in the pot, rub it around, remove and the polish is gone! Perfect if like me you're too lazy to use regular polish remover. They also have one that you can use on your toes now. 

This is the first hair oil I have used that hasn't left my hair feeling greasy and limp afterwards. It makes my hair really soft shiny. It also smells amazing! 

These Tweezerman tweezers were a stocking filler last year. They are the best tweezers I have ever used. They remove every hair I need to when plucking, even tiny ones. They also don't get blunt quickly like some other tweezers I have used. 

What were your favourite beauty products of 2014? 

Friday, 19 December 2014

Reverse Shampooing

When I first read about "reverse shampooing" on Glamour magazine's website I was slightly sceptical but I thought I would give it a try.

What is reverse washing?
Instead of washing your hair with shampoo first, you slather conditioner on your hair, leave it on for 5 minutes and then shampoo your hair and rinse.

Some people complain that after using a conditioner their hair can feel weighed down and lifeless. Apparently washing with shampoo after using conditioner helps to remove all of the product from your hair.

My opinion
For the past 8 months or so I have been doing the "reverse shampooing" method and it has worked great for me. I leave the conditioner on for 5 minutes, comb through it, shampoo my hair, rinse it all out and comb it once more. I have seen a few people that have thicker hair say that if felt tangled afterwards. I have fine hair and after I blow dry it feels really smooth and clean. Because I have been doing this routine for so long, it feels like the norm now.

Have you tried this method before? What were your thoughts?

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Advent Calendar Day 17

Behind door seventeen was a shade called "members only." Being completely honest, I wasn't all that excited by it as it looks similar to "ivory queen." After doing some Googling it seems that I am not the only person who thinks that! It is a pale peach colour with some shimmer. I found it to be a really sheer colour. The above photo was taken after two layers and I still think it could do with one more.

Hopefully tomorrow there is a more exciting colour behind the door :)

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Advent Calendar

I can't believe there's only one week left of advent calendar. December has flown by!

Behind door fourteen was the shade "ivory queen." This was quite transparent so I applied two coats. This is a pink based ivory that has gold shimmer throughout it. I think it is a nice delicate shade for winter.

Day fifteen was a glitter effect called "twinkle toes." With the advent calendar you get a small funnel which can be used to apply the caviar beads and glitter but I didn't use it. I put a paper towel under my finger and sprinkled it straight out of the bottle. I actually love this effect.

Day sixteen was a shade called "chinchilla." At first glance it reminded me of "pillow fight" but it is a very different shade. It has blue tones in it and reminds me of a stormy sky in winter.

I am looking forward to seeing what the next few polishes will be!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Pancetta and Mushroom Pasta

This is the perfect meal for when you don't want to spend ages cooking in the kitchen but still want to have something tasty. Sometimes it is nice to have a pasta that doesn't have a really heavy sauce.

What you will need
3 cups of pasta (we had whole wheat penne)
200g pancetta
10 chopped mushrooms
1 white onion
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of white wine 
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Salt & pepper
Olive oil

Bring the water for the pasta to a boil and add salt
In a separate pan fry the pancetta until it's cooked, you want it a little golden
Put the pancetta into a bowl 
Add your pasta to the boiling water
Throw the onion and mushrooms into the pan and sautee 
Crush the cloves of garlic into the pan 
Add the thyme to the vegetables
Pour your pancetta back into the pan and mix together
Add the white wine and mix again 
Drain the pasta and add it to the pancetta
Drizzle over some olive oil 
 Sprinkle Pecorino Romano cheese and some black pepper on top & serve

We also had a salad. For the dressing you need 
1tbsp olive oil
1tbsp balsamic vinegar 
1 crushed garlic clove

Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe! 

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Advent Calendar

I went home to decorate the Christmas tree so I have a few days to catch up on the advent calendar.

"Pepperminty" was behind door number eleven. It is a pale turquoise colour and is similar to Essie's mint candy apple. The shade also reminds me of the classic Tiffany blue.

Behind day number twelve is another caviar pearls bottle. There seems to be a few in the calendar and I know that it is Ciate's "thing" but I think I would prefer polish as I know I would use it more.

"Encore" is more of an orange shade as opposed to red but the lighting doesn't show that very clearly. I really like the shade and I think it is perfect for day time if you don't want to wear a bold red. 


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Advent Calendar

So now that I am back from Frankfurt it is time to catch up on the advent calendar days that I missed out on while away!

This shade is called "main stage" and I would describe it as a berry shade of pink. The formula is thick and gives great coverage, it was opaque after two applications. I love the quote from Coco Chanel.

"Pillow fight" reminds me of an Accessorize nail polish I used to have called "school skirt." It is a dusty grey colour with some hints of purple.

When I saw "candy floss" in the bottle I didn't think it was a colour I would like. It is a bubblegum pink shade and I am not a big wearer of pink nail polishes. I think it would be nice for summer. A few of the bristles on the brush were dodgy so it was hard to apply neatly. The colour seems quite transparent and it took 4 applications to get it opaque.

There was also a bottle of the caviar pearls in "Midnight in Manhattan." They look nice but I didn't want to apply them as I am just heading out for a driving lesson!

I can't wait to see what colour is behind tomorrow's door. :)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Frankfurt Day 2

Yesterday morning we headed to Cafe Crumble for breakfast. The staff were really friendly and translated the menu for us.  I had the berry bircher muesli which was so delicious.

After breakfast we walked over to the natural history museum. The museum was bigger than I expected and had a great collection of items. Some of the dinosaurs at the museum they had received from Royal Tyrell Museum in Canada which I went to in summer.

We went to the botanical gardens after the museum. Being winter, not many of the plants were in bloom but they did have an amazing Christmas display. The dress on the mannequin was made out of leaves, they also had a dress made from pine needles.

These are some more displays from the botanical gardens. They are definitely Pinterest-worthy and I would love to make a few of them.

At night time we headed back to the Christmas market. There was something magical about seeing the Christmas tree lights twinkling. We had bratwurst for dinner and then I had some Lebkuchen.

This last photo is of an underground metro entrance in Frankfurt. It's such a clever and unique idea. I hadn't seen anything like it anywhere before!

That's my holidays finished for 2014. Where was your favourite place you visited this year?

Monday, 8 December 2014

Frankfurt Day 1

Dan and I headed to the Christmas market at 11am. Neither of us had been to a Christmas market before so we were both excited about it. When we arrived it was quiet so we were able to see the stalls easily. The smell of mulled wine and gingerbread filled the air, just like I had imagined it would.

My first treat was some Lebkuchen. It is made up of honey, cloves, cardamom, ginger and other spices. It is similar to gingerbread but has a much softer consistency. There were stalls scattered all around with Lebkuchen that had different messages on them. Some were small enough to be tree decorations.

There's beautiful Christmas decorations at the market. These wreathes smelt of cinnamon and were available in different shapes. They were made from cloves, cinnamon sticks, berries, chestnuts, pine needles and pine cones. I would love to go back and buy one.

Of course I had to have some mulled wine. Not being a fan of normal wine, I wasn't sure if I would like but I did.

By the afternoon the market was much more busy. We decided to go and buy some Bratwurst and it was the best idea ever. They were so delicious.

Have any of you been to a Christmas market? What was your favourite thing about it?
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