Saturday, 23 July 2016

I Made Coffee and Walnut Cake with Buttercream.

Hope you are having a nice weekend so far, in today’s post I wanted to share with you my latest bake. As you can guess by the title I made coffee and walnut cake. It was my first proper attempt at buttercream icing, I added melted coffee granules for an authentic coffee flavour. I think adding the icing, made the taste of the whole cake much nicer. I also made a base and a top to the cake so I could put a generous helping of the buttercream in the middle (and on the top!). I’ve seen a few people put whole walnuts on for decoration, I decided to brake the nuts into crumbs to sprinkle them more randomly, and the effect seemed to work just as nicely. I shared my results with family and friends and got some really positive feedback! :-)

Do you like baking? What is your favourite sweet treat? :-) xxx

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Birthday Present Haul 2016

So my birthday was last week, and I got some lovely presents and had a birthday cake with my family. My Mum and I agreed I would get a budget to buy myself specific ‘blogger’ related bits and pieces as well as have a few surprises. As you may notice there is a summer theme throughout my gifts, including some fruity themed surprises my Mum bought me such as PJs, socks, knickers and an ice-cream puzzle. Carrying on with the fruity/summer theme I got two new herbal teas to try (and review!). Something I’ve been more into this year is natural beauty, so I got a few makeup, bath, and home related items. Since about January I’ve been more interested in reading, and following people on Booktube/Goodreads and because of this I got a few books which sounded fun to read and are highly praised in that community.

I got a few miscellaneous items with a meaning behind them, for example I’ve been developing my gardening skills so my Dad bought me some flower seeds and a vase to put flower clippings in. I have already planted the seeds and have a few random but pretty lilac flowers in the vase. My Mum and I are into arts and crafts, I make handmade cards but she thought I could get into knitting with this beginners guide book. I think I might enjoy it too if I get the hang of it, as it seems quite therapeutic. And lastly what’s a birthday without a box of chocs? I’ve been putting them in the fridge with the hot weather, Thornton’s do the best chocolates! I really appreciate the thought gone into my presents from my family, and I think I will get enjoyment from them in weeks to come! :-)

Has it been your birthday recently? Or did you get some gift or shopping inspiration from this post? Hope you are having a lovely day so far. xxx

Saturday, 16 July 2016

My Latest Summer Reads.

Revelry by Lucy Lord

This was the first novel I delved into as I thought it was the ultimate summer read. The book revolves around besties Bella and Poppy and they’re very glamorous summer going to Glastonbury, Ibiza and beyond. I finished this book remarkably quickly, as the easy writing style and the interesting friendship dramas made me want to continue. The plot was a little fluffy, and although there were some unexpected twists they didn’t seem well developed. I did feel like I was being transported into a sometimes desirable lifestyle and enjoyed going along for the ride. 2.5/5 Stars.

Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

I had high hopes for this one as the part science-fiction element to the plot really intrigued me. It revolves around a high school class receiving a contaminated flu vaccination, and the affected students being able to read each other’s thoughts. It was a surprisingly light, entertaining read that made me chuckle out loud on many occasions. My favourite bit of the book was the concept, but the easy written language and humour were also happily noted. 4/5 Stars.

Unsticky by Sarra Manning

I’ve only just began reading this one, and as a fan of the author my expectations are fairly high. This older book by Manning, is centred on Grace and her developing connection with art dealer Vaughn. So far I love Vaughn’s individuality as a character. I’m looking forward to seeing Graces character develop in the way Manning does with her other heroines. I’m sensing a pretty woman kind of story with high fashion and art thrown in. I will let you know how I get on! :-)

Which book out of the three captured your attention the most? 
What have been your latest summer reads? :-) xxx

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Hurraw! Lime Lip Balm

Today I wanted to share a beautiful all natural and organic lip balm. I’ve been really pleased with the quality of the formula, it glides on silky smooth and afterwards my lips feel in better condition. Hurraw! do so many scents, in fact they all looked amazing online but I ended up picking the lime edition as I figured it will see me through the summer months. The lime scent is zingy, fresh and makes me feel in a good mood. Online the lime lip balm was described as follows: ‘This organic lip balm is just like squeezing a lime slice in your favourite summer drink or remembering those limeade popsicles of youth. You will love the zesty zing of our lime balm!’.

I was also tempted by the grapefruit, and SPF15 one for summer and the chocolate or night treatment one for winter. Either way I think I will be repurchasing! The packaging is well made, and I like the design too. Prices for the lip balms start at £4.49 on Naturisimo with free delivery. This brand of lip balms are 100% natural, organic, vegan, and gluten free as well as stating they do not test on animals and are cruelty free. I think that’s amazing and would definitely recommend this product! View range here. Hope you are having a pleasant Sunday so far! Let me know if you are interested in this product. Helen xxx

Saturday, 2 July 2016

June Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle Favourites

I’m excited to share my June favourites, these posts are fun to create, and I love the idea of rounding up all the bits and bobs I have been enjoying. It’s also nice to look back on past months to see what things I have cherished. On a recent trip to Primark I picked up a paisley pattern water cup and this has been really cool to use at home and a reminder to keep hydrated. My family and I went on holiday this month, we bought this Pukka apple and cinnamon herbal tea in a health shop while away. I love the taste, it’s very comforting and one of my new favs from the brand. Another fruit tea I’ve discovered is Charbew’s pineapple and vanilla variety, I thought the taste might be too out there but I absolutely love it and will be doing a review. I completed a book by the author Susan Lewis called ‘Losing You’ and not only is it in my June favs but one of my favs this year. I picked the book up for 25p at a second hand jumble sale, the story is based around two families and one tragedy, one of the most dramatic and emotional books I’ve read to date.

One of my highlights from the month was making a buttercream iced coffee and walnut cake which I shared with family and friends. I used this Sainsbury’s baking book which I highly recommend, there’s a nice variety of recipes included which are easy to follow and delicious. As you may have already noticed there is a bit of a fruity theme this June favourites, I devoured this Faith In Nature shower and foam bath, the pineapple and lime scent is unreal! I’ve been enjoying using this M&S Nature’s Ingredients strawberry hand cream, the scent and packaging is perfect for summer, and a great beauty staple. I was beyond excited to discover a new holy grail skincare product which was the Pure moisture plus day cream by M&S. It’s extremely gentle on my skin, and made from natural ingredients, so stayed tuned for the review.

I have been into Escada perfumes for years, if you haven’t already smelt one of their summer perfumes, do because they are a slice of heaven. I’ve been sprayed this turquoise summer edition generously each day this month. I was recommended a organic brand called Hurraw! for lip balms, they do loads of different scents, I finally bought this lime one and I’ve been loving it so review coming shortly. The Johnsons pampering wipes and Rimmel concealer are repurchases, I have been using these products for ages! I’ve been on the hunt for a perfect highlighter to apply on my cheek bones, this one by Revolution in the shade 'Peach Lights' gives a natural sheen. Last but not least I have been wearing this rose gold watch by next, it has a metal strap and think it looks rather chic. 
Do we share any similar favourites? 
Which of these items do you like the look of? 
Wishing you well for July! :-) xxx

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Nature’s Ingredients Products by M&S

The brand I’m sharing with you today is called Nature’s Ingredients and is part of the M&S beauty line. I’ve never bought anything by this particular brand but I was intrigued to see how each product performed. All the different fragrances sounded gorgeous, so I picked one of each so I could test this side of things too. I bought the strawberry hand cream, lemon verbena shower scrub and mandarin shower gel. Others that sounded interesting included peach and almond, blueberry as well as mango. The packaging is really eye-catching, I love anything colourful, and it made me feel happy. Also the prices are incredibly reasonable for what you get, items included in this post range from £1-£3. I’m pleased to say the values of the brand are excellent as they are not tested on animals, are BUAV approved, paraben free, and suitable for vegetarians and vegans. The ingredients are better than a lot of mainstream brands too. They do other products in the line, such as body butters, deodorants etc. that I can’t wait to try.

So now onto my thoughts of each individual item…The strawberry hand cream priced at £1 is a light-weight lotion that sinks into the skin quickly, leaving soft hands after use. The scent is lovely and lingers after applying. The 100ml bottle holds a generous amount of product yet the size of the bottle is okay for travelling. The lemon verbena shower scrub has a pleasant, fruity fragrance and a great accompaniment when in the shower. The consistency was liquidy with small beads and I found this was great for gentle exfoliation as well as being moisturising! For 250ml this too seemed like a generous amount, and especially for the price of £3. Lastly the mandarin shower gel, priced at £2.00 for the £250ml seemed good going. Like the others the scent was delicious but fairly subtle. I found after pairing the scrub and shower gel my skin felt invigorated and although the scents weren’t matched my bathroom smelt heavenly after each shower.

Have you heard of this brand before? Which scent out of the three appeals to you most? Shop the brand on M&S here.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Saltburn Farmers Market Photo Diary.

Earlier in the month I visited a farmers market which I really enjoyed so thought I would include some photos from my day to show you what it was like. It was based in Saltburn and the stalls were packed with delicious homemade desserts, fresh fruit and vegetables, baked goods, plants, art work and much more. The sellers were very friendly, chatting to you and giving you samples of things. The atmosphere was lovely. I came away with a hot chocolate dipping spoon and some unusual shortbread. Later I visited a charity shop close to where the market was, I had a wander round and noticed they had a vintage section which was really cool. They had some interesting vintage hats and fashion scarfs. I took some documentary shots of the food stalls at the farmers market and other bits and bobs, hope you enjoy browsing them!

Do you like food/farmers markets? 
What are your favourite kind of places to visit in your free time? :-) xxx