Friday, 15 December 2017

Christmas Baking: Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, I think life just got in the way but I’m excited for the next couple of Christmassy posts. 2017 has been a good baking year for me, and I’ve really enjoyed getting in the kitchen to make things. I actually made these biscuits in November, but they are very festive for the season. I think cranberry and white chocolate is a perfect combination, particularly for Christmas, and cranberries are a well loved ingredient around this time. I used The Hungry Student Baking book by Charlotte Pike again, I'm working my way through the book, and have nearly done all the varieties of cookie recipes.

These were extremely easy to make, as are most cookies. The white chocolate seemed to melt a bit in the oven, and after they came out, there was a vanilla taste to them which contrasted well with the cranberry. I dusted some icing sugar on top, this nearly always gives a more polished end result. Let me know if you are going to be making cookies, and what extra ingredients are your favourite to add... :-) Xx

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

E.l.f. Lightweight Concealer Stick in Light/Fair

I’ve been looking for a good cruelty-free concealer for a while now, and after doing a little bit of research I ordered this one by E.l.f on the Superdrug website. They have three shades, but as I have very fair skin, I went for the lightest option, light/fair. They retail for £5 each, and if you are a Superdrug member, you can get free delivery online.

So what were my thoughts? From initial impressions, the packaging was fantastic, very sturdy and easy to use, I love how they have been inspired by some high-end brands with the luxe feel of this. The range of shades wasn’t brilliant, only three choices doesn’t seem like a lot. But after saying that, I have trouble finding a colour match, and light/fair was perfect for me.

To apply to the skin, you twist the end, a bit like a lipstick which I liked. The product is very creamy and glides on well. After wearing it all day, it does seem to have above average staying power. If you are looking for a cruelty-free option, I would recommend this brand. Overall I’m pretty pleased with it and can see myself repurchasing. Click here to buy.

What concealer do you use? 
Have you tried make-up by E.l.f before? :-) Xx

Monday, 4 December 2017

Cosy Winter Reading Book Haul

Books I’ve acquired lately:

One Minute to Midnight by Amy Silver
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
Girl Online by Zoe Sugg

Welcome to another book haul post, today I’ll be featuring some books I hope to read this winter. I’ve actually finished reading Girl Online by Zoe Sugg already, and was surprised to find lots of Christmas themes in it, and the book surpassed my expectations in many ways, it was my guilty pleasure for sure.

I’m about half way through On Beauty by Zadie Smith, I was so excited to get two books to read by this author, I’ve been wanting to get stuck into something from her for a while now. So far On Beauty is pretty good, and it’s very much character driven which suits my taste. If I have time I want to read One Minute to Midnight in between Christmas and New Year, it looks like it could be an easy, light read for the festive season.

What’s on your winter reading list?
Do any of these books take your fancy? :-) Xx

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Winter Baking: Berry and Apple Crumble

It’s been a little while since I’ve done a baking post, I made this crumble at the beginning of the month, and it’s been one of my favourite bakes from the year so far I would say. I learned how to make a basic crumble at school, but since then I’ve opted for things like cookies, or cake so I wanted to try something slightly different. Most of the ingredients we had in the cupboard already but I asked my Mum to pick up frozen berries to add in with some apples from the fruit bowl.

If you’ve made crumble before, you will know to rub the butter and flour lightly with your fingertips to create breadcrumbs which is an important step to master. I also had to peel the apples and slice them into cubes. Those are the main bits that are a little trickier but it’s actually a very simple recipe, I added oats to the breadcrumbs on top, which gave the dessert an earthy feel. I used The Hungry Student Easy Baking book which I’ve mentioned before, the layout of the recipes, and simple ingredients make the process easier. My family gave some good feedback on this one, a crumble is a bit of a crowd pleaser.

Do you ever make crumbles? 
What kind of filling is your favourite? :-) Xx

Saturday, 25 November 2017

The Library of Fragrance Paperback Eau de Toilette

Hi all, it’s so lovely to be back after taking a little break. Today I’m reviewing a fragrance which I bought recently, and just had to tell you all about it. I introduced myself to The Library of Fragrance brand over the summer, with my first purchase from them, with the scent ‘Sunshine’. At the beginning of autumn, I’d ran out and was eager to try something else by them. They had such a great collection of different singular scents, with cute names, I was stuck for choice. I eventually settled on ‘Paperback’ as it seemed to go with my love of reading and there were many positive reviews.

With buying online, I had to wait until my purchase arrived before I could see if the fragrance was for me. I sprayed some onto my wrists, and as it warmed to my skin for a few minutes, I began to fall in love, it’s such a unique, unforgettable scent. I think seasonally this is a perfect buy, either as a gift or for yourself and great for book lovers. Cruelty-free and vegan, £15.00 for a 30ml Eau de Toilette. Click here to buy online.

Read this to get a feel of the scent…. “The Library of Fragrance ‘Paperback’ Cologne celebrates our love affair with literature, with a backdrop of milky-vanilla sweetness, joined by delicate woody facets and just a touch of must and dust. It smells just like your favourite second hand bookshop.”

Does this brand interest you too? 
What’s your go-to autumn/winter perfume? :-) Xx

Monday, 13 November 2017

A Beauty Haul: Products for Autumn into Winter

Just recently, I did an online shopping haul with Boots collect+ and Superdrug for a mixture of essential and luxury items. At the beginning of autumn, I was just about finished with my previous perfume by Library of Fragrance. I was delighted with the brand so I thought I would try another fragrance from them. The ‘Paperback’ scent really drew me in, it sounded perfect for autumn/winter and I liked the book association as I’ve found over these months, I do more cosy reading with a blanket and hot chocolate. It seemed like a fun thing, to buy the perfume, and the reviews I read were very positive.

Next is my second ever purchase from Kind Natured at Boots, I’ve been interested in this natural brand lately, and had my eye on the jam doughnut shampoo, which was a very much needed toiletry, as my last shampoo ran out. The next two items I ordered from Superdrug, and each having the leaping bunny logo for being cruelty-free. Flutter is a beautiful brand by Superdrug, they have fun packaging, budget friendly prices and would make good Christmas gifting. These soap flowers were a little treat, and I can’t wait to indulge in a bath of flower petals.

Lastly I picked up a shower gel, by Superdrug Spaa, I’m not going to do a separate review post for this, and instead I’ll give you a quick summary now. I really rate the brand, I was first drawn to the marble packaging, and reasonable price point. They have a large range, so I might go back for more, as I loved the shower gel, particularly for the spa like scent.

I’ll be doing a few follow up review posts soon... 
Let me know which products from this haul caught your eye! :-) Xx

What I Bought Info:

Library Of Fragrance ‘Paperback’ Eau de Toilette 30ml
(£15.00/ Here)

Kind Natured Kids Jam Doughnut 2in1 Shampoo 200ml 
(£2.99/ Here)

Superdrug Flutter Bath Soap Flowers
(SALE £5.00/ Here)

Superdrug Spaa Bergamot & Cassis Shower Gel 250ml
(SALE £1.45/ Here)

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Recent Reads Reviewed #4

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert – 5/5

This was one of my favourite books this year so far, and maybe ever! There were so many clever ideas and stories in this book that moved me and Gilbert’s voice came across authentic and personal, it was like talking to a very wise friend. There were a few things that stood out to me while reading, one was the chapter about enchantment where she tells us about her own experiences of creative magic and she touches on creative friendships, which struck a chord. I loved reading her perspective on things throughout. It was a quick and easy book to read actually, I flew through it, and I had to take a moment to admire how pretty the cover is.

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson – 5/5

I read this over the summer, another book I just devoured. I picked this one up off my Mum’s bookshelf, and went in fairly blind to the plot, but it really took me by surprise at how much I loved it. I think the writing style and storytelling was extremely beautiful, the story is of an elderly artist and her six-year-old granddaughter who are away on a summer vacation together on a tiny island in the Gulf of Finland. This book is a literary classic, and outside my normal comfort zone, yet one of the best books I’ve ever read.

The Ice-Cream Makers by Ernest van der Kwast – 5/5

This was the first book I ever won on a Goodreads giveaway, and have had it on my shelf for a little while now. I picked it up mid-summer, as I thought the themes of ice-cream would fit the season. The story is of an Italian family ice-cream business, but eldest son Giovanni Talamini decides to break away by pursuing a literary career. Giovanni faces a dilemma: serve the family’s interests one last time or choose his own path in life, once and for all. This was a superb novel, I loved the writing, descriptions of the ice-cream, and believable characters.

Are you a seasonal reader? What makes you become interested in a book? :-) Xx

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Stray Café and Beach Walk Photo Diary

In October the weather was unusually sunny and mild, we headed for our favourite café spot for a cuppa, a cake and a sit outside. I had a cake with chocolate sprinkles on top, and a blueberry green tea, both were lovely. We’ve been making it a more regular thing, and I’ve been enjoying it. One of my most loved hobbies is photography, so every time we go, I have a wander on the nearby beach with my camera, while my parents have a sit and admire the seascape.

There was a lovely vibe to Marske beach that day, the sun had clearly persuaded people to come out, and there were many dogs, dog walkers and other people about. I have shared some of my fav photos from the day, including friendly dogs passing by, seascapes, macro etc. I hope you enjoy this different kind of post from me.

Have you been to any beaches recently? 
What kind of sights are there near you? :-) Xx

Sunday, 29 October 2017

The Snack Diaries | Part Six

Taylors of Harrogate Rose Lemonade Tea
(From Morrison’s, SALE £3.00 £2.00 for 20 tea bags)
I’m still catching up with some of my series posts, these snacks I tried and tested over the summer months. I received two flavours of the Taylors of Harrogate tea and was delighted with both. The rose lemonade was the perfect summer beverage, and one of my favourite ever fruit teas. I recommend you try it sometime.

Taylors of Harrogate Sour Cherry Fruit Tea
(From Morrison’s, SALE £3.00 £2.00 for 20 tea bags)
The sour cherry fruit tea tasted lovely too, there was a slight difference between this and the rose lemonade, and the cherry flavour was noticeable with a sour edge. Morrison’s often do offers, I picked mine up for my birthday, although the packaging has altered since.

Organix Punk’d Cocoa & Orange Oaty Bars
(From Too Good Farm Shop, £2.39 for 6 bars)
Admittedly the packaging drew me to these snack bars, but actually they were really yummy too, the cocoa and orange taste was lovely, but it didn’t come across too sweet. I can imagine these would be great for kids (or adults). The price seemed okay, but the individual portions felt a bit small.

Cocoa Republic Summer Sunshine White Chocolate
(From Too Good Farm Shop, £2.50 for 100g)
I bought this over the summer for a birthday treat at the farm shop, I shared on an earlier post and it felt like a real indulgence. The packaging is pretty, and the fruit pieces on the front of the chocolate are so decorative. The excellent quality shone through in the chocolate taste, it melted in your mouth, and the fruity pieces were a nice touch. The brand do other designs/flavours.

What are your favourite special tea brands? 
Does pretty packaging draw you in too? :-) Xx