Friday, 24 October 2014

It's been a long time since I shared a restaurant post. I suppose it's actually been a long time since I've eaten out. Before I went to America, Amber and I headed to one of my favourite restaurants; Zaza. We tend to go to the one in Harpenden, but they have lots of different places dotted around. So it's well worth checking out if there are any restaurants near you.

Amber and I always go to Zaza for lunch as they have incredible lunch menus that are really good value for money. They are set menus with about 5-10 choices available for each course. They also have a special Sunday menu which features different items. This time I went for the Bruschetta to start; a mix of tomatoes, garlic, basil & rocket on toasted crostini. It was amazing and the tomatoes were super fresh and tasty! For main course I had Conchiglioni con Pollo; which is giant pasta shells filled with chicken, pesto & toasted pine nuts, with a cream & white wine sauce. Holy moly, this was amazing, it's the type of thing dreams are made of (if this is your thing). We branched out and also had dessert, I normally have Tiramisu, but I went for something different. This time I chose Cherry Yoghurt Semifreddo Torte; which is frozen yoghurt on a toffee biscuit base topped with wild cherries. This was very sour but very tasty! 

Two courses cost £14.90 on a Sunday and £9.90 Monday - Saturday, which is a bargain! 

This restaurant is one of the best italian places I've ever been too. In fact I think it's probably my favourite Italian restaurants of all time. Everything I have always tastes amazing and it's such good value for money.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

ASOS East West Pocket Tote Bag

I've been on the look out for a new bag for quite a while as my normal bag is far too small. I wanted something big enough to chuck my macbook in when I travel, and something big enough to pack all my stuff in when I commute to work by train. 

I don't go to mad when it comes to handbags, I like something classic but pretty. It needs to be something that will match most of my outfits and it needs to be practical. I fell in love with the ASOS East West Tote Bag. 

It fits all my criteria for bags, it's black in colour and has beautiful gold details. It has one opening with closes with a zip and it has two pockets inside. One of the pockets can be zipped up and one of them is just open. It also has two pockets on the outside, which are perfect for your phone, or for anything you want within easy reach.

The bag is such a good size too, it can fit my macbook, headphones, ipad, notebook, lunch box, purse and even a couple of magazines! The pockets inside are perfect for my passport and pens when I was on the plane and it kept everything safe to and from America!

What do you look for when you buy handbags?

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

This week has flown by! I cannot believe how quickly it went! I had a really busy calendar at work and I thought it was going to drag. My cold has finally gone which is such a good feeling! I went on a bit of a vitamin c diet, drinking lots of lemon water and fresh orange juice. It actually worked, of course I have no idea if it was a coincidence, but I'm happy to believe it was the vitamin c. You probably don't need me to tell you that the weather has been a bit rubbish this week, which has made my 50 mile commute a bit longer than normal. It took as 2 hours to get home on Monday, the roads were completely water logged and the traffic was at a standstill! 

I spent my weekend looking at flat stuff, we were first picking out skirting boards and then we picked out wood flooring. This is as exciting as weekends get at the moment! Although we did have a cheeky breakfast out on Saturday morning, we went to Simmons for a fry up which was lovely.

It's been a very quiet week on the shopping front, I nearly made it a whole week without buying something. That was until I spotted the Essie polishes at Fragrance Direct! They have loads of stock again and they are all only £2.50. I only bought 4 in the end, but I originally had 10 in my basket! If you fancy picking up a couple, you can click hereMy Ciate Mini Manor advent calendar did arrive though, it's going to be a long old wait until December 1st. 

There has been a few different posts live this week. I couldn't resist the new Glitterati Collection from Barry M and I bought 'Fashion Icon' - I swatched and reviewed it yesterday if you're interested (click here). It's Glossybox time again and on Monday I shared my review (click here). I shared my favourite cream eyeshadows on Sunday, I was quite proud of this post, I had a moment of inspiration (click here)! Finally, if you like reading hauls, you might want to check out my post from Saturday (click here) - I did some serious damage in Sephora. 

If you're a bit of a foodie, or just like baking, I shared my recipe for Tiffin this week. It's super quick and really yummy! Click here to make your own

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Barry M Fashion Icon from the new Glitterati collection, £3.99 (here)

I've seen the new Glitterati in a couple of blog posts recently and I fell in love with it. Barry M say: "The new Glitterati collection will make you feel like a glittering, glistening Princess"

So when I nipped to Boots I went straight to the Barry M stand. Although it was tempted to buy the whole collection, I was good and opted for just one shade. The shade I went for is 'Fashion Icon' which is a stunning purple colour. This collection is just beautiful, the swatch really does not do it justice. These polishes are beautiful jelly based nail polishes packed with glitter. They give a duochrome effect, giving flecks of blue and purple shades in different lights. The pigmentation is really strong, you get a really great colour with just two coats and a top coat. I prefer to put a purple shade underneath though, because you then get a huge depth of colour and it looks really impressive.

The jelly base makes the formula quite thick but it's still really easy to use. You can apply it thick or thin and it dries really quickly. I was actually really shocked how quickly this dries, it makes for a really impressive finish super quickly!

I'm wearing this on my nails this week and I've had so many compliments, it's really pretty and perfect for this time of year! 

Monday, 20 October 2014

So this month's Glossybox is the 'Pop Art Collectors Edition' and is packaged in a rather impressive, pop art inspired, box. It's always nice to have something a little bit different isn't it? In this months box, everyone received 6 items with 4 promised to be full sized. 

There was no other theme for the box, but this month Glossybox have switched to 'paperless product cards'. Instead of their cardboard inserts, this month everyone got sent a link with the products they have inside. Except my link didn't actually arrive and I had to email customer services to have it resent, but we got there in the end. You can click here to see my link. Glossybox say that they are trying this in a bid to be more eco friendly, but I suspect it's a money-saving activity. I don't really have any strong opinions about it, as my cards end up being recycled straight out the box! 

Lets have a look what I got inside my October box!

First up we have the Nuxe Creme Fraiche Beaute Mask
I'm a big fan of face masks so I'll definitely be trying this out. It claims to give you 24 hours of moisture. You just apply it once or twice a week and leave it on for 10 minutes. You can run in the excess to make sure it absorbs into the skin. You can even keep it in the fridge to give it a more refreshing effect. This is a full sized product from a well-known brand, worth £19.50. Great item! 

Next up is the Etre Belle Cosmetics Liplift Peel
This product is a Lip Exfoliator which removes dead cells and new soft lips. This is great for the winter time as we all know that our lips can get quite chapped! You apply a small amount to the lips in circular motions and then remove the product with a damp cotton pad! I've never tried anything like this before, I've also never heard from the brand. Glossybox say this is another full sized item worth 

So Susan Cosmetics Flutter Mascara 
Glossybox obviously have a good deal with So Susan at the moment as we seem to constantly get their products in boxes. The sad thing is that they never impress me which is always a waste. I've never tried a mascara from them though so you never know! This mascara claims to give you the 'darkest, curviest lashes possible'. I normally look for volume rather than curl in a mascara, but I'll give it a go. This is the third full sized item, retailing for £14.95.
Ciaté London Paint Pot
I love Ciaté, in fact I just ordered their Christmas advent calendar and I cannot wait for it to get here. I was a bit peeved to have recieved a white nail polish, but fellow bloggers tell me you can get a lot of use out of this. I'll give it a whirl, but I'm not sure how convinced I'll be! This is the last full sized item in my box, but it's worth £9. 
Ciaté have great pigmentation, formula and staying power!

Yves Rocher France Quelques Notes D'amour
Yet another brand that beauty box companies keep sending us again and again. I really liked the little nail polish from this brand a couple of boxes ago. This is a perfume scented with 'damascus rose, guaiac wood and patchouli'. 

Last in the box is a sample of the Rimmel London BB Cream Matte
I actually bought a full size tube of this months ago and I haven't got round to trying it! Rimmel say this is a 9-in-1 BB cream with 'kaolin, witch hazel and salicylic acid'. I love trying Rimmel products so I'll definitely try this out! The formula sounds perfect for winter time!

This box isn't too shabby but I've fed up of seeing the same brands again and again! Especially when they never seem to impress with the products were sent. That said, I'll definitely try all the products and report back. At least there are 6 products here and I'll give all of them a go!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

(Clockwise from the pink one) Maybelline Pink Gold, MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Bare Study, Maybelline On and On Bronze, Stila Kitten and Maybelline Eternal Gold

Cream eyeshadows are a staple in my eyeshadow routine and over the years I've established quite the collection. So today I thought I'd share some of my favourites with you.

Maybelline 'Pink Gold', 'Eternal Gold' and 'On and On Bronze'
My initial love for cream eyeshadows was sparked by the Maybelline Color Tattoos. These little pots bought cream eyeshadows to the high street. Retailing at just £4.99, they are something everyone can afford. There are a huge range of colours but my all time favourite is Eternal Gold, a rich gold shade which is perfect for the festive season. Also in my collection is 'Pink Gold'. A pigmented pink shade which is great alone but perfect for pairing with the Naked 3 palette. Last but not least is 'On and On Bronze' - this little pot can give you a smokey eye in seconds with none of the work.

MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Bare Study
I only have one of the MAC Paint Pots so when I bought it I decided to choose something I could wear to any occasion. Again the quality of this bad boy is fantastic and it looks great on it's own. I love to layer it with lashings of my Illamasqua pressed pigment. They are three times the price of the Maybelline alternative but the quality is definitely a step up. They also come in a bit nicer packaging!

Stila 'Kitten'
Kitten is one of those 'cult' shades and it's made by Stila. A lot of people have complained about the formula of these but I'm a big fan. It's another everyday shade which looks great dressed up or left alone. The great thing about this is it's multi purpose, you can use it as an eyeliner, an eyeshadow or even a highlighter.

What are your favourite cream eyeshadows?

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Yep, something terrible happened to my bank account. A friend holidaying in America and me taking a business trip across the pond, led to bad items falling in my basket. I act all hard done by, but lets be honest, this is heaven. 

If you're eagle-eyed you'll notice a couple of items that I didn't actually pick up in Sephora. I headed to Target one evening in San Jose and picked up a couple of things. First up is the Maybelline 'The Nudes' palette, I hear that this is coming to the UK but I have no idea when. It only costs $10 in the US, so with the exchange rate it's as cheap as chips! The second thing is my first ever NYX blusher! You can get this in the UK but it can be quite difficult. This was only $5 which is like £3, super cheap!

On to the good stuff! Top of my very extensive list was the Tarte Rainforest Palette, I had been eyeing this up for ages. It's a limited edition palette featuring six eyeshadows, a highlighter, bronzer and a blusher. The internet makes this look really small but it's huge! This thing is heavenly! Because clearly two eyeshadow palettes are not enough, I went on to buy another two. This seems a lot worse when you reflect on your purchases afterwards. In my defence I have an eyeshadow addiction. Is that even a good defence? The Marc Jacobs Style Eye Con No.3 was next. I picked up the shade 'The Innocent' which is a set of three perfect shadows for a brown smokey eye! Last on the list is the very teeny Smashbox Full Exposure Palette in the travel edition. This one has eight shadows which is just perfect for travel! 

Moving swiftly on, it's time to talk about my second biggest purchase in the haul. The Tarte Pin Up Girl Blush Palette. Yep, this baby has FIVE of the Amanzonian clay blushers inside of it! When I saw it I couldn't resist and I knew this had to come home with me. I've been wanting some more of the blushers for ages and this is the perfect way to increase the collection. Keeping on the blusher bandwagon, I also picked up the Sephora Bronzed and Blushing Face Palette, this cute black number only costs $15 and has two Sephora blushers and a bronzer! 

We're reaching the final furlong on this haul now, with just two more items left to talk about. I couldn't resist the Laura Mercier Inner Artist Quartet which features four mini Laura Mercier products. There's a mini 'Eye Basics' in Wheat which is like a base eye colour. A baked eye shadow in Black Karat, a mini Universal Invisible Setting Powder and a mini fan brush. Last on the list is a Formula X nail polish, everyone and their wife raves about these! I went for my favourite colour which is a sky blue and it's so so pretty! 

I look at this blog post and feel a bit guilty, but then the joy of makeup sets in! ;) What's on your wish list for Sephora? What's the best item you've ever bought?

Friday, 17 October 2014

Look Fantastic Top Picks

It's a double whammy blog post day today. 

Tonight between 5pm and 10pm, Look Fantastic are offering you 15% off your order. All you need to do is fill you basket with lovely things, and at checkout add the code 'BEAUTYFACTOR'. It's a good excuse to treat yourself, or if you're really organised, to start your Christmas shopping!

I love Look Fantastic, they stock a whole load of my favourite items. I order quite a lot from them as I like the fact they have free delivery. When I heard about the deal I find myself creating quite the wish list. So I figured I'd share my top picks with you guys!  

First up I'd thought I'd share some of my 'holy grail' items from Look Fantastic. I don't actually know where I'd be without my Tangle Teezer, I use it every single day and it's great for curly hair. They've actually bought out a special Christmas version (here), which is a really cool colour. I recently reviewed my Taylor by Taylor Swift Rollerball (here), I think it's fantastic perfume and having this handy rollerball is great for travel! I love the Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray (here), it's such a good salt spray which leaves your hair looking gorgeous! My hairdresser was the first person that introduced me to the Tigi Superstar Queen For The Day Thickening Spray (here). It might have a crazy long name but this stuff is amazing! You spray it in your roots and your hair looks thicker and full of volume. If theres one thing you need in the winter months, it's a good setting spray. The range from Urban Decay (here) keeps your makeup looking good, whatever the weather.

On to the lusting.... I can't stop thinking about the Nics Picks set from Real Techniques (here), I love these limited edition sets and I love the colour combination of these. I LOVE the new design of the Nails Inc polishes that have been made with Alexa. I love the new bottle design and the colours are beautiful! This shade is perfect for Autumn and would look great with glitter over the top. When I saw this LA Love NARS set (here), I think my heart skipped a beat. I love every item in the set which is really rare. It would make an amazing gift! I don't think there has ever been a year when I've loved the Benefit Christmas sets as much as this year. It's hard to pick which ones I actually want!
So Susan Concealer Quad, £16.95

When I first saw this little quad of concealers I was quite excited! I thought the whole idea of it was really good and it would be fabulous as the seasons changed and my skin changed colour. However the execution of this product is a bit of a let down!

The quad comes in quite a cute sophisticated box, it has sweet illustrations on the box and it has pretty gold detailing which makes it feel quite expensive. However, when you take it out of the box, you come across a cheap plastic packaging. The stickers even stuck on the packaging straight, which may sound picky, but I think it matters.

Sometimes a product can look rubbish on the outside, but impress when you come to use it. However, for me the disappointment kept coming. The product is very thick and has quite a plastic texture to it. When you manage to work it onto the skin it's very dry and hard to work with. 

For me this product does not justify the price tag, there are a whole host of impressive products that don't cost £17! Have you tried this product? Did you like it? 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

I can't believe I've never shared my Tiffin Recipe on my blog before! When I lived in Southampton I used to make it all the time. It's been probably 18 months since I last made it, but I got a bit of a craving this weekend. 

The Recipe
The best bit about Tiffin is that it's completely personal, you can make it exactly how you want it! Start with , 100g of butter, 2 tablespoons of golden syrup, 2 tablepoons of sugar and 4 teaspoons of coco powder. Simply heat the mixture in a saucepan until it's all melted together, you then add this to your dry ingredients.

You simply start with 250g of digestive biscuits and then you add whatever you want to! We chose cherries, raisins, hazelnuts, marshmallows and white chocolate. Mix the wet ingredients and the dry mixture together in bowl and then lay in a tray. You want to line this tray with some greaseproof paper otherwise it will stick. Put a layer of melted chocolate over the top and then chill in the fridge for 2 hours. You then just cut into chunks and serve!
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