Saturday, 8 August 2020

Carrot Topped "Dirt" Chocolate Muffins

Carrot Topped "Dirt" Chocolate Muffin Recipe
Chocolate Muffins Recipe
Baking is one of my favourite ways to unwind and relax, so over the last few months I have turned my hand to perfecting the crusty baguette, baking moist lemon loaves as well as creating the perfect biscuit snap. One of the bakes I've been most proud of are the deliciously moorish chocolate muffins that I'm going to talk about today. They've been designed to look like they're carrots peeking out of the soil - a perfect snack for those who love gardening or have an allotment. 

The chocolate muffin is soft and moist, in fact it may be my favourite recipe yet. For the topping, I swapped out the traditional buttercream icing in favour of a light layer of Nutella which makes the cake taste rich and works as 'glue' for the soil topping. For the dirt element, I crushed up Oreo's and stuck pre-made carrots made of icing out of the sponge. I think these would be easy to recreate with ready to roll paste icing or even using a strawberry covered in orange melts. 
Chocolate Carrot Muffin Cupcake Recipe

Ingredients (Makes 6muffins) - 

125g Self-Raising Flour
20g Cocoa Powder
1tsp Baking Powder
80g Golden Caster Sugar
80g Butter 
1 Egg
90ml Milk of Choice
Crushed Oreos (around 6)
Nutella 
Carrot decoration 

Method - 

Preheat the oven until 180c. 

In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add to the egg and a milk to the mixture and stir until smooth. 

Once mixed, add the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Stir until smooth, but be careful not to over-mix too much. 

Spoon out the mixture into cases in a cupcake tin. Place in the oven for 25 minutes or until cooked all the way through. 

Immediately remove the muffins from your cupcake tin to allow to fully cool. 

In a bowl, separate your Oreos into two, scraping the white middle icing out with a knife. This isn't necessary if you don't mind white speckles in your "soil". Crush the Oreos with the end of a rolling pin. 

Once cooled, lightly cover the top of your muffins with Nutella. Press the crushed Oreos into the top of your muffins until fully covered. Add your carrot decorations and serve! 

Did you enjoy this fun, yet tasty recipe? 
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Thursday, 6 August 2020

I Got To 50k On Tik Tok in 2 Months and Here's How...

How I got Tik Tok followers

Ahh Tik Tok... the app that I and many others refused to download despite the hype. One evening in March I decided to give in and I downloaded it purely to just be a voyeur, liking funny videos of animals and getting to grips with the Tik Tok dances. Then I stumbled upon a different side; a cosy, lighthearted and comforting side of Tik Tok and there I found my niche. I knew almost instantly that I had been missing out, so one day I decided to experiment with editing and I've never looked back. After multiple "semi-viral" videos later... I reached 10k then suddenly I blinked and I was at 50k! The milestones kept getting closer and closer, so I think it's safe to say it's been a success and if you're here because of the title, then you'll want to see just how I did it. 

You'll Find A Niche | If you're not looking to grow on Tik Tok, then I would recommend uploading whatever content you enjoy doing. Have a play around with dancing, haul videos and makeup looks, but if you want to take it a little more serious, have a think about what you enjoy watching then go from there. For me, as I said I enjoy watching cosy day at home style vlogs as well as houseplants and baking. Seeing as I hadn't seen anybody do what I had in mind, I decided to give it a go. Several videos of mine now have over 300k views, so I think sometimes it can be hard to sway away from content that obviously works for your audience, but if you're enjoying it, the views will come. 

"It's important to enjoy your own content and have fun. Becoming authentic is key." 

Engage In Similar Content | I found out quickly that my for you page consisted of videos that I'd searched for, commented on or previously liked. Although sometimes they get it way off, showing me some questionable videos, I found that the more I engaged with the content I liked, the more creators I found that resonated with me. This is a great way to find inspiration for your own videos, find out what's trending and what is popular with an audience that would be similar to yours. 
How I got 50k Tik Tok followers

"Switching to a pro account was one of the best decisions. It meant I could find out more about my audience in one click." 

Comment and Like | Leading on from my other point, commenting on creators videos means that their viewers may like your comment, finding your account that way. It goes without saying that if you aren't genuinely commenting, it'll appear fake and come across in a bad way, so just make it a goal to comment on each video you've enjoyed - the creator will love it which is a plus too! 

Switch To A Pro Account | Switching to a pro account was one of the best things I did because it meant that I could look at what my audience liked and enjoyed. These were things like what time they're on the app, where in the world they are from and also what music they've been enjoying. From there, you can tailor your posting times and days, personally I find posting at least once or twice a day is best for engagement and views. 

Use Hashtags | This is a controversial one because hashtags don't do much when you look at your insights, however if your video does go viral you will be kicking yourself that you didn't add that hashtags. Try and hashtags specifically for your videos, tagging what you would personally search to find a similar video. If you're lucky enough that your content gets attention, when people search for that hashtags your videos will pop up first - I've found a lot of my favourite accounts that way. 

Have you got Tik Tok? Do you enjoy the app? 
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Wednesday, 5 August 2020

A Huge Affordable Amazon Haul

Amazon Haul 2020
Amazon Under £10 Haul

- All links in this blog post are affiliate links. For more info head to my disclaimer. - 

Over the lockdown period, my Amazon wishlist has grown quite a bit, from arts and crafts kits, books to read and plant pots for my new houseplants additions. Over the last week I made quite a big Amazon order, finding some gems that I thought would be interesting to share. 

First up I have the Beeswax Candle Making Kit that was inspired by a Tik Tok video I'd watched and it looked like fun. Alas I concerned I would be taken back to the times when I'd get a candle DIY kit for Christmas only for it to be absolute chaos of hot wax and wicks. I've already given this a go and I can confirm that it's a lot less messy as no heat is involved, you just use the warmth of your fingers to mould the beeswax sheet into the shape you want - a perfect afternoon activity. 

Another craft kit I bought was an Embroidering Kit and within 24 hours I'd not only completed it, but found a new hobby for sure. I shared the results on my Instagram stories, but honestly it was so helpful to have something easy to practice on, so I can try out new stitching techniques. I might by myself a couple more before attempting to do a design of my own on a tote bag. 

"I managed to learn four new stitches and finish my embroidering kit in 24 hours - It was a success!"

I've been experiencing with nail art throughout lockdown and thought I'd try something completely different - nail stickers. I added these Summer Dried Flowers Stickers to my basket first as I thought they'd be perfect for the next few weeks paired with a nude polish, but I couldn't resist the Autumn Leaves version too. 

I have to mention my Dash Pumpkin Waffle Maker, which I've never had go many questions about after sharing it across my social media. I've already used it quite a lot since I got it a fair few weeks ago, but I can imagine this is going to be a staple breakfast favourite come Autumn too. 
Amazon Arts and Crafts Haul
I'm very aware that we're in August still, but I couldn't help buying something from my wishlist and it was this Pumpkin Shaped Cookie Cutter. I have plans to make some cinnamon biscuits as soon as September hits and I thought this would be handy to have in my kitchen drawer for when the time comes around. 

A couple of weeks ago, my old phone case cut my hand and I realised that it was about time I got a new one. I've been after one similar to the Galaxy Planet iPhone Case for some time and this one is perfect. It's sturdy, comes with a screen protector and looks great too. 

After delving into my makeup bag and realising I'd had my beauty sponge for far too long, I thought it was about time I picked up a new one. I've had the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge before and it was a no brainer to pick another one considering how trusty they are. 

I also picked up some more Epsom Salts because I wanted to make my own lavender bath soak with the dried flowers I'd got from going to the lavender fields. It worked perfectly and these epsom salts are my favourite as you get 1kg for under £5. 

What are your Amazon favourites? 
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Saturday, 1 August 2020

5 Things I've Added To My August To-Do List

Out of all the months in Summer, August has to be my favourite. The days are long, the scent of BBQ's fill the air and everyone seems in a chipper mood. Although the world is full of worry at the moment, I want to put some extra effort into taking care of my mental health, putting together a to-do list of positive activities to do throughout this month, keeping myself focused when needs be. 

Get Crafty | I recently did an order for some craft kits, so I could turn my hand to making my own beeswax candles as well as learning embroidery. I've been meaning to do this for a while, but never got around to ordering before I was inspired by scouring Pinterest. I'm going to enjoy the warm weather outside, sit in the shade with a podcast and get crafty! 

Go To A Sunflower Field | We went to the local lavender fields this month and it was my first 'proper' day out since early this year and as it was super organised I've decided to head back there mid August to have a walk around their sunflowers too. 

Keep An Eye Out For Blackberries | On my daily walks, I've been noticing the blackberry bushes getting fuller and although I won't be picking any, I just love watching them grow week by week. On top of that, I've been on a look out for an apple orchard as I haven't managed to get to a fruit picking farm this year, but would like a wander nevertheless. 

Prepare For Autumn | I know what you're thinking - Lily we're in a middle of a heatwave and it's August? I just can't help but get excited for my favourite season and as it's been a pretty poor year so far, I decided that on September 1st I'm just going to embrace it. I've got lots of plans for Autumn, transforming our home to a cosy wonderland, as well as taking crunchy leaf photos, baking lots of tasty treats and putting together some Halloween outfits too.  

Watch The Sunset | I watch the sunset regularly, admiring the changing colours of the sky, the dreamy pinks and vibrant orange being a highlight of the Summer. I want to watch the sunset from a different point of view, making it my mission to travel to a high hill and watch as the sun goes down across the land. It's the little joys I'm taking pride in for the rest of the Summer. 

What's on your August to-do list? 
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Wednesday, 29 July 2020

The Battle Of The Mascaras

- If a product is marked with a * it is a PR sample, but under no obligation to review. All links in this post are affiliate links. -

Mascara tends to be one of the first makeup products you'll ever try and unless you go makeup free, you probably will use it for the rest of your life. Although it's a staple in many people's makeup bag, it can be overlooked, so today I'm sharing with you some of my favourites and thoughts on whether you should go for a high end or budget daily mascara. 

High Street or High End? 

The first battle is whether you opt for a high end or high street mascara which ultimately decides whether you spend £5 or £25 on getting longer, fuller lashes. The Rimmel London Scandaleyes Volume on Demand was a surprise find of mine, as I only picked it up after needing a new mascara on a whim. It can be easily built up for a fuller look and it doesn't flake (which is a bugbear of mine), the only criticism would be that it can be difficult to get off, but if you struggle with longevity then check this out - At under £8 it's a steal! 

I'm not only picky with my mascaras, but even when I do find one that I love, I feel like there's still so many on the market that I should try. That's why when I do re-purchase one, I know it's something that I have to share. The Nars Climax Mascara* is one I've owned multiples of since it's release, so it's safe to say I recommend it if you're looking to splurge on an high end mascara that have great longevity whilst offering volume and length too. 

Volume or Length? 

At the end of the day, I think mascara is one of the trickiest product to recommend to people as some like theirs natural with fluttering lashes, whilst others enjoy having fuller, thicker ones. For me, I prefer a super black, long lasting mascara that offers volume at the root and adding length without weighing my lashes down. 

It all comes down to the wand for me, I personally am turned off by the plastic feeling bristles as I find they irritate my sensitive eyes and can be rather prickly along the lash line. The Urban Decay Troublemaker Mascara* is one that I adore, but it's definitely on the borderline for me due to it's spiked texture. That being said, those types of wands can sometimes be best for those looking for separated, lengthened lashes, whereas I prefer fluffy wands for added volume at the root. You may want your mascara to look natural or you want the ability to build it up for more drama, so finding a non-flakey formula is essential. 

Mascara Dupes? 

When it comes to makeup dupes, I think mascara dupes are some of the best out there. From the wand look and feel right through to the formula and perks of the mascara, sometimes trying out the famous dupe can make you decide if you want to splurge on the high end version. The L'Oreal Lash Paradise is a new addition to my collection, but when I tried it I immediately saw the similarities between it and the Too Faced Better Than Sex, which is an old favourite of mine. There's not much difference in them even down to the colour of the packaging, they add length and volume, didn't smudge and lasted on my lashes.  

What's your favourite mascara? 


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Thursday, 23 July 2020

The Best Products For A Hormonal Breakout

Hormonal Breakout Solutions Skincare
- If a product is marked with a * it is a PR sample, but was sent under no obligation to review. All links in this post are affiliate links. - 

It's days leading up to your period, you're already feeling the PMS and then you get a spot on your face that not only looks angry, but it's painful too. It feels like a monthly occurrence for me at the moment. Over the last couple of months, I decided enough was enough and decided to dedicate some time in the evenings to give my complexion the TLC it deserves and here are the products I used to do it. 

It's usually my chin area that gets the most painful as the spots tend to live under the surface for a few days causing redness and swelling. I dug out the Origins Clear Improvement Mask as it used to be a firm favourite, but I hadn't used it in a while. I only apply this mask to areas that need deep cleansing, so I avoid any parts of my face that are prone to dryness or irritation like the cheeks. I can't single handily say it was this that cleared my spot up, but it reduced how angry it looked as well as making it easier to conceal with makeup. 

Next up we have the Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads* which I got a while back and I tend to use sparingly. They're super intensive, kind of reminding me of the Pixi Glow Tonic*, but these not only help my skin feel softer, smoother and brighter through exfoliation, but they also reduce blemishes too! 
Hormonal Breakout Solutions Skincare
As I tend to focus on chemical exfoliation during the lead up and week of my period, I like to concentrate on giving hydration back into my skin as well. The Drunk Elephant F-Balm* is described as a skin quenching overnight mask and I that's exactly how I'd describe it. It sinks into my skin whilst I take a bath, get changed for bed and settle in with a book then when I was it off, I'm left with a complexion that no longer feels sore and parched.

For added moisture, I do regularly use an oil when I can and the Herbivore Emerald Oil* is the one I'm currently reaching for. It's a little thicker that the oils I'd usually go for, but once you know not to apply it directly before you go to sleep, then you'll be fine as it gets to work whilst you watch TV. As I struggle with dryness as well as blemishes, this helps to smooth over any dry patches left by spots, but helps banish the dry patches around my cheeks. 

What's your favourite products for when you're having a hormonal breakout? 
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Wednesday, 22 July 2020

The Best Cream Makeup Products

Best Cream Makeup Products
Best Cream Makeup Products
- If a product is marked with a * it is a PR sample, but was sent under no obligation to review. All links in this post are affiliate links. -

During the Summer, I think we all strive to achieve fresh, glowing skin and although skincare is definitely behind it, cream products can offer a helping hand when you need it too. Today I am sharing with you my top favourites that I've been using through Spring and into Summer too.  

We're one product in and I'm already bending the rules with what actually is considered a cream product, but I couldn't not mention the Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow*. It's the perfect base option during the Summer as it adds a dreamy glow to your complexion, whilst being able to be worn alone or underneath makeup. It's a great option when you want to load up on other cream products in your routine like the Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer* as although it's comfortable to wear, it doesn't slip and slide when it gets warmer. 

After I apply my foundation and concealer, that's when the fun really starts and I go in with the Milk Makeup Baked Bronzer to help define my features and add a warmth too. The hue sits in-between one made for contouring and one for bronzing up your face, so I find this is a great allrounder. The cream to powder finish makes it easy to blend into your skin using a sponge, but it has great staying power too. On top of that, I go in with either the Glossier Cloud Paint or Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge, the latter is one that I always come back to in the Summer as the shade offers a pop of colour, but the Glossier offering is my go-to if I want something with better longevity and less sheen. 
Best Cream Makeup Products
When I first got the Glossier Haloscope I struggled a little with how to apply it without disrupting the makeup underneath, but I find warming it up in-between my fingers before tapping it along my cheekbones does the trick. It's a great alternative to a powder highlighter and gives a natural radiance to your face. 

"Cream products can be worked into the skin using just your fingers, making them a great option for on-the-go application."

The By Terry Ombre Blackstars have been around the blogging scene for some time now, especially a few years ago when they were all the rage. They still are some of my favourite cream eyeshadow products, especially Bronze Moon and Misty Rock as the brown shades can be smudged along the lash line for an easy smokey effect. 

Technically all lipsticks are cream, but I had to feature the Nars Good Times Matte Lip Pencil* in this post as it's one I've been reaching for lately. It's comfortable, can be used to not only line your lips, but fill in them too and the colour is beautiful for everyday wear - what's not to love! 

What are your favourite cream makeup products? 
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Friday, 17 July 2020

Five Charlotte Tilbury Lipsticks I Recommend

Favourite Charlotte Tilbury Lipsticks Review
- If a product is marked with a * it is a PR sample, but was sent under no obligation to review. All links in this blog post are affiliate links. -

It won't come as a surprise that Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks are some of my favourites to wear. There's a variety of shades to choose, from classic reds to the perfect nudes, but as there's so many it can be a little overwhelming if you don't know what one you want the most. I've compiled a list of my current top five Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks, so you can narrow your wishlist down a little further. 

One For Everyday...

It always surprises me that I haven't used the The Duchess Lipstick* up yet as it's been a handbag favourite of mine for sometime. Whenever I'm not sure what to wear, I always reach for this as it's a pink hue that goes with a variety of makeup looks and came be worn from day to night easily. 

Just The Right Nude...

If you haven't heard of Pillow Talk* by now I can only assume you've been living under a rock. It's one of my go-to lipsticks and I've actually owned more than one tube of it, which is something this beauty blogger doesn't get to do often. Personally it's the perfect hue for my skin tone and I find it super easy to wear no matter the occasion. 

The Pink One...

When I first saw the Hot Lips 2 collection featuring the funky new packaging, I knew I had to have one. They're all beautifully packaged, a spin on their usual classic rose gold casing. Dancefloor Princess* was a shade that is more of a traditional light pink in comparison to The Duchess and Pillow Talk, but nevertheless I think the comfortable formula makes for a perfect lipstick for Spring and Summer. 

For A Special Occasion... 

I would have never have thought that I would suit nor wear a fuchsia lipstick, but Charlotte's The Queen* got me hooked. Although it's a vibrant pink hue I don't wear self conscious in this and it's a great alternative to a red for a night out. I especially love wearing it in the Summer evenings, but to be honest if I'm wearing a simple black outfit this is the perfect addition. 

The Perfect Red... 

Talking of red lipstick, one of my favourites has the be Legendary Queen*, a darker take on the classic pillar box red, but dreamy nevertheless. I find it sits perfectly between a berry and a red, so this can be worn throughout the warmer months, into Autumn and for Christmas time too. It's one of the handful of reds that I trust not to smudge or bleed, so it's safe to say it's going to be long time favourite. 

What's your favourite Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick? 

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Wednesday, 15 July 2020

5 Ways To Create The Ultimate Relaxing Bath

- If a product is marked with a * it is a PR sample, but was sent under no obligation to review. All links in this post are affiliate links. -

Summer isn't traditionally bath season for me, I tend to opt for refreshing showers over a cosy soak, but as I've been struggling to relax in the evenings, I've been having one when I can. As I don't seem to do anything by halves, I've been adding some extra steps to make my bath time extra cosy and relaxing. 

Adding Essential Oils 

This was a total game changer for me when it came to upping my bath regime and over the last couple of months I looked further into what essential oils work best. From the information I found, it's best to have a carrier oil (these almond/coconut oils are my favourites) when using essential oils as it makes it safer, won't irritate your skin and won't just sit on the top of the bath. I personally use this lavender offering because I associate the scent with sleep and feeling calm, but I've heard that chamomile and rose are great options too. 

Soaking With Bubbles and Bath Salts 

A relaxing bath wouldn't be the same without an abundance of bubbles to sink into, but I've added Epson and Himalayan Salts to my routine as I've found that they help me unwind further, as well as tending to my sore muscles especially after a workout. 

"If you want to make your bath time extra cosy, essentials oils, bath salts and candles are my go-to". 

Luxe Feeling Products  

In the bath, I enjoy using products that can lather up on the skin if I'm shaving, but I also love the L'Occitane Almond Oil* for when I want to add more moisture to my routine. Adding luxe feeling products to my regime doesn't stop there as when I hop out of the bath, I've been concentrating on my hands and feet, making sure to spend a little extra time on those too. The Soap and Glory Heel Genius* and Call of Fruity Hand Cream* have been my go-to when getting my feet in tip top condition ready to be shown again this Summer and heal my hands from using lots of hand sanitiser recently. 

Soft Candle Light  

Although it only gets dark towards 10pm at the moment, I still like to light a few candles to dot around my bathroom to create a soft light. This is especially dreamy if you can see the pink and orange skies of the sunset whilst you soak or if you can hear the pitter patter of rain on your window. 

Stick On A Playlist  

I've loved making Spotify playlists recently and I've got a few that I find easy to relax to. I'll link one of my favourites below, but I'd definitely recommend sticking on a playlist to unwind if you struggle to stay in the bath for longer than five minutes at a time. 
What does your perfect bath consist of? 
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Sunday, 12 July 2020

Binge Worthy Netflix TV Series For All Occasions

We all know the struggles of Netflix, you want to watch something, but after endless scrolling you still can't find anything that floats your boat and you end up resorting to re-watching your favourite series again. I've been there! I've been working on this blog post for a little while, sharing with you my recent favourites and giving you a series to watch no matter what genre you're into. 

Fantasy 

Although I personally enjoy watching the fantasy genre more in the chillier months when I can cosy up with blankets and a steaming hot cup of tea, I'm currently making my way through The Vampire Diaries - I know I'm late to the party. 

- The Vampire Diaries 
- I Am Not Okay With This
- Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 
- Umbrella Academy 
- Stranger Things

Easy To Watch/Reality TV 

Whenever I'm having a lazy Sunday or I want an easy watch before bed, I always opt for one of the below. I watched Cheer a few months ago and it was one of the best decisions because it's seriously addictive, you'll easily manage to watch it in a few days! 

- Cheer
- Jail Birds
- Below Deck
- Selling Sunset
- Too Hot To Handle

Feel Good 

I've got plans to re-watch Gilmore Girls again towards the start of Autumn as it always give me serious cosy feels and as there's a lot of seasons to get through, it's a great binge worthy option. I've spoken about Sex Education many times before, but honestly it's one of the best series Netflix has created in my opinion - so good! 

- Gilmore Girls
- Sex Education 
- The Good Place
- Tiny House Nation
- Queer Eye

Drama

After many people failed to enjoy the latest of The Sinner (I nearly quit half way through) you may want to restore your faith in thriller series and opt for one of my suggestions below. They're all super gripping, easy to watch and I'm sure you'll love them too. 

- The Stranger
- Mindhunter 
- Dead To Me
- You
- Orange Is The New Black

When You Want To Laugh 

I feel like this is a good time to let you know that series two of Derry Girls are now available on Netflix, but of course I've already watched them all a few times over. Below I've picked five of my personal favourites, Friday Night Dinner is a more of a classic sitcom style comedy whereas  End of The F***ing World has a different twist to it.  

- Derry Girls
- Chewing Gum
- Friday Night Dinner
- Santa Clarita Diet
- End of The F***ing World 

True Crime 

I'm slightly obsessed with true crime YouTube at the moment, so obviously it's trickled over into my Netflix habits too. I quite enjoy watching a TV series then being able to research more about it afterwards and below are some of my favourite docuseries and true crime inspired programmes. 

- When They See Us 
- Dirty John
- Abducted In Plain Sight
- Don't F**k With Cats
- Tiger King 

What are your favourite Netflix TV series to binge watch at the moment? 
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Friday, 10 July 2020

Five Summer Lipsticks I've Been Using

Summer Lipsticks Charlotte Tilbury Fresh Nars

- If a product is marked with a * it is a PR product, but was sent with no obligation to review. All links in this blog post are affiliate links. -

When Summer comes around, I tend to keep my lips simple; opting for a lightweight formula and easy to wear shade. This could come in the form of a lip plumping gloss, pink lip balm or a nude lipstick, so as I know a few of you would like to know what I'd been using, I thought I would share a handful of my current favourites with you. 

First up is the Charlotte Tilbury The Duchess Lipstick* which is the perfect pink shade for everyday wear. It's moisturising formula sits comfortably on the lips and be easily topped up throughout the day. It's been a handbag favourite for a while and if you've tried it, you'd understand why. 

Seeing as we've stayed inside for the last few months, I've been trying to focus on getting my skin in tip top condition and that included my lips. The Girl Undiscovered Pink Skies Balm* is great as you apply it thinly so that it can get to work throughout the day or if you apply it a little thicker, you can use it like you would a lip mask. The cinnamon scent feels comforting to me in the Summer, whilst the balm to oil texture makes for a super nourishing feel. 

Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick Favourites Fresh Nars

Talking of hydrating, the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments are my absolute favourites for when I want to add a little colour to my makeup routine without going OTT. They have a variety of colours, but tulip is the shade I'm currently using as it's brighter than anything else I've tried from them as the fuchsia really stands out when the rest of my makeup is neutral.  

Although I'm trying to experiment and use lipsticks again, the Glossier Balm Dot Com's can be worn on their own or underneath lipstick ready for application. I'm currently using the coconut and birthday offering, the latter is great if you want a twist on your normal lip balm. They're simple, but I quite like to just throw it in my handbag. 

Lastly I've been using the Nars Good Times Velvet Lip Pencil* which has a nude hue that looks perfect with natural makeup. As it's in lip pencil form, it's easy to line your lips with and then fill it in with the same shade. Despite matte products being a little drying at times, I find that this not only has great staying power, but it also feels comfortable on the lips too. 

What lipsticks have you been using lately? 

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Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Simple Houseplant Tips For Beginners

Easy Houseplant Tips

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During lockdown I've learnt a lot more about how to care for houseplants, grow herb and even more of them through propagation. Although I'm no expert, I've definitely learnt some tips and tricks over the last few months and I think they'd be perfect for those who are beginners too. 

The Easiest Houseplants? | Since growing my houseplant collection, I've learnt a lot about the needs and wants of each plant and thus, I know the fussy ones a mile off. If you want an easy houseplant I would personally suggest a pothos and philodendron as they are fast growers meaning you have the thrill of seeing new leaves pop up, but they're pretty forgiving when it comes to forgetting to water them and they don't mind shady areas either. That being said, each plant is different, I've killed my fair share of "easy houseplants" before, whilst notoriously hard ones have been thriving in unlikely spots. It's all trial and error and I would always suggest not having your heart set on where your houseplant will sit as this may not be the best place for it. 

"I've had great luck with the Chinese Money Plant and Mother In-Law's Tongue if you want to grow your houseplant collection. " 

You Need A Pot With Drainage Holes | In fact, if you keep killing your plants, you're probably overwatering them. Aside from my Boston fern, most of my plants don't like to be watered until their soil is completely dry. I didn't know this until I looked into it further, but despite a cover pot looking super pretty, leaving your plant in the nursery pot to begin with will mean you don't have to worry about root rot (watering with no drainage), but will get your houseplant used to the lighting and humidity of a certain area of your house. You don't have to give up pretty cover pots at all - Sass and Belle Planters are some of my favourites if you want to check them out! 
Simple Houseplant Tips For Beginners
Simple Houseplant Tips For Beginners
Water Propagate Your Herbs | If you want to feel like you have a grip of gardening, I'd check out water propagation. It makes you feel like you're a magician! When I bought my mint and basil windowsill plants, I decided that I wanted to make sure I had a few healthy plants to use throughout Summer, so I looked into water propagation. All you have to do is snip a few stems off your plants, making sure to leave 7cm of clear stem and put them in an old jar with water (I use a pesto one) and leave for 2-3 weeks until you'll see long roots grow. Once you see growth, take them out and re-pot them in a 12-15cm plant pot with good drainage. I like to use 5-6 stems per pot to begin with as I find this creates a fuller looking plant. 

Planta App |  I've spoken about the Planta app several times before, but even if you only a handful of houseplants I'd still recommend getting this app. It helps to keep on top of your watering schedule, giving you reminders when you need to check on your plant. It helps you choose a new plant and where it needs to go too - great for beginners! On top of this great app, I would recommend checking out Planterina and Harli G on YouTube if you have more complex houseplants or problems that you want helping out with. Not only is plant YouTube super wholesome and I find it relaxing to watch - it's helpful too! 

"I saw a difference in my plant growth as soon as I start using plant fertiliser. " 

Fertiliser Will Help | I convinced myself for the longest time that because I wasn't taking gardening seriously, I didn't need fertiliser for my plants. I'd heard stories of over-feeding and burning, so I thought that I wouldn't bother with the extra effort. How wrong was I! As soon as I took the time to feed my plants, the amount of growth I've seen is unbelievable. I personally use Baby Bio as it's cheap and cheerful, plus I've seen around six new leaves on my Monstera since using it. 

What are your favourite houseplant care tips? 

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Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Cosy Summer Activities

Cosy Summer Activities
Feeling cosy all year round is a goal of mine, but when it's Summer and the weather is blazing hot and the sunshine is out, it doesn't inspire you to gather your candles and blankets to have an evening in. That being said, I wasn't willing to give up on my comfortable, cosy dreams and I've compiled a list of my favourite Summer activities to calm and feel relaxed doing. 

Summer Baking | The weather is reaching the mid-thirties and the last thing you want to do is stress over whether or not your cake is going to rise, whilst already sweating from heat exhaustion. Baking in the Summer doesn't always have to be about the oven, make a delicious Eton Mess, homemade smoothie ice lollies or even just a simple lemon cheesecake. 

Have A Film Night | When there's a break in the weather, it's feeling stormy and windy, I like to make the most of it by having traditionally cosy evenings in with the fairy lights twinkling, a mug of tea and my favourite TV show or film on. I know during Summer it can be disappointing not to always have the blazing sun, but making the most of the down days definitely helps me (not miss Autumn as much!). 

Create A Fort | I've been utilising my washing line a lot recently and not just by getting the washing dried super quickly, but by making dens outside too. We're lucky that our garden gets the sun directly pretty much from noon until early evening, but that also means that we rely on outdoor shades for a bit of sun relief. It feels cosy when you pair it with a book and picnic. In the evening, you can even take it outside bundling lots of blankets to keep the chill off, lighting a citronella candle and playing some soft music to watch the stars. 

Watch The Sunset | I've been enjoying going for daily walks, but when the weather is super warm, I like to move them to the evening so I can catch the sunset too. As the sky changes colours, you can hear the birds singing and animals coming out which never fails to make me feel happy!

Upgrade Your Shower | I've got to admit I was entirely inspired by Tik Tok after seeing several videos from people on how they have recently upgraded their shower time. I know that I am guilty for jumping in and out of the shower as quick as possible, but then I discovered that you can hang eucalyptus for a refreshing twist as well as using essential oils to scent the bathroom. I take some extra time to scrub my body and using any moisturising oils to keep my body feeling supple. 

What are your favourite cosy activities to do in the Summer? 
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Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Nars Makeup Collection

Nars Makeup Collection Review
Nars is a brand that has been around since the very beginning of this blog and despite doing a round up post a few years ago, I thought it was about time I did an updated one as my collection has grown considerably. This is going to be a super long post, showing your my favourite products to the one's I no longer use anymore (there's some throwbacks too), so get yourself comfortable and get your wishlist ready! 

I've kept the Nars Radiance Primer in my collection purely for this blog post when I finally decided to do it. Although it's too old now to use on my skin, it was once one of my favourites. It was lightweight and could be worn underneath a tinted moisturiser or medium coverage foundation for a glow boost perfect for perking up your skin. 

Now onto a total throwback, Nars Sheer Glow Foundation*. I first reviewed this when I first start blogging and over the years, my opinion has changed on it. Back in the days when my skin was more on the oily side, I couldn't get enough of it as it offered great coverage and lasted all day. Nowadays, my complexion has changed quite a bit and although I think the Natural Radiant Longwear* pick is now more suited to my dry complexion, Sheer Glow will always be nostalgic to me. I personally struggle a little with Nars foundations as they tend to have pinker undertones to them, whereas I'm more neutral. That being said, the formulas are great, so if you're looking to try them definitely give it a sample before buying. 
Nars Makeup Collection Review
The Nars Radiant Concealer* has also been around for many years in my collection, I've gone through tubes of the stuff and it still remains one of my favourites. I'm currently using it all over my face; under my eyes, on my blemishes and any redness too. It's great if you like a concealer that has a lightweight formula, but medium coverage as this can be built up if you need, whilst still looking natural too. 

Their other offering is the Soft Matte Complete Concealer, which is a quite different as it's in a pot meaning that you need to use either your finger or a sponge to apply. I prefer the latter for application as I find it gives a better finish. This is a great option if you enjoy using a lightweight foundation base, but you want to add a bit more coverage to certain areas. 

Although I've no longer got the Nars Copacabana Ilumminator in my collection, I wanted to talk about it nevertheless as through 2016 into 2017 it was one of my go-to highlighters of choice. It added an iridescent sheen to the cheeks perfect for an added luminous look to your makeup. 

I remember going into the shop to try their Laguna Bronzer* and I was underwhelmed as under the harsh shop lights, I felt like it was too dark and shimmery for my skin tone. Fast forward a couple of years and I got kindly sent it and I immediately kicked myself for not picking it up sooner. This bronzer is in my top three favourites now, the hue is perfect to lightly contour, whilst adding warmth the complexion - a great allrounder! 

I had a similar experience with the Nars Orgasm Blusher*, famed for being one of the most flattering shades to wear. When I first swatched it, I didn't think it was for me, only to later love it and for it to not leave my makeup bag for months. It's a pink hue with gold flecks running through it. It can be easily worn in the height of Summer for a soft sheen or in the depths of Winter for a pop of colour, so it's versatile throughout the seasons. 
Nars Makeup Collection ReviewThe other blushers I have by them is a Portofino The Multiple* which I think is a cream version of Orgasm or atleast it's similar, but despite not using it as much as I should do, it's perfect for hot Summer weather as it dries on the skin matte and sits comfortably. The other one is Dual Intensity Blusher* which is one I used to reach for all the time, but the vibrant pink isn't my colour anymore and I struggle to wear the shade on the left unless it's on the eyes. 

There's many Nars discontinued products that people would say they want back, but mine has to be the Rigel Single Eyeshadow. I wouldn't mind it in highlighter form as well as this glowy shadow is a great one sweep wonder on the lids or it can easily be used as an eyebrow illuminator - I've even been known to dust it across my cheeks anyway. Their individual eyeshadows probably not get the hype they deserve because of the expensive price point, but from the colour I've swatched previously, they've got a great selection with the majority have lots of colour payoff. 

Although I know there was a few people disappointed in the packaging of the Nars Mini Wanted Palette, but for me, it was what was inside that counts. They don't sell this anymore, but the warm toned eyeshadows make for the perfect smokey eye, but there's also natural tones inside that can be worn on a daily basis too. 
Nars Makeup Collection Review
If I re-purhcase a mascara it means that I love it as I love trying out new mascaras and rarely stay that faithful to just one. The Nars Climax Mascara* is one of a handful that I've re-bought and that's just because of how amazing it is. I reviewed it back in 2018 when it first got released and it got a rave review from me despite having a full brush that took a while to get used to. The long lasting formula survived multiple exercise tests and it never smudged under my eyes or flake on my face throughout the day. 

The Nars Velvet Matte* and Satin Lip Pencils have been in my collection some time, I have the shades Lodhi, Cruella, Bahama and Good Times. It's the two latter shades I want to talk about first as they are the nudes that I own, Bahama being more of a mauve hue and Good Times being a classic peachy nude. They both are great for wearing on a daily basis, but it's Cruella, a vibrant red shade that I would recommend everyone checking out. 

Then it's on to their lipsticks, the Audacious Anita* one being a long time favourite. It's a pink shade that goes with every outfit in every occasion, making it a handbag must have. I actually stopped using it, so that I didn't disrupt the Nars logo on the side of the lipstick being photographing this blog post, but it's a range of lipsticks that I don't believe get enough hype. I do have their Pigalle Lipstick* as well, but I personally don't reach for it at all which is a shame as it's a gorgeous colour, I just find the other lipsticks far more comfier to wear.  


What are your favourite Nars products? 
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Friday, 26 June 2020

Summer Wardrobe Refresh

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Summer is finally here! The sun is blazing and I've dug out my new season wardrobe to make the most of over the next few months. I've been pretty uninspired when it comes to the new-in sections, but I've slowly started saving my favourite pieces to share with you. 

First up we have this ASOS Burgundy Broderie Dress which has gorgeous ruffle detailing around the top and skirt area. I feel like this could easily be transitioned into Autumn, but worn with a straw hat and sandals, I'd get a lot of wear out of it now. 

I really struggle with finding tops to go with skirts throughout Summer, but I think this Mint Blue Buttoned Up Cardigan would be a great alternative to my usual black slogan tee. It'd go with a variety of my outfits as well as being a great throw on when it gets chillier in the evenings. 

In fact, the colour mint and those pastel shades have been a common theme running through my wishlist. As we missed out on most of the joys of Spring, I feel like I'm incorporating those colours into my Summer wardrobe instead. Although I've recently bought a dress similar to this 70's style puffed sleeve dress, the lemon shade is drawing me in and I'm very tempted! 







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Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Early Summer Lifestyle Favourites

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This was originally supposed to be a Spring favourites post, but as I've taken a little time away from my blog, I'm now sharing it as an Early Summer one instead. Today I am going to be specifically focusing on the books I've read, the apps I've been using and the homeware picks I've been loving as the past season has been full of homely comforts and great bakes! 

I've made it my mission this year to read all the books that have just been sitting in my wishlist or on my bookshelf gathering dust. I started off by re-reading the ACOTAR series and I've enjoyed them even more the second time around. If you haven't read them, they follow a girl called Feyre and it includes everything magical and although it features another world (a great way to escape through a book) it also has a "human realm" so I feel like it's great if you don't want to delve into the fantasy genre head first. The next books I want to read are A Song Below Water and The Worst Best Man, two very different books, but they both look like ones I'd devour on a sunny Sunday afternoon. 

Two apps that I've been using daily is Planta and Grateful, the former being great for those who want to keep track of their houseplant watering and the latter is perfect for reflection on the day. I've been actively practicing gratefulness and mediation for the last four weeks and I found that the app is a simple, yet effective way on jotting it all down. 

Although the weather at the moment is super warm, a couple of weeks back we were having daily rain showers and storms, which meant that I made the most of the cosy evenings and got into a proper evening routine. I've been enjoying fresh showers this Summer with the use of essential oils, but I've been using them in the bath paired with almond oil and bath salts for a relaxing soak. 

Last up, I've been trying to update elements of my home or at least start to put mood boards together of the ideas I've been looking at. It's mostly small additional items or replacement pieces, but here's a wishlist of the kind of thing I've been looking at. 

What are your current favourites?

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Friday, 19 June 2020

5 Books I've Been Reading

5 Books I've Been Reading
5 Books I've Been Reading
Reading has always been a great way for me to unwind after a long day and over the last few months I've done just that, making my way through a handful of books. I downloaded Goodreads on my phone not too long ago thanks to my friend Hannah and it's really helped me put all my recent reads in one place as well as add to my to-read pile too. 

I read The Flatshare towards the start of lockdown and really enjoyed how easy it was to get through. At the end of the day, before I go to sleep, I like reading a book that doesn't use a lot of brain power and this scratched the itch. It was a romantic story with loveable characters, but it still had a twist. I would say that Leon's half of the book was a little harder to get through, but all in all I would recommend it to anybody looking for a joyful, quick read. 

Next up we have the A Court Of book series, which I've already read a couple of years back, but as I really enjoyed them the first time around, I thought now was a great time to re-read them. The second book, A Court of Mist and Fury is my favourite of the original trilogy and I would go as far to say that you should read the whole series purely for to get pleasure of reading it! 

I've had The Couple Next Door on my bookshelf for the longest time, but always picked over books over it. That was until I had a hankering to read a thriller and this was the first one I reached for. Initially I struggled with it as although the plot got off to a great start, enticing me in, the whole book is written in third person, making it hard to get into the mind of the characters. That on top of the unnatural dialogue made it a book I wouldn't recommend, which is a shame as the storyline was pretty decent. 

The book I'm currently reading is My Sister, The Serial Killer and from the get-go I was pretty shocked at how easy it was to read and I had to stop myself from devouring it all in one go. If you're looking for a page turner, then look no further as this is the book for you. I've not quite finished it set as I wanted to savour it for as long as I could, so I will give you a final update when I do, but so far I think it's fantastic! 

Lastly we have Unnatural Causes, a book I've been lusting after since it got recommended to me because I enjoyed This Is Going To Hurt so much. It's in a similar vein as it's non-fiction, written like an autobiography, but isn't quite as quick and snappy as it's competitor. I'll have to get back to you on this one. 

What books have you been reading lately? 

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