27/09/2015

Experiencing Uni FOMO


Summer 2015 flew by and before I knew it my sister was back to school shopping, my mum fretting about her new class (she's a teacher) and me? Well I was settling back into a routine of work, work work

The thing about having an unplanned gap year (if you want to know more about why I'm taking a gap year, click here) is that it's just that - unplanned. Six weeks ago I still intended to go to university this year and whilst I was very nervous, I had a plan. But like it often is, life got in the way and I found myself calling up my manager and asking to keep my job.

So here I am a month later. My friends are either at university or planning their ski seasons and I'm stuck working a job I literally couldn't care less about. And I realise that I sound incredibly sorry for myself and I should probably be grateful that I have a job at all but frankly standing behind a counter, selling paracetamol isn't how I imagined my life would be. 

But back to university. As soon as my best friend left, last Sunday, I had this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that things were just going to be different. Adults always say that you make your lifelong friends at uni and school friends are often forgotten... So where does that leave me? I found myself in the coming days obsessively clicking on her snapchats like some kind of stalker intend on seeing just how much fun she was having without me. 

But then, it suddenly hit me. It wasn't just her I was afraid of missing, it was the whole experience - hence uni FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out. 

Throughout my whole life I've always been very easily influenced when it came to the fact that I believed others were having more fun than me, owned nicer clothes than me, or in general having a better existence. It was completely irrational - I knew I was being irrational! But for a long while I've been content in knowing that I'm living a great life - I loved my school, my friends were fab and I was travelling to some super nice places. But now that's over and I'm having to come to terms with a year with little planned, FOMO hit me hard.

So here I am, throwing myself into blogging which truly is something I adore and trying to envisage bright spots throughout the next year: Family holidays to Greece and the Lake District, trips to London, visiting my friend on her ski season in France... All of which are like anchors - 'if I can just make it through the next few weeks...

So whilst I am still stalking my bestie occasionally I'm just hoping she's having a fab time, and it's not like I'll never see her again!

For right now I'm just looking to the future and focusing on the bright spots... like Christmas & halloween and hopefully passing my driving test in three weeks time! So don't forget it's natural to feel like we're missing out. We live in an incredibly competitive world where moments can feel wasted if we're not living life to the absolute fullest.

But don't forget, nothing is permanent, (except tattoos) buy that handbag, book that trip, quit your job, because nothing in this world is as important as being happy in yourself.


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25/09/2015

Baking for Macmillan Coffee Morning: Double Chocolate Tiffin






Two baking recipes in a week? This is what happens when I don't have to go to school anymore... I turn into a house wife!! 

So as I'm sure many of you who live in the UK know, today is Macmillan Coffee Morning, a nation wide event run by Macmillan Cancer Support. Every year my school holds a coffee morning for students and parents and everyone is encouraged to bring in their own bakes. This year, since my sister is busy with planning for her GCSEs I thought I'd take a shot at baking something fun and easy for her to take into school. 

What you'll need

- 200g milk chocolate (ideally cooking chocolate, found in the baking aisle) 
- 175g dark chocolate (same as above) 
- 200g unsalted butter
- 100g raisons 
- 100g golden syrup 

Method

Step 1

- Grease a square baking tin with butter to prevent sticking and set aside.
- Now break all of the chocolate up into small squares (this aids melting) and set aside.
- Place the biscuits into a plastic freezer bag and hit repeatedly with a rolling pin. Some will look like fine sand and others will remain in chunks. This is ideal for giving texture to your bake. 

Step 2

- Now we're ready for some action! Melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a metal bowl over a pan of hot water. Ideally, bring the water to a boil and then leave on a low heat. Stir the melting mixture to ensure it doesn't burn at all! 

Step 3

- As it melts, take your crushed biscuits and raisons and place them in a large mixing bowl. Stir together to ensure the raisons are equally distributed. 

Step 4

- Once melted, pour the hot chocolate over top of the biscuit and raison mixture. 
- Using a large wooden spoon, mix together.

Step 5

- Scoop the mixture out of the bowl and into the prepared tray. Pat it down with the spoon to ensure the mixture is flat.

Step 6

- Leave in fridge until set.


Mary Berry eat your heart out!!



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24/09/2015

Beauty Review: Rimmel Kate Moss Lipstick in 030






Kate Moss Lasting Finish lipstick in 030
Hey guys,

So... Another beauty review?! Gosh dammit how did that happen?! Well I'll tell you. Basically I was in Boots (as per) to pick up another one of my Rimmel primers and considering all Rimmel is currently on 2 for 10... let's just say that's why we're here today! 

Before I get onto the actual post I just wanted to say that after several YouTube tutorials and three attempts I've finally, finally, managed to get social media icons onto my sidebar! *Swoons* Soooo if you've got a minute it would make me super happy if you'd follow my twitter and/or instagram as I've only just started them, I barely have any followers! Of course I'll follow you guys back! :) 

Now onto the review:

The Product: Rimmel Kate Moss Lasting Finish lipstick in 030
The Price: £5.49

Quick Picks:

The packaging: 3.5 stars
The product: 4 stars
Value for money: 4 stars

Before buying this I did have a little think about whether or not I could actually pull it off. Having bought it I'm still not sure of the answer! Due to the fact I have quite full lips (Kylie Jenner eat your heart out) I often find bold lipsticks give me a look not dissimilar to having been around the jam. In fact when I first tried this on my mum used the phrase: 'someone's been on the berries!' Ha ha mother, very funny. 

But when autumn comes around I always want to try out bold lips but have never strayed much darker than some of the MAC Lustre collection (which is pretty sheer for those of you not familiar.) 

So instead of investing in Charlotte Tilbury's 'Glastonberry' (I've been eyeing it for a while) I decided to stick to a budget and see how a drugstore lipstick would suit me.

Surprisingly, this is actually my first Kate Moss lipstick. I feel like everyones been raving about these for ages and now I've tried one I can see why. For a drugstore brand (and price) they are very buttery and pigmented - the colour payoff is really good! I would say that maybe it doesn't apply quite as smoothly as some of my MAC lipsticks but that's to be expected. 

In terms of the actual colour of this lipstick, it's definitely pink toned as opposed to red *sigh* and not as dark as it looks in the tube but nonetheless very pretty. I think it would probably suit dark haired girls better but hey, if you can rock it, I'm not stopping you!

Overall

I would definitely repurchase another Kate Moss lipstick as I was very pleasantly surprised but as for now I think I'm still on the hunt for my perfect dark lip!



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23/09/2015

Bake With Me: Coffee & Walnut Cake





What you need

 Sponge:

175g very soft butter / margarine 
100g walnut halves 
150g self raising flour
50g brown self raising flour
200g soft brown sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp coffee extract
4 medium eggs 

Icing:

400g icing sugar
200g butter
1tsp coffee extract 

The method

Step 1

- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F, Gas mark 4)
- Grease and line two round baking tins. 
- Finely chop half the walnuts and leave the other half for decoration. Set aside. 

Step 2

- Cream the butter and the sugar until light in colour and all the sugar grains have disappeared. 
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each one thoroughly. (Your mixture will probably be quite runny, do not be alarmed!)
- Sift the self raising flour, brown flour and baking powder and mix thoroughly with an electric hand whisk. To ensure the flour doesn't fly everywhere, first stir it in with a wooden mixing spoon.
- Next add the coffee essence and the vanilla extract, mix until light and fluffy.
- Lastly add the finely chopped walnuts we prepared earlier. Stir these in gently with a wooden spoon to ensure they don't all sink to the bottom.

Step 3

- Divide the mixture evenly between two tins, and pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Step 4

- Check the cakes are ready. You can do this by inserting a metal skewer into the middle of the cake. If no cake mix sticks to it, then it's cooked through. If not, pop it back in for another 3-5 minutes or so. 
- Once ready leave the cakes in their tins to cool. This should take around 15 minutes or so.

Step 5

- Whilst waiting for your cakes to cool, make the icing. 
- Sift the icing sugar and place the butter into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the coffee essence.
- Mix until a smooth butter icing has formed.

Tip: If your icing is proving sugar is proving to hard to mix into the butter add 1-2 tablespoons of milk to the mix. 

Step 6

- Once the cakes have cooled remove them from their tins, peel away the grease proof paper and place one half on a serving plate.
- Add roughly half the icing on top (to make the filling) and then place the remaining side over top. Slather on the other half of the icing and decorate accordingly with the remaining walnuts. Ta Dah!

*

Okay, so I hope you all liked this recipe! It's loosely based on a Lorraine Pascale recipe but I basically changed the entire method around (because I'm arrogant in the kitchen lol). 


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22/09/2015

Beauty Review: YSL High Volume mascara






Hello everyone,

So today's post comes from a very rainy and autumnal England - looks like summer's well and truly left the building am I right?! Anyways, before I get onto the main post I wanted to ask you to give up couple of minutes of your time and tell me what you think to my new blog theme! (If you're on a mobile device it might be worth clicking onto the web view!) Basically I designed it all myself and have worked super hard with the HTML and CSS (something I still don't really understand) and would love some feedback on it! It's still not completely done, I'd love to get some social media widgets in the sidebar for example, but for the moment I'd really appreciate your thoughts!

Now, onto the post...

The Product: YSL Volume Effect mascara
The Price: £25

Quick Picks:

The packaging: 4.5 stars
The product: 4.5 stars
Value for money: 4 stars

The other day, as I applied my beloved Chanel mascara I had to admit to myself that it was dried up and frankly empty... It's about time too considering I've been using it since May! So looking in my collection I debated on whether or not to open my YSL or a Lancome mascara, but due to the pretty gold packaging... well, here we are.

The first time I used this I was getting reading for work and unfortunately in a bit of a rush. Therefore I didn't give this product the full consideration. However having used it twice since then, i'm now in a more knowledgable place to talk about it.

I would first of all say that this is a very good mascara. It's high end, doesn't come cheaply so I'd be disappointed with anything less. My lashes definitely look fuller and longer and so far I haven't experienced any smudging. When it comes to taking it off in the evenings, it removed easily with micellar water (thank god, as nothings worse than scraping at your eyelids) and didn't leave my lashes feeling brittle or dry. Big thumbs up!

However in comparison to my Chanel (which I've talked about here) I don't think I'm quite as in love... None the less, it's a great product, with beautiful packaging that makes my lashes look super long and lustrous! 

Overall

I don't think I'd repurchase purely because it is such an expensive product and there are many more mascaras in the sea so to speak. But for the time being I'm very happy and content to put this on my lashes!



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21/09/2015

Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


Oh my god THIS BOOK! First of all this review will contain spoilers but only after the * symbol, so you're free to read up until then. 

Red Queen is the debut novel by Victoria Aveyard which centres around a fantasy world in which the ruling elite - Silvers - (so called because they have evolved to have silver blood,) oppress over the Reds - the everyday common folk.

The novel is told from the POV of Mare, a Red, who's lived her whole life in the shadow of the oppressive Silvers. One day after a meeting with a stranger, Mare finds herself offered a job in the palace, thus escaping the fate of conscription. There, after an untimely accident she finds herself betrothed to the younger Prince Maven, who over time she becomes close with and together they aim to change the system. 

Whilst it took me a little while to get into this book I found the characters and storylines to be so jawdroppingly amazing. If you've read it... You'll know which plot twists I'm talking about *silently cries*

I would recommend it for anyone who loves a good fantasy novel, any Throne of Glass or Poison Study fans. 

***

Okay, now onto the spoilers, if you haven't read it I would seriously go away and read it and then come back!! You won't regret it, it's amazing! 

First lets talk a little bit about our main characters. I did like Mare, especially as the novel went on I really found myself sympathising with her. I was pleasantly surprised that she didn't immediately try and rebel against the system as soon as she became engaged to Maven as that's so YA cliche - am I right?! 

Cal on the other hand I wasn't such a fan of. I really liked him at the beginning and similarly to Mare, began to go off him. He just seemed too cowardly, like, anything for an easy life. He was too afraid of change in the beginning. However I think I was right as initially I was convinced he was going to be the main love interest which after the MASSIVE PLOT TWIST that had me weeping, I think he will be. 

Now, let's talk Maven. *sighs*. For 90% (and maybe more) of the book I adored Maven. He was sweet, kind, unassuming and smart. So many people said they were wary of him because he was so quick to abandon his life and join the Scarlet Guard, but to me I completely got it. He was sick of being in his brothers shadow and personally, as someone with a golden girl sister I know exactly how that feels, so I didn't give it a second thought. 
So understandably I was confused and so gutted when he turned out to be a cold, traitor. Initially I though Elara had put some curse on him, or was controlling his mind but when I realised what was happening I just couldn't believe it... My Red Queen OTP was smashed before my eyes. 

Honestly part of me still hopes that in the sequel Maven will kidnap Mare and then they'll accidentally fall in love for real, though I doubt it. It would be amazing though. 

I will be reading the sequel, Glass Sword when it's released however without "nice" Maven, I'm not sure I'll enjoy it as much as Red Queen. 

All in all I give this book 4.8 stars and a 90% score. 




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20/09/2015

5 Ways to Switch Up your Beauty Routine for Fall!

 No7 Early Defence Eye Cream, Liz Earle Skin Repair moisturiser

Hey guys, so for today's post I thought I would do something both beauty and autumn related... Because basically they're my two favourite things! 

As the weather gets colder I usually find my skin getting drier and my beauty regime is therefore in need of a switch up. Since I woke up this morning with frost on my window I thought this post would be well received! 

1) Are you wearing the right moisturiser?!

I'm the first to admit that though I usually describe my skin as 'dry', during the summer months it can lean towards oily too. When this happens I immediately reach for a lighter face cream as this helps avoid pore clogging. But as soon as the central heating gets turned on and the icy winter winds are out in play, trust me, I need some serious hydration! For me, the sensitive areas of my face (e.g. my eyelids) are often the first to succumb. So this year I thought I'd try out an eye cream (which I've spoken a little about here) and so far it seems to be helping!


Maybelline Baby Lips
 2) Chapped Lips are a Big No-Go

Ever since I was maybe 11 or 12 I've religiously applied one form of lip balm before going to bed each night. This is never more important than in the colder months, when chapped lips threaten to make your cute MAC lipstick look bumpy and dry... hmm attractive. 

At the moment I've been loving Maybelline Baby Lips (if you haven't heard of these where were you in 2012?!) because they're non sticky, super hydrating and have delectable scents. The two pictured above are are almond flavoured and lemon scented. 

Essie: Chincilly, Essie: Angora Cardi, Essie: Shearling Darling (similar linked)

3) Goodbye corals, hello magenta! 

With the new season comes the new nail polish trends. Whilst this year is all about neutrals and glossy blacks, for me, nothing screams 'winter is coming' like warm reds and browns. Plus it's an excuse to buy a new nail polish, so what are you waiting for!


Maybelline: Dream Pure BB cream, Rimmel London BB cream

4) Alternatives to a foundation?

We all know the struggle: wanting to wear foundation to give yourself a confidence boost but knowing it'll just stick to the dry patches on your forehead. The solution: BB cream! In my opinion it's so underrated and seems to have gained a reputation for not giving much coverage. Well my friends, of course that is true for some (the Maybelline is a great light coverage BB cream) but as one of my holy grail products, the Rimmel London gives fab coverage whilst not showing any dry skin: winning!!


Aussie: leave in conditioner, Lotion not currently available

5) Fly-aways and split ends?! No thank you.

Lastly I wanted to talk about something that often gets forgotten about in my beauty regime: my hair. Obviously I shampoo and condition but apart from that I'm very lazy. You won't catch me blow drying unless I've got under fifteen minutes to leave the house. Seriously, I just wash it and throw it up into a messy bun where it's left to dry. However if I do decide to make an effort, especially when using heat I do try and make an effort to keep my hair hydrated. 

Okay guys, so that's it! Let me know any hacks you guys have for keeping yourselves hydrated in the winter time! 


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16/09/2015

My Top 3 Scents for Fall








Still to this day, one of my most popular posts ever is my Top 3 Summer Scents. There, I talked avidly about why my Chanel makes me smile and how you can save money by saving up Boots points to get a new perfume. 

So today I'm back with an equally fun post... My Top 3 Fall Scents.

First of all you're probably thinking: Lily, why have you included a candle in this?! But be still my friends, I haven't lost my marbles just yet. For me, autumn is the perfect season for lighting a warm, sweet smelling scent and letting that aroma fill your room. Personally I adore food scented candles and in the autumn time nothing beats the Salted Caramel candle by Yankee Candles. Seriously. I'm watering at the mouth just thinking about it! Whilst I couldn't find the exact jar candle I have on the website, I've linked one similar. 

Now onto the perfumes...

Marc Jacobs Dot was discovered about two years ago by myself and my mother in John Lewis. It was just such a lovely smell, unlike anything else either of us owned. So naturally I asked for the perfume gift set for christmas and she bought the lotion for herself. Whilst it's not cheap (it's a perfume - hello?!) christmas is coming... hint hint! 

And lastly, if you're looking for a sweeter scent that will definitely last all day (scarp that, all week!) look no further than Giorgio Armani's Acqua Di Gioia. A perfect 'going out' scent this will leave your clothes (and skin) smelling like lemony, minty, sugary goodness!!


Thanks for reading guys, tell me what perfumes you're lovely in the comments below!



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13/09/2015

My Closet Tour Plus Organisation!



I think as soon as you forget that you've bought an item of clothing and it's hanging, unused in your closet, it's time for a clear out. Now, I love clothes, and I'm the first to admit that I own a lot. What you see in these pictures doesn't even cover what's in my dresser or the majority of bits and pieces that I took out. And let's be real here, I don't even keep most of my shoes in my wardrobe, so they're not here either!


The First thing I did was to remove everything from the two hanging rails that display my shorter items of clothing: tops, jeans, jumpers etc. Then I piled them up and separated them into three piles: definitely keeping, giving to charity and donating to my sister. (For those of you who don't know, I have a 15 year old sister who enjoys shopping in my closet!!)

I'll be keeping these!!
The charity pile consisted of things that I wouldn't wear again, but were still in good condition!
Emptying my closet... or starting up a small clothes store!!

Another problem that I have is storage. As my wardrobe is fitted I was able to get some shelving put in both to the right of my long-hanging section and above the rails. However over time it's become messy and disorganised: somewhere I just throw my camera charger and hope I'll remember where I put it.

Overnight bags and makeup storage containers...
Some of my nicer summer shoes...
Gym bags... I don't even go to the gym!
Overview of the right hand side of my wardrobe



Overall I was really pleased with how my wardrobe turned out! I gave fair amount of things to my sister and filled over three large bags for charity! I'm amazed at the amount of empty hangers and frankly can't wait to go clothes shopping again!!

*Before I go I did just want to make a quick disclaimer. I know I have a lot of clothes... I know! But I have a job and since I still live at home, I'm in the lucky position of not having to pay household bills. Therefore everything that I'm earning I either save for my future or I can spend how I like. So everything you see in these photos was either bought by myself with my own hard earned cash or it was a christmas / birthday gift!* 



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