Friday, 31 January 2014

January Overview

Cancun & vegetable heart pictures taken from Pinterest

The first month of January... some might say the most productive of the months due to the famous 'New Years resolutions'. For me, I think this month has flown by and here is a summary of what I have been up to in January!

1. The one month anniversary of this blog since I started posting! I am so grateful for even having any followers. I didn't even think i'd have any this early on my blogging journey! So thank you for following me and I hope you stick around.

2. I started my dissertation! For those of you who don't know what a dissertation is, it is basically a horrendously long research paper (12,000 words) which you normally complete in the last year at University. I had mulled over a couple of ideas on what to research, but I finally decided on a topic. I had my first meeting with my tutor to discuss everything and any concerns I may have. I've chosen to do a library based research paper, which means many many hours of me trawling through books looking for relevant information. The thought of it scares me a little as I only have about 3 months left to complete it.

3. I worked with my first publishing company through Bloggers Required. I got sent two books to review for my blog and also to feature in a giveaway. I have already posted and reviewed about one book (check it out here and don't forget to enter the giveaway), and hopefully I will post the second book review in the next month or so (it would be earlier but Uni. work is getting in the way :().

4. I got the results back from the only two assignments I have currently submitted to my final year and i've passed both with A's! This was such a shock to me as one was a presentation and I get really nervous about talking to large groups of people knowing all eyes are on me. However this has given me the confidence knowing that I can in fact do it. Anxiety will not get the better of me!

5. I booked my flights back from Cancun. You might be thinking 'back from Cancun?', well I after my summer working in America I plan to go to Cancun for a bit of a holiday with my best friend, and the cheapest way I could do it was to book a return even though I am only using the flight back home to England! Free ticket one-way ticket to Cancun anyone?

6. I've become more of an experimental cook... This is quite a revolution for me as I never really wanted to spend more time in the kitchen than was necessary. However, with this new 'healthy lifestyle' I had tried to promise myself, I got myself fresh ingredients and found myself going through pages and pages of recipe websites. I made quite a few 'delicious', if I do say so myself, meals! Even though I know half of them aren't as 'healthy' as i'd first aimed for (oreo cheesecake, peanut butter cookies...) I think it's a step in the right direction and I really do enjoy making my meals now from scratch!

I feel like this month has been quite a productive month for me and I really hope its a sign of what the future months of 2014 have to come.

What have you been up to this January?

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Nando's | What's Your Order?

If you don't know what Nando's is, i'm going to assume you've been living under a rock for the past few years. For me, I think Nando's first came to my attention a couple of years ago due to One Direction and their constant tweeting about it. Since then I feel like it has boomed in popularity and I have been hooked. 

'Nando's is a South African casual dining restaurant group originating from the Mozambican–Portuguese community with a Portuguese/Mozambiquan theme.'

My usual order would consist of a lemon and herb chicken burger with cheese, a side of halloumi cheese, chips with peri-peri salt and a bottomless drink (yum!).

What is your standard Nando's order? or do you think it is over-rated? Let me know your thoughts!

Tuesday, 28 January 2014


With beauty and make-up blogger Stephanie
The world of Youtube can be a scary place, which is why i've never really thought about doing videos until now. The thought of anyone being able to watch your videos and those dreaded internet trolls fills me with fear! However I think it's a great way to interact with followers so i've decided I may give it a go...

Would you like to see videos to compliment my blog? What type of videos would you like to see?

I've made a Youtube channel for if I brave it, so if you want you can subscribe to my new channel here

Friday, 24 January 2014

Barry M - Matte Nail Paint | Review

Barry M Matte Nail Paint MNP 2 Crush 345 (left) - Barry M Matte Nail Paint MNP 1 Espresso 331 (right)

The classic Barry M mate nail paints come in five different warm, wintery colours. The colours are 'coffee shop' colours and are a perfect compliment to most outfits and are also great for wearing at the office! I think they are subtle and really stylish. I know matte nails aren't to everyones taste, but you could always add a shiny top coat if you wanted the shade of polish but aren't so keen on a matte finish.

The examples shown have two coats of nail polish on them. Personally I think two coats are needed with this nail polish to give it that 'perfect' finished look. The matte takes full effect one the paint is fully dried.

'Crush' is a warm berry shade and I think it is perfect for the Autumn/Winter months.
'Espresso' is a simple black nail polish. I think everyone should own a good black nail polish!

You can buy the matte nail paints online or at drugstores such as Superdrug and Boots. They currently retail at £3.99 which I think is a bargain for the look and quality of the product.

What do you think of the matte nail polishes?

Thursday, 23 January 2014

My Simple Facial Skin-Care Routine

One of my new years resolutions was to keep to a skin care routine. Last year I found it hard to stick to a skin care routine... excuses I know but I have been a very busy lady! So, this year I have told myself I will try to stick to a routine as much as possible and hopefully see an improvement in my skin.

For those of you who read my last post, I am a loyal user to the brand Simple and constantly go back to their products. Why you may ask? Well, Simple were the first skincare brand in the UK to use only the purest possible ingredients, including adding vitamins and no perfume or colour. I like how they are suitable for sensitive skin and are also budget friendly!


Hydrating Light Moisturiser (left) -  Purifying Cleansing Lotion (centre) - Soothing Facial Toner (right)
Simple Kind to Skin Purifying Cleansing Lotion 200ml - I use this product with a cotton wool cosmetic pad. It takes any make-up off that I may have missed with a make-up wipe. It is great for drier skin as it keeps it smooth and softened.

Simple Kind to Skin Soothing Facial Toner 200ml - I use this after I have used the cleanser. I also apply this with  a cotton wool pad. I like how this product contains chamomile, witch hazel and allantoin which are great for the skin and it is also alcohol free.

Simple Kind to Skin Hydrating Light Moisturiser 125ml - I use this after I have cleansed and toned my skin. It keeps my skin hydrated throughout the day. I always moisturise my skin every single day even if I don't have time to do step 1 & 2!


Simple Kind to Skin Vital Vitamin Night Cream 50ml - I normally use this if my face is in need of moisturisation as the cream works overnight. It glides on really well and is quite thick (because it is a night cream), but it blends very easily. It claims to 'restore and replenish' throughout the night and is great for sensitive skin.


Clear Skin Oil Balancing Moisturiser (left) - Spotless Skin Rapid Action Spot Zapper (right)
These are the products that I use if my skin is having a bad day.

Simple Clear Skin Oil Balancing Moisturiser 75ml - This product features in my last post (here), so I won't write to much about it, but I have found it to really help control shine. I will use this instead of the moisturiser mentioned above if my skin needs it.

Simple Spotless Skin Rapid Action Spot Zapper 15ml - This is probably my current favourite spot stick at the moment. It claims to reduce spots in just 4 hours, and I think it does that! I normally apply this at night and can usually see a difference when I wake up in the morning. The application is a roll on so it is very easy and clean to use.

You can buy Simple products at any good drug store such as Boots and Superdrug or even at supermarkets such as Asda and Tesco.
Have you ever used, or do you currently use any Simple products? What are your thoughts?

Friday, 17 January 2014

January Favourites 2014 | Beauty

January 2014, what a perfect time to start my first ever monthly favourites post! Here are a selection of the beauty products i've been loving this month.

Products featured: Simple Clear Skin Oil Balancing Moisturiser 75ml, Rimmel London BB Cream SPF 25 (Light) 30ml, Rimmel London Wake Me Up Concealer 7ml (010 Ivory), e.l.f. Studio Blush (Candid Coral), Classic Carmex Moisturising Lip Balm 7.5g, Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara 12ml


  • Rimmel London BB Cream SPF 25 (Light) 30ml - This is the first BB cream I have tried so I can't really compare it to others, but it now seems to be my 'go-to' face cover-up! I normally wear this on days where I don't want a heavy, full coverage (my normal foundation is Estee Lauder Double Wear). Right now this product works for me but if I purchase any other BB creams in the future I will be sure to let you know if I change my mind!
  • Simple Clear Skin Oil Balancing Moisturiser 75ml - I have a constant battle between having dry and oily skin (yay for combination skin...) and I have tried countless moisturisers trying to over come this. Simple are a brand that I go back to again and again and when I saw they had this product I just had to try it. I have noticed my skin looks less oily, however I still have the same dry patch on my nose... I may have to get some stronger moisturiser for that stubborn dry area. However I think this is a great product and I love wearing it as a base before I put my makeup on. It has a perfect blend of active ingredients and Zinc PCA to eliminate shine and maintain moisture levels. I am absolutely loving this at the moment and it doesn't break the bank either! Definitely worth a purchase if you suffer from shine.
  • Rimmel London Wake Me Up Concealer (010 Ivory) 7ml - My past concealers have mostly been sticks not liquid. However I found that with my combination skin it would look dry and flaky. So, recently I got this concealer as I had heard good things about the 'Wake Me Up' range and it hasn't disappointed! For me this gives an excellent coverage and is probably one of the best concealers i've used!
  • e.l.f. Studio Blush (Candid Coral) -  This product was featured on my recent e.l.f. haul (here). I think this is such a lovely colour and I will definitely be purchasing more of their blushes. 


  • Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara 12ml - I'm all about big, voluminous eyelashes so I picked up this mascara as it claims to do just that! I can say it is my current favourite mascara and makes my eyes pop! It has a thick, wavy brush to give that 'fullness'. 


  • Classic Carmex Moisturising Lip Balm 7.5g - This is hands down one of my favourite lip balms, however I am prone to keep losing them as they're only tiny but I keep repurchasing it's that good! I love the tingly feel it has on your lips and I quite enjoy the smell of them... Perfect for if you have dry, chapped lips. Definitely a must have for me!
  • Sleek True Colour Matte Lipstick (Vamp 786) - I am absolutely in love with this colour! Perfect for the winter months. I normally wear this when I go out as it is quite a dark colour. Recently I have bought the 'Sleek Lipliner' in 'Ruby' to team with this lipstick to hopefully give me a full and longer lasting wear out of it. 

Would you like to see more monthly favourites? Let me know!

What beauty products have you been loving this month? 
If you've done a blog post on it, leave the link in the comments below and i'll check it out! 

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Tape By Steven Camden | Review + GIVEAWAY!

|| Tape by Steven Camden* || 

Product Details
Title: Tape
Author: Steven Camden
Release Date: 30th January 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Pages: 352
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Ages: Teen (12+)
Source: Received from publisher for review

Purchase Links: Amazon | Waterstones

 photo GoodreadsAdd_zps758a5a1e.png

Record a voice and it lasts forever…

In 1993, Ryan records a diary on an old tape. He talks about his mother’s death, about his dreams, about his love for a new girl at school who doesn’t even know he exists.

In 2013, Ameliah moves in with her grandmother after her parents die. There, she finds a tape in the spare room. A tape with a boy’s voice on it – a voice she can’t quite hear, but which seems to be speaking to her.

Ryan and Ameliah are connected by more than just a tape.

This is their story.

| My thoughts |

The story has two narrators - Ryan and Ameliah. I feel that the teen audience (or our previous teen self) can really relate to some characteristics shown by them both and also the scenarios they are faced with. It explores the difficult situations of growing up and also touches on more sensitive topics (such as family and death).

The outside and inside of the book are graphically and visually appealing, especially to the younger audience. Ryan and Ameliah's perspective are easily identifiable in the book making it easy for the reader to follow where they are. I think the way Ameliahs story is in present tense and Ryans is in past works very well with the story line but I found myself warming more towards Ryan because of this. Another thing that I wasn't so sure on was the way the speech was written as the author uses hyphens instead of speech marks. At first I was confused as to if they were thoughts.
Ryan looked at him
- What?
- Ask me who'll hear
Ryan shrugged his shoulders

However, this book will keep you guessing to the very end with twists and turns! 

Thanks to HarperCollins Children's Books, one lucky reader will win a copy of Tape by Steven Camden!

Competition is open worldwide

  • This is open to my blog readers only! Make sure you're following my blog via GFC or Bloglovin' (I will be checking!)
  • Extra entry for following my Twitter
  • Extra entry for liking my Facebook page

The winner will be contacted straight after the giveaway has ended. They will have 2 days to claim their prize or I reserve the right to choose another winner.

Book will be shipped directly from publisher.

If the winner is international, the book may take longer to arrive

I hope you've enjoyed my first book review and hopefully I will have more giveaways in the future!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

e.l.f. Cosmetic Haul | Review

For those of you who don't know about e.l.f., they are a a brand with 'high quality items at low, affordable prices'. I've heard about this brand for a while, but never got round to ordering anything until now. Luckily I was able to get quite a big discount off my items (nearly 50%!) after someone posted a code on Facebook. If you sign up to their newsletter they sometimes send promotions too!

Contouring Blush & Bronzer Cream - St. Lucia
The first thing I ordered was the contouring blush & bronzer cream in St. Lucia priced at £3.75. I'm not sure why I ordered the cream, as I was ideally looking for a powder (that'll teach me for purchasing on a whim!). They do in fact have the contouring set in a powder.
The contour colours are very creamy and pigmented. A little will go a long way with this product and I found it easy to blend. However, this product is probably a little too dark for my skin so next time I would see if there is a lighter colour.

Studio Contour Brush
I also purchased a Studio contour brush, this was priced at £3.75.
For the price I think this brush is amazing. I would even compare it to my higher priced brushes. It does its job well and has soft bristles. I will definitely be purchasing more of their brushes.

Studio Matte Lip Colour - Coral
I've heard quite a few good reviews about their matte lip colour, so I got the Studio matte lip colour in Coral which was £3.75.
The end colour of the stick looks a lot pinker than the actual product and the stick looks darker... This shade is lighter than my natural lip colour. It looks a lot darker on the pictures than it is on the lips. I would probably wear this when I wear toned down make-up. It has a nice matte finish and I will be buying more of these in different colours.

Studio Blush - Candid Coral
I've been looking for a new blush so I purchased the Studio blush in Candid Coral after reading about it in another bloggers review! This was £3.75.
This blush has quite a bit of shimmer in it. I really like the colour though and think it compliments my skin tone well.

Studio Lip Primer & Plumper
I've never really tried a lip primer or plumper before, so this caught my eye on their website. It is the Studio lip primer & plumper which was £3.75.
If you don't like cinnamon, this product will not be for you. The plumper has a very distinct cinnamon smell. It tingles your lips very slightly but I can't say I felt them getting plumper.. I was slightly disappointed with the primer as I don't think it blended well with the matte lip colour and had to wipe most of it off. It sort of looks like a concealer and has quite a thick consistency. I will probably only use this for the plumper.

Studio Makeup Mist & Set
Lastly, I ordered the Studio makeup mist & set as usually I normally spritz a bit of hairspray (anyone else do this? haha) to keep the makeup in place, but obviously this isn't meant for your face and the results can make your face feel a bit stiff. This was also £3.75.
This spray comes out quite powerful, so make sure you spray it quite far away or your face will be drenched. It sort of reminds me of one of those cooling sprays as it leaves a watery sheen over your face for a few minutes. I suppose this is healthier for my skin than the hairspray, so I will be giving this another try. I can't say I saw any changes in how my makeup looked, but being alcohol free I will be using it as a mist before application.

Altogether my order would have come to £22.50, but I got it for £12.50 with free delivery! - Bargain! I would recommend this brand if you are looking for a cheap alternative, and because it's so cheap it's good to experiment with. 

Have you tried any e.l.f. products? 

Friday, 10 January 2014

100% Natural Banana Pancakes - Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Flourless | Recipe

So I came across this delicious recipe by Cassie from Blogilates and I just had to share it with you!

Natural Banana Pancakes
*I apologize that they look burnt, I am a terrible cook... but I try*

This is probably one of the easiest recipes i've come across and so easy to make! It only consists of two* ingredients that you will most probably have in your house! It is made out of 100% natural ingredients, low calorie and also gluten free!


  • 1 ripe banana 
  • 2 whole eggs
*if you want to experiment with taste add a bit of cinnamon
*if you want to experiment with texture, for extra fluffiness add a bit of baking soda/powder

That's it!

  1. First mash the banana in a bowl and then add the two eggs, then mush it all together! 
  2. Next, spray your pan with some oil (extra virgin oil, pan spray, coconut oil etc.) on a low to medium heat.
  3. Scoop some of the batter on to the pan and give it about 20-30 seconds, then flip over and do the same on the other side and it's done!

(If you're a visual learner, check out her instructional video of how to make them here).

This is such a simple recipe and takes no time at all! It's also great to experiment with. It is perfect for an alternative breakfast or a snack!

I've seen some people post that theirs came out 'eggy' or like an 'omelette', but I think that could be avoided by adding a little more banana! Personally, I have never had a problem like this with this recipe.

I hope you give this a try! I think they are delicious.