Artigiano's Cocktail Tasting

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Photograph of the Artigiano's event aread

A couple of weeks ago an email landed in my inbox regarding a cocktails tasting event at Artigiano's in Reading. At first I was a little unsure about going as I have been sober for a year and a half now. Then it struck me that this would be the perfect event for myself and Lisa from United Cakedom to meet up after having not seen each other for a good few weeks, thankfully she was available so the plans were set in motion... Artigiano's is a speciality coffee shop during the day, and a really great cocktail bar by night, they also serve freshly baked artisan food, and very regularly have live music available in the evenings, making it the perfect place to go and chill with friends over a refreshing cocktail.

Photograph of our own personal cocktail bar for the evening
Our own personal cocktail bar...
When we arrived we were greeted by the lovely PR who organised the event, Heidi, who told us a little about what she does for the brand, and also about their other locations. We were also offered a drink to get us started, so I asked for a mocktail to be mixed up for me as I wasn't planning to drink. Once everyone arrived we were introduced to our mixologists for the evening, and taken through the cocktails that we would be sampling.

Photo of Artigiano cocktails being made
Shaking up that cocktail goodness!
One by one the cocktails were made for us, and as well as getting to watch them being made right before our eyes, we were also taken through each step of making them. Thankfully we didn't have to take notes though as we were given the recipes printed out with pictures so that we can easily recreate them ourselves at home, which I thought was really nice of them!

Photograph of the Artigianos cocktails that we got to taste
All of the cocktails!
Pictured above you can see all of the cocktails that we were lucky enough to be able to taste, it was a nice mix of different flavours, and different alcohols. As you may have been able to guess from what I said above, I wasn't planning on drinking any of these, but as they were made right in front of me I was fascinated, so decided to have one small sip of each cocktail, just so that I could give a decent opinion on them. So let's go through them one by one, starting with the cocktail on the far left, 'Arti's Espresso Martini'.

Photograph of the Arti's Espresso Martini
Arti's Espresso Martini
Arti's Espresso Martini:

This Martini actually only has three ingredients (not including the coffee bean garnish), so is really simple to replicate, but you of course be needing a cocktail shaker for most of these recipes, but I believe you can pick them up in most supermarkets fairly cheaply!

This cocktails includes: 25ml Kirov Vodka, 25ml Kahula, and a double Espresso. This is shaken for a few minutes with ice so that it becomes frothy, then strained into the glass carefully. There was a bit of a trick to making this one as if you just pour it into the glass you don't get the foam on top. You have to continue to wiggle the shaker when pouring so that the foam comes out first. To finish this cocktail you simply float some coffee beans on top of the foam, and you are done!

I can't say I had ever drank a Martini before this event, and I got to try two, and of the two this one was my favourite because it was just like drinking a coffee, although the consistency kind of reminded me of Bailey's.


Photograph of Artigiano's Porn Star Martini
Porn Star Martini
Porn Star Martini:

This cocktail comes with a little something extra on the side, a small shot of Prosecco we were advised by the experts that it's meant to be drank alongside the cocktail, sipping between the two for the best taste.

This particular Martini includes: 50ml Stoli Vanilla Vodka, 50ml Pineapple Juice, 12.5ml Passoa, 12.5ml Prosecco, 1/2 a passion fruit for garnish.

Add all ingredients except the garnish and Prosecco into the shaker with ice and shake for a few minutes. This is another cocktail where you need to build up the foam, as you need to be able to float the passion fruit in this, so shake it for longer than you think. Strain into the glass, shaking as you do so, this will help the foam come into the glass first. Garnish with the passion fruit, and pour the shot of Prosecco to go alongside.

This was the second ever Martini that I had ever tried, and it was very sweet, I could easily have drank the entire glass, must say though I'm not a great fan of Prosecco, so I probably wouldn't order this one again.

Photograph of the Artigiano's Bramble Cocktail
Bramble Cocktail
Bramble Cocktail:

Bramble was the smallest cocktail of the bunch, and looks perfect for a summer BBQ.

The ingredients for this cute little guy are: 37.5ml Belgravia Gin, 12.5 Lemon Juice, 12.5ml Créme De Cassis, 12.5ml Sugar Syrup, and 3 Blackberries for garnish. All of the ingredients except the Creme De Cassis and garnish go into the shaker this time. This cocktail has no foam requirement so this one can be shaken for much less time then the previous two. Add crushed ice to your tumbler before straining the mixture into the glass. Then pour the Créme De Cassis at the edge of the glass so that you get a beautiful looking gradient. Skewer your blackberries onto a toothpick or something similar, and then garnish the drink with them.

This cocktail looks so refreshing and cooling, which it totally is, but it also packs a big punch in the alcohol department, so don't let it's appearance fool you!

Photograph of the Classic Margarita
Classic Margarita
Classic Margarita:

I must admit that I have tried Margarita's before, and I'm not a big fan, they are just so sharp and salty and I don't understand it.

If unlike me you like Margarita's then here is what you need: 37.5ml Don Cruzado Tequila, 25ml Triple Sec, 125ml Lime Juice, Lime Slice, Cooking Salt. Start by wetting the rim of your glass and then dip it in salt so you get an awesome looking salt rim. Then put all the ingredients except the lime slice in your shaker and give them a good shake to mix. Pour into your glass, and then carefully float the slice of lime in the drink.

As I predicted this was my least favourite of the entire bunch, it is so sharp and salty, and just confuses the hell out of me, but I guess as Margarita's go it was pretty good, I'm not the best person to judge this one.

Photograph of Artigiano's Cointreau Fizz Tea
Cointreau Fizz Tea
Cointreau Fizz Tea:

The most intriguing of all the cocktails, this one involves tea, something which I rarely drink, but definitely made this cocktail memorable for me.

Ingredients for this guy are as follows: 50ml Cointreau, 1 peppermint teabag, 25ml Lime Juice, 1/4 Lime Wedge, Sparkling Water. This is the only one of these cocktails that doesn't involve a shaker, so it's even easier to replicate. Pour the lime juice and Cointreau into your glass and throw in the tea bag. Mix it together real quick. Then leaving the tea bag in the glass top up the glass with ice, followed by sparkling water, and you've got yourself a cocktail.

This was my favourite cocktail by far, it was refreshing, and fruity, and didn't even taste like it had alcohol in it, I could have easily downed the entire thing, but I didn't... The above five are just a few of the many cocktails they serve at Artigiano's which are priced at £8 or two for £12. Having had a look at the menu here are a couple of the others that intrigued me:
  • Zombie: White, Spiced and Dark Rum, Brandy, Pineapple juice, fresh orange, grenadine and a mint garnish.
  • Long Island Ice Tea: Gin, Tequila, Vodka, White Rum, Triple Sec, Coca Cola and Lime.
  • Mint Julep:  Bourbon, Sugar Syrup, Mint and aromatic bitters, and a mint garnish.

Photograph of myself and Lisa trying out mixology
Becoming Mixologists!
After we were taken through all of the cocktails we got a chance to make our favourite we had seen. Lisa went for the Porn Star Martini as she was fine to carry on drinking, but seeing as I am supposed to be teetotal, I asked to make a mocktail. This involved cranberry and lime juice in the glass, which was then topped up with lemonade, and garnished with a lime slice, this was both sharp and sweet, and seriously refreshing, so I would definitely recommend giving it a go.

Photograph of the pizza's from Artigiano's
Pizza time!
After getting everyone suitably tipsy (apart from me as I only had sips), Artigiano's kindly laid out some Pizza for us to eat, and to soak up all that alcohol. These were some of the best pizza's I had ever eaten. I ate the majority of the Margherita style pizza, which had a sauce almost like a salsa, and had red peppers, it was so delicious, but they also had pizza with olives on, which Lisa absolutely loved.

Photograph of the goodie bag given to us by Artigiano's
Goodie Bag!
Towards the end of the evening we were handed a goodie bag which had everything we needed inside to make a cheeky Gin and Tonic, including a really cute glass, in my favourite colour! There was also a craft beer which I gave to Tim which he seemed to enjoy and a small package containing some of their coffee beans, which if I had a coffee grinder I would probably get better use of. I guess I could use them in baking? We'll have to see...

I have to say a massive thank you to Artigiano's in Reading for hosting us and being so gracious, it was a great evening I would definitely recommend you head over and check them out, you can find them opposite the Broadstreet Mall pretty much on the corner of the highstreet. Also I couldn't leave this post without thanking Lisa from United Cakedom for letting me drag her along, and also for being an amazing friend, so go and check out her blog too.

***Disclaimer: I was given a goodie bag and free food and drinks at the event, however all opinions within this post are my own.
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Selfie Star Competition With Just My Look

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Photograph of some L.A. Girl Cosmetics
L.A. Girl Cosmetics
A few weeks back I was contacted by someone at Just My Look, asking if I would like to get involved in promoting their current competition, Selfie Star. The Selfie Star contest is a celebration of taking selfies, something which everyone seems to do nowadays (my sister even gets our nan involved in selfies). Selfies mean different things to different people, for some they just enjoy the fun of it, and for other if they feel good they want to capture that moment forever. For me a Selfie is all about documenting me and my life, and the ways in which it has changed, so that when I'm in my late 70's I can look back through my social media accounts and relive my memories. To help me raise my selfie game, Just My Look let me chose some products to help me create my signature selfie look!

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It's Always Been You...Tube

Friday, 13 May 2016


I feel like I have kind of talked about Youtube a lot on this blog, and many times, because the truth is I have been trying to become a 'Youtuber' since I was 13/14 years old. By 'Youtuber' I don't mean someone famous on Youtube, I just want to make videos regularly and because I enjoy doing it. I mean let's not lie, having a career in it would be amazing, but that's not my end goal, for me it's just about something that I love. So instead of giving a million excuses as to why I haven't been making videos, I thought I'd talk about why I want to make videos, and a little history of my Youtube life. If you would like you can watch the above vlog which covers everything, but in case you prefer to read I'll also do a short write up of everything I talk about below!

So let's start on why I love Youtube...

I started watching Youtube videos when I was around 13/14 years old, and I watched Youtubers like Charlieissocoollike, Shane Dawson and Meekakitty, mainly daily vloggers, although Shane also did some sketch videos. I can't remember the exact reason why I first started watching videos, but the reason that I stayed was down to a sense of personal connection that you get from watching a certain Youtuber. I had plenty of friends at school so I wasn't lonely, but I think I was still working out who I was as a person, and watching people who were either going through the same, or had already been through it really helped. Even now I watch Youtube videos when I wake up, when I'm on a break, and when I get home, I consume so much Youtube that it's probably a little unhealthy, but I really don't care!

My first Youtube channel...

It wasn't long after starting to watch videos that I made my first Youtube channel, and I kept getting into the loop of making videos, and then deleting them, and then trying again a few months down the line. For some reason I could never make it stick. That channel is still up today and there is a clip of one of my really old vlogs in the video above, if you want to check out cringey 17 year old me! I even tried a couple of times (unsuccessfully I might add) to take part in VEDA (Vlog everyday in April) but only ever kept it up for a few days at a time.

University and blogging...

When I went to Uni my Youtube obsession was at it's height, I went to study Film and TV and I was hoping to make a lot of friends that also wanted to make Youtube videos. Thankfully there wasn't a shortage on people who were into Youtube, unfortunately I was rubbish at sticking to making videos. Then in my final year of Uni I got into something entirely different, blogging. As you can tell it went pretty well as I have been blogging for almost 3 and a half years now! I've told the story many times about how I got into blogging so I won't bore you with it again now, but if you really want to know I do talk about it in the video above!

Gaming Channel...

When I left Uni and moved back home I lost a lot of my creative outlet because I wasn't making films for work anymore, so I knew I really wanted to try and get a channel up and running again. At this time the type of Youtube videos that I was into the most was Gaming paythroughs, this was about the time that Pewdiepie started getting popular. So I got ahold of  a recording device and started recording myself playing on my Xbox 360. This was probably the first time since starting Youtube that I actually felt like part of a community, and I even did a collab with another small Youtube gamer. In the end I couldn't keep up with recording, it was mainly because I lived at home with my Mum and my brother and it was difficult for me to find time when it was quiet enough to record. So in the end my gaming channel fizzled out but it's something that I really want to get back into in the future.

Where we are now...

About a year ago I got really good at making videos and made one a week which went on for a good few months, and that is where I plan to get back to! Tim and I may be moving into our own place very shortly which will make it even easier for me to film, as I won't have to worry about his parents being around. In the mean time I plan to upload a new video once a week on either a Friday or Saturday, whether it be a vlog, a makeup look, or a challenge video, so keep your eyes peeled for those!

Let me know in the comments what kind of videos that you want to see on my channel, and I may just make them...
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Blogger Beauty Box March 2016

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Photograph of the Blogger Beauty Box Contents
Blogger Beauty Box Contents
I know what you are all thinking, why am I only know writing about a Beauty Box that I received back in March? Short answer, I forgot to right about it. Long answer, life has seriously been kicking my butt over the last few months, and as such blogging has been fairly low on my 'to do' list. So a bit of background on how I found this beauty box. I happened to be scrolling through twitter when I came across @bbloggerbox and I was intrigued to find that this is a beauty box specifically created for Beauty Bloggers like myself. The idea is to connect beauty brands and bloggers in a quick and easy way, and the best part of all is that it only costs £10 per box! March was the first box that I signed up for, but have since bought both the April and the May box, so expect unboxings of those coming soon!

All of the products I received in the March Blogger Beauty Box
All of the products I received
Inside the box were a mix of full sized products and samples for us to try. Honestly I was surprised to see that some of the items were full sized considering I only paid £10 for the whole box but here is what I got, and what my initial thoughts on the products are:

Full Sized Products:

Sass Intimate Perfect Skin Concentrate: This is a product from a skincare brand that I have personally never heard of, but after a quick Google search I found they are available in Boots. This particular product is specifically for using on the intimate area after shaving/waxing to prevent ingrown hairs. I haven't had a chance to use this product yet but I find the concept very intriguing, and anything to help me through the first week of regrowth, am I right ladies? Looking on the Boots website this retails at £12.

Moa Aphrodite Facial Oil: This is another skincare product, from yet another brand that I have never heard of. This particular facial oil contains Rosehip for its skin regeneration properties, Damask rose oil for dry/sensitive skin types prone to redness and a few other ingredients to help balance, cleanse and soothe your skin. Now a facial oil is something that I would never purchase for myself. I have oily skin, so the last thing I want to do is add more oil to the equation, but for the sake of science I am willing to slip this into my daily routine and give it a go. One thing I will say is that it smells amazing, and considering they suggest you only use 1-2 drops each time I can see it lasting forever! This product retails online for £20.

BeeBio Nectar Instant Eye Effect Serum: BeeBio is a New Zealand high end skincare brand, at least that's what I found from a quick Google search. Again I have never heard of their products but I think their packaging looks really great. It looks as though their skincare is more directed towards anti-aging, which is something that I personally don't tend to look for in my skincare. However I am fairly intrigued by the ingredients listed on this one. It contains Manuka Honey and Pure Bee Venom for an instant effect to reduce fine lines and puffiness. It's certainly peaked my interest and I will be giving it a go for a few weeks to see what happens with it. This product retails at NZ$129 so would cost roughly £60 to purchase, so fairly hefty for skincare. I shall have to report back with my findings!

Faust's Potions Elephant Family Recovery Pack: This item is contains two vitamin supplement drinks one of which helps you to stay sharp and awake, and the other which will help you get a good nights sleep. Now I'm not the type to be drinking supplement drinks or taking vitamin tablets etc. So this product honestly isn't for me. I do find it hard to drift off to sleep sometimes so maybe I'll give the Asleep potion a try. I would like to add the packaging for this item was hands down my favourite (it had elephants on it), and this item retails for only £6 so isn't too bad.

Sample Sizes:

MeruMaya Mud Marvels Mask 3ml: Ever since giving the Avon Black Mineral mask a go I have been a big fan of mud masks, so I was glad to see a tester of one for me to try. The MeruMaya mask claims to decongest and detoxify, clarify and deep cleanse, and finally revitalise and rejuvenate. The listed ingredients include charcoal which is the main component for a lot of the best mud masks which help to remove blackheads and blemishes. This was a sample size at 3ml so I would probably get one mask out of this. The full sized product comes in at 50ml and retails for £19.50, not bad if it does the trick!

MAYA Confident Styling and Curling Creme: This came in a little sample pot, and also came with a leaflet explaining a little more about the product, which was nice because from looking at the little pot itself I had no idea what it was! This product has a blend of 12 natural oils to keep hair looking and feeling strong, soft and healthy. This product is made to be used in wet air, before allowing the hair to air dry. I'm not that big on hair care, because I have such fine hair, I never really know what to do with it, but I will be giving this a go to see if it will help with the frizziness that I sometimes experience. The full sized product is 250ml and costs £22.95.

JR Naturorganics Mandarin and Chamomile Balancing Moisturiser: This is another skincare item, and this time we have a moisturiser, which according to their website is vegan and cruelty free so that's an immediate plus from me. This particular moisturiser is targeted towards normal/sensitive skin. Which unfortunately isn't my skin type, but I could still make this work so will be trying it out for as long as the sample lasts. The full sized product is 30g and costs £35, which considering the fact this is vegan and cruelty free is a good price.

So there you have the entire contents of the Blogger Beauty Box from March. You should expect to see another post like this very shortly as I am expecting my April box to arrive very soon! If you would like some more information on the box then please feel free to check out their website.
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Urban Decay Alice Through The Looking Glass Collection

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Photograph of Urban Decay Alice Through the Looking Glass Collection packaging
Urban Decay Alice Through the Looking Glass Collection
As soon as I saw the sneak peek photos of the new Urban Decay Alice collection I knew I had to have it. I missed out on getting the original Alice collection because at the time I was a student and had no money to spend on makeup (not that I have the money now either). The first thing I did was contact my local Urban Decay counter, and put my name down on the waiting list for the palette, and was delighted to find that there weren't that many people on the list ahead of me. Then however I found out that the college which I did my makeup course with, DFMA, were running an exclusive event with Urban Decay in Convent Garden, and this meant that I would be able to get my hands on the palette a full week before it's proper release! Of course I jumped at the chance...

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Z Palette and Makeup Geek Eyeshadows

Friday, 29 April 2016

Photograph of my new Z Palette full of MUG Eyeshadows
My brand new Z Palette full of MUG Eyeshadows
Ever since I first saw some of my favourite Youtuber beauty guru's using Makeup Geek eyeshadows I have wanted to try them out. For whatever reason it took me a really long time to get my hands on them, and the only reason I finally got them was because I won them on a raffle!

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Wishlist Wednesday: Video Game Edition #3

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Collage of the Games on my wishlist currently
Games on my wishlist currently...
Welcome back to Wishlist Wednesday everyone, it's been a good few weeks since I've written one of these, so I thought it was about time that I got back into doing it. The past few weeks I have been playing a lot more video games as such it has created a fairly long list of games that I am waiting to arrive into my life! Here are the games that I am lusting after at the moment...

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