Most Popular Posts of 2015...

Thursday, 31 December 2015

I've seen a couple of bloggers share these kinds of posts over the last few days and it was more for my own curiosity than anything else that I decided to check out my most popular posts from 2015...

This was by far my most popular post of 2015, and needless to say this was one of the biggest give-aways that I had done on my blog ever. I was actually quite shocked by how popular it was. If you missed out on it you don't have to worry as I am already planning the giveaway for my 3 year Blogiversary!

I am unsurprised that this was one of my most popular posts of 2015 as it was one of the most exciting things that I did this year. For those of you that don't know I did a 1 month Film, TV and Theatre Makeup course and I decided to do a write up of my experience on the blog. You can check out week 2, week 3 and week 4, by simply clicking on them.

Ahhh my first week of the Bloggers Bake Along, probably my biggest achievement of the year was taking part in every single week of the bake along. I never made it easy on myself and the first week was no exception when I made this monstrosity of a cake for Tim's Birthday. The chocolate work was so fun, and it was the first time I made something so extravagant...

This was one of my favourite new products of 2015 so I am glad that this was one of my most popular posts. It's more a Youtube video than a post, where I give a look at four of the eye jewels in the Lush makeup range from the Oxford Street store. I am so in love with these...

The tennis cake, something that when I watched the GBBO episode, I thought looked so simple and beautiful... Then I made it, and OMG was this an effort and a half to make. I had to prepare a tonne of fruit, bake the cake, cover it in marzipan, colour some fondant, make royal icing in three different colours, AND try to make an upright tennis net... I was so please with the final result, even though it was without the tennis net...

There are my top 5 posts of 2015, are there any that I missed that were your favourite from my blog this year? Let me know in the comments below!
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Blogger Book Club: The Book of You by Claire Kendal

Monday, 28 December 2015

Buy this book: Amazon

Here I am sitting down to write this on the day the post is due to go live, having only just finished the book a mere five minutes ago. Part of the reason for my finishing the book so late was due to the Holiday Season getting in the way, and the fact that the book only arrived at my doorstep a week before Christmas. Knowing that the review was due to go live today I picked up the book in the hopes to at least start it, 5 hours later and the book was finished, and it wasn't too great an effort to get through. I mean that in a good way of course. Before I get too much into the book here is the description from Amazon:

'Clarissa is becoming more and more frightened of her colleague, Rafe. He won’t leave her alone, and he refuses to take no for an answer. He is always there.

Being selected for jury service is a relief. The courtroom is a safe haven, a place where Rafe can’t be. But as a violent tale of kidnap and abuse unfolds, Clarissa begins to see parallels between her own situation and that of the young woman on the witness stand.
Realizing that she bears the burden of proof, Clarissa unravels the twisted, macabre fairytale that Rafe has spun around them – and discovers that the ending he envisions is more terrifying than she could have imagined.'

First Impressions: I'm always intrigued by book covers that are mainly black and white with a small splash of colour, and this cover definitely caught my eye, it kind of reminded me of the cover of 'Before I Go to Sleep' by S J Watson. Before I even read the blurb I knew it would be some sort of crime/thriller, one of my favourite genres I would like to add.

During Reading: I'm a big fan of books that are written in a diary style, some of my favourite books when I was a child were the Little Wolf books, due to the way that the entire story is written in letters to little wolf's parents. I always find there I connect much more when a book is written in this way, I just feel like it's so much more personal. The entire book moves between this style and third person, so that you don't feel trapped in the mind of the main character Clarissa. I don't want to give too much of the story away because you really should read it for yourself, but in this story Clarissa is fending off unwanted attentions from a creepy work colleague. The passages where she is being harassed by him are all written in diary style, which certainly made me feel like I was experiencing the harassment right alongside Clarissa, and really added to the tension. Having read the entire thing cover to cover in 5 hours you could definitely say that this book had me hooked. I will admit though that I was disappointed with the ending, it all seemed very unsatisfactory for me, as I did have higher hopes for Clarissa, I can't give much more away than that, but the whole thing felt very rushed...

Final Verdict: Overall a very gripping thriller, a book you will find difficult to put down. If you are a lover of crime/thriller novels then I suggest you get your hands on this one ASAP. The ending is the only thing that lets this book down, but even that isn't enough to stop me from saying that I would happily read this again.

Rating: 4/5 Creepy Stalkers

To find out what the other bloggers thought about the book check out their links below:

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Hyde Park Winter Wonderland 2015

Sunday, 20 December 2015

I think I first heard about Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park was when I was in sixth-form, a few of my friends went and said it was amazing, but I didn't know what the fuss was about. Then I never gave it a second thought. Tim and I got together in October, and our first proper weekend away was to Bristol in November, and at the time they had a Christmas Market. It was then that we decided that we would make our Christmas Market visits a yearly event. Last year we went back to Bristol, however this year we forgot about it, right up until a few weeks ago. My mind was turned back to Winter Wonderland when I realised that they had Christmas Markets there, I knew we had to visit. When I actually got around to looking into it, I realised how much they had to do there and knew that we had to go. We decided to pre-book tickets for three events, The Magical Ice Kingdom, Ice Bar, and also Zippo's Christmas Circus. Originally I had wanted to go ice skating however Tim wasn't too keen on that.

So on Friday we got up earlier than we would have liked, after having a terrible nights sleep, and got ourselves onto a train up to London. Arriving at Green park we made what we thought would be a short walk, but was actually a fair trek, and finally arrived! Our first order of business was to find the lay of the land so we knew where we needed to be for our events, for which we were given specific time slots. This proved to be trickier than you would think, considering all of the maps they had around, only one had a 'you are here' mark on it, and the maps had a ridiculous scale that made no sense. Eventually we found the place for our first event, The Magical Ice Kingdom.

Before entering the staff were encouraging us to wrap up warm before entering, I thought it couldn't possibly be that cold, however as soon as I walked through the door I was hit by the cold. It was so cold in there that I could see my breath in front of my face. Which is obvious when you think about it, because these beautiful sculptures need to be cold enough to not melt. These sculptures were so beautiful, I had never seen an ice sculpture up close before and was amazed with the amount of detail that is in them. The lighting made them glisten beautifully and it made everything so wintry and cold, it was just perfect. I could have stayed in there all day, well if it wasn't for the cold... After that we had a short time to warm up before heading into another chilly area, Bar ice.

Our tickets for Bar ice allowed us one drink and there were a selection of Christmas themed cocktails that you could have served either with or without alcohol. I obviously chose the non-alcoholic version of my cocktail which was red berry flavoured, and very sweet. As Tim wasn't driving he went for an alcoholic cocktail which had Bailey's in it, he very much enjoyed it. In the bar we got to sit on benches made of ice, which were freezing cold and made my jeans soaking wet! Unfortunately due to this we only stayed a short while, but it was still enjoyable and an experience I will definitely remember.

After the Ice bar we had a couple of hours before the circus, so we went and had some lunch and had a look around the Christmas markets. There were so many interesting stalls, from cute Christmas ornaments, and candles to all kinds of hand made jewellery. Tim and I knew that we still needed to buy a gift for his nan, and we settled on some beautifully crafted candles that were brightly coloured and interesting shapes. It was honestly so hard not to buy all of the things that I wanted, especially as I hadn't seen a lot of them before, but I was very restrained. I wasn't restrained however with what I ate, there were too many good choices and Tim and I ended up sampling pancakes and churros. Trust me I would have eaten more, but we ran out of cash and the food vendors didn't take card, much to my despair.

Finally we visited the circus, something which I haven't done since I was a child. Zippo's Christmas Circus was placed right in the heart of Winter Wonderland. The circus is always silly, and it definitely put me in touch with my childhood, the clowns were down right ridiculous, and the jokes were criminal. The stunts however were really good, there was one in particular where the acrobat almost tripped and fell from a great height, and it definitely wasn't faked, it was really scary! Overall though it was a fun show, not something I would go to again if I didn't have children to take with me.

I would urge any of you that haven't yet visited Winter Wonderland to consider going, it made for a very good day out, and it definitely got me into the Christmas spirit. I was distinctly lacking in the spirit department, but since Friday I have already planned plenty of Christmas activities to get me more in the mood!

Have you ever visited a Winter Wonderland, if so what did you get up to?
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Blogger Book Club: Secret Santa

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

As of last month I joined a bloggers book club, something that I myself have been trying to organise for a long time. Then I stumbled across an already existing blogger book club and knew that I just had to join it. I have always needed a little push to ensure that I continued reading, as sometimes I just forget how much I enjoy it. I know that sounds so silly, but it's just the case, I get distracted with TV, video games, literally anything and I forget how much I love to have my nose in a good book.

Anyway shortly after posting about the first book that I read, one of the lovely ladies from the book club, Lorna, emailed me about getting involved with a secret Santa for the group. All it involved was buying a book for under £10 that our random recipient would enjoy, based on some of their favourites. I wasn't going to tell you who I got to buy for, but having received my package today, it seems that we both got each other. My recipient was Chloe of #BooksAremyBag, and I won't tell you what I got her just in case she hasn't received it yet, so you'll just have to check out her blog to find out whether she liked what I got her.

So what did I receive?

It turns out that both Chloe and I like Crime novels, so I wasn't surprised to see a crime novel inside the package. I was however surprised that this is a murder mystery novel that is set at Christmas time. Here is what Amazon says about the book:

'Aunt Mildred declared that no good could come of the Melbury family Christmas gatherings at their country residence Flaxmere. So when Sir Osmond Melbury, the family patriarch, is discovered - by a guest dressed as Santa Klaus - with a bullet in his head on Christmas Day, the festivities are plunged into chaos. Nearly every member of the party stands to reap some sort of benefit from Sir Osmond's death, but Santa Klaus, the one person who seems to have every opportunity to fire the shot, has no apparent motive. Various members of the family have their private suspicions about the identity of the murderer, and the Chief Constable of Haulmshire, who begins his investigations by saying that he knows the family too well and that is his difficulty, wishes before long that he understood them better. In the midst of mistrust, suspicion and hatred, it emerges that there was not one Santa Klaus, but two.'

I have to confess that whilst I love a good crime novel, I have never specifically read a murder mystery, so I am actually really excited to get my claws into this one. That is once I have finished December's book club read! Thank you so much Chloe for such a thoughtful Secret Santa gift, and I really hope that you enjoy the book that I picked for you.

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The Oracle Christmas Event

Friday, 4 December 2015

A few weeks ago an email landed in my inbox that made me very excited. I was invited to a special Christmas event at the Oracle in Reading exclusively for bloggers. As soon as I saw what was in store for us, I knew that I had to go, so on a very rainy Tuesday I trekked into Reading to meet up with some fellow bloggers.

First stop for us was Browns Bar and Brasserie, which I had honestly never heard of before this event. Nestled on the Riverside in the Oracle this bar is very stylish, I walked in an immediately felt like I was in a Bar in New York. The other girls arrived, including our guide for the evening, Hayley. Bubbly was provided, which I unfortunately no longer drink, so I myself had an orange juice. Shortly after everyone arrive some canapés were provided, which were amazing! We had chicken and bacon croquettes, crackers and cheese, and my absolute favourite of the evening, home made pork scratchings that were very crunchy and unbelievably moreish. After getting to know each other a little bit and demolishing the nibbles we moved onto the next stop... Topshop.

When we arrived at Topshop we were shown their Christmas Party wear at the front of the store on the mannequins, and talked through the major trends for the season. Then we were shown into an exclusive area in the changing rooms and shown some pieces that they had pulled for us to have a look at. There was a great range of styles for us to look at, from interesting furs, to metallic knitwear, and even beautiful jewel tones. The lovely staff member from Topshop told us that one of the biggest trends this season is a mix and match of embellishments, such as buckles and sequins. I personally don't normally buy from Topshop, because I am always worried that they won't have anything that will fit me. However I did absolutely fall in love with one of their textiles which was a metallic gold knit, that honestly felt like it was a fine chain-mail... that's the only way I can think of to describe it. I just wish Topshop had clothing in my size because I would buy something made of that in a heartbeat. Once we were done in the fitting rooms we got too have a wander around the store and I did find a few more pieces that I was dying to add to my wardrobe, but again was disappointed to find that my size was not catered for. 

The final stop was at Kiko, a makeup brand that I know very little about, but after my experience with the girls in store, desperately want to get to know more. I had actually made a visit to the Kiko store before, back in February when I was looking for makeup for my finals with DFMA, and I purchased some eye-shadows but didn't venture too much further into the store. However when we walked in we were greeted by the sight of their beautiful Christmas range that the girls talked us through. I was honestly so impressed and I don't think I have ever seen such a large Christmas range from one brand. They had everything from fragrances, to lipsticks and nail polishes. All in lovely gift sets, just the right size to give to someone special for the holiday season. My personal favourite from the collection was the lipstick and lip-liner set priced at £10.90, perfect for someone who loves lipstick, or even someone who wants to start wearing more lipstick. Once the lovely staff had finished showing us the range they asked if any of us wanted to see any of the products more close up and in depth, and some of the girls leaped at the chance and got to have their makeup done. I couldn't resist getting some snaps of this, and I also couldn't resist swatching lipsticks on the back of my hand! I didn't end up buying a lipstick though and instead bought a lovely pink highlighter stick from the Christmas range for £6.90, as soon as I swatched it, I fell in love and just had to have it. Having had a proper look in Kiko now I know that as soon as I get some Christmas money I am on my way into reading to have a bit of a splurge!

All in all it was so lovely to meet some old and new faces and spend an evening in one of my favourite towns. Thanks to Frank PR for inviting me along, and Browns, Topshop and Kiko for deciding to host us. I already can't wait for my next trip into Reading.

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Blogger Bookclub: Techbitch by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

Monday, 30 November 2015

Buy this book: Kindle/Paperback

It seems like forever since I wrote about a book on this blog, after trying (and failing) to keep my Bloggers Kindle Book Club alive, I found an existing and thriving blogger bookclub to join in the hopes that I will continue to read at least one book a month!

Imogen Tate, editor-in-chief of Glossy magazine, is a legend in the fashion world. But when she returns from a sabbatical to find her twenty-six-year-old former assistant, Eve Morton, behind her desk, she realises times are changing.Armed with a business degree, naked ambition and an iPhone, Eve announces she has been brought in to turn Imogen's beloved magazine into an app. With herself at the helm.In this terrifying new world, Imogen is almost invisible. In place of her team of dedicated staff is a constantly evolving line of twenty-something bloggers at their desks day and night ('Only losers need sleep!'), amateur snaps instead of elegant photo shoots, and a URL address in place of Imogen's glossy pages.But Imogen isn't ready to give up her hard-earned career without a fight. Where Eve has Twitter followers, Imogen has experience, talent and real relationships, and she's prepared to fight for the fashion world she knows and loves. Even if it means going to war with a ruthless Techbitch . . .

First Impressions: As soon as I read the title I thought this book would be right up my street, I'm a big lover of books that have some link to the digital age. Even better is that this book was about a fashion magazine, it reminded me very much of when I used to watch Ugly Betty, what a TV show that was!

During Reading: I am not lying when I say that I simply couldn't put this book down, I read this within two days because I couldn't bare to leave it on a cliffhanger. This book is very much 'The Devil Wears Prada' however the roles have been reversed, and in this case the seasoned fashion expert is being pushed out by the young technically minded newcomer. Imogen has her world turned completely upside down, not only by her ill health, but also by her ex-assistant, Eve, who is turning her beloved magazine into an app/website. To make matters worse Eve is a total nightmare techbitch who forces her team to work themselves to the bone, and ridicules them constantly. I don't know how the other girls felt when reading this book, but I know that I just wanted to reach into the pages and give Eve a sharp slap. The whole reason I couldn't stop reading this was because I was desperate for Eve to get her comeuppance. I won't spoil it for you, but the ending is definitely very satisfying if you are rooting for Imogen, which I honestly was throughout the entire book.

Final Verdict: I loved this book, so much so I can see myself picking it up in a few months and reading it all over again. If you love books based around the fashion world, or even around websites/blogs then you will love this book. It has the perfect amount of bitchiness to keep you frantically turning the pages, without getting entirely frustrated with it. I can even forgive the use of tech-slang such as YOLO in this book because the rest of it was just too good! 

Rating: 5/5 Techbitch Slaps

To find out what the other bloggers thought of the book, click the links below!

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

Thursday, 26 November 2015

I recently subscribed to a Magazine called Food Heaven, but then received a notification from them to say I will not receive my first issue of the magazine until February! I decided I couldn't wait until then because I wanted some inspiration for my Christmas baking, so I went out and grabbed the latest issue of Cupcake Heaven as I definitely do not bake enough cupcakes. Flicking through I immediately found this recipe and knew I had to try it out for myself. So as well as making cupcake batter for this recipe you also have to make cookie dough! To make 12 cupcakes you will need...

For the Cookie Dough:

- 100g Unsalted butter
- 75g Caster Sugar
- 1 medium egg
- 1 tsp Caramel flavour
- 125g Plain Flour
-1 tsp baking powder
- 100g Dark chocolate chips

For the Cupcake Batter:

- 150g Unsalted Butter
- 150g Caster Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 3 medium eggs
- 150g Plain flour
25g Cocoa powder
2tsp Baking powder

For Decorating:

- 150g Unsalted butter
- 275g Icing sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract

So you want to start off by making the cookie dough, which is not only used for little cookies on the top but also inside the cupcakes! So to make the cookie dough you need to beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, beat in the egg and caramel flavour, and then sift in the flour and baking powder, finally adding the chocolate chips and then combining this with your hands until you form a dough.

Weigh out 200g of cookie dough and make 12 cookie dough balls, which then need to chill in the fridge until you have made the cake batter.

Then make the remaining cookie dough into mini cookies, you can make as many of these as possible, but you need at least 12 for the top of the cupcakes, which you can then also chill. Next you need to preheat your oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4 and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake cases. Then you are all ready to make your cupcake batter which is as simple as throwing all the ingredients into the bowl and mix together until well blended. 

Next comes a bit of a time consuming part, which starts with filling up the cupcake cases half way, then adding the chilled cookie dough ball, before finally filling up the cupcake cases. These need to be popped in the oven for 22-24 minutes. (mine took double this amount of time but I think that was down to the oven I was using being rubbish and old). Once the top of the cupcakes is hard to the touch then they are ready to go! As soon as these are out of the oven turn it up to 190C/Gas Mark 5 and put your mini cookies in for 10-12 minutes until golden. They may still be a little soft when you get them out but they will harden as they cool. 

Once everything is cool you can go ahead and make your butter cream icing by mixing together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract. I used the back of a teaspoon to spread on my buttercream icing and I like the fact that it looks kind of messy, almost like whipped cream. Then I cut each mini cookie in half and placed it onto the cupcake like butterfly wings, and finally I placed chocolate chips on top of that. There you have it folks, cookie filled chocolate cupcakes that are sure to impress everyone this holiday season, I'm sure you could even exchange the cookies for gingerbread for the same effect!

Let me know in the comments what you have been baking recently, I would love to know?

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Wishlist Wednesday: Video Games #2

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Working at a retailer for Video Games can be pretty tough going, mainly when it comes to trying not to spend all of your wages at the place you work! Here are the games that I am currently struggling not to purchase...

What video games are you currently playing, are there any that you would recommend for me?
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Boyfriend/Girlfriend Tag

Monday, 16 November 2015

I saw this tag post on another persons blog, and I knew that Tim and I had to give it a go! I'm also thinking about the possibility of letting Tim takeover my blog once a week but not quite sure if anyone would like/read it, so let me know in the comments what you think...

When/where did you meet?

Alyssia: We met on a dating wesbite (POF), I got a notification to say that someone had viewed my profile, so I checked it out. He looked cute and seemed like a pretty normal guy, how wrong I was...

Tim: We met on a dating website, and I remember us talking about horror films for a week, before we went on a date.

When did you meet the parents?

Alyssia: I honestly don't remember how long we were together before I met Tim's parents, but I remember going to their house, and his mum being worried of what I would think of their house.

Tim: It was Alyssia's nan's birthday, her mum cooked steak, and I remember being really nervous the entire time, and her dad didn't talk to me at all.

Where/when was your first kiss?

Alyssia: I believe our first kiss was in Tim's car, and he was dropping me home after taking me to Thorpe Park, and that was the night I decided to give our relationship a go. I think I surprised him a little bit when I kissed him.

Tim: We spent the day at Thorpe Park, and then went to dinner afterwards. Then I dropped her home where we kissed in the car. I remember Alyssia's mum called her and asked where she was and Alyssia replied, 'he's dragged me off into the woods to murder me', it made me very worried about what her mum would think of me!

Who said "I love you" first?

Alyssia: I said it first when we spent our first weekend away together in Bristol.

Tim: Alyssia said it first because she had banned me from saying it, but I think we both realised we loved each other at the same time, which was at a fireworks display the weekend before.

What is one thing you wish the other didn't do?

Alyssia: Tim mumbles terribly and it drives me absolutely nuts. Sometimes I have to ask him to repeat himself THREE times before I get it, and I hate that.

Tim: I wish she wouldn't doubt my judgement so much. Sometimes she suggests that I should do things a certain way and then gets annoyed when I do it my own way anyway.

Where was your first date?

Alyssia: He met me in Newbury and we went and sat by the canal and had a good long chat, after that I believe we went to Wetherspoons for dinner, it was all very casual because I wasn't sure I wanted a relationship at the time.

Tim: I met her at Newbury canal, we sat on the bank for a good couple of hours and talked, and laughed. Then we went and had some food, we talked a lot about our past, but Alyssia had to go so it was cut short, I could have talked to her all night.

What eye colour do you wish the other had?

Alyssia: I have to admit I am a sucker for Blue eyes, but Tim's eyes are gorgeous, they look brown but if you really study them there are parts that are actually more green.

Tim: I'm lucky, because Alyssia has blue eyes, which I really like.

What TV show is your favourite?

Alyssia: He likes all things nerdy, and I'm not 100% on his favourite but it would be something like Doctor Who.

Tim: She watches a LOT of TV, but I think if I had to pick her absolute favourite it would be Doctor Who. She also loves things like CSI and Horror TV shows like American Horror Story.

Which food do you like/not like?

Alyssia: He doesn't like broccoli, in fact when I met him there were a lot of things he didn't like that he eats now. He loves Parmesan, he'd have it on everything if I let him!

Tim: She hates tomatoes, and she always picks them out of burgers etc. I have never seen anyone hold food with the tips of their fingers in such disgust before. I don't think I could pick her favourite food, but I know that she loves me to cook her Macaroni Cheese, and she also likes when I make my Garlic bread.

Which drinks do you like/not like?

Alyssia: I'm not sure there is any drink he particularly dislikes, but one of his favourites is Strawberry Milkshake, he'll have one whenever he gets the chance.

Tim: When she used to drink alcohol her favourite was Rosé wine, but I think her new guilty pleasure is original coke. I really can't think of a drink she doesn't like...

What am I good at?

Alyssia: He's very good at technical stuff, being a software developer. He's the first person I go to if I have any technical questions. He is also really good at cooking, a skill he's only picked up since we have been together.

Tim: She is very organised, and very good at telling me off! She has amazing people skills, she's just good at talking to people and understanding them.

Do I often make you angry?

Alyssia: He doesn't often make me really angry, but if he does it's normally over something really stupid, and we've normally made up within an hour. We very rarely have an argument that goes on for a long time.

Tim: No, not often. If she makes me angry it's usually when she asks me to do something for her that I really don't want to do, but we've never fallen out over anything serious.

So there you have it everyone, there is a little insight into our relationship for you all. If you would like to see more of Tim on the blog then let me know in the comments below, and I'll see what I can do!
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Sunday Spotlight: Colorfy App

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Available on iOS and Android

This morning I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw an advert for an app called Colorfy. It was advertised as a colouring book for adults, so my interest was immediately peaked. You all probably know that Adult colouring books are quite in at the moment due to a study showing it to be therapeutic to adults. I myself haven't had a chance to try out this phenomenon as for some reason I kept putting it off. However as soon as I saw this app I thought it was the perfect opportunity to finally give it a go, and that's what I have been doing all morning!

It's a simple as choosing an image, picking your colour scheme and then colouring away. This is also much quicker than traditional colouring as you simply select the colour you want to use and then tap the areas where you want to use that colour. You can also zoom right in to the picture to ensure that you can get all those fiddly areas. My first image to colour was this deer above, and I chose to stick to very autumnal colours, which I thought suited the picture very well.

The second image I was immediately drawn to was this cat. I chose to stick to black and grey for the cat and then various yellows and golds with blue for the patterns. This is because to me the cat look very Egyptian, and golds and blue are the colours that you tend to see in Hieroglyphics, because those are what they had readily available to them. 

Finally I chose to do a simple flower, I actually picked this one so I could show my boyfriend the app because I was getting really excited about it! The thing I love most about this app is how quickly you can complete an image, physically colouring in images like this could take me hours, but I can complete these on my phone in anything from 5 minutes to 30 minutes depending on how picky I am being/how complex the image is.

If you use the free version of this app then you are limited to certain images and a smaller choice of colours. However there is the option to subscribe to this app for £2.29 per week which gives you unlimited access to all of the colours and images. This app also offers a 7 day free trial which I know I will be signing up to! Although I'm honestly not sure if this app is worth the £2.29 per week price tag, maybe if that were per month I might consider paying it. I guess we will just have to see how addicted I get to it over the next week!
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Lush Christmas Haul

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Last week I attended the Lush Christmas event in Reading at The Oracle, and I managed to spend a lot more money than I intended to. So I thought I would make a haul video sharing everything that I bought with you. I warn you, this is a very long video, so if you do not have the time or patience to watch the full video I will place a list of all of the products underneath the video.

Here is what I bought:

- Golden Wonder Bath Bomb
- Dashing Santa Bath Bomb (Free from Basingstoke Lush)
-Lush Luxury Pud Bath Bomb (Free from Basingstoke Lush)
- Santa's Lip Scrub
- Veganese Conditioner
- Celebrate Body Lotion
- Magic of Christmas Bubble Wand
-Peeping Santa Bubble Bar
- Bar Humbug Bubble Bar
- Brightside Bubble Bar
- Melting Marshmallow Moment Bath Oil
- Big Bang Bubble Bar
- Star Dust Bath Bomb
- Yog Nog Bath Bomb
- Lord of Misrule Bath Bomb
- Father Christmas Bath Bomb
- Cinders Bath Bomb

Have you bought anything from the Lush Christmas range yet? What is your favourite?
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Baby Brothers Birthday Cake

Thursday, 12 November 2015

It seems now my passion for baking has returned that I am now forever doomed to be the family Birthday Cake maker, as not two weeks after making a cake for my nan, it was my brothers birthday, and I was asked once again to bake for the occasion. I did ask my brother what kind of cake he wanted hoping he would come up with an idea for a design but his answer was simply, chocolate cake. Believe it or not when I was a kid I wasn't a big fan of cake, unless it was a fruit cake (weird I know), and even to this day, whilst I have grown to love cake I am not a big fan of chocolate cake! So feeling rather uninspired I googled chocolate cake and found this recipe from Good Housekeeping which I thought looked nice, and then I just had to tackle some form of decoration. So I decided to trawl Pinterest, and after typing in Chocolate Cake I found my inspiration cake!

Courtesy of

The thing I loved most about this cake was that the decoration looked so simple yet really attractive, so I decided to base the design on this, but as my brother requested a chocolate cake, I decided to cover it in several different kinds of chocolate, instead of sweets.

The recipe for this cake required the following ingredients:

For the Cake:

225g Unsalted Butter
225g Plain Chocolate
450g Caster Sugar
175ml Milk
4 Medium Eggs
150ml Sour Cream
250g Plain Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
40g Cocoa Powder

For the Icing:

200g Plain Chocolate
50ml Double Cream
40g Golden Syrup
200g Unsalted Butter
250g Icing Sugar

For the Decoration:

2 boxes of milk chocolate fingers
2 boxes of white chocolate fingers
5 'share bags' of your favourite treats (I used, Malteasers, Milky Bar Buttons, Magic Stars, Revels, and Mars Mix)

I started by making the cake mix, which first involved melting the butter, sugar, chocolate and milk in a pan until smooth. Once this was done I left this to cool completely before moving to the next step. Once the chocolate mixture was cool I mixed in the eggs and sour cream using a stand mixer, until combined. Finally adding the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and giving it a final mix. This then went into my prepared tin and then sat in the oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes, which felt like forever...

Once the cake was out of the oven and cooling I moved on to the icing. This involved melting togther more chocolate, cream and golden syrup until smooth, again leaving this to cool. Then I moved onto making a buttercream by whisking together softened butter and caster sugar. Once this was done I combine the chocolate and buttercream mixtures, and then set this aside to set until the cake was completely cool. Once the cake was cool I carefully levelled the top, and then cut the cake in half horizontally to give two layers. These were sandwiched together by some of the icing, which I then used to cover the rest of the cake. Before the icing had a chance to set I lined the outer edge with the chocolate fingers alternating between milk and white chocolate. The final step was to place the different kinds of chocolate on top of the cake, which I had far too much fun doing... I actually think more chocolate went into my mouth, than on the cake, but that's one of the perks of baking!

Here is the finished result, which I think looks great. I cannot stress enough how easy this cake was to make and decorate, so if you see this and would like to have a go, please don't be put off! This would be the perfect cake to impress friends and family with because who (other than me) doesn't like chocolate cake?

Have you baked anything this week, leave a link in the comments so I can have a nosey!

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Wishlist Wednesday: Baking Tools

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

If you have been following my blog over the last few months then you will know that my love of baking has been reignited and is really taking off. That said, I thought this weeks wishlist Wednesday should be dedicated to the items that I am still lacking in my collection!

Let me know in the comments what is featuring in your wishlist this week!

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South East Blogger Event @ Pizza Express

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

I have been waiting for this event to come along for so long, and yesterday was finally the day! This event was hosted by the lovely Jenny Cole of Ramblings of a Jaffa Cat. It was so nice to be able to attend an event that was only five minutes away from where I live... At 6pm I ventured over to Pizza Express in Basingstoke Festival Place who were kind enough to host the event. They provided us with drinks and even a yummy buffet with slices of pizza, and dough balls etc.

On top of that Jenny organised for a couple of company's to be at the event to speak with us. First up was Bee Good, a company all about skin care made from naturally sourced bee products. They had testers of everything there so we could try everything that we wanted to take a look at, and the lovely lady from Bee Good talked us through everything. My favourite product was definitely the Raspberry and White Chocolate lip balm, it smells seriously good. As soon as I get paid this month I am putting that straight into my basket!

Also the lovely ladies from Lush Basingstoke were there, so I got to see Lush two nights in a row! This time the girls (Katy and Zoe) brought a small selection of the Christmas collection for us to take a look at and we were even able to buy a few products if we wanted to. Despite having spent £70 on Sunday in Lush, I did pick myself up a Golden Wonder Bath Bomb, and as a thank you the girls gave me two bath bombs for free.

As well as product demonstrations Jenny had worked incredibly hard to get some brilliant raffle prizes. All proceeds for the raffle went to the charity Mind, who are a charity representing mental health, something which I personally have had experience with in recent years. Unfortunately I wasn't lucky enough to win this time, but it didn't bother me as I know my money is going to a good cause, and honestly it was just nice to be in the company of like minded people. Everyone who attended was so lovely and we all had a great long chat about blogging, something that I can't really do with my 'real life' friends...

The cherry on the cake of the evening was the fact that Jenny had managed to put together some lovely goody bags for us to bring home.

This included the following:

  • Life Tonics tote bag and two drinks
  • Bill's Restaurant Strawberry Jam
  • Cheerz Polaroid Voucher
  • Champneys Guilford Face Mask
  • Dream Dots Voucher
  • Witch Skincare Samples
  • Bee Good Sample
  • Lush Basingstoke Luxury Pud Bath Bomb and Dashing Santa Bath Bomb (as mentioned above)
Honestly I was so surprised to receive anything and it was a lovely surprise that Jenny put together for us. All in all I had a really fun night, met some lovely ladies, and I already can't wait for the next Basingstoke event!

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Lush Christmas 2015

Monday, 9 November 2015

I always feel very lucky when I am invited to blogger events, especially as I feel as though my is still very small, and going to these events always make you feel very special. When I got the email from Lush to invite me to their Christmas 2015 event I knew I would have to attend.

So yesterday at 5:30pm the shutters opened and myself and some other local bloggers were let into the store after hours. There were plenty of staff around to help us and to show us the Christmas products and answer our questions about any of them, and also demonstrate any that we particularly wanted to see!

It was honestly so difficult for me to control myself and not buy one of everything, but I managed to keep within the budget I set myself, which I was very proud of. Here are some of my favourites from the Christmas collection this year:

The Magic of Christmas Bubble Wand.

This is the first bubble wand I have ever purchased from Lush, as I have always felt like the sticks they come on are a little bit flimsy. However the magic of Christmas has been formed around a cinnamon stick, which supports the bubble bar very well. This bar is full of cinnamon and cloves meaning to me it smells exactly like Christmas.

Star Dust Bath Bomb

The star shaped bath product of last year was covered in silver glitter, and had a more citrus' smell to it. This year's star shaped bath product is much more like a bath bomb and is vanilla and rosewood scented. I have also been informed by Lush staff that this turns your bath water a lovely blue colour, and what with that being my favourite colour I couldn't pass it up!

Bar Humbug Bubble Bar

This dark purple treat smells like liquorice, but at the same time is very sweet. Purple is another of my favourite colours, and I can imagine nothing more relaxing than laying in a deep purple bath of sweet smelling liquorice!

Yog Nog Bath Bomb

My absolute favourite product from Lush Christmas 2014 was the Yog Nog soap, then this year I have been lucky enough that Lush have decided to make a bath bomb of the same scent. With Soya milk and Shea butter in the centre, this not only smells delicious, almost like toffee, but it leaves your skin feeling silky soft.

So there are my top picks from the 2015 Christmas selection, don't forget to keep an eye out for my haul of everything I purchased coming up next week! Also let me know in the comments what your favourite is from the collection this year...
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Bonfire Night Cupcakes

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Seeing as I didn't really get around to doing some proper Halloween baking, I thought I would make some Bonfire Night Cupcakes instead. I saw this Pumpkin spiced cupcake recipe on Zoella's channel and thought it sounded pretty good, so I decided to give it a go. It turns out she got the recipe from originally, so I decided to follow their version. However instead of making a cream cheese frosting I decided to go with buttercream, as I knew I wanted my icing to have height so it could resemble a bonfire, and I know from experience that cream cheese frosting doesn't tend to be very stiff.

The most difficult thing about this recipe turned out to be finding Pumpkin Puree... Literally no where stocked it, however I had a nosey online and was very lucky that Waitrose had it in stock. The Cake batter was easy enough to make, I simply had to cream together the butter and sugars, add the eggs one by one, followed by the milk and pumpkin, and finally stir in the flour. One of the things I enjoy most about making cupcakes is that they are so easy to make, all you do is mix the batter and then scoop it into the cupcake liners, I like to use an ice cream scoop to get even amounts in each.

Once these were baked and cooling I moved on to the buttercream icing. This simply involves beating butter until smooth, then slowly adding icing sugar, mixing in between. Once all the icing sugar was incorporated I added cinnamon and vanilla essence. I then seperated a third of the icing into a seperate bowl which I coloured yellow, and then I coloured the majority of the rest orange, to resemble fire. Before adding these to the piping bag I striped some red food colouring in a few places to add further firey accents, and then on one side added the yellow, before filling the rest with the orange. At this point I was honestly praying that this would look like fire!

When I had piped my 'fires' onto each of the cakes I then chopped up some flakes and honeycomb matchmakers to look like different sized and shaped sticks, which I then arranged around my fire to make them look like mini bonfires.

Here's the final result, which I think look pretty sweet in all honesty. They taste so good as well, almost like a carrot cake, but with pumpkin instead.

What have you baked recently?
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Wishlist Wednesday: NYX Makeup

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

This weeks wishlist Wednesday is all about a makeup brand that I have been hearing so much about, particularly from American Beauty channels that I watch on Youtube, but that until now I didn't even realise you could buy in the UK. Now I know that Nyx is available both on their own website and on the Boots website, you can bet that I'll be picking up some stuff to try! Here's what is on my must have list:

4. Lip Primer: £6.00

Have you tried any Nyx products? If so what would you recommend?
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A-Z of Me: I is for Instagram

Monday, 2 November 2015

You may notice that I haven't completed an A-Z of me post in a long time, and that's because I have been stuck on what to do for the letter 'I'. Then whilst I was browsing my social media today I was looking through all of my old instagram photos and reminiscing, and I thought it would be an awesome idea for a blog post for me to share ALL of my instagram photos! Prepare yourselves for a very photo heavy post...

Let's start with the year that I finally got instagram, 2013...

Then came the year that Tim and I decided to move in together, 2014.

Finally moving on to this year, 2015.

Looking at all of these Instagram pictures really makes me realise how much has changed for me in the last three years, and honestly if I had the ability to turn back the clock, I wouldn't change a thing!
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