Thursday, 28 August 2014

What's In My Suitcase? Summer Edition.

I'm officially off on a staycation with my family. I've definitely been really stressed lately thanks to university work and a few million other things (let's be honest, don't we all feel like floating bundles of stress on a regular basis?) but this has made packing for the trip such a relief. For a week, I'm going to do my best to disconnect from all the negative vibes and travel south to the sun (hopefully, I mean, it is Britain).

So, what's in my suitcase? I've attempted, albeit slightly unsuccessfully, to travel light.

I've kept to one set of pyjamas, which is always tough for me, though it is my cat printed teddy romper! Also taking pride of place in my suitcase is my topshop swimsuit, which has such a lovely fifties style.

Also, while packing I've realised I've become a bit of a dove haircare addict. I was already intrigued after hearing essiebutton rave about the range, but I had to try it myself to realise just how amazing it is. In fact, I've always had really damaged hair, mainly due to dying my hair too much a few years ago, but its improved so much since I started using their intensive repair range. The dry oil is amazing too, even though I have never got on with moroccan/argan oils (too heavy) the pomegranate seed oil in the Dove oil doesn't weigh your hair down! Hurrah for fine hair!

This makes it easily an essential when going away and facing chlorine pools!

When it comes to make-up, I've taken just enough to get by, a few daytime and evening lipsticks, my usual tinted moisturiser. mascara and brow gel. Pretty simple but enough - the main consideration is a decent facial sunscreen, an absolute non-negotiable must be in the suitcase item!

What is your essential item in your suitcase?

Monday, 25 August 2014

Pyjama Living & Granny Chic

Everyone who knows me (or who has lived with me) knows I pretty much live for the moment that I can jump into my pyjamas. While this feeling is strongest in autumn and winter, it is definitely still there in summer. The only thing is, I'm a pyjama hoarder. This is no exception.

I've been searching for a satin dressing gown for a while now. I absolutely love dressing gowns (I practically live in them) but with the summer heat, I've not had a cover up that I could wear without over heating. I asked my mum after scouting the shops for one and she eventually recommended M&S. Plus they had a sale on. Pretty pastel flowers as the pattern and such a comfortable material make Becky a very happy person. Even though it only adds to my nightwear addiction.

Safe to say this is my new best friend.

What is the item in your closet that you love the most?

Friday, 22 August 2014

New In My Make-Up Bag: Revlon Lipsticks and Lip Butters.

So, I confess. Prior to last week, I have only ever owned owned one lipstick, given to me by my mother, a couple of years ago. That is not to say I'm a lipgloss addict either, I am usually a tinted-balm-and-go kind of lady, but I've been wanting to get more out of my comfort zone in beauty products, so here we go.

I decided to get two neutral 'every day' shades and a couple of brighter and darker berry shades for winter. Thank god for special offers in Boots. Let me tell you, the formulation of the Revlon Lip Butters is gorgeous. So, so smooth and the two shades I chose (Peach Parfait and Macaroon) are so easy to wear due to the sheer and  buttery formulation.

The Revlon Super Lustrous lipsticks I chose are also pretty fantastic, really well pigmented and the staying power of the colour is really, really good. Definitely a hidden gem that I don't see blogged about often. On that note, that reminds me I really need to pick up a Rimmel Kate Moss lipstick. It is essential to my well being.

 I may be becoming slightly addicted to lipstick. In that, the first thing I go to when I'm in the drug store is the lipsticks... and then swatch all of them.

From Left to Right: Wild Orchid, Peach Parfait, Amethyst Shell, Macaroon

So with these new additions, I might just have to accept that simply the Baby Lips and dash method I had applied to my routine is going to have to go. Hello lipsticks, where have you been all my life?

What is the best lipstick you've tried lately?

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Elizabeth and James: Nirvana White Review

This perfume is unbelievable. Seriously. I thought it was already going to be fantastic when I read the reviews (and subsequently begged my relatives in Canada to send me a little rollerball to test out) that I would fall in love with it. I've never been the greatest fan of florals, usually because I'm afraid I will end up smelling powdery and too 'delicate' , needless to say, this scent is neither too delicate not powdery.

The balance between floral and musk is absolutely perfect and wearing this, I feel like a giant sexy bouquet. Yes, that is how I'm going to describe it, a sexy bouquet. Of peonies.

Oh my, it is so easy to fall in love with this perfume that I just know I'm going to need a giant bottle of it to last me the summer (and maybe the twin fragrance Nirvana Black, as I've heard a lot about layering the scents to become an even deeper sexy floral bouquet).

Also, can we appreciate the fact they sell the rollerball version so you don't have to decant it into those fiddly travel atomisers? Absolutely fab. If only this was more easily avaliable in the UK!

Overall, Mary Kate and Ashley have transcended into beautiful fragrance queens. All hail.

Top Notes - Peony, Muguet & Musk.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Lazy & Tired Night In

Okay, so usually I'd be writing about all the exciting things I've been up to this week. However, my life has been a whole lot of university work, illness and tiredness. I'm exhausted. So the only rational thing to do was blog about my lazy night in!

So this evening has been filed with my usual lazy routine: bath, cleanse then jump into clean pyjamas and read a good book. At the moment I'm just starting 'The Rosie Project' by Graeme Simsion, which is a light hearted book (just what I need at the moment!). I promised myself I would read more often throughout the holidays from university, so I'm hoping that starting a new book will encourage me to keep up the trend once I'm back at university!

Also, sidenote: who else finds fluffy socks irresistible? Something about the fluffiness definitely helps get me out of a bad mood and makes me feel a little better. Either way my stripy ones are doing the trick tonight.

I also decided to re-paint my nails, and ended up going for the most neon pink I owned! I almost always go for nude colours on my nails and decided a bit of a change was needed as a pick me up. I've also never really been into glitter coatings or glitter nail polishes, but I found a translucent pearl finish in silver, which made my nails look really shiny (and also made the neon less striking... I guess I'm still a neutral girl at heart!).

Does anybody else have that go-to lazy evening hairstyle? Usually I plait mine before bed to try and get some pretty waves in it, but this evening I went full on melon sized bun on my head. Let's be honest, who doesn't appreciate a giant ginger bun on top of their head?

The newest addition to my lazy night routine has definitely been my vintage style radio. I've always lusted after the super expensive Roberts radios, but I saw this affordable little one in John Lewis and absolutely fell in love with it. I've never been a huge fan of listening to the radio up until now, but I can safely say I'm a convert. To Radio 2. I admit. I also get stupidly excited whenever Dolly Parton comes on the radio.

Basically, this radio is adding a lot of sunshine into my summer!

What is your relaxing routine for a lazy night in?

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Becky Bakes: Dairy Free Dark Chocolate & Sweet Orange Cake

So as some of you Brits may know, this time of year is when the ever anticipated 'Great British Bake Off' returns to our screens. Watching so many people on television bake has just made me even more eager to get in the kitchen and start baking up some tea-time treats.

So I came up with this little gem.. a dairy free (but not guilt free, unfortunately) dark chocolate and sweet orange cake. It's a lovely (if I do say so myself) light cake, which is really simple to make in a hurry, so perfect if guests are coming over. The idea of chocolate and orange as a flavour combination isn't entirely original, but it is my father's favourite so this recipe was for him.

To make this cake, you will need:

  • 175g of Flour
  • 175g of Dairy Free Sunflower Spread
  • 175g of Caster Sugar
  • Roughly 1tsp of Baking Powder
  • 3 medium eggs
  • Cocoa
  • Orange Oil (optional)
For the icing, I usually approximate this, so you will have to too!

However, you will still need extra:
  • Dairy Free Sunflower Spread 
  • Orange Oil
  • Dairy Free Dark Chocolate (or Cocoa)
  • Icing Sugar

Cake Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees (160 for fan assisted ovens)
  • Mix the sunflower spread and sugar until soft.
  • Introduce the eggs (beaten) a little at a time taking care not to curdle the mixture.
  • Beat to create a creamy mixture.
  • Fold in the flour and baking powder, ensuring the mixture does not turn lumpy.
  • Split the mixture evenly into two separate bowls.
  • Fold cocoa into one of the bowls, to personal taste. I use a heaped tablespoonful.
  • With the remaining mixture, you may either add a drop of orange oil, or leave the sponge plain.
  • In two prepared baking tins, place an even amount of the two mixtures in each tin.
  • Carefully mix the mixture with a knife to get a marbled effect.
  •  Place in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes, then remove cakes to cool.

Icing Method

One of the biggest downfalls with using a butter substitute is creating the icing.While you can still get delicious results without dairy, it takes a bit of extra time.

  • Mix the dairy free sunflower spread with icing sugar (enough to cover both cakes) until a smooth paste is created.
  • Once again, split the mixture, adding orange oil to one half of the mixture and leaving the rest plain.
  •  At this point, if you have dairy free dark chocolate, melt the chocolate gently in a heat proof bowl, over a pan of boiling water.
  • Once the dark chocolate has melted, pour it into the other (non-orange) icing mixture, beat well, and put both mixtures in the fridge to cool.
  • Alternatively, add cocoa to the other half of the mixture, and put in the fridge to cool.
  •  Once cooled, apply to the insides of the cooled cake, and place cake together. 

As you can see, this recipe is a really quick, simple and delicious way to get an excuse to bake again! It is a very light, non sickly cake, so perfect for summer, and as it is based of a basic cake recipe, you can tweak it to your own tastes.

What was the last thing you baked?

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

On My Shelf: Fragrances

Okay, I admit it. I'm a fragrance hoarder. I like the pretty bottles and all the choices and almost everything about perfume. However, it has got to the point where I have to have a big sort out. So why not reflect on a few of my favourites of winters passed while doing so?

DKNY: Be Delicious Fresh Blossom

I really loved this version of the DKNY Be Delicious perfume when it initially came out. Though it isn't quite what I was expecting (though the scent does have floral undertones, it is primarily a sweet citrus scent) it is a really nice fresh day fragrance, but wouldn't quite be suitable to transition into night.

Top Notes - Grapefruit, Apricot, Cassis

Middle Notes- Jasmine, Rose

Base Notes- Orris Root, Musk

Benefit: Lookin' To Rock Rita

This perfume was a gift and is something I wouldn't normally pick up at a fragrance counter. While I've had a fair amount of experience with Benefit make-up (I'm pretty certain posietint is soon going to become a holy grail for me) I'd never tried a benefit fragrance prior to recieving Rita. On first scent it smells a lot like a fruity holiday cocktail, which is lovely, however the dry down is a lot more subtle and has a woody scent. In fact, what appears on first sniff to be a lovely summer day fragrance is definitely more suited to winter and evening wear. 

Top Notes - Lemon, Freesia, Coconut

Middle Notes - Fig, Hyacinth, Violet

Base Notes - Sandalwood, Brazillian Rosewood, Vanilla

 Burberry: Burberry for Women

Let me tell you something, this scent is phenomenal. When I picked up this bottle to review it, even holding it made me feel sophisticated. This is a powerful perfume guys, powerful. It's also a truly transitional scent, light enough to wear during the day thanks to notes of fresh green apple, but with a gorgeous deep undertone of musk and jasmine for the evening. It's not a particularly 'fresh' scent in comparison to the DKNY Be Delicious Fresh Blossom or the G Harajuku Lovers perfume, but it is a stand out in comparison. This is the scent of a powerful lady.

Top Notes - Fresh Green Apple, Blackcurrant

Middle Notes -Cedar Wood, Jasmine, Sandalwood, Moss

Base Notes - Musk, Vanilla

Harajuku Lovers: G, Lil Angel, Music & Love

As a celebrity perfume, I know many people will be verse to the Harajuku Lovers scents. I'll admit, I picked up these scents initially because I have a mild style crush on Gwen Stefani. However,the range does offer a nice diverse selection of scents, if fleeting (these perfumes definitely need to be topped up throughout the day) . I understand the perfumes are now discontinued, but still available online sometimes. Either way, I have mixed feelings. They sometimes don't quite feel like mature scents and the lasting power is slightly disappointing.

Marc Jacobs: Honey

This perfume is pretty much universally loved. I know I love it for sure! It is sweet (and you can actually pick out most of the notes, especially the peach) but also sophisticated. It was pretty much my staple for 2013/2014 and I absolutely adore this scent, which is strong but also delicate.Give this a sniff when you're next at a drug store and I promise you you'll fall in love.

Top Notes - Pear, Mandarin

Middle Notes - Orange Blossom, Honeysuckle, Apricot, Peach Nectar

Base Notes - Smooth Woods, Honey, Golden Vanilla 

 Victoria's Secret: Angel

This was a gift from family while I was staying in New York last year and I really like it as a light body mist. It is fruit and sensual without being too overbearing and I really like the light dry down scent. I really think this suits well as a summer scent, though maybe not so suitable for winter (especially in England!)

Top Notes - Pear, Pink Pepper

Middle Notes - Violet, Gardenia

Base Notes - Ambergris, Argarwood, Musk

What is your favourite fragrance for summer?