Friday, 30 September 2016

Back to uni: chilled vibes only please

If you're going back to uni, work or whatever you always put in way more effort than you need to because you set yourself up to think; 'I'm going to make this much effort everyday and really try' then by week two your rolling in, just making it on time in the same clothes as yesterday. We've all been there- don't deny it.  So with that in mind I thought to myself to start of keeping it casual but obviously wanted to wear everything new I bought over the ridiculously long break I had off for summer. This wasn't going to work so I went with weather depending choices and kept it very chilled vibes not but not too chilled I look like I rolled out of bed. But I still wanted to look like I rolled out and just happened to look like this: oopsy (but not really oopsy, really an hour of getting ready).

As a three year long wait to find boyfriend jeans that actually fit me properly I had to wear these Topshop ones I bought a few weeks ago. I LOVE THEM. They're so so comfy and still acceptable to wear in this weird between summer and autumn period. As a petite 5"1 gal I find it hard to find jeans that fit me anyway to finding loose fit boyfriend jeans that don't make me look like an apple and still keep their shape to my small frame these are perfect. I also used to be a skinny jeans/trouser girl through and through but I always tried to find loose comfy jeans and please please if you're in the same boat keep looking and trying because there is a pair for you out there, I promise!

My jumper is by American Eagle my fave green and although it's knitted it's not a heavy close knit so was perfect to wear with nothing underneath without fear of getting bit too hot or cold. The crew neck line is ideal for me when I wear my hair a bit wavy and down because it balances me out. I wore the jumper pulled back a bit because I love a cheeky low back and preferred it being a bit shorter at the front because I've got an hourglass figure so anything that can show my waist off is ideal. Rolling the sleeves up is a must with every jumper I own because i'm petite. However, if my jeans weren't ripped I would've rolled them up more to just below my elbow to enhance my frame. By doing this you draw attention to your waist. Even though the jumper is a bit baggy it still holds it shape well because it's knitted so it will look good! Because my jeans are ripped, there's no need because it would be too much skin on show and i've pulled the jumper back.

The shoes are also Topshop and are my current obsession. I love leopard print and sometimes I have the fear I wear too much it looks tacky but these Birkenstock styled sandals are ideal for these weird cloudy but still warm days. Because i've got a rip in my jeans and a semi-heavy knitted jumper its okay to wear a sandal that shows bit of skin off. If my foot was totally covered I would look stumpy. My legs are short and with baggy jeans I have to be careful not to look drowned in denim. Showing off a bit of foot and ankle is perfect. If you wanted to wear trainers or a loafer for example that covers your foot more, try to roll the jeans up another roll and roll the jumper arms up another so its mid-arm length. This will balance out the looseness of the jeans to ensure you don't look swamped in a baggy jumper and loose jeans.

It all comes together with my staple vintage Levi oversized denim jacket. If you don't own a sightly oversized denim jacket you need one if your life. Believe me. Its very loose and long but looks okay because of my height and with a sandal I won't look completely covered in fabric. I've got my trustee Fjallraven backpack, rose gold hoops and Urban Outfitters round sunglasses that I wear just about everyday because I love them so much.

Z x


Thursday, 29 September 2016

Top 3 Ibiza Moments 3: Ibiza Old Town

"You won't like Ibiza Old Town, there's not much to do there" said the travel agent when we were booking our holiday.

Clearly we had been stereotyped due to our age. The travel agent had mistaken us for the kind of people that went away on holiday to a foreign country to only eat KFC and McDonalds and not leave the hotel all day due to a being really hungover. We did eat McDonalds one time on the way home from a night out but on the whole we definitely appreciate some culture. I for one was a bit of a history geek at school (I still am) and so I love walking around old, historical cities. Ibiza town is exactly what I needed from the holiday. 

The town is approximately half an hour away from San Antonio Bay in a taxi and is actually closer to all the main clubs (if that's your thing). There's also loads of shops ranking from Zara to little boutiques selling everything you can imagine (literally). Once you get past the shops the town begins properly. It is set on a hill as well so you don't have to feel bad about eating all the tapas because you will definitely have done all your exercise for the day...

If you are to do anything whilst you are in the town, then walking up to the top of the city just to see the views is 100% worth it. The old wall has the most incredible views of the city and further if it's a nice day. We were lucky enough to go twice and even managed to watch the sunset which was absolutely beautiful. 

Even though there is apparently nothing to do there then at least there are 4739204ish restaurants to choose from. We went for tapas and I ate a whole block of manchego cheese because I was on holiday so no food judgement exists... Try patatas bravas too- my favourite dish! 

All in all, if I had the choice in the first place of were to stay I would definitely have picked the old town. It's chilled out in a way that San Antonio Bay definitely is not and is the perfect base for people of any age!

N x


Monday, 26 September 2016

Easy ways to eat more healthily (even if you have a mild sugar addiction like me)

"There isn't a food that contains sugar that I don't like" (Me, always)

By sugar I mean the refined stuff, ya know the stuff that rots your teeth? I'd like to say that I don't have a sugar addiction but every single person that knows me would disagree and say that was a giant lie. At the age of 16 I would happily eat a sharing bag of Cadbury's Giant Buttons and a bottle of Lucozade for my lunch. I ate this so often that it didn't even get the intended 'sugar-rush' effect anymore. On top of that I'd also drink Hot Chocolate like water and not think twice about it.

I turned 20 and within a few months my 'don't give a crap about what I eat' attitude to life changed drastically after I was diagnosed with severe IBS (nope, never, ever like that scene in 'Along Came Polly'). Every time I ate, within half an hour I would be suffering intense pain and it got to the point that all I would eat was carbs (white bread is surprisingly tasty). I knew that if I had any chance of getting better there was no way I could continue to eat so much rubbish foods and expect my digestive system to go back to normal. I started the FODMAP diet. I'm not sure what FODMAP stands for exactly bit I'm pretty sure t's code for 'worst diet of all time' (actually it's the type of diet Doctors put you on to help you reintroduce foods to figure out what causes 'upset'). For me, the main thing I realised I couldn't eat was dairy (so long chocolate Buttons). However, it hit me that I'd really need to change up my diet to maintain my health. So, I've put together a list of ideas that helped me to change my diet which will hopefully make it easier for anyone else making the transition too!

1. No processed foods: it might be easy to chuck a chicken burger in the oven but it's not that much harder to cook an actual chicken fillet is is? Plus, it's also most likely cheaper too!

2. Replace the sugary stuff with fruit: I'll start this point by saying before this I ate one fruit regularly which was a banana. For this reason, I started this step gradually, day by day I ate less sweets and chocolate and started eating sweeter fruits. My go to fruits: Dates (they have natural sugars that give you the sugary taste you may crave), bananas and my latest find- candyfloss grapes from M&S (grapes that taste like candy floss- life changing!).

3. Always eat breakfast!! I know this is that standard statement that all healthy eating bloggers swear by but it really does stop me from snacking before lunch. I normally have porridge because you can sweeten it easily with thing such as bananas, maple syrup, honey or molasses! (Unless you're weird like my Auntie and Granny who put salt in theirs EWW).

4. Eat your dinner more slowly:This might sound stupid but it makes your body realise far quicker when you have had enough to eat and I also find it keeps me fuller for longer! It's also easier for your body to digest food the slower you eat and more you chew.

5. Don't have dinner at silly O'clock: not too early (you'll get hungry and snack before bed) and not too late because HELLO BLOATING!

6. Meal Plan: If you plan your meals and shop for them before the week starts you are much more likely to make them instead of shoving in a pizza or a microwave meal.

7. Stick to it! Set goals! For example, "If I eat healthy for a month I'll buy myself those shoes that I wanted." 

I know everyone says how they feel soooooo much better when they eat healthier and even though you don't want to believe it, it's 100% true! Even my skin has cleared up dramatically and is a lot more healthy looking. If i can quit my chocolate loving ways then I'm pretty sure most people can!(still partial to a hot chocolate or 7)

N x


Friday, 23 September 2016

Not So Secret Island Escape...

I had the urge to call this post 'Secret Island Escape' but to be honest with you I am not the only person who has discovered the beautiful Isle of Tiree, located on the west coast of Scotland. Although many people have never heard of this absolute gem of an island, many people I meet (and boast about this place to) have either heard of it or actually been there themselves. The only reason why this comes as as surprise to me is because Tiree is so small. It has a population of about 600 and just one food shop. There is also a number of gorgeous little gift shops, including 'Chocolate and Charms' which features chocolate and jewellery that has been homemade on the island as well as my favourite, 'Tyrii Pottery' which sells all sorts of crockery, dishes, lamps and other pieces with designs inspired by the island, made even more special by the fact that you can see it all being made right infront of you. And if you want to see some of this beautiful work yourself, head down to the Beach Cafe in Portobello (I can recommend breakfast!) who's crockery is actually from the pottery itself.

I have been visiting Tiree annually with my family ever since I was born, and I think it proves what a special place it is by the fact that my parents continue to go there on holiday each year with all four of their children, even though we are now all aged between 17 and 24. Although we are all growing up and doing our own thing, we still, more than happily, give up a week to go and visit our fave place.
One of my favourite things about the island is the picturesque beaches. Tiree is surround by these gorgeous white beaches as well as a green marble beach, no matter where you look, every view is breathtaking. Don't even get me started on the sunsets... other than a few small hills, the island is totally flat which makes for the most incredible sunrises/sunsets, but I think the pictures speak for themselves.

The main reason why we go to Tiree is because my Dad is a windsurfer. Host to the 'Wave Classic', it is an absolute prime location for Scottish windsurfing. There is literally a perfect beach to go to no matter what direction the wind is blowing. In the past few years, he has been less bothered about surfing and just loves to enjoy the peacefulness of a week in the middle of nowhere, which is exactly what we all need after a summer of working like crazy. We all still love to have a go at windsurfing, do a bit of body boarding in the sea, go fishing off of the pier, go for long walks along the beaches or go on a wee pony trek, but even without all of that, its so nice to just have a break and relax for a week in beautiful surroundings.
The excitement we had as children to travel on the ferry, get our wetsuits on and jump in the sea, make sandcastles and explore the beaches is very much still with me, although I will be honest, I am much less inclined to go into the freezing cold sea than when i was 5.

This island means so much to me and my family, it feels like a home away from home. Our most recent visit was made even more special as my sister got engaged! Her boyfriend got down on one knee on the beach and popped the question. I couldn't imagine a more romantic setting if i tried. So much beauty on such a small island, the wildlife, the beaches, the sunsets. Sometimes when I'm there, I honestly don't feel like I'm in Scotland.

T. x


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Music Review - Bastille, Wild World


Bastille are back: FINALLY. I'm a total, 10/10, all in for the good times Bastille fan. So as you can imagine when your fave band go away for a while and sort of disappear into the celeb shadows it's really rubbish. I've been waiting patiently for this second album (and to see Dan's beautiful face again) for what feels like so so long.

Since their huge success with 'Pompeii' in 2013 the band have been on a world tour and popping into the odd festival now and then to just let us know they're still alive (thankfully). It's been a very long five years of writing and creating for the band but it's totally paid off. I think a lot of people worry about the second album being as successful as the first, which is quite rightly absolutely terrifying in case it all goes to shit and nobody wants to be the band that has a one-hit-wonder. Dan and the rest of the boys have taken a surprisingly political approach in their songwriting which has been so carefully written. On first listen of the album it sounds great and you can have proper good dance to each song whether it be a little slow burner or a total pop power hour, but when you really listen the second or third time to what is being said there are a lot of referencing to real issues going on in the world. NME mentioned it could be 'the soundtrack to 2016' and I really do agree.

The whole album has been tailored to take you on a sweet pop journey but on the way you're introduced to some EDM and a cheeky few R'n'B vibes are thrown in. With every song there's something new and I love the snippets of spoken word throughout that make you almost feel like your listening to a story. Every song can be imagined being sung in an arena, a festival, a stadium or a perfect indie-pop acoustic set. I'm in absolute love with it. Their music is crafted and made to perfection and each song has a million different elements you can tell have been worked on tirelessly. Even if you're not a fan of Bastille and just know them as that band that did that cover ages ago, please give it a chance because I can guarantee you'll have it on replay for a solid few days.

PS: Listen to the album in the chosen order to understand what i'm raving on about and you'll totally catch my drift

Z x

Monday, 19 September 2016

University 'effortless' OOTD

First day back to uni so you want to make some sort of effort, yeah? Even with the effort everyone still wants to look like they didn't care about looking good and just threw the first thing they could find on. Then the next day they can go back to the top knot and no make-up look. The above outfit is my go to 'effortless' look and I pretty much wear a variation of this to uni every day. 

  • I'm a fan of the t-shirt and jeans combo always. You can't ever have enough t-shirts, for example, I own at least 12 black and white striped ones (not actually an over-exaggeration). I quite like tucking mines in at the front to make it look a bit more stylish or tying it in a knot in the side to make it more cropped (Gigi Hadid does it, so it must look good?!).
  • Obviously, not everyone has legs longer than a giraffe so you can easily change up the style of the jeans depending on your leg length and shape. I love the fact this pair have a dropped hem as it makes them a bit different to normal jeans.
  • I think it should be a rule that everyone owns at least one pair of black trainers. They go with everything and make your outfit looks 10x more on point. My favourites are my black high-top converse. I pretty much wear them every day because they're so comfy and they look good too!
  • A leather jacket makes any outfit look much more chic and effortless. 
Links to the above or similar:

Leather Jacket- Superdry (old) Similar: 

Jeans- Topshop:

High-Top Converse- Office:

N x


Friday, 16 September 2016

The Roamin' Nose

Just once a month, the gods come together to bless us with a carbalicious night of delicious food. The Roamin' Nose in Stockbridge have invented the most genius night for the pasta lovers of Edinburgh and boy are we grateful.
So I stumbled upon this little gem while walking to Stockbridge to get my locally produced ingredients for dinner at the market, and it made me very glad that I hadn't just opted for the lazy supermarket option. The 'PASTA! PASTA!! PASTA!!! night' sign obviously caught my attention and I was very pleased to find that the tickets were only £22 pp which included a glass of prosecco on arrival, a starter of bread/olives/oil etc (which was topped up throughout the meal) and three very different, delicious courses of pasta, all freshly homemade on the night.

The first of which was a Malloreddus alla Campidanese - slow cooked tomato sauce with Italian sausage, onions and a pinch of saffron, pecorino sardo and cannonau. The thought of three courses of pasta was slightly intimidating until I saw the perfectly sized portion of the first course. The second was Ravioli filled with kale, ricotta and pine nuts, sauteed in a creamy basil sauce. After a short but well needed break, we were served Spaghetti with scampi, capesante langoustine and scallops cooked with white wine, garlic, parsley and chilli, flamed in samba.

I can honestly say that they were some of the best pasta dishes that I have ever tasted. This was accompanied by excellent service, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and a great atmosphere. The little details such as mint in the table water and homemade petit fours at the end, all added up to make it an amazing evening and something a bit different and special for anyone who enjoys their carbs! The restaurant had a real Italian feeling to it, which instantly relaxed me.

As each course was brought out to all of the tables at the same time it almost felt as thought it was a big family gathering (excluding the fact that we didn't actually know anyone).  As this only takes place once a month with just one sitting of around 25 people on the night, there was a feeling of exclusivity that really added to our enjoyment of the evening.

T x


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Top 3 Ibiza Moments 2: Formentera

If you like white beaches and crystal clear water but don't want to fork out a fortune to a far off tropical land then Formentera is the place for you. 

 I'm not going to lie, the idea of going to Formentera came from a recommendation from my Granny. If Madge likes somewhere then it must be good as everything is generally no more than 'fine' when it comes to anything she does (except spending time with me, obviously). Formentera is a small island located half an hour by boat from Ibiza Old Town. Tickets aren't expensive either and boats run every half an hour to and from the island. 

We took the boat from San Antonio Bay. It took an hour and a half which wouldn't have been bad except it was so windy it could have easily rivalled Scotland (obviously used my beach towel as a wind shield). When we arrived we quickly realised that the thing to do in Fomentera is hire a bike and cycle to a beach. Even though I don't think I had been on a bike since I was roughy 11 we decided €10 for the day was too good an offer not to accept. I'm not going to lie though, the bikes were 100% older than me, my brakes didn't work and the suspension definitely had been non-existent for years. Even still, hiring a bike was worth it as the nearest beach was quite far away.

The beaches were amazing. The only downside was the fact that the main beach was so busy that there was hardly any space to stand, never mind get your beach towel down. This meant that sadly we had to go the beach cafe and find a Mojito... I'd suggest that if anyone was planning a trip to Fomentera then go to one of the beaches closer to the harbour. The sea is just as crystal clear and there are a lottttt less people. 

On the way back to the harbour we stopped at the cutest ice cream shop in the main square for some of the tastiest ice cream I've ever had (Not number 1, I have been to Italy and nowhere beats Italian Gelato!))and then had a look about the market. They sell a lot of quirky jewellery which made good gifts to take home for friends and family. Unfortunately, the boat did come to pick us up so we couldn't stay forever. A trip back to Fomentera will definitely be on the cards for me and I'd definitely suggest visiting the Island if you are staying in Ibiza. It's 100% worth the trip!


Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Best of the Body Shop Butters

The Body Shop is my mums favourite shop, she lives and dies by their camomile range and recommends it to literally anyone who will listen. So as you can imagine I was a body shop baby and was using their strawberry lip balm and lavender body spray from about seven years old. As I got older my love for beauty products only grew and The Body Shop was the perfect match for my pocket money budget and ever growing make-up obsession. 

Over the years I have moved on to slightly more expensive beauty outlets much to the despair of my bank account, but I have never tried a body butter that rivals The Body Shop. There are so many positives to the under £10 product that I can't understand why anyone would buy a more expensive alternative. I suffer from extensively dry skin on my body in the winter months and I find that body butter is the perfect consistency to provide me with comfortable, smooth and hydrated skin.

The Body Shop makes their body butter in a variety of different scents and always go all out for each season with a variety of different offerings for the seasons changing. My favourites are definitely the fruity smells especially the mango and passionfruit scents. I also love that the ingredients include shea butter which is a concentration of natural vitamins and fatty acids that are extremely nourishing and add extensive moisture to dry skin.  Shea butter is a natural remedy for excessively dry skin and helps restore natural oils within the skin. The Body shop also offer a Wild Argan Oil scent which locks in 48 hours of moisture for a very dry skin. 

The Body Butter line ranges from £6.00 - £23.00 so there is something for everybody's skin needs as as well as budget.

L x


Friday, 9 September 2016

Where to lunch in Edinburgh - GRAMS

GRAMS cafe in Haymarket is the place where you'll spot all the cool gang. From students, hipsters to just really cool old people it's the new place to be for something a little different. I've heard so much about it and I've seen them at mini pop-ups but never actually tried anything. Everything they make is it's own tiny piece of perfection. You might laugh, but they're beautiful little mouthfuls of healthy heaven which makes it ten times better. 99% of what they make is dairy, gluten and refined sugar free as well as being all raw natural ingredients and totally vegan. It's the closest you'll every come to healthy and clean cake eating. The best part about it all is that they only use whole, organic and totally natural ingredients. You'll see no soy here or any pretend healthy ingredients. It's completely genuine. I know, it sounds mad but it's true.

It's really no secret that I have the sweetest tooth known to man and this made me a bit apprehensive when I heard that they make cakes that are healthy because it felt too good to be true. The place itself is clean, cool and refreshing to be in. It's fitted with a very modern decoration and little pops of colour which is totally up my street to I was obsessed from the minute we walked in. There's complimentary chilled carafe's of water flavoured with different fruits. I went for the classic cucumber but there was a choice or just plain water so don't worry if you're not into the whole natural flavouring business. There's an amazing seat right in the window that looks like the perfect sun trap but we went for the shade because my boyfriend is ginger and couldn't handle any more heat bless him. The gentleman that served us was super chilled and let us know about every single cake there was. He explained how they were made and what was in what which was amazing to actually learn. (I'm hoping a cookbook is in the making) In the end we went for a blueberry and pistachio cheesecake and a raspberry with vanilla cheesecake. The bases were made from nuts which was amazing and I an tell you this; it was the lightest dreamiest cheesecake I've ever eaten. You just need to try it- even if you're not a cake lover they do fab sandwiches and salads which are 100% on my to be tried list.

Even though GRAMS are known more for being all about that vegan, sugar free life they actually do offer vegetarian and other sweet treats that aren't gluten/sugar free so don't fret. They pride themselves on believing in a healthy balanced lifestyle so they really are the best of both worlds!

Z x


Thursday, 8 September 2016

Aloe Propolis Creme Review

For as long as I can remember I have seriously suffered with sensitive and easily irritated skin especially on my body. I also have had eczema since I was a child which has flared up from time to time throughout adulthood. After a particularly bad bout of eczema in the winter months my skin always feels dry and very sensitive. I have a strict regime consisting of in shower moisturiser and a very thick, hydrating body butter, as well as regular exfoliating and buffing.

I have been on the hunt for a product that will provide a bit of aftercare following using heavy steroid creams on my skin when I have bad eczema. I came across Aloe Propolis Creme through a friend of my sister who works for Forever Living a natural Aloe Vera based product line. She heard the trouble I'd had with eczema and offered her basket of Aloe goodness for me to try out. The propolis creme is definitely one of the stand out products I have seen pretty instant results from using it daily.

The cream contains a blend of aloe vera, bee propolis, chamomile and comfrey that helps to hydrate and soothe irritated and dry skin. It also contains natural antibiotics which helps greatly if applied to small cuts and bruises. I have used this cream on patches of eczema and dryness, as well as small blemishes and cuts and have seen pretty fantastic results. Redness is almost instantly reduced and there is much less of an itch to my skin. Over a few days I have also noticed an improvement in my skin smoothness which is exactly what I need following a horrible break out.

If you are suffering from any type of skin trouble such as eczema or psoriasis this cream could be such a great option for you. I know it is great for sensitive children's skin and is made of all natural ingredients and to top it all of the entire rage is cruelty free. 

L x


Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Quick, Easy & Healthy Recipes for Busy Students

As a full-time hospitality worker, it can be very hard to find the motivation to cook meals every night, never mind worrying about them being healthy and affordable. The thought of having stacks of dishes to clean afterwards makes the idea of going hungry much more appetising. However, I have come up with a few very simple and very easy, quick, healthy and tasty meals that you cannot go wrong with. The best part is that with these recipes, you do not end up with a sink full of dishes! Even for anyone who thinks they can't cook, I promise you, it is not as scary as you think. Not everything is about raw chicken, or having to learn which flavours compliment which textures and all that fuss. All I do is cook things with ingredients that I like!

The best thing about all of these dishes is that you can make them your own, you can swap and change ingredients to suit exactly what you like. For example I do not like mushrooms, yet when i'm looking for inspiration, 90% of recipes I like the sound of have mushrooms, if I kept looking until I found one without, then i would have very limited options. So the simple solution is to ignore them, do everything as the recipe says but without that one ingredient. This also goes for preference of pasta, change to gluten free/wholegrain etc. My point is that you can take the main ideas from a recipe and make it completely your own.

For any 'first-time' cooks I'm going to put in some very simple instructions, and you can ignore the 'extra hints' that involve a little more effort but to be honest are not necessary if you want to keep it simple.

So with this in mind my first recipe is my vegan inspired (not acc vegan as I added Parmesan at the end) Pesto, Rocket and Sugar-snap pea Spaghetti. Just because its a pasta dish it doesn't mean it's unhealthy. This recipe uses only a small amount of pasta and is filled with delicious greens.

Literally all you need is;

- Pasta
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Pesto
- Rocket

These ingredients are not expensive and most people have a packet of pasta in the cupboard anyway, you can use as much or as little of each ingredient as you want, its totally up to your own preference.

 Step 1: Cook the pasta (doesn't have to be spaghetti, use whatever you have in the cupboard to keep the shopping cost low). For first-timers, chuck the pasta in a pan of simmering water, stir it so it doesn't stick together and you know that it's cooked when you try it and it isn't hard... yes its that simple.  Extra hint- I put a bit of salt and oil in the water for taste and to prevent the pasta from sticking together.

Step 2: Chuck the peas in with the pasta when its almost done. First-timers- the peas are cooked when they are hot and they are nicer when they are still crunchy so about 5 mins will do. Extra hint- peel the edges of the peas down each side so you don't get that stringy stuff in your teeth.

Step 3: Drain the pan - literally just tip the water out and hold back the pasta/peas with a spoon or something... who needs a colander (save washing!). Doesn't matter if there's a tiny bit of water in the bottom because that will just add to the sauce.

Step 4: The Pesto. First timers- buy a jar of pesto and stir some into the pan over heat. Extra hint- if you want to keep it vegan/nut free etc then make your own by blending any of the following (excluding what you can't have): oil/basil/pine nuts/lemon/garlic/salt/pepper/Parmesan/spinach.

Step 5: Stir in some rocket. Extra- add a squeeze of lemon juice, grating of Parmesan, bit of parsley on top and season with salt and pepper.

That's it, literally a one pan, delicious and healthy meal in about 15 minutes.

My second dish is a similar idea, Chorizo, Rocket and Balsamic pasta.

What you need:
- Pasta & Rocket (which you already have from above)
- Onion
- Chorizo
- Balsamic vinegar/glaze

Step 1: Cook the pasta (same as above)

Step 2: At the same time the pasta is cooking fry the onion in some oil. First timers: put oil in a pan and put thinly chopped onion in it, stir it, if it is soft then its cooked.

Step 3: Add chorizo to the onion and fry for a further few minutes. First timers- chorizo doesn't have to be cooked but frying it makes it crispy and brings out the flavour. Extra- add salt/pepper.

Step 4: Drain the pasta and add to the onion/chorizo

Step 5: Stir in some rocket and add a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Extra- add a squeeze of lemon juice, grating of Parmesan, top with rocket.

My last one, I will admit, requires slightly more effort. Chorizo and green pea risotto.

What you need:

- Risotto rice
- Onion & Chorizo (which you already have)
- Peas
- Leeks
- Chicken or Veg Stock
- White wine (optional)

Step 1: Fry finely chopped onion

Step 2: Add chopped leeks and chorizo

Step 3: Add risotto rice to the pan with a dollop of butter. First timers- portion size (along with rice-stock ratio) will be on the rice packet

Step 4: Slowly add the liquid to the pan, a bit at a time, starting with the wine (if you choose to use any) mixing as you go until the rice has absorbed it all. This is a bit of a slow process so just be patient. Extra- add some lemon juice/salt/pepper.

Step 5: Mix in the peas a few minutes before serving. Extra: also mix in some parmesan cheese at the end for a bit of extra flavour.

So that's my easy and delicious paella style risotto (it would also go really well with some prawns thrown in there). Perfect with a wee garlic flatbread + side-salad.

I wouldn't recommend eating pasta 7 nights a week however these three dishes contain ingredients that can be used for so many other things, in salads, soups, as sides and so by picking a few ingredients that you enjoy, you can make them into a week of meals rather than having a load of different ingredients each night that you wont use again. Cooking for one can be expensive but by using the same main ingredients in different ways as I have done here you can save money while eating well at the same time.



Tuesday, 6 September 2016

High End v High Street Makeup

I'll admit it I am a lover of expensive cosmetics. The packaging, the luxurious feel of the product and the quality of course for me makes every penny spent worth it. I don't exclusively use high end products though, I also take great pleasure in finding more affordable alternatives. Over the years I have managed to find some pretty great dupes that are similar in almost every way including the packaging. I'm going to talk you through my y thoughts on the high end and high street cosmetic ranges on the market right now.

I think the best place to start is with brushes. I truly believe that when it comes to brushes, generally you get what you pay for and an expensive tool can last you years. A more affordable brush will be good for a few months but you can't expect it to last a life time. When I first began investing in high end products mac brushes were probably one of my most coveted items. I would save up and buy one beautiful brush at a time and treasure it above all my other boots alternatives. The brush I get the most out of has to be the ever hyped Mac 217 Blending Brush, and I must say that it does deserve the glowing reputation. It is the easiest brush to use for blending out a smokey eye and the brush does all the work for you. It is completely worth the £20.00 price tag. 
Now at half the price a great more affordable but very similar brush is the Zoeva 227 Soft Definer Brush. I bought this brush originally about two years ago and I really haven't looked back. When I did a lot of freelance make-up work for weddings etc this brush was an absolute lifesaver. The Zoeva brush line in general were so great for me doing make-up work on a budget. Final thoughts - the brushes are beautiful quality at amazing prices. In this instance I would say both brushes are amazing and you always needs multiple blending brushes for a smokey eye so stock up on both.

So I love a nude or white nail I think it is such a chic look and I always feel like my hands look clean and elegant in that colour. There was a lot of hype around Essie Ballet Slippers back in the day and I actually think it might have been the first Essie polish I ever purchased. I initially really loved this polish and thought it was such a great light nude nail colour but then I discovered Barry M Gelly Hi Shine in Cream Soda and it changed my opinion completely. The Barry M offering is just so high in pigment and applies really smoothly its costs £3.99 and stays put for at least a week on my barista abused nails. Final thoughts - Essie do a great nude nail colour but for pigmentation and value for money I would go with Barry M.

Okay so I love a minimal but dramatic flick of eyeliner on the daily. The only problem is that my eyelids do not agree and I can never get a liquid liner to stay put throughout the day. I discovered Soap and Glory Supercat Black Pen liquid liner and fell deeply in love. It costs £6 it is very black, easy to apply and it stays put for the best part of the day. I used this every single day for a year I'm sure and it was literally fail safe until about six months ago where I noticed it just wasn't lasting as well as before. That is when the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner came to my rescue, and when the say tattoo liner, they mean tattoo liner. This product is black as night and is actually difficult to remove at the end of my day. The only issue is that the make-up line is only available in the United States at the minute. Final thoughts - Other than the location problem if you love liquid liner you have to try out both of these gorgeous liners.

Highlighter is my ultimate product and has been for years and the first product of this variety I ever bought after a compliment about my pale skin from the ladies at the benefit counter was Benefit High Beam. That was around eight years ago and I am still to this day using that product because I love it so much. I use it alone, layer it with powder highlighter and mix it in with my foundation, it is just so versatile and gives my pale skin a lovely natural looking glow. A friend of mine gave me the Technic High Lights and okay it is not anywhere near as versatile and high quality as the Benefit version but it does have its own merit. Firstly it only costs £2.11 on amazon which is great and also it is actually very pigmented and I have used it many times as an eyeshadow or to layer a really strong glow to the top of my cheek bones for evenings out and dramatic make-up looks. Final thoughts - Buy both, Benefit is a life saving all year round favourite and Technic is cheap, cheerful and fun.

Like most people my dessert island product is mascara and on top of that mine would be this particular mascara. Yves Saint Laurent Effet Faux Cils Shocking Volume Mascara is the most amazing, impressive, high drama mascaras I have ever used. I first got is a gift at the airport one year on holiday with my parents and I have never looked back. It just produces the most volumised, long and black lashes and it smells beautiful too. I can't recommend it enough if I am honest. I came across Soap and Glory Thick and Fast Collagen Mascara on a month when I was exceptionally skint and could not afford my YSL favourite. A friend had recommended this mascara to me saying it looked and felt just like my beloved YSL, so I took her at her word and picked it up with my sacred boots point. I have to say that it was definitely worth it, at £10.50 nearly half the price of my high end love it is almost just as good. It produces thick, dramatic lashes and isn't too clumpy at all. Final thoughts - Buy YSL every time it is literally second to nothing especially for light lashes and somebody who loves a dramatic eye.

L x

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