Sunday, 23 November 2014

Homemade Granola

 Breakfast is probably one of my favourite meals of the day and I love to experiment, particularly with healthy foods. Smoothies, pancakes, oatmeal, chia pudding.. the list is endless! I use to be such a cereal lover but since becoming a little wiser nutrition wise, I've realised just how full of sugar those innocent looking cardboard boxes are. It can be extremely pricey to pick up cereals that are actually good for you, so why not try whipping something up at home? I love getting busy in the kitchen but for mornings when time just does not permit, it's great to have something healthy in your stash that you can put together in minutes and enjoy.

This recipe is a mix of ones I've seen online but there's really no hard and fast rules. It's extremely customisable, use whatever nuts, dried fruits and seeds you've got hanging around and you enjoy. Same thing goes for spices, if you're not a cinnamon fan you could always experiment with nutmeg or even pumpkin spice- don't be afraid to try something different.

Everything included is super healthy and nutritious. Oats for long-lasting energy, flax seed for all important Omega 3's, pumpkin and sunflower seeds for all kinds of vitamins and minerals, cinnamon for stabilising blood sugar levels, coconut oil for a little healthy fat and agave syrup because it's a much healthier alternative to sugar. I also like to mix up my additions but sultana and almonds are a personal favourite.

I top mine with oat milk, chia seeds and any fresh fruit I've got hanging around, berries are particularly tasty, and you've got a yummy, nutritious breakfast in just a few minutes. Plus this stuff lasts really well in an airtight container.

2 1/2 cups of oats
1 cup almonds
1 cup raisins 
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup flax seeds
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
4 teaspoons of cinnamon (add more or less depending on how much of a cinnamon fan you are)
3 tablespoons agave syrup (you could also use good quality maple syrup)

Start by preheating your oven to 180C and blitzing almonds in a food processor or chopping by hand to make small chunks. Mix together in a large bowl with all the other seeds and oats. Next up time to melt the coconut oil with the agave syrup and cinnamon. You can do this over the stove or simply pop in the microwave for a few seconds. Once all melted, mix through with the dry ingredients you've already prepared. 

Spread the mixture out over a lined baking tray and pop into your preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes. I like to check back every 10 minutes or so to give things a little stir and make sure it's not getting too crispy. Regular stirring will also help minimise the chance of burning the top bits. 

Once it's cooked to your liking remove from the oven, I don't like mine too crunchy so usually only leave it in for about 25 minutes. You can now stir through any dried fruit and once cool, pop into an airtight container to keep fresh. It keeps well for at least 3 weeks, I think that's the longest I've ever managed to keep a batch going for! It really is that yummy!


Sunday, 16 November 2014

A Skincare Update

It's been a while since I've talked skincare on the blog. I've been going through some tough times on the skin front, one minute it's looking better than ever, the next I'm going through a massive breakout and I'm really at my wits end. This hasn't left me feeling too inspired skincare wise however there have been a few stand out products helping me get through.

First up is one I can't believe hasn't made an appearance yet, Nip and Fab's Glycolic Radiance Renewal Pads. Some of you will know that I'm an acid toner fan with my previous mentions of Clarin's Exfoliating Toner but these N&F pads have really made an impact. This is my second tub of these- see why I can't believe I haven't mentioned them yet?! They're very gentle for an acid product, I've even been using them twice daily. They seem to really help with those pesky, under-skin, blemishes that like to stick around for ages.

Another one aimed at helping on the blemish front is Origin's Clear Improvements mask. I've had this in my stash for quite some time but recently I've really been getting some decent use out of it. Best when used on a regular basis, it may initially cause a breakout or two but with regular use (think once or twice a week) my skin looks noticeably less congested. Great for those weird red spots that aren't really spots but are kind of just there, chilling in all their congested glory.

A new addition to my skincare stash is the very well known Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair. Shown above is little sample I received in a gift with purchase however I'm fairly sure I'll be picking up the full version. I was always worried it would be way too heavy for my oily skin but it actually soaks in with ease and leaves my complexion glowing come morning. A good option for something very hydrating but not as heavy as some moisturisers.

I couldn't do a skincare update without mentioning Clinique's Take Off The Day Cleansing Balm; my daily makeup remover of choice. I have made a seriously hefty dent in this stuff. I use it every day to remove all traces of makeup before continuing on with a second cleanse. It removes even heavy eye makeup and a little goes a long way.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Holiday Planning Tips

A post exam treat is on the cards for my boyfriend and I. Four hours after our final exam for the year we'll be hoping on the plane to Singapore and a week later, Kuala Lumpur. Much holiday planning has ensued and it time things on the blog got a little holiday-centric. Think inflight skincare routine, multi-tasking holiday beauties and carry on essentials. It's all in the works. I can't be the only one that gets completely over involved in holiday preparation. Holiday themed YouTube videos are my fodder of choice and lists are begun way, way in advance.

Today I'm coming at you with my top holiday planning tips. Now by no means am I a travel expert but I have most definitely caught the travel bug. In true Virgo style I love the opportunity to organise just about anything and here's my favourite resources for when holiday time comes around.

TripAdvisor is your best friend- I can not imagine choosing a hotel without the help of TripAdvisor. On my trip to Thailand last year I stayed in 5 different hotels, all found through TripAdvisor and all amazing (check out the pics here). You can arrange hotel listings by budget, location, lifestyle.. it really is an amazing resource. The forum section is also super helpful, either reading through everyone else's feeds or posting your own question- the community are so incredibly helpful!

Skyscanner is a pretty close second- the minefield of flights can be a difficult one to navigate, finding the cheapest option on the day/time that suits you best. Step in Skyscanner. A website and app that allows you to search a number of different airlines for the cheapest result. My favourite thing is searching 'destination: everywhere' and planning countless different trips, so sad.

Plan, plan and plan but leave some spare time- I think this is such an important thing to keep in mind. Depending on the style of holiday you're going on, it's understandable for you to want to plan just about everything, but it's important to keep some spare time. By all means make a list of all the attractions and activities you want to see and do but save time for those little experiences you can't plan. Venture off the beaten path and explore the real culture of where ever you're visiting, it's often how the best memories are made.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

The New Cream Shadow

Anyone who has been round these parts for a while will know about my past obsession with Maybelline's Colour Tattoos. Easy to apply and always look like you've put in 10 times the amount of effort you actually have, what's not to like? Fast forward to more recent times and my beloved colour tattoo stash has been pushed aside and replaced by something a little different; eyeshadow sticks. Basically a cream formula in stick form, these are even easier to apply and make for the perfect 'throw it in your bag' purchase.

The brand that perhaps started the whole eyeshadow crayon phase is Clinique. Their original Chubby Stick Moisturising Lip Balm made quite a stir in the beauty world and has since spread onto cheeks and of course, eyes. Joining the ranks with 12 different shades, there's a Chubby Stick to suit all. Fuller Fudge was my pick of the bunch, a golden bronze perfect for my everyday face. A little of this drawn on the lid and blended out with fingers takes all of about 30 seconds and leaves plenty of time for the million other things you need to get done. It's one of those that always seems to look naturally darker in the crease giving that impression of multiple colours and a tonne of blending, win! Longevity wise it's still detectable around the 7 hour mark but much beyond this you'd probably want to consider reapplying. The formula is incredibly creamy so blending is simple but you do pay for it in the lasting power department (although 7 hours is pretty good for me!).

Luckily for those of us not wanting to make pricey makeup purchases a regular occurrence, the high street has jumped on board the 'chubby stick' trend. Australian brand Australis caught my attention with their Cray for Colour Eyeshadow Sticks. At a much more purse friendly $8.95 I picked up the shade Soiling the Fun and a few more may be on the horizon (oops). A slightly more frosty, metallic finish than that of Clinique, this shade has a slight purple/taupe tinge. It blends out just as easily as Clinique's version however it is possible to sheer it out that little too much so be careful. Requires a little more 'building up' than Clinique's but for the price, can you really complain? The lasting power is just as good at it's more pricier counterpart. A great budget buy if you can get your hands on it.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

The Reading List

I use to be the biggest bookworm back in the day (fellow Harry Potter fans, I know you're out there), but these days, uni books aside, I don't spend enough time with a good read in hand. Although recently I did find myself having a little unintentional book splurge and I'm feeling pretty happy to be returning to my bookworm-like tendencies. Not much beats the feel of a new book now does it? This time round they're all advice-type reads, a cookbook, interior DIY (moving out and decorating my own place can't come soon enough) and beauty, duh!

Thug Kitchen- One of my most recent Amazon discoveries, that site is full of some pretty amazing things huh? A whole new take on healthy, vegan eating this book is like nothing I've ever read before. This video explains it all. Warning: Do not watch if you're sensitive to the odd swear word or two. Basically, it's simple, healthy, tasty food without any of the *insert swear word here*. The creators also have a blog so if you want to know more, check that out here.

A Beautiful Mess Happy Handmade Home- I'm sure most of you have had a perusal or two of Elsie and Emma's beautiful blog and if not, where have you been? These are some crafty ladies that really do know a thing or two about DIY. Their book is chockfull with simple but effective home interior DIY ideas, it's impossible not to feel inspired. A lovely coffee table read, I'm exciting to give some things a go.

Pretty Honest- Now here's a read that any #bblogger has to know about. It's been plastered all over Twitter/Instagram/*insert social media platform here* and for good reason. Beauty heavyweight Sali Hughes spills her best beauty knowledge gathered from many years in the industry. You can take a peak at the first few pages on Amazon here and if that doesn't have you clicking the 'Buy Now' button, I don't know what will. A good one to add to your Christmas list or gift to the beauty fiend in your life.


Sunday, 2 November 2014

The Faux Glow for Newbies

I won't hesitate in admitting to the fact that I am a complete faux tan newb. Tinted moisturisers are about as far as my golden glow ventures have gone and I've even managed to make them streaky in the past, don't ask. So for me to find a product that I feel comfortable applying and doesn't look completely over the top on my pale skin is just short of a miracle. Ok...maybe a slight exaggeration, but it is pretty exciting. The fact that it's not a product that's going to break the bank makes things even better, shall I get on to the details already!?

Rimmel's Sun Shimmer Instant Tan and Gradual Glow in light matte is the product that's got me so hot under the collar. The thing that really gets me is just how easy it is to apply. I opt for a tanning mitt as this also helps me avoid any orange hand situations but also makes smoothing this stuff on a quick and simple task. It's even something I'm willing to do on a daily basis and that's saying something. It's not something I've been using all over, more of a quick fix for any area of skin I've got exposed that day, think those winter white pins.

I love that the gel like product is quite a dark brown shade as I find it easy to spot any areas that need a little more blending. I find the shade light matte to be very natural on my pale skin so don't be afraid if you're a fellow pale gal (or guy!). In terms of lasting power I've had no trouble with this stuff lasting a good 24 hours between showers. I'm not too sold on the whole 'gradual glow' claim, I can't say I've really noticed a difference but I'm not too fussed. I only really purchased it as an instant wash off tan so any gradual glow is just a bonus! Another bonus is the lack of that distinctive self tan biscuit-like smell, you know the one. Now I won't say it's got a particularly nice scent however it quickly disappears after application so no complaints here.

Maybe Rimmel will be my 'gateway tan' and next thing you know I'll be a full on fake tan convert! My interests in the area have definitely been spiked. Any recommendations for something up a level? I'm listening. 


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Spring Trends

Spring is here and that means it's time to pull out the pastels and pop on the sunnies. I've done a little research *cough* blog/magazine reading, and I'm feeling pretty full bottle on upcoming beauty trends. Taking a look at beauty bits that made the rounds on UK/USA beauty blogs during their SS as well as runway looks I've rounded up a selection of trends that I think will be big when the weather heats up.

Fashion show wise things seem to be all about the straight hair. It was all over the SS '14 runways and is a look that's fairly easy to achieve, naturally straight haired gals you're in luck! However having said that I think there's always room for a beachy curl come summer time, it's a classic.

When it comes to makeup, a natural base with a bold matte lip seems to be particularly popular. Something like Revlon's Colourburst Matte Balms (pictured above in the shade Elusive) are a good option for bold lip chickens like myself. As always in the summer months, chiseled bronzed cheeks are making an appearance. Nothing makes you look that little bit healthier than a hint of colour to the cheeks. Something like The Body Shop's Honey Bronzer is great for pale girls wanting something natural and NP Set's Blush Bronze Duo is nice for something a bit darker. 

Onto eyes and the typical goldy hues are resurfacing. No complaints here, I love a little gold with my blue eyes. Shades such as Half Baked by Naked Decay make an amazing, quick, one wash wonder perfect for the summer months. A lid trend that's a little different is pastel shades. Not something I've tried before but apparently their not just for your nails! Pastel blues, pinks and greens were all spotted on the SS runways, now I just need to find a way to rock them myself!

A more winter-esque trend that's made it's way into Spring Summer is berry lips. A soft berry lip is very on trend this year so keep that winter berry in your makeup rotation just a little longer. Take a bold berry and pat on with your finger or use something like Clinique's Almost Lipstick in Black Honey to acheive a glossy, soft berry look. 

What's your favourite look for Spring Summer this year?

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