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Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Friday Five | Pay Day Spending - May


It's the last Friday of the month, which means payday (for me, hopefully for you too!). It's also a bank holiday weekend and I couldn't be more excited. From the moment I leave work today my entire weekend is jam packed with plans to hang out with friends and hopefully enjoy this glorious weather we've been having.

It feels like forever since last pay day, my bank account has been running dry and there's a few pieces I've been wanting to treat myself to - and now I can!




I've been dying to get my hands on an over sized jacket and so this one from River Island is going to be the first thing I pick up, along with the Vans as my current pair or worn to the absolute death and are looking a very sorry for themselves. 

What items are you planning on having a little splurge on this payday? I'd love to know!

- Adel xx



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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Eylure x Fleur de Force | Brows


Brows are big business these days. When I was younger and first getting in to make up, eyebrows just weren't on my radar. They went from the great un-plucked to the severely over-plucked (and one time shaved, but we don't speak of it). Now as an adult, I'm paying for my teenage experiments with sparse and unruly brows. I remember my first adventure in to applying make up on to my eyebrows, attempting to fill in the gaps with a brown eyeliner pencil that was far too red in tone. It felt so wrong, putting make up on your brows was only just becoming a 'thing' and I just didn't get it. These days I can't bare to not give my eyebrows a little something before leaving the house.

When I got my hands on the Eyelure x Fleur de Force Brow Tamer and Brow Palette I was over the moon. I'm a fan of Fleur and I must have been living with my head stuck under a rock because I had no idea these were even a thing. So when these landed in postbox I was so excited to give them a go. The packaging is beautiful, a gorgeous pink/rose gold colour and very enticing.


I have both products in the shade medium, which I was worried might perhaps be a little too light for me as my hair is quite dark, but both products actually turned out to be the perfect shade.

The brow palette has to be my favourite, and a product I'll definitely be repurchasing. I've always favourited  powder products for my brows, to help give them a deeper colour and shade in all the gaps. I absolutely love that this palette comes with two brown shades.
On days where I'm going for the old classic 'no make up, make up' look I prefer the lighter brown to just add a bit of natural colour. Other days I find myself using a mix of the two, or the dark shade on it's own on an evening. I also love that it comes with a lovely subtle highlight shade, ideal for under the brow bone. I've actually been using this in the inner corner of my eyes and all across my lid with a darker shade in the crease.
In terms of longevity I haven't any grumbles. Over all, a great little palette that has quickly become part of my every day routine.



It's probably going to come as no surprise that I love the Brow Tamer too. A handy, double ended product that does everything you want from a brow gel. In the past, I've steered away from brow gels, fearing that 'crunchy' look and texture. As part of my brow-venture I've started using brow gels more and more, and I've been enjoying this one recently. 
I use the coloured side mostly in combination with the brow palette to create a bold, sculpted evening look. The brush is tiny, which is exactly what you want when applying a coloured liquid to your face. It grabs the hairs but it's small enough to not leave brown streaks where you don't want them. 
I find myself using the clear gel less, but do like applying a little in combination with the lightest shade in the brow palette for a natural every day look... especially when I'm getting ready for a trip to the brow bar!
My favourite thing about this product though is the way it sets. It's not crispy and dry, but strong enough to keep those annoying little hairs in place all day and all night. I haven't experienced any smudging/crumbling either which will always get a product in to my good books. 



While I wasn't necessarily in the market for new brow products, I'm certainly glad these ones came in to my life. They've given my boring old brow routine a good old switch up that I didn't realise it needed. So, that's another wonderful Eylure x Fleur de Force collaboration that has made it's self firmly at home in my make up drawers!

- Adel xx
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Friday, 19 May 2017

The Friday Five | Things That Have Kept Me Busy This Week



1. Dieting 
Hahahahaaa. No, genuinely. I've actually lost a few pounds but damn it, all I've been able to think about all week is the glass of wine I'm going to treat myself to tonight. Oh my god, my mouth is watering.

2. Learning to play squash
Growing up I was always told I had no 'hand-eye co-ordination'. Which is true. But even though I'm terrible at it, learning squash is so much fun!

3. Launching new stock on Homebird Boutique
Photographing, editing, planning, uploading, launching, promoting and running giveaways - phew! But I love it!

4. Writing blog posts I can't finish
The writing part of my brain has detached itself and floated off. I keep putting hours aside to sit and write and nothing happens, nothing half decent comes out of the end of my fingers. Blah.

5. Planning a trip to Italy
All my life, to venture around Italy has been a dream. Last week a friend accidentally let slip that Gareth is planning us a trip to Italy in September and since then I've been walking around with my head in the clouds, dreaming of strolling around Venice in a floaty dress, gelato in hand.

So there we have it, 5 things that have been taking up my brain this week. And now it's the weekend, I'm going to snuggle in to the sofa in my comfiest hoodie and pour that glass of wine. Ahhhh, lovely.

- Adel xx
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Monday, 15 May 2017

Strobe of Genius | Nyx Palette Review


In a beauty world where we can't get enough highlighter, a whole palette of them is surely becoming an essential requirement in our make up bags/drawers/cupboards... hoards.
When I got my hands on the NYX Strobe of Genius palette, I have to say, I felt a little overwhelmed. So...much...highlighter. Now, I'm definitely no make up expert. Don't get me wrong, like most gals I love me some highlight, but crikey, what are all the shades even for? What do you do with them? Where do you put them?

So I sit in at my desk, face pretty much finished, staring at the palette and trying to decide which one to dip my brush in. In the end I swatch them all on my fingers and find the shades to be nowhere near as scary as I anticipated. In the end I take a little out of the one of the bigger squares, the lightest shade, and dust a small bit on my brow bones, on the bridge of my nose and on my cupids bow. I then took the pink shade and sort of overlapped with my blusher and just over my cheek bones.

The highlighters themselves make absolutely no apologies for what they are. With little pieces of shimmer, these aren't going to give you that 'no make up, make up glow'. There is certainly no denying their shimmery power, and on days/nights where I want to go full glam then this is perfect!

Although I honestly didn't expect to get much use out of all the colours in this palette, I've found myself dipping my brush in all of them for different reasons. Creating a warm look with your eyes and lips? There's a highlight for that. Going for cool tones? This palette has you covered. I even love using some of the shades on my eyes.

I think the shade I've used the least and can see going a little unloved is the yellow. There's just no situation where yellow toned shimmer is complimentary to my skin tone, but hey, that's me.

Does my highlight collection need this palette? No, probably not. But it's fun and I enjoy playing around with it. And really, if we're classing this palette as one product (which I feel inclined to do, for my own peace of mind) one more can't hurt, can it?

- Adel xx
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Sunday, 16 April 2017

Easter Rocky Road | Recipe




It's Easter Sunday and what better way to celebrate with a super easy, extra chocolatey and all round crowd pleaser of a treat. Who doesn't enjoy a fabulous piece of rocky road from time to time? It's literally a bunch of all the good stuff stuck together in a big slab of chocolate. And also, it's just about the quickest and easiest thing to make besides chocolate nests. A busy weekend with not much chance for baking, but still wanting to treat friends and family, an Easter theme rocky road seemed like the perfect idea. Of course I wanted to share the outcome with you guys, and just a warning before we proceed... this stuff is pretty damn addictive. 


Recipe:

400g Milk Chocolate (30% cocoa solids)
130g Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
100g Mini Marshmallows
150/200g Digestive Biscuits
325g(ish) Mini Eggs
3 x 82g bags of Cadbury Oreo Eggs

Makes roughly 12 pieces

The beauty of rocky road is that most of the bits are interchangeable and you can pretty much do what you like with it. And by no means was I precisely accurate with the measurements of mini eggs and marshmallows I was throwing in there, I just used the above as a guide and sort of played it by ear really. I initially intended on using Creme Eggs instead of the Oreo ones but when I saw them in the store I thought they'd be delicious! (Spoiler: I was right)


Method

Line Tray

 Line your choice of tray with parchment paper and set to one side. 
I used a roughly 20x15 oven dish for my rocky road as I'm of the opinion that the thicker and chunkier the better! The bigger your dish the further you'll have to spread your mixture so if you prefer something with a little more bite sized... you do you girl.  

Crush/Cut/Break Up your 'filling' items and add them all together in a big bowl

While it might seem like a good idea to do all this prep while the chocolate is melting, it's better to be safe than sorry and give that temperamental bugger your full attention.
 I  chose to cut my Oreo Eggs in half for a more even spread. 
I put around 80% of my mini eggs (well deal with the other 20% later) in to a plastic food bag and used a rolling pin to crush them up a little (mainly they broke in to halves).
 I used the same rolling pin method to crush my digestives, although I didn't totally obliterate them, like I said before... for me, the chunkier the better. 
Add in your mini marshmallows and set your bowl of deliciousness to one side. 

Measure butter and chocolate and place together in a big bowl

I cut my butter up in to small cubes to make the melting process easier. 
And I broke up the chocolate in to small pieces for the same quick-melting reason. I did this by thwacking the bars numerous times against my work top.... kinda stress relieving and much quicker than trying to break it up piece by piece with your hands.

Simmer water in a pan and place bowl of butter and chocolate on top

Don't put too much water in, about half way will do. Keep your hob on a super low heat (I had mine on the lowest it will possibly go without being off) you really don't want it boiling up and bubbling every where, just a warm gentle simmer is perfect. Pop your bowl on the top and let it gently heat away. Stirring occasionally to make sure the chocolate on the bottom doesn't burn. It's a long, tedious process but in this case, slow and steady wins the race. I've tried to rush this step before and ended up with burned, stinky, lumpy chocolate - not ideal. 

Once the chocolate/butter mixture is fully melted, add it to your other ingredients

Pour your melty chocolate mixture in to your large bowl full of all your little bits of goodness that you prepared earlier. I used a large wooden spoon to quickly but gently mix it all together until everything is fully coated in chocolate. 

Add mixture to tray, decorate and refrigerate

Spread the mixture gently so that it fully fills the tray. Use those uncrushed mini eggs we set aside earlier to add to the top for a bit of decoration and pop the tray in the fridge for at least one hour. Yes I know it's tempting. You've got the spoon and the bowl to lick clean though to keep you going.


Once it's out of the fridge, cut it up in to as many pieces as you see fit. One big piece? I won't judge.
Wether giving as a gift or hosting guests, I like to present my rocky road in a fun and obvsiously Easter themed way. I used a little basket I made at Easter last year (see last years post) and popped a few pieces of my rocky road in there along with a little yellow chick or two for added cuteness. 

Happy Easter everyone! And happy stuffing your face with chocolate!

- Adel x






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Friday, 14 April 2017

TFF | Non-Chocolate Easter Gifts


It's no secret that I love all things Easter and Spring, and if you were to pop over to my house for a pot of tea and a slice of cake this weekend you'll find my walls adorned with bunny shaped bunting and tiny little yellow chicks scattered over every accessible surface. While my cupboards are threatening to burst open and spill out the ridiculous amounts of egg shaped chocolate they're currently harbouring, I thought today's TFF would be a great oppertunity to share some little Easter gifts that aren't actually edible.



I mean, who wouldn't take delight in having their toast served up in a bunny toast rack? That would make anyone's morning a little happier, surely?

I love putting together a few bits to make a gift, and one of my favourite things to do is pick out a cute mug and fill it with little pieces. I'm seriously in love with the 'Be You Mug' from my shop Homebird Boutique, combine it with the bunny socks and perhaps a creme egg and you've got the perfect little Easter gift

Happy Good Friday! And I'll see you on Sunday with a tasty Easter bake :).

- Adel xx
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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Nailing the Spring Transition | New Look Matte Nail Polish Review



One of the things I love about Autumn/Winter is the acceptance of dark nail polishes, allowing me to express my inner goth. This past winter I fell in love with the dark matte/velvet look, and I've been finding it hard to let go and step in to Spring/Summer brights. Like Spring eases us from Winter to Summer, matte nudes and muted tones have become my perfect transitional shades and are slowly gearing me up for the all the rainbow colours I'm sure I'll be obsessing with in Summer.
I recently discovered the Beauty section of New Look (how has it taken me so long?) and while I was drawn in by the beautiful packaging and immediately wanted to try everything, I just had to pick up a shade from their range of matte nail polishes. There's some really beautiful colour options, perfect for those of us wanting to subtly lighten up our nail wardrobe. I'm currently painting, removing and re-painting this gorgeous 'Antique Rose' shade, and I can't get enough of it.


The packaging of this whole range is so pretty, with the coloured liquid hosed in frosted glass bottles topped off with a metallic look lid. The large square lid pulls off to (thankfully) reveal a much smaller, black handle with the brush attached, which is so much easier to handle. The brush itself isn't anything to write home about. It's just a standard brush, lacking in comparison to the much flatter, wider, easy application brushes in a lot of polishes on the market these days, but it does the job.

The liquid is fairly runny, and I'd definitely apply two coats for a nice even coverage, but I always apply two coats of any nail polish to be honest. It goes on glossy but quickly dries down to a matte, which is a great way being visibly able to tell when it's safe to start actually doing things again without 'the fear'. I'm always so impatient with nail polish and usually end up catching it, smudging it, getting a hair stuck in it or what ever.

The shade is a truly lovely muted lilac, perhaps a little less pink than I was expecting with a name like 'Antique Rose' but I really love it. I love lilac as a pretty spring colour and the cool tone really sits nicely with my pale skin.

I haven't applied a clear top coat over it yet, as I don't have a matte one and don't want to add any gloss. But without it, the longevity is still pretty decent if you're careful (which I'm not) and don't do things like the cleaning/washing up without rubber gloves (which I sometimes do) and don't pick at it (which I do).

So if you're looking for a way to subtly bring your nails in to Spring, I fully recommend this polish, and I'm definitely keen to try some of the other colours in the range.. I've got my eye Dusty Pink and Misty Grey in particular.

- Adel xx
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