Thursday, 28 January 2016

January Favourites 2016

I'm so glad to be coming to the end of January. For some reason it always seems to be an awful month where everything goes wrong and mood is at an all time low. But now is not the time to discuss sadness as it's favourites time where we discuss all the things I've been loving this month!

My skin has been having a very rough month. I don't know whether it's been the weather, the stress of third year or the change in water (seriously, my face hates it when I move from home to uni and wash my face in different water, who knew?!). I couldn't work out if my skin was really oily or severely dehydrated so I tried stripping the oil and adding more moisture to try and work out what was going on. One night I smothered my face in the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask and when I woke up it was as if my skin was singing from the highest of heavens. It was plump, not oily and just looked so much better and clearer. It's a really thick moisturiser/mask that you apply generously to give your skin a moisture boost. I think that my skin might be turning from oily to dry so I need to work out maybe a modified skincare routine for that, any recommendations for moisture boosting products would be much appreciated!

I never jumped onto the highlighting concealer band wagon but here we are, bringing one in as one of my favourites. This is the L'Oreal True Match Highlighting Concealer. I bought this because I was in desperate need of a concealer and they didn't have my shade in the normal true match concealer so I just went for this one instead. What I do is apply my Maybelline Under Eye Concealer first and then go in with this one and it makes the world of different. It makes my face look brighter and this concealer combo is great on dark circles, I'm in love! Speaking of love, the lipstick above is the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Sexy Sienna. This lipstick is amazing. It goes on smoothly, lasts for a really long time and is a stunning colour. It's quite nude but on the lips it does pop and is quite peachy as well. I could go on about this product forever but the formula is so amazing I need to expand my collection of these soon!

The unicorn slipper you see above represents my love for everything slipper related. Before October the only slippers I owned were ones I had bought for Christmas years ago that were hiding in a wardrobe back at home. Now I own three pairs, which are all at uni with me, and that all serve a different purpose. I have a unicorn pair, and Olaf, pair and a Thumper pair. I love looking down at my feet and seeing a cute furry face looking back up at me. Things like that really brightened my dark January days!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016


You'd think I'd have realised by now not to write these posts on an empty stomach but alas, here we are! Another Nottingham restaurant today and it's something that's a little bit different to your 'typical' restaurant. I'd describe this place as kind of quirky, rocky and just down right cool! The menu was very extensive and kind of complicated to work it out but once you get your head round it, it is kind of straight forward. The food came in 'funky' dishes and on weird trays and I love how different it was. I really want to go back and try out some of the other dishes!

I went for chicken and waffles with fries. I wanted to go for something that I probably couldn't have anywhere else, and come on who doesn't want to combine fried chicken and sweet sweet waffles! It sounds insane! I didn't really know what to expect other than the fact it was going to be an extreme mix of sweet and savoury and I didn't know whether I was going to like it or not (spoiler alert, I did). I really enjoyed this meal! The chicken was crispy on the outside and soft in the middle and it wasn't greasy in the slightest, which is usually the case when it comes to fried chicken. There were three waffles, all of which were soft and like your standard breakfast waffle. There were two sauces, maple syrup and a white barbecue sauce. The maple syrup was standard and went well with both the waffles and the chicken as it gave the chicken a nice and sticky outside. The white barbecue sauce was my ideal barbecue sauce as I'm not big on a barbecue flavour and this sauce just had a little hint. This little hint was also nice to go with both of the elements of the meal and sort of tied everything together. Last but not least the fries were 'standard fries' but to me they also had a taste of fish and chip shop chips so if you know how they're cooked then I think they were cooked like that. Delicious and I'd definitely it again in a heartbeat!

Monday, 25 January 2016

The Tan for the People that Never Fake Tan

When I go out with my friends I'm always the one that looks a little bit ill on the end. Casper the ghost if you will. It's my own fault, I've just never had the interest to 'tan up'. I knew that if I did give it a go I'd be patchy, stink of biscuit and end up wearing it on the rainiest day of the year and it would all wash off anyway. My view did change this Christmas though when in my amazing Soap and Glory hamper set thing there was this. The Soap and Glory Righteous Butter Instant Sunkissed Tint Body Lotion. That has to be the longest name in the world! I wasn't sure what it was going to be like and I was a bit sceptical at first. I'd describe it as a cross between an instant tan and a gradual tan. It is definitely instant as as soon as it comes out of the tube it looks like you're rubbing melted chocolate on your body. I find that it takes a lot of rubbing in, and the first time I applied it I was terrified it was going to leave me with giant streaks. What I love about this product is that it doesn't smell, at all! I thought that it might have a bit of a whiff after a while but even the next day there was nothing. It also washes like an absolute dream! What I would say about this for the fake tan newb like me is as soon as you've rubbed it into your skin, run to the bathroom, grab an exfoliator and rub the orange right off your hands. You need an exfoliator because it takes some hard core stuff to get it off your hands. So if you're a fake tan virgin but want a bit of a glow I would definitely recommend getting this. It's £8.00 at Boots and I can see this tube lasting me for quite a while!

Thursday, 21 January 2016

A Scrub For All Occasions

Hi everybody, I'm Abz and I'm a scrub-a-holic. But to be fair it was thrust upon me! For Christmas I was lucky enough to get three of these lovely scrubs, which technically grew my collection, 400%. I spoke a bit about some of these scrubs in my What's in my Shower post if you'd like to go and read that but without further ado, let's begin.

If you want a scrub that gives your legs a real good, well, scrubbin' then look no further than the Soap and Glory Smoothie Star Scrub. This is a sugar scrub so imagine rubbing sugar on your legs, in a good way, and that's basically what it's like. It smells like sugar, syrup and a bit nutty so is great as a chilling out/ just before bed scent. For something a little more awakening then look no further than the Soap and Glory Orangeasm Exfoliating Body Polish. This is more like a bead texture where you rub it into your skin and the beads burst leaving your legs feel silky smooth. The beads are in a gel so you feel like you're getting a scrub and a moisturise in one. Use this if you need a bit of waking up! The Soap and Glory Scrub of Your Life is pretty much the same but is in the standard Soap and Glory scent. This is the scrub I use everyday to just top up the smooth! Last but certainly not least is The Body Shop Spa of the World African Ximenia Scrub. This is such a weird but amazing scrub. It's like a balm that melts in your hands when you touch it so it's quite hard to get out of the tub but once you do it's worth it! To feel it you wouldn't think it would be a scrub but as soon as you start rubbing it on your body you can feel it getting to work. What I love about this is that it gives you a gentle scrub but moisturises as well. If you haven't tried anything from the range before I would definitely recommend picking something up because everything I've tried has been amazing!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

La Cachette! (Take Nine)

Here we go again, another visit to the restaurant of dreams. I can't help it okay, I'm weak!

For starter I went for crab croquettes with a bloody mary jelly and a spring onion aioli. This, was amazing! Although it looks like quite a small portion it was actually the perfect size. The actual croquettes were packed with crab flavour, which I loved because I'm seriously big on crab! If I was to have one criticism it would be that I could have done with a bit more aioli, but that's only because I like to smother things in sauce. The aioli itself has an amazing flavour and was really nice and creamy, going well with the crab. Now, I thought that I would leave the bloody mary jelly because I thought that the whole concept was a bit weird. But never judge a book by it's cover because this was a nice surprise! It had the texture of a jelly with a tomato flavour and a hint of spice. It was strange to eat it alone but mixed in with the other elements of the dish it was a dream. Overall I loved this and I hope that we can maybe recreate it at home because that would be a dream!

For my main I chose the venison with chestnut and rosemary polenta, a mushroom fricassee and crispy bayonne ham. Straight off I could have done without the ham. I thought that it didn't really add anything, wasn't as crispy as I would have liked it and I'm also not a big fan of that type of ham (kind of a poet and I didn't even know it). Now onto the good stuff. This was an amazing combination of foods. First off, the venison. What I love about venison is that it's like steak but even more soft and tender. There was a lot of meat but it wasn't too over facing. The mushroom fricassee was also very nice but I quite like my mushrooms chopped small so if I was to be picky I'd want a thicker sauce with smaller mushroom. Now, onto the amazingness which is the polenta. This had the flavour of stuffing but with a really creamy texture. I fell in love instantly and it just went so well with everything on the plate that I just couldn't stop eating it! Overall, stunning!

Monday, 18 January 2016

Tanya Burr First Impressions

Now I know that I'm a bit late to the party with this one but it's happened and I'm very glad it has! I bought a nail varnish and two of the lip glosses when they originally came out and although I grew to love the nail varnish I just couldn't get on board with the lip glosses. I found them to smell way too sweet, sticky and clumpy and that they went on streaky. The 'new' ones are MILES better and are everything that the old ones weren't. So let's get started with my first impressions.

As soon as I saw this nail varnish I fell in love with it. The colour is a gorgeous, a light blue with a hint of lilac, and as soon as I saw that it was called Fairy Godmother I knew that it had to be mine. I didn't buy it straight away but I couldn't stop thinking about how pretty it was and a week later I picked it up. I'm awful at painting my nails so in terms of 'how many coats' I'm not the best to be judging that but what I can tell you is that it went on nicely and applied opaquely. I did two thin coats and a thick one and that covered my nails. It's been on for a few days now and I have no chips, which is great because normally my nails manage to chip within 24 hours of painting them. I think I'm definitely going to pick up some more shades because I've fallen in love! The new packaging is amazing and looks so expensive and the lip gloss is so nice to handle and apply. I was sceptical to try the lip glosses again after the old ones but I can't explain how much better the new ones are. I picked up the shade Lunch Date because I wanted to try out a neutral colour that I'd wear everyday. This is my perfect nude. It's a pinky nude that hasn't got any shimmer in and gives your lips a lovely gloss. The applicator is perfectly designed to nicely fit to your lips and apply a nice amount of product. Now for the smell. If I could find a perfume that smelt like this so that I could spray it all over myself, I would. It's an amazing watermelon scent that is nice to smell when you apply it.

So far I've fallen in love with these two products so I'm definitely going to pick up more shades in both products. I also want to try some of the palettes so if anyone has any recommendations as to which ones to get then please let me know!

Lunch Date Lipgloss

Fairy Godmother Nail Polish

Thursday, 14 January 2016

What's in my Shower

I was the luckiest girl this Christmas and I got SO many bath type products. I've never had so many at one time before and to say I was excited to try them all out was an understated. My first thought was "I can be that person that chooses what scrub, moisturiser and shower gel to use depending on what their feeling!". Yeah, that was my very first thought. But this has made me realise that I have a huge love for pampering products and enjoy having a good shower/ bath. Because I'm at uni, and uni accommodation tends not to have baths, I thought I'd let you into my shower and show you the products I use and my thoughts on them. So let's dive in!

The Aussie shampoo and conditioner range is one that I love and don't think I would ever change up. If you've never smelt the wonderful products then I'd definitely recommend it, they leave you hair smelling like a tropical dream all day and even when you can't smell it anymore, other people can so you may attract more friends, or not. The Miracle Moist range is my favourite as I feel like it cleans my hair deeply and you can get a good lather with it, which I always like. the 3 Minute Miracle is something I've used for a while and it's something that my hair really likes. I run it through the ends of my hair and leave it on for 3 minutes (what a surprise) then wash and and kind of brush through my hair with my fingers to make sure it's all gone. Aussie products are normally on offer in Boots, Superdrug or most supermarkets.

The Body Shop
I love The Body Shop and I got very excited when I saw that I had got two products from their Spa of the World range for Christmas. So luxurious! The African Ximenia Scrub is really good is you want something that will still scrub but isn't too abrasive. There are tiny scrubby bits so it gives you an all over rub and it also gives your legs a good moisturise. You don't need too much so I have a feeling that this tub is going to last me for a really long time. The Frozen Plum scent is my new favourite from the Body Shop so I was excited when I received that Frozen Plum Shower Gel. It gets up a good lather and smells amazing! Body Shop shower gels always last a long time so I'm going to enjoy using this for a while!

Soap and Glory
I'm having a big Soap and Glory moment so there's a few of these products that I'm using lately. The Smoothie Star scent will always be one of my favourites and the Smoothie Star Scrub is great for getting rid of any dead skin. The smell is sweet and it's a sugar scrub so it's pretty abrasive which is sometimes just what you need. Another scrub on the other end of the abrasive spectrum is the Scrub of our Life. This has bead type things in them which gives a more gentle scrub. I've been using this everyday to keep on top of my legs to keep them smooth. It's in the original Soap and Glory Scent and I love using it. Something else in the original scent is the Clean on Me Shower Gel. I love their giant pump shower gels, they last for ages, dispense the right amount of product and lather up nicely. My go to winter shower gel is the Whipped Clean which is also in the sweet Smoothie Star scent. It's so thick and luxurious, lathers up amazingly and is the best thing I've ever used when shaving my legs, it moisturises so well!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Chiquito's! (Take Three)

Another trip to Chiquito's! There's nothing like a friend's birthday meal to see the first term out with a bang. So without further ado let's jump straight into it!

I wanted to go for something a little bit different so I chose a barbecue chicken wrap with chips, salad and coleslaw. The chicken was cooked to perfection and had a nice crispy coating on the outside. The problem I found with it was that the barbecue flavour was a little too over powering. I'm not the biggest barbecue fan but I thought that it might just have a hint of the flavour. Some of the chips were nice but most of them tasted like rock hard, slightly off potato and I was not a fan. I think that I just got a bad batch. I LOVED the coleslaw, creamy and crunchy I could not get enough. The portion size was perfect and just enough to fill me up.

For dessert I had the chilli chocolate fondant which I had last time so if you want to hear my thoughts on that then you can read it here.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Keeping Happy in the Dark Winter Months

Everybody knows that January is the worst month of the year, it's a fact. But this year I'm determined to make it 'Joyuary' (I know, trying to find a good name for a happy January proved much more difficult to do). Here are some of my tips to feel a little bit brighter in these dark winter days.

Cosy, cosy, cosy
Being, you guessed it, cosy is something that I cannot live without in the winter months. There's nothing better than cuddling up with a hot drink watching the tele. My favourite thing to do is have a relaxing shower and then put on a nice pair of fluffy socks or slippers, my dressing gown, get my blanket, grab a furry friend and snuggle up in the lounge.

A good moisturise
I love smooth legs. It's like a little treat I can give myself all the time and I love it. Moisturising them makes them so smooth and by doing it in the evening, I get to enjoy the lingering scent all night long. My favourite one to use at the minute, on very special evenings, is the Body Shop Hawaiian Fukui Cream from the Spa of the World range which I got for Christmas. It has an amazing calming smell and it very thick so moisturises deeply.

Feeling great
The best way to feel great during the dark days of winter is looking great. It may sound silly but if you don't like the way that you're looking then you're not going to feel your best. So treat yourself and do your makeup nice, even if you're just popping to the shops. Go on, swipe on that lippie and conquer the winter blues!

Hot beverages
I'm a big hot drinks fan and winter time is perfect for all things brew. Coffee in the morning, tea mid afternoon and a hot chocolate in the evening. Just taking a bit of time out to have a drink can break the day up and give a much needed lift in motivation or a bit of cheering up if you've had a sad day.

Friday, 8 January 2016

A Little Bit of a Change...

Over the past 18 months I've posted every week (other than both Christmases) four times a week and I've loved every minute of it. Juggling the blogging writing with university writing has made me become much more organised and has given me a balance to enable me to not get bogged down with uni work. The other night I had a sudden epiphany of how much work I actually have to do and how everyday that goes past is giving me less and less time to complete it in. Now don't panic, I'm not going on a blogging hiatus altogether, I just thought that it might be best to cut it down to three times a week to give me a little bit more time for my uni work. I've also got a bit of a case of blogging block and I'm finding it really hard to come up with ideas for posts so if you have any suggestions then please let me know, I'm really stuck!

I don't know how long this three posts a week thing will last but I would imagine in maybe six months time when I've finished uni and graduated (hopefully providing I don't screw things up at the last minute!) I'll be going back to four posts and then take it from there!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

The Beauty Lover Tag

Something a little bit different on the blog today, a tag. I spotted this one from Bloomin' Rouge when I was scrolling through Bloglovin' and thought it would be a fun one to do.

1. If you could have anyone in the world do your makeup, who would it be?

Seeing as though I have a recent obsession with Charlotte Tilbury I think I'd have to pick her to do my makeup. I feel like the smokey eye she'd do would be incredible, plus the thought of having her products on my face makes me excited!

2. What's your top makeup tip?

I'm all for the post it note/ masking tape trick for getting a sharp line when doing eye shadow. It's my night out smokey eye saviour and 9 times out of 10 I use it. Although it has made me realise that I have odd eyes because I have to really concentrate to make sure they're even, one eye has a much steeper slant than the other.

3. What one makeup item could you not live without?
Mascara. No question. Concealer comes a close second but living a life without mascara-ed up lashes is one that I don't want to think about. However I seem to be in a bit of a mascara rut and nothing I use is doing it for me, so any recommendations for mind blowing mascaras would be much appreciated.

4. What one skincare item could you not live without?

I don't think I couldn't live without micellar water. I love the feeling of taking makeup off my face at night and the cooling sensation of this in the morning is just what I need to wake me up. Cleanser comes a close second but the ease of micellar water meant that it came out on top. If you were wondering the Garnier Micellar Water is my one of choice and to me nothing has really come close to it.

5. What are you worst at when it comes to applying makeup

Other than false eyelashes, which I'm terrible at but I'm also new to the eyelash application game, I am not great at applying blush. It goes either two ways, non existent or like an overdrawn circle on my cheeks. The brush I use isn't the best but then a good workman never blames his tools (I think that's the saying, maybe). Any blush application techniques would be much appreciated.

6. What's your biggest pet peeve when it comes to beauty?

I think everyone's answer to this question is cleaning makeup brushes. It used to be mine too but I got this amazing brush cleaner for Christmas (it will make a blog appearance soon) and since then it's not been that much of an issue. Now my biggest pet peeve is the cleaning and upkeep of my flannels and muslin cloths. I don't know when to change them, I don't like washing them and it seems like within two days they get disgusting. I hate them but they're so great when I'm taking off my makeup!

7. What's your favourite makeup era?

I don't really have a favourite era but I'd love to be able to do and pull off the winged liner of the sixties. I always think it looks amazing in photos.

8. What's your guilty pleasure product?

Without a shadow of a doubt my guilty pleasure product has to be my Boots Tea Tree and Witch Hazel blackhead strips. There is nothing more satisfying than peeling these off my nose and then looking to see what was in your nose (disgusting I know but it's a guilty pleasure of mine).

9. What's your underdog product?

The Mac Painterly Paint Pot is probably my underdog product. I love it so much and think it has to be  one of the best eyeshadow primers out there, but it doesn't get as much of a mention as it should. I use it everyday and would be totally lost without it. Also I've had it for a year, used it everyday and have barely made a dint in it!

10. What's your favourite makeup product of 2015?

I think when it comes down to it, 2015 was the year of the winged liner for me so any of the L'Oreal Super Liner range. I wear liner almost every day now and I think it was down to these ones that made me love it so much as they make it so easy to apply.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Zizzi's! (Take Three)

Food posts are back and they are back with a vengeance! I've got a few from the last few months when I went out to eat but was posting blog posts on 'the 12 days of eyemas'. I went to Zizzi's at the beginning of December when my mum came to visit me in Notts. We had a great day wandering around the Christmas market and doing a spot of shopping which ended with a delicious meal.

For starter we shared the aranchini balls and the calamari. The aranchini are risotto balls with mozzarella and peas breadcrumbed to make it crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It was served with a chunky tomato dip which was really tasty and went really well with both of the dishes. The balls were delicious and even thinking about this is making me want to eat my laptop screen. They had so much flavour and weren't too heavy considering it's essentially fried balls of creamy rice. I always go for calamari when it's on the menu and it has to be one of my favourite starters. I was very impressed with these beautiful rings of squid. They were crispy on the outside and really soft when I bit into it, not chewy at all. It was served with a garlic and basil aioli and that was really tasty and went well with both the aranchini balls and the calamari. Delicious! Good choices all round.

I wasn't really fancying a pasta dish so I went for chicken with parma ham and sage, tuscan potatoes and green beans in a white wine sauce. I liked this a lot but it didn't blow me away. The chicken had lots of flavour but the ham was a bit something or nothing. The green beans were cooked nicely and the sauce had a nice flavour but I'd have liked it to have been a bit thicker and creamier. I like the edges of the potatoes where they were really crispy but I'm really fussy when it comes to potatoes and I pretty much only like them if they're burnt to a crisp. So I liked the dish but I just didn't love it.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Getting Some Charlotte Tilbury Love

I know, you are looking at products from heaven. I've been lusting over Charlotte Tilbury products for about two years now and I this Christmas I was lucky enough to get my hands on some! I'd say these are my first 'proper high end' products, meaning they are rather expensive, big on quality rather than quantity but totally worth it!

In my first year of uni I'd go onto the Charlotte Tilbury website every few weeks and decide which eyeshadow palette I was one day going to get. There was so much hype over the Dolce Vita palette which made me want to choose something else to be a bit different (I'm a bit strange when it comes to things like that). I felt that The Rebel was quirky and different but something that I wouldn't get much use out of, Fallen Angel was neutral but didn't have the glitter like the other palettes and Uptown Girl would have suited my hair colour, etc, but was a bit wishy washy looking. After swatches, reviews and a lot of research I decided that the Dolce Vita was the best and the palette for me and boy am I glad that I chose it. The shades are buttery and very pigmented without much fallout and the easy to use system means that every eye look looks amazing! At first I couldn't really get the glitter to work properly but now I've got the pat and swipe technique down it adds great sparkle to any eye look. My favourite shade from the quad is reddish brown. I can see myself using this day and night on its own and within the palette.

I'd heard a lot in recent months about the Charlotte Tilbury matte lipsticks, and I want to keep expanding my lipstick collection, so I browsed the website to pick a shade. I'd heard a lot about the reds and the dark colours like Glastonberry but I wanted something that I could wear everyday. Sexy Sienna stood out to me as I colour I would wear a lot but that wasn't anything like something I already had. I cannot explain how much I love these lipsticks. The formula is really creamy so they apply so easily and last for a very long time. I cannot wait to add more of these to my collection, I have my eyes set on Bond Girl (friends, family please take note).

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