Monday, 27 July 2015

Snack Attack!
This week's post is three really speedy, really simple snack ideas to keep hunger at bay. It's no secret that I have a major sweet tooth, so two of the three are splendidly saccharine ;) If a Buddy the Elf style diet is something you too could conform to, then I have got you covered! Fortunately, these three recipes are actually healthy to boot. The first is a homemade Nutella (yes, you read that correctly!), a deliciously creamy banana ice-cream and homemade  almond butter that will save you a fortune. Switch on your inner Nigella and keep reading for the details!
Homemade Nutella
I dread to think how many jars of Nutella I have polished off in my twenty simply is a staple in my life. When I came across a recipe for homemade Nutella by food blogger and author, Ella Woodward, I was instantly intrigued and wary in equal measure. Intrigued because I was in awe at the thought of having the power to make it myself (I thought such an ambrosial product could only be crafted by seven angels, precisely three squirrels and formed only at the full moon :P) Wary, because I was expecting to be underwhelmed, unable to reach the level of perfection of the afore mentioned Nutella Gods. I was staggeringly impressed when I decided to give it a go. Dare I say it, it's even nicer than the shop bought one! The recipe is taken from the book (my bible!) Deliciously Ella. I have been reading her blog for years and purchased her book about a year ago, raving to friends and family about it. All the recipes are super tasty and don't really require any wacky ingredients that you use once and then it's at the back of your cupboard forevermore! Plus, she's an absolute babe and never ever comes across as preachy or condescending to her readers. Below are the three ingredients for her Nutella recipe.
2 mugs hazelnuts (375g)
1/2 mug maple syrup (150ml)
3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
Preheat your oven to about 200 degrees (180 for fan). Bake the nuts for about ten minutes, this not only enhances the flavour but also makes them easier to blend. When they cool, whizz in a food processor until they totally break down and add the cacao and maple syrup. When these are combined, gradually add 150ml of water...and that's it! The recipe makes a large jar and is perfect on toast, rice cakes or on apple slices.
Banana Ice-Cream
WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE?! (my thoughts the first time after making this!) Jokes aside, if you haven't tried this, do give it a go. It's so simple, I feel a bit pathetic calling it a recipe! All you need for the basic version is frozen bananas. Two per person is normally an ideal quantity. Simply chop them up and place in freezer bags overnight. Whizz them in a food processor to create banana ice-cream. It really is the most wondrous piece of wizardry I have ever experienced! The frozen bananas break down into a really thick, creamy consistency and taste delicious. You can create so many flavours, yet the basic version is just as nice. Add cacao for a chocolate ice-cream, frozen raspberries for a berry alternative, or go mad and make three batches; a plain, chocolate and berry to create a Neapolitan masterpiece! Fresh mint or a vanilla pod are also great options. It's also a great way to use up bananas that may be getting over-ripe. Like my compadres, Kevin, Bob and Stuart, I'm a little banana obsessed and what could be better than them in ice-cream form?
Below, I created a cinnamon version, just by adding a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the frozen banana mixture when they were fully blended and then blitzing for two seconds. On top, I added a chopped naked bar, a dash of sweetener and a dollop of almond butter and it was life changing!
Almond Butter
Last but certainly not least is another staple in my life, my beloved almond butter (side note: if you pronounce the 'l' in 'almond', sort your life out, it's silent!) This couldn't be easier to make, but does require serious willpower not to demolish in one sitting *throws awkward shifty look. All that's needed is almonds and rock salt and it tastes exactly like the Meridian one, but for a fraction of the cost. If you haven't tried almond butter, but you think you won't like it because you don't like peanut butter, give it a go. It's a much more subtle flavour; I don't really like peanut butter, but adore almond butter! It's perfect on toast, rice cakes or, my particular favourite, on sliced pink lady apples or on dates (don't knock it until you try it!)
A 150g bag of almonds makes a small jar, but you can make this in big batches if you wish. it will store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. To make, simply pour the almonds onto a baking tray and bake at roughly 180 degrees for about five-six minutes (if making 150g. Increase time slightly if making a larger quantity). Add a sprinkling of any rock salt you want to the food processor and when the nuts are cool add and blend until smooth.

I do hope you have enjoyed this week's post. Until next Monday,

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Three Ways to Style a Maxi Skirt
So recently I did something remarkably brave in my books.....I risked wearing a maxi skirt despite being somewhat vertically challenged! I've loved maxi skirts for ages and purchased one from Boohoo last year but never wore it. I always thought you had to be a 5'9 Glamazonian to pull one off, or risk looking Amish. I think if you're on the shorter side, it's better to wear a maxi skirt on your waist rather than on your hips, to elongate your legs and make you appear taller. I particularly love this one from Boohoo for €11 because it's really comfortable to wear and the contrasting waistband is quite flattering. I have it in grey, but it comes in a variety of colours :) Have a look here. I don't claim to be particularly fashionable at all, but here are three ways I've styled mine over the past few weeks.
Look #1

Top-Topshop Skirt-Boohoo Sunglasses-Penneys
Here I've styled the maxi skirt down, pairing it with a simple scalloped tee from Topshop and a pair of Converse. I love Topshop basics because they're always made of really comfortable fabrics and look effortlessly cool. I also think one of those contrasting varsity style t-shirts with the contrasting piping at the collar and sleeves would be really cool with this look :)
Look  #2

Top-Topshop Skirt-Boohoo Heels-Penneys
To dress the skirt up, I've teamed it with some peep toe orange sandals and a plain string crop top, again from Topshop. I wore all gold jewellery, with a statement bangle and a dainty necklace. Especially when worn with a tan, this look has a kind of a tropical feel to it, even if you're only in Costa Del Cork ;)
Look #3
Top-River Island Skirt-Boohoo
For more of a sophisticated oh you think you fancy look try adding a delicate blouse, a red lip and a soft up-do. This outfit was inspired by the ever flawless Emma Watson, as she wore something very similar to an event last year:
That's all for this week, thank you for reading and I do hope you enjoyed. Until next Monday,

Monday, 13 July 2015

Get Ready With Me

One of my closest friends turns 21 tomorrow, so to celebrate we all went out last Saturday. This week's post is a get ready with me, detailing everything I wore to transform me from a drab duckling to a more sophisticated signet (quite the Wordsworth, I know!). Just think Princess Mia's Paol-over in The Princesses Diaries ;)

Rewind to the night before, where I tried to get a bit of a faux-glow going on using the Cocoa Brown "One hour Tan Mousse". As an avid tanner, I'm definitely late to the game with this cult product. This was only my second time using this tan and I have to say I'm quite impressed. I do prefer the Rimmel "Sun Shimmer Self Tan Mousse", but Cocoa Brown does the job too and is quite long-lasting. It generally lasts about 5-6 days on my skin and once applied with a mitt is completely streak free. I also like that it gives different depths of colour, i.e. wash off after one hour for a subtle glow, after two for more substantial colour, or after three for more intensity. On this occasion, I opted for more of a deeper colour because it was somewhat of a special occasion and because the colour of the dress I was wearing was quite pale. I also decided to give my makeup brushes a long overdue speedy clean, using the PS Love This "Makeup Brush Cleanser". This gem was only €2.50 from Penneys a few weeks ago and it gets the job done very quickly! I also used some conditioner to keep the bristles soft and let them to air-dry overnight, ready to use for the next day.

So for makeup, all of this went onto my face! Check it out:

I'm not a professional makeup artist by any stretch of the imagination, so take what I'm saying in this section with a generous pinch of salt! I wanted to go for a natural look makeup-wise to in keep with the soft, feminine vibe of the dress. To achieve a nice glow to the skin, I used one of my favourite foundations, Lancôme's "Teint Miracle" in the shade 01. This foundation claims to immediately brighten the complexion to deliver a fresher, more flawless look and also offers some sun protection with an SPF 15. I love the result it gives, certainly a brighter dewier look, however I know isn't for everyone. I have combination skin so love the radiance this makeup delivers, but if you lean more towards the oily side, I would say definitely avoid! It does not give a matte finish at all! The coverage of this foundation is very good, I would say medium and quite buildable. I didn't use any primer on this occasion, just used two pumps of the foundation and blended it in using the Bobbi Brown "Full Coverage Face Brush". I've been using this brush to apply my makeup for about two years and it's served me very well! It evens everything out and certainly speeds up makeup application because of its large surface area. Also the bristles are so soft, so it's a dream to use :)

 I set that in place using Bourjois' "Healthy Balance Powder" before moving on to contouring. To add some slight definition to the face, I used my trusty Sleek "Face Form Contour Kit" in Light. This trio is a great three in one to define the face using the matte bronzer, a beautiful pearlescent highlighter to use on the cheekbones and then a gorgeous deep pink blush with subtle flecks of gold with delivers a really natural looking hint of colour and warms up the face. For a bit more illumination, I also used my Mac Vanilla Pigment, just under the brow bone and in the inner corners. The Mac pigments are really versatile and can be used to highlight, as an eye shadow or even a tiny amount mixed in with a lip balm to give a sheen to the lips. They also last a seriously long time and a little goes a long way (I've had my one for about two years and plan on having it for another twenty two!) To fill in my eyebrows, I used the shade, "Faint" shade from one of the Urban Decay palettes and also the Rimmel "Brow This Way" in the darkest shade but applying it very lightly and just at the end of the eyebrow for a more natural look. Even though I'm blonde, I always opt for darker eyebrow shades as I find the lighter ones have such a warm tone to them and always end up looking ginger once applied! I applied a thin line of eyeliner and some mascara, before adding some false lashes. For lips I used a combination that I've been obsessed with lately; Mac lip liner in the shade "Dervish" and "Twig" as my lipstick. This one is such a wearable colour, as if applied lightly it gives that clichéd, but true result, "your lips but better" and if applied more opaquely adds a lovely deep pinky/brown hue and warms up the complexion. I used just a hint of Clarins "Instant Light Lip Perfector" in the shade 01 "Rose Shimmer" just to the centre of the lips to add a slight sheen....and voila, that's makeup done!

 I  kept my hair and nails very simple, just running my BaByliss "2285U Curling Wand" through the ends for a bit of softness and applying a few coats of Essie's "Neo Whimsical" to my nails. As a topcoat I used Sally Hansen's "Miracle Cure, which is just a clear nail strengthening treatment. When I can actually be bothered to rob this off my mum and apply it, I actually find it makes a difference. My nails are a bit pants and are always breaking, but this stuff actually gives them a bit of strength! I'm actually really impatient when it comes to doing my nails, so I'll go to any lengths to get them to dry a millisecond faster *queue vigorous dancing to Eye of the Tiger ;) The Essence "Express Dry Spray" might just be a bit of a placebo effect, but I do think it helps!

The dress I wore was a one I picked up in the Zara sale a few weeks ago for around thirty euro. It kind of has a Yoko Ono vibe to it, which I like :) It's still available on the website.


*Friends were recruited via the pink pages.

Thank you for reading, I do hope you enjoyed! Until next Monday,


Monday, 6 July 2015


                                                          90's Throwback

Through a child's eyes the world is a playground; life is laughter and merriment. An assemblage of comical and bizarre anecdotes is distinctly associated with the word childhood for me; a word with such joyful connotations even to think it provokes an infectious smile. Being a 90's child, this week I've been reminiscing about what kind of books, films, music and activities I enjoyed whilst growing up and thinking about all the questionable fashion choices I made (most notably plastic 'high' heels in a variety of garish hues). I've had a ball letting my inner child lose for the week and jumping on the 90's express train. Have a read for a complete blast from the past!

A plethora of amazing books, films and music kick-start nostalgia for my childhood and I've been delving into some this week! The works of Enid Blyton, in particular The Famous Five, were a staple during my early years. I loved immersing myself in the world of Julian, Dick, Anne, George and of course Timmy the dog in the adventures they would get up to and hung on my father's every word as he narrated them in his colourful voice. There is something very comforting in recalling the stories you were read as a child, like catching up with an old friend you haven't seen in years. The familiarity is soothing. Later on the works of Noel Streatfield and of course the hallmark novels of the decade, Harry Potter, captivated my attention and fuelled my love of language from an early age.

Of course a post about the 90's would be nothing without some seriously cringey music that you hate to love! "90's music" and "guilty pleasures" are pretty much synonymous and this week has been a continuous stream of  Destiny's Child, Usher and N-Sync. The playlist I've been blaring was created by bloggers Anna Gardner and Lily Pebbles entitled "Anna and Lily's Teenage Throwback"; too good not to check out!

When it comes to my favourite films, Mrs Doubtfire is a tough one to knock off the top spot. It really exemplifies Robin Williams at his comedic best, a blend of witty one liners, flaming intelligence and just the right amount of slapstick. I've seen it so often I can practically recite the entire film off, yet it still doesn't lose its charm. It also recalls some amazing evenings spent with one of my best friends which makes it extra special.

If there are two things that taste like my childhood (aside from sand-laden baguettes at the beach!) it's Angel Delight and Coke floats! No birthday was complete without Angel Delight, so artificial and brightly coloured it was but so delicious. This week has taught me that some things never affinity for the bizarre magic powder has not faded!

Most of my youth was spent outdoors playing rounders, "Tip the Can", "Hide and Seek" or "Stuck in the Mud". There was nothing quite like the exhilaration of running around in the fresh air with friends, throwing oneself into these so-called 'games' with a fervent passion, believing their outcome was of the upmost importance. This week I recruited some of the troops to come and look daft with has to be done sometimes!

Finally, as far as outfits went this week I've been indulging my toddler fantasies and wearing everything from scrunchies to whimsical frilly socks! When I think of 90's fashion, I immediately think double-denim, as sported by Britney and Justin circa 2001. The trend needn't be that tragic however, if you mix the tones of denim. Here I'm wearing a Topshop denim waistcoat from their vintage range and a New Look high waited skirt.

Grunge is another trend that springs to mind when you think 90's. Doc Martens, crop tops and check shirts help give the pretence of "cool", even if like me you're far from it ;)

That's all folks!
I do hope you enjoyed. Until next Monday,
                                                                 Amy. x