Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Origins Haul

Shopping on Origins website is so great because it has the same benefits of visiting an Origins counter but you can do it from the comfort of your own home. I picked up the Super Spot Remover as I ran out months ago and I've missed it so much. I first blogged about it in September 2012 it was a dream product for me then and it still is now. It's the smallest little pot of spot killing magic and I'm so happy it's back in my life. The Zero Oil is again a repurchase for me it's super brilliant at mattifying the skin without leaving any residue. I haven't blogged about this before but I think a full post might be in order as it's wonderful and I never hear people really talk about it or the zero oil range. 

Finally some masks - I've wanted to try both of these for ages I bought the Clear Improvement mask as I have so many face masks I didn't really need a full tube and thought these little pods would be perfect. I got the mini 7ml version of this for free with the order too which has a good couple of uses in it alone - I'll write up a full post when I've given this a good test. I also got 30ml of the Drink Up Intensive mask for free as I spent £30 this is such a decent sized sample. This product has featured on way too many wishlists and I just have never got around to buying it so I'm excited to have a smaller version to try out before committing to buying the full size. Finally I got a little sachet of the Modern Friction exfoliate which is a fun addition. I highly recommend buying from Origins directly they have free delivery that arrived within 2 days from dispatch and you get to choose a couple of samples at the checkout so it's a good way to try some other bits without having to buy the full size.


Sunday, 11 May 2014

Maybelline Better Skin: Foundation & Concealer Review

Foundation on left and concealer on right 

I'm always looking to improve my skin and what better way to do so than through a foundation with such qualities. I think we always look to clogged skin stemming from the makeup we put on our skin so the idea of a product going against this immediately caught my eye. I picked up shade ivory which was a good match for my skintone and concealer shade light which again was a good match and a nice partnership of shades.

Foundation: I'll start with the less favorable review which is the foundation. I like the formula and finish of this foundation it left a nice natural look to the skin that wasn't too dewy but had a nice glowing boost to it. Unfortunately this foundation just doesn't last on me I found it literally slipped off the skin by midday. It's such a shame and I've tried all my primers to try and find a match but it just didn't work out for me. In terms of the 'clear skin' claims it's not a heavy foundation at all so didn't cause my any blemishes however I'm not sure it did anything favourable either. There's a lot of barriers between my skin and my foundation now - serum, moisturiser, primer that I can't really comment if it could directly 'better' my skin. It is however super light and natural in its application so goes give the look of 'better skin.'

Concealer: I really do like this concealer! For me this is the perfect touch up concealer it blends effortlessly into any makeup I have on and can be quickly dabbed over red marks or blemishes and then blends out really quickly. I found this gave good coverage and a small amount covered the reddest blemishes I have. It's firmly staying in my handbag makeup bag as the shade is perfect for my right now. I don't think this has many 'better skin' qualities at all as again it doesn't make any noticeable differences to blemishes or pigmentation of the skin but it is a nice little concealer. Again it does however give you the illusion of better skin after application.

The foundation comes in 8 shades and is £8.99 - The concealer comes in 2 shades and is £5.99.


Saturday, 10 May 2014

Bourjois Bronzing Powder - Review

The Bourjois bronzing powder has been on the market for ages I've always looked at it as being a little gimmicky with it's chocolate shaped packaging but I needed a new bronzer and had heard good things about this so thought it was worth picking up. It cost £6.99 from Boots. I wanted a matte bronzer really so was a little concerned as you can see small specks of shimmer when it's in it's packaging however applied to the skin you can't tell that they're there at all. I think the shimmer might just help with the warm glow the product gives the skin. The packaging is cardboard with a magnetic strip ensuring it stays shut in your handbag. It has a gorgeous scent to it which isn't actually chocolate I think it's more vanilla than anything. 

I've used this product everyday since picking it up a few weeks ago - I've been applying it with my real techniques contour brush and then blending out with my real techniques powder brush. My favourite bit about this bronzer is that it has not a hint of orange in it and when applied and buffed out gives the nicest natural glow to the skin. I'm glad I finally picked this up as I can see this being in my collection for a long long time to come. 


Thursday, 8 May 2014

Make Up Clear Out: Face & Base

My Ikea Helmer has been going strong since July in 2012 - I still love it ever so much but it has somehow become far less organised and a lot less easy to close. I realised there was a lot of product in there that was too old to use - a lot that I'd never used and probably never will and shamefully alot of products that were empty. I have three of these posts altogether splitting my entire make-up collection up.

I've used up L'Oreal Nude Magique Eau de Teint and it's time to just let go. I keep trying to shake one more application out of this but it's definitely empty and I need to just admit it. I will be repurchasing this when the weather warms up a bit as I really loved using it. 

Too old to use: 
Shamefully I found this No7 High Lights illuminating lotion at the back of a drawer - this huge bottle of highlighter is so so old. They don't even sell it anymore and I think it was one of the first beauty products I ever bought years and years ago. I knew it wasn't a good thing to be putting on my skin anymore and threw it away but to be fair you would never had told how old it was on application it's held up ever so well over the years. It's a massive Benefit High Beam dupe and cost something like £8 when I bought it which for such a huge amount of product was an absolute bargain. 

I'll never use again: 
There's lots of cheap products in here that I've been lured into buying over the years. I've really learnt buying cheap foundation does not work out so knew it was time to just through this lot out. MUA 'BB cream' is horribly thick for and just didn't blend into my skin. The Technic foundation oxidized quite badly on my skin and again just didn't have a nice finish or texture. The Nivea tinted moisturiser is ok for what it is but has never found it's place within my make-up routine so it was time for it to go. The technic concealer palette and primer again never found their place - I have so many more products that will always take priority over these that they just never get used. The ELF pressed powder was just orange and has never been used apart from for testing then washing straight off. Finally the maybelline and natural collection concealers just don't suit my skin tone anymore I bought these when I loved a facial fake tan but they are way to dark for my paler complexion.

It was so therapeutic going through my collection and my drawers are so much neater now it also made me rediscover some little gems that I'd forgotten about that will feature in an upcoming post.


Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Batch Cooking: Tips Post

We have a really small kitchen and no dishwasher so rather than spend the weekday evenings cooking and cleaning and washing up I've started batch cooking up lunches, tea's and sauce bases on a Sunday afternoon. This avoids naughty snacks in the week and is really helping to save money as it avoids no lunches to take to work when I'm out in the evening. Firstly and most importantly you need all the tuppaware. Some (my boyfriend) say I have too much tuppaware but I really disagree. Above I've listed some of my favourites. Tesco clip & lock food storage container £3, £6.50 & £8.75. Ikea food storage set of 17 containers for £3, blue lunch box £3.75, pack of 3 blue lidded containers £2.50, & transparent container with vent £2.75.

Clip and lock tuppaware is necessary if you're taking anything remotely juicy outside of the house. However I find the cheaper push lid storage perfect for freezing and storing prepared food. The tuppawares with the little vents in the top are great for storing soup as you can warm it up in the container without making a huge mess in the microwave.

For me Sunday afternoons are the best time to prep food I do Monday and Tuesday's lunches/ snacks and a variety of sauce bases and dinners that can be frozen. My favorite meals to cook and freeze are anything with beef mince as a base. I like to think I make a mean chilli con carne and it tastes so good out of the pan however frozen and left for a little while it tastes even better. The little meals I make and freeze don't last long in this house but I think a rule of thumb is to scribble the date you made it on a little sticker on the lid and don't leave it any longer than a month before thoroughly defrosting and heating through. I avoid cooking things like poultry or rice in advance as these kind of foods are always rife with bacteria I also think freezing them does nothing extra for taste and they cook up so quickly it's not really worth it. 

A decent tomato pasta sauce made from scratch is a must have for me - my freezer is full of small tuppawares with them in as it's so handy to grab if I'm eating alone to mix in some chicken or tuna and eat over pasta. Takes little to no time and avoids grabbing naughty treats. 

For lunches I always head for roasted veg, bulgar wheat and grilled turkey and a spoonful of the tomato sauce I've knocked up - on a Sunday I can get away with cooking up meals for the following 2 days and then I'll try something else on a Tuesday evening for the following 2 days if I can however we mostly love the veg bulgar wheat combo in our house.

The final thing I'm currently obsessed with is batch cooking and freezing a homemade soup. This is another recipe that tastes better after a little while in the freezer - check out my butternut squash recipe here.I always have at least 3 portions of this stored in the freezer it's the perfect tea if I'm rushing about or going swimming as it's so quick to defrost and warm through and super filling.


Sunday, 4 May 2014

Life Lately: April 2014

Last year Steve grew so so many vegtables that I wanted in on the action. Our garden became like a runner bean jungle by the end of it so I thought it was about time we had some flowers to fill the garden. I picked up some snap dragons and sunflowers to make the garden a little brighter. I'm also growing strawberries and tomatoes I now have tiny little shoots and in a few weeks they'll be ready to go outside. In the middle of the month we stayed at Theobalds Park and got breakfast delivered to the room - a drunken order of 'we'll have everything' resulted in the most ridiculously large breakfasts. The sun came out a little on the way there and I finally got some use out of my sunglasses fingers crossed for much more sunshine soon. Adore the 'I love' wine range such a sucker for sweet packaging and it is true I do love zinfandel so much. My auntie turned 50 too and threw a lovely party where the entire family was reunited!

Finally I had to include the quote on the top right of this picture it just sums up everything in life when you're nearly 25. It's such an odd age where you're completely torn between being ready for some painting and house buying but in the same sense you still want to spend spare money on going out and drinking shots. Social media is literally split down the middle at this age too one day it's all babies and weddings and the next it's drunken anecdotes. All the while it's hard to really work out which side of the fence you want to sit on haha probably just me but being in your mid 20's is very confusing.


Saturday, 3 May 2014

John Freida - Luxurious Volume Blow Dry Lotion Root Booster

As if I needed anymore volume inducing hair products - this one was just £5.99 in Boots (currently 2 for £8). I'm always a little scared of products I have to spray directly to my roots from the fear of having greasy locks straight after washing them. However I went through with it and spritzed all through the roots of my freshly washed hair. I didn't need to worry once blow dried you can't even tell this is there. This didn't give me a much volume as I perhaps would have liked but it did avoid that freshly washed flat feeling I get when my hair is first washed. It gives it that bit more oomph that makes styling easier and just leaving my hair natural more acceptable and far less flat and lifeless. This is a welcome addition to my haircare routine not that I needed any more products to join in.


Friday, 2 May 2014

Eurovision Party Planning

Watching the eurovision every single year with friends/ family has been in my calendar for as long as I can remember. When I went to university in 2008 I luckily found a girl with just as much of a love for it and we've been holding eurovision parties every year since. This year it's my turn to host for the first time in my little home and I'm so excited making little preparations I thought I'd share them here.

The Basics:
Firstly you need to know that the only way Eurovision works is to be as tacky as possible. Each person coming pays £2 to have a country at the end of the night the winner takes all. You need to dress in the flag/ flags colors of or national dress of your country. You also need to bring a food/ drink item from that country for everyone to enjoy. We have face paints to further add to the festivities. We play our own drinking game but if you're looking for rule idea's - this site is pretty good. I've created a small Facebook event for people to watch the songs and pick their countries in advance - it's also a good way to get the eurovision fun going for the eurovision sceptics amongst your friends.

You need all the bunting to really get your home in a eurovision mood. Party packs have all the flags in their collection for a reasonable price. My favorite is this mixed european flag bunting perfect for showing off everyone's choices. You can pick up rice paper fairy cake toppers from eBay which make a great centrepiece to a buffet - I picked these up for just £3.50.  Flag topped cocktail sticks are also a great way of showing the origins of the food you've prepared you can buy them but I'd recommend just printing lots off and making your own with cocktail sticks. I've ordered a 5x3ft Hungarian flag as they are my country of choice this year and also a large mixed european flag for decoration both from eBay. The best bit really though is making everything yourself. I'm going to print lots of flags to make my own bunting and food flags

Semi Final One - Tuesday 6th May BBC 3
Semi Final Two - Thursday 8th May BBC 3
Final & Party Night - Saturday 10th May BBC1 8pm

Score Cards: 
The BBC will have their scorecard up after the second semi final to download and print off here. The radio times also do one each year. We like to make one from scratch with our own criteria and do scores /10 for costume, sex appeal, song, staging & dancers. Then you have an overall score /50 for each act.

Only a week to go! If you're having a party and making plans please tweet me @georginacallen I need more #eurovision2014 tweets on my feed!


Thursday, 1 May 2014

Small Home Projects: Frames & Bygel

April seems to have flown by and I barely ended up posting on here - determined to get more scheduled posts up at the weekends as my evenings are getting filled up more so than ever at the moment. I've done a couple of house projects this month as now we've been here a year there was a few little things I wanted to do for more storage and also just to make it more our own. We do rent so my little projects will result in a small amount of polyfiller being bought when we move out but we don't intend on moving any time soon so all is well.

The first one was buying some Bygel rails and hooks from Ikea for my dressing area. This range is silly cheap the large rails were only £2 and the little baskets just £1.50 whilst a pack of 10 hooks is only £1. The whole lot came to £14.50 and it has changed my storage in my spare room. It means accessing skin care and products I use every morning is so much easier and makes getting ready a lot quicker. It also means I can put different products in the basket so I get more use out of different things I own rather than just the same old bits.

The second thing I did was finally put up all of my frames and fill them with pictures. I've been collecting them from different stores for ages but just hadn't gotten around to putting them up. What I love about this is that I can add more to make it a bit more of a feature. I printed out over 60 photo's so it was super hard to choose which ones to put up I now have so many more that I want on my walls - might do something similar in our hallway. The frames I have are from B&Q, The Range and John Lewis. I picked up my photo's from photobox who have an offer on 50 free prints for all new accounts.