Tuesday, 31 January 2012

QMU Carbonara

This was one of the first "proper" dishes I learnt to make at university... (The place that introduced me to hummus and pesto and perhaps more unfortunately wine!)

Ingredients:    Serves 4

3 cloves of garlic
1 red onion
4-6 rashers of bacon
1 pot of single cream
1 cup of grated cheese (mature)
1 egg
Mixed Italian herbs
Spaghetti or Linguine

1) Put enough pasta on for 4 in plenty of salted boiling water.
2) Fry the onions and garlic.
3) Grill the bacon and mix with the onions.
4) Add the cream and simmer on the lowest heat.
5) Once the cream is hot, add the cheese. Parmesan or a strong cheddar is best.
6) Take off the heat and mix the pasta with the sauce and add the herbs.
7) Finally, mix in a whisked egg. This will help thicken the sauce.

In my opinion this is best eaten with garlic bread or foccacia. But then I do love a bit of bread... Enjoy!

Picture taken with iPhone 3gs & Instagram App
Linguine Carbonara

Saturday, 28 January 2012

The Only Optimist in the Village?

Sometimes it's difficult to remain optimistic about life especially in January. It is definitely a month for hibernating; for crawling under duvets and eating cake and custard (healthy eating can begin in February.) I can safely say my mission to look on the bright side of life has been tested. That said two very special things have happened this week that cannot fail to put on a smile on my face.

First of all meet Bonnie Blue. The latest addition to the family. I have been looking to fill a cat shaped hole in my life since my ginger moggie, Jaffa went missing in September so here she is. Her name is in homage to one of my favourite films Gone With The Wind and of course is inspired by those beautiful blue eyes. I am in love and fear my Instagram will be chock full of sappy cat snaps.

Miss Bonnie Blue
Secondly, my sister and I are jetting off to Thailand for three weeks this Summer. I could not be more excited! I have wanted to go to Thailand since I was fourteen and madly in love with all things Leonardo DiCaprio aka The Beach. It has taken me nearly 26 years to pluck up the courage to do something like this... I was not the kind of student who could afford a "gap year" and have worked every summer since I left school. 

We booked through Thailand Travel Plan and are including a stay in Bangkok, a journey up the River Kwai, the Erawan waterfall, Kanchanaburi, Chang Mai, a hill tribe trek, an Elephant sacutary, the Temples of Ayutthaya before finishing off with six nights on Ko Pah Ngan just in time for August's Full Moon Party. I am dreaming of Thai food and white beaches already...

Salad Beach Ko pah Ngan

Sunday, 22 January 2012

All Wrapped Up

Dress - Love
Jacket - Vintage
Shoes - eBay
Watch - River Island
Necklace - Market
Lipstick - MAC Russian Red

I am about to attempt my very first outfit post! I have avoided this so far because a) I am currently shacked up in the "boxroom" which leaves limited space for posing/ full body shots and b) the dark dismal January whether means I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark meaning natural light is a precious resource and finally c) it's too cold to pose outside... It is Scotland after all! However, armed with a gorgeous new Petrol Long Sleeve Wrap from Love, an absolute find of a jacket from the costume department, my rather lovely fake Lita's courtesy of eBay and a willing friend/ photographer I decided to take the OOTN plunge.

The dress is a M (10/12) it fits quite small across the shoulders but larger across the bust (I did tend to find that it gaped a little when dancing). I always have a bit of a problem with dresses because I am a size 10 up top and a size 12 on the bottom but I do think the dress sizes quite small overall. I love the colour of the dress and think it is something that can be dressed up or down. The wrap is such a versatile style and isn't something a tend that will go out of fashion. It's also available in different fabrics and colours... I particularly like the Mocha Satin and the Green Animal Print

Okay onto the "Lita's". I purchased them on eBay and they came from China. The main part of the boot is an excellent imitation however, the heel is plastic and a lot lighter than it looks in the picture. The seller does state this on their site but the lighting in the pictures is deceptive. That said I actually don't mind the plastic heel BUT I wore them on both the Friday and Saturday and already the bottom of one of the heels has came off! I am going to email the seller and see how I get on. There are some UK sellers who are doing a similar style boot with a more realistic looking wooden heel which I have just discovered. This seller also sells them in variety of colours and patterns. At the moment, I'm sort of wondering whether I should have just used my Christmas money to buy a full price pair... live and learn? What experience do you have with similar eBay purchases?

(Edit: Missguided are now doing their own version of Litas as are several other online retailers.)

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Ib's Tea Loaf

I thought I'd share a recipe for one of my family's favourite baking treats. Ib's Tea Loaf is named after my Granny's sister, Isobel aka Auntie Ib, who passed away nearly six years ago. I have been trying to make a tea loaf as tasty as hers ever since but she still retains the title of "Best Tea Loaf Maker".


1 cup of cold tea
1 cup of raisins
1 cup of currents

Leave to soak together in a bowl overnight.


1) Melt 4oz of butter in a saucepan.
2) Add the tea, raisins and currents to the pan. 
3) Add 1 cup of caster sugar and leave to boil for 5 minutes.
4) Preheat over to 175C/ 325F/ Gas 3 and leave mixture to cool.
5) Beat in 2 cups of self raising flour, 2 eggs and 1tsp of baking powder.
6) Grease a loaf tin and pour in the mixture.
7) Cook for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until a skewer comes out clean.
8) Serve with butter and a cup of tea... Or if you're in my family peanut butter and syrup (do not judge until you have tried!)

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Shellac Nails

CND Shellac Nail Polish is a "14 day wear, mirror finish, zero dry time, no nail damage" product. The answer to every nail obsessed girl like myself? Perhaps... I have had two applications of the product recently at Shi Beauty and Nails. For my first application I went for a french manicure. A base coat is applied, followed with two coats of your chosen colour and finished off with a top coat. All layers are "cured" under a UV lamp. A french manicure involves 2 layers of the white "smile" followed by whatever shade of pink you are using. I opted for Moonlight and Roses an iridescent pale pink. In total my Shellac was on for 4 weeks although after 2 weeks you will start to notice chipping and regrowth is a problem. I couldn't get into the salon sooner so I just painted over the top of my Shellac with the sparkly Deborah Lippmann polish I received in my Glossybox. I can also safely say that there was no damage to my nails and they were the longest they have ever been.

Removal of the old Shellac comes as standard at the salon I go to during reapplication. CND have developed a wrap which is soaked in acetone, place over the nail and secured. A few minutes later and hey presto the polish slides off the nail. Any residue is removed with a cuticle stick and oil is massaged into the cuticles. For my second Shellac application I opted for a dark red manicure (I think it was either Hollywood or Wildfire) with a glitter statement nail. The glitter was applied to the colour before curing and a top coat was applied as normal. On reflection, I think I was more impressed with the overall effect of the french manicure as beautiful natural nails is something I have always envied. However, I did constantly stare admiringly at my nails for the first two weeks which was a bit time consuming! Shellac is something I would definitely have again for a weekend out, special occasion, holiday etc. It is not something I could afford to maintain on a monthly business purely because after two weeks the regrowth on my nails is too noticeable. You can expect to pay around £20 for this treatment.

Removal of Shellac:

I decided to a little section of this at the end of my review purely because I performed a DIY removal of my second Shellac application. I knew that the only way to remove the polish was to soak it with acetone... Cue fail number 1! Normal nail varnish just isn't strong enough for this job (well mine wasn't!). I made make shift "wraps" out of soaked cotton wool pads and bits of tin foil - fail number 2! Needless to say when my sister walked in my room she thought I had lost the plot! I did one hand at a time and left the "wraps" on for half an hour at a time. This was successful in removing the top layer of the colour but left behind the first layer of colour. I applied the "wraps" again with fresh cotton wool but there was still residue on my nail that wouldn't come off when scraped with my cuticle stick. I was conscious of damaging my nails so did not want to scrape too vigorously. I'm going to purchase some acetone from a chemist should I attempt a future home removal. Warning; acetone in its pure form is much stronger and so you would not need to soak your nails for 30 minutes as I had to with nail polish remover. (I am pretty disappointed I did not take a picture of my Edward Scissors hands removal procedure!) Since I removed my Shellac at the weekend 3 of my nails have broken! Proof that, while on, the polish acts as barrier against breakage.

Say Hello to Shellac - CND (official website)

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

10 Reasons To Visit Dubai

I've sort of fallen off the blog stratosphere the past week or so. I blame back to work blues, reprogramming my body to cope with a 9-5 lifestyle after the holidays and generally feeling "meh". January's a funny sort of month. A month for hibernating, for sorting out your finances while you wait for the ever distant January payday and for dreaming about warmer climes. Hence, my post... Arabian Nights. Going to Dubai last year was one of the best holidays/ experiences I've ever had. A lot of people have preconceptions about the country and are put off by the admittedly very scary horror stories, so I wanted to offer my experiences of Dubai as a travel destination. (I traveled to Dubai alone and stayed with a friend who is currently working over there. I flew with Emirates and stayed for 10 days.)

10 Reasons To Visit Dubai:

1) Single, white, blonde female in Dubai? 

The rumours aren't true. I felt just as safe in Dubai as I did back home. My friend was at work most days so that meant I ventured out alone... Took taxis, went to the beach, went shopping, ate lunch and went site seeing. At no point did I feel nervous or threatened. I also never felt the need to completely cover up. Shorts, vests etc are all acceptable. On the advice of my friend, I carried a pashmina in my bag just in case I ever felt it was necessary to cover my shoulders but ended up using it to deal with the super cold air conditioning.

2) Little girl, big city.

I have never been to a city like Dubai before. Most of my shock and awe was in relation to size: the size of my friends apartment building; the size of her apartment; the size of the shopping malls; the size of the food portions; the size of the Burj Khalifa - the world's tallest building. Everything is big, big, BIG!

3) So hungry I could eat a horse.

I could not fault the food in Dubai. Whether it was eating a giant bowl of king prawns watching the dancing fountains in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa or eating quails egg sandwiches and chocolate shoes at a fashion themed High Tea at Raffles hotel. There's something to cater for every taste. During my ten day stay I sampled food as diverse as sushi to braai pork (that's South African for BBQ). I scoffed an Arabic feast of falafel and shish taouk (chicken kebab!). I was converted by my first prawn burrito (can you tell what my favourite food is yet?). I munched on mini burgers washed down with champagne and drank copious amounts of lemon and mint juice (a Dubai staple). Yum! And if you feel like eating in they even deliver McDonalds and Subway to your door!

4) Oh What a Night!

Every Tuesday in Dubai is ladies night, which means Ladies drink for free - hello champagne! We spent it at the Westin Hotel (alcohol can only be served in hotels) which had two gorgeous bars and definitely made the most of the offer. During my stay I also sampled happy hour at the Observatory (Mmm Mojito!) while I watched the sunset over the Palm Islands and had did Jaeger bombs at a Mexican restaurant called Loca with lots of South Africans. A lot of big DJs and Music Artists go to Dubai and there is something to go every night. Time Out Dubai lists "What's On" day to day so it is worth checking out before you go on holiday if you want to plan some nights in advance.

5) Life's a Beach.

I only "chilled" on the beach a couple of the days I was in Dubai. The locals commented on the fact it had just got cool enough to be able to enjoy the outdoors - It was still 35 degrees plus! My friend took me to a quiet spot which we virtually had to ourselves and wading into the sea was like sinking into a bath; absolutely gorgeous. I also went to the larger Jumeirah beach - think kite flyers, lots of beautiful families, thousands of white shells and a view of the Sail (Burj Al Arab - the seven star hotel).

6) Shop til you drop.

Shopping is a national pastime in Dubai. Everything from Potterybarn to Marks and Spencers can be found in one of the many, many malls. Dubai Mall is particularly impressive. Located in downtown Dubai it houses an ice rink, a cinema, an aquarium with a walk through tunnel that allows you to come face to face with several sharks and the entrance to the Burj Khalifa. It also allowed me to peruse the rails of Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, Dior, Oscar de la Renta, Fendi, Louis Vuitton and pretend for a moment I was Carrie Bradshaw. Worth checking out if you are brave enough is the Antique Museum but do not be fooled by the name! The Antique Museum is a located in what I can only describe as a warehouse. It is an Aladdin's Cave of souvenirs and curiosities and houses everything from Dubai tea towels to beautiful multi-coloured hanging lanterns. The building is divided into lots of different rooms which are interconnecting and never ending. Door after door, row after row of items with wildly decorated secret corridors leading from one room to the next. African masks and giant tigers lurk round every corner and mystical music provides the soundtrack to this hot and dusty treasure trove. The staff are friendly, if a bit persistent and give you free water to drink and a wet-wipe as you leave. I bought some beautiful tea light holders and a few hanging lanterns.

7) Old Dubai.

My friend took me into Old Dubai or Bur Dubai as I wanted to see the Gold Souk (Market). Old Dubai is a cacophony of noises and smells. There are shopping centers dedicated to the sale of gold and jewellery, lots of flashing lights and lots of people. Despite this, it felt a lot more intimate than the city centre. The massive glossy sky scrapers twinkle in the distance and frame Bur Dubai from all sides but this definitely feels more authentic, more Arabic. We took an Abra (wooden taxi boat) across Dubai Creek for about 20p to the Textile Souk. I picked up (yes, always shopping) little embroidered slippers made from camel leather and two wall hangings. We ate in one of the oldest restaurants in Dubai which had tables that over looked the Abras cruising back and forth over the creek.

8) You're gonna need a bigger boat.

My friends boyfriend owns a small fishing boat and kindly agreed to take me out deep sea fishing. I had no idea what this would entail but was extremely excited about it. Believe me when I tell you that the best view of Dubai is from a boat. You can see the whole of the coast line shimmering in a blaze of heat and it only emphasises just how HUGE the Burj Khalifa is in comparison to the other buildings. Not only that but boats are fun! Zooming at top speed across aquamarine waters while the wind whipped through my hair (I do not think it would be as fun in the North Sea). Chasing schools of frenzied feeding fish and holding aloft the Queen fish that my friend caught first cast putting all the males to shame! And finally, jumping into the sea to cool off... If you can get book a boat trip I'd highly recommend it.

9) Bali High.

Towards the end of the stay I had a Balinese massage. I went to the Dreamworks Spa in the Ibis WTC Hotel. This would be considered a budget spa in comparison to the other spas I looked at on Time Out Dubai but it had excellent reviews and all of the staff are from the island of Bali. I had a full body Balinese massage (60 mins) followed by reflexology (30 mins) for about £45 (depending on your exchange rate). It was the best massage I've ever had. I would definitely recommend doing something like this when you are in Dubai. It's too hot to lie in the sun all of the time and there are so many hotels with world class spas there is no reason not to finish off your holiday in the most relaxing fashion possible.

10) Reaching New Heights.

I have mentioned the Burj Khalifa in most of my ten reasons. It is hard not to mention it as it dominates the Dubai skyline and is truly and impressive sight both in terms of size and design. Whether it is twinkling at night or shining in the day, every time I stood in its shadow it took my breath away. I saved my journey up the tower until the end of my holiday. I would advise booking in advance as instant access tickets are extortionate! Tickets are roughly £15-20 in advance compared to £70-80 for immediate entry. You can see everything in Dubai from the viewing platform; Atlantis Palms, Burj Al Arab, the Palm Islands, the World Islands and my friends apartment! You also get an amazing view of Downtown Dubai and the pool which contains the Dubai Fountain which is also a must see.

Okay... so this has been quite a lengthy post which I'm sure will only interest those of you who have either been to Dubai or are considering going... I would go back in a minute! Hopefully you've enjoyed my account of my trip and picked up a few suggestions of where to go and what to see. Maybe the next time I go I'll be lucky enough to blag a night in the Sail or Atlantis Palms!

All photo collages created with photos taken on iPhone with Leme Cam App.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Just Play it Cool Boy... Real Cool

I've been out the dating game for a while... five years to be exact. And to be honest I never really dated when I was younger. I met my first boyfriend at T in the Park. We shared a mutual love for Oasis, he was six years older and I fell in love at first sight. Back then I didn't even have a mobile. I actually think I used to phone his house to arrange to meet up then sit and drink wine in his room (classy). Oh how times have changed and ten years on I find myself in a world where you can not only text, you can BBM, Whatsapp, Kik, Facebook chat, Facebook stalk and Tweet.

So how do you date in 2012? There's always lots of relationship advice in magazines; mainly for people already in relationships:

"How to tell what he's really thinking"
"50 ways to spice up your sex life"
"Is it too soon to say I love you?"
"Why won't he commit?" etc. etc.

There's rarely any advice on dating because the only decent advice, if you no longer want to be single, is to play it cool... something I have never been very good at. Over the past year a lot of my friends have became single and I have realised that sadly, we tend to define ourselves as either having or not having a boyfriend/ girlfriend. I don't think I want a boyfriend at the moment. There are obviously times when it would be beneficial... Sunday duvet days for certain or having someone to drag to Nando's... but for the first time in a long time I'm being selfish. Making decisions just for me and thinking about what I want from life. So instead of making this a post on dating rules as I had originally intended, I am going to look at two of my favourite icons who were strong, complicated, independent, interesting and inspirational women and undeniably cool.

Marilyn Monroe
First, I'm trying to prove to myself that I'm a person. Then maybe I'll convince myself that I'm an actress.

All we demanded was our right to twinkle.

I don't know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.

I have feelings too. I am still human. All I want is to be loved, for myself and for my talent.

I restore myself when I'm alone.

It's better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone - so far.

Sex is a part of nature. I go along with nature.

Audrey Hepburn

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.

I was born with an enormous need for affection, and a terrible need to give it. 

I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.

The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.

The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Glamour is what I sell, it's my stock in trade

What's in my my makeup bag?:

Rimmel Lasting Finish Foundation in 201 Classic Beige
Bare Minerals Foundation in N10 Fairly Light
HD Brows in Bombshell
Benefit Boing Concealer in 01
Accessorize Baked Bronzer Duo in Shade 3 Laguna
Loreal Volume Million Lashes in Extra Black
MAC Fluidline Eyeliner in Blacktrack
MAC Eyekohl in Powersurge
MAC EyeShadow in Expensive Pink
Barry M Dazzle Dust in 51 Mushroom
Barry M Dazzle Dust in 25 Rust
MUA Blusher Shade 5
MUA Liplgloss Shade 4
MUA Glitter Eyeliner Shade 2
Gal Collection Lip Balm in Red Current & Violet

Lipsticks Left to Right:
MAC Lustre in A41 See Sheer
MAC Frost in A79 Angel
MAC Amplified in A39 Impassioned
Topshop Lips in Nevada
No17 Mirrorshine in Beehive
Dior Addict High Shine in 530 Orange Ovation
Dior Backstage Makeup Brushes:
Face, Cheek, Eye & Eyeliner Brush
Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser
Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic
Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser

Schwarzkopf Got2B Powder'ful Volumising Styling Powder
Tigi Bead Head Biggie Headrush Shine Spray
Samy Fathair Amplfying Hair Spray
Batiste Dry Shampoo in Boho
Batiste Dry Shampoo in XXL Volume
Fudge Urban Sea Salt Spray
KMS California Colourvitality Shine and Shield  
Trevor Sorbie Self Grip Roller Set                                                                            
And because I used my lovely new Oriental Scarf from H&M (£7.99) as the background for my pictures, I decided to take a picture of some my scarf collection. All charity shop purchases apart from the two on the left. I'd also like to say a makeup RIP to Benefit Bronzer in Dallas, Benefit Blush in Coralista, MAC Cremeshine in Crosswires, MAC Eye Shadow in Woodwinked.... All of which have either run out or been lost on a night out (expensive bad habit!)


I hope you have enjoyed having a little look at the products I use. I've omitted some older items (Avon eyeshadows I've been using forever, lip glosses etc). Some products I've been using for a long time, others are recent purchases so I might do a post on my top 5 products. What are your favourite products?... I'm looking for a nice red and/ or purple shade lipstick. I'd also like to know the eyeshadow you "go to" on a night out. Recommendations welcome!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Do's and Don'ts

Here are my Do's and DOn'ts of surviving a break up. This list is by no means exhaustive. Looking back there are many more things I could include on my list of "Don'ts" and many more things I want to include in my list of "Do's". In a way it's quite a personal list. It echoes many of my mistakes and a lot of my hopes.


Do Nots...

Don't lie in your bed for a week. You are not helping the situation. Sleep will help you avoid it for a while but you'll probably end up being awake all night, alone with your thoughts and listening to melancholic music.

Don't get in touch with your previous ex. They are your ex for a reason.

Don't get in touch with your current ex. Time apart is necessary to move on.

Don't look at pictures of the happy times for a long time. You'll only doubt whether the decision to end it was the right one.

Don't look at their Facebook page.

Don't get involved in drunken conversations with your ex.

Don't ask them if they are seeing anyone else. Those are details you do not need to know.

Don't ever regret the time you spent together or the decision you made to part.



Be impulsive.
Remember who you were when you were an "I" and not a "We".
Call up old friends.
Go on adventures.
Be selfish.
Make lists and enjoy ticking them off.
Work hard.
Play hard.
Challenge yourself.
Spend time with loved ones.
Explore music, film, art, books, cultures, food.
Be independent.
Frighten yourself.
Be ambitious.
Pamper yourself.
Appreciate the time you had together.
Think about the lessons you've learned.
Make memories.
Cherish memories.
Have an opinion.
Take lots of photos.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Songs Are Like Tattoos

After reading and liking Learn This Phrase and Romeo and the Lonely Girl's posts on their musical picks of the year I decided to think of the tracks, that for me, will always remind me of 2011...

This song reminds me so much of my summer at Benicassim where the Arctic Monkeys headlined Saturday night. I think Suck it and See is their best album since their debut. I know it's been received with mixed reviews; people saying it's not proper "Arctic Monkeys" but I love Alex Turner's quirky lyrics and The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala is without a doubt my favourite song on the album. My car stereo always gets cranked up at 1.55 and I give it big licks probably much to the amusement of fellow drivers.

The Strokes have been my favourite band since I was 15. I first heard them on Radio 1 and was hooked. I had an eclectic musical background; growing up on a mixed bag of motown and classic and indie rock but I had never heard anything like The Strokes before and every time I heard Last Night or Hard to Explain I had to dance, sing, shout and they still have the same effect on me. Like Arctic Monkeys, I saw The Strokes at Benicassim. Infact, they were part of my reason for going. This song has that distinctive jangly guitar playing of Valensi and Hammond Jr. and Casablancas' grungy vocals. The build up to the chorus, the guitar solo... I could go on. I love this song. <3

I have been back in the boxroom since August without a TV. However, I have had my trusty DAB radio and I discovered Keaton Henson one evening on Zane Low's show. I downloaded the single immediately. The lyrics are painfully stunning and written, when all the best music is written, after a break up. He writes on his website "Dear Unknown, I hope you listen as though it were all for you. I hope she knows it was. I hope you can forget the fact I do both. It meant more before." The B-side Strawbear is also beautiful; my favourite lyrics "Take the clothes from my back and make love to me slow...And you're free to think of all you feel and let go... Do not tell me though" as is his cover of Maps by the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. Big things for Keaton in 2012.

Oh Lana, Lana, Lana, the gangsta Nancy Sinatra. Again, I heard this on Radio 1 and was instantly mesmorised by her voice... and then I saw her. A stunning mix of 50s vintage and bling coupled with bee sting lips and straw coloured hair. This song was on constant repeat for a whole week. Needless to say my love affair with Lana will continue to blossom in 2012.

My Ibiza song. I cannot hear it without being transported back to the Magic Isle and memories of dancing til the sun rose in Privilege and Ushuaia. I did not expect to love Ibiza as much as I did... and I predict my return to the White Island in 2012.

I was a little slow to jump on the Mumford and Sons bandwagon. It was my sister who introduced me to them along with some other artists I've grown to love such as the Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens, Mike Snow and Jeff Buckley (I can't wait to link with her iTunes again). This song transports me to Benicassim; mojito in one hand looking down onto the crowd swaying back and forward in the warm evening air. Bliss.

This song has dominated the charts since the summer and has been the soundtrack to many of my nights out. The video is stunning and makes me long for a destructive, Requiem for a Dream style romance in denim and brothel creepers.

My little guilty pleasure of the year. Oh how I love Olly Murs!!! The sight of his berry chinos and cheeky grin make me blush like a school girl. The perfect pop song by the perfect pop artist.

What has your soundtrack of 2011 consisted of? Do you have any recommendations for 2012?

Monday, 2 January 2012

Top Glossybox Products

I've been subscribed to GLOSSYBOX Beauty since July 2011. The premise is this; every month, GLOSSYBOX delivers a mix of 5 exciting product miniatures packed in a beautiful box for you to test at home. Once you receive your products you can review them via their website and collect Glossydots which transform into a free box one you have reviewed enough products. The box costs £10 plus p&p.

I stumbled across the world of beauty boxes on Miss Lucy Love's blog. The idea of receiving a mystery box of goodies every month slightly excited me; like receiving a miniature present once a month even if I was gifting it to myself! And even though the website states you will receive 5 samples, in the main, you receive at least 2 full size products in every box. (And the boxes are gorgeous as well - baby pink, filled with black wrapping paper and pink ribbons - so ridiculously predictable and girly am I!)

Out of all the products I have received. Here are my favourites:


RRP £20


rrP £19.95


rrp £19.96

HD Brows Palette in Bombshell -  Bombshell:  For blondes…a nude, a carbon shadow, and two blonde tone powders. When used as an eye shadow palette, this will create a cool natural daytime look and a soft evening look.

I use this product everyday. Especially since I darkened my hair. I use the blonde shade underneath the carbon and even though it looks blonde it is a light brown shade on the brows. HD brows is becoming a bit of a phenomenon. The salon process defines your natural beauty with a 7 step procedure creating high definition brows. I have not had the procedure done myself but I find that the palette is enough to define my brows and fill in any gaps to create a look which frames the face and enhances the eyes. I've also used the other colours as blending shades/ subtle eyeliner. This is the product I would definitely buy again out of all the products I have received and at £19.95 it was a fantastic product to receive in the Glossybox.

LP Skin Therapy  Lip Rescue Gel - With a complex of natural calming ingredients this plumping lip gel helps keep you calm and your lips lusciously smooth and moisturised.

I didn't think I would like this product as much as I have mainly because of the RRP price. I have never paid £20 for a lip gloss. However, this has become a handbag staple. It definitely has a lip plumping effect. I tried it on my sister (and my dad!) who both have quite thin lips and the results were impressive.

Weleda Pomegranate Regenerating Body Oil - This luxurious skin oil is distinguished by precious organic pomegranate seed oil which is rich in nutrients. The oil helps renew and protect to reveal smooth, firm skin, and let your skin’s natural beauty shine through.

This body oil is said to renew the skin by 50% in just two weeks. I am not a religious applier of moisturisers so cannot comment on this claim but it smells gorgeous, feels gorgeous and the packaging is very classy. It is beautiful to apply after a shower and I have never had scaly skin since using it.

There are other beauty boxes out there. Notably the Feel Unique box which is delivered free and Joliebox (formally Boudoir Prive) but at the moment I am sticking with my Gossybox... May the pink boxes pile high!

Etched Upon My Mind

It's a contemplative season is Winter! I think that's why a lot of people cry at New Year... You think about the year that's just gone past, about loved ones lost and I lament the fact I am another year older. (My friend recently remarked - We're at a time in our lives where we need to seriously start thinking about skincare -Great!)

This post however, is going to be a celebration of all the things I have achieved last year... Devoted to the experiences that are etched upon my mind.

I turned 25... I directed Shakespeare. I worked as a lecturer. I got a full time contract. I celebrated the Royal Wedding with four beautiful friends. I went to the island of Luing and rowed boats, climbed hills, saw lambs being born, sea eagles and seals and spent it in beautiful company. I learnt that friendship has no age limit. I traveled and stayed all over the UK... Finzean, Pitlochry, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester and London. I bought a lot of scarves. I sang Karaoke and BBQ'd in the sun with friends. I was part of the Free Fringe. I "wetted" babies heads. I taught my friends how to improvise and played drama games. I went to Benicassim via Magaluf and stayed up til 6am drinking Tequila. I danced to The Strokes, Acrtic Monkeys and Primal Scream. I watched Mumford and Sons from Mojito Mountain and thought "Life is Good". I camped. I caravanned. I met people from all over the world. I went to Ibiza... Take me back to Swedish House Mafia at Ushuaia. I had many long conversations. I cried a lot. I laughed even more. I supported others through their quarter life crisis'! I turned a tasty profit on eBay. I dined with many a fine friend. I went to Dubai and reveled in the culture, the food, the nightlife and the beaches. I went deep sea fishing and up the tallest building in the world. I ate a 1/2 a kilo of king prawns. I realised that time apart does not affect true friendship and that Mums are a girls best friend. I baked a lot of cookies and successfully cooked my first Christmas dinner with my sister. I confirmed home is where the heart is. And lastly I started my own blog...

I hadn't really given the positives in my year this much thought. It's quite affirming to see them all written down... Here's to 2012. Lang may yer lum reek.