Friday, 30 May 2014

Food Friday: Pineapple Cupcakes

I love cupcakes, and I love trying to play around with recipes. While I have been trying to cook a lot of healthy food lately, you have to have some cake once in a while! I have a go to cupcake recipe, which is basically just the below recipe, but using milk instead of pineapple, and adding vanilla paste after step 2. It's so good I have it memorised, and I love to customise it by adding things like peanut butter, cocoa, different flavoured essences (like mint or coconut). This time I wanted to try making pineapple cupcakes, because I've been dreaming of a tropical holiday!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Wish List: Cruise Kitsch

For a few weeks now I've been dreaming on going on a cruise. I've spent my days off trawling forums and finding out everything I can about cruises and different companies, and now I have my heart set on an 11 day pacific islands cruise on Carnival (They have not one, but TWO waterslides on their ships!!!) The boy and I have convinced a bunch friends to join us too, so all that's left to do now is get some money together so we can book this thing! Now I'm searching for some outfits to wear while away. I'm totally one to wear kitschy hawaiian dresses with bright, tropical print. Think trashy vegas. I do (unsurprisingly) already have a few dresses that are perfect, but it's 11 days, and I'm starting to think I'll be needing quite a few more.

Cruise wish list

Anchor Values swimsuit top $49.99 and bottom $39.99

Tropical print dresses are my top pick for cruise outfit. You can throw one over your bikini when you're done swimming and want to do some drinking (or eating, I guess) somewhere that's not the pool deck. This one from Forever 21 is just perfect for that. As are the Sourpuss dresses, and holy moly, look at those prints!! I honestly can't decide which one I prefer, Sharks or pineapples and tikis? All I know is I need them, both! They're both a style that I really like to wear (Thick strap, skater skirt) so I think I'll get more wear out of them than just a cruise.
I imagine I'll be spending most of my onboard time wearing thongs, most likely plain old cheapy Kmart ones. But, if I wanted to get some that were a little more dressier, these are perfect! How cute is the shell on top!?
I love stud earrings, they're all I can wear because I used to have my ears stretched. These ones are super cute, and I especially love how they're miss-matched. They're from an Australian ebay store, filled with tones of really cute pieces, which are also super cheap.
For something a little more fancy for the evening, a longer skirt with a plain white shirt would be perfect, and this skirt is beautiful.
Last, but probably most importantly, is a bikini (or several). With all the water slides and pools on board, and beautiful clear beaches at each port, I don't think there'd be a day spent out of the water. I used to really struggle finding a bikini to fit me. There is no way I could ever get away with wearing the usual triangle bikini, or worse, a strapless bikini! I need support! Luckily though, bikinis with thick straps and underwire are starting to show up everywhere, so bikini shopping isn't a complete nightmare. Modcloth have a huge range of great bikinis, Seafolly (although expensive) do some rad ones too. Even places like Cotton On are selling bikinis for bustier women now. Yay! My tip? If you want to buy off Modcloth, wait until the end of Northern hemisphere Summer... they have great clearance sales so you'll be paying around $30 for a top instead of $70!

Have you been on a cruise? Got any tips?
Or are you dreaming of a holiday somewhere too?

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Illamasqua Blush in Katie

Another first in my series of new high end blushers! I haven't tried Illamasqua before, it's not sold in Canberra. I don't even think I came across the brand in my travels, but I've heard lots of people rave about their blushes, along with the rest of their products. A few weeks ago I went out shopping with my friend, and we found our way into Mac and Mecca. I looked at a few Mac blushes, but decided to have a look to see if I could find a Nars blush that I liked. I did, Gaiety, but unfortunately they didn't have it in stock. But fortunately for me, I went home and searched Asos and found this gem!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Wish list: Modcloth

Modcloth Wishlist
1. Work to Play dresses in Navy and Eggplant      2. Great Wavelength dress  
 3. Rad To the Bone dress     4. Foxtail and Fern Dress in Leaf
5. Spirited Sojourn flats in coral and blue
6. Love is the Arrow necklace    7. Perk me up bag in Toffee

I used to be obsessed with Modcloth. I haven't bought anything from them in a long time, and while I was away I didn't even bother to look at it. I'm in a bit of a rut with clothing and I feel like I want to buy an entirely new wardrobe, and Modcloth is the worst at the moment. I want to buy everything off there! I'm mostly looking for work appropriate clothing at the moment, as I want to get a lab job.
You can totally tell from this wish list that there's a certain style of dress that I feel most comfortable in. I have a dress very similar to the Work to Play dress (see an outfit post with it here) and I just feel that its the perfect cut. These dresses, pared with a cardigan or light jacket, stockings and some cute flats would be perfect for colder days or even for work. Dress number 3 is really rad, I love anatomy so anything with bones on is awesome in my books. Want to hear the best part? It glows in the dark! My sister thinks it's a bit naff, but I love it!
I don't really wear much jewellery apart from earrings, but I think it's nice to have a couple of necklaces to pull out every once in a while. I have an arrow necklace I scored from Colette for $10 or something ridiculous, but I've work it so much it's starting to rust a bit. This one is really delicate and cute, and would make the perfect replacement.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The tale of 3 lipsticks: 3 Rimmel formulas.

As much as I love Rimmel, they're a brand I often pass by. Sure I hopped on the wagon for some of their releases (Apocalips!) but for some reason, even though I love the products of theirs I own, I hardly buy their products. But I do own 3 of their lipsticks. One Lasting Finish by Kate Moss in 20, one Moisture Renew lipstick in 380 - Dark Night Waterl-Oops! and most recently, Lasting Finish Matte by Kate Moss in 101. Rimmel are a brand with several different formulas, and I know choosing one can be pretty tricky, so I thought I'd compare them to help choosing a little easier.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Mac Blush in Peaches

This was a spur of the moment decision in Gatwick airport just before we hurried to our gate to get on our plane. I had pounds to spend, and if I had more time I probably would have picked up something else like a foundation, but I literally looked at the blushes and picked within a minute. I haven't even really looked into getting a MAC blush before, and I don't regret the split minute decision at all.
Peaches is a lovely peach coloured blush, which I think we all know by now, is my favourite colour of any makeup. It has a very small amount of shimmer to it, which mostly comes up as matte (as shown in the swatch in natural light).
This is one of Mac's sheertone blushes, which means it's not overly pigmented. Which is fine, because it means you can't go in too heavy handed, and layer to get the right amount of colour. It's not chalky and is easy to blend. I don't really find it lasts much longer than any of the drugstore blushes I own, which is a little disappointing, but that might have more to do with the bases I use.
swatch in natural light - heavy (l), blended (r)

Swatch with Flash

Do you have any Mac Blushes? What's your favourite shade?

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Revlon Colourburst Matte Balms in Unapologetic and Showy

These have been around for a while now, and Ive seen that most people have picked them up. They just came out in the UK before I left England and was tempted there, but didn't end up picking any up until I saw a $10 off Revlon products in Myer a few weeks ago. I was a huge fan of the Just Bitten Kissable balm stains, and couldn't pass up a matte version!
First I'll just comment on the packaging. I found the writing on the side rubbed off the old kissable balm stains super quickly, and these have been kicking around in my handbag for a good fortnight without anything coming off. I think that alone is impressive. They're wind up, which I love - nothing worse than a thick lip crayon that you have to sharpen!
They have the same minty scent as the kissable lips balms, which I love.

Unapologetic is a lovely coral colour, my favourite lip colour! Showy is a nice bright pink.
As for the formula, they're so lovely. You can see in the swatches below that they can cling to dry patches, which is pretty common in matte formulas anyway. They're so easy to apply too. They aren't entirely matte, like Mac Ruby Woo is, but they're good enough for me.
I found Unapologetic lasts a fair bit longer than Showy, and after applying a couple of times is hard to get off when you're taking your makeup off at the end of the night because it's stained your lips. Showy needs a bit more touching up, and rubs off when eating.

Unapologetic and Showy  

Unapologetic (top) and Showy (bottom) - Sunlight

Natural light

With flash.

Showy (bottom) compared to Kissable balm stain in lovesick (top). Their packaging is very similar in colour, but you can see they're quite different, something I was worried about when I bought Showy.

If I can find a deal as good as that again I'll definitely be picking up more. What are your favourite shades of the matte balms?

Friday, 9 May 2014

Food Friday: New favourite toy and changing eating habits.

Fitness and healthy eating isn't something I've shared before on the blog. It's not something I've really been sharing in any part of my life. Especially healthy eating. While in England I had the worst diet. Chips and crips, pizza and beer made up the majority of my diet, and I think my health suffered for it. One of the ladies at work had bought one of those 'mix and go' blenders, where you put the fruit and veg in the cup and blend it, so you can drink out of it too. I thought it was a fantastic idea, and something I should think about getting when I get home. I'll let you in on a secret here: I've never eaten fruit. I just could never stand it. I wouldn't even touch berry yoghurts or muffins. This had to change if I wanted to get healthy.
When I got home I pulled out mum and dad's old juicer, and started making juices in the mornings. I wasn't a fan of all the wastage, and you had to use a lot of vegetables to make a small amount of juice. I started looking for a good 'mix and go' blender, but wasn't happy with what I could find, and then along came the Bellini Gourmet Wizard, which comes with 7 cups, 2 blades and a juicer attachment. Perfect!

So since then I've been trying out loads of different combinations of smoothies. I bought bags of frozen berries, cut up and froze a pineapple, and kept my fridge stocked with lots of veggies. I've been getting a lot of inspiration from Sandra from The Black Pearl Blog, including how to make nut milks (almond milk with dates and vanilla... amazing!!). I've been drinking them for breakfast, and although I usually need something else with my breakfast to fill me up, I've been adding a lot more fruit and veg to my diet that I would usually have. I'd love to share a few of my recipes with you in the future, so stay tuned.

Here's one of my favourite smoothies at the moment. Made with baby spinach, apple, blueberries and cucumber with cranberry juice. This was the first smoothie I made with avocado and I was super pleased. I usually add flaxseed when I'm making a smoothie in the morning to try and keep me fuller for longer - flaxseed has fibre and protein. For someone who usually has a sweet iced coffee and vegemite on toast for breakfast, this is pretty yummy. I guess it's all the sugar in the cranberry juice, which I hope to soon replace with coconut water, or even just water (coconut water is a little expensive).
The Gourmet Wizard, although small, is pretty good at blending everything up to a smooth drink. I only have problems when I'm using frozen mango I get a few chunks of mango because they're not cut up small enough. It's also not great with ice, so I'll have to play around with that a bit - maybe use smaller cubes, because I love a good cocktail slushy! I have had a few problems with the blender wearing away in a few places, the base of the blades, and the notches at the top of the cup (you can see them just underneath the blue ring of the cup below). So far it still functions well though. I usually only blend for around 10-20 seconds at a time as I'm worried about burning out the motor (which I've read is a common problem in blenders this size).

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Ulta3 Speckle Polishes: Egg-cellent and Bunny Bloom

Ulta3 released these Speckle polishes before easter, but in true Ulta3 fashion they've been nearly impossible to find. I was lucky enough to spot a reasonably full stand when I visited a Terry White, and I wasn't even looking for them!
Speckle polishes are something I've been wanting to get into for a while now, since Illamasqua's first ones made their way onto everyones blogs. It seems Ulta3 are the first cheaper brand to copy them, which was fantastic, because I love their nail polishes! I picked up Egg-cellent and Bunny Bloom. 
Egg-cellent is a mint green, and Bunny Bloom is a strawberry milkshake pink (yep, that's what I'm using to describe it!) I wasn't really keen on picking up the other colours. They both have small black circles and larger black hexagonal matte glitters in them. To be honest, the formula isn't that great. I know they're a budget brand, but they're other nail polishes are fantastic, and this wasn't up to scratch. It was really goopy and thick to apply, and because it was so thick, it's hard to see anything beneath the top layer. The polishes would also benefit from more larger glitters. 
All this being said, I have seen these polishes look really nice on other people. My nails are awful. Really awful. And I think that effected how the polishes applied, because I needed 2 thick coats of Sally Hansen Nail Rehab. This, along with Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream seem to be helping my nails strengthen. A top coat probably wouldn't hurt either.

What do you think of the Ulta3 speckle polishes? Have you managed to find them? Or do you have another favourite brand for speckle polishes?

Friday, 2 May 2014

Top 5 UK products

I've been home a while now, so I thought it was about time to let you guys in on a few amazing products I picked up while I was overseas. Some of these are easy to get here (even if they're a fair bit more expensive) but others will be more tricky.
Also, a sneak peak of one of the Ulta3 speckle polishes!

Rimmel Apocalips - Nova and Across the Universe
These were something I got just before we left, and I'm glad I did. They're lovely colours! I have 2 other shades - Luna and Galaxy, but I've kind of stopped using them. The new shades I've picked up are much more vibrant colours. Nova is a light pink, and Across the Universe is a dark red. You can get Nova here, but Across the Universe was only just release when I left England. It'll be perfect for 

MUA Colour Blast Eyeshadow tint - Bring it Back
This is SUCH a good eyeshadow base! It's so easy to apply, easy to blend, and once you put shadow over it, it's not going anywhere! By itself I'll admit that it's pretty awful, it fades away within a couple of hours, but it turns to gold when you pop some shadow on it. For £3, it's an excellent product!

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer - Fair
While I was away I misplaced my Maybelline dream lumi touch concealer and it was tough to decide what concealer to pick up. I was a bit worried about this one, I only use concealer under my eyes and thought this one might be a bit thick, and I was tossing between a few different ones. I'm so glad I chose this, because it does work perfectly under your eyes, especially if you warm it up between your fingers first.

Sleek Blush by 3 - Lace
I'm mostly chuffed by the huge mirror in this palette. It's so great for when you're traveling! Apart from that, the shades are beautiful, and they're easy to blend. I'm bummed I didn't pick up more while I was there, especially Pink Lemonade! See my review of this blush here.

MUA One Direction Kiss You Lipsticks - Moments, Rock Me, I Want, I Wish
This range! So good! I kinda like One Direction, and snapped this up in a second. All the lipsticks are fantastic colour, and apply creamy and pigmented. Rock Me, the lavender, is definitely my favourite of the lot. Not bad for £3 ($5ish) See my review here.

1. Apocalips - Nova and Across the Universe  2. MUA - Bring it Back   3. Collection - Fair
4. Sleek Blush by 3
5. MUA Top - I wish, Rock Me  Bottom - I want, Moments.

It was hard to chose. Seriously hard. So I'd like to give special mentions to Urban Decay Naked 3 (I wasn't going to add it because obviously it was my favourite), Maybelline Baby Lips - Pink Punch (Such a nice colour, our babylips have nothing on these! And it smells good. It would have made the list if I hadn't lost it!) and Rimmel Scandaleyes Lycra Flex (I absolutely hated this when I first got it. I only realised it was fantastic after I got home, after I had sent it home before I left the UK!)