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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Mars Bar Slices

It's important to know that what I'm about to show you is in my opinion, the closest thing to heaven in your mouth that you'll ever come across. Mars Bar Slices are something I've been making for years, they're my go to for any bake sale because they're utterly delicious and go down a storm with everyone. Before we get started let me caveat that these are in no way skinny or healthy, but they are good for you... just in a really bad way.

Still keen? Let's get started. 

You will need:

- 10 x Mars Bar Snack Size (10 x 36.5g)
- 220g Dairy Milk (or a couple of share bars)
- Rice Crispies (I just buy a packet and save the rest for breakfast)
- 50g Butter

NB: None of the above needs to be accurate. 

First up, pop you butter in a saucepan on a low heat and melt a little, then add the Mars Bars. Stir regularly to make sure it doesn't burn and wait for it to melt. 

Look at it go...

Oh goodness.

Once it's all melted (including the nougat), add in the Rice Krispies. This bit is really down to personal preference - pour some in, give it a mix and add some more if you think your Mars to Krispie ratio is a bit off.

Once it's all mixed up pop the mixture into a casserole dish or baking tin. Just to be safe I've lined mine with foil and rubbed some margerine in to stop any sticking. Pat it down as you'll need to save space for the topping - then leave it to cool and put it in the fridge for 30 mins or so to set.

Once it's set you can work on the topping. You can either melt the chocolate the safest way which is in a bain-marie (a glass bowl over boiling water), or if like me you don't have a bowl that would fit in a saucepan, then you can do it in the microwave. However this can be a risky game so make sure you have it in for 10 second intervals and keep stirring. Burnt chocolate just won't do.

Then the best bit, pour that chocolate all over. Mother may I...

Once you've poured the chocolate on, spread it out with a knife so that the whole thing is covered, corners included.

Leave it to set in the fridge until the chocolate is hard, then slice it up and enjoy.

You. Are. Welcome.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Lush Haul

L - R: Honey Bee, Dragon's Egg, Granny Takes A Dip, Twilight, Sakura

You know Christmas is coming when Lush release their Christmas range - and it's happening in just a mere nine days time. I for one am super excited! Needless to say however, neither myself nor my bath bomb supply could wait that long, so I thought I'd top up my stock with a few old favourites to keep me going until the infamous Christmas penguins are back in my life. 

I picked up my favourite of all time Twilight a beautiful lavender and malt scent that sends your bath into a soothing purple haven, Sakura a delicious cherry blossom floral bath bomb,  Dragon's Egg a citrus smelling bomb which I tend to purchase more for the performance factor rather than the scent and Honey Bee a comforting mix of honey and aloe vera. I also picked up Granny Takes A Dip which I've never used before but it looked far too exciting not to try. 

I can't wait for the Christmas collection to come in so I can pick up some of my old faves and try their new additions. 

What are your favourite Lush bath bombs? 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Food: Tortilla Burrito

I was recently invited by Tortilla to come and sample some of their delicious Mexican delights. Conveniently, there is a branch right by my office, so I grabbed a friend and headed down for some Mexican time on my lunch break.

With California (specifically San Francisco) being my favourite place in the world, I've learnt that it's one of the hubs for great quality Mexican food. When I heard that Tortilla was started by a husband and wife team hailing from the Mission District of San Francisco who decided after a long hunt for great quality burritos and tacos in London, to start their own - I knew I was in good hands.

If you're already familiar with burrito bars then you'll know the drill, but for those who don't - this is how it works. You queue up and choose your meal; regular burrito, naked burrito (served in a bowl with rice) or healthy naked burrito (substitute the rice for salad). You then walk down the line (much like collecting your dinner at school) and select which fillings you'd like including meat, beans, salad and sauces. It's all quite simple but can be a bit overwhelming if it's busy and you're not sure what you want, so I'd always recommend lingering at the back before stepping up to the plate as it's pretty fast paced (particularly lunchtime in central London).

I went for a naked pork burrito with lettuce and my friend went all in with a chicken burrito. Usually I like to have steak, but they only offered Barbacoa (shredded steak) so I opted for the pork instead which in fairness was beautifully cooked and melted in the mouth. The staff were friendly and generous with their serving sizes, the flavours were delicious and both my friend and I gave our meals a big thumbs up.

I went to the branch in Charing Cross, which had a great upstairs seating area with nice views just off Trafalgar Square which I particularly liked and it made a change from the somewhat dimly lit seating areas of other similar restaurants in the area. The food was delicious and I'd definitely recommend a trip - just note it's best suited to lunch time or quick dinners - rather than anything more civilised.

Have you tried Tortilla? What's your favourite Mexican food?

Thursday, 18 September 2014

MICRO Nail System

According to the fashion crowd, the latest trend on the street is bare nails. Slightly unfortunate for me as my nail polish collection is looking pretty strong at the moment, but if the likes of Stella McCartney and Tom Ford are fans then who can argue?

To aid the bare nail process, a new product called MICRO Nail* has been launched exclusively to Boots to buff and shine your nails into perfection so you can rock the look with pride. The system is battery powered with two rollers - one for buffing (grey) and one for shining (white). The rollers which rotate up to 1800 times per minute leave your nails salon smooth in minutes and very much take the hard work out of buffing.

The buffing roller helps to eliminate any ridges or stains on the nail, whilst the shine roller works instantly to leave nails with a beautiful natural shine, which in my opinion gives the illusion of a glossy top coat. The system is super light and easy to use, I just move the roller around the base of the nail and then quickly smooth it over the tips - it feels totally non abrasive and gentle on the skin. This acts as a base coat in a manicure so for those not wanting to bare their nails, it helps nail polish to glide on effortlessly.

I really like this product- it's like a mini manicure at home, helping to improve the look of your nails with only a minute or two of work. Would I recommend you run out and buy it? That really depends. If you're looking for something to cut down your need for manicures, this would be a great part-time replacement. If you're not in the market for it, you could probably survive without it. This costs £39.99 and comes with spare rollers and batteries so whilst it's not the cheapest system in the world, it's fairly good value for money.

Do you like the sound of the MICRO Nail system?

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquer

L - R: 55 Sparkling Berry*, 50 Radiant Ruby*, 30 Twinkling Pink*, 25 Patent Poppy*, 20 Vivid Vermillion*

Last month Max Factor launched their latest nail offering to market: Gel Shine Lacquer. This is a pretty nine shade range which promises to deliver intense, high-shine colour with a smooth gel finish. 

Max Factor kindly sent me five shades to review; Sparkling Berry, Radiant Ruby, Twinkling Pink, Patent Poppy and Vibrant Vermillion. They are all beautiful shades that range from deep berry tones perfect for Autumn, to bright pinks and corals that are perfect for Summer time. 

The Gel Shine Lacquer range promises to be different to other gel offerings on the market and this is down to it's formula. Max Factor's formula includes Bentonite Clay Gel which stops the polish from just resting in any ridges on your nails (which is how other gel polishes tend to work). By ensuring this doesn't happen, the polish provides a plumped-up, smooth finish for the nails. 

These polishes provided me with a beautifully shiny, high quality finish and the shades are just gorgeous (particularly those berry tones for Autumn). I found they lasted around four days without chipping and generally lasted longer when I didn't use a top coat. The formula is good and only one coat was required to reach opacity apart from the coral shades which took two. 

I'm really impressed with the range - they retail for £7.99 each and I think I'll be reaching for them a lot in the coming months. 

Will you be trying the Max Factor Gel Shine Lacquer polishes? 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

A Day in Brighton

This weekend I decided to go to Brighton for a day trip. Having lived there for four years whilst at University, it's a place that's incredibly special to me and will always remain one of my favourite spots to visit in the UK. 

That being said, since the days I regularly roamed the streets, much of the city has changed. There are new bars, restaurants and shops. However my two favourite places - the quintessential lanes and the sea - remain constant. 

To kick start the day, we headed down to the beach front for some lunch. Picking a cafe with perfect views of the beach we stuffed our hungry bellies with brie & bacon paninis and made our way to sit on the mass of pebbles and look out at sea. 

After passing much of the time staring at the crazy people swimming in the undoubtedly freezing water and having competitions throwing stones into my boot, we packed up and made our way into the North Laines for a spot of shopping. 

I was particularly keen to go to Rose Hill Boutique - a shop I've seen featured on a number of blogs recently and as expected it was full to the brim with pretty shabby chic and vintage style ornaments. I picked up some lovely vintage tumblers which I've used to store my makeup brushes and pens, but thankfully managed to refrain from buying much else. 

Meandering through the North Laines is one of my favourite things to do. It's so gorgeous there - it balances cute and quaint boutiques with edgy tattoo shops perfectly. It has a fun, buzzy atmosphere and there so much to see and do.

This is Sharon.

I didn't catch this guys name, but he was positively enormous. 

After the lanes, we popped to Bohemia Bar for a drink - which is where the photography stopped (drink > camera). It's a cool bar with lovely decor, although we chose to sit outside on the roof terrace which was actually a bit of a let down. We then had dinner at No. 32 which has recently taken over Havana restaurant (somewhere we had really wanted to go). Either way, the food was delicious, although it did start to attract the Saturday night drinking crowd from about 9 o'clock, so we swiftly made our exit and sleepily got the train home.

It was such a lovely day - so relaxing, particularly as we had such great weather. If you haven't made it down to Brighton before, I couldn't recommend it enough - it's such a brilliant day out.

Do you love Brighton? What's your favourite thing to do there? 

Monday, 15 September 2014

Perfume Rollerballs

Whilst I love a pretty perfume bottle placed upon my vanity, the convenience of a rollerball perfume is second to none. Small and light enough to have in my handbag on a daily basis, but with great longevity, I'm officially converted. 

My first rollerball purchase was of one of my favourite perfumes (and probably my signature scent) - Stella by Stella McCartney. I'm on perhaps my third rollerball now and they just last ages - even with repeated touch ups throughout the day and evening. The scent for those that aren't familiar is sophisticated and sensual - a mix of soft rose and sensual amber to create an utterly stunning fragrance. 

My new perfume love, is for the Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black fragrance which is the creation of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and one half of two blends of this fragrance (to embody the duality of the twins). It blends violet, sandalwood and vanilla and the fragrance strikes a perfect balance between masculine and feminine which is something I love in a fragrance. I'm definitely keen to try the White blend next!

I bought both of these rollerballs in Sephora in San Francisco, however the good news is that there are plenty available in the UK from Rose's Beauty Store which is a great store to pick up US brands without the shipping costs. 

What is your favourite perfume? 

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