Sunday, 27 July 2014

Exploring Brighton: The Laines

Brighton Laines
Brighton Laines
Vintage in Brighton
Vintage shopping brighton

A couple of weeks ago, we stopped off for a day trip in Brighton on our way back from a nearby music festival. We started the day off right, with an amazing breakfast at Bill's - click to read my review and see drool-worthy pancakes and veggie delights!

With full bellies we began to explore the town. It was my first trip to Brighton, but as a native Southamptoner, Josh had been a couple of times before for family days out. He had explored The Laines before and knew I'd love them, so we headed straight there. Brighton's Laines are a complete maze - tiny interlinked pedestrian streets crammed full of interesting vintage, junk and jewellery shops among others.  The Laines take you back to a time before cars, there's no way they could fit through the narrow streets and the summery bunting only adds to the feel of that era. 

After popping into numerous vintage and gift shops, buying a few gifts for upcoming birthdays, browsing the record collections and admiring jewellery from a distance through the glass - we found our way to the ChoccyWoccyDooDah shop [with the help of google maps]. Having watched the TV programme and seeing some of the crazy creations they make, I had to pop in and take a look in real life. Downstairs is full of displays of their cakes and smaller wrapped goodies you can buy to take home, like thick slabs of chocolate studded with fruit, nuts, sweets and other tasty treats. Upstairs, is the cafe! Unfortunately we had just eaten lunch so we were pretty full already, but we've heard you have to stop by for a hot chocolate - ChoccyWoccyDooDah style! 

When we eventually found our way out of the maze of Laines, we wondered around the more normal streets and stumbled across loads of street art. I love street art and graffiti - I'd rather see the bright colourful art than drab, grey building backs any day! Our street art tour gradually led us towards the bright lights and noisy gulls of Brighton beach and pier... more to follow on that in the next post!

Have you been to Brighton? What do you recommend visiting on a day out there?

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Beautiful makeup needs beautiful storage

clear makeup storage
clear makeup organiser
acrylic makeup storage
how to store makeup

Does this mean I'm a real beauty blogger now? I finally have some clear acrylic storage! I just need the white dressing table, beautiful bedroom and I'm away. I have serious envy for the homes of some bloggers - so neat and perfect!

I decided I need to improve the storage of my makeup and beauty products, so this is the first step in the long and treacherous journey. At the moment my collection is stashed in tins and old beauty boxes shoved into drawers. I forget I own a lot of products, so often have to have a rummage around to rediscover some old favourites. This set of drawers is the perfect tool to keep my makeup easy to see and find - functional yet still looking good on my dressing table. It has three clear drawers, the perfect size to fit your current favourite lip products, palettes and skincare that you're reaching for frequently. The set of drawers also has little clear rubber feet, so even when you're moving the drawers in and out in a rush, it doesn't move anywhere.

I'm going to be picking up some more of these drawers soon, stacking a couple on top of each other would work perfectly and really save space! These are really encouraging me to mix up my everyday makeup routine, by allowing me to actually see the products I own, rather than always reaching for the ones on the top of my makeup bag day after day.

How do you store your makeup? Do you have any amazing space saving solutions that would still fit in on the perfect beauty blogger's dresser?

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Homemade Iced Vanilla Lattes

Iced coffees served up in cute jam jars have been floating around the blogging world for a while now, but after seeing Katy's incredible Caramel Frappes last week I decided to have a go at a simplified version myself. And yes, I am possibly the messiest latte maker in the world...

This is so easy to make, I didn't use a blender as Katy did, or really measure anything out, it's just all done to taste. So, you will need:

- Espresso coffee (using espresso granules or shot of espresso from a machine)
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Ice cubes
- Milk
- A jam jar and straw to serve

Add your coffee granules (1 teaspoon, or shot of espresso) and sugar to your jar. Mix with enough boiling water to dissolve (omit if using shot of espresso), then leave to cool. Add your vanilla essence to taste, and when completely cooled (it doesn't take long) add plenty of ice. Top up with milk, give it a stir, pop in your straw and you're good to go!  

How easy is that?! These are definitely going to become regular Sunday morning drinks for me, tasting just as good as a coffee house iced latte - they're going to save me some pennies too. I only had vanilla essence on hand when making these, but I'm going to buy some coffee syrup or tasty ice cream topping sauce to make more indulgent versions. The essence did work well, but definitely needed the sugar to add the sweetness I love. 

Have you tried making your own iced coffees at home? Which flavours should I try?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

A summery coral look using TheBalm FratBoy blush

TheBalm Fratboy swatch
The Balm Frat Boy review
FratBoy Blusher review swatch

This is a super simple makeup look I've been turning to recently, for the warm summery days. Using the Mii Illuminating Face Base creates a soft, slightly dewy, finish - allowing my freckles to show through. I'm usually a matte finish girl and never thought 'dewy' was for me but this product has changed my mind. It provides coverage, isn't oily or slippy but it's definitely got that barely there feel. 

I set that with a translucent powder then apply theBalm's FratBoy blush on top. I bought this in the US after hearing so many good things through blogs, it's already become a favourite everyday blush. A lovely coral pink that can be built up to create as strong a colour as you'd like. For my eyes, I'm going for my Kiko Supercolour eyeliner to create a basic cat eye and then finishing with a touch of Benefit's Bad Gal mascara. To compliment the blush, I'm using a Rimmel Moisture Renew lipstick in 705 'Let's Get Naked' for a nude verging on coral colour. 

What are your go-to summer makeup colours and which products do you reach for the most?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Lifestyle: Boston Tea Party - Cheltenham

Boston Tea Party Cheltenham
Boston Tea Party Cheltenham review
UK Lifestyle blog
UK life blog

I wanted to love Boston Tea Party in Cheltenham so much, but it just didn't happen. I'd walked past the window a couple of times and looked in longingly, the interior design is perfect and I had heard good things about the food.

Josh and I visited one morning when we were in Cheltenham, popping in for coffees and breakfast. Overall, we mostly enjoyed the experience that time, the coffees were lovely - each latte was topped with a coffee art leaf and it was a quiet, chilled out place to spend some time. However the food didn't quite stand up to our expectations, it wasn't awful - it was just okay. I went for the Eggs Royale [Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon instead of ham] and Josh went for Eggs Florentine [spinach instead of ham]. We may have been spoilt in Boston when we had the best eggy brunch ever, but these two were just nothing alike.

I was still undecided on my thoughts, so we decided to give it another go with a couple of friends one weekend. Although, this time we were slightly disappointed again. I'm not going to write a full negative review as they don't deserve that, but the food was very slow [taking around an hour] and completely underwhelming when it arrived. I don't think I'll be eating there again, I'll sticking to coffee on the quiet weekday mornings and taking in the fun decor.

I wanted it to be a local version of Bill's in Brighton, but unfortunately it was not to be. The search continues!

Monday, 14 July 2014

The Body Shop: Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil & Eye Cream

The Body Shop Vitamin E Serum in Oil
The Body Shop Vitamin E Eye Cream

Enter, possibly, my all time favourite skincare products. This might sound like a bold claim, but these products - the serum in particular - have done wonders for my skin. I've given these products a long testing time and used them almost every day for a month. 

The Body Shop's Vitamin E range has been around since the '70s - it's said to protect against pollution and premature ageing. I used to have one of the Vitamin E lip balms years ago and it was my favourite because of the amazing smell! These products have the same wonderful smell and I can already see why the range has stood the test of time. 

The serum-in-oil is my favourite of the two products. A couple of drops from the pipette is enough to generously cover my face, so this product isn't going to run out any time soon. Despite being an oil, it's a non-greasy and fast absorbing formula. I apply this overnight as suggested and when I wake up, my skin is seriously soft and smooth ready for the day's makeup to be applied. The mild eczema I get around my nose and chin is smooth, redness is reduced completely and there's no dryness. This is one of the main reasons I love this product, nothing usually works this well for me! I'm going to be taking this in my travelling wash bag in October, this is going to be a lifesaver for when it's too hot to wear makeup. I already know that I'm going to be repurchasing this product when it runs out, £12 a bottle is a bargain for something that works this well.

The eye cream also has a lovely texture - it's a silky smooth, fast absorbing product designed to reduce puffiness and minimise the appearance of fine lines. I also use this through the night and wake up with very soft, refreshed under-eyes. I don't have too many fine lines at the moment, thankfully, but this does seem to smooth out any small lines and bags well. It's a good accompaniment to the serum, if you're looking for a relatively purse friendly eye cream then I would recommend this for £11!

I've been so impressed with these two products that I'm definitely going to be checking out the other items in the Vitamin E range. I want to get my hands on the lip balm again, I remember it being so moisturising and I know I keep going on about it but... the smell <3. I've also got my eye on the toner and the face mist too, I've got high hopes. 
Have you tried this long-standing Body Shop range?

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Breakfast at Bill's, Brighton

Breakfast at Bill's Brighton
Breakfast in Brighton

Bill's Brighton
Where to eat breakfast in Brighton
Review of Bill's restaurant
On the way home from a weekend of work at Love Supreme festival, we stopped off in Brighton town centre for a day out (another post on that to follow) and breakfast at Bill's

The interior of the restaurant had an industrial feel, with bare wooden tabletops and chairs, tin tableware, exposed pipes, handwritten chalkboards and high skylights set into the ceiling. It's an instantly likeable place, not too quaint and cute but definitely instagrammable at the same time. The staff at Bill's were incredibly friendly and on the ball, we were shown to a little table for two, seated and had a chilled jug of water on the table in minutes. After a little while, our drinks order was taken and two perfect lattes appeared. Josh is a hard man to please with lattes, but this one went down well.

For food, I opted for the buttermilk blueberry pancakes with banana and strawberry while Josh went for the veggie breakfast with extra potato and beans. The restaurant was pretty busy, but both meals came out really quickly and were perfect. The pancakes were amazing, so tasty and the portion was plenty to fill me up for brekkie. Josh went as far as saying that it was the best veggie breakfast he's ever had... and he's had a lot, believe me. It consisted of crusty bread topped with humous and guacamole, with grilled tomatoes, mushrooms and two perfect poached eggs on top, finished with sweet chilli sauce and basil. Josh then ordered the extra hash brown style potatoes and beans on the side. Apparently, it even beat the amazing eggs florentine we had for brunch in Boston and that's saying something!

I would definitely recommend a visit to Bill's, there's a couple of restaurants dotted around the country so check if there's one near you! I was pleased to spot that there's one in Bristol, where Josh and I will be settling after Christmas this year, you'll probably find me in there testing out the lunch and dinner menu too. Have you eaten at Bill's?