Sunday, 29 June 2014

Recipe: Tangy Homemade Lemonade

Homemade Lemonade Recipe
Still Lemonade Recipe
How to make homemade lemonade
Homemade lemonade in a mason jar
homemade lemonade lifestyle blog

While we were in Boston, I had my first taste of American style, still, homemade lemonade and I loved it. I bought it at every lemonade stand we came across, whether it was at the baseball, in the park, at the festival we attended or just on a street corner. One time I peeked my head over the counter to watch how it was made and I was stunned at the simplicity. It's so simple, yet so tasty - I had to come home and give it a go myself!

Ingredients: (makes 2 large glasses)
- 2 large lemons
- 8 tsps sugar
- approx 750ml water
- ice cubes
- lime wedges

Method:
- Juice the lemons
- Add the sugar to a small jug and add a very small amount of boiling water, to dissolve the sugar
- Add the lemon juice to the dissolved sugar
- Divide the lemon/sugar mix between your glasses
- Top up the glasses with water
- Add plenty of ice and some lemon, lime or even orange wedges
- Then drink!

These quantities are approximate - based on my personal preferences. Once you know the ingredients and method, you can adjust the quantities to suit your tastes! This recipe is super simple but such a refreshing summer drink - why not increase the quantities and make a jug to take to a BBQ?

Let me know if you try this lemonade yourself - I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Rimmel ScandalEyes Gel Eyeliner

Rimmel Gel Eyeliner
Rimmel ScandalEyes Gel eyeliner
Rimmel gel eyeliner review
Rimmel gel eyeliner swatch

I recently had a few Boots points to spend, so found myself drawn to the Rimmel stand to look for any exciting new products that weren't going to drain my card of points completely. I picked up a lipstick, but also this gel eyeliner. I've tried my fair share of eyeliners in the past and have tried other gel formulas, my favourite being the MAC Fluidline in Rich Ground, however that's now dried up and cracked with age, so I thought it was time to try something new.

The packaging of this product is a very lightweight, plastic pot. It doesn't exactly feel luxurious compared to the glass pot of my MAC Fluidline, but what are you to expect from a much cheaper, drug store version?! The packaging does the job well, plus it looks like it should be glass, I was genuinely surprised when I first picked it up and felt the weight. So for the cost, the packaging is a winner overall for me.

Due to my skin tone, freckles and hair colour - I prefer to wear brown eyeliner over black, to create a softer, more natural look for my colouring. I picked up this eyeliner in brown and it's a lovely deep brown shade with a very subtle golden shimmer in the pot, however this shimmer isn't transferred to the eye when applied as a liner. The product is quite a soft gel compared to the other eyeliners I'm used to - it did take me a while to get used to applying the right amount of product to the brush. For me, the best way of picking up the product is to dip the brush into the gel, then gently brush it against the side of the pot to evenly disperse the gel through the brush. Once you've done this, it's easier to control the amount of product applied to the eyelid and ensure that the application is even. I also really like the brush that comes with the product, it has rounded but tapered bristles that can be used to create a soft look, or can be used to create a very clean, defined line too.

Rimmel claim that this eyeliner will last 24 hours, as many brands do with their products, but realistically who actually wears makeup for 24 hours straight... without a top up or refresh anyway! I haven't personally worn this eyeliner for 24 hours, but I did get quite close on Saturday night. I applied this eyeliner late Saturday morning and wore it all the way through until the very early hours of Sunday morning (shockingly, 9am), while DJing at a university summer ball. The eyeliner was under the pressure of hot stage lights, a long day, plus one very hayfever affected DJ... but it stood up to the task! I would go as far as saying that this eyeliner would last the full 24 hours, without smudging or giving you panda eyes.

I'm really glad I picked this little product up, it's headed straight for my everyday makeup bag and I'm sure it'll become a firm favourite. I can't wait to try out a brown/gold smokey eye using it along the top lashes for definition and smudged under the lower lashes for... smokey-ness. Have you tried this eyeliner out? What is your favourite gel eyeliner?

Thursday, 19 June 2014

David's Tea, Boston - Glitter & Gold


While in Boston recently, we stumbled across David's Tea. A little shop purely dedicated to selling loose tea and various tea paraphernalia - it was like finding a treasure trove for us Brits in America! I wanted to buy everything, but I restrained myself to picking up this Glitter & Gold loose tea and a tea ball strainer

The shop interior features a long wall, filled with metal canisters each containing a different type of tea. You choose your tea, after being given the opportunity to smell each one and hear it's qualities by the lovely staff, they take it down off the wall and weigh out the amount of your choice. The tea is sold in smaller metal canisters, mimicking those on the wall behind the counter, which are much better than flimsy bags. Opposite the 'tea wall', as we shall call it, stands all the tea paraphernalia making up the second half of the shop. Here you can pick up any strainers, tea pots, beautiful mugs, travel cups, iced tea powders and loads more. It's a lovely place to wander around, even if you're not planning on buying anything. They also have two sample teas that you can test for free each day!

As I mentioned, I picked up Glitter & Gold to bring back to the UK with me. It's a black Chai tea, one of my favourite teas to drink! Containing cloves, lemon peel, vanilla and gold sugar balls, the tea smells so warm and sweet while it steeps. Watching the beautiful shimmer provided by the gold sugar balls keeps you entertained while waiting for the 4 minutes of steeping to be over too. It tastes amazing, as to be expected by the smell, I've been enjoying it milk free in the evenings as a soothing bedtime drink. 

If you happen to be in the Boston area I would definitely recommend a visit to David's Tea, the staff are so welcoming and informative and the range of tea is incredible! I believe David's Tea do also have other stores across America so check out their website if you're off to the US soon.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Outfit: for a not-so-summery day

Striped Dress: H&M // Boots: Rocket Dog // Lipstick: Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Sultry

This outfit might not be the most summery, with the black tights, sleeves and a deep red lipstick, but it suits the very unpredictable British weather perfectly. I wore this out for a casual evening meal with friends last week - and I have to say, it did a pretty good job of hiding my food baby!

I'm not sure which type of stripes are meant to make you look slimmer, so it's a good job this dress has both - better to be safe than sorry hey! I picked it up in one of the US H&M stores in Boston, so I'm not 100% sure whether it's in the UK stores too. It was a bargain $14, so I couldn't resist picking it up with the idea that it would be an 'easy to throw on' piece that looks simplistically cute. I'm also wearing my new Revlon Matte Balm, which I picked up using some spare Boots points on my card. I've never really been one for the more dramatic, dark lip colours, I'm more of a nude/pink girl, so I surprised myself when I was drawn to this shade - especially in June! I'm going to be featuring it in a beauty post coming up soon, so keep an eye out for that.

Have you been wearing typically summery outfits at the moment? Or are you staying on the more cautious side like me?

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Makeup Revolution review and swatches!



Makeup Revolution products* - available at www.makeuprevolutionstore.com

Swatches L-R: bronzer, blusher, eyeshadow, lipstick, foil eyeshadow

I was very kindly sent a little bundle of Makeup Revolution products to test out. I was pretty excited about this as I've been seeing Makeup Revolution pop up on loads of my favourite blogs recently, plus I've been seeing a lot of positive comments and praise on Twitter too. Makeup Revolution are a very affordable beauty brand, stocked in Superdrug and available online through their website linked above. They have been compared to the likes of MUA for their budget prices combined with great quality and I've also heard how good they are at duping products, so let's see how they stand up! This is an overall review of the brand plus swatches, I might include a couple of the products in a 'get the look' style post soon.

Good work to the Makeup Revolution team for sending me this bronzer, it could possibly be very close to the most perfect shade of bronzer for my skin tone, ever. That may sound slightly over-exaggerated but that's just how I feel, I just can't keep these feelings inside. This bronzer is a very subtle and not too shimmery shade, perfect for pale skinned girls! In the swatch above it doesn't look like it matches that well, as it's swatched on the inside of my forearm where I'm super pale, but any part of my body which is my true skin tone is too freckly to show swatches! Applied using a good blusher brush, the bronzer blends really well as it's a super fine and smooth formula, it doesn't look muddy or patchy at all. It's a great product for a subtle contour, with minimal shimmer, it works really well. This will definitely be heading straight to my everyday summer makeup bag, to add a bit more tan for these sunny days we have coming up (fingers crossed)!

The blusher is also a 'baked' product, the same as the bronzer and the formula is very similar. It's an exceptionally smooth, soft powder in the pan and again applied using a good brush, there's little fall out from the pan like some cheaper blushers and it blends onto the cheeks easily. It creates a very subtle pink colour, with a very slight shimmer too. It really reminds me of Mac's Mineralise blush in 'Dainty' (click for review), in fact it's a pretty good dupe! Again, another product that will be going straight in my everyday makeup bag, for an easy to wear, daytime blusher!

I would never have chosen this shade of eyeshadow for myself, so I'm quite pleased to have received it as it will push me out of my eyeshadow comfort zone! It's a very pigmented navy/deep teal shade, that can be blended out to a less striking shade. It would be great to do a navy smokey eye look, I might try that soon! Again, like the bronzer and blusher, the formula is really soft and easy to apply. This shade might not be my choice, but I'll definitely be checking out the rest of the colours in the range. For £1, I can't really resist!

On to the lipstick! I will admit, I am a bit of a lip product fiend - they're definitely my most purchased product. This lipstick is so creamy, highly pigmented and moisturising! It's quite a bright colour, but it's not unwearable at all. It does tend to slide around on my lips slightly, so apply carefully and keep an eye on your lip line and teeth throughout the day! It's not the most long lasting of products, but it's perfect to throw in your handbag for touchups. Another £1 product, so I can definitely put up with a bit of a slidey lipstick for that price!

The most interesting product I was sent, is the Foil Finish Eyeshadow. This product comes with a squidgy, almost gel like eyeshadow plus a liquid eye primer and a mixing tray. You mix a drop of the primer in with a 'bit' of the eyeshadow and mix it into more of a liquid. I was unsure of what tool I needed to apply this with, it really didn't seem like it would end well with an eyeshadow brush, or sponge, so I went for my finger in the end. It applied quite well like a cream eyeshadow, but it was quite hard to get an even finish - but I might well have been applying it completely wrong! Rose Gold is a lovely colour, a lovely subtle shimmer eyeshadow. And once this is on and dry, it's not going anywhere! I believe that it's almost an exact dupe for the Stila Foil Eyeshadows - it's crazy how similar they are, but for the tiniest fraction of the price!

Overall, Makeup Revolution, you have gone down amazingly well with me! The price is exceptional for the standard of these products and I'll definitely be getting on down to Superdrug to get my hands on some more! I've got my eye on the Liquid Blushes - dupes for Daniel Sandler's watercolour blushes and the Iconic eyeshadow palettes - dupes for all three of the Urban Decay Naked palettes!

Have you tried any Makeup Revolution products? What would you recommend or what would you like to try?

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Vlog: Our holiday in Boston!


Take a look at my first ever vlog above and see what we got up to on our recent holiday to Boston. We had some amazing brunch, saw a Red Sox game, visited a brewery and went to Boston Calling Music Festival plus loads more!

Please like the video and subscribe to my channel if you enjoy it! :) Please let me know what you think in the comments below, vlogging and editing is pretty hard! :)

You can also click here to see my top things to see and do in Boston blog post!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

What to do in Boston, MA.


Josh and I recently took our very first trip to America! At 26 and 23 years old respectively, a lot of people have already taken the journey over the pond by our ages, but we had never been so we were really excited for the experience. We were particularly excitable about the sights that we named 'everyday American things', like fire hydrants, school buses, massive trucks, fire engines and post boxes, that we had only previously seen on the telly. Believe it or not, these things actually exist in America and not just in films ha! I will be creating and uploading a Boston vlog to my YouTube channel, when I eventually sift through all the footage and take on the mammoth task of editing it all! In the vlog I'm going to be covering what we got up to, day-to-day and also at Boston Calling music festival, but I wanted to write a post on what to do and see in Boston!

1. Take a trip to Boston Common:
what to do in Boston, MA
activities in boston
We were quite lucky with the weather in Boston, it rained a couple of times but generally it was quite warm and sometimes sunny! When we landed in Boston it was lunchtime, so we hopped off the plane and headed straight for a coffee shop to get some lunch. The weather was lovely so we dropped our bags off at our friend's apartment then made our way to the common to enjoy the weather and scenery. It's a beautiful, massive park with cute bandstands, bridges, small lakes with overhanging trees and historical statues dotted around. We were in Boston over Memorial weekend, and found that 37,000 flags (as seen in the photo above) were displayed in the Common to represent each of the servicemen and women, who were linked to Massachusetts, who had been killed in service since the Revolutionary War. It was a very poignant tribute - the sea of flags was overwhelming. It was great to experience America around Memorial day, there's loads of tributes and references all over town.

If you're looking for an easy, cheap day out in Boston when the weather is good, then I'd recommend a wonder around the Common. There are also cute swan boats on the lakes, which you can take a trip around in!

2. Walk The Freedom Trail:
free trips in boston
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile walk around the city, with red bricks embedded into the pavement leading the way. The route stops at 16 sites around Boston, each one with a different historic significance to The American Revolution. We didn't follow the trail perfectly, due to getting distracted by side roads or tasty looking food places along the way, but we always gradually found our way back and continued along the red brick road. Some of the stops on the trail include U.S.S Constitution, Commonwealth Museum, Bunkerhill Monument and more! I would definitely recommend walking the trail, it's a great free day out and enables you to explore the whole city without getting too lost, plus see loads of history too. You don't have to follow every section of the trail, you can dip in and out as you like.  

3. See The Holocaust Memorial - Congress Street:
tourist sites of boston
boston tourism
The Holocaust Memorial is located on Congress Street, just off The Freedom Trail mentioned above (see here for directions) - this is another free sight that Boston has to offer. The memorial is made up of 6 glass pillars with an opening to walk through, one for each of the main death camps in the Holocaust, each inscribed with 1 million numbers to represent the victims and the forced tattoos on their arms. Walking through the memorial was chilling, to see the sheer number of people killed for no reason - individually laid out before you with numbers. There were also quotes from Holocaust survivors throughout the memorial, these were really interesting to read but again very upsetting. I found the memorial very moving, I just can't get my head around everything that happened in WW2 and why anyone would want to do that. The memorial is very architecturally beautiful and serves as a reminder of such an horrific time.  

4. Eat cakes and pastries in North End:
Boston's North End is also known as 'Little Italy', with a very high number of Italian residents, restaurants and cafes! It's a lovely area and definitely somewhere to head for amazing pizza, pastry and cakes! Another area to check out is Beacon Hill - beautiful shops, streets & houses!

5. Watch a Boston Red Sox game:
boston red sox game
We went to a 4pm baseball game, with no idea of the game or rules, but we had an amazing time! The earlier game of 4pm (it's usually at 7pm I believe), is very family orientated and a lot of fun. There are guys walking round flogging typical American sporting food & drink, from trays on their heads, complete with lots of shouting and yelling! The atmosphere is incredible, I would definitely recommend a visit even if you're not that into sports. We booked our tickets here and they only cost about $20 each, not bad for a fun evening out in one of the most famous baseball stadiums!

6. Visit the Boston Tea Party Museum & Ships:
boston tea party museum
This was such a fun trip! We were shown around an old ship, told the history of The Boston Tea Party (a political group, not our kinda tea party) which lead to the The American Revolution and how evil the British were so the Americans kicked them out (awkward) by actors dressed up in full costume and continuously in character. We were given little parts of our own to include the audience, like the card above, and props like our own feather quill. Kids (and Josh) were able to take part in reenactments of throwing the Britains' tea over the side of the ship, just as The Boston Tea Party did. A really fun trip for both adults and kids, plus there's a tea room and shop on the site where you can taste and purchase loads of tasty teas.   

7. Go on a tour of the Harvard University campus:
harvard campus tour
The information centre near Harvard Campus run a free, hour long, tour of the site. It's worth a visit for the red brick architecture and amazing non-religious stained glass windows! The grounds are lovely and it feels like you're in an American university film set! In the same vein, we also visited the M.I.T museum, seeing two renowned universities in the same day! The M.I.T museum was not free like Harvard, but it had loads of hands on exhibits and was currently hosting a hologram exhibition too which was impressive!

8. See JFK's family home:
JFK house boston
We wanted to see JFK's family home, which is registered as a National Historic Site in Boston. It's a short walk down a regular, residential road featuring some beautiful American style houses. One house in particular got a lot of love on my Instagram here. Unfortunately we arrived at the house and it was closed! Don't go on a Monday or a Tuesday, apparently it's closed on those days... but check the website first! I'm recommending this purely based on the exterior of the house and the other houses on the road, we had a lovely afternoon anyway!

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We fitted so much tourist stuff into one week, as well as attending a music festival and catching up with friends, eating brunch at cute cafes and dinner out in Chinatown too! I wanted to dedicate one post purely to the excursions we went on and the highlights of our tourist adventure for anyone that might visit Boston in the future! All the music we saw, food we ate and other little trips will be in my vlog coming soon on my YouTube channel!

Have you been to Boston before? Were you as tourist-y as Josh and I? What did you do there?