Friday 29 May 2015

(What's the Story) Morning Glory ...!


So ... last day of half term today ... a week is not long enough is it?  Had a (much needed) lie in this morning -  when you have to stick to a rigid routine during 'school weeks' it's good to not have to drag the kids out of bed, just potter and do nothing in your own time - I don't very often 'do nothing' - in fact I've never had one of those 'duvet days' I hear others talking about - too much to get done! Sometimes though, you just need a little time out from rushing around like a blue-bottomed fly ...! Then you have to stop yourself from trying to cram everything into the rest of the day just to ease the guilt!  The only thing that finally got me going mid-morning was when my girl switched MTV on over her extremely late breakfast and these familiar dudes popped up!

Oasis - (What's the Story) Morning Glory ...

My daughter's first reaction was 'Why do they all look weird and have no expression on their faces?'  I assured her that this is actually pretty standard practice for Oasis!

'Need a little time to wake up ... need a little time to rest your mind know you should so I guess you might as well!'

'Morning Glory' was always my favourite from the album - in fact one of my all time fave Oasis tracks - released in September 1995 - nearly 20 years ago ... 20 years ago folks ... what's going on? Makes me feel so old and young all at the same time! 

What's your favourite  Oasis track?  What tune gets you up and running in the morning?

Jen x

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Almond and Raisin Tea Loaf - Recipe


The other day I discovered a packet of (almost out of date) flaked almonds lurking at the back of the kitchen cupboard ... I also had a stray egg that was a couple of days old hanging about in the fridge ... good excuse as any to throw something together then ...

A picture of the Almond and Raisin Tea Loaf ingredients

6oz/180g Self Raising Flour
4oz/125g butter/marg
1 egg
3oz/80g sugar (I used Demerara)
1 1/2oz/40g raisins
1 1/2oz/40g flaked almonds
A few drops vanilla essence
4-5 tbsps milk (approx)

Nothing new here (there rarely is with my cooking!) - mix up the flour, butter, egg, sugar  and vanilla essence with the milk to give a good consistency (add more milk if you think the mixture is too stiff - I'm sorry ... I can't say the work 'stiff' without thinking 'mistress to bishop'!). Stir in the raisins and almonds. Place in your desired loaf tin - mine's approx 21cm/13cm.  Bake on 180 deg conventional - I guess that would be 160 deg fan (I don't have this luxury at the moment as our fan oven is broken - we've had it fixed once and it's gone again so have given up for the moment!) or Gas No4 (but I've never used a gas oven so you'd have to double check!) for 45-50 minutes.

A picture of Almond and Raisin Tea Loaf

It's not overly sweet as I've tried to lessen the sugar (although the raisins compensate for this) and does have a slightly firmer (ooh matron!) consistency than a standard cake type thing (must be just the one egg) but tastes lovely sliced up and spread with a bit of butter with a good strong cuppa!

What's been lurking at the back of your kitchen cupboard lately?

Jen x

PS. Apologies ... I appear to have had a 'Carry On' moment or two there!

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue in Tan - Review

A picture of the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue in Tan
When I heard that Bare Minerals were launching their Complexion Rescue I knew I had to get hold of it ... described as a 'tinted, hydrating, gel cream' offering sheer to medium coverage, it is said to combine the benefits of a tinted moisturiser, BB and CC cream whilst giving you a 'hit' of 200% hydration. Apparently a tinted moisturiser is traditionally formulated with hydration in the middle surrounded by pigment - Complexion Rescue is meant to have turned this inside out so the pigment is surrounded by moisture ... it all sounds so technical - don't you just love the science of skincare - I do!  It contains marine botanicals to aid hydration, mineral electrolytes to energise, antioxidant from 'heart-leaved globe daisy' which is meant to help with protection against the environment (I Googled the above plant and the things it is associated with are amazing - we're talking longer living cells, detox and regeneration), together with a non-chemical, mineral based SPF30. It is free from silicone, oil, parabens or fragrance.  After discussion with the Bare Minerals assistant in Boots, I went for the shade 'Tan' and although it looks a little deep in the swatch below, I intend to use it over the summer months when I would normally (hopefully!) lose some of my winter yellow pallor ...! 

A picture of the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue in Tan

My skin is combination, prone to a bit of oil on the t-zone and dry, sensitive cheeks with redness here and there.  I use after my daily moisturiser, however this is one of the few products I've come across that can be applied hours after - it is just like topping up with additional moisture. I use fingers, although I understand you get more coverage with a brush but that's not really what I'm after from this product.  It has the said gel, cream texture, very light, and is super easy to apply - glides on and has a 'cooling' effect on the skin - I almost feel like you don't need a mirror as it blends in so effortlessly!  You would need to separately conceal any hefty blemishes or red bits etc but it doesn't emphasise/sit in my pores or dry bits and seems to correct and even things out with a dewy, lightweight, natural-looking glow.  Although it doesn't go patchy or streaky, over the day my t-zone does have a tendency to shine through so I usually dust on some Bare Minerals Mineral Veil (I use the tinted one) just on that area but to be honest a bit of shine doesn't bother me so much! I use the Complexion Rescue mainly for days when I want that 'no make-up look' but I have worn it a couple of times to work or to go shopping and have applied my original Bare Minerals Foundation - again mainly over the t-zone and this worked absolutely fine - put it like this I wasn't 'shining like a beacon' whilst shopping in Boots ... and our local Boots resembles a sauna! 

Before, during and after ... you can (hopefully) see that although the colour appears quite dark it's blended in fine. Oh ... and apologies for the miserable face ... must have been thinking about work or something!

A picture of the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue in Tan

Apparently ... clinical studies have shown that after approx. one week of using the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue, there is a significant increase in hydration of the skin. I've not used it for an entire 'solid' week' only because ... a) I want to save it for the Summer - think it will be a hit on holiday and during hot weather (what hot weather I hear you scoff!)  b) it costs £26/35ml so although it's not super-expensive, it's not the cheapest - I'm kicking myself for not getting another last week when Feel Unique had 20% off Bare Minerals and c) I'm trying to be sensible and use my other products up! However, it keeps my skin feeling so comfortable and hydrated all day long ... I think this is going to be a definite re-purchase and 'go-to' product for future!

So apologies that this has been a bit of a rave review but you know when you just 'click' with a product and want to tell everyone about it - once I started I couldn't shut up!  Have you tried the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue? What's your favourite base for Summertime?

Jen x

Sunday 17 May 2015

Gatineau Melatogenine Refreshing Cleansing Cream - Review

A picture of the Gatineau Melatogenine Refreshing Cleansing Cream

The Gatineau Melatogenine Refreshing Cleansing Cream (bit of a mouthful isn't it!) was given to me by my lovely Mum ages ago and I only cracked it open at the start of this year when I ran out of my cleansing oil. It can be used morning and/or evening but I've since used mainly as an evening cleanse since then.  It's described as a 3 in 1 product that cleanses, tones, and micro-exfoliates using an enzymatic exfoliator - it's also stuffed with Gatineau's Melatogenine molecule, which is all about helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles -  (I'll have some of that please!) ... all in all a bit of a multi-tasker then!

A picture of the Gatineau Melatogenine Refreshing Cleansing Cream

It has a whipped, souffle-like texture (bit like squeezy cream from a can!) and feels  rather indulgent 
as  you apply to your  kite.    It's rich  and creamy yet  light enough to  not drag the skin around.  I emulsify with  water, massage in and wipe off with a cloth.    You only need a small amount for a decent  cleanse,  it removes  make-up very effectively but  I've recently started wiping over  with micellar water first, I then  use the Refreshing Cleansing Cream as a sort of second cleanse every night, which means I'm using even  less product than before - think this 250ml size will go on forever at this rate! It leaves my skin feeling clean and refreshed but not tight, stripped or stretched ... hate that feeling!

It's expensive to buy alone - around £30/250ml but there is usually a great value duo available on QVC and I've just repurchased as part of a kit from Feel Unique here,  which ended up a complete bargain! My love affair with French skincare looks to continue!

Have you tried anything from the Gatineau Melatogenine range? What's your favourite cream cleanser?

Jen x

Sunday 10 May 2015

Things That Make Me Go Mmmm! #1


In other words ... just a few bits that have been 'floating my boat' or 'rocking my world' - some are quite recent buys and some have been on my horizon for a while now! We all have 'those things' that give us a warm, fuzzy feeling inside and we want to hug, stroke, sniff or kiss them ... or is that just me?! 

Lanolips Lemonaid Lip Aid - had to go out and get one of these recently as I've heard it's a great  lip product  for moisture  and  exfoliation.   Suffice to say I'm loving it  -  a full review to follow shortly!

Nuxe  Prodigieux le Parfum - still can't believe this came as a freebie (here). It's one of those scents that wafts around as you move - reminds me of that heady, happy Mediterranean evening fragrance that lingers in the air after a hot summers day when the flowers have had a good long hot bake in the sun - gorgeous!

Alpha H Liquid Gold - the first time I tried this I think my skin was going through an extra sensitive patch, I was rather heavy handed and it burned - so I gave up.  Fast forward a couple of years and I had to have another try when it was on a 'too good to miss' offer on QVC.  I broke myself in gently this time by diluting with water on my cotton pad and gradually increasing the amount of Liquid Gold so that I'm now just feeling the  'tingle'!  I use twice a week and leave it on neat overnight, it's amazing how smooth and bright it leaves my old hide the following morning. Like many before me, I'm now hooked!

No7 Superlight Foundation - this is still a firm favourite - it just glides on whatever the weather! It's one that's perfect for those 'in-between' days when you don't want a full on face but need a bit more than a BB or CC. You can see my full review here.

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue - yep I had 'a feeling' about this one from the first moment I spotted it! I bit the bullet a few weeks ago and haven't regretted it! Working on a full review very soon!

And a couple of non beauty 'mmmms' ....

My H&M parka was such a bargain at the beginning of the year when it was half price in their sale and it's hardly been off my back since -  I know it looks a bit lived in but that's because it has been!  I don't know what I did without it! It's kept me so warm (and I am so very nesh!) over the last few months.  It's got a removable furry collar and padded lining so it can be adapted for warmer weather, it that ever arrives! One of my best buys ever!

And last but by no means least, my Next furry slouch top aka my fluffy thing! I also bought this at the start of the year when it was freezing - it's so soft and cuddly and keeps me warm and contented!   There's nothing better than slipping into one's fluffy thing at the end of a long day - I'd recommend fluffy therapy to everyone! (You think I'm weird don't you!).

What are your 'Mmmms' of the moment?

Jen x

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Hot Beef and Cauliflower Fry - Recipe


Yet again I've neglected the 'Biryani' aspect of the blog so thought I'd share a quick recipe I rustled up the other night with some leftover roast beef.  My mum does a mean cauliflower and mince curry and I decided to chuck in some cauliflower I had at the bottom of the salad/vege drawer for good measure to see what happened! As as you may know, my recipes/ingredients are very 'loose' aka 'thrown together' so things can be added/taken away/adjusted etc ...

A picture of Hot Beef and Cauliflower Fry


Leftover roast beef - enough for four portions (chopped up)
A couple of large onions (and I had a red one to use up so threw that in as well)
A few cloves of garlic
1 large chilli - you always use a smaller one or none at all if you're a big girl's blouse (kidding!)
A couple of tsp lazy ginger
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric (mum always says too much turmeric will make the dish bitter to taste!)
A dash of pepper (I like garlic pepper!)
Beef Oxo cube or something similar
1 large potato (cubed) and approx 1/4 cauliflower
Coriander (which I forget to include in the above pic)

I whizzed the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli in my new chopper (a birthday present to myself!) but you could just chop/slice finely (or leave chunky if you prefer) and fry in a couple of tbsp oil until soft ..

A picture of Hot Beef and Cauliflower Fry

Add the cumin, ground coriander, turmeric and pepper, potatoes and meat - I also whizzed up a load of fresh coriander and added to the pan - fry for about 10 mins ...

A picture of Hot Beef and Cauliflower Fry

Then add the beef stock cube (dissolved in  boiling water - the amount of water depends on how much gravy you want - I used about 500ml), a dash of salt and bring to the boil for a few mins, reduce the heat and simmer covered for about 35-40 mins adding the cauliflower about 20 mins from the end so that it doesn't break up too much.  Add extra water from the kettle if you think it's drying up ... chuck in a bit of fresh coriander towards the end eh voila ...

A picture of Hot Beef and Cauliflower Fry

We served with rice and poppadoms and a little natural yogurt on the side ... oh and some of my mum's hot apple pickle!  How do you use your leftover roast beef?

Jen x

Saturday 2 May 2015

No 7 BB Lips in Blush Pink - Review


A good few months ago my future sister-in-law waltzed into our house sporting lovely luscious lips - she is quite a bit younger than me though so this isn't totally surprising! Of course the beauty blogger in me had to ask where she got them from so I could go out and get some for myself ...! And that's how I ended up with the  No7 BB Lips in Blush Pink ...

A picture of the No 7 BB Lips in Blush Pink
A picture of the No 7 BB Lips in Blush Pink
A picture of the  No 7 BB Lips in Blush Pink

The No 7 BB lips is meant to provide  3 benefits in one tube - nourishment, SPF15 protection and a hint of colour.  Dead easy to apply from the little squeezy tube with it's angled applicator, it feels like a balm and looks like a lip-gloss but without the 'sticky-lip' thing (how many years did I walk around with sticky lips - did you?!).  I went for Blush Pink as I can't seem to do gloss paired with full on colour (just me) so this is ideal as it's pretty sheer. It does look quite bright in the above swatch, but as I guess my own lips are a bit darker, once on it ends up like 'my own lips' with a bit of that  juicy 'just bitten' thing? Keeps 'em feeling moisturised and plumped and the added SPF is a definite bonus, especially for the Summer months. It's all about a dewy, natural looking pout and it's a great little product to pop in your handbag for everyday wear, you know when you want a bit of something you can stick on without having to use a mirror!  Clearly I did not look in the mirror though before I took this pic as my specs are all over the place!

A p icture of the  No 7 BB Lips in Blush Pink

And speaking of pouts, I cannot do that thing.  Others can pull it off  but try as I might I am just not a 'pouter' and end up looking like a complete pratt (as you can see below) - it's one of life's great mysteries to me - please read on for your own amusement!

A picture of the No 7 BB Lips in Blush Pink

 a) I need the loo b)  I'm constipated or c) I have trapped wind! Take your pick!

BB Lips cost £9/11ml tube, I guess now would be a good time to get one with all the No7 money off vouchers floating around!  Have you tried the No7 BB Lips? What's your favourite balm/gloss product? And most importantly - can you pout in it?

Jen x

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