Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Moisture Boosting Products for Dry Skin.

The cooler months are not kind to my skin. I already suffer from dry, flaky skin but the second winter arrives the situation is a whole load worse. This year I'm trying to beat the cold and stocking up on my favourite moisture boosting, kind to my skin products. 

How I lived without coconut oil for so long I will never know. My favourite jar at the moment is the coconut oil from Lucy Bee. I picked this up in Sainsburys a few weeks back and I'm really impressed. I've tried a few brands in the past but for reason I prefer this one. Not only is it great for baking, but it also is perfect for using as a hair mask or hand cream. I've been applying this to my hair, focusing on my scalp and dry ends, then simply washing out after a couple of hours. Not only does my hair smell incredible but it's always super soft and squeaky clean. One thing to add, don't apply conditioner after washing out, I find it makes your hair look super greasy and I have to wash again with just shampoo!

My go to shampoo and conditioner at the moment are from Simple. I spotted these a few weeks ago in Boots and meant to pick them up. However I actually managed to find these in Poundland! I suffer from a very dry scalp, that is easily irritated and trust me, itching your scalp in public is not attractive. I've tried different anti-dandruff shampoos but they're all really harsh on my hair and scalp. So I've been converted to using something kinder to my skin and so far the Simple range is done no a really great job. My head is much happier than it was before I picked up these. 

Finally my go to shower gel is the Sanex Dermo Hypoallergenic gel. This stuff is so good at keeping my skin happy without stripping it of moisture in the shower. Since using this I've not had any eczema flare ups, which is an absolute winner for me. Plus it's always in offer and a huge bottle is only around me £2. 

What are you tips for keeping you skin happy this winter?

Katie xx

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Halloween Inspired Make Up.

Clarins Skin Illusion Foundation
Body Shop Honey Bronzer
Kiko Blusher
The Balm Mary Lou Manizer Highlighter

Mac Paint Pot in Soft Beige
Nars Eye Shadow in Persia
YSL Babydoll Mascara

Mac Rebel

My all time favourite eyeshadow base is Soft Beige from Mac, which also acts as a eyeshadow primer making it the ideal product in my make up bag. I've been dying to try out this eyeshadow from Nars and I thought there was no better time than heading towards Halloween. When it comes to make up, I tend to play it safe with neutral shadows, but since picking up Persia, I really wanted to experiment a little more with colour. I actually think the orange colour compliments my eyes really well and makes them look a deeper blue. I also added a little definition to my brows using the HD brow palette in Bombshell.

I teamed this bright eye look with a bold lip and it doesn't come much bolder than Mac Rebel. This colour is just perfect for this time of year and is incredibly easy to wear. This is my go-to winter lip colour and will be part of my make up look for the next few months.

What's your Autumn look?

Katie xx


Saturday, 24 October 2015

Dress for Autumn with Boohoo.

A few weeks ago Boohoo asked me to take part in their Dress for Autumn campaign. Of course, I took them up on their offer and picked out some items to style up for the cooler weather. The campaign involved styling up a dress from Boohoo in three different ways, so here are my final looks.

Dress, Boots and Hat - All Boohoo*

Leggings - Primark
Gilet - George @ Asda*

Vest - Primark
Skirt - Boohoo via Depop

I'm all about comfy clothes at this time of year, so this jumper dress is perfect for layering up and keeping me warm. I love how easily it can be styled up as just a simple dress or tucked up into a skirt for an alternative look. I can't wait to pick up some more chunky knitwear ready for the festive season.

Katie xx


Thursday, 22 October 2015

River Island Relaunch.

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Payday is getting closer and closer and my wishlist is somehow getting longer and longer. In honour of the relaunch of River Island in The Trafford Centre. I thought I'd have a little browse of the website before heading to the new store. They have some amazing things on the RI website at the moment, so many gorgeous winter warmers ready to make their way into my wardrobe.

I'm completely in love with this beige cocoon style coat with fur collar. I keep hunting for the perfect winter coat, although I don't really need a new one, there is something really exciting about finding a new coat for the coming cold weather. Paired with these gorgeous tan suede boots, I would be completely set for those frosty mornings. 

I'm loving high collars and turtle necks at the moment. I've fallen head over heels in love with this grey turtle neck jumper dress, it just looks so incredibly cosy and perfect to wear with thick tights and a chunky scarf. 

For those that are near The Trafford Centre, River Island are holding in store events this coming weekend to celebrate the relaunch of their store. I can't wait to head down to the new shop and explore what it has to offer!

Katie xx

P.s. This isn't a sponsored post, I was asked if I'd like to share the reopening with my readers - enjoy!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Super Sweet Gluten/Dairy Free Tray Bake.

My sweet tooth has been making a huge appearance recently and although I'm trying hard to ignore it as much as possible. sometimes a girl gotta eat something really sweet and sticky. That's where my emergency 'throw everything thing into a bowl' gluten free brownie bites come in. This was a really random experiment of things I had available in my kitchen, but some how seemed to come out in one piece and are actually edible! So if you're wanting something a little naughty, here's the recipe:

1 Cup Gluten Free Oats
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Home-made Nutella (recipe here)
1 Egg
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Sweet Freedom Original*
1 Tbsp Choc Shot*

Throw everything into a bowl, mix well then place into a baking tray, ensuring everything is well packed in. The egg is purely for binding purposes, as gluten free products don't bind very well. Therefore the egg can easily be skipped if you're wanting a vegan version or looking for something a little more like a granola than brownie. Pop in the oven on 180 degrees for around 20 minutes, then let the tray bake cool off. And tuck in!

I used the Sweet Freedom range to add sweetness to this bake. I love the fact that it is completely natural and made from fruits to make a super sweet syrupy substitute for sugar. The choc shot works in the same way to add a subtle sweetness and yummy chocolately taste without the excess calories and dairy. All of the products from Sweet Freedom are gluten,dairy and nut free, as well as vegetarian and vegan approved. 

Happy baking!

Katie xx


Monday, 19 October 2015

Christmas with Soap & Glory.

Last week I was kindly invited to the Soap & Glory Christmas event in Manchester. Unfortunately I was working so couldn't make it, but the lovely people at S&G* surprised me with a few of the Christmas goodies at home. And what a really gorgeous surprise it was!

The Christmas range from S&G is, once again, fabulous. I adore their gift sets and I really do think they make the perfect stocking filler for anyone who loves their beauty. The pretty packaging makes it all the more special. I love the play on words and the "Kissmas" cracker is no exception. The cracker this year, contains one of the Sexy Mother Pucker lipglosses, which are perfect for that subtle Christmas Day lip look, if you're spending the day at home. 

Another make up gift is the Smoulder Kohn eyeliner set. This contains five super pretty eyeliner shades, ranging from turquoise to deep purple. This is the perfect set for anyone wanting to experiment with their eye make up. I can see I will be getting a lot of use out of these during the festive period. 

Next up are the body care bits. S&G have designed a cute little bauble shaped box for "The Rightous Butter" body butter. I love the little Christmassy twist on the packaging, this is just perfect for an extra addition to a bigger gift. 

Finally, a trio of hand lotions are probably my favourite gift this year. I'm obsessed with hand creams and these three are just the perfect size to pop in my pocket ready for work. The creams come in three of the Soap & Glory scents, so they're will be a scent for everyone. I will certainly be picking up a few more of these sets before Christmas is over. 

What are your favourite gift sets for Christmas?

Katie xx

Saturday, 17 October 2015

A/W New Look Haul.

I recently received a gift voucher for New Look which made me super happy. I've been living on the breadline since starting my new job and was so happy to be able to pick up some new items for my wardrobe.

First up I raided the sale rail and picked up this cute blue and white Aztec print top. It's a really gorgeous colour and something I wouldn't usually go for. I love the pattern and the embroidery detailing and the material is super lightweight. It's just perfect for popping on with some leggings and I'm good to go. This was reduced to £6 too, so it was an absolute steal.

Next up I was feeling some Christmassy vibes and fell in love with this black and gold glittery tee. The style and cut out detail are lovely and give this top a unique twist. I can't wait for the Christmas markets to start in Manchester, giving me a good excuse to wear this little number. This was priced at £12.99, so another great deal.

The final two items I chose were something I kind of needed/wanted. I've been looking for a new checked shirt for some time but never quite got round to picking one up. I love the colours on this one and the material is really thick and soft, making it the perfect piece for heading into Winter. I always find checked shirts to be pretty expensive, but this one was only £14.99 for a great quality piece.

Lastly, some new black jeggings were on my 'need' list. I  recently discovered a huge hole in the crotch of my black jeans, which means they obviously need to make their way to the bin. Thankfully they had my size in these black jeggings, which are actually from the petite range meaning they don't have to be rolled up on my tiny legs. These are a must have in my eyes and for £14.99 a piar, you can't go wrong.

Have you picked up some new winter pieces yet?

Katie xx 

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Autumn Flowers.

Last week the lovely people at Debenhams Flowers* kindly sent me over some gorgeous autumnal flowers. It was absolutely what I needed to brighten up my dining room as the darker days are upon us.

 I've said it before autumn is my favourite time of year and the colours in the Designer Autumn Rose bouquet. I adore the bright oranges, contrasting with the green foliage - they're just perfect. The hubby even commented on how nice they were smelling, so they must be good.

The flower bouquets from Debenhams start from as little as £19.99, which is amazing. The particular arrangement is priced at £45.99 including delivery. If you're looking for something a little different for that special someone, I would certainly recommend checking out the other flowers Debenhams have to offer.

Katie xx


Monday, 12 October 2015

Easy on the Eyes.

When I saw this book recommendation on Kate's blog I knew I needed to get my hands on it. The book Easy on the Eyes is written by Lisa Potter-Dixon, Benefit's head make up artist. Although I'm not a huge fan of Benefit's make up products, I'm obsessed with this book. Why? Because it's so easy to follow. 

I'm not very adventurous when it comes to make up. I know what I like and tend to stay in that comfort zone. Lately I've been trying to branch out with bolder colours on my eyes, but I'm never quite brave enough to step outside. I'm hoping this book can help me to come out of my nudey-brown comfort blanket and be a little more daring.

All of the looks are designed to be simple, straight forward and most importantly quick. I can't wait to sit down and properly experiment with the ideas and tips throughout this book and maybe share a few of them with you. Wish me luck!

Katie xx 


Saturday, 10 October 2015

Dairy & Gluten Free Banana Bread.

I recently recieved The Detox Bible* which is an incredible lifestyle, cook book that is right up my street. All of the recipes are free from wheat, dairy and refined sugar, so it really couldn't be a more perfect match for my dietary requirements. The book is packed full of easy ideas, as well as information on what types of foods to eat for particular areas of the body. There is a whole section on different alternative to dairy products, which has been a huge help for me. This is a really interesting read, especially if you want to experiment a little more in the kitchen and have allergies and intolerance's like me.

Anyway, one recipe in particular caught my eye - banana bread. I've always wanted to try making it in the past, but always seemed to think it was really difficult. I couldn't have been more wrong. The alternative to flour in this recipe is actually ground almonds. They work incredibly well at mimicking the texture of flour, but also leave a lovely almondy after taste. They are also so much lighter than flour, making this the perfect desert after a big meal. Here's the recipe:

350g Organic Bananas
50g Runny Honey
50g Coconut Oil
1 Tsp Ground Cinnomon
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
Zest of 1/2 Organic Orange
1/2 pod of Vanilla (or Tsp of Vanilla Extract)
4 Eggs
200g Ground Almonds
2 Tbps Desiccated Coconut

Mash the bananas into a paste, then add the honey, coconut oil, cinnamon, baking powder, orange zest and vanilla. Mix everything together before adding the eggs. Finally fold in the ground almonds and pour into a loaf tin. Sprinkle with dessicated coconut for added texture and decoration. Pop this into a pre-heated 180 degree oven for around 20 minutes. And voila.

This is my modified version of the original Banana Bread recipe from The Detox Kitchen Bible. I tweaked a few things to fit with what I had to hand but it still turned out really well and is super yummy. I chose to use organic fruit after experimenting in the #ThriftyOrgnaic challenge (post here), but of course this is personal preference. Topped with my home made vegan Nutella (recipe here), this is the perfect gluten free snack. 

Katie xx

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Dermablend for Super Pale Skin.

More and more brands seem to be developing lighter foundation shades for use pale ladies. One of my favourite brands Vichy, have jumped on the band wagon and developed the shade Porcelain for their Dermablend* range. 

I'm a light-base kind of girl, so the Dermablend is something I've never tried before. I've always imagined it to be a super thick, cakey foundation that really wasn't what I wanted. However, I have been very pleasantly surprised.  Despite being a medium to full coverage, this base is still pretty light and doesn't feel cakey in any way. This is great for covering up any imperfections or redness, which is ideal for when I've not had the best night's sleep and my skin is  not on it's best behaviour.

Colour match wise, I'm pretty impressed too. I'm used to foundation shades being a pain to find and never quite matching my skin tone. I think Vichy have just about managed to match my skin tone. The foundation is slightly pinky toned, so I would certainly bare that in mind before picking it up. The only other tiny issue I found was the foundation does tend to cling to dry patches. If you suffer from dry skin, like I do, I would recommend having a good exfoliate and moisturise before applying. 

Having said all that, I'm really enjoying using this as a base. It's not an everyday foundation for me, but certainly one I like to use if I know I'm going out after work or want something a little heavier for an evening. The staying power is pretty great, I'd say I got a good 6-8 hours wear before my skin and make up had decided they'd had enough. 

You can find the full range of Dermablend on Escentual.

Katie xx
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