Saturday, 30 June 2012

Nutella Hot Chocolate Recipe

Just made some Nutella Hot Chocolate and thought I would like to share this with you all! Very easy to make.

Two/three ingredients : 
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 and a half tablespoons of Nutella
  • Whipped cream (optional)
1. Choose a mug and fill it with the amount of milk you desire.
2. Pour in about a third of the milk and add in 1 and a half tablespoons of Nutella.
3. Heat the milk, stirring until the chocolate has melted into the milk. Then add the rest of the milk and bring to desired heat.
4. Pour into mug, add some cream and/or marshmallows and enjoy!

Decided to attempt this tonight, and if you like Nutella then you should too! Gives a nice hazelnut taste.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Summer To Do List

I decided to make a to do list for Summer as I keep forgetting the things I need/want to do, so I decided I would do what I love and make a list for it!

  1. Watch all the DVDS in my bookcase that I've never seen (ha.)
  2. Read the books that are piling up unread (ha again.)
  3. Clear out my room.
  4. Organise all my make up.
  5. Make some money from ebay selling old clothes, aka. clear out my wardrobe.
  6. Go to the gym!
  7. Attempt some of the recipes that I've been wanting to try for ages and haven't had the time to do.
I have a ridiculous amount of dvds to watch so I'm going to really try and get through that. I might try just starting at the top and working my way down (all my dvds are in alphabetical order). I'll post up a list of all the ones that I've to watch and then cross them off as I watch them, and the same with my books.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes Recipe

Today I made chocolate orange cupcakes with a Terry's chocolate orange segment on top. It's my sisters 16th birthday and I make cupcakes every year so after getting a new recipe book and cupcake tray today I decided to try one out!

To make 24 cupcakes -

Ingredients for the cupcake base :
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 75g melted chocolate
  • 250g caster sugar
  • Grated rind of half a large orange
  • 4 tablespoons of orange juice

Ingredients for the icing:
  • 220g unsalted butter
  • 450g icing sugar
  • Grated rind of half a large orange
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice

Step 1 - Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and then place 24 bun cases into a muffin tray.
Step 2 - Break up the chocolate into squares and place in a dish to melt over a saucepan of boiling water. Leave to sit, stirring occasionally.
Step 3 - Put the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, eggs and butter into a large mixing bowl and mix together. I usually break up the butter into small squares so it's easier to mix.
Step 4 - Next add the grated rind and squeeze out 4 tablespoons of the juice of the orange and mix together.
Step 5 - Spoon mixture into the cases and place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the top of the cupcake springs back when lightly pressed. Once ready, remove from the tray and leave to cool.
Step 6 - Break up the butter into small pieces and place into mixing bowl . Beat until it has a smoother texture, adding a spoonful of icing sugar at a time. Once mixed completely, add in the orange rind and the orange juice. If the orange flavour isn't strong enough, feel free to add in another spoonful of juice.
Step 7 - Using a piping bag or tool, swirl the icing on the top centre, and decorate with a segment of Terry's chocolate orange. You could also sprinkle some of the extra rind on top.
Step 8 - Eat and enjoy!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Coming soon - New Lush Product Reviews!

Just letting you all know that my next reviews from Lush will be on the Full of Grace Moisturiser Bar, and the Oatifix Fresh Face Mask. I've been using Full of Grace for a while now so I have an opinion on it already, and I recently got a sample of Oatifix to see how it reacts to my skin before I buy a full size version. I've read that it's good to put this particular moisturiser on below the face mask which is why I plan to review them both soon, so that I can let you know how they work together as well.

Watch this space!

Lush - Jungle Solid Conditioner Bar Review

So I posted around a month ago that I was intending to do a review on the Jungle solid conditioner bar from Lush. I'm finally getting around to doing it now as I haven't really had the time! I had purchased it thinking that it would work quite similarly to the solid shampoo bars, but they're actually used slightly differently.

To use the bar I have found the best thing to do is run it under the warm water for a minute so that it starts to melt slightly. I then rub it through the ends of my hair like a bar of soap, please note that not a lot comes off when doing this, I just like to do it anyway. I then put the bar into my hands and rub it between them about 20 times, turning it over each time. This way the conditioner comes off in my hands like a liquid because it's starting to melt. This should leave the equivalent to conditioner from a bottle in your hands. I then rub it through the ends of my hair, and then the excess over the top of my head. You can rub it between your hands as many times as you want, it really is just up to you how much you want to put in your hair. The girl in the shop told me that the way she uses it is to cut a small piece off and put it in a small bowl of hot water before she gets into the shower so that it melts into that, I prefer it my way however, but that's just personal preference.

I have to say that every single time I use this conditioner bar I think I don't like it as it washes out just too easily for me and I feel like it hasn't worked, and every single time I think to myself that I'm not going to use it again. However, as soon as I wash my hair it is super soft and shiny and I know that it works very well.

  • Better for the environment since you aren't using any plastic bottles.
  • Leaves my hair feeling surprisingly soft and shiny, better than other conditioners I've used.
  • Really easy to use when travelling.
  • Lasts around 2 months depending on how often you wash your hair.
  • Inexpensive (cost me £2.95 for the bar)
  • Nice fresh scent.
  • Lasts a long time, half way through my bar a month later.

  • I find it hard to store as I usually keep it in the bag, but it sticks to the paper easily and tears it.
All in all, I'll definitely be buying it again. At only £2.95 for the bar, it's almost cheaper than a regular bottle of conditioner, and I think that it lasts a lot longer. I've been using it for a month now and I still have about half of it left. It leaves my hair feeling really soft and it smells good too. Another successful purchase at Lush!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Lush UK vs. USA - Store Review

I recently went away to California for roughly 2 weeks, and before I went I knew I wanted to go to Lush to do a bit of a comparison between the two stores and how I felt about them. I visit Lush pretty regularly and when I'm not there, I'm always on the website, so I see myself as having pretty good knowledge of the products available in the UK.

Before leaving I had a look at the US version of the website, just to see if it appeared as if they had any products which we didn't (and if this was true, I would not be amused, as the company began in the UK, not the US!). It appeared as though they had the same products, but a lot more to choose from in the Retro section, for example, the Red Rooster soap which I remember Lush having a few years ago, and loving the scent. In terms of the website, I like the UK version a lot better, as I find it easier to navigate, but I'll not go into great depth in a comparison of the websites (unless someone would like me to).

I visited two different Lush stores in the US, just to see if my experience was the same in both stores. The first one I visited was the Lush store in Fashion Valley Mall, San Diego, CA. On walking into the store, my first reaction was on how tiny the store is. It really was very small and quite hard to walk around. On walking in there is a table to your right and then some smaller table/stand things around the sides of that, there isn't really a lot of room for many people to be in the store. I've only been to Lush in Belfast, and the one in Glasgow, so I don't know if this is a common thing in other stores, but it really was so tiny! I had a look around and saw some customers being helped by the staff who seemed to have a good enough knowledge of the products from what I heard. The products didn't seem just as good to me in my mind, for example, the Creamy Candy Bubble Bar (I choose this one as it is one which I always buy for my mum as a present so I've seen them lots of times). In the UK, the bars all vary in size and aren't really a perfect shape. In the San Diego store, they all seemed to be the same size, and there was no parts crumbling off and they just seemed almost too solid. Now, I don't know if this is me just being weird, but I love how not perfect the ones in my Lush are, as I love going through them all to choose a good one, and I like to pick one that is a good size, and I love how it crumbles apart so easily, as that's how you're supposed to use them! These ones just seemed to not be the same. Another big thing I noticed was the prices. Everything is a lot more expensive in the US, which I noticed first on the website. Our shampoo bars cost £5 each, and in this store they were charging $10.95! The soaps were all very expensive too, and I'd say if I lived in the US, I probably wouldn't buy just so many of my products from there. I say this as a downside, but it also made me happy as I'm sick of the US getting everything cheaper than us! The biggest downfall of the store was the fact that during my time there, not one person approached me to ask if I needed any help. I had heard before I went that the sales staff were quite pushy there and I had been prepared to stand strong and not let them get me to buy anything, unless they had something new there. I was really shocked by this, all I got was a smile from the sales assistant at the checkout when I walked past, she didn't ask if I needed any help with anything. Every other store I went into while on my trip, the sales assistants were over immediately to ask if I needed any help, or welcomed me into the store as soon as I stepped in, so I know there wasn't something wrong with me!

Next I'm going to briefly review the second store I went into. I visited the Lush store in Santa Monica, down Third Street Promenade. I didn't spend as long in here as I knew from just looking around whether they had anything new. Once again, pretty small store, I'm starting to think maybe it's just a US thing, and Lush isn't as popular over there? (Although it seems to be quite popular with a lot of American YouTubers). I wasn't welcomed into the store, and there was no immediate coming over to me to ask if I needed any help, and if there was anything they could do for me. Once I realised that no one was going to ask me if I wanted help with anything, I just left, as there was no other point of me being there.

The Lush store I visit is the one in Belfast City Centre, and I usually buy a good few products at a time to do me through the month. The staff there are very helpful and always come over to me and ask if I need any help, and seem to have very good knowledge of the products that they are selling. There's been times I'm trying out something completely new and they'll tell me how to work it. They never try to push me to buy anything that I don't want to buy, and this is something I love about going in there. When purchasing at the till, if it's someone who didn't help me out, or if it's something they didn't speak to me about, they always ask me if I know how to use it properly, for example, the shampoo/conditioner bars, and they'll usually give me their opinion on it, and tell me if they've used it or not. The store is a nice size, with everything quite spread out, making it really easy to get around the store, even if it is busy. One time I wanted to get a new face mask, and although they were out of it, the girl was able to give me a sample of it from the little bowl they have sitting in the ice.

All in all, I was really disappointed with my experience of the two stores in the US. I don't know whether I just came at bad timings to both stores or if it's genuinely just not the same. The Lush store is one of my favourite stores to visit in general, and I always leave with something, and I love that I know the staff will help me with anything and are always really friendly. I'll probably be back at some point to San Diego as I have family over there, and if I'm over again, I'll maybe visit the stores again and see if much has changed.

Hope you all liked my review, and if there's anything else you want to know, feel free to ask!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

What I'm up to...

Literally just back from being away in California for the past 2 weeks so I thought I would let you all know that this is why I've been so quiet during this time. I finished the photoaday challenge for May, but the last couple of photographs didn't post on here, just my instagram! I shall put them up as soon as possible. I also started doing the photoaday challenge for June, but because I'm already about halfway through this month without posting any of it I may just leave that out of the blog for the month.

Hopefully will have another few reviews up over the next short while. I have a few Lush products that I'm sure I could write about, and I also visited their store in the US, two different ones actually, so I was thinking about doing a comparison between the UK and US stores to see how they differ. I also bought a lot of new makeup that I've heard people talking about that isn't available in the UK yet so I might do a few reviews on them as well, these include two new Revlon Lip Butters, two Maybelline Baby Lips balms, three 24 Hour Colour Tattoo Eyeshadows. There is a few other things as well, so I'll sort through it all and decide what I want to talk about. Also some nice new OPI nail varnish that I'm sure you'll all be interested in!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Day 27 : Photo a day May

Day 27 : something sweet. I first thought about doing something along the lines of chocolate or sweets but after taking an ice lolly out of the freezer I decided it was a much better idea with the weather we're having.

Day 26 : Photo a day May

Day 26 : 12 o'clock. Today's photo was 12 o'clock and since I was in work over this time I didn't have access to my phone. I had to instead use the midnight one. I'm hopefully not going to be awake at this time as I'm extremely tired so this is a photo of where I'll be at 12 o'clock.