I’m going to start this off by saying, I love meat. A lot. Bacon, chicken, lamb, literally anything. But as a New Year’s Resolution I thought it would be interesting to see how we’d cope as a family with one meat free meal a week. Here’s how we’ve got on, how I’m finding it three months down the line and a few of my favourite meatless meals.
I have to say it’s been pretty successful! For me at least. We got into a massive rut with what we were having for tea, especially on a Monday. It was a rotation of chilli and sausage and bean casserole because we had the ingredients and it was easy to shove it all in the slow cooker. By forcing ourselves to ‘go veggie’ for one day a week we’ve had loads of different meals that we probably wouldn’t have made otherwise. At first everything looked a bit same-y, curry after curry, but as the weeks have gone on we’ve found a load of different recipes which have made me excited to get home on a Monday night. So I think we might be getting into a bit of a groove now. It can be easy to just pick curries and variations of spicy butternut squash. But we’ve started to incorporate different meals each week which changes it up a bit. Here are a few of my favourite recipes we’ve cooked over the last three months.
My favourite meat free recipes
Curried vegetable patties – These were fab! From Tom Kerridge’s Fresh Start book they may have been a bit of a faff to make they were really delicious. They were packed with lots of different veg and we had one patty with other veg and a really tasty mango chutney yogurt mixture. This recipe also made enough patties to have for lunches which was great and tasted just as nice cold.
Black bean enchiladas – Amazing! Another one that was a bit faffy but equally delicious this is one where I 100% don’t miss the meat. We used a recipe from a random magazine but I’ve linked one that looks similar. A tasty black bean mixture inside the tortilla topped with cheese and then a yummy tomato sauce. We also served it with a bit of guac and it was great. Writing about it is making my mouth water and I may recommend we have it next week.
Butternut Squash Pasta Bake – Another one from Tom Kerridge, I think I could eat this every week. The recipe isn’t perfect and the next time we make it we will probably change a few things up, e.g put crushed chillis into it, but it was really tasty. It’s pretty much macaroni cheese but with pureed roasted butternut squash in the sauce and breadcrumbs and roasted squash sprinkled on top. Seriously delicious, really filling, probably not fab for you health wise but in my top teas to eat at the minute.
Do you have any favourite veggie recipes. I’m always open to new ones to add to my list for Mondays!
Oh January, how slow you’ve been. Nah, it’s not been too bad but I’ll be glad when February finally rolls around. That might have something to do with the fact it’s my birthday though! I’ve been loving a fair few bits this month, mainly books surprisingly – New Year, new me, blah blah. Not so many beauty bits this month but I’ve bought a few makeup bits recently (haul coming soon) so maybe next month.
I preordered ‘An Edited Life’ by Anna Newton when it first went up on Amazon using my brother’s account and pretty much every time I saw him it was “has that book come yet?”, “when you getting that book” and “that book’s taking a while to come”. But finally it was released near the beginning of the month and I was over the moon when it came through the letterbox. I went straight to the capsule wardrobe section because for the last few years I’ve been wanting to dip my toe in that pool. So far I’ve cleared out my sock drawer, started organising my budget and looked at spice racks on Amazon. I love how it’s written (just like a chatty vibe) and if you need a kick up the back side then this is perfect. Also I love Anna’s blog and videos so I was always going to be a fan of this!
If there was ever a lip liner to steal my heart then it was this one. The LMX Lip Liner in Hold Up is such a little star and I cannot get enough of it. I mentioned it in my post where I went through what’s in my lip drawer (read that here) but it’s from Little Mix’s makeup range at Boots and is a brown which also learns a bit pink/purple. Not too vampy but something that’s a little more interesting than your standard ‘nude lip’. I wear this most days either with the LMX Matte Lip in Cupid or my Dior Lip Glow and I’m 100% obsessed.
We’ve been watching so many crime dramas and murder mysteries since Christmas that it’s getting a bit scary when I go to bed and think someone is hiding in my wardrobe! But when I fancied trying to start reading before going to sleep as we entered the New Year, I carried on the murder theme by reading ‘And Then There Were None’ by Agatha Christie. I watched the BBC drama when it was on a few years ago and loved it so I bought the book for my mum for Christmas (I’d like to point out that she likes Agatha Christie so it wasn’t that selfish of a present). I read it quite slowly, about 30 pages a night, but it’s only a thin book so it didn’t take me that long to finish and it had me gripped from the start. SO GOOD! If you don’t know what it’s about, basically ten people go to an island and drama/murder happens. Even though I thought I could remember who the killer was (I didn’t, turns out I have the world’s worst memory and had forgotten most of the plot) I found it hard to put it down. If you’re wanting a quick read that’s easy to understand but keeps you on edge then I totally recommend this.
Earlier this month I went to the cinema to watch Mary Poppins Returns and oh my goodness gracious it was SO GOOD! I thought the film really good, easy watching and if you’re a Disney fan like me I’m sure you’ll be just as obsessed. I think the soundtrack is what’s made me fall in love with the film. Upbeat? Tick. Catchy? Tick. Has songs with fast talky parts that make me want to learn them instead of things I should be doing? Yes. A Cover Is Not The Book is my favourite but most of them are great.
Last, but not least, a special mention goes to the Molton Brown Perfume in Muddled Plum. I got this for Christmas and I’ve been wearing it everyday since, completely in love. It’s wintery, fruity and comforting – perfect for this time of year I think. I also have the shower gel which is just as fab (and glittery so a massive win), the only thing that’s missing from my life is a body moisturiser in this scent and then my life will be complete. Also it’s made me want to try more Molton Brown perfumes. If they did a rhubarb one I would be all about that.
Buying a set of acrylic makeup drawers was a great decision on my part. I’ve had them for the best part of 18 months and although it means I have access to fewer products day to day, it means I can give things a good go. I tend to rotate things every few weeks to make sure I’m mixing up the things I wear, and it makes things more exciting when you rediscover a product you used to love. Anyway, what relevance does this have to this post? Well, welcome to my current lip drawer in my everyday makeup stash. These are the products I’ve been using day to day. Here’s what I love, what’s okay and what I won’t be going back to.
I mentioned this in my last post as it’s one of the favourite things to come out of the 2018 Glossybox Calendar – the Nars Velvet Lip Glide in Burning Love. I have so much time for this product purely because of how versatile it is. I won’t bang on about it too much because I mentioned it in last week’s post (you can read that here) but just know I love it and I think it will be sticking around in my drawer for a long time.
When it comes to lip colours, I’m a bit of a coward. I constantly think I’ll try and be bolder with my lip choices but I always stick to my trusty nudes or a darker variation on my natural pink-y lip colour. But, as per usual in the New Year, I’m determined to step out of my comfort zone and wear something a bit more exciting. Enter the Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle in Candy Venom. When I visited Paris last year we popped into Sephora and in the panic of the people/products/everything, I picked up a box of Sephora’s ‘best bits’. There was a lot of great stuff in there including this mini lipstick. The shade, a vibrant pink, is something that I would normally stay away from, but after giving it a go on a nightout in the French city, I fell in love with it (although at the end of the night it did end up all over my face which wasn’t fun). With this one it’s all about the formula. Hands down the best matte lipstick I’ve ever tried and I really want to pick it up in more colours. Stays put for a very long time but doesn’t make your lips feel like they’re in a desert. I do need to start wearing it more though so I’m hoping that by putting it in my lip drawer I’m more likely to pick it up.
This was a massive impulse purchase (when I say massive, I mean I wanted it for a while and one day picked it up and bought it without looking at the price) but one which has been 100% worth it. It’s the Dior Glow in 001 Pink. So easy to wear, it gives a sheer pink sheen and plumps up my lips a little bit. This was amazing in Summer for just a bit of something and it still works great when I want a lip balm with a little bit extra.
Oh look, it’s another moment where Abz thinks she can wear bright lipsticks day to day and ends up just leaving it in the drawer. It’s really sad because I love this product (Lancome L’absolu Lip Lacquer in Be Unique) and, although it’s bright, the colour but I haven’t been reaching for it much. I think it’s because I bought it at the end of summer and now we’re in the depths of winter I don’t reach for it. I may have to swap this out for something else and then it can come back with a vengeance in the spring. If you love lip products that feel like nothing on your lips then this is a winner for you. It has the consistency of water with a bit of a glossy finish but throughout the day as the gloss wears off you’re left with a really nice stain. I definitely need to get more wear out of this but it might just be in a few months time.
This little Nars duo came with a mini blush and I just love how tiny they are. Both in the shade Orgasm, they’re probably my perfect nude shade of pink that I used to wear constantly. The lip gloss is amazing. There’s so much to love. Great shade, as I’ve mentioned, with a hint of gold to make it pop, and a glossy formula that isn’t sticky disgusting. The size makes it amazing to chuck in my handbag and it works over SO MANY other products. A great buy. The same can’t be said for the lipstick though which is really disappointing. You would think that because they come as a pair they would both be cracking, but the lipstick really isn’t anything to write home about. The colour is nothing really, the formula is dry but not matte and I just can’t get it to work. Also, every time I use it I feel like the bullet is either going to drop out or break off. So the lipstick may have to be relegated to either the main makeup stash or the bin. Lip gloss is a keeper though!
Late last year a new matte liquid lipstick came into my life and I have to say, I’m not mad at it. It’s the LMX Matte Lip in Cupid. The shade I have is a light brown-peach and is probably my perfect ‘autumnal’ shade, so easy to wear for me and works on most days. As much as I love the colour, it’s the formula which makes this product a winner for me. No matter how many times I go over it when I apply it, it doesn’t get crumbly or ‘bunch up’ on my lips. It’s a smooth finish that’s matte without being drying and lasts a pretty long time. A total winner and is what I’m wearing nine times out of ten whenever I leave the house.
There are two lip liners currently in my lip drawer and both of them are fab. First up is my favourite lip liner from 2018 (click here to read my best in beauty post) which is the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liner in Pillow Talk. I think it’s pretty much my perfect lip colour, maybe a little bit on the pinker side, but it looks amazing under any nude lip colour. It’s a perfect base for other products and when the lipstick on top rubs away throughout the day, this keeps it looking okay. The second lip liner is from LMX and is in the shade Hold Up. The formula of this is great, isn’t too hard when you apply it, stays put but isn’t drying. The colour is a deep pinky-brown and this paired with the LMX matte liquid lipstick is a dream combination. Not sure if you can still get the LMX products in Boots but if you can I really recommend the lip stuff.
The second in my ‘One week with…’ series is HD Brows Eyeshadow Palette in Foxy. I got this little beauty in my Look Fantastic Advent Calendar at Christmas and although I’ve used it a couple of times I have never given it a proper rod test so I wanted to spend the week giving it a go to see what I thought of it. There are five shades which are all golds and warm toned browns in a sturdy (but maybe kind of chunky) black packaging with a mirror. The shades are:
Bare – A matte warm toned cream
Golden – A shimmery gold
Honey – A matte light brown
Bronze – A shimmery mid toned brown
Truffle – A cool toned shimmery brown
Now I really like this palette. The shades are totally up my street, golds and browns, and because there are only five it’s really easy to decide which ones to use. I love a palette with a cream shade because that’s what I use as a base to blend out and to highlight my brow bone (some people like a matte black but I need that highlight). Side note: I love the brush in this palette. A fluffy brush that is a bit too small to blend but is good for applying shades onto the lid and a tiny angled, dense brush which is amazing for the brows and to put a little something something on the lash line. This is the perfect everyday palette for me, I can put Bare all over the lid, Honey in the crease and Bronze in the outer corners and that’s me done. I also love that I can use Honey in my brows as it is a great cool toned brown that just beefs them up a little bit.
But, what I love about this palette is also its downfall. The fact it’s so easy to wear day to day means that if I want to do something a bit more smokey means it’s quite difficult. The shadows aren’t the most pigmented so when you want to do something deep it takes four times as long as it would take something like the Naked Palette to do. I tried to do a smokey eye a couple of times over the week and although I liked the look, I wouldn’t use it for a night out or an occasion where I would usually go really dark on the eyes. That is the only complaint I have with this though – it really is a special little palette and I’m glad I’ve taken this week to really test it out because I’d love to start using it more often!
I’ve been getting more and more into skincare recently, any post that pops up on my Bloglovin feed that is about moisturisers, toners and summer skincare I’ve been there! Since the start of the year I’ve been trying to get my skin into a better place. It’s never been totally horrendous but there have been times where every time I woke up there was a new spot that took FOREVER to leave. So after researching various products and giving my skincare a bit of a shakeup I’m finally in a place where I’m happy with things! So I thought I’d share the products which I feel have helped my skin get to where it is in a big way.
Let’s start off with the product that got the ball rolling, a serious serum. I’ve been using The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane for the past three months and it’s been doing wonders for my dehydrated skin. I think that having a product that gets right down into the skin and hydrate the heck out of it. I use this every night after I’ve taken my makeup off and put some eye cream on. I leave it in to sink in for a couple of hours (it’s quite thick and oily so needs a long time to sink in) and then go in with some moisturiser for an extra moisture boost.
Mask wise there are two that I think are essential for me to keep my skin in check. The first is the Epoch Glacial Mud Mask, something that works wonders when I’m having a bit of a moment and can feel a load of spots coming. It does a great job at pulling all the badness out but not sucking my skin of all life and moisture. I try to use this once a week, especially when I feel a bit meh. It can be a bit messy but it definitely gets the job done and is the best detoxifying type mask I’ve tried. On the other end of the mask scale is the Glossier Moisturising Moon Mask. This thick cream is so intensely moisturising that you can feel it working for the 20 minutes it’s on. If my skin is textured then this is my go-to. Together these are the dream team and can combat pretty much any issue I’m having.
Last but not least is the Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen. Despite hearing “wearing an SPF daily is super important” I’ve never really paid attention to that (slaps wrist). BUT I do think that this has made a massive difference to my skin because since I’ve been using it my face has been pretty good. It’s so lightweight and now I’m in the routine of putting it on everyday, it doesn’t feel like a chore. As I said, I think this has made a big difference to the way my skin is acting nowadays and I will now continue to wear SPF everyday, promise!
One of my favourite blog posts that I’ve written over the past however many years I’ve been writing on this thing is the ‘A week with the Naked Smoky Palette’. I spent a week where the only thing I used was that one palette to see if I could make it work for a variety of different looks. So, I thought, two years on’ that I’d do the same with the Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette. I bought this last year and although I used it a heck of a lot when I bought it, over the past few months it’s been a bit neglected. So I used this palette everyday for a week, different looks for different occasions, and gave it a proper test.
So, how did the week go?
I started off with a makeup look that I used to wear all the time. Back in the day when I was at university I used to do a smoky eye situation everyday. I mean why I didn’t want those extra precious minutes in bed I don’t know! I do love the way it looks though especially with the warm tones of this palette. Basically, Ounce all over the lid (shimmery cream), Chaser through the crease (light matte brown) followed by Low Blow (matte brown) and Lumbre (shimmery peach) all over the lid. Finishing touches are Cayenne (dark warm toned matte brown) on the outer corner and Ashes smudged into my lash line. Loved this look and it wasn’t too hard to do – the eyeshadows are so easy to blend that they’re not hard to work with in the slightest.
Recently I’ve been all about the one stop eyeshadow. Basically a one swipe wonder that I can put on in the morning and not have to think about for the rest of the day. This palette has got a lot that can work for this. I love Sauced for everyday, a warm toned brown that is way on the reddy side but I’m totally in love with it. A couple of swipes blended out into the crease and I’m all set. The same with Lumbre and Scorched except they’re a bit more jazzy as they have plenty of shimmer in them.
I went out on a big hurrah with another old favourite – a bit of shadow with some winged liner. I realised when I wore it how much a love it but boy does it take a lot of maintaining. The basic shadows I used were Ounce (the shimmery cream) all over the lid with a mixture of Low Blow and Chaser in the crease (matte browns) and then on the outer corner. Easy and simple because, let’s face it, doing winged liner is traumatising enough without having it mess up a load of shadows underneath!
By forcing myself to use this for a week I’ve totally fallen back in love with the palette. I never didn’t like it anymore but I got out of the habit of using it and every time I went back to it – the warm tones scared me a bit. But after getting back into the swing it’s a yes, yes, yes from me. This will be my go to for a smoky eye situation and my one swipe wonders, in fact pretty much anything!
Go to guys: Sauced, Lumbre, Low Blow, Scorched, En Fuego, Ashes
Take them or leave them: Ounce, Chaser, He Devil, Dirty Talk, Cayenne
Welcome to part two of my skincare routine – the evening edition. I love nothing more than getting home from work, taking off my makeup and spending time doing my skincare routine. I have a little box that I keep it in so that in the evening I can easily get it and take it downstairs and chill out, watching tele whilst I spread creams and serums all over my face. For reference, my skin is oily but also dehydrated so my aim is to moisturise but not create grease.
After taking my makeup off with my cleansers and micellar water (read all about my cleansing routine here) I sit down and spray my face with the Body Shop Vitamin C Energising Face Mist to the point where my face is soaking wet. I love the stuff, I feel like it revitalises my skin and gets it ready for the rest of my products. Five minutes later, after leaving the spray to sink it, I give my under eyes a bit of TLC. I’ve been using the Body Shop Vitamin E Eye Cream which does a good job at moisturising under my eyes – I just press it in, do a few taps and wipe the excess on my brow bone. A quick bit of the Glossier Mint Balm Dotcom on my lips and we’re onto what I’d class as the main event!
At the end of last year, I didn’t use a serum and I didn’t really have any interest in getting one, but honestly it’s transformed my skin. It gets down deep in my skin and pumps it full of moisture that it definitely needs, something that the moisturisers I was previously using on their own just couldn’t do. My serum of choice at the minute is The Ordinary 100% Plant Derived Squalane and it’s very much an oil. Although it takes a while to sink in (about an hour to sink in enough to put a moisturiser on top) I love giving it time to work its magic. On days when I need a bit moreof a moisture boost (which is most days) I go in with the Body Shop Drop of Youth Moisturiser. It does a good job, and although I’m not totally attached to it, this is my third tub so I must quite like it!
I love reading out people’s skincare routines and finding out what they’re using because I’ve really got into pampering my skin over the past few months. By stopping touching my face on the daily and caking on the makeup as thick as I used to do my face has definitely cleared up a bit but I thought I’d share what I’ve been using as I think these products have been really working for me. For reference my skin is dehydrated but it also gets quite oily so I try to give it plenty of moisture without greasing it up.
After I’ve splashed my face with a little bit of water a give my face a bit of a spritz with the Body Shop Vitamin C Energising Face Mist. Just a few sprays does the trick. Eye cream is next up because I think I have quite dehydrated under eyes so putting something on morning and night perks them up a little bit. I’ve used the Body Shop Vitamin E Eye Cream for a while now (I think this might be my second tube) and I do really like it. It doesn’t do anything sensational but it does the job! A bit of lip balm on the lips (at the minute I’m using the Glossier Mint Balm Dotcom) and then I go back to my face after letting my eye cream sink in. I’ve wanted to try the Glossier Priming Moisturiser for a while and a have to say it hasn’t disappointed. I apply a medium dollop all over my face and a little bit down my neck, really rubbing and patting it in to make sure it sinks in. If I apply it an hour or so before I do my makeup I go back in with a little bit to refresh my skin and make sure it’s nice and hydrated before putting anything else on top of it. The finishing touch to my routine now we have reached summertime is SPF. A new addition to my collection I’ve been enjoying using it because it feels like I’m putting on a super primer. The Glossier Invisible Shield has been doing a great job, I obviously can’t see if it’s doing my skin any good, but it’s not greasy and leaves my skin feeling great.
This is first of a three part series (get me, a planned out series) which is all about skincare! In this post I’m going to be going over how I cleanse my skin after a normal day, then I’ll chat about my morning and evening skincare routine.
Over the last few weeks I have fallen in love with cleansing. Like a deep love. I look forward to nothing more than getting home for the day, putting my pyjamas on and cleaning my skin. Over the years my routine has stayed pretty similar and so have the type of products I use and it really works for my skin.
To start off with I go in with a cream type cleanser. In the past I’ve used the soap and glory peach cleanser but at the minute I have the Formula Daily Advanced Cleansing Milk. What I like about creamy cleansers is that it takes off the first layer but doesn’t dry my skin out or make it feel oily. It’s a great in between which is perfect for my dehydrated but oily skin. I just massage it onto my dry face, including mascara, and then wipe it off with a cloth. It does a good job at getting off that first layer of makeup, which makes it easier when I move on to the next step, micellar water. At the minute I’m using the Garnier one and I think that is probably my favourite out of all the ones I’ve tried, cheap and cheerful but does the job. A couple of cotton pads does the trick on a normal day, one for eye makeup and the rest for my base.
The next step is my favourite, and the newest to my routine. I use the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, a couple of pumps, and then go in with the Formula Daily Advanced Cleansing Brush all over my face for my second cleanse. It. Feels. Amazing. I thought I’d find it a bit boring having to do it everyday but I actually really enjoy taking the time to get every last scrap of makeup off my face. Usually two minutes on the lowest setting does the job, stopping every so often to wet the brush again. It leaves my skin feeling clean but not dried out and gives the perfect start for my skincare routine (a post which will be coming next week!)
After having a cheeky purchase of a few Revolution products I thought I’d give them a little road test over one day and give my thoughts! I’ve started to slowly work my way down my friend Rachel’s foundation recommendation list and the Revolution Fast Base Stick Foundation was the first one to give a go. I haven’t tried any stick foundations before but the whole swipe, blend and go situation really appealed to me. Anything to make getting ready in the morning that little bit quicker. Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer – other than the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer has any high street concealer been as hyped up? I think not. But they’ve never had it in my shade! So when I saw there was one left I practically lunged at the stand in case anyone got in my way and took it (there was literally no one else there). Then I saw the Revolution Liquid Highlighter Drops. I’ve never tried this kind of highlight before but always admired the Cover FX drops from afar. Although the shade Unicorn Elixir was the most appealing sounding, it was purple and I don’t think I’d have got much wear out of it. So instead I went for Liquid Starlight, a pink shimmer.
I can’t tell you how fun it was to draw this foundation on my face. It was like colouring in! I did a few swipes and then blended it with a brush, it took no time at all and gave some pretty good coverage. There were a few areas that I just wanted a bit more but it was nothing a few more swipes and blending couldn’t fix. The concealer has THE biggest applicator I’ve ever used, and that was perfect for under my eyes. Again a few swipes and I blended it in with a mini real techniques sponge which I also picked up recently. I loved this for concealer, it could really get to places I struggle to with my normal one such as around my nose and on the inner corners of my eyes. Back to the concealer, good coverage, not massively full but good enough, and C3 was a great shade match for me. Last but not least the highlighter. YOU DO NOT NEED A LOT OF THIS. I put a single tiny blob on the back of my hand and I used two taps of it. This spreads like wildfire, but looks stunning. So sheeny and metallic I don’t own anything like this already. I blended it out with the same tiny sponge and it worked really well.
But how will it last throughout the day?
My first thoughts were ‘oh my god what has happened to this highlighter?!’. My nose and cupids bow had both kind of set and were no longer glowy but pink blobs of glitter, it looked stupid. I rubbed it in and it was fine but I think I might avoid putting it on these places in the future. It wasn’t too bad on my cheekbones but it had gone a bit chunky on one side – nothing that a little dabbing couldn’t sort out! Foundation and concealer still look great. Nothing to report other than that my skin shows no signs of getting oily just yet – an amazing sign.
Starting to get a little bit oily but not so much I was in serious need of a blot. Other than that my base is still looking good. As for the highlighter it’s shining bright on my cheekbones but after dispursing the mess earlier it’s totally gone from my nose and cupids bow. But to be fair I don’t think my usual powder highlight lasts long there anyway.
Not much more oily than I was earlier but I gave myself a bit of a blot to take off some of the shine. Everything still looks okay but I don’t think I properly blended one side of my highlight because I’ve ended up with a really harsh line by my eye where it begins.
Exactly the same as 2.15pm
After going out for a meal I came back to take my makeup off and was very impressed with what I found! Everything looked exactly the same from when I last did a blot and check at 2.15pm. Foundation was still sticking around as was the concealer and although it was a little chunky, the highlighter was still shining bright. If I had one complaint it’s that my skin was going a bit dry (which never happens!) but it didn’t feel like all the moisture was sucked out of it, just not oily.
Overall, I really liked all three of the products. my least favourite was the highlighter just because it went a bit weird but that being said it might have been my application. The foundation was the star of the show I think