Wednesday, 29 May 2013

House of Rush

Recently I was lucky enough to attend a networking event for beauty bloggers held by the Gorkana Group at the House of Rush, Piccadilly.

I'm going to be completely honest here and say that until I headed over to the salon on a particularly grey and drizzly tuesday evening I had no clue that Rush, one of the UK's most well known hairdressing companies, had expanded further than just treating our tresses.

House of rush offers all the usual cuts, blow drys and treatments you would find at your local branch and THEN SOME. Its a one stop stop for all your beauty needs. Facials, a beauty counter, nails, massage, even full on men's grooming... you name it they've got it!

Check out their website for a full list of services and there's 25% off for first time customers!

Have a flick through the pic's below to see some of the nights attendees being treated to full on blow drys and styling. I was too busy nosing around to sit down at let the masters work on my long time neglected locks, but I'll be booking myself in for an overhaul ASAP that's for sure!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Black Sun.

Jumpsuits are one of those clothing items that I absolutely adore, get the right one and you can pull off a real unique, edgy, chic look effortlessly. There is however a vast sea of camel toe creators and thigh clingers out there to be navigated before finding you're own long lost island of one piece paradise. For me personally, this sheer backed number from ASOS hits all the right buttons, so much so that I hit the check out button and purchased its fine ass. Opps! Shoppers guilt aside, I'm so glad I did. I'm a size 10 with D-cup fun bags, a long body with a little waist and a sizeable hip, bum, thigh zone and jumpsuits can make me look like a lumpy sausage, this one however fits like a dream. The fabric is light, moves gracefully and doesn't give you that material made paunch that some tie waists can create. The sheer back extends to a panel that runs down the outside of both legs and reveals just enough skin to be fashion over flirty.

ERM MA GURD... ERM. MA. GURD. These sunglasses have shot to the top of my wish list. They are both ridiculous and awesome. I don't really have to say much more do I? You can see them. They are right there ^ . HOW FREAKIN' MARVELLOUS ARE THEY?! .... I KNOW! 

On a completely unrelated much do you reckon I can get for my kidney?

The gladiator sandal look is one I've always found tricky. Ankle straps have a tendency to make my legs look less like a those of a leaping gazells and more like the body carriers of an aged elephant. These bad boys from Topshop however have a little cheeky wedge heel hiding at the back, enough to give that all important lift without being overly high, making them day wear appropriate and bearable for those 'rushed off your feet' days.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Cracked Chocolate Brownie Cookies

I stumbled across these bloody delicious morsels on a hunt for dairy free chocolate cake recipes. At first glance I wasn't convinced... Cookies without chocolate chips? Surely thats blasphemy? But these little buggers looked so pretty I figured I'd give it a go anyway, and I'm bloody well glad I did!

Not only do these circular drops of delight look impressive, but they taste phenomenal. You know how the corner bit of a tray of brownies is always extra good due to the 'crust' to gooey centre ratio? Thats what makes these so fantastic. They are wonderfully soft in the centre but have a satisfying hardened (not crunchy mind you...) exterior and the icing sugar coating doesn't just have aesthetic appeal, it really sets off the flavour of the cocoa. Lip smackingly tastey and guaranteed to be gone within minutes, give them a go guys... you will NOT be disappointed. 


85g Cocoa powder
400g Caster Sugar
250g Plain Flour
125ml Vegetable Oil
2 tsps Vanilla Extract
2 tsps Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
60g Icing Sugar
4 eggs

Quick note before we start boys and girls: Usually I'm a huge advocate of the electric mixer when baking, however with this recipe there is honestly no need for one as its just as easy if not easier by hand. I'd recommend a rubber spatular (like this) over a wooden spoon as its useful when incorporating all the ingredients that get stuck to the sides of the bowl etc.

In a large bowl mix the caster sugar, vegetable oil and cocoa together. Beat in the eggs one at a time and pop the vanilla extract in there too.

Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the bowl and use folding and figure of eight motions to make sure everything is well and truly mixed.

Cover the bowl over with a clean tea towel and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours (I tend to do all this prep in the evening and then leave it over night so I can have freshly baked cookies the following day).

Once your mixture has chilled the fuck out it's time to get ballin'. First preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Then get a baking tray ready by covering with either a non-stick teflon sheet or some baking parchment. Use a metal dessert spoon to scoop one dollop of chocolatey goodness at a time from the mix and roll into around 2.5 cm balls (don't worry about being exact here, but keeping them roughly the same size looks neater and means they'll all bake evenly).

Add the icing sugar to a small bowl, roll each ball in the powdered white scrumminess so its completely covered and place on your baking tray. Leave a good couple of inches between each sugar coated globe and give every one a little pat on the head just to ensure the cookie will spread slightly (and for being such a good chocolatey ball of yumminess of course).

Bake for around 8-12 minutes. Cookies will 'crack', expand and harden slightly when ready. Use a clean knife and insert into the centre of a chosen test victim, if it comes out clean then whip em out coz those suckers are done, done, done!


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Cocktail Chronicles - Numero Uno - Amaretto Sours

I honestly don't like Amaretto. It's the marzipan thing. I feel like marzipan is a bit like marmite, love it or hate it. My loathing runs pretty deep for the stuff, wedding cakes are a no go and you can shove off if you think I'm trying any of those miniature fruit shaped versions of the stuff at christmas (what's with that anyway?!?) This cocktail however I bloody love. The amaretto serves the purpose of balancing out the sourness of the lemon, I can't do the taste justice but I can tell you that in my opinion it definitely does not in any way resemble marzipan. This bad boy is super refreshing and far too easy to drink, one WILL lead to another.


100ml Amaretto (4 x 25ml Shot)
1 & 1/2 Lemon (juice only)
1 Egg White
20ml (just under 1 shot) Sugar Syrup *

*To make sugar syrup just grab a small mug and quarter fill it with caster sugar, then fill to the half way mark with boiling water, stir until the sugar dissolves and leave to cool.

You'll also be needing a small sieve & a Cocktail Shaker. If you don't have one then any container you can get ice cubes into and seal so that the liquid won't escape will do just fine. A washed out large pasta sauce jar would probably work!

FYI: The amounts listed make enough for two of these little wonders. Share with a friend or halve if you're just trying it out for yourself... or don't halve... I didn't halve... in fact let's just forget about the halving ok?

Prep your glasses by filling to about the half way point with roughly crushed ice (if you havn't got an ice crusher pop some cubes into a freezer bag and give em' a whack with a wooden rolling pin) To create this dangerously moorish delight all you need to do is pour the Amaretto, lemon juice, egg white and sugar syrup into the shaker / container, add 4 or 5 ice cubes, seal and shake. Don't be afraid at this point ladies and gents, really give it your all. I'll go for a good 15 to 20 seconds, usually I end up with my face scrunched up in effort and concentration, my feet planted a step or so apart and knees bent for real stability. Sexy huh?

Once you've shaken, rattled and rolled your way outta that comfort zone simply pour through the sieve into the prepared glasses and garnish however you like. Umbrellas, lime slices, glacier cherries, edible glitter, whatever the hell ya fancy! I got a pack of these little paper fruit jobbys from TIGER for £1! AWESOME.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Spring Nail Edit

SUN. FUCKING SUN! Did anyone else see it? It was here. I promise! I don't know when we'll be seeing it again, or how long for, but those few skin licking delicious rays sparked the arrival of spring/summer time for me. They also imparted a deep sense of impending doom (bikini season's drawing near ladies) and the stark realization that my wardrobe does not currently support warmer climates. Shopping for heat friendly clothes is a bit of a mission, finding something cool enough thats office appropriate and in keeping with my personal style is tricky dicky. Updating my nail colours however involves the quick rotation of a (rather large) polish housing drawer and I'm good to go!

The Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine range features heavily in this selection. I love the formula, they are brilliantly opaque after two coats and the colours are just gorgeous. My absolute favourite is the Lilac/Purple 'Prickly Pear', it's just sooooo pretty, and it looks scrumptious on tootsies as well as fingertips. 'Greenberry' the bright turquoise is a close second, it's super vibrant and definitly makes an impact, great for teaming with pretty florals or simple block shifts during the day and making a statement against darker evening styles (in my case usually disco pants and leather jackets). The nearing cult status 'Blueberry' is also b-e-a-utiful as is the deep green 'Watermelon' but a quick word of warning on 'Lychee' the nude, it's not for every skin tone, but does work great as a nail art base.

The two Topshop shades I've included are both blue hues, 'Marine Scene' which as the name suggests, wouldn't look out of place on the hit TV show STINGRAY duh na nur nur nur na... ahem, and 'Windy City' which is almost a muted duck egg tone. 

Rimmel's 60 polish in 'Grey Matter' is an all season staple with me, and the brush on these little guys makes application a dream. Finally there's 'Bon Bon' from Ciaté, a dusky sort of rose. Against pale skin this is absolutely stunning (fantastic for the practically transparent like myself), but once you've got a bit of colour going on I'd pop a shimmer top coat over it to boost the contrast and avoid a 'muddy' look. 

I'm sure I'll end up with a 'Part Deux' to this post so keep a look out, but this my current go to selection.  Now if you'll excuse me I have about 10,000 sit ups to do...

Clockwise from top:
Topshop - Marine Scene
Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine - Watermelon
Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine - Greenberry
Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine - Blueberry
Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine - Prickly Pear
Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine - Lychee
Ciaté - Bon Bon
Topshop - Windy City
Rimmel 60 Seconds - Grey Matter

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Nailed it.

I'm about to pop up a spring nail edit type post, but before I do I figured some of you lovely lot might want to know what I use to make a protective type sandwich round my coloured polish and how I go about painting my finger helmets.

For Starters I always make sure I've got all the old polish off before starting a-new. A blank canvas is essential for getting a super smooth finish. I'll use either the Cutex Nail Varnish Remover (£2.20) or my Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover (£4.99) to do this, then make sure I give my hands a good wash and dry.

I then try and pay some attention to my cuticles. I'm trying to find a cuticle remover gel I get on with, I've been trialling the Sally Hansen Cuticle Remover Gel (£6.45) which is alright, but nothing to write home about. If anyone has any suggestions about cuticle removing and softening products please leave them in the comments!

Moving on to shaping my nails, I tend to rock a straight edge with baby-proofed corners (I just take off the sharp edges with a couple of light swipes of the nail file). Then I'll wash and thoroughly dry my hands again and if I'm feeling really professional I'll swipe over the nails with a bit of varnish remover on a clean cotton pad (a tip learnt from Anna of Vivianna Does Makeup, see her full Manicure routine post & video here).

Currently I'm using the O.P.I Original Nail Envy (£18.65 (!)) as a base. I suffer from really flakey nails, by that I mean they don't break so much as separate into layers at the tips and peel off. Ewwwww. I know right? Anyway... O.P.I has actually really helped with this issue. A lot more than I was expecting to be honest. It's not solved the problem completely, but my nails have always been rather weak and I subject them to quite a bit of daily torment so I wasn't expecting a miracle cure.

After one coat of Nail Envy has been applied and completely dried it's on with the colour. I'll do 2 coats of colour with pretty much all my nail varnishes. I can rarely be bothered with three, and if a colour isn't opaque enough after two coats then it usually ends up being given away. I find that too many layers of varnish can encourage that 'peel off' effect? Anyone else get that?

Then it's a topcoat of Seche Vite Dry Fast (£9.00). This little number has caused a bit of a stir in the nail world. There was a lot of hoo-ha about health concerns flying around the place. For some information on this head over to Lacquer Glamour, there's a full run down of the issue and some further reading if you're interested. I did my research into it and decided to take the plunge, risk it, throw caution to the wind, etc. It was a personal choice based on the fact that I subject my body to a lot of other unnatural substances and poisons (queue the one too many montage!), and so long as I don't sit and huff this stuff in an unventilated cupboard I looks like I should be ok. Plus, bless my soul, does this stuff work! Previously I'd been using the Save The Nail Wet Look Top Coat (£6.95), which had served me relatively well. However my nails seem to last longer with Seche Vite, I can go a good few days with only minimal signs of wear appearing round the tips and damn does this stuff dry fast! I swear it's like the road runner of topcoats, and still has a lovely glossy finish. BEEP BEEP.

I've been finishing up with a Boots own nail and cuticle oil (£6.20) that I got in some sort of deal, combo jobby, which has actually been rather disappointing. If anyone has a suggestions about an alternative please let me know. I'm thinking about purchasing the Burts Bees Lemon Cuticle Cream ... ?

So there you have it. Sorry it was a little long winded but I figured I might as well review the products as I went. It's all very well saying what I've been using but it's better to know why right?

The Spring / Summer Nail edit will be up shortly, so keep your eyes peeled (this phrase really freaks me out, I NO WANNA PEEL MA EYES!)!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Finger Candy

Recently I posted about the launch of DIXI's new website, one of my favourite go to stops online for accessories, and well while writing about their new collections I may have accidently, 'oops my finger slipped', type, sort of, bought a couple of things...

I was extremely restrained and just brought a couple of above knuckle rings. I went for sterling sliver in a Wishbone and Plain Band style. I absolutely adore them. They may be slightly more pricey than your average high street option but they aren't going to give you the delightful green fingered 'I'm slowly turning into a Zombie starting with my digits' look. You can wear the rings singularly or mix and match, and they really set off any outfit. I've got quite a harsh style when it comes to jewelry (skulls, geometric shapes etc) and I find these soften and feminize my outfits. The regular rings featured here were a last minute purchase in HnM a stackable 10 Pack that only cost £2.99!!!