29 January 2013

How To: Apply Glue-On/Press-On Nails

You will all know by now that I love my glue-on nails; they're the cheats guide to a lasting manicure in my opinion and they represent how I'd love my natural nails to look.

My nails aren't in bad condition and I don't feel the glue-on nails do too much harm to them; there's very little damage when I remove them and my nails never feel weaker after wearing them. The main reason I do wear them is because despite the fact they're strong, my nails always break at work and once one goes, they all have to go. That and nail polish lasts so much longer and I'm sick to death of repairing chips every single day - topcoat or not, I cannot stop my nail polish chipping and it drives me insane. 

You will need

  • Hand/cuticle cream
  • Nail file
  • Hoof stick
  • Orange stick (you don't need both, it's up to you which you prefer)
  • A set of glue on nails
  • Nail polish of your choice 

I like to use Elegant Touch - I find they fit my nails better, the longevity is better and they come in a range of styles, colours and lengths.

My favourites are the Totally Bare as you can paint them in whichever colour you want and they're a great size for nail art too. I also like the Polished sets, particularly at short notice. If I need to go out and my nails aren't looking their best, I always run to Superdug and grab these babies and apply them on the train!

What's inside the box varies by which set you're using. I'll be using the Totally Bare set for this post and so inside the box there are 48 nails in 10 sizes, a little nail file/buffer and some nail glue.

The protective nail glue is my favourite nail glue to use. I get at least 5 days wear out of my nails before any start to come loose when I use this nail glue and that includes polish changes. I always keep one in my bag, just in case a nail pings off as it often does at work!

The nails come in a variety of sizes and are separated into two little sections. You'll get at least two full sets out of each packet.

How to Apply

1. Firstly you'll need to prep your nails. Make sure they're clean and free from polish. Apply a little cuticle cream and using a hoof stick or an orange stick, gently push the cuticles back. Wash your hands to remove any residue from the nails and dry thoroughly.

2. Select the correct size and fit for your nails. I've been using these for so long I know which numbers I need for which nail so it's a really quick process. If you're unfamiliar with the nails it's a good idea to match them each time, you'll soon get used to them.

3. When you've selected your nails, lay them out in order of the nails they're for to help you when you're applying them.

4. With the nozzle of the glue at a 45 degree angle, apply a coating of glue over the nail bed.

5. Place the nail at a 90 degree angle near the cuticle and press down firmly, pushing any air bubbles out as you do so.

6. Repeat for the remaining fingers on that hand. Leave the little tabs on until you've completed the whole hand.

7. When you've finished one hand, snap the little tabs off and file any rough edges. Don't worry if you have what looks like a few little air bubbles, you're going to paint over the nails anyway.

8. Repeat for the other hand.

9. Paint in the colour of your choice. I chose Revlon 'Ruby Ribbon' which is matte.

How to Remove Your Nails

I'm the worst person to give advice on this because I peel mine off once they start to lift which is very bad. Don't do it! Do as I say and not as I do and all that jazz...

1. Soak the nails in nail polish remover, they'll soon start to lift or melt enough to be removed safely.

2. I think Elegant Touch do a remover for the glue on nails but it's basically just nail polish remover...

If you've any questions, please ask. 

Have you ever tried your own glue on nails? 

Vicky x


27 January 2013

Share the Love Sunday

Firstly I know I've been MIA for a week or so and I apologise. I started a new job last week and it's been really hectic, I had planned to schedule some posts to go up last week but I spilled a drink all over my laptop and in my infinite wisdom, decided that as it was still working I'd carry on using it. BIG mistake, I should have switched it straight off and it may have survived. I didn't so my laptop and all of the pictures I'd taken for posts are sadly no more. Every cloud has a silver lining though and I decided to put my savings towards a MacBook - I'm still trying to get my head around how to use it properly but I'm trying! 

Anyway, I'd decided to put this post up a few days ago and it just so happens it was also the subject of tonights #bbloggers twitter chat: Share the Love. Here are five of my favourite blogs. 

Screenshot on a Mac tab open, I'm just unbelievably cool.

Zoe is a makeup artist and graphic designer (amongst other things, check out her About Me for the full list!) and I love her blog. Her images are always clear and her posts are well written and helpful. She's currently doing a great skincare series which is full of great skincare and diet advice. As a fellow makeup artist I trust Zoe's opinion and she's absolutely lovely on Twitter too!

Sandy writes a lovely blog which includes fantastic reviews and the most amazing NOTD posts - she gives me serious nail envy! Again, her pictures are always lovely and her posts keep me interested from start to finish. She also has a really handy product directory so it's really easy to find certain posts, I always find myself searching before I buy to see if Sandy has a review!

Dee is just the nicest girl. I love her hauls (though she's on a spending ban at the moment!) and reviews. She's another fellow makeup artist and I really trust her opinion and I love reading her blog. 

Julie's blog was one of the first I started reading after I found her videos on YouTube. She's got such personality that translates really well into her blog and her images are always stunning. I really like her reviews and hauls as well as her FOTD/N posts.

I started reading Lauren's blog after meeting her when she was doing her makeup artist training and she's such a lovely girl. Her blog mixes beauty and lifestyle and there are regular appearances from her family and her adorable dogs. Her pictures are brilliant and her posts are really to the point which I like. 

I think I'll make this a regular series as I love finding new blogs and I'm sure you all do too!

Vicky x


18 January 2013

Review: B.

I was browsing Superdrug last week when I instantly honed in on a new stand when UNE once stood. Everything about it was understated from the signage to the layout - it was clean and it was simple, no garish colours or large marketing images which drew me even closer - that and the perfectly presented row of lipsticks on the bottom row.

What is this mystery new brand I hear you ask? Quite frankly I don't really know! I've titled them B. as that's what's on the packaging. Their website holds no information and I've contacted them for details to share with you guys but as yet, I've heard nothing. A quick Google search reveals B. has been developed by Superdrug to offer premium quality products on the high street and is due to launch in two-thirds of Superdrug stores and online on 1st February.

Two important things to note: the products clearly state they are suitable for vegetarians and vegans which is fabulous and they have the leaping bunny symbol emblazoned on the packaging so they're cruelty-free.

I picked up two things, a lipstick and a shimmer block and I have my eye on more including their foundation range.

B. Glowing | Shimmer Block

This is the product that jumped out to me as soon as I saw the stand - I'm a sucker for a cheek product and I really liked the colours. I swatched them in store and they're quite sheer and, as the name would suggest, shimmery. I wore this out on Friday night and it added a lovely flush of colour to my cheeks as well as a highlight.

By no means the best picture but you can make out that it added colour to my cheeks.

From memory there were three different Shimmer Blocks available, including a bronzer.

B. Glowing Shimmer Block in 198 'Blush' - £8.99 for 8g 

B. | Lipstick

Next on my radar was the lipsticks - the colour range was relatively extensive for a new brand with a mix of nudes and reds, all of which were utterly gorgeous and will no doubt be making their way home with me very soon.

Before I get onto what I think about the quality of the lipstick I've got to address the packaging and the fact that I absolutely hate it.

This is what the lipstick looks like with the lid on, the lid covers the lipstick from top to bottom so you're unable to pull the lid off as you would with traditional lipsticks.

To open the lipstick you need to push the base in to release the lipstick. Similar to using a pen. 

The base of the lipstick then pops out, you need to pull the end to get the lipstick out. At this point it is important you do not do what I did and twist, the lipstick will begin to twist up and end up squished in the lid.

I tidied it up a bit before taking his picture but you can see where the point of the lipstick has been squashed which did not make me happy.

I'm not saying the packaging is a bad idea, actually I am, but I prefer traditional lipstick packaging. The fact that it's quite fiddly would discourage me from putting this in my bag on a night out.

Onto the product itself, I picked up shade 191 'Tangelo' which is an orange-coral. The lipstick is creamy in texture and reminds me of MAC Amplified lipsticks in texture and opacity.

 Without flash

With flash

I really like the texture of these lipsticks and how well they wear. I'll definitely be picking more up and the fact they contain SPF 15 is an added bonus.

B. lipstick 191 'Tangelo' - £7.99

Does your local Superdrug have B. in stock already? If so, have you bought anything? 

Vicky x

13 January 2013

[CLOSED] Thank You: 100 Followers Giveaway

Earlier in the week I reached 100 followers and I'd like to say thank you to each and every person that reads my little blog. When I started Beauty Blogging Brunette two months ago I had no idea the beauty blogging world would be so welcoming, it's been a fantastic and eye opening experience.

As a thank you to you all for reading and interacting I have decided to host my first giveaway which will be a MAC Lipstick of your choice! 

To Enter

1. You must be following my blog: it can be via GFC, She Said Beauty or Bloglovin' - please specify which and I will check ;)

2. Leave me a comment below with your email address AND the shade of lipstick you'd like to win - you must include both to be entered. For example:

Hi Vicky, my email is beautybloggingbrunette@hotmail.co.uk, I'd like to win Rebel.

3. Closing date is 1st Feb 2013 at 11:59pm. Winner will be notified on the 2nd and I'll head off to MAC.
  • As my followers are international, this giveaway is also international and I will ship internationally as long as there are no shipping restrictions in place.
  • If you're under 16 please ask for permission to enter as I'll need your address.
  • Please only pick permanent line shades.
  • Winners will be chosen through the good old fashioned name in a hat method (technology isn't my strong point!) - I can film this for fairness if you wish.

Also - I've decided that one of my first 100 followers will ALSO receive a MAC lipstick simply by being one of the first 100 people to follow so there's a double chance for you guys! Again, you'll be chosen and notified on the 2nd.

Vicky x

12 January 2013

Review: Sleep Rollers Emergency Curly Blow Extensions

I love Sleep Rollers: I have the iconic Velcro Sleep-in Rollers, the XL Bun Ring, a bun plait, a fringe roller and now the newest addition to the Sleep Rollers family: the Emergency Curly Blow Kit.

A 'curly blow' is quite simply a blow dry that achieves big, bouncy curls, and the terms was popularised on Desperate Scousewives (so I'm told, I'm a TOWIE/Made in Chelsea girl myself!). Designed to give you the look of a curly blow in seconds, the Emergency Curly Blow Kit is a weft of pre-styled hair that you simply clip in and go. Perfect for transforming your look from work to play in seconds.

When my extensions arrived I was surprised at the weight and even more surprised that it was a single weft on four clips; I worried that they wouldn't be sturdy enough for the weight of the extensions but I was wrong. The clips are very sturdy, far more so that traditional clip-ins and the thick band doesn't show: I do have quite thick hair but I don't think it would show with thinner hair either. It's sturdy yet subtle.

The weft of hair is pre-curled and thick which creates a natural look. I wear clip-in extensions for length rather than volume and my only gripe with them has always been that they look too thin at the ends because my own hair is so thick but that isn't a problem with the Emergency Curly Blow.

As with the Sleep-in Rollers, you receive a little drawstring bag to keep your Emergency Curly Blow in. The extensions come in a little hair net which helps to keep the shape, I'd recommend keeping this or purchasing a hair net for storing your extensions in, you'll thank me for it later.

The Emergency Curly Blow comes in three shades: blonde, brown and black which is the shade I ordered, and is made of synthetic hair so unfortunately you cannot colour or style it with heat. The problem I have with synthetic extensions is that nine times out of ten, I want them to wear on a night out, particularly this style, and synthetic hair looks obviously fake in flash photography as it is impossibly shiny because it's made from synthetic materials.

The hair is approximately 16 inches long depending on how tight you keep the curls. The looser the curl, the longer the hair. I've found the hair blends in well with my own which is at least 4 inches shorter and doesn't make my layers obvious.

It really couldn't be easier to use. The fact it's one weft rather than several means you don't have to section and re-section your hair and clip layer upon layer in. Just section your hair in half, clip it in and you're good to go!

In terms of customer service and delivery I really can't fault Sleep Rollers, I think they're utterly fantastic. I placed my order on Friday evening and it arrived on Tuesday morning which was fantastic.

I think Sleep Rollers have created a great product here and one that will appeal to a lot of people. I'd prefer natural hair and it would be nice to see more shades, redheads love big bouncy hair too! But I really have no complaints.

The Emergency Curly Blow Kit retails at £17.50 and there is a £2.95 UK delivery charge. I ordered mine when Sleep Rollers had a 20% discount on so I received my order, including delivery for £17.53.

Is the Emergency Curly Blow Kit something you'd be interested in?

Vicky x

11 January 2013

Bake of the Week: No Bake Banoffee Pie

This banoffee pie recipe is so simple I almost feel like I'm insulting you by posting it and the fact there's no baking involved means this is a cheeky little addition to the Bake of the Week series.

This is definitely a cheat - no part of this pie was homemade. If you wanted it to be, you could bake the digestive biscuits yourself and create the caramel topping by boiling condensed milk.

You will need

  • A food processor
  • 9 inch loose bottomed tin

  • 250g digestive biscuits
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 1 tin Carnation Caramel
  • 3 small bananas 
  • 1 pot double cream (I think mine was 284ml)
  • Chocolate to decorate.


1. Place the biscuits in a food processor and whizz until they resemble bread crumbs. When you have the breadcrumb texture, tip into a bowl, add the melted butter and mix until it begins to combine. 

2. Spoon the biscuit mixture into the tin and press along the bottom and slightly up the sides to create your pie shell. You can leave this to chill for around 30 minutes to one hour if you wish.

3. Spread the tinned caramel onto the base, avoiding mixing it too much. If you 'warm' it too much it'll start to thin. Again set this aside in the fridge until you're nearly ready to serve.

4. Chop up your bananas and apply on top of the caramel. Whip the double cream up with a little icing sugar and spoon over the banana. You can apply the cream in peaks if you wish, I opted to keep it flat.

5. Sprinkle with chocolate to decorate. I used the crumbs from a flake. I would have used the flake but well... I ate it.

6. Return to the fridge until ready to serve. 

As I said, this is definitely the cheats version but it's perfect for whipping up in a hurry if you've got unexpected guests or plans - if your boyfriends parents are coming for example, domestic Goddess bonus points!

As always, I'd love to see pictures if you give this a go, or hear your thoughts.

Vicky x

10 January 2013

Review: Aromatherapy Associates 'De-Stress Mind' Bath Oil

Last month I attended the BBloggers Xmas Meet Up where Aromatherapy Associates were giving a talk as well as hand massages and essential oil consultations. As part of our goodie bags we also received a sample from Aromatherapy Associates and mine was the 'De-Stress Mind' bath and shower oil*.
Do you have any idea how much I struggled to take this picture? After attempting to photograph it I certainly needed de-stressing, I can tell you!

Having worked in a salon that stocked Aromatherapy Associates products I was already familiar with the brand and their bath and shower oils. Aromatherapy and essential oils have unique properties that penetrate the mind as well as the body; the scent released by the essential oils has a direct impact on your emotional state of mind and mood.

For the past week or so I'd been having trouble getting to sleep, I've had a tonne of things going on and I've been super busy with work and as such an organiser/perfectionist I find it really hard to switch off so when things get hectic my mind goes into overdrive which makes a good nights sleep practically impossible. I'd considered many things from Jude Law films (I cannot sit through a single one without falling asleep) to something slightly stronger (whiskey anyone?) when I remembered I had the De-Stress Mind bath oil to try out.

The De-Stress Mind bath oil is designed to focus the mind and ease emotional confusion and stress, it's not designed to make you tired or to send you to sleep though I did feel myself struggling to stay awake in the bath! With essential oils you know from first scent if they're the right oil for you for that time, the oil reacts with your own body and emotional chemistry and you'll be attracted to oils that are beneficial to you at that time. 

As it's a sample size we were instructed to use the full bottle, I was going to use half a bottle but I thought 'in for a penny, in for a pound' and poured the entire bottle in. The scent filled the bathroom and I felt myself relaxing slightly before I was even in the bath! My skin felt moisturised after and I certainly felt relaxed which is exactly what I was hoping for and as such I managed to get a decent nights sleep which instantly improved my mood.

With key ingredients of wild camomile, petigrain, frankincense and rosemary, De-Stress Mind is full of naturally calming ingredients and it smells divine. 

Aromatherapy Associates do a range of different oils for different things, for example: Relax Deep, Revive, Support, Renewing and more. 

The bath oils are pricey at £37 for 55ml however you only need a tiny amount and they're well worth the investment. If you're unsure of which oil to choose, miniature sizes are also available.

Have you tried the Aromatherapy Associates bath oils? Which essential oils do you like and recommend?

Vicky x

9 January 2013

Liebster Blog Award Part II

I know I've already done this tag/award post before which you can read here but I have been tagged by four more lovely ladies in the past few days so I thought I'd combine all of their questions into one post!

The rules of the Liebster Award are:
  • The award is for bloggers with less than 300 followers.
  • You must link back to the blogger who awarded you.
  • If you are nominated, give 11 random facts about you, answer the 11 questions provided and compile 11 of your own.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers.
In no particular order, I was tagged by the lovely Callie, SandyRobyn and Kirsty. All four ladies are worth a follow so I recommend checking their blogs out. 

This will be quite a long post I imagine so make yourself comfy if you'd like to know more about me.

11 (more) Random Facts About Me

1. I'd rather go out for a meal and drinks than to a club.
2. In December I purchased my first pair of trainers that were not specifically for PE at school!
3. I was on the winning netball team four years in a row at school.
4. I'm not scared of getting older but I'm worried about running out of time to do what I want.
5. The furthest I've travelled is New York.
6. If I could live anywhere else in the world it'd be New York or Dublin.
7. Despite being impossibly clumsy, I have never broken a bone.
8. I am impossibly clumsy.
9. I rarely watch anything but sport on TV, when I do it's nearly always an American crime drama.
10. Cinderella is my favourite Disney film.
11. I'm afraid of sports mascots - I don't mean the kids, I mean the adults in costumes. Bane of my working life.

Here are my 11 questions from Callie.

1. What made you start blogging?
I'd read blogs for a while and watched YouTube videos, even started a little blog myself that I could never settle into. When I met my friend Hayley and saw how much she enjoyed writing her blog I decided I wanted to start one to share my tips with people and to learn from them too. I lost the password to that blog so I started this one and finally I feel like I've found my blogging feet and this is the right time for me.

2. Is there a blogger that inspires you?
I'm inspired by anyone who has the courage to blog. Putting yourself and your name and face out there is a daunting thing and it takes courage. I don't aspire to be at a certain blogging level or to emulate any other bloggers but I really enjoy reading Corrie's blog and if any blogger were to inspire me it would be Laura - I loved her videos as Lollipop26 and I adore her style. 

3. How old are you?
I'm 22. I'll be 23 in September. 

4. What do you want to achieve the most?
I'm not sure if this is blogging related or not? In blogging I've already achieved more than I thought I would: I have people interested in reading and commenting on what I have to say (crazy thought!), I've attended a bloggers meet up which I thought I'd be too shy to do and people in my life are aware of my little blog - including the people I work with and I never thought I'd feel that comfortable for them to know.

5. How many hours do you spend blogging per week? (average)
I'm really not sure - for me the actual writing process is probably the quickest part and one of the most enjoyable. I schedule posts (like this one!) when I know I'm going to be busy with work. I'd say I probably spend an hour or two a week putting together my own posts and replying to comments and then maybe two hours a week reading and commenting on other blogs. 

6. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
After last time you already know I want to go to Australia so I'll name the other place I have always wanted to go: Las Vegas. Vegas appeals to me like no other place on Earth, probably because it's unlike anywhere else. The lights, the casinos, the hotels, the shows - it's something I must experience. 

7. Where do you call home?
London. I was born and raised here. 

8. Who do you live with?
I live at home with my family.

9. If you were trapped on a desert island what three things would you want with you?
Ryan Gosling, a helicopter and some SPF! 

10. What do you like most about yourself?
Tough one - we all find it so easy to answer what we least like! I'd say how organised I am.

11. What's your favourite film?
Another tough one but Snatch by Guy Richie is definitely up there!

Here are my 11 questions from Sandy

1. What was your first ever makeup product?
A blue eyeshadow palette from Superdrug. 

2. When did you first start your blog and why?
November 2012 after being losing the password to my old blog and realising that it was something I really wanted to have a proper shot at. 

3. Does your mum think you're as crazy as my mum does for having so much makeup?
Definitely. She can understand me having a lot for my kit but not for myself!

4. What would be your dream career?
I would love to work at Sky Sports, that would be the dream. 

5. If you had to choose, what would be your makeup product forever?
NARS Sheer Glow.

6. Snog, marry, avoid: Phil Mitchell, Jack Branning, Alfie Moon?
Probably the one three people from Eastenders I know! I think I'd marry Jack, snog Alfie and avoid Phil!

7. Favourite shop ever?
Toughie! At the moment it's Zara.

8. Jeans or dresses?

9. What would you rather pick for the rest of your life, skincare or makeup?
Ooooooh! Impossible choice. If you picked skincare and had perfect skin you wouldn't need makeup but with makeup you'd never get bored. Makeup.

10. What would be your ultimate makeup look?
Golden smokey eye, peachy lip, bronzed skin.

11. I have a bit of a list of things I want to do in life. What would be top of your list?
If I could have a happy, healthy family of my own - that would be my greatest achievement. 

Finally, here are my questions from Robyn

1. If you were on a desert island and could only take three items with you what would you take?
SPF, Lip balm, conditioner. 

2. What is your favourite lipstick?
I can't pick one! 

3. What is your dream?
I have a few. I'd like to shoot a magazine cover. 

4. Foundation or tinted moisturiser?

5. What is your morning regime? 
Skincare? I was my face, tone, moisturise and then do my makeup.

6. If you had £100 to spend on beauty products what would you buy?
Skincare - Radical, Dermalogica and Una Brennan.

7. How many products do you actually use up?
The majority of them. Makeup is expensive!

8. Heels or flats?
Heels for work/nights out, flats day to day.

9. What is your favourite moisturiser?
I'm using No7 Beautiful Skin at the moment and I really like it.

10. Lip gloss or lipstick?

11. What makeup product will you buy next?
Kate Moss lipstick for Rimmel.

[Update] My questions from Kirsty

1. What is your favourite thing about blogging? 
Being able to share and communicate with people who share the same passion mainly but also having a space to write - that's very important to me.

2. Are you a shoe or a bag girl?
Both! I probably buy shoes more regularly though.

3. Would you rather have jelly tots for finger nails or long strings of marshmallow for hair?
Marshmallow hair - imagine how comfy that would be to sleep on and you've got a ready-made Midnight snack!

4. Who is the sexiest guy ever ever ever?
Hmm.. that's a difficult one. At the moment I'd say Ryan Gosling (duh) but Becks will always be my favourite.

5. What product do I need to try in 2013?
OCC Lip Tar.

6. Horror or romance films?
Neither really but I hate horror so I'll say romance.

7. Batman, Superman or Spiderman? I will judge you on this.
Purely because I remember watching it as a child every Saturday morning (either before or after Live and Kicking I think!), it's Superman.

8. Dogs or cats? I'll judge you on this too!
Dogs, I'm not a cat person.

9. If the zombie apocalypse strikes, what 3 beauty items would you want with you? 
A nail file, some hairspray and some hot wax...

10. And what outfit would you want?
A suit of chainmail.

11. And most importantly, would you survive?
I don't know much about zombies but hell no - I wouldn't want to!

I'm going to pinch my questions from last time

1. If you could live in any era or through any single historical moment, what would it be and why? 
2. Which ONE skincare, haircare and cosmetic product would you take with you on a desert island? (one of each!) 
3. What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given? 
4. What is your proudest moment to date? 
5. What is your favourite item of clothing? 
6. What is the story behind your blog? 
7. Where is your dream holiday destination? 
8. If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to a dinner party who would you chose and why?
9. Do you have a party trick? If so, what is it? 
10. What is your pet peeve? 
11. What's the furthest place you've travelled to?

And I award this to anyone who wants to do it and has less than 300 followers. I know it's a cop out!

Vicky x


7 January 2013

Ready, Steady Cook: Pulled Pork with Homemade Winter Slaw and Relish

On Friday I attempted to cook something I had never cooked before: Pulled Pork in a homemade marinade, served with homemade winter slaw and homemade relish. I found the original recipe in Fabulous magazine last year and adapted it to suit what I like.

I'd never cooked a joint of meat before so that alone was an experience and a very tasty one at that. It's a labour of love (and hunger) so this definitely isn't something you can cobble together after work, unless you fancy eating in the early hours of the morning. They're a fantastic accompaniment to a winter BBQ or a bonfire party (yes I know I'm two months too late, or ten months too early!).

Serves: 6
Marinating Time: Approximately 2 hours
Cooking Time: Up to 5 Hours and 20 minutes 

You will need

  • Deep baking tray/roasting dish
  • A grater 
  • A food processor
  • Time to spare!
  • Shop/bakery bought rolls - due to the marinating time you could bake your own if you wanted.

  • Pork shoulder joint - mine was 0.9kg, this recipe is suitable for a joint up to 1.5kg.

Ingredients - for the marinade 
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 30ml of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of English mustard
  • 300ml of dry cider
Ingredients - for the slaw
  • Up to half of a red cabbage 
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 tablespoons of flat-leaf parsley
  • Two fresh beetroot/half a jar of pickled beetroot
  • 5 tablespoons of mayonnaise 
  • Salt and black pepper
Ingredients - for the relish (not pictured)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Vegetable oil
  • 100ml cider
  • 150ml tomato ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of English mustard

Instructions - marinating and cooking the pork

1. Place all of the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. When combined, rub the marinade well into the pork shoulder - I really struggled with this as touching raw meat makes me feet hideously sick. I had to ask someone to do this part for me! 

2. Once you've rubbed the marinade into the pork, pop the shoulder into the bowl to sit in the remaining juice, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for up to two hours, turning it over after an hour.

3. Pre-heat you oven to 240 degrees. Place the pork onto a baking tray/roasting dish and roast at this temperature for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, cover the tray tightly with a large sheet of tin foil, reduce the heat to 160 degrees and cook for up to 5 hours. I cooked mine for three hours and the meat was perfect, it was melt in the mouth stuff. 

4. Once cooked, set the pork aside for 20-30 minutes before pulling the meat apart with two forks to create the 'pulled' effect.

Making the slaw

5. Whilst your meat is cooking (or cooling), make your winter slaw. I put the red onion and 1/4 of a red cabbage into a food processor separately and blitzed them until they were tiny little pieces. You can shred the cabbage and finely chop the onion but I wanted to whizz it up in the food processor. Grate the carrot, finely chop the parsley and place everything in a bowl. Add 5 tablespoons of mayonnaise and mix well - this is your slaw!

Making the relish

6. Place the vegetable oil in a medium sized pan, add the onion and fry over a medium heat for five minutes. Add the crushed garlic and cook for a few minutes.

7. Add the cider to the pan and allow it to reduce by half. Make sure you stir the pan with a wooden spoon to make sure nothing sticks!

8. When the cider has reduced add the remaining ingredients and cook for approximately 5 - 7 minutes, until the relish has thickened. 


9. Distribute bread rolls, pile high with pork, relish and slaw and enjoy! I opted for a dollop of mayonnaise with mine too!

I found this recipe to be surprisingly simple and not as time consuming as it seems, whilst the meat was cooking I was doing other things so I really didn't notice the time. Obviously you can adapt parts of the recipe to suit your own tastes - I certainly did. Walnuts make a great addition to winter slaw, as does freshly squeezed lemon juice and natural yoghurt.  

I'd love to see pictures/stories if you attempt this yourself and I hope, as always, that it was helpful.

Vicky x


6 January 2013

A Peek Inside My Portfolio

Makeup and Hair for Arthur and Betty. Photographer: Mike 

I've had a few emails and Twitter questions recently about how I became a makeup artist, my tips and if I have a portfolio I can share. I do have a portfolio so I thought I'd run you though some of the images inside.

Every makeup artist knows the importance of having a portfolio and ensuring it's carefully edited to best showcase your work. Building a portfolio doesn't happen overnight, it's often a long, hard but thoroughly enjoyable process. Seeing your work captured in a professional image for the first time is an overwhelming experience and it's a buzz you never lose.

My First Photoshoot 

Model: Lauren Wallace @ Select. Photographer: Joel Anderson. Stylist: Trudie le Marie. Hair: Ryutaro. Makeup: Me

A professional photoshoot with a creative team came as part of the makeup course I undertook at London MUSE. I was lucky enough to be paired with the beautiful Lauren for my beauty and fashion shoots. Every student got to create two looks: one beauty look and one 'fashion' look, building on the base you had already created.

Seeing how far I'd come in just two weeks staring out at me in glorious high definition from a MacBook on set was such an overwhelming feeling. I'm going to put together a series of posts on my training and where I trained in the coming weeks for all who are interested as I've had a few emails for advice. 

Male Grooming

Model: Blyth @ Eclipse. Photographer: Izras. Male Grooming: Me assited by Hayley Campbell.

Of all the images in my portfolio, this set was the hardest to narrow down. I loved every single image. It was my first male grooming job and I couldn't believe how well it turned out. The first picture there could be straight from an ad campaign.

Models: Lilygreen and Maguire. Photographer: Jon Fenn. Male Grooming: Myself and Hayley.
Publication: Bliss Magazine

Hayley and I worked together on this male grooming job which was out first print publication. The images from this shoot featured in a few issues across the summer of 2012.

Creative Beauty

Model: Lyvia Alexandra. Photographer: Justine Louise. Makeup and Hair: Me.

This is one of my all time favourite images. I'd worked with Justine previously on a latex fashion shoot and she is just so lovely and I really appreciate her style. We decided to work together on a creative beauty project and really liked the idea of statement lips. I decided to freehand this Union flag design - with the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, 2012 was the year of Great Britain and I wanted to capture that. We accessorised with a crown headpiece from Pearls and Swine. You can view that image here or on my website.

 Model: Rona Kirwan. Photographer: Boo Jenkinson. Makeup: Me

This is another image I love. Everything just works from the ombre hair flip to the clash between the dress and the lip and the heavy smoky eye. 

I hope you enjoyed this little look inside my portfolio. You can view my complete gallery on my website. I need to add some new images to it soon so stay tuned for updates.

If you have any questions on any of the looks, would like a tutorial on anything, or have any questions about being a makeup artist, please let me know.

Vicky x

4 January 2013

Bake of the Week: Profiteroles

I didn't do much baking over Christmas as there was already enough food to contend with without me adding to it with cakes and pastries so I couldn't wait to get baking again once the Christmas food had been finished.

I decided to make one of my favourite things: profiteroles. A lot of people shy away from profiteroles due to the fact they're made from choux pastry which has a reputation for being difficult however once you've mastered it, it's a whole new world of baking!

Unfortunately I can't tell you exactly how many profiteroles this recipe makes as I eat probably as many as I actually decorate...

You will need

  • Large saucepan
  • Two baking trays
  • Baking parchment/paper
  • A piping bag fitted with a medium/large nozzle.

Ingredients - for the choux pastry 

  • 125ml milk
  • 200ml cold water
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon golden caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 4 medium eggs, lightly beaten

Ingredients - for the filling/decorating

  • 200ml double cream
  • A few tablespoons of icing sugar
  • Melted chocolate to cover


1. Place the milk, cold water, salt and sugar into a large saucepan and set over a low heat. Once the sugar and salt has dissolved add the butter to the pan. Keep the heat low until the butter has melted.

2. Once the butter has melted, increase the temperature and bring to a rolling boil. If you're unsure what a rolling boil is (as I was): a rolling boil is reached when the liquid is rapidly boiled with lots of bubbling. 

3. As soon as the liquid reaches a rolling boil, turn the heat off, tip in the flour and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon. As soon as the mixture starts to come away from the pan, stop beating and turn out onto a plate to cool. Be warned - at this stage it will look far from pretty but stick with it, the end result is so worth it.

4. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees.

5. Once the mixture has cooled to the point where it is tepid rather than hot either return it to the pan on no heat or tip into a bowl. Gradually beat in the eggs a little at a time ensuring you mix well until a smooth paste is formed. 

6. Spoon the paste into the piping bag and pipe walnut sized balls onto two lined baking trays. Dip a finger into cold water and press each ball of dough to level the top. Do not skip this step, it makes a difference.

7. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes until well risen and golden brown. Set aside to cool. As the profiteroles are essential full of air, this should not take long.

8. Fill a saucepan with water and heat. Place a bowl over the saucepan (the water should not touch the bowl) and fill the bowl with broken up chocolate. Keep on a medium heat to avoid burning the chocolate. Stir regularly until the chocolate is melted and remove from the heat.

9. Place the double cream in a bowl, add a few tablespoons of icing sugar and whisk until the cream thickens.

10. You could be very professional and use a kitchen syringe to inject the cream into the profiteroles. I use a small sharp knife to cut them 1/4 of the way along and using a teaspoon, fill them with cream before pouring a spoon of melted chocolate over each profiterole. 

You can eat your profiteroles as soon as they're made but they're lovely when they've been in the fridge for a little while so that the chocolate sets and the cream really chills again. 

As it was Christmas I opted to fill some of my profiteroles with Valencia orange and Grand Marnier cream which I whipped up with some icing sugar. 

As always I hope you enjoyed this post and that it was helpful to somebody! I would love to see pictures if you attempt to make these. 

Vicky x

2 January 2013

How I Stay Organised

I have a confession: I am an obsessive organiser. It's a trait that comes in quite handy when you're balancing two jobs, one of which involves organising quite a large team. In order to stay on top of both roles as well as what's going on in my social life, I simply have to plan and write things down. I've tried to solely use the calendar on my phone but I always switch the alerts off which is pointless - top tip - don't switch them off if you want to remember anything, but I always come back to good old pen and paper.

If you're as obsessed with organising as I am, or even just stationary (I can't be the only one?) then this is how I stay organised and how everyone else can too!

This is my life in pink binding. My Finsbury Personal Organiser Filofax has everything I need in it from work hours to appointments to birthdays and more. I use the little dividers and sections inside and the business card holder and large pocket are so useful for business cards and documents.

Inside I have coloured note pages, some to-do lists, a tube map and a ruler. I can do a separate post on what's inside if anyone is interested or looking to buy one? The personal size is perfect for keeping in your bag.

I picked up a yearly refill in WHSmith on New Year's Eve so that I was fully prepared for 2013. I do like a page a day but I've gone for a two page week this time.

I always carry a note book with me and I like to buy one each year - there's just something about having new pages to write on! My note books are mainly made up of lists: to-do lists, shopping lists, wish lists and now blogging lists! I also jot down ideas I have for photo shoots as well as general things that I need to remember.

I also carry around a mid-year diary for work. August to May is a key period for me at work so I keep a diary specifically for that time period where I keep track of days and locations and write my staff briefings. It helps me keep focused on that particular area and the information I need.

I picked this mid-year planner up in WHSmith in June and it's been a Godsend so far. It's the first year I've organised my work like this and I really notice the difference. I find it so much easier to stay on top of everything when it's well organised. It's also calming to know that you've got everything you need written down - I used to be nervous about doing my briefings when I hadn't written it down previously. I find writing it clears my mind and helps me to focus on what needs to be said and done.

As you can see from the picture above, I do like my coloured pens for keeping things organised. Colour coordinating really worked for me at school when I was revising or planning essays so it's something I've stuck with. As the old saying goes, if it ain't broke...

My top tips for staying organised

  • Where possible, write something down as soon as you can: don't assume you'll be able to remember it later.
  • Keep all of your appointments/events listed in one place, whether that's one diary or on a year planner. It'll stop you double booking.
  • Find a system that works for you; for me, it's colour coding and post-it notes.
  • Read back what you've written! It sounds obvious but even as you turn to a fresh page, have a look at what you've already put down, it could spark a memory of something you still need to do.

I hope somebody found this post interesting or helpful!

How do you stay organised?

Vicky x
© The Blogging Brunette. All rights reserved.
Blogger Templates by pipdig