7 April 2014

Beauty | Illamasqua Neutral Palette

 Illamasqua launched this stunning palette with their Human Fundamentalism collection well over a year ago now and it's been an absolute staple for me ever since and dare I say it, my favourite neutral palette of all time.

I found this set of pictures when I was transferring photos from my old laptop last weekend (procrastinating to avoid revision much?) and realised I'd never actually posted about this gem of a product.

Top to bottom: Wolf, Obsidian, Vintage, Stealth.

As with all Illamasqua products, the eyeshadows in this palette are super pigmented and silky soft. When I spotted this in Illamasqua I actually thought the gold shade 'Vintage' was one of their cult liquid metals so I was blown away to discover it was a powder.

The shadows blend like a dream and they're incredibly versatile with absolutely no fall out. Despite only having four shades there's so much you can do with this palette from a stark 60s eye using Stealth and Obsidian to a gold smokey eye or a natural contoured look with Wolf, there's no end to the looks you can create with this.

Vicky x


5 April 2014

Recipe | Sticky Kicking Chicken

I so wish I could take the credit for this absolute masterpiece of a meal but I can't, it is the brainchild of the genius that is Jamie Oliver. I first came across his recipe books in Australia as my aunt is a huge fan and we made this for dinner one night and it is absolutely divine.

It's light and crisp enough to work as dinner on a warm day but it's comforting enough to make a substantial winter meal too.

You will need
  • Blender or liquidiser 
  • Large saucepan or bowl
  • Large frying pan
  • Medium frying pan
  • Rolling pin
Ingredients - Salad

  • 200g thin rice noodles
  • 800g watermelon
  • 2 gem lettuces 
  • Radishes
  • Handful of fresh mint
  • Handful of fresh coriander 
  • Sesame oil
Ingredients - Chicken
  • 6 to 8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese Five Spice
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Ingredients - Dressing
  • 2 tablespoon low-salt soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • Half a small fresh red chilli
  • Half a thumb sized piece of ginger
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 limes
  • 1 clove of garlic


1. In a bowl or large saucepan, fully submerge your noodles in boiling water.

2. On a large sheet of greaseproof paper, toss your chicken with your salt, pepper and Chinese Five Spice. I coated the greaseproof paper with a light dusting of salt, pepper and Five Spice to coat the bottom of the chicken before adding some to the top.

3. Place another layer of greaseproof paper over your chicken and using a rolling pin, hit the chicken until you flatten it to approximately 1.5cm thick. This is a particularly enjoyable step if you've had a bad day. 

4. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in your large frying pan and add your flattened chicken, turn after 3 to 4 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and nicely charred. 

5. Drain your noodles off and toss with one tablespoon of sesame oil. Place one half of the noodles onto a serving platter or bowl and the other half in the medium frying pan on low heat, tossing regularly. 

6. Chop your watermelon into chunks and add to the serving noodles, trim your gem lettuces and scatter over the noodle and watermelon, chop and scatter your radishes over everything. Finally, chop the leafy half of your mint and coriander and add to the salad.

7. Place the coriander stalks into your blender along with the low-salt soy sauce, fish sauce, peeled ginger, chopped spring onions, chilli, a tablespoon of sesame oil, a dash of water and the juice of your limes. Crush your garlic and add before whizzing into a dressing.

8. Drain excess fat from your chicken pan, drizzle the chicken with the sweet chilli sauce and toss with the sesame seeds until coated. Chop the chicken into thin slices and place on a serving platter.

9. Pour your dressing over your salad and using your fingers, toss until well coated. Remove your noodles from the frying pan and sprinkle over the top.

10. Pile your plates high and enjoy!

I really hope you love this recipe as much as I do. At first I was a little nervous about adding the watermelon but it really makes the salad special. It's a delicious fresh crunch against the spicy chicken and the crisp salad.

I'd love to know how you get on with this if you make it. Are you a Jamie Oliver cookbook fan too? Which recipes are your favourites?

Vicky x

3 April 2014

Beauty | Ciate Dolls House Collection

When I saw the Ciate Dolls House Collection on the Ciate website a few months ago I didn't hesitate in purchasing it. The super cute packing sucked me in, the neutral pastel shades were spring perfect and the porcelain finish sounded delightful.

Delivery from the Ciate website was super fast and I was so excited when it landed on my desk. The set contains five miniature polishes at 5ml each. Every shade is a neutral, pastel shade and they dry to  a "porcelain" finish which is more matte than anything else. Porcelain to me is soft and muted, not matte but not glossy.

Technically, this should be the perfect spring nail polish set but it's isn't and I'll let the picture below show why...

Above shows 4 coats, just to get some sort of opacity, I appreciate the polishes are meant to dry to a chalky finish (according to Ciate) but applying them is like dragging nails down a blackboard. Because they have a chalky, powdery finish, when you try to paint a second layer on it drags and sticks creating a patchy mess.

I've found they apply better on artificial nails as you can see from the swatches above but even then they drag and require numerous coats. By adding a topcoat the patches aren't as noticeable but adding a glossy topcoat defeats the purpose of the formula.

Overall the colours are gorgeous but the formula is, in my opinion, absolutely terrible. I don't like being negative but I will always be honest and quite frankly this set is a waste of £18.

Have you tried this set? Did you have problems with it too?

Vicky x

1 April 2014

Restaurant Review | Jamie's Italian

On Saturday night I took a break from my revision to have a catch up with my best friend. We're both very similar and our catch-ups always revolve around good food and better cocktails so we settled on our first visit to Jamie's Italian. I say our first visit because I'm pretty confident it may become our regular local restaurant of choice.

Obviously each restaurant will be set out differently but ours had a lovely atmosphere; really spacious with the main restaurant area sandwiched between two kitchens so you can watch the chefs prepare your food. It was super laid back with exposed tables (by that I mean no table cloths), metal garden chairs and branded hand towels for napkins. Despite the chilled vibe the service was absolutely fantastic with the waiting staff being incredibly attentive and knowledgable. 

We started with a shared tomato, mozzarella and red onion salad which was incredible - full of flavour and exactly how it tasted in Milan. It's so hard to find really authentic tasting Italian food outside of Italy in my opinion but the chefs at Jamie's have nailed this. We also had an Italian bread selection with olive oil and balsamic vinegar but it didn't last long enough to snap, I'd swooped on the perfect focaccia before it was even placed on the table!

For my main I went for the Jamie's Italian burger and opted to have my onions, chillies and peppers on the side (to save me picking them out myself!) with the funky chips which were quite possibly the best chips ever. Cooked in their skins with fresh garlic and parsley they were so good I could have eaten them over and over again! Mozzarella was a really nice addition to the burger and something I'll try out myself. Next time I think I'll plump for a pasta dish.

Jodie opted for the sea bass which you can kind of see hiding behind my mammoth burger and she can confirm it was delicious.

The real winner for me though was the dessert. The special of the day (or week) was a sharing platter of their most popular desserts in miniature. What's better than dessert? Lots of little desserts, that's what! The platter featured their delicious signature profiteroles, a stunning berry pavlova, an amaretti crumble and the two winners for me: the Epic Brownie (no really, it's called the Epic Brownie!) and the tiramisu with candied orange served on a tea spoon.

We washed all three courses down with a few Aperol Spritzers (what else can you have at an Italian!) and resolved to return to try the rest of the menu!

Now, onto the outfit. I wanted to keep it pretty simple because I knew it was going to be a super casual environment. That isn't to say you couldn't have dressed up for a special occasion, lots of people had, but it's the sort of place where you don't look out of sorts in jeans.

Top - New Look
Necklace - New Look
Jeans - Zara
Shoes - Zara
Watch - Chopard

I kept my makeup simple and wore my Peaches Pony (post coming soon) for a voluminous half updo.

I'm really late to the party with the statement necklace trend, mainly because I tend to avoid any sort of costume jewellery as a rule but I love this necklace and how easy it is to throw it on over a tshirt!

Vicky x

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