27 July 2014

Fashion | Aqua Shard OOTN

Last weekend my friend Steve headed down to London to celebrate his birthday and after dinner in Mayfair we headed off to The Shard for cocktails. 

It was my first time visiting The Shard and it definitely won't be the last, I will 100% be going back there for dinner and more cocktails. Given that I'm scared of heights I didn't think I'd be overawed by the building or the view and despite my legs feeling like jelly from the second I stepped into the lift I was completely blown away. The view across London at night is absolutely incredible and we were fortunate enough to have a view of my favourite London landmark, Tower Bridge.

The weather in London has been absolutely scorching lately so I had a bit of an outfit dilemma but I settled on the following outfit and I absolutely love it, this dress is already my new favourite!


Dress - Three Floor at ASOS (I don't recommend buying from Three Floor directly after an incredibly bad experience with them last year)
Bag - New Look
Shoes - Zara



Face
Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation 'Hazelnut Beige'
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder 'Dim Light'
Ben Nye Banana Powder
MAC Pro Studio Finish Skin Corrector 'Light Peach'
Illamasqua Highlighter 'Fondle'
Chanel Solei Tan De Chanel Bronzing Base
Illamasqua Blusher 'Rumour'
Illamasqua Blusher 'Sophie'
Maybelline Colour Tattoo 'On and On Bronze'
Charlotte Tilbury Rock n Kohl Eyeliner 'Bedroom Black'
Covergirl Lash Blast Mascara
MUFE HD Aqua Brow
L'Oreal L'Extraordinaire '601'

Tan
Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan Dark


Here's one without a filter and in natural light.





And one final cheeky selfie with Tower Bridge in the background



If you haven't been to The Shard then I fully recommend it, I have every intention of going back!

Vicky x



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18 July 2014

Lifestyle | Surviving Stress: Breathe Your Way to Balance

Source: Google

You may remember from a few posts ago, I mentioned having quite a bad panic attack and generally not a very nice time of things. Since then I've used the following technique whenever I've felt myself getting stressed or panicky and I've found it to be absolutely invaluable. 

Before I explain the technique in further detail let me state that I have absolutely no medical qualifications (I can't even do First Aid), no psychology qualifications or anything in meditation - all I know is this works for me and maybe it will for you. Trying it won't harm you.

I picked this up in my GCSE drama classes at school, my teacher would use it to help us focus before rehearsals and I've used it many times over the years to help me sleep but I've also started to use it when I feel stressed, anxious or panicky. 

Ideally you need to find somewhere reasonably private as I find it best to lay down whilst doing this but obviously that isn't always practical so just find somewhere you feel comfortable to close your eyes and "rest" for a few minutes.

Once you're settled close your eyes and focus on the sounds furthest away from you, for me this is usually the road outside and I hone in on the traffic noises, trying to hear as far away as possible. Focus on this for a few minutes.

Gradually focus on closer sounds but always try and keep your focus on that certain distance, this can be tricky when you're listening for distant sounds if there is immediate noise but try to block it out.

Focus on sounds closer and closer until eventually you're listening to only your own breathing as the closest possible sound and stay like this for a few minutes.

In all you can spend as long as you need doing this and spend however long you feel necessary on each sound and distance. I find 10 minutes is usually enough time.

Breathing slowly and focusing on the sounds around you should help to clear your mind and focus on the tasks in hand after.  I always find this successful in helping me calm down and I hope you do too and I've used it in various ways for numerous circumstances; it's particularly useful before an exam or job interview.

Vicky x

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16 July 2014

Recipe | A Salad for All Seasons with Florette*



A few weeks ago the lovely people at Florette* sent me the most beautiful book called A Salad For All Seasons by Harry Eastwood. Pages and pages of the most wonderful and inspiring salad ideas. I love salads, they're super quick to make, they can accompany most foods and they're a great 'go-to' food whilst also being pretty much completely healthy. 

The book along with the Florette salad recipes  encouraged me to come up with the salad below. I took ideas from the website and the book and basically threw all of my ingredients together to create a filling salad.


Ingredients 
  • Mixed tomatoes
  • Fresh buffalo mozzarella 
  • Toasted baguette, ripped
  • Chopped radishes
  • Chopped cucumber
  • Sliced red onion
  • Olive and basil oil to dress
Tomato and mozzarella are one of my favourite food combinations, the salad adds extra freshness whilst the baguette helps fill it out and make it more substantial.

I'd thoroughly recommend picking up A Salad for All Seasons and checking out the Florette salad recipes, this is the next on my list to try: Peppercress Pesto Pasta

Vicky x

*Book is a PR Sample
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14 July 2014

Fashion | Celeb Boutique 'Tao' Dress


Celeb Boutique may have recently rebranded as House of CB but this gem of a dress is still one of my all time favourites.


I won't lie, it isn't the easiest dress to get on - there's a zip at the side that isn't much benefit at all and the fact this dress is covered in sequins means I ended up with more than a few scratches before the night was out but even the fact I looked (and felt) like I'd fallen into a bush of nettles isn't enough to dampen my love for this dress.

I paired it with my trusty Zara orange heels and a nude clutch bag and headed out for a long overdue catch up with my friend Jo and The Brickyard in Romford which remains one of my favourite places. It has a great atmosphere and you only need one venue for all of your dinner/dancing needs. Perfect.

Vicky x

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13 July 2014

Baking | Strawberry Victoria Sponge


Strawberries are very much in season at the moment and a fresh Victoria sponge is one of the cornerstones of British tea time. I whipped this super simple yet utterly delicious cake up on a whim a few weekends ago and after receiving a great response on Instagram (beautyblogbrunette), I wanted to share the recipe with you all.

You will need
  • Two 8 inch sandwich tins, greased and floured
Ingredients
  • 115g self raising flour
  • 115g unsalted butter, softened
  • 115g golden caster sugar
  • 1/2 level teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 3 tablespoons raspberry jam (mine was homemade, recipe coming soon)
  • Punnet of strawberries, hulled and sliced thinly. Save some whole for decorating.
  • 300ml double cream
  • 3 tablespoons icing sugar with extra to dust

Instructions

1. Grease and flour your sandwich tins and pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees.

2. Sieve your flour and baking powder together into a large bowl. Add in the butter, golden caster sugar, eggs and vanilla extract and whisk until you have a smooth mixture - heavy but capable of falling off a spoon.

3. Divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared tins and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the sponges are golden brown in colour and springy to the touch.

4. I made my jam whilst my sponges were cooking to make sure everything was super fresh. If you're not making your own jam use this time to wash and slice your strawberries. Make sure you keep a few whole ones to decorate your cake with.

5. Remove your sponges from the oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

6. Whisk your double cream until it becomes thick and starts to stiffen and then whisk in your 3 tablespoons of icing sugar, this is my favourite thing to do with double cream as it creates the most wonderful taste and texture.

7. If necessary, heat your jam over a low heat until it becomes smooth and almost runny but not quite a liquid. Turn out both of your sponges and spread a thick layer of jam across one sponge. 

8. Cover the jam with a generous layer of the double cream, don't worry about it spilling out of the sides, messy is good!

9. Place your sliced strawberries on top of the cream and place the other sponge on top.

10. Using a table spoon, apply a few blobs of cream to the top sponge and put strawberries in the centre of the cream (you could pipe this on for a super polished finish but I wanted it to look homemade). Apply a light dusting of icing sugar and tuck in!

Enjoy your slice(s) of sponge with a good cup of tea and revel in what's left of our (wonderful) British summer.

As always I'd love to see your results if you try this so please link me your posts or tag me in your photos on Instagram!

Vicky x


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