31 May 2015

Beauty | What's in My Makeup Bag

If you saw my earlier haul post then you've probably already got a good idea of what's in my makeup bag but since I decided to streamline it I thought I'd share what I'm using every day.

I don't take my makeup bag to work with me unless I have an evening event straight from work but the fact I've now managed to get my every day makeup trimmed down into a handbag friendly makeup bag is something I'm very proud of! I went for a spa break with my friend Kate recently and as she's used to me carrying a hand luggage sized makeup bag with me whenever we go anywhere I think it's fair to say she was as surprised as I am that I can now happily and easily just pop this into my handbag and go.

My makeup bag featured in my recent haul post and is from M&S, it's a beautiful pastel bag, it's so soft and it was only £7.50 so it was an absolute bargain of a purchase!

La Roche Posay - Effeclar Duo [+]
I couldn't live without this now. I spent a few weeks without it at the start of the year and my skin didn't appreciate the break at all. I came out in two spots and my skin looked and felt dull, tired and generally awful. Since I've reintroduced the Effelcar Duo [+] my skin is happier, healthier and looks glowing again. 

I pop this on every morning before I apply any makeup and then again in the evening after I've removed my makeup if my skin needs a little extra boost.

Charlotte Tilbury - Wonder Glow
I've heard many good things about Wonder Glow from friends who swear by it and I've seen how beautiful their skin looks when they're wearing it so I caved and picked one up myself and I really like it. It's a lightly golden fluid with light reflecting particles which gives a beautiful glow to the skin when used under makeup or as a highlight over makeup. I also like wearing this on it's on with just some fake tan.

I apply this after my Effecter Duo [+] and before my foundation.

Charlotte Tilbury - Light Wonder Foundation 
I didn't expect to love this foundation and I'm not sure if it's the combination of all of the Tilbury products working in harmony but my skin looks absolutely flawless when I use this.

I apply over Wonder Glow using my fingers or my Sephora mineral foundation brush for a flawless finish. 

Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge - Pale Pink
As you can probably tell by the old packaging this product is a long standing favourite of mine and the reason I didn't take the lid off to show you the colour is because it's nearly gone! The Pot Rogue is a multi-purpose product and I think it's time I picked up some more colours.

I apply this to my cheeks using my Real Techniques contour brush and to my lips using my ring finger.

Burt's Bees Lip Balm
I picked my first Burt's Bees lip balm up in Australia last year and now I can't be without it. It moisturises my lips in the summer when other lip treatments can be a bit too heavy and sticky with the heat and humidity and proves a sheer wash of colour.

I apply this every morning after my Effeclar Duo [+] and blot off before dabbing on my Pot Rouge.

Charlotte Tilbury - Airbursh Flawless Finish Powder
I dropped this recently and shattered what was left of the product yet still it is one of the most important items in my makeup bag because the Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder is quite possibly the best powder I've ever used. It's super fine and has no noticeable or topical shimmer in it yet when you apply it it creates the most flawless finish, seamlessly covering any pores or fine lines.

I apply a light dusting of this through the centre of my face and across the cheekbones before swirling the excess across my face.

Charlotte Tilbury - Filmstar Bronze and Glow
I seriously wondered what all the fuss was about this product which actually put me off buying it for ages but eventually I caved and after one swipe of a brush I knew exactly why it was such a cult product: the Filmstar Bronze and Glow is divine. It straddles the fine line of being suitable as a bronzer as well as a contour colour. I don't like warm colours to contour but this applied just under the cheekbone creates the perfect sculpting effect and the glow is equally as divine brushed across the tops of cheekbones and down the bridge of the nose.

I use this as a bronzer and contour colour with the glow to add a little extra dimension every day.

Aerin - Floral Illuminating Pressed Powder
As I'm using my Bobbi Brown Pot Rogue for colour on my cheeks I use this Floral Illuminting Powder to add a little extra colour and freshness to my every day makeup. The colours swirled together give a gentle pink sheen to my cheeks.

I generously swirl this on over the top of my Pot Rogue every day.

Tarte - eyelash curler* 
This eyelash curler from Tarte doesn't just look pretty, it curls my lashes better than any other lash curler I've ever tried and I include my Shu in that statement! 

I don't curl my lashes every day but I keep this in my makeup bag for days when I feel like I need a little extra lash life and curl.

Tarte - Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara*
This little travel sized mascara is perfect for throwing into my makeup bag because full sizes can often be too long and prevent the makeup bag closing or at least that's the excuse I've made with my overflowing makeup bags since forever. I digress. Lights, Camera, Lashes is one of the best mascaras I've ever used and I hunted high and low for a full size after being gifted one by Tarte. It is light weight and separates the lashes perfectly, coating each lash and conditioning them as it does so.

I apply a coat of this every morning and my lashes still look perfect by the time I remove it at night.

Honourable mention to my Armani Luminous Silk which also lives in my makeup bag as I use this and Light Wonder interchangeably, when I took the pictures of this post it was in my handbag because I'd taken it to the hairdressers to show my hairdresser but I still love it very much and use it religiously. 

What's in your makeup bag at the moment?

Vicky x

* Items gifted by Tarte as an introduction to the brand, I was not asked or paid to feature any of the items I received from Tarte.

29 May 2015

Beauty | The Hair Product That Changed My Life

A bold claim from the title of today's post but I could not be more excited to share with you the product that has completely revolutionised my hair routine.

This diamond of a product needs neither filter nor fanfare. It is, quite simply, your best hair ever in a sleek black tube.

More often than not I forgo any traditional primer on my face so the idea of using one for my hair was not only an out there concept (I didn't even know hair primer existed!) but also filled me full of foot-stamping 'just what I need, more effort added in' temper yet despite this I still picked it up in M&S and in the month it's been in my life I've tried to sell it to everyone I know from my colleagues to my friends to my rather bemused hairdresser. 

When I first used Prime I was a little scared, it's a gel-like cream and I thought that despite it's claims it would be heavy and weigh down my hair, leaving it looking and feeling greasy and lank but I could not have been more wrong. Since I've had my hair extensions in I've had to make an effort to blow-dry my hair after washing it which is something I've always tried to avoid as much as possible in the past. Not only does Prime speed up the drying process but it also leaves my hair super sleek and it holds a style so if I give my hair a natural wave it'll still be there a few days later. Hair magic.

Prime is designed to help repel dirt and oil by keeping your hair sleeker and cleaner for longer, prolonging your style and reducing your need to shampoo which is something I can say is absolutely 100% true in my case. With my extensions I had been trying to cut down on my hair washing frequency anyway because I was very aware of potentially drying out the hair but I wasn't succeeding and still washed my hair every other day. Since I've been using Prime I can go three/four days without needing to shampoo my mane which is unheard of. 

My hair also holds a style for longer so if I curl it, I can leave it for two to three days without needing to re-curl any of it so I'm also cutting back on the amount of heat I'm using on my hair which is always a bonus.

Since I've been using Prime my hair has never looked or felt better and I will 100% be repurchasing and I would recommend it to anyone, for me it's like having a mini-Brazilian blow dry at home!

At £18.00 it isn't cheap but it's worth every single penny and I can see me using it for many, many years to come. I purchased mine at M&S but you can also pick Living Proof up from Space NK.

Have you tried Prime or anything from Living Proof?

Vicky x

27 May 2015

Recipe | Mini Rainbow Meringues

With a bake sale looming at work my bank holiday weekend was spent in the kitchen as I whipped up a few sweet treats to help me decide what to contribute and my favourite creation by far ended up being these mini rainbow meringues. 

They're everything a meringue should be: light in weight, crispy on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth soft yet chewy on the inside. Add in some delightful colours and you're on to a winner.

You will need 
  • Disposable piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle
  • Baking parchment 
  • Food processor 
  • Electric whisk or a stand mixer
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 225g granulated sugar
  • Selection of food colouring gels (I used orange, yellow, red, pink and violet)

1. Begin by preparing two baking trays - line them with baking parchment and pre-heat your oven to 140 degrees or 120 degrees if you're using a fan assisted oven.

2. Put your sugar in your food processor and pulse for 10-15 seconds until the sugar is super fine but not powdery. 

3. Separate your egg whites and put them into a clean, grease-free mixing bowl, this is important because if there's even a speck of anything else in your bowl it will make it very difficult to whip your egg whites into a suitable meringue consistency, if you think there could be any grease in your bowl give it a wipe round with a lemon wedge.  Using an electric whisk, whisk until your egg whites form soft white peaks.

4. Add your sugar to your egg whites one tablespoon at a time ensuring you're whisking the whole time. Once you've added all of the sugar keep whisking until your meringue forms hard glossy peaks.

5. Turn your piping bag inside out and use your food colouring gels to randomly scribble colour across the bag, be generous with your colouring as you want the first few meringues to be vivid. Try not to overlap the colours too much, when you add the meringue it will happen naturally.

6. Fill your piping bag with meringue and twist the top closed to get pressure for piping. Pipe your meringues onto your prepared baking trays, I opted to swirl the first few as I wanted the most colourful ones to be the biggest. After this I simply held the piping bag above the baking tray and squeezed a little round blob of meringue. To achieve the peaks I pushed the nozzle down in the middle before quickly pulling away.

7. Place your meringues in the oven and cook for one hour at the temperature above. After an hour, turn the temperature down to 120 degrees or 100 degrees if you're using a fan oven and cook for a further half hour.

8. Remove, allow to cool and enjoy!

I love making homemade meringue as it's so much easier than it seems and these little coloured meringues are ideal for a bake sale or special occasion or even to take on a summer picnic.

Will you be attempting them?

Vicky x

25 May 2015

Beauty | Huge Haul: Charlotte Tilbury, Living Proof, M&S and Accessorize

Don't you just hate it when all of your every day makeup seems to run out at exactly the same time and rather than using stuff you already have at home you just need to buy new stuff? Well that happened to me this month so I took the opportunity to pick up some new makeup from Charlotte Tilbury.

I'm not going to get too in-depth with reviews because I'm planning to do them separately but I decided I had to repurchase K.I.S.S.I.N.G. lipstick in 'Bitch Perfect', I think added Filmstar Bronze and Glow, Light Wonder foundation and Wonder Glow to my collection. 

I may have cried a little as I handed my card over but that didn't stop me heading over to M&S to pick up a few hair products from Living Proof.

I will definitely be doing a full post on these products but I picked up the Prime: Style Extender and a holiday sized kit of the Restore range which also included a hair mask which isn't pictured above.

I also decided that it was time to downsize/streamline my makeup collection (I know, I know, I don't even know who I am at this point) so I picked up this adorable little makeup bag from M&S and went for an actual makeup bag sized one and not a wash bag as I am usually guilty of doing...

If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know that I absolutely love the races and I try and go a few times every summer and this year I'm off to both Epsom and Royal Ascot for Ladies Day as well as another day at Royal Ascot and the King George in July! For Ladies Day I wanted a statement bag as I will be keeping my dress very simple and accessories to a minimum so I headed off to Accessorize where I knew I was guaranteed to find something.

When I spotted this beautiful fold-over embellished clutch I knew it was perfect; it's the ideal size for a day at the races or a summer wedding: big enough for all of the essentials and small enough to not make you look and feel like you're lugging your life around in a fabric envelope. 

I couldn't resist this slimline coral flat wallet and card holder either, it's the perfect size for the clutch bag and is ideal for the races as I can pop my phone in the larger compartment and my cash in the zip up sides.

Next I went for something really different for me as I don't wear costume jewellery as a rule but this ring and chain combination caught my eye straight away. The chain is really delicate and the rings are quite dainty and as soon as I tried it on I loved it although I'm still not convinced I'm cool/trendy/young enough to pull it off but I think it'll add 'something' to a plain summer outfit.

I thought that was me all spent out but decided to pick up a new outfit as well which I'll feature soon. Time for a spending ban I think!

Vicky x


21 May 2015

Restaurant Review | The Dower House at The Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath

Following on from my previous post about my long weekend in Bath I simply had to dedicate an entire post to the restaurant we visited on Sunday night because it is one of the best, and potentially the most beautiful, restaurants I've ever been to.

The drawing room at The Royal Crescent Hotel

Located at The Royal Crescent Hotel, the concierge leads you through the hotel into the garden which is beautifully kept and lined with fairy lights into The Dower House where the restaurant is located. We were greeted at the door by the head waiter/sommelier who took our coats and lead us through to the bar where we ordered perfectly mixed cocktails (a peach bellini and an espresso martini) and were presented with the best canapés I've ever had - I'm a bit of a canapé fiend and have been known to base my attendance at events solely on who is doing the canapés... 

Because I'm a serious fussy pants we had to go for the all day dining menu rather than the dinner menu which sounded incredible but consisted of mostly fish and as I don't eat any fish or seafood I was a bit limited on choice but I managed to pick from the all day menu and was very happy with my choices.

As it was a Sunday night we had one of the dining rooms to ourself and there were only two or three other people in the main dining room. We had views over the garden and a super personalised service which just made me love it even more as we were able to watch the sun set and look out onto the gardens as they started to light up.

My starter was the best thing I've eaten for ages and would have been more than sufficient as a main course so to avoid being a complete little piggy, I decided to share my food so that we could both experience how amazing it was. I went for the Serrano ham with pickled roots and radish, a sweet onion chutney and hot butter sour dough. 

For main I opted for a burger and whilst it tasted incredible, the fact I removed everything from it didn't make for the most attractive picture so you'll have to conjure up your own images! I was super full from my starter so I didn't even get half-way through the burger although I did demolish the triple cooked chips!

Despite not finishing my main, I really wanted a dessert (there's a surprise) so we shared a seasonal fruit plate and was amazed to find that dragon fruit, one of my favourites, was included. I also learned that passion fruit and honey dew melon make an amazing combination! 

The food was absolutely incredible, the service was incredible and the location and setting was better than any I've experienced elsewhere and that includes The Shard! If you're in Bath or looking for somewhere to go for a special occasion such as an anniversary or special birthday then I honestly cannot recommend it enough, I just wish it was closer!

Vicky x


19 May 2015

Travel | A long weekend in Bath

If you follow me on Instagram then you will have seen that a few weekends ago I headed off for a long weekend in Bath. Having not really taken any time off work since I went to Australia last year (yes, you read that correctly, I haven't had a holiday since January 2014...) I couldn't wait to get away and spend some time away from London.
Royal Crescent

After being stuck in traffic, it took us about 5 hours to get to Bath from London so by the time we arrived all we wanted to do was have a shower, a relatively early dinner and get an early night. Top tip if you're going to Bath - book your restaurants in advance, we called about 30 places on Saturday night and only managed to get a booking when somebody else cancelled.

On Saturday night we went to Hudson's, it's a steakhouse and the food is lovely. I had a delicious tomato and mozzarella starter, a lovely chicken main and a divine eton mess!

We had more time on Sunday so headed off to visit the Roman Baths which was fantastic, I absolutely love history and to visit somewhere with so much history was perfect for me. I spent hours just wandering around, reading all of the information, listening to the guided tour and just taking everything in.

Bath is a lovely city to just walk around and explore, there's so many great little boutiques and cafes that I absolutely loved. I think living in London you can often lose the personal touch with things on a day to day basis so it was really lovely to have that. The only thing I was disappointed about was that the Gin Bar didn't open on Sunday's and I was really looking forward to visiting but then I guess it's an added reason to go back!

On Sunday night we headed for dinner at the Royal Crescent Hotel which was so wonderful I'm dedicating a post just to that so keep your eyes peeled.

Monday was by far my favourite day as we visited the Thermae Spa which was beyond incredible. As we didn't have long before we had to head home, we bought a 2 hour spa pass and made use of the swimming pools, including the roof top one which you really must check out and the aromatherapy steam rooms. I will definitely be heading back here for a full day of treatments before this year is out!

Have you ever been to Bath - where are your favourite places?

Vicky x

3 May 2015

Recipe | Homemade Turkey Pesto Burgers

I’m not a big fan of turkey but I managed to come up with something that tastes incredible and takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish making it ideal to whip up after a long day at work. My basil pesto and mozzarella turkey burgers are, quite simply, the one!


  • Turkey mince (I use a whole pack and make extra to freeze)
  • 4 tablespoons basil pesto 
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • Generous pinch of sea salt
  • 80-100g super finely grated parmesan cheese
  • Ciabatta bread, cut into squares
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • A ball of fresh mozzarella
  • Tomato slices


1. Pre-heat your grill by setting it to high and popping your grill tray in to heat up.

2. Combine your turkey mince, parmesan, minced garlic, salt and 2 tablespoons of the pesto in a large bowl and use your hands to combine all of the ingredients (I find latex disposable gloves come in very handy, no pun intended, here if like me you don’t like touching raw meat).

3. Shape your mince into burgers, keep them about a half inch thick and round so that they fit onto your ciabatta squares nicely.

4. Place your burgers onto the hot grill and cook for 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through cooking, until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Pop a slice of mozzarella onto each burger and place back under the grill until the cheese melts – at the same time you add your cheese, brush your ciabatta squares with olive oil and throw (not literally) them in too so that they toast slightly.

5. Mix your remaining pesto and olive oil together to create a more liquid pesto. Remove your burgers and bread from the grill. Arrange your turkey burger onto your ciabatta square, top with tomato and drizzle with the pesto/oil mix. Alternatively, you can spread the mix onto the ciabatta and then top with the burger and tomato slice.

Serve with a side salad and wash down with my peach iced tea.

Vicky x
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