Sunday, 31 July 2011

Ginger Sponge Cake

Hi Everyone!
I have been ultra busy in the kitchen this week! I love French Macaroons and decided to give them a go this week, to cut a long story short I had two total disasters! They are very hard to make in my opinion but I am not beaten yet! Anyway moving on, after the two macaroon meltdowns I decided to give another recipe that I have always wanted to try a go, Ginger Sponge Cake. I absolutely love the warm taste and smell of ginger and have only ever really used it to make gingerbread men. Ginger sponge is one of my favourite cakes so here is my attempt!

200g/ 7oz Self Raising Flour
200g/ 7oz Light Brown Soft Sugar
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
55g/ 2oz Margarine
1 Egg, beaten
2 tbsp Golden Syrup
240ml/ 9fl oz Hot Water

1. Pre heat the oven to 180C/ 350F/ Gas Mark 4 then grease and line your tin.
2. Mix the flour, sugar, ginger and bicarbonate of soda together in a large bowl then rub the margarine into the mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Next add the beaten egg, golden syrup and water and mix well until all of the ingredients have combined.
4. Poor the mixture into you tin and onto the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until the cake is golden and springy to touch.
5. Remove the cake from the oven and leave in the tin to cool.

And there you have it! A tasty, moist ginger sponge cake that is extra nice with some custard or cream. The recipe is so simple and easy to make and doesn't require too many ingredients. I found this recipe on BBC Food. As you can see by the above picture my cake is round instead of square/ rectangular as it's the only tin I have! It worked out OK though. Give it a go everyone!
Maz x

Saturday, 30 July 2011

OPI Guy Meets Gal-veston - Review & Swatch

OPI Texas Collection Guy Meets Gal-veston Nail Lacquer

Hi Everyone!
This week's nails of the week is OPI's Guy Meets Gal-veston nail polish from their Texas Collection for Spring 2011. This polish is a gorgeous coral shade and is one of the several polishes from the collection that has a sorbet finish. I applied 2 coats of OPI Nail Envy as my base followed by 2 coats of Guy Meets Gal-veston. As you can probably see on the picture below my nail line is visible and would still be after 3 coats, this is common with the sorbet finish polishes. 2 coats of the polish provides you with a beautiful, rich, even, bright coral colour that is perfect for summer. The sorbet finish results in a jelly-like look to the lacquer which is lovely and slightly unusual so if you can put up with the VNL then you will love this! I did not apply a top coat to my nails before taking this picture as I wanted you to see just how shiny it is without one.

I purchased my polish from my local Sally Beauty Supplies for around £10. You can also purchase it from Amazon here: OPI Texas Collection Guy Meets Gal-veston Nail Lacquer
Maz x

Friday, 29 July 2011

Make Up Forever HD Foundation

MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Invisible Cover Foundation 115 Ivory

Hi Everyone!
I have heard so much hype surrounding the Make Up Forever HD Invisible Cover Foundation and I have been wondering whether to try it or not for ages now! I live in the UK and Make Up Forever is not that well known or readily available over here but there a 2 stores in London which both provide a mail order service. I don't live anywhere near to London (don't get me started on the cost of train tickets to London!) and I am always reluctant to order things like foundation over the internet, as you obviously are unable to check out the colours accurately. So even though I have been desperate to try out this foundation I have been putting it off for that reason. I recently tried the Smashbox HD Foundation which I though was good but not that much better than my favourite Loreal True Match Foundation! So I did a little bit of research via Google and YouTube and found that most people who use MAC NW20 foundation's go for MUFE shade 118 (Flesh - Light skin, beige tone) so that's what I went for!
Firstly I have to say that the bottle itself was slightly bigger than I expected! It has a pump top and I have been using around 2 pumps per application. The liquid has a really nice consistency, not too runny or thick which I really like. I have tried applying the product with my fingers and the Sigma F60 brush and I have found that it applies amazingly well using either method. It blends into your skin effortlessly and leaves no horrible line around the edges of your face, it also blends down your neck really well too.
MUFE claim that the foundation gives you an 'invisible coverage' and I wasn't really sure what that meant but after just one day of wearing this foundation I totally understand what they mean! You feel that you have no product on your skin, it feels weightless. I have also found that when you scratch your face you don't get any of that globby build up under your nails as you do with regular foundations! I am very lucky not to have any wrinkles on my face (yet!) but I do have some under eye lines which the foundation has greatly reduced. My skin looks much clearer, smoother and more even when wearing it which is fantastic.
There seems to be a big attraction to HD foundations at the moment and more and more are coming onto the market all of the time and I think they are great as they make your skin look so much better in photographs. A few years ago we were only really photographed at weddings and other special occasions but now we all have decent, high pixel cameras on our mobile phones we seem to have our pictures taken all of the time! I have seen so many photos of myself on a night out added to Facebook by my friends where my skin looks so shiny which I hate! This is because average foundations are made up of flat pigments which bounce the light straight off your face and back towards the camera resulting in a shiny face but the MUFE HD foundation is made up of round pigments which disperse the light giving you a much more flattering, matter look on camera! Big thumbs up for this!
Overall, this foundation is quite expensive and the biggest negative for those of us who live in the UK is it's lack of availability. However Guru Makeup Emporium do offer a colour sample service for a small charge so contact them via the link below for more information. I think that this is the best foundation I have ever tried by far and I will definitely be repurchasing. I will also try out the MUFE Matte Velvet + soon too so check back for that.
I purchased my foundation from Guru Makeup Emporium for £28.95 and you can also buy it from Amazon here: MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Invisible Cover Foundation 115 Ivory
Maz x

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Beauty Website

Hi Everyone!
I just wanted to write a quick post about a new website that I recently discovered called Beauty Lish. It is kind of like Facebook for make-up addicts! You can create your own profile which will display your personal information and picture, as on Facebook, plus your blog, twitter and YouTube details (if you have them). This allows people to view your page and if they want to know more then they can easily find your blog and YouTube channel.
You can also read product reviews from other members and you can add reviews too. It enables you to research products before buying them which is great! You can search for a specific product and not only read people's thoughts and experiences with it but also view any videos that there may be that show the product being used! There are also lots of beauty related articles on there.
It's a great, fun and handy website.
Find me on there! My user name is Mary A
Maz x

Monday, 25 July 2011

Lauren Luke Make up Brushes

Hi Everyone!
I am sure that many of you have heard of Lauren Luke aka Panacea81 from YouTube and love her videos. She has recently launched her own professional brush range of 8 brushes that can either be purchased as a set of 8 or individually. These brushes look amazing quality for the price.
I have purchased 2 of her brushes so far, the Flat Eye Shadow Brush (£8) and the Pencil Brush (£7.50). I, like many of you, already have a large number of brushes from MAC, Sigma and Crown so don't really need more brushes but I always think that you can never have too many flat shader and pencil brushes as those are the ones that I use the most!

The Flat Eyeshadow Brush: This is a similar size to the MAC 239, the brush head is roughly the same size and shape as the 239 but not quite as densely packed in my opinion. The brush is slightly shorter than the 239. It packs on colour really well but I felt that it didn't feel quite as soft as the 239 brush on my skin.
The Pencil Brush: Again, this brush is slightly shorter in length than its MAC comparable, the 219. The brush head is a similar size to the 219 but is slightly more pointed which is great for precision application.
Lauren also offers the following brushes:
Angled Liner brush £6.60
Blending Eye Shadow Brush £8.50
Flat Contour Brush £10.50
Foundation Brush £12
Large Powder Brush £13
Tapered Blending Brush £9
The Full Set of 8 Brushes £67.50
As you can see the prices are on the slightly lower end of the market for what you would expect to pay for professional quality brushes which makes them a winner for me! I felt that the 2 brushes that I own are not quite as good quality as the MAC alternatives but the lower price really makes up for that!
You can purchase the brushes here and I am pretty sure that they ship them worldwide.
Please let me know what you think if you have also bought them.
Maz x

Saturday, 23 July 2011

OPI Blue My Mind & Last Friday Night - Review & Swatch

OPI Blue My MindOPI Nail Polish - K10 Last Friday Night

Hi Everyone!
This weeks nails of the week is OPI Blue My Mind with Last Friday Night on my ring fingers. Blue My Mind is from the Brights Collection and is a gorgeous shimmery blue sapphire colour. I am not a massive fan of blue nail polishes but I love this one and I have noticed that blue nail polishes seem to be really popular at the moment! I applied a coat of OPI Nail Envy as my base followed by 2 coats of Blue My Mind. The polish applied really smoothly and evenly and dried, fully opaque quickly. I then added 2 coats of Last Friday Night to my ring finger on each hand. This polish is from the Katy Perry Collection and has a clear, light blue base with round blue, green and gold glitter. This polish looks amazing over Blue My Mind and would look great on every finger if you prefer. I decided to apply 2 coats instead of 1 of this polish as I wanted extra glitter so that it stood out more. This polish dried really quickly like most glitter polishes do. I finally applied a coat of Seche Vite Fast Drying Top Coat to each nail.

I purchased my bottle of Blue My Mind from Tiffany Nail Supply for £9.95. It is also available from Amazon: OPI Blue My Mind.
I purchased my bottle of Last Friday Night from Nails and Things for £9.49 and it is also available from Amazon here: OPI Katy Perry Collection Last Friday Night, 0.5-Fluid Ounce
Maz x

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Double Chocolate Cookies

Hi Everyone!
I've been baking once again! Cookies are my favourite things to make and this week I've made some double chocolate ones! They are so quick and easy to make and taste gorgeous. I got this recipe from an old cookbook belonging to my mum which I adapted slightly.

125g (4oz) White Chocolate
125g (4oz) Plain Dark Chocolate
125g (4oz) Unsalted Butter
125g (4oz) Caster Sugar
1 Egg
5ml (1tsp) Vanilla Essence
125g (4oz) Porridge Oats
150g (5oz) Plain White Flour
2.5ml (1/2 tsp) Baking Powder

1. Pre heat the oven to 180C/ 350F/ Gas Mark 4 and grease or line 2 baking trays.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy.
3. Next add the egg, vanilla essence and porridge oats to the mixture and stir.
4. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and stir until all of the ingredients are well mixed together
5. Chop the white and dark chocolate into chunks, no larger than 1cm and then stir the chunks into the mixture.
6. Now put roughly 1 dessert spoonful of the mixture onto the trays and flatten each one slightly with your hand. Make sure that they are well spaced out. The recipe should make between 12 and 16 cookies depending on how big you want them to be.
7. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking trays for around 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool fully.

And there you go! 12 gorgeous double chocolate cookies! This is a great recipe to make with children or if you just want a quick recipe. The measurements are really easy to remember too!
Let me know if you try them.
Happy baking!
Maz x

Top 5 Urban Decay Products

Hi Everyone!
This is the second in my series of the best of various cosmetic brands. This is my top 5 picks from Urban Decay which is one of my favourite brands!

1. Eyeshadows: Urban Decay make really good eyeshadows, especially in their palettes. The Naked Palette has been so popular and for good reason! The shadows are amazing quality and there is a good selection of finishes included (Click here to see my Naked palette review). Their individual shadows are great too, my favourites are Hot Pants and Sin.
2. 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil: These waterproof pencil's are one if UD's best selling products. They are so smooth and easy to apply, they stay put all day and work well on the waterline. They are also super easy to smudge out. UD offer a wide range of colours, my top picks would be Zero which is your classic black and Covet which is a gorgeous peacock green which I often use on my lower lash line to brighten up a neutral eyeshadow look and to make my brown eyes pop!
3. Primer Potion: This has become a bit of a cult product and is really good. I apply a small amount of it over the eyelid before applying a base of shadow and it helps the colour stay put all day without creasing. Urban Decay make the Primer Potion in other colours besides the Original formula which will help to bring out the colour of your eyeshadows even more!
4. 24/7 Glide-on Lip Pencil: I love the UD Lip Pencils as the are really nicely pigmented and just glide on to your lips as the name suggests! I find that they blend out better than the usual pencil style lip liners. My favourites are Wicked and Naked.
5. 24/7 Glide-on Shadow Pencil: These are a relatively new product and I am in love with them already! They are similar to the popular NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils but are, in my opinion, much better quality and definitely less chalky in texture. These pencils are like a large version of the 24/7 Eye Liner Pencils mentioned above, they are waterproof and make amazing eyeshadow bases. My 2 favourites so far are Morphine and Delinquent.

So they are my top 5 picks from the Urban Decay Range. To see my top 5 picks from MAC please click here. Check back soon for the next post in my favourite products series.
Maz x

Monday, 18 July 2011

Sleek Makeup i-Divine Original Palette

Hi Everyone!
This is a review of the Original i-Divine palette from Sleek Makeup. I have heard so much buzz on the internet surrounding this brand so I decided to go and see what all of the fuss is about! The brand is available via the official Sleek website and in selected Superdrug stores across the UK. I am unsure as to whether it is available in the US yet. I purchased this palette from Superdrug for £6.49.
The Original palette contains 12 shadows and has an excellent colour selection, included greens, pinks, blues and purples as well as a really nice black which is always great to have in a palette, there isn't, however, a colour that I feel would be suitable for highlighting the brow bone. The palette is a compact size and snaps shut. It contains a handy mirror on the inside of the lid and comes with a double ended sponge applicator.
Here are the eye shadow swatches shown on NW20 skin: 

Top Row, Left to Right

Bottom Row, Left to Right
As you can see, all of the colours are really nicely pigmented and provide amazing colour pay off for the price. I have to say that the shadows aren't very smooth to apply, compared to a MAC eyeshadow for example, but do blend in to the skin pretty well. I only found problems with fall-out with 2 of the shadows (Bottom row, the 2 shadows on the left) which seem to have quite a chunky consistency compared to the others, but they were the only 2. The colour combinations that you can create using this palette is amazing and the palette is amazing value for money.
I highly recommend this palette as an affordable way to add some extra colour to your eye shadow collection. Sleek also produce several other gorgeous palettes, take a look by visiting their website.
For more pictures of the palette please click on the video below.
Maz x

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Zoya Sweet Nail Polish Review & Swatch

Zoya Nail Polish, Sweet
Hi Everyone!
It is my friend's birthday night out tonight so I have changed my nail polish again! I am wearing a purple dress with pink flowers on it tonight so I went for this pretty pink nail polish from Zoya to compliment it. This is such a girly colour that Zoya describes as 'A super-sweet pale shade of bubblegum pink creme'. It has a cream finish and is opaque after 2 coats and applies really well, it also seemed to dry pretty quick too! Here is the swatch. I applied Seche Base followed by 2 coats of Zoya Sweet.

I then added 1 coat of of Leighton Denny's Angel Dust which is a clear top coat containing a gorgeous, subtle sparkle/ shimmer that really brightens up a plain polish!
I purchased my Zoya polish from Tiffany Nail Supply for £9.44 You can also buy it from Amazon here: Zoya Nail Polish .5 oz. Sweet #404 (Cream)
I purchased my Leighton Denny polish from Look Fantastic  for £11.
Maz x

Friday, 15 July 2011

Smashbox, MAC, Illamasqua, Sleek & Jose Eber Haul

Hi Everyone!

I went shopping at the Trafford Centre in Manchester with my best friend yesterday and I wanted to share the things that I bought with you all!

Firstly I picked up the Original iDivine palette from Sleek Makeup. I have heard so much buzz around this brand online recently so I really wanted to check it out. This one and the 'Bad Girl' palette appealed to me the most and I am amazed at the colour choice and pigmentation over the range of eye shadows that the brand has to offer. The palette was from Superdrug and cost £6.50 which is an amazing price for 12 eye shadows. I will do a full review and swatches post for this palette soon!

I then went to the Smashbox counter and purchased this Complexion Perfection Kit in Light for £45. I have heard so much about Smashbox and have seen their studios featured on the Hills and I really wanted to try out a few products so this kit seemed perfect. It comes with the High Definition Foundation in light L3 in a travel size, the High Definition Concealer in Light, also in a travel size, you also get a mini Photo Finish Foundation Primer and a portable size Halo to Go Hydrating Perfecting Powder in Light. You basically have everything you need for a light, medium or full coverage face! This kit is quite expensive but you do get quite a decent amount of product and I suppose it is cheaper to buy the 4 products like this to begin with before buying the items in full size which would be much more expensive.

Next I went over to the Illamasqua counter and I fell in love with Underground Lipstick from the new Magenta Muse collection for 2011 which was £15.50. Illamasqua describe this lipstick as an 'Irridescent blueberry violet with a shimmer finish'. This lipstick reminds me of one of my favourite pigments from MAC called Pink Pearl. It is a beautiful rich pink colour with a purple/ violet duochrome. It isn't quite as scary as it looks in the tube! It applies quite sheer and you can build it up to your desired finish, the Illamasqua artist layered it over a bright fuchsia lip liner which made it look even more amazing! I tried it over MAC's Magenta Lip Pencil to get the same effect (shown below). I also picked up their Cream Blusher in Rude for £16.50. I have been after a coral cream blush for ages now and I really like this one. It is described as a 'Warm peach pink with a dewy finish'. It looks much brighter and more orange in the pan than it applies on the skin. It has quite a sheer application which is great as it makes it easier to build up and blend out. Here are the swatches of the 2 products shown on NW20 skin.

(L to R) Underground Lipstick, Rude Cream Blusher, Underground Lipstick over MAC Magenta Lip Pencil

No shopping trip would be complete for me without a visit to the MAC counter! Yesterday I picked up one of their new Mineralize Eye Shadows in Quartz Fusion from the new Semi Precious Collection which was £16. This is a beautiful glittery pink eye shadow that MAC describes as a 'Soft Pink, Silver, Deep Pink'. I love pink eye shadows and was drawn to this one when I saw JulieG713 use it in a recent make up tutorial on YouTube! Here is the eye shadow swatch:
Finally, when we entered one of the large department stores in the Trafford Centre we were approached by a sales lady from Jose Eber. She was promoting their curling irons and asked if we would like to try them. She firstly tried it out on my friend who has long, thick hair that always curls really easily so it was no surprise when they curled her hair really well! I, however, have long, fine hair that only likes to be straight! I have tried many different methods over the years to try and get my hair to curl including, rollers, GHD irons and regular curling irons and never had a very good result so I wasn't expecting much from these curlers! Well I have to say I am amazed and overjoyed at the curls that these irons create! I have never seen anything create such an amazing curl like these irons do! I actually had gorgeous ringlets in my hair for the first time in my life! All you do is take a piece of hair and wrap it around the barrel, you then count to 3 and release the hair and there is your curl! I went for the 19mm Pro Series Curling Iron in Pink Zebra. I can't remember exactly how much they are as we both purchased them and had a few discounts applied! I highly recommend that you check them out, especially if you have difficult to curl hair like me!
Maz x

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Essie Absolutely Shore - Review & Swatch

essie 2011 Braziliant Summer collection, Absolutely Shore 758
Hi Everyone!
This week's nails of the week is another polish from Essie and this time it is Absolutely Shore from the new Braziliant Collection for Summer 2011. Absolutely Shore is one of the 6 new colours in the collection. Essie describe this polish as 'a soft sea foam green'.
Other colours available in the collection are:

Meet me at Sunset: A vibrant deep orange
essie 2011 Braziliant Summer collection, Meet Me at Sunset 755

Superbossa Nova: An upbeat bright fuchsia
essie 2011 Braziliant Summer collection, Super Bossa Nova 757

Braziliant: A hot orange with a touch of shimmer
Essie Nail Polish Summer '11 - Braziliant
Smooth Sailing: A breezy lavender blue with a reflection of pearl
essie 2011 Braziliant Summer collection, Smooth Sailing 756
Too Too Hot: A sizzling rich red coral
essie 2011 Braziliant Summer collection, Too Too Hot 759
All of the colours look amazing but, to be honest, nothing that I haven't seen before! I choose to get Absolutely Shore as I don't own another colour like this. I really like opaque white-ish colours with a hint of another colour, if that makes sense! This polish is a gorgeous soft, peppermint green shade. I applied 2 coats of OPI Nail Envy as my base and then 2 coats of Absolutely Shore. I felt that the application was a little streaky but it dried more or less even and was opaque after 2 coats. I then applied 1 coat of Seche Vite Fast Drying Top Coat.
I purchased my polish from John and Ginger for £9.95 and you can also buy it from Amazon here: essie 2011 Braziliant Summer collection, Absolutely Shore 758
Maz x


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