Thursday, 14 November 2013

Strawberry & Blueberry Muffins

Hi all, its going to be another recipe today as after my puffy face went down from the tonsillitis its re-puffed again from an ear infection which has made parts of my face swell up...ah the joys of Winter illnesses!

Anyway until that goes down I cant really do make up reviews as my face looks horrendous. So for now Muffins!

This is a really taste recipe. It was in its original form an Ina Garten The Barefoot Contessa Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffin recipe.  But I changed it somewhat and even did a chocolate variation.  Which I am really sorry to say I don't have a photo of ...sorry.

Oh and of course Barefoot Contessa is a US show but we get it here on Food Network UK  now you can see a video of her full original recipe here recipe but if you are in the UK you cant watch it (alot of my views on this page are US located) I dont know why we are not allowed to watch the clips of the show here in the UK considering its shown here on our tv screens ....oh well.

Anyway details

Prep and cooking time together about 40 minutes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (about 180 Celsius) 

Ingredients needed (in US measurements but I use the cup measurement at home alot as its so easy.     you can pick up a set of cup measures in ASDA for £2.00) :-

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature ( I used Stork Marge)
1 1/2 cups sugar ( I used Caster)
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature ( I did not have extra large and used large it was fine)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract ( I used Sainsbury's Madagascan Vanilla drops)
8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour ( i know the pic shows self raising I did swap it for plain)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt ( I used normal Saxa salt)
2 half-pints strawberries and blueberries (I used Sainsbury's frozen mix of the two defrosted)

Add the butter and sugar to a bowl and cream them together.  Ina Garten always uses one of those lovely machines with the paddle attachment like a Kenwood Chef Machine. I dont have one of those nor am I ever likely to so I used electric handheld beaters bog standard ones and they worked fine.  So cream butter and sugar next add the eggs one at a time:- 
keeping the beaters on low at all times until all the eggs are incorporated.  Then with the beaters still on low add the vanilla, sour cream and milk :- 
Once mixed in get another bowl and sift in the flour, baking powder, soda and salt then you need to add the flour to the wet ingredients its recommended that you leave the paddles on low whilst you do this, that's if you have one of those lovely machines I don't and the electric hand beaters are to harsh for this step so I used a spatula and folded the dry ingredients in but using a faster motion than normal and this worked fine. :-
 Next fold in the blueberries and strawberries you can dust them with a little flour first so they dont sink in the mixture when baking.  Add them to the mix and fold them in do NOT over mix or beat the batter or you will not get that fluffy open texture that muffins have:-

I used muffin sized cases for mine but you can make your own muffin wrappers there are lots of YouTube videos on the method .  Then I popped them into a cake pan.  Fill them really well so they rise up and crack slightly like those muffins you buy in the shops. Ina Garten uses an ice cream scoop for measuring her mixtures and that's a fantastic idea... I need to get a scoop though.  I used a large steel spoon and judged by eye, hey they are home made!
Pop them in the oven do not open the oven for at least 12-15 minutes at first, then check the progress of the bake.  In total I found them to take a full 30 minutes as they were very full cases. But ovens as you know do vary . Use the thin knife or cocktail stick to check they are cooked.  The usual if it comes out clean they are done method.  It is quite a spongy finish to the bake though so dont expect them to feel very firm or to be smooth.  The strawberries sometimes explode a bit which I quite like as then you bite into the muffin and its like a jam...yum!

There are the finished products and very nice they are too.  I also did a chocolate variation and added two tablespoons of coco powder to the dry mix and a tiny bit more milk to compensate and then instead of fruit I added dark chocolate chips and caramel chips.  I am sorry I missed taking a picture I do have kids and well you know......  Hope you try these as there are endless variations you could try with this excellent base recipe.  

Let me know if you do try and please do subscribe to my blog lots of ways to on the right information bar here.  I will get back to more make up reviews soon I promise.  When my face is less puffy.

Monday, 11 November 2013

New Posts

Hi all.   I don't tend to get time to put any new blog material up on the weekends what with family and everything but I do like to do a new post at least 4 times a week during weekdays.  I am not sure if I will get anything up today though as I am off to the hospital for a long awaited appointment.  But I will get some new material up asap. Inc. my mini elf haul which has been delayed about 4 days as they got inundated with orders when they had their 50% off offer the other week.  Then by the time I ordered with my free shipping offer they had got really behind with sending out orders. Great!..oh well better go get ready for hospital..Wish me luck!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Keromask Sample Kit Camouflage Makeup.

I was thinking recently about repurchasing some Dermablend as in Winter my psoriasis can look alot worse and cold weather and heating mixed make it very dry, well dryer than normal.  But the Dermablend colours all looked very dark or too pink toned for me and then I spotted this Keromask. I am sure I had heard of it before perhaps on YouTube but Keromask sell sample kits for Light, Medium/Dark skin tones and I thought it would be great to have a good try of the product before committing to a larger price tag especially as even full coverage foundations struggle to cover psoriasis when its very bad.  This product is mainly aimed at covering acne, vitiligo, rosacea, scars, under-eye circles and unwanted tattoos. But it does also say on the site that its good for eczema and psoriasis.  The claims of the product are that when used with its setting powder it is waterproof, smudge-proof and heat resistant.

The kits are sold through their main website Keromask London and have demonstration videos avaliable on the site as well as all the products .  The sample kits are £4.99 and look like this:-

They have a little Velcro tab for resealing.  It has the cover creams, mixer colours, a sample of a tattoo primer, and the setting powders. When I first got the kit I thought it was very small and wondered if I would even be able to cover my face with it.  But no it is very creamy and a little goes a VERY long way .  I was shocked and put a bit too much on at first.  They recommend a damp sponge so I used a damp beauty blender but I did finish blending with a buffing brush as I feel more comfortable with that. But I did use a pressing motion so as not to move the base around.

Be warned the backing to the samples is foil and its really hard to peel off without making a mess and I did unfortunately do just that. Loosing almost all the light powder in the process.

You can see from the image though that the product is very creamy.

OK here is a before of the left side of my face.  (be kind this is quite a personal thing for me and I hate people knowing I have psoriasis all over my face even when it not at its worst) :-


The problem areas on my left side are a bit more flush to my skin so I was hopefull that Keromask would do the trick.  Normally I would use foundation and a heavy concealer on this and it would still show through.


Pretty good.  It is clinging just slightly to the driest bits but its pretty good coverage I think.

Now for the right side of my face.

Lots of redness and a mark on the top of my cheek bone that always ruins the look of blusher. (please excuse my eyebrows in these images as I have not had them re threaded in over 3 weeks! ) I also get alot of redness around my nose .


Again a pretty good job of covering the problems especially around my nose.

I also wanted to see how it handled more raised psoriasis as this is how it generally tends to be on me. Those of you that have it will know of the different types and mine can get quite scaly.

hand before (my hands are normally OK but with the cold they always get worse)
Its raised and very dry. 

It does cover well and mutes the redness but does struggle to hide it totally. I really do think that is because of the very slightly raised texture of the skin.  But I guess it just makes it look like I have flaky skin.....not sure on this one here. I would recommend giving it a go though if you have any of the other skin issues as well as from the website demonstrations it does look like it can cover those extremely well.  After 6 hours wear I found that it had gathered just a little around the sides of my nose but on the rest of the face it had held up its coverage well and was still pretty uniform.

The product is good and I do think I will have a few more goes before making my mind up totally .  I was impressed at how creamy it was and its spreadability and really how you only need a tiny amount.  Those of you with the same skin problem may be thinking 'your skin is not that bad you should see mine' and I totally get that as I know and have seen how bad it can get.  My mother has it far, far worse on her face. But I also have it over my body and I have psoriatic arthritis which is now causing problems for my right knee, ankle and foot and all of my nails and joints in my hands.  Autoimmune disorders are not fun and I do wish there was better research in the country for the condition rather then sending you on your way with a bag of steroids or offering you treatments that can have huge side effects for the other parts of your body.  More information on the condition for those of you that are curious please look here Psoriatic arthritis

Thursday, 7 November 2013


I was thinking perhaps I should put some recipes up for these cakes.  They were from a recipe taken from Food Network but I adapted them somewhat as I always prefer to try and make the recipe my own. They were very red but my camera likes to make them look pink and I don't always want to spend ages in Photoshop.

These ones were filled with ' Marshmallow Fluff' a recent import for us but good in cakes.

They were topped with dark chocolate which I much prefer as it has a slightly bitter taste and it contrasts well with the very sweet filling. 

What do you think? are cupcakes a winter thing really? or should it be rich puddings and fruit cakes?

I do enjoy a good red velvet cake though and I find the American recipes to be the best .

Easy Yummy Winter Soup Recipe

OK here is a nice easy winter soup and a very nutritious one since it has lentils in it.  Don't be too put off if you are not a lentil fan either as my other half hates lentils but after trying this is a convert.

Cooking time including prep 30-35 minutes serves 4 people a starter size portion.
You will need:-

1 Tbs of olive oil
1 leek finely chopped or 1 large onion finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
4.0z or 454 grams lentils red, yellow or green
3/4 pints of stock chicken or vegetable
1 bay leaf
2 tsp of lemon juice or tsp of red wine vinegar
2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce or Tamarind sauce
salt and pepper
pinch dried Marjoram
1 large garlic clove
Crème Fraiche or Sour Cream for topping.


Heat the oil in pan and fry the onion/leek and carrot until browned very lightly then add lentils and coat in the vegetables and remaining oil in pan then add the crushed garlic.

Next add stock and bay leaf and cook for about 20-25 minutes on a medium low heat, then liquidise (I used my trusty stick blender but you can place in a full size blender in batches as well)  Mind it does not evaporate too much during this time as lentils love to absorb liquid. If it does add a little more water.

Now return the soup to the pan  and add the lemon/vinegar salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and the  marjoram . Taste for preferred level of seasoning.

I added a pinch of cumin into mine during the first stage of cooking as I like the warmth it adds to a soup but of course this is optional.   This soup comes out quite thick and I like that but if you prefer a thinner soup just pop in a little more water .  I finished the soup off with some sour cream but you can use crème fraiche or even Greek yoghurt.  It would probably be lovely with some crispy bacon bits sprinkled on it as well as bacon and lentils do go really well together. Serve with some crusty bread.

I didn't include images of every stage like chopping and the like as I would think you all know how to chop veg and stir soup.  I used a flat base wok style pan for making this but a heavy bottomed saucepan would work equally well.   Do you have any favourite winter soup tried and tested recipes?

Tuesday, 5 November 2013


I have wanted to review these for a while but just hadn't had the time and now I have managed to get around to doing it I have the puffiest eyes ! So I have not taken any shots of it on my lids and if I waited again I may not get around to it for ages so I have swatched them wet and dry on my arm for now.

They come in sweet little pots with a tray inside that allows you to close off the shadow so it does not go everywhere. I unfortunately forgot to do this with a couple of them as you will see. The lids are that matt plastic which looks good when you get it but the same as the black matt lids on cosmetics it gets dirty very easily . 

This is the soft brown matte shade.  Top is used wet and lower dry.  It really is a soft brown in shade and in feel .  It goes on very smoothly and I think I prefer it wet as then it has a kind of iridescent finish to it.  It also blends very easily.  These shadows do last well and I have not had any creasing with them even with no lid primer. But I have at least had foundation on my lids when wearing this for a smoother base.

This one is called Bronze Sparkle and I love this .  Its very metallic and on the lids (sorry) it looks  like a wash of metal shimmer. The top swatch is wet and the lower dry.  This really glides on and looks lovely in the inner corner as a highlight as well.

This is called Witchypoo which is a great name and it's apparently its one of their best sellers as it can be used as a liner. The top two swatches are wet and the bottom is dry.  It does make a nice liner applied with a fine liner brush wet and seems to last well.  when this shadow is dry I am not so keen as its a bit patchy and hard to blend so I would only use this as a liner now or perhaps to set a liquid liner flick.

All in all I really do love the Lily Lolo products that I have tried .  I also have a mineral foundation a correcter powder and a blush .  I will do some reviews on those soon, the blush is particularly good. 
They are priced at £5.99 each for 4grams on the Lily Lolo website site here but I normally buy their products from the Lily Lolo shop on amazon shop page here where I believe they are the same prices.  Do check out some of this range as the colours are so pretty .  Hopefully I will get a chance to buy some of the lipsticks next.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Pantene Pro-V Expert Collection Age Defy

I had wanted to try the 'Advanced Thickening Treatment' from this range as I had seen a couple of YouTube videos on it and it looked pretty promising. When I went to buy one get one half price in Superdrug so I ended up getting the whole collection. As you do!

I have read mixed reviews on these products from places like makeupalley from loving it as an HG product to saying its the worst shampoo they have ever used. So I have given them a good go hence the slightly squeezed look of the bottles. Yes I know I should of taken a picture before I used them but I forgot. First up the Shampoo

As you can see its a yellowish colour and its thick very thick, I don't know if any of you remember Revlon Outrageous shampoos ? picture of the revlon shampoos well its like that it even smells similar which is weird.  It has a marzipan-esq kind of smell with a slight chemically tinge to it.  Odd I know but it really is the best way I can explain it. It does not foam up massively unless you use quite a lot of it and unless you rub it between your hands first forget getting it to cover your head properly. It rinses well and is quite conditioning in its self.  I read alot of reviews where people were saying it leaves your hair very dry I didn't find  this myself and I have very, very, very over-processed and dry brittle hair.  In fact if anything I found using this system made my hair a little more greasy at the roots than normal. As in it made my roots a little greasy when normally I never get that problem.
The official website for this claims:-

''Specially designed with hair & skin experts for those who seek an exceptional level of care.
AgeDefy shampoo, with a triple active complex - three nourishing ingredients uniquely blended - was specially designed with hair and skin experts to give you hair that looks up to 10 years younger. When used with the conditioner and the Advanced Thickening Treatment, it thickens existing hair strands temporarily by coating.''

Well it did make my hair slightly more volumized but nothing amazing I do like the shampoo though but this is mostly as the smell and texture reminds me so much of the Revlon Outrageous shampoos bar the fact that thus does not foam as much. I am not sure about the anti ageing claims as my hair is in a terrible condition. But this does give a nice shine. I am again not sure if that is just the shampoo or using the whole collection together though as I have not used the shampoo alone as yet.

The Conditioner

This is almost a lighter texture than the shampoo. Again it has that marzipan/chemically smell but a little lighter than the shampoo in smell. It spreads well through the hair and detangles well. I find three minutes of this is enough to get de-tangling and a nice shine. I always tend to mix my conditioner in with my Revlon Colour Creme as I have strongly coloured hair and being a purpley base I need to top up the colour with every wash as purple and red based colours fade very easily.  The instructions don't tell you to leave it for three minutes though they just say to massage in and rinse.

Its claims are:-

''AgeDefy conditioner, with a triple active complex - three nourishing ingredients uniquely blended - was specially designed with hair and skin experts to give you hair that looks up to 10 years younger. When used with the shampoo and the Advanced Thickening Treatment, it thickens existing hair strands temporarily by coating.'' 

The Mask

This promises to give 'strength against combing damage' At first I kind of wished that i had not bothered to buy this as it smelt and felt very similar to the conditioner and since I had used the conditioner first and been happy enough with it I felt that another of the more pricey thickening treatment would of been a better option.  But once I did try this I was pleased as it is better than the conditioner and gives a nice deep condition and shine. It smoothed my nasty split ends quite well too.  The smell is not as nice unfortunately . Well that's if you like marzipan/chemically smells in the first place.  Its a salon conditioner smell quite a generic one.  You know you are at the backwash and they put a conditioner on your hair and it has a strong salon smell and you leave the hairdressers and your whole body smells of the salon...yea that smell. This is what that smells like to me. I do like this I like it more than the shampoo and conditioner combined and if you don't buy all the collection at least buy this and the treatment. If thickening hair is your thing.

Its claims are:-

''Contains a highly concentrated dose of Anti-Ageing Triple Active Complex to nourish dry hair, reduce breakage, tame unruly fibers and reduce split end formation.
Use once or twice a week after shampooing.
Follow with Advanced Thickening Treatment for added fullness''

The Thickening Treatment

I did not pump any of this out as its a clear gel like product and I don't think you need to see that as you can see quite well from the photo that its clear and liquid. It is thick though and has a strong alcohol smell.  It smells like the Pantene hairsprays.  I thought before I bought this that it would be a spray and that it probably would leave my hair quite wet like most thickening sprays and creams. However this once massaged in totally evaporates which is probably due to the alcohol in it and I would say entirely deliberate as it says it can be used on wet and dry hair.  You are supposed to massage  it in on every day and use about 15 pumps and to keep using it. Its claims are :-

''Gives the effect of up to 6500 extra hair strands!
This sophisticated daily treatment delivers a potent blend of vitamin B3, panthenol and caffeine deep within the hair, providing suppleness.
The treatment works on the surface of each hair strand, for natural looking hair with fullness that lasts, adding thickness to existing hair fibres and creating the effect of up to 6500 extra hair strands on your head. Incorporate into your daily ritual and notice instantly fuller-looking and thicker-feeling hair.''

Well it does seem to give my hair more volume and it does look more soft when I use this and behaves a little better when styling.  You can use all your normal styling products with this after you apply which is great and personally I don't get much if any build up with this product .  I also only wash my hair once perhaps sometimes twice a week as its coloured with an easy fade colour so I think the fact that it does not build up too much is a really good thing.  Over time it did seem to make my hair feel thicker.  However my hair after using this range for over 3 weeks has gone a bit greasy but I can't honestly say that its down to these products alone as I may of had some hormonal changes that are causing the grease. 

All in all I do like the range but the mask and treatment are the best products in my opinion.  Oh and one review I read about the treatment is that its totally dried out the ends of a woman's hair but its definitely NOT supposed to be used on the ends and of course that much alcohol would dry anyone's ends out and it does not tell you to put it on your ends so don't. 

This was not a sponsored post and all the quotes can be read at the pantene site for these products here. link here

Have you tried this what did you think? let me know. xx

Friday, 1 November 2013

Selection of Favourite Autumn and Winter Lip Products

HI all been so busy today have not even eaten anything yet but I wanted to get something up before I went off to do yet more house related things.   Here are just a few of the lip colours I will be wearing this winter, apologies for the tiny pimple that was on the side of my lip that I have only just noticed and its really annoying but still I hope you can ignore it and bearing in mind that I have no other makeup on whatsoever.

I have products from Maybelline, Revlon, NYX and MUA.

First up is the Maybelline in 'Ravishing Rouge its one of the 14hour lipsticks.  They seemed to have mixed reviews but I really like them.  They do last well but they do feather a bit but this is easily remedied with a lip liner or wax lip lock such as the body shop's one or the elf lip lock pencil.

Next up Maybelline again one of their 'color sensational' lipsticks in 'Rich Plum'. It looks really boring in the bullet almost a pinky beige.  But on the lips its a nice creamy brownish based plum. Hopefully that makes sense. It smells a bit like marshmallows and does last well.

The next one is by MUA its a Power Pout lip balm stain. My they were popular this year weren't they? :P .  Its a nice sheer stain with a little gloss this colour is called 'Crazy In Love' and I do really like it as a slap it on and go lippy.  It does leave a nice stain after which lasts far beyond its gloss and or balm abilities.

This one is by Revlon and its the well known 'In The Red', I do like this matt colour.  It does look better with a good liner first but you get the idea. It looks really brown in the bullet in my opinion but does go on smoothly and lasts for ages as all good matt lipsticks should. I do also own the lovely 'Cherries In The Snow.'  But could I find it when I wanted to do this blog post!?

And now to my favourite of the bunch the NYX Matt Lip Creme in Monte Carlo. I do love these and I hopefully will get the full range of colours. They go on soooo smoothly and smell like playdough so winner to start with.  They last ages as well.  Its applied here quite sheer but you can layer it up so it looks more blood red. It is a pinky base. I am really excited to try their Butter Glosses so will be getting some soon and will review.

On my arm the swatches from top to bottom are with just one swipe.  NYX Monte Carlo, MUA Crazy In Love, Revlon In The Red, Maybelline Ravishing Rouge and Maybelline Rich Plum.

The Maybelline's can be bought online at Superdrug or boots as can the Revlon.  The MUA can be bought online from Superdrug or their own website and the NYX I get from or you can get from NYX online shop.  Links are Superdrug Boots Amazon NYX. MUA Prices vary quite a bit depending on offers on at the time etc so best to look and see.