Thursday, 29 November 2012

Hello Great British Bake Off

Seriously, Great British Bake Off - what an awesome show?!
One day, I will be THAT good.
Possibly only in my dreams, but still, dreams are better than nothing.

Anyway, guess who's been baking again?
Indeedy that would be me :)
Baking in a much less time consuming and less complicated way than anything that would be attempted on TV, but tasty all the same.
And with slightly less washing up.

I made another old favourite from my childhood, but this time it was flapjack, some of which I coated in chocolate for extra tastiness.

I used another of my mums recipes, although I honestly don't think there can be too many different methods of making it?

If like me, even flapjack tests the boundaries of your cooking ability, then this is for you :)

You will need:

6oz Margarine (Stork)
6tbspn Golden Syrup
4.5oz Sugar
12oz Oats
1/3tsp salt

Plus a greaseproof/tin foil lined baking tray, and chocolate to melt (optional if you're a chocoholic like me).

What to do:

1. First, weigh out your 6oz of margarine and 4.5oz of sugar, and put into a large pan with 6 tablespoons of golden syrup. Melt the mixture together in the pan.

2. Next weigh out and add 12oz of oats and stir in until all have a lovely, even coating of stickiness.

3. Add less than a teaspoon of salt - the recipe says 1/3 of a teaspoon but that's too hard so just go with less than a teaspoon and you're good. It sounds bizarre because it's such a small amount but I once forgot to add salt and the entire batch just tasted makes a HUUUUGE difference!!

4. Once your mixture looks like this you can transfer it to a baking tray lined with either greaseproof paper or baking tray was too big so I improvised lol.

5. Put in the oven between gas mark 5 and 6, for 25 minutes, until your flapjack is a dark golden brown colour. Don't worry if some of it is darker, those bits actually taste extra good!

6. While still hot, using a knife, cut the flapjack into pieces - it's miles easier to do before it cools are hardens, although mine stayed quite crumbly.

7. At this point, if you don't want to top with chocolate, you are done!!

*If you want to add chocolate*

8. Melt some milk chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, (more reliable than the microwave method!) I used 2 x 100g bars of just any old milk chocolate but it's totally up to you.

9. Once melted, spread over the flapjack as you wish, and you're done. I would say wait for it to set before you eat it, but ermmm...I'm impatient and I didn't. In fact I'm a big fan of eating some there and then and enjoying the melty, sticky, warm goodness that it is while you can. Yeahhhhhhh :D

Going to stop using these adjectives or I'm in danger or sounding like a really poor Nigella.

10. Sit back, put the telly on, andddd...EAT ITTTTTTTTTT!! 

Enjoyyyyyy :D x

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Being Inspired...

...To put a nice ombre glittery effect on my nails.  

I've seen sooooo many of these floating around blogs and Instagram and I just had to join in.
It gave me the chance to use my favourite dark red polish, and a ton on gold glitter - and I love a bit of gold glitter yeahhhhh :D

I used:
Barry M Base and Top coat
Barry M - Gold Glitter

Omg I don't think I ever want them to chip.
They're not bad for a first attempt...but if they chip I'll want to pick them...lets not go there.

*avoids the inevitable*

So for now, I have glittery, sparkly nails which I'll more than likely do again and again, especially with Christmas coming up.

P.S Barry M redeemed himself with this one. Cheers, Bazza.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Dear Santa, for Christmas I would like BETTER EYEBROWS...

This blog post might be a bit disturbing. You might have nightmares about major eyebrow close-up's and dye disasters.
If you do, I apologise in advance...

Anyway, my eyebrows are the kind that need a little help. Every few weeks they practically disappear off my face, and it's not from over plucking. It's merely the eyebrow tint I use that's either grown out or faded, and it leaves me looking like a scary alien. It doesn't help that my brows are very, very sparse and seem to vanish entirely close to my nose and temples. 

There it is, my poor, pale, un-dyed right eyebrow, because it looked better than the left. 

To try and cut back on the amount of filling in I have to do, (and make me look more human) I dye my brows, and it makes a huge difference.

I use the Colorsport '30 Day Mascara' in Dark Brown, which is around £8.79*ish* from Boots. It might say mascara but I never use it on my eyelashes, I'd rather leave that to the pro's... but you can use it on your eyebrows.

I was inspired to do this as the little leaflet inside only shows you how to apply this on your eyelashes, with only a tiny paragraph, (which from use I've found is inaccurate) on how to tint your eyebrows.

In your little pack you will get:

-A mixing tray
-A mixing wand
-Dye cream
-Developing liquid
-A 'how to' leaflet

I put cotton buds in the picture as I use them, but they don't come with the pack.

How to dye your brows:

1. Squeeze a 1p sized blob of the dye cream into the mixing tray.

2. Carefully add a few drops of the developer into the tray. I've been using this a long time and just tend to go for it, but I use about 8-10 drops. If you've never used it, I'd go for a couple at a time until you can mix it into a paste like in step 3. 

3. Use the little wand to mix the dye cream and developer together. The picture is from about mid-way through mixing, the final mixture will be a little thicker and more 'together' than this.

4. At this point abandon the wand and use a cotton bud to apply it, it just works better. Your mixture needs to be thick enough to not slop off to cotton bud - you don't want it to drip into your eye. 

Also at this point, make sure you are not in view of any younger brothers, or older brothers for that matter. It won't be worth it...

5. Using the cotton bud, apply the dye. Once your eyebrow is covered, use a clean cotton bud to go around the edges of your brows and tidy up the outline - this dye can stain your skin. You can also use Vaseline to outline your brow, but I would clean up the edge regardless. 

6. Leave for around 10 minutes. The first time I used it I went by the leaflet and left it a very short amount of time, no longer than a couple of minutes, but to no avail - I know that professional dyes need to be taken off very quickly, but I presume with this one that being a non-professional version, the active ingredient just isn't quite as active. 
After 10 minutes remove the dye with cotton wool pads.

7. PRETTY EYEBROWS ARE HERE!! Hopefully you can see a big difference between the before and after pictures, this is a slightly different angle, which I didn't realise until now lol...but still, my eyebrows appear to be twice the thickness as before, and are much darker. Tidy up any strays now rather than before, because you will now be able to see the shape you want much more clearly :) this picture was taken before I did so.

I hope this is a help to anyone who wants to try this - I can't recommend it highly enough. 

Here's to not looking like a brow-less alien woop-woop!!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Tut Tut Tut, Mr. M.

Yes Barry, I'm talking to you.
Barry M.

I'm usually such a fan, and in fact I am a big fan.
Your polishes never let me down.
Cheap, cheerful, and always look good and last,
But not today.

Barry M - Gold Mine

The beautiful black-with-gold-glitter nail polish which I mentioned in a previous post, (linked here) has turned out to not be so beautiful when used on its own, and being that I promoted it so much in my last post, I felt it was necessary to say how my opinion has changed. 
When used as an accent colour on the tips of my nails, all was good - I'd used a tiny amount, and it had dried quickly. Plus I was so blindly in love with the gold colour, that I would have loved this one too, flaws and all.

However, when I was painting it onto my whole nails last night, I felt that awful pang of disappointment that you get when you find out your favourite chocolate bar has sold out. Eughhh.
Coat #1 was awful. It was streaky and just would not stay on! It also looked grey.
Coat #2 was much better, it actually looked black, wasn't streaky, and it dried quick as before, but I just don't like it!
After my top coat even, this nail polish has the texture of fingernails down a blackboard, and no amount of top coat will even it out or make it shiny. It is pretty from a distance, and bizarrely I've had comments on it. Up close though it is just scruffy and the glitter looks dull. I've got quite a few chips too.

Confession: It MIGHT not be all good old Barry's fault; unfortunately with the rough texture of this nail polish, I can not help but pick at it! Sadly, yes, I'm a picker, (bad Holly!) so this nail polish probably looked decent for all of 10 hours - 6 of which I was asleep for.

Overall, it does have pros and cons, and for £2.99 I shouldn't complain. I just had to say so that I'm not misleading people :)
I can't usually tell Barry M nail polishes from much more pricey brands, and this is the first - I will use it again, but think I'll stick to using it in smaller, less pickable doses.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Growing Up with Garage...of the Musical Variety

Being born in 1990 I am very, VERY fortunate.
I am lucky enough to have grown up with a type of music that isn't often talked about, and only a few remember in a big way.

Everyone around the world of all ages has heard of the usual rock, pop, hip hop and dance, among others, but Garage, *sigh* just isn't really around anymore. Obviously I was a child/teen so never got to hear them at their best in clubs, but my living room with the volume up, or just in general did enough to imprint Garage on my brain. Galaxy 105 anyone?

The other week I was having a mini rave while sat on my sofa, (blatantly too cold to actually get up and rave)  and I came across a good old Garage classic in my iTunes in the form of Sweet Female Attitude - Flowers, 
and it got me thinking of other Garage classics.

So off I popped onto YouTube, and started searching, and wowwww did I find some gems I'd forgotten about? I've literally been sofa-raving to some of these ever since, and thought I'd share them with you :)

Warning: I tried to just pick 5. Failed. So this will be long...


Sweet Female Attitude - Flowers 
Pretty much a signature Garage classic. Makes me think of Summer and ermm, flowers? Haha.

DJ Luck & MC Neat - With a Little Bit of Luck
Another classic, I sense I'm going to repeat myself a lot with these captions hmm...

DJ Pied Piper & The Masters of Ceremonies - Do You Really Like It?
Yes, I did really like it, yes, I did sing along to it, yes, it did borderline annoy me after a while, but yes, it IS deserving of legendary status. Pretty sure it was one of those now non-existent hot Summers when it came out too.

Artful Dodger - Movin' Too Fast
Galaxy 105 R.I.P. I think that radio station made this song. Oh and that hot Summer again.

Artful Dodger - Think About Me
Possibly could have done an entire post on Artful Dodger, I'd like to think that somewhere there is an award for biggest contribution to Garage music, and they should get it. I love this one in particular, it's underrated, and it's got that kind of moody, deep feel that attracts me to certain songs in 2012 too.

The Architechs - Body Groove
I know this word for word, it's just soooo cool! Another one I grew to love from lots of radio play.

The Streets - Has It Come to This
This melody is soooooo beautiful! I have much newer memories when it comes to this song, not from the old Garage days, but from being 15/16 when Garage was morphing into Grime and beyond, and I was spending most of my days in the park, and listening to this on repeat on my way home. Pretty much the only song by The Streets I ever liked, and it's fairly special.

Artful Dodger & Craig David - Woman Trouble
Oh and look, it's Artful Dodger yet AGAIN! 
Absolute magic was made when these two come together, but no more than in the form of the next track...

Craig David ft. Artful Dodger - Rewind.
Not sure I need to say anything about this song but I will say just one thing.
Re-rewind. When the crowd say Bo' Seleeeeeeectaaaaaaa!! 

Tina Moore  - Never Gonna Let You Go
Epic. Think this was one of the earlier Garage tunes around, and signifies being young and loving music for me. Happy and upbeat, still sounding good 15ish years on!

Shanks and Bigfoot - Sweet Like Chocolate
Apparently this is the biggest ever Garage tune in the UK, it definitely deserves it but for me doesn't feel quite as Garage-y as some of the others. Being a chocoholic though, as a child I remember wishing everything was made of chocolate just like in the video. Still kind of do to be honest.

That's all for now everyone, I hope you're raving  and reminiscing like me or maybe even discovering something new. I'd love it if Garage made a come back, but part of me almost wants to lock that nostalgia away so I can always listen to these and think of the non-existent hot Summers that seemed to go with every single one...and rave, obviously. 

Twitter: @HollyAmberRio

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Boots Botanics Review :)


It sounds silly for someone who likes make-up so much and who tries to take care of their skin to say that they have only ever used one type of face moisturiser and it's the cheapest out there.
But that is exactly what I've done.
For the first time ever a couple of months ago, I branched out a and did something wild. I bought a different Boots toner and moisturiser to the other Boots ones I used before. *shocked face*.

I saw the new Botanics range and thought they looked lovely. I like the idea of natural ingredients and that the cream contained spf - essential in Summer when I bought it. I decided on the 'All Bright' range, (who doesn't like the idea of bright skin?) and chose a Day Cream and toner. I've still been using my old moisturiser on nights.

Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner : Honestly didn't notice a single difference between this and the previous toners I have used, both of which were cheaper, but I REALLY like the idea of the natural ingredients in this one and the large bottle, meaning it will last longer. My skin felt quite tight after using it, but after toning that's nothing new and I feel like that means my pores have really closed up. I would buy this again but I wouldn't panic if it wasn't in stock one day.

Botanics All Bright Hydrating Day Cream SPF15 - Oddly my positive and negative points about this moisturiser relate to the same thing? On the positive side of things, I love the light formula, I've not had any breakouts, and my skin feels smooth and soft just a couple of minutes after using it, whereas my previous cream would take a long time and sometimes leave my skin a bit tacky. My one negative is that I now have a small, slight dry patch on my left temple, which I have never had before. This might have nothing to do with the cream, but that's all I can think of. If it is the cream though I would be disappointed, seeing as it is for normal/dry skin, so you would think it would be on the richer side. So really I have no idea whether or not this cream is doing the job haha - it seems to be pretty much perfect everywhere apart from my left temple!

How was it for anyone else? 
Let me know if you have tried it and can shed any light on whether the hydrating Day Cream is actually hydrating enough. :)

Monday, 5 November 2012

A Few Empty Things...

Just a few things I've used up in the last few weeks...I probably won't do one of these monthly like most bloggers, I kind of don't use up enough stuff haha...but every now and again if I have enough empty things, I'll tell you about them :).

1. Vaseline Essential Moisture in Cocoa Radiant - I liked this! I'm quite sad it's all used up but I will definitely get it again. I don't like it quite as much as my M&S bargain body lotion's from my previous post, but its fairly cheap, smells lovely, and leaves your skin feeling pretty good after a shower.

2. James Brown Volume Boost Mousse - Again, I liked this! I've always been dubious about hair mousse because I'm afraid of the crusty hair feeling that some leave. This one doesn't though, it leaves you with lots of volume and feels lovely...probably because of it's £8 ish price tag hmm...hefty for a mousse I know, but it also lasted me for about 8 or 9 months, so really that's £1 a month, and that's very good! 

3. James Brown Rich Moisture Conditioner - So I had a bit of a James Brown hair products splurge a bit ago, I also used up the shampoo too but threw away the bottle oooops, however I kept the conditioner. See my hair was in the worst condition EVER and I felt the need to buy a ton of more expensive products to try and restore it, which to a degree, worked. However, I did not rate this conditioner, the shampoo was as good as any shampoo that you can buy for much cheaper, and this conditioner is the same. For about £7 I'd expect my hair to be at least a little softer and easier to manage than with a £1 conditioner, but it really made no difference. I've come to my senses and will not be buying either product again. I feel like the James Brown splurge I had was a success, but only with leave in conditioner, and mousse. 

4. Tesco Clear Skin Deep Cleansing Facial Wipes - I had a panic a while ago and hadn't realised I was on my last make-up wipe without a spare pack eek! So I legged it to Tesco and ended up getting these. They were on 3 for 2 and I thought 'why not?'. I was a little anxious as I normally have Boots or Simple ones, but these do the trick just fine. I actually prefer them to the Boots ones as they're more moist and get my make-up off much easier. All in all I'm happy with them.

5. L'Oreal Lash Architect 4D Mascara - Don't buy this. I've had it aaages but have been using it along side another almost-empty mascara for the last few weeks, just so I can finally get rid of it. I hate it. It's dry and flaky and has been since the day I took the plastic seal off. In fact it looked and felt like a 6 month old, empty mascara when it was brand new. Naff. It claims to give a 'false lash effect' but the only effect I saw were crusty, flaky lashes. It's also a bit more expensive than other L'Oreal mascara's, (or was at the time) but being a big fan of the original Lash Architect mascara, I got it. Massive let down - avoid it!

6. Collection 2000 (now just 'Collection') Lasting Perfection Concealer in 'Light' - AHHHHH PERFECTION!! Who knew you could get a concealer as good as this for about 3 or 4 quid? It's AMAZING, it blends beautifully and covers anything and everything. Need I say more?

7. L'Oreal Contour Kohl Eyeliner - This is only the second type of black kohl liner I've tried in my life, and I don't feel the need to change it any time soon. It's soft, cheap and very black. Job done. :)

8. Finally...sob Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume. 
This is one of my all time favourites and sadly, I'm at the point where I've got to hold it at all kinds of weird angles just to get a small spray out :'( ...if you have never smelled this perfume, please do. It is so unique and special, it's flowery but not too sweet, and not too Summery that you can't wear it all year round. The bottle is stunning too, as are all Marc Jacobs ones. 
Lucky me, it was my birthday a couple of months ago, and I got another bottle YEY! So I'm not too upset, and can keep on smelling nice for a bit longer.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

I Just Can't Stop Pressing Play || Oct/Nov

I've been showing my poor headphones some love/abuse. 
(Not sure whether it counts as love or abuse to be used so much...but at least they're still working!)

For some reason this month, (probably the impending Winter and Christmas song deluge which is well and truly around the corner) I've been listening to loads of old-ish songs or chilled out Summer type's, but ah well, you can read this and think of Summer. :)
Again, they're not all new or old, just whatever seems to get played over and over.


Common - Go

This is just sooooooooo chilled and beautiful, I loved it when it came out all those years ago and recently rediscovered it. 

Wretch 32 ft. Josh Kumra - Don't Go

Equally chilled and equally beautiful. I listened to this a lot when I was in Zante earlier this year, so I like to just put it on and think of the sunshine and being relaxed.

Kendrick Lamar - Swimming Pools (Drank)

I've only just discovered Kendrick Lamar!! Very happy I have too. I love this one, I'm a big fan of a good deep beat and backing track and my first impressions of songs go on that way before I listen to a single lyric. 

Devlin ft. Wretch 32 - Off With Their Heads

Wretch 32 is in my list again! This time with Devlin, who I have loved since the first time I ever heard 'Brainwashed'. I'm a big grime fan, and this is another big deep beat, it's strong...and it's also good to listen to in the gym!

Azealia Banks - Esta Noche

Another ace song for in the gym, you can practically hear the interval's in the song haha, I'm sure if I went clubbing and I heard this I would be up and dancing, but that doesn't really happen... Anyway, loving the Montell Jordan sample, (think it was some else's before that too) loving Azealia Banks full stop. There will probably be a song of hers in these posts until every single song from her mixtapes has been mentioned.


This song was out a few months ago before my blog was born, it was over played, very average, and I really disliked it. I'd almost forgotten about it and then they only came and did it on X Factor ARGHHHHH!!!
Nuff said *sigh*.

Fun  - We Are Young

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Twinkle, Twinkle, Golden Nails

I've been venturing into the mysterious world of nail polish again, and let me tell you I am LOVING it.
My nails look so pretty today, (if I do say so myself) and I'm feeling inspired to do more...

Models Own - Goldrush
Barry M - Gold Mine

I stumbled across these two polishes in Boots last week and instantly the creative juices were going! The two compliment each other so well with their gold glitter but contrasting colours that I couldn't help but get them and have a good old experiment.

This is how my nails currently look:

I used a clear base coat, followed by Models Own - Gold Rush all over my nails, it applies beautifully. I used two coats but it would actually look great with just one if you were short for time, as it dried so fast and still had plenty of sparkle. I absolutely adore the colour of this, it is just SO stand out and sparkly and yet the teeny pieces of glitter mean that it can be subtle and delicate at the same time.

I then used Barry M - Gold Mine just on the very tip of my fourth nail. First I drew a line straight across my nail to get the line across the tip - I used a very small amount of nail polish to do this, in case of any mistakes. It then took about two coats of carefully dabbing more on to get the very black effect I wanted, with enough glitter to be noticed. Again it dried really fast, which was great to say I'd used a lot in one go! The glitter in the Barry M polish isn't quite as sparkly or pretty, but I think it adds to the overall effect. 

I finished off with my clear base/top coat again so that there is no obvious join or difference in texture between the two polishes, plus to add yet more shine. 

I can't wait to try different combinations with these two polishes, the opposite way around, or on their own to name a couple. The Models Own one in particular is probably my all time favourite nail polish and I've only worn it this once haha. 

Here is my hand showing off the nails in a claw shape, just because it's Halloween :D
Happy Halloween everyone!!