Thursday, 29 July 2010

The Sanctuary Series #1

The Sanctuary Series
Sanctuary Spa Essentials Creme Souffle

Whilst sitting (in my parents lounge, using my Mum's laptop, after she'd lovingly painted my toenails for me!) trying to think of something to blog about, or something that I wanted to review, I stumbled across a good idea! My Mum is slightly addicted to The Sanctuary products - which she blames on me - and is enjoying steadily working her way through the various ranges. I am an equally big fan of their products, so between the two of us, we're going to do a series of mini reviews.

Mum's thoughts:

The Good
This product has a light and fluffy texture, sinks into the skin super fast, and is totally non greasy - cue amusing quote from Mum: "you can apply your clothes almost immediately"! Mum bought this as part of 3 for 2 offer in Boots, which is a good time to buy, and would definitely repurchase. Its a "massive pot, a little goes a long way" and Mum loves the scent - which is unique to the Spa Essentials range - although she personally wouldn't apply perfume afterwards as it may clash. Mum suffers from very sensitive skin and always been surprised that this doesn't irritate her. Additionally, when applied to the skin before going to bed, it seems to act as an effective mosquito repellent, as well as a moisturiser! This, of course, is probably an effect of the scent, which is strong yet not overpowering, rather than any specific 'mosquito repelling' ingredients, but it's a welcome bonus. In actual fact, the only time this year Mum has been bitten, was on a trip to Bruges when she wasn't armed with this trusty product.

The Not So Good
The only downside is that this doesn't have quite as long lasting a moisturising effect as the Spa Essentials Body Butter, but on the plus side it has a lighter texture and is more easily absorbed.

37 weeks pregnant - FULL TERM!

I'm now 37 weeks pregnant, which means I am ready to pop at any time basically! It seems pretty mad to think on my 24th birthday I reached the 37 weeks pregnant milestone, and that this time next year I'll be celebrating with my almost one year old baby!

Bump at 37 weeks (full term):
This picture is slightly more zoomed in than the one below, but you can see there is definite growth (according to the midwife measurements I have grown 3cm), and I think bump is dropping slowly now too...

Bump at 35 weeks, for comparison purposes:

Hopefully not long now!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Happy meee!!!

That's right, today I turn 24 years young! It doesn't seem like 5 minutes since my last birthday, but it's been *quite* an eventful year! This will be my last birthday before my life as I know it changes for good!

I'm also 37 weeks pregnant today, which according to 'those in the know' is full term - basically meaning I should have a happy, healthy, full sized and fully developed baby if it is born any time from now (although my due date is still 3 weeks away)! Wait at least a day though hey Nugget, we don't want to share birthdays :)

Bump photo to follow later!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Tasty Breakfast Muffins Recipe

My sister and I fancied a spot of baking this weekend, and had some very ripe bananas that needed using up, so decided to make some muffins. I found a nice recipe (I *think* I found this one in a Tana Ramsey book I borrowed from the library) in my stockpile, and amazingly had all of the required ingredients, so away we went!

I think these muffins make the perfect tasty 'on the go' breakfast option, or simply a nice mid morning/afternoon snack. We had ours with home made banana milkshakes/smoothies too (I had a lot of bananas to use up!), a relatively healthy treat :)

You will need:
100g soft butter
100g soft light brown sugar
3 ripe bananas - mashed (we had 4 to use up though!)
60ml milk
1tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs - beaten
300g plain flour
100g bran flakes
1tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g pecans - chopped (we only had 100g)

You need to:
Preheat the oven to 190ºC and pop 12 muffin cases into a muffin tin (we actually got 15 muffins out of this mix). Mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the mashed bananas, milk, vanilla extract and the eggs, and stir everything together well (we used an electric whisk to finish off). Add in the remaining ingredients (flour, bicarb, baking powder, bran flakes, salt, pecans) and mix it all together until the mixture is smooth (as smooth as something can be with chunks of bran and pecan in!). Spoon the mixture generously into the muffin cases, and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes (or until golden brown on top). I sprinkled some brown sugar onto the tops of mine before cooking to decorate. Once cooked, remove and put onto a wire rack to cool down.


Thursday, 15 July 2010

35 weeks...

...that means only 5 more to go (until my due date at least!). So, potentially, if I'm overdue, I have a maximum of 7 weeks to wait! I'm feeling just a little bit...


Bump at 35 weeks*:

Bump at 33 weeks for comparison:

*I was 35 weeks on Wednesday! I'll be 37 - full term - on my birthday, eeek! Yes, that's the 28th July for you smartie pants ;)

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Beauty Confessions...

Forgive me beauty community, for I have sinned. Many times. Repeatedly!

#1: I am clueless about bronzer
I know for many, bronzer is a failsafe, an unmissable part of their daily face routine, but I have to be honest I only ever really notice it when it is done really badly or if it is noticeably shimmery. I have dabbled with a couple of bronzers in my time, the best of which was one of those pots with multi-tonal balls of goodness in, but I just end up resembling a badly made up clown. I see people contouring their cheekbones, or effortlessly sweeping bronzer over their temples etc, but I just don't get it - surely I am too pale to put something bronze on my face?!

#2: I probably only wash my make up brushes once a month
I know, I know, dirty girl! I know brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria, not to mention once used a few times they get dirty and probably effect the true colour of any product applied using them thereafter. In my (feeble) defence I am the only person using my brushes (unless Colin has a fetish I don't know about?!), very rarely will I use them on someone elses face, and if I do, I make sure they are clean. When I do wash them, I give them deep cleans and leave them to dry properly.

#3: I've taken to removing my make up with wipes
Hey, at least I'm removing it though, right?! Lately I've been too exhausted come bedtime to want to faff around with cleansers, toners and moisturisers, and have taken to using a wipe to get it all off (yes, even mascara) and then applying some serum or moisturiser if I remember. Oh, slap my wrists! In all honesty though, I can't say my skin appears to be suffering from this awful neglect. I tend to favour the No7 wipes or good old baby wipes - let's face it, I won't have short supply of those soon!

#4: I don't have a clue about cuticle care
In truth, I don't know exactly what cuticles are...I think I know, but no one has ever specifically told me, or shown me how to care for them/remove them, which I realise at almost 24 years old sounds ridiculous. What I mean is, no one has ever corrected me if I'm doing something wrong, and I guess, as they say, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" - but then, I don't know if it's broken or not! Colin seems to know more about cuticles than embarrassing!

#5: I'm pretty hopeless with liquid liner
I envy anyone who can create the perfect winged liner, whether it be a simple, thin line for extra definition at the upper lash line, or a more dramatic 50's style flick. I have the Shu Uemura Painting Gel Liner in Black, and a nifty Space NK retractable liner brush, that I paid a lot more than I should have for given how hopeless I am, but the SA made it look so easy, and gave me the confidence to think I might be able to recreate it myself. I can sometimes get a basic line, but I see people that wear liquid liner everyday, and if I attempted to do that I would need at least an extra 15 minutes added onto my morning routine, and I simply don't have the time, energy or patience for that!

#6: I don't have my hair cut/trimmed regularly
Purely because I can't afford it! I know that it's better for your hair, even if you're growing it, to have a trim every 6-8 weeks, but I'm not made of money, and it's never really been something I can commit to, sadly. In truth, my hair is probably very neglected, and gets cut once every 6 months on average - yes, that's right, twice a year! Hence now why I've taken to wearing a flower in my hair - it's keeping my excuse for a 'sweeping fringe' out of my eyes! It's coming up to the six month mark (birthday time helps!), so watch out hair!

Make me feel better please, and tell me I'm not the only one with shameful beauty confessions!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

'Easy Peasy' Biscuits Recipe

(photo from weheartit)

All credit for this easy peasy recipe goes to my Mum, who calls these 'canal cookies' because she always used to make them for when we went on narrow boat holidays :)

As a naughty but nice yummy treat, these biscuits are super duper easy to make, and pretty quick too - especially if you're a little more deft in the kitchen than I am!

You will need:
110g butter
55g caster sugar
140g plain flour
pinch of salt
(extra caster sugar for rolling/decoration)

You need to:
Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Add all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix to a sticky texture that slightly resembles breadcrumbs, but not quite as loose - alternatively, you can bung everything into a food processor and mix it all that way! Tip the mixture out and knead to a pliable, dough like texture - Mum's words of warning: don't overwork it or it will become too sticky, and it works best if your hands are cold! Using a rolling pin, roll the mixture out onto a sugared surface to whatever thickness you prefer - we went for roughly 1cm thick I would say. Cut the mixture into shapes using pastry/biscuit cutters, re-kneading and rolling the mixture so that you can use it all up. Pop the shapes onto a baking tray covered in baking paper and bake for 10-20 minutes until golden but not too dark - cooking times will vary from oven to oven, so it's best to just keep your eye on them. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool, dusting over some sugar to decorate whilst they are still hot. You could ice and decorate these if you prefer.