Thursday, 31 July 2014

Recipe Challenge: Chicken Pie with Stuffing Pastry

For week 1 of my Recipe challenge series I chose a recipe from The Way I Cook by Lisa Faulkner. The recipe I went for was Chicken Pie with Stuffing Pastry.

The stuffing pastry is made by smoothing a layer of stuffing over one half of the rolled out puff pastry, twice the size of the pie dish.

Then fold over the left half onto the right side and gentle roll down to form a seal.
The filling is basically a creamy chicken and mushroom filling and is a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken.

Here is Lisa's photo of her pie:

And here is my pie:

Would I cook it again? Yes, I will give this 3.5 out of 4 "thumbs up". 
In our family, whenever I cook something new we have a "thumbs system". If they like it, it gets a thumbs up, if they dislike it, obviously it's a thumbs down, and if they think it's okay, then it is a neutral halfway thumb! There are 4 of us in our family and for this recipe there 
were 3 thumbs up and one neutral, hence the score of 3.5. Clear as mud, eh? But hey, it works for us!

A couple of points to note; I did double the amount of stock that Lisa specified in the recipe because I felt there wasn't enough sauce in the filling for us. Also, next time I make it, I will probably use a quarter less of the stuffing mix because the stuffing layer was a tad too thick for our taste.

Sorry but for copyright reasons I cannot publish her recipe here, but if you are interested in trying this recipe, it can be found online here. If you want to purchase her book, it is available here and you'll find this recipe on page 17.

What do you think of my pie? Did I do Lisa's recipe justice? Have you cooked anything new this week? I really enjoyed trying a new recipe and look forward to trying a different one next week.

Thanks for reading.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
Take care,
CJ xx

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Review & Swatches: Makeup Revolution Baked Eyeshadows in Chocolate Deluxe

It's been a couple of weeks since I received my Makeup Revolution order and I have had time to have a good play with them so here is my first review.
The first item I have chosen to review is the small Baked Eyeshadows palette in Chocolate Deluxe. 

The packaging of this palette isn't as nice looking as some of their larger palettes, it is just plastic with a clear lid and no mirror, but it costs just £2.50 so I think this can be forgiven and it's certainly not a deal breaker for me.

The palette contains 5 eyeshadows. They are not named but there are 2 pale shimmery pinks which are very similar but one is slighter warmer than the other, a deep pink, and two chocolate browns, one slighter bronzer than the other, see swatches above. There is some fall out but not too much considering the cost.

The joy of baked eyeshadows is that they can be used both wet and dry. Above is a swatch of them wet. As you can see it makes a more intense colour.

When I try a new brand I like to do a longevity test and when I first use a palette I do not use any primer so that I can see how well it lasts on its own.
Here are the shadows applied, dry: 

I found they applied easily and I was pleased with how they looked.
However, 10 hours later...

I was so disappointed to see the shadow had creased and had almost disappeared. Then I realised the price of the eyeshadows, which works out at 50 pence per colour, and thought what did I expect?!  Anyway, determined not to be defeated, the next day I applied the same eyeshadows, but this time I first primed my eye lids with Urban Decay's Primer Potion.
This is the result after 10 hours with primer...

Wow! What a difference a primer makes! I really do like the shades in this palette and, if applied over a primer, then I think this is a lovely little palette and well worth the £2.50 price tag. I haven't tried them wet yet, so perhaps they will last longer on their own once applied wet. Makeup Revolution Baked Eyeshadows can be purchased from their website here or from Superdrug. There are currently 5 different baked eyeshadow palettes available.

I am really impressed with this range and look forward to reviewing the rest of my purchases from them.
Have you tried this range? Do you have any recommendations?

Thanks for reading.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
And, as usual, take care!
CJ xx

**puchased with my own money

Saturday, 26 July 2014

First Impressions & Swatches: Laura Geller Tuscan Sun Collection

The recent Laura Geller Tuscan Sun Collection TSV from QVC UK arrived in super quick time. In fact it arrived the next day. Well done QVC! 

Upon opening the parcel, my first impression was how nice the straw tote bag was! To be honest, I didn't even factor this into my purchase because it was the make up I wanted so to like the bag is an added bonus.

It's not as big as I thought it would be but that is good for me because now my boys are teenagers I no longer have to take the kitchen sink out with me! It has a couple of sewn in pockets inside which I suppose are meant for a mobile 'phone. I wouldn't use it as a handbag though, because I am too security conscious and prefer a zip closed bag.

Now onto the make up. First up is Balance N Brighten. I chose the shade Porcelain which is the palest shade it comes in. This is a pink toned baked foundation and is ideal for my pale skin. I often think, now that I am above 40, that I should switch to a liquid foundation because it would probably be more forgiving on my fine lines. However, I really don't like the feel of liquid foundations on my skin so for now, this baked foundation is my Holy Grail and I have many (too many!) in my stash. I like this foundation for its colour correcting properties. In the summer months I use it in conjunction with the shade Fair which is darker with more yellow tones. I have tried to swatch it below, but as it is so pale the camera hasn't picked it up very well.

Now I need another blusher like I need a hole in the head! I have so many! This is a Baked Elements Blush infused with Italian Spring Water no less!! I wasn't sure at first when I saw the shade Siena in the pan because it looked too orange for my complexion but it is actually a lovely apricot colour when applied. I love that this blusher comes with a little brush underneath the compact too. Not the best brush but ideal for when you're out and about for quick touch ups.

The Baked Brûlée Highlighter in Honey Lavender is a lovely, subtle shade, not too shimmery. Laura says it can also be used as an eyeshadow so I shall have to give that a try too.

A new product in the range is the Lasting Love Lip Stain. This set came with the shade Tuscan Peach. When I saw this stick in the set, the packaging colour looked quite orange and I didn't think it would suit me at all, however upon application it is more of a mid pink than orange - see swatch below. I will do a full review of this regarding longevity, etc once I have had time to try it properly.

Finally, the kit also came with a Spackle Primer with SPF 30 and a double ended brush. I have tried a different formula of Laura's Spackle and I wasn't too keen so perhaps I will give this one a try but not too sure yet. The brush I probably won't use, it has a brush one end and a large sponge applicator the other end. I'm happy enough with my Real Techniques brushes, so shall probably pass this on to my mum.

Overall my first impressions on this set are very positive and I have signed up for the Auto Delivery option whereby I get the same set (but with a different blusher and lip stain colour) in October and January but at the special TSV price.

I purchased this set from QVC for the special price of £38.96 plus £4.95 postage. This price was just for 24 hours and the price has now increased to £49 plus £4.95 postage but if you are still interested in purchasing it is still available here.

Have you tried any products from the Laura Geller range? What are your favourites?
Thanks for reading.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
Take care,
CJ xx

**purchased with my own money.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Stuck In a Rut?! Recipe Challenge!

Today's post is totally different to my usual content and is not beauty based at all. I wasn't even sure if I should post it at all considering this is essentially a beauty blog but I have been blogging for 5 months now (I know, I'm still a newbie!) and I feel blogs evolve and you should write about what interests you.

Well, besides beauty, I love baking and cooking. However, lately I have found myself stuck in a bit of a rut! I seem to be cooking the same dishes for my family over and over again. You know the ones - Cottage Pie, Spag Bol, Curry, Chilli, Roasts, Pizza, Toad in the Hole, etc. All the usual favourites which my family DO enjoy, but it does get a tad repetitive. The same goes for baking. I can knock up a Victoria Sandwich cake in my sleep, along with cookies, brownies, fairy cakes but again I stick to a few trusted recipes because I know my family love them and will eat them, rather than risk something they may not like.

Well not any more! I have 50+ recipe books and most of them have "post-it" tabs where I have marked recipes I like the sound of. Every couple of months I do indeed try a new recipe but then I return to the treadmill of the family faves listed previously. 

I have decided to try a new recipe every week, either baking or a family meal, and I shall post both my successes and failures here. If I hold myself accountable via this blog then hopefully I will stick with this challenge! I have already done my Meal Plans for the week ahead and I have chosen a new recipe to try on Wednesday. I will report back with the results later this week/beginning of next week.

Thank you for indulging me. Is anyone else going to join me in this challenge? It doesn't matter if you are a great cook, an average cook or a bad cook, just try something different.

Thanks for reading.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
Take care,
CJ xx

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Quick Heads Up! Laura Geller TSV on QVC UK Wednesday 23rd July 2014

Today I received a postcard through the post from QVC with details of their Laura Geller TSV which launches this Wednesday 23rd July at midnight (so it looks like a late Tuesday night/Wednesday morning for me!).

The TSV is called the Tuscan Sun Collection and it contains the following products:

Balance & Brighten baked foundation in choice of shades - Porcelain, Fair, Medium, Tan or Deep.
Baked Elements Blush (shade possibly Siena?)
Baked Brûlée Highlighter (shade possibly Honey Lavender?) 
Spackle under make up Primer with SPF 30
Lasting Love Lip Stain in shade Tuscan Peach
Plus it comes in a lovely straw shopper bag (not pictured) but there is a link to it here. 

The postcard doesn't state the price but I am hoping it is around the £40 mark. If it is more, then I may have re-think buying it because I have several Balance & Brighten in my stash already and I also already own the Honey Lavender highlighter if it is that shade in the TSV.

So fingers crossed it will be under £40 because I do like the look of the blush and lip stain and the bag!
Do you like Laura Geller make up? Do you think you will be purchasing?

Thanks for reading.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
Take care,
CJ xx

Friday, 18 July 2014

The Fragrance Discovery Club Beauty Box - Summer 2014

I'd completely forgotten that the Summer 2014 Fragrance Shop Discovery Box was due out so it was a complete surprise when I received a despatch email!

This quarters box again contained 7 fragrance samples (usually there are 5).

5 are women's fragrance and 2 are for men.
This quarters selection were:

Candy Florale (Prada)
Lady Million Eau My Gold (Paco Rabanne)
Fatale (Agent Provocateur)
Dahlia Divin (Givenchy)
Eclipse (Ghost)
L!ve (Lacoste)
Gentlemen Only Intense (Givenchy)

Each sample contains between 1 - 2ml of fragrance and you also get a booklet describing each scent along with a £5 off voucher for each scent if you decide to purchase the full bottle.

This box costs £5 each quarter and that includes postage. I know lots of stores give out these samples free of charge but if, like me, you don't live near a department store then this is a relatively cheap way of trying out new fragrances and perhaps trying a fragrance that you would normally steer clear of.

I'm really looking forward to trying these out, especially Eclipse because I think that might be a lovely summery fragrance. 
Full details about this box can be found here. 

Do you subscribe to this box? What is your favourite perfume?

At the time of writing, Quidco are still offering £1.50 cash back with any new Discovery Club subscription, so if you are a member then it is worth going through their link.

Thanks for reading.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
Take care,
CJ xx

**purchased with my own money.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Recent Purchases: Makeup Revolution

Yes, I know, I know, I'm very late to the party with my very first purchase from the Makeup Revolution range. I have been tempted ever since this range first launched because the Naked dupes looked fantastic. However, I already have all 3 Naked palettes plus the MUA dupes for 1 and 2 so I resisted. Then they released some more products and resistance was futile!

As soon as I saw the Girls On Film palette I knew I HAD to buy it for my best friend. Back in the 80's she was a massive Duran Duran fan, a Durannie as they were known. I knew she would love this palette purely based on the name of it and love it she does. She says when she opened it she bored her hubby by singing the lyrics the shades are named after! 

Now being a virgin to Makeup Revolution, I couldn't make an order without trying out the brand for myself, I mean it would be rude to give a gift before I knew if the quality was any good, wouldn't it?! So into my basket I popped another Girls On Film palette for moi along with a Cover & Conceal palette, a Blush & Contour palette, a baked eyeshadow palette, an eye primer and a lipstick! Well if you spend over £30 delivery is free, so it would be silly not to...

I've not had chance to have a proper play with them all yet, but first impressions are good and I think I will definitely be going back for more. 
Why did they not sell decent, affordable make up like this when I was a teen? *Shudders at the thought of my Constance Carroll days!* (anyone, not young enough to be my child, remember that brand?!).

I will be doing a full review of each product in due course. 
Have you succumbed to Makeup Revolution yet? 
What did you buy?
You can purchase the range from Superdrug or online here. 

Thanks for reading.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
Take care.
CJ xx

*all items purchased with my own money*

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Review & Swatches: New CID Lip and Cheek Tints

This months Cosmopolitan has a great freebie from the brand New CID. I've not tried anything from this brand before so decided to buy all 3 shades to try. (I gave the mascara a miss because I have lots of others on my stash).

The 3 shades are (from left to right): Strawberry Soufflé, Rose Tint and Plum Cordial.

Here they are blended:

I think they need blending a tad more, but I ran out of hand! I would say less is definitely more if using these as a cheek tint!

Strawberry Soufflé is a red colour. I never wear red lip colour because I don't think it really suits me, but I thought for £3.70 it was worth a try. 
Here it is applied to my lips:

Rose Tint is the most natural colour of the three. It is a pinky, coral colour and I do like it.

Finally, is the shade Plum Cordial which is quite a vibrant pink.

This is the shade I decided to try out for longevity and give a full review. Above is a photo of it first applied.

This is after 4 hours, I had a couple of drinks and a snack but not a full meal.

As you can see, it has faded a little in the middle of the lips but I think it held up pretty well.

This is after 11 hours, 2 meals, several drinks and no touch ups:

There isn't much left and my bottom lip looks pretty dry but there is some staining left on my lips. However, my lips weren't dry the next day but perhaps when I use these tints for any length of time I shall apply a little balm over the top.

I used the Rose Tint shade for a blush but the camera couldn't pick up the colour, hence no photo. I was impressed with how long the colour lasted on the cheeks, though.

The lip and cheek tints come in a crayon formula and they do smell and taste quite waxy. The smell reminds me of how cosmetics smelled years ago but I don't find it unpleasant.
You don't need to sharpen these crayons because the bottom of the crayon twists to push up more lip product when needed.

Overall I am pleased with these lip and cheek tints and I am looking forward to trying the other 2 colours on my cheeks. I have not been able to find them online to suggest a RRP but at £3.70 with the magazine I think they are well worth the money. I think the 3 shades are all very different too. Grab them whilst you can!

Have you tried these tints? Did you like them?
Thanks for reading.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
Take care,
CJ xx

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Magazine Freebies! July 2014

Well, it looks like it's another great month for freebies!
First up is Cosmopolitan priced at £3.70 and out now.
There is a choice of 4 items from New CID - a black mascara or a choice of 3 different shades of lip & cheek tint. Collectively they are worth £60. 

They only had 2 of the shades of the lip & cheek tint in my local shop so I chose the shade Plum Cordial, swatch above. It looks a little bright for me but I've yet to try it on my lips or cheeks but will do a review in due course.
I've never tried anything from this brand before so I thought I would give it a try.
UPDATE: for a review and swatches of all 3 shades, see my post here.

Next there is Harpers Bazaar, out now, priced at £4.20. 
This comes with the choice of 4 L'Occitane fragrances worth £8 each. 
I didn't buy this but I peeked at the fragrance names, although our shop only had 2. 
They were Jasmine & Bergamote and Thė Vert & Bigarade (green tea and bitter orange). 

Elle magazine, priced at £4 has a little skincare set from Malin & Goetz worth £10. 
This travel sized set comprise of a grapefruit cleanser, vitamin E moisturiser and a lip moisturiser. 
I'd not heard of this brand before so I passed on it because I have so many skincare samples already. Now I have looked it up online, I am tempted to go and buy it! 
Have you tried anything from this range? Is it good?

Red magazine, also priced at £4 has a free Rodial lip balm worth £19. 
I did pick this up but then thought better of it because I have numerous lip balms already and returned it to the shelf. 
Again I have never tried this brand before so again I am tempted to return to buy it! Argh! These magazines know what they are doing don't they?! Have you ever tried this lip balm?

The August issue of Instyle magazine comes with a free gift of Neal's Yard hand cream worth £10. 
I didn't go for this because I have several hand creams in my stash and to be honest I rarely use the ones I do have.

Marie Claire, priced at £3.90, has the choice of 2 items from the Balance Me range, collectively worth £25. 
The free gifts are the Cleanse & Smooth Face Balm 25ml or the Moisture Rich Face Cream 40ml. 
I have heard that this magazine is available at WH Smiths for just £2.50 this month but, because I don't have one local to me, I cannot verify this. However, if you have one locally it may be worth trying there first.

Finally, we come to Glamour magazine. This months free gifts are from Clinique
There is a choice of a High Impact mascara, Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion or 2 Chubby Sticks in the shades of Super Strawberry or Woppin Watermelon. 
I was thrilled to hear of this freebie so set off to buy both shades of Chubby Sticks. After driving to no less than 4 supermarkets and 7 newsagents and rifling through a hundred or so Glamour magazines with the mascara and lotion attached, I could not find the elusive Chubby Stick. I am so disappointed because this was the only freebie I really wanted this month. Never mind, there are worse things in life than not owning a Chubby Stick! Were you lucky enough to find one? I hope so. 

Well that's it for the freebies this month. Please let me know in the comments if I have missed any. Which freebies did you go for this month?

Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your day.
Take care.
CJ xx

Thursday, 3 July 2014

You Beauty Discovery Box - July 2014

Yes, it's that time again and today I have taken delivery of my July You Beauty Discovery Box. It arrived in super quick time this month!

July's theme is You Travel.
To be honest, I wasn't as impressed with this months selection as I have been in previous months. That said, it is still fantastic value for money at £6.95.

The first item I chose was Tan Organic Oil Arganic Moisturising Dry Oil 100ml RRP £24.99. It says it is a multi-purpose dry oil which can be used on face, body and hair. I think I shall try it on my hair first because I've just used up my Avon Argan oil. I'm not sure if it's to be used on wet or dry hair, though. If anyone has tried it, please let me know which is the best way to use it.

The second item I chose was Archeia Rose Rejuvenating Cream 5ml. This is a tiny pot, but the full size 15ml pot retails at a wapping £47.99 so this tiny pot is worth £16! It is meant to have anti-ageing properties so I am looking forward to seeing if it is worth its expensive price tag.

The box also contained 3 extra items: 
a sachet of Egyptian Magic Skin Cream, 
an Agent Provocateur Fatale Eau de Parfum sample vial 
and a 50ml Dove Men Pro-moisture Shave Cream. 
I shall pass the shave cream onto my hubby or one of my sons. I did feel the men's shave cream was a bit random for what is essentially a female beauty box. 

Did you subscribe to any boxes this month? What are you favourites?

Thanks for reading.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
Take care,
CJ xx

**purchased with my own money

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Empties: Items I've Used Up in June 2014

It doesn't seem 2 minutes since I was writing my May empties post and here we are again already with my June empties. I've been making a concerted effort to use up products that I've had on the go for far too long so there are quite a few products again this month.

I'll start with face skincare items:

Collin Resultime Micellar Radiance Cleansing Water 50ml (RRP £5)
Would I repurchase? No.
This was the first time I had used micellar water and it was a gift with purchase. I did like using it but it is expensive, the full size is £19.50. I cannot justify spending that sort of money on a water that I essentially wash off with cleansing balm. I have since bought the much cheaper Garnier brand and I can't see much difference between the two.

Alpha-H Absolute Eye Complex 15ml (RRP £34.50)

Would I repurchase? No.
For my 60 day trial, results and full review see my post here.

Alpha-H Rejuvenating Cream 
Would I repurchase? Discontinued.
I've had this moisturiser for a long time and I tended to use it when I had breakouts because this seemed to help clear them. It did make my skin tingle which I wasn't keen on but it did the job so it's a shame it has been discontinued.

Collin Resultime Regenerating Collagen Gel 50ml (RRP £47)

Would I repurchase? Yes, and I already have.
I love, love, love this! Yes, it is expensive but it is divine! It smells wonderful, a sort of light floral smell but not at all over powering. My skin feels wonderful when I use this. I use it every morning, like a serum, before my moisturiser. I also use it at night and sometimes apply it thickly and leave on my skin as an overnight mask. My skin feels plump and nourished by morning. I am trying to source a cheaper alternative but, now I'm 44, I feel my skin deserves this!

Merumaya Youth Preservation Moisturiser 15ml (RRP £17.50)
Would I repurchase? No.
See my review for this product here.

Steamcream 75ml (RRP £12.95)
Would I repurchase? Undecided - although i do have another in my stash.,
I love the texture of this cream, it is very light although I feel I have to wait a while before applying make up. My main problem with this product is the smell. It smells of lavender, which is a scent I usually like, but this lavender scent is so strong. To me it is far too strong for a product that can be used on the face and is more suited as a body or hand cream. It can be used on face, body and hands. I have a couple more tins in my stash from beauty boxes which I will use but I am not sure if I would go out of my way to repurchase. I do love the tin designs, though. What do you use your empty Steamcream tins for? I'm thinking of using this one for hair grips/bobby pins because they are just too cute to throw away!

Next are my body product empties:

Australian Bodycare Tea Tree Oil Skin Wash 1 litre (RRP £30)
Would I repurchase? No.
I hated the antiseptic fragrance of this wash. I suppose that's the tea tree oil. To me, it smelt more like an antibacterial cleaning product, not something I wanted to wash my body with! I have repurposed this by pouring into empty hand wash bottles. It is perfect for washing hands but not my body!

Radox Nourish Shower Cream - Shea Butter & Ginger 250ml (RRP £1.99)

Would I repurchase? Yes.
This smelt so lovely. Every time I used it, it reminded me of holidays. I should imagine it is the Shea butter that gives off that beachy, sun cream smell. Can often buy this half price so it is wonderful for an every day shower cream.

Anatomicals You Need a Blooming Shower! Your Nose Smells Rose Body Cleanser 250ml (RRP £3)

Would I repurchase? No.
I usually love rose scented products, but this just didn't hit the mark for me. It just smelt too artificial and I was glad to see the end of it. I didn't even cut open the tube to get the last dregs out, which tells you all you need to know!

Finally, my hair product empties:

Batiste Dry Shampoo in Boho 150ml (RRP £2.99)
Would I repurchase? No.
I don't tend to use dry shampoo but, like the one mentioned last month,  I won this in a giveaway ages ago so thought it was about time I used it! I am not keen on dry shampoo because they tend to leave a white caste/residue on my hair and I'm afraid this was no exception. If anyone could recommend a dry shampoo that doesn't do this (I have ginger hair) then please comment below. Thanks.

Avon Advanced Techniques Leave In Conditioner 250ml

Would I repurchase? No, no, no!!!
I don't often use leave in conditioners but I think this came in a set that I bought ages ago. I can't find it in the Avon website so perhaps it is discontinued. I'm not surprised! It is so runny  that it was hard to get it on to my hair without making a big mess. I gave up less than half way through this bottle and binned it.

Percy & Reed Bodifying Cream 50ml (RRP £2.69)
Would I repurchase? No.
I didn't feel this actually did anything for my hair so seems pointless repurchasing. It also is highly fragranced. I don't mind a bit of fragrance but I don't want it to compete with my perfume. All Percy & Reed products are highly fragranced which I would overlook if it loved the product, but this one is not for me.

VO5 Weather Resistant Hairspray 100ml
Would I repurchase? Maybe
I bought this as a travel size when I had a weekend away. What can I say? It's a hairspray, it did what it said on the tin! I've never found a "Holy Grail" hairspray, I find them all much of a muchness. I tend to buy whichever is on offer. Prove me wrong - tell me which is the hairspray I HAVE to have.

Avon Moroccan Argan Oil Leave-in Treatment 30ml (RRP £5.50)
Would I repurchase? Yes.
This oil/hair serum can be used on wet and dry hair. I used it on the ends of my wet hair after washing. It helped ensure there was no frizz. It's frequently on offer, in fact at the time of writing it is priced at £3.30. A little goes a long way and it is a great little serum.

Well sorry for the long post. I didn't realise I had so many empties in May. Alas, most are items I would not repurchase - only 3 hits to 8 misses and 2 "maybes".

Thanks for reading.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
Take care,
CJ xx