Saturday, 31 March 2012

Butterbeer! (a butterscotch sauce recipe for hot chocolate, latte, and butterbeer!)

A while back I was tweeting with Kristy about Starbucks releasing Hunger Games coffee- and somehow I got around to wondering why the heck they don't serve butterbeer! I decided that I needed to spend some time playing around in the kitchen to make up my own version of a butterbeer recipe.

I don't really like the idea of a cold butterbeer; I'm not a huge fan of cold drinks aside from water (and the odd alcoholic beverage :p) anyway, so I wanted to create a hot chocolate or latte recipe! After some 'research' I realised that you need to start with a base of butterscotch sauce, then add coffee (if you want) and warm, spiced, milk- delicious!

I found this awesome butterscotch recipe at smittenkitchen; it is really simple and tastes AMAZING!

You will need:

60g of butter (how you can measure butter in cups I do not know...)
1/2 cup of light or dark brown sugar (I used light)
1/2 cup double cream
1/2 teaspoon of salt (the smittenkitchen recipe called for 'flakey salt' but I just used regular table salt)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1) Melt the butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat.

2) Add the cream, sugar and salt then mix thoroughly. Heat it until it's just boiling- then keep it at a gentle boil for around 5 minutes (stirring occasionally)

3) Take it off the heat and allow to cool for a minute (if the mixture is too hot the vanilla extract will boil too = not good for flavour!)  then add the vanilla extract and stir, stir, stir and it will start to thicken up :)

4) Taste it, and see if you want to add more salt or vanilla. I really enjoy the combination of sweet and salty flavours, so I added a little more salt. (sorry that I forgot to picture the finished butterscotch sauce.... fail!)

To make your actual drink you need to take some milk (for hot chocolate you want a cup per drink, and about 1/2 a cup per latte) place it in a saucepan, then add nutmeg and cinnamon (the amount you add depends on taste, my sister and I love cinnamon and nutmeg so we added quite a lot!) and gently heat for a while to allow the flavours to combine- do not let it boil! You can also add a little butter if you wish, but I think it's sweet enough without.

Once the milk is warmed, add about a (heaped) teaspoon of butterscotch sauce per drink (again, depending on taste) stir it around, then pour it into your cup- I also topped mine with squirty cream, and OMG it tastes so good!

I've also tried the same method as a butterscotch/butterbeer latte (just put an espresso into a cup and top it off with some butterscotchy, spiced milk), and it was totally yummy (but again, failed to take a picture, sorry!)

Now I can't guarantee this recipe produced anything 'authentically' butterbeer flavoured, but it's darn yummy anyway! And if you wanted to I'm sure you could probably use the same butterscotch sauce to make cold butterbeer by adding in cream soda or ginger beer.

The butterscotch sauce should last a couple of weeks in the fridge (though it's so yummy I don't think it will remain uneaten for very long!)

As always, let me know if you decide to make this, enjoy your butterbeer! :)



Friday, 30 March 2012

(my sisters) Nail of the Day: Nude Nails with a Pink Sparkly Gradient!

We have a family wedding tomorrow (hence the frantic dress buying I've mentioned in a couple of posts) and naturally for my sister and I, our nails (both fingers and toes) have been planned out and painted to match our outfits perfectly :)

I haven't painted my nails yet (a job for this evening- I'll be sure to take pictures and show you at some point!) but Amy has, so I thought I'd share her nails with you- they're really pretty!

Amy is wearing a creamy coloured dress with pink, blue and green bits in a peacockish pattern, along with nude coloured shoes (yay they fit me too!) She wanted nude nails with some kind of pink accent on her fingers! I taught her how to do a glitter gradient, and this is what she came up with:

I think it's pretty good for a first time, on her thumb the glitter stops in a bit of a straight line, but aside from that it's really pretty :) Amy used No7 So Simple as a base, then added layers of Wet n Wild Sparked as the glitter gradient shade.

No7 So Simple, Wet n Wild Sparked

On her toes she also has So Simple, but added a coat of Collection 2000 Sparkle Top Coat- it's subtle, but it looks really pretty peeking out of her peep-toe shoes!

Do you like to match your nails to your outfit?


p.s. I'm feeling quite a bit better today, I've slept a lot and I'm still dosed up on paracetamol, throat lozenges and lots of cold water- fingers crossed I'll be fine for the wedding tomorrow!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Tag- 40 Questions of Beauty :)

Once again I've managed to get tonsillitis- which is especially annoying when you consider how nice it is outside! (having a fever when it's warm is approximately 10x worse than in winter when it's still cold!) - and although I feel rubbish I still wanted to post something, I decided I'd feel just as awful if I were dozing on the sofa...

I found this tag on the lovely Melanies Blog, and I thought today was the perfect time to post it :) As the title might suggest, there are 40 beauty related questions- enjoy!

1) How many times do you wash your face daily?
Twice; morning and evening
2) What skin type do you have?
Dry and sensitive, it's a total pain! Although now the weather is a bit nicer and we don't have central heating on all the time it is feeling a bit better :)

3) What is your current facial wash?
I alternate (depending on mood, laziness and skin condition) between Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser and Neutrogena Visibly Clear Blackhead Eliminating Scrub.

4) Do you exfoliate?
Yes! Both of the cleansers I use have some kine of gentle exfoliation in them, but I also use St. Ives Apricot Scrub sometimes too.

5) What moisturiser do you use?
I'm currently using Boots Expert Sensitive Daily Defence Moisture Cream- but I've not yet found a moisturiser I've liked enough to repurchase- and this one has been discontinued anyway!

6) Do you have freckles?
Yes, lots! I was about 6 when I first got them (after a holiday abroad) and I was completely horrified, but now I love them- even if I do have freckles in odd places like on my knees and eyelids!

7) Do you use an eye cream?
Yes, but not all the time- I use a Simple eye balm, but I also use Rescue Oil sometimes too- I do get quite dry eyelids so it depends on how they're feeling :)

8) Do you or did you have acne prone skin?
I'm quite prone to blackheads, and I get the occasional spot (thank you hormones!) but I've never really had bad acne.

9) Did you ever have to use Proactiv?
No, and I'm not even sure if you can get it in the UK...

10) What foundation do you use?
I have a mineral powder foundation from e.l.f., but mostly I use my Garnier BB Cream.

11) How about concealer?
I have 2 lovely e.l.f. concealers- the Under Eye Concealer and Highlighter duo (for my under eyes, obviously) and a Studio Concealer Pencil and Brush which I use for everything else.

12) Do you know your undertone colour?
I'm cool toned.

13) What do you think of false eyelashes?
I love them on other people, but I'm not such a fan of them on me- my lashes are already pretty long and full, and I have quite smallish eyes so I think they can look a little silly on me!

14) Did you know that you are supposed to change your mascara every 3 months?
Yes, doesn't everyone? I can't say I strictly adhere to that rule though- as long as my mascara doesn't smell iffy then I'll still use it until it runs out (which usually isn't much longer than 3 months anyway!)

15) What brand of mascara do you use?
I'm currently using 17 Va Va Voom mascara- I can't decide yet if I'll repurchase or pick out a new mascara; I love this one but I don't know if there's anything better out there :p

16) Sephora or MAC?
We don't have a Sephora in the UK, but I don't really want to say MAC as I kinda think their products are overpriced... perhaps I'll stick with Boots!

17) Do you have a MAC Pro Card?
Nope, I don't own a single MAC product...

18) What makeup tools do you use in makeup application?
I use my fingers and my e.l.f. Studio powder brush for foundation/BB Cream, a few e.l.f. brushes for my eyes, and eyelash curlers are an essential for me :)

19) Do you use an eye primer?
Yes! I love the e.l.f. regular line primer- it really makes a difference to my eye make up longevity and intensity, I've gotten through several tubes now!

20) Do you use a face primer?
Not usually, I do have a Smashbox Photo Finish primer and I've used it a few times; but I don't wear face make up that much anyway.
21) What's your favourite eyeshadow?
Ooh hard one, I think I'll have to pick out a boring staple- Natural Collection Milk Chocolate; I use it as a crease colour almost everyday, I think everyone should own one!
22) Liquid or pencil eyeliner?
Err... Cream eyeliner actually! I could never get liquid to work properly for me, and I like pencil but I do prefer the defined look of my e.l.f. Cream Eyeliner :)
23) How often do you poke yourself in the eye with eyeliner?
Fairly often (also with mascara wands) At university I did a lot of make up on coaches (on the way to dance competitions) so I've done a LOT of eye-poking :(
24) What do you think of mineral pigments?
Beautiful, but messy!

25) Do you use mineral makeup?
Occasionally, as I said I have an e.l.f. mineral foundation but I don't use it all that regularly.

26) What is your favourite lipstick?
A toss-up between Natural Collection Rose Bud and e.l.f. Mineral Nicely Nude- both are lovely everyday shades :)

27) How about lip gloss?
Not a huge lip gloss fan- but I'm really enjoying the MUA Love Hearts Lip Balms that are rather lip-glossy!

28) What's your favourite blush?
Probably my MUA Mosaic in English Rose- it goes with pretty much any make up. 

29) Do you buy your makeup on eBay?
I'm a bit wary of make up on eBay- I do get nail polish (and nail art supplies) from eBay quite a lot though :)

30) Do you like drugstore makeup?
YES! I love it, and there's so much good, cheaper make up available I don't understand why people buy more expensive brands!

31) Do you go to CCO’s (Cosmetic Company Outlets)?
I would if I could get to one! Unfortunately there's not one near me :(

32) Did you ever consider taking makeup classes?
Not really, I don't think I'd find them particularly useful- besides I learn a lot from youtube videos!

33) Are you clumsy in putting on makeup?
Sometimes, especially if I'm in a rush (I'll slap it on and rush out the door)

34) What's your make up pet peeve?
Badly matching or poorly blended foundation- I can understand almost every other make up 'crime'- some people may like wearing tonnes of blush or visible lip liner, but surely everyone wants their foundation to blend nicely with their skin?

35) Do you like colourful shades of makeup (lipstick,eyeshadow) or neutral ones?
A bit of both I guess, I definitely am more of a neutrals girl- but I do like the option of a bright lip once in a while.

36) Which celebrity always has great makeup?
I don't really make an effort to keep up with celebrity gossip etc, so I rarely see pictures of celebrities with bad make up- though I have to say I'm often envious of Taylor Swift and Nicole Kidmans make up- possibly because they have similar colouring to me and their make up styles would probably suit me :)

37) If you could leave the house using just ONE makeup item, what would you use?
Concealer- if I could cover up blemishes, red patches and my dark under eye circles I'd be happy to go otherwise make up-less

38) Could you ever leave the house without any makeup on? Do you think you look good even without makeup on?
Yes, I did today (though I didn't leave the car, I was driving my Dad somewhere) I wouldn't say I look good without make up, but I don't look too terrible and although I prefer to go out with make up on, I don't HAVE to, and if there's no time for make up I wont mind.

39) In your opinion, what is the BEST makeup line?
Has to be e.l.f.- so many of my make up staples are from e.l.f., their products are such high quality and are so inexpensive- love them!

40) What do you think of makeup?
I love it! I think it's a good way to enhance your natural beauty, cover up imperfections, and have fun using your face as a canvas! :)

I hope you enjoyed this tag post- I tag all of you to post your own answers, I'd love to hear your thoughts! (let me know if you do!)


Wednesday, 28 March 2012

How (P)interesting!

I've been on Pinterest for quite some time now, and the addiction is still there- I love pinning stuff! I thought I'd post another few of my favourite pins- quite a few of them are nail polish and nail art related, so even if you're not a pinner I think you'll still like them :)

I'm sure at least some of you can relate to this: 

Source You can buy prints!

Beautiful peacock nail art :)


Two of my favourite things- stationery and nail art!

Oh how I love Monty Python :)

I have to do these sometime, I loved dandelion clocks as a child :)


How awesome is this! A rainbow pencil zip!

Just in time for summer- watermelon nails (I will probably also attempt something similar)

And finally, I LOVE magnolia trees, and they are all in bloom at the moment :)


Have you been pinning?


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Polish Purchases! (a little haul)

I was supposed to be dress shopping today, but instead (inevitably) I bought nail polish! I'm somewhat annoyed though because there were two polishes that I really wanted to get (Revlon Radiant and Beauty UK Olympic Bronze Foil) but neither were in stock in my Boots or Superdrug! :( They will be mine eventually, and in the meantime I have several other new finds to share:

First of all is a polish I found on eBay- Barry M Lilac Foil. It was a Limited Edition at Christmas last year, but after some searching I found it for it's original RRP of £3.99- if you want one you'd better look pretty soon (there were only about 3 polishes available when I looked.) I love this shade; it's such a pretty pale, shimmery lilac (with a silvery look)- I have absolutely no clue why I didn't buy it when it was in stores (silly me!)

Next up: my local poundland has a new batch of Revlon polishes- there were mostly 'boring' colours (like pinks) but I spotted this black polish called Black Lingerie and for £1 I thought I should give it a try- I'm glad I did as it's a lovely 2 coater and I think it could be good for stamping too (I'll let you know!) :)

Barry M Lilac Foil and Revlon Black Lingerie

e.l.f. Black and Revlon Black Lingerie - practically identical!

I also found a mini treasure trove of Technic polishes in Bodycare for just 99p- there was a huge selection and I really couldn't not purchase some- I picked out three shades: Siona Island, Bonanza and Amethyst.

Siona Island, Bonanza and Amethyst

Bonanza is a lovely turquoise blue glitter in a black base- a little bit like a blue version of Facets of Fuchsia (though the glitter particles are uniformly sized) and Amethyst is a beautiful deep pink with a bright blue duo chrome effect- unlike several of the other duo chrome polishes I have this could be used alone (I think about 3 coats) or layered over darker base colours to create a lovely effect :)

Barry M Lilac Foil, Technic Bonanza and Amethyst
I actually already have a polish from Technic called Siona Island, but it's quite a different shade considering the identical name! The 'old' Siona Island is a fairly flat shimmery blue, but the 'new' version has a beautiful green duo chrome- unfortunately it doesn't show up in the pictures, but I promise it's there!

Left side of each image: 'new' Siona Island has a black top, Right side: the 'old' version with the silver, square bottle
(the centre swatch on the last image is Revlon Blue Lagoon)

Have you made any polish purchases recently?


p.s. I also made a Models Own order this morning, mostly for a swap- but I couldn't resist picking up a couple for myself, watch this space!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Challenge Week 26: Pastel :)

OMG I'm actually halfway through the 52 week challenge!!!! I really cannot believe it, 6 months has gone quite fast and I'm thrilled that so many people are still taking part (I've said it before, but I still really can't believe that people all over the world are painting their nails every week with themes I thought up at about 3am one random night when I couldn't sleep!) I can't wait for the next 6 months either!
I have to say I had quite big plans for this manicure, I thought about doing funky french tips or glitter gradients or stamping or pin marbling.... but I picked out 5 of my favourite pastel shades and painted my nails, then decided I loved them as they are- sometimes simple is best :)

I used 5 lovely pastel shades, which all happen to be Models Own and No7, and then topped each nail with a matte top coat (also No7) I love the effect, it's so cute and spring-like; my sister and I went shopping yesterday and I'm sure I saw clothes in all of these colours in shops; clearly I'm very on-trend!

I really am a fan of matte nails, and I think they work especially well with pastel shades- it reminds me of chalk!

Models Own Lemon Meringue, No7 Lucky Lilac, MO Pro Yas-Mint, MO Pastel Pink, MO Beth's Blue
 and No7 Matte Top Coat

What are your favourite colours for Spring?


Sunday, 25 March 2012

Three Step (vegan) Chocolate Cake!

My sister and I were craving chocolate cake (as you do) but we got to the fridge and realised we had no eggs (poor planning...) Nevertheless I was determined to make something so I went on the hunt for an egg free cake and google turned up this recipe :) It turned out awesome, and was stupidly simple to make, so I thought I'd share the recipe- it's a great cake regardless of the ingredients, but it's a brilliant one for those with dairy or egg allergies/intolerances, and vegans! But it tastes so good you wouldn't guess; it comes out quite dense and fudgy, and deliciously chocolatey, I'll definitely be making this recipe again even if I do have eggs! :)

It's also a good one to make with children, as the measuring is so simple and all you need to mix is a spoon- it literally is a fool-proof recipe! Plus it only took me about 5 minutes to mix up (including taking photographs of each step) so this is a good emergency recipe!

 You will need:

Dry ingredients-
3 cups of plain flour
2 cups of caster sugar
1/2 a cup of cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt

Liquid ingredients-
2 cups of water
2/3 cup of oil (cooking or sunflower)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Place all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl (you'll probably want to sift in the flour and cocoa powder) and mix well. (If you have a suitable cake tray or really really hate washing up you can actually mix it in the tray you're going to bake the cake in!)

2) Add the liquid ingredients to the bowl and mix again until all the ingredients are well combined.

3) Pour the mixture into a cake tin and bake (in a preheated oven) at 180C until cooked through- for approximately 45 minutes (my cake took 45 minutes, but it was in a thin/flat tray- a taller tin may take longer- the original recipe said it could take up to 1 and 1/4 hours, so make sure you check it every so often)

Can anyone else see a face?

Now I don't think a frosting or topping is really necessary with this cake (it would be really yummy alone) but I don't like to do things by halves (not when it comes to chocolate cake!) so I made chocolate frosting and covered the top. But if you wanted to keep the cake vegan you could add probably try something like this chocolate glaze or just plain melted (vegan) chocolate :)

I think this cake would also be awesome with a little espresso powder added to make a mocha cake, or nutella frosting. I'm also working on a peanut butter frosting recipe that I hope to post soon :)

As always, I'd love to hear if you make this cake- you should because it simple and delicious!


p.s. Is anyone else super-excited about Titanic starting tonight? :)

Saturday, 24 March 2012

My Make Up Storage :)

I realised today that despite showing you my nail polish storage (several times, as it keeps growing!) and my jewellery storage, I've not actually posted about how I store my make up- and I thought it was about time I changed that!

This will not be a collection post (if it were this post would get stupidly long...) but I may do more collecion posts soon (let me know what you'd like to see!) If you're interested, here is my blush collection and lip balm collection :)

I store  most of my make up on top of my chest of drawers, and the rest in the top drawer of the tower I store my nail polish in, and a CD rack! I've decorated and re-used several e.l.f. boxes as well as a couple of small Ikea boxes and some old mugs- much as I'd love nice new drawers, they are expensive and the method I have now works really well for me :)

I think I'll go from left to right, so first up is something you can't actually see in the above picture- I have a CD rack attached the bottom of a shelf which holds my MUA and Sleek palettes (a long time ago the rack actually held CDs, but I don't really have any anymore!)

On top of my purple drawer tower I have a two old graze boxes with my lipsticks and lip glosses, as well as an Ikea basket with some random bits and pieces (including make up wipes and my kabuki brush) and cotton buds.

The top drawer of the purple tower is mainly devoted to face products (blush, bronzer, powders) as well as some other bits like old eyeshadow palettes (I should probably throw them away....) and eyelashes. The small boxes with lids are from Ikea and they're awesome for storage, I used them at uni for stationary; they stack too :)

The chest of drawers is home to most of my make up- on the left there are two large e.l.f. boxes; one containing single eye shadows and small palettes, and one containing lip balms, plus a smaller box that I keep lots of regularly used products- such as eyelash curlers, single eye shadows I love and my favourite blushes and lip products of the moment :)

And on the right of the chest there are various things; baby shampoo (I use it to clean my brushes) cotton wool, my e.l.f. Cream Eyeliners, a mug of brushes, a mug of eyeliners and a plastic cup of frequently used items, like mascara, eyeliner and concealers. The mugs I've use are old and cracked, but I just couldn't bear to part with them, especially the Rainbows one, I got that nearly 18 years ago! So I put them to good use holding my make up items :) I also have an old cotton bud pot to keep my olive oil, BB cream, primer and toner together.

How do you store your make up?

.                                                                                                          xGretalRabbitx