Sunday, 31 January 2016

Banana & Raspberry Muffins

Fruity muffins are one of my favourite types of baked good. I tried out this tasty banana and raspberry recipe today so thought I would share with you. If you like the sweetness of banana combined with the slight tartness of raspberry, these will be perfect for you. 
They are super easy to make and have a lovely bouncy and light consistency that makes them feel guilt free.

Recipe: Makes 12
250g Plain Flour
170g Light Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Bi Carbonate of Soda
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
3 Mashed Ripe Bananas
75ml Vegetable Oil
75ml Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
170g Fresh or Frozen Raspberries

1. Preheat oven to 190C. Either line your muffin tin with cases or like me, use kitchen roll and tiny bit of butter to grease your tin instead of using individual cases.
2. In a medium sized bowl, combine all dry ingredients: flour, sugar, bi carb, baking powder and salt.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed banana, eggs, milk, oil and vanilla until combined.
4. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and combine. 
5. Chop raspberries into quarters and fold the majority into the mixture, saving a few to sprinkle on top.
6. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a knife or skewer comes out of the muffin clean.
7. Leave to cool in the tin for around 5 minutes before removing.

And there we have it! They're lovely with a cuppa!
Whats your favourite type of Muffin?

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

My 'What I Do When I Feel Like Crap' Routine

The curse of the common cold has hit me like a truck! Having a cold is one of the most irritating, draining things known to man.
When I'm ill, my normal routine contains a lot more Netflix and whole lotta pyjama wearing. 
These are just the things I do to make myself feel a little bit better when my cold is getting me down. 
1. Have a nice hot bubbly bath. A Lush bath is preferable. I also love the Olbas bubble bath when my sinuses are blocked. It fills the whole room with a lovely menthol smell and helps you to breathe easy. If you have somewhere to set up your laptop, I love to watch Netflix whilst I'm in the bath. Its ultimate relaxation. I've recently rediscovered my love for "New Girl", it's so hilarious and makes me feel a 100 times better.
2. Get into the comfiest pyjamas/clothing you have. My current favourites: Dinosaur pyjama leggings, one of Adam's tops and my fluffy socks that look like pigs. 
Intergalactic Bath Bomb from Lush
3. Put Olbas Oil on everything, except your skin or eyes because goddamn that hurts!!!
I've used Olbas Oil since I was a kid and it's always helped and plus I just love the smell. If it didn't make me smell like an 80 year old Grandmother than I'd have it everywhere, always... 
4. Load up on the lip balm. I'm talking Carmex on the lips, Vaseline on the nose. One of the worst parts of a cold is how dry everything gets. Its painful and just looks unpleasant!
5. Eat what you want! I'd love to spin a big spiel about how I've eaten loads of fruit and veg to get those vitamins back in but lets get real, I've eaten 2 big bags of crisp WITH dip, 3 blueberry muffins and a bag of mini eggs and a good quarter of a tin of Quality Streets, in the past 3 days. I did have fruit for breakfasts but still, I have definitely not been the height of health, not remotely close.
6. When I'm not binge watching Netflix I like to read. At the moment, every time I look down, I sneeze so reading is proving a bit difficult. I don't often buy magazines but sometimes I just like to see the pretty pictures and read about ridiculous things that never relate to real life.
7. Only remove yourself from your sofa if you really have too. Make a little encampment of all your necessities and open your own personal chemist. I like to make sure that my strepsils, tissues, sudafed, paracetamol, lip balm, the whole works, is all in reach of me at all times. 
8. Hydrate! I will constantly have a glass of water around, it just makes me feel like I'm flushing the bad stuff out and plus its just really good for you. 

If anyone else is suffering with a cold, first of all, I feel for you, second, I'd love to hear what you do too. 

Sunday, 24 January 2016

What's In My Make Up Bag?

Putting on my make up is my favourite part of the day. Some people find it to be a chore or say they don't have time, etc. But I personally don't feel like myself until my make up is on. Even if its my day off and I am the only one in the house, I will still put a little concealer and mascara on just to brighten myself up, it makes me feel more awake and ready for the day. 
Some of the products in my make up bag, I have repurchased over years, some are more recent discoveries but all of which, I absolutely love. These products are kind of my go-to products, whether I'm getting ready for work or going out for a meal, a combination of these will see me through any occasion.
This primer is super light and really helps with the blending and longevity of my foundation. I love wearing this on an evening because it just adds a nice glow to your foundation and acts as an extra layer of moisture on your skin.
Hands down my favourite foundation that I ever tried. Its around £30 a bottle but it is the best £30 I spend. One bottle lasts me a good 6 months as a little goes a long way. This foundation does not budge a single smidgen all day. Its a full coverage foundation so gives your skin that airbrushed, flawless look.
I use this for both blemishes and under my eyes. I love this concealer, its super affordable and stays all day. It works really well with my foundation as they are both high coverage so really helps to perfect my skin.
I love using this to buff in my foundation. Because my foundation is full coverage, its important to make sure its blended and distributed evenly around my face. Otherwise I'll end up with splodges and streaks which obviously isn't the desired effect!
These brushes are super easy to clean, they never shed and are so wonderfully soft its like using a fluffy bunny's paw on your face.
For my concealer I use the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. It's not photographed as it needs a bit of a wash...

I use the shade "Primal" with a hard angled brush to fill in my brows. Only slightly as my brows are pretty dark already. This palette is one of my absolute favourites as 5 out of the 6 shades are completely matte. I used to use this palette for my everyday eye shadow colours too but I have hit pan on my two favourites, "Stark" and "Frisk", I really need to buy a new one. I have always set my brows with any kind of clear mascara. That just works best for me as its super quick and I don't want to add any more colour to them. At the moment I am just using a Collection one. Its super cheap and does the job perfectly.
Tanya Burr Cosmetics - Candy Glam Palette - Beach Bronze and Pretty Peony
I received this palette as Christmas present from my lovely sister and have not stopped using it since. The eye shadows are gorgeous for when I'm not heading to work but my most used products in the palette have to be the bronze and the blush. They are both super pigmented and have a gorgeous finely milled texture to them. The bronzer is almost matte with a very slight gold shimmer through it and the blush is a beautiful pinched pink with also a lovely glow to it. Both products instantly make my skin look glowing and healthy. I love them. I apply these using the Bare Minerals Flawless Face brush for bronzer and the Real Techniques Bold Metals 100 Arched Powder Brush.

Everyday for work I will just use a combination of "Warm Breeze" (Top row, second from left) and "Brulee" (Middle row, first on left). Warm breeze is a very pale pink with a very light shimmer and brulee is a completely matte, beige, off-white kind of colour. I just mix the two together and they just help to even out the colour of my eye lids. To apply these I use more Real Techniques brushes! The base shadow brush and the deluxe crease brush.
When I'm not at work, 95% of the time I will have winged liner on. For some reason I am much better with pot and brush liners than I am with felt tip liners. I have bought this one from Maybelline several times now and I love it. I feel it lasts really well on me and doesn't smudge throughout the day. I use the little brush that comes with it to apply it.
Stupidly I didn't realise this wasn't in the picture until afterwards but this is my favourite mascara of all time. Its super super black and gives me loads of volume and length. I have repurchased this mascara countless times now. I find it actually gets better as it dries out a little too.
When I've slept rubbish and my eyes look like a bag of potatoes, sometimes they need a bit of extra help. Adding a nude eyeliner onto my bottom water line really helps open up my eyes and instantly makes me look more awake even if I don't feel it. This one is soft and creamy and lasts all day.
I have had this lip balm for a while now and it is just perfect for everyday. The balm in the bullet is a translucent pink type colour but as you apply the product it reacts to your lips and gives them a beautiful, healthy shine with a tint of colour that is supposedly perfect for you. This balm works a treat for me. Its super moisturising and gives my lips a pinky tint. It smells amazing too! Like Vanilla and Mint! Yum!
I recently bought this and have been loving it ever since. I love balms with a tint for everyday, they're just so easy apply and require zero upkeep efforts. This one from Collection isn't as moisturising as the Dior Lip Glow but the price margin is obviously pretty big so I didn't expect it to be. It still keeps my lips moisturised throughout the day when reapplied, I just have to use a little lip balm on a night for an extra moisture boost after a full day of wearing it. I love the nudey pink shade, I hate to say it but its the "your lips but better" type colour so just helps to brighten you up and finish off your make up. 
This clearly isn't a make up product but when travelling I do keep this in my make up bag. Escada Turquoise Summer is one of my all time favourite scents. I discovered this this year when perusing the duty free before jetting off to Corfu in July. Although it isn't summer now, I still wear it because I just love it. For me, its the perfect fruity, sweet scent without the sickly factor. Whenever I give it a spritz, it reminds me of the sunshine and eating delicious, juicy, fresh fruit for breakfast. The perfect thing to set me up for the day. 

This was a long post but I hope you enjoy it.
Whats in your make up bag?

Sunday, 17 January 2016

My Bucket List

Credit to Adam for beautiful photo of sunset in Corfu.
I absolutely love reading posts about people's resolutions and life goals and anything along those lines, so I decided to do a post about what I have on my Bucket List!
I recently discovered and became obsessed with a website surprisingly called, Bucket List. Basically the site allows you to create your own profile onto which you can add things to your Bucket List based on what other people have added to theirs or suggestions from the site or you can simply upload your own. You can also have a list for the activities/goals you have already done/achieved on your Bucket List. Its very addictive and you soon end up with a list as long as your arm.
I wanted to narrow mine down and just talk about the top 10 things on my Bucket List.

1. Travel Australia. 
I feel like this is quite a popular one but still I would love to do it. I visited Australia with my family when I was younger and absolutely adored it but didn't appreciate it as much as I should have. I mean at 14 years old, a beach is a beach... Next time I would go for a least a good few months and see as much as I possibly could and maybe do some work out there too.
2. Feed a Giraffe.
Giraffes are just fantastic. Hands down, my favourite animal. It would just be a dream,
3. Go to Bora Bora
If you haven't heard of Bora Bora, first of all where have you been? and second of all, google it. Just one picture of it will explain everything better than I ever could. This is a huuuge dream of mine as I know it is quite a pricey trip but if I save really hard, maybe I'll get there before I'm 90. 
4. Go up in a hot air balloon.
Everything just looks beautiful from the sky. I love flying in aeroplanes just to see all the patchwork fields and matchbox houses. I feel like in hot air balloon the view would just be 100 times better.
5. Scuba dive on a shipwreck.
I find shipwrecks to be so eerie and interesting, I would love to see one up close. 
6. Go Whale Watching.
This one would be definitely one to do if I make it to Australia. It would just be breathtaking to see an animal of such huge size, in the flesh and not on the documentaries for once. 
7. Visit New York at Christmas time.
It just looks so beautiful and I would love to witness Christmas in such an amazing place that is New York. All of the lights and shop windows, it would just be heaven.
8. Stay in a tree house.
I would love to have some time away in one of those amazing modern tree houses. You'd be able to get snug by your little fire and look at the stars and oh it would just be wonderful.
9. Do the 365 Photo Project.
One year I would love to achieve this. At the moment I am saving up for a new camera, once I have that, I will do my best to get this one done. You basically take a photograph every day of the year. It would just be so cool to have documented a full year of my life in photographs. Something I could keep forever.
10. Create a Memory Jar.
This would be a great use for an old Yankee Candle jar or something like that. You write down your good memories or cool things that happen throughout the year, fold them up and pop them in a jar. Then at the end of the year you can open them up and see all the amazing things that happened that year. This would be a fantastic thing to do over lifetime if I would remember. 

Whats on your bucket list? I would love to know.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

High Street Skincare Routine

Purchasing skincare and perfecting a skincare routine can be difficult. There so many options, price ranges, skin types, etc! I never know where to begin.
My skin starts off dry but gets oily throughout the day, its fairly clear but very very sensitive. I have visible pores and occasionally get those big angry spots. Where's the product for all that?!
Throughout 2015 I discovered a few products that don't break the bank that work for me and keep my skin clean and calm. I use these products every morning and night and just find them to be super quick and hassle free. 
The first product in my routine is the Neutrogena Visibly Clear 2-in-1 Wash/Mask. I have used this product for years now and it really helps to reduce the amount of blackheads I have around my nose and chin. I use this first to wash the majority of my make up off, this stuff cuts through Estee Lauder Double Wear like I don't know what! Once a week I will use this as a mask, I wash my face as normal, dry it off then smooth a thin layer of the mask all over my face and add a little extra to my nose and chin. As it tingles on your skin for 5 minutes, you can really feel all the gross build-up being pulled out of your skin. I love this product and for about £4 a tube (90% of the time, it will be on offer), its really worth it.
After I have washed my face I will use a couple of cotton pads and the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water to remove the rest of my make up. I love that this product is hypoallergenic and is suitable for "even sensitive skin". This made my life so much easier when trying to find a cleanser. In the past I have never been able to get on with any sort of cleansing milks or lotions, they all would give my skin a burning feeling. This product feels light and fresh and really gives my skin that sparkly clean feeling. Plus, the bottle lasts forever! I only used 2 bottles in whole of last year!
Finally I will use the Aloe Soothing Day Cream from the Body Shop to moisturise my skin. Moisturisers were always the one thing I struggled to find. A lot are perfumed so would not agree with my skin or some would advertise for sensitive skin but then would leave my skin feeling dry and flakey. Aloe Vera is notorious for its moisturising and soothing properties so when I saw this in the Body Shop I snapped it up quick so I could give it a go and I was not disappointed. It was a "where have you been all my life?" moment, I love love love this moisturiser. The consistency is nice and light so absorbs quickly and doesn't leave you with that greasy feeling. Body Shop also do a Night Cream in this range which I would love to try, especially after those days at work in the blustery cold wind. This moisturiser is £12 for a 50ml tub, which lasts me a fair few months because a little goes a long way.
If I have a spot, this is when I will use a cotton bud to dab a little tea tree oil onto it. I just find that this works quickest to calm them down and reduce the angry-ness.
Another thing I use frequently, which I mentioned in my winter essentials, is the Blistex MedPlus lip balm. I apply this in the morning, at night, throughout the day, I just can't get enough. For me this is the only lip balm that just works. Its not fancy and is about £2 a pot but I honestly can't recommend this enough. If you suffer with dry/chapped lips a lot, then I am begging you to give this a go.

Every couple of weeks I will add in 2 extra products to my routine. If my skin is feeling particularly grimey or if I've had a few spots that week, I will use the St. Ives Apricot Scrub. I use the gentle one that is for dry/sensitive skin. This really helps scrub away those germs and that nasty feeling you get when you've a breakout. 
If I've been out in the rain and cold all day for work, I often get that tight feeling in my skin. To relieve this, I will carry out my normal skincare routine but replace my daily moisturiser for the Sanctuary Brightening Facial Moisture Boosting Mask. I will usually just run a nice bath, pop the mask on, lay there for 10 minutes then rinse it off gently. If I have a day off the next day I will smear a thick layer all over my skin and leave it on over night then wash it off with a muslin cloth the next day. Overnight, my skin will have transformed and feels so much better. As I don't use this mask that often, I will just buy it in sachets from Boots, 1 sachet will usually do me 3-4 uses if I keep it sealed up. Sanctuary look to have had a bit of re-shake and released a new product that is very similar, the 5 Minute Moisture Boost Mask, which I assume will do the same thing but I will give it a try and let you know as I can't seem to find the original one anymore.

I dream of using high end skincare and maybe one day I will but for now these products work for me perfectly.

If you have any recommendations, I would love to hear them so feel free to leave a comment below :) 

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Recipe: Power Bars

Healthy cereal bars, power bars, protein bars, etc, etc, are so expensive these days! Well they're either pricey or packed full of things they shouldn't have in them. 
After looking at many a recipe for power balls/protein bars, I decided to come up with one of my own. Its super easy and is choc-a-bloc with goodness. Plus, they taste delicious, so much better than shop bought cereal bars. 
When I started planning this recipe, I was worried about the amount of ingredients and how much they would cost to make because sometimes the hardest part of eating healthy is how much it costs to do so. Some of the ingredients I already had in the kitchen cupboards but the rest I sourced from either Holland & Barrett or ASDA. 

100g Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter
100g Honey
50g Porridge Oats
10g Chia Seeds OR any other small seed.
25g Cocoa Powder
15g Vanilla Protein Powder (optional)
50g Desiccated Coconut
120g Pitted Dates

1. Melt the peanut butter and honey together in a saucepan over a low heat.
2. Chop the pitted dates in to halves and add all the ingredients to a food processor including the peanut butter and honey. 
3. Blitz for a couple of minutes on full speed until the mixture starts to come together.
4. I wanted to make my mixture into bars to take to work. To do this, I lined an 8 inch loaf tin with cling film and pressed the mixture nice and flat then popped it in the fridge to set for 10 minutes. 
If you'd like to make the mixture into balls instead, put the mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes first, then roll into balls and set again for another 10 minutes.
5. After setting, I lifted the mixture from the tin with the cling film and chopped it into 7 bars. One for each day! Perfect. 
I hope you enjoy making these. They are so quick to make and taste so so much better than the supermarket ones, I promise.
A nice treat for those of us having a healthy 2016.
What are your favourite healthy snacks or treats?

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Rosie Loves | Books! | Review: Dinah Jefferies, The Tea Planter's Wife

If you read my previous post you will know that one of my resolutions this year was to get back into reading more.
A new feature of my blog is going to be a monthly book review. I personally love reading book reviews and recommendations as I never know which books to try out. I don't have a particular favourite genre or anything like that so sometimes its overwhelming to just bob on amazon and have a look, I never know where to start.
I just want to say now that I am no english lit/book expert! My "review" will just be an overview of the things I liked about the book and why I would recommend it, nothing fancy shmancy.

The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies is my first book of the year and what a way to start!? It was fantastic, I could not put it down. 
This books is very much a story of tragedy and romance. The story is set in Ceylon (which is now known as Sri Lanka, I believe) in the 1920s. I have always been a sucker for anything in a period drama style but have usually stuck to books based around the Tudors or the Victorian times. It was fantastic to read about the fashions of the time and what the struggles of the world were in the 1920s. 
It is centered around (as you can tell by the title) the wife of the family, Gwen. At the beginning of the book she is newly married at 19 and is travelling to live with her husband in Ceylon who owns multiple tea plantations. Dinah Jefferies sets the scene so well that if i'd have closed my eyes, I would really have believed I was there in Ceylon. It sounds incredible. She used every adjective in the dictionary!!
Throughout the book, Gwen grows up quickly and has deal with serious personal struggles and keeps a lot of secrets from her loving husband and those around her. As a reader, I really felt as though I was going through all the turmoil with her. One minute I was amazed by the beauty of the place and the next minute I'm nearly in tears! 
The book has approximately 419 pages, so the perfect kind of size for me. Not too long and not too short. I had read it within a few days of it arriving from Amazon because I loved it so much.
I didn't think this genre of book would be able to hook me like this!
I can't recommend this book enough if is your type of thing. It is super super cheap (£3.85) from Amazon at the moment so give it a go!
I would love some recommendations from you guys so feel free to leave links!
Happy reading!

Sunday, 3 January 2016

YAY 2016!

I often fear the new year, y'know becoming a year older, having to make more life decisions. Growing up is tougher than you get taught. Last year brought many tough decisions and huge life changes. Scary changes at that. 
At the beginning of the year, Adam and I were still trying to work out the whole long distance relationship thing, which for those of you who have done it, will know it is not easy. When Adam achieved is dream job in 2014, I wasn't ready to move so far from my family to a place I knew nothing about and where I knew nobody. Therefore when Adam moved to Wiltshire, I moved back to York. We would see each other every 4-5 sometimes 6 weeks and our travel expenses would be ridiculous. Trains are such a rip off these days! On our wages, it just couldn't be done.
When February 2015 arrived, both our rental contracts were about to run out and I made the decision that I would move to Wiltshire so we could live together and just make life easier. Although some days have been difficult, I have never looked back. Our families have visited us more than we expected and have helped us every step of the way. Because of work commitments, neither of us could go home for Christmas or New Year. In any case, we made the best of the situation and got ourselves excited about buying our first Christmas tree and all the trimmings to pop around our home. 
To my surprise, my parents said they would come to us for Christmas and spend it in our cozy one bedroom flat. We had a lovely time and enjoyed every minute but have vowed that next Christmas will be different and we will for sure see all our family like we have in previous years. 
Last year really tested us both and really made us appreciate our families a whole lot more. As we didn't see them all the time, it made it all the more special when we saw them for 2 family weddings, my Dad's 50th Birthday and an amazing holiday to Corfu, all spread throughout 2015. So many amazing things happened last year and so many testing things too. Our families have been there every single step of the way and we owe them so much more than just a thank you. 

Adam and I have been saving like crazy and have some great plans for 2016. More big decisions await but I am so excited.

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions as I never ever keep them up but hey ho! I'll try.
1. Attempt the whole "picking the healthy option" thing, I've done it in phases but we'll see if I can stick at it.
2. Keep up the blog. I do enjoy writing my blog even if its only for me to read. I need to stop doubting myself when it comes to it. If I enjoy it, I'm gonna do it!
3. Stop buying things for the sake of it. I want to actually buy things that I will wear and that will last. Quality not quantity. 
4. Read more books. Again I go through phases with this. I feel much more intelligent when I read and I do actually really enjoy it. 
That'll do I think, I don't want to kid myself too much!

Sorry for the soppy post, I don't often get like that, I promise.

What are your new year's resolutions and are you any good at keeping them up?!

Happy New Year!

Longleat's Festival Of Light

Before Christmas we attended Longleat's Festival of Light with Adam's family as they were visiting us. Adam and I had seen the lantern display last year and were more than happy to visit it again. The whole evening was a night of "Oooo"s, "Ahhh"s and "Wow, look at that!"s, just as it was last year. The festival takes weeks and weeks of preparation and you can see why as you walk around the grounds of Longleat. The main theme of the event is of course animals, but alongside the colourful elephants, lions and tigers, there a mixture of Asian inspired lanterns, such as Chinese pagodas, Geisha, the Chinese zodiac signs, beautiful sculptures made from China cups and saucers and lanterns depicting the famous Terracotta Warriors. Some of the lanterns were the same as last year but used in a different way, my favourite addition to this years festival was the under the sea display!! It was amazing! Huge, beautiful coral reefs with amazing fish, dolphins, sharks and an enormous whale! I absolutely loved it.
Longleat House is also open on the nights of the festival. This year it was decorated like a Fairytale. Each room with a different theme and a different actor to make you really feel like you were at a Christmas panto! It was just as beautiful as the lanterns. 
There is also a Santa Express train and an ice rink for if you have kids with you.
Even though we went on a very drizzly night, we still enjoyed it so that just proves how good they are. The doughnuts are also very delicious.
Longleat are for certain doing another Festival of Light next Christmas and I would recommend it to everyone if you are in the Somerset/Wiltshire area. It is truly magical!
Be prepared for a lottttt of photos.