Tuesday 31 December 2013

December Buys, Sensible Spending And LouLouLand Christmas Giveaway - Number 6

Today is not only the last day of the month, it's also the last day of the year eek. I hope your all ready for new year whatever your doing - we have a quite night planned with cocktails, nibbles, TV and blankets but I'm still looking forward to it.

The end of a year is always a time for reflection and this is the first in what I guess I could round ups and looking forward post.

It's my monthly haul and like every other month of 2013 I've been trying to watch what I've spent and I've tried to stick to a £40 limit for fripperies, and as per usual it's been a bit of a fail. I've only managed to stick to my goal for 4 out of the 12 months and this month like so many other ended up as a bit of a disaster.

The Body Shop Haul - £11.00
Sigma Eyeshadow Base - Spy - £8.20
Once Upon A Time Make Up Compact - £5.00
H&M Haul - £14.98
Essie Polishes - £5.98
MUA Luxe Velvet Lip Lacquer - Funk - £3.00
Becca And Essie - £9.97
Hard Candy - Poundworld - £1.00
The Body Shop Gingerbread Man Sponge - £3.50
Primark Haul - £6.00
Total - £68.63
£28.63 Over 

Okay I was only £28.63 over but it pretty much sums up how I got on this year. I haven't bought too many big things but it is surprising how the little things add up - a pound here, a pound there and before long you've spent £20, it's way too easy. In 2014 though things need to change, circumstances change and as a result I just don't have the disposable income that I did so from next year aka tomorrow I'm going to try and be a lot more sensible and frugal when it comes to spending money on myself. I have more than enough make up, toiletries, books, music, clothes and jewellery to set up my own shop, so I'm going to be shopping my stash a lot more in 2014. The trouble with blogging is that you often think you need to have new things to review all the time but I've got so many things already that I can review that you really shouldn't see the difference.

I'm not going to do a total no buy but what I am going to do is think more carefully about what I do buy and what I already have, and only try to pick up a couple of things a month. I've ordered a couple of bit from the sales that will pop up in January but I'm going to try and hang on to the rest and put it towards something I need.

From tomorrow the Monthly Spends section will disappear from my blog, I haven't had an awful lot of feedback on the section throughout the course of the year so it's breathed it's last - no limits just sensible spending - I'm still planning on doing a monthly haul post and video no matter how few items I buy, so you won't miss out x

Speaking of which it's time for December's haul - the first few things that I bought you've seen before because they were items I've given away over the past few weeks. I'm a big believer in the one for me, one for you philosophy -first up a few bits from H&M x

Don't forget the scarf giveaway on my You Tube channel is still open until tomorrow, so you've still got time to enter x

Next up some nail polishes - Unusually for me I only got 4 nail polishes for Christmas - yes for me that is unusual one year I got 15! but luckily I picked a few polishes up before Christmas including 3 Essie colours from a cheap make up stall in the Metro Centre, the colours from left to right are Butler Please, Where's My Chauffeur? and Beach Bum Blue

This next polish to be honest was a freebie - Barry M Superdrug 343 was a free gift when you spent more than £6 on Barry M in Superdrug. I bought my godmother quite a few nail polishes for Christmas including 3 Barry M's so I picked up the freebie :)  - a gorgeous long strand rose and rose gold glitter.

As well as the Barry M I also picked up one of the newer MUA items in Superdrug.

The MUA Luxe Velvet Lip Lacquers are amazingly pigmented lip colour, with an smooth velvety, matte texture. There a 5 colours to choose from and all of them are pretty out there, no pale nudes here so I was brave and picked one up in Funk

This looks a little redder here than it does in real life - in real life it's a lovely hot pink colour.

My next make up purchases came from the aforementioned cheap make up stall - some real gems can be found here so if you have something similar in a shopping centre near you I'd definitely have a look. As well as the Essie this time the stall had a whole load of Becca items. I've only got one Becca item in my extensive collection so I got a couple of things and the dearest was only £3.99 result.

The first thing I got was one of the Mineral Blushers - There were a few shades to choose from but the testers seemed to be in short supply so I picked a pig in a poke and went for the shade Damselfly

Do you know what ? sometimes it pays you to take a risk, this is the most gorgeous peachy coral colour with just a tiny bit of shimmer. It's pigmented and super soft and smooth - I absolutely love it x

Eye products were a bit thin on the ground but they did have a couple of type of cream eyeshadow.

I didn't fancy any of the paint tube style colours but being a cream eyeshadow obsessive I couldn't resist picking up one of their Creme Eye Colours

There were a few different shades but I went for the super wearable Quartz

Again very smooth and pigmented Quartz is one of those shimmer beige tones nudes that I love x

My next purchase came from Poundworld - I remember years and years ago you used to be able to buy Hard Candy in Boots but then like a lot of lines it disappeared. I know it's readily available in the likes of Walmart in the US now but not here :( That was until I had a little look in Poundworld.

They had a few different assortments but I got this one which contained a Baked Eyeshadow Duo in 062 Bad Reputation and a Show Girl Loose Glitter in 005.

To be honest I thought the glitter was nail polish so I'm not sure how much use I'll get out of it - it's a lovely turquoise blue shade which is so pretty I'll think of some way of using it.

The baked eyeshadow duo is a real stunner it comes with a shimmery white and a shimmer dark grey shade, perfect for creating a smokey eye look. It's smooth and pigmented and well worth the pound that I paid for it.

Next up a few little things from Primark including some more Tea Tree face wipes

this blue and gold tone statement necklace that I've wanted for ages.

and this super cute star necklace and earring set x

I used to be a regular shopper in The Body Shop but now it's only a shop I go into if I want something specific or at Christmas - there Christmas products are always a huge hit and this year this little guy was the star.

I bought loads of these for friends and secret santas this year and I couldn't resist one for myself - I mean look at his face :)

Whilst I was in I also picked up one of my staples a mini Cocoa Butter Body Butter

and something that I read about on Caroline Hirons excellent blog, a Facial Massager.

I really can't wait to try this out and see if it makes a difference to my starting to sag jawline.

My penultimate purchase in December was actually made in November courtesy of Sigma Beauty's Black Friday free shipping offer.

I haven't tried any of their make up before but this one was top of my list - the eyeshadow base in Spy.

It looks a bit boring here but my pictures aren't capturing it's true beauty. It looks brown here but in reality it's more like MAC's Blue Brown Pigment - brown shot through with amazing blue and green iridescence.

I'm probably going to be using this as cream eyeshadow rather than an eye base - it's way too pretty to cover up.

My final purchase was a bit of a odd one, I was looking through the Littlewoods website looking for quirky Christmas gifts and I saw that this was reduced.

I'm not usually a huge fan of mixed make up kits but for the price I thought I'd give it a go.

Boy am I glad I did - I didn't expect a lot but I'm so impressed with what I got in return. The first thing to do it throw out the applicators that come with it they are beyond useless. The palette comes with 40 yes 40 eyeshadows! ranging from neutrals to brights the pigmention is fab

Next up you get eight large blushers and bronzers and 4 mini ones - again the pigmentation is first class

Then finally you get 20 lipsticks / glosses - again in a range of colours and again with superb pigmentation

This palette really surprised me so I went straight back online and ordered another one to give away. So to win your very own Once Upon A Time Make Up Palette all you need to do is fill in the form below before the 8th January. This giveaway is open worldwide x Your palette is brand new and has only been opened to check for damage after my parcel was left outside grrrr.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So thanks for reading and here's to more controlled spending in 2014 x I hope you all have a lovely night and Good Luck x

Monday 30 December 2013

Foodie Friday On A Monday - What I Ate In December And LouLouLand Christmas Giveaway - Number 5 x

This probably has to go down as the latest foodie friday post yet but I hope that the end of the post will make up for it.

December - the month where we eat and drink to excess - I wouldn't say I've eaten and drank to excess this year but I certainly feel full of plumptious ness. This month it's been all about luxury and comfort food, starting with one of my favourite things -my mushroom stroganoff.

This wasn't just an ordinary mushroom stroganoff though, I pimped this one up with some red pepper, some red chilli and some Stilton which gave a real richness to the sauce.

Next up another one of my favourite comfort foods - cauliflower cheese - I love this stuff with a passion, it's warming, and soothing and I always feel better when I've eaten it.

I find cheese in general the ultimate comfort food I adore the stuff and this month I tried a few recipes from Nigella Christmas - this is by far one of my favourite Christmas recipe books. Whilst it contains every recipe you will ever need to make the perfect Christmas dinner it also contains quite a few recipes that you can use all year round including this.

Nigella's Triple Cheese And Onion Strata is probably one of  the most amazing thing I've eaten over the last year. It's basically a savoury bread pudding - line a baking dish with lots of stale bread, she suggest baguettes but I used a mixture of gluten free baguette and rolls, then pop some Parmesan (or pecorino) if your veggie, some mature cheddar and some mozzarella into a food processor along with some sour cream, some eggs, and a bunch of spring onions and zap together to make an eggy, cheese, cream sauce.Pour it over your bread squidge it down a bit and leave it for 24 hours preferably in the fridge but ours went in the porch. Then bake for half an hour to forty minutes till puffy and golden.

OMG amazing - this was so, so good and the reheated leftovers were even better - I will definitely make this again. There are a few ingredients but its really easy to make and great for using stale bread.

Another Nigella recipe that me and Mummy Lou tried for the first time this month - is her Chilli Jam (find her recipe here). We had quite a few homegrown red chillis so we gave this a go, chopping and deseeding the chillis is a pain literally - wear gloves or wash your hands thoroughly -  I ended up with a burning nose!! - but this is so worth it. Don't get my wrong it's fiery but at the same time it's quite sweet - it's fab with ham or cold chicken according to Mummy Lou but I've been having it with cheese from one or our 3 cheese boards (don't ask!) and the combo is fantastic. We have some more chilli plants for next year and a stock of red thai chillis in the freezer so I can definitely us making some more of this.

In the run up to Christmas like everyone I seemed to be out and about pretty much everyday - for somebody that leaves the house maximum once a week this is a big deal so it was no surprise that me and the mother ship took in several tea and coffee stops pretty much every time we left the house. One of my best discoveries came in BB's Coffee Shop in a local Boundary Mill Stores.

This festive delight was called a Gluten Free Jap Cake - the name is a little odd but I've done a bit of research and they appear to be a now hard to find cross between a meringue and a macaroon, or macaroon. They are usually made with egg whites, sugar and either ground almonds or in this case hazelnuts. This thing was heaven in a mouthful with a little icing festive figure and a squirt of cream my gluten free fantasies were fulfilled. If anyone knows I can buy more or a successful recipe please let me know x

As well as the foodstuff we went to town on the festive coffee shop offerings - In Starbucks the Orange Mocha stole my heart from my traditional Toffee Nut Latte, so much so that I just had one in the entire month - I'm but a fickle beast.

In Costa there could only be one drink of choice - the White Chocolate Hot Chocolate - mmmm yummy and the glittery stars just make it - Does anyone know if they do this all year round? please say yes! -You can also see a bit of their fabulous Honeycomb Crunch Bar here too soooo good x

Sticking with the drink theme I thought I'd also show you two other beverages that I've been enjoying this month  and no it's not alcohol - I'm lucky if I've had 4 alcoholic drinks since the first of December #Lightweight :) - first up this

I thought it had gone for good when the circus themed bottles disappeared from the shelves but it's back as part of their Supreme range - mmm honeycomb - this is basically Crunchie bars in a bottle -Now all I need to do is find the Raspberry And White Chocolate variety.

This is something else that recently reappeared and something I definitely recommend you look in your supermarket fridges for - stick it in the microwave for a couple of minutes and you have hot chocolate that tastes like melted Galaxy insanely good. Not cheap but it's worth it - it also comes with marshmallows for a sprinkling that aren't vegetarian booo.

Okay we're nearly there now, we're nearly at the big day itself but first up a Christmas Eve tradition of mine and Mummy Lou's. At lunchtime we always have a ciabatta roll (now gluten free) filled with pesto sauce, mozarella, tomatoes and fresh basil - we usually make them in the morning and give the flavours a few hours to develop heaven.

This is usually followed by a homemade mince pie, with cream, clotted cream in this case yum before we had to more nibbles and mulled wine on Christmas Eve proper.

Christmas Day itself in my house doesn't start with any fancy breakfasts we just do normal brekkie and we don't have any starters we go straight to the main event Christmas dinner x I had Quorn Roast with veggie sausage and bacon pigs in blankets and homemade gluten free sage and onion stuffing.

This was followed by gluten free Christmas pudding, with custard and a touch of cream :)

I don't think I ate anything else bar a few chocolates and some candy floss on Christmas Day but by Boxing Day the food intake was ready to resume again with what I believe is called a french dip sandwich. This is a tradition of my dads that I carry on but obviously mine is a veggie version (he used pork) basically it's a sandwich with in my case Quorn Roast, veggie gravy and left over stuffing - yummy and something I always look forward to.

I've had a couple of proper meals but rather naughtily the rest of the time I've just been grazing -cheese, olives, crisps hummus, and dips

Crispy Marshmallow Treats  and M&S Macaroons (a little disappointing :()

and of course keeping with the honeycomb trend Nigella Lawson's Sweet and Salty Crunch Nut Bars

Not forgetting the traditional and healthy Clementine x

I've really enjoyed doing my Foodie Friday posts over the last year or so and I know I have a lot of readers that read my blog specifically for them - so in this season of giving I thought I'd host a little giveaway for all of your foodies and wannabee foodies out there. One lucky winner will receive a set of 3 metal gingerbread man (okay person) cookie cutters

a set of four silicone cupcake cases

and an H&M Trust Me I'm A Baker Tea Towel - which is brand new and was just taken out of the packet to photograph :)

This little giveaway is open worldwide, All you need to do is fill in the Rafflecopter form below before the 7th January for a chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks as per usual for reading, I know this was an epic post and Good Luck xx