Tuesday 25 February 2014

AnarKitty In LouLouLand - Part 2 - Denman AnarKitty Ruby D3 Hairbrush*

If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know I love Denman hair brushes. I bought my first Denman D3 Classic Styling Brush over 6 years ago now, and it's still going strong. I've been lucky over the years to add my collection but I promise you if they all disappeared overnight, I'd be straight out tomorrow to buy a new one.

The Denman D3 Classic Styling Brush is simply perfect for my long straight ish hair.The D3 comes with a easy to hold and manoeuvre teardrop shaped handle, and features 7 rows of high quality nylon pins embedded into their signature anti-static rubber pad, making the brush perfect for detangling, smoothing and blow drying.

Whilst the style and quality of the D3 has remained the same over the years, Denman have always tried to remain innovative and of the moment. The original black, white and red brush is still available but nowadays you can buy the classic D3 covered in lip prints, animal prints, diamantes and even in fruit scented versions.

In 2012 I was sent a special edition D3 Classic Styling Brush the AnarKitty "Sassy" D3, which was a collaboration between Denman and British artists Emma Geary aka AnarKitty- You can read my review here. I loved the almost Art Deco graphics of the original brush so I was thrilled to hear that the two have collaborated once again.

The year has saw the release of the AnarKitty Ruby D3. The ruby red brush again draws in the Art Deco ear, this embracing the roaring twenties and the Great Gastsby era.

The design on the brush features a quirky girl, in an almost flapper style dress, and a string of pearls. Her hair is styled in the traditional 1920's finger wave and on her head she wears the crown featured in the Denman logo.

The reverse of the brush handle like with last brush features the A K signature this time in black.

Away for the designs and prints this is just the typical and fabulous D3 - The colours are the same as the Classic but with a twist.

The handle and base of the brush is a bright ruby red, you definitely wouldn't lose this one in the bottom of your handbag! The anti static rubber pad is white, and the 7 rows of nylon pins are in a contrasting black.

Apart from the obvious the thing I love most about the Denman D3 is that the quality never changes no matter how plain or how funky the brush design is. They are always made to the same quality and they always work and do the business and above all last.

I love the AnarKitty collaboration and I have my fingers tightly crossed that we'll see some more new designs in the future. The Denman AnarKitty "Ruby" D3 is available from the Denman Website, and you can also check out more of AnarKitty's work via her own website here x

*PR Sample

Saturday 22 February 2014

Nails Of The Day - Nails Inc Basil Street

It's been a little while since I've worn a nude nail but this week I went for a full on mannequin hand look.

Despite it's similarity to Nails Inc's top seller Porchester Square in the bottle, Basil Street is in fact very different. Instead of the greige. nude beige tones of Porchester Square, it is a much peachier, more flesh toned creamy nude.

You need at least a couple of coats for full coverage, but unlike a lot of cream finishes it is self levelling which makes it easier to apply x Unlike a lot of Nails Inc colours that I've tried the wear time isn't amazing but I'm sure that could be remedied with a good top coat.

If your after a true mannequin hands look than Nails Inc Basil Street might be the one for you. It's not something that I would wear all the time but if I wanted a clean, polished manicure than I would definitely dig this one out again.

Friday 21 February 2014

Foodie Friday - Vegetarian French Onion Soup

I know what your thinking, surely all soups with vegetables at their heart should be vegetarian, well they aren't. Traditionally French onion soup is made with a dark and rich beef stock which gives it it's depth and flavour, check out any supermarket brand and I can pretty much guarantee that they are all meat based. Grr annoying! especially when I've been craving the stuff for months! So I decided to put my thinking cap on and try to make a veggie onion soup.

Vegetarian French Onion Soup

1 tbsp Olive Oil 
1oz Butter
4 Large Onions 
2 Cloves Garlic 
2 tsp Light Brown Sugar
1 Litre Vegetable Stock
Salt And Pepper To Taste 

1. Pop your olive oil and butter into a large saucepan 

2. Crush or roughly chop your garlic and add it to your pan and cook gently to softened. It's always better to put garlic into a cold pan to stop it burning and going bitter.

3. In the meantime tissues at the ready it's time to chop your onions. I chopped mine into half rings, you don't want to chop it too small. I used 5 smaller onions here which equalled about 600g when it was chopped x

4. Then add your onions to your pan and cook over a medium heat

5. In the meantime make your stock up you want about a litre x I just used vegetarian stock cubes.

6. Keep stirring your onions you don't want them crispy but you want them to be softened and just starting to turn translucent and golden. This can take a while so don't be tempted to turn the heat up

7. Now here's where the recipe gets a little bit strange, once the onions are soft and translucent sprinkle your sugar over the top and mix it in to the onions x

8. Continue to cook the onions until they've caramelised and turned a lovely rich golden brown colour. Unless you have a non stick pan keep stirring because they can catch on and burn really easily, and be patient again this stage can take a little while x

9. Ideally your onions should be a little bit darker than this but once they've reached that sticky, sweet, soft stage you can add your stock.

10. Simmer for about 20 minutes till your onions are completely soft. Then season with salt and pepper to taste.

11. Then serve, with either crusty bread or in the traditional way with some toasted baguette and melted cheese, or as I'm doing some gluten free ciabatta, toasted and covered with melted cheddar just dropped into the hot soup - yummy!

This recipe makes 4 bowls and was fine kept in the fridge for a couple of days and I can imagine it would also be okay to freeze it.

I have to be honest and say that this was nothing like the French onion soup of my childhood. The beef stock was obviously the thing that elevated it to such high heights in my memory. This was nice but it was different, instead of the intense savoury taste this was a lot mellower and unsurprisingly I guess more vegetable like.

If, and when I make this again I'll definitely make a few changes. No I won't be using beef stock but I think instead of using just bog standard vegetable stock cubes, I'll either use a homemade vegetable stock or I'll buy a good quality fresh one or I'll use a better quality of powder or cube than what I used here. - A good stock is so important for this soup as it makes up such a high percentage of the flavour. I also think that this soup would benefit from a few more flavourings, I'm thinking that the addition of a sprinkle of  Provencal herbs such as thyme would make a big difference, so that's definitely something that I will try. This recipe is perfectly nice as it it, but for me it's a bit of a work in progress and I can see this appearing on my dinner menu quite regularly now until I get it right.

Are you a fan of onion soup? and are you like me and do you make a recipe again, and again till you get it right? Let me know in the comments x 

Wednesday 12 February 2014

January Buys - Stila, Kardashian Beauty, Avon, Top Shop And More x

Hey Guys x Sorry it's a little bit late but it's  January haul time!

Where to start? well we'll start off with a couple of sale purchases :) Although I'm not doing a spending diet or ban this year I'm still trying to be careful what I buy and what I spend so it seemed natural to shop the sales. Was it worth it? erm no not really. I don't know whether I'm turning into Scrooge in my old age but the January sales didn't wow me this year. Never the less I still picked a couple of things including this super bargain buy from the Stila website.

I managed to pick up the Stila Snow Angel Colour Palette and a 3.1 ml All Day Waterproof Volumizing Mascara for just £7.37  including postage

I have a few Stila items already but I'm so happy to have this palette in my collection. It contains 18 eyeshadows and 12 cheek colours and you also got a mini mascara which I'm excited to try.

as well as a little look book giving you an idea of what looks you can create with the palette.

All bar one of the shades in the palette are limited edition but the majority are fairly dupeable from shades in the Stila permanent line.. The only permanent colour in the palette  is probably the most popular Stila eyeshadow ever and my own personal favourite - Kitten - a gorgeous shimmery, champagne nude. (marked with a K below). The palette contains a mixture of mattes and shimmer and they all feel super soft to the touch and the pigmentation is superb. Here are a few swatches of first the eyeshadows and then the cheek colours x

Shades from right to left - 1 - Dashing, 2 - Icicle, 3 - Coal, 4 - Jingle, and 5 Sleigh

Again from right to left - 1 - Matte Melon, 2 - Shimmery Pink and 3 - Shimmery Coral
I'm wearing a few things from the palette in my January Haul video which you can see below or here x

My only other sale purchase was this top from Top Shop.

It's one of those love / hate things if I'm being honest but I love it. I love the neon lime  colour (it looks a lot brighter than this irl as hopefully you can see in the video) I also love the daisy burnout design. I got the size 16 which is a bit tight at the moment but hopefully by the summer it will fit a bit better. I don't think I'm brave enough to wear it as is so I'll be wearing either a bandeau or a vest underneath

I also something else which you will either love or hate....

Another cat necklace from ebay :) I already bought one of these in a different style (see it here) but when I saw this little guy I just couldn't resist x This was just £1.29 including postage from this seller but if you search for cat necklace annoyingly now you can get it cheaper.

My next two purchases are courtesy of some of my Christmas money x Unless you've been living under a rock you'll know that there have been some fabulous make up palette releases over the last few months As much as I would have loved Naked 3 and the Narsissist  palettes I couldn't justify them. So I decided to spend a little less and buy a couple of things from a brand that I haven't tried before -  Kardashian Beauty.

First of all I got an eyeshadow palette - the Kardashian Beauty Touch Tones Gradient Shadows palette in Silhouette..

and I also got an eye and cheek palette - the Khloe Kardazzle palette.

I'm going to do a full review of both of these palettes in the next few weeks and I might even have one to give away.

My last two purchases were also beauty related  - first up the most gorgeous nail polish from the Pretty brand at Poundland

I love the speckled look of the feather effect polishes from Nails Inc but I could never justify the price. Thankfully the budget brands have followed the trend and I managed to pick up a few from ebay and this one from Poundland.

It has a jelly base filled with a combo of matte and shiny glitter strands, in shades of white, blue, turquoise and purple. The base is quite sheer but I guess you could build it up - I think to get the best finish though I'll probably use this layered up over block colours.

The last thing I bought was from Avon. My favourite foundation of 2013 was Avon Ideal Flawless Invisible Coverage Foundation in Ivory. The colour was perfect and I loved the texture, so I decided to try another one of their foundations.

The Avon Extra Lasting Liquid Foundation claims to withstand heat and humidity and last for up to 18 hours sounds pretty good to me so I thought I'd try it out. Again I went for the Ivory shade which is perfect for pale pink toned people like me x  The claims are pretty amazing so I'm going to put it through it paces and then do a full review x

So they were my January buys x If you have any questions please leave me a comment, and keep following my blog and my Instagram to see what I've bought this month xx

Friday 7 February 2014

Foodie Friday - Veggie, Bean And Nut Burgers

The quest to find a perfect bean burger for me is a never ending one, there are so many combinations of  beans and ingredients to try. This is another experiment based on a recipe from one of my favourite vegetarian books "The New Students Veggie Cook Book" by Carolyn Humphries. It's not the lowest calorie recipe by any means coming in at roughly 305 calories a burger including the cooking oily  but they are pretty cheap to make and it's full of protein, texture and taste.

Veggie, Bean And Nut Burgers 

 410g Can Beans Or Pulses
2 Slices Bread Or One Bread Roll
1/2 Onion
25g Nuts
2 Eggs
1 Tsp Marmite 
1 Carrot
1 Parsnip
Salt And Pepper To Taste 
Oil For Frying 

1. Drain you beans or pulses well and give them a rinse

2. Pop them into a large bowl 

and mash them up with a fork or a potato masher

3. Crumble up your bread into small pieces and add it to the bowl. I'm using a white gluten free roll here.

4. Finely chop your nuts if they aren't already chopped - mine weren't so I just popped them into the food processor and add them to the bowl.

5. Peel your onion and grate that into the bowl. The original recipe doesn't contain onion but I think it makes a big difference

6. Peel and grate your parsnip and add that to the bowl

7. Peel and grate your carrot and add that to the bowl 

8. Add your Marmite x

Then give it a good mix and then slowly add your beaten eggs and salt and pepper to taste

Mix it either with a spoon or get your hands dirty until the mixture holds together, you might need a little bit more or a little less egg - you don't want it too wet and you don't want it too dry otherwise they will fall apart x Then refrigerate for at least half an hour to allow the mixture to firm up a bit x

9. Divide the mixture into 4, roll it into 4 balls and form into burger shapes.

10. Then shallow fry until the burgers are warmed through and golden brown on both sides. - don't panic if they fall apart a bit even shop bought bean burgers do that :)

Voila serve immediately - This recipe makes four substantial burger but obviously you could make more smaller ones. Me and Mummy Lou just had one burger each served with salad,

The two remaining burgers from this recipe were put on a plate, on a sheet of grease proof paper in the fridge.

They're okay for a few days just bring them back to room temperature and then fry off. We had these ones with Slimming World chips, and salad :)

Hints And Tips

* It much easier and quicker to used tinned beans or pulses, who wants to faff on with boiling and soaking. You can use any variety you like, the original recipe used aduki beans but I used a tin of mixed pulses which contained chickpeas, soya beans, black eyed beans, pinto beans, red kidney beans and aduki beans but any of those would works as I guess would baked beans!

*Again you can use whatever nuts you like I'm using salted peanuts but again use whatever you like. You can actually buy packs of chopped mixed nuts which would make it easier and omit the chopping stage.

*This recipe uses Marmite as the main flavouring but you could mix it up a bit and add curry powder or paste, which would work really well with the parsnip and carrot or even chilli paste, chilli flakes, whatever you want x 

* The vegetable combination in this one works really well but again you could experiment with what you have in the fridge

*Of course it goes without saying that you could use a food processor not only for your grating and chopping
but also for mixing everything together. Of course I'm on a health kick where every movement is exercise so I did most of mine by hand - Go me :)

* Instead of shallow frying why not try baking them. Either form into burger shapes of falafel like balls and cooked on a well greased baking tray ( I just give it a squirt with fry light) for about 20 minutes, until they're crisp

So there you have it a basic protein filled veggie burger that can be altered to suit you x Have you ever made a veggie or a bean burger? leave me a comment and let me know x