Wednesday 27 September 2017

Creating An Autumnal Capsule Wardrobe With ESPRIT*

As much as I love the heat and the warmth of summer, I do love Autumn, I love the colours of the falling leaves, Pumpkin Spice Lattes and of course I love Autumn fashion.

When you're feeling a bit less than confident about your body, Autumn and Winter fashions give you the perfect opportunity to cover up those bits you're not so keen on. Throw on a few layers and in an instant you'll feel more confident and ready to enjoy all of those occasions and events that Fall has to offer.

I think that what I like most about Autumn fashion though is the colour palette, pop into any store, or take a look online, and you'll be greeted by clothing in all sorts of warm autumnal tones ranging from rusts, to mustard's, tans, browns and reds.

I love colour but if you're a bit scared of it and you're not quite sure how to work some of those fall shades into your wardrobe, then take my advice and start off with a simple piece like this long sleeved striped t-shirt from ESPRIT.

Think of a striped top, and you'd probably automatically think about the classic blue and white, Breton stripe that we're all so familiar with. Nothing looks fresher in the Spring and Summer months then those classic stripes teamed up with either blue, or white, jeans or shorts - the nautical look is a real fashion classic and with good reason, but sometimes as the season changes you need to try something new and mix it up a bit.

This 100% cotton t-shirt, comes in 3 very different but coordinating colour ways, and every option is perfect for adding a little bit of Autumn into your wardrobe. Just team one of these t-shirts with with clothing and accessories that already own such as a pair of blue jeans, and some brown and tan accessories, or even with a pair of white trainers, and with the addition of the mustard, red and brown tones of these shirts, you're all set for the season ahead.

Whilst t-shirts like these can help you update even your oldest clothing and accessory pieces for the new season, you can also use simple pieces like these as a basis for your own Autumn capsule wardrobe, adding carefully chosen pieces to create several different outfits.

You could easily team any of these t-shirts with some plain blue or black jeans but where would the fun be in that. If like me you're a bit braver when it comes to colour then why not pick out some of the colours that you can find in each individual top, and get some coordinating or even contrasting pieces in some of these fall tones to create your own capsule wardrobe. I think that any of these separates, also from ESPRIT, would work perfectly with any of these striped t-shirts. The inclusion of the reds, and the rust tones obviously goes without saying, but don't be frightened to try pieces in almost a clashing colour like these bottle green trousers, or even a piece with a clashing print like the subtle check on this pencil skirt, to create your own individual look.

And of course don't forget about your outerwear, you shoes, your accessories and your layering pieces. Again by picking out some of the colours from the tops, you can create your own stylish grab, run, and go outfits without too much effort or thought. I'm particularly loving the Brass Yellow Cotton Blazer Coat and the Garnet Red Melange Knit Cardigan, to add just a hint of warmth and of course colour to your outfit on those drearier Autumn days.

A lot of people think that creating a capsule wardrobe or changing your wardrobe every season is difficult, but I've hopefully shown you here that putting outfits and different items of clothing together doesn't have to be hard. Start of with a basic piece like a striped t-shirt and then either use items that you already have or buy a few more select pieces either in a coordinating or contrasting colour palette, and have fun creating new outfits. A lot of people are scared of colour and of trying new things, but fashion should be fun, and it should be a way of expressing yourself, and creating your own signature style, so play with colour and with new pieces and you might be surprised at just how easy it is to climb out of your comfort zone.

All of the items in this post are currently available from the ESPRIT website and in selected stores and online. Are you a fan of Autumn colours and fashions? Let me know in the comments.

*Sponsored Post

Tuesday 26 September 2017

A Huge Primark Haul - September 2017 Edition

Ahh Primark, nothing lifts my mood than a bit of budget indulgence. Like most stores Primark's prices have increased but it's still one of the cheapest places on the high street to buy clothes, accessories and home wear, and I never, need an excuse to fill my basket.

I've got quite a bit to show you so I'm going to quit the babble and get started, and the first item that I picked up was this sleep tee, which was just £4.50 from the Newcastle store.

When I bought it though, I committed the cardinal sin, and didn't check that the size on the nightshirt corresponded with the size on the hanger grrrr. Thankfully when I went back to exchange it in the Intu Metrocentre store and there was one left in my size! Call it fate or the luck of the Unicorn or the feline but I'm happy to have this in my life. It just a basic over sized t-shirt in a sort of navy blue marl type fabric. You can't see the writing too clearly in the photos but it says "When I Dream I'm A Caticorn" - cats and unicorns what could be better!

Next up something stripy, I've always loved stripes and this year especially, the stores, seem to have caught up with my obsession. A few hauls ago I picked up a basic, short sleeved, striped crew neck t-shirt, and it's something that I've washed, and worn, and washed and worn since I got it. The length is good, and it's super stretchy. I couldn't see any short sleeved ones on the this trip but I did find a long sleeved version in a few different colours, it was just £4 and I went for the pale blue and white stripe version.I've already worn this and for the price I think it's a pretty decent top, and I'm definitely going to pick up a few plain coloured ones for layering.

Sticking with the striped theme, I also picked up this jumper. I'm a big fan of knitwear and lightweight pieces like this one are perfect for pretty much any season in the UK.

It's officially described as a Step Hem Jumper, and it's does have a bit of curved, uneven hem thing going on. It's in a slightly off white with a thin black stripe. It also features a bit of ladder detailing, and rib detailing on the hem and sleeves Again it comes in a few different colours including different stripes and plain colours and it was just £8.

I know they can often be seen as a little bit, grannyish, but I do love a cardigan, no I'll admit it I'm slightly obsessed with cardigans, I probably have enough cardigans in my wardrobe to start my own little cardigan shop but come on! they are just so useful. I love layering, and I always want to cover bits of my body that I'm not feeling very confident about, and cardigans fit the bill perfectly, and when I saw this one, it was woolly love at first sight.

This is one of the pieces from Primark's collaboration with UK Glamour magazine. I don't know the extent of the collaboration but a lot of the new Autumn and Winter pieces are tagged with As Seen In Glamour, so I'm assuming it's just a promotional feature but they had some really nice bits including this officially red, but really more like a bright, orange red cardigan. It's long length, in a wide ribbed design, it has no buttons or fastenings and it has pockets.

It was £13 and although it's made of largely synthetic fibres, it definitely feels a lot more expensive than it is, if you like the idea of angora but you won't buy if for ethical and animal rights reasons this could be something to try. It's the perfect autumnal bright and I can't wait to wear over jeans, leggings, and I'm even planning on wearing it over a plain black dress to give it a pop of colour.

When you shop in Primark as regularly as I do you come to the realisation that there are products that you always buy, things that you always use or things that you'll repeat purchase. For me it has to be Primark's viscose leggings, I don't wear leggings outside of my front door that often, but when I'm spending the day at home, they really are my go to. They retail at around £2.80 a pair, and they're actually pretty decent for the price, they hold their shape, and they aren't completely see through - it's a win, win thing, and every now and then I'll buy a couple of pairs.

As well as leggings there are a couple of Primark's beauty products that are also on my repeat purchase list. First up the PS Oil Balancing Cleansing Wipes With Tea Tree And Witch Hazel, I've lost count of how many packets of these wipes that I've bought over the years, I use them for all sorts of things and to be honest they are actually even better than the used to be. The last few packets that I've bought have been sightly thicker and textured but the price has remained the same, it's just a £1 for 2 packs of 25 so I never feel guilty stocking up when I'm in store.

One of my newest Primark must haves has to be the PS Cuticle Oil, which is just a £1 a bottle. When I first bought this I wasn't expecting a lot but I'm a convert, I love the Original OPI Avoplex but this stuff is nearly as good for a fraction of the price. If you have dry nails and cuticles this is well worth trying.

I know I've said it before but it's so true, Primark's beauty range just keeps getting better and better, yes they may be copying and duping high end brands but as someone who is attempting (haha) to stick to some sort of budget I'm not complaining. On my two September trips so far, I've picked up two of the newest make up items to try, the PS Setting Powder which was £3, and the really interesting looking PS Insta Girl Photo Flash Powder which was just £2.50 and claims to be an Instagram filter in a face powder. I'm going to review both of these items in a future post so you've just got a sneaky peek here x

The PS Insta Girl line seems to be a whole range of face, and make up perfecting, make up items, and beauty tools, that are designed especially for the selfie taking, Instagram obsessed generation. As well as innovative make up items it also contains a range of droolworthy make up brushes. The individual brushes are a little bit pricier than some of Primark's other brushes but they I loved the metallic ombre design so much that I couldn't resist trying the PS Insta Girl No Filter Foundation Brush which was £5.

Like all the other brushes that I've tried from Primark the hairs are super soft, and it's actually a pretty decent, and well made make up brush. Did I need it? did I hell! but I couldn't resist it!

Another Primark item that nearly falls into my must buy on every trip, is their spiral hair bobbles. I buy hair bobbles all the time, but when I need one I can never, ever find one - it's like hair grips, and socks - where do they go? These packs of 12 which are just £1 each, are a very similar to several higher price alternatives. They made of a rubbery plastic, so they don't snag the hair, and they don't lose their shape straight away. This time round I got a pack of navy blue bobbles and a pack which contains several different shades of brown bobbles.

As much as I love jewellery I'm starting to think that maybe I need to stop buying so much, as well as a cardigan shop, based on my own collection I could easily set up, and stock my own jewellery shop, I really do have that much! So I looked at the jewellery section, picked up one pieces and walked away! This is just a set of 3 Semi Precious Bracelets containing what looks like Rose Quartz. The set was £3 and it reminded me of Monica Vinader and some of the Z For Accessorize pieces which I love.

If you could sum this post up in one phrase it would probably be "I didn't really need it but..." and guess what it applies to these next two items as well! I don't need any more shoes, or at least I don't need any more less than sensible shoes but again I couldn't resist. I do love a bargain though and these fabulous slip on pumps were only £3 having been reduced from £8.

They are comfy but they certainly aren't for the faint hearted, they're made of a bright blue satin, and the feature an embroidered, almost oriental style floral design. I love a bit of colour and I think that these flats will be perfect for jazzing up a plain outfit, like for example a pair of jeans and a plain white t-shirt.

For as long as I can remember I've loved velvet, and in particular blue velvet, no I don't mean the film, even though I'm a big David Lynch fan, I mean the fabric, and in particular I have a bit of a thing for velvet footwear, so when I saw these boots, which were just £16 it was inevitable that the would end up in my basket.

Are they practical? not really, can I walk in them? if I concentrate I can I guess, why did I buy them then? Well just look at them they are so pretty,  even if I don't wear them I might find a way of putting them on display, I just don't want to destroy their velvet loveliness. Pointless purchase? NEVER!

If you've made it this far, well done, I know that this haul to put it politely was a long one, never mind I'm nearly done I just have 3 home related pieces to show you, including a band waggon jump.

Yes I managed to jump on the Primark, Beauty And The Beast band waggon, with a little Mrs Potts purchase.

Unfortunately it wasn't the actual teapot, does that even exist? but it was the next best thing, the Mrs Potts Money Box.

I have quite a few money boxes, and piggy banks in my collection, and think that this ceramic Mrs Potts will fit right in. It was only £8 and I think that it would make a great gift for either a Disney fan or a money box collector, no matter what their age.

So, so cute and something else that's pretty cute is this Reindeer Tealight Holder, which was just £1.50.

I know it's still a little bit early to start thinking about Christmas but there is nothing wrong with being prepared! Last time I went in Intu Metrocentre Primark, they were just starting to put their Christmas things out and I spotted this little guy. I already own him in white for a year or so ago, and since he was a bit lonely I had to pick up this bronze toned version as well. It was just £1.50 and it also contains an unscented tea light.

My final purchase was something else that was candle related, and like so many stores at the moment Primark have really upped their candle and home fragrancing game. With Jo Malone alikes, decent reed diffusers, and a Salted Caramel Brownie candle that everyone seems to have gone mad for, if you like a bit of home scent Primark is the place to go. Since I've recently purchased a few foodie scented candles I thought I'd try one of their fruitier options, and this one fit the bill perfectly.

At £5 this was a little pricey by Primark standards but I do think it was worth it. This Plum and Mulberry Scented Candle has the most amazing fruity fragrance, and it comes in a beautiful, swirled, almost tie dye effect, glass or ceramic (I can't tell, sorry!) holder, that I'm definitely planning on reusing x

So it was long, and drawn out and I didn't need most of it but hey, I probably spent a lot less in Primark than I would have done elsewhere for similar stuff. I've made a little (haha) You Tube video to accompany this haul that you can watch below or via this link.

Thanks for reading and hopefully watching, and if you have any questions on anything in this haul then leave me a comment below and don't forget to link me up to your latest Primark hauls as well x

Sunday 24 September 2017

L.A. Colors Color Craze Nail Polish - Static Electricity

After a few months of sporadic nail painting, I'm really enjoying painting my nails a few times a week at the moment, and I'm enjoying trying out new colours and discovering old favourites.

This polish is a new one to me, and it's a one for all of you bargainistas. This colour is from US based , cheap as chips, brand L.A. Colors. It isn't that widely available in the UK but I have seen it on a few bargain make up stalls, and if you're lucky enough to have one near you then you can often find full L.A. Colors stands in a discount store called Boyes which you find in various towns and cities across Northern England, the Midlands and on the East Coast. If you've got a store near you it's well worth having a look in, I have a few stores near me and it's one of those shops that you never come out of empty handed.

I talked about a couple of products from L.A. Colors in the past (click on the Beauty Product Directory link above to read them) but this is only the second nail polish that I've tried.

I'm a big fan of blue nail and given that this one L.A. Colors Color Craze Nail Polish in NP 421, Static Electricity was only 99p, it was a must have. It's a little bit more subtle than a true, neon, electric blue, but I would still class it a bright blue.

The bottle is a shorter, stubbier version of the traditional OPI bottle, and it comes with a very slim brush. The polish has quite a liquidy consistency, so the first coat was very streaky. Thankfully the polish was quite quick drying and you could achieve good coverage on most nails with the addition of a second coat. The finish was even and really glossy even without the addition of a top coat.

The wear time was decent, I managed three days without a chip, but if you wanted to improve the longevity then you could of course use a top coat.

For just 99p I think that this polish was well worth picking up, I love the colour and despite the budget price point the wear and application was pretty decent. Have you tried any products from L.A. Colors? Let me know you recommendations in the comments x

Wednesday 20 September 2017

A Budget Home, Lifestyle And Stationery Haul

I know that you guys all love a haul so as a special treat I'm sharing a bit of exclusive content with you. I don't know if you aware of it but I have a You Tube channel, where I mainly post unboxings, and haul videos. A lot of the time I make videos to accompany blog posts and vice versa, but every now and then I shoot a haul video exclusively for my You Tube followers. When I do that I sometimes feel a little bit guilty that some of my blog followers may be missing out so today I thought I'd one of my You Tube channel exclusive hauls with you.

Today it's a bargaintastic home, lifestyle and stationery haul from a variety of stores including Poundland, Tiger and Aldi, and the good news is that the most expensive item was just £5

If you're on a mobile device and you can't see this video please check it out via this link x If you have questions on any of the items that I bought then leave me a comment either below or on my You Tube channel and I'll get back to you x 

Saturday 16 September 2017

Foodie Friday On A Saturday - No Bake Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

This post is typical I suppose of how this year has gone, I don't post a Foodie Friday post for eons, and then when I do it becomes a Foodie Friday On A Saturday post instead. Ha! Ha! life fail in the extreme seems to sum up my year! Anyways I hope that you will agree, that this recipe was one worth waiting for.

I love cheesecake, I crave cheesecake on a regular basis, but as you probably know a lot of the ones that you buy in the supermarkets just don't cut the mustard - they are okay in an emergency but when you want the real I am, you can't beat a homemade dessert.

Baked cheesecakes scare me and as a vegetarian throwing gelatine into something isn't really an option so this no bake, vegetarian friendly number fits the bill perfectly. The recipe is very loosely based on a No Bake Raspberry And White Chocolate Cheesecake that a lovely lady that used to blog shared many moons ago. As long as you stick to the basic filling mix then you can use what every chocolate you like, and you can play with the flavours and the filling be it fruit, or even more chocolate. I made this recipe last week for my mam's birthday and I'm going to be honest this isn't one for the faint hearted - it's hugely calorific, very rich and very sickly, if you like your sweets to be sweet, then this is the dessert for you.

No Bake Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

For The Base

100g Ginger Nuts
100g Chocolate Digestives
75g Butter (More For Greasing)

397g Tin Carnation Caramel

For The Filling

500g Full Fat Cream Cheese (Room Temperature)
50g Caster Sugar
180ml Whipping Cream
600g Milk Chocolate
65g Butter
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract Or Vanilla Paste
Large Bar Of Caramel Filled Chocolate or Soft Caramel Filled Buttons Or Chocolates

For this cheesecake you will need a very well greased, loose bottomed or spring form cake tin, around 23cm across, don't worry if it's a little bit smaller but if it's any bigger you might need to make a bit more of the base.

1. To make the base all you need to do is to crush your biscuits, either in a sealed bag with a rolling pin or if you have one, use a food processor, it's way easier on the arms and you get a more consistent crumb. Melt your butter and then add it to the crumb mix with a tablespoon of the caramel, and give it a good stir.

2. Now it's time for one of the grossest pictures that you will probably ever see on my blog ;) It doesn't look good but the combo of butter, caramel and biscuit crumbs, tastes fantastic. Try not to eat it though, because a cheesecake is nothing without it's base. Pour the crumb mix into your well greased tin, and then press it down evenly and firmly with either the back of a spoon or a potato masher to create a compressed, even crust.

Then either pop it into the fridge or put it in a cool place for around an hour to firm up

3. While your base is setting it's time to start on the filling. Put your chocolate into a large bowl, with your butter and your vanilla, and pop it over a bowl of boiling water, gently stirring until it's melted. Try not to get any water into your chocolate mix and make sure that your chocolate mix doesn't get too hot.

4. While your chocolate mix is melting, put your room temperature cream cheese into a large bowl, and then add the cream and the sugar, then mix it all together until it's smooth.

5. You don't have to add any more chocolate but I love the texture difference in my cheesecake so you can either add some ordinary chopped chocolate or you can do what I've done here and chopped up a large bar of soft caramel filled chocolate (this is Cadbury's Caramel), or you can use individual soft caramel filled chocolates. Pop the chopped chocolate into the fridge until you're ready for it.

6. By now your chocolate mix should be fully melted, give it a good stir to make sure that there are no lumps or solid pieces. It will be a bit thicker than normal melted chocolate due to the addition of the butter so don't panic if it looks a bit thick. Leave it to cool for a minute or two.

7. Then add your melted chocolate mix to your cheese mix, and carefully mix it together until it's smooth and full combined

8. Then mix in your caramel filled chocolate until it's evenly distributed throughout the filling mix.

9. Now it's time to start building your cheesecake, start off by putting a few dollops of caramel sauce on to your chilled cheesecake base

Then start spooning in your cheesecake filling mixture, alternating it with spoonfuls of caramel

Keep a little bit of caramel for the top and swirl it through your cheesecake mix. Then put it in a cold place or in the fridge for at least 12 hours, I left mine for around 24 hours to be on the safe side. Make sure that you put your tin onto a baking sheet or a plate and you can sometimes get a little bit of liquid escaping from the tin, and make sure that you cover the top to avoid anything dripping into the mix

10. Unlike a baked cheesecake or one containing gelatine, this cheesecake will never set completely solid. After leaving it to set though you will notice a definite difference in the texture. It will feel firmer to the touch. Then I guess you just need to be brave, run a palette knife around edges to loosen it, and then either unclip the side of your tin, or push it up from the bottom, and your cheesecake should come away easily.

11. If it doesn't come away evenly it's not the end of the world, it will still taste great even if it doesn't look it. If it comes out great well done you, smooth the edges off with a palette knife, and if you don't think there is enough chocolate or caramel in it already, then decorate it with a bit more, I used Cadbury's Caramel Nibbles here x

Then serve in small slices, it will be gooey as hell, that's just the way it is. Pop it back into the fridge in between ravishings where it will keep for a couple of days, if you can leave it alone that is.

Tips And Suggestions

  • As I say providing you stick to the basic chocolate, cheese ration you can use what ever you like, the original version uses white chocolate and raspberries and white chocolate buttons in the filling instead of the caramel, and the milk chocolate and it's amazing. I'm also envisaging a milk and white chocolate swirled cheesecake, a chocolate orange one for Christmas, and maybe white chocolate with strawberry or passion fruit, or a chocolate and peanut butter version or a white chocolate version with crushed Oreos, or even a dark chocolate and salted caramel version, just use your imagination!
  • If you think this version is too much then you can of course leave out the extra chocolate in the filling on the top and just use the caramel.
  • Instead of Carnation Caramel you could also obviously make your own caramel or toffee sauce, or use a jar of Dulce De Leche, a salted caramel sauce or even something like Cadbury's Caramel Spread.
  • I've made this with a combination of gluten free chocolate digestives and ginger snaps but you can use what ever biscuits that you like - digestives are obviously the preferred biscuit for cheesecakes but ginger snaps, bourbons and Oreos also work really well
  • It's really important that your cream cheese is at room temperature, it just won't mix in well enough if it's too cold. It's also important that you use a decent cream cheese for this recipe you don't want anything low fat, and whilst supermarket brands do work don't go for their budget or value cream cheese, it just isn't creamy or thick enough.
Obviously this cheesecake isn't something that you would eat all the time, it's way too calorific and expensive to make every day but for a treat or for a special occasion it's well worth indulging in a yummy slice of homemade cheesecake. If you have any questions please leave me a comment and if you try this out I'd love to see your creations x