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love autumn, and I especially love all the makeup trends that come with the season. A berry lip is back on trend, it can look great as a statement with lashings of mascara like I did in this post a while ago. However, I wanted to really vamp it up a bit so I paired it with a gorgeous gold smokey eye. But first, the lips. I used two lipsticks layered on top of one another to get a really intense purple colour. I used NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Damned all over my lips first, which is a beautiful colour in itself. However, the magic really happened when I layered NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen over the top, it makes the colour so much deeper. I applied it with a lip brush as the wand is a little inaccurate, but it’s worth the extra effort as this lip cream is serious value for money at £5.50! The staying power of this lip is also incredible, the colour did not budge for about three hours, and most impressively it survived lunch.

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Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Damned, NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen

Now for the beeeautiful eyeshadow palette. I was wandering around Boots recently and stumbled across the Sleek range. I’d never tried any of their makeup before but I’d heard good things, and at £8.99 I couldn’t resist this palette. It’s called ‘All Night Long’ and I mean isn’t it just stunning? It has the perfect mix of matte and shimmery colours, and they are incredibly pigmented for such an inexpensive palette. For my eyes I used the light orange copper (bottom row, four along) as a base, followed on top by the intense burnt copper (bottom right). Then I did another wash of the golden brown (top right) and to finish, some of the matte brown in my crease to add some depth. I added a tiny bit of eyeliner to my bottom lash line, just to define ever so slightly. Any black eyeliner will do, but I used the Lancome Grandiose Liner, which I’m thinking about doing a review on as so many people have different opinions about it. But back to the palette, it’s so versatile and I definitely reach for this now just as much as my Naked palette, which is really saying something. I’ll definitely be looking at more of the Sleek range, the quality is just amazing for the price.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and let me know what you think of the look!

 

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Blackberry and apple crumble is one of my favourite ever dishes, it’s such a comforting autumnal pudding. One of the best things about this dessert is how local all the fruit is to me – blackberries grow in the hedgerows down my lane this time of year, and we have two apple trees in our garden. This recipe is roughly based on one by Raymond Blanc, but don’t worry, it’s far from complicated! The only difference from a simple crumble recipe is that in his recipe he cooks his apples and blackberries in sugar, butter and cinnamon before baking it, which gives the crumble an extra yum factor. This blackberry and apple crumble is pretty big, it serves about 10, but just half the ingredients if you want a smaller crumble.

Ingredients:

For the fruit filling –

600g cooking apples
60g unsalted butter
60g demerara sugar
230g blackberries
1 tsp cinnamon

For the crumble topping –

360g plain flour
180g caster sugar
180g butter
150g oats

I used a round dish that was 24cm in diameter x 6cm deep.

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C

2. To start making the fruit filling, peel and chop your apples into small pieces that are roughly the same size, about 3cm is fine.

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3. Put the butter and sugar into a saucepan and melt together over a medium heat. Cook for about 3 mins until the mixture turns to a light caramel (I used light soft brown sugar because we had run out of demerara sugar and it worked just as well).

4. Stir in the apples and cook for 3 mins.

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5. Add the blackberries and cinnamon and cook for 3 minutes.

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6. Pour into your pie dish and set aside whilst you make your crumble topping.

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7. Stir the flour and sugar together in a bowl, then add the butter and rub it into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumb consistency. I used an electric whisk so you can do this if you cut yourself whilst peeling apples you’re lazy too. Then add the oats and stir them through.

8. Top the fruit filling with the crumble mix and then bake the crumble for about 30 minutes, or until the crumble topping is a light brown colour.

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9. Enjoy!!

If you missed my last baking post you can find it here, I baked Tanya Burr’s Cappuccino Cake and it’s amazing. 

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I’ve been curious about the use of paintbrushes as makeup brushes ever since I saw one of Lisa Eldridge’s Youtube videos, where she was pinpoint concealing with a tiny paintbrush. Logical, right, because artists must need tiny paintbrushes for detailed works of art. But then, really what’s the difference between painting a canvas or a face? I decided to test how far I could push the use of paintbrushes as makeup brushes, by doing half a face of makeup with each different set of brushes, and seeing if I (or you guys) could tell the difference.

First, I visited a local art supplies shop in Leicester, Gadsby’s Arts, to choose a few brushes. I was amazed to see how much cheaper they were than makeup brushes. They had a promotion running, where you could pick any five paintbrushes by the brand Royal and Langnickel for £13. I was blown away, some of my makeup brushes cost more than that for one. These are the paintbrushes that I bought:

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Left to right: Oval Mop in 1/2, Sable Shader in 10, Angular Shader in 0, Half Moon in 1/2, Oval Mop in 3/4.

When I was choosing, I thought about the shape of my makeup brushes at home, and did my best to figure out which paintbrushes would work best. I also made sure to choose the softest brushes possible. I chose brushes suitable for applying highlighter, bronzer/blusher, eyeshadow, eyeliner and for  blending eyeshadow. I decided not to choose one for my foundation because I use the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge day to day rather than a brush.

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I realised after taking the photo of the makeup brushes on their own that I had cheekily added in my blush brush, making it six makeup brushes, so I decided to remove it to make it completely even. The photo that follows shows you exactly which brushes I was pitching against one another. Working from the top row down are the brushes I decided to use for highlighter, base eyeshadow, eyeliner, eyeshadow blending and contour/blusher. I was pretty nervous about starting, considering these were a) paintbrushes after all and b) brushes I had never used before. I mean, sure they were cheaper and everything, but could they really stand up to my reliable (and more expensive) makeup brushes? I was still a bit cynical.

Before I reveal which side of my face I did with paintbrushes and which I did with makeup brushes, take a look and make a mental note of what you think! Made up your mind? Check out the answer below…

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…I did the right hand side of my face with paintbrushes (which appears on the left hand side of the photo) and the left hand side with my makeup brushes! Give yourself a ridiculously big pat on the back if you got that right! I was absolutely gobsmacked with the finished result. I couldn’t believe how similar both eyes turned out considering the brushes weren’t exactly similar in shape or size. The makeup was just as easy to apply with the paintbrushes as my normal makeup brushes, the only difference being that the Angular Shader brush was better at applying eyeliner than my Real Techniques one! You can see that on my right eye my eyeliner is a little smudgier and less defined.

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Verdict

Cost: Paintbrushes – £13 vs. Makeup brushes – £50.97 
Okay so the difference between those numbers makes me feel a bit sick. The problem with Real Techniques is that I couldn’t find these brushes online individually, instead they come in sets (I have no idea why this is). Real Techniques are some of the best quality brushes you can buy in drug stores, but even if you wanted to buy an individual brush in store you’d still be paying over £10 for one. It seems crazy now that I’ve tried paintbrushes that work equally as well, if not better.

Versatility: The paintbrushes that really stood out for me were Oval Mop in 1/2 (highlighter), Sable Shader in 10 (eyeshadow blender) and Angular Shader in 10 (eyeliner). I needed a new highlighter brush as my cheap one from Boots just wasn’t cutting it, but in all honesty couldn’t justify spending money on a better one. I am happily replacing this one with the Oval Mop, it’s soft and picks up just enough product but not too much so you end up with a streak of shimmer on your face. The Sable Shader brush is incredible at blending and it really is just as good as my Real Techniques one. The Angular Shader brush was incredible at neatly lining my eye, it’s so small that you can be really precise with the application. The only downside to the paintbrushes is of course, they have pretty long handles. However, if you’re willing to spend a little bit more money and look a little harder, you can buy smaller handled ones like the Angular Shader brush (which is from the Mini Majestic range).

I really didn’t expect to fall in love with any brushes when I first began this experiment, but I can now say hand on heart, that I will be looking in more art supply shops for brushes. I think this might become my new obsession.
Give it a go yourselves, and please leave a comment saying which side of my face you thought I had made up with paintbrushes, I would love to know!

 

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So I realise that I’ve been writing about food quite a lot over the summer, but going away on holiday means visiting new places and of course, trying out new food. I have a really exciting beauty post coming next week which will shake things up a bit, so stay tuned for that! If you haven’t already seen my foodie’s post about Budapest then check it out, it will make you want to go.

I visited St Ives a couple of weeks ago with my family for the very first time, and it was absolutely beautiful. For Cornwall we were pretty lucky that the sun decided to shine for most of the week. But one of the best things about Cornwall was, of course, the food. I made a pact with myself to make the most of being by the sea, and ate fish as much as I could when we went out for meals. Unlike Budapest, the restaurants didn’t really vary much in terms of price, so instead of ranking them this way, I’ve put them in order of the favourites that are a must visit, to ones that are nice but I wouldn’t rush back to. Enjoy!

The Black Rock – Must Visit

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We ate at the Black Rock on the very first night of our trip, and it set the bar. The food was incredible and wouldn’t have been out of place at a Michelin restaurant (although thank goodness for the larger portions). For starter I had spring vegetable risotto (see above) and for my main I had sea trout on a bed of lentils and pancetta. I have never enjoyed lentils so damn much. I was too full for pudding and I’m seriously regretting not having one now. I must also mention their Pixie Prosecco cocktail, elderflower cordial topped with Prosecco, it sounds so simple yet it was incredible. We’re heading back down to St. Ives next year and this place will be top of the list to revisit.

Harbour Gourmet Fish and Chips – Must Visit

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We were wandering around one night trying to figure out where to go for dinner and stumbled across this beauty of a restaurant. The Harbour Gourmet Restaurant goes above and beyond normal fish and chips. For one, you can choose which fish you’d like, if you want it battered, and if you’d like chips or salad (there’s no real choice here really). I had sea bass with chips and minted peas, and it was just beautiful. Simple, fresh ingredients but done superbly well. The staff were also really friendly and welcoming.

Alba – Must Visit

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Alba is renowned for both its cocktail bar, The A Bar, and it’s fine dining restaurant. Our experience at Alba was mixed; we had a late table at about 9.30 and it was evident that the waiters were tired and not quite as attentive as they perhaps should have been. We ordered two mojitos and they brought us two pina coladas, then when they brought us the mojitos they had no sugar or rum in them (kinda crucial). It was incredibly disappointing because one of the primary reasons we visited was because of their cocktail reputation. However, I’m putting as my third favourite because they thoroughly redeemed themselves with the food. The photo above is a bit grainy but I had to include it because these scallops were the best I had whilst we were in St. Ives. For main I had the beef fillet (breaking my trying-as-much-fish-as-possible rule) but it was perfect. Again, I had no room for a pudding but we had an after dinner cocktail, and they were incredible. So although the evening started off poorly, it had completely redeemed itself by the end.

Porthminster Beach Cafe – Must Visit

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This restaurant is on the end of Porthminster Beach and offers something a little more sophisticated than a Cornish pasty. They have a terrace outside so book if you want a seat, the view across the beach is absolutely stunning. I had sea bream and it was cooked perfectly, followed by this strawberry and cream concoction for pudding. It was all beautifully presented and the view just made the whole experience even better.

Carbis Bay Hotel – Lovely for lunch

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One day it was absolutely stunning weather, so we walked all the way from St Ives to Carbis Bay and along the beach. We were absolutely starving after, and the Carbis Bay Hotel absolutely hit the spot. We all had a roast dinner which was cooked absolutely perfectly, followed by the lightest (and most generous) sticky toffee pudding I’ve ever had. So well received after that huge walk, and needless to say we got a taxi back!

St Andrews Street Bistro – Cosy and Honest

I don’t have a photo for this restaurant as to be honest, I was too busy enjoying the food! St Andrews Street Bistro is a lovely restaurant tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the main high street. It’s family owned and they focus on using fresh, local produce in all their dishes. One of the best bits about this restaurant is that they give you a warm loaf of bread with soft butter before you even order. One of the hardest things to do is not eat it all! I had scallops for my starter, which were nice but not quite as good as Alba. To follow I had hake with crushed truffle baby potatoes, pea pesto and a butter sauce which was lovely. An all round good restaurant.

Sea Food Cafe – Wouldn’t Rush Back

Photo taken from the Seafood Cafe website

Photo taken from the Seafood Cafe website

The Sea Food Cafe is the place that I had heard about before we arrived, and I was excited to see if the hype was real. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to the high expectations that had been set by the other restaurants we visited during our stay. Don’t get me wrong, I had a beautiful starter of scallops (again haha) and the wine was great, but the service and the main course let it down. The idea is that you can choose your fish or meat and pair it with a sauce, so you have total freedom of choice when it comes to your meal, similar to the Harbour Gourmet Fish and Chips. Although my fish was cooked well, the stack of baby potatoes were bizarrely dry and tasteless. You have to book if you want to eat out at all during the holiday season in St Ives, so again we had a late table at 9.30pm as it’s the only time we could get in. The staff were reeasonably attentive but nothing special, we didn’t feel overly welcome. Overall it really didn’t live up to the huge hype, and the standards that the other restaurants in St. Ives set.

Other places of note:

Juliet’s Garden

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I couldn’t do this post without mentioning another fantastic restaurant, even though it’s on the Scilly Isles. We had a day trip to St Mary’s and everyone told us that this was the place to go for lunch, and they weren’t wrong. Not only was the food superb, but the garden offered the most stunning views over the harbour. I had a chicken caesar salad and it was so well done for something relatively simple. If you’re visiting St. Ives and fancy a day trip, I’d highly recommend heading over to St. Mary’s and taking a pit stop here for lunch.

West Beach Bakery

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West Beach Bakery is a cafe come restaurant at the west end of Porthmeor beach, which offers snacks such as freshly baked cakes to sourdough pizzas. We went for chips, whitebait and shared a jug of Pimms and sangria between the four of us. It was all lovely and freshly cooked, the whitebait was simply to die for and came with a generous helping of garlic aioli. We stayed here drinking watching the surfers (it’s primarily a surfing beach) and the sun going down. Just perfect if you need a little pick me up before dinner.

St. Ives Bakery

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We came to this bakery every morning before breakfast to pick up a fresh loaf bread and/or croissants and it is by far the best bakery that we found in St. Ives. I had to mention it because it was so reliably good every single day, and I highly recommend their sourdough bread, yum.

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When I was invited to have a complimentary* haircut at the new RUSH hair salon in Leicester, two things crossed my mind. Firstly, I was chuffed that my blog had been noticed (it’s still a baby) and secondly, I began to get super excited. I’d been thinking of going shorter with my hair for a while, but never really been brave enough to go for it. This was just the push I needed!

You can see that it looks so much healthier on the right! To get it to this beautiful state, the lovely Creative Director, Yiannis, chatted to me about what kind of cut I’d like, to which I took the plunge and suggested he took about 3 or 4 inches off. He was so friendly and helpful and said we could always start with a couple of inches and see how I felt! He then suggested a treatment for my hair whilst it was being washed, which is where these lab-esque bottles come into play.

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Yiannis suggested that I have a mixture of the orange and the pink treatments, the orange is called ‘Booster Nutrition’ and puts the moisture back into your hair, whilst the pink ‘Booster Brilliance’ adds the most amazing shine. A bottle (taken from one of the sides) was filled up with the two treatments, and then a spray nozzle was screwed on top. It’s such a cool contraption and really added a bit more theatre to the whole experience. After shampooing the treatment is sprayed onto your hair and left to soak in before being washed out. I was surprised at how much serum was sprayed in as Yiannis used all of the filled bottle, but I’m 100% not complaining and it means you’re truly getting your money’s worth. Even better, this treatment lasts 4-6 weeks!

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After my hair had been washed and made to feel oh so silky (Kerastase you are my best friend), it was time to get cutting. And guys I did it, I was brave and went straight for the 3-4 inches off! Yiannis then curled the ends of my hair to make it all bouncy and slightly more wavy.

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Yiannis used all of these wonderful products on my hair – I already have the shampoo and swear by it, but I’ll definitely be looking into getting the heat protector at the back. It smells amazing. 

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This is the finished look! I couldn’t be happier with the entire experience, I was made to feel so welcome and I left feeling truly pampered. If you’re in need of a haircut I’d definitely recommend heading down as they have special offers on all cuts, colours and blowdries from Monday to Friday to celebrate their new salon. I hope you enjoyed reading and again thank you to RUSH for truly spoiling me!

*RUSH Hair kindly invited me for a complimentary cut in return for this blog post/to facilitate this review

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