Reviewing My New Year's Resolutions

It seems like ages ago that I was making my New Year’sresolutions.  Most of us have forgotten about them or, more than likely, given up.  I was just to going to let mine fade into a distant memory.  But by doing this, my resolutions would have seemed like a failure.  So I decided choose one thing to really focus on for the rest of the year.

Many of us pick unattainable goals.  By selecting things that are relatively simple to do instead, it becomes much easier to see the progress you’ve made.  Listing personal achievements are a great way to boost confidence and so reviewing your original resolutions, breaking them down and concentrating on one easy goal is a fantastic way of feeling good about yourself.

I chose to focus on my goal of drawing more.  I’d already sat down and produced some quick sketches (inspired by David Attenborough’s Africa)!  Now I aim to sit down with my paper and pencils on a more regular basis, even if it’s just for five minutes.  And who knows, maybe soon I’ll have moved onto the paints!

Meringue Kisses

I decided to make myself a little sweet treat for Valentine's Day and pink meringue kisses seemed like the perfect choice.  I like that they look like they're from the set of Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette!  They're really easy to make and you only need a handful of ingredients.  I've adapted Delia's guide to making meringues and am left with delectable little pink pillows!  It's easier and quicker to use an electric whisk, but if you do use a hand whisk be prepared for achy arms!

Meringue Kisses
1 egg white
50g caster sugar
Gel food colouring

Preheat your oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Separate your egg and place the egg white into a bowl that's big enough to whisk in.  Whisk until stiff peaks are formed, but be careful not to overwhisk. (Tip for using up egg yolks here).

Add in the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whisking until all the sugar is combined and your mixture is glossy.

Add in a little of your gel food colouring, you can always add more.  Try using a cocktail stick to add small amounts if you're after a pastel colour as you have more control than adding out of the packaging. 

Once the food colouring is evenly distrubuted, spoon your mixture into a piping bag and pipe onto the baking tray in whatever shape you want.  If you don't have a piping bag, you can just as easily spoon the mixture onto the tray.

Turn the oven down to 140C/175F/Gas 1 and pop your tray of meringues in.

After an hour, check that your meringues can be lifted from the paper with ease.  If they still stick, they'll need a little longer.  Once baked, turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside.  They need to cool and dry out.  Try not to eat them all at once!

What treats did you get on Valentine's Day?

TRESemme Liquid Gold Review

I’ve only briefly flirted with hair oils in the past.  I really like the idea of them and their claims of transforming my hair into silky smooth locks.  I picked up the TRESemme Liquid Gold when I was in a rush, but desperate for something to tame my frizzy and unruly ends.  In the past, I’ve never got on with TRESemme products.  Their shampoos and conditioners tend to strip my hair and make it dry and unmanageable.  The only product that has worked is their heat defence spray.

I chose the Liquid Gold as I’d heard it could be a budget dupe for Moroccan Oil; the wonder product that seems to be on every hair and beauty enthusiasts lips.  I must admit I was also drawn in by the packaging, whose gold detailing creates an air of luxury. 

Liquid Gold is rather runny and comes with a handy pump.  The packaging suggests that you start with one pump, however, I have rather a lot of hair and it’s quite long so I found that two or three pumps were needed instead.  I applied the product before blow drying, onto towel dried hair and found that it took a little longer for my hair to be fully dry.  However, my split and dry ends did look considerably smoother and shinier.    

I feel that Liquid Gold has made my hair appear to be in better condition, but it doesn't feel as good as it looks.   I had expected the product to improve the quality of my hair as well as its appearance (although I'm aware that no product can mend a split end).  Instead my hair feels as if it's been coated with a film of product.  This is exactly what silicone based products will do to your hair.  I really wish I'd read the ingredients and done more research before purchasing this.  Although it does contain both Argan and corn oil, the predominant ingredients are silicones.  

I will be finishing up this bottle, but certainly won't be repurchasing.  I'd rather find a hair product with a higher proportion of natural ingredients next time.  If you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them!

Have you tried TRESemme Liquid Gold?  What hair oil would you recommend?

Valentine's Gift Idea | Wish List

I love Valentine's Day.  It's a perfect opportunity to take the time to tell someone you care, whether that person is your other half, a family member or a friend.  I like the chance to think of original and personal gifts, but sometimes the uniform flowers, chocolates and perfumes do the job just as well if a little thought has gone into it.

The Emma Bridgewater baking dish would make an excellent gift for any keen baker. What could be better than a heart shaped pudding?!

Chanel perfumes are a little bit special.  I love how the bottle looks on my bedside table.  I like to pretend I'm a glamourous French lady as I spritz on Coco Mademoiselle, so for me, this would be the perfect gift 

The heart shaped lolly from Thornton's is a cute little token as chocolate always goes down well.  This would be the perfect little treat for colleagues.

Tulips are my favourite flowers and I'd definitely rather receive a pretty bunch of them rather than roses.  When I saw these tulip bubble wands from Lush, my heart skipped a beat!  They smell of chocolate and oranges, which is a scent I can take or leave, but I know lots of people go mad for it!  You can also plant the paper tag, as it has seeds in, and watch some pretty flowers grow!

I've got a thing about arrows at the moment and love this simple necklace from Topshop.  It would look really cute with T-shirt dress for a casual outfit.

I really want to try out Topshop's Lip Crayons.  They look so easy to apply when you're on the go.  Secret Party is a gorgeous bright raspberry shade which is perfectly flirty for Valentine's Day.

Lastly, and possibly my favourite, is this tote bag from Paperchase.  The slogan is really sweet and perfect for any typography geeks!

Will you be celebrating Valentine's Day this year?   

Montagne Jeunesse Passion Peel Off Review

Montagne Jeunesse's Passion Peel Off Face Mask* is the perfect product to prep your skin for Valentine's Day.  I don't know about you, but I always feel ten times more confident if I know my skin is looking good.  And the last thing you want to be doing is worrying about your complexion when you're with that certain person who gives you butterflies!  

The Passion Peel Off mask* is packed full of natural ingredients; passion flowers, pomegranates and antioxidant rich raspberries and cranberries to name a few!  The mask is a thick, pink liquid that cools as it's smoothed onto clean, dry skin.  Left to dry for 15-20 minutes, it's ready to peel off to reveal soft and radiant skin.  It smells incredible too, the predominant scent being raspberries.  If you've ever been to a Pick Your Own farm to gather raspberries...that's what it smells of!  

After applying the mask, I moisturised and kept my skin makeup free for the rest of the day.  I found that on the day after, my makeup sat better on my face and created a flawless finish, making this mask just the thing for getting ready for a special occasion! 

As always Montagne Jeunesse masks are suitable for vegetarians.  The Passion Peel Off mask* is available at Asda and other leading retailers and also online:

Will you be pampering yourself in time for Valentine's Day?

How to Clean and Reuse Glass Candle Jars

I'm becoming increasingly obsessed with candles.  They're pretty.  They smell amazing.  And the jars they come in are lovely too.  Cleaning the jars is remarkably easy and you're left with an item that will last for a very long time, whether you use it for candles again or for another purpose.  

The inspiration from this post came to me while I was recycling glass the other day.  Beside the bottle bank were two used candles in pretty jars, however they still were covered in the remains of the wax.  I decided to take them home to clean up and reuse.  (I'm aware that there are lots of tutorials online on how to do this, but if I can save more empty candle jars from going to landfill then this post has been worth it).  :)

1.  First of all, boil the kettle and fill up your jar with boiling water.  The wax will melt and rise to the top.  Leave the water and wax to cool.

2.  Remove the wax layer from the top.  You might have to break it up with a knife to get it out.  If the wax is scented (and clean) it can be used again in a wax burner. 

3.  The hot water will have softened the glue that attaches the bottom of the wick to the glass.  I use a knife, very gently, to give them a bit of a nudge and they soon come free.

4.  There will be some residue of wax left, but you can remove it by washing the glass with washing up liquid and giving it a good scrub.  (Be careful with some coloured glass holders, however, as sometimes the colour is actually a film that you might accidentally scratch off). 

That's it!  It really is that easy!  Your jar can now be used again and there are so many different options.  Obviously, you can use it for another candle or make your own by buying candle wax and wicks.  The jars also make great containers for the bathroom or bedroom.  You could even use larger ones as a planter for spring flowers.  If you don't want to use them youself, you can also donate them to your local charity shop as a decorative item.

What do you do with your empty candle jars? 

Valentines Gift Idea | Green People's Skin Indulgence Gift Set

Green People are an organic brand whose products range from skin care to toothpaste - and everything in between!  They are committed to ensuring that their products are highly effective and contain natural and organic ingredients.  All their natural goodies are made in the UK and are approved for vegetarians (most of them are suitable to vegans too).  And if that wasn't good enough, 10% of their net profits are donated to environmental charities.  With such dedicated ethics, I was impressed even before I'd tried their products!

Their Organic Skin Indulgence gift set* includes Green People's Moisturising Shower Gel and Nurture Body Lotion.  The gift set is attractively packaged (...and is, of course, recyclable) and would make an excellent Valentines gift for anyone keen to embark upon a more organic lifestyle and equally for those who are already committed to using organic and natural products.

The Moisturising Shower Gel foams up really nicely and is lovely to use.  It has a fresh and natural scent which makes it the perfect shower gel for morning showers.  For me, the stand out product in the gift set is the Nurture Body Lotion.  Containing shea butter and natural plant oils, it's a rich and creamy lotion that sinks quickly into the skin.  I like that there's no awkward waiting around before you can start dressing!  Before I started using these products, my skin was really dry and itchy.  Within a week of using the Skin Indulgence gift set daily, I've noticed a vast improvement and my skin is back to normal!  

I've been very impressed with my first experience of Green People's products and think this gift set would make a fantastic Valentines present.  There's a whole range of other gift sets, for both men and women, here.

Will the Green People Skin Indulgence gift set be making it into a cheeky email to your other half?