30 November 2014

The Body Shop's Shea Beauty Bag

Shea beauty bag - get it here

So I recently celebrated my two year anniversary with my boyfriend, and I was quite impressed that this was part of the present. I mean, he remembered my favourite skincare shop and actually went into it! Shea butter isn't normally a scent I'd choose myself, but hey ho, he tried (n'awww)

Having said that, I actually love this scent, and it's become one of my favourites. The scent is quite light, so, unlike some moisturisers, it doesn't have the sickly sweet aspect to it. The body butter itself isn't too greasy, so perfect for those of you that are prone to greasy skin. And, in my opinion at least, nothing compares to The Body Shop's crinkle bath lilies! They're so thick and not scratchy in the slightest (so many painful Savers memories).

Admittedly, for someone who has very dry hands, especially in Winter, I'm awful at keeping them moisturised. I hate having greasy hands that I can't use after putting hand cream on, ugh. However, this again proved light with a pleasant, fresh smell - brilliant for this dreary British weather!

it all comes in a cute little package - perfect for Christmas gifts!

Love and Light
Steph x

23 November 2014

A Burst of Happiness Smoothie (dairy free)

As I've reached my third and final year at University (cue a fair amount of nostalgia and terror at the thought of getting a full time job), stress levels and time restrictions are reaching an all time high. This means that this smoothie has been my go-to breakfast for about the last four weeks. Every day. Anything else seems too carbilious - think "carb-filled" (if Shakespeare could invent new words so can I!) - or far too effort filled at quarter to eight in the morning. Now, as to why I've called it my "burst of happiness" smoothie, Bananas contain a great deal of Vitamin B6, which is something which allows your body to create serotonin (a chemical that, if your body lacks you may develop depression. This is a very simplistic definition of it, but let's not get too bogged down). Flaxseeds help increase serotonin as well. Thus, this smoothie really can help increase happiness! I usually end up sitting with mine whilst I start my uni work for the day if I have nowhere pressing to go to.

Ingredients (makes 1 smoothie):

2 apples (or three small ones)
a handful of raspberries
150ml rice/almond milk
small handful of flaxseeds
Honey (optional)

1.) Slice up the banana. Peel and chop the apples.

(yes, this is something that cuts up your apples and cores them in one fell swoop. And yes, it is my favourite tool I have in the kitchen)

2.) Put them in a blender/food processor. Add the raspberries, flax seeds and rice milk.

3.) Blend for roughly two minutes.

Finally, pour it into a glass. I like to top mine up with a swirl of honey to add a little bit of sweetness when you get to the bottom (assuming you use a straw!). It's a fab way to get a whole load of vitamins in, and is great for keeping those sweet food cravings away. 

Love and Light


18 November 2014

Wiping Away Eye Bag-Blues

B. B Cream (SPF 15) 
Rimmel's Wake Me Up concealer (020 True Ivory) 
B. Sculpted Contour Kit

It seems that no matter how much sleep I get, I always wake up with seemingly all-encompassing purpley-grey bags under my eyes. Maybe it's something that runs in my family, or maybe I have a skewed sleep pattern that hasn't rectified in years. Who knows. Anyway, this means that I'm always trying to find a way to make it look like I've had more than four hours sleep on any formal occasion/night out I want to impress on. With these products, I think I've pretty much round my answer - for now at least.

I'll start off with the B. B cream, as this is what I applied first. For someone with combination skin, this product remarkably leaves my skin feeling better than before I put it on. It's refreshing and really feels as though it moisturises my skin. It's also definitely something that needs to be put on with a make-up brush, as otherwise half the product will end up helping to smooth the skin of your hands!

The Wake Me Up concealer is great for going over the bags under your eyes. The stick looks like a lip gloss stick, and you apply it in a similar way. I found that it's best to wipe a bit of excess off before using, because otherwise you end up spending forever gently blending it half way across your face in an attempt to not make it too obvious that you're under-eyes don't naturally look like that in the morning.

Finally, I applied the contour. As you can probably tell from the pictures, it's not too bold or extreme, but just gives a nice edge to your cheekbones/jawline. The main problem I've found with it is that if you do want a more definitive contour, this product can be quite hard to blend. 

I couldn;t resist popping up a picture of me and Ted as part of this one! He turned a year old a couple of months ago and is definitely one of the things I get most homesick for when I'm at uni! 

Love and Light


12 November 2014

Hearty Healthy Lamb Casserole

In England we're now firmly settling into Autumn. The trees have reached a gourgeous yellow/red/orange colour and everything looks quite pretty. Unless it's raining. Which sadly it now does at least every other day. I guess we can start dreaming about summer again .... Anyway, Autumn does have some advantages. There's nothing nicer than to snuggle up on a cold November evening with a steaming hot meal in front of you. One that you don't have to feel will add on those winter pounds is always a bonus as well. 

Ingredients (serves 4):

2lb diced lamb.
1 carrot
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons fresh ginger
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
750ml chicken stock
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
Extra virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper
Sea salt
Dried chili flakes

1.) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. 

2.) Finely chop the onion and garlic. Chop the carrot.

3.) Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan. Cook the onion, garlic and carrot for roughly five minutes on a medium heat. Take care not to burn as it can alter the taste of the entire casserole (from experience, burnt onion is noticeable in pretty much every dish!). 

4.) Whilst this is cooking, put another tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan or wok. Brown the chunks of lamb.

5.) Grate the ginger and add to the cooking vegetables. Add the chili flakes. Cook for one minute. Put the vegetables in a casserole dish. 

6.) Add the lamb to the casserole dish.

7.) Put the rosemary (taken off the sticks) into the pan which the lamb was cooked in. Add the stock. Heat until the stock is bubbling. 

8.) Add the stock to the casserole. Stir and put in the oven for 1 hour.

9.) Add the Worcestershire sauce, ground black pepper and sea salt. Put back in the oven for another hour.

10.) Et voila, you have a gourgeous casserole for the whole family, or, if you're just cooking for yourself it's suitable for freezing (great for long days where you don't want to cook!).

Love and Light


Any comments/questions are always welcome!

All photos are property of Sophie Hartley

3 November 2014

Review of The Body Shop's Smoky 2 in 1 Gel Liner for Eyes and Brows

As you can see from the title for this piece, The Body Shop's smoky liner is designed for both eyes and brows. However, a black brow liner is far too dark for my eyebrows and looks more than slightly ridiculous, so I'll just be reviewing it's purposes as an eyeliner. Previously I've used Maybelline's gel liner, and it got me hooked on gel eyeliner (goodbye Barry M kohl pencils!), so as it was running out I thought it was a great opportunity to try something new. 

If you've read some of my previous posts you'll know that I'm pretty much in love with a lot of The Body Shop's products. You can see how much I rate some of their skincare products here. Having said that, this fell a bit flat. I've bought a fair amount of makeup from here before and on the whole it's pretty fab. But this wasn't the best for it's price tag, which is similar to Maybelline's gel liner. The brush is awesome, incredibly soft on your lids even after a few weeks of not cleaning it (whoops). The liner itself is very hard to get on without it looking streaky. At first I thought it was the brush, but sadly nope. Anyhow, now I think I've got the knack of making it streak-free, even if it takes a while. 

To move away from the negatives, I hope everyone has had a great Halloween. And anyway, as long as you can create a number of different styles with an eyeliner - I didn't accidentally have one flick and one wing on different eyes in the picture - you can step out of the door with confidence.

Love and Light

1 November 2014

Spooky Vegan Stuffed Peppers

These are potentially my favourite thing I've made in a while. Last night's dinner was gloriously themed (though my idea to have the rice falling out like maggots was rejected, whoops). There's actually two versions here: one with rice and one without. They're really simple to make and are a great way to celebrate this festive season. Halloween lasts all week right?! Also, sorry I haven't been blogging as much recently, this week's been hectic with a plethora of Halloween events going on, plus some lingering flu that's getting quite annoying now. 

Ingredients (makes 4 servings):

4 peppers - preferably orange/red/yellow
1 clove garlic
1 small onion
200g chopped tomatoes
1/6 courgette
25g brown rice (leave this out if you want to reduce carb intake)
Ground sea salt and black pepper
Dried basil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1.) Start cooking the brown rice. It usually takes about 25 minutes. I like to sprinkle a little bit of black pepper and paprika in as it cooks to add a little more flavour.

2.) Whilst this is cooking, peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Chop up the courgette.

3.) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

4.) Heat about a teaspoon of oil in a saucepan. Once heated, add the courgette, onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is transparent. 

5.) Add the chopped tomatoes, basil, sea salt and black pepper. About 1/2 teaspoon of basil should be sufficient. Cook for 12 minutes.

6.) Combine the rice and vegetable mixture. Take off the heat.

7.) Now for the fun part! Carve whatever face you want into your pepper. It's best to go small as that way there's less chance for major leakage. Once you've done this, chop the very top of your pepper off and cut out the seeds. This will be your lid.

8.) Carefully fill the peppers with the vegetable filling. Place the lids on top and put (or rather balance!) on a tray in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

9.) Serve and enjoy. 

Love and Light

All photos are property of Sophie Hartley