Things That Have Made Me Happy Lately

Image found via Pinterest.

  • This time of year makes me happy. Autumn is by far my favourite season. It’s just beautiful (although I am NOT loving all of the rain that we have been having of late). To quote Camus ‘Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.’

  • Getting out of the city. It’s easy to forget what time of year it is when living in the city, especially Manchester, where there is very little in terms of foliage around. Getting out of the city for a walk and seeing the changing colours of the leaves is lovely.

  • Going for coffee and cake with my favourite man. Fig + Sparrow is my new favourite place—not only do they have beautiful homeware items and make great coffee; they have vegan cake too! It’s so nice to be able to go into a regular coffee shop and have a little treat. The carrot cake was delicious.

  • Wearing my Dr Martens. I was actually prepared for the turn in weather this year and picked up these vegan friendly cherry red 1461s a month or so ago. They’ve been keeping my feet nice and dry, are super comfy (once you’ve broken them in) and look even better in real life than on the site.

  • Catching up with friends. Living in different cities/ having full time jobs/ being in a relationship etc, means that I don’t get chance to see my friends as much as I might have done when I was 17 and at college, but that makes the time that you do get to see them even more special. In the last week or so, I’ve managed to catch up with three of my closest friends and it’s been great. I particularly enjoyed paying a visit to 1847 bistro, which is somewhere that I’ve wanted to visit for ages. I had the tofu ‘fish’ and chips with mushy peas and it was very lovely indeed.

  • Wearing my new snuggly scarf. There’s been a definite dip in temperature in the last few weeks, so this has been a very necessary addition.

  • Planning a trip to London. Going to the capital might not seem a big deal for a lot of people, but I LOVE it. My Dad lives down there, so I try to go relatively often, but don’t actually make it there as much as I would like. It’s only been a few months since my last visit, but Samuel and I haven’t been there together for around 18 months and so I’m looking forward to having some time off work, hanging out together and catching up with family and friends. Much needed relaxation.

  • Taking more photographs. I’ve always loved photography, but carrying my DSLR around with me all of the time is a bit of a pain. It’s pretty cumbersome, so isn’t the easiest thing to whip out in order to take a quick shot. Over the last few years, the frequency of me taking photos had really dropped, but lately I’ve been trying to up that. I picked up the iPhone 5S a few weeks ago and having something with me at all times has really encouraged me to take more photos. Looking through my camera roll though, it seems that I have drank a lot of coffee and eaten a lot of cake recently. I often get asked questions about the sort of meals that I eat as a vegan and so I’m going to try and start posting more of my food photos to Instagram.

  • Pinterest. Samuel and I are hoping to move home soon and Pinterest is a great tool for inspiration. I should probably dedicate a little more time to actually finding somewhere to live though.

What things have made you happy lately?

REN F10 Smooth and Renew Mask

renf10

REN are one of my favourite skincare brands and have been for quite some time now. REN use only 100% plant and mineral derived actives and are free from skin-unfriendly synthetic ingredients.

I had been using other REN products for a while when I saw Kate rave about this particular mask in one of her videos and so decided to give it a whirl. The F10 Smooth and Renew Mask is targeted towards those with sensitive skin, although those with other skin types will certainly be able to use this too.

The product is very gentle on the skin and is formulated to exfoliate using fruit acids, leaving the skin feeling smooth, toned and radiant. I have particularly sensitive skin and break out very easily but have had no problems at all with this product. The mask has become a staple in my skincare routine; I like to use this once or twice a week, leaving on for around 10 minutes before wiping off with a warm flannel. After using, my skin is noticeably brighter and more even toned. I also find that I have to use less makeup, as areas of hyper-pigmentation that I have previously had are noticeably faded.

F10 Smooth and Renew Mask retails at £20 for 50ml and can be bought directly from the REN website.

What’s In My Makeup Bag #1

makeupbag

Obviously this isn’t all of the makeup that I own, it’s just the stuff that I’m currently using on a daily basis. Recently I’ve decided that I really DO NOT need any more makeup, well at least not for a while anyway and so I’ve been switching up the contents of my makeup bag relatively often in an attempt to use up what I already own.

It’s actually going quite well and I haven’t bought anything new (except a mascara but I’d run out and had no backups, so I allowed myself that) in around a month or so, which if you knew what my habits were like before, you’d think that it was pretty good going.

I picked up this Liberty print makeup bag a few years ago in the sale at Jack Wills and it has served me well since then. They no longer stock this particular print, but they have similar ones all the time.

First off are the eyeshadow brushes—all of the brushes with black handles are from Crown Brushes Syntho Range. These brushes are extremely well priced and I haven’t used anything else since buying them. They’re beautifully soft and wash brilliantly. Brushes pictured are SS011, SS027, SS012 & SS020.
Also pictured is the domed shadow brush from the Real Techniques Travel Essentials collection, however I actually use this for blending in concealer.

To apply my blusher, I like to use the Large Angled Contour brush (F40) from the Mr Bunny Travel Kit by Sigma. I actually made a video reviewing the whole kit which you can watch here.

The next two are both Real Techniques brushes—the Multi-Task brush and the Buffing brush. I use the Multi-Task brush for bronzer and the Buffing brush for foundation. I love both of these brushes and would highly recommend them.

The Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer is something that everyone seems to rave about and quite rightly so. Shade Light 2 is perfect for covering any blemishes, although I find it a little heavy for under the eyes.

Supercat eyeliner by Soap & Glory has been another staple in my makeup bag for quite some time now—it ticks all the boxes for me. It’s one of the blackest liners that I’ve found and it has the perfect nib whether you want a fine or thick line.

Brow Wiz has been a bit of a game changer when it comes to my brows. I’ve never been 100% happy with other products that I’ve used before and so I decided to add this to my Cult Beauty basket a while ago and haven’t looked back since. The shade medium ash is perfect for me and I find that it lasts all day without needing to reapply.

Bourjois Liner Feutre—because one eyeliner obviously isn’t enough. This is another good choice and might be a little easier to find than the S&G one. Nice and black and creates a perfect flick.

I thought that the quest to find the perfect vegan friendly mascara might never end until I found Barry M’s Lash Vegas mascara. It’s not 100% perfect but I really do like it. Like most mascaras, it seems to be better after a few weeks when it’s dried out a little. You might want to pass if you like a lot of volume but it gives great length and definition.

Another mascara that I love is Liz Earle’s Lash Definition Smudgeproof Mascara. I tend to use this one on my lower lashes as I have quite watery eyes and although this isn’t marketed as being waterproof, it definitely stays put.

The lip product that I’ve been reaching for daily has been Soap & Glory’s Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick in Fuchsia Ristic. The colour is quite buildable, so is perfect for transitioning from day to night. It seems to last ages without the need for reapplication and it smells great too.

Shu Uemura eyelash curlers are as good as everyone says they are. Yes, they are expensive, but I’ve had this pair for around 5 years and they are showing no signs of needing replacement.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation has been my foundation of choice for over a year now. I use the shade 2.0 which is a great match for me. You can see me applying it in this (old) every day makeup routine video.

Liz Earle’s Healthy Glow Powder Blush in Nectar is just about the only blusher that I’ve used this year and I have a lot of blushers, so I must love it. Nectar is the perfect pinky coral sort of colour and has great lasting power too.

Stila Sun Bronzer is my all-time favourite bronzer. I use the shade 02. I’m naturally quite pale and I find that 02 gives me just the right amount of colour without making me look orange. I’ve just repurchased this after around 18 months of solid every day use of the first one that I bought.

Chantecaille’s Iridescent Eye Shade in Sel was purchased in a bit of a moment of madness after having seen this post from Kate. It’s a bit of a beaut and a shade that I imagine would be pretty universally flattering.

Lastly we have the MUA Undressed Palette. I think that this is the original ‘dupe’ for the Urban Decay Naked Palette; it’s pretty darn good and not just for the price. Each shade is amazingly pigmented and applies beautifully to the lid without too much fallout. The palette has a great range of shades meaning that it’s perfect whether you like something relatively natural or a little heavier.

So there we have it, everything that’s in my makeup bag (for the moment at least).

Recipe: Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Now that we’re into Autumn, one of my favourite things to make is soup. There’s nothing better on a drizzly day than snuggling up on the sofa with a big bowl to warm you up. It’s generally quite quick and easy to make, plus it’s really healthy and a great way of getting that extra bit of veg into your diet too. One of my favourite soup ingredients is pumpkin, but if you can’t find any, butternut squash will do just fine.

This soup doesn’t take much time to come together and has a little bit of a kick to it, so if you’re not a chilli fan you might want to reduce the amount. I like to serve this with a nice thick slice of granary bread.

Ingredients

  • 750g pumpkin
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5 carrots
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 chillies (deseeded if you don’t like too much heat)
  • 2 litres vegetable stock

Method

  1. Peel and deseed the pumpkin and then roughly chop all of the ingredients into smallish bitesized chunks. This doesn’t need to be too precise as the soup will be blended, but the chunks should be roughly the same size to ensure they cook evenly
  2. In a large pot, add a splash of olive oil, the onion and the garlic. Cook for around 5 minutes or so until the onion has softened
  3. Add the pumpkin and cook for around 10 minutes or so until the pumpkin starts to take on some colour
  4. Add the carrots, the cumin and the chilli and cook for a few minutes
  5. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Once the stock has started to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer
  6. Simmer until the pumpkin and carrots have cooked through and can be pierced with a knife
  7. Blend until smooth and then check for seasoning. Add a pinch of salt and pepper if required
  8. Serve with some crusty bread

Wishlist: Oh My Clumsy Heart

Jewellery. It isn’t something that I actually wear all that often, but a really nice piece just adds a bit of something something to an outfit. It’s the easiest way to give a simple outfit a little lift and that finishing touch.

On the odd occasion that I do decide to treat myself, I tend to prefer to give my custom to independent jewellery designers, rather than buying on the high street and so I often pick something up via Etsy. That way, I know that the item is going to be a little more unique and not something that every other person walking down the street is going to be wearing.

Recently, I discovered Oh My Clumsy Heart a lovely little online shop run by Sophie of the wonderful blog The Private Life of a Girl (which you must check out if you haven’t already). All of the items that are sold in the shop are designed and made in the UK and I have already formed quite a wishlist.

Oh My Clumsy Heart has a wide range of pieces, ranging from the delicate, to something a little chunkier and heavier—there are even fox and dachshund brooches—so there is sure to be something to suit everyone.

The items below are just a few of my favourite pieces. Now I just need to try and stop myself from buying them all.

  1. Silver Cube Necklace
  2. Confetti Dot Necklace
  3. Lenore Disk Necklace
  4. Wendy Origami Necklace
  5. Medb Antique Brass Necklace
  6. Penelope Horse Charm Necklace

All images via Oh My Clumsy Heart.

St Eval Candle Company

steval

A few weeks ago, Samuel and I popped up to Robin Hood’s Bay near Whitby for the night to catch up with my family who were also in the area. Whilst walking around the the village, I spotted some candles through the window of a gift shop and obviously couldn’t walk passed without going in.

On display were a number of candles from the St Eval Candle Company. The candles looked lovely in their little tins but I wasn’t expecting much scent wise until I gave them a little sniff. The company has quite a range of unique scents and all of the candles smell absolutely beautiful. Despite my home already being full of candles, I did not walk away empty handed.

The candle that I purchased (Bay & Rosemary) smells wonderful and fills the room, without being overpowering, with it’s invigorating scent. The candles burn very cleanly and seem to soothe the mind, rather than giving me a headache like some other scented candles have in the past.

The St Eval Candle Company craft their candles, which are made from a blend of plant and mineral waxes and have a burn time of around 45 hours, by hand in their Cornish workshop. Since picking up the Bay & Rosemary candle, I have also ordered a couple of their other candles (Sea Salt & Fig Tree) from their website. The Sea Salt candle has a lovely fresh, slightly citrusy scent, evoking memories of walks along the coast, whilst the Fig Tree candle smells clean and fresh and a little bit fruity too.

Overall, I am extremely impressed with the entire range that St Eval has to offer. The candles are of superb quality and certainly rival those that are 4 or 5 times the price. St Eval candles can be purchased from boutiques around the country and directly from the St Eval website.

Current Favourite: Superfacialist Rose Hydrate Radiance Day Cream

The Superfacialist range by Úna Brennan has been on my radar for quite a while now; I usually prefer to use higher end brands rather than an off the shelf product, but as I’d heard such great things about the range from people that I trust (i.e. Caroline Hirons), I decided to pick up the Rose Hydrate Day Cream whilst shopping in Boots. As the cream (and indeed the whole range) is so reasonably priced, I felt that should the cream not work for me, then at least I wouldn’t have wasted too much money.

I have rather sensitive skin which often reacts when using products that are quite perfumed and so I was a little wary of this at first as is quite heavily scented with rose, however this seems to be suitable for even the most sensitive of skins and I haven’t suffered any breaking out at all. The day cream is packed with nourishing ingredients including cucumber oil and marshmallow extract, which helps to leave skin feel calm and renewed.

For me, this is a perfect day cream for those with dry or dehydrated skin. Anyone with skin that is on the more oily side may want to give this particular cream a miss as there are other products within the range that will be more suited.

My skin had been feeling a little dull and dehydrated prior to using this, however after around a month of use my skin looks better than it has done in a long time. The cream also has the added benefit of having SPF15, meaning that I don’t need to worry about using a separate SPF. The consistency of this is lovely—a sort of medium thick cream which comes in a squeezy tube, so there’s no worrying about dipping fingers into the pot. The cream also provides a perfect base for makeup and keeps my skin feeling hydrated all day. I feel that the price point of the range is fantastic and will definitely be repurchasing another Radiance Day Cream when my current tube runs out.

The Rose Hydrate Radiance Day Cream retails at £12.99 for 75ml and can be purchased directly from the Úna Brennan site or in-store and online from Boots.

Recipe: Granary Loaf

There’s nothing more homely than the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven and it tastes far better than anything shop bought. This bread is a fantastic accompaniment to soup, but also tastes great on it’s own with a nice slathering of butter (my favourite vegan alternative is vitalite). Although the bread takes a while to rise, you don’t need to keep an eye on it, meaning that you can get on with other things whilst waiting.

Ingredients

  • 250g plain flour
  • 250g granary flour
  • 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar or honey if you’re not vegan
  • 300ml lukewarm water

Method

  1. Sift the flours into a large bowl, add the yeast and salt and stir to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl or measuring jug, add the water, oil and agave nectar and mix well.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until a soft dough forms.
  4. Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for around 5 minutes or so until the dough is no longer sticky.
  5. Add dough to an oiled bowl, cover with a clean, damp tea-towel and leave to rise in a warm place for around an hour.
  6. After an hour, tip the dough back onto the work surface and knead for a few more minutes.
  7. Oil a loaf tin and press the dough into the tin evenly, cover again and leave to rise for another hour or so, until the dough has filled the tin.
  8. Heat the oven to 200°C/ 180°C fan/ 400°F/ Gas 6 and bake the loaf for 30–35 minutes. Remove from the oven and tip the bread out of the tin onto a cooling rack. When cooked, the loaf should sound hollow if tapped on the base.

The loaf is best eaten on the day it’s made, but will keep for a second day if kept in an airtight container.

NOTD: Nails Inc Porchester Square

This is a shade that had been on my wish list for quite some time and recently, I finally caved and ordered it from FeelUnique. Nails Inc describe Porchester Square as being a ‘chic muted mushroom’ shade, which I’d agree with, although on myself there’s definitely a hint of lavender in there too.

This is one of those shades that’s going to look different dependent on the tone of your skin, on some the grey will come out more than the lavender and on others the brown, but that’s what makes this shade so versatile and wearable—it suits just about anyone, which is not something that can be said of a lot of shades. Porchester Square is the sort of shade that will go with any outfit, in any season and I can see why it’s one of Nails Inc’s best sellers.

The polish applied opaquely in two coats, but I did have issues with chipping on the second day. That being said, it was probably more my fault than that of the polish—I am quite heavy handed and cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen with no gloves on (naughty me). I also hadn’t bothered putting a base or top coat on and I think that Nails Inc polishes in general benefit from being combined with those.

Nails Inc polishes can be purchased directly from their website for £11.

10 Things That Have Made Me Happy This Week

I saw Rosie do the 10 Things That Have Made Me Happy This Week post and really liked the idea, so I thought that I’d do one of my very own. Far too often we dwell on the negatives things in life, rather than remembering the positives, but it’s those positive things that we should be focussing on. People who have healthy minds tend to lead richer and more fulfilling lives, so it’s important to try and have a PMA.

  1. My Husband. To be truthful, Samuel would be top of my list every week, but this last week he has been particularly amazing. I had to have a little operation last week and he’s been incredibly helpful and supportive, for which I am truly thankful.

  2. Reading. When I was younger, I would read for hours on end but in the last few years, thanks to the world of the internet, I’ve spent less time reading actual books and more time reading blogs and watching YouTube videos. I decided recently that I needed to devote more time to reading and so, I’ve been going to bed earlier in the evenings and spending an hour or so reading before going to sleep. I’ve actually gotten through a few books within the last few weeks and have found that I’ve been sleeping a lot better for shutting down the computer earlier too.

  3. Cooking. I always cook from scratch anyway, but this week (since I’ve been rather housebound) I’ve been able to dedicate a little more time to it. Usually after work, time is of the essence, so I throw something together as quickly as I can, but being able to be a bit more relaxed has been really nice. I’ve also baked my favourite fruit loaf a few times too. Maybe I’ll post the recipe for it someday.

  4. Netflix. Due to being off work at the moment and not being able to do very much, I’ve spent my week pretty much entirely on the sofa. It’s given me time to catch up on those shows that I never finished watching (Gossip Girl) and re-watch my favourites (The Thick of It).

  5. Pinterest. I go through phases with Pinterest, some weeks I won’t pin anything at all and then I remember how much I love it and go a bit crazy. It’s great for inspiration, be it meals, outfits or interior decoration.

  6. Bank Holiday Weekend. Samuel and I have been pretty busy for the last few weekends and haven’t had much chance to spend a lot of time together, so I’m grateful that this weekend, we’ll have a whole three days.

  7. New Clothes. I was a little bit naughty and treated myself to a few new bits from COS. I can’t resist a good Breton.

  8. Blogging. It’s taken getting back to blogging to make me realise how much I’d actually missed it. I mentioned more about the direction of Wow&Flutter in this post and I’m really excited about the future.

  9. Elderflower Cordial. This with sparking water has been my favourite drink of late. So refreshing and delicious.

  10. My New Candle. I picked up this gorgeous Bay & Rosemary Scented Tin Candle a few weeks ago. It’s one of the nicest candles I’ve ever smelled and fills the room with it’s aroma. I’ve burned the candle for hours and there is still loads left.

So, they’re the 10 things that have been making me happy recently, what about you? Thanks Rosie for the inspiration.