Life Lately

Hello ladies & gents!

You might have noticed that I haven’t been posting as regular as I would have hoped to, which majorly sucks. I really enjoy blogging but it’s having to take a bit of a back seat at the moment.

If you follow me on Twitter then you’ll know that last year I moved from Manchester to South Wales, originally for University but that didn’t go to plan. I took a full time job as a Mental Health Support Worker, a similar job to what I was doing before hand but a change up with the type of clients I support. After absolutely loving it I applied for senior position and got it, woo!

So after being settled in my job I’ve taken the plunge to begin my Masters in Forensic Psychology at The Open University which is amazing if you have work and home life to juggle. It’s a 2 year course but it’ll hopefully get me on the path to becoming a Forensic Psychologist.. eek.

On top of all of that, not that I don’t have enough on my plate already but I’ve started my driving lessons which was much needed.

So life is pretty hectic lately.

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Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake

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 I haven’t done a baking post in quite some time and of course with Bake Off being back on TV baking is a must for me, naturally I had to bake one of my favourites.. lemon drizzle. I absolutely love cake and chocolate, but then again who doesn’t?! I could literally live off it which may have possibly contributed to the little lady being 9lb 12oz *hides*.

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Ingredients;

200g softened butter

200g caster sugar

4 medium eggs, beaten

250g self-raising flour

For the drizzle;

juice of 2 lemons and 1 whole lemon

100g granulated sugar

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Method;

Preheat your oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Line your loaf tin using parchment paper or a loaf case.

Weigh out your butter and caster sugar adding it to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk until light and creamy.

Gradually add your eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, add a little flour after adding your eggs. Fold in the rest of the flour.

Spread the mixture in the tin and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out cleanly.

To make your drizzle, squeeze the juice from the 2 lemons into a bowl and stir in 75g of the sugar.

Remove the cake from the oven and pierce it all over with a cocktail stick pouring over your lemon drizzle, leave the cake to cool in the tin.

Slice the remaining lemon and put it in a pan with the remaining 25g sugar and 8 tablespoons of water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 12-15 minutes until the lemon slices are tender, watching that the syrup doesn’t burn.

Arrange the slices on top of the cake.

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Not to blow my own trumpet but it tastes incredible!

I grabbed the recipe from Sainsbury’s and made some adaptions/removed a couple of steps but if you want to follow it step to step then you can find it here.

What’s your favourite cake?

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The Ordinary | High Coverage Foundation

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Good afternoon ladies & gents, it’s been quite a while since my last post. Life has been pretty hectic this last month or so and blogging has taken a back seat unfortunately but here we are with a new post. Heeeeeellllooo, how are you all!?

You will have probably heard of the brand The Abnormal Beauty Company/ DECIEM by now if you are active in the beauty world but just incase you have no idea what I’m talking about then they are a “humble and happy umbrella of good beauty brands” which owns and operates more than 10 different brands such as NIOD, Hylamide, The Chemistry Brand & The Ordinary.

A few of months ago I grabbed a couple of The Ordinary’s skincare items from Asos and I was over the moon with the results so when they announced that they were bringing a high coverage foundation out I HAD to own it!

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The foundation is available in 21 different shades which are then divided into four categories 1 for fair to lighter tones, 2 for medium tones and 3 for darker tones. To give even more variety there are then a second digit ranging from 0 to 3 which indicates the depth. Lastly the foundation has a letter which indicates shade for the undertone you need, P for pink, R for red, N for neutral and Y for yellow.

Hats off to them, I love how much variety there is for their foundation. It is literally super easy to choose your foundation and get it right.

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I headed over to Victoria Health to purchase my foundation, there was about a month  wait due to being in such high demand. I grabbed the shade 1.0N (£5.90) which is fair to light and neutral undertones.

The packaging is minimalistic but yet elegant, the foundation comes in a plastic frosted container again with simplistic design and a pump yay which makes dispensing mess free! The foundation is 30ml which is your standard size but the packaging makes it the perfect size for your handbag with the added benefit of a twist lock for added reassurance.

The Ordinary claim “when applied, the formulations blend in effortlessly with your natural tones and your skin glows. These foundations contain higher pigment levels than the Serum Foundations but still offer a smooth finish that avoids the heavy makeup look that can make skin appear more aged. The texture is that of a lightweight, non-oily cream.”

The picture below is of my skin before the foundation is applied. The current state of my skin is very poor with a bad outbreak on my cheeks and chin.  *sad face*.

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I applied The Ordinary’s High Spreadability Fluid Primer using a single pump of the foundation onto the back of my hand and proceeded to use the ‘Real Techniques Buffing Brush’ to apply it in a circular motion working outwards from the midpoint of my face.

The 1.0N shade is the PERFECT match for my skin as usually with other I have found that I have blend it further down my neck in order not to get a line of colour between the applied area and my regular skin. This foundation claims to be high coverage but once applied i’d say it’s around medium, there are still some red areas around my breakouts but nothing a little concealer won’t fix. This foundation blends really well into my skin and leaves a subtle glow which is much needed right now.

The downside I have found with this particular foundation is that it seems to layer up around my problem areas such as my chin and my nose resulting in a ‘cakey’ heavily applied look. This could be due to the current condition of my skin so I look forward to putting it through it’s paces once my skin is back up to scratch.

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Taking the previous points into account I am overly impressed with this range of shades and how perfect the colour matches my skin. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that has the struggles of finding a foundation to match their skin tone and with absolute steal of a price (£5.90) you have no reason not to go for it, after all it’s cheaper than most of the drug store brands!

Have you tried this foundation ? I would love to hear what you think below or maybe tweet me @beautyandlittle

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Afternoon Baking | 6 Tier Rainbow Cake

If you’ve been following my blog in the last couple of months then you will have noticed that i’ve been doing the odd afternoon baking post. I LOVE cake and just can’t get enough of it.. I literally have a second stomach for it, oh wait that might just be my little cake shelf *hides*.

For Scarlett’s first birthday my husband baked her a 6 tier rainbow cake and it was INCREDIBLE, my baking skills are somewhat poor with my cakes tending to be hit and miss so I set myself a challenge to make my own rainbow cake and it was an absolute success! So here is the recipe I used so you can bake your own.

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For the cake

350g self raising flour

3tsp baking powder

350g soft soft unsalted butter

350g caster sugar

6 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

splash of milk

For the frosting

100g unsalted butter, soft

250g cream cheese, at room temperature

600g icing sugar, sifted

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Method

  1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 4 and begin prepping your cake tins, for this I just grabbed mine from Poundland and some pre cut circle baking sheets which work a treat in them, saves a lot of fuss.
  2. Cream your butter and sugar together using an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Once your butter is light and fluffy add your eggs in one at a time.
  4. Begin to add your flour a little bit at a time with your hand mixer on slow, then add your baking powder and vanilla extract.
  5. Depending on how thick your mixture is add a splash of milk so it’s the correct consistency.
  6. Divide your cake mixture into six bowls, I did mine a heaped table spoon at a time to each bowl.
  7. Add your food colouring to each of the separated cake mixtures, for this I used Sugarflare gels they work wonders.
  8. Once your colours are mixed add them into your cake tins.
  9. Now it’s time to bake your cakes, I do mine 3 at a time for 15-20 minutes, prick your cakes with a cocktail stick to make sure they are fully baked, if there is mixture sticking to the stick then pop them back in for a couple more minutes.
  10. Once all baked leave them to fully cool down before frosting.
  11. Whilst your cakes are cooling now it’s time to make up your frosting, add your butter and cream cheese together combining it, once that’s done your can add your icing sugar in a little bit at the time until you get a thick consistency. Add it to the fridge to chill.
  12. Once all the cakes have cooled it’s time to assemble, add a small blob onto the centre of your cakes spreading it thinly and add your next layer, repeat this until your cakes are assembled.
  13. Crumb coat your cakes by applying a layer of frosting around the sides of your cakes which will fill any gaps. Chill for a hour after this.
  14. Apply a thick coat of frosting to your cake and using a side scraper even it out.

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What’s your favourite type of cake?

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Marie Curie | The Blooming Great Tea Party Campaign

Everyone loves tea and cake right?! I know I definitely do, in fact it’s probably a little obsession of mine which doesn’t do too well for the waist line. So when the opportunity arose to raise awareness for the charity Marie Curie who are currently running their new campaign ‘The Blooming Great Tea Party’ obviously I said yes!

If you’ve never heard of the Marie Curie before then they care for people who are living with terminal illness and their families, the nurses and other professionals at Marie Curie offer expert care, guidance and support allowing them get the most from their time they have left.

As mentioned above the Marie Curie charity are currently raising funds with their current campaign ‘The Blooming Great Tea Party’, with your help by hosting your own tea party whether it be at home, work or in the community it can raise money to keep providing the outstanding care to those in need. When a tea party comes to mind straight away I think mini sandwiches, Victoria sponge and scones, so below is a recipe for a classic Victoria sponge to give you a helping hand for your own tea party.

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Victoria Sponge Cake Recipe

Ingredients

300g Self Rising Flour

300g Caster Sugar

300g Unsalted Butter (softened)

4 Large Eggs

Splash of milk

Icing Sugar For Dusting

Jam 

250ml Extra Double Cream

Method

  1. Preheat your oven on 190C/Gas mark 5.
  2. Place your softened butter and caster sugar into a bowl and beat until a pale creamy consistency.
  3. Gradually add eggs in one at a time, beating them.
  4. Fold in your flour and mix well.
  5. Divide the mix into three tins, or two if you wish. Place into your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Check that the mixture is fully cooked, you can do this by popping a knife into the centre, if no mixture is on the knife then it’s ready, if not pop it in for 5-10 more minutes.
  6. Take out of the oven and allow to fully cool before assembly.
  7. Spread your choice of jam over the cake and top with your whipped cream.
  8. Sandwich your cakes together, if you wish place fruit on top and dust with icing.

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What are you waiting for? Eat your body weight in cake and raise some money for a good cause! You can grab your fund raising pack over at Marie Curie’s website. Good luck fund raising!

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Kat Von D | Beauty Haul & Giveaway

Since watching LA & Miami Ink I have forever been obsessed with Kat Von D, who isn’t?! So when I saw that she was bringing her own beauty range out I was so excited BUT there as a down side, I would have to order from America which comes with customs fees so when Debenhams announced last year that they would have Kat Von D’s range online exclusive to them my dreams had come true.

With my birthday approaching next weekend my husband said that he would get me a couple of bits from Kat Von D *dances* I was over the moon. Scrolling through Debenhams website again for the millionth time after previously eyeing up what I wanted I grabbed the Shade and Light Eye Contour Palette £37, Everlasting Liquid Lipstick £17 and Lock It Foundation £27.

Being pale is always a problem when your looking for foundations on the high street as most of them for me are warmer tones so they have an orange tone to them, I tend to have to lighten them or look for high end makeup brands. With that in mind I picked up the Lock It Tattoo foundation in the shade 41 neutral, which is her lightest shade and looked like the colour would match my skin tone online.

I was so excited to try this out as i’ve heard great things about it especially after reading Caitlin’s post ‘The Base That Will Not Budge’ over at Through The Mirror, Kat claims that “Lock-It’ foundation is the only long-wear liquid formula we can count on to create a perfect canvas. With one pump it will even out discolouration, stop shine and hide blemishes, offering amazing coverage that’s so long-wear you can go a full 24 hours without re-applying.” sounds like the perfect foundation right?!

I blended the foundation onto my skin using my Real Techniques Buffing Brush and honestly it’s practically a shade from white, the foundation is incredibly pale and far too pale for me which NEVER happens! I looked drained and ghostly. Once fully blended into my skin after 1 pump the coverage was about medium I would say, even though it claims to be full coverage, I could still see redness from spots so a second coat might be better. The foundation sank into my pours clogging them rather than covering over them and didn’t really live up to my expectations, which I was gutted about, I don’t think it was the right foundation for me. On a positive note though I do absolutely love her packaging, the plastic container is a nice touch making it handbag friendly!

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Another absolutely beautifully packaged item from the Kat Von D beauty range I picked up was the Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in the shade Exorcism which is a beautiful deep purple. I absolutely adore my dark lipsticks, it’s pretty much all I wear now a days, so this was definitely a must into my basket. The lipstick glides across my lips with a doe foot applicator without any pulling, the formula is really creamy drying matte in seconds! What I love most about this liquid lipstick is that it is SUPER pigmented, only one swipe is needed across your lips for an intense colour which last all day long without highlighting any dry patches. I definitely need to get my hands on more shades, especially the shade Woolfe.

Head to the end of the post to enter the giveaway to win your own Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in your choice of shade!

Lastly I picked up the Kat Von D Shade and Light Eye Contour Palette which i’ve been lusting over forever and possibly the main reason for the order. The palette is a hard cardboard base as opposed to the usual hard plastic containers eyeshadows are usually in, I was quite worried as I thought it would get ruined but the case is super sturdy and has a magnetic lid protecting those beautiful eyeshadows.  The palette consists of twelve matte shades which include neutral, warm and cool shades split into three quads consisting of base, contour, define and highlight shades.

Neutral Shades: Laetus, Samael, Solas and Lucious

Cool Shades: Lazarus, Saleos, Shax and Liberatus

Warm Shades: Ludwin, Succubus, Sytry and Latinus

The palette comes with a little leaflet on how you could transfer your eyes through the art of contouring which I find super handy because i’m absolutely useless when it comes to using eyeshadows, so it’s a great palette for beginners.

Each of the twelve shades allow you to create both day and night looks in one palette *dances* with each blending beautifully with their buttery formula and super pigmented powder giving you those dramatic eyes you’ve been lusting over. I would definitely recommend this palette to all you beauty addicts, it’s a must have in my eyes.

As a huge thank you for reaching 1k followers over on my Twitter I am hosting a giveaway that you can enter below to win your own Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick of choice! 

Terms & Conditions:

Entrants under 18 please seek permission from parents

Giveaway ends 25/05/2017 00:00, winner will be announced and have 48 hours to respond otherwise a new winner will be picked. Item will be shipped once giveaway has ended & winner has picked shade.

ALL entries will be checked and verified, with any incomplete, false or duplicate entries being removed.

International giveaway

GIVEAWAY ENDED

What’s on your Kat Von D wish list?

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Mental Health | Self Care

Mental Health is such an important topic that needs to be more widely discussed but unfortunately there is still so much stigma surrounding it. I’ve recently covered mental health on my blog with posts on my own mental health story and MQ Mental Health Charity so that’s where this post comes in, what can you do to help manage your mental health with self care.

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When struggling with your mental health sometimes even the basic daily routines become a problem such as taking a shower, socialising with friends, attending appointments, not being able to get out of bed, that might seem unrealistic to those who haven’t had a mental illness or not know much about it but when you’ve got a mental illness such as depression these simple daily tasks become unmanageable and less important. Practicing self care techniques may help manage or prevent symptoms from developing but this is not always the case for everyone, some might require the use of medication and/or therapy, everyone is individual and unique, what works for me might not work for you.

If you’ve read my post on my own mental health journey you’ll notice that my mental health is a lot better than what it was, it’s a lot more manageable, it’s not totally gone as I do go through periods where I am pretty low in mood but nothing that requires the use of medication just a little self care when I finally force myself to do it, I am a little stubborn and i’ll keep telling myself and my husband i’m fine.

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With working full time which involves 12 hour shifts 3 times a week and being a mum to a 3 year old life is pretty hectic, it’s really important for me to set a side at least a hour for some self care whether it would be binge watching Netflix, going to the gym or a pamper evening, just that little bit of time for myself. Usually my self care routine involves me running a bubble bath, lighting tonnes of candles, grabbing my favourite face mask out of the drawer which is currently Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal  Purifying Glow Mask (£16), caking my ever so dead hair in a Argan oil mask and catching up on my current favourite shows which are Criminal Minds, Grey’s Anatomy and The 100. Sounds perfect right?! it is, it really does the trick with helping me relax which in turn washes away half of the problems that which when you step back and look at the bigger picture, shouldn’t be an issue.

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There are so many different types of self care that you could try such as meditation, starting a blog/journal, declutter, wear your favourite perfume, spend time with your loved ones or go to an exercise class.

Your mental health is important, it doesn’t matter if you feel it’s the smallest thing in comparison to others it still matters.  If you are suffering from any form of mental health speak to someone, a friend, a family member, a charity, your GP, it is really important that you don’t let it take over your life. I’d like to think that I will always make time for anyone that wants a chat if they’re feeling low.

Do you have your own mental health story? I would to hear how you coped with it in the comments below!

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Nip + Fab | New Beauty Range

If you have never heard of Nip + Fab before then they are a skincare company that are well known for their cutting edge ingredients in their skincare ranges, I personally have never tried their range before but have always read fantastic things about them. Nip + Fab have recently released their own make up range about a month ago which I was pretty excited about especially after seeing it all over their Instagram, at the moment you can only buy it off their website directly or Superdrug‘s website.

“Discover our range of makeup staples that will guarantee you #Nofilter status in no time. From easy-to-use contouring palettes to create those killer cheekbones, an eyeshadow palette for mesmerising eye definition through to flawless foundation shades that you can custom-make, heads will turn at your #Makeupgame.”

I headed over to Superdrug’s website and had a flick through what they had, they currently have 3 for 2 on their products so I literally wanted one of everything but I had to limit myself *sobs* so I grabbed their foundation in shade 10 (£12.95), concealer in shade 10 (£8.95) and powder blush set in blush 1 (£8.95).

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First up is the Nip + Fab foundation, not having the products in store makes it incredibly hard to buy without testing it out before hand *sad face*, I picked the foundation up in shade 10 which I believe shade 5 is the lightest, though on the website photos it looks like 10 is lighter than 5.. you see my problem here. The good thing about these Nip + Fab foundations is that they also do a lighter and darker foundations drops (£12.95) so you can just add a couple of drops in and make your own shade.. magic!

When I first applied this foundation I noticed that it has a warmer tone to it rather than the cooler tones I tend to go for but once applied it gave me that much needed vibrancy that my regular skin tone lacks. The foundation is medium coverage, it blends incredibly well and manages to cover over all my imperfections nicely without any need for a second coat leaving me with a flawless matte base.

The foundation is so lightweight I even forget i’m wearing any which is perfect for me because there is nothing worse than it sitting heavy on my face all day especially with summer coming up. I’ve found that at the end of the day i’m left without an oily t-zone and no need for a top up, a win win in my eyes! This has definitely got to be my new favourite foundation as of yet!

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I grabbed Nip + Fab’s concealer in the shade 10 but i’m in the same dilemma with that in terms of shade as again it is a warmer tone. The concealer is light weight and not heavy on the eyes but provides full coverage, it’s so great it even covers over my horrendous black eye bags.

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Lastly I grabbed Nip + Fab Blusher Palette in Blushed 1, which comes in four beautiful pink and coral shades, Flamingo, Cocktail, Whisper and Velvet. Each of the shades are buttery and beautifully pigmented leaving a soft and subtle glow to my pale skin, absolutely perfect for summer.

I would definitely recommend that you head over and treat yourself to some Nip + Fab bits, you won’t regret it!

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Superdrug | Layering Lab Body Mist

As a blogger I see almost everything as an opportunity to review and with that comes spending money, I honestly sometimes think I need a spending ban *hides*, I am an absolute nightmare for spending but then again the way I see it is what is the point working if you can’t enjoy the money you earn.

Last week I had a mini shopping spree and raided Superdrug, I tend to swap between there and Boots for any personal care items. I was wandering around the aisles and spotted Superdrug’s new Layering Lab Body Mists (£2.99 each, currently 2 for £3.80),  there are six different scents available that you can buy which are Gormand, Cocoon, Oriental, Floral, Paradise and FreshI had a smell of each of the scents Gormand and Cocoon grabbed my attention the most out of the six.

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Gourmand “A splash of elegance highlighted by a fizzy accord of cassis and red berries melted with sweet roses revealed by an edible base made of vanilla beans layered with sugary notes and sensual musk.”

Cocoon “The scent reveals it pure whiteness with the powdery trail of rice accord and jasmine followed by the reassuring volutes of white flowers and white tea. As base note, wrapping sandalwood, vanilla and musk give the feeling of a soft veil of cashmere on skin.”

Paradise “The scent opens on a paradise beach where the gentle lapping of the waves hit the shore. This exotic freshness inspired by the tangerine leads to a warm and solar white flowers & green tea heart before diving on the divine trail of vanilla, amber and creamy sandalwood. A true I-am-on-vacation feeling.”

Floral “A romantic floral fragrance which opens on a fresh fruity facet composed of raspberries and blackberries blended with a bright bouquet of fresh peonies, rose petals and violet leaves, wrapped in a soft white musk undertone.”

Oriental “A sensual and addictive fragrance combining red fruits notes with a spicy floral accord based on orris, rose and sensual warm spices. This combination is enriched by an oriental and seductive base which mingles warm patchouli, luxurious amber and rich dark vanilla.”

Fresh “The scent opens on a sparkling fruity trail where citrus and grapefruit melt with juicy apple and sweet pear. The aquatic floral heart of peony then leads to musk’s softness. As fresh and pure as the morning dew.”

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Each of the mists can be used on their own or if your adventurous you can layer two of the scents together to create your own scent, pretty funky right? I love that your able to get really creative with them mixing and matching between the six.

A long lasting scent is really important for me when looking for any fragrance whether it be perfume or body sprays, there is nothing more disappointing than the scent fading after a couple of hours. I am literally obsessed with these, I would definitely go as far as saying they are a must have! the scent is long lasting, I could still smell it on my clothes after a 12 hour shift and definitely doesn’t come as a body spray at all but more like a perfume.

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Have you tried Layering Lab yet? What did you think?

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Afternoon Baking | Quick & Easy Homemade Shortbread

As i’ve mentioned before I have a sweet tooth, in fact an everything tooth! I love sweet & carbs which isn’t necessarily a good thing so I tend to not buy junk in on the house shop and get it from every now and again.. actually that’s a bit of a fib, quite a lot lately *hides*. Due to not having junk in the house I don’t have any biscuits and today that pesky sweet tooth came out, cause come on you can’t have a cup of tea without a biscuit right?!? I headed over to my trusty friend BBC Good Food and found a quick and easy recipe to use, needing only 3 ingredients!

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Ingredients

125g/4oz butter55g/2oz caster sugar, plus extra to finish, 180g/6oz plain flour.

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.

  2. Beat the butter and the sugar together until smooth.

  3. Stir in the flour to get a smooth paste. Turn on to a work surface and gently roll out until the paste is 1cm/½in thick.

  4. Cut into rounds or fingers and place onto a baking tray. Sprinkle with caster sugar and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

  5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. Set aside to cool.

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Are you a sweet, savoury or both?

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