Wednesday, 26 October 2016

3 Easy To Bake Halloween Cookies

With Halloween coming this weekend I wanted to put together a Halloween themed post as I have done every year that i've been blogging so far. Initially I wasn't too sure on what I wanted to do and I didn't want to repeat the same posts as the previous years, so after doing a little research I settled on baking some easy yet fun Halloween cookies and I thought i'd share with you what I did to create them, as they really were easy and (without toothing my own horn) they taste so good! 
Now it's no lie that i'm not the best of bakers, i'm well known for burning a lot of things as I suck at getting the timings right or I just completely forget that i've got something in the oven that I have to check on. I knew that I wanted to make some sort of cookies that weren't aesthetically complicated or that wouldn't be too difficult to make and i'm actually really pleased with how these turned out. So if like me you've got a free weekend and you fancy doing some baking then i've got you covered.

Starting with probably the star of this blog post and the most fun thing i've ever baked, as I had so much fun making this one! I got the idea and I mainly followed the recipe from Lil Luna as I absolutely love the large cookies from Millies and I thought it would be fun to make my own. Just to say, if you have an incredibly sweet tooth then you will love this!

 Ready made cookie dough (I purchased mine from Tesco, in the chilled ready rolled pastry section).
 Ready made frosting.
Orange food colouring.
Reece's pieces/cups.
White chocolate.

1. Preheat oven as instructed on your ready made cookie dough and line as a pan with baking paper.
2. Roll out your cookie dough into a large circle until it's around 2cm thick and cook in the oven, as instructed on your ready made cookie dough (I cooked mine for around 15 mins) until it is golden brown. Just to note, the cookie itself should be soft in the middle once it's cooked and not rock hard.
3. Allow the cookie to cool, and whilst it is cooling mix your ready made frosting with your orange food colouring.
4. Once the cookie is cooled apply the frosting to the cookie and spread out accordingly.
5. Then decorate the cookie using reeces pieces, M&M's and any other sweets you want.
6. Melt two bowls of white chocolate and mix one bowl with orange food colouring. Drizzle chocolate over the cookie and allow it to set!

Whilst researching recipes I came across the idea of creating cookies that you just throw a load of different decorations into the mixture and somewhat hope for the best. I came across a few recipes that were all somewhat similar, but I finally settled on this recipe from Deliciously Sprinkled and mainly followed this for measurements/timings but I did skip on a few of the ingredients, but i'd recommend following the measurements of that recipe.

Plain flour.
Butter (I used butter designed for cakes).
Granulated sugar.
Baking soda
Vanilla extract.
Two eggs.
Chocolate chips - diary milk and white chocolate.
Halloween sprinkles - (I got mine from Home Bargains).
Orange food colouring - (Which I used to colour the white chocolate chips)

1. Preheat oven to around 200 degrees and line baking tray(s) with baking paper.
2. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt together, and set aside.
3. In a separate bowl mix the butter, sugar and vanilla extract.
4. Add eggs one at a time, and mix together until combined.
5. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined, then add all of the decorations (chocolate chips, crumbled oreos, sprinkles etc) and mix together.
6. Scoop cookie dough into ball shapes and flatten slightly.
7. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes, then turn the tray around and cook for another 5 minutes until the cookies are golden brown.
8. As soon as the cookies have come out of the oven, add some left over chocolate chips/decorations to the top of the cookies and allow them to cool.

Once I had made the giant cookie and the sprinkle cookies, I had an extra pack of the cookie dough left as I wasn't sure how much i'd need and rather than wasting it I thought i'd use up the last of the ingredients that I had left over! These were kind of a throw together and wing it kind of cookie and i'm really pleased with how they turned out!

Ready made cookie dough.
White chocolate.
Orange food colouring.
Halloween sprinkles.

1. Preheat oven as instructed on your ready made cookie dough and line as a pan with baking paper.
2. Separate the ready made cookie dough into circles that are 2cm thick, and cook in the oven as instructed on the ready made cookie dough until they are golden brown.
3. Allow cookies to cool, and whilst they are cooling melt two bowls of white chocolate and mix one bowl with orange food colouring. 
4. Drizzle chocolate over the cookies and apply sprinkles onto the cookies, and allow them to set!

So that is how I baked these three different types of Halloween themed cookies and as i've already mentioned, i'm really pleased with how they turned out! I hope that this inspires you to do some Halloween baking, and hopefully you don't spill a whole bottle of orange food colouring all over your kitchen floor like I did!

Have you done any Halloween baking?

Monday, 24 October 2016

Taking Blog Photos During Winter

As Autumn is fully set in and the clocks will be changing in a matter of weeks, I thought it was the perfect time to pull together a post with my tips of how to combat the limited hours of decent daylight and just how I generally take my blog pictures during the winter months. We all know the struggle is real when it comes to getting those good photos during winter and over the years i've learnt some really useful tips, so I thought i'd share them with you!
When I first started blogging, safe to say I didn't understand lighting at all but once i'd gotten into using natural light and understanding it more it became very apparent that during the autumn/winter months the light was very hard to work with and just often unreliable, in comparison to the summer months. As I now work full time, it's really hard for me to actually shoot my blog pictures as I can't shoot in the evenings, which means i'm limited to a couple of days within the week but last winter really allowed me to learn and get myself into a good routine in order for me to still shoot blog photos that I was really happy with and happy to put out. So here a few tips that I hope will help, as i've definitely learnt from them!

  • Plan, plan, plan - The number one thing for me is to plan everything! So during the evenings where I can't take blog photos, I plan exactly what posts I want to put up and the products/props I need in order to be ready for when I have the opportunity to shoot.
  • Make the most of the light - On the weekends, I make sure that I get as much out of the available daylight as I possibly can and shoot as many blog pictures as I can so i've got a good bank of blog photos ready. That often means sacrificing a lie in, or meaning that I go to the gym later than originally planned or postponing things.
  • Shoot outside - If I find that i'm struggling with light, especially on the days where it's a bit cloudy I sometimes will shoot outside in order to get the most out of the light that is available. I know that sounds a bit over the top, but it's so worth it!
  • Get into a routine - For me the best thing to do is to get yourself into a routine, so when I know i'm going to be shooting my blog pictures I make sure i'm being as efficient as I can be. Including working out when is best to shoot, as in timing with the daylight and as I previously mentioned planning ahead and just generally knowing what you want to do so you don't waste precious daylight time.
  • Invest in equipment - For this doesn't really apply as I try to get the most out of natural daylight, but if you don't have enough free time in order to shoot blog pictures i'd definitely recommend investing in some artificial lighting. I've seen a few bloggers sharing lighting that costs as little as £30, so there are cheaper methods available nowadays! 
  • Editing - The main thing that literally makes and saves my photos is the editing. Although shooting in natural light can really help, you often need a little extra help to get your photos looking perfect and I really rely on editing during the winter!
  • Research and read up more - Now, I thought i'd take this time to share some posts that i've recently read or learnt some really useful tips from other bloggers out there. 

How do you survive taking blog pictures during the winter?

Friday, 21 October 2016

My Current Makeup Bag Favourites

My daily makeup bag doesn't really change all the much but when I do get chance to try something new that impresses me it will make it's way into my daily makeup routine. I thought it would be a good opportunity to update on the products i'm currently loving, but to also show which products have remained staples in my daily makeup routine and have impressed me this far.
On a daily basis I do keep my makeup very minimal and simple, as I literally leave around 25 minutes to get ready in the morning and I save my more glammed up looks for special occasions. With that in mind I am very streamlined and I need products within my daily makeup routine that I know work quick but well, and all of these products allow me to create a pretty decent daily makeup look that takes no more than ten minutes.

Starting off with my current favourite foundation, of which I fully reviewed here and this is the Lancome Tient Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation* (£30). It gives such a lovely heavier coverage in comparison to my usual foundation of choice but it is so lightweight on the skin that you hardly know you're wearing any foundation. It covers everything you need it to and it leaves your skin looking flawless all day long. With this foundation I can also skip on using concealer, as it works really well to cover any redness or blemishes, which is great as I currently don't have any concealer!

Moving onto powder products and I don't really use a setting powder as I like the dewy finish but I do find using bronzer and blush helps to somewhat set my makeup in place. A bronzing product that I always go back to is the Freedom Pro Contour* (£3.50) which has two shades which comes in so handy as I can use both shades depending on if i've fake tanned or not. It gives such a lovely yet natural contour look and instantly adds some definition to my rather plump face! Another powder product that I have loved for a very long time is the Benefit Rockatuer Blush (£23.50). I just absolutely love this blush as the shade is so flattering and also adds a lovely amount of highlight, especially if I don't have time to highlight. Having said that if I am in the mood for a highlight, the NYX Liquid Illuminator (£7) has been a favourite of mine for quite some time as it's so different to my favourite powder highlighters and it blends out beautifully!

For brows my current and probably most favourite brow product ever has to be the Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil (£18.50). Never have I found such a good brow product that makes my brows look the way they do and I would definitely recommend trying this out! Onto eyes and two new products in my daily makeup bag that i'm loving are the Rimmel Scandal Eyes Reloaded Mascara* (£4.99) and the Rimmel Scandal Eyes Reloaded Eyeliner* (£5.49). Both of these products together are an absolute dream and they make my eyes/lashes look amazing! A full review of these will be coming soon, so stay tuned for that!

The last product i've been absolutely loving is a liquid lipstick and the Kylie Matte Liquid Lip Kits ($29) have been my favourites as of late. My current favourite shade is Candy K as it is the perfect autumnal nude and really suits my skin tone, as a few people have kindly complimented. I just absolutely love the formula of these and although are a pain to get hold of, they are so worth it!

What are your current makeup bag favourites?

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Shiny Hair Duo from Ogario London

Haircare is a massive part of my beauty regime, as many of you will know and one brand that I absolutely adore and my hair adores is Ogario London, because the quality of their products is just amazing. I recently reviewed two products that I had been trialling (and have since finished up) of which you can read here, so I thought it was about time I updated and reviewed the other products that i've recently been using and loving!
(Let's take a second to discuss that i've shot these products portrait instead of the usual landscape. I'm not sure how I feel about this, so please let me know your thoughts.) After absolutely loving the previous products from Ogario I was so excited to crack open these products that have been sat in my stash for quite some time as my hair has been in need of some pampering. 

What I love about Ogario London is that their haircare is made of ingredients derived from natural sources, but with that in mind with Ogario coming from a professional background in order to get the best results they do use a small amount of synthetic ingredients such as preservatives to ensure the haircare doesn't spoil. With the use of many natural ingredients everyone of their products smells incredibly fresh and herbal, in comparison to highly synthetic hair products on the market.

Kicking things off with probably the most amazing smelling shampoo i've ever had the pleasure of smelling, this is the award winning Ogario Revive & Shine Shampoo* (£16.50) with extracts of boabab and nettle which leave your hair looking super shiny and feeling super soft. This shampoo is lovely for when your hair is looking a bit in need as it works wonders for reviving your hair by gently cleansing and just giving your hair that little bit of life that it can sometimes lack. I love using this shampoo when i've let my hair get to the fourth or fifth day, where dry shampoo cannot save me anymore as it works wonders at removing any product build up, as just gives my hair a good clean and it leaves my hair smelling amazing!

The next product i've been trying is the Ogario Hydrate & Shine Conditioner* (£18.50), of which I have previously tried out the shampoo and loved it, so I knew i'd also get on well with the conditioner. Similarly to the shampoo, this conditioner is designed to hydrate your hair especially if it's dry or coloured but it also leaves your hair looking incredibly shiny but the ingredients are slightly different with extracts of marshmallow and tamarind, that again smell incredible. In comparison to their hair mask, this conditioner actually works very similarly and leaves my hair almost as soft as a hair mask would which to me is quite impressive, as it means that if I don't have time for a hair mask I know that I can get similar results from this.

All in all I am once again very impressed with these products from Ogario London and if you're wanting a new haircare brand of a professional quality to try out, then I would highly recommend trying them out as their products are great and very reasonably priced for the quality of them.

Have you tried anything from Ogario London?

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