Christmas Cranberry Vodka

It’s just two months people! Two months till the best day of the year! So today I have a little something to help us all get in the Christmas spirit (literally… awkward pun). These are perfect for Christmas presents for those people you just do not know what to get, I will be dishing mine out to work colleague and friends. They are so Christmassy and really look like you’ve put a lot of effort into them.. which of course you have (but it definitely looks and tastes much more expensive than it is!)

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What you will need…

  • 200g fresh cranberries
  • 70g unrefined caster sugar
  • 700ml vodka
  • 20ml Cointreau
  • Pretty bottles to present them in!

ideally you should do this six weeks before you would like to begin handing your gifts out, hence the early posting of this post ūüôā

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Method

  • Pop all your cranberries and all the sugar into a sterilised container and crush the fruit until all the cranberries are ‘popped’.. the noise of the popping as actually oddly satisfying.. I just used a rolling pin to crush mine
  • Once sufficiently crush add all of the vodka and stir so evenly mixed
  • Now is the boring bit… waiting. Seal your container and store in a cool dark place for six weeks. Make sure you check back in once or twice a week and give the container a shake
  • Once the six weeks are up strain the vodka, add the Cointreau and pour into your chosen sterilised bottles and decorate accordingly

Now because I’ve only just put mine awake for six weeks I can’t show you the finished product, but if it is anything like last year they will be in small mason jar with Rafter and Holly leaves as decoration! I will be sure to post my finished product as soon as i have it!

Enjoy! and let me know how you get on.

Much love,

Joanna xx

Losing yourself to find yourself

Bit of a different one from me today but it is something I have been thinking a lot about recently… That feeling of ‘losing yourself’. Now if you’re anything like me you spend a lot of the time contemplating where you fit in, where you should be in your life, or if you’re doing the right thing. I’ve recently found a blogger who is making me tackle these questions in a very different way to how I have done previously. Her Instagram posts, blogs and entire backstory really¬†struck some chords. So if these kind of things ring true with you check her out!

https://www.youtube.com/user/Carlyrowena

http://www.carlyrowena.com/

So this post 7 thought processes I try to avoid when I begin to feel that ‘lost’ kinda thing

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1. My least favourite is when I begin to start doubting choices I’ve made. Easier said than done I know but you need to nip these worthless questions in the bud and when they pop up in your head try the hardest you can to stop thinking about them, replace these questions with simple daily life questions, like… what shall I have for tea tonight. You’ve probably been told it a million times before and deep down you know it but there is NOTHING you can do to change the choices so stop wondering ‘what if’ and start wondering ‘where next’.

2. When you start to worry about how your life is affecting others, so long as you are happy in yourself everyone who matters around you will be happy. The key word here is ‘matters’, not everyone around you matters and the ones who aren’t happy for you when you’re happy aren’t worth keeping around. So stop fretting about pleasing everyone and start trying to please yourself and be someone you would be proud of.

3. If you aren’t happy with where your life is, stop wondering why or how you got to this point and start picturing where you want to be. Then take some REAL me time and start working out how you can get there. Research courses you will need to take, places you want to go and the sorts of people you want to meet along the way.

4. When you’re feeling really down, surround yourself with people who love you. Visit family, plan date nights. Sometimes being proactive about life progression is near impossible when your head gets in a rut. Stop being so hard on yourself and just take an afternoon to do something you love with people you love. Tackle the problems when you’re feeling less downtrodden.

5. DO NOT under any circumstances compare yourself to anyone else. This is the worst thing you can do. You are what you make of your life and in the end no one is going to remember you for how much you looked like Kim Kardashian.

6. When you’re questioning yourself, take a few minutes out to think about what you would say to someone who was doing the same thing. Sometimes the best advice comes from yourself and it just takes a few moments away from the situation to work that one out.

7. Remember, no body gets to where they want to be overnight. It takes hard work, determination and patience. As long as you remember this you will not get as frustrated with your current situation in time.   No one got to where they wanted to be without a god damn fight!

Always remember, it is not how you got to where you want to be, all that is important is that you get there.

Much love, 

Joanna xx

Revlon * Colourburst *

I currently have three types of these in my collection, each of them a slightly different product. A balm stain, a matte balm and a lacquer balm.

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Each of them have their pros and cons. I will start with the Matte balm, this I have in the colour 230 Complex. The colour is beautiful and I can only best describe it as a orangey nude colour, really wearable for everyday. The fact it was matte worried me slightly but this has to be the least drying matte lip colour i have come across. The staying power isn’t amazing but it fades fairly evenly so it doesn’t go patchy which is alway a treat.

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The lacquer balm I bought a bit on a whim more to try out of curiostiy really because I had heard great things. I have this in 105 Demure. This is my least favourite out of the three. It really isnt that pigmented and is more a gloss than anything. It just left my lips a little bit shimmery with not a lot of colour. Although it is really hydrating I did not like to constancy. I found it clumped quite a lot and was very sticky.

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Finally my absolute favourite out of the three and the one I will definelty be repurchasing. Throughout all of spring this has been my go to colour. The Balm stain in the colour ¬†001 Honey. It is a beautiful your lips but better colour, it really gives me that kissable lip look. The product is hydrating and although it doesn’t have amazing staying power it fades gradually and not in patches so it is really easy just to reapply when it begins to fade. The pigment is beautiful and although the others do have a similar effect on my lips this one leaves a tingly sensation on my lips (almost like menthol flavour) which I find super refreshing¬†and I swear it helps plump my lips up a little! The picture below is this colour ūüôā

All in all, good job Revlon!

Much love, IMG_6666

Joanna x

Coconut oil – hair mask *****

So you may or may not have seen but I recently did a trial of coconut pulling (see previous post). Anyway, the outcome of that meant I had some coconut oil spare so looked up other tricks I could do with it. After reading a few recipes that are good using coconut oil i stumbled across¬†using coconut oil as a hair mask. IMG_6554 So I have think damaged hair at the moment, it is quite long and has been for a while now so as I am sure you can understand or even sympathise the ends of my hair aren’t the best they could be. Now I am not at a stage where I am willing to chop it all off so have been purchasing strengthening shampoo and condition, using leave in conditioner and heat protective spray when I blow dry. Basically I am trying anything to save the lengths of my hair from looking dull and dead. So I thought why not try the hair mask trick. So I waited till my hair was three days un washed (usually what I go between washes). Like how i had with the oil pulling I spooned a table spoons worth of coconut oil into a pyrex glass and microwaved for a short time – just long enough to melt it to a completely liquid form. Then over the sink I dipped my fingers in and then just ran through the lengths of my hair till it was all in there. I would recommend you use the right amount of oil for your hair, so less oil for shorter thiner hair and more oil for longer thicker hair. I concentrated the oil on the lengths as opposed to the routes as I wanted to avoid excess grease the next day. Once it was all in I just put my hair up in a high bun and slept on it. (I did have to change the bed sheets the next day as the pillows got rather oily!) 3ab96b9cc2e117f2c53d94faa18e09ac But was it worth the oily pillow case?! YES YES YES! My goodness yes. I woke up, washed and conditioned my hair like I normally would and blow dried it. My hair has literally NEVER looked this shiny and healthy. It is honestly unbelievable what 12 hours with coconut oil on your hair can do to it. My hair is not greasy or oily in anyway, it somehow feels thicker and the shine is amazing. I am not one to overreact and give credit to something that is not worth it, but I can honestly say I will be doing this once as week now ¬†(the day before I change the bedsheets!). Although coconut oil is expensive I will only be doing it once as week and think the jar will last. Some blogs I have read say to leave the mask on for a couple of hours but because I have had such a good result from the 12 hour trick I will be keeping this up.

Much love,

Joanna x

Sleek eyebrow stylist review

I have not seen much about this product over the internet, and this is a product I personally feel needs a hell of a lot more recognition than what it is getting!

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I get that everyone looks for different qualities in a brow kit and it takes a long time to find the right one that works for you. I tirelessly tried to make Benefits Browsing work for me but I had to admit defeat, that powder based products on my brows just didn’t work. Next up I tried Benefits Brow gel. This I had little patients with, it was really difficult to apply without ending up with the product in clumps the brush was bad quality and in my opinion the product itself was one of benefits worst. After watching Hollie Wakeham of PampurLounge https://www.youtube.com/user/PampurLounge¬†I took her up on one of her recommendations, and wow I glad I did. I have found a staple product for my everyday make up kit and a product I reach for every morning. An ever bigger bonus is the price tag ¬£5.99! and it lasts around three months (obviously dependant on your brown preferences). It comes in three shades, light medium and dark. I use the medium and I would say this is perfect shade for dark hair and medium skin tone. If I thought really bold brows suited me I might go for the dark but because I use this as an everyday product medium works just fine for me.

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The stylist is double ended, one end is a spooly brush and the other is a wax based pencil. The nib of the pencil is very small so it is perfect for building up and detailing. The packaging is underwhelming but I don’t mind this at all, it if keeps the price down and the product continues to be so easy to use, and give me the exact effects I want for my brows I will be repurchasing this product again and again.

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Voilà , the finished product and my everyday make up.

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Much love,

Joanna x

Lanc√īme Hypn√īse mascara review

When it comes to mascara I am a very ‘stick with what you know’ kind of person. So when I was bought this product for Christmas I was slightly dubious about trying it. But alas… Thank you mum for knowing me too well and making me try out something new!

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Packaging

In my personal opinion the packaging is underwhelming. Simple and elegant I suppose, but with a product like this It doesn’t need amazing packaging. The product really does speak for itself.

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Application

The brush is long and thin meaning it’s perfect for reaching all lashes in one stroke and it doesn’t get messy! The product doesn’t go all over the place during application. In fact this is the only mascara I’ve used which doesn’t require a clean up after applying. There are lots of bristles meaning it picks up all lashes. The product itself is amazing at not clumping your eyelashes! I repeat girls NO CLUMPS! I mean it when I say… somehow… And I don’t know how, Lanc√īme has given us a product which separates all your lashes without even having to work the product out.

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Overall verdict

A little pricy for everyday mascara (¬£22.50) but I for one don’t mind spending a little more on a product if I feel like it’s worth it. And this product is definitely one of those very few. Like I said the applicator is so lovely and leaves your lashed elongated and separated giving you a really elegant open eye. It’s also very buildable so it can easily double up as an everyday and night out product. The mascara doesn’t budge once it’s on either. Just today I’ve been out in bitterly cold wind and even after my eyes were streaming I got back in the car to find my mascara hadn’t gone anywhere. I was very smug with mysef when looking at the other girls I was with! Hehe.

If you have experience with the product I’d love to hear about it.

In the meantime, much love,

Joanna x

Benefits ‘Rockateur’ blush review

Tah Dah!

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After many dead end attempts at finding the a good drug store blush I decided to go into Debenhams and look around to see what the concessions had to offer. I new from the offset I needed a powder blush after finding out cream blush is definitely not the one for skin which is prone to getting oily throughout the day. I tried on plenty of blush from a number of concessions, Urban Decay, Bare Minerals and ¬†YSL… Final stop, the old faithful Benefit.

After explaining what I was after the assistant recommended Sugarbomb, after having this applied I was ready to give up on all hope of finding a blusher to fall in love with.

Enter my final shot (I don’t think my checks were appreciating all the applying, removal, applying, removal, applying, removal). ROCKATEUR.

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At first I was dubious, the packaging didn’t impress me too much, the brush looked cheap and useless and it appeared very shimmered. But as soon as she passed me the mirror I knew I had found it. The pigment is perfect, the shimmer is just enough (not too dull but definitely doesn’t make you look like you have a face full of glitter). Even throughout the day the shimmer doesn’t budge so unlike a lot of shimmer based products you don’t come home to find you’re entire face is a glitter ball.

I have also found this product really good for conturing when just using a highlighter. So just applying it in the hollows of my cheeks and then using Rimmel wake me up concealer as a highlighter. It is a super affordable everyday look that looks stunning.

The only negative of this product is the brush provided is useless, in fact I binned it soon after bringing it home. But the product itself is just perfect, the colour is a best described as a bronzed coral.

If anyone would be interested in a make up tutorial for this look please do let me know. In the meantime, for me and Rockateur, we don’t go anywhere without each other!

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Much love,

Joanna x

Liz Earle hot cloth set

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This has been my skin routine for a little over two months now and knowing my skin it takes a while to get used to a new routine, so I wanted to leave this review until I knew exactly where I stood with the products. And like 99.9 per cent of reviews on Liz Earle out there this post is no different, they are absolutely amazing, hands down the best products I have ever had the pleasure of smearing all over my face. Now, everyones skin is different and everyones skin will react differently to products so I will start by giving you and brief idea of my skin type. I get quite an oily tea zone but can also get dry patches all over. I am not prone to spots but I do get the odd horror from time to time. Luckily my skin is not something that gets effected at different times of the month (eh hem) but it does very season to season. In summer I could probably fry an egg on my face but in winter my skin can get super dry. However in saying that, I have read a good few reviews of these products and it seems most skin types react well to Liz Earle.

Now to the product – I bought this set from John Lewis in a Christmas offer, however I popped into lakeside a few weeks ago only to find Liz Earle had started being sold in boots! So far more accessible now, probably due to the fact this product is finally getting the recognition it deserves. My set includes the hot cloth cleanse and polish, Instant boost Skin Tonic toner, moisturiser, Eye lotion (more of a toner consistency) and 2 muslin cloths. The first stage is cleansing… and the most difficult part of this routine to get used to. You apply to cleanser to a dry face with all your make up on. I generally start massaging into the areas with less make up spending a few minuets massaging into the skin and working my way around finishing with my eyes. I then like to put the muslin cloth under piping hot water and throughly wipe everything away. Not only does this product smell fresh and beautiful it literally takes off every scrap on make up, and if you have missed anything the toner will pick that up. Once I am satisfied I’ve removed all the product I splash my face with very cold water, this process closes the open pours you opened up with the hot water. It also REALLY wakes you up in the morning, something I often need! Once towel dried now comes the toner. I have never been a toner user but this step of the process is so refreshing and the product like I said is amazing for removing any make up that you may of missed in the cleansing process. Much like the cleanser this product is so refreshing and smells so lovely, it is not too perfumed but just enough to make your skin feel fresh and beautiful. It has a really luxurious spa like smell, cucumber and aloe vera. ¬†I apply this mainly over my tea zone where I have quite large pores using cotton wool pads. Then every other days I use the Eyebright Soothing Eye lotion, the only reason I don’t use this everyday is because the bottle that came with the set is only 150 ml (sad face) so because this is a quite expensive product I want to make it last. This product really makes your eyes feel a lot brighter and awake as one of the main ingredients is witch hazel. I apply this using cotton wool pads again and usually leave them over my eyes for a few mins to let my eyes inhale it.

Finally comes the Skin Repair Moisturiser for Normal/Combination skin. I apply this all over and spend as long as I can massaging it in to get the blood flowing to the surface of my skin. The only fault with this product is (and it may just be my skin type) is it does not absorb into the skin very quickly. So I often get a comments from my beloved laughing at my white oily face! but this does pass, it just seems to take a while for my skin to absorb it for some (and no I am not putting too much on!) I use all these products quite sparingly.

I will definitely be repurchasing all these products and after pay day I plan on trying some more Liz Earle products out, so no doubt more reviews from them in the coming months. If anyone else has some Liz Earle tales, good or bad let me know! I love reading these reviews.

Much love,

Joanna xxx