Things To Do With Children #1

Sunday, 30 June 2013
In this new series I'll be showing you some of the cheap and cheerful things to do with children. My children are two and five so I need to keep them occupied and stimulated while working on a budget so where better to share what I do than here? Feel free to leave your tips or ideas for future posts in this series in the comments as I'm always looking for new things to try.

This week it's been quite a task keeping the two girls occupied as both are spotty and one is contagious with chicken pox. While thankfully it's not affecting them too much it is a cause for quarantining them from the outside world and to enjoy the sun we've been spending our days in the front garden looking for mini-beasts (insects) and in the back garden playing with chalk. I bought a box of jumbo chalks from The Works for £2.99 but you can find big and small chalks in so many places quite cheaply.

Our garden is cemented over with a small patio at the back so it can look very dull and grey during the bright summer days. I thought I'd give the girls a little project - spend an hour outside and get creative. Draw on the floor, write your name, scribble and swirl to your heart's content, write little phonetically spelled words on the slabs - just go wild. Half an hour later the garden was covered in multi coloured patterns and almost indecipherable words. We took photos of them to put in frames in their play room and when it was all done and they wanted to start over it was just a matter of hosing it all down and letting it dry overnight. The girls were amazed that they could start over the next day and so daily we've been playing hopscotch on chalkboard tiles, taking photos laying down surrounded by chalk flowers and seeing how many shapes we can make with a few sticks of chalk.

Inexpensive, educational if you fancy it or just pure fun if you don't. If anyone needs me I'll be in The Works stocking up on tubs of chalk.

What I'm Wearing || Date Night

Saturday, 29 June 2013

All items apart from the Faith shoes are extremely similar rather than exactly alike the ones I own

So it's that time of the year again - date night. I say that time of the year because it really doesn't happen that often. This date night is the first time we've been out together at night without the children for six months which seems like nothing to some but an age to others. I can tell you after the four month mark we are itching to get a babysitter and just go for a meal and a quiet drink somewhere.

So given the gravity of the situation, I thought I'd show you what I'm planning to wear. The shoes. Oh, the shoes. Every blogger and their camera owns a pair of Lita's, real or knock off but me? No Siree. I couldn't be part of the Lita's club because my feet are essentially canoes. I have size 9 feet and while I have tried and tried to fit into size 8's I always end up hobbling and crying in an alley somewhere unpleasant before walking home barefoot. So I was browsing the Debenham's website the other night and they had a sale on Faith shoes (some up to 70% off!) and I realise they stock the coveted size 9 shoe. With New Look's size 9 stock being the dowdier shoes I was just glad to have found somewhere that stocked reasonably priced larger shoes. I'd been umm-ing and ahh-ing over these shoes the entirety of that day as they'd been cut in price from £60 to £30. I decided to log back in just after midnight to add them to a wishlist and they had an extra £12 knocked off them. You win some.

Needless to say they should be winging their way to me sometime today to wear with the rest of this outfit. A sheer black shirt with a cami beneath to protect my grotty bra from prying eyes modesty with these really skinny jeans that actually don't make me look too huge, in my opinion. I don't look skinny, that's for sure but I do look somehow proportioned in these jeans rather than dowdy and hip-heavy as I do in my others.

I'll be teaming it all with a black studded bag, spike earrings that I picked up from Primark for £2 and possibly a floral crown. Now my hair is back orange I plan to put it in rollers and get a big shoulder length bouffant on the go a la Cheryl Cole so I probably won't need a head piece but I do have one on stand by (also from Primark for £3.50, in case you're in the market for one).

I don't even know where we're going. Dinner and to a bar for drinks this would be fine for but I'm sure boyfriend mentioned something about bowling and well, I'll need to change his mind. The shoes are calling out to be worn.

Recent Purchases || The 'Holy Grail' Products

Friday, 28 June 2013

I haven't really ventured out into the beauty world lately as I've been happily plodding my way through old tubes of favourites and haven't had the money to throw on something that is a little hit and miss. Besides the Rimmel Match Perfection concealer these are the first beauty items I've bought in over two months which is no mean feat for someone as obsessed as I am. I'm actually quite proud.

However today I couldn't resist a little shop and ended up in The Body Shop looking to see if their sale extended on their body mists. Now there's a story here: I've been wearing this vanilla perfume for almost ten years, since I started college at fifteen. It's the perfect sweet scent that can be layered or worn alone and actually lasts quite a decent amount of time for the small 30ml bottle and being an eu deu toilette rather than parfum. Sadly The Body Shop announced that they would be discontinuing the product last year and I had to move on to their body mists which aren't nearly as nice. The vanilla body mist is an entirely different scent that doesn't linger on my skin and the only one I've found I can wear daily is their coconut mist which, while nice, is not the vanilla. So I popped in today and there were about six bottles just lined up. I was all ready just to buy the one when my best friend noticed they were half price so I ended up with two. No doubt next week I'll be buying the rest if they're still available and stocking up as I just love it so much.

I popped into Boots too to pick up a new Kate Moss for Rimmel matte lipstick in 107. Every blogger knows about this lipstick, surely but I wear it pretty much all year round and after three tubes, I'd run out again. After seeing the products were on 'buy one get one half price' I ended up looking at the Revlon Lip Butters and instead of opting for my usual bright pink or orange shades I gave in to that little voice in my head that was whispering to buy a nude. Now, I'm not a nude girl and I love neutral eyes with statement lips so this is quite the departure for me and while it's taking a little getting used to I do love the colour that is slightly more peach than foundation-toned. The smooth slightly glossy texture makes it that little more easy to wear. I've run out of every lip butter I've purchased in the past (all bright shades) so I need to stock up on a few more while they're quite cheap.

What have you all been buying lately?

A Change Gon' Come

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Now I'm no Sam Cooke but I know when a change is going to come. I'm not really a huge fan of big changes but I like to refresh things in my life every now and again and it seems this was long overdue. Truth be told, I've not been having a very good week. When Amelia got over the contagious phase of Chicken Pox, Layla contracted it so now I have two little girls buzzing around my feet because one can't go out and one doesn't go out without the other now in fear of there being a massive tantrum. There have been some huge changes in the last week that I'm still adapting to so I thought I'd keep you all updated on some of the big things going on here.

Layla turned five!
My big baby girl (fondly nicknamed Cupcake after she gorged herself on them the past week) turned five last Wednesday and I almost can't believe how fast and how slowly it's gone, all at the same time. It feels like yesterday I was in the delivery suite almost breaking my sister's hand shouting about how I just needed a cheeseburger and this would all go away (that's what gas and air does to me folks, makes me hungry) but at the same time I can barely remember a time where she wasn't here. We celebrated with a home made seven layer cake that turned out more 70's themed than rainbow and lots of beating her at Mario Kart to punish her for labour. Good parenting.

Boyfriend and I celebrated our four year anniversary!
Boyfriend and I have 'officially' been together for four years! While I've known him longer we didn't officially say 'Hey, we're a couple. We're doing this' for quite a while after and so on the summer solstice of 2009, a year after Layla came into this world we said 'You're crazy' in unison and plodded along. For our anniversary he bought me a vintage ring to replace my old engagement ring which is incredibly beautiful and pictured above.

It's less than a year until we get married!
Since we're getting married on our fifth anniversary next year it's now less than a year until our wedding and I feel incredibly unprepared since we haven't booked a thing. I've been keeping 'The Bible' close by for emergency note-taking.

We started decorating the house!
After all my talk of redecorating, it finally happened. We took our first steps by painting the hall and play room (our old dining room that's turned into the girls' room). We'll be working our way slowly through the house adding bits as and when I can afford to pick them up. There'll be some before and after's up soon and the progress as it goes.

I lost two inches from my stomach!
Not a big deal for some of you but it is for me. I've been trying really hard to make healthier choices and move a lot more and it paid off when I finally got back into my quite-small-for-a-size-18 jeans that I had before I was pregnant with Amelia. I knew they'd come in handy one day.

The blog has had a makeover!
Inspired by the whole host of changes going on and inspired by the colour scheme in the playroom, What Laura Did has had a makeover. Let me know what you think as I was up way past my bed time making images and hoping they looked okay once in.

I've gone back ginger!
After a dalliance with brown, a fling with ombre and a fleeting moment of passion with bleach blonde I am back to my rightful bright orange ginger colour. Although it's not my natural colour I feel best with it and think it suits me much more than my natural dirty blonde so it's back and it's here to stay although I can't say I'll never stray. I just can't stay monogamous to a hair colour for too long. Alas, it is a marriage built on love and my fleeting heart will never stray for too long.

My sternum microdermal fell out!
I've had my cleavage pierced for about six months now and two days ago it just fell out. It didn't even hurt and I only noticed accidentally about three hours after it happened. Now I have a huge scab that looks like a mole and I'm waiting to go ask advice from a friend who's a piercer if I can have it repierced, how it will heal, how long I'll have to wait etc. I'm quite upset about it really as it was one of my favourite piercings and took a lot of courage to go in and get it done in the first place. It hurt quite a lot with all of the pressure on my chest so going back for a repeat experience wasn't top of my list of things to do.

So yes, forgive the long post and forgive all of these changes. Things will settle down soon and I hope you like the layout.

The Wedding Planner

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Wedding Planner c/o Paper Themes || The photos have made it look grey whereas in reality it's beige and white.

No, I'm not talking about Jennifer Lopez or even your local hotel appointed wedding planner. I am talking about this beauty also known in the house as 'The Bible'. With less than a year to get everything sorted for our upcoming wedding I was drowning in a sea of Word files and paper notes with names and numbers hastily scribbled down. We haven't booked anything yet but we have a lot of ideas for a very small wedding.

The planner itself feels of amazing quality. To me quality is when you can bang it about a bit in the bottom of your bag and it still looks brilliant which may not be the best test of quality ever but hey, I'm a chuck it in and go girl. The spine is covered in fabric giving it a contrast to the cover and pages and the pages themselves are thick. I am a weird stationary fan and I love thick pages that feel nice against my pen so this is a winner for me. With it's beautiful but subtle bird and floral design inside a heart it's right up my street and the way it's laid out - well it's got everything covered.

Inside you have tabs with everything from Getting Started to Guests and Stationary, Wardrobe, Wedding Day, Gifts and Contacts where you'll find the relevant space all beautifully laid out to write down the important bits. There's space for notes, clear envelope style pages to collect cuttings and samples and there's nothing I can think of adding to it which is a huge plus as some I've found don't have the sections I require.

All in all I highly recommend this for any brides to be as it really is a bit of a command central in book form. I'm a bit of a freak in that everything inside has to be written in my best handwriting with the same pen which makes it take an age to fill out relevant details but I want to keep this as a memento and hot damn, my handwriting will be pretty.

Making A House A Home // The Hall

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Moroccan light shade c/o Dunelm Mill

Remember how I'm always saying I love this house, I'm staying in this house and how I want to make a house a home? Well I'm finally on it. I started with the entrance hall as before it was patchy magnolia with a few pen marks courtesy of the girls and with nothing on the walls. It just felt drab and boring to me so on a whim I walked over to the local handyman, bought a big tub of 'Manhattan Grey' paint and got to work. It effectively closes in the space a bit more than it did with the magnolia but I feel it's more put together and has a little personality now.

The Morrocan inspired light shade is from Dunelm and I adore it. It's silver with yellow beads and really makes the space feel a bit special. My eye can't help but be drawn up to it when I'm sat at the kitchen table and I only wish it came in a larger size as it would be perfect as a focal point above a dining table. In someone elses house, of course as my dining table lives in my too-small-for-it kitchen and we have spotlights in here.

The mirror was found at a local charity shop for £3 and with the help of my trusty odds and ends paint brush and a tester tub of yellow paint it was given a bit of character. It really needs another coat and a good clean of the mirror but this is Home Makeover: Reality Edition and let's be honest, I just can't be too bothered right now. The pop of yellow really brightens up the space and I'm hoping to add a runner rug in the next few weeks too.

The photo frame I bought for my poster c/o Paper Themes (I'll show you very soon) but was too big so I decided to keep the insert in and add in some of my favourite family photos. Eventually they'll all have black and white photos in but for demonstrative purposes these are just a few I've found around the house. The wicker heart battery operated LED lights were found in B&M for a mere £3.99 and in the dark they look so pretty saving me turning on the large overhead light.

So there is work to be done. I'd like to paint the big brown box white which hosts all of our electric thingamabobs (technical term right there) so it blends in a little more and a rug (yellow and white chevron runner, if anyone can find one?) The small changes that have been made though have made such a difference that nobody comes in without commenting on how great it looks.

Would you prefer to see the living room before and after or what we've done to the girls' play room so far next?
Monday, 24 June 2013

With our wedding date confirmed, wedding breakfast venue and photo location booked and a deposit on my dream dress down I have really started to get wedding fever. I'm starting to buy little bits every week until I have everything paid off and all the little bits bought before next May. With the wedding being in June I want to look forward to it and do little things like get my hair and nails done or get a massage - not have to worry about whether my table centrepieces will turn up on time. By doing most things myself and really getting in to the DIY spirit I won't have quite so much to worry about as it'll all be on my own head.

Right now I'm looking at save the date cards and wedding invitations. I want them all to be uniform and I have my eye on some wallet style invitations. While they're a little more expensive than your standard offerings they look much more neat and contemporary than their folding peers and since we have a small guest list the larger prices don't exceed the budget. I've found some gorgeous ones that I'm trying to talk boyfriend around with but that's a work in progress. He's quite happy to let me take the lead but with my love of muted colours and florals it can be a little overwhelming for a day that's about us both. He already lives in a "Pinteresty house" that he's growing to love (so much so he comes back with items that have my seal of approval of his own accord) so I'm sure he'll come around.

What's your choice for invitations? Do you love postcards, rounded edges, letterpress or your classic fold? I personally love custom illustrations and I am so jealous of those who have the talent to make theirs themselves (mine just look like awful scratchy stick people on cheap card). Tell me below in the comments and also if you have any ideas for me I'd love to know!

Girls' Night

Friday, 21 June 2013
A survey by Ladbrokes Bingo found that only 30% of women prefer a night out to a night in. Now, I don't know about you but I like a night in but love a night out. That is until I get there and realise its too hot, too crowded, the drinks are overpriced, everyone you've ever known and disliked are out at the same time and you're a bit uncomfortable. Just me?

Maybe it's because I'm a homebody and stay in a lot but a night out is pretty special to me, a night out with boyfriend even more special. I dress up, apply flawless make-up and really make the most of it. At least I tried. However I do have an emergency kit with me as I'm always messing things up while out. So...my tips for a successful night out!

1. Keep your key, your phone and a spare fiver in your bra. If your bag gets lost or stolen you can still call for help and get home.
2. Take an extra pair of tights. I always seem to get random snags and extra tights are a lifesaver.
3. Avoid conflict. It seems like a great idea to say that thing but in the harsh light of day with a headache, best not to have.
4. POWDER. In photos you'll look sweaty and a bit haggard without it.
5. If you feel uncomfortable, change. You may think you can handle it but when you're walking home barefoot pulling your skirt down and those photos of an exposed bumcheek the next morning will make you realise otherwise.
6. Have a get together before you hit the town. A good session with a film, cocktails made at home a bit messily and some food will get you in the mood to get out there without walking in to an empty bar.

I'm definitely planning a night out soon. Who's with me?

Review // Moosterbubble

Thursday, 20 June 2013
Today's post is by the lovely Erica of imbeingerica.com


i've been wearing lipstick a lot more recently. i don't know why. could be that i read this post on xojane.com called "20 beauty and style mistakes i made in my 20's (that i'm ditching now that i'm [well, almost] in my thirties)", and one point in particular was about being scared too wear lipstick, and overcoming that fear by, well, by just bloody wearing lipstick.

i realised pretty quickly that i'd need some sort of lip primer; i was finding the lippy was either bleeding or going kind of... bitty, after awhile. i turned to the #bbloggers on instagram who were all very quick to advise on a scrub. they mostly recommended lush's organic sugar scrub - and while i can't fault the flavours of the scrubs, or the ethics of lush as a company, i've never had any luck with their products and kind of wanted to avoid the unoriginal route of just buying because of the name. i mean, what's the point if the products don't work foy you? instead, i turned to ebay one lunch time, and came across moosterbubble.

the little scrubbers kit claims to be a lip conditioning and moisturizing kit. perfect! it contains a 5ml lip scrub made from ground pumice to "slough away dead skin cells and leave lips soft, pink and smooth", and a 5ml lip butter made from cocoa and shea butters, vitamin e and a touch of beeswax. the lip butter was available in a variety of flavours, but the site assures me that both products only contain natural ingredients and a touch of manuka honey (expensive!). i chose the bubblegum flavour, and it definitely smells pretty sweet! 

the lip scrub is not as tasty as the lush one, mainly because the lush lip scrub is made from sugar, and this is made from pumice, but it's still 'edible'. not in the way i would be tempted to eat the whole pot of a lush sugar scrub, but as a natural ingredient, pumice can be ingested with no worries. after i used the scrub, my lips felt lovely! very soft and a bit tender (was i too rough?), but a small slather of the lip butter restored the colour and moisture, and actually made my lips feel really lush!

the butter is really slimy, so i wasn't sure if i really should put lippy over the top, so i blotted it a bit and then did. the colour certainly lasted a lot longer with smoother lips, and i suppose also with the help of the butter as a primer. i would totally even just use the butter as a balm or gloss on a matte lippy too. i think it would be just as good as a top coat as it is as a base coat.

at £4 plus 99p for delivery, i couldn't recommend this product more. the seller was a pleasure to do business with, and comes with amazing feedback scores, so clearly i'm not the first person who's had an easy transaction.

what do you use? would you try this product?

The Ladyboys of Bangkok

Monday, 17 June 2013

Last Monday I was invited along to see The Ladyboys Of Bangkok's latest cabaret show Amorous Nights in a purpose built pavillion in Cardiff Bay. After frantically emailing my best friends to see if they'd join in the fun we ended up on a train at 6pm with a load of Rihanna fans to meet a stressed out Danielle who'd been attempting to drive through through the RiRi chaos in Cardiff.

Now I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy the show as much as I did. Cabaret, gorgeous costumes, music, alcohol and a great atmosphere - what's not to like, eh? Well I like my music live as a rule but I'll tell you something - the lip synching to classics such as Tina Turner, Cher, a Thai Girls Aloud and a bit of T-Spoon (you know the song I'm talking about) just really got me excited. By the second half I was singing along with a gin in my hand and not a care in the world. I was in hysterics for most of the show and even got a bit ballsy and knocked Danielle up as the Conga line passed us to which she had to end with a good old YMCA on the stage. There is nothing not to love about that.

The ladyboys were beautiful, amazing at performing and the costumes were to die for. I'd kill to look that good, as would most women so let's just say that it was rather spectacular. We all had a complete riot and were giggling all the way back to the car while trying to avoid stray gusts of wind on our dresses. My camera unfortunately doesn't pick up well without the flash and since there was no flash photography allowed I had to make do with just the one photo of the performances.

If there's a Ladyboys show near you I urge you to go for a night filled of fun and camp drama. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will no doubt be buying a ticket the next time they strut into town on their sinch inch stiletto heels.

Review // Airwick Colour Ambience scented candles

Sunday, 16 June 2013

(*) Airwick Colour Ambience scented candle in Mulled Wine & Cinnamon Apple - £4 (or two for £7) from here

As everyone knows I love my scented candles so when I was kindly sent this to review in a scent I already own from Airwick I was overjoyed. The scent is very autumnal and I had it burning all the way through Christmas last year but this...it changes colour as it burns. I mean, that's pretty damn cool and a far sight away from my plain white frosted jars or clear containers. I know it's not a very summery scent but I'm not really a fan of the fruity scents of most designated summer candles so I'll keep this burning even on sunny days just because I love it that much.

The candle itself is in your average sized drinking tumblr in a frosted white glass container with a single wick. The scent is beautiful before being lit and after it fills an average sized room within 3 minutes. After about two minutes the colours kick in and it's quite hypnotising to watch the colours fade from red to pink to green to blue to purple and all the colours they make in between the fades. It looks rather spectacular as the only light in the room while you're watching TV or relaxing and is definitely something I'll be repurchasing a lot more of in lots of scents. I have seen these before and marvelled over them as my best friend Christina has one pride of place in her living room and I've never asked where it was from. Now I know that they're not only so cheap but come in a range of delicious scents (Rich Vanilla & Caramel Swirl, Cocoa Truffle & Crème to name but two) I'll be claiming these as a signature.

Negative Space

Saturday, 15 June 2013

I've been tweeting quite a lot in the past few days and I'm sorry to say they haven't been the most upbeat or friendly tweets I've ever sent. I'm going through a difficult time right now and I seem to take it out in 140 characters more than I probably should. You see, now I have to be careful what I say on social media platforms as the company I work for (for obvious reasons) don't want to be associated with negativity but I am not associating my working life with my personal life. On my personal twitter account I am free to behave as I will, write down my thoughts and that will not change. I have no negativity toward the company to write, regardless.

So I started work Monday morning and by Tuesday two year old Amelia had come down with a nasty case of chicken pox. Being a mother I wanted to be there for her as much as I could but it didn't happen as planned. Luckily boyfriend was home to look after her but if she's still like this by next Wednesday we are in a distinct bind. While the doctor's recommendation was to be away from nursery due to contagion for seven days, if she doesn't go back by Wednesday for any reason I will have to miss work or boyfriend will miss his final exam. It is a bind but I am working on hope alone.

At home there have been several dilemmas involving family, deaths of people close to me and a lot of negativity for seemingly no reason whatsoever. It falls on my shoulders to carry this responsibility and to make the hard choices - the choice between work and a funeral, the choice between work and working on things, the choice between professionalism and breaking down into tears thanks to four days of an hour a night sleep. I may as well walk into work on Monday with a badge saying 'Emotionally Compromised'. While it doesn't affect the volume or quality of work that I do it does affect my professionalism which I am already adjusting to and my team members. It can't work like this, not now, not ever. However in every situation I have chosen to work and that has made me think of my the mythological 'work/life balance'.

I am wary of a phrase that was constructed for women. I am wary that this phrase is being used so often that people, especially women, think this is attainable. It isn't. There is no work/life balance. It is work and life and sometimes one towers over the other threatening to topple at any given moment. Sometimes they are in sync. A lot of the time they aren't. We choose our careers over the needs of ourselves and the needs of others and this may not be the best course of action but it is for the individual. We don't judge a man for working 6am - 9pm and rarely spending time with his family but why do we judge a woman? Why is it that women are brought up as someone missing their family and wanting to be home but the man feels no need to admit his own thoughts on the subject, opposing or not?

I am finding it difficult to adjust but I will adjust. I will bow to no-one but respect everyone. I will listen but have my own thoughts that are usually unwavering. I will do what I have to do and only more when it is of benefit to myself. I will shut my mouth when the opportunity allows but I am still me.

All I have ever wanted was to be effervescent

I will continue to be dynamic, passionate, thoughtful, compassionate and outspoken. I will continue to be these things while finding a balance between that and professionalism. I will continue to be who I am, speak how I speak and adhere to what I adhere to. I am not above or below anyone, I am not worth less than anyone but I will continue to graft and create something of myself, even if someone finds it worthless; it is worth everything to me. I am putting my foot down and saying right now that it's all about me and if I can find a way to make that work for others, then so be it.

I am in a pit of self pity and I am clawing my way out because the life choices I have make and continue to make will not be dictated to me by family members, friends, acquaintances or the people beyond my personal circle of trust. People abuse their position of power and you find your trust has unwisely been placed - I don't trust well for this reason. These people are just people; I can take them on head to head and if something wise and grand comes of it that is just swell. Until then I shall graft, create, respect, love, value and soldier on.

What I Wore // Summer Sun

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Since it's been absolutely gorgeous in Wales these past few days I've been leaning towards brightly patterned maxi dresses and flat shoes. My sister bought this maxi dress from Primark around two years ago and every summer be it day wear or evening wear I always dig it out and find an excuse to wear it. It's rather billowing and can make me look every inch the hippo in a dress without a belt to cinch in the waist and a pair of heels but I can't help but to love it. The print is so colourful and striking and as you get down to the skirt it breaks up into tiny turqouise and gold flowers. A bit loud, aye but gorgeous nonetheless.

I apologise for the photo quality as of late. My camera has decided to die and until I can get it fixed next week it's all iPhone photos and sharpening the images to get some kind of quality from them. I'll be back to full body outfit shots as soon as I can but I can't promise a date right now.

Wishlist // The Weekend

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

I'm craving soft fabrics, plimsolls and comfortable tops this week. With the weather as crazy beautiful as it is it's uncomfortable to be in too restricting clothes and I just don't have a place to wear all of my pretty dresses when I'm doing housework, walking the dog or running a few errands. These trousers are made of a a gorgeous light material that gives them a wide legged feel, the top is form fitting at the bottom and slouchy at the top and I must own about ten pairs of these trainers, both plain and in floral print. These satchels are everywhere right now and I'm going to pick one up from the local shop in town as they're a bit more oversized there but this demonstrates my love of mustard, polkadots and satchels all mushed together and I love it.

As for the products, who doesn't want a long soak in the bath with a face mask and to come out smelling divine? Nobody, that's who. Relive the Snow Fairy scent with these bath melts from Lush (throw in Rock Star or Godmother soap too, for good measure) and come out with fresh minty skin courtesy of one of my favourite face masks right now by Amie before spritzing with my favourite vanilla body mist from The Body Shop. They used to have a vanilla EDT and I was very upset when they discontinued it but this is the next best thing and I wear it almost daily so they must be doing something right with it.

What's your weekend uniform?

Review // LUSH Angels On Bare Skin Cleanser

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

LUSH Angels On Bare Skin cleanser - £6.25 from here (*)

I received this product at the Lush bloggers party last week and I've been using it twice daily since. I used this cleanser in my teens changing between this and Herbalism which work in pretty much the same way and really helped to keep my skin clear during that awkward period. I lost my love of it when I moved on to high end skin care and since I've been dipping my toe back into Lush skincare with their fresh face masks but never to the cleansers. You can imagine me clinging on to my REN and Liz Earle right now because that's what I would be doing - that is, if I didn't like this cleanser so damn much.

With ingredients including ground almonds for gentle exfoliation and lavender oil and lavender flowers for balancing the production of oil as well as the product being vegan (I'm not but you might be) and actually working it's a no brainer for me. I will definitely be popping out to buy a new tub when this one runs out. I really enjoy using it and I only need a slightly bigger than pea sized ball to do my entire rather large face which means this will last me for-absolute-ever.

After removing my make up I take a little bit on the back of my hand, mix in a small amount of warm water and gently massage it into my face. Once done I rinse with warm water, splash with cold and done. It doesn't feel as luxurious as using a hot cloth cleanser but it's completely guilt free in the price and ingredients, smells divine, wakes me up in the morning and actually does something to my skin. In less than a week my face looks brighter and feels smoother. This may be because I've been so used to the Liz Earle my skin has adapted and now this is a shock to the system but whatever it is, I'm loving it.

Guest Post // Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe

Monday, 10 June 2013
Hello lovelies! Just popped in to introduce my wonderful friend from the other side of the world, Sunae who is very kindly helping me out while I adjust to my first day at the office. Go show her some love because she's a little bit fantastic.

Hello lovely What Laura Did readers! My name is Sunae and I write a little lifestyle blog called Little Foal. I am so happy to be sharing a post with you all today, as Laura is one of my dearest bloggy friends, and I am so happy for her to be starting her new job this week! Now, when I first spoke to Laura about doing a guest post here in her first week at work, I wasn't really sure what to write about. I knew I wanted to do something DIY or recipe related, because that's the kind of thing I love and I've just started my university mid-year break, so I finally have time to get my hands dirty in the kitchen and the craft room again. Then I remembered Laura's love of cake and all things cake-related and just knew I had to share my favourite cake recipe with her and her readers!
This cake recipe is one I stumbled upon while on a gluten-free diet. I was a little sceptical at first, because lets face it - cake without flour? But I can honestly say it has become my favourite cake recipe to date. It is incredibly rich, especially if you use dark chocolate like I do, but it is absolutely scrumptious and I really hope that if you decide to make it, you enjoy it as much as I do! 

Ingredients:

  • 6 1-ounce squares coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • For Glaze:
  • 2 1-ounce squares coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate squares
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon milk OR light coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Agave syrup OR honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F
Spray a 7-inch tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray. If you don't have a tart pan, use a 6 to 7-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray the paper.
  1. Melt 6 ounces of chopped chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Be really careful not to burn your chocolate, and make sure you keep on stirring! If you're not confident melting chocolate this way, do it in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.
  2. Add sugar and salt and reduce heat to low. Cook while stirring for about one minute, until sugar starts to dissolve.
  3. Remove pan from heat. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. The mixture will look smooth and glossy.
  4. Use a mesh hand sieve to sift cocoa into mixture. This prevents lumps. Whisk until the cake batter is smooth.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes. The center of the cake should be just firm to the touch, but be careful to not overbake the cake or it will be dry.
  6. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert the cake on a plate.
  7. To prepare the glaze, melt 2 ounces of chopped chocolate and 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in the same saucepan you used to make the cake. When melted and smooth, remove the pan from heat. Add milk and Agave syrup OR honey and vanilla and stir until smooth and glossy. Let the glaze cool for about 3 minutes before pouring it on the cake.
  8. Pour all of the glaze in the middle of the cake. Use a silicone or rubber spatula to spread the glaze evenly over the cake, allowing the glaze to evenly run down the sides of the cake. Recipe source 
The original recipe says that it serves 6, but let me tell you, if you've used dark chocolate for this one as I did, there is no way one person could eat 1/6 of this cake in one sitting! It is just too rich! My favourite way to serve this cake is by warming up about a one inch thick slice in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or until the cake turns fudgy and plopping a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top! I hope you have enjoyed this recipe and I would love for you to pop over to Little Foal some time to say hi and see what else I'm up to!

Keeping Those Resolutions

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Since we're halfway through the year and no, I can't believe it either, I decided I'd write about how those pesky resolutions I made way back in January. I read that most people don't keep their resolutions and that's certainly true for me. I find it very difficult to keep resolutions and promises to myself and always end up giving up. Is it because I don't think I'm worth it? I think I'm just a bit lazy when I have promises and duties to everyone else too. I always seem to come last on my list of priorities. Maybe I should at least become third after my family and work commitments? A half-year resolution has been made.

Oh boy.

Get more organised
I've kind of kept this one. I am much more organised in terms of time and I make sure all of my assignments are done, e-mails are replied to, appointments are attended on time and blog posts are scheduled days in advance most weeks. Before I was so disorganised I would be running around like a headless chicken in the minutes leading up to leaving for school but now, not so much.

Remember to be silly
I've remembered it but I haven't succeeded. While I do have my moments the first half of this year has been just as stressful as the last half of last year so I haven't really had more than a few opportunities to really let my hair down and be a bit daft as I'm constantly sorting something out. However it is an ongoing process and I have a feeling that the last half of this year will really pick up.

Better my beauty self
This I have done. I've been vigilant with my skincare routine and my skin is looking much better for it. I've bought pretty much all new make up and the things I haven't replaced I have cleaned to the best of my ability. I've also been trying out a lot more brands than I ever thought I would so this one, so far is a big success.

Remind the people I love how much I love them
Every. Single. Day.

Work hard and allow myself to play
Let's be honest, I haven't really been working hard these past six months but I will be in the latter half so yes, I shall definitely be trying to keep this this one.

Read and watch more non-fiction
While I haven't read any non-fiction apart from the news, I have been watching a lot of documentaries with boyfriend on Netflix. We've got through 80% of the ones we thought were interesting and we try to have an 'educational night' once a week.

Relax
I'm trying, I truly am.

So while I'm not quite there on every point there's still another six months to go. Positive thinking and all that!

Review // Technic High Lights

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Technic High Lights - £2.60 from here (*)

You know how much I love budget beauty and dupes go hand in hand with that frugal streak in me. I've had many Benefit High Beam's both sample and full sized and I could never find something that matched up until I popped into Bodycare and picked up this little gem that Victoria had been raving about. It really is a brilliant dupe for such a beloved liquid highlighter.

First off, I hate the brush. I may have got a dud but it reminds me of the MUA £1 nail polish brushes - hard, fans out in all the wrong places and hates me. However because I'm not looking for precise application on my nails with this I usually pop some on to the back of my hand with said horrendous brush and apply to my face with my fingers. It blends out extremely well and is so flattering on pale skintones thanks to it's pink toned silver appearance. When I have a tan (ha, more like when I wear bronzer and St Moritz) I tend to lean towards Benefit's Sun Beam so I really hope that Technic come out with a Sunbeam dupe as they have with High Beam, Posie Tint and That Gal primer by Benefit. Bodycare really is a Benefit rip-off store but some of the products really do work well for a third of the price.

I paid £2 for this but it's on Amazon for £2.60 if you don't have a Bodycare local to you and you want to try it for yourself.

Lush Times

Friday, 7 June 2013

Wednesday evening myself and a few other bloggers were invited to a party at the Lush store in Cardiff. We were greeted with a choice of rose or fruit mocktails (laden with real fruit) which they have on hand at the various Lush spa's dotted around the UK and allowed to roam the store. The staff were as friendly and positive as ever and quick on hand to describe the products, demonstrate them on us and recommend the best product to work for us as individuals. I ended up getting a sample of the Caca Rouge red henna which will be enough to do the ends of my hair or a simple strand test to see if it'll take to the ginger I so coveted on Naomi, one of the staff there who also attended the Cardiff Bloggers meet with Lush.

Last night I learned a lot about the new campaign against drones and drone strikes with are prevalent around the world but are kept quite under wraps. The only reason I knew of drones was because of Homeland so it was intrieguing to hear they'd been spotted in Wales. I'm going to write a separate post on the drones themselves, the research, the statistics and the products Lush are selling to raise money for awareness so keep your eyes peeled for that if you're interested in bath joy with a smidgen of good cause and not so good politics.

After we'd browsed around, tried on the extraordinarily pigmented multi purpose make up (Stefanie from Cowbiscuits had bright pink hair tips for the evening) and smelled strongly of a concoction of natural wonders, we got to witness the Angels On Bare Skin cleanser being made and ended up each taking home a full sized product to try ourselves. The jury's out at the moment as I've only just started re-using it but from what I remember from a few years ago the product is very good on all skin types and worked really well for mine. No doubt there'll be a review in the near future to look out for.

As we left the manager of the shop called out behind us to the workmen outside asking if they'd like a cuppa as it was 8:30pm and they were still going. Proof that their positive and kind attitude isn't all for show.