Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuesday Tasties No.31 - The Breakfast Edition

Breakfast, it's the most important meal of the day, but sometimes it's hard to make good choices when you're strapped for time or you're craving something chocolate based. Today instead of my usual recipe, I thought I'd share some of the breakfast options I've been enjoying lately.
Scrambled Eggs & Smoked Salmon - This one's always a good one for the weekend, don't be fooled smoked salmon doesn't need to cost the earth. I tend to buy smoked salmon trimmings which are always dirt cheap as they're not as pretty as the salmon slices. I serve mine on wholemeal toast (sans butter) and I make my eggs with a touch of milk and olive oil as this makes them lovely and creamy.

Bear Alpha Bites - I love Coco Pops as much as the next person, but I'm pretty conscious that they're packed full of sugar and other unnecessary ingredients. I've tried a couple of Bear snacks before, but stumbled across the Alpha Bites recently in Waitrose and thought they'd be a healthier substitute for my cereal. These have very few ingredients (and no added sugar!), and whilst they're not as chocolatey as Coco Pops, they still great for a lazy and quick breakfast with some semi-skimmed milk.

Granola - This tends to be what I have for breakfast most mornings as I find oats keep me fuller for longer plus, I can measure out a portion before I go to bed and pop it in a bowl in the morning. This granola is packed full of pumpkin seeds and nuts i.e. lots of protein. There are a couple of ways I have my granola, either with natural yoghurt and honey, or natural yoghurt and some fresh berries, yummy!

Do you have any other ideas for a healthy breakfast? I could go on and on, porridge, boiled egg and wholemeal soldiers and who can forget, peanut butter and chopped banana on toast.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Dior Addict Fluid Stick in 373 Rieuse - A Review

Following on from my recent Dior Beauty Wishlist post, I decided to take advantage of the fact that I had amassed a fair old whack of points on my Boots Advantage Card. For those of you not in the know, it's basically a loyalty card and you get 4 points for every pound you spend. As a bonus, throughout the year Boots will send you vouchers to help boost your points. Over the last 6 months, I've managed to accrue almost £40 worth. Therefore I've had a bit of splurge.
Dior have recently launched the Dior Addict Fluid Sticks, these little beauties are amazing! As you can see from the packaging, it almost looks as though you should be expecting a lip stick.
However, twist open the lid and you'll be greeted with something that almost resembles a gloss. However, don't be fooled for this little beauty is actually a hybrid of the two! The Fluid Sticks actually deliver the high colour you'd expect from a lipstick owing to the high level of pigment, but give your lips all of the comfort of a gloss. In addition, whilst the product initially applies with the shine of a gloss as it's water based, after a few hours of wear, it gives the appearance of a matt stain (without any colour wear) on the lips which lasts and lasts. 
The shape of the wand is very unique, as you can see from the picture above, it almost curves to the shape of your lips meaning it's super easy to apply and given a wee bit of practice, you can get your technique down to coat your lips in just one swift sweep. 
Above shows my lips with just one coat, the colour is no where near as scary as in the tube, it's like my lips but better. I needed no lip liner (another advantage of the Fluid Sticks over traditional lip sticks) and the formula certainly didn't feel overly sticky as you may have to come to expect with gloss based products.
With two coats, the gloss factor is certainly increased and there's more colour pay-off if that's what you're looking for. 

Overall, I think the Fluid Sticks will be great investment for summer, I've also got my eyes on the shades Aventure (551) and Wonderland (575) which are new shades for this year. The Fluid Sticks cost £26 a pop and they're available now in Boots if they take your fancy, there are plenty of shades to choose from.

Have you tried to Dior Fluid Sticks? What did you think of them?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday Tasties No.30

This is a very special post for me, I've shared 30 recipes with you guys and I am seriously tempted to try and undertake a kitchen based vlog giving you a sneak peak into the crazyness that is the What Laura Loves Today household. Let me know if this is something you'd like to see! Moving on, it's time to cook!

Chicken Mole & Green Rice
As a heads up, this is a weekend recipe as you need a good hour and half to get everything looking luscious. There are quite a lot of ingredients, but you'll be happy to know it isn't to complicated. You'll need:
  • Olive oil
  • 6 chicken thighs, skinless
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 peppers, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Mole sauce - I grabbed mine from Waitrose
  • 2 chillies, sliced in half
  • 400g can of plum tomatoes
  • 400g black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 25g dark chocolate, chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Enough rice for 4
  • 20g chopped coriander
  • 100g spinach - I used frozen spinach which I had defrosted the night before
The first thing you'll want to do is brown off your chicken thighs before transferring to a plate and setting to one side.
Then, in the same pan you've used to brown off the chicken, add the onion, peppers and sweat down for around 10 minutes until things look as though they're starting to caramelise. If things are looking a little dry in the pan, then add some more oil.
Next, stir in the garlic, cinnamon, mole sauce, chillies, tomatoes and beans. The recipe I used states to add a can full of water (using the empty tomato can of course) to the mixture but I found this to be WAY TO MUCH. Instead, I'd recommend you use half. Add your chicken and any juices on the plate.
Bring the mixture to a simmer, pop the lid on and leave for an hour. After an hour, remove the lid a simmer for another 30 minutes.
Now is the time to pop on your rice, for another hit of flavour you can always add a chicken stock cube to the mixture. While the rice is cooking, blitz up the spinach, the juice of one lime, and half of the coriander in the blender. Once the rice is cooked you can add this in.
When you return to the mole, you'll notice the mixture has thickened considerably and really deepened in colour. It's at this point you want to add in your chocolate and give everything a good mix. Finish by adding the rest of the lime juice for a bit of zing.
Now it's time to serve everything up, dish up a good portion of the rice before topping with some of the chicken mole. I left my chillies in the mixture as opposed to removing them. Top the portions with a good helping of coriander.

Do you enjoy Mexican food? What do you recommend I try making next?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dior Vernis Nail Polish in 551 Aventure - A Review

Another splurge of mine recently involved some rather gorgeous polish from Dior. I feel I should point out at this stage, I've never ever purchased a high end nail varnish, the extent of my spending in this field hasn't really branched beyond OPI or Leighton Denny so this was virgin territory for me.
Dior have recently reformulated all of their nail varnishes giving them a gorgeous gel shine finish (and apparently longer wear but I can't really comment here as I never used any polishes with the old formualtion). Not only do the polishes come with a very high shine finish, but the texture of the polish actually covers a multitude of nail sins!
The colour I went for was from the new collection of colours, Aventure 551 which was £18.50 from Boots. As I'd never purchased a Dior polish before, naturally I had lots of questions for the lady on the concession namely does this polish contain chemical nasties? The answer is surprisingly no. 

In addition, I was also keen to know if the gel texture made this more difficult to apply than normal polishes? Again, the answer was no, the lady assured me the brush was designed in such a way that polish application would be a breeze. So what did I think?
First of all, yes, the brush is amazing! It was slightly larger than normal brushes with a rounded tip. This meant that instead of my usual trick of one stroke down the middle and two down the sides, on smaller nails, I could just do one swift stroke.
Next, yes, the formula is slightly (only slightly) thicker than normal polishes, but this really did cover any ridges, peeling, and slight splitting of my nails making them look absolutely flawless.
Finally, I used two coats to get the colour above, the colour is gorgeous, a slightly coral colour but it really suits my lilly white complexion. I don't tan so some coral shades just look terrible on me! 

In terms of wear, I wouldn't say this last much longer than any of my normal polishes, I applied last Wednesday, and I'm now being incredibly sad and sat typing this on the following Monday. Whilst there is NO CHIPPING whatsoever, the ends are starting to look a little worn. I should say I'm pretty heavy handed so this is normal for me.

Have you used any of the new Dior Vernis polishes? What do you think?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

What Laura Wants - The Dior Beauty Wishlist

It seems I'm having a wee bit of a Dior moment. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, there's no denying that their make-up has a pretty good reputation, however, I'm not sure my purse strings will be grateful for the splurge. I suppose it's a good job I've got a fair old whack in Boots Advantage Card points which could ease the strain.

1) Dior Addict Fluid Stick - Adventure - £26 - First off on the list in the newest launch from Dior, their Fluid Sticks. I've been trialling these for about a week now in a variety of shades however, Adventure is hands down my favourite. The unique selling point is that they look like a lipstick, have the long lasting staying power of a lippie, the pigment you'd expect from a lipstick but they apply like a gloss. They're incredibly comfortable and after a few hours on the lip, they're more akin to a lip stain. They're lush! Adventure is a slightly more coral shade and really brings out my complexion.

2) DiorSkin - Rosy Glow - £30.50 - Much like the Lip Glow I reviewed towards the end of last week, the Rosy Glow blush works in much the same manner. Don't be frightened by the almost comical colour in the pan, the blush reacts to the moisture in your skin giving you a unique  rosy glow. As the moisture levels in your skin vary from person to person, this will never look the same on me as it does on anyone else. I tried this on for size in my local Boots and the colour was glorious, it gave my skin a lovely healthy glow.

3) DiorShow - New Look Mascara - £24.50 - A good mascara can really tie your look together. This mascara comes in three colours (including a lovely navy which would be great for a different look), a promises a really voluminous look to your lashes thanks to it's uniquely designed brush which claims to be able to grip even the tiniest of lashes.

4) Dior Top Coat - Abricot - £17.50 -  I've been using the OPI topcoat, however, as of late, now I'm towards to the bottom of the bottle and it's ruining my manicure. As such, I'm on the lookout for something new. Keeping with my Dior themed wishlist, I spotted this little beauty which claims to be quick drying and leaves your nails with a high shine finish. As a side note it claims to help your nails stay looking lovely for longer. I've never used anything within the Dior nails collection so I can't attest to how good the range is, but I'd certainly appreciate your views if you've got any experience here!

Do you have any products you'd like to try from Dior? Would you recommend I add anything to my wishlist? 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday Tasties No.29

This weeks recipe is inspired by a recipe in the Nigella Express cookbook. I love Nigella's recipes, they always look incredibly appetising and really suit my style of cooking, namely they're hearty and packed full of flavour.

Mellow Meatballs

This recipe really does have everything the body needs, especially post work-out. It's packed full of protein and isn't to heavy on the carbohydrate front. For this recipe you'll need:
  • 2 tablespoons of red curry paste
  • Olive oil
  • 600g of meatballs
  • 2 tsp of minced ginger
  • 400ml can of coconut milk
  • 400g of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained
  • 350g bag of prepared butternut squash
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • A handful of fresh chopped coriander
  • Cooked bulgur wheat to serve
This recipe is super easy and should take you no more than 30 minutes all in given there's a couple of time saving cheats, the pre-made curry paste and the ready prepped butternut squash.

The first thing you'll need to do is heat you olive oil and add the curry paste. Be warned, it will spit a little so make sure you're wearing long sleeves.
Once it's spitting a fair old bit, it's time to add in your meatballs and give them a good turn around in the pan until they're all covered with the paste.
Next, add in the ginger and gives things another good turn around. Then add the chickpeas, coconut milk and chopped tomatoes before giving everything a good stir ensuring everything is mixed together.
Then it's time to add the prepared butternut squash, your stock cube and the honey. Again, make sure everything is nicely combined and the stock cube is all dissolved.
Bring the mixture up to a simmer and leave for 20 minutes, in this time it should reduce slightly and the colour will intensify.
Give things a taste, if necessary add a wee bit more of the paste and season with salt and pepper. Then it's time to dish up. I served mine with a little bulgur wheat at the bottom and soupy meatball mixture on top. Garnish with a wee bit coriander and you're good to go.

Do you enjoy hearty food? What do you think of Nigella's recipes? Do you have a favourite?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask - A Review

It's no secret that when it comes to exfoliation, I have a bit of a love affair with acid based exfoliants. Gone are the days of harsh apricot based scrubs and in their place the no less effective but certainly less abrasive acids, enzymes and AHA's. 

On a weekly basis I like to indulge in something a wee bit more intensive. Readers of my blog will know I'm a big fan of the REN Glycolactic Radiance Mask which I reviewed HERE. However, in my recent trawl of the beauty sales I stumbled across an absolute bargain that I just had to buy.
The Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask comes in a box of 6 individual use sachets and usually retails for £25. It was on sale in Marks & Spencer for only a fraction of the price at £7! Naturally this meant that I stocked up, grabbing myself two boxes to ensure that I don't go running out any time soon.

The mask works in much the same way as my beloved REN in that it relies on fruit enzymes and AHA's to dissolve any dead skin cells thus leaving your skin brighter and more radiant. In addition, the pomegranate extract works to infuse the skin with antioxidants which help to prevent further damage to the skin from free radicals.
The directions within the box recommend applying one whole sachet to your face. In my experience one sachet is more than enough for two generous uses so please don't go wasting it by using more than is necessary!

I do want to point out that the directions also recommend leaving the mask on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off. 

Now, I've been using the REN for well over 6-months so I'd like to say my skin is pretty used to acid exfoliants. The Murad mask seriously tingles, not in an uncomfortable way by any stretch but I was a little surprised by how much I felt this on my skin. I left the mask for 10-minutes before rinsing, obviously if the tingling is uncomfortable, please rinse off sooner!!

The mask didn't feel tacky on my skin and felt like it had dried on my skin (without that tight clay feeling) leaving it with a slight sheen.

What of the results?
My skin has honestly never felt smoother. I don't think even the REN makes my skin this soft! Any signs of dull skin have vanished and the skin around my nose is wonderfully soft. The red marks on my face left over from bad breakouts are slowly fading and my skin seems brighter.

My ONLY criticism of this product is that it is a little runny. It is still workable and it's not a major flaw, but it's just a heads up so you don't go spilling any by expecting a thick gloopy product. I'd definitely recommend picking up a pack if you can find one.

If you're not having luck in Marks & Spencer, then any Murad concession will be able to help.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dior Addict Lip Glow - Color Awakening Lipbalm in Coral - A Review

It's no secret, I am completely addicted to lipbalms. I have them scattered all over the house with a Bodyshop offering tucked beside my bed, a tube of the uber nourishing Dr Lipp in the front room, some superbalm in my bathroom and a chubby stick in my handbag. Hopefully you get the idea that I have a soft spot for lipbalms and have quite a collection.

Moving on to the matter at hand, whilst a basic lipbalm is always handy to have, as I am a total chicken when it comes to lipsticks, a tinted lipbalm is a good trick to add a subtle pop of colour to your lips. As of late, I've been exploring the field to find something that little bit different.
Step in the Dior Addict Lip Glow which claims to be a made-to-measure balm reacting to the chemistry of your lips. What does this actually mean I hear you say?
Basically, everyones skin is different and there's some sort of fancy scientific element to the balm which enhances your natural lip colour.
I should point out at this stage that I picked up the Lip Glow in the limited edition Coral shade which has been released as part of the Spring 2014 Trianon Collection. The original Lip Glow is a pink Baume De Rose-esque shade but no less pretty.

Both of the Lip Glow shades come with SPF 10 to protect your lips and are formulated with wild mango to really nourish and refresh your lips.

I have to say firstly that whilst the made-to-measure element may sound a little gimicky, to put it to the test, I managed to persuade Ad to put it on after I'd slicked on a layer and observe. Sure enough, my lips had more of a coral pop and there was a subtle difference between the colour which was on my lips to the colour which ended up on Ad's.

The below picture is before application. I had been wearing this during the day when I took this picture, hence the slight tint to my lips. If nothing else, this demonstrates how long lasting the colour can be!
Furthermore, I did notice that the colour develops more over time and did intensify, I've tried to capture this in the picture below but I'm not overly sure it's translated particularly well.
Overall, I think this is a really great concept, the balm is actually really nourishing and my lips certainly felt hydrated and refreshed. I'm tempted to grab the original pink shade but I'm not sure the purse strings would forgive me.

The Dior Lip Glow is £22.50 and is available from any concession.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tuesday Tasties No.28 - Kerb Food Festival

Every so often it's good to do something a wee bit different for Tuesday Tasties, today being another one of those days.

Those of you who know me will know that I am almost always doing something food related, it's always on my mind. After scoffing my lunch, I start thinking about dinner, I really do enjoy to eat, there's nothing worse than something which looks delicious but tastes of cardboard. Life is too short for bad food!

The Southbank Centre in London is one of my favourite places to hang out, in recent years, there seems to be something foodie based going on fairly frequently, including the Real Food Markets which take place every weekend with the occasional Real Street Food Festival which is full to the brim with tasty delights.

I'm sure you can imagine my glee when I discovered that for the first time KERB was coming to the Southbank for a weekend visit! 
As this was the first time KERB has been to the Southbank, I'm guessing they played it safe with only a small selection of stalls, I say small as the Real Street Food Market stretches along the front of the Southbank as well.
There was a bit of everything here from the scrummy BBQ pulled pork and burgers, the reinvented classics over a What the Dickens, right through to cupcakes and brownies.
I loved the sound of Anna Mae's Mac 'n' Cheese, taking what is potentially a simple yet tasty dish and amping up the flavour even more with a variety of extras.
Kooky Bakes won my heart straight from the off, the Strawberry Cheesecake Whoopie Pies which you can see in the background were absolutely delicious and went down far to quickly. Next time I'll be stocking up.
Paella is an oldie but a goodie, the smell coming from these guys was incredible and the rather large queue of people to sample their wares is no doubt testament to how tasty their grub was. It was wonderful to just watch them adding the fresh fish to one pan, and chicken to another.
Here you can see the guys at work on another fresh batch of paella.
The brownies over at Batch Bakery looked like some of the gooiest and fudgiest brownies I have ever seen, my biggest regret was not picking some up to take home.
Lets take another look at some goodies from Kooky Bakes. Hopefully you'll stop salivating soon! I did manage to take home one of their Cookies & Cream cupcakes before things were on the verge of a sell out. The sponge was light and fluffy with a cream cheese frosting which was a wee bit of a surprise as I was expecting something sweet.
I suppose you'd like to know what I did manage to eat eh? Well, it should come as little surprise it was in burger form from Heartbreaker Burger.
A big fat beef patty with a spicy sauce and peppery leaves. Whilst it was a wee bit hot (chilli wise) for my taste, the burger was incredibly juicy.
On the sweet front, on my hit list to try was something from You Doughnut. Whilst I was awaiting my grub it was nice to watch the girls kneading and proving the dough before frying each batch to order so they were piping hot!
I opted for vanilla sugar and salted caramel sauce, they didn't last very long once they'd cooled down enough to eat.
And finally, just for fun, here is a rather unflattering photo of me in full flow, no doubt about something food based, albeit it's anyone's guess what I am actually rambling on about here. A wee hello to Simon who we dragged along for the ride!

All in all, it was a really good visit, as it was the first time KERB was actually in this location, I don't think they quite expected things to be as busy as they were. Some vendors were sold out before 3pm and the event was due to last until 8pm! I'm hoping that the next event will result in fully stocked vendors with extras just in case, who knows, maybe there'll be a few more vendors who are ready for me to pester them for something tasty.

Have you been to KERB before? I know it's usually only available over lunch on weekdays, hence why I've never been before.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Outfit Of The Day - Patterned Trousers

Hello again, first of all, I'd just like to say I've been super bored with my hair lately, as such, I've had around 3 inches whacked off by the lovely Kiyo at Ash in Bromley. I've also gone from a dark chocolate brown to a milkier chocolate shade. Let's all take a second to bask in it's lovely newness.
Right, now onto the purposes of today's post, patterned trousers! First of all, I have to say I'm quite proud of some of my more recent purchases. Ad is always encouraging me to venture outside of the dreaded comfort zone and on first glance I wasn't totally convinced by these trousers but now I love them.
The trousers are a regular length but hit me on the ankle which is ideal given I'm not super tall but not petite either. I was a little concerned that they may be a little fitted however, they have fantastic stretch and a lot of give. The fabric is also lovely and soft and doesn't feel to heavy or restrictive so I'm hoping to get a lot of use out of them both in the office and during the weekends. 

Today I'm wearing:

Jacket: Tu at Sainsburys - who'd have thunk?
Top: Topshop
Trousers: Oasis - £35 HERE
Pumps: New Look - £15 HERE
Necklace: Cutie Pie
Watch: Marc Jacobs
I love this jacket so much, it was an absolute steal at around £15 from Sainsburys back in 2010 so it's doing pretty well to have lasted so long. It's ideal for warmer weather with it's cropped sleeves and nipped in waist. I'm normally a blazer kind of girl so this is one of my go-to cover-ups as it's pretty light to carry around.
Don't be fooled by the simplicity of the vest top. It's got a gorgeous cut-out lace back which make's it that little bit cheeky. It's lovely with a slightly loose fit meaning it doesn't cling to much to my tummy.

Make-up wise, I'm sure it'll come as no surprise to hear I'm wearing the Lancome Air De Teint foundation again. I'm also wearing a little of the Chanel Les Beiges (shade 20 if you're wondering) over the top to give me a little more glow. On the eyes, I have a combination of shades from the new Chanel Les Ombres Quad in Tisse Cambon which I hope to do a review on soon. This is topped off with my Eyeko mascara.

On the lips, I've used the Model Co lipstick in Kitty with a slick of gloss from Stila on the top.

Have you been brave enough to try patterned trousers yet? Would you keep things simple like me or spice things up a bit with clashing prints and textures?
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