Tips for planning a trip away

Summer is on the horizon, and with that many of us will be jetting away on holiday whether it be to the beach for a week, a city trip or a long weekend escape. Either way planning a trip can be stressful especially if you have never been where you going before so I’ve put together some tips that I’ve found helpful whilst booking my trips away.

Set a Budget | To prevent overspending set a budget. It doesn’t matter how big or how small that budget is but making sure you stay within your means will prevent you wracking up a large credit card bill and you can also easily track what you’re spending.

Research the Area | If you’re visiting somewhere you’ve been to many times before or are familiar with this step can probably be skipped - unless you want to discover somewhere new which you may have missed before. But if you’re visiting somewhere new it pays to do some research about where you’re going. What the big tourist attractions, where are the best restaurants, is their public transport or do you need to get taxis, where is your hotel or where your staying in relation to all of this. It can be quite easy to get whisked away in the excitement of visiting somewhere new that you miss a lot of what is going on and come away having only seen a quarter of what you could’ve seen and done.

Look Around | This is helpful in terms of saving money but also finding exactly what you want. Don’t just book the first hotel you find, or the first flights etc. Not only could you save yourself money that way but you may find a better hotel that may be closer to what you’re doing, offer more etc.

Read Reviews | Reviews are your best friend. Want to know what the staff is like at a hotel? Read reviews. Want to know whether a tourist attraction is worth it? Read reviews. Want to know what restaurants are the best? Read reviews.

Read Travel Blogs | Just like beauty blogs are the place to go for beauty advice, travel blogs are the place to go for travel advice. With reviews of everything from restaurants to hotels and everything in-between often with condensed posts based around one city or place showing all the best bits. They are also excellent at recommending places that are off the beaten track and not recommended in guide books.

Make a List | List everything you want to do whilst your away, from day trips to tourist attractions to restaurants. This makes is easier for you to plot down what you want to do whilst you’re away, don’t make a concrete itinerary though as this will take away your ability to truly enjoy the trip as you’ll be more focussed on how much time you have where and how to get to the next thing you want to do.

Do you have any tips for planning a mini break or holiday?

~ Jade xx

Lazy Beauty Steps

I wrote a post a few months back called The Step Which Makes a Big Difference talking about that one beauty step that many people miss out of their routine despite what a big difference it makes, that step being curling your eyelashes. That post got me thinking recently, what beauty steps are we all lazy at doing on a regular basis? 

For me it’s definitely painting my nails and moisturising. A few years back I was obsessed with painting my nails much to the annoyance of my teachers at school who were always chasing me with nail varnish remover. I was always experimenting with nail art and donning bright tips but in more recent times I've completely fallen out of love with painting my nails. I'm quite impatient with letting them dry which doesn't help but nowadays unless I'm obsessed with a particular shade - at the moment it's Barry M's Eat My Dust, review here - I leave them bare. 

The other beauty step I always miss in my routine is moisturising. I'm an avid face and neck moisturiser but when it comes to my hands and limbs I hate the sticky feeling you're left with whilst the moisturiser soaks into the skin so I avoid doing it as much as I can get away with. I've even tried the Nieva In Shower Body Moisturiser which although it works amazingly, still leaves a slight stickiness to the skin that I don't like. Though with summer coming up I should get into the habit of moisturising as scaly legs aren't the best look.

What beauty steps are you lazy at keeping up with?

~ Jade xx

Custard Tarts | Sunday Bakes

Custard tarts have been my favourite pastry since I can remember. My grandmother would always buy me custard tarts for a Friday afternoon when I would visit and recently I came across a recipe for them. They’d never been something I thought of making myself beforehand but they’re super easy, and super tasty. 

I N G R E D I E N T S :

165g Plain flour
25g Ground almonds
120g Unsalted butter, chilled and diced
55g Caster sugar
1 Medium egg

For the custard filling:

700ml Whole milk
7 Medium egg yolks, room temperature
90g Caster sugar
Freshly grated nutmeg

M E T H O D :

1. To make the pastry mix the flour and ground almonds together in a bowl. Add the butter and rub together until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. 

2. Stir in the sugar and break in the egg. Work the mixture together with your fingers until it forms a soft dough.

3. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface. Form into a ball, wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

4. Whilst the dough is chilling, make the custard filling. Gently heat the whole milk in a medium sized saucepan until just below boiling. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and creamy. 

5. Pour the milk onto the egg mixture in a steady stream stirring constantly. Pour the mixture into a jug with a good pouring lip. Preheat your oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6.

6. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a 5mm thickness. Using a cutter 11cm in diameter to cut out discs until you have 12. Gently press each disc into a muffin tin to line evenly, the pastry should come slightly above the tin. 

7. Carefully pour the custard filling into the pastry cases. Sprinkle the centre of each tart with a pinch of nutmeg.

8. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6, then bake for further 10 minutes at 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4. The tarts are done when the custard filling has a slight dome but is still a bit wobbly. 

9. Leave the tarts to cool in the tin for at least 30 minutes before carefully removing them.

~ Jade xx

Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipsticks | Review

Last year Rimmel repackaged and reformulated their Moisture Renew Lipsticks as well as bringing out some new shades. I’m a big lipstick girl - my collection has its own designated makeup bag - and these have become one of my favourite offerings recently. Besides being moisturising as the name would suggest - they’re enriched with vitamins A, C and E to keep your lips soft and luscious - they are incredibly pigmented. When I first tried these on the back of my hand in the beauty isle of Boots I wasn’t expecting them to be as pigmented as they are, for usually hydrating lip products are sheer in colour. These though, pack a punch and the shades range from nudes to bright reds to dark plums so there is something for everyone. I’m particularly loving the shade Nude Delight at the moment as its a warm, peachy nude which is different to what I usually reach for and is a great summer nude. The colour Sloane’s Plum is one of my favourite berry shades - full post here - and Vintage Pink creates a summery lilac look when pressed into the lips.

Do you have any lipstick recommendations?

~ Jade xx

Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream | The Summer Base

“Apricot pigments for anti-fatigue, green pigments for anti-redness and white pigments for anti-dark spots with 24Hr hydration and SPF15 to create a luminous and flawless complexion in one step.”

I’ve been on the hunt for a good summer base recently. For me, tinted moisturisers don’t cut it as I need something with coverage as my skin is my biggest concern but I also don’t want anything that’s too heavy because heat and a heavy base don’t mix very well and will create a melting, sweaty mess. Enter, the Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream. I picked this up the same time I repurchased the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation - which is another favourite base of mine, review here - and decided to road test it and see if my perfect summer base was sitting on the high street all along.

Starting with the positives, although this is a CC cream - or correcting cream - it packs serious pigment. I had heard it gave good coverage compared to others like it on the market but I was pleasantly surprised at how much coverage it gives. It isn’t quite medium coverage but will cover any smaller breakouts you have going on at the time with ease. It’s fairly thick in consistency but blends out easily - I’ve applied this with a damp sponge, brush and my fingers, all blending out perfectly. The finish is luminous and glow-y without being overly so - I like to powder it due to my oily skin but normal-dry skinned gals will be fine - it leaves a natural summer glow look without anything being glittery like some high street aluminising bases can be. The colour correcting system really works too as my hyper pigmentation is covered as well as the redness around my breakouts - I’m lucky and don’t suffer with dark circles so I can’t comment on that front unfortunately.

However, I’m not a fan of the packaging. I would prefer a pump although the product is perhaps a little thick for that but the tube is one of those where you take the lid off and the product starts to come out without you applying any pressure and can get a bit messy if you aren’t careful. Personally, I think the price is slightly high too at £9.99, which although compared to higher end brands is cheap, for the high street it’s definitely at the higher end of the scale considering this isn’t a foundation. The staying power isn't the best however I do have oily skin - I find I need to touch up a couple of times throughout the day - so it may wear longer on someone with a dryer skin type. The shade range - as with all Bourjois products - is disappointing too as there are only four shades so if you’re a deep skin tone or someone who likes a tan you’d be best to steer clear this time.

What’s your summer base pick?

~ Jade xx

Bagels | Sunday Bakes

Who doesn’t like bagels? Whether they’re toasted for breakfast or stuffed with tuna for lunch, they're great. I had a go at baking some recently and although they take a bit of time to do they aren’t difficult at all. This recipe makes 12 and they’re great for freezing so you can always have freshly, homemade bagels on hand.

I N G R E D I E N T S :

300ml Warm water
7g Dried yeast
500g Strong white bread flour
2tbsp Honey
1tbsp Salt
1 Egg white
1 Egg

Handful of chives

M E T H O D :

1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Combine the flour, salt, honey and yeast water in a bowel and then knead for 5-10 minutes until a soft dough is formed - I used a dough hook and an electric mixer but you can do it by hand also. Leave the kneaded dough to prove for an hour in a warm place under a cloth.

2. Add the flavourings to your dough. You can leave them plain or add chives - like I did - seeds, cinnamon sugar, anything you want to. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and create a round bagel shape about 2cm deep. If you struggle to form the circular shapes then you can roll out the dough and use cutters like I did, this also makes the bagels more uniform in shape.

3. Place the bagels on a baking tray. If you formed the circular discs, cut out a hole in the middle of each bagel using a cutter. Leave the bagels to prove again for 30-45 minutes.

4. Heat a large pan of boiling water and preheat your oven to 180ºC. Boil the bagels two at a time for 1 minute on each side, dry them off on a tea towel before returning to the baking sheet.

5. Brush the bagels with a beaten egg and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool and then serve how you like - my favourite way is toasted with cream cheese and cracked pepper.

~ Jade xx

Current Favourites | #9

Over the past few months I have been feeling much more adventurous with my makeup. Recently I have been enjoying trying different looks, out of my comfort zone, with new products. Here are some of the products that have made the cut of my top 5 favourites:

Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner - 063 Eastend Snob | I bought this mainly due to the recent Kylie Jenner 'plumped' lip craze. I personally don’t like to go quite as big as Kylie does but this liner is great to give a natural bigger look to your lips. I like that it isn’t too nude as I have naturally quite dark lips so it blends in well, and it also lasts all day. As it gives a matte finish I think it would go great with the much sought after 'Velvet Teddy' by MAC but if you can't get your hands on Velvet Teddy or would prefer a cheaper alternative, I like to wear this lip liner with either 03 - post here - or 08 from the Kate Moss x Rimmel range.

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter - SweetTart | I feel like I'm a little late to the game with this one. These lip butters were quite the rage a couple of years ago and I already had one in my collection, although it isn't a colour I grab for so often. 'Sweet Tart' is the perfect pink for me, which will be perfect to wear during the spring/summer months coming up. As the name suggests the formula is lovely and smooth on your lips and is very easy to wear. One layer gives a sheer colour or it can be built up to be more opaque. Although it doesn’t last a long time on the lips, it gives a nice shine and is a product that wears nicely so you don’t have to worry too much about reapplication.

Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer - '220 Perfect Plum' | This is a much unexpected love of mine, I bought this late last year to give an autumnal colour to my eyes. I liked that it wasn’t too purple but it was enough to not look black or too intense. As a lot of the time I have to be ready for work by half 7 in the morning - a big struggle for me - I use this just to add a bit of something to my top lashes rather than spending time trying to create the perfect black line. It smudges easily and is quick to use on days where you don’t have time to do much with your makeup but want it to look like you do! I also find this great to add a bit of colour to my lower lashes for a more smokey look - when I have time to do something more interesting with my make up that is. I will definitely be looking out for more colours when I go to pick up another one of these. I didn’t expect much but have used it so much that it's almost time to buy a new one, although I think the purple has been discontinued which I'm very upset about.

L'Oreal Super Liner Perfect Slim - Intense Black | On the other end of the scale, this is my favourite eye liner to - attempt - a winged liner look. My hooded eyes make this a very difficult task for me but this eyeliner has changed that. I've tried many of these 'felt tip' liners in the past but none of them have worked out too well for me. Jade had always told me how great she thought this liner is so I thought that I would give it a try - thanks Jade! The tip of the liner is very fine so it allows me do small lines to plot out the wing and gradually build it up but is also great to just do a simple thin line. I would definitely recommend this liner for those with hooded eyes.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Concealer - 010 Porcelain | I won't go on too much about this product as Jade has already reviewed it - which can be seen here - but I've also been really enjoying using this concealer. In contrast to Jade I like to put this in the inner corner of my under eyes as it's the only concealer I've found which is light enough to brighten underneath my eyes. That being said I have found it to be a love/hate product as it takes a while to work out how best to use it. As Jade mentions in her post, it is thick in consistency so it is best to warm up the product before use. I also find it works very well if I apply the concealer before my foundation, I never used to like doing this as I used concealer to cover whatever my foundation didn't, but I found that my makeup tended to go patchy throughout the day. This way of application has completely changed the way my makeup looks on my skin. Putting this concealer on first means I use less foundation and it goes on smoother and lasts a lot better on my skin. Also, where the concealer is think and slightly drier in consistency, when putting foundation on over the top, it doesn’t move around and stays in place all day. The dryness also, I have found, helps dry up any spots you have making them go quicker. Which is always a good thing!

What are your go to products at the moment?

~ Lucy xo

Three days in Dublin

Back in March Lucy and I made the short plane journey over to Dublin for a few days to explore, partly for my birthday which was the week previous but also because instead of going on a beach holiday this year we decided to take lots of small trips to places we haven’t yet explored as to us, that’s much more exciting - although I will miss lazing around on a beach in a foreign country drinking cocktails but there’s always next summer for that.

Dublin has been top of my list of places to go for a while. Having Irish family I’ve always wanted to make the trip over to Ireland but just never had the chance to. We were only in Dublin for three days but we managed to accomplish nearly everything on our list of things to do. It was also our first trip completely in charge, we booked everything ourselves, made all the arrangements, everything. We are now officially adults, which is a scary thing to say - *runs away from responsibility*

Photography information

Canon 600D with 18-55mm lens, Canon 24mm lens or Sigma 70-300mm lens. Canon EOS M with 18-55mm lens or Canon 24mm lens. Any edited photos are edited using Photoshop CS6. Picture source is given for any photo used that is not directly ours.