Friday, 18 April 2014

Beach worthy

I didn't want to spend a fortune on holiday clothes, so I had a browse of  the crazy clearance website.... it's crazy I tell you! I was on the hunt for some cheap trousers suitable for super hot weather and the beach / pool, so I didn't want to spend a fortune. I ordered 3 pairs, so lets start with the pair that didn't fit....
I ordered these blue chinos in a size 24, but I couldn't button them up. Shame, they were actually quite nice. I would consider sizing up to a 26 but I think they would then be too big on my legs.
 VERY sadly this swimsuit did not fit me. The width of the size 24 was fine, but it was too short in the body, so it tugged my boobs downwards and was hella uncomfortable. I think I need 'long' swimsuits!
 These crinkle trousers were exactly what I'd been looking for. They are lightweight, have lots of give and will be super easy to slip on and off on the beach! Oh yeah, and did I mention that they were only £9 (£7.20 with the code I used).
 They didn't have these in the 24 so I ordered the 26. If I'd had to guess I would have said these were size 22-24, but I don't really care! They're comfy and I love the colour. I'll definitely be lounging around in these!
Summer bunny!
 I really wanted some Plazzo trousers, and this 'milk chocolate' pair were only £12.50 (£10 with my discount) so I thought it was worth trying them!
 These are super thin flowing fabric (the camera flash kind of ruins them, they're rather lovely in real life!) they have a subtle sheen and almost look like silk. Pockets too, as it should be! The back of the waist is elasticated so they're easy to get on and off.
Look how far I can pull these up! Funnily I was worried these would be too small because they're a 22 and the fabric isn't stretchy at all, but they're actually very generous. In fact if I hadn't known what I'd ordered I'd have guessed these were the size 26 and the lilac pair were the 22!
The best thing about the generous sizing and almost high waisted cut, is that ladies with considerably larger bottoms than me will fit them well, and won't need to worry about getting a builders bum!
 So just a quick detour.... I got this Rodgers and rogers dress from Matalan. I'd seen it on Becky and Naomi and thought it was super cute. When it went down to £11 I couldn't resist!
This is a 24 and it's a great fir everywhere apart from the sleeves, which are a bit tight, but it's not uncomfortable. Every thing's always tight on my mega arms! This dress is thin and floaty non-stretch fabric, so get your normal size unless you have huge boobs or huge arms, in which case size up (it has a little tie to nip the waist in so it'll still look lovely!)
 Now back to crazy clearance. I HAD to have this belt. Let me explain....
I'm gonna get all geeky now. I rather enjoy Game of Thrones (TV & books), and when I saw season two I got OBSESSED with Daenerys costumes. The gold filigree belts and collar specifically. I tried really hard to find some jewellery like this, but to no avail...
 Then I saw these belts and it was like YEY! That's exactly the thing I've been looking for! I got the silver version in size 24-28 and it JUST fits. How they think a size 28 woman could do this up I don't know, but anyway....
I love this, the silver is quite dark (a bright pewter I'd say) and it's flexible so quite comfy. I have every intention of buying the gold one too, but I'll get the size 30-34! These belts are £6.50 (£5.20 with my discount) and I'm more than happy to spend that again so I have both colours. So pretty... will wear with a more appropriate dress next time!

TIP - try any fashion world discount codes you come across on the crazy clearance site, because they're all run by the same over arching company and they often work, hence my 20% off!

£49.05-£33.40 = £15.65 left to spend!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Revolution will be Blogevised

Yeah yeah, I'll name my posts what I want okay?!
Leah did a great post about a new make up brand called 'Revolution', and I knew I had to try it. Like Leah I love MUA makeup, so the thought that this sister brand (or however you'd describe it!) would be equally cheap but with a more diverse range of colours was very exciting!
The first things that caught my eye were the highlighting powders. I LOVE highlighters, not because I want to attempt any kind of shaping or (the new trend for painting your imaginary face on as if your a Madame Tussauds wax work) contouring, but because I don't like to have a matte face. I don't use normal powder, I use highlighters all over to set my foundation and give me a dewy look. Aren't these attractive?! What a lovely shape!
I use MUA 'undress your skin' as my everyday powder and I love it, but I have been wanting something a little less pink. I ordered the golden highlighter straight away, and then ummed and ahhhed about the peach one for a while.... It's very similar to the MUA highlighter, but I decided to try it anyway.... at £3 a pop I didn't have much to loose!
I like the colour and texture of both of these very much. The peach is still pink in tone, but I think it is a tiny bit more peachy and a little bit more subtle than the MUA version. It's my new daily powder! The gold is quite intense (It'll be good for eyeshadow) and the colour is delicious. I'll swap over to this powder when my skin starts to darken over summer and I want golden brown tones rather than pink. Over all I really like these powders, I highly recommend them!
The scandalous lipstick collection consists of 5 intense colours. I went for the orange one (called 'Vice') and at £1 a pop they're a decent lipstick. Unsurprisingly they're similar to the £1 MUA lipsticks - quite creamy with a medium/high coverage that isn't too shiny. This is actually a proper orange colour. If you've been searching for a true orange then this is worth a try, you need two layers for perfect coverage and the colour is lovely!

I was really excited about the #happy lips Amazing Care collection. I like intense colours, but I don't want my lips to dry out or feel like they are covered in sand! I love coloured balms, so I thought I'd be on safe ground with these. Firstly the boxes made my heat sing because they are rose gold. I won't tell you again how much I love anything that is rose gold, but they looked lovely, and the lipstick packaging is lovely too. They look impressive with the colour through the centre and the argon oil conditioning balm as an outer layer, and only £3 each.

Lets talk about the colours. Obviously I had to try the red.... that's my bread and butter, but I wanted to be able to show you some swatches so I also got love a hug (silly name!) and love pink. I knew electric love and nude would be too pale on my dark lips, so these seemed sensible to me. The red is a good old fashioned shade, the pink is a nice fuchsia pink, and 'a hug' (see doesn't work does it?!) is a sort of coral tinted rosy pink. They're all very nice, very wearable colours. You get a good pop of colour but obviously they're not particularly intense. As you can see they go on quite glossy. I'd say they are somewhere between creamy and greasy at first, then they start to feel like a balm over time, and my lips felt nice throughout the day.

There are a few problems with these though.... I don't like the taste for one thing. I guess it's the argan oil, it just tastes a bit gross, but it's only noticeable if you really lick your lips. The main issue I have though is that the colour in the core wears down much quicker than the outer layer, and within the space of a day I was already having to apply a lot of pressure to get the colour on my lips rather than just the argan oil balm. I think I will actually have to slice off the top layer after a few days wear. I'd say that this was quite a major design flaw. I think these would be a much better product if the core was much larger and the glossy balm was just a thin layer, otherwise in the long run you'd be better just getting one of the millions of moisturising coloured balms / tints available from other brands, because you get the same kind of coverage and gloss, but you don't have to apply the wand at strange angels to get the colour on your lips!

Over all I have to say that Revolution are off to a pretty good start and I feel sure that I'll shop with them again, particularly if I can actually test things out in Superdrug (the joy!). The highlighting powders really are lovely, and you'd pay a lot more for this kind of product from other make up brands, Mac charge £22 for theirs! I'd love to see how the purple toned powder (called 'pink' lights) looks when on the skin - I avoid purple at all costs, but I think it would look amazing on darker skin-tones! Being on a budget at the moment stopped me from going overboard, but I think the eye foils and bronzers look awesome, as does the Kajal. I'd really like to try out their 'the one foundation', but I've sworn never to buy foundation online again because the shades are never right, that's something I will certainly need to test out in store.... next month maybe!

£68-£18.95 = £49.05 left to spend!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Wardrobe Weekly

Busy busy busy! I almost forgot to post this what with one thing and another, but here is my week, all full of spring 'I just booked a holiday' joy!

Polka dots and floral? This dress is always a winner!
Dress 22 - Asos Curve
Leggings 20 - Primark
Shoes - Asos

 I had wondered if I was silly to keep this dress. I had to size up to a 26 because of the odd shape, but I liked it enough to persevere, and I'm really glad I did!
 I think I have decided that I like the dress loose and unbelted when I have my hair up, but nipped in with a belt when I have my hair down. It just makes me really happy!
Dress 26 - Asos Curve
Belt - forever 21+ (from jumpsuit!)
Leggings 22 - Very
Shoes - Asos

 I keep forgetting about my Swan combo.... it's because it lives in my spare room wardrobe, and everytime I decided to wear it to work I then woke up in a fuzz and just put on a dress. Out of sight out of mind and all that. This time I took it out of the spare room and hung it in my bedroom. Lovely!
Top & skirt 22 - Clem' Rib' Swan for Evans
Leggings 20 - Primark
Shoes - River Island

 I told you I would wear them to work. Roar! I had a particularly fun day as I took my friend to Forever 21 to shop for some cheap and cheerful honeymoon... totally new things for her, some cigarette and cuffed trousers, and my other office buddy finally tried a jumpsuit (I've been trying to get her in one for AGES!) A very joyful lunchtime. I didn't buy anything, they don't stock the clothes for fatties at the Bond street branch!.
Cardi 18 - Dorothy Perkins
Top 22 - Asos Curve
Trousers 3XL - Forever 21+
Earrings - Primark
Shoes - New Look
I've got a lot of wear out of these Primark earrings, they're big but light!

 I love this dress, but more importantly I love these shoes! I wore them to work and they were SO comfy! they are such a good wide fit. I really recommend them very highly! I actually went to Primark tonight to get some things I need for my friends wedding & my holiday on the cheap (post coming up asap) using the money I made from my ebay sales, and I got the electric blue version too. I know I'll wear them, so for £8 it's totally worth it!
 Dress 22/24 - Evans Collection
Belt - Forever 21+ (from dress)
Necklace / leggings / shoes - Primark

 I had a lovely day on Saturday.... I watched films in bed and relaxed and ate guacamole. I had Sunday down as my chores day, but then I got a text from a friend who wanted to hang out in the park and feel a bit of sun on his "pale ginger face"! I couldn't say no could I?! Chore shmores!
I maxi is perfect for mild weather. Originally I had on flip flops, but when I checked the weather I had to accept that 17 degrees with a bit of a cold breeze was not hot enough for bare legs or feet, so I changed into some cute flats instead..... thank goodness, I would have frozen every time the sun went behind a cloud otherwise!
Oh yeah, and some mega cheesy sunnies from Primark. mirrors in a mirror.
Jacket 22 - New Look Inspire
Top 22 - Asos curve
Skirt 20 & shoes - Primark

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Yuk Sung a la Parsnips

I've been making Yuk Sung for years now, it's something that's easy to cook, and very very tasty while still being relatively healthy. What I did below isn't authentic (use this recipe for the traditional version!), but I adapted it to my tastes (and my boyfriends too) so this is my recipe....

  • 500g minced pork
  • 1 Iceberg lettuce
  • 4-5 spring onion
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 5-6 chestnut mushrooms (you can really add as many or as few as you want, I used the whole box!)
  • 50g unsalted cashew nuts
  • 1 small leek
  • 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp  Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

So lets start with the veg. My boyfriend doesn't like water chesnuts (much to my sadness!) so instead I add some cashews.... they're wonderfully rich and go really well with this dish. Garlic and spring onions are a must, and to up the veg quota I often add mushrooms. On this occasion I added a leek too, because I needed to use it up and pork with leek is a match made in heaven (pork and leek Chinese dumplings are to die for!) so it tasted divine! All of the veg go into the food processor and get pulsed until they're finely chopped then the cashews go in at the end to get roughly chopped. Obviously you can do this by hand but it takes ages! I normally add fresh grated ginger too, but I forgot to buy any... still tasted lush!
The veg goes in the wok with a bit of vegetable or sunflower oil and is cooked until soft.... the mushrooms are so full of liquid that they need a while to cook, you need to cook off most of the vegetable liquid!
The all important pork mince! I use fatty pork mince for most Asian recipes because I'm all about flavour, and fatty pork has the best flavour (sausages yeah?!) and it's really cheap. If you're trying to be healthy then obviously use lean minced pork, it's super yummy (I've used lean many times), but I'd up the flavour factor with extra spring onion / ginger / garlic! Add the pork to the veg and cook until the pinkness has gone then add the flavourings...
I never measure my ingredients so try my suggestions and then add more to taste if it's not strong enough for you! One of the big flavours in Yuk Sung is Shaoxing wine, but regular sherry works equally well if you don't want to buy this in specially. About 3 tablespoons of wine go in to the wok. A big slug (3 tablespoons) of oyster sauce is essential (the little sachets of oyster stir fry sauce work really well if you don't wanna buy a whole bottle!). A teaspoon of sesame oil for flavour, a teaspoon of Chinese 5 spice and a tablespoon of honey.
I use dark soy for richness and light soy for saltyness. This really is down to taste so add about a tablespoon of each and then you can add more if needs be!
The mixture will be quite wet by now, so you need to let it cook until the juices have thickened....
the texture should become more mince-like and crumbly with a small amount of thick sauce, then it's ready!
Traditionally Yuk Sung is served in lettuce leaves, Iceberg to be precise and it doesn't wilt when it's mixed with hot food so it's perfect. Mini gem leaves would be very attractive but I don't think the flavour works as well. The fiddly bit is separating the iceberg lettuce into leaves.... particularly with this one because it was DEFORMED! It's not always so hard, honest, but if you can't be arsed you could chop the lettuce and put it in a bowl like a salad with the mince on the top (I've done this many times!).
Spoon the mince into the lettuce leaves as if they were bowls!
Serve them up all juicy and delicious! This is enough for 2 very greedy people for a main evening meal, or 4 not so greedy people as a lunch.

Honestly this is such a lovely combo, but if you need to make the mince go further (or don't like iceberg lettuce; fair enough it's gross 90% of the time!) then add the mince to noodles... rice noodles are better than egg noodles in this case.... and you'll have enough to feed 4 greedy people!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Rock Forever 21 but just turned 30....

..... okay, 32 in my case but Kanye fans will know what I'm sayin'! Forever 21+ is pretty useless for me during the winter months because their 3XL is generally too small for me in any non-stretch or firm fabric pieces, or too short in terms of little dresses & skirts. Summer time is my time though, because all the jumpsuits, stretch trousers and maxi dresses come out, and normally they're in some kind of stretchy jersey. I had my budget in mind when I made this order, otherwise I would have ordered SO MANY THINGS! As it is I just ordered two things and they were both on offer.......
 I really wanted a bandeau maxi for my holiday, so when I saw this dress on offer for £12 I put it straight into my basket! This is available in pink and white too, but this mint green really floated my boat!
 The belt fits nicely but I don't think the dress needs it and I certainly wouldn't bother with a belt when I'm away! The fabric is stretch jersey, it's fantastically long and has a ruched top (double layered on the bodice)
 This 3XL is a nice fit - quite tight on the bust but not in an uncomfortable way. Sadly not tight enough for me to go braless so I might have to find a strapless bra!
 I've been looking at these trousers for ages, so when they went into the sale for £10.99 I decided to go for it! Pockets of joy!
 I have two pairs of leopard print trouser already, but one pair is non stretch (no good for my more vigorous work days or sitting crossed legged on the grass) and the other pair is thin jersey and are actually a little big for me, so I thought these might be just right for running around in!
 These trousers remind me of the the Clements Ribeiro Swan for Evans trousers, they're just a little thicker and firmer and are really tight on the ankles. I really like these! The 3XL is a good fit so the 22-24 description is a pretty good one on this occasion!
I might have to wear these to work tomorrow because I find them exciting and I wanna try them with my cute new black shoes!

£68-£26.94 (inc P&P!) = £41.06 left to spend!