Boo and the Goose

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We are two college students trying to grow up gracefully.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Bake The Blues Away!

So it’s been back to school for most this week, and back to college with me. I’m starting my second year of A levels and we’ve been thrown straight back into it which, after a summer of not doing much at all, has given me the back-to-school blues. What better way to lift said blues than to stick an apron on and get baking?

I stumbled across these endorphin-inducing little beauties on one of my craving-fuelled recipe hunts and have been dying to try them out for weeks. I found the recipe on steamykitchen which is set to become my go-to baking source.

What you’ll need is…
Roughly 8 tablespoons of nutella (a little more or less won’t hurt at all)
200g milk chocolate
150ml double cream
Crushed hazlenuts

The recipe is pretty easy but there’s some waiting around, so it’s definitely one for a rainy day.

What you need to do…
1. Using about half the nutella, make 16 dollops onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Use two teaspoons to make the dollops round, just keep scraping the nutella from one spoon to the other until it’s round enough for you. Then, stick these dollops into the freezer for an hour.

2. While those dollops are freezing, you can get started on the ganache. First of all, chop up 125g chocolate and stick it in a mixing bowl with the rest of the nutella. Then, heat the cream on a gentle heat until bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan.

3. When the cream is heated, add half of it to the mixing bowl and slowly whisk until smooth. Gradually add the rest of the cream whilst continuing whisking until it’s all mixed in and smooth. Then, bung it in the fridge for fifteen minutes.

4. After the fifteen minutes has passed, whip the cold ganache until it’s light and fluffy then put it back in the fridge for another half an hour.

5. Now comes the fun bit. Using two teaspoons, roll the nutella centres in the ganache so they’re completely covered. Then back into the fridge with them for fifteen minutes.

6. While the truffles are hardening, melt the remaining chocolate.

7. When the fifteen minutes are up, using spoons again, roll the truffles in the chocolate and then the hazlenuts and stick them back in the fridge to set. 

And the best thing about this recipe? Lots of spoons to lick.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Last week I went to see Anne Hathaway’s new film: One Day. I’d been really looking forward to this film and it fitted the bill perfectly.

I had heard a couple of bad reviews of the film so I wasn’t expecting much but, once you get over Anne Hathaway’s ever-changing accent, I was pleasantly surprised. Now, I should mention here that I have a tiny girl-crush on Miss Hathaway so I may be a little bit biased, I know that some of my friends didn’t enjoy the film as much.

I should also admit that I haven’t read the book (but I will soon!) so I can’t comment on how good the adaptation is but as a stand-alone film it did what I wanted it to. The plot is pretty simple; two best friends finally realise their love for each other and get together. However, the film shows the same day from each year: St. Swithin’s Day, which turns out to be important every year. I enjoyed this way of following the pair and thought it was something a bit different. Although it’s quite similar to the (500) Days of Summer format now I think about it!

I think the acting in this film is pretty top notch too, Jim Sturgess really shines through. He manages to travel through the role as Dextor goes from loveable rogue to hated rogue to loveable older guy. I must say, his grey highlights at the end of the film definitely add something! Anne Hathaway also does well in this film, although her accent is very dodgy in places! She pulls off the nerdy character at the start of the film and always keeps a bit of that girl as the years progress.

If you’re after another chick flick but with something a bit different, I definitely recommend this. It’s got romance but the new format and the darker tones in the middle of the film make it different enough from its predecessors to not be boring. I’d give it an 8/10!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Cup of Lovin'

Summer holidays are officially over.Well for most, anyway and what better way to beat that monday feeling than with cupcakes?! What could possibly beat the yummyness that is vanilla frosting, marshmallow and cake? Not just any cake:pink cupcakes! Perfect for a girly night in.
I apologise in advance for the photography/lack of (I forgot to take pictures of some steps) the prospect of cakes with marshmallows was just too exciting.
What you'll need

Firstly using an electric whisk(purely to save time and effort) mix together the flour, sugar,baking powder, salt and butter. Use a slow speed intil everything is combined. The mixture should have a sandy consistency.
Gradually pour in half the milk and whisk so that it is fully combined with the mixture.

Next, whisk the egg and vanilla extract with the rest of the milk before adding and combining that to the mixture. Continue beating until the mixture has a smooth texture.

Once the desired texture has been reached, you can then mix in a few drops of food colouring if you wish. Simply add as much as necessary until the desired colour is achieved. TopTip: once cooked, the cake will appear slighlty lighter in colour so it is wise to make the mixture slighlty darker than the desired colour.

Spoon the mixture into papercases, so they are about two thirds full. Then bake for 20-25 minutes at 170degree celsius.

While the cupcakes are cooling, place a heatproof bowl containg the 12 marshmallows over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave until the marshmallows are melted and smooth.

Then, scoop out about a teaspoon from the centre of the cupcake and fill with melted marshmallow.
Alternatively you can melt the marshmallows for about 15 seconds in a miccrowave. Although only melt a few at a time as they will quickly become too tacky.

Vanilla Frosting

Beat the Icing Sugar and butter together until they are well mixed.

Combine the milk and vanilla extract together in a seperate bowl before adding to the mixture, a few spoonfuls at a time.

Once all the milk has been added and the mixture is light and fluffy, fold in the marshmallows.

Then simply spoon the frosting onto the top of your now cool cupcakes. Add any decorations, if you so choose and enjoy!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Pluck Pluck Pluck and Away!

I always thought that the dreaded 'tadpole' eyebrows were only a feature of young teenage girls; over excited by the new task of shaping their brows. Though recently i've been noticing numerous women sporting this ugly and unflattering look. Ladies! Please!

There are several different ways you can shape your eyebrows, the most popular being waxing, threading and my method of choice: tweezing. Which ever method you choice is entirely up to you, all have good and bad points. I personally choose tweezing for the simple fact that it's easy to do at home.
Obviously, if tweezing your eyebrows at home, the type and quality of tweezers you use make a huge difference. My tweezer of choice, as should your's be: is Tweezerman.
Firstly let's start with the only negative about these tweezers. The price. For those of you accustomed to spending a couple of quid on probably the cheapest pair you could find, the price may come as a shock:mostly ranging between £12-£20. Although they're definiley worth every penny! For starters they come with a lifetime guarantee and you can send them off to get them resharpened. So although it might seem a lot of money at first, they would actually work out cheaper than constantly having to replace your cheaper pairs.

The main reason I love Tweezerman tweezers? For the fact that they work on even the most stubborn type of eyebrow hair. Whether you've got fine, sparse eyebrows or thick bushy eyebrows. These are a must have! Able to grab even the smallest hair it allows you to get proffessional results at home. In fact, many beauty salons use Tweezerman tweezers. I use the slanted tweezers. These are perfect for tweezing individual hairs by using just the point, allowing you to create your perfect shape. The tweezers have a really good grip on the hair also. This helps to prevent the hair breaking, ensuring it is pulled out from the root.

Finally, another good point about Tweezerman tweezers? The design! Available in a range of colours, patterns and sizes, there really is at least one style for everyone. Easily available from Boots and online, they're definitely worth adding to your shopping list!

Top tips for the perfect eyebrow shape?
Everyone has naturally different shaped eyebrows and when shaping your own it is important to simply enhance your natural shape. Before starting, work out what length you want your eyebrows to be, where you want them to start and where you want your arch to be.
Where to start: Hold a pencil/ruler /brush (anything long and straight) against your nostrils upward to your forhead. Generally, most eyebrows start inline with the very inner corner of your eye.
The arch: Again, holding pencil/whatever you are using, hold it against the side of your nostril and rotate so that it passes through the centre of your pupil. The point at which this line hits your eyebrow, should be th highest point of your arch.
Where to end: To figure out the ideal place for your eyebrows to end. Once more hold your 'pencil' against the side of your nose and rotate so it matches up wit the outer corner of your eye.

To help you remember these positions, you can use a coloured eyeliner to mark them onto your skin.

Do not shape from above your eyebrows. However if you get alot of fine hairs above or to the side of your eyebrows, as many women/men do, consider bleaching them so they don't intefere with the neat shape of your eyebrows. Also many people tend to overpluck as they try and get rid of eyebrow hairs that are too long but aren't necessarily in the wrong place. For this, simply brush your hairs upwards and using a pair of nail scissors trim any hairs that are longer than most.
Remember your face is not perfectly symmetrical. Don't worry if you can't get your eyebrows to match exactly. 'Eyebrows should be like siblings not twins'.
My concluding toptip? Upkeep is essential. Trust me it's alot easier to pluck a few hairs on a regular basis, even if this means everyday, this saves effort and time, rather than letting your eyebrows grow and then having to completley reshape them.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Teen Spirit Smells Like...

...Sweat, beer, wee and fireworks. This weekend I went to Leeds Festival with a few of my friends and it was completely incredible. It was my first festival so I was a bit wary to begin with but the smell and the awful toilets are definitely worth it!

We arrived at Bramham Park (after the coach ride from hell) at about 11 complete with bags full of baby wipes, food and a tent and, after getting our ultra-cool wristbands, set off in search of the perfect spot to set up camp. After much huffing, puffing and lugging we found it. Just far enough away from the toilets so we couldn’t smell them, close to the water taps and only 5 minutes walk from the arena itself.

Over the weekend I saw a lot of amazing bands so I’m just gonna give you a run down of my top five. In reverse order, in true TOTP style…

5. Frank Turner
This guy was absolutely incredible. He had the unfortunate job of playing when it had been raining all day and everybody was down in the dumps but he managed to get the crowd dancing. I love the realism of his lyrics and it was the perfect music to cheer everybody up.

4. The Vaccines
I absolutely adore this band and I’ve been desperate to see them live since I heard their album. The boys did not disappoint and Justin Young was the perfect frontman. They played a brand new track and it sounds like the band have got more of the same up their sleeves.

3. My Chemical Romance
Okay, so this might seem a bit out of character for me but I absolutely loved MCR when I was 13 so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to live out the dream and see them live. They headlined the Saturday night and they had a tough job outdoing Muse’s set from the night before but they definitely did themselves justice.

2. Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit
This wonderful man and his band were on after My Chemical Romance and I dragged my tired and begrudging friends to go and see him. It was definitely worth the loss of 45 minutes sleep. I’ve been wanted to see Johnny Flynn for a long time and it topped off my Saturday.

1. Pulp
Two words. Jarvis Cocker. The guy is the epitome of front man, it seemed like he was just making casual conversation with the crowd before thrusting like mad during the songs. It seemed like the whole of the festival had turned out to see the original indie band and the atmosphere was absolutely incredible.

In fact, the atmosphere over the whole weekend was brilliant. Some of my favourite moments happened in between bands. The whole of the crowd singing Bohemian Rhapsody before My Chemical Romance for example, or the security guards doing dances for us before the Strokes. Ignore all the horror stories you hear about festivals, there’s such a sense of community. Even if most of that community are drunk most of the time, everyone’s there for the same reason; to enjoy a bit of live music.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Store Card Blues

As you may have guessed from the numerous amounts of CDs, I spend a lot of money in HMV. So, when they brought out their ‘pure hmv’ store card I got very excited. From the look of the leaflet I was expected fun, free things and endless amounts of joy to pour out of the plastic card, but no such luck.

In reality, HMV’s points card is a bit pointless. You get a point for every penny you spend, which is really good in comparison to some other store cards, where this one falls down is that the points themselves are pretty useless.

Just £2 store credit is 10000 points, which involves spending a lot of money when you don’t get a lot back. However, credit is not the only thing you can buy in the pure HMV ‘arena’. There are exclusive and exciting other things in the arena, I was told. Not so, I’m afraid. It’s pretty much just posters, which are all well and good but I could have bought them without going through the hassle of buying a card.

Basically, HMV have finally let me down. The card is not all that, and if you haven’t got one I wouldn’t change that. Then again, all store cards have their downfalls, so check it out for yourselves and see if it could be worth it for you. 

Monday, 22 August 2011

Hydrated and happy!

Warning: This post does talk about feet!(No feet photos though,blah)

Ok, so lately my feet have been really dry!(is this just me??) I'm not sure why but they constantly look dehydrated which as you can imagine is not an attractive look, especially in flipflops. And so, i have become obsessed with moisturising my feet. My favourite new found hobby? Well, i don't actually know if there's a name for it but i call it 'moisture socks'! Basically, before i got to bed, i get a really thick moisturiser and keep working layers into my feet. I keep going till literally my skin can't absorb anymore. Then, i simply put on my socks to lock in all the moisture and go to sleep. When i wake up my feet are gloriously moisturised and happy :)

It's not just my feet that have been rather dry though lately but my lips aswell(i know it's a  true tragedy). I tend to get alot of dry skin on my lips. I find the best way to get rid of this is to exfoliate. I do this a few different ways:
1) Simply use your face exfoliator over your lips. It couldn't be any easier!
2)Use a toothbrush aand well, brush your lips. I find this the most effective way when you have a lot of dry skin.
3)Take a cotton bud and put a bit of lipbalm on it. Then twist it quite firmly into the lips. This is really useful if you've got flaky lips and it also helps work the lipbalm into your lips better so it's more effective.

A bit of a random post but hopefully some will find it useful :)

We'd love to read about any of your beauty tips in the comments below. Hope you have a happy and hydrated week!

Monday, 15 August 2011

A Bridge Over Troubled Water

Cambridge to be exact. With results day looming ever nearing and the summer drawing to a close my family decided that this weekend would be the perfect time to take ourselves off for the weekend. Now, we’re not a family that does impromptu holidays well or often so on Saturday morning there was a definite feeling of panic in the house, but once we were out and on our way all our anxiety seemed to melt away.

However, this bliss was tainted with anxiety for me as I’m looking at going to Cambridge University the year after next. So, when we parked up we headed for Emmanuel College to have a look around and I absolutely fell in love with it. 

From the front it looks like your typical old, grand, Cambridge college but once you get through those arches there’s a wonderful paddock, even a pond with ducks! Also Emmanuel is home to the world’s oldest outdoor swimming pool that’s still in use (although it’s been renovated a fair few times).

After having had our fill of the college we strolled through the beautiful town itself. If you’re a sucker for old architecture like me then I definitely recommend a trip into Cambridge. But the buildings aren’t all the place has to offer, there were loads of buskers around which gave the town a really lively feel. We even found one guy playing guitar in a very odd place…

Also while strolling through town we came across a most wondrous delight…Mr Simm’s  Olde Sweet Shoppe! I couldn’t resist these peanut m&m’s…

Then, after an amusing half hour watching the punters crash and climb and all sorts in the river we headed to our hotel and had a much needed rest. I absolutely loved Cambridge and now really have my heart set on going there, fingers crossed for results day!

Photographs courtusey of my lovely sister Danni!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Shine on!

Shampoo is often overlooked. I can understand why, I mean it's hardly the most exciting beauty product. I think the main reason people tend to underate Shampoo is the fact that it's not usually that luxurious and it's effects are not always so apparent. Yet the power of a good shampoo, should not be undervalued!

Recently my hair's been feeling a little lacklustre. By the second day it feels dirty, it acts weird, making it more difficult to style and keeps going frizzy:(  My hair constantly feels like it needs refreshing, a little pick me up.

After having decided to strip back my hair routine to the basics i.e. shampoo and conditioner, i felt the need to try something new. Before leaving for her year abroad my elder sister was kind enough to leave me with a departing present: Schwarzkopf Professional BC Bonacure Smooth Shine Shampoo and conditioner (hardly a snappy name?!)

Heres what Schwarzkopf have to say:'Cleanses, nourishes and smoothes unmanageable hair for lasting frizz protection and a mirror-like shine. Smoothes the hair surface promoting a shiny healthy finish. - Panthenol: provides essential moisture. - Amino Cell Rebuild Technology: penetrates deeply into the hair to repair its inner cell structure.'

The shampoo retails for £6 and the conditioner for £7. Hardly breaking the bank and i've found that they do last for quite a long time, obviously this depends on how much you use per wash and if its just you using the bottle.

Now it is a little more expensive than your regular shampoo you get at the supermarket but you definitely notice the difference when applying the products, specifically the shampoo. Rather than turning into an afro of bubbles as soon as you start to work the product into your hair(this happens alot with cheap shampoos because of all their nasty chemicals) instead it turns into a rich creamy lather(mmm lovely!). It feels noticeably more luxurious than typical drugstore brand shampoos. The conditioner is as equally nice to apply.

The packaging is also lovely. Sleek and simple.  Although still in essence just a plastic bottle it has an air of sophistication.They look nice enough to be left out on your bathroom shelf which is always a bonus.

Both shampoo and conditioner do what their supposed to. My hair was noticeably smoother after using them just once. But the next day it looked as lacklustre as usual, though admittedly a little less frizzy after having used it a few times. So let's get to the point: would i reccomend it? Yes, but it depends what your looking for from your shampoo/conditioner. Both the shampoo and conditioner do what they advertise; smooth and add shine. Yet i wouldn't repurchase as the difference they've made to my hair doesn't outway the extra price or the inconvience of finding a stockist. I still think it's worth spending a bit extra on your hair products and to me a good shampoo is like a good foundation it helps give a perfect base so all your other products look/work better.

Unfortunatley i'm still looking for my perfect shampoo and conditioner. If you've discovered any amazing hair products i would love to read all of your suggestions in the comments:)

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Everyday I'm Shufflin'...

…to Bombay Bicycle Club. Sorry for the false advertising but this is, in fact, a review of the London band’s brand spanking new single. And, once more, it will be more of a rave than a review. I am completely in love with this track, it sounds like summer is here (although a look out the window confirms that the glorious sun still has not arrived).

The piano riff intro instantly had me dancing when I heard it and the rest of the song does not disappoint. The simple rhythm guitar and bouncy bass part don’t detract from the gorgeous riff at all, but add enough difference to allow for it to be stripped back in the bridge. The middle section again allows the riff to dominate but the string synth over the top and the softer vocal allow for a bit of variety within the song.
The lyrics are surprising because they seem to be about losing a relationship which doesn’t seem to fit the upbeat feel of the music but the ethereal way in which they’re delivered just adds another lovely layer to the rest of the song.

When the sun finally comes out (okay, I know it’s never coming, this is England after all) this will definitely be my summer soundtrack and I cannot wait for the new album. I love Bombay Bicycle Club and you should definitely check them out if you haven’t already!
Also, look out for Lucy Rose in the video; she's been a backing singer for the band and is now starting to make a name all for herself in the folk scene.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Maximum wear

After waiting for about three months, it finally feels as though summer has arrived! While I am trying to make the most of it, i'm all too aware that it won't last for long. Like most people, the recent appearance of sunshine got me rather excited and I decided that my current summer wardrobe was not cutting it. Yet after having splashed some cash on some suitable summer clothes, it rained the next day; typical!
This is what gave me the idea to share some tips on how to transition some of your summer wardrobe into the upcoming autumn or simply through the unreliable British Summer.

The maxi dress. A summer staple for many women. I prefer to keep things simple when out about in the heat. To add interest to a plain dress, while keeping yourself cool, layer up jewwellery. Mix in different lengths, different textures, stones,metals to create an individiual and eclectic look. Just be careful not too over do it. Keep in mind the wise words of Coco Chanel; "When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on."

A simple trick for wearing your maxi dress in chillier climates?Layering!

The picture below shows Katherine Power, co-founder of WhoWhatWear, adding various layers and textures in order to keep herself warm-perfect for winter not just autumn.

So really, the Maxi dress is a year round wardrobe staple! Perfect as it is in Summer, add a checked shirt or t-shirt and jacket in Autumn, jumpers,coats,boots, 3 pairs of tights in Winter and a  denim jacket/shirt in spring! Definitely a worthwhile investment.

Friday, 5 August 2011

So, as promised, here's our review of the Collection 2000 lasting colour nail polishes. Obviously the main selling point of these varnishes is the price! £2.99 people! Easily availbale at Boots and Superdrug, it's perfect for picking up on a wim one day. I was actually given a couple as a birthday gift and was more than pleasantly surprised. As many people do, i always tend to favour more expensive cosmetic products assuming that they'll be of better quality. However price is not always a reflection of quality, as this product shows.

That said there is one problem with these nail varnishes: the brush. The brand sells it as a 'one stroke'  maxi brush. Clearly the intention of this design is to speed up the process and help lesson mistakes. Although in my opinion it does the exact opposite of this. I'm sorry to say but the brush is just a teenie bit too fat for my personal liking. Yet in a strange way i find it often helps me make less mistakes, as i'm taking more care and thinking about what im doing. Also, if you have large nails, you probably will like the brush.

The main thing that i love about these is that they only need one coat, which actually lasts. I wore my silver nail polish for 5 days without topcoat before it started to wear and chip. Although Collection 2000 advertise that it should last for ten. Why they have done this, i don't know because i am yet to find any nail polish that remains in an acceptable state for ten days!
I currently only have two colours,both of which are metallic. As i said earlier, the price is a major selling point and yes i'll admit while both of my polishes when applied to the nail are vivid and opaque; they don't quite match the smooth subtle glossy shimmer of say a Chanel nail polish but you cant really complain when they're ;ess than a quarter of the price of a Chanel polish. Overall i'm really glad i tried these polishes and will definilty be getting some more! I don't care if it's sad, i can't wait to try out some more colours. The only problem is: which one?

I can see these becoming my go to nail polish brand. What's your favourite nail polish brand? Leave a comment telling us or letting us know any that you're keen to try and we'll be sure to review!

Currently Boots is running a 2 for £5 deal on all Collection 2000 Cosmetics.
To see what the nail polishes look like on the nail, check out our last nail art tutorial which features 'Stardust' as the base colour.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Marbled Delights

Baking, for me, is just as much fun as eating the cake itself at the end. I have to bake with music (usually cheesey 80’s tunes) and normally end up having a dance around the kitchen with the wooden spoon as a result. Possibly shouldn’t have admitted that on the internet…
Anyway, these marbled delights taste as good as they look and are definitely recommended by me.
Here’s what you’ll need…
280g plain flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
115g caster sugar
2 eggs
250 ml milk
85g melted butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

To start with, pre-heat your oven to Gas Mark 6/200⁰C/400⁰F.
Then, sift the flour and baking powder and mix together with the sugar.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs lightly and add to them the melted butter (don’t worry if the butter starts to clump together, it will bake in when put in the muffins), vanilla essence and milk.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and poor in the liquids. Stir together.

Next, divide the mixture as evenly as possible in to two bowls and add the cocoa powder to one half.

Now comes the marble-y bit, into a muffin tray pour your mixtures into muffin cases, alternating the chocolate and plain. When I did this, I was too accurate with the layering and ended up with stripy muffins so try and be a bit random with your pouring.

The recipe suggests to bake for 20 minutes, but I’d put them in for a few minutes extra to crisp the tops.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Bum-Dance Bliss

Like a few people, I imagine, my first experience of Foster the People was coupled with my first experience of the ‘bum dance’ as performed by Greg James on his show on Radio 1. Okay, so that sounds a lot weirder than it actually is, Greg chose the band’s first single, Pumped Up Kicks as his record of the week and then danced  to it… Just watch the video and hopefully everything will make more sense then.

Anyway, once I’d gotten over Greg’s wondrous dance moves I realised how great the track was, it’s got a really summery vibe and is just nice and mellow. So, on my impulse buying spree earlier in the month I bought the album and, friends, I was not disappointed.

The first track, Helena Beat, slowly builds up and by the time the vocals come in you’ve already got a smile on your face. And when the vocal comes in you may be a bit taken aback, Mark Foster’s voice has a really unique sound which might shock you, especially as he’s often singing in higher registers, but it just adds to the mellow feel of the whole album.  This song just makes me want to do some kind of strange dancing that only true hipsters (of which I am not one) would get away with.

Track numero duo is the aforementioned single and it’s just great. To me, this whole album sounds like a holiday; it makes me feel like I should be dancing to it on some American beach with a cooler full of ‘soda’ and some California girls and this track is the epitome of that. 

The third song, Call It What You Want, starts somewhat differently with a very strange noise that sounds like someone has let some air out of a bottle of cola or something and a delightful little piano riff.  This song is faster-paced than the previous two but the dampened drums and Mark Foster’s voice make sure it’s still in keeping with the rest of the album.

Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls) also brings a bit of variety to the album, with no sign of the band’s trusty drum patterns but the introduction of an acoustic guitar instead. Also, instead of the usual rousing, sing-a-long chorus there’s the catchy little ‘ooh’ phrase that you can’t help but join in with.

The halfway point on the album, Waste, is a bit more melancholy than the previous tracks and show a different side to the band. It’s pretty bare, with just the lead vocal and a drum pattern in the voices and reminds me of something off Lykke Li’s first album, Youth Novels. The next track, I Would Do Anything For You has much the same feel, though with a few more layers.

Houdini sees a return to the upliftingness (is that even a word? It is now) of the beginning of the album though the chorus adds a bit of difference. Life on the Nickel, however, sounds like a completely different band and I’m sure they stole that synth from Toploader…

The final two tracks continue with this strange sound explosion, with Coldplay’s keyboard from Fix You  being used in Miss You and what sounds like a church choir in the final track, Warrant. Once you get over that though they are two more excellent tracks, not quite as mellow and beach-y as the first two but relaxing nonetheless.

I think if you don’t listen to this kind of music a lot some of the tracks might be a bit interchangeable, but if you like artists like Lykke Li and maybe a bit of James Blake then I definitely recommend getting this album.

Best Track: Pumped Up Kicks
Worst Track: Life On The Nickel 

Monday, 25 July 2011

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar

So we're back with another nail tutorial. This week, it's leopard print! As always this design can be adjusted to include whatever colours you fancy.

After having applied a base coat, apply a colour of choice. I used a silver nail polish from Collection 2000(expect a review very soon). I only applied one coat but depending on what nail varnish you are using you may want to apply to for greater opacity.

Once you have painted all your nails in your base colour; in a different colour add some random dots onto your nails. It’s up to you how many dots you have and where you place them, obviously it will depend on the size and length of your nails.
For my dots I chose a contrasting colour, to make my leopard print more vibrant and noticeable. However, for a more subtle look simply choose more tonal colours.
For the next part I would recommend using a nail art pen (Models Own sell some which are easy to find at Boots stores) if you don't have one, cocktail sticks also work well and allow for more accuracy than a normal nail polish brush due to their fine tip.

Nows for the detail of the print. I like to start by drawing semicircular shapes around the dots. After doing this I then repeat the semi circular shapes on the rest of the nail and fill any spaces with dashes and dots. It should look random and doesn't need to be perfect as no leopard's print is perfect; that's just nature. Enjoy!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Smooth as an...Egg?

One reason to love summer is the excuse it gives us to wear a whole new variety of footwear! Any excuse for new shoes is always welcome; especially the kind where I get to show off my nail polish as well!

Although, a word of warning; it’s not just your nail polish that needs to be in tip top condition. In order to successfully pull off the summer sandal, please make sure that your heels are also in tiptop condition.
Heels?! Yes, heels. That often neglected, forgotten part of your foot. I wonder how many of you, if you looked down at your heels right now, would like what you see?  Repeat after me; cracked heels covered in hard skin are not chic!
Don’t worry though, I’ve found a tool that will make all that nasty disappear, in a matter of minutes.
The PedEgg! That’s right. The one off those annoying, cheap JML adverts. Just as you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover; don’t judge a product by its advert. It’s actually rather good!
First of all, let me describe to you exactly what the pedegg is (the names not overly self explanatory. Pedegg?! Catchy but it sounds like nonsense) There are two parts to the ped egg. The main part of the ped egg is what I call ‘the grater’.  It literally is like a fine cheese grater but for your foot. Though don’t worry, it’s not painful and is very effective at removing layers of hard skin. The ‘grater’ also has a ‘pod’ attached to it. Supposedly, to catch all the dead skin in. While the ‘pod’ does definitely help to catch some of it; when you use the pedegg at different angles some skin is not caught or it tends to fall out. To rectify this problem, I would simply recommend when using the pedegg to place a piece of tissue beneath your foot to catch any skin. I personally don’t think you can hold this against the ped egg as it definitely helps to catch some of the skin and so is better than an average foot file in that respect, even though the pod is not quite as effective as it claims. Though I like the fact that at least they tried. Let’s be honest, as disgusting as it is, filing your foot is simply a messy job.
The pedegg also has a lid to it. This covers the grater so you don’t scratch your finger on it when rooting around in the drawer for it. On the one side of the lid is a buffer. This is useful after having used the grater helping to give a smooth finish.
I would definitely recommend a pedegg to anyone suffering from cracked heels.
TopTip: Apply a rich nourishing moisturiser to your heels every couple of days for longer lasting results.

If my Pedegg went missing I would definitely buy again! Enjoy your summer sandals!

Monday, 18 July 2011

The End of an Era

                On Friday night I stuck my pyjamas on, grabbed a blanket and settled down to watch a good film. However, this was at midnight, in a cinema screen filled with other excitable people. That’s right; I was one of thousands of Potterheads all over the world that went to the midnight showing of the final Harry Potter film and witnessed the end of an era.
                The sleep deprivation was definitely worth it, not only was the film excellent (more of that later) but the atmosphere in the screen was just fantastic. The cinema seemed to cry, laugh and cheer as one and it made the film that bit more enjoyable.
                As for the film itself, I was thoroughly impressed. Your heart starts racing about thirty seconds in and doesn’t stop until the credits roll; it’s action-packed but it still has those moments of humour that make the Potter films and add a little sense of relief to the large-scale battle that is going down at Hogwarts.
                As a life-long fan of the books, I was incredibly impressed with how closely the film stuck to the words J. K. Rowling had set down, and things that they had changed still made sense. The basic plot was the same, with just a few little scenes added or adapted slightly to make them look better on screen.
                I was a little dubious of whether seeing the film in 3D would be worth it or not and, although nothing really jumps out at you, it definitely did add something to the film. It really made you feel as if you were right there in the heart of the action, but I’m not sure that it was worth the amount of money it was.
                Yet another thing I was impressed with (I can’t pick faults with Harry Potter, I just can’t!) was the special effects on the film. Never once during watching it did I suspect green screens or CGI had been used, despite the fact that a dragon was flying across the screen (which may say more about me than about the film…).
                I don’t want to say too much more, because I know how irritating it is when things get spoilt before you’ve seen them, but hurry up because this is definitely a film you want to see with all the hype still around it, and then again a week later and maybe the week after that too…(that just me? okay…)
                I’m not ashamed to say that I cried through pretty much half the film, not just because of the devastating plot but also because the whole franchise has finally come to an end. No more waiting for the next film or queuing up at midnight for the next book. No more wondering how much the ‘golden trio’ will have grown up by the time we next seem them or anxiously waiting to see Emma Watson’s fantastic dress at the premiere. But the books will always be there to go back to, and the films are on DVDs so they can always be watched. But if that doesn’t satisfy your need for new Potter stuff, the new Pottermore website will be up and running on the 31st July!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Nom, Nom, Nom

I don’t know about you but chocolate plays a key role in my life. Too often I’ll be craving a chocolatey fix, only to find there’s no chocolate in the cupboard. It’s situations like these that this recipe is truly a lifesaver.

This recipe can basically be adjusted to include whatever you happen to have in your cupboards at home; both yummy and practical!

To begin you will need:

  •  400g butter 
  • 200ml golden syrup 
  • 100g cocoa powder
  • 800g biscuits(broken into small pieces)
  • 200g dried fruit(I used raisins)
It doesn’t matter what type of tray you use, as long as the mixture fits into it. If not, use two trays. Simples!

To start off with you need to collect your butter, golden syrup and cocoa powder. Now I would suggest using this recipe even if you do happen to have a bar of chocolate. Using the cocoa powder will give you that chocolatey hit that is oh so needed and if that’s not satisfying enough( and i don't blame you!) you can always eat the bar of chocolate afterwards!

Now, if you want to be professional, place your syrup, butter and cocoa powder into a large saucepan over a medium hea,t until it is melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Or. If your lazy like me, put the ingredients into a bowl and melt in the microwave til you get something that appears somewhat similar to below.( I put mine in the microwave for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds)

Then, as if it could be any easier, mix the biscuits and fruit into the chocolate mixture.

Once mixed through, pour into a greased tray and refrigerate for as long as you can wait. Oh, and enjoy!:)

Friday, 8 July 2011

Lets Twist Again!

Once again this may be more of a rave than a review. Though I will say that it’s not often, that I am disappointed in products as before I make a purchase, I always research it and read reviews online. Even if it’s only cheap as I hate wasting money!

Today’s post is all about the Babyliss Conical wand . Recently (well actually for quite a long time now, rather annoyingly) I have been growing my hair out. As I’m not having my hair cut as regularly it’s currently in that annoying stage where it hasn’t really got an exact style. So as you would expect bad hair days are aplenty. Although the number has significantly reduced since discovering this amazing hair tool.

Now, I’m someone who is quite lazy with my hair. Especially as I dance a lot, so am always having to have my hair tied back, I don’t really see the point in spending ages styling my hair. Plus, let’s be honest; who has that much time in a morning?

The real beauty of the Babyliss Conical wand is that it’s so easy and so quick to use. Also, you can create a variety of looks with it from tight spiral curls to loose beachy waves.  It also works on a variety of hair lengths. I first decided to try a conical wand when I had had my hair cut short. Traditional curling tongs didn’t seem to give a proper curl, without having it looked over styled. I thought of trying a conical wand, as it more tapered and is easier to wrap the hair around tighter. When using traditional tongs, you have to clip in your hair before rolling the tongs upwards, which is difficult to do with shorter hair, as you don’t always have enough length.

The reason I chose the Babyliss conical wand was that it was reasonably priced, easy to get hold of and was from a brand that I already trusted. It also comes with a heat protective glove. I don’t tend to use the glove that often now but I would definitely recommend wearing it the first few times you use the wand as it is easy to burn yourself.

Below are some pictures of random curls that i did, just to show you the type of curl you can achieve. Obviously they would look better when your whole hair is done and once they have been brushed out slightly so they look more natural.

Toptip: Hold the conical wand upside down so the widest part is at the top. This will give your curl a better shape.

Tighter curls created with thin sections of hair

less defined curls created with large sections of hair

I find that even loose curls last all day. I love this conical wand! It might just possibly make my desert island list.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Retail Therapy

Over the past few weeks my time has been filled with looking round and thinking about university. Where to go and what to do at uni is one of the biggest decisions a person has to make, and with the new fees there’s even more to think about.

Yesterday, after an unproductive look round Birmingham University, I popped into the bull ring for a teensy bit of retail therapy. I didn’t buy much but I got a couple of things that I wanted and it really cheered me up.

I finally got Everything Everything’s Man Alive, Torches by Foster The People (expect reviews soon!) and an oversized t-shirt (fiver in the sale from new look – yay!) that I like to think is a new take on the ‘I Love London’ tops.
Man Alive - Everything Everything, £3 from HMV
Torches - Foster The People, £6.99 from HMV
Royal Heart Tee, £5 from New Look
These few simple purchases released that all-too-familiar bout of happiness that comes from spending money you really shouldn’t on things you want but really don’t need. I find it fascinating how the exchange of cash into possessions can lift that black cloud over your head and bring the sun out – but I’m certainly not going to complain!

However, I’m finding recently that I keep buying new things and then remembering something that I’ve wanted for months and having no money left to get it with. I was thinking of ways to try and combat this and have decided to start making an ‘I Want’ list. Everytime I see something new I want I’ll put it on the list so I can plan what I want, and buy it (or put it on my birthday list…) and nevermore be disappointed by my short-term memory. The list is looking pretty long at the minute, but hopefully it’ll help me get everything eventually!