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Review: Benefit They're Real! Mascara

I have been desperate to try the Benefit They're Real! Mascara for a while. It is so highly regarded in the blogging community, so much so that after reading some reviews online, I started to convince myself that I couldn't live without it. This is a teeny tiny 30g tube which I bought on a blog sale a while ago. I decided to buy a mini version before splashing out on the full sized £19.50 bottle, purely to see if it was as good as everyone else said it was.

What Benefit say about their They're Real! Mascara:

"This jet-black mascara lengthens, curls, volumises, lifts and separates lashes for a spectacular 'out-to-here' look. The exclusive brush is specially designed to maximize the performance of the long-wearing, glossy formula-revealing lashes you never knew you had! Staggered bristles grab close to the root, boosting length & volume beyond belief. The precision bristles on the custom-domed tip lift, define & curl your tiniest lashes. The end result...luxurious, silky lashes that won't smudge, clump or dry out."

First up, the wand! They're Real! Mascara is famous for it's wand which has a small, spiky ball on the tip which is supposed to be excellent at getting to the smaller eyelashes in the corner of the eyes, as well as making it easier to coat the bottom lashes - something which I seem to constantly have a problem with. And guess what? It works like a dream. I found it SO much easier using a wand like this as it makes it so easy to get into the smaller, harder to coat eyelashes which I sometimes manage to miss when using a regular wand. The smaller brush also makes it easier to coat the bottom lashes and for once, I don't manage to get it everywhere for a change.

The photo above shows the difference between no mascara and one coating of They're Real! and I was really happy with the results. My eyelashes have visibly more length and look much more voluminous than before. I didn't find them to look more curled than usual but then again, maybe if I curled them beforehand then maybe They're Real! will help to keep the curl. Now, for the bad points. This mascara is very, very wet. I found that as soon as I applied it, I'd blink and it would transfer onto my skin. I also found that the more product on the wand, the more the mascara would make the eyelashes clump together so less is definitely more. Also, after a while the mascara would smudge and I'd end up with most of it smeared all over my face. 

Whilst reading other reviews of this mascara, I found out that other people had had these problems too which made me feel slightly better. Whilst I do love the results this mascara gives, I think it has too many faults to pay £19.50 for a full sized bottle. For now, I'll stick to my L'oreal Miss Manga Mascara.

Recipes: 'Best Ever' Chocolate Brownies

Sometimes we all need something a little comforting. Some people may turn to a duvet and a film, some may even turn to a friend. I, however, find a lot of solace in food. Cake and cookies, in particular. I always used to turn to cookies as they were super easy to make and could be ready within the hour. Plus, there's nothing like a warm cookie dunked into a cold glass of milk that instantly makes life feel so much better. 

I never used to be a chocolate brownie sort of person...Until I had these brownies. Taken from the BBC Good Food website, these doorstop brownies have made life seem so much easier recently. They are incredibly chocolately without being too sweet. They aren't dry in the slightest, the main reason that I wasn't a huge brownie lover to begin with. They're incredibly moist and gooey and have chunks of milk, white and dark chocolate running throughout..  Incredibly easy to make, these brownies will be ready in no time and my gosh, are they worth the wait.

- 185g Unsalted butter
- 185g Best dark chocolate
- 85g Plain flour
- 40g Cocoa powder
- 50g White chocolate
- 50g Milk chocolate
- 3 Eggs
- 275g Golden caster sugar

1. Cut the butter into small chunks and put into a medium sized microwavable bowl. Break up the dark chocolate and put all of it into the same bowl. Microwave until melted in 30 second bursts to ensure it doesn't burn. (Alternatively you can do this with a bowl placed on top of a saucepan with boiling water in. Stir occasionally until everything is melted.) Once melted, leave the bowl to one side for later.
2. Turn your oven on to 180 normal oven/160 fan/gas mark 4. Grease a shallow 20cm tin and line with greaseproof paper.
3. Sieve together the plain flour and cocoa powder into a small bowl.
4. Chop up the white chocolate and the milk chocolate into chunks carefully with a sharp knife. (I cut each individual square into 4. Alternatively, you could buy milk and white chocolate chunks and save the hassle.)
5. Break the 3 eggs into a bowl and tip in the sugar. Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs and the sugar together until the colour turns pale and the mixture has doubled in volume. This may take about 5 minutes.
6. Pour the cooled chocolate over the egg and sugar mixture and fold in with a spatula/metal spoon, working in a figure of 8 motion. Then fold in the flour/cocoa, again using a figure of 8 motion, careful not to knock out all of the air.
7. Carefully stir in the chocolate chunks and mix until combined.
8. Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and pop into the over for 25 minutes. In the meantime, lick the bowl.
9. When 25 minutes time is up, shake the tin carefully. If it wobbles in the middle then it needs a few more minutes in the oven. (5 or so should do but be careful not to overbake.) If not, it is ready!
10. Leave to cool in the tin before carefully removing from the tin. (I used the 'turn it upside down onto a wire rack' method as it was easier.) Cut into squares or you can cut into squares then into triangles.
11. Enjoy and share!

I think they took me about just over an hour to make with preparing, baking and washing up. I much prefer them a couple of days after first baked as they seem to taste better in my mind but it didn't stop me eating two straight from the tin.

The original recipe says that there are 144 calories in each triangle shaped brownie, which works out to be about 250 calories per generous sized square brownie which isn't too bad I guess. Anyway, they are so good that for those 3 minutes it takes for me to devour them, I forget all about what calories are and only focus on the task at hand.. Eating them!

Review: Colorsport Eyebrow Definer Pen in Brown

I'm always on the lookout for something new to fill in my brows with. I keep alternating between my HD Brows Palette and a Rimmel London Eyebrow Pencil but recently I've found myself searching for some alternatives. I decided to buy the Colorsport Eyebrow Definer Pen in Brown, purely on a whim. I didn't know for certain if the Brown shade would match me completely but I bought it anyway, mostly because I couldn't see any other shades to choose from.

What Colorsport say about their Eyebrow Definer Pen:
"The perfect eyebrows help to frame your face and enhance your features. This easy-to-apply eyebrow definer pen will instantly define and shape your eyebrows with minimal effort. The unique precision nib creates an even smooth line gliding on perfectly, the ink dries instantly to create stunning eyebrows that will last up to 8 hours. Non-oily feeling and perfect for filling in any gaps."

I wasn't sure what I was expecting when I opened all the packaging, but the Colorsport Eyebrow Definer Pen is like a big felt tip with a fairly chunky nib. The liquid inside the pen is really watery, just like a felt tip also.

"On clean skin simply draw along the natural shape of your eyebrows filling in any gaps and light areas - the ink dries quickly so no need to worry about smudging. Can be easily removed with soap and water or make-up remover."

I found that the Colorsport Eyebrow Definer Pen was really easy to use. I applied it after my foundation so I did get a big foundation mark on the nib which won't actually come off so maybe applying it before foundation is the best way to apply it. Depending on the way I held the pen, I could get a thin, more precise application, whereas if I held it with a slight tilt I found the results thicker and fairly darker in colour. When doing this I did find the application slightly messier, purely due to the thickness of my eyebrows in relation to the pen.

When applied, the Eyebrow Definer was visibly wet and because of this it was really easy to wipe away any mistakes but once dried it stayed put all day and didn't budge which is great. I also noticed that you could layer up the Definer to get a darker colour to fill in the eyebrows which is great if you have a slighter darker eyebrow colour than the average 'brown' like me, in which case this shade is a little light for me but with a couple of layers it matches perfectly.

Overall, a really quick and easy way to fill in your eyebrows. It fills out any gaps in between the little hairs and although I could have done with a 'dark brown' shade, the Definer Pen is really easy to layer up to get a darker colour. It dries pretty quickly and stays put all day.

Review // Lush Think Pink Bath Bomb

I've never really been a bath bomb fan before. Part of me used to think "why would I spend £3 on one bath bomb when I could spend £1.50 on a bottle of bubble bath?" But then my friend worded it so it all made sense. A bath bomb is kept for a 'special bath'. A special bath? What is one of those, do I hear you ask? A special bath is maybe a bath you have on your birthday or, if like me, you decide to use a bath bomb in a 'special bath' after working a 9 and a half hour day and all you can think of is a nice hot bath and maybe a massive pint glass of vodka.

My sister bought me the Lush Think Pink Bath Bomb at Christmas time and I finally decided to use it this week. I was actually really (lamely) excited to stick it under some hot water to see what would happen when it dissolved!

What Lush say about their Think Pink Bath Bomb:
"A relaxing pink bath bomb with a sweet vanilla and tonka fragrance. As it gently dissolves, you'll feel as though you're getting a big hug - you'll find yourself surrounded by rice paper confetti hearts that slowly melt away. Its sweet smell comes from vanilla absolute, while tonka adds a caramel undertone. Neroli gives it a sunny citrus top note, while lavender clears your mind and makes you feel that life is sweet."

When submerged into hot water, the water immediately turns a bright, electric pink. After a few minutes of squealing at the water in delight and Whatsapping photos of it to my friends, I then noticed the cute little pieces of biodegradable hearts left at the bottom of the bath tub. A cute added little extra.

As I've had this bath bomb for a while the smell wasn't as noticeable as it had once been which was a shame but from the scent that was lingering, it smelled fairly sweet but not too overpowering. This was the first Lush Bath Bomb that I have tried and overall, I was really impressed with it. I wish I used it sooner so the smell was more noticeable but I couldn't really fault it. I definitely want to try some more!

Trips: Bicester Village

Bicester Village:
50 Pringle Drive,
OX26 6WD
Bicester Village has been a place that I've planned on going to for a very long time. We're talking two years. Or maybe even longer. It's been a place that I've wanted to go to but never got round to actually going..Until last weekend.
Bicester Village is a little picturesque collection of high end outlet shops set out in a mini village on the outskirts of Bicester in Oxfordshire. They have brands such as Dior, Vivienne Westwood, Dolce and Gabbana, Burberry, Mulberry.. All the shops we'd all love to be able to afford to shop in, essentially.

We left around 1pm and got there about 2:30pm which was mainly our one main error. If you drive to Bicester Village and try to be brave and not use the additional car parking, get ready for one big fight on your hands, especially if you arrive at 2:30 on a busy Saturday afternoon. The sheer volume of cars in the car park all fighting for one space really shocked me. Our friends had to use the additional parking which is about a 5 minute drive away on an army base where a coach will take you to the Village and back. We, on the other hand, fought tooth and nail for a space in the main parking area and managed to get one. Although a few drops of tears and sweat may have fallen.

My friends and I met up in Pret for a strategy meeting to plan which shops we wanted to pretend we could afford to shop in then off we went. We started in Vivienne Westwood and worked our way around.

The best thing about going into the expensive, high end shops, was seeing what people were buying. Some of the items of clothing the designer shops were selling were quite eye opening, especially Dolce and Gabbana. Even if I had the money, I doubt I'd ever considering buying a few of their items which does go to show that maybe you can't buy taste but everyone is different.

The one thing that I was a bit apprehensious about before stepping foot into any of the stores was the sales assistants. I know some can be a bit snooty and although they will say they aren't, I know for a fact a few of them looked at us as if we couldn't afford the carpet underneath our feet. They would be right of course but try not to judge other people hey? We went into one shop (which I won't name) and were fully aware of a security guard following us around the whole time which was slightly off putting but then it turned out he was a sales assistant. I know this because he asked me if I wanted to try on the £18,118 coat that I was staring at in awe. I looked at him if he were mad, quickly shook my head then slowly walked away.

Out of all of the high end shops we went into, Burberry was by far my favourite. No-one stared at us like we couldn't afford to shop there, everyone was really friendly and helpful and I even tried on the trench coat of my dreams. I begrudgingly put it back, despite the lovely sales assistant telling me it looked nice on me and pulled my New Look biker jacket back on. One day that Burberry Trench will be mine but it is a great incentive for me to work harder to be able to afford it. I could have bought it there and then but if I did I probably wouldn't be able to afford to eat, drink, drive or do anything nice for a very long time.

We also had a peek in Cath Kitson, which was like a floral patterned dream; Agent Provocateur, where my friend bought a rather questionable bra; Jack Wills, where I spent £29 on a top that I really did not need and Mulberry, where I saw a bag or two of my dreams. We ended our day in Starbucks with a skinny iced vanilla latte, a hot chocolate and a couple of mango and passion fruit smoothies. As it was sunny we did the British thing of sitting outside where it immediately started to rain and had to leg it back to the car. 

After a heated discussion over whether or not the car park was in fact free or not, who was to blame if it wasn't and what would we do if we got back to the car to find it clamped, we set off back home. We found our Vauxhall Corsa nicely tucked away in a throng of Ferrari's, Porsche's, Bentley's and Aston Martin's. Nice.

I learnt a few things that day. One, Burberry trench coats are beautiful. They fit like a glove, have a gorgeous lining and make you feel instantly better. They aren't as expensive as I thought, either. Two, hell hath no fury like huge families wanting to claim back their tax after a spree in Jimmy Choo. Three, just because you have money doesn't mean you have taste.

Review: Seventeen Lasting Fix Lipstick in Pink Power

Whilst going through my make-up bag recently I found a lipstick that I hadn't used before. "This can't be right" I said to myself. An un-opened lipstick? What a crime!! I remember buying this after Christmas in Boots for £1 in a little Clearance section. Hand on heart, I only bought it because it was the opportunity to buy a lipstick for a pound and I wasn't willing to let that offer pass me buy so at the time, I wasn't too fussed about the colour. But, when it came to actually using it I was completely thrilled with the colour. I bought Seventeen Lasting Fix Lipstick in Pink Power and it is definitely a lipstick that I don't currently have a lipstick similar to. Pink Power is a lovely deep pink, nearly fuschia coloured lipstick that is a bit darker than my own lip colour.

What Seventeen say about this lipstick:
"Seventeen Lasting Fix Lipstick - for bold colour and lovely lips that last. This collection of creamy lipsticks gives long lasting, non-drying colour that lasts up to 4 hours. Get a pop of statement colour with staying power!"

I found Pink Power really easy to apply and as it is so opaque and creamy, you only really need one coating to get the lips fully covered nicely. I didn't prep my lips beforehand to see how it would cope with dry areas and I was pleasantly surprised! My lips were quite dry beforehand and there was no real standout dry areas to be seen on the lips so from that point of view I was really pleased.

Once on the lips, I did find the lipstick to be just a little drying but that could be due to not prepping the lips beforehand and applying a lip balm, like I would usually do.  I found that Pink Power lasted on the lips around 2-3 hours before showing marginal signs of wear that did need re-applying as it was fairly noticeable that it had worn on the lips. Because of this, I don't entirely believe the 'lasting fix' claims.

Outfits: Blank & White

Top - Primark
Jacket - New Look
Cut Out Boots - New Look

An outfit post! Kinda.
I would LOVE to be able to do more outfit posts. I love nothing more than seeing what people wear each day to give me more inspiration in what I should be adding to my wardrobe but I have no-one to take photos for me, nor do I have anywhere to stand my crappy little camera on to put it on timer. So I apologise for the above photos but until I get more friends/a better camera then a couple of pics in a dirty mirror is the way it's gotta be.

I only left the house once today and that was to walk the dog but in that time some-one said I looked nice and that they liked my boots and my lipstick so if a stranger says that to you on the street then it must be true. Then again their dog was about to hump my leg so maybe they were buttering me up a little bit before the inevitable.

I've written a post about printed leggings recently (read here) and this is how I've chosen to wear mine. Ideally, I really want a basic white pocket tee in a lighter fabric to the one I was wearing above. The Primark one I was wearing today is lovely but it has a quilted effect to it and is in quite a thick material so I got a bit stuffy in my jacket/top combo.

I also wore my hair up for the first time in years today. I was having a very bad hair day and tried to do a messy ponytail but it was all a bit too messy for my liking so I got my Mum to do one for me! 20 years old and I can't master the ponytail, how pathetic.

Review // MAC Eyeshadow in Mythology

I got given a MAC Eyeshadow in Mythology for my birthday last year and was waiting for the right time to use it. Nearly 6 months later, here we are. I don't know why it has taken me so long to get round to using it. It has been sat (along with some other MAC products) in my 'to review' bag ever since but the other day it finally got it's chance to be put into use.

When it was my birthday my friend and I went to MAC and she bought me two eyeshadows of my choice. My first was MAC Eyeshadow in Expensive Pink (review here) and my second, Mythology. In the shop I swatched both eyeshadows beforehand and I have to admit, when applied both of them weren't what I quite expected. In the shop I thought Mythology was a pure bronzy brown which, at the time, I was hugely into. All I seemed to wear last year was bronzy eyeshadows with lashings of mascara so I hoped that Mythology was another deep, bronzy brown to add to my collection.

In reality, Mythology is a bronze but with a quite peachy/pink undertone that I didn't pick up on in store. I applied it with a fluffy eyeshadow brush after failing to get anywhere with the brush shown in the photos above, and I have to say that I wasn't entirely sure of the colour on my skin. As much as it is a fabulous colour, it does nothing for me. When applied all over the lid, it looks really stark and bland on my skin.

When applying I used a few layers to get the colour to show up better and I did find that I had some glitter fall out so I had to go over those areas with my foundation brush. I applied Mythology over my MAC Paint Pot in Painterly and it lasted literally all day which is amazing considering I have fairly oily skin.

Overall, it wasn't quite what I expected and although it is a fabulous shade, it just does nothing for me which is mad considering it is a neutral colour. I will try and pair it with other eyeshadows, maybe using it in the crease but as a wash of colour it is a no-go for me. Although I wouldn't buy Mythology again, I do love MAC Eyeshadows and already have a few more lined up to review.