About Me

I'm Dani. Foodie. Lover of Beauty and Fashion. Bride to Be. Gym and Green Tea Addict. Instagram Obsessed. Legal Eagle. (Sometimes I blog)

Monday, 17 March 2014

Attended an absolutely amazing wedding recently.  Good food, company and beautiful venue (West Tower in Aughton if you're interested).

I made the error of bringing an un-charged camera!  Was gutted but it's always such a busy lead up to weekend events isn't it!

So all the photos I got were using my trusty iPhone.  I was aiming for a natural(ish) look.  And one that I did not have to refresh too much.

- Foundation - Estee Lauder Double Wear in Fresco and Shell Beige mixed
- Blush - Nars Orgasm
- Eyeshadow - Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette in Various
- Eyeliner - Lancome
- Lipstain - Maybelline New York Super Stay 24 Hour Lip Colour in Plum Seduction (which is amazing)
- Highlighter - MAC Cream Colour Base in Shell
- Brows - Benefit Brow Zings
- Mascara - Revlon Fabulash

It was a bit of an action shot - hence the seatbelt!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

I literally live in my disco pants.  I don't even know if people think that they are still ok to wear or whether that fashion has died a death.  I also don't care because I love mine.  They are just so versatile and make me feel like I am from another era! An era when everyone did crazy disco dancing to Donna Summers music.

Anyway, I digress.

So it was a friend's 30th this weekend and they are always the kind of events that you don't want to be the most over dressed in the room so I opted for the disco pants again.  With a cami and blazer.  Perfecto!

Disco Pants - River Island
Cami - New Look (massive bargain)
Blazer - Jane Norman
Clutch Bag - House of Fraser
Shoes - Red Herring at Debenhams
Large Pearl Ring - Gift
Bracelets - Pandora and Ernest Jones - Gifts
Earrings - Mosaic-Creativity
Necklace - Claires Accessories (old)

Thursday, 13 March 2014

I was guilt tripped by the BBC's Orangutan Diaries recently. I couldn't cope with seeing baby Orangutans losing their habitat because of unsustainable palm oil plantations, then Michaela Strachan proceeding to lecture about how we buy far too many products containing palm oil produced from these plantations. I was already aware of the problem before watching Orangutan Diaries but my busy life saw me consuming whatever was convenient. This time, I decided to do something about it. 

One of my new year resolutions was to be more conscious in my decision making. That's not only things I buy, but in life in general. Even if it's something small. I don't profess to be able to change the world and be the perfect human being. But if I can make a slight change for the better with my actions, it's good enough for me. I thought beauty products would be a good place to start so I took some time to look into brands which are palm oil conscious. Lush came up high on the list (http://www.rainforestfoundationuk.org/Hair_Products). Most people usually talk about how nice the bath bombs are from Lush and that's about it. So I was pleasantly surprised to find they offer a whole range of beauty products.

Changing my hair routine is a big deal. My natural curls, which I definitely don't have time to straighten day in, day out, require moisture and lots of it. As long as there's a good cut going on, products are my focus. So, that's: shampoo, conditioner, an intensive condition once in a while, serum to de frizz, styling cream to boost and styling spray to set. Complicated, potentially expensive and long-winded, yes. But pretty much essential when it comes to keeping my curls, well, curly. Looking for something which was going to be able to do this was an important factor when considering using more ethically-sound products. Here is my verdict. 

Soak and Float shampoo

My requirements: Hair needs to be squeaky clean and keeps those pesky flakes away. My dark hair makes them much more noticeable, you see.
Name: It sounds a bit wrong. Or is that just me?
Appearance: Round soap bar with a beige vibe. Even more natural than natural.
Smell: Wow. And this isn't a good wow. It's the cade oil, which has a "strong smoky, woodsy aroma", apparently.Hmm. Cade oil is also known as juniper tar, which according to Lush has antiseptic, antimicrobial and fungicidal properties. 
Feel on hands: A good amount of lather but not over the top.
Feel on head: The lather continues to stay normal and is straight to the point. .
Rinse: Rinses out quickly and easy.
Result: After over 3 weeks of using it, so far, so good. For me, I have to use it twice. It may smell strong but an affordable product that's natural and can meet my requirements wins hands down over the chemical alternative. Plus the smell doesn't linger in your hair after you rinse it out. 

Ingredients: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Water, Cade Oil, Lavender Oil, Marigold Petals, Rose Petals, *Limonene, *Linalool, Perfume
*occurs naturally in essential oils

Veganese conditioner

My requirements: MOISTURE.

Name: You don't have to be vegan to use it but it's a good indicator for those who are dedicated to that lifestyle. For this, I will give it at least a point for function.
Appearance: Creamy with very faint pistachio tint.
Smell: Sweet, sweet lemon.
Feel on hands: Slightly runny, which didn't fill me with too much joy. However, my quest for moisture meant that in the past I was going for thick conditioners that weighed my fine hair down. The feel is something I'll have to get used to. 
Feel on head: Soaks in very quickly.
Rinse: Again, rinses out quickly and easily.
Result: Love it. My hair is manageable, smooth, shiny plus it had a really pleasant, long-lasting lemony smell. It's quite pricey (but value for money when considering how long a big bottle will last), so I went for the smallest size, just to test. I'll be purchasing the largest bottle possible of the Veganese once pay day comes around because it really does the trick. My favourite purchase out of the 3.

Ingredients: Lavender Flower Infusion, Fresh Rosemary Infusion, Agar Agar Gel, Cetearyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cetrimonium Bromide, Lemon Oil, Benzoin Resinoid, Fresh Organic Lemon Juice, *Citral, *Limonene, Perfume, Methylparaben

*occurs naturally in essential oils

Sweetie Pie shower jelly

My requirements: Clean me.

Name: This is cute and it encouraged me to pick it up on a whim. 
Appearance: Purple, wobbly jelly. It's supposed be sparkly but I couldn't see the sparkles. Upsetting. 
Smell: Cherry.
Feel on hands: Wobbly, stretchy and very difficult to get out of the pot.
Feel on body: It just stays the same. Where's the lather?
Rinse: After some hard work, the lather appears. It rinses off quickly.
Result: A fun idea but it doesn't translate into an effective shower gel in my eyes. I should have known what I was getting, seen as the packaging clearly describes it as shower jelly. Unfortunately the novelty wore off after the fact it wasn't easy to use. 

Ingredients: Glycerine, Cherry Infusion, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Coconut Infusion, Propylene Glycol, Carrageenan Extract, Perfume, Bergamot Oil, Cassis Absolute, Cypress Oil, *Limonene, *Linalool, Snowflake Lustre, Colour 17200, Colour 42090, Methylparaben, Propylparaben
*occurs naturally in essential oils

Overall verdict

When it comes to shopping at Lush, I'd honestly suggest browsing the engaging website and buying on line after a trip to the Arndale shop. Staff were a bit pushy plus you only have to walk by the entrance to be overawed by the combination of flowery, powdery aromas coming from inside.

Their products are what makes the experience in my opinion. On top of their palm oil policy, they don't test on animals plus it's an easily accessible brand. The shampoo and conditioner gets a big thumbs up from me. Guilt free, effective and similarly priced to to higher-end chemical-based products; I've been converted.   

About me: My name is Karolyn, I'm a writer and I've been friends with Dani for 5 or 6 years. I also blog like Dani but my Wordpress site Gone Out is focussed on events, culture and occasional rants.Check it out at www.goneout.wordpress.com or follow me on Twitter: @karolynsgoneout.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

In keeping with the healthier me theme, I was struggling slightly today when trying to locate a snack that wouldn't take me off plan.  Unfortunately, despite prepping my lunches for the week, my portions are somehow ridiculously small and the avocado I had brought to fatten it up wasn't ripe and got binned.  I was hungry before I had even finished!

With that I nipped over to Tesco and located this bad boy, in a 4 pack which was only £2.50 (which I consider to be a bargain really when you consider what you pay these days for anything).  In the pack is Cocoa Delight, Rhubarb and Custard and Berry Delight.  Nom nom.

There wasn't much left before I decided you'd want to see what the bar looked like!! haha
Nakd website

I was surprised at how delicious this was.  It has a great texture and tastes like chocolate orange (obviously).  It's not dry or anything though so it makes it very enjoyable and the perfect pre-gym snack!

This particular bar contains only Dates (40%), Cashews (40%), Raisins (14%), Cocoa (5%) and natural flavour. 

I've copied the nutritional info from their website.  I was slightly shocked at all the sugar but apparently it's all natural so I am not as concerned.  That said, I am definitely over my sugar quota for the day.  I would definitely recommend these though as they are yummy and aren't going to add lbs unless you eat sh*t loads of them!

Typical valuesper 35gper 100g
Energy607 kj1736 kj
Energy145 kcal415 kcal
Protein4 g11 g
Carbohydrate16 g45 g
(of which sugars)14 g39 g
Fat7 g20 g
(of which saturates)1 g4 g
Fibre2 g6 g
*equivalent as salt0.1g0.1g

* Contains only the naturally occurring, unrefined sugars found within fruit. Nothing is added or refined. **Allergy information: may contain traces of nuts, peanuts and sesame seeds.

I love In Love With Fashion for clothes.  They have so many choices and show real people in the outfits so you get a real sense of what something will look like.  I love this dress very much.  When I first bought it, it was for a night out.  Now I wear it more casual as above.  Either way, it's super versatile and works a treat.  Can't wait to wear it with gold sandals in summer!

Dress - InLoveWithFashion here
Leather Jacket - F21
Bag - Primark
Scarf - Market Stall on holiday years ago
Ankle Boots - Dorothy Perkins

Monday, 10 February 2014

If you are anything like me you might just burn the candle at both ends and find yourself in need of some under eye concealer to cover the obvious signs!  Unfortunately for me though, even when I have early nights, drink lots of water and eat well I still suffer from really bad darker pigmentation around my eyes.  It's more a reddy brown than anything.  And then purple practically right in the corner near the nose.  Fit. 

This is nothing new for me and as a result I have spent a fortune on concealers over the years.  In an attempt to save money, I didn't repurchase the standard Bobbi Brown Corrector and Concealer I use when it ran out.  I then used illamasqua for a while, which was great for staying power but definitely too light a shade (despite being colour matched I might add).  

So, in an attempt to find something slightly more appropriate, I headed to Superdrug and purchased a corrector and concealer palette from Sleek and MUA.  

Unfortunately, neither worked too well on me and I am back to Bobbi Brown!

Sleek Corrector and Concealer Palette (£7.99)

Purchased from Superdrug

I found that the coverage was firstly too light with this product.  Light in texture and coverage.  The Lighter shade (left) corrector was actually a good colour.  The problem is that as soon as you put the darker shade on, it undoes all the work the corrector has done and draws attention to your dark circles!  This is probably down to shading, but you are obviously limited in terms of what you can choose within the palette.  This combined with the fact that the texture is too light makes this a no for me and sadly a waste of money as I will never use it.

MUA Conceal and Brighten Kit (£3.50)

Purchased from Superdrug
Similarly, the texture is too light with this concealer also.  However, by this I mean way to light, as in pointless.  Now I feel bad hating on an MUA product as generally I like their makeup, but this is a prime example of when drugstore just doesn't work.  The texture and colours are totally off.  Texture wise I can only describe this as greasy.  And the colour just highlights any flaws and lines etc.   It's a definitely no from me I am afraid.

The only time I could say these products may work are if you barely have dark circles - but if that is the case I would say stick to foundation and some touché éclat!

Has anyone else tried these successfully?
I've been making the conscious effort to eat clean for a couple of weeks now.  I have started a 3 month plan which involves weight lifting, some cardio and clean eating.  Mainly because as always, Christmas took its toll and my waist line wasn't looking its best.  If I am totally honest too, I'd been celebrating pretty much since November too with the engagement, client christmas dos and family and friend catch ups.  I basically ate and drank non-stop badness for 2 and a half months.  Never good. 

I also hardly went to the gym at all during that period, which as a 6 times a week girl before that obviously left me feeling pretty sh*t.

So I am back on it now and enjoying every minute of it. Realistically though, I love food so I have to mix it up a bit to keep it interesting - hence today's recipe.

Pulled Pork and Home Made No Mayo Slaw

This is a good dish if you want to keep your man happy also, as it's healthy but doesn't compromise on flavour.  Takes me right back to all the barbecue restaurants in NYC!


Pulled Pork (makes 4 servings):

Pork Loin (approx 400g)
Garlic Powder (1 tbsp)
Apple Sauce (3/4 cup - unsweetened - if you struggle to find use baby apple food - that's what I do!)
Agave Nectar (3 tbsp)
Chopped Tomatoes (1 tin)
Corn Flour (3tbsp)
Black Pepper (1/2 tsp)
Chilli Powder (1/2 tsp)
Smoked Paprika (1 tbsp)
Chilli Flakes (1/4 tsp)
Salt (1/2 tsp)

No Mayo Slaw (makes 2 large servings):

Two Carrots
1/3 of a White Cabbage
Juice of one Lemon
Agave Nectar (1tbsp)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Onion (optional - I've made with and without - both are nice however this was without)


Pulled Pork:

1.  Save for the pork and flour mix ingredients in a bowl and then once mixed, put in slow cooker.

2.  Trim any fat off the pork and cut in half.  Add to slow cooker and using a large spoon cover with the sauce as best as you can.

3.  Cook on high for 4 hours.  Once done, take the pork out and shred with two forks on a large baking tray.

4.  Add the flour to thicken up the sauce and stir in.  Add the shredded pork into the pot and then cook on low for a further 30 minutes.

5. Serve.

No Mayo Slaw

Whilst the pork is cooking you can prepare the slaw.  It's super easy.

1.  Peel and chop the carrots.  I like them quite chunky but if I have loads of time and don't mind the additional work, sometimes I grate the carrot.  (If you are adding onions definitely grate these).

2.  Chop the cabbage in similar sized strips to the carrots.

3. Squeeze in lemon juice.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Add the Agave Nectar.

6. Stir all ingredients together and let sit in the fridge for minimum half an hour.

7. Serve with the pulled pork.

P.S. Another good addition to this would be sweet potato mash!