Saturday, 30 April 2016

Indulgent Chocolate Brownie Recipe | Late Night Bakes

Hello, Lovelies! As I mentioned in my recent chocolate chip cookie post, I'm a baker at heart. When I'm bored, putting something off or just need to de-stress, I bake. I'm more of a sweet treats baker: I'm more likely to be found baking cakes and cookies than I am pasties and pies. And, one of my go-to recipes are these super simple, super indulgent brownies from Mary Berry.

Instead of chocolate chips, I once again prefer to use chunks: I'll normally add squares of rich dark chocolate for me, and Dairy Milk for my mum and sister. Again, I actually doubled this recipe, then halved it and made a batch for me and a batch for my mum and sister, as it's so easy to just knock up. This is definitely one of the easiest and tastiest recipes I know of. 

What you need: 
275g Butter; softened 
375g Caster sugar 
75g Cocoa powder 
100g Self-raising flour
4 Large Eggs 
100g Chocolate 

What you do: 
Preheat oven to 180c, line a baking tray 
1. Add everything to a large mixing bowl, and mix well. (I add the eggs + chocolate after I've mixed everything else, but that's personal preference).
2. Add the mixture to the baking tray, making sure the mixture's pushed into every corner, and spread evenly. 
3. Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes (I'd check at 30-35 to be sure, then go from there) 
4. Leave to cool, then cut into even squares (or not, you do you) and turn onto a plate. 

These are really, really nice hot or re-heated, with a scoop of icecream on top. I microwave these and they come out fine. They should last 3-5 days in a sealed tin.

Much love, Maxine xo
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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Go- to Face Products + Reviews! | Full Face Routine

Hello, Lovelies! I have mentioned before on this little blog that one of the main reasons I started blogging was because of my love of makeup. I started watching YouTube videos, which really kicked off my love of experimenting with makeup, which then lead onto reading blogs (I've always been more of a reader than a watcher, but that's a story for another time), which lead quite naturally to me wanting to blog myself. 

If I had to choose one makeup item, it would be foundation. The only reason I ever even started wearing makeup was to hide the redness I have around my cheeks, which has always been one of the biggest causes of my self-consciousness. Of course, at 13 I didn't know what I was doing, and just layered concealer over my cheeks, unblended, and thought it was fantastic (I'm not much better now, in all honesty), but the whole point of this little trip down memory lane has been to lead us into today's post: my go-to face products. These are all firm favourites, with some of them being repurchased for years now, and all feature in my face routine on an almost daily basis. 

Firstly, I colour correct with this Freedom concealer palette, £5 and this MUA Prime and Conceal green-toned concealer, £2. As you can see, this freedom palette has taken quite the beating, they're such good coverage and they blend perfectly. I can't say enough good things about this. The MUA concealer is slightly less coverage and a thinner consistency, so I use this on my nose and forehead, where my redness isn't as bad so I don't need that thick product. I also use the peachy colour in the Freedom palette to cover my dark circles. 

Next, I use my all-time favourite foundation, the Collection Lasting Perfection foundation £5.99. We've all heard about the concealer, which is a firm favourite for most people I'm sure, but I don't hear enough about this foundation in my opinion. It is full coverage and quite thick, which I like but I'm aware not everyone likes but is exactly what I want in a foundation. One negative I've found is the colours don't run pale enough for me minus a bit of a tan, and they can oxidise quite a bit. I use porcelain, which is the lightest shade they do, and it's fine with just a bit of tan on me. I use this with a damp beauty blender and get a flawless finish. I never set this, and I get a full day's wear out of it without it budging so I'd definitely recommend. I don't think I'll ever find a Holy Grail foundation, but if I had one, this would be it.

After, I use the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer £4.19 to highlight under my eyes, my chin, nose and forehead. I also go back in and use this under my contour once I've done that, and if I'm going all-out, I'll carve out my lips and eyebrows with it. I won't talk too much about this, we all know it's perfect at this stage. 

Finally, my highlight + contour routine. First, I'll go in with this MUA Undress Your Skin Liquid Glow in Oyster £4. This is such a pretty colour and looks lovely as a soft highlighter by itself. I've even mixed it into foundations for a more dewy look, and it's worked really well like that too. I dot this on my cheekbones, across my nose, on my cupids bow and on my forehead, and blend with a damp beauty blender (noticing a theme? haha!). This dries super quickly, so I do this in stages and work really quickly. Next, I contour my cheekbones, my temples and around the top of my head with this Collection Highlight + Sculpt Contour Kit £4.19. This looks a lot warmer in the pan than it shows up on the skin. It's a very cool toned contour and blends out so well. I've tried a lot of different contour powders, and this is absolutely my favourite of them all. Finally, I go over where I applied that MUA Liquid Glow with the highlighting powder from the Collection palette. Again, this blends so well, and is a perfect, peachy glow, and takes my highlight to the next level coupled with the MUA Liquid Glow. 

And, breathe! This is my full face routine. I don't do all of this on a daily basis, of course, but my base makeup is the one thing I prefer to take the time doing and going all-out with, over eyes or lips. 

Leave any recommendations for products below, I'm always on the lookout for new face products I can fawn over. 

Much love, Maxine xo
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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Giant Double Chocolate Cookies | Baking + Recipes

Hello, Lovelies! Little known fact about me: my first job was baking things. I come from a long line of bakers, and my sister is a trained chef. So, it's no great shock that I love to bake in my spare time. These cookies are a firm favourite amongst everyone I know. They're crumblier than your standard cookie, with a slightly crispy, crunchy outside and a lovely moist centre. This plus the fact they're loaded with chocolate, they're the perfect cookie in my opinion. Keeping reading for the recipe (adapted from this recipe)

It's worth noting that I make these into giant cookies. I measure them with a tablespoon, so the balls fit nicely in the palm of my hand (no jokes, please) when I'm rolling them out. For a more 'regular' sized cookie, measure them out with a teaspoon, taking a heaped scoop each time. 

For this batch, I added the chocolate last as I made both milk and dark chocolate cookies, so I split the dough into two bowls and added the separate types of chocolate to each batch of dough, so you can quite easily add the chocolate last if you want to do that. It's easier than making the dough separately. 

What you need: 
200g Margarine
150g Soft light brown sugar
250g Self raising flour
100g Cocoa Powder 
200g Chocolate (I use squares of chocolate from a bar, but by all means use chips or anything else you want)
3-4 tbsp of milk (almond works fine)
3 tbsp Golden Syrup (Optional. I don't use this as I prefer a richer taste, but to sweeten things up add the syrup)

What you do: 
Preheat the oven to 180c, and line 3-4 baking trays. 
1. Beat the margarine until soft, then add the sugar and cream together until light and fluffy
2. Add the flour, cocoa, chocolate and syrup if using, and combine well. 
3. Add the milk a bit at a time until it's a moist but firm dough consistency. 
4. Take spoonfuls of the dough, roll into a ball and place on the baking tray, flattening out slightly. Make sure you leave a lot of room, as they'll spread considerably as they cook. 
5. Bake for about 12-15 minutes (8-10 if you're making a 'regular' sized cookie). Once out of the oven, put on a wire rack and leave to cool. 
And, you're good to go now! These can be knocked up in 20 minutes.

Maxine, xo 
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Friday, 22 April 2016

I'm Back! | Life Update + New Blogging Beginnings

Hello, Lovelies! Once again, it has been a while! I can't apologise enough, but life has been absolutely upside down for me. I've had a ton of stress, a lot of new things going on and just life in general, which has left me with a serious slump in motivation and time to get anything done. I hope you understand. 

So, I just wanted to have a little chat about the direction the blog is going in. When I first started blogging, I fit myself into a very strict blogging box, which of course was very restrictive when it came to the content I felt like I could post. So, I merged both of those blogs into this, which was just meant to be a "whatever I fancy posting" kind of blog. However, I've found that I still put those restrictions on myself when I'm coming up with new ideas. Which, to be honest, just leaves me a bit "meh", because what I feel like I have to post about I'm just not that into at the time, and what I want to post I'm just not happy posting. 

I've been being a bit more "daring" about what I've been posting recently, which is what I want to do with my blog. I want it to be more of a representation of myself as a whole, rather than just a small section of my life. Of course, beauty blogging will always be something that I want to blog about, but also as I come to understand my mental health issues more, and just generally grow and evolve as a person, I want to address those things too. 

So, as well as an "I'm back" post, it's also a bit of a heads up that there will be more general lifestyle posts, which I personally am very excited by!

Much love, Maxine xo
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