Friday, August 31, 2012

LUST HAVE IT - AUGUST EDITION

A dramatic change to the Lust Have It box this month was the fact that the products didn't come with a case this time round... and thank goodness for that! On top of receiving toiletry bags with every second magazine purchase as well as on birthdays and Christmases, I was also getting them on a monthly basis from Lust Have It. It feels so wrong to throw them out but they are starting to take over my bathroom cupboards! If you've got any suggestions on recycling this type of product, please enlighten me! But back to the box...



I have read a few not-so-positive reviews about this month's box but methinks people's disappointment stems from the box not matching their personal tastes, rather than it being an issue of product quality. For instance, this tan removal glove (which also doubles as a make up remover) from tanGo retails at double the price of a monthly delivery from Lust Have It so if you're a tanner (like me) this is undoubtedly value for money:


I enjoy the creative colour schemes that beauty box companies manage to come up with and this blue bottle of Tigi Rockaholic Rock Out Shine Blaster caught my eye. It promises supreme shine and temporarily masks split ends. I used too much first go and my locks were a tad oily but, as with all shine boosters, it's most effective when used sparingly, which I managed to do the second time around! It does the job well and smells good enough to eat:


I also received a few hotel-sized samples of Appelles skin products: Detox Shower Gel, Body Booster Skin Lotion and Body Bar Vegetable Soap. My excitement about this product was more about discovering a new brand than the product itself. They're sweet-smelling and the packaging is kind of cute but with all the body moisturisers I'm getting from beauty boxes, I'll hardly need to go shopping for them any time in the near future. This isn't so good for brands hoping to gain customers after featuring their products in beauty boxes!



There had been a lot of news surrounding the release of Marc Jacobs' Dot fragrance recently, so I was very excited to be able to sample it myself instead of heading to the shops for a spritz. If you liked Daisy or similarly fresh fragrances like those from DKNY, then this will be your bag. I'm not rushing out to buy it, but I suspect it'll be a hit nonetheless:


Another full-sized product that retails at almost double the price of the box itself was this ModelCo Eyeliner in black. I use a liner on a daily basis and go through them at lightning speed, so I was most grateful to see this inclusion in the box. And did I mention it comes with an IN-BUILT SHARPENER/LID? Fantastic for the girl who is fastidious about never losing her sharpener. Don't tell me you haven't been there: sharpener disappears and you're left cursing as you pick the wood from around the kohl in a poor attempt to reveal at least a smidgen to line your eyes with! It glides on smooth and stays put. A winner in my book:

You know what I'd love to know? If you were to put together the IDEAL BEAUTY BOX, what products would you include?

IT'S A GIRL!



Just look at all that pink! The collar and lead, the towel, the camouflage poop bags, the shampoos... Girly, girly, girly! In less than 24 hours, this household of two will grow to accommodate three! I can't wait to introduce you to our new puppy. She is, without a shadow of a doubt, the cutest thing you'll ever lay eyes on. Stay tuned for my next post when I finally get to share her with you. In the meantime, I've got a house to puppy-proof...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

SEVEN INGREDIENTS TO HEAVEN MUFFINS

When I was growing up, my mum had a dear friend whose kids were around the same age as me and my siblings. There were three kids in that family to our five, so going to their place meant G.F.A: Guaranteed Fun Always. Usually our mothers would end up deep in conversation, meaning us kids could unselfconsciously run wild for hours and hours on end. One of the best memories I have, however, is the glorious banana chocolate chip muffins mum's friend used to make for us. I'm not sure whether it was intended as an energy boost for active kids or a way to silence us for a few minutes as we chomped away greedily, but what I do know is that those muffins were nothing short of astonishing.

I lost the original recipe (yes, I loved them so much I asked mum's pal to share her secret) but thanks to the powers of Google, I have managed to find one. I'm deeming them the "Seven Ingredients to Heaven Muffins" because they're just so tantalising and easy to make. Hungry yet? Let's get to work...

To make 12 muffins, you will need:
2 ripe bananas 
2 eggs
60g butter
2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup dark chocolate chips

First, preheat your oven to 200°C. Line a medium muffin tray with 12 paper cases (or simply grease and flour the tray like I did and don't use paper cases at all).

Mash your bananas - don't turn them into a paste - chunks are good!



Next, melt the butter in a saucepan or in the microwave and allow to cool slightly.




While your butter is cooling, sift the flour into a mixing bowl


Stir in the sugar then make a well in the middle for your wet ingredients.








In a separate bowl or jug, whisk your eggs, milk and butter.




Add to your dry ingredients, along with the mashed banana. 



Using a wooden spoon, gently mix the ingredients until just combined. Over-stirring will make your muffins tough like Tony Soprano! Then, the moment we've all been waiting for... it's time to add the chocolate chips. 





























Once you've stirred in the chocolate chips, spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin tray. As you can see, I've only got a 6-muffin tray so I'll have to repeat this process twice to use up all of the mixture, providing I don't eat it first...




Pop your tray in the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until just firm on top when lightly touched. It'll be the longest 20 minutes of your life, so to save you sitting in front of the oven in greedy anticipation (like I did), I recommend you use the time to paint your nails or something similarly consuming.

Once you've taken them out of the oven (mind that manicure!) leave them in the tray for a few minutes before transferring on a rack to cool... Heck, who am I kidding? The best time to get into these muffins is while they're still warm! How could anyone resist that choc-banana goodness?


















Have you got a favourite treat from childhood? Any recipes this domestic cat could try? I'd love for you to share them with me!

Friday, August 24, 2012

PINE LIME SPLICE

"The original fruit and ice cream product on a stick" - that's the Splice, one of Australia's best loved frozen treats. It was certainly one of mine growing up. You might wonder where I am going with this... Well, for those in the know, wouldn't you say my dress is the exact same colour as a Pine Lime Splice? Or for those who didn't grow up with the Splice, perhaps my dress conjures images of that delightful 1980's cocktail, the Midori Splice?








I picked up this little number (and it's watermelon-coloured sister) at Portmans. They were $89.95 but Portmans is running a $20.00 off promotion on selected items. Hurry, you won't want to miss out!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A BRILLIANT BIRTHDAY

A couple of days ago, I turned 26. I still can't believe it. I know many people would still consider me young but my mind is telling me I'm now actually closer to thirty than twenty, closer to forty than ten (which still doesn't feel that long ago to me). I know this may sound dramatic but believe me, I'm not disappointed to be growing older. I think I'm just realising how fast the years tick by and how important it is to savour every moment I'm given on this earth. We're never as hard on our 'past' selves as we are on our 'present' selves and so I'm hoping I can be a little more kind to myself, never lose sight of what matters and not waste my time on thoughts or things that will not matter to me in another twenty six years' time.

My 26th birthday was beautiful. My beloved took a whole day off work to be with me, which was a dream come true for me. I never want our weekends to end and I often say "I wish it was a public holiday tomorrow", so having Monday with him was such a welcome surprise. He handed me a gorgeous card and two fantastic gifts as soon as I woke up:





I can't wait til December. We'll be sitting in the sun amidst the vines as we sip on a local offering and enjoy watching a superstar do his thing. Bliss! And what about a new addition to the family?! We searched high and low for a puppy that day but weren't in luck. We have decided not to buy a dog from a pet shop so I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a chihuahua or pomeranian breeder who can help us expand our brood! If you know any in NSW, let me know!

Mum and Dad sent me these gorgeous flowers, teddy bear and chocolates. It's so exciting to hear the doorbell ring and be greeted with such an impressive bouquet!



After our long search for a puppy that took us miles and miles away from home, we stopped for a late lunch at Harry's Cafe de Wheels for a couple of Tiger Pies in the Woolloomooloo sun!



My brother and his fiance put together this cake with my initials on it and uploaded the picture to facebook. What a great way to celebrate someone's birthday when you can't physically be there!

Because of the recent microdermabrasion session that left my face peeling, I decided to postpone any immediate dinner plans. This turned out to be the best decision as 1. I got to cosy up in bed with the gorgeous one and 2. I discovered that ALL my current favourite shows were on that night. We also put on our Breaking Bad DVD to find that it's getting so much more exciting with every episode... I'm seriously addicted to that show now! My Cheat's Cake was almost demolished by the time we called it a night but who counts calories on their birthday, right?

Another year, another perfect birthday!

Monday, August 20, 2012

CHEAT'S CAKE

It's my birthday today so I think an appropriate post for today is a reeeeeally awesome chocolate "cake" recipe. My Australian readers will already be familiar with this easy-peasy dessert - it's a favourite at many an Aussie BBQ or get-together. Known as the 'Chocolate Ripple Cake', it gets its name from the famous 'Chocolate Ripple' biscuits that are used in the recipe. I've decided to do a new spin on this classic by adding raspberry to the mix: a cheat's version on the Black Forest, if you will.

Here's what you need:

1x 500g packet of plain chocolate biscuits/cookies. I used Arnott's Choc Ripple
600mL cream 
2 tbsp Caster Sugar
Raspberry Jam
Chocolate (such as Flake) 
Raspberries 

First, whip your cream and sugar until stiff





Spread some cream along the bottom of a serving tray to make your base




Spread a biscuit with raspberry jam...




Then spread a tablespoon of the cream on top




Repeat the process, placing the biscuits in a row along the platter




Keep on going 'til you've used up half of the biscuits, then make a second row alongside the first one





Then, use the remaining cream to coat the top and sides of your creation. 




Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, you might find that the biscuits have absorbed a lot of the cream and the biscuits are showing through (I did) - whip up some more cream and coat the cake again. Then top with chocolate shavings and raspberries, like so:





When it comes time to serve, the biscuits will have absorbed a whole lotta moisture, taking on a heavenly, incredibly moist chocolate cake consistency. When serving, the cake is best sliced on an angle, like I've done here:










The awesome part about this recipe is that it's so hard to get it wrong. If you're interested in going all out with the chocolate, instead of doing the raspberry thing like I have here, chop up a couple of your favourite chocolate bars and add them to the cream filling... The possibilities are endless!





Friday, August 17, 2012

LONDON LOVE LETTERS

Was it just me or did everyone have a sudden hankering to visit London after seeing coverage of the Olympic Games? While I couldn't be there this summer, I sent for a piece of London to come to me. This stunning dress arrived in the post yesterday - it's an Oasis beauty from their exclusive London Love Letters collection. 






The pattern on the dress is from illustrator Lizzie Prestt and despicts some of London's most celebrated landmarks. It's the clothing version of a postcard and has me wishing I was there! It's available via ASOS and actually comes with a gorgeous pewter belt but because I'm so matchy-matchy when it comes to belts and shoes, I chose to wear an identical belt in black.

A pretty dress to take me through summer, innit?