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Author Archives: hannahhotcakes

Five Friday Favourites #19

Dobble

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My friend Lucie came to stay last weekend and brought this highly addictive card game with her. It’s a really simple concept but is really fun to play and you can’t help but get really competitive…a definite for family gatherings!

Coffee and Tonic

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Yep, you read that correctly. Apparently the new hipster drink is a shot of espresso over ice topped up with tonic water. I was fully expecting to hate this but there is something really tasty and refreshing about the combination of the two drinks.

Rose Serum

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I received this Aromatica serum in a Birchbox and have been using it for about a week. It’s really lovely and hydrating and sinks in quickly. I wish it had a pump as it’s a bit of a pain tipping the gel-like liquid onto my hands but that’s the only criticism I have.

Red Shoes

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I love a red accessory and I have been slowly breaking in these red leather sandals my mum brought me back from Spain. They are smart enough for work and really comfortable but…they have dyed my feet red the first few times of wearing them!

Toronto

Finally, Ian and I have booked another holiday! We are off to Toronto and Niagara Falls for a week in October. I found a really good deal with BA and am really looking forward to my first visit to Canada,

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Five Friday Favourites #18

From the highs of a three-day weekend to the lows of a 48-hour migraine, this week has had its ups and downs…

Line of Duty

Gosh – this was good wasn’t it?! Ian and I were completely gripped by this latest series and I felt it finished by wrapping lots of loose ends up but also leaving things open for the story to continue.

Cacti Bunting

I’m a big fan of the cactus trend and this bunting from Primark goes perfectly in our kitchen.

Clinique Essence

I’ve got a new step in my morning and evening routine in the form of this essence by Clinique. Hailing from South Korea (as does most new beauty and make-up at the moment!) the idea is that an essence better prepares your skin for oils and serums, allowing them to perform better. I’ve only been using this for a week or so but already I think it is having a positive effect.

Vaseline

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Strictly speaking, this is one of Ian’s favourites but I thought it was too cool not to include. Ian is somewhat of a Vaseline fan and my friend Lucie always manages to get him the latest limited edition tins and she very kindly sent him this personalised tin too.

Gingham Dress

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I’m having a bit of a gingham moment (I bought two new black and white checked tops this weekend!) and have been wearing this Primark dress non-stop.

Beauty Review – March and April Birchboxes

I’m not sure how I managed to miss a month’s review but I thought I would do a condensed double-whammy of beauty products that I received over the past two months plus an extra purchase I made.

March’s Box

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This box was rather plain and uninspiring when I opened it but there were some gems hidden inside.

First up is the Batiste 2-in-1 Dry Shampoo and Conditioner. This seems like a great idea but I just don’t use dry shampoos. I will however pass this onto my husband who does.

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I was surprised to see an inclusion from Bobbi Brown. Although the product sizes are quite tiny, it is still quite a high-end brand and I am really looking forward to trying out these three mini face masks.

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Next, a Balance Me Instant Lift Primer which I was pleased with as I love the brand and am always keen on testing out new primers. This smells nice and isn’t too silicone-y upon first use.

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Given that summer is fast-approaching, it was good to include a tanning lotion. This one from Vita Liberata is their Ten Minute Tan and I will use this as soon as it gets warm enough to contemplate getting my bare legs out!

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Finally, from Benefit I received a Double The Lip in the shade Pink Thrills. This is a lipstick and lipliner in one and although I can see the idea behind it, I just don’t think it quite works. Firstly, the two colours don’t really complement each other – I just wouldn’t use a dark purple lip liner with a bright pink lipstick! Secondly, it doesn’t really blend out very well and is quite a dry formula. With enough priming and blending I can just about make this work for me but for a product that was created to speed up application, it seems to have done the opposite!

April’s Box

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This was a much prettier offering in collaboration with Boden who included a £10 voucher.

The first item I received was a Baïja Paris body lotion in Fleur De Tiaré. I know some people moan that these products are ‘filler’ but I take these mini moisturisers with me whenever I go away and this one will be coming with me to Croatia in June.

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I also received Polaar’s face scrub with Arctic Cotton – an ingredient I don’t think I have used before. It’s meant to be moisturising but I’m usually quite wary of scrubs being too harsh on my skin.

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Next, a bronzer and highlighter duo from Manna Kadar Cosmetics. I haven’t heard of this brand before and on first impressions, the packaging feels very cheap and flimsy. However, the formula of the products aren’t bad. The bronzer is too dark for my skin tone so I will probably try using this as an eyeshadow but the highlighter is a nice peachy colour and looks quite natural.

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I think ModelCo are quite an underrated brand and I have really liked everything I’ve tried from them and use their brow gel and bronzer on a daily basis. This black eyeliner is another great product. My only niggle would be that it feels like I’ve received quite a few black eyeliners from Birchbox now so a different colour would have been nice.

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Finally, a Keratin conditioner from Luseta Beauty. This looks right up my street and will be going straight in my travel make-up bag to use on holiday.

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If you are a Birchbox customer, you will know they are making a few changes to their membership (free delivery, money off your orders, more opportunities to personalise your monthly box) and I realised some of my Birchbox points were about to expire so I put in an emergency order so I didn’t lose them!

An old faithful, Seche Vite, which I use on a weekly basis to give that gel finish to a manicure.

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My absolute favourite foaming shower gel from Rituals. This is quite expensive compared to what I would normally pay for a shower gel but it really is amazing stuff.

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I also bought a mini nail varnish remover pot from Ciate which is chocolate orange scented. These are so handy for removing nail varnish and I was in need of a new one too.

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Phew – that was a mammoth post but it has left me feeling really excited about testing out all these new products!

Mani Monday – Pink and Red Hearts

I have been playing around with a new kit. The Alexa Edit from Nails Inc came out a while ago but I have only just got around to testing the products out and am planning a more in-depth blog post on it soon.

The first combo I tried was this delicate pastel pink with mini red hearts.

The pink is part of the Cashmere range – named Cashmere Pink – and has a lovely, slightly textured and pearlescent finish. It is really well-pigmented and one that I will definitely use again.

I have had really mixed experiences with the next type of product with many of the nail decals not sitting flush to the nail meaning they ping off and last about a day. However, I was really impressed with these little red hearts. They were small enough which meant they didn’t stick up on the nail and both the nail varnish and all 10 of the hearts lasted a whole week which is a big thumbs up from me.

This was a very pretty manicure and given the quality of both Nails Inc products, I look forward to using them both again.

Five Friday Favourites #17

Blood Brothers

It feels like ages ago that I booked these tickets for my parents’ Christmas present but the weekend finally rolled around to go and see this show in Bristol. It is my favourite musical and we all really enjoyed it. We had a fab day in the sunshine walking along the Harbourside, enjoying cocktails and eating pizza.

The Longs Arms

Another mention for mine and Ian’s favourite pub! We went up here for dinner last night as, and usual, it was stunning. We shared starters of lobster and a goats meat scotch egg then I had lemon sole while Ian had the lamb. I always look forward to pudding and seeing what crazy flavour of ice-cream is on the menu and this time we sampled root beer, cream soda, Nutella, peanut butter and jam and – my new favourite – Jaffa Cake.

New Earrings

I rediscovered these earrings that my best friend Lu bought me for my birthday. They are lovely silver swallows and I have been wearing them all week.

Becca Highlighter

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This week, I have been really enjoying wearing the Shimmering Skin Perfector by Becca in the shade Moonstone as recommended by The Anna Edit. I like how natural this looks and I really do think it suits paler complexions.

Sliders

I have been after a pair of pool sliders since last summer. I saw these in Primark and I thought they looked really fun and they are actually really comfortable. It’s one of the first times that I have stopped to wonder whether I am too ‘old’ for an item of clothing but then realised I didn’t really care and headed to the tills!

Five Friday Favourites #16

Broadchurch

WOW! After not massively enjoying series 2, I was optimistic about this third series. Ian and I didn’t watch each week but instead save them up and had a big binge over the Easter weekend and it was great. I also really want to visit West Bay where it was filmed.

Bingo

Our local pub currently has a temporary manager who is really trying to engage the villagers. There was a bingo night this week which isn’t my usual thing but we wanted to support the pub. We ended up really enjoying it and I even won one round!

Candle

I love Lily Flame candles and I started burning this Rose Petals one this week. I think the little tins look great and the scent really does fill the room.

Spring Walks

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I met up with some friends this week for a long walk and lunch in the sunshine. We saw ducklings and baby moorhens as we wandered along in the sunshine and I had a fab veggie breakfast when we reached the café for lunch!

Face Masks

I have been using two different masks this week and like them both for different reasons. Firstly, is the Balance Me Radiance Face Mask which is exfoliating yet hydrating.

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I also repurchased the Sephora Lotus Sleeping Mask. This gel mask is soothing and moisturising and I love the fact that it is working its magic overnight while I sleep.

Book Corner – Latest Reads April 2017

It has been a little while since I wrote some book reviews but on holiday I devour books (about one a day) so I have a couple of good ones to share today.

The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

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This book was one I chose for my book club to read. I have to admit that I did feel the pressure to choose a decent title for us but this went down quite well and it was an interesting read. The book follows two characters who meet at university and we then follow three different versions of their future, both together and apart. I always wonder ‘what if’ and this book follows that idea of making decisions and the consequences they have. Each chapter was from one of the three versions and I have to admit that in places it was quite hard to follow and it was one of the only times I have ever wished that I had a Kindle title in hardback so I could flick back a little easier to remind myself who all the characters were. After a while, I stopped getting hung up on not remembering every little detail and just read it although I found the ending a little unfulfilling. An interesting yet quite tricky read.

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

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I first heard about this book on Woman’s Hour (and here is the link if you are interested) and this fascinating story stuck with me. It was an incredible read and it even prompted me to tweet the author who actually replied! The book follows the tragic stories of dial painters in America during World War One who worked in factories painting luminous dials using a radium-based paint. Amazingly, at the time radium was seen as some sort of wonder product and was added to drinks, cosmetics and toothpaste, often called ‘liquid sunshine’. Many of these factory girls were earning more than their fathers so it was seen as an attractive and glamorous job and the girls would encourage their sisters, cousins and friends to join too. They were all encouraged to ‘lip point’ which meant putting the radium-covered paintbrushes in their mouths, inadvertently ingesting this element.  There were no safety precautions and the women would literally glow in the dark as they walked home in the evening. Years later, the women gradually started to get ill. It would often begin with losing a tooth but soon would leave them in horrendous pain with appalling and crippling illnesses. The book follows two factories and the brave women who decided to take on these huge corporations and not stop until justice was served. This was brilliantly written, moving and one of the best books I have read in years.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

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I really wanted to love this book and while it was an easy read, I was just left a little underwhelmed. It was very funny in places but almost identical in style and content to the Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey books I have read. It did make me realise that Amy is really good at what she does and that she has slogged away and worked incredibly hard to get to where she is now. I haven’t seen Parks and Recs so the chapters on that were a little irrelevant to me. Some chapters were really interesting whereas others were really shallow, especially the really blasé one on drugs. I think my favourite thing that I will take away with me was her motto of ‘good for you, not for me’ which is applicable in so many situations!