Just Girly Things

Continuing with my Etsy spotlight series, one of my greatest finds was this brilliant 'Just Girly Things' pouch by albinwonderland, who is more commonly known as a very popular Tumblr blogger with gorgeous hair. I've been following Angelina since back in the Livejournal days (so nearly ten years now, eek!) and when she posted about these pouches she was making I just had to have one. 

If I were still playing D&D it would be perfect for my (purple, sparkly) dice but as it is I use it for my eco pads, painkillers and hairclips. The bag took a while to ship from Canada as might be expected but was pretty well priced overall at around £13 and is super well made. I definitely want a super sparkly pretty heart axe now, though. Her shop also contains lots of art prints and adorable patches so is well worth a look at.

Benefit Custom Makeup Kit

I fell in love with the Benefit brand a few months ago when I purchased the Big Easy foundation from the Boots in Cribbs. Since then I've kept an eye on their website and lusted after multiple products that I can't manage to talk myself into buying (as the brand isn't exactly cheap!). When I spotted the Custom Makeup Kit deal on their site, which gives you four of Benefits best sellers and a free, exclusive beauty case for £66, I decided to take the plunge and try out some more products I was curious about for a reduced cost.

The best part of the selection process is that while you are a little restricted (Complexion, Cheeks, Eyes and Free Gift) there is plenty to choose from. I opted for the Hello Flawless powder under complexion, for cheeks I went for the Fine-One-One and for eyes I chose Roller Lash, which I've heard great things about. For my free gift I decided on the Creaseless Cream Shadow in No Pressure, described as a 'rich fawn' shade.

Hello Flawless in Ivory Gee I'm Swell, RRP £25.50 - I was very excited to receive this powder, and it was the initial reason I made the custom kit order. The packaging is gorgeous, sturdy with a large mirror and includes not just a brush but a pad as well if that's your preference. I'll most likely use it with my Real Techniques powder brush but it's nice the have the 'travel' option. The powder is silky and fine and nice and pale, not orange-y at all.

Fine-One-One RRP £23.50 - I was really intrigued about this one! Fine-One-One is a cheek and lip tint, with a variety of colours that you sweep on and blend in. The packaging design is again to die for with gorgeous reflective pink and a sturdy feeling 'clicker' to push out the make up. It's quite sheer on but really pretty and the colour variety adds an extra dimension.

Roller Lash RRP £19.50 - I've heard fantastic things about this mascara; I figured something that curls the eyelashes instead of 'volumising' them would work better with glasses, though it's a shame they don't come in waterproof. Again, pretty packaging with a nice feeling handle. I love the retro pinks and it's a great size to fit in makeup storage unlike the current trend for fat stubby packaging.

Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow in No Pressure RRP £15.50 - I absolutely love this eyeshadow. I faffed about a bit with what to get as my free gift but I'm glad I opted for this. The feel of this buttery soft and it's super light on with great colour; I like subtle eyeshadow and this shade certainly performs well. I really like the box it came in too, though it seems impractical to keep it in there when it has something else it's packaged in too.

Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake

Loaf cakes are one of my favourite things to make; they're super simple, easy to prepare, easy to ice and even easy to serve - just slice it up and you're ready to go. Chocolate chips can make pretty much any recipe better but this one in particular is amazing with them. The sponge is soft and buttery and the chips are a perfect pop of flavour.

180g butter
150g golden caster sugar
150g self raising flour
3 medium eggs
1/2 tbsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g milk chocolate chips

one. preheat oven to 200C and line 2lb loaf tin
two. combine butter and caster sugar in mixing bowl until smooth
three. crack in all eggs and combine along with baking powder and vanilla essence
four. sift in flour and mix well until a golden batter is formed
five. gently fold in chocolate chips
six. pour mix into loaf tin and bake for 30-40 minutes,  until golden brown and springy to the touch

Is Royal Ascot family-friendly?

As any bettor or racing fan will tell you, next week spells one of the most exciting events on the racing calendar – Royal Ascot, which kicks off at Ascot Racecourse on Tuesday 16th July. 

The event dates back to 1711 and has risen to prominence as one of the most prestigious race meetings in Britain. What’s more, it’s also a staple on the British fashion calendar, with Ladies Day and betting on the colour of the Queen’s hat coming as standard. What most people don’t consider, however, is its potential as a day out for the family. While Ascot Racecourse provides ample facilities for children, many would not consider a week of betting and champagne to be family appropriate – however, if you time it right, it can be fun for visitors of all ages. 

Before you start, remember that children between the ages of 10 and 16 are only allowed in on Friday and Saturday (however, Ascot falls during term time, so Saturday would be best.) You should also bear in mind the following considerations for a fun family day out at Ascot. 

Dress:  This is not something to be taken lightly at Ascot Racecourse – last year, Strictly Come Dancing star Kristina Rihanoff was asked to leave Royal Ascot after modelling a dress made out of betting slips for bookmakers Coral. Gentlemen – make sure suits and smart shoes are worn, whilst ladies should have dresses which do not sit too high above the knee and do not have straps narrower than an inch. Dress codes are slightly more relaxed for children, but should still be smart. 

Alcohol:  As can be expected, Royal Ascot is a day in which champagne will be flowing. For example, those travelling to the event via the charted Ascot Express from Waterloo will even be treated to a race card and a glass of champagne on arrival. However, though you may not be driving, you will have to pay extra attention to little ones, particularly if they are surrounded by crowds enjoying a few drinks. Keep them close by at all times and watch out for glass. 

Food and drink:  If you’re looking for a dining environment that’s a little more relaxed than the Windsor Greys, Ascot Racecourse also has ample picnic areas into which you can bring your own food. Of course, there is a huge choice when it comes to eating, from caf├ęs to restaurants, but if you really want to make the most of the beautiful views of the racecourse, bring your own food and look after the pennies!

Etsy Spotlight; Lemon Freckles

I followed Toni at Lemon Freckles for quite a while via Instagram and her blog before I decided to check out her Etsy shop. She always posts gorgeous photos of her clothes, workspace and illustrations so when I spied these 'Girl Gang' brooches I couldn't resist one. The brooches she creates seem to run in very limited amounts (there's now a second design up on the shop) so I feel fortunate to have managed to get this one when I did.

I paid around £9 for my brooch, and it arrived in gorgeous packaging with cute little notes. I particularly love the all-inclusive community card and may actually carry it around in my purse as I love the message. The brooch itself is well made and sturdy, I'm a fan of faded pastels, banners and florals so it ticks all my boxes! It's not too heavy either which often causes me to avoid brooches, there's nothing worse than one that's so heavy it makes your clothing sag. Her shop is definitely worth taking a look at if you like her style.