Beauty: MAC Lady Danger lipstick

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Mac Lady Danger lipstick review

This beautiful MAC lipstick was gifted to me for Valentine’s day by my adorable friend Paulina. In Poland, it is customary to share gifts with all your loved ones (not just your significant other) so she lovingly selected a Mac shade for all the ladies in her life and Lady Danger was mine.

The Lady Danger lipstick, was cleverly chosen by Paulina for me for its name and shade (I am not entirely sure if I cause, or if I am always in said danger mind). The Lady Danger lipstick is described as a ‘vivid and bright coral-red’ and has a matte finish. It is very bold and very pigmented with warm and bright undertones of red and orange. I find the red dominates but the subtle orange hint makes it a unique shade in my collection (Ruby Woo is my go to shade for the classic red lip) of red lipsticks.

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So, what do I think of the MAC Lady Danger lipstick?

Like I find with all MAC lipsticks, Lady Danger has a lovely creamy texture, stands out (makes for a vibrant daytime look) and is long-lasting, having worn it myself throughout the day or night (around six hours depending, when it does wear it leaves a flattering coral stain behind). As Lady Danger is a matte formula, you have to be sure to keep your lips buffed and moisturised with balm before application as dry flakes can show easily with this shade, and this is never a good look.

Lady Danger offers a rich coverage, warm colour and intense shade. As I have quite large lips I can find application a tad awkward but I feel investing in a lip liner may solve these issues (if anyone could recommend me one, that would be fabulous). I find Lady Danger the perfect alternative to the classic red lipstick and it applies wonderfully on all skin tones, including my pale one!

Do you like Lady Danger? Which is your favourite MAC shade of lipstick?

Stephanie xox

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Beauty: Hello Kitty Graffiti Lipsticks ~ Urban Punk, Baby Doll and Hittin the Block

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When shopping around TK Maxx for makeup and clothes the other day I could not resist this cute trio of Hello Kitty lipsticks (there were more shades available in store but I could not justify the entire collection) alongside my now beloved Measurable Difference Face & Body Bronzer.

My Hello Kitty obsession has led to me purchasing an abundance of themed stationary, plush toys and crockery, so when I found Hello Kitty cosmetics I was very pleased with myself indeed.

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Considering the relatively low cost (from fifty pence to two pounds on sale), I found the lipsticks to be of a rather good quality and I selected a pink, brown and peach shade to take home with me.

The pink shade Baby Doll gives a lovely subtle shimmer, nice on its own or over a more bold lipstick. The brown shade Hittin The Block proves itself to be extremely bold, not really my colour as I am rather fair skinned but lovely on friends with a less pink skin tone (boo). Unfortunately, I found that the peach shade Urban Punk washed me out and proved to match my pale skin tone and hide my natural lip colour entirely!

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Some may find it tacky but I find the graffiti print packaging very cute (an infantile word but very appropriate). However, as these lipsticks are cheaper than other high street brand cosmetics the casing is a bit flimsy.

The iconic and adorable Hello Kitty faces atop the lipsticks really make them stand out from my other lipsticks upon my makeup organiser, a serious cute overload amidst the Mac, Soap & Glory and Rimmel.

Have you ever tried any Hello Kitty cosmetics? Which shade would you choose from the trio? 

Stephanie xox

Beauty: Measurable Difference Face and Body Bronzer

Measurable Differences Bronzer on Stephanie Mulholland review - The LDN Gal

Measurable Difference Face and Body Bronzer Review

After dancing the night away I awoke and felt pretty shoddy (no hangover thankfully, just pain from wearing my ridiculous high heels and dancing to hip hop for over four hours). After an hours note taking for one of my up-and-coming university essays, I decided to lift my spirits and venture into town to do some shopping. This either means buying makeup, clothes or stationary and sometimes it can be all three, oops.

Thankfully for my bank balance, I went with just makeup and clothes (I got an adorable black embellished playsuit but it is too big on me so must sadly be returned tomorrow) this time. Yet again I purchased all of these items from my beloved TK Maxx, I am in there so often now for beauty products it is verging on ridiculous.

Along with the playsuit, I bought three Hello Kitty lipsticks (I have a scary obsession with the brand, most find it strange) and the Measurable Difference Face & Body Bronzer, which I just adore.

Measurable Differences Bronzer review - The LDN Gal

So, how do I feel about the Measurable Difference Face and Body Bronzer?

The ‘bronzer’ is actually not bronzed at all! It is a lovely delicate shade of pink and multi-purpose so “can be worn on the face, legs, and body”. As my Mac Pink Swoon powder blush is on its last legs, I felt this could be the perfect (and less costly) alternative.

I applied the bronzer with my Nanshy blush and bronze brush as advised and found it to subtly added colour, giving me a perfect summer-kidded glow. To create a more defined look, Measurable Difference advises you continue to build upon the colour until you are satisfied.

As I am quite pale I rely on my bronzers and blushers to brighten my complexion and this pigmented bronzer highlighted my face wonderfully, it also leaves your skin with a bit of a shimmer which is always nice, especially on those dull and dreary days.

Look out for it in TK Maxx stores or buy it online here.

What is your favourite bronzer or blusher? Have you used Measurable Difference makeup before? 

Stephanie xox

Introducing Ello, the anti-Facebook social media network

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Introducing Ello, a new social media network

I am undeniably obsessed with all things social media. The amount of time I spend online each day would shock and/or disgust most. So, when I heard about Ello, I was desperate to get my own account and jump in on the ‘hype’.

Dubbed the anti-Facebook, Ello is a ‘simple, beautiful and ad-free social network’. It came to my attention in Autumn 2014 (becoming public in August 2014).

It doesn’t have advertisements and it won’t utilise and profit off your data. Saying this, its revenue has come under speculation with its booming popularity.

An exclusive invitation for creatives

To create an account, you must be invited. It’s an exclusive affair and a tedious wait for an invitation. It’s still in its beta stage.

I’m going to be honest, I signed up earlier today and was rather baffled by Ello at first. Can something be so simple yet impossible to navigate? Thankfully no.

I eventually got the hang of things. Although it did take me a good five minutes to figure out how to upload my profile picture. Saying this, I genuinely had to watch the tutorial beforehand and this has never happened to me on any other social networking site before.

It would seem Ello is not as user-friendly as its veteran competitors.

A social media network for millennials 

“Next, pick a profile image, make it a hot one” had me giggling to no avail as I customised my header to a lovely floral print with ease (drag and drop again, it does come in handy).

Ello is very minimalist in design and features (like Marmite, you will either love this about the website or loathe it), customisation isn’t a strong point.

I soon got into the swing of things and began to add people with similar interests to me. On Ello you have your ‘Friends’ and ‘Noise’ steam alongside your notifications (lightning bolt icon) upon the left-hand side of the webpage. The ‘Friends’ stream holds your contacts feeds (recommended, related, random and search) and the ‘Noise’ stream allows you to select the posts you wish to see from your chosen people in an easy and accessible feed.

A wonderful combination of the best of other social media channels

Anything that catches your eye while browsing Ello can be shared to your own page easily. They’ve recently enabled users to add music and videos to their feeds. The website seems to have elements of Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook in a wonderful social networking combination.

Feeds are personally decorated like Tumblr. Like Twitter, you follow people  you do not know and who have similar interests to you and unlike Facebook you can avoid the hundreds of friend and family requests. It seems exclusivity and a degree of anonymity have their strong points.

Ello proves to be a lot of fun once you begin to understand it. Whoever said plain meant boring eh?

What do you think of Ello? Profound or just plain? 

Stephanie xox

Beauty: Rimmel ~ Scandaleyes and Apocolips Big Bang

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Rimmel Scandaleyes and Apocolips BIG Bang review

It has been a while since I treated myself to some new makeup (I say treated myself, the reality is that my mother pities me and my student poverty so bought me this trio) and after my flatmate Natalie got an amazing new Rimmel eye liner (which I kept borrowing) I just had to get one of my own.

Luckily, Boots were doing a 3 for the price of 2 offer (Is it just me or are the Boots Christmas time offers brilliant? So many points and discount combinations!) and I managed to nab the Scandaleyes Waterproof Gel Eye Liner in Black, Scandaleyes Mascara in Extreme Black and Apocolips in Big Bang.

I really like Rimmel as a more affordable and quality brand, especially for their eye products.

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So, what did I think of Rimmel Scandaleyes and Apocolips?

The Scandaleyes Mascara thickens and lifts lashes, the Extreme Black edition is very darkly pigmented, which I love. However, it may look a tad striking on those with lighter lashes. The MaxDensity™ brush is tapered in shape so lifts and volumises lashes. With this in mind, I tend to go over it afterwards with a straight brush to ensure no sign of clumping (I find clumps can happen with even the most expensive of mascaras). The formula includes collagen and keratin which plumps the lashes. I actually prefer this mascara to my Benefit They’re Real!, which seemed to dry out very quickly.

I would say the Scandaleyes gel eyeliner is for more experienced users as it comes as a pot and brush set.  The brush supplied is firm and the liner dark. The shape of the brush enables you to create thick and thin lines depending on your preference. It is also waterproof and I find it stays on throughout the day and doesn’t tend to smudge.

I have wanted an Apocolips Lip Lacquer for quite some time now and I adore their lovely matte texture. The shade I chose is Apocolips Big Bang and not only is it a lasting but it is a ridiculously bold red. It is just perfect for the festive season, nights out or for a more daring daytime look. However, be sure to keep your lips moisturised as I find mine often feel chapped in winter and cracked and dry lips never look good combined with a beautiful lipstick!

What is your favourite Rimmel product? What new makeup do you want this Christmas?

Stephanie xox

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Food: Spinach, chickpea and sweet potato curry

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Spinach, Chickpea and sweet potato curry recipe

Ingredients:

♥ One sweet potato

♥ 1/2 tin of chickpeas

♥ 1/2 tin of spinach

♥ 1 tin of chopped tomatoes

♥ Half an onion diced

♥ 3 spoonfuls of curry paste

♥ Two tablespoons of olive oil

♥ Cup of wholegrain or white rice

The perfect simple vegetarian curry

Dice your sweet potato and onions and place the two tablespoons of olive oil into a frying pan at a moderate heat. Add the curry powder and the drained chickpeas, spinach, and chopped tomatoes, stirring the contents before leaving it to heat and simmer for up to 30 minutes (ensuring your sweet potato is cooked through).
Place a cup of your desired rice to boil for 10 minutes and voila chickpea, sweet potato and spinach vegetarian curry with rice!

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Total cooking time: 30 minutes

What do you think of this simple curry recipe? Do you enjoy vegetarian curries?

Stephanie xox

 

Food: Hopkinson Vintage Antiques and Art Centre, Nottingham ~ Tea Bar

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Hopkinson Vintage Antiques and Art Centre in Nottingham do vintage clothing, accessories and homeware like no other. Beautifully filled to the brim with four floors to explore, each visit you are guaranteed to find something you will fall in love with.

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However, on a quest for somewhere new to enjoy lunch, me and Lauren of The Original Blonde Journalist, decided to take a bite at their Tea Bar. Which is situated at the entrance to Hopkinson’s vintage haven (we managed to eat before exploring, you should be proud of us).

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The interior of Hopkinson’s is just beautiful. Quaint with mis-matched vintage chairs and cutlery. It is very relaxed, very charming and very vintage.  The menu is simplistic, a brunch (beans on toast will set you back £3), lunch and swift bite place. It includes pita bread pizzas, light bites (Antipasti Platter or cakes, depending on whether you are feeling savoury or sweet), jacket potatoes, soups, sandwiches/toasties and afternoon tea (always a good shout in my opinion).

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We were greeted by a cheery and lovely floral dressed waitress. Who quickly took our order and chatted away merrily to other customers. Service was slow but the atmosphere was so nice it did not matter to me and Lauren. If you are hoping for a swift service though you may have to opt for fast food, in Nottingham that is never an issue.

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I ordered a mozeralla, chicken and pesto toastie and diet coke and Lauren a ham and cheddar (it was not) sandwich and sprite.  Lauren was very disappointed on discovering her order was wrong and instead of her beloved cheddar she was greeted with large slices of mozzarella. She spent a solid minute convincing me that it ‘tastes like egg’ before I eventually sampled and unfortunately had to agree – it was bad.

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Overall, the Hopkinson Tea Bar was a disappointment and it truly saddens me to say so. It was nice but nothing spectacular considering the inflated price. The ingredients seemed cheaply sourced, even the granary bread failed to impress. Sorry Hopkinson but I shall only be returning for your non-edible and vintage items, which you do oh so perfectly.

Where do you head for your lunch and vintage?

Stephanie xox

How to make a homemade skinny pizza 🍕

How to make a homemade skinny pizza

Your new go to homemade skinny pizza recipe

The skinny pizza is a low-fat, healthy and delicious alternative to the usual cheese and dough loaded affair. The best thing? It’s made with just a few simple ingredients!

Initially, you’ll want to gather the following from your kitchen:

  • White or whole grain tortilla (depending on your preference)
  • Tomato purée
  • Low-fat soft cream cheese
  • Your choice of toppings (I opt for vegetarian but the possibilities are endless, do feel free to get creative)

Once, you’ve got your ingredients, it’s time to start creating!

  1. Firstly, place your tortilla on a baking tray and smooth over a tablespoon of purée and follow with the cream cheese. Spread these evenly.
  2. Secondly, add your toppings as desired. If you are using meats, then be sure to have them cooked if required beforehand – vegetarian skinny pizza gets my vote every time. 
  3. Thirdly, it’s time to simply pop your pizza into your preheated oven at 200 degrees for a couple of minutes.

Voila, you have created a homemade skinny pizza! This low calorie pizza is not only swiftly made but surprisingly filling. Additionally, there’s no guilt if you eat the entire thing at lunchtime!

What do you think of this healthier alternative to traditional pizza? Would you try it?

Stephanie xox

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Fashion: Say hello to O-MIGHTY clothing

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Introducing O-Mighty Clothing

So, are you ever just browsing the Web or chatting away to a friend and discover a brand that you both simply adore?

The latter was the case for me. Last night during an actual ‘casual drink’ with my lovely friend Sayuri (a wonderful photographer-come-journalist-come-superwoman ~ do be sure to check out her work and various other ramblings here) she introduced me to O-Mighty and I fell in love, instantly.

Now, this site may not be everyone’s cup of tea fashion-wise. I often find that fashion is very much down to personal taste – at least it always has been with me, an avid failure when it comes to the latest trends.

O-Mighty is just a fabulous brand, and features a wonderful array of pop-culture, tongue-in-cheek graphic prints, and designs. They have tops (think halters and crops – perfect for summer), bottoms (cute bodycon, flattering skater skirts and ‘booty’ shorts for the more adventurous among us), dresses, rather obscenely worded ‘lingerie’, accessories and even swimwear!

The website originates from Singapore. Considering this, the pricing isn’t as friendly as you’d expect from an Asian website.

It is pretty bold and bright for most people but a lot of fun, match any of these items with something simplistic and they are easy enough to pull off without looking too erratically vibrant – and yes, I would wear ALL of this.

What do you think of O-Mighty? Anything pictured that takes your fancy?

Stephanie xox

Interview: Diane Blood, A Mother’s Love…

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An interview with Diane Blood

With Mother’s Day looming it’s that time of the year where we all start reflecting. Thoughts of childhood memories, times of laughter and everything our mothers have done for us and helped us to achieve.

We often take it for granted, but on that one Sunday a year in March we stop to think a little and appreciate all that we have.

Just how far will a mothers love go?

Diane Blood sits nervously, fidgeting with her head low in front of a large group of students. “This is the first time I’ve been in front of so many people since 1999”, she says.

Twenty years ago she was used to this kind of attention, the press intrigued by her erratic life.

Diane is an ordinary but unconventional mother-of-two adolescent boys, Liam aged fifteen and Joel at the delicate age of eleven.

Their father is Stephen Blood whom she met at sixteen while at school, marrying him eight years later in 1991.

It sounds like the perfect nuclear family. It isn’t. In fact, you are to be told that Stephen died of meningitis at just thirty, before his children were even born.

The couple had been trying for a child for some time before his unexpected and immediate death.

Diane comments that he would have been thrilled to have children, although he would have liked to have been around to raise them.

She took the decision to take her husband’s sperm while he was comatose in hospital, placing it in a fertility clinic for later use.

After three months of grievance for her husband, Diane asked and was denied the usage of his sperm – there was an issue of whether Stephen had given consent and the sperm was to be destroyed.

Horrified, Diane sought the legal help of Michael Fordham, now a close family friend and godfather to her first born, resulting in a monumental legal battle.

“I played everything by the book all my life”, she says.

Although supportive, her and Stephen’s family had their concerns. Concerns for her mentality and the fear of bankruptcy, which could result in her losing both her home and life savings, everything her and Stephen had worked so hard to achieve.

“I couldn’t have walked away and spent the rest of my life not knowing, to me it just wasn’t an option”, she says.

However, pressure loomed as she lost her first legal battle. The choice was to call it a day without a financial penalty of up to £30,000 or to appeal. Determined, Diane chose the latter.

With the choice to lift her anonymity after the first case came the intrusion of the press. A choice she made in order to raise public awareness and to gain their support.

Diane reflects on her instability during this time, listening out for the persistent ringing of her phone as she sat upon the floor in her lounge rocking backwards and forwards.

“I’m less emotional now”, she says.

Diane won on appeal due to European law and admirably her case set precedent with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Deceased Fathers) Act.

On reflection, Diane states it was an entirely selfish battle, she wanted children and did not think of the impact her determination would have on society, or the inspiration that she would become.

Defensively, she says: “I wanted the baby in spite of the fact he had died, not because he had”.

Her persistent and brave actions have encouraged other women to fight. Beth Warren followed in her footsteps as she got into her own and rather similar legal battle.

Diane cried at the declaration of Beth’s successful judgement. Due to her Article 8 rights (Right to respect for private and family life) in the European Convention on Human Rights Act she was now legally allowed to attempt her own family.

“We are massively privileged, there is an awful lot of people who don’t succeed”, she says.

Diane believes that her own and others cases have lessened the societal prejudice when it comes to IVF treatment. That the publicity from her case has raised awareness and changed ethical opinions.

“It’s not damaging to society”, she says.

Since the ordeal, Diane has focused wholeheartedly on her own family, raising her ambitious and vibrant sons who have desires to work in computing and science – something neither her or Stephen were particularly interested in.

The boys know everything about their father she says, told as soon as they began questioning. They still visit his grave on special occasions and the home is surrounded in pictures, his memory far from forgotten.

Diane has also continue to work extensively to raise awareness of meningitis, participating in charity events and giving public talks, her campaigns continue.

As Mother’s Day looms, the family prepare for a quiet meal this Sunday to celebrate all that they have achieved together.

As Stephen’s mother looks into her grandson Liam’s eyes and their long lashes, she sees her own boys peering back at her.

Never underestimate a mothers love or determination when it comes to her children.