Friday, 29 April 2011

Lush Street Party Ballistic Review

Hello Lovelies! Today I'll be bringing you a review of something very exciting indeed - the Street Party ballistic by Lush!

This is a limited edition reissue of an old favourite of mine, and it's utterly divine. It's got a gorgeous cognac, orange and lime scent - to me it's like a cross between Big Blue and Christmas Party/Bob Soap. It's the sort of scent that I associate with Lush from when I first shopped with them (about 13 years ago) - fresh but wonderfully complex.

When you first look at it, you'd be forgiven for mistaking it for a slightly boring off white ballistic with black vanilla seeds in. That couldn't be much further from the truth - this ballistic is pack with gold, red and blue glitter, little pink confetti hearts, streamers and a little Union Jack flag or two. Amazing!

£2.95 from Lush for a limited time only!

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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

What have I done?!

Hello lovelies!

That's the question I am very firmly asking myself today... What have I done to myself? I seem to have become a full on, hardcore running lover. The evidence:

1. I ran on holiday

Not only that, but I did hill training, a bit of trail running and runs in blazing hot sun and terrifying wind on holiday. Hard. Core.

2. I very almost advised someone on running shoes in Sports Direct today.

And now I'm kicking myself that I didn't as I'm almost certain the shoes he bought weren't right for him. 

3. I get excited about things like protein powder, sports drink tablet samples and running socks.

I got a sample of High 5 zero tablets with my Women's Running magazine this month and I've quite enjoyed them, especially whilst the weather has been so warm as a way of making sure I'm properly hydrated. I also picked up some Naturya Hemp Protein Powder from Holland and Barrett today so I'll be bringing you a cheeky review of that soon I'm sure :)

4. I set obscene goals for myself and do things without thinking....

Like today.... when I entered the ballot for the Virgin London Marathon 2012. I won't find out until October if I have a place or not, but still... What on earth have I done?! :D

Do you ever find that your obsessions make you do crazy things?

What made you realise that you were truly in love with running?
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Friday, 22 April 2011

Spring is Here!

Hello lovelies!

Yes, I know, stating the obvious but spring has officially arrived in the Sparkle and Shade household for one reason and one reason only - our organic veg box delivery no longer contains swede and celeriac! Hallelujah! I am not a root veg loving girl.... the odd potato or carrot here and there is fine, but generally speaking, not a fan. Too stodgy and not enough like a vegetable for my liking! Let me share with today's beautiful delivery:

Oooo what could be lurking in there? (Apologies for all the shadows - crazy sun!)

A big, beautiful cauliflower!

Some yummy red skinned potatoes!

A super cute butternut squash!

Some delicious muddy carrots and lovely little onions!

An epicly huuuuge bunch of pak choi!

And a beastly bunch of Spring Greens!

I am so, so, so excited about this box of veg - it's one of the best we've had for a while! Spring greens and pak choi are vegetables I've not really cooked with much either, so it's a good excuse to find some new delicious recipes.

Despite the fact that winter was a hard slog, I really do love our veg box - it's supporting a local farmer, it forces us to eat seasonally and introduces us to vegetables we wouldn't normally buy. We pay £8.50 a week for a small veg box and that's more than enough for the two of us eating a vegetarian diet (we sometimes buy some extra mushrooms or peppers but that's about it). If you're York based, I definitely suggest you check out SB Organics :)

Do you have an organic veg box delivered? If not, would you like to/what puts you off?

What are your favourite recipes featuring the ingredients in this week's veg box?
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Thursday, 21 April 2011

Goodbye old friends, hellllo new!

Hello lovelies!

Today is a wonderful, wonderful day - I've got some new friends in my life, but it means I have to say goodbye to some old ones.

What on earth am I talking about?! Running shoes of course! Meet my old friends:

These are the only pair of trainers I've ever owned. I think I got them when I was about 14 and needed some trainers for school or something. They were about £12 from our village shoe shop. They've not been bad, and I wore them through my 10k training last year and for my 10k race last year but since starting training this year I can tell that they're getting old and I've been getting a bit of shin and knee pain which I reckoned was down to a lack of support.

Hence I trudged off to my local running store Up and Running in York and had my gait analysed on a treadmill with a snazzy video thingy. I'm a mild overpronator and I have a fairly heavy heel strike. I definitely, definitely recommend going to a proper running store to get fitted for shoes - you might have a vague idea what your running style is, but I'd much rather get an expert opinion! Also, if you're lucky and your store is run by running legends like mine is, they'll probably give you some training advice too!

I ummed and ahhhd about whether to get them in the store or online but seeing as I'd completely forgotten which shoes they were anyway, I decided to go back to the store itself because, if I'm honest, it was love at first sight with those shoes :) *Queue a gazillion pictures*

How pretty are those inners?! Decorated with the Breast Cancer Ribbon because of the work New Balance does with Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Funky laces!

Ahhhh, aren't they just beautiful? If you're wondering, they're the New Balance 760 which is technically last season so a little harder to find (this season's replacement is the 860 if you're wondering :) )

Now all that's left to do is actually run in them and I have to say I can't wait! It's taking all my willpower not to just head out there right now on a full stomach!

What shoes do you run in?

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Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Recipe: Saag Paneer

Hello lovelies! As promised, here's how to turn your leftover Bolognese into a delicious Saag Paneer.

First off, pop a 1/4 inch of fresh ginger in your food processor with just under 1/2 cup of (soya) milk.

Now, loosely fill your food processor with yet more spinach (anyone getting a sense of deja vu?!) Pop the lid on and blend for around 2 minutes (sorry, I forgot to take a picture!)

Now, chop up half a block of paneer (or extra firm tofu if you're vegan) into cubes and fry in a little oil with a sprinkle of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, black pepper, a bit of grated ginger, some cayenne pepper (vary according to how spicy you like your curry), a pinch of za'tar (optional), a quick grind of sea salt and around 1/2 tsp of garam masala until slightly browned.

Now you can add your leftover sauce and your new milky spinach mixture - don't be alarmed if it looks a little watery - you're going to simmer it uncovered for 10 minutes whilst you cook your rice! Make sure you stir it every so often as those lentils love to stick!

Finally, add three drops of lemon juice and then dish up and eat straight away with some good quality mango chutney on the side! Not the prettiest of dishes but it sure is tasty!

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Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Embracing a Healthier Lifestyle Part Two: Thinking Big, Dreaming Big

Hello Lovelies!

I'm a big believer in dreaming big - if we don't dream big, we have nothing to aim for. I always have a gazillion different big dreams running around my mind and I'm never quite sure which will stay as dreams or which will become a reality, but you know what? That's exciting. I love that about my life!

Dreaming big is what keeps me motivated and keeps me strong when I'm flagging in my choice to live a healthier lifestyle. It was dreaming big that meant I entered that very first 10k, and dreaming even bigger that resulted in entering a half marathon.

I dream big every time I make a delicious meal - I imagine how wonderful I want it to taste, I spend time thinking about the combinations of flavours and textures, I spend a significant amount of my day dreaming about how to make nutritious but delicious meals for me and my husband.

Dreaming big is what motivates me when I run. I tell myself that I'm strong and that I can do it. I imagine myself crossing the finish line of the Great North Run. I think about how good running is for my body and I think of how all that cardio exercise is pumping my heart and burning off the love handles.

Thinking big and dreaming big allows me to set goals to work towards. At the moment, my goals are:
♥ Finish the Run for All 10k in sub 60 (shaving 13 minutes off last year's race....)
♥ Finish the Great North Run in 2 hours
♥ Loose the extra three quarters of a stone that I've gained since getting married
♥ Keep eating healthy, keep cutting out gluten wherever possible, keep moving towards a more vegan diet
♥ Run a marathon in 2012..... this one scares the heck of out me, but I want to do it!

What are you dreaming big about at the moment?

What goals are you working towards?
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Recipe: Spinach, Lentil and Mushroom Spaghetti Bolognese

Hello Lovelies!

Another recipe for you - today I'm going to teach you how to make a super tasty, ultra healthy vegetarian "bolognese" type sauce and then tomorrow, I'm going to teach you how to use the leftovers to make a delicious Saag Paneer inspired dish! Don't say I don't spoil you :D The sauce is wonderfully rich and creamy and oh so very delicious!

This recipe will make enough for 4 medium sized servings - we used two of our servings for this and saved the other two for the Sag Paneer. All measurements are approximate and I most definitely encourage you to  experiment with herbs and spices :)

First, pop 2 big garlic cloves (or 4 small ones) and a small red onion (chopped in half) into your food processor.

Next, add in a couple of big handfuls of spinach, until your food processor is loosely filled.

Finally, pour in a whole tin of chopped tomatoes.

Now put the lid on and blend for a minute or two until it looks like this.

Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a medium pan and saute 4-6 mushrooms until slightly browned

Now you can add your sauce in along with around 1/3 to 1/2 cup of (washed) red lentils.

Stir these in, then add a little water to your processor bowl and add that in to your sauce as well. At this point, you can also add your seasoning! I added around 1tsp Marigold Vegan Boullion (stock) powder, a few dashes of vegan worcester sauce, freshly ground pepper, around 1 tsp basil and the same of herbs d'provence and a teeny tiny pinch of cayenne.

Cover with a lid and leave to simmer on a low heat, stirring occasionally, for around 25 minutes until the lentils are soft and yummy.

Serve this on top of your favourite cooked pasta (mine is Gluten Free Spaghetti tossed in a little olive oil) topped with a sprinkle cheese, or you could always mix it with some cooked pasta, pop it in a baking dish, top with a little cheese and bake for 20 minutes for a lovely pasta bake!

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Monday, 18 April 2011

Recipe: Banana Peanut Oaty Breakfast Cake

Hello Lovelies!

This yummy cake is heavily based on this cake by the lovely Sweet Tooth Runner but with a few little tweeks and additions :)

First measure out 1/2 cup of normal porridge oats (I used Quaker because we had them in but I normally go for Tesco's Scottish Style)

Pop them in the blender and blend until they're smaller but not powdery like flour

Transfer your oats to a bowl and then put about 1/3 cup back into the blender. Blend these into a fine floury powder and then add them back into the bowl with the rest of the oats. (You can skip this step if you already have oat flour in!)

Take a large ripe banana, break it into chunks and add it to your blender bowl, along with a big heaped dessert spoonful of peanut butter, a tablespoon of jam (I use a no added sugar four Fruits jam) and a quick squeeze of Agave.

Blend until smooth.

Now add 1/2 cup of soya milk, blend quickly again until mixed!

Add about 1 teaspoon of cocoa to your oats, then add in your liquid mixture and mix together.

Pour into a cake tin and bake for around 10-15 minutes on 200-210C.

Remove from the oven, leave for 5-10 minutes, cut into slices and munch munch munch!

You can eat it as it is, or with a little extra jam on orrr (if you're feeling really naughty) with a little Nutella spread ontop!

This morning I got really exciting and added a handful of frozen blueberries before I pour the mixture into the cake tin - it was delicious!

I'm dreaming up all sorts of possibilities for this - tomorrow I think I might try it with thinly sliced pear and a little cinnamon layer on the bottom before I pour in the mixture. Yum yum :)

Enjoy :D
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St Tropez SPF 20 Medium Protection for Body with Tan Enhancer Review

Hello Lovelies! Isn't it beautifully sunny?! I'm absolutely loving the British weather at the moment and I've been more than happy to drag my shorts, skirts and summery dresses out of their winter hibernation!

Sadly though, sunshine also means something else - sun tan lotion. I am a firm hater of sun tan lotion. Most of the proper lotions smell funny and leave me sticky and the dry sprays make me look weirdly shiny and smell just... odd. I know that it's super important to wear it, and I tend to grin and bare it but it's never a very enjoyable experience.

However, I thought I'd give St Tropez the benefit of the doubt when they offered to send me the SPF 20 Medium Protection for Body with Tan Enhancer from their new Sun Tan Lotion range and I haven't been disappointed - in fact, I think I'm in love!

For a start, how gorgeous is that packaging? A beautiful matte gold squeezey tube which means you're in control of how much product you get out and doesn't leave you frantically whacking the bottom of a half empty bottle on your sunlounger to get out the last of the product from a hard plastic bottle. Lovely

But what about the lotion itself? It's beautiful. It has a wonderful, summery, slightly floral scent and is nice and light but still very moisturising. It sinks into the skin easily and leaves no sticky residue or white streaks behind (always a good thing). This is the medium protection (which is about right for me as I have Olive undertones and don't really burn) but they also have SPF 30 for those of you who are a bit fairer.

But the really clever thing that St Tropexz have done with their SPF Protection creams is the inclusion of Melanobroze, a special ingredient which gently stimulates the body's own melanin production and helps to enhance your tan. A definitely bonus for those of us who love to get a tan and maybe avoid the sun tan lotion in fear of not tanning (which is a silly thing to do - saving yourself from skin cancer is far more important than having a lovely tan!). I have to say, I think I've tanned a lot quicker than I normally would - ever my super pasty Husband (who I've been slathering in this as part of my super precise scientific experiment) seems to have a bit more colour than normal. St Tropez, I think you've got a winner on your hands!

I'll definitely be repurchasing this when my bottle runs out - I think I've found my Sun Tan Lotion Holy Grail!

£20.00 from St Tropez

*Disclaimer* I was sent this product as a PR sample
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Blog Sale

Hello lovelies!

If you read this post the other day, you'll know that I feel the door has closed on the possibility of working as a freelance MUA and I'm focusing all my energy (career-wise) on teaching at the moment. Soooo I thought I'd do a super dooper blog sale with some of my kit bits that I'd invested in as well as some other bits that I have lying around an need to get rid of.

As it's half term at the moment, I'll be able to send out parcels quickly, but please be aware that if you buy something after this Thursday (21st April) it might take me a while to post your parcel as I work nowhere near a post office :)

Terms and Conditions:
♥ Postage to the UK is £2 for the first item (unless otherwise stated) and then 50p for every item after that
♥ Paypal only
♥ Items will be sent first class
♥ Items sold as seen
♥ Leave a comment with what you're interested in and your email address in the comment section
♥ First come, first served :)

♥ All items have either been used twice at the most or only swatched unless otherwise stated.

♥ I'm very open to offers so if you see something you like but can't quite afford it, try making one :)
♥ Uk only

*Edit* Been through and edited a few prices plus added the seemingly unshiftable set of Aromaleigh samples... please, please someone buy it!

1. Nike+ Sports watch (with foot pod and original box - not pictured) £23 plus £3 postage

2. Graftobian HD Pro Powder Palette - £15 (plus £2.50 postage - this is super heavy!)

3. Clinique Almost Makeup 01 Fair (bought from blogsale, too light for me) - £4 SOLD

4. ELF Mineral Lipstick in Natural Nymph £1.50
5. NYX Round Lipstick in Harmonica £1.50

OR both for £2.50

6. Yaby Freestyle Palette with 13 eyeshadows/pearl paints (shade numbers available on request), 5 cream foundations in Honey, Vanilla, Buff, Peach and Almond Butter, 3 concealers in Buff, Vanilla and Ivory (only ever used with clean, disposable spatulas apart from Ivory concealer used with clean concealer brush) Usage as shown. £40 RESERVED FOR BETIXTBEAUTY

7. No7 Limited Edition Natural Radiance Highlighter £5 SOLD

8. ELF Mineral Booster in Sheer £1.50

9. MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light Medium. Usage as shown. £5 SOLD

10. MAC Paint in Untitled £5

11. MAC Matte Primer £6 SOLD

12. MAC Quad inc. Pink Papillon, Metamorph, Meadowland and Plum. Bought from a blog sale but never used. £10 SOLD

13. Graftobian Hi-Def Glamour Creme Corrector Palette #30277. Usage as shown (only ever used with disposable, clean spatula). £5

14. Yaby Liquid Foundation in Daisy £5
15. Yaby Liquid Foundation in Vanilla £5
16. Yaby Liquid Foundation in Buff £5
17. Yaby Liquid Foundation in Peach Cream £5
18. Yaby Liquid Foundation in Ivory £5


19. Cherry Culture Bubblegum Lip Balm 50p
20. Wet and Wild Speed Gloss in Frantic Rose 50p
21. Rimmel Royal Gloss in Gourmet £2

OR all 3 for £2.50

22. 17 Lasting Fix Nail Polish in Smoke Signal £2
23. 17 Fast Finish Nail Polish in Knockout Red £2

OR £3 for both

24. MAC Eyeshadow in Shroom £4 SOLD

25. Primark 4 Colour Eyeshadow Quad (super pigmented!) 50p

26. Kryolan Aquacolour Palette in Duochrome. Bought from a blog sale and never used. Light usage. Excellent for face painting or high fashion/editorial looks £7

27. 3 2 Aromaleigh Samples - mainly the Rocks Collection. Discontinued - £8

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