Feeling Christmassy in Melbourne

Hello :)

Merry Christmas!

It's now boxing day in Australia  but I thought I'd quickly share a few festive photos from when we were in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago. 

It was quite a short stop in Melbourne - we were only there for one night, but we had the morning to walk around before heading to the airport and on to Tasmania.

There were some beautiful Christmas lights and decorations around the city, and I really loved walking through Royal Arcade (where most of these photos were taken) as it was looking particularly festive. There was a really beautiful store there selling  Babushka dolls and Christmas baubles from Russia that were so beautiful! 

We had a lovely time just strolling around and feeling that festive, magical vibe, so I hope you enjoy these photos!

I hope you've had a really lovely Christmas!

Lots of Love

Lauren

xxx

Beauty Bits - The Red Lip Favourites

I enjoy wearing a red lip any time of year, but when December rolls around, it just feels extra appropriate and festive. I've included 6 of my favourite reds that look gorgeous regardless of whether you're in the midst of winter or going through a summer heat wave. Ranging from the bright and seriously vibrant, to slightly darker more sultry reds, these are some great ones to try out if you're looking for a new red lippie. 

Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet No.40 "La Sensuelle"

- One of the darker, cooler toned reds of the bunch with a slightly blue/berry undertone. The formula is matte but still very smooth and moisturising. Longevity-wise it isn't the best, but the plus is that it fades away nicely without leaving any awkward line around the edges of the lips. A perfect "winter red" for those of you in the Northern hemisphere, but I still wear it in summer too. This is definitely the most luxurious of six, but worth every penny in my opinion.  

Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm "Standout"

- A very similar but more affordable alternative to the Chanel lipstick above, with just a hint more pink. The matte formula is smooth and glides on easily, giving quite a satin finish that's only a touch more drying than the Chanel. The longevity is great and I find it lasts a good few hours, although you will need to re-apply after eating!

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil "Dragon Girl"

- This is the newest addition to my red lipstick collection and has quickly become one of my absolute favourites. This is my perfect red and leans slightly to the pinker side. It is just a gorgeous, bright, vibrant red that would look great any time of year but is particularly perfect during the warmer months. The formula is spot on - matte but not drying and with good longevity. It's easy to draw on with it's pencil-like packaging and is just generally awesome. I can definitely see why everyone raves about these ones. 

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet "Hot Pepper"

- On the more orangey side of the red spectrum, Hot Pepper is super bright and super long lasting (I'm talking hours and hours) with a liquid lipstick formula that dries down to a matte almost powdery finish. One application is all that's needed and you're good for the day. The only downsides are it can be a little drying, as well as being a bit of a pain to get off... but a lipstick that requires no touch ups? That gets a big thumbs up from me. 

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick No.720 "Fire and Ice"

- Another warm toned red, this one is lovely and creamy, and just an all round beautiful lipstick. It is one of those colours that really lifts and brightens the face and I love pairing it with a golden eyeshadow.

Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment "Cherry"

 - As it's name suggests, this is more of a tinted lip balm so is very moisturising and nourishing. It can give quite a bold, strong look if layered on more thickly, or can be sheered out and smudged in with your finger to give more of a natural stain, which is how I like to wear it. I've actually received quite a number of compliments about this particular colour and it's one of my most worn because it's just so easy and low maintenance. The only downside is it can be quite difficult to get in Australia (I picked mine up from Sephora in Malaysia), but if you can get your hands on it it's a great one to try.

L-R - Chanel "La Sensuelle", Nars "Dragon Girl", Fresh Sugar Cherry Lip Treatment, Revlon "Fire and Ice", Revlon "Standout", Bourjois "Hot Pepper"

What's your favourite red lipstick?

Lauren

xxx

Baking Gingerbread

There's just something so Christmassy and lovely about the smell of gingerbread baking in the oven. I made it for the first time last year, and it's a pretty simple recipe so I thought I'd take some photos this time and share it with you.

Gingerbread is perfect as a little home-made gift, or just to bring round if your'e visiting a friend. The recipe I used is from last years

Kikki.K

Christmas catalogue and is super yummy!

 (On a side note, Kikki.K has some great gift packs if you're Christmas shopping for stationery lovers!)

This recipe makes 60-70 cookies. I didn't read that part last year and decided to double the recipe... That was a big mistake - unless you want a crazy amount of gingerbread!

Ingredients

For the Gingerbread:

* 200g butter

*250ml golden syrup

*400g white sugar

*1 tbsp ground cloves

*1 tbsp ground ginger

*1 tbsp cinnamon

*250ml cream

*1 tbsp bicarbonate soda

*7-8 cups plain flour

For the Icing:

*2 large egg whites

*2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*3 cups icing sugar (sifted)

*food colouring

Method:

Gingerbread

*Note - you'll need to prepare the dough a day in advance

1. In a medium saucepan on low heat, melt the butter and combine the syrup, sugar, spices and cream.

2. Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl and add the bicarbonate soda and 7 cups of flour. Mix to combine ingredients into dough.

3. Leave the dough to rest in the fridge overnight

*

I suggest taking the dough out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you plan to roll it out so it has time to warm up a bit (otherwise it's very hard to work with!)

4. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius

5. On a floured bench, work the mixture with your hands as you add the remaining flour. 

This is what the recipe said, but I basically just scooped out a chunk of dough from the bowl, added flour as needed and rolled it out as thin as I could. 

6. Cut out shapes using your cookie cutters and place on a tray lined with baking paper

I actually found it easier to roll out the dough, transfer it onto a piece of baking paper and roll it out again a bit more thinly. This way you don't have to transfer the cookies from the bench to the paper and risk decapitating the poor gingerbread man.

7. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown

8. Cool on a wire rack - Ensure the gingerbread is completely cool before you start icing them. 

Icing

1. Beat the egg whites with the lemon juice or vanilla extract until frothy

2. Add the sifted icing sugar and beat on low speed until all combined, smooth and shiny

3. Beat at high speed for about 5 minutes until stiff and glossy

4. Separate into bowls and add food colouring

5. Scoop into sealable sandwich bags, cut a tiny hole in one corner and pipe the designs onto the gingerbread. 

I made a mistake with the yellow and cute the hole a little too big so ended up with quite thick icing. Just experiment and you'll find the best way to manipulate it.

I hope you enjoyed!

Let me know if you give them a try!

Lauren

xxx