The Cutest Little Brooches...!

I've not been much of a jewellery wearer in the past few years, I still buy and own so much jewellery and do love it all, but it's more of a special occasion addition to an outfit.
One piece I am more likely to add to every outfit, and just to make me a little happier with a collection of cute, quirky, eye catching and fun brooches.
So when I found Hollie Harris on Instagram I immediately fell in love with the quirky designs that made me gasp aloud as soon as I set eyes on them.

I love attention to details, it's also lovely to be able to easily spot those packages with that exciting item you've been waiting on in that usual boring pile of bills!
I had to order straight away after looking at the instagram account, usually I wouldn't write a whole post dedicated to only one item or set, but these are so adorable I just had to share.

I actually collect kitsch plastic and ceramic vintage deers, which I post occasionally with my other kitsch and interesting things on my Instagram, so this set of deer brooches made me squeal a squeal not audible to the human ear.
All local dogs however knew I had seen something cute.

The squeal was echoed when they arrived, and they arrived pretty quickly too!
These come as a set of two, and there was options of the set in natural wood, or bright pink.
The brooches are available via Etsy, and it's a bargain £9.50 for the two.

I wore them straight away, and got a lot of compliments on them.
It's great that this set can be worn separately or together but wherever you choose as they have their own individual brooch fastenings.
Even my new puppy (yes, it's happened!) loves them, which is why the left has some slight chew marks from when he jumped up to chew on them.

As an additional extra, a set of pop beads were included in my order, and I believe they come with every order.
If you too grew up in the late 80's, early 90's, these may be a little nostalgia trip to popping these bracelets and necklaces together, something I usually had to ask an adult to help me with.
As an adult now (so they say) I still struggled with these somewhat!

It is a lovely little fun extra thats also super cute too, once Edd gets home, I hope to complete and wear it...! This is actually how far I got.
There are so many amazing designs available on the Hollie Harris Etsy at really really great reasonable prices, and they're a one woman independent company too so a little bit of guilt free, supporting the independents shopping (or so I tell myself while pretty skint but still putting in orders!).
There were so many more that I want for me, but others that I knew would be perfect for friends, so I know I'll definitely be ordering more.
Sorry local doggies....!

Pop Boutique Liverpool Opening

Pop Boutique has been a beacon for vintage shoppers for many many years. With it's mix of amazing vintage fashions, OTT sequinned master pieces, and their own understated everyday designs that have become a staple for any girl with 60's style leanings.

On Friday night Pop Boutique Liverpool launched it's new store, after combining their two city centre stores into one large shopping space on Bold Street, just opposite the location of their previous Bold Street store, and although it is quite a large shop space it has been completely jam packed full of items!

During their launch there was a generous 20% off everything in store, and it was understandably extremely busy with shoppers hunting for some bargains. 
The queues for the changing rooms went almost all the way down the middle of the shop, and I heard of people waiting 20 minutes to try on their picks, obviously there was a lot of great bargains to be had as no one looked annoyed or fed up due to the wait.

The set up of the store was great, I loved the mix of a modern clean look with vintage accents, and I spent about as much time looking at their knick knacks as anything, if only I could buy these too!
It really adds to the theme, and really sets this particular vintage store apart as one that does and can fit onto the high street.

The store has a very even mix of menswear and womens wear, meaning there is something for everyone and boyfriends can't sit complaining in the corner when there's just so much they may want too.
As they don't stick to one particular era or style of clothing you can really shop to compliment your own particular style or era, with vintage t-shirts, shift dresses, sequinned jackets, thick wooly jumpers  and so much more.

As it grows colder it is one store I'll be hunting out for cute sweaters and thick midi skirts, while I direct Edd towards the thick mens jumpers and smart brogues.
There is even a selection of furs for those so inclined, having a mixture of real and fake furs which is not really one for me I think!

I had to work really hard to not buy so much stock, after the big move and redecorating I've not been buying clothes or accessories as much as I usually do, so I felt that if I started I would end up having too big of a splurge and get into trouble for buying ten more dresses in the run up to winter!

Pop Boutique have you covered from head to toe, it's always worth looking in their hats and scarves section as there can be some nuggets of gold hidden there, I found the perfect girly dark green beret that transports me into a french film noir whenever I wear it from one of their stores.
You also know you may get good quality woollen hats or silk scarves at bargain prices.

There's a few Pops all over the UK, but if you ever find yourself in Liverpool you really must check it out, even just for the experience and to ogle their vintage decorations.
The layout of this new store makes spotting that hidden gem that much more easier, plus adding that much needed woollen hat and jumper onto your shopping pile seems almost guilt free with bargain prices for good quality goods.

As Edd wasn't with me that night, I shall be dragging him to the store the next time we hit town. With a large range of brogues, boots, and woollens I plan to get him completely set up for winter in one shop, that not only will make him cold weather ready, but add a little unique style to his wardrobe with one off items.
No Primark jumpers for my man!

The launch was a great success, everyone was shopping up a storm, and drinks were flowing! 
I found it tricky to run around and take shots as not only was the store so very full, but because I kept being passed another cup of wine which makes shooting a little bit more difficult..!
It gave me enough time to soak in the friendly and excited atmosphere, see the store to it's fullest, and also catch up with some friends who were also there.
All in all a lovely night, a lovely store, and a lovely new location.
Well done Pop Boutique Liverpool!

Memebox - All About Eyes....

To keep make up fresh and interesting, there's nothing better than a bumper box of supplies from one of my favourite box based companies, Memebox, for what is often referred to as K-Beauty as they are full of items unavailable on the british high street, but all the rage in Asia!

I have received a couple of Memeboxes now, but with each having a completely different theme and style I've not received two similar boxes at all.
This instalment (as they add new boxes all the time, rather than a monthly subscription to one set type) is focusing on eyes.

Every box I've received have always been so jam packed full of items, and there's always so many different bits and pieces that compliment each other well.
This box came with eight goodies inside, and they were all full sized too, such a nice change from beauty boxes that come with only five items, most of which are samples.

After moving house, redecorating, travelling, working, and many late nights this box was well timed for my very tired eyes that have overloaded themselves when it comes to bags.
I'm also one of those girls who always wears black eyeliner, I now look strange without it as it's been somewhat a constant to my face for the past ten years or so.
So to try out some new eye make up and care products is a welcome treat.

This three Yni dot liner intrigued me, it's been designed to help get your line in between lashes by dotting along with the three small brushes.
I don't have the steadiest of hands so I found it a little tricky to get the hang of, but it did help to give me a little guide to glide my eyeliner over. Doing the flick was somewhat more tricky however, imagine a calligraphy pen...?
The gel liner works in a similar fashion to a kohl liner, but claims that after ten seconds of drying it is smudge proof and water proof, kohl definitely does not do that.
Amazingly it is true to its word and doesn't transfer or even wipe off which makes me think it will be worth trying if I can only get the hang of it.

This Karadium gel liner has a slight sparkle to it as well, an almost green/ gold fine glitter which isn't over powering on the eyelid but is just noticeable enough to keep it interesting.
The name of the mascara did amuse me.....Cheek Room....teehee! I also wondered is that Scarlett Johannsen on the box or are my eyes playing tricks?
This mascara is a curling and volumizing mascara, and again it did exactly what it said it would.
My eyelashes seemed to be more full, curled slightly and 'opened' up my eyes some more.
The brush is quite a long brush, but this helped to coat the full lash without missing those corners, and I got a cleaner coat too, with none ending up on my face like usual!

These seem to be the fun little items in the box, and I did poke at the collagen eye patches with some confusion for a while...!
When I opened up the package they seem to have disappeared but they are very see through and light, be careful to not drop them, but felt very very weird.
You attach these under the eyes and they magically stayed there, the only way I could describe it was like attaching two slugs under your eyes, but in the nicest possible way.
It states to leave these on for 20-30 minutes and use twice a week so are reusable I assume, and they do feel quite refreshing so I'm planning to keep these in the fridge to slap on after a long day.

Another Cheek Room product, but a rather eye catching bright pink eyeshadow which is very much not my er....usual look!
These are made from coral and pearl powders and are resistant to sebum (your eyelids natural oils), sweat, and water so shall stay put all day. 
The colour is very striking once applied, but it is maybe just a bit too hot pink for me!

These false lashes look quite subtle and cute, so I shall be trying these out very soon for an everyday eyelash.
The name and packaging made me wonder if Secret Star Girl is a girl band or not, so I did a little research and found this advert. 
The advert also doesn't clear it up at all...!

            Secret Star Girl 30sec from KONEKTS on Vimeo.

We all love a bit of Wonder, and although I was unable to understand the writing, it all looked rather positive.
MDaida is a more upmarket brand in this box, so two items is rather generous!
The wonder eye filler (on left) is a serum for under eyes free from artificial colouring or fragrance so is kind to the skin, and would set you back $40 on it's own!

Both are easy to use with a clicker pen system, releasing just the right amount of product meaning you don't end up with excess but gives your skin exactly the amount it needs.
The concealer pen has a slight highlighter element to it so its great for hiding eye bags (of which I have many) and is slightly less at $34 a tube.
I worry about mixing the two products up, but as they're applied in the same place I guess I can't really go wrong!

There is so much in these boxes, this particular box would set you back $29 plus shipping.
The contents of the box however total up to $130!
That's about $100 worth on top of what you would pay, and they are shipped out so quickly too that you don't have to wait very long for a pretty pink parcel to land on your doorstep.
There are so many different boxes and products to choose from, and as they are now shipping globally there's no better time to try out something so completely new.
Memebox have also supplied us with a rather lovely $5 discount code, valid from now until the 30th September! Just enter code QSYEYB at the checkout.
I always eagerly await the next box, and there are just so so many to choose from, which one will you go for?

My Little Box....

It's been a long time since my last trip to Paris.....
After may back and forth trips I actually grew tired of the city of romance, my personal life having sadly a great lack of romance in it the city somewhat dulled into grey as I ignored those happy couples all around me.
Now my life is full of love, laughter, and a man who will buy me flowers for no reason at all, Paris has become somewhat of a dream for me now, and we have already talked about just what we will do and where we'd go when we finally get there together.
But today, a little bit of Paris came to my door, and it came all wrapped up in a bow.

My Little Box are the most popular French beauty subscription box, sending to over 80,000 mademoiselles in France alone, but now they are finally selling to the UK and you can join in feeling all european (Which if you're in the UK, you technically are....!) while opening your little box of delights.

Each box has a different theme, previously including a geeky box, a weekend box, party box and more making it special and new every time, and even the boxes themselves are collectable worthy with their illustrations being different and frankly, charming every time.
My first box is aptly a Parisienne themed box, which is lovingly wrapped, even the inside of the outer cardboard box having a sticker which has a quote from Audrey Hepburn.
This is one classy box.

I'm a complete sucker for attention to details, it makes each box feel like a little gift, and a little bit more special.
The first thing in the box is a large postcard, which I can totally imagine taping to my wall every month with each new instalment, and already I have propped this one up on my desk.

Pulling out just the first few objects was already so exciting to me, under the postcard with a similar illustration on was this blank notebook.
I love notebooks! 
I do hoard notebooks, using maybe about the first ten pages in each before starting another, I do buy them with good intentions but I cannot help myself.
Want to make me happy? Give me the cutest notebook you can find.
Under the notebook was this 3D sticker set, how do they know me so well?! 
The kitsch collector within me was overjoyed and already looking around for places to stick them, but the beauty fiend in me was already spying the fact that under these three items lay more surprise items, that were all mysterious and tempting.

Feminine geekery seems to be something this company get, with adorable stationary and packaging, with every item cleverly packed to make the box all the more exciting to delve into.
I decided to save the pouch for last and see just what was so sexy...!

I definitely wasn't expecting that they had fit in a whole laptop case inside this box, the same sized box as a usual Glossybox, but packed with so much more.
It is currently somewhat misshapen but only due to it having been folded up, but I expect that would sort itself out over time and with use.
It fits my macbook pro inside perfectly, and looks so much cuter than my current laptop case so may come in very useful after all.
I'm also tempted to make some manner of bangle out of that cardboard sleeve.....cardboard can make bangles, right?!

This beauty box does of course come with some beauty items inside, and not only are they good quality brands and items, they are all french companies too which I adore as I'm a big convert to french skin care, as their ingredients seem more natural generally than our british skin care suppliers (apart from of course, Lush!) and sink into the skin in a much nicer fashion.
I of course checked these products and their partners listed on their website for testing policies, and happily all of these items are not tested on animals, but sadly some of the companies listed under partners I am aware of their testing when it's "required by law".
So just be aware of that, as it's somewhat pot luck.

This Laura Mercier primer was a little thinner than I expected, but it actually sank into the skin with a lovely affect after applying.
My skin felt smooth and looked a little less tired (and believe me, lately I am TIRED!) so this shall be spending a week on my dresser and I shall continue to test it further!
A 50ml tube of this primer will set you back about £29, this tube is only 30ml but I think it should last me a fair while, and already makes the price of the box worthwhile.

As well as well known brands, My Little Box has their own range of products that are exclusive to their boxes and their website, all wrapped up in adorable packaging and using their knowledge of make up concepts and brands.
Their online store also has all those little bits a pieces you may have missed from their earlier boxes on sale, and I shall warn you now that it's entirely far too tempting there, even with a lack of an english site option! 
This highlighter pen actually came out a lot thicker than I expected, but I was actually pleased after many attempts of using other highlighters to little affect, this one actually has the impact desired, and in a easy to apply and store pen.
This would normally cost £11.

At first I thought this was a tiny bottle of perfume, luckily I read the miniature booklet before applying!
This is actually oil for hair, face, and body, and was advertised in the booklet as the best kept secret of french women to keeping their skin youthful and beautiful.
I scoffed somewhat before applying to my skin where it melted in and gave it a subtle pleasant fragrance. 
Touché French oils, Touché.
This oil has many uses, you can add a few drops to your usual moisturiser, mix with your foundation, add a few drops to your bath, brush it into your hair etc etc etc...!
This is a miniature 10ml bottle, usually retailing at £17 for a 50 ml bottle it is a best seller in France with very very good sounding reviews.
I was surprised that it actually didn't leave me with a greasy feeling at all, and this may just have to live in my handbag from now on.

This box was an utter delight from beginning to end, filled with imaginative, unique products, illustrated by their in house illustrator, plus brands you would never usually use or try given their price tags.
Having only just launched in the UK this month, their boxes surpass all of the other beauty subscription boxes out there, with a mix of not only beauty products, but useful and quirky items making each box something special and well thought out.
This is definitely not super drugs cheapest items shoved into one box without much care for the customer or their colour preferences, and at £11.00 a box (£14.95 with shipping, all the way from France) it is definitely worth it's price tag too.
I'm far too tempted by their online store as their own make up looks to be worth the order, but I can hope they shall turn up in next months box, which I am definitely looking forward to.
Looks like the beauty box industry has found a winner at last!
Till I can get to Paris, Paris shall come to me...

Mac and "Cheese"......

On my instagram feed I've posted a photo or two before of the Mac and Cheese meal that goes down very well in my flat, with my girls regularly coming over for a feed, it has been tried and tested by many an eager victim.
This is a recipe that I have worked on and improved alongside my old flat mate after he decided to treat me to a vegan mac and cheese meal. Over the past two years I've worked on making it the best I can, and made many variations improving on the original recipe which if I remember rightly, had miso soup in it at one point!
At last I think the recipe is perfected, and as I've been asked a few times exactly how it's made, and what the recipe is which I will finally share it with you now.
It's surprisingly simple and easy.

It's also a recipe that doesn't require me to run to the shops for ingredients as I'll generally have everything I need in the kitchen!

Ingredients :-

Dairy Free Margarine
Almond (or Soya) Milk
Vegan cheese of your preference
Vegan Cream Cheese
Salt and Pepper 
If you'd like you can also add boiled cauliflower to make it a cauliflower and macaroni cheese which I'll do on occasion.

You'll have noticed that there isn't any measurements on the ingredients.
This is because there isn't really a wrong way to make it, some people may prefer thicker or thinner cheese sauce, some may like loads of sauce, and others not too much so you can always amend to your choosing.

Throw yourself some macaroni (and if adding cauliflower, boiled the pasta in a steamer with the cauliflower in the steaming compartment) into a pan with some boiling water, salted and with a little oil in to stop the pasta sticking.
Usually macaroni takes about 11-13 minutes to cook (which is also the amount of time the cauliflower would need to steam conveniently) so you can take your time to prepare the cheese sauce while this is cooking and also once the pasta has been drained.
If you're placing the mac and cheese in the oven to brown on top too, some may prefer to eat it as it is, then this would be the right time to preheat your oven as well.

Get your ingredients out and ready to go, you don't want to be dipping in and out of the fridge making this! 
For the butter alternative I prefer Pure sunflower margarine, they do also offer soya and now olive margarine which tastes amazing melted onto potatoes, and you can now find them in most supermarkets and now even some corner shops.
We now only use Almond milk in the flat now, as I don't eat meat either, I look to nuts, beans and pulses for my protein hit.
I'm not sure if I get loads of protein from using this milk, but as alternatives go it has proved the best for cooking with, and doesn't give you that horrible aftertaste soya milk can sometimes leave.

I've decided in this recipe to use two grated cheeses as well as the cream cheese, today I used the classic vegusto, and the red cheddar style cheezly. 
My favourite to use is the Vegusto Mild Aromatic cheese, it works the best for sauces and gives the quintessential cheese flavour which these two sadly do not quite hit, but as it is so good it's generally sold out in the two stores selling it in Liverpool!
Soon as I find it again I shall be buying a few so I don't run out so fast, but as I use it for pizzas, pastas, in fajitas, on nachos etc etc, it doesn't last long in our house.

So we start with the roux! 
I use this method to make creamy cheese sauces for quite a few things now too, it has proved very useful over the years, and I'm always finding more and more things I can make using it.
A roux is generally equal parts melted butter, and flour, so it's easy as can be, simply melt the butter in a nice heavy set pan over a medium heat, and once it's fully melted mix in the flour.
Be careful to not leave the butter bubbling too long, or melt on a high heat however, as that can on rare occasion make adding the flour react into a spitting hot mess!
I found that out the hard way.

Once you have a nice thick mixture, little by little add the milk into the mixture while stirring.
This is when you have the most control about how much sauce you make, and how thick you make it.
Once you have it just right for you, it's time to add the cheese into the mix!

Finely grate the cheese, as it helps it to melt better and quicker, vegan cheeses not general being as melty as real cheese.
Throw as much cheese as you'd prefer while mixing into the hot roux and stir until it's melted and blended.

I like to add a generous spoonful of Tofutti cream cheese, it makes the sauce have an extra creaminess to it, which makes it all the more delicious and it easily melts into the mixture.
I also add a dash of worcester sauce and some pepper too for a little kick of flavour, but this is of course optional, and open for experimentation!

Once the sauce is all mixed, smelling delicious, and the right consistency for you it's time to mix it with your pasta.
If you have a big enough pan you can use it to mix it through thoroughly, if not you can pour the sauce over the pasta placed in a ceramic oven dish, and carefully spread and mix it through that way.
If you're not popping into the oven you can enjoy it from this point, sometimes for a quick, easy comfort food meal this is just perfect.
I prefer it from the oven tho, especially if it's made with Cauliflower.

Pop into the ceramic dish as flatten it down slightly so the pasta sticks together slightly, before placing into the oven.
We have a top oven/ grill that I prefer to use to make the top extra golden and crispy, it also cooks slightly quicker at about 15 minutes at about 200/250.
If you are cooking in a main oven, then place in the middle shelf for about 20 minutes at 200/250.
You can also add breadcrumbs, and extra salt and pepper to the top before you pop it in to bake.

Et Voila!
I like to team mac and cheese with a mix of baked beans and chopped tomatoes.
My parents used to serve this alongside cauliflower cheese when I was a child and it compliments it perfectly, it also brings back all those childhood memories of my dads cooking after a long day at school.
I drain out as much of the juice as I can before I combine and cook these in a pan, as there's usually a lot more liquid due to the combination which makes it get a little soggy if you leave it all in.

Edd likes to add a little bit of spicy sauce sometimes too, but mainly as I seem to have accidentally got him addicted to this sauce after picking it up on a shopping trip!
The mac and cheese will usually come out golden, and bubbling, I love making this meal on a cold winters night as it's so warming and filling, it's such comfort food for me that it really cheers me up at the end of a long or tiresome day.

See how easy it actually is?! 
It takes about 30-40 minutes to make from scratch to serving, and gives you a nice little break too once it's in the oven before you have to make whatever else you decide to team it with (go for beans, trust me!) which is always great, especially if you're making this after work when all you really want to do is have a sit down.
Let me know if you try it out, and if you make any amendments, how they worked for you!
It's a great recipe in that it isn't so strict, making it somewhat different every time and meaning it can be made just right for everyone.
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