30 June 2014

Patterned Trousers

Outtake: caught mid pose
Top - H&M
Trousers - H&M
Earrings - H&M
Bracelets - Stradivarius and random
Watch - DKNY
Wedges - Chaussea
Lipstick - MAC Girl About Town

I went to H&M, what a surprise! But to be fair, it is one of the best shops for affordable yet nice clothes here in Luxembourg. I spotted these trousers and just had to have them. I love loose fabric trousers for those not overly hot summer days and these were perfect. And also they aren't completely black, which is different for once since most of my trousers and leggings tend to be black. I paired them with a hot pink vest top which I found among the sale items, also in H&M. I really like how the pink breaks up the monochrome pattern. I decided to keep all of my jewellery plain gold/rose gold and used MAC's Girl About Town lipstick, as it went nicely with the top. I feel like the wedges make this outfit more night out appropriate and flats would make it a more casual, comfortable day time outfit. 
Hope you all had a great weekend! 

29 June 2014

Bebe More Range

bare faced
with the Brighten Up moisturiser
with the moisturiser and the eye cream
                            with the eye cream                                          without the eye cream
finished face, no other face products used (foundation, concealer or powder)
I recently spotted new Bebe skincare products in Cactus. I admit, I am always drawn in by cute packaging and Bebe never fail in that aspect. There were three new products in the Bebe More Range, the Melt Away cleanser, the Beautiful Eyes eye cream and the Brighten-Up face cream. Naturally, I bought all three. For science. I don't actually feel bad about it, because Bebe isn't an expensive brand. Also I was in need of a daily moisturiser and I don't even own any eye creams. But there's a first time for everything.
My skin tends to be quite sensitive, in the sense that I have to be careful about what I put on my face. I often find that most moisturisers and creams make my face itch immediately after applying them. There are no actual psychical signs of this but my face feels so uncomfortable. This is also the reason why I don't use many face products like foundation. Even concealer feels horrible. So whenever I find a product that doesn't do this, I stick with it. The Vichy 3 in one cleanser, La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo serum, the Effaclar A.I. cream and the Effaclar Purifying cleanser are my go to products. However they are all on the more expensive side.
I did have high hopes for the Bebe products and they didn't disappoint. The cleanser is just as good as the Vichy and the La Roche Posay ones, my face always feels really soft and extremely clean after cleansing. 
I was most interested in the eye cream and was quite surprised by the results. I found the cream visibly lighten my under eye circles. Let it first be known that I don't really mind my under eye circles, they don't bother me as much as having spots for example, but I actually liked how the cream lightened up those areas. I looked a lot more awake! I don't think the photos do it justice, but you can tell there is a noticeable difference. Out of the whole range, this product is my favourite.
The moisturiser has SPF10 which is good because I have trouble finding  cheap moisturisers that contain any kind of SPF here in Luxembourg. As far as brightening goes, I do notice that my face looks less dull after using this cream. It feels really nice on as well and none of these Bebe products made my face itch or feel uncomfortable, which is a huge thumbs up for me. I have also noticed that my face doesn't get oily throughout the day whenever I use this cream, which is a plus.
So far after a month of trying them all out, I am really impressed with these products and will definitely repurchase them when I run out. The amount that you get in each product is more than enough as well, less is more with the eye cream and moisturiser and the cleanser comes in a reasonably sized tube as well. 
Have any of you tried these products before?

27 June 2014

Chocolate & Raspberry Cake

My mum made this cake for my sister's birthday and despite not normally liking raspberries, I thought it turned out to be amazingly delicious. She found the recipe online but decided to make a few changes to it, to make it a bit easier. It's very rich and very moist, so you definitely don't need a huge slice (unless you really want one!).

Ingredients: 

Cake: 
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup hot, strong coffee

Raspberry buttercream filling:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
Fresh raspberries (mashed up) or raspberry purée to taste
1 tsp vanilla extract
450g icing sugar
(this will make more than enough filling, we had quite a bit leftover which we will probably use to ice cupcakes)

Chocolate buttercream frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp mascarpone
fresh raspberries to garnish

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease and flour two 8 inch round cake pans, then line the bottom with baking parchment. Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well until smooth.Then add the coffee and mix it well, but don't over mix it. Divide the batter between the two pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and put the cakes on to a cooling rack to cool completely. The cake will probably feel a bit sticky but that's normal. 
To make the filling, cream the butter and then add some of the sugar and mix together in an electric mixer. Then add the vanilla and the raspberry purée and the rest of the sugar. Put the filling in the fridge until needed. 
To make the frosting, beat the butter until fluffy for about 2-3 minutes. Add the cocoa powder and sugar and beat until incorporated. Then add the mascarpone one tablespoon at a time and mix well. 
Once everything is done, you can put it all together. Spread the raspberry filling on one of the cakes, then top it with the second cake and frost the top and the sides. Add a few raspberries on top and it's done.

25 June 2014

Milkmaid Braid

Confession time: I love the TV show Teen Wolf. It's right up there with my favourites and I am not ashamed. It started out as a funny, not so scary werewolf show and has slowly turned into a much more serious, a lot scarier werewolf show. And I love it. My favourite character, apart from Scott obviously, is Lydia. I love her style and I especially love all of her hairstyles, many of which involve plaits. I tried to recreate one of the easier ones, the milkmaid braid. It's quite a popular hairstyle and is really easy to do. 
I decided to keep my fringe out and kept that parting but then parted the rest of my hair down the middle. I did two quick plaits on either side of my head and secured them with little elastic bands. Then I pulled them out a bit to make them thicker. I pinned the smaller one up first and used hair pins to secure it to my head and then repeated this step with the thicker plait. I made sure to hide the end of the first plait and then tuck the end of the second plait behind the beginning of the first one and pinned it in place. Then I pinned them more wherever I felt everything needed to be more secure.
I especially love doing this hair style on second or third day hair, where I just want it all out of my face (apart from my fringe obviously). It's pretty but really easy and looks like you made more of an effort. I was in a hurry while doing it and the back did look a bit messy but I though I would just embrace the messy look. You can neaten it up if you want to though.

24 June 2014

Fête Nationale

The 23rd of June is National Day in Luxembourg, which means it's a national holiday. Everybody celebrates the day before National day by going to village parties or, in most cases, to Luxembourg city. No matter where you go, you can guarantee that there will be a lot of alcohol, burgers and very loud music and at 11pm they set off fireworks. We usually spend our evening in the village where we live, where they hand out free champagne (and other drinks) until around 9. But they usually play really awful folk music and it's also always crowded, so this year we hopped on a free bus to the city! (Free because of the celebrations, usually it costs 2€ to take a bus to town.) 
I had never actually spent National Day in the city before and didn't know what to expect, although I had been told that it would be incredibly busy and that there was a parade at one point. We tried to book a table at Chi Chis, a Mexican restaurant right in the center of town, but they weren't taking reservations and told us to just go along and ask for a table. Which is what we did and despite the place being packed we actually managed to get a table after a few minutes of waiting. We had cocktails and nachos and watched some of the football match that was on at the moment, before heading to the road where the parade was meant to be. It was empty. After looking on a news website we found out that for the first time in basically forever they changed the route of the parade. So we decided to explore and find out what else was going on. We met up with my sister's best friend and along the way saw a few live performances. You had to look around for one that was your preferred genre of music, as a few of them weren't that great. We found a tiny stage in a courtyard that had an amazing view of part of the city and some really cute garden furniture. They even decorated the tree with multicoloured lights. 
We wandered around a bit more but didn't find anything particularly interesting so we decided to head home. Despite not actually doing much in town, it was still a fun night because of the company! We got the bus just as the fireworks started and were able to watch them for a few minutes while on the way home. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any decent photos what with being in a moving bus and all. Then we spent the rest of the night watching the Portugal vs USA match and eating ice cream.