30 July 2014

I am one of those people who go by the golden saying "If it's not broken, why fix it?" As a result I have been using the same basic skincare products since I was 13.

I owe it all to my Mum who was the incredibly sympathetic parent for my dry skin, knowing full well what my teenage hormones would put it through and got me moisturising early. What a relief she did too. I am most certainly not the most persistent person so a skincare routine with 12 different moisturising and exfoliating steps was never going to be for me, or most teenagers at that matter. The Liz Earle skincare range incorporates a range of naturally active ingredients into a 3 step face care routine that got me through high school with a relatively smooth, spot free and unscathed complexion.

The Cleanse and Polish cleanser is a great in the morning and just before bed as the first step in your skin care routine. The unique pump makes it super easy to get the perfect amount, no mess and struggle like you would have with a tube. It takes of all make-up too but is still gentle on the skin. The Muslin cloth used to wipe of the residue also acts and a gentle exfoliator, buffing away at the dead skin cells in order to leave it fresh.

Use the Instant Boost Skin Tonic to refresh and revitalise the skin after Cleanse and Polish. Then finish with the Skin Repair Moisturiser to add back in the moisture to your skin that you lose from washing and repair the skin cells that are damaged from the everyday weather and makeup elements.

If you haven't tried Liz Earle before then I recommend you give it a go. On the official webstore they offer a 'Healthy, Beautiful Skin Kit' which features the 3 products and muslin cloth I mentioned here (in smaller travel size bottles) for just £23.

Love always,

28 July 2014

A couple weeks ago Sammi (beautycrush) created the British Tag and I thought it would be something fun to try this week, let me know if you like these, i'll do more if so...

1) How many cups of tea and how many sugars?

I'm probably the most un-british person ever, I don't like tea. Or coffee. Or scones.

2) Favourite part of your roast?

To make things worse up until about last year I didn't even like roast dinner. I still don't really love it to be honest, but my favourite part is definitely the Yorkshire pudding's. Swimming in gravy, yum!

3) Favourite dunking biscuit?

Either McVities Digestive or Bourbon Creams.

4) Favourite quintessentially british past time?

Would eating fish and chips from paper bags down by the seaside count? I've only ever done that in single digits but it's still one of my favourite things!

5) Favourite word?

Not to sure about this one, at work I always say 'pop', like "I'm just going to pop to the corner shop." I like the word 'chockablock' too, for example "the traffic was chockablock."

6) Favourite cockney rhyming slang?

I didn't actually know hardly any so I just Googled it and I think my favourites are 'Barney Rubble - Trouble' and 'Cream Crackers - Knackered.'

7) Favourite sweet?

I know it's not a sweet (technically) but Cadbury's chocolate is the best, ever. No argument about it. I love pencils though, like those liquorice things you get with the cream in the middle.

8) What would your pub be called?

The Crown. Or The Princess & the Pug. I like fairytales.

9) No.1 British person?

David Beckham. He's just so cool.

10) Favourite Shop/Restaurant?

In terms of British food at a restaurant, it has to be a Beefeater or a good pub. You can't get better English food than at a pub.

11) Which British song pops into you head?

Blue is the colour, the old Chelsea FC song. Who remembers it? OH, or 'Our House' - Madness or 'Up on the Roof' - Robson & Jerome. Such Oldies.

12) Marmite?

No. Never. When I was little my dad once gave me toast and told me it was just burnt. When I realised it was actually marmite I didn't talk to him for a week.

I'm adding a couple questions too: Favourite British TV show?

Mine would be without a doubt Dr. Who. But Top Gear comes in as close second.

Hope you loved this weeks bonus post, definitely a little bit different.

love always,
Melissa xx

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26 July 2014

I love baking. I am not good at it by any means but I definitely pretend to be. I scour the internet looking for the best recipe's and add them to a list that I only visit when i'm adding something new. However, with all this time off Uni I thought it a good idea to try

For the cupcakes:
175g butter (at room temperature), cut into large pieces
175g self-raising flour
175g caster sugar

1⁄2 tsp baking powder

3 large eggs
1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
12 Strawberries
Strawberry Jam

For the icing:
175g butter (at room temperature), cut into large pieces
1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract

2-3 tbsp milk

350g icing sugar, sifted

Pink edible colouring

Edible pink hearts or other sprinkles, to decorate

1) Preheat the oven to 180°C and line your cake time with cupcake cases of your choice.

2) Combine all of the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Make sure to sieve in the flour to make the cakes extra light and fluffy.

3) Add in the butter, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat together until smooth.

4) Spoon the mixture into the cake cases until about 3/4 full.

5) Take 6 strawberries and thinly slice before gently placing them on top of the cake batter.

6) Place about 1tsp of the jam on top of the strawberries.

7) Place in the oven for 20 - 22 minutes or until golden brown.

8) Whilst the cakes are cooling, place all the ingredients for the buttercream icing into a bowl. I sieve the icing sugar but it's not necessary if you want to save time.

9) Mix with an electric whisk until smooth. You should be able to turn the bowl upside down and for the buttercream to not move once finished.

10) Split the icing into two bowls, add a couple drops of the edible food colouring and thoroughly mix.

11) Now the difficult bit, spoon the plain icing down one side of a piping bag the the pink icing down the other side. As you begin to pipe onto your cakes the icing should infuse and create a pretty swirl.

12) Top with the remaining 12 strawberries and serve.

Tadaaaa, my first baking tutorial and I think it turned out good. I love strawberries so with summer beginning for most people what better summery treat than these beauties. Hope you love them.

Love always,
Melissa xx

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23 July 2014

Every year when summer break comes around I always get so stuck for idea's to keep myself occupied. That's why I started this blog, something to keep my mind busy. But on days like today where the sun is making an appearance you have to turn of the computer and make the most of it. After all, the sun doesn't often show its face in England.

Last week, my friend Steph and I went berry picking. I used to go berry picking all the time as a little girl with my child minder and use my produce to make jam afterwards. But since I havn't needed a childminder in about 15 years, it's been about that time since i've been. With our fruit baskets in hand, Steph and I headed to the fields lined with Raspberry and Strawberry plants. I think the strawberry season is just coming to and end at the moment so all of the ones we picked were perfectly ripe and smelt amazing. The raspberry season however lasts a lot longer so we were able pick some less ripe, still beautifully smelling punnets which we might not have to eat so quickly.

Berry picking is great if you like to know your food is fresh and where it comes from, the farm we went to also offers other fruit and vegetable picking to so it's easy to get so carried away. It's also a great activity if you have kids and want them to learn a little bit more about fruit and have fun doing it. I'm thinking about taking my niece in the next couple of weeks if the weather keeps up, she'll love it.

Love always,
Melissa x

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21 July 2014

Let's just get this straight, I adore Ed Sheeran. His album '+' was the soundtrack to George and I's trip to Somerset last year, I even have a very nonchalant 'car dance' to 'Grade 8'. Plus (see what I did there ;)) I'm a sucker for a secret song, so his cover of 'The Parting Glove' after 'Give Me Love' was just the cherry on top of an extremely good black forest gateau. So you can only imagine my excitement when Ed dropped his second Album 'X' two weeks ago.

He returns as his one man band in a way that is the same as '+' but also completely different. It's like +'s more mature, experienced older brother. The music really tell's us more about Ed as he opens up a lot more, especially in songs such as 'I'm a Mess', 'Photograph' and 'Runaway'. There are some beautiful songs too like what you would have found on his previous album like 'Tenerife Sea' and 'Affire Love'.

I could have written this blog post when I first got the album but I've waited to really get into it and see which songs I would fall in love with before telling you all about it. And now I think it's easy to say that overall it's one of my favourite, if not my favourite album of 2014 so far. If you haven't checked it out already (I mean why the hell not?) then you should pick it up ASAP.

Love always,
Melissa x

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19 July 2014

If your hair is anything like mine then I send my condolences. I have fairly fine, curly hair and throughout all of my teenage years I hated the curls that made me look like i'd constantly been electrocuted by some mad professor. So much so that I spent half an hour every morning straightening them out before school. You can only imagine the irreparable damage that bestowed my locks after 5 years of daily heat styling.

For the past 3 years I have been trying to rectify my mistakes and reintroduce health into my hair with regular trims, vitamins specific for hair health and shampoo's which claim to get rid of dead ends. Much to my disappointment nothing really helped. Not really.

It wasn't until this time last year when 'Argon Oil' made it's appearance on the health and beauty scene. And bloody hell, am I so glad it did! I introduce to you the Hair Xpertise - Argon Oil Hair Treatment available in Boots - £12.99) which actually made a difference!

The bottle itself is rather small but a little goes a long way. I had my first bottle for a little over year before I finished it. I do have medium length, fine hair and only wash it every 2/3 days so that might have something to do with it. It's so easy to use and doesn't leave your hair greasy afterwards which is what I have found with other hair oils.

Once out of the shower, I leave my hair to air dry for about 10 minutes before brushing it out. I pop three pumps of the argon oil into my hands, and rub my palms together to heat it up before running it throughout my hair starting at the ends and working up wards. I would say avoid the roots with any other oil products but you don't have to necessarily do that with this one. The product soaks in so fast that residue isn't left on the hair in order for it to look heavy or greasy once dried.

This product has honestly been a life saver for my hair. It's regained it's pre-teen health, is super shiny and doesn't get split ends as often. Which is definitely saying something, if you have any of the problems I have mentioned or are trying to grow out your hair then i'd recommend this 100%. It's a post-shower must have in your beauty regime.

Love Always,

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16 July 2014

If you've attempted to visit my blog in the past week then you will have been greeted by an ugly looking image put there by Photobucket explaining that I had exceeded my year's worth of bandwidth. In short, you guys crashed my site because of the insane amount of time you have viewed it recently. But is was my fault really I ignored one of the most obvious blogger rules.

Anyway, after a rather uncomfortable week I have changed servers (hopefully to a much more reliable one), moved all of my content from the old to the new and done a few minor updates the blogs design so please try to forgive me for the lack of posts. But be assured that things are back to normal and posts will be going up as normal from now on.

I love you unconditionally for showing your love and evidently breaking my blog. Here's to hoping it takes you longer this time ;)

Melissa x

7 July 2014

So i've just recently realised that a few more people having been reading my blog that I initially thought and seeing as you're reading this, I guess you're one of those. So thank you. If you're reading this direct from my web address them i'm sure you've already had a nosy around a my 'about me' page and thought "this chick's weird!" If you're reading this via Bloglovin then you probably don't know very much about me other than what you've already read. But in the interest of getting to know each other a little better, i've put together 13 facts you probably don't know about me.

1. I was born on a Saturday in November, during a Man Utd Vs Arsenal game. Manchester United won and my Dad almost missed me being born because of it.

2. I was born with dark brown hair, it then fell out a grew back blonde and curly. Kind of looked like i'd been electrocuted.

3. I have a guitar but my fingers are too small to play. That's what I tell myself anyway.

4. I'm quite a particular eater but tend to like the foods other people don't. Mushrooms and pickled onions, yum.

5. I'm a big Taylor Swift fan and have seen her live 7 times. But maybe you already knew that one.

6. Consequently my favourite colour is Red.

7. I lose my keys and phone a lot, even when they're in my hands.

8. I'm the middle child. 2 brothers, ew.

9. My middle name is Jane, not lou or louise like most think. Melissa-lou was a pet name my childminder gave me which just stuck.

10. I have the word 'Fearless' tattoo'd on my left wrist but i'm petrified of snakes. I don't even like hearing George do the "I'm a snake" impression.

11. George and I have been together for almost 2 1/2 years but have known each other since we were 13. We're 21 now.

12. George and I 'fancied' each other when we were in high school but never admitted it to one another until now.

13. I love scary movies but they terrify to the point of sleeplessness. The last time I slept alone I stayed up until 2am because i'd convinced myself 'The Woman in Black' was in my wardrobe. That was last Friday.

I hope you hope you loved learning some new things, I definitely spent way longer than I should trying to think of the most interesting things possible. Fail. But now it's you're turn, leave a comment with 13 facts about you. Yes, even you Lauren ;).

Love always,

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5 July 2014

"Hi, my name is Melissa and i'm a shopaholic"

Is there actually such a thing as shopaholics anonymous? I've seen bits of 'Confessions of a shopaholic' but do those places actually exist? If so, I think I need to sign myself up.

It may not yet be out of hand but it's definitely getting that way. All I can think about is shopping, i'm forever making mental notes about what I need, even if I don't really need it. No wait, I do really need that cute, abstract patterned kimono I saw whilst I was at work the other day. I do need it. I do. But I don't really.

I don't think it helps I work in a retail shop either. Customers will walk around and i'll spot what they're holding and think "I need that. Yes it's a tea pot covered in parrots. But I need it." I mean, I live with my parents and don't drink tea but because a customer is walking around with the intent to buy, it suddenly becomes something I need. And then, what's even worse is by law you have to have a break at least every 5 hours. It's like they're giving me a break to entice me in, give me time to make purchases.

It doesn't stop there either, I'll be at home minding my own business, trolling the internet for more things I need to buy. AX Paris, ASOS, BooHoo, i'm browsing. Etsy is the worst, it's like a giant hub of cute little trinkets that pull you in with their sparkly glitter, faux-vintage style or darn cuteness.

Who is with me? I currently have my eye on this pastel coloured, floral co-ordinating short and crop set from Misguided. I'm holding back though, testing my limits to see how long I can last before I crack. I'll keep you updates ;)

Love always,

2 July 2014

Today, George and I took an impromptu trip down to the Beach. This week the weather in England has been something of an anomaly, 26-28 degree's and clear blue skies, so it would have been a sin not to make the most of it. To be honest we're both not really beach people, George isn't fond of the sea or sand and I don't like the idea a sandy picnic, plus the salty air tangles my stupidly fine hair in irreversible ways. But there's always something desirable about the beach, we even go there when it's raining sometimes because despite the weather the beauty remains. Anyway back to the point, we both had fun walking for miles along the coast, sand between our toes and writing messages to the people that will walk here afterwards.

It was such a simple day and I think it was one of my most favourite days we have had it a while and it was one where we didn't really do anything particularly exciting, we didn't spend any money or big it up. It was what it was. To which I had an epiphany, of sorts...

I've decided that i'm going to start this 'series', but take the word 'series' in it's most loosely fitting term. It's not going to be scheduled or anything, well maybe it will, I haven't decided yet. The series is called 'currently' and is all about what is, well... current! What i'm trying to get at is that I don't ever really stop and take in what's happening around me or appreciate the simple things. I'll jump from going to work, to uni, to hanging with my friends and not really stop to smell the roses. I'm sure i'm not the only one either, hands up if your guilty of this too. So 'currently' is my verbal version of stopping and taking a look around.

love always

P.S. Get more current updates (see what I did there ;)) via my Twitter @melharding.

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