Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Book Loving: Saved by Cake

If the gorgeous cover of Marian Keyes's new book doesn't suck you into buying it, nothing will!
Pretty covers aside, I totally love Saved by Cake. Marian was a cooking novice when she started baking as a way to help her get through her serious depression. As she states in the foreword of the book, she  started baking everyday as a form of therapy- and a way to stop her from committing suicide. It is sad to hear how serious her illness has been, and I'm sure her fans would be surprised how the author of such witty and light-hearted novels could suffer such serious depression. It really shows how anyone in any situation can suffer this serious illness, no matter how successful they may appear to be.

Serious stuff aside, Marian has included some pretty awesome recipes in Saved by Cake. When you're a cookbook addict (ahem, rather like me) after a while you can find that books about baking can become somewhat rehashed and repetitive. I was pleasantly surprised by the originality of Marian's recipes and there are several recipes from the book that I'm dying to have a go at re-creating. I'm especially loving the look of the Blondie Cupcakes, Zeny's Banoffee Cupcakes, Rita-Anne's Birthday Cola Cake, the Coconut Milk Cake and especially the Blokey Snickers Cheesecake Loaf. Sugar induced coma, here I come!

Saved by Cake is aimed particularly at baking novices but it also appealing to those experienced at baking due to the scope of the recipes included. I also really enjoyed reading the little introductions to each recipe, as they tend to be very witty and amusing to read- they definitely represent Marian's wonderful writing style.

Happy baking!

xoxo Lauren

Monday, 27 February 2012

Makeup Monday: Um, What the Hell is a BB Cream?

The newest kid on the skincare block is the BB Cream (short for Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm) which is being toted as the next-gen product that will overtake the usually product-packed skin care regime most women use morning and evenings. BB Creams were created in Japan where so many fantastic beauty innovations are made (Shu Uemura eyelash curlers and gel nail art anyone?) and have been on their beauty bestseller lists for years. Yup, not only do we have to thank Japan for creating Hello Kitty, Studio Ghibli, Harajuku Crepes and hilarious game shows, now we have to thank them for creating BB Creams as well. Arigato!

BB Creams are considered next-gen skincare because they combine the positive effects of multiple skincare products into one. Basically they can help you cut down on the number of products you have to use in your daily skincare routine. Depending on the type of BB, instead of having to apply a primer, moisturiser, sunscreen and anti-aging cream you can get away with applying just your BB Cream instead. Which is pretty sweet when you're in a time-poor rush to apply your makeup before work in the morning!

The first BB to hit the Australian market is Garnier's BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector. It claims to give 24 hour moisturisation,  SPF 15 sun protection, diffuse skin imperfections through its lightly tinted base and correct spots over time. Phew. Whether it really can do all it says remains to be seen, but it is a great budget buy at only $13.95.  Stila also has their own super posh sounding HD Beauty Balm ($38.95 USD) which, through "innovative microspheres" is supposed to improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles, hide skin imperfections, reduce skin redness and irritation, help stop breakouts and by the sound of it, will probably make you dinner too if you ask it politely enough.

Clinique, Estee Lauder, Lancome and just about every other beauty brand under the sun will soon be releasing their own versions of BB Creams so it's up to you to pick out which one would be the best for you. If in doubt, ask for a sample to take home with you so you can try it out for a few days. Most good makeup counter employees should be more than willing to give you a free sample so don't be afraid to ask!

Have a great week!

xoxo Lauren

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Loving Right Now

Dazeychic creates the most awesome, fun and whimsical prints. I own the So Very Happy print pictured above and I just love it to bits. It's a lovely reminder to see on a daily basis and it never fails to raise a smile.

This ultra-sweet pendant by Tinee Hacker featuring an original illustration by the designer. She also makes amazing stamps of foxes, cherry blossoms and the odd penguin too! I also love her handprinted moleskine notebooks- much more interesting than the original plain cover.

I found out about Sian's super duper, outrageously cute stuffed animals through the featured seller interviews they regularly post on Etsy. Seeing her creations literally made me squeal with delight! Sian turns all kind of critters into cuddly plush friends, including squirrels, pugs, kittens and jumper wearing sausage dogs. You can even commission a toy to be made in the likeness of your own pet!

Memi the Rainbow creates adorable stamps and jewellery featuring little llamas, sloths, robots and happy cupcakes. Everything about her designs and her blog is candy coloured cuteness and I love it all! She  lives in Paris and her amazing attic studio was featured on Etsy's Open Studio Tour. Cue serious creative space envy!

Have a wonderful rest of the week!

xoxo Lauren

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Makeup Monday: YSL Goes Retro Glam

How could I not fall in love with a make up collection inspired by both the fashionable women of 60's fashion and lollies? Yves Saint Laurent's Spring/Summer makeup collection, wonderfully entitled Candy Face, draws inspiration from the bold looks of the 60's and 70's It Girls Elizabeth Taylor, Twiggy and Andy Warhol's muse, Candy Darling. 
Candy Darling
Whereas most other fashion houses have featured softer, floral inspired colour palettes of blues, greens and purples in their latest makeup collections, YSL has opted for bold, striking colours that will add an injection of much needed brightness to our makeup bags.
Candy Face features almost every colour of the spectrum including lime green, bright yellow, hot pink, sky blue and several shades of orange and purple. The two stars of the collection are definitely the Ombres 5 Lumieres 5 Colour Harmony in No. 13 ($99, below) and the Vinyl Candy Palette 4 Colour Harmony ($90, above). If you love channelling a bit of Rainbow Brite in your makeup routine, this is the collection for you!
I also love the range of different textures and shades on offer in the lipstick and lip gloss department (my personal makeup addiction of choice!) There are the shimmer infused, almost frosted lipsticks (Rouge Volupte Perle, pictured below) next to the more sheer (Volupte Sheer Candy) and the delightfully vinyl-like (Golden Gloss). Colours range from the delicate nudes to the shocking pinks- basically all kinds of candy inspired hues that would suit a range of skin tones.

I personally own a Sheer Candy lipstick in Pomegranate and I love it. I get super dry lips and I find this to be really moisturising and the sheer red colour is gorgeous. It makes you look that bit more 'made up' when you can't be bothered putting any other makeup on- which is always a good thing!

Volupte Sheer Candy
One of the other awesome products in the collection is the Voile De Blush ($65), a water based gel blush that comes in colours ranging from orange to purple. Thankfully they actually offer a very subtle sheer wash of colour, though I'm still a bit doubtful over the violet one!
And last but not least, a product I always get excited over in any collection- the nail polish! The collection features two Manucure Couture Duos, the mint chocolate combo of No 7 and the tutti-frutti No 8. I think I'd like both please!
I am in serious love with all of the Spring/Summer makeup collections this year. Every major house has created beautiful, fun, feminine collections with a huge range of colours that seriously has me wanting to take out my wallet. Or perhaps a loan with the bank so that I could afford to buy everything in each collection...

xoxo Lauren

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Totoro Makes His Leather Purse Debut!

After showing some photos of our leather working experiments a couple of weeks ago I thought I would  put up a few photos showing how the finished pieces turned out. Dad turned the deer and Totoro pieces into a little purse by plaiting the separate pieces together with leather lace. He used a handy little space marker wheel which evenly marks the places to punch holes for the lace to be threaded through. He also managed to turn my little Totoro into a cute keyring too.

I'm now trying to think of other ways I can modernise leather working, but still through using traditional techniques. I'm thinking a little leather carry case for my Holga might be fun to attempt...

If anyone had any suggestions I'd love to hear them!

xoxo Lauren

Monday, 6 February 2012

Makeup Monday: Chanel & Dior Bring on Spring

Photo courtesy of GETTY
Chanel and Dior are making me wish it were Springtime with their pretty new makeup collections filled with colourful inspiration from the best season of the year (even if it is Summer here and we're all trying not to sweat to death).

Chanel's Haute Couture S/S 2012 show featured blue smoky eyes created with the fashion house's upcoming makeup collection which is the appropriately entitled Blue Illusion. We also got a glimpse of my personal favourite product of every new Chanel collection- the nail polish- and the S/S colour is a shimmery lavender blue called Sky Line. *Must repress urge to squeal with delight!*

Although we all have to wait until the new collection hits counters in July, if you're lucky you might be able to get your (lovely little) mitts on Chanel's previous nail colour trio which featured a light blue with a touch of shimmer (Coco Blue), a denim-y blue (Blue Boy) and a more intense navy (Blue Rebel). Clearly the colour blue is an 80's makeup comeback that's here to stay. Hopefully without bringing the perm and mullet hairstyles with it though.

Photo courtesy of Chanel
Photo courtesy of Dior
The new makeup collection to catch my eye is, as always, Dior's Garden Party S/S 2012 collection. Inspired by Mr Dior's own English garden it features beautiful shades of soft greens, purples and lilacs for the eyes and nails complemented by shimmering shades of pink and peach for the cheeks and lips. Even better than the lovely colours are the beautiful compacts that the makeup is housed in. And really, aren't we all a sucker for a compact that looks super flashy to whip out of one's makeup bag for a quick (public) touch up? These babies are definitely too pretty to be stashed away in the bathroom drawer!

In fact the entire collection is full of sweet, flower-inspired surprises. The eyeshadow palettes are embossed with floral prints, the nail polishes are rose scented and the centrepiece of the collection is the Minaudiere- an eyeshadow trio with two lip glosses housed in a woven textured clutch with a rosebud closure.

Photo courtesy of Dior
The collection would be perfect to wear to a garden party filled with ladies in pretty tea dresses eating pastel coloured macaroons, don't you think? Or you could just wear the colours to work. Your choice. But the former is a nice thought, isn't it? We all need to start having more garden parties, right now! (If only for the rampant macaroon and cupcake consumption they allow).

Have a beautiful week!

xoxo Lauren
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