Saturday, 31 August 2013

Lavender & Vanilla Homemade Sugar Scrub

I'm having a pamper night this evening, I always like to start off with a good body scrub.  It helps to exfoliate and leaves your skin glowing.  

They are so easy to make at home and they are so cheap.  


1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cupOlive Oil
4 drops Lavender Essential Oil
2 drops Vanilla Extract

Mix all together in a bowl until you are happy with the consistency and smell

Let me know if you give it a try! 

Friday, 30 August 2013

Easy No Cook Playdoh

When we were kids my Mum used to make homemade playdoh with us to keep us amused during the holidays. She runs a day nursery now and she still uses this same recipe to make playdoh for her kids there. I have no idea where she got it originally but I had a look around online and it is really similar or practically identical to a lot of other playdoh recipes out there so I'm guessing this method is pretty foolproof. It isn't sticky or too hard and will stay soft for a few weeks if kept covered in between playtimes. I make it when I'm babysitting and the kids just love it (though I think I enjoy it more than they do haha!) and we add all sorts of things like sequins and rice to the dough. Glitter is awesome too but be aware that it gets everywhere!

First things first, you will need:

 a large bowl
either an actual cup or a 1 cup measuring cup
a teaspoon 
two tablespoons
a wooden spoon


1/2 cup of salt
2 cups plain flour
2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
2 tablespoons of oil ie. vegetable/sunflower/groundnut oil
1 teaspoon of glycerine
1 and a half cups of boiling water
Food colouring

Optional extras: rice/glitter/sequins for texture.

This will make one batch of dough in one colour. Its so quick to make that I usually make three or four batches in different colours so we can get a bit more creative!


First add all your dry ingredients to the bowl and give it a stir.

Then add the oil and the glycerine.

The add the boiling water and the food colouring. The easiest way to add the colouring is to add it to the water before you put the water in the bowl, that way it will dissolve in the water and when you mix it in the colouring will be evenly distributed throughout the mixture and you won't have to knead it in after (which takes forever!)

This is how it looks when all the ingredients are added. Stir everything together, it will be sticky and gooey at first but it will come together pretty quickly. 

When it starts to form a ball you can take it out of the bowl and knead it for 30 seconds or so to make sure everything is incorporated. If it is very sticky add a pinch of flour and work it in, if it feels a little dry then add a splash of water. This recipe is a dream though so it should be perfect. The whole thing should take no longer than five minutes from start to finish!

Now is the time to add any extras like rice or glitter or even sequins! 
I love adding sequins or small craft stars to playdoh, kids really enjoy the different textures.

I made this a few days ago for a couple of kids and they had a blast. We made pink, blue, green, orange and lilac as well as the yellow. Add a few cookie cutters, plastic cutlery and a jar of coloured lollipop sticks and you're sorted.

I like to add real world/grown up things like the cutlery and bun cases too as I find that they like to pretend to make delicious treats for everyone. 

 We even used a cake stand to display them afterwards which they loved.

So that's how we make playdoh in our family, 
a super easy way with no cooking involved that takes just five minutes.

That's it from me for today, I'll be back Wednesday next week with a great roast chicken recipe so check back for that. 
Any questions just shout out in the comments below :)

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Cajun Chicken Pasta

I am a real pasta addict, 
I am always looking for new recipes and ideas for how to cook it.

My brother in law is a wonderful chef and he showed me
 how to make this wonderful creamy cajun pasta.  

He made this for our wedding rehearsal and everyone raved about it, he even converted one of my friends who refuses to eat pasta.  

So I tried making it again at the weekend for my hubby and myself.

I served with Mediterranean bread and dipping sauces of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 


Chicken Fillets  x 2 
Pasta (I used bow ties but any will do)
Cherry tomatoes
Double Cream 
Philadelphia Cheese (1 tbs)
Cajun Spices


1. Cut up chicken and cook for a few minutes until lightly browned.  

2. Cook pasta for 10 minutes in a pan of boiling water

3. Add cherry tomatoes, spinach, peppers, and onion, cook for a few minutes until tomatoes are soft

4. Add Cream, and Philadelphia cheese
(The soft cheese will help to thicken the sauce)

5. Add as much spices as required to suit your tastes.  

This is so easy to make and will only take about 20 minutes, perfect for a mid week dinner.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Beauty Favourites Wishlist...Budget Buys Part Two

Hello again! So I'm back with part two of my favourite budget beauty buys for you guys, this time a selection of lovely little things for lips and eyes. 

First up is one of my new favourites, Nyx Butter Gloss. It comes in twelve different shades, the sassy pink below is called Strawberry Parfait. I also love Tutti Frutti, a peachy coral shade and Eclair, a pretty nude pink. These are literally like butter, so smooth, with great pigmentation and not at all sticky. 

Also one of my favorites for lips is Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter, something that has become somewhat of a cult product. These are really moisturising and deliver a semi-sheer colour with a beautiful shine.  My favourites are the gorgeous Candy Apple which is pictured below, a red-ish coral that really seems to suit me and Raspberry Pie, a sexy vivid fuchsia. 

I found the next product totally by accident, I was ordering some other bits and pieces from E.L.F, spied this and figured I'd give it a whirl...turns out its awesome! It's the Lip Exfoliator from E.L.F. It's packed full of nourishing goodness for your lips and has lots of little scrubby (totally a word...right?) bits in it to make your lips super soft and smooth. I'm crazy about this stuff, it's especially great during the winter months when my lips get dry and flaky.

On to some great products for eyes. This first one also happens to be from E.L.F, its their Essentials Eyelid Primer. I have used the Urban Decay primer in the past and to be completely honest I think this one is almost exactly the same...and at a bargain price of......wait for it......£1.50!!! They come in four shades, each with a different undertone. I have the pearl one and it works with pretty much every shade of eyeshadow. These babies sell out super quick every time they come into stock though so you need to be quick! 

Secondly I have the Wet 'N' Wild Coloricon Eyeshadow Trio in Walking on Eggshells. The only place to get these in the UK is usually Amazon or Ebay and shipped from the US. I found mine on Amazon for £3 plus £3 postage which isn't too pricey. The amazing thing about these eyeshadows though is that they have almost the same buttery smoothness as Urban Decay amd MAC shadows and are really long lasting, especially if you use the Eyelid Primer above. 

The colours of the Walking in Eggshells palette are actually pretty close dupes to some of the most coveted MAC and Urban Decay shadows. The top one is a close match to Urban Decay's Virgin or MAC's Shroom, the middle one is a dead ringer for MAC's Cork and the bottom is a great dupe for MAC's Naked Lunch, Urban Decay's Sin (my holy grail eyeshadow) and actually alot like Stila's Kitten too (which is also one of my favourite ever eyeshadows). I highly recommend this little trio of fabulousness!

So now onto something that is a little easier to find on the high street. Maybelline EyeStudio Color Tattoo 24hr Cream Gel that's a long title for a product. retails at £4.99 at good old Boots and comes in a bunch of colours. This stuff is amazing, it literally stays on all day. The best thing is you can use it as a base too and layer a similar coloured powder shadow on top and, trust me, it will. not. budge. On and On Bronze is a great classy bronzey brown and Eternal Pink is a pretty shimmering pink. My favourite though is the shade below Everlasting Navy, a beautiful pearly dark blue.

Staying with Miss Maybelline I also can not get enough of this next product. It's the Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Liner and it costs £7.99 at Boots. I had never used gel liner before this one and I was worried I'd just make a total mess of it but lo and behold it was actually easier than applying liquid or kohl. Before this I used Lancome's Artliner which is really goo but honestly I think this is better, I can get a much sharper line with this and a little angled brush than I ever could with the Artliner. 


It comes in black and brown and sometimes you can find it in dark purple and grey too. I've only used the black but I think I might have a look for the brown next time I'm in Boots or Superdrug as I think it will work well for Autumn. It has a lot of great reviews so if you are considering a gel liner then I would definitely have a look at this one as it really surprised me with its smooth formula, ease of use and long lasting colour. 

Well I think that's it. My pick of the best budget beauty buys for lips and eyes. If you missed part one of Budget Beauty Buys for the face and cheeks you can check it out here.
All this chatting about beauty shopping has made me want to buy something new! 
Hope you enjoyed the post! Any questions leave a comment below and I'll get back to you :)

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Beauty Favourites Wishlist...Budget Buys Part One

Hello lovelies...Have you read Cheryl's fantastic post Thirty, Flirty and Fabulous ? 
(If you haven't you totally should, some great advice there!) 
I thought I would write a little beauty post since we seem to be on a beauty and fashion kick
 on Magpie and Hen lately. 

Autumn is approaching and it is my favourite season. I just love it. Plus, with every new season comes the chance for new clothes and a new look! 

I'm totally a beauty junkie. Utterly and completely addicted.  Now, while this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it does sometimes (often) leave me in a bit of a quandary as to how to spend my pennies. Do I spend £30 on one awesome thing or do I spend £30 on three sorta kinda awesome things. 

Thankfully there are a ton of amazing beauty buys out there for us gals on a budget. £30 on three amazing things....heck yeah! 

 I've rounded up a few of my personal favourite budget beauty buys that also have got great reviews around the web (that's how I found out about most of these in the first place!) so I know they will suit a variety of skin tones and types, not just mine.

First things

This is L'Oreal Lumi Magique Foundation, it's £10.99 from Boots. This is a gorgeous foundation for the price which lasts pretty well and gives an ever so slightly dewy finish. I like it because my skin gets drier in the winter and I need something like this to help me get my glow on.

If however you don't like a dewy finish then good old Revlon Colorstay is for comes in two variations, one for normal/ dry skin and one for combi/oily skin. At 12.99, again from Boots, the price is pretty reasonable too. This is one of my favourite ever foundations! It's great for special occasions when you don't want your make up to move at all. 

To put on my foundation I use one of these...

It is a flat top kabuki brush from Sigma,  it's called an F80. I love love love  this thing. It makes every foundation look better and smoother than anything else I've tried. Its not cheap though, at around £20 its doesn't really count as a budget buy but compared to the cost of MAC and other big brand make-up brushes its brilliant. Actually, I think a lot of the Sigma brushes are better than their MAC counterparts!

Next up is blush. One of the greatest blushes I have ever tried is Nars Orgasm. I love it but I've had mine since our wedding and its pretty much gone now. I just can't justify spending the money again but there are two (not one but two) really great dupes out there that are affordable and are available in the UK. Hurrah!

Firstly there is Milani's Baked Powder Blush in Luinoso. This. Is. Beautiful. Its Orgasm minus the glitter which I actually like better. Priced at around £5-6 on Amazon its a steal!

The second is NYX Powder Blush in Pinched. Again this is so similar to Orgasm and gives a really pretty colour to the cheeks. At just £6.00 it's a great price.This is the blush I have been using everyday recently and I've even had a few people compliment my pretty glow! 

Lastly, something I can't live without. Concealer. I have a blue tinge under my eyes no matter how much sleep I get so concealer is something I use everyday. I need mine to be hard working, not settle into my fine lines and last all day. I've tried dozens, everything from Rimmel Match Perfection Illuminating Concealer to Benefit's Erase Paste (I like this for concealing imperfections but it's a little to thick for under my eyes) and of course the beloved YSL Touche Eclat ( good but rather pricey!)

This is what I use every single day.

Priced at just £4.19 in boots this Lasting Perfection Concealer from Collection 2000 is an answer to my prayers. It does a brilliant job of lightening and brightening my under eye area and it does it all. day. long. Its pretty great at evening out redness and imperfections too. What more could you ask for?!

So there you go, a few of my favourite inexpensive beauty products that have made their way into my make up bag and my daily routine. I have a few more budget beauty buys for lips and eyes which I cant wait to share with you in part two so check back on Monday for that.  

Does anyone else have any great beauty buys they want to shout about? Budget or otherwise haha.
Let us know in the comments!
 Or do you have any beauty questions you would like us to answer in a post? 
Just give us a shout and we will get back to you asap.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Holiday clothes

I am going on holiday in October to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I'll be visiting my sister and brother in law.  It's a great excuse to treat myself to some Autumn clothes.  Something I haven't mentioned yet is that I am a plus size woman, a UK size 20-22.  Since I had to put a lot of effort into finding clothes that make me feel fabulous, I thought I should share with you guys where I was able to find really nice things in case anyone else out there is having the same problem.

1.  Obviously need boots - I love shoes, so much easier to find!

2. New Look - they do some fabulous clothing for plus sizes, it's on trend.
                           Some of my favourites for this season are


3. Peacocks - have some really cute basics

4. Simply Be - I love this website, you can return items if they don't suit you but so far I've never had to return anything

5. Debenhams

They had a great selection especially of dresses, I've got quite a few dresses for weddings here recently.

There are a lot more places now available for plus sizes.  It just takes some effort to search for them.  Now the problem is stopping myself from spending all my money before I go on holiday.