Sweet Treats: Easy Cinnamon Rolls

I adore baking and find any excuse to throw some ingredients together and create something delightful! This is a recipe I spotted whilst perusing a recipe book that I have from when I lived in Morocco. It is one that the Peace Corps put together and its stocked full of easy recipes using the things you've got in your cupboard. Anyone can give this recipe go for a nice weekend treat!
  • One Pkg. Yeast                             
  • 1/4 C Warm water (not hot!)
  • 1/2 C Sugar
  • 1/2 C Oil 
  • 1 Beaten Egg
  • 1 C Lukewarm Milk
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 4 1/2 C Flour
  • 1/2 C Melted Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon
Dissolve Yeast in the warm water in a large bowl without stirring. Then add the following six ingredients and mix. Knead on a well-floured surface. Roll out into a rectangle. Top with the melted butter and sprinkle generously with brown sugar, lightly with cinnamon and white sugar. Roll up the rectangle into a roll and cut into slices with a greased string or butter knife. Place on greased baking sheets and cover with a towel until risen to double the size (30 mins-1 hour). Bake at about 170degrees for 15 minutes or so until brown. Do not overbake!

Hydraluron - THE Answer to Dehydration

It is rare that a skincare product makes an instant difference to the skin, or mine at least. However, Hydraluron worked for me from Day 1 and there is definitely no going back to life before it! I have normal skin that suffers from dehydration. There tends to be a moisture deficit in my skin during most of the Winter months and I HATE IT! The result is a dull complexion, tightness, and lines across my forehead. For those of you who don't know, dehydration is a sure-fire sign of premature aging and thus something to be treated at once!

I have been using the Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst-Quenching Serum for a good 6 months at least, and whilst it was working really well, I just found that over the last month or so it wasn't cutting it and I needed something more powerful. In walks Hydraluron. I had initially seen this one day whilst perusing the aisles of Boots, then a few days later saw Caroline Hirons give it great praise on her blog (read for lots more info). This was back in August and I didn't bite. Come January I was feeling so frustrated with my skin that I marched my way back to that aisle and grabbed a box.

What drew me in was that the product looked scientific. There was a lot of information to read through and Indeed as a company appeared to be a no-bullshit bunch. I liked. Hylauronic Acid is the star in this formula. Hydraluron uses the world's purest form of it and thus each molecule can hold 1000x its weight in water! So the idea is that you pop a small amount of this onto a clean face and follow up with your other products. This acts as a kind of 'magnet' to help hold that moisture from other serums and moisturisers onto the skin and as a result ensure your skin stays hydrated all day. I cannot explain how instantaneously my skin seemed to breath a sigh of relief upon first application. It was what my skin had been looking for, without a doubt in my mind.

Skin is: plumped, glowing, hydrated, soft, bouncy, has fine lines reduced, comfortable
At £24.99 for 30ml the price point is very fair.
Contains no: parabens, propylene glycol, animal-derived ingredients, fragrance
You will use less of your other products as this helps prevent them from evaporating like before.
It is readily available in Boots.

I think that ANYONE can benefit from this at some point or other, even if you're not regularly dehydrated like myself. It is great as a boost during the winter months if you're regularly exposed to central heating, if you're going through a stressful exam-period for school and aren't eating/drinking as healthily as normally, if you're travelling regularly or having a bounty of late nights. 

It has been the answer to my dehydration! Maybe its what you have been looking for too.

Your Healthy Self #2

It's no secret that a good sweat does wonders for your body; both inside and out. Getting yourself moving keeps those extra pounds at bay, flushes toxins from the body, improves your mood and gives you a glowing complexion. What's not to love about that?!

I definitely believe that some people are naturally more sporty than others, but worry not if you're part of the latter category - you too can stay fit AND love it! When most of us think of working out, an unfriendly, bleak and clinical imagine of a scary gym with tiny-toned-tummies and mega-muscley-men appears and we want to run for the hills. But fret not my lovelies, if the gym isn't your thing then don't sign up to one! I've tried gyms in the past, some I couldn't stand and others were pretty welcoming, but in general I'm much more of an 'activity' kinda gal than a treadmill-runner. When I used to live in the States, swimming was a part of life. I was on a swim team and spent almost every day during the summer in or around my neighbourhood pool. Flash forward to England where its cold and wet year round and outdoor pools are pretty much non-existent and I had to find something else to do!

When I moved back I thought to myself, 'ok, because the weather is so unpredictable here, I'd be wise to find an indoor activity'. Something I had always wanted to try was kickboxing, so I tried it out and fell in love. It was a great anger-buster, strength-builder, weight-loss-wonder and in addition taught me the all important lessons of self defence. I worked out with the boys and really enjoyed it, but there are many women's only classes around for those of you a bit shy about trying out something so different and challenging. I've been to a few myself and its a really empowering and wonderful atmosphere to be in! One that I thoroughly recommend.

On a different note, something else that I got into about a year ago is Zumba!
I initially saw a great deal on Groupon for classes with a local instructor and I instantly fell in love (to those of you in the UK, do keep a lookout on Groupon as they often have deals for exercise classes). I love to dance and every workout is both fun and exhausting! The music is great, my instructor is so much fun and you can seriously learn some amazing moves to take with you to the club haha! I have been to a few different classes and noticed that some instructors are more into dancing, others more into aerobics, so you will have to try a few for yourself and see what you prefer.

These are just two ideas - feel free to comment below with your fun way of working out! The bottom line is that you can't be scared of trying out something new, otherwise you'll be stuck in a rut forever. Getting yourself moving is the best way to get on that path to a happier and healthy you. So what are you waiting for?! 

Finding Your Allure.

There is something to be said about those women that exude sensuality and allure. I’m not talking about being overtly provocative, but rather that element of mysterious confidence. For me, I can take two women as different as Nigella Lawson and Kristen Stewart and admire the beauty of both. Let’s look at Nigella first:
A classic hourglass and curvy woman deemed the ‘domestic goddess’ by many, Nigella is known for her love of cooking. Anyone who has watched one of her shows and listened to the way she describes the ingredients will be familiar with the passion she has for what she does. Is it the clothing she wears or the way she does her make-up? No, not really. It’s the twinkle in her eye and the element of mystery to her that we find so attractive.

Onto Kristen:

Credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
I find people have a love/hate relationship with this girl. Her personality and style of acting seems to bother a lot of people, but there’s something about her that I actually quite like. Physically, she is the complete opposite to Ms. Lawson; she is very slim with a boyish frame, porcelain-skinned and frequently rocks the undone/messy look. She can pull off the skinny jeans, sneakers and baggy t-shirt thing because it compliments her personality. Known for her awkwardness, there is something quite endearing about a girl that is thought by millions to be stunningly gorgeous, yet doesn’t know it. She hits the red carpet in a fantastic dress and always emanates a tiny bit of, ‘why am I wearing this dress? I must look ridiculous’. In reality, we’re all thinking, ‘Oh my goodness! Look at those incredible legs! Look at that amazing smoky eye that makes her green eyes pop! She is so beautiful!’

Both of the above are charming in their own way. And that’s what I want to emphasise here. Every young woman will hit a certain age in her late-teens or early-twenties when she enters a kind of awkward in-limbo phase of having to evolve from a girl to a woman. It is up to you and you alone to grasp that and run with it! Find what makes you feel most confident, whether that’s a uniform of pencil skirts and high heels, or Vans and baggy tees. Wearing what makes you feel yourself and beautiful will make the biggest difference to your life and how others perceive you. The clothing isn’t really the important part, as people take notice of a confident woman as a whole, not what brand of dress she is wearing. However, clothing is a good place to start.

Feeling a bit confused? Here are some tips:
1.       Take a long, hard look at yourself in front of a full-length mirror. Preferably in your underwear, or tight fitting clothing so that you can gauge your true body shape. I cannot emphasise this enough! Knowing your body shape will a) make you always dress in a way that flatters your figure and b) save you money as you will no longer buy those key things you know wont suit you!
2.       Know your colours! Get into a clothing store and hold up pieces to your face and see which ones make you appear brighter, happier, and more awake – these are the colours you should be wearing! It’s a myth that everyone suits black...I for one really hate it on me, unless it’s on my lower half away from my face. Take a pale redhead for instance, put her in black and it often drains her, put her in khaki or rust and look at how she seems to radiate.
3.       Think about your lifestyle and the climate you live in to give you an indication of the kinds of pieces that are ACTUALLY appropriate for you to be wearing. (Believe it or not, so many women spend money on things that they buy for a ‘fantasy lifestyle’ that they have in their mind, rather than their actual lifestyle. The result is that they remain hanging in the back of the closet for years.)
4.       Spend more money on what you will wear most often; for women living in colder climates these things include high-quality boots, knitwear, jeans (if that’s your thing), and a coat.
5.       Finally, WEAR NICE UNDERWEAR! I cannot express this enough! Firstly, if you are a larger lady, having structured lingerie will absolutely change the way clothing looks on you. It will emphasise your waist, lift your bust and bum and create a streamlined effect. And then this applies to anybody, knowing you are wearing nice lingerie will completely change your body language; you feel sexier, more confident, and more of a woman, no matter how curvy or boyish your frame may be!

More to come on this subject soon, but for now know that you are a beautiful woman no matter what your hair colour, skin colour, body shape or height! Wear what you feel most confident in and trust me others will take notice. It sounds crazy, but life-changing things can start happening to you when others take notice that you are more self-assured; you feel happier, smile more, and become more attractive.

Bye for now lovelies J.

Daniel Sandler Watercolour Crème Bronzer - Fiji

I am ALL ABOUT the texture of cream products for giving me that oh-so-desirable glow. Especially as they offer a pick-me-up during the miserable month of January! One of my daily essentials is a good quality cream bronzer, and this one by the glorious cosmetic genius Daniel Sandler fits the bill perfectly.

Not your typical bronzer, this shade (Fiji) is aimed at those with a darker skintone, to offer a real depth and warmth to the skin. I'm a MAC NW25/NC30 kinda girl, but I adore this buffed across the tops of the cheekbones, temples and bridge of the nose to give a real sun-kissed glow. When we tan from the sun, our skin is being burned (hence, should be avoided!) and what happens to burned skin? It goes RED. Bronzers that offer an orangey hue often look so horrible because its simply unrealistic! Going for something this shade (used lightly on pale skin) really does a fantastic job at giving a straight-up bronzed glow. It has a slight sheen to it, but this translates very subtly on the skin - don't worry about looking like a disco ball!

I purchased mine here and you'll see that the other available shade, Riviera, is your much more traditional bronze shade and definitely one that I've got my eye on! Let me know if you have it and what you think of it.

Your Healthy Self #1

It has been my goal over recent months to work on a healthier mind, body & soul. I mostly blog about cosmetics, which of course I adore, but I think that really the best place to start if you're seeking healthier skin and a more vibrant complexion is from the inside. This is the start of a series of posts all about how YOU can become a healthier person in 2013 and my choice of topics today is FOOD, with a little meal you can try yourself!

In my every day life, I am definitely known amongst my friends and family as the Veggie Queen. I start my day off with a healthy juice (post coming soon!) and then aim for lots of fresh fruit and veggies throughout the day (I normally get around 8 servings in a day). For me, getting enough of the good stuff isn't difficult. Instead of straining to shove in a random apple or supply of carrot sticks during the day, I simply choose to base my meals around a solid colourful base, adding whatever source of protein I'd like that day!

This is just one example of what I eat. A bit of a variation on the traditional way of eating falafel with pita bread.
To make the above meal you simply slice up your veggies of choice to roast (I've got butternut squash, a red onion, garlic cloves and a courgette), pour over some olive oil and seasoning and then roast for 30-40 mins til the squash is soft. For the falafel, although it is wonderful made fresh, I often opt for this Granose mix that you simply add water to (can be purchased from most health food stores) and fry in rapeseed or sunflower oil til golden-brown. I often have this with some mayo or tzatziki.
Unfortunately in today's world everyone uses ' I have no time!' as the excuse for eating an endless stream of processed food. Ultimately, it is in YOUR hands to wake up a bit earlier and prepare food for the day if you wont have time to cook later on. Trust me, your skin and waistline will thank you for it later!

The ORGANIC SURGE Mega Bundle!

For those of you unfamiliar with Organic Surge, it is a fantastic high quality and affordable natural brand. You can purchase from John Lewis, Waitrose and Whole Foods if in the UK (or online of course). Those elsewhere in Europe can check the website here to see where the products are available in your country.

I was first introduced to the brand about four years ago when I was looking for a new, natural facial cleanser. I tried theirs and never looked back. It is fantastic for leaving the face clean but not stripped. At around about £5 it is fantastic value, but what I really wanted to shout about today was the post-Christmas MEGA BUNDLE offer they have on. I ordered mine a couple weeks ago and am still in awe of the value!

10 products worth over £60 and you only pay £24. I'm sorry but is that not RIDICULOUS?! I figured there must be a catch, but I promise you since having received one myself that there is nothing but pure bliss awaiting you! Best-sellers such as the cleanser I mentioned, the day and night creams, eye gel and more are included - enough to last you until next year or thereabouts!

I cannot recommend it enough and its a great way to try the best of the brand. You wont be disappointed :-).