Saturday, 30 August 2014

Let's Bake - Mint Matchmaker Brownies

 

I'm on the baking scene again. Yay! More brownies, right? Well obviously! I'm like the brownie monster or something. After doing my Mint and Brownie Ice Cream, the natural progression was to move onto combining the two in one. So I did some research and found a recipe for Matchmaker Brownies. It was on a student baking website so I figured it couldn't be too difficult and definitely worth a punt. So here we are.


Above are all the ingredients weighed out to the correct amount. For full measurements click here.


Step one is to melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl over simmering water. This is a pretty standard step for brownie making. I've tried lots of different methods which often produce different kinds of brownie - chewy or crumby or spongey etc. This one definitely leans towards the spongey side of things.

 

Once you've melted the butter and chocolate, leave that to one side to cool. Now it's time to whisk up the eggs and sugar to create a light fluffy texture - or so it says in the recipe. Mine didn't go light nor fluffy but heyho. It was combined together so that's the main thing.

 

Pour the melted chocolate and butter into the sugar and eggs. Make sure the chocolate mixture is cool though! You don't want your eggs to scramble!

 

Fold in the chocolate mixture. I did this with a spatula. Not sure why you need to fold but I did so anyway. Then sieve in the dried ingredients such as the flour, baking powder and cocoa.

 

Fold those ingredients in and it should thicken up the mixture. Don't forget to add your Matchmaker pieces at the last second and combine. In other brownie recipes the mixture can get really thick and gloopy here. The gloopier the more fudgey the brownie which is what I always aim for. This was slightly runny and therefore more spongey in the end.


Pop the mixture into a well greased tray (or specially designed brownie tray for brownie addicts like me) and bake for 25-30 mins at 180 fan.

 

And voila. They should come out looking a little something like this.


Yummy!!!! They were so minty and tastey. However if I was to make them again I would definitely use the brownie recipe from my Raspberry Chocolate Brownies instead and add the matchmakers instead of raspberries. This will create a more fudgey texture and give all round yumminess.

If you try this recipe definitely tweet me a picture @edgeofbeauty7.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Biore Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips


I haven't used nose strips since I was about 14/15. They never seemed to do anything for me so I didn't really see the point in wasting my money. However I was buying some bits on three for two at Sainsbury's the other week and needed a third item so I picked these up. What caught my eye was the 'New 2x Better' statement on the box. I thought it might be about time I gave nose strips a chance again and see if anything has changed with them over the years.


I'm sure you all know about nose strips but if not the concept is really simple. You simply wet your nose and then place the strip directly onto your skin. Once the strip has dried and hardened, you peel it off again and any dirt from your pores should be stuck to the strip. Although disgusting, it's strangely satisfying.


I was really surprised by these as they actually worked. I did see a difference when using them and it was interesting to see impurities stuck to the strip for a change.

I felt like they worked better when I used them on consecutive days. On day one I didn't really see much on the strip, but by day three it seemed like the dirt had been pulled to the surface and I was starting to see a change.

These might be slightly gimmicky as I know they don't pull out all impurities in my skin but it's nice to get rid of what I can and generally make my skin cleaner and clearer.

I've bought three more boxes of these whilst they are on three for two and definitely recommend you try them out just to see if they work for you. They're the best of the nose strips I've tried so far.

Biore Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips - £7.99 from Boots

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Uniqlo's #7DayDenim Campaign Round Up!

If you've been following my social media for the past week, you will know that I've been collaborating with Uniqlo on their #7DayDenim Campaign. The idea was to style a pair of their jeans each day for a week, coming up with as many different looks as possible. 

The jeans I styled are the Skinny Fit Tapered Jeans in Blue64*, Skinny Fit Tapered Jeans D in Black09* and Ultra Stretch Jeans in Blue67*. All of them come as a standard 33" inside leg which unfortunately is too long for me as I'm quite petite. However, Uniqlo offer a free alteration service in store for any jeans or trousers over £34.90. They simply pin them up when you have them on in the changing rooms and then sew them for you whilst you shop. You can either wait for them or come back to collect them later. I really appreciated this service as it was like I was getting my own unique pair of jeans, tailored specifically for me. It made the whole process a lot more special.

What I would note from my experience of shopping on their website is that the jeans can vary in size quite a bit. What might be a 25" waist on one pair might be a different size in another pair but still called 25". I recommend checking the sizing guide for each pair before purchasing or trying them on in store.

I had so much fun doing this campaign - pushing my style boundaries with items I may not have worn otherwise like crop tops.


My favourite look had to be either Monday, Tuesday or Thursday. Tuesday's look really channels my inner biker chick and was the most fun to style for me. My favourite look for everyday is monchrome so this suited me to a tee. I curled my hair and added some red lipstick to give the look an extra flare which I think really worked. Plus, the top had me written all over it, with typography saying 'Today is a multiple cups of coffee kind of day' written on it. Yes please. One Iced Decaf Skinny Cinnamon Latte to go!

Monday's look was a lot more laid back. I took a trip to a local reservoir which is where the photo was taken. The fluffy jumper from River Island made the look so cozy and I absolutely fell in love with the colour and fit of the Uniqlo Skinny Fit Tapered Jeans. I've never had a pair like it before, which is surprising as they can be matched with so many different outfits and give any look a softer finish.

Thursday's look has to be another favourite because it styles so many things I love right now - blazers, oxblood colour, heels and statement necklaces. This is such a comfortable yet stylish going-out outfit that I would wear to drinks or to a restaurant for some chatter and good times with my friends.

If you fancy styling some jeans yourself, why not enter Uniqlo's giveaway to win £200 to spend instore while you're at it. All you have to do is follow Uniqlo on their Instagram page UniqloUK, and then upload your ultimate denim look, tagging @Uniqlo_uk and using the hashtag #UNIQdenim.

Terms and Conditions can be found here.

If you do give it a go, definitely tweet me your looks @edgeofbeauty7 too as I'm a huge jean-aholic and would love to get some style inspiration from your favourite denim looks.

Thanks so much to Uniqlo for letting me be a part of their #7DayDenim Campaign. 

Check out my video below if you want to see my fashion diary from last week and how I created all the outfits above.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

New In @ Boots #2


Every beauty lover likes to shop at Boots. So in my 'New In @ Boots' posts I like to write about all of the new launches available in store and what I think of each product. Check out my first post in this series here.

Revlon Colourstay Moisture Lip Stain - £7.99 - These look so exciting. I'm a huge fan of Revlon lip products and I'm sure these Moisture Lip Stain's will be no exception. The non-stick formula, enriched with Vitamin E and Aloe aim to give hours of colour and shine. From swatching a few in store, these looked gorgeous. They had a water-like feel to them with no sticky residue whatsoever. I definitely need to invest in a shade or two.

Maybelline Baby Lips Electro Lip Balm - £2.99 - If you're fed up of dry lips like me, these lip balms might be the way to go. I've still yet to try the original Baby Lips Lip Balms but it looks like I may pass up the original for these vamped up beauties. The Electro Balm aims to give 8 hours of hydration and they come in 4 pretty shades. Hopefully they pack a pigmented punch too and can double up as a little pop of colour to your everyday look.

Rimmel Keep Calm and Lip Balm - £2.99 - I see these as Rimmel's take on the Baby Lips above. They aim to lock in moisture to your pout and help protect your lips from external elements too. These lip balms come in a variety of fragrances and colours. For such a reasonable price I will definitely be checking them out and perhaps keeping one in my handbag for on-the-go hydration.

L'Oreal Paris Infallible Nail Polish - £7.99 - These double-ended wanders aim to give a mani that defies any UV nail manicure. The polishes come in a range of shades. They will give you colour that's chip free with a gel-look finish. Apply the colour from one end and then apply the topcoat from the other which includes magnifying agents to intensify the shade and enhance shine.

August Mags 2014 - The Best Bits!

 

Company (September Issue) - Haircare / Skincare

Marie Claire (September Issue) - Lipstick / Foundation / Face Mask


Cosmopolitan (September Issue) - Dry Shampoo / Chubby Stick

Glamour (September Issue) - Perfume / Perfume / Mascara / Skincare

Monday, 11 August 2014

This Month's Marie Claire Magazine - Ghost Eclipse Eau De Toilette


I haven't bought a new perfume in what seems like forever. It got to the point where my stash was a little bit overflowing and I found it best to halt my perfume buying obsession and start using some of what I already had. However I've now used up 2 or 3 bottles and am feeling a lot more on top of the situation. I'm definitely holding out to make a few cheeky purchases in duty free on holiday. But to tide me over until then I was happy to discover Marie Claire was giving away a free Ghost Eclipse Rollerball with this month's magazine. Win! I'd never smelt this perfume before so was really excited to give it a go.


I love that it's a rollerball. I don't know why but I feel like perfume rollerballs are so incredibly hard to find in the UK, unlike stores like Sephora in America where you get a pick of most of main perfumes in rollerball form. This makes it really easy to carry in your handbag and apply on the go with no fuss whatsoever. I love the packaging of this little sample and think that the size is absolutely perfect - enough to give you a proper experience of the perfume without being too hefty.


I'm useless at describing perfumes. However here are the notes:

Top Notes - Bergamot, Lemon, Mandarin Orange, Blackcurrant, Peach, Apple and Marigold
Middle Notes - Lotus, Freesia and Rose
Bottom Notes - Amber and Musk

Although this is described as a fruity, citrus fragrance, I feel like the middle floral notes come through quite strongly as well. I definitely get a sense of the Freesia along with the Peach and Lemon. It makes for a very wearable summer scent which is light enough to wear during the daytime without being too vampy and full on. Personally I'm not one to let a time of day change whatever perfume I want to wear but I certainly understand that some fragrances definitely give off a vibe and to me this one says happy summer's day in the park with your mates and a pink lemonade. Yes, that's what this perfume says to me.

The reason behind me liking it so much probably has something to do with its amber notes as I have grown to really love that scent through my increasing addiction of the very fragrant Laura Mercier Ambre Vanille range.

Over all I believe that for such an affordable price it's a really great perfume and would make a beautiful gift for any fragrance lover.

£21.25 for 30ml from Feel Unique

Friday, 8 August 2014

What's eBay? It's all about Vinted!


I've seen Vinted being advertised quite a lot on my Facebook News Feed but never really paid that much attention to it. I knew it was something along the lines of eBay and selling your clothes for money, but I'd already tried apps like that, such as Depop, and they didn't really work out for me. However, a couple of days ago I saw Vinted being talked about on Twitter and finally thought I'd bite the bullet and give it a go. After all it's free to download so what did I have to lose? Turns out, nothing, but a lot to gain. Since then I have been completely hooked, almost addicted, to it. Checking it every hour like I would with social media. It's crazy. 

It works just like eBay and Depop but there's something different about Vinted that's so much better and easier. It works like a dream. The lay out is beautiful and eye-catching. But most of all, it's simple, quick and easy to use.

 

After you've created your Vinted account (which takes all of 0.5 seconds), you are faced with a profile that looks something like this on the left, or a home screen jam-packed of all the other products everyone else is selling like on the right.

From this home screen you can favourite items by clicking on the heart button, read comments about items and leave one yourself by clicking on the speech bubble, find out more about an item by clicking on the photo in the app and generally having a good old scroll. If you favourite an item it is stored away neatly in a folder for later.



To start selling an item you simply need to click the add button. This will link you to your camera where you can take up to 5 shots of your desired item. After that you're faced with a screen like this on the right above. You can add all your usual bits that you'd do on eBay like brand, description, size, condition, colour etc, before continuing to the sell, swop or gift button which you can see in the right image below.



Selling is straight forward. You simply pop in the price you want to sell it for and the app calculates how much you will walk away with at the end of it. Vinted takes 15% of the money you make in your transaction which is how the app supports itself I'm guessing, considering it's free to download.

What's great about this app is that you can swap items with other users if theres something you like of theirs and they of yours. Simply click the swap button to show you're interested in this sort of deal - likewise with gift.

One of my favourite features is how the app helps you send a parcel. First it will help you pick the right size parcel by giving you descriptions on what you can send in what sized envelope. Then it will calculate how much that item is to send via Royal Mail and the buyer always pays the postage. Perfect! Everything is sent via recorded delivery. The sender is required to input the parcel's barcode to the app so you can track your item along the way.

It's that simple and it works perfectly. I've both sold and bought on this app and have only had it 48 hours. It's a little bit addictive and really makes shopping fun again.

I could be here for hours explaining all the ins and outs of why Vinted is so great, but honestly it would probably be more enjoyable to download the app yourself and check it out :) If you do, don't forget to follow me whilst you're at it. Just search for edgeofbeauty7 :) And don't worry if you don't have a smartphone - Vinted is available on the web too. Click here to start your journey and shop to your heart's content.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The Edge of Beauty's 3 Year Anniversary!



I can't believe another year has passed! This is absolutely crazy. I know time flies when you're having fun, but I honestly can't believe how fast the last 3 years have gone. Yesterday was my blog's 3rd year anniversary. My little baby, The Edge of Beauty, is 3! Growing up so fast. And with it has come so many discoveries; products to love, products to maybe avoid, and perhaps the best of all - friendships.

The reason I started blogging was because I wanted to share my passion for beauty and fashion. But I never really realised that I'd get so much more out of it than the simple enjoyment of writing about things I love. It's the meeting new people at launches and speaking to friends and followers that read my blog on Twitter that really make blogging so rewarding. You are what spur me on to pursue my dream in writing about beauty. For that I can not thank you enough.

Each year, to commemorate the occasion, I like to do a little giveaway as my way of giving back to you for all the help, advice and support you've given me. Last year I gave away a bunch of things including a necklace from one of my favourite jewellery brands, Dogeared, and a selection of awesome beauty goodies which you can see below.



But this year I want it to be up to you. I want you to let me know what you'd want to receive - after all it's all about saying thank you to you and I want to do it right.

Please, please let me know what you would like to win this year in the comments below and I will try my hardest to make that possible. It might be something you've seen me review and wanted to try, or a beauty product you've been admiring on the shelf but never got around to buying.

I will be holding the giveaway at the end of this month in my Monthly Favourites post, so there's plenty of time to get your thinking caps on and let me know :)

So finally, thank you ever so much again for being there and reading my little piece of the web. I can't tell you how much I like sitting down at my laptop with a cup of tea, and a slice of cake (or a whole cake as seen above, because I'm a fatty), and reading each and every one of your comments.

For now, let the wish list comments commence and i'll speak to you again tomorrow!
Helena xxo

Monday, 4 August 2014

L'Oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes So Couture Mascara

 

The inevitable happened. I caved and bought Volume Million Lashes So Couture from my favourite mascara brand ever - L'Oreal Paris. This brand never fails when it comes to mascara. Their products genuinely make your lashes look the best they can. There's not been one L'Oreal Mascara I've bought and been disappointed in, which is a statement in itself.

I've tried two mascaras from this line already - the original Volume Million Lashes, and the Excess Noir version. Both I would repurchase any day of the week and I'm happy to say this new product is no exception.


As usual, every product has it's unique selling point and this one is its formulation. Made with Silk, it aims to make your lashes less crispy and look fuller, while the plastic wand with small bristles coats every lash with the perfect amount of product, avoiding clumps.

After trying this product I could agree more with all of the above.


At first I was annoyed that they'd changed the brush was the Excess Noir brush was so incredible. However trial and error has proved that this style of wand is perfect for easy application too. I love that it separates my lashes so that they look natural and not spidery, but still has the volume and impact to give the desired full effect. 

I can't say having non-cripsy lashes really makes a difference to my everyday life other than the fact that the product doesn't flake off at all. With long wear the Excess Noir mascara could flake a little towards the end of the day, especially in hot weather. But this new mascara with its silk formulation creates a look that lasts all day with no fall out.

I simply can't praise this product highly enough. L'oreal, you've smashed it again. Well done!

L'Oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes So Couture Mascara - £7.99 introductory offer at Boots
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