Saturday, November 25, 2017

Heaven is a Cupcake

love cupcakes. I mean, don't we all? They have always been the thing that I grew up loving to bake, albeit I may have always overdone it slightly with the icing, oops! And even now, I still love nothing more than baking a large batch of cupcakes; especially for seasonal occasions, such as loved one's birthdays or at Christmas, Easter and Halloween.

Back in September 2016 when I was having my blogging break, it was a loved ones birthday. As he loves Doctor Who, I really wanted to get him some custom made Whovian cupcakes, I think bespoke cupcakes customised to show someone's hobbies or favourite things is a really thoughtful gift. Now, I could have attempted to make them myself but my baking skills aren't the best so I decided to look for a local independent business, that makes custom made cakes because I think it's now more important than ever to support local businesses. So, I headed to Google and looked at tons and tons of different websites and then I came across 'Heaven is a Cupcake', which is run by the lovely Lucy. I loved how pretty the website was and the cakes she had previously made were all really impressive and when I saw that she had made Doctor Who cupcakes before, I was sold. 

I sent her an email describing what I had in mind and which sort of items from Doctor Who I wanted to be featured on the cupcakes, such as Tom Baker's famous scarf and Matt Smith's fez and a bowtie because they are his favourite Doctors and of course, we had to have a Sonic Screwdriver! She was so lovely and helpful, nothing was too much of an ask for her and she answered all of the questions I had. 
The cupcakes were priced at £40 and I know paying a lot of money for things such cake can be a little bit off-putting for some and they'd rather opt to get something considerably cheaper from a supermarket but they were honestly worth every penny. The taste of a shop bought cake is completely different to something custom made, I couldn't believe it. They were honestly the best cupcakes I've ever tasted and I think this also has a lot to do with how much of a passion Lucy has for baking, it really shows!

All of her other designs and creations are just as incredible and as Christmas is coming up, I thought I'd finally write this review because I think some festive cupcakes would be such a perfect little gift this Christmas...or if you'd rather have a go at baking some yourself, she also runs cupcake classes throughout the year and has some Christmas themed ones coming up which seems like so much fun!

If you're from the Hertfordshire or St Albans area and are either looking to learn some new baking tips and tricks or to order some bespoke cakes yourself, definitely check out Heaven is a Cupcake, you won't be disappointed! 

Twitter - @heavensacupcake
Facebook - heavensacupcake
Instagram - heavenisacupcake

*All images are either those of my own or those that are featured on the Heaven is a Cupcake social media accounts.
Saturday, November 18, 2017

What's On My Face #7

Charlotte Tilbury Amazing Grace

 aspect that I felt has been missing from my blog and I've been wanting to bring back, is my beauty posts. It's the thing that originally ignited my passion for blogging and when I made the decision to stop primarily being a beauty blog, I kind of unintentionally left talking about my favourite lipsticks and foundations behind. And although I don't get as excited about the latest MAC releases anymore, makeup is still one of my biggest passions. One of my favourite posts I used to do is the 'face of the day' where I would showcase all of the makeup products I'm currently using and loving and so I thought I'd do another!

First, to prep and prime my skin; I've been using the 
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer which I have a little travel size for. I really like it and it creates the perfect base for foundation. However, I couldn't see myself paying the £30 price tag for the full-size. In terms of foundation, I seem to be opting more for high street brands recently. I hate ordering a high-end foundation online because you have to do that thing of spending hours trying to guess which shade you are. You settle on one, it arrives and it's still three shades too dark, even though it looked fine on Google. I also live in a small town so the only options local to me are Benefit, Chanel or Estee Lauder.

The Bourjous Healthy Mix Foundation is probably my all-time favourite high street foundation. It has the coverage that I need, isn't too perfumed and contains lovely ingredients and vitamins such as C, E and B5, which is meant to give the skin an instant anti-fatigue effect and take it from someone who has Chronic Fatigue, it definitely works! I apply it with the Real Techniques Miracle Sponge. I adore this as I find it gives you such a flawless finish and makes the skin look lovely and hydrated. For concealer, I usually go for one that's pretty high coverage because my under eye circles are darker than my soul. One of my favourites is the Studio Finish by MAC and I apply it with the Zoeva 142 brush. I then set it with some trusty ol' Rimmel London Stay Matte Powder

And then onto eyebrows... My all-time favourite brow product has to be the Anastasia Brow Pomade but unfortunately, I've run out of that at the moment so I've just been using a mixture of the brown eyeshadows that I have in my collection, until I repurchase. I've particularly been loving Cork by MAC and applying it with the MAC 266 brush.

Recently, I've been trying to make more of an effort to try new things with my makeup, instead of always sticking with what I know. One thing I had never tried was opting for a more "out there" eyeliner shade so I popped on a really pretty, subtle MAC shade named "
Naked Lunch", one of the more neglected eyeshadows in my collection and applied the blue Avon Super Shock Gel Eyeliner over the top and I absolutely loved it! I'm thinking of trying one of the NYX Vivid Bright Eyeliners soon because they look incredible and super pigmented and they come in shades such as blue, yellow, purple and orange. I finished it off by applying a little bit of highlight to my brow bone and inner corners of my eyes and applying the YSL Shocking Mascara which makes my short, non-existent lashes look a lot more noticeable.

For bronzer and highlight, I'm still completely obsessed with the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glowexpensive but nothing else compares. I use the Zoeva 127 brush to apply the bronzer and the Real Techniques Contour brush to apply the highlight. I absolutely adore the Zoeva brushes, I got the Rose Gold Collection for Christmas a few years back and they have lasted so well. The set is definitely a splurge but completely worth it if you're in need of a whole load of brushes to start off your collection.  

My lip combination is a mixture of the Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in the shade 'Eastend Snob' and the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in the shade 'Amazing Grace' which is a very pretty pink shade, that is perfect for every day. I have two shades of the Matte Revolution lipsticks and they're my favourite matte lipsticks ever! The colour is super pigmented and matte but not drying at all.

I hope you enjoyed my first 'real' beauty post in over two years! What products are you loving at the moment?

This post contains affiliate links.
Monday, November 06, 2017

10 Useful Websites For Bloggers

10 Useful Website For Bloggers

Since PicMonkey started charging for all its services, I've been on the hunt for something new and Canva is amazing. If you want to create graphics for either your blog or social media, this is perfect because they have ready-made templates you can edit and the sizing is perfect for things such as the Instagram square, Twitter headers or media kits etc... or you can just create your own designs too! They have so many templates, fonts and images to choose from and it's just so easy to use. It's primarily free but some options do have to be paid for. However, nothing I've tried to do has cost me anything so far.

This is a tool I now always use and it's perfect because it highlights all incorrect spelling, grammar and punctuation. You can add it as an extension to Chrome or install it directly to your desktop so it corrects you as you type or you can just upload your text directly to their website.

If taking blog photos isn't your forte or if you just can't find the time to take any because life keeps getting in the way, Pexels will become your best friend. Here you'll find a whole range of free stock images that are free to use for personal and commercial use and can be modified, distributed, and do not require attribution. Using images from the likes of Google or Pinterest can get you in big trouble so remember to be safe!

If you're like me and pretty clueless when it comes to editing html, this site will be a godsend to you! I originally found it and started to use it when Tumblr was the cool thing and I needed to tweak my theme but it's still really helpful, even now. They have a whole range of different tutorials and they're so simple and easy to follow.

Pretty fonts are a weakness of mine but I do like to change them up quite frequently so paying lots of money for one font isn't ideal and that's why I love DaFont so much, they have tons and tons of fonts for free; There really will be something for everyone and they're so easy to download, install and use! I've been using this site for years and it hasn't failed me yet.
If you take blogging seriously and care where you rank on Google, it's important to ensure that your site contains no broken links. I recommend you check this regularly because I didn't and I recently had to go back and delete and change over 100 links...yikes.

We all tweet links from time to time and if you're also a blogger, you sometimes need to tweet a link, caption and hashtags and ensure it all fits within the 140 character limit, which can be kind of tough so something I find that really helps is a url shortener. I've used the Google one in the past but I much prefer bitly as it shows in-depth analytics of the link, which is really interesting to see.
This is another website I found while on the hunt for a PicMonkey replacement and it's a pretty close match and feels very similar when using it. Just like the old PicMonkey, some of the options are free and others, they charge for. If you're not a fan of this one, another website that is also similar is iPiccy!

I don't schedule too many tweets myself but this website is extremely helpful during busy periods when you need to promote your blog posts on social media but you don't have the time. Try not to go overboard with this though and schedule too many tweets, otherwise, it starts to look a little spammy!

I've never used Wordpress so I can't speak for that but I'm aware that the stats on Blogger are usually incorrect so Google Analytics is essential. It's so in-depth and really gives a huge insight into your readers and how well your blog content is being received. 

Thank you for reading, I hope some of these websites help you! I have a few more websites in mind, which really help me stay organised in terms of blogging so I'll probably do another one of these very soon.
Friday, November 03, 2017

Remember, Remember...

Keeping Animals and Pets Safe During Firework Season 2017

Firework season is upon us once again. I mean, I say that but where I live, fireworks have been going off every.single.night for weeks. Now, I like fireworks as much as the next person and attending a controlled firework display is one of the best things about November, am I right? But for animals, it's definitely a tough time. Here are some tips to get our furry friends through the next few months...

* Provide them with a safe and comfortable hiding place in case they are frightened, such as a cardboard box, an igloo bed or even the space under your bed or behind the sofa.

* When the fireworks are going off, keep them inside and close all doors, windows and block catflaps. Ensure to have some background noise on such as TV, radio or some pet therapy music to try and block out the noise.

* Ensure that they have access to a litter tray and fresh water, they may not feel like eating.

* Keep your cat company when fireworks are being set off but act normal, don't overwhelm them with cuddles or they may become more nervous.

* Allow your cat to wander around and pace the house. If they are afraid and looking for a hiding place, leave them be.

* Try and feed them before the fireworks occur, otherwise they probably won't eat when nervous.

* If your cat is extra timid, try and get them accustom to the sound of firework sounds beforehand by playing them audio clips of fireworks.

*Provide them with treats and toys as a helpful distraction. 

* If anxiety is a major issue with your cats, speak to your vet about purchasing something like Feliway Friends which is scentless plug-in diffuser which helps to reduce stress and anxiety.

* Allow them to be in familiar territories, such as their favourite chair or bed.

* Reward their calm behaviour. If they're scared and hiding, don't try and entice them out as this could make them more scared. Never punish them for being scared.
* Walk them during daylight hours to avoid walking them when the fireworks may occur.

* Never leave them tied up outside while fireworks are being set off and avoid leaving them all by themselves.

* Keep them inside when fireworks are being released and keep doors and windows shut.

* Ensure that they are microchipped and are wearing a collar and an identification tag.

* Feed them before the fireworks are set off because they might not feel like eating when they're on edge.

* Create a quiet area for your pup, with blankets and their favourite toys. Play pet therapy music, or just the radio or TV to block out the noise.

* Also create some hiding spaces or invest in a crate to allow them to get into a space where they'll feel most safe.

* Dogs are more likely to drink more when nervous so ensure a fresh bowl of water is accessible to them at all times.

* Provide them with toys and treats as a helpful distraction.

* Try and get them used to the sound of fireworks with the help of audio clips beforehand. If done as a puppy, your dog will more likely not be bothered by fireworks when growing up but always remember, it's never a good idea to take your pup to a firework display, they won't be happy.

* Keep them company but try and stay calm and act as normal as possible as being on edge yourself will make them worry more.

* If anxiety is a major problem with your pup, speak to your vet about getting something such as Adaptil which helps with stress and anxiety.

*Reward their calm behaviour and never punish them for being scared.

* If possible, all hutches and cages should be brought in to a quiet room indoors or to a garage or shed.

* Supply them with extra bedding so that they can burrow and feel a little safer.

* If you cannot bring the cage or hutch inside, partially cover the cage/pen/hutch with blankets so their home is soundproofed but it enables them to still be able to look out and ensure ventilation.

* Supply them with treats to keep them occupied.

* Always ensure they have fresh water.

* Do not set off fireworks near trees or woodland, nesting areas, brush piles or any other sheltered areas where wildlife may be living. Ensure to avoid sensitive wildlife areas, such as nature reserves and nesting and roosting sites.

* When possible, re-site the entire bonfire before lighting. Use broom handles to lift up the bonfire to check for any wildlife sleeping inside before lighting. Check carefully and use torches, this a common way many animals lose their lives.

* If you're having a large bonfire, place a mesh fence around the bonfire to avoid small wild animals getting trapped inside.

* Remove bird feeders and bird baths in advance so the wildlife has time to move on.

* Find the contact details of your local wildlife centre, in the event of a casualty.

* Clean up any bonfire or firework debris afterwards.