When it comes to herbs, mint is an absolute favorite of mine, and I love using it to make Mint Sugar! Have you ever tried it before? It is SO simple to make! Mint Sugar is exactly what it sounds like, mint + sugar. It is perfect to sprinkle on top of fresh fruit, rim cocktail glasses, or stir into tea or lemonade. No matter how you use it, you will love the refreshing minty sweetness the Mint Sugar adds to your favourite food and drinks!
1 tablespoon mint leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
To make mint sugar, combine 1 tablespoon mint leaves with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar using a mortar and pestle or a food processor. If you have neither piece of equipment, you can chop the mint finely with a knife, and rub it into the sugar. The recipe can obviously be scaled up or down depending on how much you want to make.
I love the combination of mint & pineapple for a refreshing and healthy dessert. But mint sugar really can be sprinkled on all manner of fruits, from citrus to strawberries, peaches, melons and the list goes on. You don’t need a lot, so it’s not terribly unhealthy, but it adds a touch of sweetness and sparkle. While the mint sugar will keep in the refrigerator for a day or two, it is best when it is freshly made.
Jamie Oliver is a fan of herb sugars too, for example he serves basil & mint sugar with fruit salad at his Recipease cafes (as seen here in my brunch review).
I personally love swirling it into my greek yoghurt, then adding fresh fruit and a big scoop of my holy-grail homemade Honey Nut Granola (recipe HERE). Have you ever tried mint or any other herb sugar?
I love wearing red lipstick and even though the selection of shades out there is huge it can be quite tricky sometimes to find the perfect red lipsticks for the right look. So when you find a new favourite, it sure is a happy moment! Some of my current favourites already are MAC So Chaud (review here), MAC Lady Danger (review here) and Collection 2000 Queen of Hearts (review here).
But when I saw these gorgeous campaign images of Estée Lauder’s new Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick range, I instantly fell in love with that red lipstick! Model Carolyn Murphy wears the shade Envious in the shoot and to me it just looks like the perfect Hollywood glamorous red.
The new Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick range promises intense colour (that lasts for up to 6 hours) hydration and a pigmented bullet that sculpts lips, making them appear plumper and more defined. There are 20 new shades in the collection across 4 categories – Nudes to Browns, Pinks to Berries, Corals to Red and Mauves to Plums.
For me, red lipstick is my go-to when I need an easy “dress-up” look because it’s so simple and classic. This is me the other weekend wearing the new Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in the shade Envious which is described as a warm, bright poppy-red.
How to re-create this look? These are the products I used; Face: Estée Lauder Double Wear foundation in 1C1 (link) // Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer // Bourjois Maxi Delight Bronzer (review here) // MAC blush in Melba – holygrail blush for me (review here) // Note: my eye makeup looks a lot darker in these photos than it really was because photos were taken at night quickly before I went out - Eyes: MAC eyeshadow in the shade Cork (all over the lid) // MAC eyeshadow in the shade Espresso lightly along the lower lash line // L’Oreal Paris Super Liner Blackbuster Intense (to apply a winged line along the upper lash) // 17 VaVaVoom Mascara // Lips: Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Lipstick in Envious (link) // Necklace is the Gloria Luxurious Crystal Choker from Maison Miru (link & as seen here)
Aside from being the perfect classic red to me, what’s most appealing about the Pure Color Envy lipstick is its creamy and rich formula. It is super long-weaering but it moisturises your lips rather than drying them out which is better for long days and nights. Plus it applies so smoothly that you don’t need a lipliner or brush - you just swipe it on and you’re good to go – no bleeding outside the lip lines. I also love the chic and convenient magnetic closure meaning no lid coming off in your handbag!
I really love this colour and formula and I’ve had lots of compliments about it when wearing it. Do you like Envious or have you tried any of the new Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipsticks yet?
Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick (£24 - link) is available at Estée Lauder counters and www.EsteeLauder.com now.
Now that I’ve moved out of Notting Hill, one thing I will definitely miss are some of my favourite local brunch spots. But the good thing about change is discovering new little brunch treasures closer to my new home. One of those, is definitely The Elgin in Maida Vale! I’d already heard loads of good things about this lovely pub from my friends that live in Maida Vale, plus I had been here for Sunday Roast before (highly recommended!) but I had not yet had I tried their brunch. So the other weekend I met up with a friend to see if The Elgin could be one of my new favourite local brunch spots!
The brunch menu offers things like; Eggs any style with smoked streaky bacon, Buttermilk pancakes with lemon curd and blueberry syrup, Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs with cream cheese on toast, Chorizo and potato with spinach and a soft duck egg, Corn fritters or a healthy choice like granola and yoghurt. Oh and did I mention good coffee?
Me and my friend both craved a good avocado fix so we went for the avocado, chilli toast with a side of bacon (to feed our Saturday night hangovers!)
Oh and it hit the spot alright! I love the combination of avocado and chilli. It’s one of my favourites and I make it myself at home all the time. The atmosphere at the Elgin is very cosy and during the day it feels more like a homely cafe than a pub. After our avocado breakfast we decided to stay for some tea and something sweet. Sometimes I just crave a breakfast dessert! They have a nice selection of cakes at the counter and I decided on a blueberry and white chocolate muffin. Yummy.
So yes it is official, the Elgin in Maida Vale is a new favourite local! If you are ever in the area definitely pop by; for brunch, Sunday roast or even just a drink. See you there?
255 Elgin Avenue
W9 1NJ, London
Some quick midweek wisdom from me today! I love this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson as a reminder that you can decide what you want to be, pick out your future, and make your own destiny. After all, whoever we think we are, we become!
“The only person you destined to become, is the person you decide to be!” Isn’t this great and so empowering? To me it reminds me that you’re not at the mercy of fate or chance – it means really only you get to decide who you are! But this also means you can’t pass the buck. If you are unhappy with something, you shouldn’t blame something or someone else. You can’t say, “I’m stuck”– because you can always decide to shift your perspective, head in a different direction, and make different choices. And you can’t pretend that you don’t have a choice–because you always do! You just have to choose to choose…
I find I have to remind myself of this quite a bit! Do you? Happy Hump Day!
On Sunday the 86th Academy Awards took place once again in Los Angeles, and all eyes were on the stars red carpet looks at this big time Hollywood event. Here are my pics for the 2014 Oscars best dressed (and a couple of worst dressed).
My ultimate favourite was definitely Kate Hudson! As soon as I saw this dress I was in love. Kate is such a beautiful woman and I adore her fashion style. This Atelier Versace gown fits her like a glove and the plunging neckline is super sexy & the subtle beading with the draped fabric cape makes it red carpet perfection // The “12 Years a Slave” Lupita Nyong’o stood out in a stunning pale blue Prada dress! She looked like a modern day Cinderella and just glowed in the flowing gown. When asked about the stunning dress, she replied: “I wanted to wear blue because blue reminds me of Nairobi” // Jennifer Lawrence once wowed in a red peplum Dior Couture gown. I love how she accessorised her dress with a back-drop diamond necklace. I think this dress suited her new short hair look very well too!
Charlize Theron in a sweeping black Dior dress. Simple but very elegant and loved the clear straps with the low back // Sandra Bullock looked like Hollywood Royalty in a navy blue Alexander McQueen gown // Cate Blanchett dazzled in her favourite designer Armani with a nude gown with silver beaded detail. When I first saw pictures of this dress I didn’t love it but it ended up growing on me and when I saw it on TV (instead of photo) I think it was just a beautiful sparkling gown and perfect for the Oscars // Emma Watson looked stunning in a black shimmering semi-sheer Vera Wang dress. I’ve read a lot of negative comments about her look but I personally just really liked this outfit, she looks modern, young but classic and grown-up at the same time.
Best dressed couples? Actor Matthew McConaughey, who won the Best Actor Oscar for his movie Dallas Buyers Club, made a superb entry with his stunning and gorgeous wife Camila Alves. Matthew opted for a black and white Dolce&Gabbana tuxedo while his model wife wore a beautiful Gabriela Cadena gown, Charlotte Olympia shoes, and Lorraine Schwartz jewels. One word to describe Camila Alves at the Oscars 2014 – Divine! // Pregnant Olivia Wilde looked sophisticated in a black Valentino gown and chic updo. Jason Sudeikis was best dressed man for me this year – loved his navy Prada suit!
Penelope rarely makes a fashion misstep but her powder pink Giambattista Valli Haute Couture silk gown was not a winning look for me! I didn’t like the toga-like fit and there was so much fabric at the back making it really unflattering // The “Wolf of Wall Street” actress Margot Robbie looks a bit vampish in this black gown. I did actually really like the big black bow on the back and from other angles the dress is more flattering but I think with the very dark hair, heavy make up and dark lips it’s a bit too overpowering. A shame, I would have loved to have seen her in something bright or sparkling because she’s so stunning. I just don’t think this dress did much for her //Lady Gaga in Versace. I think the silver figure-hugging dress wasn’t that bad but it’s the combination with the lilac long scarf and hair & makeup styling // Anna Kendrick in J Mendel. With its floral patterned sheer detail, asymmetrical neckline, sporty sleeveless cut and thigh-high slit, this dress just had too much going on.
What did you think of the stars on the Oscars 2014 Red Carpet this year?