31 October 2013

Life | Halloween Cupcakes

Happy Halloween everyone! I know not everyone buys into the 'holiday' but my family for one is a big fun. It's just a load of fun. This evening we will be sat watching a series of halloween based films (usually Hocus Pocus) whilst my Dad opens the door as a skeleton to kids and Adam goes round the side gate as a wolf...
On Sunday Adam and I decided to make some cakes and pop our own Halloween spin on them.. So here is what you need!
For 20 cakes:
3 medium eggs
6 oz self raising flour
6 oz butter
6 oz caster sugar
chocolate chips
icing tubes in black and white

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (not fan assisted). Mix together the sugar and butter like so...

Then mix in the 3 eggs and gradually seize in the flour. Mix until it creates a creamy mix... Then add as many chocolate chips as you like! Of course you can pop whatever you like it such as raisons, cranberries etc but let's face it. Chocolate. Hello?!

(tshirt: topshop | cardigan: tesco | jeans: topshop)

Grab some halloween based cake cases and pop into a cake tray. Mine takes 12 at a time so I had to do it in two batches...

If like me you need two batches, pop the first batch in for 20 minutes, the second for around 15 minutes. If you only have one batch (or two trays) just pop them in for 20 minutes. Then let them cool for at least half an hour.

Adam and I then decided to decorate our cakes - 10 each - and see whose came out on top. We used black and white icing, ready made and in a tube with different nozzles. You can make your own icing and icing bag, but for around £2 each you can get them for Sainsburys. Much easier!

Our independant adjuidicators (my grandparents) voted for the winning cakes... Now I have to say they did NOT know who decorated which ones (for Adam who thinks I cheated), but they chose me and my awesome bats as the winners! Although Adam's skull definitely gave me a run for my money.

These are so easy to make and the basic ingredients make it really easy to remember a fab base for normal cupcakes. I know it's a bit old school using oz but it's easy to remember... whatever eggs you use double it for the rest!

Whatever you're doing this halloween I hope you have a great time! I cannot wait to move out and host my own party - fun times!!

What are you doing for halloween?


30 October 2013

Outfit | Eat Your Heart Out

hat: topshop | shirt: topshop | cardigan: new look | jeans: topshop | necklace: lola rose | ring: lola rose

Sometimes you see a piece of clothing that you just have to sigh over and think "well, that was made for me". And that's what I thought with this shirt. My Mum pointed it out to me (see her post on it here) when we went shopping and we both ended up getting it.

It's a crop type shirt, navy (AH!) and decorated in gorgeous little hearts. I wore it with my amazing Joni jeans (don't think I've actually taken these off...) and a red cardigan when I went out for lunch with the lovely Paige in Wickham (see her post here about our day). It was the perfect autumn outfit before it got all cold and windy and bleugh. So comfortable, casual but chic for a lunch out having afternoon scones and tea and browsing vintage furniture.

This shirt would look super cute under a jumper with the collar poking out, or with a pencil shirt for a night out. I am loving this item of clothing. Me and Mum just need to make sure we don't wear them at the same time!!

How would you style this adorable shirt?


29 October 2013

Skin Care | Origins Make A Difference Plus

So, I've been debating for months as to whether or not I should buy this little pot of good skin promise. It's not the cheapest thing to buy if it doesn't work out, but there's been so many good reviews. Eek! Well my skin decided it was going to be a frigging nightmare a couple of weeks ago and just wouldn't let up - no matter what I did it just wouldn't clear itself so I convinced myself it was time to take action.

I'm always really impressed when i order something from Origins. It arrives so quickly and always comes with little samples which is a really nice touch. Anywho, it arrived and I've been using it for around two weeks now so decided it was time to pop it up on the blog. Honestly - how the hell did I live without this for so long? There is no product that has ever made as much of a difference as this.

Basically I pop it on in the morning after a quick cleanse, no moisturiser, and then make up. Then again in the evening before bed after I've removed all my make up. It has a very strong scent to it so if you're not a fan of scents you may want to be wary. It's a very orangey scent I think - I'm still deciding if I like it but Adam loves it so hey. Within two days my skin was visibly clearer. Any spots that were threatening to come up disappeared overnight and my skin just looked healthier. I've not had to moisturise as much either since using this.
There was one day I forgot to take it with me to Adams so didn't use it and you could see a difference instantly, my face didn't seem as clear or clean and instantly a couple of spots appeared. 

I am over the moon with this product. I don't know what I'm going to do when it runs out - buy another? I'm just going to have to swallow the cost as there is no way I could survive without this now. If you are having troubled skin I would definitely recommend this as it's a winner.

What treatment works for your skin?


28 October 2013

Make Up | Mac Relentlessly Red

Okay so maybe I need to go to Mac anonymous... Maybe. So, as promised a few days ago here is my review on Relentlessly Red. Part of Mac's new Retro Matte collection I bought this with the coveted Ruby Woo (review here).

Relentlessly Red is, surprisingly, not red. Yeah, weird I know. It's a very bright - almost neon - pink and it is breathtakingly gorgeous. It's very blue toned - which is probably the only resembalance it has to red but hey, who cares about the name when it looks like this?!

I found this a LOT easier to apply than Ruby Woo, it was slightly creamier so smoothed on without too much hassle and I didn't have to concentrate as much on making sure it was all even. I've had so many compliments about this it's insane. 

Lasting power is actually amazing on this, it even rivals Revlon's ColorStay Suede lipsticks (review here). It lasts all day at work, (my test for any new make up) so I'm thoroughly impressed. I definitely want to try some more from the Retro Matte collection if they are as good as this - we shall have to see what the birthday brings!!

What's your choice from the Retro Matte Collection?

27 October 2013

Life | Little Things #3

Hello again! Life the past couple of weeks has been quite busy at work and out of it, a lot of stuff going on! It's not getting any quieter either I'm afraid. At the same time I'm quite happy as it's keeping me busy!

Last weekend I went out for a friends birthday and it was such a good night out. I got to spend some time with the bestie Amber and some cocktails (woop) which doesn't happen as lot as we are both saving for a house so we mainly just pop over to each others and talk... Which I love as well. One of my favourite things to do is just chill with this girl and have a chatter.

I have been really liking my wardrobe lately. I've felt a bit of a burst of inspiration lately so been mixing up outfits that I wouldn't usually do, like this uber girly number above. This dress I only ever wear for post outings, but stick a jumper on top and it's a day outfit. Love it! Also I teamed it with these boots from Schuh which I have been lusting after for weeks now and have finally managed to get hold of and they have no left my little feet.

My hair is getting to a length of being able to be a tad more experimental with it again lately. It is due a cut again very soon but for now I've been adding a curl to it and I love the affect. It makes it softer and really brings out the highlights. Something else new is how much time I've been spending with this little guy. We've had him for years but recently he seems to be living in my room, and what a cuddly little thing he is.

This week coming I have Halloween coming up (which is always an event in our household). Last year I was in Exeter for the day so I'm looking forward to actually being here this year and getting some snaps.

What's making you happy at the moment?


25 October 2013

Life | Halloween Party Essentials

Halloween is just around the corner, I swear it comes quicker every year (or maybe that’s just me getting older). Hopefully by this time next year I will have moved out into a place of my own and I’ve always said when I move out I want to hold my own Halloween party! So what would I do... Well let's take a look. I've been researching some of the things I would really like to do - so here we go!

Let's face it... It wouldn't be a Lisa party if there wasn't any alcohol, and cocktails I love. Halloween cocktails are such a fab idea and I cannot wait to try loads of them out, definitely going to be a night "not" to remember I'm sure. Whilst browsing some cocktail ideas I came across this list of the top 10 Halloween cocktails, I personally really want to try The Spicy Vampire. I’ve been loving the Vampire Diaries lately so anything vampire has me currently hooked! Cranberry juice is my usually juice of choice with spirits so it’s definitely a winner for me. One thing I really want when I move out is a cocktail shaker and glasses so this would be the occasion to show them off!

To go with all of this alcohol you need some nibbles and I love the idea of these Ginger Halloween cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery. I'm not a huge fan of ginger except in cakes so these would be perfect! My Mum is always making little cupcakes with either black or green icing and I just think they are a really fun way of catering for a party. I remember seeing an episode of the Big Bang Theory as well where Raj was catering and came up with ideas like “Draculoni and Cheese”. I may have to watch this again for more foodie ideas!

Pop around some Halloween decorations (check out Asda for £1 accessories) and you have yourself a party! Don’t forget to decorate the front of the house – this is what trick or treater’s go for (apart from the sweets). Our house is always ridiculously Halloweeny, so I should probably follow suit!

What would you drink at your Halloween party?


23 October 2013

Outfit | A Rose by Any Other Name

dress: topshop | hat: topshop | boots: new look | necklace: swatch

This dress was a popular little number over the summer and I was definitely an admirer. But at £40+ I just couldn't justify it. So when I went last week and saw this in the sale for £20 in my size I just couldn't pass up the opportunity. It fits perfectly and it's a dress my boyfriend actually likes so win win!

I wore this outfit out on Saturday evening to a friends birthday and it was super comfy and just a really nice smart casual outfit that can be worn through winter by popping on some tights and ankle boots. I haven't worn these for a while, but after Paige chose them for one my outfits I fell back in love with them and had to wear them with this dress. I think they toughen it up a bit so it's not too girly girl. 

Team this with Ruby Woo and my trusty bowler hat and you have yourself a Lisa. I don't think I've taken this hat off since I bought it. Whenever I go out it just appears on my head like a magnet. Who can beat a good head magnet!

How would you style this dress?


22 October 2013

Skin Care | Gel Cleansers

Gel cleansers seem to be a bit of a marmite product. Some people swear by them, others avoid like the plague! I think the stigma around them is that a lot of versions are incredibly harsh, contain alcohol so strip the skin, whereas other cleansers such as cream and balms don't seem to do this.

I have tried a multitude of cleansers, really a lot, most of which hasn't done a thing to my skin, but the one cleanser that's really made a difference has been a gel cleanser - so for me this was a major thumbs up in terms of this form of cleansing. I have oily skin and I find that cream cleansers can be a bit too gentle in that they don't take way the oil and grease from my face that the gels seem to do. So for me, the fact that gels are a tad harsher works well in my favour. They help to really strip the excess oil from my face to get to the dirt underneath and give it a really good clean. 

My personal favourite is definitely Origins Zero Oil cleanser - a gel cleanser through and through this is the one I always go back to. With most skin products I usually notice my skin getting worse before it gets better, with this is got better almost instantly and hand on heart it is the only cleanser I can say this about. It's incredibly fresh and doesn't dry out my skin. There is no stiffness afterwards, which is definitely another result of some gel cleansers, and my skin still feels soft. Want to know why - no alcohol, big thumbs up all around.

I'm not going to lie, I have used some gel cleansers that aren't my cup of tea. The most recent being this offering from Nip + Fab, their Clean Gel Fix. I was incredibly excited to use this, however I used this before checking the ingredients and it had a very chemically smell to it and left my face feeling overly stripped and stiff afterwards. When checking the ingredients I found the main difference between this and the Origins offering was that this contained alcohol. Don't get me wrong, it does clean my skin, however this does fall into the harsh gel cleanser stereotype for me. I had to use a ridiculous amount of moisturiser after using this - which we all know is not great for a foundation base (can anyone say slippery base!)

I think you have to be of a certain skin type to appreciate gel cleansers. I've used many and  there are some I hate and others I like. My pick would definitely be the above from Origins. If you have oily skin like me it is definitely worth looking into a gel cleanser - but do your research on the ingredients. My skin appears to love Salicyclic Acid (which is in the Origins cleanser) so if you are like me definitely look for that. But do avoid those with alcohol contained as it can be incredibly harsh for you skin.
If you have dry or sensitive skin I wouldn't go for a gel as it will irritate and be way to harsh for you- definitely go from something like a cream cleanser as it will be more gentle on your skin.

What type of cleansers suit your face? Are you pro or anti gel?

21 October 2013

Outfit | Debenhams Style Challenge

When I was asked to take part in Debenhams Blogger Style Challenge I was very excited. When I learnt it was to style a man's shirt I was even more excited. I've been trying to think of a way to get Adam on the blog for ages and this was the perfect opportunity. We both styled the shirt how we would wear it and voila! Let's take a peek shall we...

As winter approaches I'm edging more and more towards my comfier baggier clothes, why I never thought about stealing Adam's before I don't know! A man's shirt is the perfect autumn accessory as it's super comfy and really easy to wear and style.

This shirt is great, it's a totally different from anything that either of us have worn before so it was really nice to have a change of style for a little while and we both love this shirt. It's really soft, comfy but really really good quality. There are so many shirts from Debenhams that would be perfect for us girlies, as well as the men. Take my advice - there is nothing comfier than a shirt thrown on over jeans, left on its own or with a jumper thrown on the top with the collar peaking out. Can't beat a shirt!

After this my shopping trips will definitely be taking a look around the mens section. Comfy clothes are definitely in for the autumn!

How would you style a mans shirt?


19 October 2013

Trends | The Bowler Hat

I fallen so much in love with a particular accessory I feel the need to write an entire post about it...
Ladies and gentlemen (if any of them actually read this) let me introduce you to my new partner in crime, the Bowler Hat.
I know I know, totally not me. You never really see me in hats at all - basically because I hate hiding my hair as I feel it makes me look like my brothers. However, after seeing this on a few bloggers now I jumped in the deep end and bought this beauty from Topshop. At £25 it's not the cheapest of hats, but well worth the price.
It sits PERFECTLY on the back of my head, still showing my hair so I look like me and not a boy, and it goes with pretty much everything I own. Is there a downside? Um, the only one I can think of is I can't really wear it with my hair up, but that is about it.
If you are teetering on the edge of buying one, just pop into a store and try one (they pretty much all do one now). I've seen some nice ones in River Island, Accessorize and of course this beaut from Topshop. If you like it, buy it, keep the label on and wear it around the house for the day. Give yourself a day to try it out. If you don't like it, no harm no foul, take it back.
It sounds really bizarre, but I feel so much more confident in this little hat. It's weird how certain things will give you a boost! This is definitely one of them. My first "outfit post" with this the photos of my face came out so much nicer than others I've done because I was happy in the hat. I know, I'm a weirdo, but it really did work. I'm not usually one for messing around in photos etc but hey. If you can't fool around in a bowler hat what can you fool around in?
Now I must go and rescue it from my boyfriend who seems to have an obsession with stealing it... excuse me!
What do you think of the bowler hat? Will you be wearing it this season?

18 October 2013

Any Size | Birds

Here we are again with a new Any Size! It's a lot easier to try and do every two weeks as opposed to every week so I'm definitely going to do it that way from now on. This week I decided to go with birds - an autumnal trend that coincidentally fits with one of my new fave dresses... Maybe not so much of a coincidence!

Size 8 | Paige from Paige Joanna
Second time this week this lady has appeared on T&M! I love this dress, the print is adorable and the fit of the dress compliments her figure perfectly. Her slim legs means she gets away with coloured tights with ease as well. This is the perfect bird outfit for her shape and size.

Size 10 | Me from Topaz & May
A very baggy-eque dress so looks bigger then a 10 but I promise it is! I love the colours in the dress and the dark of the dress hides any curves I don't fancy drawing attention to on the day! At the same time the dress doesn't swamp me. Love it.

Size 12 | Victoria from Victoria's Vintage
This is a super super cute blouse that I am now coveting desperately. Teamed with the ever handy skater skirt and you have the perfect bird outfit for her figure. It's a subtle way of introducing a bird print without it taking over the entire outfit.

Size 14 | Sera from The Agoraphobic Fashionista
This dress is uber slimming on Sera, a smaller print is meant to be better for "larger" (hate saying that) sizes and this dress looks gorgeous on her. Very fashionable as a midi and styled incredibly well with the gorgeous pink hair, kudos to Sera!

I had some AMAZING bloggers take part this week so a huge thanks to them. My next theme is going to be "Skater Skirts"... Get in touch if you want to take part, I am looking for all sizes so find me on twitter @topazandmay

How would you style your birds?


17 October 2013

Make Up | Mac Ruby Woo

For a while I've been coveting this lipstick. Just the idea of the perfect matte red has been nagging at me but as I don't have a Mac near me I didn't really want to fork out £15 if I didn't like it... However, I got the chance to swatch it at Paige's and ever since it's been a must!
It's now part of Mac's new Retro Matte collection - not entierly sure what the difference is between that and their normal Matte collection but hey - and when I bought this I also bought Relentlessly Red (review to come).
Firstly, the colour is gorgeous. My favourite red to date and it is now my go to red. The right balance of blues and yellows, not to orange, not too dark. It is the perfect red for me. Gush galore I know!
However, there is one thing I'm not too keen on. Application is a bit tricky, where the bullet is matte it's a lot harder so doesn't apply nearly as smoothly as some of the other finishes and I find that I really have to concentrate to make sure this gets an even finish and line - I do have to use a lip liner with this one (Mac Cherry usually works for me when blended).

Longevity it's great - as long as you don't eat or drink straight afterwards - it really does last about five hours plus. It leaves a stain behind so the colour is still there, not quite as intense, but still noticable.
Out of this and Relentlessly Red I would say that Relentlessly Red was a lot easier to apply - so keep an eye out for that review as it's a gorgeous colour (weirdly enough not a red...)

Overall I am really glad I bagged this beauty. Worth the £15 and the wait for me, I would highly recommend this coveted lippy!

16 October 2013

Nails | Essie Autumn Collection


So you know me, I can't resist a good Essie collection. If you follow me on instagram (@topazandmay) you will have seen me tweet the advert for the new autumn collection when I first saw it - excitement! Both my Mum and I then proceeded to watch our local Boots for the arrival.

My lovely Mum (see her blog here) decided to treat me to two of the collection, Cashmere Bathrobe, a gorgeous glitter filled slate, and For the Twill of It, a unique tone of green and purple. My personal favourite of the two is definitely Cashmere Bathrobe - I wore it in this outfit post here and it stayed on for around five days before chipping - very impressive. I've yet to wear For the Twill of It, it's such a unique shade I'm saving it for a special occassion - I know exactly what I want to wear it with so we shall have to wait and see!

I definitely have my eye on the gorgeous navy blue in the collection - navy, me? Of course! I'm thinking birthday list...!

What's your favourite from the collection?


15 October 2013

Outfit | Styled by Paige Joanna #1

It's always nice have a bloggy friend near you. Paige and I decided to take advantage of this and we've decided to do a monthly post where we style each other. Basically we rummage in each others wardrobes and pic out a couple of outfits. This was our first attempt and I think it's safe to say it was a success! It's also a great way to revamp some old clothes you haven't worn in a while - a different perspective is always helpful! So let's take a peek at the results...

jumper: h&m | shirt: new look | leggings: topshop | shoes: new look | necklace: new look
I've never really thought about popping a shirt under this jumper before, but it does work really really well. I love this jumper because it is so so comfy, but the leggings toughen it up - gotta love some pleather!

Paige's Thoughts... 
I really wanted to create a look with layers for a versatile Autumn outfit. I loved the floral and printed selection blouses Lisa has and wanted to style one in a more edgy way. I remembered Lisa wearing these pleather leggings to the meet up where I met her and really liked them. They make a great basic item and go with everything. In ther jumper and knitwear section this blue really stood out and against the floral pattern of the blouse looked really sweat together. I think it doesnt matter hiiding a print under a jumper as long as there is a section of it showing for detail. The heeled ankle books were a finishing touch to dress up the outfit and bring it from casual to smart.

dress: topshop | shirt: river island | cardigan: french connection | necklace: superdrug | hat: accessorize
I would never have thought of putting this shirt under the dress, but Paige has popped the two together really well. I love this hat as well, I really don't wear it enough so have now vowed to love hats forever more..! Thanks for that!

Paige's Thoughts... 
This casual look really shows off what I love about styling, and that's layering quirky things together. I loved the shape of the nude dress and wanted to make it stand out a bit more without the use of too much accessories. To make it warmer for the current season I loved the pale blue polka dot blouse under it to have collar detail and add a girly touch to the look. The black cardie has really sweet bobble ties and I think it worked nicely in tying the black boots and tights to the overall outfit. This was my favourite in the end because it is something a bit different but Lisa pulled off so well.

To take a look at how I styled Paige pop over and see her full post here. Let us know what you think - we'd love to hear your feedback and also let us know if you have any requests for themes!


14 October 2013

Wishlist | Top 5 Next Jumpers

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

At the moment I am really really impressed with Next and their gorgeous range of jumpers. I've bought quite a few recently, preferring them to others on the high street and definitely preferring the price tag to some other stores!

I do actually have this jumper, and it got quite the reaction on Instagram when I popped a pic up. It's so fun, I love the colours and the pattern and it's toasty toasty warm. My Mum actually bought this for me, it's the perfect present and comes in greys as well.

I've never really been into red's before, but lately I can't seem to stay away. Look at me I'm growing past blues. Anywho, this is perfect for a slightly warmer autumn day as it doesn't look too thick. It's a cute pattern though and a great price.

I just love lace. So anything with a lace pattern or effect, overlay etc etc is a buy in for me. This is just a really super cute neatral sweater that would literally go with everything, and with most occasions. Jeans for everyday and a little skater skirt for the evening. 

I just love the colours in this jumper, again it sways away from my usual blues and greys to a gorgeous purple with really sweat sparkly hearts all over. I sense a theme with hearts for me at the moment... At this price as well you really can't go wrong.

Look how CUTE! Adam has very nicely bought this for me for Christmas so it's now hidden away (sob) but I just love how different this is for a Christmas jumper, and that it can be worn whenever as it's not overly Christmas. It was instant love!

There is such a huge variety, including some basics as well. I would definitely recommend popping down and looking around.

What's your favourite out of these?


13 October 2013

Life | Little Things #2

Another Sunday, which means another Little Things post! So here we go...

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with lovely blogger Paige on a very exciting new post coming up, and just a really nice girly day. I love new friendships and this is such an exciting one - it's really nice to have another blogger friend so close!

I also went to the cinema this week with Adam to see Rush - yum yum naked Chris Hemsworth bum. Made my week I have to say. Was actually a fantastic film - considering I hate F1 I did really enjoy it. I also had my nails done by Adam's mum with gellish on Friday so they are currently looking lovely, rounded and super shiney. 

This week was also the first week I've popped my coat on, I love the furry collar, it's so comfy and warm, I really do love wearing it. This morning I went to Whitely with Adam - we were going to Marwell but the weather was so awful so that's on hold. We had bruch at Dean's Dinner - pancakes, eggs, bacon and maple syrup? Weird but o so tasty. He also bought me this super cute christmas bunny jumper from next. It's now been taken away from me until the big day - but it was a really nice morning hanging out with him.

This afternoon I have to pop back to work for Stock Take - now if you work in retail you know this is a dreaded time of year. If you've ever been in a Staples you realise just how much we have to count - wish me luck! I will be counting the hours down until home/bed time!

What's made you happy this week?


11 October 2013

Outfit | A Structured Tulip

dress: Miss Selfridge | belt: topshop | heels: new look | bracelet: swarovski | ring: lola rose

Well would you look at that - two outfit posts in one week aren't you lucky. I couldn't wait to show you guys this dress. If you follow me on instagram (@topazandmay) you will have seen this dress a few weeks ago and i've had some lovely compliments on it. I bought it for my boyfriend's Mum's 50th birthday party, where it got even more compliments!

I love tulip dresses, for me they really suit my figure, they nip in at the waist and out on the bum - hiding my big bum! This dress is so comfortable as well, it's quite thick material so perfect for the colder months. I really really do love this dress.
One teeny tiny little snag - about half way through the night the seam broke around my bum area and it now has a hole... really easy to sew up and fix, just a bit annoying when it's the first time I've worn it and it's not exactly tight over the bum area. Sad sad times.
What's your favourite style of dress?

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