Friday, 20 December 2013

Christmas Banana Bread Recipe

Before and After!
  • 285g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 110g butter plus extra for greasing loaf tin
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 ripe bananas (I used 3)
  • 85 ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
The fun part:
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
  2. Sieve in flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl
  3. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy in a separate bow. To cream means basically use a mixer.
  4. Add eggs, banana, milk and vanilla to the butter and sugar. Mix well. Then add to the flour mixture and fold in well, basically mix it all up with a wooden spoon until it has a smooth consistency
  5. Grease a loaf tin, spoon the mixture in and bang it in the oven until it is golden brown and well risen.
Estimated baking time: 1 hour
Remove from oven, place on wire rack to cool before turning it out, slicing it up and digging in!
You can swap out the milk for some orange juice, 175 ml.
To make it festive and Christmassy, sieve in some nutmeg and cinnamon with the flour.
Serve with honey, butter or extra bananas!
Let me know how you get on, happy baking!



Thursday, 19 December 2013

Last Minute Christmas Gift Guide for Girls!

Clockwise from Left:

1. Cari's Closet earrings and bangle €39. 20% off for a limited time only plus free delivery. Order before Friday 2pm to get in time for Christmas Day!

2. Sarah G Cosmetics 10 concealer palette a must have for contouring, highlightin and concealing. A cheaper version than the sold out Crown Brush palette and it comes highly recommended from Suzanne Jackson of So-Sue-Me Blog. £12 plus delivery costs. Available at

3. Bia Beauty Feed Your Face gift set. Contains all you need for a Bia Beauty facial: Mellow Mandarin Moisturiser, Orange & Grapefruit Exfoliating Cleanser, Stop the Clock Eye Gel, and Lime Pie lip balm. This retails at €50. If you would like something more pocket friendly, the trial size Bitesize gift set is a must have with almost the same products, except replacing the lip balm with Skin Superfood, a miracle product for all skin issues. Bitesize Gift Set retails at €9.95.

4. Yankee Candle in large glass jar, Sugared Apple or Christmas Cookie would make gorgeous Christmas scents. €13.99 in all good pharmacies.

5. So Sue Me, a must have for any female, aged 13-30 a makeup, style and beauty bible. Available in Easons for €19.99. A very inspiring read.

6. And of course, no gift guide would be complete without the Naked 3 palette. €44 available in Debenhams.

Happy Shopping!!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

How to: Match your Foundation to your Skintone

Sometimes even Barbie gets it wrong...
The hardest thing in makeup is getting your base right. Once you have a flawless base it doesn't take a whole lotta work to look good. We have all been there, orange face and white neck because the beauty counter lady asked us did we want to "match our skintone or go a few shades darker?" YES, OF COURSE I WANT TO MATCH MY SKINTONE, NO I AM NOT AUDITIONING AS A OOMPA LOOMPA.
A lot of people forget that these are sales people, not trained makeup professionals although some might be, so realistically they couldn't care less if you look good as long as you buy their product.
I recently was giving my Aunt a makeup lesson, and a sales girl had sold her possibly the worst match of a foundation for her skin type in all mankind. Now my aunty,god bless her, doesn't know a lot about makeup and she is the type where they see her coming. She is a professional woman with money to spend on makeup and then has the "so-called" best of brands. This brand in particular was a Laura Mercier mousse like foundation, which gave extremely heavy coverage and was a shade called sunny beige.
The coverage of this foundation was absolutely ridiculous it gave a mask like effect. The shade was also about three shades to dark for her skin. I applied two liquid foundations, a mix of Collection in Biscuit and MAC Studio finish in NC40 and this formed her perfect match.

How to get your perfect match:
  • Find out your skin type. Dry, oily, combination. Dry/Normal skin will be suited to liquid foundations, whereas oily skin is more suited to a cream compact foundation or a mineral foundation.
  • Is your skin more pinky or yellowy toned? Irish skin tends to have a lot of pink tones in it, so if you want to colour correct and get rid of rednesss either use a green concealer on redness or a yellow based foundation.
  • Test your foundation against a clean makeup free jawline in good lighting with a flat foundation brush.
  • Blend the foundation on your jawline, if it is your perfect match it will melt into your skin seamlessly and provide a natural all over base, with no contrast between the face and neck.

  • Try in harsh lighting at a cosmetic counter.
  • Buy the first one the salesgirl recommends, ask for a tester. All good counters should provide one.
  • Rush out and buy new foundation if you have an expensive brand that doesn't match up. Buy a cheaper foundation in a few shades lighter, mix the two and you have your custom colour.
Et voila, flawless skin!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Battle Of The Beauty Brands

Primer: Personally I don't use one everyday, but I have tried Laura Mercier hydrating primer, Inglot primer, Nivea hydrating primer and MUA pro base primer.
The Laura Mercier is the overall winner, I think the Nivea primer was also fantastic at keeping my makeup on. The Inglot primer felt lovely and velvety but I don't think made much of a difference and the MUA primer didn't rate at all.

Foundation: I have tried a multitude of foundations. My most favourite is Maybelline Superstay foundation and Mac Studio finish foundation. I love a foundation that is long lasting and gives great coverage. Recently I have been mixing a No7 foundation in Wheat and Collection foundation in Biscuit and finds it suits my skintone when I am wearing fake tan perfectly.

Concealer: MAC!! It is incredible. I also like Benefit Boing Boing.

Powder: Isadora mattifying powder in matte blonde. It is fantastic. Doesn't cake at all.

Blush: I don't wear blush at all, but I find the E.l.f blush and contour palette in light are fantastic on the majority of skintones.

Bronzer: I swear by Essence bronzer for blondes. It smells like Coconut and suits my skintone perfectly.

Mascara: I have tried many the mascara. Max Factor false lash effect, Catrice Millions and Mac False Lash effect are all great, but I have yet to find my HG (Holy Grail) mascara!

Eyeshadow: Urban Decay is my favourite eyeshadow brand for the highly pigmented easy to blend shadows.

Eyeliner:Rimmel, I've tried Inglot, but it doesn't have staying power.

Lipstick: Catrice do great lipsticks, as do Rimmel and I am loving MUA's maxi moisture lippy in Style Transformation.

Lipbalm: Burts Bees! It is fantastic

  • Cleanser/Makeup Remover No7
  • Toner Garnier for sensitive skin
  • Moisturiser: Bia Beauty Skin Superfood and Mellow Mandarin.

What are your Holy Grail beauty products?


Monday, 16 December 2013

Charity Shop Chic

Ladies, it is time to leave your snobbery at the door and embrace "charity shop chic."
I am a long time charity shop enthusiast. I think it is fantastic, being able to buy great quality, hardly worn items of clothing, books or bags at knock down prices. Most of all, the money goes to charity so without even going out of your way, you are automatically giving back.
Nowadays the high streets are awash with charity shops and some are indeed better than others. Some charity shops take no pride in their stock whatsoever and others display their stock fabulously. The best window display of a charity shop I have seen is in Enable Ireland, in Navan, whoever dresses their window does a fantastic job.
I have a problem with so called "vintage" shops. Will people just drop the hipster pretence and admit it is just a hyped up over priced version of a charity shop?
I am not by any means a label whore or a brand junkie but some great quality brands can be found in charity shops. Only recently I was perusing the St. Vincent de Pauls shop on Maynooth main street and I came across two brand new with tags attached Coast dresses. The dresses would be fantastic for a bridesmaid or a debs. The dresses were five euro each. I also found a Karen Millen dress and a French Connection top, pity both were a size eight!
My favourite charity shop bargains are a red trench coat for ten euro which I'll admit I thought was a bit steep for a charity shop, but which suits my figure perfectly and some brand new studded heeled ankle boots for two euro fifty!
I have seen designer handbags, and bought Hollister, Aeropostale and American Eagle tshirts and hoodies.
The book sections aren't too be dismissed either. Brand new biographies, college books, leaving certificate revision books, driver theory test books are all among the one euro selection, save yourself a bomb!
I know people who have gotten their wedding dresses through Barnardos Bridal, and also debs dresses are usually floating about from spring onwards. A lot of styles will be outdated but you just never know when you will find that gem, like a John Rocha dress for fifteen euro.
I am telling you, once you go thrift shopping, you never look back!
My top tips:
1. Go early on in the week, most people donate at weekends.
2. The more affluent the area, the better the brands that are donated.
3. Try everything on! It might have been altered, and you cant return to charity shops although some may offer a swap system
4. Don't buy anything ripped, stained or that doesn't fit perfectly. Don't buy anything from Dunnes or Penneys, the reason you are there is for better quality brands at knockdown prices.
5. Prepare to dig through rails as some charity shops aren't as organised as others.
Happy shopping!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Bia Beauty Review: Feed your face!

First thing is first, all I can say is muchas gracias to the blogging goddesses that set me hot upon the trail of Bia Beauty products, the holy grail of all natural skin care products, and best of all #Irish!
Bia Beauty is the brain child and beauty baby of Tracey, a CIT Herbal Science graduate. Basically she makes fantastic organic bits and bobs for your skin.
To start me off on my Bia Beauty obsession I purchased the Bitesize Gift Set RRP €9.95. Absolutely perfect for a stocking filler, Secret Santa pressie or just to try out a mish mash of these wondrous products! You can purchase it here;
My purchase arrived this morning accompanied by a tester of their Apple Blossom body butter, compliments of Tracey! Btw if you are reading this, thanks a mill ;) The Apple Blossom body butter smells like an apple lolly. It has a gorgeous sweet, yet fresh scent that is actually mouthwatering.
I tested all the face products this morning and I have to say the stand out product was the Orange and Grapefruit facial exfoliant and cleanser. It smelt absolutely divine like the tangy orange out of a box of Roses! (Can you tell, I have a bit of a sweet tooth)
I wet my face, scooped out a bit of the deceptively smooth product which turned into a lovely grainy exfoliator on my skin, and cleansed away. My complexion was left looking refreshed and glowing.
The next product which I was so eager to try was the Skin Superfood. I have been having a bit of trouble with my skin of late and as this product is lauded by many a beauty blogger as a skin saviour I thought it would be rude not to give it a whirl.
Bia Beauty claims this is their answer to Sudocrem, a brave quest. This cream is packed full of the skins superfoods, "immortelle, comfrey, calendula, mallow and heartsease." I didn't like the scent of this cream. It has an almost medicinal smell but for an all natural product, perfumes are the one of the things I am not looking out for. It is too early to tell but i think it definitely soothed my skin somewhat.
The Stop the Clock eye gel wouldn't be a must have for me as I am only 20 so I don't yet have those dreaded under eye bags, but I suppose you are never too young to start your anti-ageing routine. This eye gel contains:
AloeVera which cools
Arnica which depuffs the under eye area
Immortelle which renews
Rose which pampers
Myrrh which firms
The consistency was watery but I just patted it on the under eye area and within minutes noticed a tightening of the skin.
I think this tightening of the skin could also have something to do with the Mellow Mandarin moisturiser. It contains mandarin oil which reblances the sebum in the skin. Essentially, it acts like a natural primer!! The consistency was light yet not watery and it went on my skin very smooth.
I am proud to say ladies that after my experience with Bia Beauty, I decided to be a natural beauty myself for the day and head out into the big, bad world with NO MAKEUP ON WHATSOEVER.
And that in itself is a miracle, so thank you Tracey for creating these incredible products that fed my face and my confidence. Keep up the stellar work!
Keep on blogging it beautiful
xoxo Katie

Sunday, 8 December 2013

DIY Christmas Nail Art

Candy cane Christmas nails

Products I used: 
  • Rimmel nail polish in Celebrity bash (red)
  • Rimmel nail polish in Your Majesty (silver)
  • Essence white tip painter 

Technique used: 

1. First I painted all my nails in Rimmel Celebrity bash red, I love all Rimmel's polishes, the pigment and consistency are fab, and the brush coats almost the whole nail in one go so it saves time too :) 

2. I waited for the red coat to dry then taking the tip painter and a small amount of white paint on the brush I drew two strokes going diagonally across the nail. You have to do this quickly so it doesn't get too thick. Don't be precious about it, just swipe the tip painter across diagonally. 

3. Wait for your candy cane stripes to dry, then paint a half moon of silver in the nail beds. I wasn't too neat about this but I think the silver just adds a nice bit of extra sparkle to your Christmas nails. 

Just add a top coat of clear nail varnish and you are good to go! 

 I'd love to see a snap if you follow this tutorial, just link in the comments below.

Keep on blogging it beautiful xoxo 


Sunday, 1 December 2013

Bucketlist: What's on yours?

What's on yours? Bucket lists are lists people write of all the adventures, trips, and skills they want to accomplish or complete before they die. Climb a mountain, visit a volcano, skydive, get a tattoo, fall in love, go on a road trip...these are all common goals.

Ever since I saw the movie The Bucket List with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson I have wanted to create my own bucketlist. It's good to set yourself goals in life and be aware of how much you really can achieve and what exactly it is that you want to get out of life. I know that my number one goal is to simple: be happy.

As the saying goes, life isn't a dress rehearsal. You have to grab every moment and opportunity to do things you only dreamed of. A bucket list in years to come will also be fantastic experiences to share with your own children, your grandkids, and of course an unbeatable life experience to share with whoever you complete some of your bucket list goals with.

My passion in life is to travel and experience different cultures, food and music. I love to speak different languages, I speak Spanish and German on top of English and Irish. I have a lot of travel related things on my bucket list. I want to go to Machu Pichu in Peru and witness an entirely different civilization. I want to be spontaneous and:

I don't want to be one of those people who at the end of their lives are full of what ifs. I want to accomplish goals, pursue my dreams and not live a standard life of living to work. I would love to find my passion so I wouldn't have to call work, work! I think I am already combining them by studying makeup and journalism.

It's evident in my bucket list as two of my goals are as follows:

1. Get an article published in a newspaper or magazine.


2. Do a makeup course, which I am already doing and will have completed next March.

Something that I have always dreamed of since I ever imagined getting married would be to have fireworks at my wedding. I've always loved fireworks and I just think that they would be the most magical thing on the most special day of your life.

What's on your bucket list? Create one at  Leave me a comment below! :)  *This post was inspired by Fiona @dollydowsie *
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