Sunday, 20 April 2014

Sea Salt caramel topped Pretzel brownies

This has to be my absolute favourite recipe I have ever made! I saw this on my friends Facebook pages and just had to give it a go. It was a bit of a cheat but I thought if I try it with a box mix and it's great it will only be better when I make it the next time round from scratch, which is totally happening FYI!
So this is what you need if you are going to do the cheat version... 
1 x Box of chocolate fudge brownie mix (I used Betty Crocker)
1 x bag of Sea Salt Pretzels
1 x Can of Caramel sauce 
Now the box mix calls for a 11 x 7 inch pan, I did not have any square or rectangular pans so I opted for round which to be honest makes it look more like a cake anyway which means you can eat it a slice at a time, one will not be enough trust me! So lets do this...
1. Turn oven on as required on the box mix instructions
2. Mix the box brownies up as required.
3. Grease and line the pan you are going to use, greaseproof paper make its a lot easier to get the out so I highly recommend taking the time to do this. 
4. Put a layer of the brownie mix on the bottom of the pan spread evenly
5. Place a layer or pretzels on top of the mix
6. repeat 4 and 5 as many times as you wish! Make sure you end with a layer of brownie mix so the pretzels are covered.
7. Place in the oven as per instructions, remember using a different pan with change the cooking times so just keep an eye on them, the last thing you want is over cooked brownies!
8. Once cooked remove from pan as soon as possible, baked goods in pans/tins will keep cooking once out of the oven if you keep them in the pan/tin. So take it out and get it on a wire rack as soon as possible! 
9. Once it has cooled smother this bad boy in Caramel, you can make your own but like I said before this was the lazy version. Put as much or as little caramel on as you fancy.
10. Sprinkle with sea salt again as much as you like! 

Then DIVE IN!!!! This is the perfect treat to satisfy that sweet and salt craving and goes amazingly with Vanilla ice cream!! 
I may do another post next time I make this when I do it from scratch although I do have half a can of caramel yet so might just have to use that up!
I hope you have enjoyed this little recipe please if you make this let me know and send me a picture @MNavyPrincess on both Instagram and Twitter!! I would love to see you enjoy it too! 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Real Techniques brush Dupes!

So this eBay purchase was completely instigated by A Thrifty Mrs and her recent tweet about eBay collections, which is kind of like Pinterest on eBay. You create collections of items you like on eBay and then your followers can go straight to those items and purchase them. So you basically get recommendations and hopefully good products that have been bought by those making the collections all in one place! Seems like a brilliant idea and so far I really like it.
The one thing that caught my eye was a brush set in her collection named Budget Beauty they looked identical to the much loved Real Techniques brushes. Now I own 3 of their sets and a few of the individual brushes from Real Techniques and I do love them. They clean and dry really well, do not shed and work really well at applying make up. I generally use the Expert Face brush everyday to apply my foundation alternated with the Illamasqua Highlighter brush which I also love. I use the one when the other is being washed or waiting to be washed.
So on average for a single brush you are looking at around £10 for a Real Techniques brush which is a reasonable price for a good high street available brush. However when I spotted these on eBay I could not believe how much they looked like the RT brushes and thought well there is no harm in trying them our and comparing. For the sake of less that £9 for 5 brushes even if I hated them they would have only wasted the equivalent cost of one RT brush. So I thought why not as I had some money sitting in my paypal account from stuff I had sold the month before it basically made them free!
This is the link to the brush set that I purchased. This is NOT I repeat NOT the seller that A Thrifty Mrs had listed on her collections, this is one that eBay suggested to me whilst I was looking at the individual ones she did have listed. The reason I went with the other selling was because the one linked through A Thrifty Mrs was selling each brush at £1.99 and the set at £16.99..... hold the phone you wanna charge £1.99 per brush and the set at £16.99..... why don't I just buy each brush at £1.99 and make the set up at £9.95???? No brainer even there....right?!?
I found the other seller like I said through eBay's recommendation and the set was priced at £8.54 which already had a 5% discount on it. The individual brushes do work out more per brush when brought separately (from this seller I worked out if all 5 were bought individually you would pay £14.49 still cheaper than the Thrifty seller though) but there was also free P&P. So after looking through the feedback checking out some reviews I thought why the hell not! I placed my order on the Wednesday and received the brushes on the Friday, that I was very impressed with!
The above picture shows you the eBay brush on the Left and the Real Techniques brush on the right. The only difference if the height of the bristles but that would be down to specification of an order for RT. To summarise and so as to not bore you I am pretty sure they are just the unbranded version of the RT brushes. The look of the same construction, they are the same weight, feel and dimensions, they feel just as soft, I have washed them twice already and there was no shedding and no bleeding of colour.
The Rose Red colour I chose is more of a hot pink and much brighter than the RT brush colour of those ones as you can see in the picture (RT also have gold and purple brushes too) and the reason I picked this colour was just to compare them to the RT brushes. The eBay seller also does them in a gold as well as a teal/blue which I would most likely opt for next time. At £1.70 a brush when buying the set I literally cannot fault them. I did have one brush which had a slight misshaping in the bristles but its nothing that would bother me or affect the use of the brush. I contacted the seller to inform them just in case they wanted to know for quality control reasons. They asked for a photo which I was happy to send and they apologised alot, like alot alot! Then they said next time I placed an order I could have discount and a free gift which I thought was very lovely. I think if I had wanted to refund of exchange they would have obliged but I didn't, I am very happy with them even if one is a little kinky! Plus knowing how good they are now I may just do a bulk order for gifts for girl friends as presents. I know so many of my friends would love these too so a little extra discount would be a bonus!!
I hope this post has been of interest and that if you choose to try these brushes too that you like them as much as I do. Have you found any dupes for things you love? If so let me know in the comments!!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

A weekend escape

In light of one of my new New Years resolutions made this year which to be honest are more like life guidelines than actual check off's, well some are but not all. I decided this weekend to make the crazy decision to run away to Cornwall for the weekend to see some friends. Some may indeed say I am mad but I've done worse things in my life that drive 4 hours to stay with friends and get lost in new places. I oddly enjoy the fear of driving to places I've not been too and generally will tackle this task without a Sat Nav and just go old school read road signs and make lots of U turns however I did take Tom (TomTom original I know) with me for the tricky bits where I would definitely get proper lost. 
So I thought I would share a few snaps of where I found myself and where I realised how important getting away really is. 
 This is a little place called Charlestown, I was meant to be meeting a friend here for lunch but unfortunately they didn't make it. However I had a lovely lunch by myself in the sunshine watching the world go by. The seaside town was so pretty and I wondered around all the galleries and shops just looking at everything that was on offer and enjoying the warmth of the sun on my skin. 

I then decided a trip to Fowey was in order as every one at work has banged on about it for months as I have been discussing my summer road trip to Cornwall and deciding where to go. So as it was only 20 minutes drive from where I was I thought why not I still had a good chunk of the day to play with and thought this would be a nice place to go for an ice cream. In doing so I discovered the house I would like to live in with a gorgeous view. This River hugging town is just stunning I fell in love instantly It was buzzing with families and dogs which made me even happier I do love saying hello to any dog that lets me! There were lots of lovely independent shops and coffee shop's too which if I hadn't has eaten a huge lunch I would have dived right into. There were loads of little galleries with local artists sat there making and selling their work, this is something I love and I think is a faint dream of what I would like to do by being completely at one with your hobby, work and home life all in one space. So beautiful. 
Next time I am down this way I am definitely heading to The Lifebuoy Cafe it was so inviting and with a nautical name it was bound to grab my attention, such a shame I was so full. 
Sunday was another glorious day and a walk was in order Rame Head to Cawsand. Fully aware of the stick I would get at work for going to the most popular fixing point for this area with the RN It was definitely worth it (mainly because I met a gorgeous dog who I wanted to steal away) the views were stunning and the sea looked so inviting. The walk was refreshing and many things were discussed and chewed over which was humbling. If we had been better planned, it would have been the perfect day for a picnic. Something to keep in mind next time. 
So after what felt like a very long drive home I made it back to reality with fond memories and a souvenir or two from the trip. Sad to say I am suffering from sea side withdrawals and I am currently have to deal with a million thoughts on how I can sell everything I own to move to the be by the sea. Until then I will just have to have a cuppa tea and wait for all of this to blow over :) 
L x

Changes #1

Dear all,
I have been toying with the idea of starting a new blog changing things around and making it all better. However I have been stuck for ideas as what to change it to what I wanted my blog to be and basically I have been putting it off. So today I have changed it's name to my own mainly because I couldn't think of anything better, witty or funny so hey my name will do! Now I need to make a list of what I want to change. No only on my blog but in my life. As there is for everyone, struggles in my life, no harder than anyone else but they are still struggles and I want to try and turn those around or learn from them and improve my life and those around me. So this is my list of what I want to do...

  1. Document my days and experiences that make me smile so I can look back upon them and be grateful 
  2. Make more trips away, visit friends, keep in contact more and make others smile! - it's so refreshing to get away and only being away and taking a step back makes you realise this!
  3. Take time out - some days my mood really changes and I don't like it I need to remember no matter what taking a little me time be it alone or with friends is okay
  4. Do creative things - I am an arty person but due to lack of space I can't keep things out to enable me to pick them up when I want so alot of planning goes its doing something in an evening or off the cuff. I need to make more effort and maybe dig out a lighter sketchbook hehe
  5. Do a little more for others - Even if I don't feel like it, doing a little thing for someone else can make a difference in their day being great or not.
So I know I am not exactly planning to end world hunger or cure cancer but baby steps to change things may lead to bigger leaps to do more dramatic things so lets see how this goes. 

L x 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

French Pharmacy and holiday Haul

Hello there!
So I have been lucky enough to go on holiday the past two weeks on a little cruise from Harwich in the UK to France, Spain and Portugal. The itinerary was an interesting one as we have 3 over night stays which was a bit of a waste but the reason was it was a "immersive wine cruise" so they were taking you to ports and selling them as the locations that are 2.5 hours away i.e. "Paris" (Le Harve) funniest thing I have seen in a while. I stayed local to the ship and got the shuttles into the main towns most days and just got lost within in them, Oh and ate local yumminess!!
Anyway I digress (again) my main excitement on this cruise was to go visit a French Pharmacy or two so that I could pick up some great skincare at low prices. So I wanted to share the items I picked up in brief just in case you are interested.
So as you can see I picked up just a few items...... hahahah this is a list of what I got a prices In Euro and Pounds just for comparisons. 
Bioderma Hydrabio Brume - Soothing refreshing water for sensitive skin €5.74/£4.88
Bioderma Hydrabio Lait Moisturising Cleansing Milk for sensitive, dehydrated skin €11.55/£9.82
 Bioderma Hydrabio Gommage Gental Exfoliating Cream for sensitive, dehydrated skin €10.70/£9.09
Bioderma Sebium Mat Moisturising Mattifying Fluid for combination/oily skin €9.90/8.42
Bioderma Sebium H20 Purifying Cleansing Micelle Solution for combination/oily skin Duo €17.99/£15.29 each 7.64
Nuxe Skin, Body and hair oil €18.90/£16.06
Nuxe Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm with honey and Precious Oils €8.99/£7.65
La Roche-Posay Eau Thermale Peaux sensibles Duo €10.95/£9.30 each £4.65
La Roche-Posay Serozinc, Zinc Sulfate Solution Cleansing, Soothing €6.89/£5.85
Phyto 7 Hydrating Day cream with 7 plants for Dry Hair Duo €18.30/£15.55 each £7.77
Biafine Act €5/£4.25
Homeoplasmine €4.85/£4.13
These were the sample goodies that I was given for purchasing so much stuff!! I was very impressed with this as we don't tend to get this treatment in the UK!
I then went on to splurge a little bit in a shop called Bimba and Lola. There stuff was lovely they did leather goods, shoes, Jewellery and clothes but the one thing that caught my eye was a card wallet which I have been after for a while now as I have a lot of cash cards, credit cards and store/loyalty cards. I have wanted to keep them separate since I downsized my purse to a very small coin purse which only holds my cash and drivers licence and a few other cards. So this is what I found and picked it up. At €45 it was pricey but its real leather and feels luxurious plus I love the logo for this brand!
I also couldn't resist this little navy blue make up bag which is in a nylon fabric which was reduced from €22 to €17 I just couldn't say no! 

This it was a little trip into Sephora which made me pick up only one item which was this GIANT bronzer I swatched it several times and kept going back to it so I decided to give in and get it! 
These were the samples I got from Sephora! 
Anyway I hope you enjoyed this little post. I did do lots of research into what products to get from France and hopefully I grabbed some good ones now I get to play with them and find out!!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Costco Haul

Hello lovelies, 
I am back again this time with a mini little haul which has a bargain side to it! Last weekend I ventured to Costco with the old parents as they have a membership card! I wasn't overly excited about the place until I found the cake section which I was basically just in heaven. Being on Slimming World at the moment meant that I was only able to look and not buy but hey it was all very delicious looking and I really did  have to peel myself away from the Red Velvet cupcakes which were more like a whole family sized cake each they were no where near any cup size I had seen!! 
Anyway I digress, at this point the only thing I have put in the (giant american sized) trolley were a pair of capri work out leggings which were a fab but at around £14. However it all changed when I discovered the health and beauty section!!! The prices I am quoting are without VAT so basically add 20% to the amount and that is what I actually paid.... still all bargains in my eyes!!

 I have used this toothpaste for years now I think form when it launched to be honest and I love it. It does make your teeth whiter and its not too minty which is good because I have never liked mint very much. These are normally around £3.50 each in Boots/Superdrug/Supermarket where ever you shop. Sometimes you can get them on offer which is when I tend to stock up but I think I am pretty set now! This pack of 4 cost me..... £6.38 I think it was. There was extra discount on them so they were super cheap which is fab!!
I have used Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream for as long as I can remember I suffer with very bad Eczema and this can help me take the edge of it when I sleep as I can cover the areas that need moisture with it and just let it sink in. My skin is so dry I can actually use this under my make up in the morning.... yeah tell me about it!! Crappy skin huh!! So it was my mum that found this and I luckily had phone reception in Costco so I was able to google prices of things to check them and the 50ml of 8 Hour is £25 online and this set was £24 for the two!!!! 
This is the lotion I have started using after I  have Phototherapy at the Hospital (for my eczema and acne) the basically have a selection of moisturisers for you to help yourself to after the treatment as it can be very drying. This is the only one not available on the NHS but it is available in Boots stores at £8.99 FOR 236ml and I don't think I have seen them in any of my local boots. These are 591ml and for the two it cost me around £12 if I remember correctly. They also had the cleanser which I would be interested to try and this lotion is very light but does a great job at moisturising. My skin as been alot happier since I got it. 
This was a two pack which I split with my mum as I was in need of a new mascara and thought I would share the pack with her the two pack was around £14 which is reasonable for a high end mascara. I haven't started using it yet but I like trying new mascaras so fingers crossed I like it! 
Overall I really enjoyed our little Costco trip I did have to resist buying the 64oz jar of Jelly Belly beans though...That was really tough :( 
Have you been to a Costco? Find any bargains?? 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Sewing Social

Hello lovely people who read my blog (if that is in fact anyone because I do assume I am talking to thin air) 

It has been a while since we last spoke, mainly because my blog hasn't found it's feet yet. I never really know what to blog about and what anyone would want to read. Anyway I'm gonna keep trying and moving forward... 

I recently took part in #sewingsocial on Twitter and LOVED IT basically its a twitter conversation where you chat about the subject of choice and answer questions whilst engaging with other like minded by people using the hastag. This was hosted by Tilly from The great sewing bee and It was brilliant. This was the first one of these I had done and it was so much fun that the hour flew by. I asked the crowd if anyone had any sewing blogs to send me their links and OMG did I get some fab blogs. I think I must have been sent about 12 blogs and I made sure to favourite each one so I could go back and read them all later, which I did. It was so nice to see lovely little blogs where people were just showing you things they had made and that they were proud of doing so. With a throw away culture nowadays its sad to see the obsession with "hauls" on YT and blogs all the time because everyone wants new things. Why not upcycle and recycle something you already have!! Or swap barter and hunt in charity shops for something you can make your own. So stemming from this I am now obsessed with Sewing/upcycle/craft blogs! And I think this may have a big impact on where my blog goes from now on.

So following of from that sewing social I discovered HUNDREDS of free patterns and tutorials online for sewing things. I decided to start simple and try making some bits and bobs. This was also fuelled by the fact we got a new sewing machine Bernina 1008 and boy is she a beauty!! So let me show you what little things I have created this month!  

So the first thing I made on Bernie (most original name for a Bernina ever!!) was this make up bag for a friends birthday present. It is made in a Macaroon 100% cotton fabric which was £4.95/mtr from Fabric Land. Its a very lovely fabric I love the pattern and I am obsessed with thicker cotton fabrics which this is. 

I hope you like the "view" from my window luckily mother is very green fingered so we have a gorgeous little garden! 
Oh and she loved the bag just in case you wondered :)

The second bag I just made for the sake of it. Not a clue what to do with it yet or whom to give it to but hey it was fun. It is the same method as the first bag you just don't pinch in the corners to make it boxy. Very simple indeed and there are loads of tutorials on how to make these style bags. 
This fabric was from C&H Fabrics and was £9.99/mtr and once again is a 100% heavier cotton. They also do this in a cream version which I spotted today, so I am holding off until their 25% off sales they do a few times a year. 
I also lined both of the bags with Calico which is in a cream colour and has light grey flecks in it. This is a very study fabric and means that you can use light weigh cottons for the outer fabric and bulk them out with this as a lining. I personally love it. You could use an oilcoth fabric on the inside to ensure the bag is protected from spills and mishaps but I haven't picked any up yet. 
The most time consuming part of making these two lovely bags was hand sewing in the lining. I chose a ladder stitch to do this and it makes the hand sewing undetectable by eye which I love. I personally prefer to hand sew the lining in as it means you can position it perfectly and it really finishes off the piece. There are tutorials how to sew the lining in by machine but I find the seams get rather bulky! But this is personal choice really and depends if you've got the time to sit there and stitch away by hand.

What do you think of my sewing efforts so far?! and what have you been making??