April Highlights

Wednesday, 30 April 2014
 cocktails at the Lioness of Leith for Kirsty's birthday - followed by dancing all night to old school classics at Citrus Club

 another work related visit to Paris.  I'm loving these quarterly adventures!


 a "mummy & daddy" dinner at the Roseleaf to swap birthday presents with Kirsty.  So in love with those Hydraluron masks!


sampling drinks made with new GloWorm mixers at 56North (post coming soon)


Unphotographed highlights from this month

A family dinner at Bella Italia for my little sisters' birthday with the parents and partners

Celebrating Jemma and James being back in the country for a wee visit with our first Cosmo experience (so much fooood)

Watching Kirsty trying to pack a bag for a night out and pulling out at least 3 fake knives in the process (normal)

Powering through almost 2 full series of Gossip Girl in a month (finally understanding the hype)

Falling in love with a flat only for it to go off the market the minute we decided we wanted it (ok so that one is not so much a highlight....)

What I've Been Eating #2

Friday, 25 April 2014
Chicken & Pesto Pasta
This was well and truly a "chuck everything together and hope for the best" type of meal but it actually turned out great!  I had a couple of leftover chicken thighs so I fried them in a little cooking spray, chucked in some mushrooms and pine nuts and then stirred in cooked wholemeal pasta and a tablespoon of red pesto.  So easy and really really tasty, definitely one I'll do again.


BBQ Chicken
When it comes to turkey and chicken I've recently started buying the cheaper thighs and drumsticks instead of the usual breasts/steaks and I have to say I'm finding my meals are much tastier.  Obviously if you're using skin-on joints then it's not the healthiest option but you can always remove the skin before eating.  One of the easiest meals I've been making with drumsticks and thighs recently is this BBQ chicken.  You just spray the meat with some 1 cal cooking spray, sprinkle on bbq seasoning and stick in a dish in the oven for about 35 minutes.  I've made this twice recently, once served with homemade chips (also sprinkled with bbq seasoning) and green veg, and the other time with mexican rice and chips, although I envisage making this with a lovely green salad in the summer.



Duck spring rolls & burgers
I went out for dinner with my bloggy BFF Kirsty the other week to the Roseleaf down at The Shore in Leith.  I'd heard so many good things about the Roseleaf but had never been before so was really looking forward to some delicious food and drinking cocktails out of teapots and it did not disappoint.  I went for duck spring rolls to start (or "Qrispy Quaker") which were absolutely delicious - so crispy yet so moist and juicy, yum yum yum.  Unsurprisingly I went for a burger for my main and oh my what a burger.....the patty was a blend of beef and pork belly, topped with bacon and cheese and served with double dipped chips.  Add 3 "pot-tails" and you're left with a very sick Lynney - so sick I had to go straight home for a lie down afterwards.  When will I learn?

KFC Fakeaway
As I mentioned in my last "What I've Been Eating" post I've been planning on joining Slimming World (in fact by the time this post goes live I'll have been to my first class) so I've been constantly on the search of good Slimming World friendly recipes online.  One of the bloggers I follow on Twitter has been having a lot of success at SW in the last few months (you can read her blog here) and she recently posted a healthy KFC style chicken recipe which sounded so good I decided to try it last weekend when I was craving something fried.  The trick here is that the "batter" is actually Smash instant mash potato mix - it sounds weird but it tastes amazing.  I did end up making quite a big portion of chips to go with it, although they were cooked with 1 cal cooking spray and so were a fraction of the calories I'd have had if I went for a real takeaway, so I didn't feel guilty.

Quarter pounder & chips
Emm yeah so it looks like a lot of what I've been eating recently is "something and chips"....really need to add a bit of variety!  The last time I posted I mentioned a Slimming World burger recipe and this time I've gone for another, this time with the added ingredient of berlotti beans (which I hadn't even heard of until this recipe!).  Again this is pretty easy to make - just blend mince, a can of drained berlotti beans, half a red onion, some parsley and seasoning and then shape into pattys (my blender was not playing ball so I used a potato masher....fun).  The beans added a bit more texture to the burger and they turned out pretty good although they could have done with a bit more seasoning (I realised afterwards though that I forgot to add a spoonful of tomato puree, so that's perhaps why they were a bit bland).

I think we can safely say that for my next food roundup post my challenge is definitely EAT LESS CHIPS.


OOTD: Giving Me The Cold Shoulder

Wednesday, 23 April 2014
IMG_6827
IMG_6828
IMG_6829
IMG_6830
IMG_6831
IMG_6832

skirt - new look
bag - asos
necklace* - rings & tings

Remember back in the late 90's / early 00's when these tops were all the rage?  I remember having lots of tops like this with the cut out detail on the shoulders, ahhh I was soooo cooool.  Not.

This was a comfy casual look I wore to work the other day.  It was a bit chilly so I went for a long sleeved top rather than a t-shirt, and also had on some quite thick leggings under the skirt.  I got the skirt a while ago in a sale at New Look and I remember it being dead cheap, like £4 or something.  I love the faded denim colour, it's going to look really cute in the summer with light coloured t-shirts.

Accessories wise I went for one of my favourite handbags - I really wanted the bunny version when it first came out but it sold out really quickly so when they brought out the owl version a few months later I snapped it up.  The necklace is from Rings & Tings and is another absolute bargain.  I love how the little splash of green adds a pop of colour to the outfit.


Mint To Be

Sunday, 20 April 2014




I want to start by saying that I have no plans to turn Cocktails & Daydreams into a wedding blog, so if you're worried that I'm going to start churning out posts about centrepieces and bunting then rest assured, that's not going to happen. On the other hand, if you do love all things wedding then the best thing to do is follow me on Pinterest because I'm going wedding DAFT over there.

Which leads me nicely into this post which is going to be a little sneak peek into my wedding plans so far. Building a pinterest board of ideas is pretty much as far as we've got in terms on planning at the moment - and as you can see the idea is ALL MINT EVERYTHAAANG.










We've roughly decided on a date (September 2015) and the type of wedding we want (outdoor/DIY) and emailed a couple of venues for initial quotes so we know how much we need to save (emmm lots). I also bought myself a wedding planning folder from Paperchase the other day and wrote a big list of everything we need to organise over the next year and a half - it's crazy how much there is to think about, so many decisions, argh! Luckily I love planning so I'm quite excited about getting started.

The next step is to go view a couple of venues and then on the 4th of May I'm going to my first wedding fair with my mum through in Glasgow, exciting times!

Naked 3 Eyeshadow Palette Dupe?

Friday, 18 April 2014
IMG_0478

Oh look it's my first makeup review post of 2014....and it's nearly the end of April. I should really stop calling myself a beauty blogger. Anyway, I'm sure you'll forgive me when you see what an absolute BARGAIN I have to share with you.

A week or so ago I saw HelloTerriLowe post a tweet about a Revolution eyeshadow palette that she was loving. I'd never heard of Revolution before so I gave the link a wee click out of curiousity and my first thought was "ooh those colours look a bit like the Naked 3 palette". My second thought was "£4?!!!" and within about 5 minutes it was in my basket.

Now a quick disclaimer - I know I've called this post "Naked 3 Dupe" and I am pretty confident that it IS a great dupe, but I don't actually own the Naked 3 palette so you know, don't quote me on it.

Having read a ton of Naked 3 reviews and seen like a million arm swatches I feel like I have a pretty decent idea of what the shades look like though, and I can tell you that the Revolution Iconic 3 palette shades are almost identical. When reviews of Naked 3 started springing up last year I was so tempted to buy it as I immediately fell in love with the pinky/bronzey shades, but the reason I didn't give in was that I put my sensible hat on and told myself that while those colours are really "in" right now, I probably won't still be loving them in 6 months time. So that's why finding an alternative which gives me the same result for a price I don't feel guilty about was like a beauty dream come true.

Btw the Naked 2 palette though is a different story - this one I did actually willingly shell of £30-odd for about a year ago and still use on a weekly basis. If you're looking for a versatile palette with a mix of light and dark, shimmery and matte shades that will work for day-to-day as well as dramatic night-out looks, then Naked 2 is perfect. I don't feel guilty about that one at all, but I'm almost certain that I would have had a major case of buyers remorse if I'd given in to the Naked 3 hype.

Comparing Revolution Iconic 3 and Urban Decay Naked 3

Anyway, on with the review! First up let's look at the packaging - now obviously this is where you can see the biggest difference between the premium and cheap product. The Naked palettes come in really fancy looking tins with a mirror on the inside, whilst the Revolution palette is a basic plastic see-through container with no mirror. If having pretty packaging is something that bothers you then this might put you off the Revolution palette, but I couldn't care less (and for £4 neither should you).

IMG_0482
IMG_0485

I've already discussed the fact that the shades look almost identical above and I've photographed some swatches below so you can see for youself. Like I said, I don't have the Naked 3 palette so can't show you side by side comparisons, but you get the drift.  The fact that they've called the palette Iconic 3 is a pretty big hint that they've based this on Naked 3 too (their Iconic 1 and Iconic 2 palettes look like attempted dupes of the other Naked palettes).

IMG_0488
IMG_0492
IMG_0497

Again, as the Revolution product is cheaper you'd expect that the quality isn't as good as an Urban Decay product and there is definitely more fall-out than I get with my Naked 2 shades, but that's nothing a good dusting of loose powder won't fix. In fact, when I'm doing a particularly heavy eye or using glittery shadows I generally do my eye makeup first so I can clean off any fallout before applying foundation (tip alert).  Apart from fall-out I don't feel like there is a massive difference in quality though to be honest, the Revolution shadows still feel quite creamy and the pigmentation is great.

IMG_6838

If you're bothered about makeup ingredients then yeah again this is something that might put you off the Revolution palette as there are a lot of letter/number ingredients in the list which isn't the best sign, but I've been using the eyeshadows every day for the past week and a half and haven't had any problems with irritation or anything so far.

Finally, the biggest difference beween the two is obviously the price. Naked 3 is £37 on average whilst the Revolution Iconic 3 is just £4.

£4.

Four British Pounds. 

The whole palette is cheaper than the bottle of micellar water I'd use to remove it.

What a bloody bargain.

If you've been toying with the idea of buying the Naked 3 palette then I definitely recommend trying this first. At almost 1/10 of the price you can't really go wrong.

IMG_6837

What do you think - have you got Naked 3, does it look like a good dupe?

(ring* - rings & tings)

OOTD: Pastel Accents

Wednesday, 16 April 2014





dress - asos
belt - asos (old)
bag - asos
necklace - primark
love heart ring - gift
sunglasses & moustache rings - primark

The other weekend I got all dressed up for a night out for my pal Kirsty's birthday - we started off with cocktails at The Lioness of Leith and then ended it dancing to 90's indie classics at Citrus Club (which was filled with actual children).  I feel like I probably go on a bit too much on here about how much love I have for my Scottish Blogger pals so I won't waffle on too much - but I will quickly say that Kirsty is one of my favourite people and I am so happy that she has become a part of my life in the last year.  Emotional bit over......back onto clothes!

So as always seems to happen when I'm getting ready for a night out, I started off with TONS of time but somehow ended up rushing at the end so didn't really have time to take proper OOTD photos which means I'm stuck with this very short selection.  The dress was a new purchase from ASOS - remember how I won a competition last year and got a £200 ASOS voucher?  Well I discovered that I still had £40-odd left after I sent some stuff back, so I ordered a couple of dresses last week and this is the one I ended up keeping.  I love the crochet detailing on the top half, and it's a good length on me (if you're taller than say 5ft3 though then it would actually be REALLY short). 

I paired the dress with some pastel accessories, as I'm pretty obsessed with pastels at the moment (I watched a bunch of Primark haul videos at the weekend and made a list of things to look out for and literally everything was a pastel colour).  The necklace is Primark, the belt and bag are ASOS (yep, it's that bag again!), the love heart ring was a gift, and the other rings are Primark.  Oh and in case you're wondering the reason I didn't have my engagement ring on is because it's a tiny bit too big and I was worried that it might fall off when I was out dancing (plus you know, I could chat up men*).  I didn't photograph the shoes but I was wearing wedge heel shoe boots from New Look 915.

*JOKE obviously.

Since I was pretty rubbish at taking photos of the outfit, here's a couple of photos from the night out to make up for it!

lianne & laura

gillian, me, iona & gill

Battle of the Micellar Waters

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Garnier are the latest brand to dip their toes in the micellar water market and as I mentioned in my recent beauty buys post I bought myself a bottle when I was in Boots last month.  I've been using it for the last few weeks and wanted to do a review but given that it's a bit of a DULL product to write about I've tried to do something a bit different.  Before the Garnier version came into my life I'd been using the L'Oreal 3 in 1 Purifying Micellar Solution pretty solidly for the last 6 months or so and still had some left so I thought I'd do a "scientific" (not really) experiment and pit the 2 against each other to see which was better.  

Ding ding!  Let battle commence!


Makeup removal
First up is arguably the most important bit - how good a job do they do at removing make-up.  The only reason I use micellar water is to take off my makeup before cleansing so ideally I want this to be as easy as possible - if I have to use tons of soaked cotton pads then I'm not impressed.  

To keep things fair I used one micellar water on each half of my face, that way they were both removing the exact same amount of makeup.  I used one cotton pad per eye, then one pad for the face, going over with a third to check if there was anything left.  There wasn't much difference between the two at this stage to be honest, with the third cotton pad coming back completely clear for both sides of the face.

Winner: Tie



Finish
I couldn't really find a good word to describe this next test so I've gone with "finish" - basically I tested how the product left my skin, did it dry quickly, did my skin sting etc.  I timed how long it took for the product to completely dry on the skin and surprisingly there was absolutely no difference between the two - both took 1 minute and 40 seconds to sink in.

The one difference though was that the L'Oreal version made my skin feel really hot on the cheeks for some reason - I have noticed that my face does sometimes feel really flushed after I've removed my makeup but hadn't actually thought it was anything to do with the product.

Winner: Garnier (purely due to L'Oreal making my skin flush)


Packaging
Having used the L'Oreal cleansing water for the last 6 months or so one of the things that annoys me on a daily basis is the packaging.  The bottle LOOKS nice and as it's so slim it doesn't take up much room in my beauty drawer, but when it comes to putting product onto a cotton pad the flat top means that you get a lot of spillage.  It's pretty much impossible to squeeze some out without it dribbling down the side which is a pain in the arse.  The Garnier bottle has a much better design though so it's a lot easier to get product out (and also to decant into a smaller bottle for travelling). 

Winner: Garnier


Price
Show me the money!  If I'm honest, price has definitely been the biggest influencer behind me buying L'Oreal  up until now, as it's significantly cheaper than the Bioderma version.  When sold at full price Garnier is exactly the same as L'Oreal BUT the bottle is bigger so you're getting more for your money.

L'OrĂ©al Skin Perfection 3 in 1 Purifying Micellar Solution - £4.99 for 200ml (currently on offer for £3.33)
Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water - £4.99 for 400ml

Winner: Garnier

So based on these super scientific tests....ahem....I'd say that Garnier is the clear winner!  In terms of makeup removal and the way it feels on the skin there's not a lot between the two to be fair, but Garnier definitely has the better packaging and you can't argue with the price.  This is one I'll absolutely be repurchasing.



What do you think though - have you tried both?  Can you recommend another cleansing water I should try next?