Sunday Summary #66


1.Vintage suitcases at Hotel du Vin 2.Drinks at the Next Home event 3.Lunchtime 4.Bookshelves 5.All crockery should be heart shaped, new bowl from Next* 6.Face 7.Getting ready 8.Drunky drunk

Ohhhh dearrrrr, I'm feeling a little worse for wear today after rather a lot of vodka last night. I haven't been out in ages so it was nice to do a bit of drinking and dancing - not enjoying the hangover quite so much though! As soon as I'm finished writing this post I think I'll have to order a takeaway, definitely necessary. I'm just calling today a complete write off, got lots I should be doing but it can wait until tomorrow - this evening I won't be doing much more than watching Netflix and drinking my bodyweight in Irn Bru.

Earlier this week I went to the Next Home event which I really enjoyed and it was lovely as always to catch up with some Scottish bloggers. Part of the event was held at Hotel du Vin which was so nice inside. I've walked past many times but had never been in before, will definitely have to persuade my parents to take me there for some drinks next time they're visiting! It seems like there's loads of blogging events going on at the moment up here, which is nice. It's crazy how much blogging has expanded in the three or so years since I started this here little bloglet. I'll be heading along to the Zen beauty event next week too, is anyone else going?

After my weekend of having fun and lazing about, it'll be back to essay writing next week. My next essay's not due until the 11th but so far I haven't really done any reading for it so I better get cracking soon! I had my last ever university class this week which was really weird, can't believe I've been here for 5 years, whaaatttt. I've really enjoyed doing my Masters but I think I've had enough of learning now and am quite looking forward to getting a proper job later this year (well, hopefully anyway!) and earning some money. And not having to write essays will definitely be a bonus too!

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Mixtape: March


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March mixtape // via Spotify

I haven't been listening to that much music this month as Spotify told me I can now only listen for 10 hours and each song 5 times per month. Waaaahh. I think it's finally time to upgrade from the free option! Despite that, I have discovered a few new songs to listen to as well as some old favourites. A couple of 80s tunes, a couple of more upbeat kind of ones, and lots of acousticy-folk songs - I think that sums up my taste in music pretty well!

Talk Talk // It's My Life
Vampire Weekend // Diane Young
Haim // Send Me Down
Beirut // Postcards from Italy
Dan Andriano in the Emergency Room // Waiting by Myself
Bastille // Laura Palmer
Stevie Nicks // Edge of Seventeen
Daughter // Landfill
Fleet Foxes // The Shrine/An Argument
Beck // Lost Cause
Listen to "March" here.

What have you been listening to this month?

Gillian x

Event: Next Homewares


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On Tuesday evening I headed over to the huge Next store at Edinburgh's Straiton Retail Park with a few of my fave Scottish bloggers to have a look round the homewares department. I've always associated Next with clothes and accessories, and the occasional picture frame or cushion, but I had no idea they had such a wide range of homewares too. Everything from furniture to bed linen to kitchen utensils to patterned wallpaper and of course lots of pretty nick-nacks!

It seems quite a lot of people are just as clueless as me when it comes to Next homewares, which is why they've just launched a brand new Next Home TV advert. After a look round the store, we all headed over to Hotel du Vin for some drinks and canapes (which were AMAZING, by the way!) to watch the advert and see a behind-the-scenes look at how it was all put together. We also had time for a chat with the lovely Next people and it was so interesting hearing about the design process behind all the things we saw in the store. I always just assumed high street shops bought their homewares from somewhere else, but in Next almost everything is designed by the in-house design team. Some collections are designed around a year before they actually hit shops, so the team really have to stay ahead of the trends! There's a collection coming out in a few months called "Modern Romance" which I think will be right up bloggers' streets - lots of shabby chic and Parisian-inspired decor.

Next also very kindly gave us a gift voucher to spend in store so I chose a few different things for my flat, including a couple of the heart shaped plates pictured above. So cuuuute! I'm going to be doing a flat tour post very soon (once I get round to tidying up...!) so keep your eyes peeled for a few new Next items making my living room prettier than before!

I absolutely love homewares and could spend hours wandering round fake bedrooms and living rooms - lately I've been finding myself spending more money on homeware things than clothes, does this mean I'm a grown up now? Next already have a couple of stand-alone Home Stores and there are plans to open four more very soon - I'm hoping one will come to Scotland in the not too distant future! I've been browsing through the catalogue and the online shop and I've got a wishlist as long as my arm now, think I'll definitely have to order myself a few more things soon. This Isabella dressing table is so dreamy, wish I didn't have to make-do with my landlord's boring furniture! I also love this silver sparkle mirror and punched metal lantern. Oh and also this embroidered birds cushion. I basically want everything!

Thanks very much to Next for putting on a really lovely event, it has definitely changed my opinion about their Home department!

Are you a fan of Next homewares?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #65


1.Horizontal snow 2.Sad face at having to go outside in said horizontal snow 3.Stuffed jalapenos and mini quesadillas 4.Essay writing 5.Hot chocolate with marshmallow fluff

This is going be be a pretty short and sweet Sunday Summary post because 1) I have done nothing interesting this week and 2) I am in the middle of trying to write an essay. Well, I say in the middle but I'm only 400 words into a 3,000 word essay. So nothing even remotely close to the middle. It's not due in until Thursday, but I've got a pretty busy week coming up so I'd ideally like to get it finished tonight. I highly doubt that's going to happen, so I'll settle for 1,500 words tonight and the same again tomorrow. Next week I've got a blogger event, the last day of my internship, my final two university classes and some friends are coming to visit so there won't be much time for essay writing! I've got another essay due on the 11th which seems like it's ages away but it's actually not, so I better get cracking on with that soon. And then once it gets handed in it'll be time to start on the dissertation, aaaahhh.

As I have spent the majority of my week in the National Library or in front of Microsoft Word, literally nothing exciting has happened. The highlight of my week was getting my Asda groceries delivered, and discovering that they had substituted a box of 6 creme eggs for 4 full sized creme egg Easter eggs. So much chocolate! It's quite sad that my life is so dull at the moment that that was the high point of my week haha.

What have you been up to this week? Please tell me something interesting so I can live vicariously through you!

Gillian x

Edinburgh City Guide #1: Eating & Drinking


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Edinburgh quite often gets little passing mentions on the blog, especially in my Sunday Summary posts, but I thought it was high time I got round to doing some proper posts dedicated to my favourite wee city. Even though I'm not originally from Edinburgh, it seems like I've lived here forever and it definitely feels like home. So, here is the first of my "city guides"; I'll be doing a few of these with different themes to share some of my favourite places and things Auld Reekie has to offer. And what better way to start than with my favourite hobbies (yes, they are hobbies), eating and drinking?

If it's great Scottish food you're after, try The Grain Store on Victoria Street. They don't really do much advertising, but rely on word of mouth recommendations and passing trade so this restaurant retains a very "Edinburgh"-y feel. It's quite relaxed and not at all pretentious, with rustic stone walls, lots of candles and tables tucked away in cosy little alcoves. The food is always delicious, using fresh and seasonal Scottish ingredients; expect lots of game and seafood on the menu. The Grain Store is on the more expensive side, but not overly so - a set 3 course lunch is £15 and dinner from the A La Carte menu is usually around £35-40 per person. Just around the corner on George IV Bridge is Ondine which is of a similar price range and also serves up fresh Scottish produce cooked simply but excellently. Ondine specialise in seafood, although they do a couple of meat dishes too. Located on the second floor, the restaurant has lovely views of the Old Town and a really nice atmosphere. I would really recommend the grilled Isle of Mull lobster served with garlic and herb butter - simple but so good! If you're going all out and want to sample some Michelin star food, I'd suggest heading down to The Kitchin at the Shore. It is pretty expensive, but definitely worth it if you're celebrating a special occasion. The menu changes regularly according to what's in season, and there's often unusual and lesser-used ingredients on offer. Situated right by the waterfront, it has great views and despite the very formal service it doesn't feel at all stuffy.

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As much as I'd love to live the champagne lifestyle, my budget is usually a little bit lower than that. For amazing food at a reasonable price, why not try one of my all-time favourites, Passorn? They serve delicious Thai food packed full of fresh flavours. I could probably live off their coconut rice, it's so good. As is the Kaeng Panang red curry, puts the average Saturday night takeaway red curry to shame! If Mexican food is more your thing, head over to Thistle Street and sample some of Tex Mex 2's menu. The restaurant is small and super cute, and serves up all the usual favourites including rather good frozen margarita pitchers. I also love the little bowls of spicy popcorn they bring to your table as you wait for your order, yum! Another tex mex restaurant which I spend a disproportionate amount of time in is Illegal Jack's. They do fast-food takeaway style food (but much tastier) which is cheap and completely customisable. Choose your base, your fillings, toppings and any accompaniments - my usual order is a burrito with chicken, pinto beans, hot salsa and extra jalapenos. A main course (the portions are big so no need for starters!) plus a drink usually comes to around £10, so perfect if you're on a budget.

As for cafés and snacky places, my top choice is definitely Frisky, who have stores on Lothian Road and Forrest Road. They specialise in delicious frozen yoghurt with a variety of toppings, from fresh fruit to chocolate and even rose petals! My favourite flavour of their frozen yoghurt is definitely mango, and I usually have a different combination of toppings every time I visit. The decor is a bit space age with bright pink and white walls and cartoon decorations, and the plastic bubble chairs are wonderfully weird. For something slightly more traditional, head to the Elephant House for tea, coffee, snacks and cakes. The Elephant House is a must-visit for Harry Potter fans as some of the books were written there, but it's also a really nice café in its own right. It has a nice and cosy relaxed feel to it, and, as a non coffee/tea drinker, I'm particularly impressed by their speciality hot chocolate menu.

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I'm rather partial to a cocktail (or 5) and Edinburgh has quite a few lovely cocktail bars. My absolute favourite is The Dragonfly, on the edge of the Grassmarket. Their cocktail menu is extensive and features lots of original cocktails that are a bit different to the usual Cosmopolitans and Martinis (although, the staff will happily make you one if you ask!). There are too many great cocktails to choose a favourite, but I have to mention the Raspberry Ripple (like ice cream in cocktail form, and the glass is even decorated with hundreds and thousands), the Joe Le Taxi (vodka with a balsamic reduction and fresh strawberries, yes please) and the Deep Purple (it's made with beetroot syrup and is BRIGHT purple - amazing). Most cocktails at the Dragonfly are between £6 and £8 which is average for a cocktail in Edinburgh, sadly drinking is pretty expensive here! A slightly more purse-friendly cocktail bar is Bar Kohl over on George IV Bridge. With flavoured vodka mixes from £3.75 and cocktails from £4.70 it's a great place for a few drinks of an evening, and they also do great burgers if you're stopping by during the day time. The Old Skool cocktail is definitely favourite; it's served in a cute mini tankard and tastes just like Kola Kubes. Bar Kohl make a lot of their own flavoured vodkas, so keep an eye out for all the weird and wonderful bottles behind the bar.

edinburgh city guide eating and drinking

Pubs are literally everywhere in Edinburgh, but you can't visit the city without stopping for a drink at The Café Royal. Dating back to the 1860s, and retaining much of the original interior, The Café Royal appeals to both my love of history and my love of drinking. It's exactly how I think all Edinburgh pubs should be, nice and cosy but also classy and refined. With a big circular bar and lots of impressive Victorian decor, it's a lovely place to spend the afternoon along with a pint. It's only a couple of seconds away from Princes Street, but it's tucked away on West Register Street so is great for escaping the busy tourist spots. Over in the Old Town, Holyrood 9A is another great pub which has a traditional pub feel to it, but is also a bit cool and trendy. If beer's your thing, they have lots of speciality beers from around the world, and lots of local ones too. I'd recommend sampling a pint of Edinburgh's very own Innis & Gunn. Holyrood 9A also do great food; think lots of burgers, sharing platters and salads.

I hope you enjoyed my whirlwind tour of a few of my favourite Edinburgh restaurants and bars, and find it useful if you're planning a visit or live nearby! What are your favourite Edinburgh eating and drinking establishments?

Gillian x

Outfit: Frontier


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Dress: Primark
Belt: H&M
Boots: New Look
Necklace: Bad Passion
Rings: Primark
Lipstick: MAC Russian Red

Well, I definitely should have ironed this dress before putting it on and taking photos of myself, eh? I don't think I've ironed a single item of clothing since I moved out of home 5 years ago - either I'm really good at picking clothes that don't need ironing, or I just don't care that much if I look a little wrinkly. I'm definitely leaning towards the latter explanation. This denim-look dress is a recent purchase from Primark, and I thought it would be a nice springy/summery dress to add to my wardrobe. I think it was quite cheap too, I want to say £10 but I could just be making that up. I really like shirt dresses as they're easy to wear and usually pretty flattering, although I still can't decide how I feel about buttoning them all the way to the top. On other people it looks nice, but shirts always tend to be a bit gapey on me, so I think I'll be wearing it with a couple of buttons undone from now on.

Not sure why, but this outfit really makes me think of cowboys and the American frontier. I think it's probably because of all the denim and animal skulls and big boots. I do actually have a pair of cowboy boots, but they're no longer usable as I wore them to death when I was in first year of university. Seriously, what was I thinking? I wore them every single day, and occasionally on nights out too. WHAT?! Why did no one stop me? Anyway, these boots are marginally less embarrassing, and are another recent purchase, this time from New Look. I really like the little studs on them, they're not too over the top and so look quite normal but also a little bit different. Oh man, I'm on fire with the excellent descriptions today.

Jewellery wise, I've dug out an old favourite necklace from Bad Passion which I haven't worn for ages. I love the little bird skull, it really appeals to my love of all things a bit morbid. The rings are both from Primark; they came in a set of 4 for £2 so were a bit of a bargain, even by Primark standards. I really like turquoise jewellery, especially in the summer, so I will definitely be stocking up over the next few months.

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #64


1.Satchel from Godiva Boutique 2.Reading Sunset Song 3.Urban Decay Naked Basics palette 4.Homemade nachos

This week I seem to have had quite a few parcels from the postman landing on my doorstep. I finally caved in and bought the Urban Decay Naked Basics palette, after a few weeks of umming and ahhing. I'm not really a big eyeshadow wearer, but I thought the shades looked like really nice daytime colours, plus I don't have a neutral eyeshadow palette already. I think the matte shades in this palette will definitely be better suited to me than the previous shimmery Naked Palettes. I also ordered some homeware things, a bag from Ebay, and got a lovely little satchel (hand delivered, no less!) from Godiva. Godiva recently held a giveaway over on their blog and I was lucky enough to be the winner of this gorgeous vintage style satchel. I never win anything, so I was rather chuffed to hear that I'd won! Speaking of bags, how do you store yours? I seem to have quite the collection now and I have no idea what to do with them, they take up so much space! Currently they're strewn around the flat - some under my bed, some in my wardrobe, some on the floor, some hanging from assorted hooks and door knobs. Not ideal, really! Any suggestions, or links to posts on storage ideas?

I'm sure you're all sick to death of hearing about this now (I know I am), but I thought I had better quickly mention the whole Google Reader drama. I'm not that bothered as I didn't use Google Reader anyway, but a lot of people seem to be going into panic mode. Never fear, you can still follow with Google Friend Connect (it's not connected to Google Reader, and no announcements have been made about shutting it down yet), or head over to Bloglovin to follow on there instead. You can also keep up to date with my posts through Hellocotton, Facebook, and of course Twitter. You can also subscribe with a variety of other RSS readers or get posts delivered straight to your email inbox, have a look at my Feedburner feed to subscribe. Phew! Now that's out of the way, I promise I'll never mention it again! (All my links/subscriptions etc. will be in the sidebar anyway).

I'm up to my ears in essay reading at the moment, so this week has been pretty boring. I'm afraid next week looks like it will be very similar - all day library on Monday and Tuesday, internship on Wednesday, classes on Thursday, then back to the library on Friday and Saturday. Boo hoo! There seem to be quite a few blogger events coming up over the next few weeks, and some of my friends are coming to visit soon so that's keeping me going through all this super exciting uni work.

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Top 5: Products To Make Your Makeup Last All Day


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Makeup that lasts all day without the need for touch-ups is every girl's dream, am I right? I hate having to constantly check the mirror, so I'm always on the look out for beauty products that are long lasting and will stay put all day. These are my top 5 picks to keep your face looking flawless all day.

Benefit Porefessional:
Applying a primer is always the first step in my makeup routine. I love Porefessional as it's quite lightweight and leaves your skin feeling really smooth and silky. It really helps to reduce the appearance of pores, and creates a nice blank canvas to apply the rest of your makeup to. After using a primer, your makeup applies more evenly and lasts longer. I really like the Porefessional but this tube is nearly done, I quite fancy trying the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer next!

Estée Lauder Double Wear Light Foundation:
If you know you're going to be out and about all day and want your makeup to last, choose a foundation specifically designed to be long lasting. I love Estée Lauder Double Wear Light as it's not too heavy, but it does manage to stay in place all day. Avoid foundations which are overly dewy as they tend to slide more easily. Double Wear Light is great as it still looks quite natural but it doesn't melt away after a few hours.

Chanel Natural Finish Loose Powder:
I pretty much always use a powder, even if I'm going for a very natural, no effort makeup look. A light dusting of Chanel's Loose Powder over my nose, chin and cheeks really helps to keep the dreaded shine at bay. You only need the tiniest amount, and it definitely makes your makeup stay in place longer. I love this Chanel powder as it's really lightweight and natural looking, so you never look over-powdered.

Real Techniques Setting Brush:
Rather than a traditional big fluffy brush to apply my powder, I prefer using a smaller one for more precise application. The Real Techniques Setting Brush is the perfect size to apply a little bit of powder to the areas that need it, rather than wasting lots of product and putting it all over your face. It's also great for hard to reach places, like if you need to set concealer underneath your eyes.

Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray:
Once you've finished applying your makeup, using a setting spray is a great way to lock it all in place. The Urban Decay All Nighter spray is a fine mist which is undetectable on the skin and keeps your makeup looking perfect all day. It seems to help makeup settle into your skin better, and then keeps it there all day. It's also nice and refreshing!

What products do you use to keep your face in place?

Gillian x

Review: Estée Lauder Double Wear Light Foundation


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Estée Lauder Double Wear Light Foundation // £27.50

Even though this has been my everyday foundation for the last 4 years or so, I recently realised I'd never actually done a proper review of it on the blog before. A couple of weeks ago I repurchased a new tube of Estée Lauder's Double Wear Light foundation so I thought this would be the perfect time to write up a review.

As the name suggests, Double Wear Light is a light coverage foundation which is long-wearing and gives a nice, natural finish. I've never tried the original Double Wear to compare the two, but I find this gives plenty coverage for me (with the addition of concealer where I need it). If you're looking for something with heavy coverage, I definitely wouldn't recommend this, but for buildable, light to medium coverage this a great foundation which evens out skintone and gives you a natural looking base. I find the best way to apply this foundation is with my fingers, but it also works well with the Real Techniques Buffing Brush for a flawless finish.

I use the shade Intensity 1.0, which is the lightest shade. It's verging on being aaaalmost too dark for me, but in the summer it's pretty much an exact match for my skintone. As long as I blend it in well it looks fine. It doesn't have a dewy finish, but it's not matte either - just somewhere inbetween which gives a nice healthy glow without looking too shiny. I always powder my t-zone and chin just to make sure everything remains shine-free all day, but I only use a tiny bit as this foundation is pretty good at staying put on its own. As it's part of the Double Wear range, it's specially formulated to be long lasting; Estée Lauder claim you'll get up to 15 hours wear out of it and you know what, I think I'd agree. There have been occasions when I've put this on first thing in the morning, gone about my daily business, done a quick bit of re-powdering when I got home, then headed out again at night and it has stayed looking perfect the whole time. It doesn't smudge easily or melt off which is great, especially if you know you're going to be wearing it all day and night. As it has such a lightweight finish, you can quite easily forget you're wearing makeup. With some foundations, if I've been wearing them all day, by the time it gets to the evening I start to feel a bit like I want to claw my face off because it's so heavy and uncomfortable, but I don't get this with Double Wear Light at all.

It is pretty expensive, at £27.50 for 30ml, but I think it's worth the price as it lasts forever. As I mentioned, I've been using it as my daily foundation for about four years now and I've only just bought my third tube. I also like the packaging it comes in; although a glass bottle might look prettier on your dressing table, a squeezy tube is much more practical as you can easily control how much product you use and you can even cut it open once it's almost done to scrape every last bit out!

I honestly can't recommend this foundation enough if you're looking for a light to medium coverage that will leave you with a natural finish. Although I've dabbled in plenty of other foundations over the years, this is the only one that has remained a constant part of my daily makeup bag and the foundation I reach for about 9 times out of 10.

Have you tried any of the Double Wear foundations?

Gillian x

Sunday Summary #63


1.Trains at night 2.Benefit Fake Up 3.Testing out Laura Mercier Silk Creme foundation 4.Lots of chocolate 5.Frog socks 6.Nachos for lunch 7.Beetroot risotto

I honestly do not know where the days are going, can you believe it's almost half way through March already? Not that you'd be able to tell, it's currently snowing outside. Whaaaaat. As much as I love winter, I'm really looking forward to warmer weather and brighter nights. As weird as it sounds, I can't wait to open my window - there's nothing I love more than lying in bed on a Sunday morning with the window wide open and a little breeze coming in. Please be warm enough soon!

I had a busy start to the week with the Benefit Fake Up event through in Glasgow. I only took a couple of photos on the night, but I've put them up on my Facebook page if you fancy a gander, and you can read my review of Fake Up here. I already love Benefit anyway, but it makes me love them even more that they're doing lots of blogger events across the country. I hope other companies take note, because not everyone lives in London despite what some PRs think! It's also lovely to be able to catch up with my Scottish Blogger pals at various events and meetups. Because we're a relatively small group you get to know each other pretty quickly and it genuinely is just like spending the evening with your friends. Aww.

I've also been busy with my internship this week, as I've only got 3 weeks of it left and have still got loads to do! It has been great working within an archive for the last couple of months and it has definitely reinforced the idea that I'd love to work in the heritage/museums/libraries sector. I keep seeing jobs advertised that I want to apply for but I've still got until August before I graduate, arrgghh. Hopefully there will be some things around then - as much as I've loved doing my Masters I don't think I'm cut out for a PhD!

Aside from that, this week has been very boring. My first essay is due in less than 3 weeks so that's pretty much taking up my life right now.

What have you been up to this week?

Gillian x

Recipe: Teriyaki Glazed Meatballs with Steamed Rice


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This recipe has become a bit of a regular in my repertoire over the last couple of months. I first spotted a recipe for Teriyaki Meatball Bowls on Budget Bytes ages ago, and after a little bit of adaptation I have perfected my own version. Despite having quite a lot of ingredients, most of it is store cupboard stuff that you'll probably have kicking around anyway. It's also relatively quick and easy to do, so is great for a weeknight dinner.

You Will Need (serves 2):
For the meatballs:
250g minced pork (or substitute for beef/turkey/quorn etc.)
1/2 egg
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 spring onion, finely sliced
Salt and pepper

      For the glaze:
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp teriyaki sauce
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp corn flour
2 tsp sesame seeds
      To serve:
120g rice
2 spring onions, sliced
1 carrot, cut in ribbons

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. In a large bowl, mix together the minced pork, egg, garlic, grated ginger, soy sauce, sliced spring onion and a little bit of salt and pepper. Roll into small meatballs - this amount of mixture should make approximately 12.
2. Heat up a pan on the hob with a tiny drop of oil. Add the meatballs for 1-2 minutes to brown the outsides. Once they've browned all over, transfer to a baking tray lined with tin foil and put in the oven. They should take around 30 minutes to cook. Check them around half way through cooking and give them a shake to make sure they cook evenly.
3. Meanwhile, cook your rice according to the packet instructions. The lovely people from Littlewoods Online Shopping recently sent me this Tefal Mini Compact Steamer to test out, and it's great for cooking rice. You just put in the right proportions of rice and water, and it does the rest for you - no worrying about it boiling over or having to remember to stir it, plus it lets you know once the rice is ready so you don't have to time it yourself. I'm trying to eat healthily at the moment, so looking forward to steaming lots of different things in this!
4. Now it's time to prepare the glaze. To same pan you used to brown the meatballs, add the soy sauce, teriyaki, brown sugar, water, oil, rice vinegar and grated ginger. Over a low heat, stir together the ingredients until the sugar has dissolved.
5. In a small ramekin, mix the corn flour with a little bit of water to make it pourable, and add it to the pan. Turn up the heat slightly and allow to simmer and thicken. You want the glaze to be quite thick and sticky but still saucy so you might need to add a little bit of extra water to keep it at the right consistency. Just before you're ready to serve, add the sesame seeds to the glaze.
6. Once the meatballs are cooked, remove from the oven and add in to the pan to coat with the glaze. Add your rice to a plate and top with a handful of thinly sliced carrots - I use a vegetable peeler to easily cut them into ribbons. Add your meatballs and a spoonful of the glaze, and sprinkle with some sliced spring onions and a few more sesame seeds.

So tasty, and something a little bit different to the usual spaghetti and meatballs. Although the meatballs take a while to cook, all you need to do is shove them in the oven and forget about them while you make the sauce, so you're not trying to juggle a hundred things at once. Definitely one of my new favourite recipes!

Gillian x

Review: Benefit Fake Up Concealer


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Benefit Fake Up Concealer // £18.50*

On Monday evening I headed through to Glasgow for the launch party of Benefit's newest concealer, Fake Up. The Benefit girls organised a lovely wee event at Hugh's Champagne Bar in House of Fraser where we were treated to some glasses of bubbly and canapes, and given all the details about the exciting new product. Benefit's head makeup and trend artist, Lisa Potter-Dixon, showed us how to use Fake Up and gave us a few top tips about how to apply it to achieve a flawless finish. As usual, I was having too much fun chatting about makeup and knocking back the champagne to take very many photos, but there's a few from the night up on my Facebook page. Huge thanks to the Benefit team for organising another lovely event in Scotland - after all, the Benefit counter in Glasgow House of Fraser is the best selling Benefit counter in the whole of Europe don't you know!

Anyway, on to the review now. Fake Up is the newest addition to Benefit's range of concealers and aims to hydrate, brighten and conceal dark circles and blemishes. The creamy concealer makes up the core of the product, and it is surrounded by a hydrating ring which locks moisture in to the skin. Fake Up contains lots of Vitamin E and apple seed extract to help hydrate the skin and keep your concealer looking perfect all day.

Fake Up is available in three shades and, of course, I am the 'Light' one as usual! I was surprised by how pigmented the concealer is, being so moisturising I was worried the concealer itself might end up a bit too sheer. But I was definitely wrong, just one swipe of this and dark circles instantly vanish. I don't think it's quite as good at covering up redness/blemishes, but for under eyes it really is great. I apply it in a v-shape underneath the eyes and then blend it in gently with my finger to get an even coverage. I don't think I've ever used a concealer before that is so good at hiding dark circles whilst still looking natural. In the close-up photo above, I'm wearing a little bit of Origins VitaZing moisturiser all over my face and Fake Up under my eyes and a little bit around my nose. My dark circles are completely gone, and you can hardly even tell I'm wearing concealer - hallelujah! Add a bit of foundation and mascara and I'm good to go.

Fake Up is specially formulated to avoid creasing, and I definitely think it lives up to expectations. It glides on smoothly and stays put all day, without looking heavy or cakey. The past few months I've really become aware of some little lines appearing under my eyes (I'm getting oooold, sob) and adding concealer just seemed to accentuate this. Fake Up manages to smooth over these lines and leave you with a nice natural base - it definitely doesn't hide fine lines, but the product doesn't settle in them either. Nothing worse than a horrible creased mess under your eyes! It feels nice and soothing on the eye area as well, as it's so hydrating. A bit like a lip balm for your face, but in a good way!

As Fake Up is so moisturising, it has quite a dewy finish to it. I prefer matte makeup, so I set it with a little bit of my favourite Chanel loose powder, using the Real Techniques Setting Brush. Benefit claim the concealer will last all day, crease-free, on its own but I'm afraid I haven't tested this out as I really dislike the dewy look on me! I've found it has great staying power with the addition of a tiny dusting of powder though, so no complaints in that department.

Overall, I think this is a fantastic under eye concealer which is really hydrating and leaves you with a natural finish. I'm a little bit in love with it! I don't think it's that great for covering up blemishes, so I'll still continue to use something a little more heavy-duty for that, but it's so perfect for covering up dark circles. Fake Up will be available online and at Benefit counters from the end of March.

Will you be adding Fake Up to your beauty wishlist?

Gillian x