Thursday, 29 September 2016

A Scottish Girl In New York: I'm Not A Shopaholic, I'm Helping The Economy

I'm currently in NYC for the September weekend and over the four days I'm here, I plan on visiting a lot of places: from the theatre on broadway to restaurants and of course the shops that line 5th Avenue and beyond. My memory's of the trip will get hazy over time as memories do so I thought doing a mini blog series: A Scottish Girl In New York would help keep those memories alive. If you haven't read the 1st instalment, click here.

Where do you start when presented with shopping in New York. Do you meander through the streets of Soho, cut through times square or do you lovingly glide in and out of shops on 5th Avenue? The answer is, well the answer is them all, there is so many places to shop in New York that there isn't one specific place to start or end.

Being on a girls holiday, shopping was a priority, you can't go to New York and not shop. That would be like going to the swimming pool and not going for a swim. You just can't not do it. With us staying on 55th street and 7, we thought that it'd be best to work from Soho, gradually coming back to end at the hotel. Sounds simple enough but boy there isn't enough hours in the day. After tackling the New York Subway, which was a task in itself with A lines and B lines and N lines, we hit a street in Soho. We wandered until we found the first street lined with shops which revealed another, and another, all with big names like Guess and Prada and little quirky stores and shops you can't find at home. After drifting in and out of shops for a few hours we decided it was time for a little pit stop. We found a little corner cafe where we had some sandwiches and mimosas. It definitely wasn't a tourist stop, it was full of families out for brunch and even the family pets lying under the outside tables shading themselves from the sun. It was a great place to chill out, enjoy the weather and plan the next leg of our trip.

Some of the stalls in Soho: This is made entirely of wire so that when the sun hits it, it reflects like a drawing.

After battling the subway again, this time with much more success, we headed for Times Square and 5th Avenue stopping at M&M world for some tasty gifts, taking a quick look in MAC and having another cocktail stop. Shopping is thirsty work. By now I have lost count of the number of shops we have been in but Blair Waldorf would have been proud of our efforts.

Window display in Saks 5th Avenue: Marc Jacobs and Tim burton collab

 We rounded out our day of shopping with a trip to Tiffany and Co. I was as excited as a 5 year old at Christmas at the prospect of visiting Tiffany's. I had never been but I have heard about and seen the fabulous things that lie in store.  Could there really be a more perfect shop to end our day? No there wasn't, Tiffany's was every bit a magical as I would have expected from the guarded entrance to the glass cabinets that filled the 1st floor. Everything in that place sparkled as though it had been touched by pixie dust. I could have wandered the floors for hours. Settling on a beautiful silver and blue heart necklace we made our way back to the hotel, feet crying in protest at the amount of walking, to enjoy what was left of happy hour.

Have you been shopping in New York? Is there anywhere you adore going? Let me know in the comments.


Friday, 23 September 2016

A Scottish Girl In New York: Ellen's Stardust Diner

I'm currently in NYC for the September weekend and over the four days I'm here, I plan on visiting a lot of places: from the theatre on broadway to restaurants and of course the shops that line 5th Avenue and beyond. My memory's of the trip will get hazy over time as memories do so I thought doing a mini blog series: A Scottish Girl In New York would help keep those memories alive.

Shortly after arriving in NY we headed to the 'home of the singing waitstaff', Ellen's stardust diner. The thinking behind this being that after a long trip our group were shattered and in need of something entertaining to keep us from falling asleep in our dinner. This restaurant definitely was entertaining.

Approaching the diner, it was exactly as you'd picture a diner, big flashing signs and a look that screams retro. Prior to going we were warned that we'd have to queue to get in but surprisingly we were ushered into the diner fairly quickly. Within seconds of stepping foot inside we were presented with a scene that screamed vintage diner from a movie. The tables were metal with metal chairs with that sparkly plastic covering, the waitstaff and diners were signing and there was milkshakes and burgers all round.

The waitstaff work double the norm, waiting tables and signing to the restaurant in between and it wasn't horrifying karaoke signing, the staff were amazing, each having their particular niche. Something I thought was fab is that every hour and a half, the manager praises the staff and brings round a bucket for donations but the donations aren't just to line pockets, all donations go towards signing, dancing and acting classes for the staff so they can pursue their dreams. It was lovely seeing somewhere doing something that helped their staff.

The food was also amazing, a little pricey but hey it is Times Square, it's to be expected. The burgers were huge and so filling, a lot of signing and dancing was definitely needed to burn those monsters off! All in all, Ellen's Stardust Diner was an amazing experience and definitely something different. It stopped people having polite chatter and stopped people from being glued to their phone screen while they ate. It's not somewhere I'd recommend if you're looking for a nice, quiet meal out with friends or family but if you are looking for some fun, then definitely do give it a try!


Sunday, 18 September 2016

Daim Bar Cupcakes

As a kid, Daim bars were one of my favourite sweeties and to this day I still get a craving for the crunchy caramel goodness. When I was last in the supermarket I spotted mini Daim sweeties and thought they’d be fab in a cupcake so here’s my recipe for Daim bar cupcakes.

What you’ll need

For the cupcakes:

100g Chocolate Powder
375g Caster Sugar
350g Plain Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3 Eggs
1 Cup Buttermilk
400ml Vegetable Oil
1 Cup brewed coffee (1tsp coffee to 1 cup water)

For the caramel:

6tbsp Cold Water
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup of Cream
1tsp Vanilla Extract

For the buttercream:

24 mini Daim sweeties (one for each of your cakes)
500g Icing sugar 
250g Butter
1tsp whole milk


I like to start with the caramel so it has plenty of time to cool. Add your sugar to a heavy based pan and add your water. Mix the water and sugar until combined. Place on a medium heat. Once on the heat do not stir as this will cause your mix to crystallise. Allow 6-8 minutes for your sugar to caramel. It will first start to bubble and you'll see your sugar dissolve and will then start to reduce and colour. You want to take your caramel off of the heat when it is a lovely deep amber colour. Once off the heat you want to continuously stir your caramel while adding your cream and vanilla. Be careful as your mix will steam. At this point I also added about a teaspoon of rock salt as I love salted caramel. Pour into a jar and set aside to cool.

For the cupcakes the method to the perfect sponge is similar to making a muffin. I like to start with the dry ingredients. Combine everything in a bowl with a whisk ensuring everything is evenly mixed. In a separate bowl mix your wet ingredients, ensuring your coffee is cool as you do’t want to  curdle your eggs. Once both bowls are mixed, gently fold in your dry ingredients into your wet and mix until well combined. At this point I also like to add 80-100g chocolate chips for ultimate chocolatiness. Divide your mix evenly between 24 cupcake cases and bake for 20-25 minutes at gas mark 4 until springy to the touch. 

Do let me know if you try this recipe or have one of your own for me to try, let me know in the comments and enjoy!



Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Product Review: Better Than Sex Mascara

Have I caught your attention yet? Of course I have, who’s not going to be drawn to a product named Better Than Sex. That’s how I found this little gem of a product. On a trip to NY last year, I found this mascara while in Sephora, I noticed the name before I had any inkling of what it was. I picked it up and thought with a name like that the product must be good. Believe me, my first thoughts were correct.

What’s In The Bottle and What Does It Do?
  • Film-forming Polymer for smudge-proof, all day wear
  • Acacia Senegal Tree Extract to nourish, thicken and lock curl in place
  • Unique Peptides for the deepest, intense black possible
  • 1,944% more volume
  • Specially shaped hourglass brush 
  • Packed with collagen for longer, more voluminous lashes

My Thoughts on the product:

Can we start with the packaging. Better Than Sex mascara comes in a cute, pale pink, cylindrical tube. Very chic. Of course the packaging doesn’t define a product but it does look good sitting on the dresser. This product has fast become my go to mascara, with only one coat of product my lashes look much longer than they are and they look thicker. When I pulled the wand out of the tube for the first time I was a little concerned at how it would fare with the unique hourglass shape but I was pleasantly surprised. The product goes on like a dream, separating my lashes and coating them in a blacker than black formula that leaves them looking spectacular. The mascara itself stays on all day, even on my lashes, which usually play host to a mascara waterslide. Yes, it’s that good!

With two coats of mascara, my lashes look longer and fuller (do excuse the lack of makeup the rest of my face, it was late at night)

After a long day of wear, the mascara doesn’t smudge or flake and it is easy to wipe off. A concern I usually have with mascara is clumping if layering up the product. With this mascara I can put two to three layers of mascara on and have clump free lashes, they look like falsies, it is fantastic.

Two coats

The product is fairly well priced at £19 meaning it’s not a bank breaker and in all honesty the product lasts ages. I apply this almost every day and after a year it still hasn’t dried up or ran out.

Would I recommend this product?

Yes. Yes. 100% yes. If you are looking for the ultimate black mascara that is easy to apply, thickens, lengthens and leaves your lashes with the perfect curl then this is for you. 

Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara leaves me assured that I can put it on knowing I will have long, voluminous, ultra black lashes. It definitely takes my lashes from ordinary to amazing with little effort. It is by far one of my favourite mascaras.



Sunday, 11 September 2016

August Is Like The Sunday Of Summer...

Wow, it’s the 11th of September already, where has this month gone? Summer is over and the countdown to New York is on. September’s going to bring lot’s of exciting posts about my trip and city break hauls but for now I have my August favourites.

First up is a perfume I purchased a few months ago, Chanel Mademoiselle. Compared to my usual Marc Jacobs and Balenciaga it feels grown up. It’s not got that sweet smell that I usually go for, instead it is a fresh scent. It makes you feel sophisticated and is the perfect pairing for a night out. I have to resist the urge to use it for daily wear.

Another product I’ve been loving this month is John Frieda’s Frizz-Ease Dream Curls shampoo and conditioner. I have frizzy, curly hair that is hard to manage even after using a tonne of conditioner in my hair. As soon as my hair meets fresh air, boom, my hair becomes its own continent. This shampoo has been a life saver, since using it my hair has been sleek and smooth and my curls keep their shape rather than becoming frizz. It smells amazing and leaves my hair feeling amazing, it’s a winning product.

A recent find I’ve been obsessing over recently is the Garnier Moisture Bomb Tissue Mask. It’s been such a lifesaver for dry skin and is a great pick me up after a long week. You can check out a full review of the Moisture Bomb Tissue Mask here

On to my favourite part of my monthly roundup, makeup. With the summer, I haven’t been wearing a lot of makeup. A little bronzer and a pop of colour on the eyes. These past few months I have been loving is By Terry’s Ombre Blackstar in the colour Frozen Quartz. It’s a pretty pinky nude shimmer thats perfect for sweeping over the eye for a quick glow. I like to bled it out a little round the edges for a quick, easy eye look that looks as though you’ve put a lot of work into the look.

My last favourite is one I’ve been using for over a year and features a lot in posts and Insta pictures, it is of course my Better Than Sex mascara by Too Faced. This mascara is packed with collagen to give bigger, longer, fuller looking lashes and it definitely does. I can swipe a quick coat of this for the perfect lashes or layer up for bold lashes that look like falsies. Even the packaging is fab, it is a cute, pink, cylindrical tube thats quite compact, perfect for sticking into a bag for a quick touch up during the day. It is also the perfect black, it doesn’t have any blue or grey undertones, it is full impact black and I love it. If you want to see my full review of this then you can check it out here.

It wouldn’t be my August favourites if I didn’t mention a lip product or two. I recently purchased Coloured Raine’s matte liquid paint in the shade Classy. It’s a beautiful dust pink with lilac tones through it. For a matte lipstick it doesn’t dry out my lips which is a major plus and it lasts really well. I usually wear it over a lipliner and it lasts all day with just the one re-application and it also doesn’t transfer meaning no lip prints on my Starbucks in the morning, yay!

I love, love, love coming across new products to try and would love if you guys had any to recommend, please share if you do.



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