Monthly Archives

July 2014

Beauty Boxes

Stars and Stripes Glossybox July 2014

July 20, 2014
Glossybox July 2014

Glossybox July 2014

Glossybox July 2014

I have returned from hibernation! There are plenty of reasons why I took a little break from blogging and left HBFL in the very capable hands of Amie for a few weeks, but I shan’t go into them now for there are shiny treats inside this pretty stars and stripes box and playing with make-up is always more fun than waxing lyrical about mushy feelings!

This is an awesome box with four full size products and a generous 15ml sample, I adore the packaging and although it’s a tiny minuscule thing on the scale of importance I’m a little bit in love with the red filling!

Glossybox July 2014

Bellapierre Cosmetics Ltd Mineral Lipstick in Ruby

Wowza! I do so love a red lip so this was a perfect pick for me. I’ve used a few Bellapierre products before but nothing from their lip range, I think after this I’ll definitely be looking to pick up a few more. Ruby applies so easily, the texture is very creamy but doesn’t feel like it slips even after a few hours. The pigmentation is great and there is a gorgeous shimmer finish that isn’t too glossy. An amazing find that gives me a great interest in checking out the other shades in the range.

Full Size

£20 from


Glossybox July 2014

ABSOLUTE New York Perfecting Eyeshadow Primer

I’ve not heard of ABSOLUTE New York before but I’m already a big fan of this eye primer. It has a lovely texture and dries to a soft finish that gives a good smooth base for any colour. I can’t comment on longevity without giving it a few trial runs, but for application this is a great little find.

Full Size

$4.99 from


Glossybox July 2014

Carmex Lip Balm

I’m a sucker for lip balms and have a shamefully large collection, however I think I can definitely make room for one more pot with this little treat. Carmex is one of those classic brands that everyone has heard of but I’ve never been particularly tempted to try it out.  I can see now though why it is a favourite amongst celebrities and make-up artists though, in one quick pat on my lips it made them feel smooth and moisturised, it is slightly greasy feeling but I don’t mind that so much. The menthol leaves a slight pleasant tingle so it might be worth some caution if you are very sensitive to such.

Full Size

£2.69 from


Glossybox July 2014

Color Club Nail Polish in Glossy Seal 

I’ve dabbled with a few Color Club polishes but none as lovely as Glossy Seal. This inky teal-tinged blue is right up my street and surprisingly I can’t find a shade similar in my collection. The formula is a dream, application was quick and streak-free and one coat was enough for an even opaque finish. Love love love!

Full Size

$8 from


Glossybox July 2014

Juice Beauty Green Apple SPF 15 Moisturiser

This was the least exciting product in the box at first glance, but one sniff of the gorgeous apple scent and I was sold! My only qualm is the SPF 15 seems kind of redundant in this sort of weather, I think I’ll hold onto this for the colder months when I can be a little less strict with keeping my facial SPF above 100.

15ml Sample

£35.75 for 50ml from


So overall a pretty amazing box for me personally, especially the cosmetic colour choices!

If you want a Glossybox of your very own you can pick one up for £10 (+P&P) from

Totally hellbent for a beauty box full of things I will definitely use!

– Gem


theBalm Rockstar Face Palette Balm Jovi Review

July 16, 2014

For those of you unacustomed to the ways of Birchbox, when you complete the monthly surveys on the products you receive in your box you are awarded shiny points. These can then be used to purchase things from the Birchbox shop. My last points purchase was theBalm concealer just after christmas, so when I had an e-mail with 20% off their online shop because I’d been subscribed for a year, I instantly logged in to my account to see how many points I’d acquired. After seeing I had over £20 worth, I set about scouring their products to see what joy I could pick up next;



Well it was only a matter of time really wasn’t it? I adore theBalm as a brand in general and after my NUDE’tude palette (warning retro post pictures incoming!), I’ve been itching to get my hands on some other signature palettes of theirs. The Rockstar Palette was the optimum choice and something that I really couldn’t resist – 12 eye-shadows, a blush, highlighter and two lip/cheek stains all in one! Not to mention the aptly named eye-shadow names – it really did pull at my “strings”. The palette also comes with a mirror and a few colour combinations to try out, which I found a lovely quirky touch.



The swatches are a combination of matte and shimmer shades, unfortunately I’m still suffering with “post first european festival of the year tan” syndrome, so my skin is a lot darker than usual, meaning that “Metal-ica”, “Adagio” and “Iron Maid-in” didn’t show up as well on camera – never the less I have high hopes for these on my slightly paler face! Of all the eye-shadow shades, the only two that I think may not be used are “Moderato” and “rem”, only because these are a dark mauve and lilac shade which does not suit my skin tone at all. All of the shades are absolutely gorgeous and completely versatile for any type of look, whether it be a day time natural or heavier dramatic eye that you are going for.

I swatched these on my arm and despite a quick shower, I could still see the faint outline the next morning – the last few dregs came off easily with some Mi-cellar water though and I have no doubts about the lasting power of these shades when I wear them out and about.

“Solid Gold” is the highlighter and it looks pretty spot on, as is the blush “Don’t You Want Me” – a lovely pink/peach colour, that is well pigmented and very build-able.

I also love that this come with two lip and cheek tints. Although I doubt with the consistency that I’d use either on my cheeks, they are both beautiful and wearable shades. A more toned down “Milly” gives a soft almost pink-nude touch to add a little something to the lips and “Vanilly” is a gorgeous bold red. Both were easily applied with my lip brush and the longevity of each was pretty amazing.

Overall this is probably one of the best palettes I’ve ever picked up – it literally has everything I could ever need for my face. It’s the sort of thing that I could take with me for a few days away and I really wouldn’t need to take any other products other than some eyeliner and mascara. Okay, I know – not that I could ever be sensible enough to take this one palette with me on such adventures, but if I absolutely -had- to choose just one palette and nothing else it would be this one.

This palette is available for £34 from the Birchbox shop, but with my points and 20% off I picked this up for only £3.95 – an absolute bargain! I’m so in love with this palette and can not believe it has taken me so long to be the proud owner!

Have you got this palette or are you thinking of buying it?

Totally hellbent for heavy metal references in one of my favorite brands products!






July 11, 2014


We had another exciting TAG post from Jenny over at “Jenny’s Beauty Pages“. Check out her TMI post here. Although this was a few weeks ago, my questions had already been answered but Gem has been soaking up time with Roode – her other half – since he is here for the Summer, and has been so tied up with lots of personal things that she hasn’t gotten round to her questions yet. So even though my answers were from a little while back, here they are. I’m hoping that Gem will get round to posting her own up at some point!


1. What are you wearing?

 A reversible maxi dress – it’s very warm and stuffy in this office!

2. Ever been in love?

It would seem so and currently might I add.

3. Ever had a terrible breakup?

Well I’ve had a few breakups in my time and although they were all pretty unpleasant, they all needed to happen. Looking back on it now, they weren’t so bad but I would probably disagree with that statement at the time.

4. How tall are you?

A measly 5 foot 3. Having said that, my mother is 4 foot 10 (and three quarters allegedly) so I did pretty well.

5. How much do you weigh?

Significantly less than I did 6 months ago! Once I’ve achieved my weight loss goals, perhaps I’ll share the overall figures, but I’m not brave enough yet.

6. Any tattoos?

Yes quite a few – A dragon and triple moon symbol on my left arm, a sword with some scripture on my right arm. The polish eagle/Behemoth eagle logo on my lower back and a Valknut on my right wrist. Gem and I also have a matching tattoo – some runes and Triquetra on our wrist. The runes spell “T.A.T” which is an abbreviation for “True As Tits”. Some years ago one of our good friends passed away and during a nigh fuelled with beer and metal, the last thing he ever said, whilst picking us up in each arm was; “you two are true as tits”.

7. Any piercings?

A lot less these days than my youth. I have 6 ear piercings and a scaffold, tongue, nose, lip and belly button. I used to have at least 10 piercings in each ear, as well as my nipple twice in  cross. As if I hadn’t learnt my lesson from my last nipple piercing, I had my other one done two years ago or so now, but had to take it out. Probably the most annoying piercing I’ve ever had!

8. OTP?

I don’t understand this? I’m too old. According to Urban Dictionary it means “One True Pairing” but I’m still none the wiser. I clearly don’t spend enough time on the internet … *raises eyebrow*

9. Favourite Show?

Recently, thanks to Gemma’s continuous reminder, I’ve enjoyed Vikings. So that’s probably been my most recent fav show.

10. Favourite bands?

There are many, but to name a few and in no particular order: Evergrey, Carcass, Symphony X, Behemoth, Wintersun, Nevermore – I could go on, really I could.

11. Something you miss?

Being young, carefree and spontaneous – like going to festivals with a backpack and nothing else. Or staying out all night and walking 6 miles to get home because you spent all your money on beer. 

12. Favourite song?

Ugh, I can’t pick a song – It would probably be something like The Odyssey by Symphony X or Recreation Day by Evergrey. I can’t really pick though. There are too many songs that mean too many different things and are my favourite in their own unique way.

13. How old are you?

Can I say 21? I know I’m younger than Gem by about two years. In fact, I tell people I’m 21 so often that I genuinely forget how old I am. 

14. Zodiac Sign


15. Quality you look for in a partner?

Would die for Metal, calm, friendly and laid back but not in a “I don’t give a crap” kind of way.

16. Favourite Quote?

I don’t actually think I have a favourite quote? There are always quotes where I think – oh that’s good, but I never remember them enough to reuse them. Unless I’m allowed a favourite in-joke quote, in which case a) there are far too many and b) no one would have a clue what I was talking about, in a – you had to be there sort of thing. (“That’s not metal … but my girlfriend’s in the tent”)

17. Favourite Actor?

I don’t have one … no really, I don’t.

18. Favourite Colour?

It’s a tie between Purple and Red.

19. Loud music or soft?

It depends what mood I’m in. But generally speaking, you don’t have to listen to music loudly to enjoy it. Besides, I’d rather listen to some Cryptopsy at half volume to preserve my hearing, so I can continue listening to music without going deaf.

20. Where do you go when you are sad?

I try to avoid being sad. I mean of course it happens, it’s natural, but I’ll either tell myself to man up, keep myself busy or go for a walk with the pooch to clear my head. Think happy thoughts and you will reap the benefit of happy thoughts!

21. How long does it take you to shower?

It depends – if I’m having a quick body shower, we’re talking about 10 minutes (a girl’s gotta exfoliate), if it’s hair washing and shaving day, then we could be talking 20 minutes or more … I have a lot of hair!

22. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?

Again it depends. If I’m just going to work, which is my office next door to my bedroom and I’m not likely to see anyone all day, then about 10-15 minutes to slap on my various creams in the hope that someday this will prevent the inevitable incoming of wrinkles and to throw on some clothes. Gym days see me with an extra 5-10 minutes getting ready in the morning so that I can position my “council estate pony tail” correctly and if I’m going out, I might want to allow another 5-10 minutes to slap on some makeup.

23. Ever been in a physical fight?

A few times – it was thoroughly unenjoyable. Someone I thought was my friend when I was in school had a one sided fight with me since I refuse to hit her back, I quickly severed ties with her and I’m pretty sure she ended up in prison. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t like violence, it’s silly and pointless and you just end up getting hurt. I think people who can’t control themselves and end up in physical fights are particularly stupid and I would never in a million years think that inflicting pain upon my family and friends was acceptable.

24. Turn on?

I’m going to pick the obvious long hair here. Well kept long hair might I add. I’m pretty sure that having long hair makes 60% of the population of men better looking.

25. Turn off?

Lack of control over emotions and insecurity. I’m talking, phoning you every 2 seconds to make sure you aren’t with the opposite sex. Starting arguments over silly things and then crying because he thinks you hate him – I have zero time for people like that.

26. The reason I started blogging?

It just kind of happened. I think we both enjoy being creative as well as writing, we both love makeup (maybe a little too much) and we finally decided to just go for it.

27. Fears?

I have a lot of fears – footballs, crossing the road (I got hit by a car when I was 13), spiders and probably germs. There a more, but I’m not about to announce them all on the Internet – you never know if an arch nemesis is reading to plot your demise and I wouldn’t want to give them a hook into my downfall! 

28. Last thing that made you cry?

I can’t remember. I try to avoid crying – a few words of comical wisdom from one of my favourite books “The Little Book Of Stress” – “Never Cry – Crying is a sign of weakness – it is far better to bottle up your emotions deep inside of you like a rotting tree stump”. Obviously I’m professionally obligated to tell you that crying is good for releasing your pent up emotions. Unfortunately I like to bury mine and give the illusion that I’m never affected by anythin :oD.

29. Last time you said you love someone?

Probably about half an hour ago to my partner. It’s a phrase we like to use throughout each day :o)

30. Meaning behind your blog name?

I’ll leave this one up to Gem

31. Last book you read?

Bernard Cornwell – Death of Kings. I was late reading this, as usually when  a new book from the Warrior Chronicles comes out I’ve read it in a few days, but I thought this was going to be the last so I savored it.

32. The book you are currently reading?

Bernard Cornwel – The Pagan Lord – Oh yes, the follow up to the previous book I read and full of mighty Viking/Warrior action.

33. Last show you watched?

Orange Is The New Black – after all the hype I watched an episode, which turned into a binge fest and I finished Season 1 & 2 in about a week.

34. Last person you talked to?

That would be Brains (the other half) since he’s sat next to me.

35. The relationship between you and the last person you texted?

My bested friend in the whole world – Gem.

36. Favourite Food?

Hmm there are a fair few – probably Cucumber or Rice. Bit of a difference there, but I bloody love them both.

37. Place you want to visit?

I really want to see the Aurora Borealis. Norway is such a beautiful country, but when I went there in May last year we were way off course to see the Northern Lights. One day though.

38. Last place you were?

Sat in the office and before that showering.

39. Do you have a crush?

Am I allowed to say that Brains is my crush?

40. Last time you kissed someone?

About 5 minutes ago.

41. The last time you were insulted?

I can’t remember, well I can’t pin point an exact moment. People often insult me to varying degrees but most of that is because I’m such an opinionated mare.

42. Favourite flavour of sweets?

I’m not sure, I’m not overly interested in sweets since most of them contain animal derivatives.

43. What instruments do you play?

Well when I was younger I played Piano, Cello, Violin & Flute. When I got to about 13 I picked up the Guitar and I took up Bass in 2008 or something like that when I got asked to join Dakesis. Oh I also played the recorder :oD.

44. Favourite piece of jewelry?

Despite loving my vast collection of Mjollnir’s my favourite piece is a gold ring with my initials on it. My Nan bought it me when I was about 10 and it hasn’t left my finger since. It has such sentimental value to me that despite my loathing of most gold jewelry, I’d be absolutely gutted if I lost it.

45. Last sport you played?

What is sport? Does like, going to the gym or walking count? I do that regularly – at least once a day.

46. Last song you sang?

Haha it was probably a Xerath song, well I say sang, there is one particular riff that I always get stuck in my head and end up humming throughout the day.

47. Favourite chat up line?

Would you like me to carry your bass? <- True Story <- One of many sexist remarks/chat up attempts I’ve endured

48. Have you ever used it?


49. Last time you hung out with anyone?

I hang out with Gem regularly at the gym, but Gem, Roode, Brains, Drums (our drummer Adam), and some of his friends hung out at Glastonbury and Stonehenge last weekend for the Solstice. It was beautiful.

50. Who should answer the questions next?

I’m going to nominate;

Simone from Thirty Something OAP

Jaq from Lazy Days Beauty &

Aimee from Aimee Belle (as she’s tagged us before, so we can return the favour!)

Even if these guys have already done the TMI tag, you should go and check them out anyway :o).


Totally hellbent for eventually getting round to posting a hundred and one questions! (okay 50)



Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

Vegan Slow Roasted Vegetable Soup

July 11, 2014

Usually Soup is reserved for the Winter months, but at the moment I’m trying every way possible to shove as much fruit & veg into my mouth on a daily basis. More recently I’ve had a bit of a craving for a hearty homemade Vegetable Soup and I hold our guitarist Matt fully responsible – some weeks ago he invited Gem and I over to discuss some band matters and surprised us with a lovely Vegetable Soup that he’d made.

To satisfy my cravings and to test out some of the things we grew in the garden, I made a small batch of Vegan Roasted Veg Soup. This is probably one of the easiest recipes ever and you can throw whatever you like into it! My recipe serves around 2-4, so if you want to make more or less, adjust the Vegetables to suit!


  • 1 onion or 2 shallots
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Pepper
  • 6-10 Carrots (depending on size)
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 Stalks of Celery
  • 3 Baby Potatoes
  • A few sprigs of Rosemary
  • 1-2 Pints of Vegetable Stock (I used a Kallo cube)
  • 1 teaspoon of Olive Oil or 1 cal Olive Oil Spray

Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees or around Gas Mark 3/4.


Peel and slice all your ingredients except the garlic and place these in a large roasting tin. I peeled both the Sweet Potatoes and the Baby Potatoes – usually I like to leave the skin on, but these were from the garden so it was easier to peel.

Add the Olive Oil to the roasting dish and coat the vegetables – I tend to use 1 cal Olive Oil spray but normal Olive Oil is fine too.

Chuck a few sprigs of fresh Rosemary on top and place in the oven for about an hour. Once they begin to soften, take them out the oven and give them a mix – add the garlic and place back in the oven for another 1-2 hours or until softened and caramelised.



Remove the roasted Veggies from the oven and set to one side.


Prepare your stock.  I’ve been using Kallo who make a low sodium cube and Vecon as a lot of “Vegetable” Stock cubes contain Milk powder. I used just over 1 litre, but you can add more or less depending on how thick you want the soup. Blend all of your lovely roasted veggies (if you prefer it chunky, you can blend half of the mixture) and add to a saucepan. I like to add a little of my stock to the roasting tin just to get all of those lovely Veggie juices up.


Add the rest of your stock and your blended Veggies to a large saucepan and reheat. Season to taste.


Serve & Enjoy.

I made enough for just about 4 portions, so I’ve frozen half of this for another day. It’s great for chucking in the oven and leaving it until you are ready for dinner. It literally takes minutes to whizz it in a blender and add it to some stock in a saucepan. Depending on what (and how many) Veggies you cram it with, this dish can be really great as a snack or filling enough for a main meal.

Have you made any soups recently? If you’ve tried this recipe do share you pictures with me and tell me what yummy Vegetables you threw into the mix!

Totally hellbent for easy soup made from homegrown vegetables



Beauty Boxes

Birchbox July 2014 Review

July 10, 2014


Birchbox is my only long standing beauty box to come this month so I was hoping for something spectacular after I finally decided to cancel my Glossybox (we’ll see how long that lasts!)

I’d seen a few spoilers for this month, but nothing that was overly exciting – this theme for this box is Sun, Sea & Sand but I can’t say there were many products that instantly made me think of any of those.


Weleda – Nourishing Shamppo – 18ml sample | £8.95

I’m pretty sure I have one of these from a previous box lying around in one of my samples drawer. It’s natural and organic, but mostly it’s a tiny tube of Shampoo – which I don’t use often – and is marketed at “normal” hair (whatever that is?). It smells Okay and I suppose it will be useful to take on my travels to some upcoming festivals. I really don’t think there’s much more I can say on this one though.


Balance Me – Wonder Eye Cream – 7ml sample | £20

I rolled my eyes a little at this and had to bring myself back to reality with a hard shove. I’ve tried Balance Me products and actually, I bloody love them! So what’s my problem? It’s a decent sized sample that will last me a while and I was literally thinking a few days ago about which eye cream I’d treat myself to next.


LAQA & Co. Sheer Lip Lube Pencil in “Menatour” – 2g | £14.43

Another brand I’ve received from Birchbox in the past, but last time I ended up with a vile pink colour – this is quite a bright purple colour. Usually being one to roll my eyes at a colour that isn’t red, I’ve recently branched out and tried experimenting with some other shades (thanks to Gemma’s latest Lime Crime obsession and Makeup Revolution’s crazy colours) so I’m pretty psyched to start using this. It glides on beautifully and is a pretty similar formula to the other Lip pencils available at the moment (Clinique, MUA, Rimmel etc). It has a gorgeous minty scent, is retractable but still the right size to throw into your bag.


Gilchrist & Soames – English Spa Sea Kelp Extract Mineral Bath – 40ml sample | £11.25

Ugh – I really don’t know what the hype is about this brand. I recently finished a previous sample of theirs (review coming in my empties later on) and I was not impressed. A lot of their toiletry products remind me of those cheap bottles you end up with in hotels. Anyway, directions for use is to pour under hot running water and enjoy a luxurious mineral bath. Unfortunately I hate baths and can not remember the last time I had one. It’s a shame as it smells quite nice and is a fairly decent sized sample. I’m guessing it will end up as “hand wash” when I’m at festivals or a self-catered hotel where they neglect to provide these things.


Whish – Three Wishes Lavender Body Butter – 22ml | £14.50

This is actually pretty cute. The packaging is quite retro in a modern kind of way – the ingredients all seem pretty natural and above board and since I’ve seen this brand reviewed on a few Vegan beauty blogs I think it’s safe to assume it’s … well … safe. It smells absolutely gorgeous, the consistency is lovely and again the sample size is pretty darn good. I really love lavender, but I know it has a bit of a bad rep and some people associate it with ageing, but I don’t care. Top trumps for this new brand discovery!


Ultradex – Oral Spray – 9ml | £3.65

This was the lifestyle extra and it helped pull me out of today’s little beauty box grump – Ultradex was formerly “retar DEX” – excuse my immaturity here but when I was a wee lass, this was advertised regularly and would give me and my ‘tween’ friends such a giggle. Blast from the past aside, it has a lovely Vegan stamp on the back and I can imagine it coming in hand for festival season, in between getting up and having the energy to brush my teeth in the morning, a little freshen up should make me feel the world of good.


I mentioned my little beauty box grump – I think as I opened this month’s Birchbox I was still feeling the hit from my rubbish Glossybox last month and struggling to get into the groove of things again. Having said that, after shaking myself a little and opening my eyes to this month’s contents, I’m rather pleased. I received a great eye cream from a trusted brand, discovered another, added to my growing collection of bright lip products and I can almost get over my growing irritation for Gilchrist & Soames and their public toilet soap dispenser products! Not to mention the tiny card telling me what I might expect to see in next month’s box (an adorable bag to squeeze my mini toiletries into) I have enjoyed the box thoroughly and I didn’t appreciate it enough until I started writing this review.

If you’d like to pick up a Birchbox, you can do so here via their website for just £10 per month and £2.95 p&p. What did you think of your box this month?

Totally hellbent for taking a second look at seemingly boring products and discovering their hidden beauty!



Cosmetics Storage, Nails

DIY Nail Varnish Rack Tutorial

July 8, 2014



Since I’ve started blogging, my Nail Varnish collection has gotten out of hand. It was so bad, that trying to choose a shade from my precariously placed free formed Nail Varnish pyramid was like playing a game of Jenga. Because of this I tended to go for a few staple colours to avoid setting off the Varnish grenade atop my bedroom drawers. I had a pitiful acrylic Nail Varnish rack which could hold around 20 bottles but this was not enough and the only thing that came close to what I wanted was a large wall mountable acrylic shelf that at over £50 I really couldn’t justify spending that kind of money.

Alas a few weeks ago on a Saturday evening, my partner Brains and I were in bed and I told him that I wanted to make a nail varnish rack. He did his usual “Oh right, Okay” and gave me a smile and off to sleep we went. On the Sunday morning he called to me and asked if I was ready, not knowing what I should be ready for I asked him, so when he told me we were off to Wickes to buy some supplies for my Nail Varnish rack I squealed with delight.

The supplies cost around £20, which included the wood, glue and paint – things you may already have lying around. Each shelf holds approximately 21 full size bottles depending on the shape, so should hold a minimum of 168 bottles with 8 shelves.

Now although I will make reference to “we” as in Brains and I – I’ll be the first to admit that he did approximately 98% of the work. I helped to hold things in place, painted it and filled it with Nail Varnish. So here’s how to make your own DIY Nail Varnish Rack:

Things you will need:

  • Dry Weather or space to work
  • Wood for shelves – we used Sawn Wood – 22mm x 47mm
  • Wood for the front of each shelf – we used Sawn Wood 19mm x 32mm
  • Hardboard (enough to cover the back of the shelf)
  • Wood Glue
  • Nails (4 for each shelf and enough for the back)
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Sandpaper
  • Tape Measure/Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Right angle tool/Spirit level


1. The first thing you need to do is cut your wood to size. I wanted 8 shelves, so we cut 9 pieces of wood which were 29 inches in length. Once you’ve cut your shelves, you need to measure and cut two pieces of wood for the sides. We took the tallest Nail Varnish bottles I had as a guide for spacing each shelf out (the gap between them is around 3.7 inches) and our two side panels measured 40 inches.

2. Now you have all your pieces, you want to start assembling the rack. Make sure you measure the distance between each shelf and mark your side panels before you begin – Brains marked this in pencil on both of the side pieces as a rough guide. Begin by gluing the first side piece to your first shelf – this will become either the top or bottom and you should use a spirit level or a right angled tool to help you out here (Brains was very inventive and used an old motorcycle number plate). To help the rack become sturdier, 2 nails were hammered through the side piece to secure the shelf. Attach the remaining shelves to the first side part, measuring carefully. Once you’ve attached them all, you can do it all again on the other side and attach the second side piece.

3. Leave the rack to dry fully before moving onto the next stage.

4. Whilst the wood glue is drying, measure a piece (or two on our case) of hardboard and cut to size to fit the back of the rack. In our case it was 30.7 inches by 40 inches.


5.  Attach this with some glue and secure with small nails. We picked up some hardboard that had a white finish to it, so make sure this is facing forwards if you intend on doing the same.

6. Next you need to cut to size the wood you will be using the front of each shelf. This is optional, but I think it gives a nice finish to it. You will need to cut one for each shelf and it needs to be as wide as the rack (Our’s measured 30.7 inches). Attach these with wood glue – you can use a few tac’s to secure them in place, but ours held well enough without.

7. Now it’s assembled you can sand any rough edges and it’s ready for painting – although make sure you choose a paint specifically for wood. I chose a white with an eggshell finish, which gave a slight matte finish rather than a gloss – but you could go for a sheen or even wood stain, it’s completely up to you. This only needed 2 coats, but it really depends on how porous the wood is, so it’s best to pick up more rather than less paint.

8. Once it’s dry, fill it with all your lovely varnishes!

I’m actually really pleased with how this looks, although Brains is already coming up with plans on how he can improve this for the “Nail Varnish Rack Mark 2” of which there will be more and better pictures! Unfortunately the weather was so unpredictable that we had to keep running in and out of the house with bits of wood and a half finished rack due to the infamous British Jekyll & Hyde weather, so all of my perfect picture plans to carefully document each and every stage was a massive failure. Thankfully when I was painting it, the weather stayed marginally dry until the final coat and it ended up finishing off the drying process in the conservatory on an old towel whilst the heaven’s opened.

Of the salvageable pictures in between transporting everything in and out the house, at least 50% of them were photo-bombed by CJ our pooch, so here are some of my choice cuts for your own amusement:

cjs-photobomb moments

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this and it’s been somewhat informative (please do ask any questions in the comments below if you are unclear about anything!). The possibilities really are endless with this and you can make it as big or small as you like. If you’ve made one similar, or indeed we’ve inspired you to make one through this post, please send us links to your pictures below!

Totally hellbent for being able to see all my Nail Varnish’s




Lifestyle, Vegan, Vegetarian

The Vegan Kind July Box #TVK9

July 5, 2014


I’ve been having a beauty box meltdown the past few months and have really had to get my priorities right with which boxes I want to keep – trying to save money isn’t quite as easy when you realise exactly how much you are spending on boxes!

One box that I had no doubt in my mind I’d continue to subscribe to is The Vegan Kind. I’ve not had one box that has disappointed me and although my completely inconvenient sense of taste has let me down on a number of occasions when trying some of the superficially looking delicious treats they provided, I have in fact had my eyes opened to a whole host of Vegan brands that have lots of things I -will- eat (no raisins at all!!!). (Also, notice my complete lack of full stops and commas in that previous sentence to emphasise my disdain for my taste buds disliking raisins – dangerous or what?)

And now my spiel for those who have not encountered The Vegan Kind yet – it’s a monthly subscription box costing just £10 a month plus p&p. Each month you are sent a variety of tasty treats and a lifestyle/beauty product that are all completely Vegan and cruelty free. You also get a recipe card and a cute ring binder once you’ve subscribed to three boxes to keep them in.

Each month 10p of every box is donated to the featured animal charity chosen and this month is Blind Dog Rescue UK.

So now all the important info is out the way, we can move on to the exciting contents!


Heavenly Organics ‘Just Add Water’ Shampoo 30g (RRP £2.40)

First of all, I’m just going to share with you the ingredients of this mighty pot;

  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Sapindus Mukorossi fruit extract organic (Soapnt) powder

Yup, that’s it. Simply tip a small amount of the powder into your hand, add a little water to form a paste and massage into hair. I’m usually one to avoid using Shampoo when I can – when I do give in to freshen my hair a little, I probably use no more than a pea sized amount because it strips the colour from my hair thanks to all the ingredients. I’m definitely well excited about trying this out though and I can see myself switching to this as an alternative if I enjoy it.

If you are into your Vegan and Cruelty Free products, I’d seriously recommend checking out more from Heavenly Organics, they have a great range of products and I’m already fearful of my bank balance since I’ve picked out a whole host of things I want.


Frank Bar – Strawberry and Chocolate Flavour (RRP £1)

Ah, the dreaded good source of protein bar! They look so tasty, but my brain just can’t handle the whole dried fruit/date situation. I’m pretty sure the Strawberry and Chocolate flavour will help convince me that this is tasty though and if all else fails, these will never go to waste because my partner Brains is more than happy to gobble up the rest of it. Seriously though, for those of you who don’t mind the texture of dates, these are gluten and nut free and is probably a nice little pick me up after a workout session!

More from “The Frank Food Co” here.


Squeeze Juice Café – Wheatgrass Juice 30ml (RRP £2)

I know that this is going to taste either bloody amazing, or absolutely revolting. Alas, I’ve heard so much about Wheatgrass and part of my new healthier lifestyle involves stuffing my face with as many raw and delicious fruit and veg as I can. So whether I love it or hate it, this will be going into my morning smoothie. At £2.30 a shot, it’s a little on the expensive side but I’m looking forward to trying it out and decided whether I’ll be adding Wheatgrass to my diet full time or not.

Squeeze Juice Cafe have a variety of packs available from a 7 day to 168 day supply of Wheatgrass available on their website.


Coconut Organics – CocoBacon (RRP £2.35)

When I pulled this out the box I was very intrigued – I’m a fan of “bacon bits” – the Vegan kind, that just tastes very salty and moreish rather than actual bacon, but the notion of bacon flavoured coconut flakes sounds crazy! In a good way that is. Made with coconut oil and low GI coconut sugar (you’ve all heard me rave about Coconom) it sounds like a slightly less guilty snacking alternative to a very sugary snack!

I’ll probably report back via instagram as to how long it takes me to polish the bag off, but in the mean time check out their website here.


Vita Coco – natural coconut water 500ml (RRP £2.50) 

YES! Honestly, I can not express my joy when I saw this in the box. Coconut water is actually something I’ll be featuring in my “Healthy Vegan Festival Snacks” post and I’ve been meaning to pick up some of this for some time to ass to my smoothies. Boasting such qualities as high in potassium and minerals, but low in fat and carbohydrates, this is a perfect addition to a diet and at only 45 calories per 250ml, a definite alternative to that cheeky can of coke.

Vita Coco also have other flavours of coconut water here.


Vego – Whole Hazelnut Chocolate Bar 150g (RRP £3.50)

Although I was obviously more excited by the coconut water – what a whopper this is! Honestly, I wish I could post this bar through my PC monitor just to show you how massive it is. Vego is a brand I’ve heard good things about, but I’ve never had the pleasure of trying. One of the things I do miss is a cheeky bit of chocolate here and there, so some guilt free snacking is well overdue. I mean guilt free in the animal product free sense and not the calorific sense. It’s a 150g bar, so for one piece (approx. 30g) it’s a lovely 177 calories – but who want’s to eat healthy chocolate anyway? This will be savoured for those days that I’ve worked extra hard at the gym and I’m going to enjoy a sensible 1 chunk at a time.

Unfortunately the Vego website is currently under development, so they have little information about their other products – but for future reference, you can find them at


This month’s recipe card is from Moving Scouse – you can check out their blog here. It’s a tasty sweet treat, just in time for Summer (whatever that means in Britain!) – Agave sweetened raspberry sorbet. I might try the recipe out with some Coconom and see how that turns out! I do love getting the recipe cards each month, since I love trying new things.

I have to say kudo to The Vegan Kind this month, this has been the best box to date. Since their launch, the boxes seem to be getting better and I hope as they expand, more companies will get in on the action to spread the Vegan joy and help those of us leading the cruelty free lifestyle discover lots of different alternatives. You can subscribe to their monthly box via their website here. Until next month aye …

Totally hellbent for absolutely everything in this month’s box – even the dates!



100 Happy Days Part 1

July 5, 2014

Like Gemma, I’ve been sucked into the recent notion of “100 happy days”, despite my tough exterior, I do sometimes have some pretty rubbish days so it’s been nice to remind myself of how lucky I am and of all the nice things I have in my life. Since I missed out on my 1-10 post, here’s my 1-20 of #100happydays: 1-4 1. I absolutely love Lilies – they are my favorite flower, so when I let the pooch out in the morning, the first thing I noticed was that the first of my many Lilies had opened.

2. Thursday’s are mostly reserved for Yoga – the beauty of self-employment is that I can go to the gym and take classes during the day now, which motivates me a lot more than when I dragged my sorry behind to Body Combat on a Monday after an 8 hour shift.

3. Gem and I recently signed up for 3 issues of Cosmopolitan for £3 so we could grab ourselves a bargain and received a free L’Occitane Cherry Blossom shower gel and body lotion set and behold the postman doth deliver!

4. My nail varnish collection has been getting out of hand and instead of being able to actually see which colour I wanted, I just picked from the edge of my precariously placed pile, so that I wouldn’t knock them all over. Anyway, I told my partner Brains that I wanted to make a nail varnish shelf and the same day we ended up in Wicked buying wood. This is the finished version, with space enough for a few more! My tutorial on this will be coming soon.



5. Despite doing a very stupid thing and trying out Body Pump on the Friday, a very achey and sore Gem and I, jogged our way around the Race for Life track on the Sunday. We’d raised a fair chunk of money for a great cause, and although we didn’t do as well as we’d hoped we still beat our previous time!

6. Last year I grew chillies in the conservatory and I’ve been caring for my plant very tenderly over the Winter. All that love has now paid off, because I have a bountiful crop that I used in one of my lovely slow cooked Vegan Chilli – I love being able to pop into the conservatory or garden to procure a few herbs.

7. Working from home means we have time to lavish our pooch CJ with all the love and attention she deserves. On this day, she interrupted some important coding to give me some kisses – and presenting me with the cutest face.

8. CJ was 14 around the 1st July and apart from the two years I spent in my old house away from her, as my house mate had allergies and I had to leave her with my mum, when Brains and I were looking for our own house we planned to take her with us. Our new landlords reluctantly let us have her and it was worth the wait – seeing how much she loves Brains is so amazing, in fact she often clambers over me just to get to him she’s that besotted.


9. I love cooking and so I’d preparing some lovely Vegan Chicken and Stuffing to take on our picnic the following day. It’s been ages since I’ve had such a treat.

10. Gem asked me what I was wearing on the day of our trip to Stonehenge and Glastonbury – I had to send her a picture just to make sure we weren’t wearing the same outfit. Having a best friend like Gem is kind of like having a louder more boisterous version of me – we spend so much time with each other that we often accidentally wear the same outfits, take the same makeup to places and have the ability to read each others minds and finish each others sentences.

11. I effortlessly took my behind up to Glastonbury tor and it was so lovely just sitting up there and admiring the views. The last time Gem and I went up the tor, we were very unfit, so all of those gym sessions have paid off!

12. There’s nothing I love better than a beautiful crisp salad on a hot day. Since Brains was in Northampton, I rustled up a gorgeous Harissa seasoned Vegetarian Butcher Chicken, Shallot, Mushroom, Olive and Romaine Lettuce salad.


13. You may have picked up on the fact that I am obsessed with Giraffes – as Gem is obsessed with Zebras, well Gem picked this up for me as a little present as we often buy random things for each other. It’s the cutest addition to my massive collection.

14. Never underestimate the pure joy of taking a nice cup of tea to bed after a hard days work. Okay, I say hard days work, this was my post “managing to fit all of our clothes, makeup, toiletries, airbed and duvet into one suitcase” victory cup of tea, when I’d finally finished packing for Brains and I to go to Graspop.

15. We left for Graspop at about 12.30am as our ferry from Dover was about 6am. I therefore took advantage of a few hours lying on a proper bed, watching some TV, with Brains and CJ.

16. Crabbies on the ferry in the early hours of the morning. This was the ultimate symbol of holidays. Also, I shared this with Brains to avoid the 300+ calories per bottle.



17. We finally arrived in Belgium for the Graspop Metal Meeting festival. I was pretty dubious about drinking the draft beer though because I didn’t know if Jupiler was Vegetarian. Anyway, I took a risk and drank spent the weekend drinking Hoegaarden Roséé  for the whole weekend. It was a beautifully refreshing raspberry beer, I didn’t wake up with a nasty hangover and I didn’t feel bloated and gassy because I’d been drinking beer. Winning all round.

18. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m pretty rubbish at discovering new bands at festival’s these days. I used to thrive off watching all the bands I hadn’t heard before in my youth, but this kind of stopped over the years and I became lazy, old and more interested in sitting in the beer garden or the tent. Well Brains and I purposely went to see Civil War based on them being described as “If you like Sabaton, you’ll like these guys”. Very glad that we got off our butts to see them so early in the morning because we thoroughly enjoyed them. I mean, they weren’t the best band in the world but I’ll definitely add them to my playlist and go and see them again.

19. The last day of the festival meant we had no food left, which was wonderful news because it meant we didn’t have to carry it back to the car. So I found the Vegan and Vegetarian stand. Brains had a “kebab” made with Veggie kebab meat and I had sweet and sour noodles with some tofu and vegetables. We were absolutely stuffed afterwards!

20. This was the day we came home from Graspop, but I still had a few things to be happy about – finding the Milka version of a kit kat, picking up some Jupiler beer for my brother who kindly house sat to look after CJ whilst we were gone, the ferry having a Starbucks and the lady actually asked me if my name was ‘ie’ or a ‘y’. This never happens – people usually just put “Amy”, and returning to the wonderful English weather! Did I mention that the ferry was packed full of O.P.I, benefit, nails inc, dior and many other delightful brands that I wanted? And did I also mention that I didn’t buy a single thing? I was pretty proud of myself for that!


So those were my first 20 days of #100happydays. Have you been doing this? If so, we’d love to see some of your pics. You can also follow me on instagram via amie_dakesis to keep up with my daily posts and you can follow Gemma via gemma_dakesis. Gem’s #100happydays part 1 and #100happydays part 2 posts are also available.

Totally hellbent for reminding myself how lucky I am



elf Mineral Lipsticks Review

July 2, 2014


I picked up three of the Mineral Lipsticks from the elf clearance recently, and one of the first things that struck me, was how sexy the packaging was! I am very keen on elf packaging as a whole, especially their Studio line which is often encased in beautifully curved black casings. These lipsticks were no exception and look absolutely stunning (and that’s before I’d even taken the lids off).


I have a fair few elf lipsticks already but I’ve never tried the Mineral Lipsticks. If I’d have known how gorgeous they were, I would have invested in some long ago. No surprise however are the colours I picked, basking in red and pink hues I went for Cheerful Cherry, Ripe Rose and Cool Coral:


All three are delightfully pigmented and I tried “Ripe Rose” out a few days ago on a very warm day out. It’s longevity was actually brilliant, after I declined to coat this in lipcote, it actually stayed put for almost the entire day. The other thing I like about these is that they don’t leave your lips feeling dry or cracked which I’m guessing is down to the essential oils, waxes and vitamins crammed into them to make such a moisturising formula. Each lipstick cost me just £2.00 in the elf clearance sale and are usually £5.00 available directly from elf’s online store here. Although I’m really enthused by these at the moment, I would have liked to see some brighter colours in this range as many of the shades are the classic berry, neutral and various shades of pink/peach. Alas I’m happy with my purchased shades and they will be added to my “daytime collection” which is expanding at an appalling and worrying rate.

What are your thoughts on the elf Mineral Lipstick range?

Totally hellbent for lipsticks that I can wear all day, that keen my lips soft and supple