Girls Night! Beauty & The Cupcakes

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I’m in terrible need of a pamper night. I got sick last week, I’m not so sure where it came from but it felt like I’d been hit with a ton of bricks and then ran over by a monster truck. Thankfully, I don’t actually know what either of these feels like, but I imagine it’s pretty close to how I felt a week ago. Even my fingers hurt.  Everything hurt. We then took a very last minute trip away for the night which involved lugging my travel bag to work, from work to the train station and then to the hotel. The next two days consisted of being on our feet a lot (but eating and drinking lots of very yummy things at Shrewsbury Food Festival) and then going back to work on the Sunday. I’m often a busy bee but doing too much when you’re poorly isn’t so great. I need revival! I need a fluffy white bathrobe and someone pushing out the 5759 knots in my back. Maybe a mojito.

Unfortunately I don’t have any of these but my lovely friend Kate provided me some wonderful products the other week, and it was definitely time to whip them out! I have a nightmare trying to find skin care that doesn’t flare up my eczema but at the same time doesn’t add any extra oil to my t-zone, it’s a bore. I don’t get the chance to try fancy products because fancy products are almost always artificially perfumed and I can’t use that either. Fortunately Kate is a winner and gave me some treats that were suitable for my skin, so I couldn’t wait to try them.

The products are from NuSkin, a forward thinking, innovative and ethical company whose aim is provide quality skin and hair care (amongst many other things!) So far so good! Here’s a little bit of a low-down on each of the products I received.

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Oh and, about that mojito? I’ve baked it into cupcakes and paired it alongside a non-boozy Eton Mess version too. They’re both based on two very lovely Hotel Chocolat chocolates, another very ethical and innovative business (big up).

First up is the AP-24 Whitening Toothpaste which is probably one of my favourites. My teeth are actually appalling, I will not tell a lie. You can see for yourself from these lovely photos. The top photo is before I started using it and the bottom are after a week. Now, I know it’s probably not the best representation but there won’t be any close up’s of my grills. None at all, so you’ll just have to take my word for it! I drink my body weight in green tea every day and I occasionally indulge in a big ol’ mug of black coffee which does my teeth no favours at all. This toothpaste is designed to fight plaque and does it’s best to wipe clean those pesky stains, which is what every single toothpaste on the market also claims to do. I was dubious, but I am no longer. It works really well, and I could start seeing a difference after 2-3 brushes. Definitely a keeper after all those sweet treats!

toothpaste

Next up is the Epoch Glacial Marine Mud Mask. What a mouthful! Oh, and a face mask you can actually use on those lips of yours too. I’ve seen a lot of photos of Kate and her pals using this on her Facebook page, so I was very excited to try it out. I love face masks, I use them 3-4 times a week. Anything from the peel-off to the heated ones, I’m on it. This one is made from a sea botanical designed to draw out all the nasties, thus, leaving your skin feeling revitalised. I’ve used it 4 times this week, the first time worrying me slightly because it bothered my dry skin around my eyes, but every time after has been a dream. It’s left my skin feeling soft and my eczema has actually gone!  You can also use it on blackheads, stings, bites and cold sores. It also removes excess oil, which is great for combination skin.

face mask

I was also given a sample of the Contouring Lip Gloss. Lip gloss is something I have a love/hate relationship with. I love the way it looks but the hair/wind combination is something I cannot cope with with, which is why I only wear it in the comfort of the indoors. This one claims to contour and define your cupids brow, provide fuller looking lips without tingles/ heat, protects, and gives an ‘ultra shine’! Fancy. The top photos are my lips without any product and the bottom are with the lip gloss. I have quite full lips anyway, but the lip gloss really did define them. I pray for sharp, clean lines when I apply lipstick but I am not a make-up God and therefore can’t achieve it, but this has done it for me. I’m really, really impressed with this one and it has the added benefit of lasting FOREVER so I don’t need to keep re-applying.

lip gloss

I’ve used a lot of baby products when it comes to skin care, it’s just more gentler on my skin and it’s not got loads of crap in it to make it smell like it was made from the fountains of exotic fruit. This one, however, smells like a dream without it burning off the first layer of skin. Bonus. Kate uses this on her two beautiful little boys, but it’s great for all skin and hair types (yup, you can use it on your hair too). The dispenser makes it much easier to handle and the foam is soft and gentle. The cherry on the top is the hibiscus extract, which smells absolutely lovely.

Last but not least (literally my favourite product) is the Epoch Baobab Body Butter. We were sitting in the garden when Kate showed me this and I fell instantly in love with it, I wanted to slather it on right there and then! It smells DIVINE. It’s super soft and has left my skin feeling silky smooth. I’ve applied it on my face, all over my body and onto my stretch marks. After only a week of using it I have noticed they’ve become visibly less noticeable! Winnnnerr.

I’ve realllly needed a bit of time to relax, but sometimes it just isn’t possible. These little treats have provided that little bit of release on-the-go, which is really ideal for people with a busy schedule. If you use any of these products, need any tips, advice, or just want to have a mooch then pop over to Kate’s Pamper Hamper (she’s the expert!)

I mentioned earlier that I was enjoying my pamper time with a batch (okay, two batches) of cupcakes. I’m sure you don’t need convincing so here’s the recipes and some nice photos to accompany them! You’re welcome.

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FOR THE CUPCAKE BASE

  • 120g plain flour
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 40g butter
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

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ETON MESS

  • 1 quantity of ingredients for cupcake bases
  • 1 batch of strawberry buttercream (I use this one)
  • pink/ white (or both!) meringues, shop bought or homemade
  • eton mess slab, from hotel chocolat (found here)
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 and line a muffin tin with 6 cupcake cases.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.
  3. Gradually pour in half the milk and mix until it just comes together.
  4. In another bowl, combine the remaining milk, egg and vanilla. Add half to the flour mixture, give it a quick mix and scrape down the sides, and then add the remaining. Don’t overmix!
  5. Pour into the muffin cases (2/3rd full) and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Leave to cool completely before icing.
  7. When ready, pipe on the icing (I used a star nozzle). Crumble over the meringue and the top with shards of the eton mess chocolate.

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mojito

  • 1 quantity of ingredients for the cupcake bases
  • a selector pack of Hotel Chocolat’s Mojito chocolates (found here)
  • 1 quantity of vanilla buttercream
  • 1 lime
  • a thumb sized piece of dark chocolate (I used 72% Madagascar)
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 and line a muffin tin with 6 cupcake cases.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.
  3. Gradually pour in half the milk and mix until it just comes together.
  4. In another bowl, combine the remaining milk, egg and vanilla. Add half to the flour mixture, give it a quick mix and scrape down the sides, and then add the remaining. Don’t overmix!
  5. Pour into the muffin cases and pop in a mojito chocolate. Bake for 20-25 minutes. They might not appear done all the way through, but don’t worry, it’s just the molten, booze-laden chocolate.
  6. Leave to cool completely before icing.
  7. Squeeze in half a lime into the icing and then spoon on a generous amount. Smooth over with a palette knife and then top with lime wedges and grated dark chocolate.

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