Sunday, 29 September 2013

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters

Good Day Everyone,

When it comes to make up, I believe in selecting one or two features to focus upon, and leaving the rest in the background so to speak. For me personally, I’m lucky enough to be blessed with good skin (thanks mum) and eyebrows, and so my makeup tends to focus on eyes and skin. I don’t believe that my lips are my best feature. Whilst my lips are an average size (not particularly thin or full), I don’t have a well defined cupids bow. The natural outline of my lips is quite blurry/jagged (if that makes any sense) and so I always struggle outlining my lips with a lip liner. Typically, they either end up looking too big, like I've drawn outside of my natural lip line, or if I stay within/on my natural lip line then inevitably I have jagged bits of my natural lip sitting outside of the lip liner. It’s a no win situation :o(

As a result, I've never been a big lipstick wearer. I always tend to opt for lip glosses, tinted lip balms or lip stains. If I ever do where a lipstick, I don’t tend to use a lip liner (due to the aforementioned challenge) and therefore tend to stick to colours similar to my natural lip colour. I tend to avoid wearing bright and opaque lipsticks because of the challenges of defining my lip line and because I have a fear of the colour wearing off from the centre of my lips and leaving me with the dreaded lipstick ring around my mouth. I’m also no good at topping up my lipstick or checking it after meals. Plus I don’t like the heavy (and sometimes drying) feeling of traditional lipsticks. So, in case you hadn't already realised... I am not a lipstick girl... just so we’re all clear ;o)

However, all that changed when I came across the Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters it’s lipstick for lipstick scary cats like me! These lip butters are a-mazing! I absolutely love love love them! They are incredibly moisturising, like a lip balm. They do not dry out my lips, no matter how often I wear them and they feel very light on the lips.
L-R: Candy Apple / Macaroon / Peach Parfait
They have a beautiful gloss like shine to them without being particularly sticky and best of all, I find that the colour wears of pretty evenly, thus avoiding the dreaded lipstick ring. In terms of staying power, I find that they last a good six hours or so, depending upon what I eat/drink etc. Whilst the gloss like shine may fade after a few hours, the colour remains on my lips for quite a while longer. The lip butters are sheer but buildable to some extent and they remind me a lot of the Dior Addict lipsticks (but without the hefty price tag).
L-R: Candy Apple / Macaroon / Peach Parfait
There’s a huge range of colours available so there’s something for everyone and the colours are actually great wearable shades. The lip butters do have scent, a kind of cinema sweet popcorn smell, but it’s not particularly strong and fades quite quickly once you've applied it.

The packaging is super cute with colour co-ordinated plastic lids that are embossed on two sides. The top of the lid is clear so you can see the colour of the lipstick inside. My only gripe with the packaging (and it’s not relevant to most people) is that because the lids are very long, there isn't much of a base for me to hold onto when pulling the lid off, which means it often takes me 2-3 attempts to get the lid off (due my arthritic fingers and problems with grip).
L-R: Candy Apple / Macaroon / Peach Parfait
So far I've bought three colours and love all three of them. The first one I bought was Peach Parfait which isn't particularly peachy in colour, in fact, it’s definitely more pink in colour. On me, it’s very similar to my natural lip colour and so for me it’s a MLBB (my lips but better). Peach Parfait has the most sparkle in it out of the three that I have and I can definitely feel the sparkly bits on my lips but they’re not big glittery bits that irritate me and so being able to feel them doesn't bother me.
L-R: Candy Apple / Macaroon / Peach Parfait
The next one I bought was Macaroon, which I love so much more than Peach Parfait, because to me this is my ‘perfect’ raspberry pink shade. I have been looking for my perfect raspberry pink shade for years and failed to find it... that was until now. I’m really fussy when it comes to my ‘pink’ lip products because I don’t like anything that’s fuchsia, Barbie pink, pinky violet or pink with a blue undertone. I definitely prefer pinks with a brown undertone (if I’m going for a MLBB look) or a red undertone as the colour really lifts my whole face (and makes my teeth look whiter). I absolutely love this colour and hope it never gets discontinued. In fact, when I next go home in a few months, I’ll definitely be popping into Boots to stock up on this colour. Macaroon has teeny tiny flecks of shimmer in it but nowhere near as much as Peach Parfait as I can’t feel it on my lips at all.

My most recent addition to my collection is Candy Apple which has no shimmer in whatsoever. For some reason my photos make this look more sheer than it actually is. On my lips, it is definitely the most opaque of the three when you build the colour up. I love Candy Apple because for someone like me who never really wears a full on red lip, this is a perfect muted kind of red that isn't too bright and scary to pull off. It has an ever so slightly pink (raspberry pink) undertone to it which I really like as again it makes my teeth look that bit whiter. This colour looks great with a neutral eye with lashings of mascara and black eye liner. I think Candy Apple is another one that I may stock up on when I go home.

I twisted my most recently purchased lip butter all the way to the top to see the amount of product there is and to be honest you don’t get a huge amount. Given that some days I do build the colour up, and apply a few layers, I’m not expecting these to last a very long time. However, as these are relatively inexpensive when compared to some of the high end brands that offer something very similar, I don’t mind having to re-purchase as I love these lip butters so much!

Have you tried these Revlon Lip Butters? What did you think? Which is your favourite colour?

Love Sheen xxx
My verdict: 5/5
For UK: Website 
For Singapore you can find this product at Watson and Guardian stores
(Note: I bought these products with my own money)

Thursday, 26 September 2013

DIY Wedding: Bridal Bouquet

Good Day Everyone,

As much as my hubby and I wanted the ‘perfect’ wedding day we didn't want to spend the best part of £20,000 on just one day of our life. So, in order to save costs I made my own bridal bouquet the evening before the wedding.  

Saving money wasn’t the only reason we did our own flowers, I absolutely love colour and really wanted to have a go at doing my own flowers because working with such pretty, colourful things makes me really really happy! Now, the sensible voice inside me would say to you that if you ever intend on doing your own wedding flowers (or make up etc) then you must practice beforehand! And that is indeed the advice I would give to others. But how often do we take our own advice? Not very often, let me tell you. So no, I didn't practice making my own bridal bouquet or table flowers beforehand. In fact, we didn't even know which flowers we were going to use for the table flowers until we went out and bought them the day before the wedding!

From my previous wedding post (read here) you’ll know that I wanted a bridal bouquet of pink roses with a few white ones. I had originally planned to buy the flowers from Marks and Spencers online and turn them into my own bouquet but a week before the wedding, whilst shopping in Manchester city centre, we came across a street florist and got chatting to him. He had had the same flower stall in Manchester city centre, by St. Ann’s church,  for the past 14 years. We had a look at the types of flowers he had and agreed that we would be back a week later to purchase pink and white roses from him, as we’d much prefer to support a small local business.
The street florist stall
For all the things that I needed to make my own bridal bouquet, my best friend who has a bridal shop in Leeds, recommended a store called Country Baskets (website) which is a kind of wholesale store for floristry, bridal and party supplies. You have to become a member in order to shop there but membership is free and open to the public and the prices are very good. This store was amazing! I was like a child in a sweet shop! Somebody like me, who likes to make colourful, pretty things could sooo easily get carried away in there that I had to force myself to go in with a list of things to buy and stick to the list.

The morning before the wedding we were at the flower stall in Manchester where we purchased 3 bunches of white roses and 6 bunches of pink roses giving us 15 white roses and 30 pink. We knew that if we ran out we could always pop back the next morning as the wedding was in the afternoon.

What I used to make the bridal bouquet:
·         Flowers – I used 25 pink and 11 white roses
·         Ribbon - I bought ivory organza ribbon with gold glitter
·         Steel scissors
·         Green cloth tape
·         Diamante pins
·         Pearl headed pins – I used white and cream coloured ones
The pink & white roses we used

Tools needed to make the bouquet
Before I get into how I made my bridal bouquet, a couple of tips for storing flowers. As soon as we got the flowers back to our hotel we put them in a bucket of warm (not cold) tap water and kept them outside (not inside) in order to keep them in optimal condition. We purposefully booked a hotel room with an outdoor area for this reason. We left the flowers sat in water for most of the day so that they were well hydrated and I started to make my bridal bouquet in the evening.

How I made the bridal bouquet:
1.       I carefully stripped the thorns and leaves off the rose stems.
2.        I picked the most perfect pink rose as my central rose and I then took 6 white roses (the white roses were smaller than the pink) and arranged them around the central pink rose but just marginally lower height wise to create a kind of dome effect.
3.       Using the green tape I taped the seven roses together towards the top of the stems. If you tape them too low down, the stems become floppy and it’s difficult to build the next circle of roses around them.
4.        Next, I arranged a circle of pink roses around the tied bouquet, again just a little lower in height to maintain the dome effect and taped them together. I stopped at this stage, admired my own work, and felt happy with the bouquet. I showed it to my hubby whose first response was, ‘Isn't it a bit small?’ but I’m a small person and I didn’t want it to look too big for me. Just then my friend came over who concurred with my hubby and so she helped me build another circle of pink roses around the bouquet.
5.       After this second circle of pink roses we reviewed our work and all three of us came to the consensus that the bouquet now looked too pink and so we added five white roses, intermittently, within the two outer circles of pink roses and voila we were happy with the result.
6.       Having made sure all the stems were taped together tightly, we then proceeded to cut the stems down (at a slight angle) to achieve the length that I wanted.
7.        Next we wrapped the beautiful organza ribbon starting from near the bottom of the stems, leaving a little bit of the green stems showing. We secured the ribbon in place using a couple of pins – inserting them at a slight angle instead of straight on
8.       We wrapped the ribbon up towards the top off the stems and then worked it back down thus wrapping the stems twice as the ribbon was quite sheer.
9.       When we got the ribbon back down towards the bottom of the stems we cut it at an angle and folded the edge under itself and secured it with the pins so that there would be no fraying.
10.   We then left the bridal bouquet in some warm tap water outside overnight.
Storing the bouquet outside over night
The next morning I inserted a few diamante pins in the centre of some of the roses for a bit of extra sparkle and voila I had made my own bridal bouquet with a little help from my hubby and friend :o) All for the fraction of the price a professional florist would charge and had a lot of fun making it :o)

The finished bouquet
A close up

The finished bouquet
What do you think of our efforts? Have you ever made your own bridal bouquet? Would you be brave enough?

Love Sheen xxx

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Dining Out: J's In Singapore

Good Day Everyone,

This is just a quick post for all of you living in or visiting Singapore and might be looking for a good place to dine out. Last week to celebrate my hubby’s birthday we went out with some friends to a Mexican / Latin American restaurant called J’s on Purvis Street (website). J’s has a decent vegetarian menu (as well as non-veg) and serves both halal and kosher food thus allowing people with a range of dietary requirements to enjoy a meal together :o) Whilst the restaurant doesn't serve alcohol it does serve some great tasting mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails).

We've been to J’s a couple of times now and on both occasions the service, ambience and food has been excellent. I’d highly recommend it! The poppers are a must have - jalapeno peppers stuffed with mozzarella and coated in breadcrumbs. They are a-mazing but they are pretty spicy, so you've been warned! The lamb tostadas were delicious and our friends enjoyed the chipotle meatballs. I’d suggest sharing the appetizers as the portions are very generous (in my opinion).

We all thoroughly enjoyed our main courses, although most of us struggled to finish them! I had the braised lamb shank which was melt in the mouth tender. My hubby had the vegetarian fajitas and our friends had the chicken quesadillas and the beef burrito.

For dessert my hubby and I shared the black peppered pineapple with lemongrass ice cream. The ice cream was very interesting because it tasted just like what lemongrass smells like... if that makes any sense?! Our friends shared this amazing chocolate dessert that was served on a slate with lime froth. The presentation of all of the food was beautiful.

Have you been to J’s? What did you think? Is there any where else that you would recommend in Singapore for dining out?

Love Sheen xxx
(P.S. apologies for the quality of the photos as I only had my iphone camera)

Sunday, 22 September 2013

DIY Wedding: The Colour Of Love

Good Day Everyone,

2013 has been a great year for weddings in our social circles. Where we typically go back home to England twice a year, this year we will go three times, due to friends getting married and even then there will be two weddings that we will miss unfortunately :o(

So in honour of these weddings I've decided to do a few wedding posts, drawing upon my personal experience, for inspiration. Now, we all know that weddings can be an expensive business. Just a quick search on Google for the average wedding cost, in the UK in 2013, came back with figures in the region of £18,000-£22,000. Whilst your wedding day will be one of THE most precious days of your life, that, is an awful lot of money to spend on one day (I think). Every bride, myself included, dreams of the perfect wedding day but many of us, again including myself, will inevitably have to make some compromises unless we've recently won the lottery or come from a wealthy background – neither of which was the case for me!

Deciding what to compromise on can require some serious thought and consideration from both the bride and groom. My hubby and I discussed beforehand what we definitely wanted at our wedding, what we could do without and what we could do ourselves... with a little help from our friends :o) And we did a fair bit ourselves! As you know I absolutely LOVE colour and was really excited about doing the fun, colourful bits myself. Things that we did ourselves included bridal bouquet, table flowers, makeup, nails, hair, decorations and favours. We wrote our own place cards and even dressed the wedding chairs the night before with help from a friend (more on these in future blog posts). If I’d  had my own way, I’d have probably made my own wedding cake too (but my hubby put his foot down at that)!

Coming back to this blog post and the ‘colour of love’. There was no doubt in my mind that my bridal bouquet was going to be a bouquet of roses the ultimate flower of ‘love (in my opinion) but what I did deliberate was the colour of the roses. If you ask people which rose colour symbolises love then most will say the ‘red’ rose. However, we all interpret colours and what they mean and how they make us feel in a very personal and subjective manner.

For me, whilst the classic red rose does hold some romantic notion, on a subjective level, the colour red represents intensity, passion, desire, lust and danger as well as romance but it has a kind of 'obvious' and a bit 'in your face' ness about it, if you get what I mean. Also because I believe passion, desire and love of a real intense nature cannot be sustained over a long period of time, the red rose has a kind of transient and temporary notion that didn't sit too well with me. I wanted something more 'longer term', if that makes any sense?

I wanted a colour that conveyed longevity, a love of a less intense but more sustainable notion, something that encapsulated the ups and downs, the highs and lows and all the challenges and obstacles my hubby and I had overcome, something that celebrated the fact that we were still together after everything that we had been through, a colour that represented just how fragile, precious and delicate love can be but also how sincere, pure and true it can be. And so my bridal bouquet was a gorgeous shade of 'pink' – a more delicate and 'subtle' colour of love, with a few white roses to represent the sincerity and pureness of love.

Now reading this, you may think, ‘what on Earth is she going on about? Roses are roses and you just pick the colour you like or what goes with your wedding dress’ but like I said the emotions and associations colours conjure up for each of us are very subjective and this is just how I felt and what my mind thought... although I must admit there are times when my mind thinks a little too much, perhaps ;o)

If on the other hand you ‘get’ what I am going on about then great... it means there’s someone out there who thinks a bit like me when it comes to colour :o) In which case, do let me know who you are in the comments below and keep an eye out for more wedding related posts :o)

Love Sheen xxx

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Body Shop Bargains

Good Day Everyone,

A couple of weeks before I fly back home to England for our bi-annual visit, I usually spend a bit of time on the Boots, Superdrug and The Body Shop websites to see what deals they have on offer that I might want to take advantage of :o) This is so I can order things online and have them delivered to my parent’s house ready for when we arrive thus saving valuable time.
Whenever we go back home our schedule is sooo jam packed trying to catch up with everyone that I don’t always get as much time as I’d like to go shopping. I tend to go shopping in half days as I get very tired very quickly due to my arthritis and given that I’m the kind of person that can rarely buy clothes without trying them on first (I hate the hassle of returning), I tend to save my shopping time for clothes, and buy as many toiletries as I can online. Makeup is also like clothes, where I like to try / swatch beforehand, but I can often do that in Singapore so I will order things like eye shadow palettes (like my Urban Decay Naked palettes) online and have them delivered for when I arrive home.

This recent trip was no exception and luckily when I was perusing The Body Shop website (UK website) they had 50% off hand creams / butters. There are Body Shop stores in Singapore but, as with most things, they tend to be more expensive than in England plus they weren't offering the 50% discount. So I stocked up because a girl can never have too many hand creams... right?! The Body Shop tends to offer pretty good discounts on a regular basis, especially online, so I certainly recommend checking it out every now and again.

I bought the large size of the Hemp Hand Protector, the Absinthe Purifying Hand Cream, small size of the Wild Rose Hand Cream with SPF 15 (great for the Singapore sun) as well as the Wild Rose Nourishing Hand Butter. I absolutely love ‘rose’ anything! It’s one of my ALL time favourite scents and I was a little disappointed that the large size of the Wild Rose Hand Cream was sold out so I bought the small size, which is great for on the go, as it fits nicely into all my handbags.

(Excuse the crumpled tubes - they got a bit squashed in my suitcase!)

The consistency of the hand butter isn’t as ‘thick’ as I would expect from a ‘butter’ having used The Body Shop Body Butters for many years. In fact, it’s rather thin and runny and I actually feel that the Wild Rose Hand Cream has a slightly thicker consistency –I was expecting it to be the other way round. The rose fragrance isn’t as ‘rosy’ (rose-like, if that makes sense) as I was expecting either. To me, the smell of the brazil nut oil (which both the Rose Hand Butter and Cream contain) seems to be fighting with the rose scent and I have to say, it may even be winning this little ‘scent fight’ in the case of the Hand Butter! More so than the cream. For some reason the rose scent seems to be a little stronger in the cream compared to the butter! Either way, I personally, would prefer (and was expecting) a stronger rose scent in both products. Now that you’ve had my two cents worth (haa haa see what I did there ;o) on the smell let me tell you about the butter and cream itself. I use the butter at night, before bed, and I wake up with really soft hands. Both the cream and butter absorbs quickly into my skin, without leaving a greasy residue and leave my hands feeling very moisturised. I also don’t get that ‘sticky’ feeling that some hand creams and butters tend to leave where you are desperate to wash your hands just to get rid of that stickiness.

The Absinthe Purifying Hand Cream is definitely my favourite out of the three, scent wise. It smells very fresh, clean and spring like. In fact, whenever I use this my mind conjures up images of an alpine forest and takes me on a trip down memory lane to when I went skiing in Les Diableret in Switzerland many many years ago. It has that alpine freshness to it which I really like. The scent does linger for quite a while after I’ve used the cream but it’s a very light, pleasant scent so I don’t mind it lingering. The scent is quite unisex so my hubby will often help himself to this hand cream too. As a moisturising cream, its light weight and again non-greasy and not sticky but I do have to say that if it’s heavy duty moisturising that you’re looking for then I would definitely recommend the Hemp Hand Protector over this (and the rose one).
The Hemp Protector has quite an earthy scent. When I was a teenager I tried fresh henna on my hands a couple of times and this reminds me of that smell – its earthy, muddy and soil like (if that makes any sense?!) Again, it’s quite a unisex smell and probably my least favourite of the three scents. But where this little baby triumphs is as a moisturising cream, which lets face it, is the primary purpose of these products! This is absolutely amazing for dry hands, in fact it’s sooo good as a moisturiser that I will often use it on my elbows too. It’s much thicker than the other creams (and the hand butter), but it still absorbs easily into my skin without any kind of greasy residue or stickiness.

In a moisturising contest for dry hands the Hemp Protector would win – hands down – no contest really. It-is-the-business! I tend to reserve this for when I travel back home in December each year as the weather is really harsh at that time of year for us dry skin sufferers or when I’m traveling on planes as I find that the air conditioning really dries my hands out. Day to day I tend to use the other two creams and reserve the hand butter for before bed.
Have you tried any of these Body Shop hand moisturisers? What were your thoughts? Which scent did you prefer?

Love Sheen xxx

(Note: I bought all of these products with my own money)

Monday, 16 September 2013

Treats From Home

Good Day Everyone,

Whenever we come back to Singapore after a visit back home, inevitably we will have a couple of weeks where we feel a little homesick. Seeing our friends and family again, and all the familiar places and sights that have been home for many years tug away at our heart strings :o(
However, with the wonders of modern technology the feeling of distance is greatly reduced and to soothe our aching hearts we always bring a (few) treats from back home. For my hubby, this will consist of PG Tips teabags, chocolates and biscuits (he is the biggest tea and sugar addict I have ever come across). I sit on the opposite end of the spectrum and love savoury treats and so usually bring back some of my favourite crisps – namely Walkers Cheese & Onion and Seabrook Prawn Cocktail flavour (oooh my mouths watering as I write this)!

In Singapore, we don’t get Walkers but Lays (which is the brand name of Walkers for Asia), however, we don’t get the same flavours that you would back in England like Cheese & Onion and Prawn Cocktail,  instead we have Barbeque, Sour Cream & Onion, and Classic (the Ready Salted equivalent). Crisps, in general, tend to have Asian influenced flavours in Singapore (as one would expect) such as Wasabi, Seaweed, Jalapeno, Hot & Spicy. Therefore, I always buy a few packets to bring with me each time I go home, but not too many mind you. When I was in my early 20s I went through a phase where I was kind of addicted to crisps – they were my vice and it took a lot of will power to wean myself off this little addiction ;o)
Most of the chocolates my hubby brings back can be bought in Singapore but they taste different here due to the higher oil content which is used in Asia to prevent the chocolates from melting as easily. In fact, many of the ‘global’ brands taste different here, even Coca Cola, which in Singapore has much less fizz and tastes more like a sugar-syrup (not nice at all) compared to Coca Cola back in England.

So for a few weeks, after a trip back home, usually on a Friday night we will chill out at home watching the latest series of Doc Martin or Downton Abbey whilst nibbling on these treats from home with a warm fuzzy feeling in our hearts :o)
Love Sheen xxx

Friday, 13 September 2013

Recipe: Spiced Potato Patties With Cucumber & Mint Raita

Good Day Everyone,

We’ve been back in Singapore almost a week and our body clocks are only just starting to adjust to our current time zone. My hubby’s had a hectic and stressful week back at work and I’ve just about finished our unpacking! So we are both looking forward to a relaxing weekend and what better way to start the weekend than some delicious home cooked food and watching some feel good TV (well technically it’s not TV as we don’t have one but it’s a TV programme that we watched over the internet). Tonight we watched our first episode of the new series of Doc Martin that has just started back on British TV. My hubby and I both love this programme, set in the idyllic and picturesque fishing village of Port Isaac in Cornwall, England. It’s a little piece of home that we watched whilst enjoying some yummy food.
Back to the food bit, I thought I’d share some photos of what I made this evening as well as the recipes so that you can try it out for yourself. I’m not an amazing cook by any means and I don’t tend to follow recipes very well. Cooking, to me, is more of an art rather than a science and so I tend to make things up as I go along, often going off in little tangents and mixing things up a bit. The only time I tend to treat cooking as a science is when I’m making something where the relative proportions of the ingredients have a dramatic effect on how the final food turns out, for example, when baking a cake or a soufflĂ© (not that I’ve ever made a soufflĂ© but you get what I mean).

Despite not being vegetarians, my hubby and I tend to have a heavily vegetarian based diet for the simple reason that he doesn’t eat most types of meat or seafood. I really don’t mind this as I’m not a big meat eater myself. So tonight I made us spiced potato patties along with cucumber and mint raita. These make a great snack and for something more substantial, my hubby has them in a wrap with some salad. They can also be used in a burger bun to make a vege burger.
The spice levels are just enough to give the food a little bit of a kick but not burn your mouth as neither of us can handle really spicy food. I do tend to be quite generous with things like ginger and turmeric as they both have anti-inflammatory properties which studies have shown to be beneficial for people like me who have arthritis. I generally believe that spices and herbs have a lot of health and healing benefits and tend to use them as often as I can in home cooking.

 Cucumber & Mint Raita:
·         8 dessert spoons of natural yogurt

·         1 ½  tsp mint sauce

·         ½  tsp salt

·         ½ tsp ground cumin

·         ½ tsp ground coriander

·         3-4 stalks of freshly chopped coriander

·         3-4 stalks of freshly chopped mint leaves

·         1 baby cucumber finely diced

·         A little paprika for dusting

Mix all of the above ingredients together in a bowl. I kept a little bit of the diced cucumber and some whole coriander leaves back to use as a garnishing along with the paprika. You can add some finely chopped fresh chillies, if you prefer a little heat but I find that the ground cumin and coriander add sufficient spice for my liking. The salt helps to tone down the sweetness of the mint sauce.

Spiced Potato Patties:
·         1kg of potatoes peeled, finely sliced, boiled and roughly mashed

·         4 large spring onions finely chopped

·         10 stalks of coriander finely chopped

·         1 (not too hot) red chilli finely chopped

·         1 ¼ - 1 ½ tsp salt

·         1 tsp ground cumin

·         1 tsp ground coriander

·         ½ tsp ground ginger

·         ½ tsp ground turmeric

·         ½ tsp ground garam masala

·         ¼ tsp red chilli powder

·         2 eggs lightly whisked in a bowl

·         Some olive oil for cooking

·         Slices of lemon and fresh coriander leaves to garnish

1.      Into the mashed potatoes add all of the other ingredients except for the eggs, olive oil and lemon and coriander set aside for garnishing.
2.      Mix the ingredients well using a spoon and using your hands form the potato mixture into 14-16 balls.
3.      Heat a frying pan with enough olive oil to coat the entire pan.
4.      Flatten a potato ball in the palm of your hand to a round patty shape, coat the patty entirely in the whisked eggs and place into the heated frying pan.
5.      Depending on the size of your frying pan and potato patties, you should be able to get 3-4 patties into the frying pan at once.
6.      Cook the patties for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown and then remove and place on a plate covered with kitchen towel to soak up any excess oil.
7.      Once you’ve cooked the patties, garnish with the lemon and fresh coriander leaves and serve with the cucumber and mint raita.
The potato balls will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, if you don’t wish to cook them all at once. When you’re ready to cook them just remove the potato balls from the fridge and repeat instruction steps 3-7 above.
The quantities in the recipes are very much a guide rather than a rigid instruction and so I recommend you adjust things to suit your own taste and as with most things it’s all about experimentation ;o)

Do let me know in the comments below if you tried any of these recipes and how they turned out? I’d love to see your photos too :o)
Hope you all have a relaxing weekend.
Love Sheen xxx

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Making Up For Lost Makeup Time

Good Day Everyone,
In the past 6-12 months I’ve probably bought more makeup than the past 6-12 years (believe me these pictures are just the tip of the iceberg ;o). It’s not that I didn’t used to wear makeup, I just wasn’t ever that passionate about it. However, I’m sure we’re all familiar with the saying ‘you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone’? My makeup didn’t go anywhere, in case you were wondering, but what did go was my ‘mojo’ and my zest for life.
The steroid medication that I was taking to manage my arthritis made me gain so much weight that my petite frame of 4’ 11” (1.49m) was being distorted out of proportion (or so I felt!). I moved to Singapore being a size bigger than I was used to and whilst here I just continued to gain weight. I hated looking at myself in the mirror and as I got bigger and puffier I stopped bothering with makeup and taking pride in my appearance. I was incredibly down in the dumps. When I gave up work to concentrate on my health I had less of a reason to wear makeup because I was at home most of the time - nobody I knew was going to see me!

However, as I came of the steroids, lost the excess weight and started exercising to manage my arthritis I found myself again :o) I still take medication for my arthritis but this one doesn’t have weight gain as a side effect! Losing the excess weight was a huge confidence boost! I had to go out and buy a new wardrobe in my smaller size 10. Whilst I’m not the slimmest I’ve ever been, I suddenly had a huge appreciation for my slimmed down figure. I didn’t care about being a size 6-8 again like I was in my 20s, I was just overjoyed at not being a size 14 anymore and more importantly looking in proportion again. I no longer despair about having wobbly thighs or not having a flat stomach or prominent cheek bones. Instead, I now appreciate the figure that I have more than ever before because I know one day, as my arthritis progresses over time, I will have to go onto more potent medication that will most likely result in weight gain. So until then I’m going to make the most of the figure I have :o)
Over the past few months I’ve been re-discovering makeup (as you can see from the photos) and have developed a bit of a passion for it. Its sooo colourful and sparkly and pretty – I love it, plus having Sephora nearby really helps! Having more time on my hands has meant I can actually shop at a more leisurely pace which has led me to explore and seek out new products. I also had a special event recently (more on this to come) for which I decided to do my own make so naturally I needed to practice ;o)
When it comes to makeup, I believe in focussing on what I think are my best features and for me that is my skin (I’m extremely lucky to have inherited my mum’s good skin – I really can’t take much credit for it!). Quite ironic really given that I’ve been a psoriasis sufferer since I was 17 (luckily it has never spread to my face). The other feature that I tend to focus on is my eyes (well eyebrows to be precise but hey they frame my eyes). So I’m on a mission to find my ‘perfect’ mascara, eyeliner, concealer and foundation and have also invested in some eye shadow palettes.
I’ve had so much fun playing with all these new colours and textures that I think my hubby is a little concerned that it’s turning into a bit of an obsession, but I can read him like a book, and I know he’s just happy to see that I’ve found my mojo and zest for life again.
Have you found your ‘perfect’ mascara, eyeliner, concealer and foundation? Which brand was it? Which makeup brand do you think does the best mascara / eyeliner / concealer / foundation? I’d certainly welcome any recommendations :o)

Love Sheen xxx

Monday, 9 September 2013

Garden Joy

 Good Day Everyone,

How a-mazing has the weather been lately in England?! I cannot remember the last time we had such a great summer, although I’m sure we (well not me as I’m now back in sunny Singapore but you get what I mean) will pay the price with an  equally bad winter, but for now lets enjoy and reminisce about how fantastically sunny and hot August was :o)
When I was younger I was never an out doorsy person or even a garden person. The bugs and creepy crawlies were enough of a deterrent to keep me tucked away safely indoors. I never had pets as a child as I struggle with anything that moves and I can only just about cope with fellow human beings ;o) I’m not quite sure what it is that scares me of other living / moving things but I just don’t like the idea of something pouncing / crawling on me when I least expect it. I think it might be a combination of my nervous disposition and over active imagination which results in me having a tendency to freak myself out!!!

However, over the last few years I’ve experienced, first hand, the satisfaction and pleasure gained from growing and then hand picking your own produce. In fact, one of the first gifts my hubby (then boyfriend) gave me was a beautiful plant pot with coriander and rocket growing in it. My mum has always grown some sort of herbs and vegetables for as long as I can remember, as well as her own flowers. When my hubby and I renovated our last house we had a small garden in which we grew our own potatoes, tomatoes, peas and strawberries as well as an array of herbs. Oh, the joy of picking tomatoes fresh of the vine and basil leaves straight from our garden to create our own salad was incredibly immense – I loved it!!! 
Spinach and garlic
Fresh coriander
A turnip poking through the soil
Being back home in England last week allowed me to spend some precious time with my mum in her garden. She’s been growing her own organic spinach, garlic, potatoes, turnips, rocket  and coriander in a makeshift vegetable patch. It was amazing to prepare fresh salads with spinach, rocket and coriander freshly picked from the garden :o)
My parents also planted several fruit trees this year and the cherry tree even managed a few cherries :o) Around one of the edges of my parent’s garden there are some wild blackberry bushes where local children come to pick their own blackberries. Whilst very sour, the blackberries make a great fruit crumble mixed with some green apples and honey.

My parent’s garden also has a few beautiful rose plants including a peach and red rose. The roses are amazingly fragrant and my mum tends to keep a vase of them in the living room as well as her bedroom as natural potpourri. In addition to the roses, she has a beautiful purple hydrangea bush, as well a lavender bush - oh, I can just smell it now, it's so relaxing :o)

There is large old tree in my parent’s garden where birds often nest and my hubby actually bought some bird feeders from the garden centre we went to the week before (click here to read that post) that he hung from the tree for the birds. I only wish I was going to be home long enough to watch the birds feeding from the heart shaped feeder.
The garden is an absolute feast for the eyes and I loved spending time in it with my mum, taking in all the different colours, fragrances and marvelling in nature’s beauty. It really does have a very calming effect on one’s mind and kind of helps you to take a break from the hectic pace of modern life and appreciate the things in life that we so often dismiss and ignore so easily.
What do you most enjoy about your garden? Do you grown your own flowers or herbs, fruit or vegetables? Do you get the same pleasure of handpicking fresh produce from your own garden as we do?
Love Sheen xxx