Thursday, 31 March 2016

AlohaLolaCards - The World's Loveliest Illustrator

My 4th 'blogiversary' is quickly approaching and so I've been spending the past few days reminiscing on all the amazing opportunities I've had since I first started blogging. For me, the most rewarding part of starting my blog has been the wonderful array of people I've had the opportunity to work with, talk to and in some cases meet.

Most recently, I've got to know the lovely Claire of Aloha Lola Cards; Claire is quite possibly the loveliest human being in the world and also the most insanely talented and unique illustrator I've come across. Claire has her own Etsy shop where you can buy personalised caricature cards, key rings and digital portraits all at incredible prices - the individually hand created and personalised nature of Claire's designs make them the perfect gift!

I was originally introduced to Claire when she so kindly created these personalised Christmas Cards for the most recent Plymouth Blog Meet, I immediately fell in love with her incredible talent to capture everyone's look and personality so accurately in her work (baring in mind she had only seen pictures!).
I knew that I wanted to purchase from Claire again and so I followed her on Twitter where we often chat. In fact more recently, Claire has hosted an Twitter survival game - this was a really innovative and fun game that she created where by you progress through a scenario by answering a series of questions. If you missed out in the last one, she will be hosting another next week so make sure to follow her Twitter @AlohaLolaCards for a chance to win!
Being the lovely person she is, Claire created this incredible digital portrait* for me. What makes Claire so unique is that she ensures she knows exactly what the customer wants, she asked me if there was anything in particular I wanted her to include - the Disney ears were a must - and any photos she could work from. I love that not only did she capture me perfectly, but the attention to detail is incredible as she managed toget the texture and colour of my jumper spot on, and also included my necklace and bag strap - details which were nearly impossible to spot on the photo I sent her. It's these little details which reflect her genuine passion for art and her work, and what makes her stand out from any other illustrators I've seen before.
I reached out to Claire last month to purchase a personalised caricature card for Mother's Day (£3.10). We discussed what I wanted the card to look like and I sent her across 3 photos for inspiration. However, being the awkward mare I am, I asked if she could combine the hair from one photo, outfit from another and pose from the last to make the perfect picture, and Claire did so in a heartbeat. She sent photos of the design as she created it to ensure that I liked it and to ask if there was anything I wanted to change - talk about great customer service! She then packaged it up with a cute letter and it was with me in no time, I can honestly say I had absolutely no problems with her service. My mum and I both love this card so much and it's actually taken residence on the front cover of the scrapbook I made so we can always look at it.
I would recommend Claire for any illustration needs, her talent is incredible but it's her customer service and genuine passion that makes her so unique. And even if you don't want any illustrations just yet, make sure you are following her on Twitter @AlohaLolaCards and send her a message because she is the loveliest lady in the world!
Becca x
 
// *Claire was kind enough to create the digital portrait in exchange for a blog post, however all opinions are my own and 100% honest //

 

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Easter Rocky Road Krispie Cake


Happy Easter!

Easter has always been one of my favourite holidays as it serves as a sign that Spring has arrived presenting the opportunity for fresh starts and new beginnings, something that I have always found to be hopeful and uplifting. I also absolutely adore all the pastel designs, colourful flowers and of course the chocolate eggs that line the shelves. Some of my earliest memories revolve around Easter related activities, with the likes of Easter egg hunts around the house, church services with school and baking with my mum being my fondest.

I always get excited when Creme Eggs and Mini Eggs begin to make their way into the shops and it's a household tradition to use these quintessentially British goodies to make Easter treats. This week, it was also my turn to bring in cake for my media clas and so I decided to play around with a few recipes we've attempted in the past and come up with something of my own to present to them, after debating whether to make a classic Rice Krispie near or a festive Rocky Road I eventually decided on a compromise - enter the Easter Rocky Road Krispie Cake.

This recipe made 12 large pieces - you can easily half the recipe for a smaller batch! Also, I used rough estimates on all ingredients except the butter and syrup - you can add in more or less of any ingredients as desired.

Ingredients:

800g Milk / Dark Chocolate

125g Unsalted Butter

125g Golden Syrup

100g Rice Krispies

100g Mini Marshmallows

2 x Bags of Mini Eggs - Crushed

1 x Bag of Mini Creme Eggs

100g White Chocolate

Anything else you want to add!

Method:

  1. Line a tin with greasproof paper - I used a 9" rectangular tin
  2. In a large bowl, melt the Milk Chocolate, Butter and Syrup together until smooth - this is best done in a bowl over a pan of water on low heat - make sure you stir regularly, ensure the heat is not too high as this will result in burnt chocolate and don't get any water in the bowl as it will ruin the chocolate. You could also use a microwave, in short 20 second intervals until mixture is smooth.
  3. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in Rice Krispies, Marshmallows, 1 & 1/2 bags of Mini Eggs ( I crushed them with a rolling pin) and 1/4 of the White Chocolate (I used chocolate chunks).
  4. Pour into tin and spread out with a spatula ensuring you have an even spread and flat surface - place in the fridge.
  5. After about 1-2 hours, melt remaining White Chocolate using preferred technique. Remove the Rocky Road from the fridge and drizzle melted White Chocolate on top - additionally you could spread it to give an even coverage. Top with the remaining crushed Mini Eggs, halved Creme Eggs and Mini Marshmallows. Place back into the fridge.
  6. Refrigerate until set and cut into equal pieces of desired size!

I absolutely love this recipe, it's so simple but looks and tastes amazing! But be warned, it's incredibly sweet - my class labelled me as trying to give them diabetes, obesity, a heart attack and just straight up murdering them - however it was certainly rave reviews all round. This is definitely one I'm going to start making every year!

Do you have any Easter Traditions, or favourite Easter recipes? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!

Becca x

 

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Ultimate Kylie Jenner Lip Kit Dupe

Kylie Jenner's Lip Kits seem to be the most sought-after beauty product in what appears to be the history of the world, and with both releases selling out in minutes, makeup lovers around the world - including myself - have been searching for the ultimate dupe.

Kylie's notorious matte lip look has become somewhat iconic in the beauty industry, sparking trends left right and centre, however amongst the mass of matte lip products available on the market, its Kylie's unique liquid lipstick formula that has everyone raving, however the combination of its extreme rarity and ever growing price tag has encouraged me to find a cheaper, high street alternative.

After scouring theweb for what felt like years, I have finally found the ultimate Kylie Jenner Lip Kit Dupe - enter Ciaté London Liquid Velvet lipsticks.
At a much more reasonable £17, these Ciaté Liquid Velvet liquid lipsticks are available in 13 different colours, ranging from nude, to pink, to red - and even blue for those more daring. The creamy, liquid formula easily glides on the lips and - despite the matte nature - is actually highly moisturising. With the staying power of a lip stain, I found this product has incredible longevity lasting me through an entire day of talking, eating and drinking without the need to re-apply.
I picked up the shade Smitten which is a gorgeous rose pink, although not entirely necessary, I like to line my lips first with my favourite Rimmel London Exaggerate Lip Liner in Eastend Snob. Although the price tag is still a little higher than what I would normally pay - I actually bought this with my Birchbox points so it was free - I think this product is absolutely worth it, and would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat. After only arriving a week ago, this is already my favourite lip product ever and is definitely going to be an essential in my makeup routine for the next few months.
Becca x

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Prairie Pizzazz Winter Edition

Anyone who's read my blog or seen my social media will know I have a huge love for Prairie Charms, they are by far one of the best brands out there, not only in terms of products but their customer service is amazing. So, when they asked me to work with them and a group of bloggers on their next Prairie Pizzazz box I knew I was singing up to something special.
The winter Prairie Pizzazz box has a winter theme to it and features products designed by groups of bloggers. Prairie split us up into groups based on what our style was and encouraged us to discuss our visions for a product. I was placed in Team Feminine and after emailing back and forth we finally had a finished design. The whole team was super keen on creating a necklace so we scoured Pinterest in search for inspiration, eventually we all fell in love with the idea of a snow globe necklace, something simple with a slight Christmas theme yet suitable for the whole year. I love how the final product came out, and Prairie decided to create it in a range of colours to tailor everyone's needs - yet another example of their great customer service.
The first thing I actually noticed in the box was this beautiful headband, and the little story that came with it was so special. The gorgeous gold and red reminds me of one of my favourite movies - Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas - making this the perfect Christmas accessory, I'm certainly going to be saving it for next year!
The Snowy Moutain set is defintiley the epitome of Winter, featuring a gorgeous tartan bow and a hot chocolate set consisting of chocolate coins, mints, a cocoa filled star bauble and ski pole marshmallows. I decided to put the kit to good use last week with a Disney duvet day, something that was crucial during the horrible winter storm we are facing!
There was also a gorgeous pamper pack featuring a fluffy eye mask, velvet hair band and a Freankincense facial serum - which smells divine! Another cute addition to this box was a set of 3 wax melts, unfortunately I still haven't got my hands on a wax melter and so haven't been able to use them yet, but I'm certainly looking forward to it!
There was also some cute stationery bits and bobs, including a personalised notebook as well as Christmas cards and tags which I have put away for this year! This has definitely been my favourite pizzazz box yet, the mixture of different products and styles made this one the most interesting, and knowing that each item was designed by a group of bloggers makes it even more special!
Like what you see? Prairie Charms are offering you £5 off your first box - the next box will have a spring theme - by simply tweeting:
'@Prairie_Charms I would like to sign up for the Prairie Pizzazz via @BeccaHeppolette #pizzazzsignmeup'
Becca x

 

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Staying Organised in 2016

// Diary - Pen - Stickers - Tape //
Every year organisation is one of most popular New Years Resolutions, and with most resolutions being broken within the first month of being made, I've decided to share how I am planning on staying organised this year. I've been using this style of organisation since September and hope to continue it for the next few years whilst I'm at uni.

The Diary

I believe the most important part of organisation is finding a diary that works for you. For me, this Busy B Busy Life Academic Diary is perfect - this particular one is now out of stock as it's an academic diary, but the 2016-2017 edition will be available soon, alternatively there is still limited stock of the 2016 diary available here. My favourite part about these Busy Life diaries is that it is made for those of us with 2 schedules - for me that's home and school - and therefore is a week-by-week view for the same dates on both pages. I find this to be an absolute gem as I was constantly cramming all my home life schedules in my tiny school planner. Now I am able to plan my home life on the left, and my school on the right but whilst remaining with just one diary!

Additionally, this diary also includes a page for your timetables, important contacts, references and notes. Each page also features a reminders box where I like to write my weekly To-Do list. The diary is divided into 3- month sections, separated by a pocketed page to store any receipts, appointment cards etc, along with a pocket at the back. To ensure everything stays together, the diary is bound by an elastic band and features a ribbon to ensure allow for quick access to the week you are on.

The Stickers
Personally, I find the use of colours and pictures to be super valuable to my organisation and I enjoy making my diary pretty. I find stickers a really easy way to quickly record and identify key events. All of my stickers are from a lovely Etsy shop called Stickel Co, which sells stickers specifically for diaries and planners. I really love the colours of these stickers and how the same palette is used across the majority of the packs which creates a sense of continuity throughout my diary.
The biggest advantage of stickers for me is that it allows me to condense the information written in my diary as each sticker symbolises something, this also means that at a quick glance I know what events are occurring. As you can see from the photo I use them religiously and for this particular photographed week I actually used a sticker from all of my packs. The balloons are perfect for birthdays, whilst I like to use th travel mugs for days out. For this week, the tea cups were perfect as we were holding a surprise tea party for my friends birthday - something which I couldn't write in my diary as she may have seen - but by using the sticker I was able to still record it in my diary and therefore not double book!
Whilst looking for stickers I had 2 designs which I knew would be a necessity, I contacted the lovely Kelly from Stickel Co and asked if she would be able to help out, she kindly offered to design and produce these two labels specially for me and I absolutely love how they turned out! I asked Kelly to create something that could represent blogging and driving lessons, after talking with me about how I wished to use them she decided to create them in label form allowing room to write next to the image. The cars are my favourite as I simply write the time of my driving lesson in the space and stick it in my diary, this saves so much space and at a quick glance I know where I need to be and at what time.
With all the colour from my stickers, I like to stick with a simple black fine liner for my writing, this Smash Book Pen is great as its not only the perfect fine liner but also doubles up as a glue stick on the other side. Additionally, another thing I like to use in my planner is Washi Tape, this is definitely the coconut oil of the crafting world, something I use for everything and anything!
Are you planning on being more organised in 2016? I'd love to know your best tips for staying organised so leave a comment below or contact me on Twitter!
Becca x

 

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Hetty Feather Theatre Review

Today is #LoveTheatreDay and people all over the world are coming together to share their theatre experiences, in celebration I have decided to join in on the fun with a review of the stage production of Jacqueline Wilson's 'Hetty Feather'.

Credit: Twitter @HettyLive

After my recent trip to the theatre (read about my Backstage Tour here), I was invited back for the opening night of 'Hetty Feather', the stage adaptation of the best selling Jacqueline Wilson book. When I was younger I was a huge Jacqueline Wilson fan and have since passed the baton on to my 9 year old niece, Isabella, as soon as I heard about this show I knew she would love to see it too and the lovely Becca at Theatre Royal Plymouth managed to reserve us both a seat for the performance! This theatre trip was a really lovely opportunity to spend time together and I know it's a memory that we will both treasure for a long time.

Following its sell out run in London's West End, Hetty Feather has embarked on a UK Tour. From bestselling author Jacqueline Wilson, the show follows the story of Hetty Feather, a fearless and feisty young girl in Victorian England. After being abandoned as an infant, Hetty is sent to a strict Foundling Hospital, in a hope to find her birth mother she comes up with a cunning plan to escape and faces many challenges along the way. The story is jam packed with excitement, thrill and heartbreak which is sure to keep the audience on their toes. The story is accompanied with an original music score by Benji Bower, perfectly reflecting the mood of the production and the era.

Credit: Twitter @HettyLive

The most fascinating part of the production for myself was the incorporation of circus skills, in particular the use of aerial silks and hoops, something which fascinated everyone young and old. The whole set was orientated around the use of circus props and although minimalistic was extremely effective and clever. The cast of the production was also very small with just 6 actors and 2 musicians, all of whom played several roles, therefore the use of costumes was highly important to establish characters, and was also used as a key feature of humour thought the production. The element of a smaller production is clearly evident in the atmosphere of the show and personally I find it a completely different experience to a big production, something that has always fascinated me about the theatre.

As the show was aimed at children (Age 7+) I was a bit unsure as to whether I was going to enjoy it, however through the heart wrenching storyline, incredible circus skills and clever humour I was pleasantly surprised, the whole production was completely unique and the whole audience found themselves laughing throughout, something which was vital to balance out the underlying sorrow of the story. Isabella also loved the show and couldn't stop talking about it on the trip back home. Overall, it was a really lovely performance, executed extremely well and certainly something I would recommend people to see if the opportunity was presented.

To find out more about the production, head to the Hetty Feather Website and don't forget to join in the #LoveTheatreDay fun on Twitter too!

Becca x

 

// I was kindly invited to see this performance by Theatre Royal Plymouth who provided me with a complimentary ticket, however as always all opinions are 100% honest and my own. Photo Credit //

 

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Lush Winter Collection

With Halloween and Bonfire Night out of the way, I am finally allowed to use the C-Word. Christmas is my favourite time of the year and I always get stuck right into it, for me one of the most exciting parts is the build up, I love when the shops start lining their shelves with Christmas goodies, and one of the most anticipated collections of the year is always from Lush. The lovely people at Lush Plymouth invited me in store for the big reveal of their 2015 Winter collection.

The evening kicked off with a FUN, festive challenge; split into 2 groups, we were given 30 seconds to create either a Snowman or Santa from the new winter collection of Fun products. As you can tell from the picture below, Team Snowman was not as successful as we had hoped, although we may not have won, our little snowman family certainly stole our hearts, and made for a great ice breaker!

We were then introduced to this years Christmas products and as per usual, all eyes were on the Christmas Gifts. Ranging from £8.50 to £155, these gifts combine festive goodies with classic favourites, meaning there is something for everyone. As always, the gifts are beautifully presented in gorgeous wrapping paper or a festive box meaning one less gift to wrap during the busy festive period. There are also some uniquely presented gifts such as the Human Cannonball - thanks to the attached cracker snap, this one opens with a bang - and my favourite, Christmas Wishes - a twinkly music box with a rotating barrel telling the story of many of Lush's Christmas Mascots!
Many Christmas favourites returned this year including my favourite Snow Fairy - now available in a 1kg bottle - along with some exciting new products such as Fairy Dust - a shimmering dusting powder with the famous snow fairy scent. If you're looking for more of a festive scent, The Magic of Christmas is a reusable bubble bar, with ingredients including cinnamon, almond and clove, all of which give it a much more traditional Christmas fragrance. Even more exciting, many of this years Christmas products boast Lush's Self Preservation ingredients too, meaning the products will last even longer!
Because the people at Lush Plymouth are so lovely, they allowed me to pick out some exciting festive products and after a good 10 laps around the store, I finally decided on my final 3 items.
I had never tried any Lush face products and so decided to try out the Bûche De Noël Face & Body Cleanser. At first glance the texture appears unusual, but you simply take a small piece of this cleanser in the palm of your hand and add a dash of water to create a paste. Packed with fresh ingredient, Almond and Kaolin cleanse the skin, exfoliating and absorbing dirt and excess oils whilst cranberries, satsumas and a dash of Brandy add a homely, festive scent. I've been using this every night for the last two weeks and have fallen in love, my skin feels gorgeously smooth and even, keeping breakouts and redness under control too, I would highly recommend this!
Winter to me always means dry lips, so I decided to try out one of Lush's famous lip scrubs. Santa's Lip Scrub is one of the few edible products available at Lush, simply buff in and lick off to reveal super soft lips. I've been using this to prime my lips before applying lipstick as it creates a perfect base, helping any colour to glide on smoothly and increase the longevity. Although it may have a festive name and includes ingredients such as dates and cherries, the main flavour of this scrub is Cola making it perfect to use all year through!
I want to say a huge thank you to Lush Plymouth for inviting me into the store and completely spoiling me as always. If you want to see the full Winter and Christmas collection at Lush, head into your local store or online!
Becca x