Advent Calendar 4: Christmas Cake

If you are anything like me, then the year has gotten away from you, and half a moment ago it was halloween, and you were overdue for making your Christmas cake, and now, BAM! It’s December 4th, and you still haven’t done it. Do not despair, dear ones. It is not too late.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t *need* to make a Christmas cake months and months in advance. Sure, you get more time to feed it to boozy godliness if you do, but it is not essential. So long as you make your cake 3-4 weeks before the big day, you will have plenty of time to get in plenty of feedings to have a delicious, brandy spiked delight to serve on Christmas Day.

The recipe below is adapted from Delia Smith’s age old and much loved Christmas cake recipe. I’ve really only removed the nuts (I prefer the texture nut free, personally), tweaked the spices to my preference, and altered the fruit a little (cranberries > currants).

Christmas Cake

  • 750g dried fruit (you can pretty use whichever dried fruits you like in this mixture. I used approximately 100g glacé cherries, 200g sultanas, 200g raisins and 250g dried cranberries)
  • 50g candied peel
  • 3tsbp brandy
  • 225g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 225g butter
  • 225g soft brown sugar
  • 4 free range eggs
  • 1tsbp treacle
  • Zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange

9-12 hours before you want to make the cake, or the evening before, weigh out the fruit into a mixing bowl (If you like, you can chop your cherries, but I prefer them as whole gleaming jewels in the finished cake). Drizzle the brandy over the fruit and stir to ensure all the fruit is coated. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave the fruit to steep. If you are able, the odd stir during this process will only help the absorption.

IMG_6780

Preheat the oven to 130-140c and double line an 8 inch cake tin with greaseproof paper. Prepare a double layer of greaseproof to sit on top of the cake in the oven too. This will help protect the cake from over-browing during its long and slow baking.

Weigh out your flour and measure out your spices. Sieve or whisk together to remove lumps.

In another bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar. Beat the eggs, and mix into the butter mixture in 2-4 parts until completely incorporated.

Add the flour mix into the wet ingredients and fold to combine.

Finally add the zest, treacle and fruit, and fold into the mixture until it is uniform.

Pour the cake batter in the prepared tin, cover with the paper ‘lid’, and pop it in the oven for 4 and 1/2 hours. If your oven is particularly fierce, check at 4.

Allow to cool completely in the tin before removing the cake to an airtight container. Poke the cake full of holes with a toothpick, and drizzle in a healthy plug of brandy. Repeat this process at least once a week until you are ready to ice the cake, flipping the cake over each time to ensure an even feeding.

 

Like a lot a festive recipes, this cake is super easy, it’s just time consuming, and contains a lot of ingredients. Making your own Christmas cake is a labour of love, and will rapidly become a tradition in your household, if for no other reason than the phenomenal scent of it baking for hours on end. With so many steps before the cake is baked, and after, theres plenty to get the whole family involved in. If you are tee-total, use strong tea instead of brandy in the first step, and simply don’t feed the cake. It will keep well enough if it is kept airtight.

Enjoy!

sigdraft

Advent Calendar 3: Quincemeat

I have wanted to make this recipe for literally years, but it has been too difficult to find the ingredients. However, with quince making a resurgence, and whole bushel of them showing up in my local wholefood shop, I decided it was about time to scratch this recipe off my to do list.

I love mince pies, and mincemeat in general. They celebrate the best
of the season; sweet fruits, heady spices and plenty of warming booze. This ‘Quincemeat’ has all of that in spades.

Quincemeat

  • Approx. 1kg quince (3-4 fruits is a good guide for this. I used just over 3 for this recipe.)
    2 tbsp butter
    250g sultanas
    250g raisins
    250g dried apricots
    250g soft light brown sugar (muscovado is a good call but any soft brown sugar will do)
    100g candied peel
    1tsp ground cloves
    1tsp ground ginger or cardamom
    1tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
    100ml calvados or brandy

Preheat the oven to 150c.

Peel, core and chop your quince into chunks. Quince have a much firmer flesh and woodier core than their cousins apples and pears, so take your time and use a sharp knife. Place the fruit on an oven tray or dish

IMG_6781.JPGMelt the butter and drizzle it over the quince. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the quince is soft.

Pour the hot quince and any juices into a mixing bowl. Rouglychop the sultanas and raisins and cut down the apricots into sultana-sized pieces. Add the fruit to the quince and mix together. Allow the mixture to cool completely.

Measure out your spices, sugar peel and booze. Add in the dry ingredients and peel and mix through, before adding the brandy and doing the same.

Pot up into jars or store covered in the fridge.

IMG_6784.JPG

This recipe isn’t particularly difficult. Like most mincemeats it just takes time and has a lot of ingredients. The most difficult parts are the chopping of the quince, and then the chopping of the sticky dried fruit. Beyond that it is just a case of weighing, mixing and and waiting.

This sweet and aromatic mincemeat makes a nice change from the dark and sticky traditional mincemeat. Pair it with lightly spic pastry or vanilla infused creams and ice creams for out of this world desserts this Christmas. Also, this method, with perhaps a reduced cook time, would work exceedingly well with similar fruits like apples and pears if quince are not availiable.

Enjoy!

sigdraft

Advent Calendar 2: Beef and Apple Slowcooker Stew

This recipe is a simple winter warmer that anyone who is old enough to operate a frying pan and use a kitchen knife can make. And if you fall into the younger brackets of that age group, I think you should make it. Here’s why.

Christmas is the time of year that children have oodles of time on their hands, and weary students trundle home for a break from their studies. It’s the time of year that parents break the bank to spoil their loved ones, and also pick back up the full time care of their children, no questions asked. To have one of their own offer to take over the cooking, even for just one meal, would be a huge help to them and greatly appreciated.

All you will need to make this delicious and hearty stew (beyond the ingredients) is a frying pan, a knife and a slow cooker, or an ovenproof lidded saucepan. The measurements below are for a slow cooked meal. If you don’t have access to a slow cooker, reduce the cooking time to two hours, and add at least an extra litre of water.

Beef and Apple Stew

  • 400g stewing beef (shin is excellent in this dish, but any tougher cut will work fine)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 eating apple
  • ½ tbsp mixed herbs or a bouquet garni
  • 2 stock cubes (beef or vegetable)
  • 500ml cider
  • 1tbsp cornflour

If your beef isn’t already in bitesize chunks, cut it up. Then, brown it in a frying pan, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. You want nice caramel colouration on all sides of the pieces. Once browned, pop the cooked beef into the pot of your slow cooker.

 

IMG_6772.JPG

Core the apple, and chop it and the other veg into bite size pieces. Add them to the pot and mix them into the beef pieces.

Sprinkle over the herbs, crumble in the stock cubes and add plenty of salt and pepper.

Pour over the cider and mix the ingredients together. This may seem like a rather small amount of liquid, but so long as the liquid is about half as deep as the whole mixture, you should be fine.

Pop the lid on the slow cooker and turn it on to ‘high’. Cook for 3 hours.

IMG_6773-0.JPG

Mix the cornflour with a drizzle of water until a paste is formed. Add this to your stew and mix through thoroughly. Recover the pot and cook for a further two hours. (It bears mentioning that this would be very early to add a thickener like cornflour in most recipes, but in slowcooking so little moisture is lost that its fine to add the flour now. It won’t thicken the sauce too much- it’ll just help it become more gravy-like.)

Serve with mashed potatoes, braised leeks and any other veg you fancy.

This recipe is pretty flexible- it would work very well with pork or rose veal, and you can replace the cider with beer or water if you like. You can also feel free to add other vegetables, or reduce the beef and up the veg content.

The final product, after barely half an hour of actual labour, is aromatic and flavoursome. The cider gives tart fruitiness, while the beef makes it intensely savoury and satisfying. The apple will likely melt away to thicken the gravy, leave the inoffensive peel to blend in with the other veg. If you want to be pedantic and peel your apples, then do, but it really isnt necesscary.

So there you have it- an incredibly easy and tasty meal to warm your cockles this winter.

Enjoy!

Advent Calendar 1: Sbiten

To get the ball rolling on this recipe advent calendar, here’s a Russian winter warmer that’s great if you want something fruity this festive season.

Sbiten used to be the eastern european go-to warm drink. The recipe was first documented in the twelfth century, and wasn’t replaced by the now more popular tea and coffee until the 1800s.

Full of festive spices and sweet blackberry flavours, this inky drink is going to becomes a season favourite of yours, for sure.

IMG_6770-0.JPG

Sbiten

  • 115g blackberry jam or bramble jelly
  •  honey
  • 1tsp cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 sprig of fresh mint, or a pinch of dried
  • 1/2tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 625ml water

This recipe couldn’t be simpler. Put all your ingredients in a saucepan and bring it up to the boil, stirring to combine and to melt the jam.

Once boiling, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Strain, and serve piping hot.

 

If you have leftover Sbiten, you can store it in the fridge for a day or two and reheat as needed. Realistically though, this sweet and spicy drink is going to vanish faster than you can say ‘Za zdorovje’!

Enjoy!

December on SWB- 2014 RECIPE ADVENT CALENDAR

Hello kittens!

That’s right! The madness has come upon me once more, and I’m doing it again- 24 days, 24 festive recipes for you to try at home and enjoy with your loved ones. This year will see some winter warmers, some boozy treats, some lovely petit fours and some great wintry meals to keep you fuelled and ready to face anything the season throws at you.

The first post will go up this evening, and it’s a doozy of a recipe- I know you’ll love it. It goes without saying that during this time, SWB will be going back to our roots- food blogging. There might be the odd beauty update, if that’s what you’re here for, but that will be very much taking a back burner until the new year. Also, after Christmas, I’ll be taking a little blogging break to recharge my batteries, but you’ll still be able to keep up with all things SWB on Instagram and Twitter.

Let’s get cooking!

sigdraft

Lush Christmas review: Shower products

Hello kittens!

Today, I’ll be looking at the shower goodies Lush have put out for us this Christmas.

Beyond their ever popular shower gels, Lush have an array of innovative shower products to make you feel clean, fresh and adored. For Christmas they’ve released a bunch of these, including two Fun products, which directly help the children still affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Gold Fun

Rich in honey-caramel sweetness and pretty golden lustre, Gold Fun is as beautiful and decadent as it is, well, fun. Like all Fun products, this doughy soap can be used to wash your body, hair, as bubblebath and as a toy. The sweet and skin kind honey notes in this product are popular with kids of all ages, and this makes a great gift for someone who is young at heart.

 

Snowman Fun Kit

Looking for a Secret Santa gift that comes in at £5? The Snowman Fun kit is perfect. Sweet and fruity smelling but compliments moisturising carrot oil in this three coloured Fun set- black, orange and white. This kit can also make penguins! This is an awesome stocking filler for anyone who enjoys a bath (or a shower- fun works well in both). Also, you can make a beautiful inky black bath if you use just the black part of the product.

 

Snowman Shower Jelly

IMG_6400

Shower jellies are just shower gels with their water removed, and seaweed added to set them. They’re vegan, long lasting and tons of fun. This snowman has the same scent as the Snowman Fun Kit (which is the same scent as Carrot Soap, from 2014’s easter range) and the same ingredients- skin softening carrot oil and lovely fruity buchu. With all that seaweed, he’s extra moisturising too, and pretty darn robust. Either use him whole like a wobbly bar of soap, and allow to dry in his pot or on a soap dish, or break a piece off and scrub him inside a shower lily.

 

Rose Jam

IMG_6485

This is my favourite lush fragrance- floral yet heady and involved, grown up and sexy. This shower gel shares its scent with several year round products, but I am thrilled that this shower gel is back. Rich in organ oil, it is very moisturising, and makes a great shampoo as well as a shower gel. The double dose of rose is great for troubled winter skin and the vanilla is likewise very calming and gentle, while lemon brightens.

So White

IMG_6522

Crisp and appley, So White is as light as powder snow, and lovely as its name sake fairytale princess. This product was designed by the staff of the Kyoto Lush store, who were invited over to Lush HQ in Poole to work on a product. It shares its scent with the bath bomb of the same name. This is a great product to use in the morning, or any time you need a breath of fresh air. However, with soothing rose and moisturising rice bran oil, this is still a kind and caring product for the harsh winter months.

 

Hot Toddy

IMG_6484

I LOVE spicy scents and flavours, so I was thrilled to see this scent return (it used to be a bubble bar) as a glittery, festively red shower gel. This shower gel is like a big warm Christmas hug- warm and sweet clove, earthy patchouli, warming cinnamon leaf oil, aromatic and bright citrus notes and softening carrageenan seaweed. If you don’t love this product, I’m judging you. It’s like mulled wine, but for your skin!

 

Snow Fairy

IMG_6523

She’s baaaack…

You can hardly have failed to notice that the lady in pink has returned again this Christmas. Sweet and candy scented  and blissfully pink, she has a huge fanbase, and not just kids and teenage girls either. To me, Snow Fairy smells like pear drops. Other people get bubblegum or candy floss. Whatever she smells like, she’s delicious and adorable, and this year the shower gel is enriched with moisturising seaweed and pretty lustre.

 

The next and final part of the review will be all the other products Lush have brought out for Christmas this year- cleansers, lip and body care products.

See you soon!

sigdraft

 

Lush Christmas review: Bath Melts and Soaps

Hello kittens!

Today I’m going to focus on the festive bath melts and soaps Lush have graced us with. Hope you enjoy!

Bath Melts

Bath Melts are single use products designed for those looking for a really pampering treat. Unlike fizzy bombs or crumbled up bubble bars, melts melt away over a longer period of time. They were generally made with cocoa and /or shea butter, which will deeply soften and moisturise the skin. They are truly indulgent and ultimately skin kind. For the best results, either add to the bath while the water is running, or run your bath too hot, plonk in your melt, and watch it slowly infuse its moisturising ingredients and beautiful fragrance into the water.

Snow Angel

Do you like marzipan, glitter and feeling like a butter-skinned goddess? Then you will love Snow Angel. This massive melt is indulgently moisturising and delightfully festive.

IMG_6443

Rich in cocoa butter, Snow Angel is obviously very skin kind and moisturising, but cocoa butter is also reputed to be excellent for scarring. Other ingredients include rose absolute, which obviously smells lovely, but is also good and reducing redness and soreness.

It’s good to note that the lustre and glitter in this heavenly melt are all non-plastic.  Lush recently redesigned all their glitters and lustres to remove plastics and therefore minimise the ecological impact of said sparkles. The glitters are now made with seaweed, and will begin to break down in your bath. The lustres are mica based.

Being so big, you could very easily break this melt in two, but it is designed for just one bath.

 

Melting Snowman

In Lush Christmases past, this adorable little puddle of a guy was one of the few Lush items that had a festive, spicy fragrance. This year, he’s in good company, but I’m still glad he’s back.

IMG_6415The Melting Snowman’s  spicy notes come from warming cinnamon leaf oil, so he’s great to help unwind sore muscles after a long day. Like all melts, he turns the bath water into a softening milk. Of the three Christmas melts, I would say he’s probably the least indulgent, but I still adore him. Also, he’s the only non-glittery melt, which for many will be a plus.

 

Star Light, Star Bright

Do you prefer silver to gold? Then Star Light, Star Bright is the melt for you. If Snow Angel is a comforting and sweet, Melting Snowman is warming, then Star Light, Star Bright is restorative. Zippy ginger and bright lime will help energise, while lavender and extra moisturising oils and butters including shea and coconut with balance, calm and spoil your skin.

IMG_6487

When this super glittery melt hits the water, the lustre and glitter comes off pretty quickly, leaving a bright white star in a twinkling sky. Inside there is more lustre, just in case you hadn’t got enough from the first hit. This melt is probably the most moisturising of the three, with Snow Angel a close second.

 

Soap

Cut to size for you in store, the beautiful wheels of handmade Lush soaps are much gentler to the skin than many high street equivalents. They are filled with natural oils and conditioners for great fragrance and skin feel, plus they are put together in the most imaginative and creative ways. All the of the Lush Christmas soaps are vegan, and feature their new soap base, which has no petrochemicals, and are, as far as possible, palm oil free.

Baked Alaska

Sherberty and beautiful, this soap comes into stores are a sphere, and is expertly cut down unto bars. Bright and citrusy grapefruit oil and lemon myrtle make this soap a real breath of fresh air. It’s still nice and skin kind though, with rapeseed and coconut oils to soften your skin.

IMG_6480

Inside its white meringue-like outer layer, the soap herself is blue, filled with orbs of bright colours. It reminds me of the northern lights, or the way fairy lights look through a rainy window. Whatever it looks like, it’s a lovely and uplifting soap with intense cleaning properties.

 

Reindeer Rock

Do you like The Comforter bubblebar? Do you like reindeer? Do you like sparkle? Then you’ll love this soap.

IMG_6482

The look of this soap is inspired by cave paintings of reindeer in their native Norway, where the lingonberries used in this soap are grown. It has a beautifully sweet, but not cloying fruity fragrance. That fruity scent comes from those afore mentioned lingonberries and also cassis, which is balanced by cypress and bergamot. Like Baked Alaska, Reindeer Rock also contains rapeseed and coconut oil to soften the skin.

 

Snow Cake

A returning favourite, this pretty white soap, gestured with a bright layer of gold lustre, smells of sweet marzipan. This is a nice gentle soap, with rose to soothe redness and soreness, plus rapeseed and coconut oil for moisture.

IMG_6479This is the only one of the Christmas soaps that isn’t guaranteed palm oil free. It features the same palm oil free base, but one of the ingredients cannot be guaranteed to be Palm Oil free at this time, despite Lush’s best efforts at their end of the production process. To be honest, Lush is so many leaps and bounds ahead of every else in this regard, and they’ve given their all to avoiding this unethical ingredient, so I think its best to give them the benefit of the doubt.

 

Yog Nog

Someone I know thinks this soap smells like a dirty toilet.

This person is wrong, because this soap smells like a delicious confection, and you will be hard pressed not to take a bite out of it when you smell it.

IMG_6481

The soap itself smells so caramelly because of the tonka in it. A relative of vanilla, this bean has a more burnt sugary note that its lighter cousin. Paired with creamy soy yoghurt, spicy clove bud oil and the dusting powder of nutmeg and cocoa, to me this soap smells like Pierniczki, or other Christmas gingerbread. That soy yoghurt, plus rapeseed and coconut oil, make this a beautifully softening soap.

 

Next time I’ll be looking at the Christmas shower products, including shower gels and Fun.

Later days!

sigdraft

Lush Christmas: Bubblebars and Wands

Hello kittens!

Here’s the second segment of my Lush Christmas review. Today, we’re looking at the ultimate bubblebath experience- bubblebars.

Bubblebars

Bubblebars, like the bomb formula, were developed by the Lush founders to provide a gentle alternative to commercial bubble bath products. They’re also solid and ‘naked’, like many Lush products, which reduces packaging. They soften the water, produce lovely bubbles and just like ballistics, are vehicles for colour, skin kind ingredients and fragrance. However, unlike bombs, bubble bars can be broken up for multiple uses. Most bars can provide two baths worth of bubbles- some of the larger ones can do six or more.

Holly Golightly

Oh god I love this beautiful creation. Like a Christmas pudding plated in perfect Tiffany silver, this large bubblebar is the perfect gift for anyone who a) likes festive spice and b) enjoys an Audrey Hepburn reference.

IMG_6507

Holly Golightly’s holly topped and silver lustred outer coating yields to a vivid, holly-jolly green. She shares her fragrance with the shower gel Hot Toddy- warming cinnamon leaf oil, festive cloves and aromatic patchouli give a mulled feeling, only richened by the sweet orange and lime oils. It’s a really festive and restoring bath- perfect for a pick me up or a refreshing cool down after a hard day.

Being so large, you can get 4-6 baths out of this bubblebar. I like deep baths, and I like to spoil myself, so I use about half.

 

The Christmas Hedgehog

This cutesy little fella has a clarifying, cool fragrance, shared by last year’s Christmas soap, Noriko. He’s one of the most moisturising bubblebars out this year, thanks to his blue spines being made from a cocoa and shea butter rich bath melt formula.

IMG_6411

Floral ylang ylang complements balancing lavender in this bubblebar, with rose absolute to help with redness and soreness brought on by the cold weather.He’s also covered in pretty glitter and star confetti, for added festivity. In terms of size, he’s quite small, so he’s really only good for 1-2 adult sized baths.

 

Drummers Drumming

This bubblewand makes me smile every time I see it. Now, a bubble wand is like a concentrated bubblebar that you don’t crumble. Instead, you swish it like a magic wand in the water to release the bubble mixture, or run the tap over it into the bath, then allow it to dry off. In this way, bubble bars can be used again and again for 6-10 or even more baths.

IMG_6503

Drummers Drumming has a sweet strawberry scent, the same as the massage bar Strawberry Feels. It contains frankincense (aka Olibanum), if you weren’t feeling festive enough already, plus lovely bright bergamot and sweet, toning geranium. All I know is that is smells delicious, lasts ages, and looks like a retro drumming toy. You can actually use it for this purpose, as the jingle bells (also reusable- my cats are going to hate me) will give great percussive noise as the wand is spun.

 

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve has been a festive favourite for several years at Lush. Its beautiful, dreamy fragrance of sexy jasmine and floral ylang ylang have been recaptured in the bath bomb Northern Lights this year, but I know no bath of mine is complete without some bubbles.

IMG_6406

Last year this fair sized bar (about 2-3 baths worth) was purple, but this year she’s a deeper blue, which I think gives a nicer colour in the bath.

 

The Christmas Penguin

If you like Monty, you’ll love this returning little guy. The Christmas Penguin is almost too cute to crumble. Almost.

He’s quite a large bubblebar, so you can easily get 2-3 baths from him. His fragrance is all citrus- aromatic bergamot, sweet orange blossom, bright and brassy lemon and bold mandarin give him a real zing to perk you up.

I love this little guy- he’s a great present for any penguin lover, and he also boasts a super unisex fragrance, so he’s a good option for any pink-shy men in your life. I know my brother received a few of these last year (for the former reason- he loves penguins).

 

Candy Mountain

Creamy Candy is one of the most popular year round bubblebars. Candy Mountain, its shimmery, swirly festive sibling is like a bigger, better version of it. Bigger, because its tall cone shape makes it suitable for 2-3 baths, and better because it’s shiny. Pink and white swirls give this bomb a real touch of Hooville charm. And now I need to rewatch the Grinch. Oh no.

IMG_6497

Like Creamy Candy, this bubblebar has a sweet candy fragrance and is packed with delicious and moreish vanilla. This also means it’s great for sensitive skin. This is a really pretty bubblebar in the water, and just as she comes.

 

Magic Wand

Snow Fairy fans! Bubble fans! Fear not! The Magic Wand has returned to fill your bath with pretty pink bubbles and oodles of pear drop-esque candy sweetness. Just like Drummers Drumming, this wand will last you for ages.

IMG_6501

Finished with a lovely little bell, I feel like a true mahou shoujou (magical girl- it’s an anime thing) with this one. Someone get me my moon tiara and shuffle my Clow cards.

 

I really love the selection of bubbles this Christmas, but with out a doubt my favourite is Holly Golightly. I love her intensely spicy smell, pretty glitter, festive form and bright green colour. Second place goes to Drummers Drumming, as it makes me smile, smells fantastic, and the beautiful two tone effect it creates in the water is super pretty.

Tune in next time for bath melts and soaps!

Later days!

sigdraft

 

Lime Crime Velvetines review

Hello Kittens!

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen me rocking several shades of delicious Lime Crime lip colours. I wanted to talk to you a little about them and my experiences with them.

Lime Crime launched in 2008, and is a cruelty free cosmetics company. Many, if not most, of their products are also vegan. They are headed up by kooky brand owner Doe Deere, who is a self-proclaimed ‘Unicorn Queen’, day-dreamer and colour fanatic. The brand hosts a range of vibrant nail, eye and lip colours so your makeup can be as expressive as you are. Based in Los Angeles, their products are available in the UK via select online boutiques, and shipping from the US is also available.

Velvetines are one of the Lime Crime’s most iconic and famous products. They are a lip colour product with famed staying power, high pigment and high ethics. The formula applies wet and sets matte, leaving your with velvety, rose petal lips. The Velvetine product launched with two colour options only: Red Velvet (a deep, rose petal red) and Suedeberry (a brighter, paler, almost corally red-pink). Since then the line has swelled with the addition of Pink Velvet (a deep pink), The Clueless Witch Collection (Black Velvet (black), Salem (brown) and Wicked (oxblood)) and most recently Utopia (a bold orchid). A new shade, Pansy (violet) has been announced in the past couple of weeks, with another greige shade, Cashmere revealed last week. No release date has, as of yet, been confirmed.

Though I came across the brand some time ago, and lusted after their products, I finally picked up some Velvetines for my brother’s wedding. I needed a red lip colour that would last all day, despite champagne toasts and wedding breakfasts. I decided to try the classic red shades Red Velvet and Suedeberry. I have since added Utopia to my collection because I am LIVING for purple this autumn.

Suedeberry

Described as a 1950’s Hollywood light red, I thought this was going to be the colour I wore for my brother’s big day. I was wrong. The Lime Crime website has since changed their description of Suedeberry to Coral Red, which is much more accurate. This bright, light colour is almost more on the pink and coral spectrum than red. That being said, it’s really very pretty.

However, in terms of staying power I don’t think it lasts as long as I expected from a Velvetine. It lasts about as long as a lip stain- so, if you eat or drink, you will lose part or all of the colour. The weird thing about Velvetines is that when they dry, they are touch proof, but as soon as they get wet they sometimes flake away. Suedeberry seems to do that quite a lot. The colour pay off also is not as strong as I expected. It’s about 90% opaque, so if my lips are naturally looking particularly pink, their colour will show through, particularly if I paint my lips a little bigger. I wonder if I got part of a dud batch.

This is still a great product that I love and use regularly. It just wasn’t quite the colour I was expecting, nor was in this life changing product, either.

 

Red Velvet

Red Velvet was a colour I had always wanted to try. I worried if it would suit me or not, and I was fairly sure it wasn’t the colour I needed for my wedding outfit. However, it turned out to be perfect. Yes, it was deeper in colour that my dress and hat, but I loved it.

The formula is completely opaque. Like Suedeberry, it sets touch proof, and like Suedeberry it can lifted by liquid, but it seems to have a much better formula than Suedeberry. I touched up my lips twice at the wedding- once after the breakfast, when a tiny bit of the colour in the inside of my lips had flaked away, and once later in the night, when I’d had several glasses more wine, and the same thing had happened. The lip colour lasted 16+ hours with two minor touch ups, whilst I ate, drank and made merry. This stuff is the real deal, and does exactly what the product promises. I was very impressed.

The shade of Red Velvet is incredibly bold, and I get a lot of compliments on it. However, it’s also so bold that I sometimes feel self conscious wearing it. Also, if it smudges for any reason, and you haven’t got make up remover with you, you are in trouble.

 

Utopia

Utopia is a stunning bright orchid- the colour of the year this year, and one of my favourite lip shades. Some sites are describing this shade as magenta, and whilst is can come out quite pinky compared with some orchid products, it’s definitely purple, not pink.

Morning 💋💕 #boldlip #limecrime #bombshell #benebabe #professionalpaleperson

A post shared by Natasha (@shewhobakes) on

I’m kind of in love with this colour. It’s got a great colour pay off, and great longevity. The formula is very similar to Red Velvet, rather than the slightly weaker formula of Suedeberry. I wore it recently to a friend’s hen do, and also to work, and in both cases it lasted really well all day, with maybe one or two small touch ups. Because I have a cooler skin tone, if this shade flakes a little on me after drinking, it’s not as obvious as with Red Velvet or Suedeberry.

 

All in all, I’m a total convert to Velvetines. They are the lip product I need, and have pretty much spoiled me for all others. Nothing compares to their matte perfection, wild colour payoff, daring shades and amazing longevity. I’m already planning to pick up Black Velvet soon, and I’ll be all over Pansy when it comes out.

The pictures in this post are from my Instagram. If you want to keep up to the minute with all things SWB, why not follow me there?

Later days, sweethearts!

sigdraft

Lush Christmas: Bombs and Ballistics

So… this post is somewhat belated, considering the Lush Christmas range launched in October, but hey, I try not to feel festive until after Halloween. Let’s do this.

Lush LOVE to go bonkers with new product releases for all holidays, but none so much as Christmas. Ignoring the Halloween products which are staying for the festive season, Lush has 30+ Christmas products this year, excluding gift sets (which are plentiful and GORGEOUS). For ease, I’ve separated them off into their categories: Bath Bombs, Bubblebars, Bath Melts, Soap, Shower and Miscellaneous, which covers a mixture of lip, skin and face care. Today, I’m looking at at the ever popular bombs. Obviously, this post is very picture heavy.

Bath Bombs

Also known as ballistics, these bath fizzers are designed to soften water for sensitive skin, whilst infusing the water with colour, skin kind oils and beautiful natural fragrance. These products are pretty much a gateway drug to the world of Lush- many people never get beyond this part of the shop, and many don’t know that Lush do a whole lot more than just make lovely bath goodies. That isn’t to say they aren’t excellent at making lovely bath goodies, as they surely are.

Dashing Santa

As bright and sunny in fragrance as his boots are gold, this bath ballistic (or bomb, if you like, though he’s hardly bomb shaped), Dashing Santa is a classically festive shaped bomb with bright festive colours. His shape is based on the Cosmetics to Go delivery man logo (this is the company that preceded Lush), but dressed in up a traditional santa outfit. His fragrance is all things orange- gutsy mandarin, sweet orange flower and aromatic Bergamot.These beautiful oils and extracts make for an uplifting, citrussy bath- perfect for the party season.

IMG_6491

 

Cinders

Cinders has been a Lush Christmas favourite for years, so it’s no surprise she’s back. Sweet and spicy, she simulated the fizzing and crackling of a warm hearth, filled as she is with popping candy and cuddly warming ingredients and scents. Sea salt softens the bath water and provides extra skin nourishing trace minerals, while almond and sweet orange oils sweeten and cinnamon leaf oil warms. This bomb is good enough to eat and leaves you smelling and feeling like a festive confection.

IMG_6405

So White

So White is inspired by Snow White, with her bubble-mix rich white ‘skin’, and her red-as-roses core. Crisp apple fragrances are quite apart from a lot of the usual Christmas fare. Light and beautiful flower notes complement this fragrance- namely rose, orange flower, bergamot and neroli. She’s quite a grown up and pretty bomb, and goes well with the So White shower gel if you need more bubbles.

IMG_6412

Luxury Lush Pud

Another returning Christmas favourite, this technicolour Christmas pud has the same sweet and lovely fragrance and the year round bomb, Twilight. Lavender is sweetned and softened by caramelly Tonka and perfuming Ylang Ylang for sophisticated candy sweetness. I adore Twilight, so I love this bomb.

IMG_6511

Shoot For The Stars

If you like honey, caramel and glitter, you’ll love this bomb. This bomb leaves streamers of bold colour and silver glitter on a deep blue backdrop as it fizzes round your bath, and has the same delectable fragrance as the ever popular Honey I Washed the Kids soap and year-round shower gel It’s Raining Men. For those who don’t know, it smells like honeyed creme brûlée. It has a citrussy addition of sweet orange and bergamot to balance out the fragrance.

IMG_6509

Golden Wonder

This returning creation is probably the most grown up and indulgent fragrance in the bomb range this year. Sharing its chocolate, citrus and boozy notes with two other products in the Christmas range, Golden Wonder is a treat for the senses. This large ballistic is covered in gold lustre, and has a secret filling. It’s and indulgent, grown up and beautiful bath that anyone would be overjoyed to take. Lime and sweet orange provide zingy citrus, while cognac oil adds sophistication. An alcohol-free version of this product is available online.

IMG_6516

 

Father Christmas

This ballistic returns each year with a new twist and different classic fragrance. This year he has the beloved Snow Fairy fragrance, so he’s a great addition for any S.F. fan. For those who don’t know, Snow Fairy smells like sweets, particularly (to me, anyway) Pear Drops. It’s sweet, intoxicating and addictive, and has been a seasonal favourite for years. Big and super festive, he’s a classic stocking filler. He also has a touch of bubble mix in his formula, so he’s extra softening and lovely.

IMG_6494

Butterbear

Oh my gosh, is this guy cute. He’s also super reasonable. Butterbear has the same sweet and heady vanilla-tonka fragrance as the year round classic Butterball, but instead of being round, he’s a cute, tubby little bear with a cocoa powder nose. He’s adorable. He’s a nice size and price for a stocking present or kid’s bath bomb, and with added chunks of cocoa butter he’s lovely and moisturising too. Perfect for the cold and skin-cruel winter months.

IMG_6499

 

If I had to pick a favourite from this selection, it would have to Golden Wonder. Cinders is a close second, as I love anything spicy, but as a little bomb, it is kind of the pauper to the prince that is Golden Wonder. Plus, Golden Wonder has the more exciting light show in the bath.

I’ll be back soon with the next segment of my review.

Later days!

sigdraft