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When it comes to new makeup, I’m never more excited than when I’ve got a new eyeshadow palette in my hands. It’s not that I ever create the wildest of eye looks, but all those colours sitting unused brings out my artistic side.

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My latest acquisition is the stunning Superhero Palette from It Cosmetics. It’s a brand I’ve not really explored before, but if this product is anything to go by? It’s a winner. The palette is a mix of twelve good sized shadows which range from nude bases through to glitzy bronzes and inky blacks. Laid out in three colour-groups, it makes getting ready an absolute breeze, and you can pick and choose from neutrals through to punchy liners. The shades are designed to work on all skin tones, and they’re easy to build on, so if you’re looking for a day-to-night option, you can pop the palette in your bag, and vamp things up come nightfall.

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As you can see from my photos, my palette was a bit mistreated by the courier, so it’s something to note if you’re planning on packing it to travel – it needs to be carefully handled. Other than that though, it’s a keeper! It’s one of the first instances of ‘eye foundations’ I’ve come across, and three shades can either be used as a base for shadows, or as neutral shades themselves. Thanks to the mix of neutrals and shimmers, they’re wonderfully brightening, and really can hide late nights!

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The Superhero ‘nude’s trio is a mix of three cool toned nudes including a perfect taupe (Limitless) and matte blush (Powerful). The shimmer bronze (Aura) makes a great day-time liner for subtle touch of sheen.

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The middle shades are a touch more dramatic, and work well to warm up smokey eye looks. I’m just obsessed with the warm golden shimmer (Unforgettable) and patted straight on the lid, it gives a great does of glam! I’m also partial to the warm rust shade (Fearless) which adds a flattering does of warmth for summer eye looks.

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The last trio of shadows are the liners, which can be used wet or dry depending on the intensity you’re after. For daytime looks I love the warm brown (Daring) smudged into the lashliene, and for evening, Superhero – a deep black looks suitably dramatic.

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It Cosmetics’ Superhero Palette is perfect if you’re looking for an everyday palette which will see you through day looks to night. The balance of shades and shadows feel well thought out, and the texture of the shadows is buttery soft, so they apply well, and blend like a dream. The colours also stay true all day long, so it’s my choice for mornings when I know it’s going to be a long day!

It Cosmetics Superheroes Palette is priced at £31 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

Neil Forbes - Scottish_Burger

When it comes to summer staples, you can’ get any more iconic than a burger. Whether you enjoy yours fresh off the bbq, or you’d rather enjoy something a little more gourmet, M&S has your back.

Edinburgh-based chef and owner of Cafe St Honore, Neil Forbes, was selected by M&S as one of eight finalists in a UK wide burger competition. This summer the retailer has launched its ‘Best Ever Burger’ and, to put it to the test, challenged top chefs across the country to create the ultimate burger topping recipe for their hometown, showcasing the very best regional flavours and produce.

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M&S’s Best Ever Burger features a mouth-watering combination of short rib, chuck steak and bone marrow for ultimate succulence, providing the base for Neil’s creation. Taking inspiration from the best of Scotland’s abundant produce, Neil’s recipe celebrates local flavours and ingredients, including Macsween haggis, Isle of Mull cheddar and Arran mustard.

Neil said: “M&S’s Best Ever Burger is bursting with flavour and it’s been great to add my own twist to create the ultimate Scottish burger. The recipe I’ve crafted perfectly encapsulates some of the most famous flavours of Scotland which I love using in my own cooking. From smoked streaky bacon sourced from Ayrshire, to cheese from the Isle of Mull, this recipe showcases the breadth and depth of local produce across the region.”

Kirsty Adams, M&S’s Beef Product Developer and one of the creators of ‘Our Best Ever Burger’, added: “The burger is having a serious moment and we wanted to celebrate just how diverse and delicious it can be by partnering with some amazing chefs. It took a year to develop Our Best Ever Burger and it’s now our fastest selling summer product, which is a restaurant quality patty that can be enjoyed at home. We were excited to see how the chefs put their regional twist on it and we weren’t disappointed. Neil’s creation really captures a taste of Scotland – it’s definitely one to try at home!”

If you fancy giving it a go yourself, the recipe is below:

Ingredients – makes 2 burgers  Prep time 15 minutes; cooking time 15 to 20 minutes
2 M&S Our Best Ever Burgers
50g Isle of Mull Cheddar *2 slices unsmoked Ayrshire streaky bacon *

2 slices Macsween Haggis or similar

2tbl mayonnaise
1tbl grainy Arran mustard *
2 slices red beef tomato (1cm thick)
1 Baby Gem lettuce (4 leaves)
1 red onion (4 rings)
2 M&S Brioche Buns
1tbl cold-pressed rapeseed oil
Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Heat a griddle pan until hot but not scorching hot. Rub the burgers with half the rapeseed oil. Season both sides with a little salt and pepper and place burgers onto griddle. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes on each side, or until the centre of the burger is piping hot and the juices run clear.
  2. Place the slices of bacon on the same griddle pan and cook until crispy (5 – 10 minutes).
  3. To cook the haggis, either choose the pre-sliced microwavable variety and cook as per the instructions, or cut 1cm-thick slices from a pudding and pan-fry in the remaining rapeseed oil at a moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until a crisp outer crust is achieved.
  4. Mix 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise with the grainy Arran Mustard and set to one side.
  5. Remove the cooked burger and bacon from the griddle pan and keep somewhere warm for the meat to rest. Leave the griddle pan on a medium heat.
  6. Grate cheddar and top each burger with half. Halve brioche buns and lightly toast on griddle.
  7. Place the cheese-topped burger on bun base, add a slice of bacon, then the slice of crisp haggis. Next, add slices of red onion, then the lettuce and finally a slice of beef tomato. Season with salt and pepper, smear the mustard mayo on the underside of the bun lid top and place on top.

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When it comes to summer beauty, I’m a fan of the multi-use product. If I can use something on both my hair and body, it’s fair to say that it will rocket to the top of my most-loved list. And that’s exactly what’s happened with Ouai Haircare’s Rose Hair and Body Oil.

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As with all products from uber-chic Ouai Haircare, the Rose Hair and Body Oil looks fanstatic – I love the understated bottle, and the formula’s rose gold tint feels like it was made for Instagram. I’ve been using the oil in a couple of ways with my hair – on days when I can’t face the blow drier, I tend to rake a pump of oil through damp ends. It loosens out my natural waves, and leaves them soft and shiny. Alternatively, if my hair is feeling a bit dried out, I saturate the lengths and ends with it and leave it on overnight – when I wash it out in the morning, it feels like the damage I’ve wreaked with the straighteners has been undone. Most recently I’ve been applying a small, half pump of the oil to damp hair prior to styling. It gives hair a beautiful sheen, leaves it feeling manageable and stays smelling great all day too! On the body it’s similarly effective. Sinking in easily, Absinthium, Shea and Rosehip help lock in moisture, leaving skin looking and feeling revived. If you’ve only got space for one product in your suitcase this summer – this should be it!

Ouai Haircare Rose Hair & Body Oil is priced at £26 and is available from Panache Cosmetics here

 

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When it comes to cooking at home, it’s something I try to do as regularly as possible. I’m not a bad cook, but I do have a tendency to circle through a handful of ‘old faithful’ recipes, which although delicious, can get a bit repetitive. So, when the opportunity came up to learn how to create a brand new dish with M&S, I absolutely jumped at the chance!

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Since we’re in the midst of summer, I thought it would be fun to try a dish which would pair well with a crunchy salad. M&S have developed a whole range of fabulous summer recipes, but I picked Japanese Sirloin Steaks – I’ve never been one to pass over wasabi.

It was also a great chance to enjoy a great steak – M&S is the only national retailer which can trace 100% of its beef back to the farm and individual cow. As a guilty carnivore, their dedication to humane and responsibility farming means I can enjoy my meal even more!

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The recipe was super easy to follow, and all the ingredients are available in bigger M&S stores – so grabbing them in one shop couldn’t be simpler! And the result? A supper which was relished outside, and the recipe has firmly joined the ranks of my most loved!

I’ve included the recipe below so you can try it for yourself!

INGREDIENTS – SERVES 2

  • 5 Pak choi leaves
  • 0.5 limes
  • 2 tsp wasabi peas
  • 5 tbsp mayonnaise (Kewpie mayonnaise is best)
  • 3 tbsp Japanese steak sauce (Hibachi is best)
  • 1 red chilli 1 pack Baby Pak choi
  • 1 tsp Japanese chilli powder
  • 1 sirloin steak
  • 2 tsp wasabi paste

PREPARATION

Halve the Baby Pak choi. Slice the red chillis. Juice the limes.

METHOD

  1. Crush wasabi peas in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Dust the steak with the chilli powder and set aside
  3. Stir the wasabi paste and lime juice into the mayonnaise and set aside in a service bowl
  4. Heat a frying pan over a high heat and brush the steak with a little oil
  5. Cook the steak to liking then remove and rest. Add the pak choi to the pan to gain a little colour, deglaze with the steak sauce, and drop in the chilli.
  6. Arrange the pak choi leaves on a long wooden board. Slice the beef then arrange the beef and baby pak choi on the board all with a nice drizzle of the glaze covering them.
  7. Serve with the wasabi mayonnaise and a sprinkle of the crushed wasabi peas.

You can find more M&S recipes here – I’ve already got my shopping list ready to try a few more!

 

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If you’ve been in the UK over the past week or so, you’ll know we’re in the midst of a heatwave. Shops are selling out of vegetables, and bbqs across the country have been churning away all weekend. In short, it’s been glorious. In response to all this sunshine, I’ve been upgrading my makeup regime to feel a whole lot more ‘summer’.

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Of course, the first product I wanted to upgrade was my bronzer. I’d just finished my regular one, so it was a perfect time to find a new love – which is where Too Faced’s Milk Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer comes in. The lightest of three shades in the ‘Chocolate’ collection, it promises rich, long-wearing colour with a lightweight feel – in short, exactly what I’m after in a summer product!

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Packaged in the chicest of compacts, Too Faced know how to make a product covetable! Not only does this bronzer look adorable, but thanks to the 100% cocoa powder in the formula, it smells like hot chocolate powder too!

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Thanks to the fact I live in Scotland, I’m still pretty pale considering it’s now July, but thankfully the Milk Chocolate Matte Soleil feels like the perfect choice. It’s a neutral shade which brings a little colour, and can even be used for some subtle contouring if needed. Since it’s a matte formula, it’s easy to build, and it never looks too streaky or too orange. Instead, it just gives a believable glow to skin, which looks gorgeous when paired with a neutral, shimmery eye and slick of lipgloss for easy summer glamour.

Too Faced Milk Chocolate Matte Soleil is priced at £25 and is available here (UK) and here (US)