Essence Cosmetics Review

I am going to let you into a secret. Some time ago I was sent some Essence cosmetics to try. The range had just launched in the UK and I was unable to make the launch event. I was interested to try the new range and I was sent some samples. I have been using the Essence make up often but I have kept quiet about it until now. I was impressed with the range as to me it is smart, stylish and cleverly designed. It is also a great price.

Essence Make upThe Essence cosmetic range can be found at Wilkinsons and the range would make a great addition to your festive make up bag. I was sent a selection of different products, eye shadow, eye liner, lip gloss, mascara and nail polish. I tried the nail polish first as I loved the blue colour. When I opened the bottle I was struck by the size of the brush, it is large and it made applying the colour to my nails really easy. Two strokes and my nail was done and one coat looked perfect. It also lasted well without chipping.

The Essence metal glam eyeshadow was a fabulous colour, perfect for party eyes. Easy to apply and the right size to carry in your handbag. The lipgloss has a nice wide applicator and goes onto your lips without being sticky. The eyeliner is great as it contains both a black and a white in the same pencil. This cuts down clutter in your make up bag and allows you to create a glamorous eye.

Essence Make upThe one thing I really did like though was the design of the mascara. It comes in a unique tube which you can roll up as you use it, allowing you to always know how much you have left. I hate not knowing how much mascara is in a tube and often find I have run out just when I want to use some. The mascara applied well and gave a lovely look to my eyes as well.I really like the Essence cosmetics range and will be going out to get more soon.

I was sent some Essence cosmetics in return for an honest review.

Buzzing About Vaseline Queen Bee

In the winter I always find that my lips tend to feel really dry. The cold chilly weather does not help, it makes them dryer and more chapped. I always have a tin of Vaseline in my bag as I find that it is really soothing for dry lips and was delighted to learn that Vaseline have bought out a limited edition, just in time for the party season, Vaseline Queen Bee. It is an indulgent honey scented lip therapy that comes in a smart black and gold tin. Definitely a tin that will be a talking point when you pull it out of your handbag. Vaseline Queen BeeWhen opened the tin reveals a honeylicious lip balm that smells gorgeous and really feels soft and soothing on the lips. Vaseline Queen Bee will  bring out the Queen Bee in you, ready to party and rule the hive. Vaseline products are great for the winter, I have also tried Vaseline Intensive Rescue Products which are great for dry skin.

Vaseline Queen BeeTo celebrate the limited edition Vaseline Queen Bee I was challenged, along with some other bloggers to decorate my own Queen Bee and show what I would look like if I was a Queen Bee. I was sent a stencil and a load of craft stuff to carry out this task. I must admit I am not an artist but I got busy, painting, sticking and adding glitter in the quest to create my bee. It was a labour of love and I finally created a rather girly glam looking bee.

Queen BeeYou can’t quite see in the photo but the bee has black jewels along her black stripes which definitely add a touch of glamour. She has girly blue eyes and shimmery green wings. The background had to be purple, as well as being a royal colour it matches my dragon. I added glitter to finish the shimmery effect. I had great fun creating my bee, it is a long time since I coloured anything in, and was pleased with the finished look. I would love to know what you think of my effort.

I was sent a craft kit, a bee stencil and some Vaseline Queen Bee in order to create my bee.




A Wander Round Jesmond Dene

We are very lucky in Newcastle Upon Tyne, we have plenty of open spaces and parks we can visit. The Town Moor is a vast area of common land spread over the west side of the city and you will often see cows grazing on the land. This is because the Freemen of Newcastle have the right to graze their cows here. On the east side of the city you will find Jesmond Dene, a park in Jesmond that is set out along the banks of the Ouseburn which is in a valley or Dene. It is a haven for wildlife, you will find red squirrels and kingfishers hiding here if you look.

Jesmond-deneWe went for a visit on a sunny Autumn day, the colours in the leaves were striking and the sky was lovely and blue. Armstrong bridge goes across Jesmond Dene, it is a bridge made from iron and often you will find a craft fair along it’s length on a Sunday. It was built in the Armstrong works in Elswick, which produced hydraulic machinery cranes and bridges. The bridge opened in 1878 and Lord Armstrong donated it to the people of Newcastle. The bridge is now only for people, the Cradlewell bypass takes traffic past the park.
Jesmond-dene-2My dog, Eddie had a great time tearing though the Autumn leaves. He ran around in big circles wearing himself out. Parts of the grass were a bit muddy but luckily we had bought a blanket with us so we wrapped him up in the car when we left. He did need a bath when we got home.
Jesmond-dene-3The park is full of trails though the trees, seating and picnic areas and paths beside the river. We had fun exploring enjoying the sunshine and watching the river wind it’s way though the trees.


Jesmond-dene-10The boys enjoyed a game of football, which the dog got really excited about. He tried to catch the ball but was never quite fast enough.
Jesmond-dene-11Jesmond Dene is also home to Pets Corner, which is home to a variety of animals. You will find goats, ducks, sheep, pigs and a range of birds. There are also smaller animals like rabbits and guinea pigs. We had a great time wandering round looking at the different animals, although the dog was not really sure what to make of them.

Jesmond-dene-16I used to bring my son here when he was much smaller and he was fascinated by the male peacock fanning his tail feathers and showing off, as he put it. We did not see the peacock on this visit but there were plenty of other animals to see. After visiting the animals you can stop for a bite to eat in Millfield House which also has a visitor centre and toilets. We decided it was time to take an excited and muddy dog home.

My Kitchen Wish List

I love my kitchen, it is big with lots of workspace which makes it ideal for cooking. Ideally I would like to update it, the cupboards are starting to look a little worse for wear and the cooker hood is really dated. I am sure the space could be utilised better to fit in more storage  and I would find it fun to design my perfect kitchen from scratch. That is not going to happen in the near future. I do have a number of items on my kitchen wish list that will make my job cooking easier and also make my kitchen look more modern. This is my wish list:

My kitchen wishlist


I did say make my job cooking easier, but actually the first item on my wish list is a condenser tumble dryer, I chose the Panasonic NH-P80G2 Tumble Dryer which is A++ energy rated and takes a 8kg load. My tumble dryer has broken, when you switch it on there is a loud clattering noise which sounds like an airplane taking off. I don’t dare use it as it sounds like it might explode. In the wet weather it is a nightmare trying to dry clothes so this would really help me.

The second big item I have on my list is an American style fridge freezer with ice maker. This one is a Panasonic NV-B53V2 fridge freezer. I love a big fridge with lots of space inside and an ice maker would be perfect. There is something luxurious about having ice made as you need it. It reminds me of visiting motels in America as a child and being sent with a bucket to scoop cubes of ice from the large ice maker machines in the hallways.

The other items on my list will help are gadgets to help me in the kitchen. Recently I made some bread and was taken with how much more tasty it is when you make it yourself. It is hard work making it though and I have wanted a breadmaker for some time. I love the look of the Panasonic SD-2501, it even has a jam and compote mode.

BreadI also chose a Panasonic NC-ZK1 kettle, not because I need a kettle but because I loved the space age look of it. It is a kettle that really makes a statement and screams to be looked at, as well as being a nice colour. Finally I added an Espresso Maker and a Juicer to my wish list. I really love the idea of being able to make juice out of any fruit and vegetable, and have it fresh each morning. I would have great fun creating different flavours. The Espresso Maker would allow me to imagine I was in a smart coffee shop each morning as I made my morning cup of coffee. Every kitchen should have one and I am sure my son would enjoy making hot chocolate with it.

A girl can dream of having a fantastic kitchen filled with wonderful gadgets. If you were able to choose any gadget for your kitchen, what would you choose?

This post was written in collaboration with Panasonic.


Fruit and Nut Cupcakes with Dinosaurs

Some days just call for a cupcake, a wet rainy Sunday is one of these occasions. There is nothing nicer that having the rain pounding on the windows while you mix and stir creating an oasis of calm. The smell of baking cakes then wafts though the house, promising the perfect bite with a cuppa. The cakes then need to cool, I find somewhere safe where they will not get pinched while they are still warm. A wet rainy Sunday calls for something a bit more special than a Butterfly cupcake. A giant cupcake might fit the occasion but is not so easily shared. This Sunday I made fruit and nut cupcakes.

Fruit and nut cupcakesThe cakes contain a mixture of fruits and nuts, with a hint of almond essence, a flavour that makes me think Christmas is coming. They are luxurious cakes that would not be out of place aboard the Orient Express. I felt that they needed to be made a bit more frivolous and decided to add some dinosaurs. The Cake Decorating Store had recently sent me a set of their dinosaur cake toppers which were perfect. I even had dinosaur themed cupcake cases.

Dinosaur cake decorationsI have to admit the ready made icing with the grass effect piping tip was genius. I always have an argument with a piping bag. Icing seems to end up everywhere except on the top of the cake. This was a pleasure to use, you just add the tip to the tube and squeeze. The icing goes where you want it to and my cakes looked like they had a lawn on the top.

Dinosaur cupcakesI finished the cakes with edible wafer leaves that looked like they came from a prehistoric jungle, dinosaur chocolate eggs and some rather cute dinosaur sprinkles. Reusable dinosaur cake toppers completed the cakes, they are wooden. I love the effect of the cute dinosaurs stalking though the forest.

dinosaur cakesI still have a lot to learn when it comes to icing cakes but these decorations made things easy and I think the cakes look effective. My son was taken with the look of the cakes but it did not stop him eating them. They disappeared very quickly.

Fruit and nut cupcakes

Fruit and nut cupcakes
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Cook Time
25 min
Cook Time
25 min
  1. 150g (5oz) butter
  2. 150g (5oz) light brown sugar
  3. 200g (7 oz) self raising flour
  4. 1 tsp almond extract
  5. 150g (5 oz) mixed dried fruit
  6. 25g (1 oz) almond slices
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C Gas Mark 4
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy
  3. Add the flour, eggs and almond extract and mix until light and creamy
  4. Fold in the nuts and mixed fruit
  5. Divide the mixture between 12 cupcake cases
  6. Bake for 25 minutes until firm to the touch.
Dragons and Fairy Dust
I was sent the cake decorations in return for an honest review.

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