Thursday, 30 April 2015

Warm Quinoa, Butternut Squash and Broccoli Salad

This is the result of reading Deliciously Ella's website on the way to work - I got some inspiration, did a super quick shop on my way home, and the result was that good - I had to share!

This is by no means an exhaustive recipe - I made it up as I went along, but I hope you get the jist so you can enjoy this too.

What You Will Need 

1 small Butternut Squash - shaved and diced
1 Red Onion - chopped
1 Vegetable Stock Cube
450 - 500ml boiling water
1 tablespoon Honey
100g Quinoa and Buckwheat Mix (Tesco do a great mixed bag)
Olive Oil


  1. First preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Then put the diced Butternut Squash and Onion into a roasting tray and cover this with Olive Oil and Honey - now stick this in the oven for roughly 30 mins or until soft. 
  2. Boil the water and mix in a stock cube, leave or stir until fully dissolved. Soak your Quinoa mix in a pan of cold water and mix - this is to wash the chalky taste away. Drain away the cold water.
  3. Pour the Vegetable Stock water and the drained Quinoa mix into a pan and leave this to simmer for 15 mins or until the water has been absorbed. 
  4. Cook the broccoli - I had a ready made packet which I just cooked in the microwave.
  5. When everything is cooked, mix together and enjoy! 
Simply, so healthy and filling. The great thing about Quinoa is it will last for a few days, so enjoy the left overs too! 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

What I do to relax...

Just a nice simple post today on what I like to do to help me relax. As a bit of background, I work in a busy and fast paced environment, I suffer from anxiety and over the past year I have started to feel a little out of control of my life. I find myself too tired to do anything for myself and I was, up until recently, in a vicious cycle of work, sleep, work, sleep. So this post is just a totally honest 'what I do for myself' kinda post. 

So first off I drink tea. As of 2 months ago I have kicked caffeine drinks out of my life. At work I was going through so many cups of tea a day, I was always anxious or stressed and feeling my heart beat was just sky high. I tried a little change of swapping tea and coffee to herbal tea, and I feel great. I wasn't in to herbal tea until I tried the Teapigs Peppermint (excellent for tummies, I have one after a big meal). I drink the Twinings Camomile and Honey throughout the day. its yummy and a cheaper alternative to Teapigs. 

Secondly, I watch TV, and by TV I mean...F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I love this!! And it's on repeat pretty much all night. I have figured I like to watch programmes and films where I don't have to think too much, or get all tense and worked up. I love a good comedy or a rom-com and to just feel happy and relaxed. Film wise I tend to navigate towards typical girly films such as "The Women" (I love Meg Ryan) and "The Other Woman".

A tidy room = a tidy mind. I definitely relax best when my room is clean and uncluttered. I actually also like the actual cleaning itself...(old lady alert!)

Finally, I love to watch YouTube. Unfortunately I get so into watching that I don't realise how many hours are passing! Originally, it was Essie Button, Amelia Liana and Fleur De Force who first got me addicted to watching. Nowadays I also like to watch:
So I hope you enjoyed this post. What do you do to relax? I'd love to know! 

You can find me on Instagram @aprilhannahblogs

Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Best Gel Nail Varnish Ever!!!

I have found it, I have found the one!

So for the past few months my nails have been a total nightmare, no matter what polish I use, even with my Seche Vite, they would be chipped and flaking within one or two days. Well...Not no more! The Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy polishes are the bees knees, the bomb, the best, incredible! 

So this is the first shade I bought, 400 "Royal Flush". I didn't even have to use two coats with this. I mean, I did, but the one coat was just as opaque as two. I used two because I wanted a long lasting, chip free colour. 

Now this nail varnish is very very thick, At first, I wasn't sure if I liked the consistency, but it was something I got used to and I appreciate that for a gel effect, its going to be a thick product. The other slight downside is the brush - I'm just not 100% convinced its the best brush for the easiest application. I also thought it was slightly wonky and so I struggled to get a straight line towards my nail bed. 

Despite the few picky points above, this varnish lasted perfectly for 6 days! That is totally unheard of for me, I am a picker, I wash my hair every day, I had been on a night out and this had seen me through it all!

I had to go and buy more...

So this little number is 110 "Lady Luck". Now I have only had this on for 24 hours but so far so good! What I would say about this shade is it definitely has become a lot brighter on my nails, we are now talking highlighter pink. I do like it, it is a little bright for me and I do much prefer its colour in the bottle, but maybe next time I'll use a white base and see if that helps. I have been using Essie Base Coat and Seche Vite Top Coat. 

All in all I would highly recommend these nail varnishes, and I will certainly be keeping my eyes out for more shades! 

You can find me on Instagram @aprilhannahblogs


Thursday, 26 March 2015

My Blog Makeover (pt 1)


So if you follow me on Instagram you will be aware that my blog is currently undergoing some maintenance and design work. This is such a new area for me so I want to show you what I did throughout the process. I think I will probably have to break this into a mini series as the makeover will be an ongoing project for me.


I see all these other blogs that look so chic and pretty so my first idea was to browse the internet for a template. I Googled "free blog templates" and soon enough found one I liked..for the time being anyway. After a full evening of uploading and figuring out the HTML Code (it came with a handy PDF How To Guide which was a  LIFESAVER) I decided I was happy. Then I noticed how shoddy it looked on the mobile version. As I am aware of how many people read blogs on mobiles / tablets, myself included, I just couldn't have it :'( It obviously wasn't going to work out between me and Mr Template. Also as a side note: as well as the compatibility issues I do like the idea of being able to edit my blog from a design perspective myself, and this template I had wouldn't allow for that.

Blog Header

I did some Youtube research and came across this video which shows how a typical Blogger template can be customised with the use of a header and some cute little HTML buttons. I had a read of a few articles relating to blog headers and at first started making one using Pixlr however this wouldn't let me add in my own images for some reason so I went to the (much easier) Pic Monkey and used the "collage" functions. There's an article here which has a step by step guide. I varied how I did mine a little - I won't lie it was a full evening of trial and error however, finally, I am pleased with the result!

I found the floral graphics on Pinterest by searching for "free blog graphics"... I actually found a really good board with such a pretty collection but I cannot find it now. If I do I will be sure to add it in here!

I think that is all for now. Next up is for me to change the presentation of my 'display' picture and to add some pretty Instagram, Pinterest buttons etc. I'll keep you updated!

You can find me on Instagram @aprilhannahblogs

If you have any words of wisdom, please, please share - you could save me hours! x 

Friday, 20 March 2015

Spotlight: Bobbi Brown

This month I made the incredible discovery that is... Bobbi Brown. Of course I have always known of this brand, but I have never really used any of the products. So during a shopping trip I thought I would pick a few bits and bobs up and I have NOT regretted it :-) Enjoy!

Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick  (Golden Bronze and Shadow) £20.00

Oh my days! I absolutely love a good gold eye shadow, I think its such an easy go-to-sweep-on colour. This gold is utterly delicious, a real dense bronzey-gold. It looks super expensive so it is worth the pennies, it has a glitter / shimmer but nothing too much and cheap looking. It is simply heavenly - I know the swatch doesn't do this any justice so I will do a make up look with this just to show it off! 

The grey is a matte shade. This colour isn't usually something I would go for but I wanted to create a matte eye and try something different. I used this in the outer corners of my eyelid and blended it towards to middle using my finger and it was really lovely, It definitely opened my eyes.

I have pretty oily skin and I did try these without any primer and, true to their word, they stayed. Without primer I would say the grey does have a longer staying power. Both still last all day, but the gold can fade a little. However, when used with primer - both are there for good.

Lip Colour - Pale Pink 21
Lip Pencil - Pale Mauve 

Again the swatches do no justice (but please see the below picture of me wearing the products). I am IN LOVE with this lip liner. I wanted a bold, dare I say it, Kylie Jenner Lip. I got fed up of fighting for a space at the MAC counter so went else where - I'm glad I did! I have dark pigmented lips so I can struggle with lip colours. The liner on its own is beautiful, a nice creamy texture and it goes over my dry skin on my lips - though if you have very dry or chapped lips I would recommend a dab of lip balm beforehand. 

The lip stick is again a lovely creamy formula, for me it compliments the lip liner perfectly. I do wish I could find a lipstick just slightly less pink than this, that would be a winner.

Also, I was SO impressed that the liner came with a sharpener - like outstanding work Bobbi Brown, I think that really shows value for money (applause all round). 

I also got the Smokey Eye Mascara and Lip gloss in Bare Sparkle as freebies. The mascara... its a love hate. It is a fantastic mascara and I probably would buy it, but I have to take my time applying it otherwise it can clump and stick together. But done right, wow..! The lip gloss also is beautiful, so far I have just worn it over the lipstick and it gave a lovely glow/sheen/shimmer - it'll look great in the Summer with a tan I imagine.

Above is me wearing all the products mentioned minus the lip gloss and Golden Bronze Shadow. Let me know what you think and if you have any Bobbi Brown recommendations :-) 

You can find me on Instagram @aprilhannahblogs

Thanks for reading! x

Monday, 9 March 2015

Benefit v L'Oreal

Hello Everyone!

So today's post is going to be comparing the Benefit They're Real Mascara and the L'Oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes So Couture as I do think I may have found a dupe, but better, of Benefit!
I apologise if my eyes are a little red or my cheeks a little patchy in the photos, I had wiped my existing eye make up off before applying the mascaras!

I hope you enjoy!

L'Oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes - £ 10.99 at Boots UK

Where to begin with this mascara! I love it. It is so so so easy to use. As I get up very early on the weekdays for work, I do not like to spend a lot of time fussing with my make up. This gives me lots of length whilst separating the lashes with just a few coats, seriously, I don't even have to put the wand back in the pot once. However, if I want a more dramatic and voluminous look I just layer away. I love the formula of this product also, its almost gel - like... its not runny or fiddly. The only negative I would have to say about this mascara is that it is quite difficult to remove and it's one of those mascaras which comes off the lashes in tubes and bits! Nevertheless it's the best drugstore mascara I have come across so far and I will be repurchasing.

Benefit They're Real - £19.50 at Boots UK.

As you will know, there was a lot of hype with this mascara and I ended up buying mine after I tried my friends and loved it. There is no denying that this is a good mascara, it leaves my lashes looking ultra black and it definitely gives them some volume. However, I feel you need a lot longer play time with this to get it looking its best. I really dislike the formula, I find it too much on the watery side and I just find I am sat layering and layering before my lashes look even slightly voluminous. This mascara certainly gives length, but for me I think the formula can leave them looking spidery and clumpy.  I also find this mascara sets pretty fast and if you then try to put any more product on the lashes  well - welcome to clump city. Having said that, the L'Oreal mascara also isn't too great on the dry application side either.

All in all, I think at a saving of almost £9.00 and just for ease of application and terrific results, you really cannot go wrong with L'Oreal :-) For the following pictures looking face on-  the Benefit is on the right, L'Oreal on the left.

I hope you have enjoyed this. If you have any drugstore recommendations please let me know!

Saturday, 31 January 2015

A Weekend Look

Happy Saturday!

I thought I would share with you what I wore on my face today.


To begin I primed my face using Benefit's The POREfessional Primer, one of my favourite primers. I then used my holy grail Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation and I blended Maybelline's Eraser Eye Concealer under my eyes and over any pesky lumps and bumps! I also added some of my Nars Creamy Concealer for extra luck! I then used The Body Shop's Lightening Touch Concealer down the middle of my nose, under my eyes and in the middle of my forehead. Lastly, no look would be complete for me with my MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation, I swept this over my face for maximum coverage. 


This was quite quick and simple compared to my usual eye routine. I started by sweeping MAC's Pro Long Eyeshadow in Carefree all over the lid and up towards my eyebrow. I then built this up from the inner corners of my eyes to the middle of the lid. I then used MAC's Lustre Eyeshadow in Tempting (a favourite of mine), I built this up on the ends of my eyes and in the crease, I also put a faint line underneath my bottom lashes. I then lined my eyes using Maybelline's Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner and primed and coated my lashes with Estee Lauder Lash Primer Plus and Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara. For the brows I used Smashbox Brow Tech in Dark Brown. 

Cheeky cheeky 

I didn't really contour today as I didn't want a really heavy look (and I haven't got the correct products with me!). Instead I simply used my Body Shop Bronzer on my cheeks and on the corners of my forehead. I then added a little of Clinique's Blushing Blush Power in Aglow (01).


As you can see in the pictures I did both a matte look and a glossy look. Basically you can add gloss as desired! I lined my lips in Rimmel's Exaggerate Liner in East End Snob ( I did over draw my lips a little). I then topped this with MAC's Matte Lipstick in Love Honey. This look alone looks really nice, but admittedly it can be a bit drying. I usually use a light lipgloss but I only have pinky shades with me today so I used Estee Lauder's Pure Colour Gloss in Brazen Berry (04)

So there we have it - the completed look. 

I hope you enjoyed this! Any questions please ask! 

You can find me on Instagram @aprilhannahblogs x