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 

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Get to know me

1. Name, age and where are you from?

I’m April, I am 22. I am originally from a place about 20 / 30 minutes outside of Manchester (UK) – up in the countryside. I moved to York almost 2 years ago. 

2. Education.

I went to University to study law, I then went on to further do an LPC (solicitors exams basically)! 

3. What are your skin concerns?

My skin has become so oily! That is really my major concern, it’s starting to affect my makeup lasting power and I have become prone to breaking out around my cheek areas – it’s as though my skin is going through its teenage years! 

4. What are your most wanted makeup products?

I am always wanting to try new foundations, I would love to find one which could match my love for Double Wear. I would like to try some Charlotte Tilbury products and I would love to find the perfect lip liner and lipstick for a Kylie Jenner lip!

5. Hair type. 

Pretty much super straight – I don’t even need to dry it or straighten it in the mornings. 

6. Clothing style. 

Super casual and comfy and very, very plain (though I am trying to change that!) 

7. How long does it take for you to put on makeup?

Before work in the mornings, I can get it done in 15 mins. On the weekend, if I am really taking my time, I can sit in front of the mirror for a good 45 minutes. 

8.  Face or eyes first?

Face! For some reason I find it really difficult to do my eyes and eyebrows without powder on them first. I hate putting eye shadow on to the foundation or concealer on my eyes. 

9. Do you wear makeup when you're home alone or with family?

Yes. Up until about 1 year ago I would never step foot out of the house without makeup on, nor would I let people see me without makeup on – I was very self-conscious about the natural face! I am not too bad now, but (and this may sound crazy) I don’t feel clean until I have my makeup on! 

10. High end or drugstore?

For certain items – foundation and power – I am predominantly high end, but I have started to experiment with more drugstore purchases. However, it’s always nice to treat yourself! 

11. How often do you change your handbag?

Not a lot. I have a large black bag for work which will also take me through the weekend unless I want a smaller one to carry around.

12. What time do you wake up and go to sleep?

On a weekday I wake up at 6:30 am for work and go to sleep around 11 pm. On the weekend I tend to wake around 8 am and go to sleep around 11 pm (or earlier). 

13. How do you de-stress?

I like to make sure my room is clean and tidy, that instantly makes me feel better - just being in a clean room. Then I will usually shower and watch some TV. I sometimes suffer from anxiety too, I haven’t quite got the hang of how to control this yet – but a cup of tea helps me!

14. What's your favorite color?


15. Currently watching?

Suits and Call the Midwife

16. Favourite YouTubers?

Essie Button, Amelia Liana, Lauren Curtis and Fleur De Force.

I'm hungry.

Find me on Instagram! @aprilhannahblogs x 

Friday, 23 January 2015

Health & Fitness

I have decided that I need to try and look after myself, from a health and fitness perspective, a little better. 

I have struggled with energy levels ever since I can remember, and with me being a vegetarian for around three / four years now, I really am getting fed up with my utter lack of energy. I am hoping a bit of exercise, some extra vitamins and a more controlled diet will lift my spirits! 

Just a quick bit of background: I have never ever been 'fit', 'sporty' or even particularly healthy. I have always eaten what I wanted and carried a little weight around with me. If I lose weight with this then what a bonus that would be, but for me it's more about feeling good from within myself. 

So where have I started?

I bought some new trainers, and some new gym leggings. New gear is always a good gym motivation for me. I have really flat feet and it can get quite painful for my feet when I run so I am trying out the Nike Lunarglide+ 5 which I found in the outlet near to me - fingers crossed!

I have also started taking my Vitamin B tablets, and have bought some good old healthy food. This week I invested in some Quinoa, Kale, Sunflower seeds and other goodness to make a Warm Quinoa Salad (I added a few extras), (Recipe -

So I think that is where I am up to at the moment. I am not going crazy. I am aiming to go to the gym twice a week. I did meet a friend for a (vege) burger and wine last night and that was lovely - I am trying to change my lifestyle one step at a time. I know that if I go in all at once, that I will fast get fed up and find myself in the freezer aisle grabbing my Ben & Jerrys! 

If you have any words of advice, please by all means pass them on! :-) 

You can find me on instagram

Friday, 16 January 2015

Not my best choices...

So this post is going to be based around products I have tried and tested, but which unfortunately are just not working for me. I am sure many people have tried and loved these products (I mean Hourglass Brow Arch...Can you believe it?!) but sadly, they have gone in to my least favourites pile! 

The Body Shop - Seaweed Clarifying Toner and Purifying Facial Cleanser

I have found over the last five or so months, my skin has really started to become noticeably oilier. I have never had particularly greasy skin, nor has it ever been dry, I have just been happily in the middle...until now. 

Although I have found some excellent products in the Seaweed range that have seriously helped my skin, these two just seem to do literally nothing for me. The cleanser feels as though I am sweeping a watered down moisturiser across my face and has a really strong smell of chemicals or alcohol, it can also sting my face. The toner again is like a watered down product. Now I know the toner is obviously a liquid, but, I don't know there just seems as though these products are simply watered down - if that makes sense! The toner says it is alcohol free - but I think this smells even stronger than the cleanser. Now I know I haven't used a lot of these but any skincare product which smells strongly of alcohol... it immediately puts me off. I just feel uncomfortable putting these on my face. 

As I said earlier, I have found some fantastic products in this range. Unfortunately these were not two of them.

The Body Shop - Rainforest Balance Shampoo and Conditioner

Okay I promise this is not a Body Shop bashing blog! I love The Body Shop! 

I have always suffered with greasy hair. I have always had to wash it everyday, it's something I have just accepted. If I don't wash it in the morning, by 10 am its oily and just making me feel unclean. However, I have been trying to change my ways, I know washing your hair everyday does nothing for this problem. I was so excited when I came across this duo, I took no convincing and snapped them up immediately! 

Now, when I do use these I find the non - greasy state definitely lasts longer then usual - yey! But, oh my daiz (!), the tangled mess my hair is when I come out of the shower is utterly hideous! Not to mention the conditioner is near impossible to get out of the container - I really don't need to be working hard to get access to my products at 6 am people! But its the tangling of the hair, the drying of the hair. It feels horrible, horrible, horrible. I have simply stopped using this because I am scared that I am going to lose my hair! So sorry Body Shop, I can't hold back with this one - very very disappointed *sad face*

Lets get the shockers out of the way! 

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

What can I say, I love Real Techniques, their face brushes are incredible. This sponge however, is something I wish I had never spent my pennies on. I've used it dry, I've used it damp, I've used it with foundation, with concealer etc. This just seems to soak up all of my product. I am easily using two or three times the amount of foundation I would need if I were applying it with a brush. I know the world went up in a storm about these blenders and maybe it's just me and I can't get the hang of it, but nope - I will stick to my brushes please! 

MAC Smolder Eye Kohl

I don't have too much to say about this actually, it's just one of those items that was quite pricey and which I never use. It is very black and applies easily enough - but it prints all over my eye lid throughout the day :( I find by lunch time I have two half moons of black in the creases of my eye lid - not a good look I tell you! I do tend to use this if I am going on a night-out on my top waterline, but again it has the tendency to print to the bottom lash area. I am sure I have used pencils in the past which haven't printed and it just wasn't what I was expecting from MAC. 

Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil 

So sad.

So sad.

I was after this for ages. I wanted it sooo bad, I knew I would love this and that my life would be complete... Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration but I am sure anyone reading this knows the hype.

This is.. too dark, too thick and my foundation sticks to the pencil like nobodies business which means I have to press harder and end up with a darker finish. I think you really have to work with this, it doesn't glide on easily. I am still using this pencil because I am that stubborn, I am determined to change my own mind about it! I use this when I have the time. As I am usually up early and out for work I don't really have the time to be perfecting the brows but, when I do, I combine this with a powder and my much thinner MAC brow pencil. 

That being said, the little brow brush that comes with this is ace! 

So there we have it - a few things that just haven't worked for me, my skin or my hair. Have you had similar experiences with any products? I am particulaly interested in products for oily skin and hair - any insight is welcome! 

As always, please leave me a comment / subscribe so that I can check out your blogs too! 

You can follow me on instagram at

A x 

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Five Things

So I thought I would dedicate my very first post to the five items I feel that I am reaching for on a daily / weekly basis. Some of these products are new to me, others I have used religiously for years. (I realise there are more than five items here - but I have grouped some together!) 

So welcome! Lets get started!

The Holy Grail
 Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation 

So I have pretty much used this foundation exclusively for around six years. I still to this day haven't found anything else which rivals this base. Its just the one product I feel like I can really, really rely on. I don't have to worry about it slipping off my face, streaking or drying up. I can put this on at 7 in the morning before work and I wouldn't even need to think twice about staying out til late - it truly is just that good!

MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation

This is another product I use as a base pretty much everyday, and again I have used this for years. It gives incredible coverage along with a fantastic matte finish.

This + Double Wear Foundation = Porcelain skin

I apply this using the sponge which comes with this product for a full coverage effect or, instead, I lightly dust this over my face using a brush for a lighter coverage. This, however, can become a little cakey if you reapply multiple times throughout the day, I find it best to have a lighter blotting powder with me to target the dreaded grease! 

Rimmel Exaggerate Lipliner East End Snob

I love this lipliner, a recent discovery of mine (after I heard it was a dupe of the much more pricier Charlotte Tilbury Liner!). So what can I say..It glides on effortlessly, no dragging of the skin, it has seriously good staying power and it really plumps up the lips. This looks great on its own but it really does come to life when layered with a lipstick and lipgloss. However, with the windy days here in the UK I find myself wearing this alone to avoid the constant hair sticking to my lips (nightmare!).

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat 

I feel this gives the look of salon professional nails but for a fraction of the price. People have asked me on numerous occasions whether I have had gels done - but no I have not! In order to get a really thick, gel-like effect I will use my base coat, one or two layers of my colour, a coating of the Seche Vite, another colour layer and a final coat of the Seche Vite. Beauuuutiful. I paid £10.00 for this, and I was reluctant to pay this for a top coat, but I honestly think it is worth every penny. 

Clarins Eau Ressourcante 

So sometimes on a Saturday or Sunday night I just love to have a good shower and settle down in a fresh pair of pyjamas feeling totally cosy and clean -so this is what I turn to. I find there is something about all the Clarins products that makes me feel so homely and snuggley. I love to use these all together every now and then as an indulgent treat. I feel relaxed just thinking about using them! :-) 

A Quick About Me. 

I am 22, vegetarian and living in the UK. I have a degree in Law and an LPC Qualification. I love animals - I have a particular fondness for all things cats, so I may well introduce a particular good feline friend of mine on here one day! 

I have set up this blog as a bit of a hobby, something to do after work which I enjoy and, hopefully, to pass on some good recommendations to others. As you can see my pictures are not of a professional quality whatsoever. Unfortunately, I do not own a professional camera so I use my iphone - in advance I apologise for the lack of quality but I will always make photos as clear as possible. 

I hope you have enjoyed this first post, let me know if you have used any of the products and what you think! Also, leave me a link to your blog if you have one, I'd love to check them out!

You can follow me on instagram at aprilhannahblogs

A x