Spring Lingerie: Freya Zen Underwear Set


As you may have read before, lingerie is up there with my favourite things of all time. I frequently lust over it and I'm not ashamed to say so! It can be anything you want it to be; feminine, sporty, flirty, sexy, naughty... It holds tremendous power - in and out of the bedroom. It instills confidence in the wearer and the right set can make you love your lumps and bumps like never before! So, my philosophy is: make it common practice to buy yourself lovely lingerie because it is genuinely designed to draw attention to your best bits.

Although for me, lingerie buying is not an easy feat. I have a small back size (30) and a large cup size (E), which is only stocked by certain brands and in a handful of high street shops. To make my life easier, most women would suggest going up a back size and down a cup size. I've tried it. I've bought the bras. And I've given them to the charity shop a week later because they just don't fit well enough. 

It's not even just about finding brands that stock your size. As we all know, clothing and underwear fits differently from brand to brand. On the occasional times that I've stumbled across a 30E bra, not all have fitted me. Some have been way too small. Some have been enormous. And some were simply way to ugly for a young 20-something year old.

So, when I was presented with the opportunity to review a brand which is designed to fit a fuller busted (and small backed) woman of the 21st Century, I couldn't contain my excitement!


The Freya Zen Underwired Balcony Bra and Freya Zen Thong are part of the new Freya Zen range, a new contemporary collection available in cup sizes C to GG. In a soft patterned dove grey shade decorated with hot pink lace trimming, the Zen collection is fun, flirty and perfect for spring.

So how did the set fit?

When I first saw the balcony bra, I wasn't convinced that it would be a good match for me. I tend to choose bras that have a moulded cup as these usually give me a better shape and prevent nipple appearances (graphic - but true). Giving it the once over in my hands, I was amazed by its softness and  the strength of its stretch. Curious to find out if my first impressions were correct, I tried it on. 

The balcony bra has adjustable straps and three hooks, which make it easier to obtain the perfect fit. For me, it fits best on the tightest hook and the strap length is wonderful. In the past, I have purchased bras that fit fabulously in the cups but there hasn't been enough strap to make the bra fit well enough over the shoulders.


With a two piece outer stretch cup and a three piece inner cup, it fits like a glove. No double boob. No side spillage. No overhanging cups. Exactly what bra fitting dreams are made of. With my doubts of the bra not having moulded cups diminishing by the second, I smoothed my hands over my chest and felt that the bra was working with my body contours, confirming that the fit was perfect for me. 

Nipple worries still in the back of my mind, I put a t-shirt on and to my surprise, they stayed behind the bra. The icing on the cake! After wearing the bra for the whole day, I was impressed by how comfortable it is and it offers great support. My bosom has a new best friend! 

Moving swiftly on to the thong - I'm a sucker for a matching set of underwear so having the rightful matching knickers in my size kept my mind at ease. There is nothing worse than finding a bra (especially a patterned one!) that is destined to be your brassiere soulmate but then not having the underwear to coordinate. Made from the same soft fabric, the thong completes the set and gives it a flirtatious edge. 


In my experience, the Freya Zen set is a lovely, comfortable, colourful underwear set that will keep supported and uplifted, while adding a dash of colour to day. 



The Freya Zen Collection is available at http://www.lingeriebyvictoria.co.uk/lingerie/filter/freya/

Freya Zen Underwired Balcony Bra £30
Freya Zen Thong £12.50

Lovely Lips: Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm


Lipstick became popularised in the UK in the 16th Century and we ladies have been lipstick-wearing lovelies ever since. Yet, it's only since Kylie Jenner's lips became a media-worthy topic of conversation that we really started paying attention to how perfect our pouts are. 

But as with most things in life, attaining perfection is time-consuming and in this busy world, sometimes our pouts aren't priority. Don't get me wrong - I love a glamorous fully-lined lip as much as the next girl but sometimes, good hydration and a hint of colour is all my lips need to go about their daily business.

So, with Spring now in full swing and the sun making an occasional guest appearance, I made it my beauty-blogging duty to find a lip balm that achieves a gorgeously hydrated, underdressed lip in a subtle springtime shade. 

I'm very happy to inform you that my mission was a massive success. Not only did I find one lip balm to meet this criteria; I found four! Presenting, Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balms!

Burt's Bees natural, earth-friendly beauty products have been gracing the shelves of our beauty stores for 30 years and this year, their beloved Tinted Lip Balms have had a little makeover. With six floral-inspired shades to choose from, the balms provide a hydrating sheer coverage in a variety of pretty hues.

Top Left: Red Dahlia                                                                             Top Right: Rose
Bottom Left: Hibiscus                                                                       Bottom Right: Zinnia
In the images above, I am wearing four different shades of the Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm: Red Dahlia, Rose, Hibiscus and Zinnia. I left the images unedited to show the subtle difference in colour. Naturally, my lips are very pink so the Red Dahlia shade and the Rose shade showed up the most but all of them gave my lips a lovely kissable colour.

With a delicate pear flavouring, each lip balm is a pleasure to apply. As someone whose lips can get quite dry, the Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balms colour and care for lips in one easy application. Unlike high-maintenence lipsticks, there's no worrying that A) you've smudged it, B) it needs reapplying or C) you've got any on your teeth so you can go about your day knowing your lips look fabulous. 

As well as looking fabulous, they feel fabulous on your skin too. Made entirely from natural moisture-rich ingredients including coconut oil, shea butter and vitamin E, my lips remained smooth, hydrated and healthy-looking for hours. 

Small and compact with the ability to keep lips looking as lovely as ever, Burt's Bees Lip Balms are a Spring handbag must-have.


Burt's Bees Lip Balms retail at £5.99 and are available from Debenhams and Holland and Barratt. 









Naughty But Nice: Red Velvet Cupcakes


In my last food blog, I shared my healthy Banana and Walnut Muffin recipe - but sometimes, a healthy treat just won't cut it and we need something a little bit more indulgent. So, today I'm sharing a Red Velvet Cupcake recipe that I found in my sister's Hummingbird Bakery recipe book.

If a red velvet cupcake was a person, it would be an effortlessly glamorous woman wearing a gorgeous slinky dress with impeccably-applied red lipstick, simply oozing elegance and sophistication. It's one of those cakes that screams luxury and for me, this is because their delicate texture is unlike any other cake. And I am quite the cake connoisseur.

A red velvet cake's infamous silky smooth texture is made using a small quantity of cocoa powder to soften the flour - and a lot of whisking! To get the best results, I advise that you use an electric whisk to avoid losing an arm (which you will inevitably need for eating them). 

So, if you're ever in the mood for a spot of baking, this recipe is really easy to follow and you will be left with 12 heavenly cupcakes to share (or not). 

Everyone's a winner (especially you!) so go forth and conquer.

Happy baking!

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 20-25 mins

For the cupcakes:
60g of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
150g of caster sugar
1 egg
10g of cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of red food colouring
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
120ml buttermilk
150g of plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar

For the cream cheese frosting:
150g of cream cheese
50g of unsalted butter
150g of sifted icing sugar



Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (gas mark 3).

2. Add the butter and sugar to a bowl and beat using an electric whisk until light and fluffy.

3. Slowly add the egg and continue to mix until fully combined.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick, dark paste. Add this to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly. (Be sure to scrape any unmixed ingredients from the sides of the bowl with a rubber utensil so that all ingredients are mixed well).

5. Turning the mixer down to a slow speed, pour in half the buttermilk. Beat until combined then add half the flour. Repeat this process again with the other half of the buttermilk and flour.

6. On a high speed, beat until the mixture is smooth and even. Then addd the salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar and beat for a further 2 minutes.

7. Spoon the mixture into paper cases until they are two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25mins. Check that the cupcakes are cooked through by inserting a skewer into the centre - if cooked, it should come out clean.

8. Leave the cupcakes to cool on a cooling rack. When they are completely cold, pipe the cream cheese frosting on top.

9. To make the cream cheese frosting, using the electric whisk again, beat the icing sugar and butter together until completely mixed.

10. Add the cream cheese and continue to beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. Add a garnish for decoration (I used half a raspberry for each cupcake).


11. Eat and enjoy!



A Rosie Old Time With Lush


There is nothing that a good soak in the bath can't solve.


One of the oldest forms of therapy, bathing is full of therapeutic potential - a watery dream, if you will. But it's not just the water that works wonders for your body, mind and soul. Bath products can create a beautifully tranquil environment, taking your bathing experience from a mediocre soak to sensory heaven.

Being my namesake, I put Lush's Rosie gift set to the test to see if their fragrant floral products were a match for my Rosie exterior.


Tisty Tosty Bath Bomb


Love is in the air! Heart-shaped and studded with seven real rosebuds, this bath treat is one for the romantics. With a calming scent of geranium, jasmine and rose, my spirits were instantly lifted and my heart soothed.

This bath bomb is not about the excitement; it's about the gentle aroma and the relaxing environment it creates. When the bomb dissolves, the rose buds are released and float around in the bath, creating a sense that you are at one with nature. (I found myself getting a bit freaked out about the rose buds and fished them out but the idea was nice). 

There are no kaleidoscopic water colour changes; instead, Tisty Tosty creates a simple, beautiful moment in time that needs no embellishment. After soaking in my Tisty Tosty-filled bath, my body's inner peace was restored, my skin felt amazingly soft and the subtle rose scent remained on my skin for hours after.


Jason And The Argan Oil Shampoo Bar


In the beginning, there was shampoo. Now, there are such things as shampoo bars and this one looks good enough to eat! 

The first time I used this product, it didn't seem to lather up well and I was rather put off by the lack of 'liquid' shampoo to massage into my hair and scalp. I have long, thick hair so using the right shampoo is important for the condition of my hair, as I only wash my hair twice a week.

The second time round, the bar lathered up nicely and I managed a full shampooing. Packed with argan oil and rose absolute, it smells divine and leaves your hair fairly shiny as advertised - but also very dry. Unfortunately, this is not a product that I will use again.

Rose Jam Bubbleroon


Unlike the gentle Tisty Tosty bath bomb, this adorable, macaron-shaped bomb is packed with so much rosiness, it turns the water pink! With a gorgeous scent of rose oil and rose absolute, I was smelling of roses for days.

This bomb is so potent that you only need half of it to work rosy wonders (and you get two rosy-licious baths for the price of one!). As it is made with soothing shea butter, the formula felt fabulous against my skin and left it feeling silky soft hours after soaking.

Shimmering with glittery goodness, this is one gorgeous product that will bring joy to your bath and your spirit.


Ro's Argan Body Conditioner


Your body is your temple - and this indulgent body conditioner is one way of giving your skin the love and attention it deserves. Rich in nourishing argan oil, almond oil, vitamin E, shea and cocoa butter, there is no end to this product's gloriousness. 

Simply take it into the shower, massage over wet skin and rinse off like you would a hair conditioner.  The fragrance is more subtle than some of the other rose-scented products in the set but it still smells just as lovely and also left my skin feeling super soft. I am obsessed with oil-based products so the initial oiliness of the Ro's Argan Body Conditioner wasn't a problem for me and the touchably soft results make life worthwhile. 

Rose Jam Shower Gel


Saving the best 'til last, this shower gel is an absolute lathering dream and my favourite product in the box! Thick, luxurious and sensationally sweet, the Rose Jam Shower Gel takes you on a glorious rose-scented journey that you will want to relive again and again. 

In one squirt, I was hooked - and almost lost for words. It may be small but it has an almighty impact on the pleasure that merely taking a shower can give. This is no exaggeration. For a short time, I may have loved this product more than I love my boyfriend...

But here is where life gets bitter sweet. Unfortunately, Lush no longer sell the Rose Jam Shower Gel as a separate product so if you want to get down and dirty with this bottle of pure pink delight, you will have to treat yourself to a Rosie gift set.



The Rosie gift set is available in all Lush stores and online for £24.50.


What are your favourite bath products?

Healthy Treats: Wholemeal Banana And Walnut Muffins


Most mornings for breakfast, I opt for a healthy homemade green smoothie but today, for some very strange reason I was craving banana bread. As I've recently got the baking bug - and it's Friday - I thought I'd treat myself and make some :)

I'm a massive foodie but I'm also very health-conscious, so I decided to give my banana treats a nutritious twist by using whole wheat flour, porridge oats, coconut oil and honey. This recipe is really easy to follow and makes banana muffins that are so delicious and satisfying that you won't want to start your day any other way!


Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

For the muffins:
175g of whole wheat flour
50g of porridge oats
75g of melted coconut oil
50g of honey
2 eggs
150g mashed ripe banana
100ml milk of your choice
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon caster sugar (for dusting)
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the cream cheese topping:
150g of cream cheese
50g of unsalted butter
150g of sifted icing sugar
Walnuts and cinnamon for decoration


Method

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (gas mark 3). If necessary, grease your muffin tin with butter.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the coconut oil and honey together, then add the eggs and beat well. In a separate bowl, mash the ripe bananas and milk, adding the bicarbonate of soda, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt.

3. Add the mashed banana mixture to the coconut oil and honey and mix well. Then add the flour and oats and mix with a large spoon.

4. Finely chop 50g of walnuts (or nuts / chocolate / dried fruit of your choice) and fold them into the mixture. Optional

5. Spoon the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin cups, filling each cup to about 2/3 full. Lightly sprinkle the spoonful of caster sugar over the tops of the muffins.

6. Bake for 23-25 minutes. Check the muffins are fully cooked by inserting a skewer in the centre - if it comes out clean, they're done.

7. Place the muffins on a cooling rack until they are completely cool.

8. To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the icing sugar and butter together until completely mixed.

9. Add the cream cheese and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.

10. Spoon onto the tops of each muffin and spread evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and add a walnut.

11. Eat and enjoy!




© Rosie Romance

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