Friday, 25 September 2015

Review | Cuisinart Sandwich Maker + COMPETITION

To all those starting university this year, there are a few staple foods that'll carry you though those late night study sessions, post-night out cravings & budget friendly lunches. If you have previously read my Student Meals post, you'll understand the importance of eating good food on a budget. A must-have meal for me for as long as I can remember is the humble toastie. It is quick & easy to make and the result is always a yummy warm concoction! 

This post plans to take student meals to a gourmet level! Cuisinart have kindly sent me their brand new Sandwich Maker to review* and I have created a few inventive recipes to satisfy your food needs. At the end of this post you can find out how to win a Cuisinart Sandwich Maker!

Product Review

Now I've been using this product for a week, I'm completely obsessed. It is definitely a stylish addition to my kitchen counter. The Sandwich Maker has a stainless steel exterior with a brushed finish, a simple design with some great features. It is also very compact, making it easy to store away if needed.

Unlike other toastie makers I have personally used, this product has a variable temperature control (low, medium & high). This is ideal for the variety recipes the maker's recommend. I've found that the product heats up relatively quickly. I recommend turning it on to heat up while you prepare the food to go in it. The red light indicates the Sandwich Maker is turned on and the green shows it is ready for use. It also has extra-large plates with deep pockets for more toastie fillings - a big bonus in my books! 


The non-stick plates are removable by pressing a button on the side of the product. I've found this made cleaning them so much easier. They are also dishwasher safe. I really enjoy using this Sandwich Maker and think it would be a great addition to many student households!


Food-spiration

This product has no limits to what you can make. This is not just your typical sandwich maker, it is so much more than that! It can create Omelettes, Calzones, french toast, quesadillas, pastries and all sorts. I have created a few toasties and an omelette already using the Sandwich Maker to prove how its versatility and why it's a necessity in every student household!

This Sandwich Maker lets you get a lot of filling into your toasties. So far I have made tuna melt, ham & cheese, cheese & onion and cheese & tomato. These are all pretty standard ingredients so please share your more adventurous fillings in the competition at the end of this post. I would definitely recommend buttering the exterior of your toastie for a more cripsy result. 

Omelette Recipe
I was pleasantly surprised with how well my omelette turned out! I made enough to fill both sections so my taste tester (Dad) and I had one each. This was enough as a snack, brunch or part of a meal with chips and salad. There are plenty of different ingredients we plan to add to future omelettes but this recipe comes from what we had in the fridge:

I only used 3 eggs so didn't manage to fill both sections fully. 
Turn on the Sandwich Maker to medium temperature and melt some butter onto the hot plates. 
Mix together to following items:
4 eggs, whisked
1 tbsp milk
Cheese, grated 
1 tomato, diced
1/2 handful of spinach, chopped
A pinch of salt and pepper
A sprinkle of mixed herbs
The easiest omelette I've ever made!

Once mixed, pour into the deep hot plates to fill the bottom ones. Leave to cook for 5-7 minutes. It was so much quicker and easy than the more conventional method. I also end up breaking the omelette to turn it over in a pan, so having it cooked from both sides is genius. Plus the non-stick plates work great. I expected a scrabbled mess when attempted to plate up but they all came up with ease!

My Awesome Toastie Challenge

Cuisinart is asking you to create your awesome toastie by launching their Awesome Toastie Challenge! They want to know what combination of fillings you think makes the most awesome toastie ever. Need some inspiration..? How about tomato, mozzarella & rocket focaccia, or spiced apricot French toastie with vanilla and jersey ice cream, or even broad bean, pea and prosciutto frittata?! The possibilities are endless. But those are our ideas, and we want yours!

We’re giving you the chance to win a Cuisinart Sandwich Maker and the chance to have your awesome toastie featured on their website. To enter simply tell us what filling you think would make the most #awesometoastie! This competition is now live on Twitter. Please follow CuisinartUK and Kayspray and tweet us both your perfect toastie filling. Our favourite tweet will win - good luck! The Competition ends October 9th 2015.

*This product was sent to me for review purposes. All opinions are my own.



Friday, 11 September 2015

Review | Smashbox Liquid Halo HD Foundation

Liquid Halo HD Foundation is like no other product I own. It's the most natural-looking foundation that I have ever used, plus it makes my skin feel super silky! I bought this foundation in May 2015. At the time, I was looking for a light, but build-able foundation suitable for the summer months. Plus it has SPF15, something I always look for in both moisturisers and foundations. I also needed a lighter shade as my other foundations seemed all wrong at the time (too many days in the library and not enough enjoying the early summer sun we had). I got it in the shade 2, which is the second palest available.

Liquid Halo HD Foundation in shade 2


From my experience this product is best for normal to oily skin. I'm currently going through a period of dry patches and attempting to use this foundation without combating this problem areas only exaggerated them. Since combating these dry area, the foundation has been better than ever and I have fallen in love all over again! I plan on doing a post about dealing with dry patches soon. Other than the dryness, my skin has been behaving well recently and therefore needed little coverage. This is not the foundation to hide any blemishes. It is relatively build-able but it still maintains a level of translucency. The few freckles on my nose are still a bit visible when wearing this foundation.  

The best way to apply is this foundation has been with the Beauty Blender. If you have yet to hear about this magical product, it's the sponge applicator to rival all others and has truly received the nod of approval from many known beauty bloggers. I was fortunate enough to get mine in the goody bag from Company's Style Blogger Awards. With my other foundations I use the Real Techniques Buffer Brush which is a god-send in so many ways and I 100% recommend it. However due to the runny consistency of this Smashbox foundation, the Beauty Blender has become my go-to applicator for it. 


Smashbox's Liquid Halo HD Foundation was a great summer go-to foundation and as long as my skincare routine continues to work, I should be using this product right through autumn and winter. What foundation is your number one right now? Please leave your beauty links in the comments or tweet me! I love to find out about different products.


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Today I Love #13

I've missed writing for this feature. It has definitely been my favourite because it made me reflect on the past month and what has brought joy into it. More often than not, happiness has come from the simplest of actions, items and events. Of course every month I continue to love the people I am surrounded by as well as the silly Snapchats I receive from distant friends, but this post shows my appreciation for other less sentimental aspects of life. 

Yes, I made these cute creations.


Autumn is coming - You won't hear me complaining about having to put on scarfs, big knits and fluffy socks. I love Autumn, especially the beginning as summer comes to an end. The moment the shops started to stock the shades of rich burgundy, khaki green and classic camel, I wanted summer to be over. For the first time in ages, I do not need any new clothes. I have plenty of ankle boots, light knitted jumpers, day dresses and work wear. Typically I can't walk past a shop right now without wanting half of its content! The problems of a shopaholic are too real.. I may not be able to embrace the new clothes this season has to offer (I'll undoubtedly purchase a few must-haves), I will enjoy the changing countryside and the excuse to drink more hot chocolate. 

Podcasts - For the past year, this has been my go-to distraction on train journeys, as I wind down and get ready for bed and on dog walks whilst Ralph races against cars which are on the road next to the farmers field. There are several podcasts I listen to, all of which have similar theme; They are all comical. Here is a list of my top 4: 
  • Answer Me This! - answers the world's questions sent in by listeners, both for advice and facts. 
  • No Such Thing As A Fish - a podcast from the QI offices where writers for the show discuss the best things they've found out that week. 
  • Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4  - a satirical take on the week's news.
  • Do The Right Thing - a live audience comedy panel show where the teams work out what the right thing to do is in many random situations. 

Coloristiq Manicure Box - I love my job. It gives me the opportunity to be creative, connect with very talented people and spend most my days obsessing over some insane nail art designs. This month's Manicure Box has been one of my favourites so far. Nails And The City was inspired by the fast-paced, exciting atmosphere that surrounds cities around the world. The nail polishes found the beauty box are perfect for transitioning from summer to autumn and includes OPI's Venice Collection which is their most recent set of nail polishes. There are also products from Essie, Nails Inc and the talented indie brand Danglefoot, who created a limited edition polish just for this box! 
Bluedapest by Danglefoot
Baking - It's a hobby of mine that I dip in and out of, just like blogging! All it takes is watching an episode of Great British Bake Off, or seeing a new recipe online, or finding out mum has lots of baking tools in the new kitchen. I have recently moved into my parents new place in the midlands because being a graduate is both difficult and confusing. While trying to find the right career path in life, I could no longer afford to live in Essex. Alongside Coloristiq, I am now looking into being a primary school teacher. Whilst getting experience for next year's PGCE, I have been helping out a lot around the house. Yesterday inspiration struck and my 'baking like a child who still goes to primary school' skills came out. I made some cute sugar biscuits (see above) which the family have enjoyed. I'll never be as good as Alice from Tailor Baked but as long as it's edible, it's a success right?

What have you been loving this month? I still love finding new blogs to follow on Twitter and Instagram so please send over your links :)

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

A Very Long Break

For the past 11 months, I quit blogging. I'm not proud of it but I also do not feel guilty - not one bit! It's been a very busy and exciting year full of a lot of hard work and new opportunities. 

The main reason I no longer found the time to blog was my internship at Coloristiq last summer. Thanks to this blog, I managed to become a Social Media and Marketing Associate for this amazing company. Once summer ended, Coloristiq kept me on during my final year at university so I ran their social media accounts as well as during various other tasks each week. I will do a post of Coloristiq soon because a new box was just release the beginning of this month and I'm so happy with it! I am still working for and loving my job at Coloristiq. I joined the company at the very beginning when it was still an idea with a website being designed and it's come pretty far with so much more potential with it!



Another reason for my absence from the blogging world was the final year of my degree. I wanted to put as much effort in as possible and I really did put my all into my dissertation and final assignments. It was a tough year and now it's over I'm pleased for breathe for a moment! Although I spent many hours in the library, it was one of the best years of my life. Now a new chapter is arriving and I plan on making the most of everything that comes my way! 

So why come back to blogging?

I've missed it. With my job I am in contact with lots of amazing bloggers and constantly finding new ones to follow. This evening I was looking in at the Twitter chats and missed being apart of such a friendly supportive online community. I'm not promising to be back to blogging regularly but if there is an amazing product I want to share with the world or inspiration strikes, I'll definitely come to this much loved outlet. 

Please comment with your blog links or tweet me if you have any suggestions, comments or advice!



Tuesday, 22 July 2014

#AskTwitter

The other day I thought to myself, "Kayspray, you should really get out more". On the same day I also concluded that I hadn't done a #AskTwitter post in a while now! This is one of my favourite series because beauty and fashion gurus from the world of Twitter answer a much queried question of mine. Considering the majority of my questions make no sense or are unanswerable, I had to make sure the question was relevant, useful and sensible. 

Compared to all the other seasons, Summer is the hardest to get the right beauty products. It is too hot for full thick coverage make-up, there is a need for another level of skin care and don't get me started with finding the right sun protection! With this in mind, my #AskTwitter question is:

What is your must-have summer beauty product?





So they were a few lovely answers from a few lovely Tweeties. What is your answer for this much discussed question? What would you recommend? Don't forget to leave your links x

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Summer Tag

I hope the sun is shining just as much as it is here! These summer months fly past way too quickly for my liking so to celebrate their existance I am doing this Summer Tag. I found it on The Emerald Dove's Blog and had to give it a go!



1.  What's your favourite thing about Summer?
I really like my summer lifestyle. I do a lot more exercise, get up earlier and eat healthier. I'm always craving salads and fruit in the hot months. It's so much easier to be sociable in summer- you can meet up with friends at a park or have a BBQ.

2.  Do you have a favourite Summer drink?
My boyfriend makes a lovely fruity non-alcoholic cocktail that is super refreshing. It's a mix of lemonade, squash, fruit juice and ice cubes (and a cocktail umbrella if you're lucky).

3.  Is there a location you like to go to each Summer?
I like to try and get to a quaint coastal town somewhere in England. I've been lucky enough to already have a trip to Brighton and am at Uni in Portsmouth so that's two places ticked off the list! With the boyfriend down in Somerset, hopefully I'll be on a few day trips to Devon and Dorset.

4.  Favourite makeup look for Summer?
I'll either wear a concealer or bb cream and a bit if powder and bronzer for the face. I don't bother with anything heavy as it'll just sweat off in the heat and feel disgusting! I've been using a bit of bronzer as eye shadow recently and then just wearing brown eye liner and black mascara. I complete this natural look with a moisturising lip balm that has SPF in it :) 

5.  Dresses or skirts?
I think dresses suit me more than skirts. I keep adding to my summer dress wardrobe- check out Primark for some cheap and stylish £5 dresses!

6.  Sandals or ballet pumps?
My feet don't agree with any shoes- they will all rub or cut them no matter what (woe is me!!) I prefer the look of sandals and there are so many cute ones around at the moment!

7.  Do you prefer to wear your hair up or down for Summer?
I always prefer the way my hair looks down but sometimes it gets way too hot with my long hair on my neck and back! Recently I've been wearing it as a side fishplait or a top knot because the humidity has made my hair crazy and unmanageable.

8.  Deep smokey eyes or bold lips?
For me, you can't go wrong with smokey eyes but in this weather I've been keeping my eyes quite neutral and opting for a more coral bright lip if I'm making the effort!

9.  Favourite perfume for Summer?
I'm actually looking for a new fragrance to try out as most of mine are running low. I love a sweet fruity scent. Any recommendations? 

10.  Last but not least, favourite music for Summer?
I am constantly listening to a spottily playlist called Happy Hipster. It has some really laid back and summery tunes that lift my mood- very easy listening :)

Writing this post has really made me realise how much I love summer! Let me know if you decided to do this tag and leave your lovely links below. 

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Quick & Easy Summer Fruit Flan

The best thing about summer is all the delicious fruit that is in season! I feel like I want to eat healthily when its hot out - lots of scrummy salads and fruit cocktails. With the scorching hot weather, I also get incredibly tired and lazy. So mixing my love for fruit and my lack of motivation, I have this fun post for you! Today I am sharing with you a much loved dessert in my household. It is called the Quick & Easy Summer Fruit Fan because it is truly both quick and easy (as the title suggests...) 


So why is it so quick and easy? You don't have to make the sponge flan from scratch, you don't have to do much to the fruit and the quick jel has simple instructions that even I can follow! It is also a very cheap dessert to make so perfect for students like me. 

Ingredients:
A pre-made flan case
Fruit of your choice
Strawberry Flavoured Quick Jel


Instructions:
- First thing to do is make the quick jel. You can either add water or the fruit juices if you used canned ones to the powder and heat up. The packet will give you better, more accurate guide to making this. 
- As the jel is cooling, you can to the fun part. The main fun part is eating it but this fun part is arranging the fruit into some artistic pattern or as I do, try to fit as much onto the fan as possible. 
- Once the jel is cooled, add it on top of the fruit. 
- We usually leave it in the fridge to stay cool for an hour or until we are ready to serve!


It really is the perfect dessert to make when you're having a summer party, friends over or fancy something a little different. It's a light refreshing dessert which also tastes good with cream or ice cream. I'm planning on doing a few more of these Quick & Easy food posts in the near future so watch this space. If you have any good food hacks or simple recipes please get in touch or leave your links below. Enjoy this amazing weather and hope you get a chance to enjoy making and of course eating this flan!