Six it up Girls!

Hello my darlings, it’s my favourite advent day today so I’m absolutely loving life.

It’s a day I’ve been waiting for, for 3 whole years!

It’s the day that Stila makes an appearance for the first time in the world of M&S advent calendars.

And it’s not a naff gift either, it’s bloody brilliant!

Yeah Charlottes product for day 6 is good too, but nothing can beat Stila today.

So today’s M&S item is a gorgeous pinky nude liquid lipstick called Perla, I don’t think I mentioned it’s by STILA.

This lipstick has their amazing ‘Stay All Day’ formula so it literally comes off when you want it to, and that’s it. It normally lasts through breakfast and lunch for me. There’s a bit of wear and tear after that but one top up throughout the day is better than any other lippy I’ve used.

And the colour is just perfect! Awesome for work or college, but teamed with a sexy smokey eye it’s also gorge for nights out too!

And what’s more annoying than being on a night out and topping up your lippy every 5 seconds? Maybe being barged on the dance floor every 5 seconds but that comes with the clubbing territory darlings.

So onto CT. today she has given me a miracle. A multi miracle to be precise.

This balm is very very good. I mean it’s a tip top product with LOADS of uses, and it’s brilliant at all of them. I’ve used it as a night cream, a mask and a cleansing balm. If a multitasking busy mum was a product, then she would be this.

This balm makes your skin sooooo soft. And you need the smallest amount (unless you’re using it as a mask, in which case go to town)

However, as good as it is… it’s doesn’t beat the lipstick. So M&S definitely win today. There’s nothing about this product that I can complain about. I don’t even mind that it’s a mini, I’ll take Stila whichever way I can get it 😁

Top tip; use a night cream (or CT’s multi balm if you have it) on your lips overnight before you put this lipstick on in the morning, that way your lips are supercharged with hydration, and the lipstick will definitely ‘Stay All Day’ 😘

See you tomorrow Beauties,

all my love, Sophs xo

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Festive Series 2017

Welcome back beauties! Super glad to be writing to you all again.
And if I have any new readers then Hey! I’m Sophie and I have got you all covered with Christmas this year.
Gifts? yep. Baking? yep. Anything beauty related? double YEP.

So in my opinion you should go grab that box of choccies thats in your cupboard
(you know the ones your mum has reserved for crimbo) plus your preferred tipple (mines prosecco if you’ve got any spare, cheers ) then put your comfiest pj’s on and relax into my little bubble of festive coziness.

It’s been a long time since my last Festive Series so I have definitely ramped it up this year. You can all expect the most sexy, decadent baking recipes every week in December plus a mini daily blog comparing High-end vs High Street Beauty Advent Calendars.

And when I say I’ve ramped it up; I don’t mean Benefit, Clarins or Zoella. I’m talking full scale Charlotte Tilbury’s Naughty or Nice Magic Box. all £150 of it.

I know I’m mad, but I’m so obsessed with that brand I just couldn’t stop myself.

However good old M&S is still the staple High Street Advent, At a very reasonable £35!(Even though it’s worth £100 more than the CT box, I’ll explain all soon darlings)

So watch this space my lovelies, December is within touching distance! So come back on Friday the 1st for the start of all the festive fun!

See you soon, and don’t forget the prosecco next time 😉

All my love, Sophs xo

Spring Forward!

Isn’t Spring just the sexiest season? 

Yeah yeah most people would say that it’s Summer, for all the hot girls in bikinis or winter for all the sophisticated, glam party looks you see pretty much daily. 

Well you’re all WRONG. it’s defo Spring. 

Why Spring you ask? Well my little loves, Spring is the first time in this fabulous New Year that you’ll be able to start getting your kit off for one! 

No no, not that far. But you’re already dusting off the ankle grazers and possibly even your shorts and throwing that puffer jacket to the back of your wardrobe with gusto! And I don’t know about you but I’m already swapping my over the knee boots for my chunky heeled sandals. 

And what beats actually being able to walk through town wearing something that’s got so much more personality, and not covering you up like a big old duvet?! 

Because that makes me feel super sexy. Not to mention the Spring brights that most makeup brands are currently sporting! 
That’s right, the layered foundation, contouring and dark coloured lips can now be freshened up to be so much more wearable! Swap out your foundation for a tinted moisturiser or BB cream, your burgundy lip for a raspberry/peach one and just ditch the contouring for a light bronzer. 

Or just get out in the sun. Saves a few extra minutes on your makeup routine (don’t forget your SPF though, because who wants sun damage? No one.)

One brand that I’m loving at the moment is L’Oréal. Their new lip lacquers and Lip Paints just make the perfect addition to your Lipstick colour wardrobe. Available in a whole array of nudes, pinks and bold brights, they have the potential to be the statement products of your look. Both Paints and lacquers have an amazing high colour pay off which is what everyone wants in a lippy.

The lip lacquers are more of a hardcore lip gloss that doesn’t give a sticky or gloopy feel, and the Lip Paints are a velvet matte cream consistency. Once applied, the lacquer should last a good few hours (longer than a regular gloss) and once dried, the paint will leave a satin matte finish that isn’t drying or heavy. So really perfect for that Spring/summer vibe. 

At Superdrug they retail at £6.99 and are also included in a 3for2 offer. You literally can’t go wrong.


Also, can I just ask how strong is your highlight game? Have you purchased your iconic illumination drops yet? No? I don’t blame you, I can think of better ways to spend £30.

However I have a cheap dupe that ACTUALLY works! Head to M&S and snap up their Autograph Liquid Highlight tubes in either gold or pink for that gorgeous glow for only….. £9.50. What an absolute STEAL.


Paired with the Rosie for Autograph complexion enhancer tinted moisturiser, you will have the perfect highlighted summer look for under £25. And those products will last all summer long! 

My little tips – pair your fab glowy skin with a gorgeous nude lip for day (I recommend Camisole Blush Lipstick by Rosie Huntington-Whitely) then vamp it up for the evening with a pair of faux mink effect lashes by Eylure and a statement red lip (Eva’s red by L’Oréal) 


But but buuuuut… how can we ever be ready for spring without cake? I’m never ready for anything without cake. So now the January blues are over and everyone has calmed down on the gym front, it’s time to fall back in love with baked goods again people! 

I’ve recently been working on recipes for the most ultimate spring/summery bakes you’ll ever put in your face. I’ve tried out classic cookies, Viennese kisses, melting blondies and many more (recipes to follow :D) 


Because I don’t think my friends or family are happier than when I provide them with fabulous, delectable, home baked goods. I don’t think the fact they’re free plays a part at all. Definitely not. (Crying) 
So guys this was more of just a quick re-intro back into the blogging game. I can’t wait to throw myself back into it! Look out for the odd vid or vlog here and there too ;)!

If there are any products you want me to try out, drop me a message on Instagram @bakingbeautyblogger

Lots of love darlings xo

THE Best Battenburg Recipe

Did you miss me? 😉
Of course you did, I mean how else are you supposed to get your weekly fix of gorge cake and bake recipes combined with lots of fab beauty tips?!

Because we have to face it, reading about products I recommend is just giving you a tiny little excuse to make you feel better about spending the vast majority of the months salary on makeup and skincare. 

Am I right or am I RIGHT? 

Anyway beauties I hope you had the most wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy new year to go with it! How does a nice little gem of a cake recipe sound to start us off for the year?

Okay okay, so you’ve probably read the title and wondered when I was zapped back to the 70’s to actually fancy baking something so retro.

Well as it turns out Battenburg is pretty fab. A tad Passe I’ll admit, but if baked to perfection (which isnt hard since its so bloody easy) you can turn it into a very impressive little bake that all your nans… *cough* I mean friends, will be clambering over each other to get a piece of.

Plus the boyf would eat battenburg for every meal of the day if it were a possibility, so there’s plenty of demand for it at my end. 

So without further ado, let me show you how to make this badass teatime treat.
Ingredients – For The Yellow sponge:

  • 175g baking spread/ softened butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract will do, but paste preferably)
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 55g ground almonds
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional, depending how almondy you’re feeling)

For The Pink Sponge:

  • Copy the ingredients and method for the yellow sponge but replace the almond extract, if you used it, with some pink food paste/colouring. I used 1/4 tsp but add more if you want a richer colour

For The Build:

  • 1kg Marzipan; you can buy ready rolled or just 2 of the blocks will do just fine
  • 220g Apricot Jam

Method:

  1. Get yourself prepped by heating your oven to 160C fan (180C/GM4), as well as greasing and lining your 10×8 inch oblong tin using butter and baking parchment.
  2. Put all of the ingredients for the almond sponge into a mixing bowl and combine for 2 minutes using an electric whisk or using a stand mixer.
  3. Pour the mix into your pre lined tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 27-30 minutes, until it’s springs back when you touch it. After a few minutes remove from the tin and flop it out onto a cooling rack and cover with a tea towel to stop it from drying out.
  4. Line your tin again and make the pink sponge using the same method, but adding the food colouring this time. Once combined, pour into the tin again and bake for the same amount of time. Don’t forget to cover with a tea towel once it’s baked and cooling. 
  5.  Once both sponges are cooled, cut both evenly in half lengthways, then each half in half again. You should have 8 long strips. 
  6. Grab your apricot jam and boil it in a small saucepan, then lay a pink and yellow strip side by side and paint with jam, using a pastry brush and stick them together. Now paint jam across the lengthof those two strips and place two more alternate strips on top – making sure the colours are reversed to create the signature checkerboard effect.
  7. Trim each end to make sure they’re even and put to one side.
  8. Roll out your marzipan to around 2mm thickness on a floured surface. Trim away any excess, and paint the upside with jam. Now carefully wrap your cake in the marzipan, trim away any jagged edges and put on your fanciest serving plate!
  9. Now dust with icing sugar to make it look fancy, and serve to all the people you want to wow.

There, told you it was damn easy!

Give it a go and post your pics on Instagram and tag me @soph__austin – can’t wait to to see all your retro bakes!

I love you all my beauts,

S xoxo

Summer Series 2016!

Good day to all of you beautiful people! Summer is finally knocking on our doors which has to be the perfect excuse to up your bronzed beauty game, not to mention getting your baking groove on! So get yourself dolled up, crack open a few bottles and invite all your loved ones round for a good old knees up in the sunshine.

The irony here is that as I’m writing this, the weather in sunny Southend on Sea is significantly un-summery, (after todays’ downpour I’m hoping that the lower region of my trousers dries off before I start work. Wishful thinking, I know, since the amount of water they’ve soaked up is enough to make them fall down every time I stand up.)

But there’s still hope! Last weekend saw some utterly glorious sunshine and I’m sure there is lots more to come (well hopefully; but then again this is England)

So, when you throw this epic garden party this summer, there are 2 things I would like you to do:

  1. Invite me, of course. I’m a hoot.
  2. Keep checked in weekly with The Baking Beauty Blog.

I say this because my new Summer Series for 2016 will be your own epic guide to summer. For all my go to seasonal recipes, naturally beautiful summer beauty tips trick and everything you will need to achieve them, plus lots of other holiday posts and fantastic summery delights.

Since the British summer usually leaves a lot to be desired, I think we need a bit of inspiration to make the most out of any scrap of sunshine we are happened to be blessed with.
So check back weekly; Firstly you’ll get a peep into my beauty archive for my go to holiday beauty favourites, then the first wondrous recipe will be the magic that is Lemon Amaretti. Which according to my family, friends and colleagues are absolutely gorgeous; not to mention ridiculously easy to make!

Watch this space beauties,
All my love,

S x

The Life Changer 

  Firstly yes that wonderful creature alongside me in the picture is my pug, her name is Nessa and she’s just epic. 

Let me just say I’m sorry that I’m still yet to post the reviews for the last couple of advent calendar gifts; I still need to use and review the last exciting little product but this post can’t wait so bare with me peoples.

You sure do know when it gets close to new year due to all the posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and any other form of social media you can think of claiming people have had the best year of their lives, they’re ready for 2016 to be ‘their year’ but the classic and most cliched status has to be ‘NEW YEAR, NEW ME’.

And that’s okay, some others get themselves wound up about these posts but I don’t, I think it’s fantastic that so many people are grabbing the sparkling New year and using it as a reason to better themselves and be positive about what’s to come. And those who are sharing how wonderful their past year has been is awesome, because it’s good I know that it’s not all doom and gloom.

Not everyone has had the most fantastic year, in my case I would class it as the biggest roller coaster of a year I’ve ever experienced. I wouldn’t say it’s my ‘Best’ year now I’ve thought about it, because that would mean the other years of my life haven’t been as great; When they have, but they’ve been great in different ways. 

Half of this years’ occurrences have been so heartbreaking, However the other half have made me fly so high I didn’t know whether to start a flash mob to uptown funk or cry happy tears.

My year started off with a newly single Sophie, reading a lot and just happily ambling along, then when reading one of my new books I had a sudden spark of inspiration – a light bulb moment- which is when I realised my passion. After my discovery, I got a new job doing something else I adore and so the dream of combining my two careers of beauty and baking began.

This discovery lead me to follow all sorts of online communities and getting involved in lots of fantastic projects. The next thing I knew I was being picked up in a swanky new Mercedes at Fenchurch street station, being whisked off to have a meeting with the fantastic team of people behind the online SORTEDfood community. And that day with such down to earth guys gave me advice I will cherish and remember forever. 

Since that day I have started this blog combining both the Beauty and Baking sides of my career which has had more interest in the past month than I could’ve anticipated and I have all you wonderful readers to thank for that. 

My original dream that captured the attention of the guys at HSBC and SORTED was to run my own wedding favour baking business; and I have to say this dream is still very much alive but my blog is my focus for now, because writing these posts is so much fun and I’ve found another passion in writing.

I felt like giving you a little more of an insight into my whirlwind year, and Also take this opportunity to wish all of you the happiest, healthiest and most wonderful New year you could ever dream of. Thank you for supporting me in my new venture and reading my scribbles. 

All my love, Sophie X

Four Fabulous Selfies. Apparently.

Ahh welcome to Day four, where yet again the Benefit advent song is wrong in thinking I will be taking 4 fabulous Selfies on the fourth day of Christmas. 
If like myself you have been up since 5am when the struggle to pull your trousers on without hopping around your bedroom like a drunk dad attempting Gangnam style is real, then you’ll be fully aware that fabulous selfies are just not happening. If I can’t get dressed with decorum my face is definitely not selfie worthy. I drew my brows on whist on the train without a mirror and was pretty sure I had an upside down tick on my forehead once I looked in the mirror at work.

Anyway the 4th advent Windows today gave me PURminerals Volume Vixen Mascara (M&S) and the Sugarbomb lip gloss (benefit). This will be a close score.  

  
  

Okie dokie I feel that nothing will come up trumps (as far as mascara’s go) as much as Roller Lash by Benefit has for me so I’m already a skeptic about this Vixen mascara. But I’ve worn it today and it’s not half bad. It’s more of a dramatic, thick false lash mascara that you’d don for a night out on the town. Well that’s my opinion, if you like drama in the day time then ignore my comments and by all means volumize your lashes til your heart’s content. 

I’ve been checking up on it all day and I do like it but for the price you’d pay for a full size one, I wouldn’t say it’s totally worth it. But that’s probably me being a bargain hunter at heart. 

 

Onto Benefit and let me just express how much I dislike lipgloss. It’s gloopy and your hair gets stuck in it… Plus it reminds me of slathering on my Miss Sporty juicy gloss before  and during the year 6 end of year disco in 2004. Not my best look. Therefore overall I just think it’s a chore to wear. I Much prefer a beautiful demure matte lipstick. 

But i have now acquired a gloss and I vowed to try everything. Me and my colleague tried this gloss earlier and both agreed in surprise that It didn’t feel like gloss at all, it was so fine and silky – almost like a good quality salve or balm. It kept my lips uber soft all day which in winter is a bit of a challenge. The flavour (for want of a better word) was very sweet but ever so subtle, combined with the beautiful nude pink colour; makes it a flexibly wearable product.

And I will definitely be using it for my daytime looks rather than chucking it into the void that is my makeup case and forgetting all about it’s existence. 

Surprisingly enough, Benefit have won today with their Sugarbomb lip gloss. As small as it is, you use it sparingly which is always a sign of a well made product. But that small size also makes it an ideal handbag essential. Or clutch bag essential if you’re a party animal like me (Ha I wish)