If I Could Only Have One Of Each

I saw this post over on The Makeup Directory and figured that it would make a great post for the blog. I definitely have a few favourites, and the rest of them are all up in the air. However, I thought my readers would like to know what I love to grab on a regular basis and would recommend every time. I just need to let you all know ahead of time that I actually don't have very good answers for some of the categories, either because I don't own one, or because none of them have worked for me as yet.

Here goes.

Pumpkin Pasties Recipe - Sweet and Savoury

Hello, everyone! Some of you might remember that I hosted a Harry Potter Board Games Day a few weekends ago, and on the menu, I had sweet and savoury Pumpkin Pasties. I promised that I would share the recipes for these pasties, and I'm here to deliver on that promise! Pumpkin Pasties are a popular treat in Wizarding Britain, and I think that whenever a Potter-phile is asked what food they would love to try from the Harry Potter books, these treats would most likely be in the top five, among Butterbeer, Cauldron Cakes, Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans.

I did a lot of research on pumpkin pasties recipes, and it seemed like they were all some variation of the pumpkin pie; sweet, crusty and full of spices. Not a problem for me, though a lot of the recipes required so many ingredients or canned pumpkin puree. As I had to keep costs down, I found recipes that used fewer ingredients, though it still asked for pumpkin puree. I got the recipes from Bijoux and Bits and altered a couple of things to make it easier. I used puff pastry instead of pie dough as I wanted a flakier experience and it was quicker to buy puff pastry than it is to make pie dough from scratch when I was strapped for time. I also had to prepare my own pumpkin puree as I couldn't find canned puree. Oh, and funnily enough, we don't have pumpkin pie spice in any of the supermarkets here in Australia, so I had to make them from scratch.

My Go-To Spring Picks

It is Spring here in Australia at the moment, and I saw nothing more fitting for a blog post than a spring-themed one. I love looking at other blogs' spring-themed posts, it always makes me feel cheerful on the inside just thinking about crisp fresh air, clear blue skies, flowers in bloom and even standing in the sunlight for a few short minutes just to feel the warmth. Lately, Melbourne's been under the weather (pun intended) so all we've had are lots and lots of cloudy days, with rains here and there that are sure to make lots of gardeners happy. Not for me, though.

As much as I love to stay at home, keep warm and not have to worry about wearing a bra, days of cloudiness that threaten to make my backyard very, very muddy just makes my cats, and me, very very miserable. I prefer to keep my cats inside when it's cloudy or wet, so when they're cooped up inside all day for a few days straight, they go straight up ballistic. I kid you not, Phoebe literally jumps up the wall for no reason and bounces off of it (broken window, anyone?), whereas Luna takes to running around the house like a loon (another pun intended - I hope someone got this reference!) and making shitloads of noise before she settles down in my bedroom.

Exploding Bon Bons Recipe

Those of you that have tried the real thing from Wizarding World of Harry Potter, in Japan or Orlando, did you find yourself utterly disappointed at how pathetic they were? I did. I spent close to $10 on a packet of five Exploding Bon Bons, and they did not even come close to what I was expecting. Hell, it did not even have a teeny bit of fizz to it. I ate one, glared at the disappointment that they were, and didn't touch the rest.

I decided that that wouldn't do and I had to find a way to properly portray my idea of how Exploding Bon Bons should taste. The bonbons are meant to contain dynamite coconut and pure cocoa powder, but the version at Wizarding World had neither. Dynamite Coconut is an entirely fictional food item, but I could replicate it with regular coconut, could I not? The recipes I found online were similar but not quite what I had in mind. None of them contained coconut, so that failed to tick one of the two most important boxes.

Unveiling The Battlestation!


It's finished! It's finally finished! I've finally added the finishing touches that pull everything together. It's taken me more than a month to set the vanity up just the way I liked it, but the overall project, including the planning, took much longer. I started planning this project late May, but because of my spending ban and the fact that my then-housemate had yet to move out, I couldn't get started on it until the beginning of August. It took a while for me to figure out what kind of style I wanted, what I wanted on the desk, and what I needed to buy versus what I could upcycle/DIY. Along the way, I realised that the style I had in mind was Kate La Vie meets Kate Spade, with some animal motifs thrown in. The main mirror and hexagon tray were definitely inspired by the blogger.

The Mission to Improve My Skin #2

We've now hit the second month of this mission to improve my skin, and I have a few admissions to make. I suck! I suck at keeping up with things, especially with my skin diary, and it annoys me that I let my laziness get in the way of important things such as my skin.If you want to see how the first month went, just click on this link and it'll take you to the post: The Mission to Improve My Skin #1

Care Package from Cat Miranda #2

Yet to be formally named, the time for the second round of Cat and Stephii's Seasonal Care Package Swap has come, and it is better than ever! Granted, we had to make the agreement that our seasonal care packages were making our significant others weep at the massive dents in our finances. Now it's down to twice a year. 6 months is a long time to wait for a package swap, but at least this way we can carefully think about what we would like to send to the other person halfway across the world. This also gives me time to find brands that are Australian-owned.  The premise of this care package swap that we've got going on is based on getting the other chick stuff that they cannot get locally, and this includes beauty, skincare, food and, in this case, decoration.

This time around, I included a lot of new brands that Cat had never tried or heard of, including Chi Chi (ironically, I've never tried this brand before), Sugar Baby, and Face of Australia. I also sent her a packet of our iconic lamingtons and two bars of Cherry Ripe. Oh, and Milo! According to Cat, her husband has taken the can of Milo and devoured the bag of Twisties that I included in the parcel.

I'm assuming you're all dying to know just what Cathy has bought for me this time around, and while I knew about some of the stuff before she sent them, she also snuck in a few pieces that sure surprised me!

Harry Potter Board Games Day

It's another one of those fine days where my inner Potter-phile comes out to play. It's no secret that I'm one of these bloggers with a deep fondness for the Harry Potter series, though I don't think I've properly told you all just how much I love it. Or maybe I have but I didn't think it was enough.

My place was finally set up the way I wanted it, bar a few things such as a proper coffee table, new curtains, and cushion covers, so it was finally time to do something that made it feel like home. I never really host parties, I tend to dislike most parties because they're crowded, noisy, distracting and I want nothing more than to go home and recuperate, but small parties are the only exception to that rule.

I had a hoot hosting this one, even if the planning and preparation for the event was a tad bit on the stressful side.

I created a Harry Potter version of Cards Against Humanity, typing up all of the black and white cards on a document, and then I copied and pasted them into the appropriate places on Bigger, Blacker Cards. I had the cards printed out at Officeworks on the thickest paper that they had in store, and they cost me a mere $3.50 for 10 pages. Aside from Cards Against Harry Potter, we split up the party into two groups, one group played Harry Potter Scene It, while the rest battled against each other at Wizards Chess.

I also prepared a set of trivia questions for the trivia game, ranging from easy to hard.

I ended it with "Finish this quote: Ronald Weasley! How dare you _____" and not a single person got it right. I'm mortified.

I made Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice from scratch for the party, as well as Pumpkin Pasties (both savoury and sweet) and my version of Exploding Bon Bons. The Bon Bons went down really nicely with the guests, they all loved the chocolatey coconutty goodness and then set mouths off with the popping and cracking because of the popping candy that I coated the balls with. I'm going to have a post up on the blog over the next couple weeks with the recipes for the Butterbeer and the Exploding Bon Bons, so look forward to that.

My friend, Nick, kept calling the pumpkin juice Skele-Gro, even though he drank the most of it. The Butterbeer is incredibly addictive and tastes almost exactly like the ones you can get from Wizarding World.

I need to get around to making a proper chess board for the Wizards Chess set. I actually found this set at a thrift store a few years ago, it was the set that came with a biweekly magazine that you had to collect to get all the pieces together. It came with a flimsy cardboard chess board which I threw out. I thought Sean's old chess board would fit but the pieces were too big for it, so we ended up using the board from his Peanuts chess set. It was an odd thing to witness, to see such classic styled pieces on a cartoonish red and blue boards with Peanuts characters around the edge. I need to find green/black and white marble tiles 2 inches wide so I can make the board at home. It won't be easy, but it'll be worth it!

The event went really well, and everyone got to meet new Potter-philes. By the end of the night we were all laughing our heads off together at some of the filthy jokes that ensued from Cards Against Harry Potter. I have such creative and funny friends and I wish I could put the entire game into words, but so much had happened. Sean and I are contemplating hosting another board games day for my 25th birthday in December, the theme being Star Wars to celebrate the release of Rouge One. I'm very excited but I have no idea how I am going to create a menu for this event, but I shall be having a lot of fun coming up with a Star Wars version of CaH.

If you hosted a Harry Potter party, what would you do/make?

Spray-Painting A Makeup Mirror!

I hope you all forgave me as soon as I uploaded my last post, but if not, then maybe this post will turn the tides in my favour. As a lot of you already know, I've spent more than a month working on my makeup battlestation, and I'm still not finished. I think I win the world record for the longest amount of time spent setting up a vanity. It is mere inches away from being complete, but I'm waiting for a parcel from my friend and soon-to-be blogger Cat from the US, as she bought me a brush set that is going right on the desk. I'm wringing my hands in excitement for the care package because I just cannot wait to see what she has in store for me. I can only hope that Cat loves her care package, I've tried so hard to find more Australian brands and products that don't break the bank.

Aesop and Jurlique, why are you so expensive?!

I've gotta think of something really amazing for her next parcel because it will be a present for  Christmas and her birthday.

Formula 10.0.6 Rescue Me! Acne Blemish Treatment Review


I seem to be starting a lot of posts lately with an apology, be it because I've been inactive on all of my social media, or because I've missed an update. In this case, both of these apply, as I was meant to upload a new post on Monday. Most of my day was completely taken up by running errands and sending an Australian care package to my friend in the US. I didn't have the time to photograph anything on Monday, so I took blog photos on Tuesday, and planned on uploading a post that night. But as luck would have it, I got extremely sleepy as soon as I finished my dinner and could barely keep my head up. I ended up going to sleep at around 9:30.

Yesterday I spent most of the day out of the house, visiting my mum again and then running more errands. I went for a trim, and then I picked up my Eames replica chair for my desk. I also had to pick up a few last minute things for the Harry Potter Board Games Day that I'm hosting on Sunday. I didn't get home until after 9pm, and despite typing this entire post on the way home, save a few alterations, I lost what little shred of energy I had left and went to sleep early.

Today, I did a whole heap of work around the place, and it's starting to look more and more finished. I've put together my chair and installed the command hooks on the wall for my mirror. The other day I picked up a magnifying makeup mirror from Kmart and completely transformed it, so now it sits on my vanity all shiny and golden. With that, I'm almost done with my vanity! I should have a post on the finished vanity up in the next week or two, but I daresay you all will find a tutorial tomorrow or Saturday on the blog on how to properly paint a makeup mirror into a different colour.

Besame Cosmetics Lipsticks


I actually had another blog post lined up for today, but after slapping on a whole face of makeup, the top half of my face looked utterly awful for what I wanted to photograph, because today was one of those days where my skin just decided to be dry and unyielding, so foundation and concealer was patchy and accentuated flaky areas. I'm seriously fed up with my skin at the moment, and I'm going to get a cleansing milk when I get the chance.

I ended up taking the easy way out and doing lip swatches instead, because at least the area around my lips didn't look half bad, therefore up for review today are the Besame Cosmetics lipsticks! I was exposed to Besame Cosmetics through my friends when they spoke about vintage-styled makeup on facebook, and they mentioned that they were cruelty-free and vegan. My curiosity piqued, I looked them up, and not long after that, those same friends said that Hayley Atwell wore the shade Red Velvet in Agent Carter. Anyone who knows me knows that I love Peggy Carter, especially her sassy bad-assery. So, to find out that I could personally have my very own Agent Carter lipstick, I jumped on the bandwagon and emailed the office in Australia.

I asked them if there was any chance I could have a few lipstick samples sent to me to try out some of their shades and give them a bit of free exposure on the blog, and they were happy to send some out. Luckily, 1946 - Red Velvet was included in the parcel in matchstick form, alongside 1931 - Carmine and 1959 - Red Hot Red in little pots. Besame Lipsticks are purported to be moisturising, long lasting, highly pigmented and exact colour reproductions of popular lipstick colours in history. They contain beeswax, which makes them non-vegan.