Thursday, 30 January 2014

Oqibo Hydra Restore Cream Review

The lovely people at Oqibo offered to let me try one of their two moisturisers and review it for my blog. From the two I chose the Hydra Restore Cream* as it sounded the lighter of the two which I thought would be better for my combination/oily skin.




I'd only started hearing about Oqibo recently through a few blogs I follow so was intrigued to try the brand out.  In 2006 the brand took a look at the skincare market and decided to do something a bit different. They decided to merge the skincare business with selling online. Their products were simple but effective and their message was to celebrate. Celebrate who you are, diversity and don't try to fit in to the unreal demands of the beauty industry.

Due to their take on the industry they keep their range simple having only four skincare products; a cleanser/toner, an exfoliator and two moisturisers targeted at different skin types. I have some samples of the other products but haven't had chance to try them yet.

As a lover of all things skincare I couldn't wait to integrate the Hydra Restore moisturiser into my skincare routine and see what it was like. To review this properly I am going to split my opinions into a few headings...

Oqibo Hydra Restore moisturiser - 100ml - £33.15

Packaging - Oqibo are know for their simple packaging and this bottle is no different. The squeezy tube stands on the lid which is a screw top. For me this is a little tricky when applying moisturiser and put the lid back on so I might have preferred a bottle. Also I realised that the Oqibo logo looks the same upside down as it does right way up! Random...

Scent - The scent of this is very plain, similar to Olay/Simple products I've smelt. It is nice and gentle, not like some others that can be strong and chemically.

Colour/Feel - As you can see from the above picture this is a simple white cream which feels very light spreading very easily.

Overall use - I've tried this over a couple of weeks now and have mixed views about it. Although my skin is combination and its very cold and drying outside I've found this moisturiser to make my face too greasy when I use this as part of my morning routine. I've tried using different amounts to see if it makes a difference but I think this works better for me as a night cream. The moisturiser has time to work its magic over night giving me plump moisturised skin and then I can use a more light wearing moisturiser throughout the day. It is a lovely creamy moisturiser but for me I just find it bit too much for my skin. Due to the fact this is £33.15 I probably wouldn't repurchase unless I was looking for a really hydrating night cream. I think although they do a intense moisturiser this one is still super hydrating and great for dryer skin.

I do have a few more samples of their other products which I can't wait to try. The cleanser/toner combo sounds great! Oqibo seem like a fantastic company with great values and I can't wait to see their products become more mainstream.

Have you tried any of their products? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Scrub a dub dub

I'm not really a bath person. I'd much prefer a quick shower then get out and get ready. Sitting in a pool of hot water wasn't really my thing or so I thought. Enter Lush's Candy Mountain bubble bar that we got in a Christmas gift box. I hadn't used any of Lush's bath products but I thought it was time to give it a go. I got the bath water temperature just right so I wasn't coming out like a lobster and the bubble bar made it smell gorgeous. It was lovely. So here starts my liking of baths and my adventures into new exciting bath products!

Lush Bubble Bar Yuzu and Cocoa

Lush Bubble Bar Yuzu and Cocoa

I went into Lush last week to check out the new Valentine's products they've just launched. To be honest I wasn't overwhelmed by any of them so I ventured around the rest of the shop. I managed to come out with a bubble bar, a bath bomb, a massage bar and this bubbleroon.

According to the Lush website this little bubbleroon, based on the shape of a macaroon, is a bubble bar. So to release the bubbles you have to crumble this under the tap as your bath is running. There were three different types of bubbleroons in the Lush store but I picked up the Yuzu and Cocoa one. This smells sweet and quite strongly of coconut which makes makes you feel like you are in a bounty.

I only used half the bubbleroon as I'd seen people suggesting that half was sufficient but unfortunately I forgot to add it whilst the bath was running. I added it afterwards and swashed my hands around in the water to get the bubbles that you can see in the bath. It was a  lovely bath but the bubbles soon faded although the smell lingered.

At only £3.25 for what can be two lovely soaks in the bath I think these little bubbleroons are worth it. The other two scents are The Green Bubbleroon and Rose Jam.

Have you tried these before? What other Lush bath products do you love?

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Nail Art Weekly Project - Week 1

The first theme for the Nail Art Weekly Project is a piece of clothing. For this I went rummaging through my wardrobe to find something that I could not only recreate but that would look good on my nails. Here is a sheer black collared sleeveless top I bought from ASDA last year. I thought this would be great as I could recreate the flowers and the beaded effect.

Nail Art Weekly Project Week One 1 Piece of Clothing

Nail Art Weekly Project Week One 1 Piece of Clothing

Obviously I had to do a bit of planning... I even painted a swatch stick to make sure it would look good on my nails. Then on Friday night I sat down to create my nail art weekly manicure...

Nail Art Weekly Project Week One 1 Piece of Clothing

Nail Art Weekly Project Week One 1 Piece of Clothing

Nail Art Weekly Project Week One 1 Piece of Clothing

Nail Art Weekly Project Week One 1 Piece of Clothing

For this I used OPI - Lady in Black and Dare to Wear - Golden Doublet as well as a dotting tool from Avon to do the gold parts. I'm really pleased with how this manicure came out and although it doesn't look exactly like the top it still has the essence of it.

What do you think?

Monday, 27 January 2014

Manicure Monday - Blue Glitter Party

I ventured on to Look Fantastic the other day armed with a 10% off voucher and came away with two sets of Orly nail polishes. It was a very impulsive buy and my fingers seemed to have a mind of their own. From the two sets of three I bought, for today's manicure Monday I picked Macabre Masquerade.

Orly Macabre Masquerade Nail Polish Swatch

Orly Macabre Masquerade Nail Polish Swatch

Orly Macabre Masquerade Nail Polish Swatch

Orly Macabre Masquerade Nail Polish Swatch

Orly Macabre Masquerade Nail Polish Swatch

This came as part of the Secret Society set and instantly looking at them all this was my favourite. Unfortunately when I started applying it I realised that it had many different coloured pieces of glitter in the blue varnish. To me this makes the polish look a bit childish. The formula itself was quite sheer and it was quite heavy and gloopy. I'm really not pleased with the quality of this polish however it won't deter me from trying out the others I have bought as previously Orly polishes I have had weren't like this.

What do you think? Do you think this looks okay?

Sunday, 26 January 2014

#nailartweeklyproject - the participants!

Next week is the first week of the #nailartweeklyproject. This will involve all the participants doing a manicure based on a theme I set that week. If you want to see the original post click here.

I first wanted to start with a post to highlight the lovely nail art girls who are attempting this 5 week 'challenge'. Some are nail art pros and some are just starting out, but either way I am excited to see what these ladies come up with! Here are their twitter names and blogs! Make sure to follow them all so you can keep up to date with their designs!

kellovestea - Adventures in Tea and Cake
SophyEast - Lashes and Splashes
Dulltoglam - Dull to Glam
sarahsmilesxxx - Sarah Smiles xxx
iamkirstiew - Short Lashes
cutelil_b_blog - the cute little beauty blog
perfectpaws41 - Perfectly Polished Paws
emma_qosfc -  Emma's Space
justjesssblog - Just Jesss
LauraLou9820 - Laura Lou Rambles With You
NailsByKizzy - Nails By Kizzy
Sevenstarskies - Sevenstarskies
Paigewallbank - Paige's Preferences
Lucy_earnshaw - Lucy Loves
lisahh-jayne - Lisahh-Jayne
WynicksNails - posting on twitter
LizzumsBB - posting on instagram (LizzumsBB) - Benebelle
Sunshineblogxo - Yummy Mummy xo
Llnailart - Lekker Lacquer
Katiejustkatie - Lost and Found
Waggie2982 - Nails by Waggie
LixHewett - A Classic Notion
Emsypickle - Emsypickle

I hope you all enjoy seeing the nail art these gorgeous bloggers come up with and if you are inspired to get involved please email me and I will send you the themes!

Friday, 24 January 2014

So easy even a child could make it - Vegetable Goulash Recipe

As I am preparing for moving out into my own house with my boyfriend I thought it best to invest in some simple cookbooks that help me perfect the little stuff before I attempt the more tough stuff. This thinking is what made me buy '100 yummy things to cook and eat', a cookbook by Usbourne. Yes this is for children but it has some great recipes like chocolate raspberry tart, apple crumble, leek and potato soup and of course peppermint creams! Although a lot of these will be saved until I no longer have mum around to help me, or bake me cakes, I have started to cook a few things from the book. Namely vegetable goulash.

Vegetable Goulash Recipe Easy

The ingredients you will need are:
1 onion
2 medium sized carrots
half a medium cauliflower
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons of paprika
2 tablespoons of flour
1 vegetable stock cube
400g can of chopped tomatoes
a pinch of salt and of ground pepper

Step 1. Peel your onion and chop it into little pieces (I used frozen so mine was already done). Peel and chop you potatoes into cubes.

Step 2. Peel and cut your carrot into cubes. Pull any leaves off your cauliflower and separate the florets ensuring you cut the stalks off.

Vegetable Goulash Recipe Easy

Step 3. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep pan and add the onion and garlic. Gently heat on a low heat for 5 minutes.

Vegetable Goulash Recipe Easy

Step 4. When the onions are soft sprinkle the paprika and flour and mix well. When mixed add the stock cube to 600ml of boiling water and pour in the pan.

Vegetable Goulash Recipe Easy

Vegetable Goulash Recipe Easy

Step 5. Add the potatoes, carrots, cauliflower florets, chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper.

Vegetable Goulash Recipe Easy

Step 6. Turn up the heat until the goulash starts to boil then reduce the heat so it is gently bubbling. Leave for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.

Vegetable Goulash Recipe Easy

This dish is very nutritious and healthy being packed full of vegetables. I think you need to add quite a bit of seasoning to this to ensure it is tasty, I would even suggest adding a bit of chilli to give it a kick. It is a lovely meal to have on a cold day with a nice crusty roll.

Have you tried anything like this before? Have you got any recipe recommendations for me?

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Is it a lip crayon or a gloss?

I've never really been a fan of Soap and Glory. I was always gifted their hand food moisturiser for Christmas which really put me off the brand. I am more of a sweet fruity smell kind of girl and Soap and Glory was not that for me. I'll admit the brand has grown significantly since I first tried their products, they have added more product lines and become a very popular household name. Something that I wasn't aware of until recently is that they have a make-up line. As the lip crayon has taken over my world I was gifted these Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Sticks for Christmas and I was excited to try them out.

Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Sticks Review Swatch

Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Sticks Review Swatch

Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Sticks Review Swatch

Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Sticks Review Swatch

When I first set my eyes on this set in Boots and asked Santa for it for Christmas I was under the impression that these were lip crayons and on Christmas Day when I tried these out I was surprised to find that wasn't the case. If I'd read the name properly I would have realised these were gloss sticks but at  first it seemed so strange to me applying what I thought was a lip crayon and coming away with glossy lips with a hint of colour.

After some time adjusting and wearing these out a bit more I've come to really like these gloss sticks. They are much easier to apply that normal lip gloss due to the fact they are in a crayon form. You can have more precision and the formula means the gloss glides on nicely. At present I've only tried the middle called 'Plum Jam' which I really like as it gives a subtle red colour to my lips. I can't wait to see what the other two are like.

These three colours are available at Boots for £8.00 each.

Have you tried these before?

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

#bakerstmeet blogger meet up!

After the #bbloggers chat on Sunday I was inspired to try and organise a blogger meet up in the North! Monday I started looking for a venue, Tuesday I thought about exciting things to do and today I have the final plan!

When? Sunday 23rd March, 1pm.

Where? A cafe called The Baker Street Kitchen in Middlesbrough. The cafe will still be open to the public but I am reserving a section for 16! If you haven't heard of the Baker Street Kitchen already it is a lovely trendy eatery that just opened the end of last year. I have done a review of it here if you want to see a few pictures.

What? The meet up is for beauty bloggers locally (or from further afield) to get to meet each other and have some cake!

Additional to this I have asked the lovely Tara from Tara's Talons (an online indie nail polish shop) to come along to show us her polishes and talk to us about how she makes them.

On top of this I have another special treat! I have been in touch with Lush Middlesbrough and they have said that after our meet in the cafe we can venture down to their shop for demos, a talk and to make fresh face masks!

I am really excited for this meet up and I hope you all really want to come along! As I've said about I have only 16 spaces, 14 when you count me and Tara, so you have to be quick to get signed up! I will have a reservation list in case anyone drops out.

Either drop me an email at or tweet me @danniannie if you want to come. If you are coming the hashtag I've created is #bakerstmeet!

Moments that Mattered 2013

2013 was a year that started off well but gradually went a bit downhill. I've never had a year quite like it and I want to go onward and upward and enjoy life to its fullest. Although there were some downs in 2013 there were definitely a lot of ups.

The most obvious moment that mattered in 2013 was that I started Gingerbread Smiles. I didn't think that when I started my blog it would create such a platform for me to meet new people, take part in new opportunities and improve my confidence. I started this blog on July 21st on a whim not really thinking much would come from it. I'm really happy that I've continued to keep my blog going and get it where it is now. I'm really proud of the time and effort that I have put into Gingerbread Smiles and I hope my readers enjoy it as much as I do!

Moments that Mattered 2013 Gingerbread Smiles

Secondly myself and my boyfriend went on our first holiday abroad together to Italy. We spent 5 days in Florence and then 2 in Pisa. Florence was the most gorgeous place I've ever been. Having only been to beach resorts in the past it was lovely to find that no-one wanted to bother you on the streets and you were left to wander. I felt safe on the streets in Florence and it was so clean! We went in August for my birthday and it was unbelievably hot but we still managed to walk around all over to take in the amazing sights. There is so much to see in Florence, I would highly recommend it. After our 5 days in Florence were up we took the train to Pisa to see the leaning tower and stayed until we got the plane home the next day. This was the best holiday I've been on and I can't wait for more to come!

Moments that Mattered 2013 Gingerbread Smiles

Another of the moments that mattered from 2013 would be planning and pulling off a huge week long event at work. This was the most stressful thing I've ever done in my life which had me worrying every day but I also think it was the most rewarding. The event was to celebrate 50 years since Tees Dock opened and the week included three dinners for long serving existing and ex-employees, two educational days for local schools, one family fun day and one stakeholder event. All these events took place in one marquee at the dock that had to be changed internally each day to fit the different event. When the week was in full swing I was so happy that people were enjoying themselves and it felt good to know that I'd been a part of making that possible.

Moments that Mattered 2013 Gingerbread Smiles

Of course there were a lot of other good and bad moments that mattered in 2013 but I think these are the three that stand out to me. It's lovely to have a look back over the good parts of my year and see what I have achieved. I can't wait to see what 2014 will bring!

I've written this to be entered in She Might Be Loved's blog competition with Lloyd's Bank.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Ideas for a potential new house

Last week me and my boyfriend starting looking into buying a house a little more seriously. We've booked an appointment with a financial advisor and even went on our first house viewing. All very serious and very exciting. I'm not sure if this is just a girl thing (as Matt has no interest in this for now...) but as I've looked more into houses I have been thinking more and more about how I want different rooms of the house to be decorated. Now we don't have an endless budget so whatever I pick may just be a dream but I think there is always some way you can get what you want. I've been trailing pinterest looking for ideas for the house and below are a few of my favourite picks!


Interior Design Home Ideas Kitchen

In the kitchen I am really a fan of large 'brick sized' tiles as a back splash although I am not sure what colour I'd go for. As well as this I want my kitchen to be slightly grunge and would love some exposed lighting like the second picture. Lastly I have to have some creative storage in my kitchen. At home I hate having to rummage through the cupboards to find what I want. I need some clever ways to store things that makes them easily accessible.

Living Room

Interior Design Home Ideas Living Room Lounge

For the living room I am really keen on a sort of retro vibe to it with clean lines and a sofa like the one in the third picture (although I don't know how comfy that would be). I am in love with having a photo frame wall, whether this be in the living room or going up the stairs. Finally I would like to think that we could have some quirky up-cycled items in our house just like this cool coffee table in the second picture.


Interior Design Home Ideas Bathroom

I'd like to keep the bathroom quite clean and white, maybe with some sort of accent colour, I'm not too sure on that. What I am sure about is that I need lots of clever storage! The amount of beauty and shower products we have between us is quite substantial so we would need some interesting and sensible places to store it all.


Interior Design Home Ideas Bedroom

The bedroom is the room in which I have the least ideas. I want the bedroom to be somewhere that we both like so I don't want it to be girly but I also don't want it to be cold and masculine. I want something very bright, maybe slightly retro with a few bold colours but most of it clean and white. I'll have to get approval off the boyfriend first though ;)

What do you think? Any ideas that you like? Do you have any house posts? Link me!

> To see how our bedroom, bathroom and living room actually turned out click the links! 

Monday, 20 January 2014

Manicure Monday - Gorgeous Gradient

I think I've fallen in love with this combination. I keep looking at my nails because the base polish with the glitter works so well and they look so glamorous!

Glitter Gradient Nail Art - OPI, Avon, China Glaze

Glitter Gradient Nail Art - OPI, Avon, China Glaze

Glitter Gradient Nail Art - OPI, Avon, China Glaze

Glitter Gradient Nail Art - OPI, Avon, China Glaze

Glitter Gradient Nail Art - OPI, Avon, China Glaze

Glitter Gradient Nail Art - OPI, Avon, China Glaze

For my manicure I've used OPI - Every Month is Oktoberfest, China Glaze - Champagne Kisses and Avon Color Trend - Gold Flecked. To create this manicure I used two coats of Every Month is Oktoberfest which I have fallen in love with. It is a dark sheer red/purple colour which looks so deep and shimmery.

When this is dry I applied a blob of Champagne Kisses at the bottom of the nail then wiped the brush on the bottle to be able to drag the glitter up the nail. Over this glitter I used Gold Flecked to add larger pieces of glitter.

I'm really impressed with my first glitter gradient attempt as the colours work so well together.

Do you like? Will you try this?

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Downtown, everything's waiting for you

Whilst waiting for my sister to finish picking her Christmas presents from the MAC stand in House of Fraser I browsed the perfumes. One of the employees spritzed this perfume on a piece of paper for me to smell. After that I decided that this is what I wanted for Christmas. I don't know how many of you have chosen a perfume that an employee has handed you but this was a first for me!

Calvin Klein Fragrance, Down Town Review

Calvin Klein Fragrance, Down Town Review

I like to change my perfumes up quite a bit so I asked for the smaller version of this which is 30ml. The Perfume shop's description of Downtown is "The fragrance opens with bright top notes of Italian cedrat, bergamot and Tunisian neroli. For the middle notes, a contrast of pink peppercorn dusted over violet leaf and gardenia petals enhances the feminine sophistication. A dry down of Texan cedarwood with touches of incense, vetiver and warm velvet musks leaves an unmistakable, confident and sensual attitude".

To me this smells quite fresh which I like but it also has quite a musky undertone. I'm not really one to wear musky perfumes as I like fruity and sweet perfumes but this isn't too strong. I like to wear Downtown on a day time as I don't think it is a full on fancy night time fragrance but more of light perfume. As you can tell I am not very good at describing fragrances but I hope you will take a chance when you are out and see if you like this too.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Little changes you can make

First of all let me say I am no means an expert on this stuff but I've done some research and I'm a believer in all these tips.

I've been seeing lots and lots and lots of resolution posts and many people saying they are starting their healthy eating this month. To help you all meet your goals I've put together 4 tips that are small ways to change your lifestyle and improve your health. Most of my tips were inspired by clean eating, made most famous by Tosca Reno.

Healthy Changes you can make

1. Water is your best friend.

Drinking water to most people feels a lot like a chore and it is not hard to see why most people don't drink enough. Water has so many health benefits which is understandable as we are made of 50-60% water! To ensure we are our best selves inside and out (hello beautiful skin) we need to keep hydrated. 

It is recommended that woman drink 1.6 litres of water a day and men slightly higher at 2 litres. A lot of people might look at these numbers and think they are unattainable. Try thinking of it like this... The average office usually has a water cooler with plastic cups that are around 0.25 litres. In order to reach your target of 1.6 litres in a day you have to drink 6 and a half glasses in those cups. If you work for 8 hours a day and you try to have a cup one every hour it is pretty easy to meet!

If you don't have a water machine then how about this... Purchase a 500ml water bottle and drink 3 of these and an extra 5th of the bottle to meet the daily recommendation. If you are struggling to pick up your water bottle and drink how about setting yourself time limits. For example I will drink 2 cups or 1 full bottle by 10am.

Healthy Changes you can make

2. Eat good carbs.

Carbs, we love them, but we hate them. We all need carbs in our life for energy and if you were to think of carbs you'd probably think: potatoes, white bread, pasta, white rice and crisps. Many diets insist on cutting out carbs all together but we all know that when the diet is over and we can eat carbs again the weight goes back on instantaneously. 

I'm going to let you in on a well know secret (that you may not know about) - there are such things as good carbs. They give you energy not sugar rushes, provide you with vitamins and minerals rather than sugar and chemicals and most of all they don't make you pile on the pounds like bad carbs do.

To make the change from bad to good you can start by replacing these popular items. Instead of white bread eat whole meal, instead of rice or pasta have quinoa, brown rice or wholegrain pasta. instead of normal potatoes try sweet potatoes (these can be mash, roasted or made into chips and wedges) and most importantly don't eat ready meals, cook with real ingredients and lots of veg! By making some of these small changes you will see a difference in your weight and also how you feel. Try this website for more info.

3. Limit yourself but don't cut yourself off completely!

I think this point is really important. Everyone is human, we all enjoy a treat and we don't want to be saying no to ourselves all the time. If you want something, have it but don't go overboard. Instead of making yourself sick on a large bar of chocolate, have a few pieces and save the rest for later. Be sensible!

4. Drink less caffeine.

This may be difficult for all of you coffee lovers out there but you should really consider cutting back on caffeine. Caffeine is mildly addictive, can stimulate your nervous system which increases heart rate and blood pressure, can interfere with iron absorption and can irritate your stomach causing headaches and insomnia(web MD + Caffeine informer). Not really what I want from my morning drink...

I'm not saying cut out tea, coffee and fizzy drinks altogether because lets face it I couldn't live without a cup of tea and some biscuits. There are many decaffeinated versions of our favourite drinks on the market. Nescafe, Tetleys, Yorkshire Tea, Twinings, Starbucks and Coke all offer decaffeinated versions of your favourites. Now I can't speak for coffee as I don't drink it but for me caffeinated and decaffeinated tea taste the same! Try changing and see if you feel any different!

In my eyes these 4 things are relatively easy to alter but for you it maybe be harder. If you push yourself to achieve these I think you'll feel much better.

Any questions, or maybe conflicting arguments please feel free to comment. I am only trying to suggest some healthy lifestyle changes that I have seen so many apply.


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Fairy Godmother, Lush Soap Review

Whilst shopping in Lush with mum, she picked up a soap that I'd never heard of called Godmother. When I smelt it I wanted it, but so did Mum! It went in her basket but she has cut it in half so I can have some too.


Godmother shares the same scent as the Snow Fairy Shower Gel (which I've only just realised after looking at the site) which is very sweet but I don't think it is as sickly as the shower gel. It's a deep purple colour. When you use this soap its very delicate, it doesn't foam much but it spreads well and my hands feel clean after using. The scent lingers on your hands for a while after which is gorgeous!

I've never tried one of Lush's soaps before this but I can't wait to use the others that I've purchased.


Monday, 13 January 2014

Manicure Monday - Pink and Sparkly

Today's manicure Monday is full of pink and glitter with a little bit of a nail art thrown in for good measure.






The pink base polish I've used is a Kiko nail polish I bought from Florence in the Summer and the glitter is a Nicole by OPI polish (Haley Good Lookin'). This is the first Nicole polish that I own which was a great pick by a colleague that I received for Christmas.

I used some striping take to create lines in the glitter. Next time I think I'll do the glitter first and then the pink polish to create cleaner more defined lines. I love the pink and the glitter together as it is very girly!

What do you think?
© gingerbread smiles.

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