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What I've Been Loving #48

Wednesday, February 10, 2016
An oldie but a goodie, this palette is perfect for everyday use. As you can see, I've made quite a dent in perhaps my favourite colour of the lot - Kalahari I, which is a cool-toned taupe brown from the Kalahari Eyeshadow Duo. The whole palette is great; the darker colours, Night Clubbing and Coconut Grove, are super pigmented and make for a great eyeliner, and the matte taupe, Bellisima II, works well on my eyebrows. The palette has been rereleased since I purchased this, but although it looks different, the shades are all the same but in a different order! Along with the palette, you also get a sample size of the Pro-Prime Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base, as well as a travel size Wide Contour Brush #43 - it's quite a deal.

Maybelline Master Drama Eyeliners in Brownie Glitz, Rose Pearl, and Pearly Taupe (£4.49):
Whilst browsing the aisles of Boots the other day - as one does - I stumbled across some amazing eyeliners from Maybelline that have, quite frankly, blown my mind. The apply really smoothly because they have such a creamy texture, but they dry within the minute and, once set, are unmovable. Seriously - their staying power is unreal. Plus, they come is some really pretty colours.

MAC Cremeblend Blush in Lilicent [LE] (£18.50):
Although I've never been a huge fan of cream blushes, for some reason Lilicent screamed to be worn the other day and I was reminded just how gorgeous it is. Although MAC cream blushes appear to have quite a thick and sticky texture, they are actually pretty easy to work with, and this particular shade really compliments my paler complexion. I'm a big fan.

What have you been loving lately? 
x

Isobel Cooks: Oat, Pear and Raspberry Loaf

Monday, February 8, 2016
The other day we spoke about some killer sportswear that I've been donning lately, and today I've decided to balance all of that healthiness out with one of my absolute favourite recipes. So, not only do I want to promote a healthy, balanced lifestyle to my lovely readers (!) but I also think that everyone's Monday can stand to be brightened, and what better way to do that than to present you with a gorgeous cake-like recipe? Now, this is by no means my own recipe - it's a recipe from Bill Granger's 'Bill's Open Kitchen' that I have cooked a bunch of times though usually I end up winging a bit so feel free to experiment a bit! I hope you enjoy it... 

INGREDIENTS:

For the topping:
(you may need more or less of this depending on preference, but it's easy to make!)
18 g (1/8 cup) rolled old-fashioned oats
28 g (1/8 cup) brown sugar
1 tablespoon plain all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of chilled butter, cut into small pieces
For the loaf:
100 g (1 cup) rolled oats
375 ml (1 cup) boiling water
150g (5.5oz) unsalted butter, diced
115g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
55g (1/4 cup) fine granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
185g (1.5 cups) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tin of tinned pears (you probably won't need them all, just add as desired)
120g (1 cup) raspberries, fresh or frozen

Method:

For the topping:
Add all of the ingredients for the topping into a bowl, and rub the butter into the oats, sugar, and flour until you produce a crumble-like texture. Set to the side.
For the loaf:
1. Preheat your oven to 180 c and prepare the topping by using the instructions above.
2. Place the oats in a bowl and add the boiling water, putting them to the side to soak.
3. Cream the butter and sugar until creamy. 
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to mix well after each addition.
5. Add the vanilla extract.
6. Combine the salt, flour, and baking soda and sift it into the mix. 
7. Drain the oats before adding them to the mix as well. Fold them in.
8. Spread 1/3 of the mixture into a greased/non-stick loaf pan, and add a layer of both fruits on top. 
9. Add the second third and repeat with the fruit (use as much or as little as you want - this may require a bit of experimentation!)
10. Add the final layer of the mixture, making sure to cover all of the fruit layer. Sprinkle with the previously prepared topping (again, amount used is up to personal preference)
11. Bake for approximately 1 hour 20 minutes - the centre should still be slightly gooey but only just.
12. Leave to cool, and enjoy with a nice cup of tea!

So, there you have it! A scrumptious and easy recipe that'll see you through 'till the weekend! Let me know if you end up trying it - I'd love to hear what you think of it!

I x

An M&S Gym Haul

Friday, February 5, 2016
Some fancy new fitness wear from M&S
Along with a whole bunch of others out there, my new years 'resolutions' included something health/fitness related, which in turn prompted me to feel an instant need to refresh my workout wardrobe. Lucking, M&S is doing its job right and released a brand spankin' new fitness line that coincided with this nation-wide need to hit the gym following a flurry of post-Christmas guilt. Despite the more 'mature' image that M&S is often perceived to have, they have been a long time favourite of mine for all sorts of bits because their products are always extremely well made, affordable, and easily accessible - all qualities that my newly acquired gym wear possesses. 

Some fancy new fitness wear from M&S
This Girl Can shirts - link, Grey joggers - link, Black joggers - link, This Girl Can hoodie - link, Sports bra set - link
A lot of the stuff I picked out was made in collaboration with the This Girl Can campaign, not only because it makes me feel all sassy and motivated, but also because it's a great campaign that celebrates and motivates active women. This stuff is seriously comfy, and dare I say it... stylish. There's honestly nothing that gets me more in the mood to kick some ass than slipping into some brand new gym gear. I don't know what it is, but as soon as I put on the new hoodie I purchased, I feel all streamlined and ready to take on the world, one squat at a time. It's all well and good going to the gym, but if you've got some old, five-year-old t-shirt with holes in it on then you're much less likely to get revved up to have a great workout, don't you agree? 

Where is your favourite place to buy gym wear? What do you think of M&S's new line? Let me know!

I x

recently...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Exploring my city:

Having some time living at home whilst I sort my shit out has meant that I've had a lot more time and freedom to explore my hometown. Although I was born in the outskirts of London, I moved away when I was only eight years old, so there's still so much about London that I don't know, so many places yet to explore. The other week, whilst trying to fill my days, I dragged my Mum up on the train to The City and made my inaugural trip to the Museum of London to see an exhibition called The Crime Museum Uncovered, which takes a look at never-before publicised objects from the Metropolitan Police's Crime Museum, some of which date back to its establishment in the late 1800's. It was quite a small exhibition, but interesting nonetheless! Afterwards, we did a little shopping and indulged in a spot of lunch before getting back on the train at London Cannon Street. Despite the fact that I know little pockets of London like the back of my hand, it still amazes me just how much I have yet to explore, and planning little day trips like this is exactly the right way to go about it - I can't wait until my next one!

Getting the creative juices flowing:

My blog has really been playing on my mind recently; I've concluded that I either need to really dive into the process of reorganising (and possibly rebranding) this space, or continue as I am, sulking over my static, uninspiring existence. No matter how much you deny it, there does seem to be a certain 'winning formula' to creating a successful online presence; I don't necessarily agree with it, but if I need to follow some of the guidelines set out by my predecessors, then that's what I'm going to do. However, I would rather sit here as I am than give up my individuality, so I plan to counteract whatever changes I decide to make to get Isobel Rose growing again with even more personality - we'll see how that goes... Basically, I need to kick this shit into gear, so hopefully things will be changing around here soon!

Amsterdam, baby.

The 24th marked my little sister's 21st Birthday, and since everyone came to visit me for my 21st when I was living in Madrid, we decided to go on a little weekend away - she chose to visit Amsterdam. As a first-time visitor to the wonderful city that is Amsterdam, I was blown away by its architecture and its whimsical charm. The photographer in me went wild, amassing nearly 400 photos in the 3 days we spent there, of the picturesque canals and the quaint leaning houses that make up the centre of the city. Despite the wet and windy climate (not too dissimilar to the one I'd left at home...) I couldn't get enough of wandering the streets, exploring a city that felt completely alien and fascinating to me.  Above is one of the many, many photos that I snapped along the way, but I'm already drafting up a photo diary to publish on my travel blog, so I'll let you know when that's live so that you can nosey to your hearts content! 

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So, there you have it, that's what I've been getting up to recently! Do you like this kind of post? I'm currently in the process of trying to streamline my content, so any feedback is welcome! 

What have you been up to recently? Please, share below! 

I x

What moving around has taught me

Thursday, January 28, 2016

When you say the word ‘home’, many have a clear-cut image in their mind - whether it be cooking in the same kitchen with their mother as they have all their lives, the friends they’ve made in years gone by, or their favourite little coffee nook in their hometown. ‘So, where do you consider home?’ has been a question that have come up again and again throughout my lifetime, and one that I’ve never really been able to answer. See, I've moved around a bit and consider myself to be what is called a Third Culture Kid -  a term used to refer to children who were raised in a culture outside of their parents' for a significant part of their development years, which means that I've had more than my fair share of foreign experiences and challenges to deal with. A fellow TCK, Beth who writes Ginger N' Roses (the lovliest girl - you definitely need to follow her!) inspired me to write this post the second I saw her 'Behind the Blog' page. As hard as it might be to believe, that girl definitely trumps me when it comes to places lived in, and she has outlined similar lessons or realisations that she has gathered from the different countries along the way, which inspired me greatly to write out my own. Below I've outlined the countries I've been lucky enough to live in, when I was there, and a handful of lessons that each location has taught me - enjoy!

H o n g  K o n g : 
( D e c e m b e r  2 0 0 1  -  S e p t e m b e r  2 0 1 1 )

 That a huge mix of cultures, religions and traditions can exist together in complete harmony, and that said mix is incredible to be a part of. Seriously, growing up in that type of environment is incredible, and teaches you so much about the world and other people.
二 That I most definitely thrive in a city environment.
三 That you need to push to get on public transport, otherwise you'll be left in the dust. This tip has served me well on many occasions, in many locations worldwide. (Seriously, watch me get on a bus from Uni at 6pm!)
四 That no one, and I mean no one, makes iced tea like the Chinese
五 That the quality of service is just SO much higher in Asia (and boy do you pay for it!)

E n g l a n d : 
1 9 9 3  -  2 0 0 1 ,  2 0 1 1  -  2 0 1 3 ,  2 0 1 4  -  p r e s e n t )

One: That most of the stereotypes about the English are in fact true; we are (generally!) polite and gosh, we sure do like to talk about the weather.
Two: That there's nothing quite like the food you ate when you were young - Jammie Dodger anyone?
Three: That some of the most culturally diverse areas are some of the most fun to spend time in.
Four: That public transport costs in the UK are extortionate. I only had to pay €30 a month for the equivilant of an unlimited Oyster card in Madrid, and the MTR in HK (like the Tube) is rarely more than a couple of pounds. Don't even get me started on how cheap Russia was!!
Five: That no matter how much having a Monarchy seems to cause conflict, you can't argue with the sence of pride and patriotism that it gives you - god, I love the Queen!

R u s s i a : 
( S e p t e m b e r -  D e c e m b e r  2 0 1 3 )

Один: That -15c isn't really that cold if you've got the right clothes.
Два:  That it is indeed possible to live without eating any fruit or vegetables for 4 months, allthough it certainly isn't reccomended or even slightly healthy.
Три:  That no matter how uncomfortable or out of place you feel, you will always be able to adapt and fit in.
Читирие: That vodka has a million different uses, most of which are better than drinking it!
Пяать:  That cutomer service is certainly not universal, and the lack of can be quite hard to adjust to.

S p a i n : 
(F e b r u a r y  -  J u l y   2 0 1 4 ) 

Uno: That everything is done better in a group
Dos: That dinner should never be eaten before at least 8pm (preferably 9)
Tres: That you can't beat an ice cold glass of tinto de verano on a hot summer day.
Cuatro: That the relaxed way of life that many Spaniards enjoy is definitely one for me. (Although I do admit that it can become tiresome in certain situations!)
Cinco: That the only true way to learn a language is to live in a place that speaks it so that you can absorb all of the culture and the extra vocabulary that comes with it. Hand on my heart, my Spanish has never been as good as it was when I spent those glorious six months in Madrid.


I know I've been extremely lucky to be able to travel this much in my life, and that not everyone has had the same oppurtunities, but what have you learnt from your own country, and others if you've been abroad? Do you agree with any of the above observations? I'd love to get your opinions!

I x