Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Budget Buys | Sheinside holiday edition

So far I've done quite well to avoid holiday shopping for our travels to Thailand and Cambodia this Summer. I've bought the essentials - backpack, mini towels, mini beauty essentials and all the boring stuff too - travel insurance, jabs (yesterday…and my arms are still sore?!), and most importantly flights! Although I have a fairly full wardrobe I do want to buy a few bits to take away with me, mainly things that can pack down small and lightly. I've heard of Sheinside through the blogging grapevine, and a lot of the outfit posts I've been reading recently and have lusted after have had Sheinside clothes featured. For this week's budget buy series I've made 3 wish lists for 3 different holiday occasions - airport and lounging around, on the beach and exploring, and relaxed evening wear. 

{Airport and lounging}
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

{On the beach and exploring}
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 

{Evenings out}
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Have you bought anything from Sheinside recently? If so, link me to your blog post/pictures - I'd be interested to hear what the sizing comes up like too! 

Monday, 14 April 2014

Review | ilumi

A couple of months ago I won a competition on Twitter to win 4 new meals from ilumi. I'd never heard of ilumi before, but now I am well and truly addicted! Being intolerant to gluten, wheat and dairy,  eating can be extremely difficult. Restaurants and shops are getting a lot better at it (Sainsburys being my favourite food shop with their free from range, and Pizza Express' gluten free bases for eating out!), but there was still a gap in the market for convenient and tasty home cooked meals. Since winning my trial meals, I've since placed 2 huge orders, and so far I haven't been disappointed. I'm going to review my favourites from the range...

- A little too spicy for me, but I am a wimp. I've found with a few of the ilumi meals so far, that although they are delicious, they are also a little too spicy. Still, this meal is very tasty and has a nice mixture of ingredients. 7/10 - 

- The first meal I tried, but by far my favourite - I could eat this every day. Admittingly, when I first poured it out of the packet, it didn't look very appealing, but if you can get over that then you will love it. A rich texture and flavour with chicken that crumbles as you pick it up. 10/10 - 

- Another firm favourite. The perfect comfort meal. I find this filling enough for a lunch time, but a bigger size would be needed for dinner. Full of flavour, with that delicious crumbling chicken - I don't know how ilumi cook their meat, but it is done to perfection. 9/10 -

- I had high hopes for this meal. Chinese food is my absolute favourite - when I'm getting a takeaway I normally stick to egg fried rice and chicken with vegetables cooked plain to avoid any gluten, wheat or dairy. I wanted to give this a try to see if it was possible to get that takeaway taste at home! Sadly, this meal was far too spicy for me. I ate as much as I could but I couldn't actually taste anything other than the spice, and ended up having to throw it away. The rice was lovely and took away a little of the hotness - maybe I'm just a wimp! 2/10 - 

- I had a few of these put in my order, and again they are really great tasty meals for on the go. The chicken was really tender and came apart delicately. The tomato tasting sauce compliments it well - I had this with pasta one day when I was super hungry and it went really well! 8/10 - 

Due to being a recent meat-eater again (I was vege for 10 years!) I haven't ventured into trying another of the other meaty meals - but I am tempted. ilumi regularly run amazing deals - £10 off, free meals when you spend a certain amount, etc. Follow them on Twitter @ilumiworld for more info - you won't be disappointed!

Let me know if you've tried ilumi before - what shall I try next?

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Budget Buys | Bags

 {Bags Under £15}
1 2 3 4 
5 6 7 8 

I don't think I will ever have enough handbags in my life. Here are some beautiful bargain finds for you this week - let me know if you treat yourself to anything in the comments below or on twitter @katiestylesblog

Friday, 21 March 2014

Hillarys Blinds Competition | Part 2

As promised, here is the second part of my DIY creations for the Hillarys Blinds Competition!

{The Pin Board}

- This is one my favourite and easiest DIY creations to make. My walls in my university house were covered in these, they look brilliant on blank walls and are useful if you want to change the decor in your house, but don't want to do something as permanent as painting! Firstly you need to pick up a cheap corkboard (Wilkinsons have these, as do office stores and The Range). Next you need to brush on a layer on paint, leave to dry then add another layer. Don't worry about being neat - as you can see I got the paint inside of the frame, but that will be covered. Then distress as we did in blog post 1 (with the footstool) - 

- This is where I had to become a little more creative due to the lack of fabric I had left. Normally I would simply fill the whole of this cork board with a sheet of fabric or paper (wallpaper looks great too) to fit, but as I didn't have enough I had to fold the fabric in half and put it on lengthways. This part is very simple, all you need to do is get a wall stapler, fold over the edges of the fabric so the frayed edge doesn't show and staple as neatly as possible to the edge of the frame. These staples will hardly show with this fabric, although you may want to glue or find a cork board that comes away from the frame if you have a lighter fabric or paper - 

- And there it is. All ready to pin jewellery, cards, notes, or whatever you fancy onto! - 

{The Heart Garland} 

- For my last little DIY (I told you I wanted to use every scrap of fabric up!), I decided to make this very simple little heart garland. I started by cutting little heart shapes out of paper, pining them on to the fabric scraps and cutting around neatly using fabric scissors. I added a little Fray Check (this stuff is a lifesaver) to the edges - 

- I then doubled up some embroidery thread, and sewed through the hearts with varying gaps between them. You could also try this with different shapes or letters and I think it would make a very cute cake topper like this one here -

So there you have it - my four little DIY ideas!

A BIG thank you to Hillarys for allowing me to take part in this competition, and to Caroline's lovely blog for alerting me to it! The prize is absolutely amazing and I would love to win, but I think the biggest prize I have got from this comp (que cheesy music) is that it's relighted my love for all things DIY and 'Make Do and Mend' and I now want to make over my entire room!

Good Luck to everyone that has entered - send me your links and let me know if you try any of the DIY's out!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Hillarys Blinds Competition | Part 1

When I heard about this competition from Caroline (Burkatron), I knew I had to get involved. It's been a while since I got out the sewing machine and DIY'ed anything. For old readers - you may remember I had a blog called 'Guilt Free Fashion' as part of my FMP at uni, where I recycled lots of clothes and handmade items. I've really started to miss making things recently, so this competition couldn't have come at a better time.

As part of the competition rules I chose the Calluna Amethyst fabric, a cream and purple material that looks like it's been swatched with paint, and received a huge sample piece of 100 x 100cm. I already had a few ideas in mind - and I knew that I couldn't stick to just making one piece - the fabric is far too pretty for that!

I managed to make a grand total of 4 DIY items out of the fabric, and I am going to re-create them step by step so you too can make these quick and simple homemade items! Here are the first two pieces (the second two will follow very shortly!)

{The Foot Stall}

- Firstly, find a footstool (you may already have one in the house) I picked this one up from a charity shop a few years ago for around £5. You can easily pick one up in a charity shop or at a boot fair fairly cheaply. I hadn't even realised that the pink velvet covering wasn't the original! - 

- The footstool had amazing feet, but I knew the brown varnish wouldn't go too well with the fabric. To distress wood like this simply sand down the wood using around 60 grit sandpaper. I then painted one layer of white paint, left it to dry, then painted another layer -

- When the paint had dried I took the same sandpaper and lightly sanded down random bits of the feet. I focused on the detailing around the top to add definition - 

- I then laid the fabric down to see how much I would have to use to cover the footstool completely. Next, I flipped the footstool over so that the fabric was underneath and began folding it round, stapling with a wall stapler as I went. I wasn't neat at this stage, until it came to folding around the feet where I ended up folding the edges like a present! -

- Ta da! My first finished piece. I absolutely love the look and now want to distress every piece of furniture in my house! - 

{The Plant Pot} 

- The plant pot DIY was a little addition I knew I wanted to make as I think they look great. I simply cut a strip of fabric long and wide enough to fit around the plant pot (picked up for 50p from Wilkinson), then smothered glue (suitable for all materials) all around. I then rolled the plant pot along the fabric, pushing down to make sure it was stuck properly, as I went - 

- I added little snips along the top and bottom of the fabric to make sure that it fitted correctly without too much overlapping, then got glueing - piling it underneath and on top of the fabric to make sure it was stuck down firmly - 

- Leave to try, and add your plant, make up brushes or whatever you would like to store in the pot. I think these would make great gifts! - 

There you have it - my first 2 DIY pieces - what do you think?!
Make sure to check out my second part of the DIY Competition, coming soon!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Budget Buys: Mothers Day

{From Left to Right} 
£5 & Under: 1 2 3 4 5 
 £10 & Under: 6 7 8 9 10 
 £15 & Under: 11 12 13 14 15
£20 & Under: 16 17 18 19 20
 £25 & Under: 21 22 23 24 25

A little something for everyone's budget this Mother's Day.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Superdry Beauty Collective

*Superdry Beauty Collective: £25 available here

Hands up if you didn't know Superdry did beauty! I've always thought of Superdry as the cosy jumper, joggers, jackets sort of brand. That's until the 'Beauty Collective' bag turned up on my doorstep. A lovely little neon zip up beauty bag, filled with fuchsia pink polish, a Superdry branded nail file, black eyeliner with smudger on the end, pink lipgloss, and an eyeshadow duo. I think this would make the perfect gift for teenagers or those going on a trip - filled with all the essentials you need plus extra room for mascara, foundation and blusher. I tried them all and here's what I thought:

Polish & Nail File: There's not a huge amount I can say about the nail file - apart from that it makes a nice addition to the bag and I love the branding! The polish went on well with 2 coats - and made a lovely fuchsia pink. It's a good all rounder shade that goes with everything.

Lipgloss: I'm in two minds about the lipgloss. I'm not a huge lipgloss fan, however I liked the fact that you twist to get the product out - meaning no wasted product - and the sheer pink colour that it provided. Downside was the stickiness - and one of the main reasons why I don't like gloss!
Eyeliner: Again, I'm not a huge kohl liner fan, however, I do use it for defining underneath the eye, and the smudger on the opposite is brilliant for this - I like a 2 in 1 product!

Eyeshadow: The eyeshadow duo was my favourite part of this set - the design is brilliant and perfect to keep in your bag - a twist out pot meaning no mess, and easy to use. The colour was good and pretty well pigmented. It's a creamy shadow, meaning you can blend well with a nice shimmer. I will definitely be using this in the future.

Have you ever tried Superdry's beauty collection? Let me know what you thought!

*Disclaimer: This product was sent to me by Superdry, however, all opinions are my own* 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Budget Buys: Stationary

{From Left to Right}
Under £2: 1 2 3 4 5 
Under £5: 6 7 8 9 10
Under £10: 11 12 13 14 15
Under £15: 16 17 18 19 20

Another one of my favourite treats for this weeks Budget Buys series - Stationary! I am officially addicted, and can never resist picking up cute little bits and pieces when I see them. So what if I've got 50 pencils and 20 notebooks - they're practical - right?!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Recipe | Homemade gluten, wheat and dairy free pizza

Fancy a takeaway without the cost? Try this super easy Pizza Express style homemade pizza and garlic. Best of all it's gluten free, wheat free, dairy free and can be made vegan or vegetarian - guilt free comfort cooking at it's best.

You Will Need (Makes 2 individual pizzas & 1 garlic bread):

For the base:
I used the recipe from here - my go to website for lovely freefrom recipes! I've tripled it for the sake of this recipe.
330g Gluten free self raising flour - I use Doves
3/4 tsp Xantham Gum
3 tbsp Olive Oil
Around 20 tbsp Warm Water
A couple of pinchs of salt

For the topping (omit meat to make vegan/veggie):
Dairy free cheese - I use Tesco's
65g x chopped pancetta
4 x mini chicken breast fillets
1/4 x red pepper
4 x mushrooms
2 tbsp x tomato puree
3 x artichokes (from a jar)
handful of spinach
sprinkle of salt, pepper and garlic

For the garlic bread:
Use the same base recipe as above
1 x tbsp dairy-free butter - I use Pure
1 x tbsp garlic powder
Dairy-free cheese


Firstly make the base. Preheat the oven to 200c:
1: In a large bowl mix together the flour, xantham gum, salt & oil. Add in water bit by bit and mix until you have a nice dough. The original recipe states a bit less water, but I always find I need more.
2:  Split the mixture into 3, and roll each bit into a ball, using your hands.
3: Place the dough in-between 2 pieces of cling film, and roll out using a rolling pin - making sure the dough doesn't go too thin or it will split.
4: Heat a frying pan on high, and add the pizza bases (1 at a time) until the bottom is slightly browned on one side.

Now on to the topping:
1: Add tomato puree onto 2 of the pizza bases and spread evenly.
2: Cut the chicken into small chunks and cook gently with the pancetta in a lightly oiled frying pan. Add a little salt, pepper and garlic for seasoning. Once cooked, spread over the pizza bases.
2: Chop the artichokes, mushrooms and red pepper and add on to the pizza bases.
3: Add spinach, and a generous helping of dairy-free cheese.

And finally the garlic bread:
1: Add 1/2 tbsp of dairy-free butter into a bowl, and melt in the microwave for around 15 seconds.
2: Once melted, mix in the garlic powder.
3: Take your last pizza base, and spread the garlic/butter mix over evenly.
4: Add grated dairy-free cheese.

Place each pizzas on a couple of baking trays and bake for 12-15 minutes in the oven.

I also made this recipe with a different topping and mozzarella cheese for my dairy eating boyfriend! 

For pudding, homemade gluten, wheat and dairy free cupcakes! 

Enjoy! Let me know if you decide to make this recipe, I love hearing your comments!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Budget Buys: Candles & Cushions

This week's Budget Buy post is a little different. I was pondering about what bargains to find for you, and I thought - why not blog about two of my favourite things?! Candles and cushions!

I am really bad for wanting to buy every pretty candle I see, and the same goes for cushions. My bed is filled with them. But as I am trying not spend at the moment, I'm here to enable you instead. Enjoy…

Under £5 - 1 2 3 4 5 
Under £10 - 6 7 8 9 10


Under £10 - 1 2 3 4 5
Under £20 - 6 7 8 9 10

1 and 10 are actually cushion covers, but you can pick up cushions very cheap in places like Wilkinson!

As usual, let me know if you buy anything!