Sunday, 29 July 2012

Casper & Co.'s Instaweek

Happy Sunday people! Hope your weeks have been happy and sunshine-filled. Enjoy the last few blissful hours of your weekend!  

 [Clarins everlasting foundation in Cream (Sarah's new best friend). Primrose Hill for a sunset picnic. Sunbathing view in Spain. Yorkshire countryside and pretty clouds - sometimes it's the simple things. Live for cake, Carnaby St Sequin Union Jack]

Natalie's Leeds Loot

Well, we promised you a glimpse of our new purchases from the recent trip to Leeds, and not wanting to let you down, here's Natalie's haul! Some beauties from Topshop, Miss Selfridge and one of Leeds' best vintage stores - Blue Rinse

Friday, 27 July 2012

Olympic Fever

Living in London, I have to admit that I have been slightly sucked into the pessimistic and shortsighted view of the olympics during the last few weeks.. All those tourists, nightmare commutes, impossible day-to-day routines... However, having been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Olympic torch on the final leg of its journey yesterday and my housemate's rather nifty London 2012 flag in our porch, I'm starting to appreciate the excitement gripping the nation. 

Now watching the Opening Ceremony, I have never been more proud to be British, or more excited to be living in London. I hope you're all supporting your teams and enjoying the festivities! 

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Casper & Co's Instaweek

A little late this week we'll admit, but lets blame too much of this lovely sunshine! Here is a little snippet of our week. Hope yours has been just as full of prettiness and sunny fun! 

[Quiche salad and beer for a hot day's work. Beautiful view of London in the distance. Rosewater cupcake, cappuccinos and vogue at primrose bakery. Standard issue summer ice lolly. Hazelnut ice-cream from Marine Ices in Chalk Farm. Picnic and summer nails on Primrose Hill] 

Liz Earle Product Review

A few weeks ago now I went to a Liz Earle at Home party hosted by a Liz Earle fanatic of a friend of mine. I've been waiting to post a review on this because, having struggled with my skin over the years, I know that skincare takes a while to work and there's no point raving about something one minute to find that it actually doesn't work so well after the honeymoon period. Now that I've been using the products for over a month (2 weeks before the party too), I feel I can rave away!

For starters, the party was great. Not only was the host friendly and knowledgeable, but you could try out a wide range of products and as much as you wanted. Knowing that the party isn't commission-based, it was a great environment to try things out and it even meant you were ready to flop into bed when you got home! All guests received 2 free muslin cloths and a free travel-size Cleanse & Polish™ Hot Cloth Cleanser to take home, and the host received a skincare package. And the best part? It costs you nothing!

On to the skincare itself...

In short, I am convinced that Liz Earle skincare is the way forward in the world of skincare. Having had problem skin for longer than I care to remember, I've grown tired of attacking my face with harsh chemical-based products and have been on the hunt for a natural and gentle solution that will work long-term. Having been through the standard tea tree and aloe vera cleansers, which were too alcohol-based and too gentle respectively, and having spent a small fortune on big brands like Clinique and Dermalogica, I've found that Liz Earle manages to offer a naturally powerful skincare regime that is affordable.

Before the party, I was using the Essentials Try-Me Kit (priced at £24.25, available at select John Lewis stores for £23.95), which is made up of the Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, Instant Boost Skin Tonic, moisturiser of your choice, Brightening Treatment Mask, and 2 muslin cloths. The Cleanse and Polish lasted 2 weeks, although I still have some of the moisturiser, toner and mask left over. At the party I purchased the June skincare essentials regime (priced at £41, including muslin cloths, a free full-size exfoliator and complimentary travel-size Deep Cleansing Mask with sponges in addition to full-size  cleanser, toner and moisturiser) and it has worked wonders. It might seem annoying to some to take the extra time to run the muslin cloth under hot water to gain the benefits from the hot cloth cleanse, but if you're low on time, you can always massage into dry skin before your shower and wash off in the shower. The smell of the products is also so nice that you feel as if you're giving your skin a treat every time - almost like having a mini spa experience. The  toner is very refreshing and the moisturiser really nourishes the skin without feeling too heavy (although you don't need much!), and is great at hydrating without greasing up.

I think it's fair to say I'm a happy bunny again when it comes to my skin and Liz Earle products are definitely worth the money - especially when you consider the freebies and complimentaries (you even get a complimentary if you go for a travel-size product). I'd definitely recommend this skincare to anyone, but particularly to those who have skin complaints and feel frustrated with everything that they've tried so far - because Liz Earle will change all that!
[Picture from]

Monday, 16 July 2012

Casper & Co.'s Instaweek

The best bits of our week in 6 pictures for laughs, a bit of drooling and something a little out of the ordinary. We will be normally be bringing you this feature every Sunday, so enjoy!
[Sarah getting some affection from Winston bunny. Alphabet block sculpture at Festival Hall on London Southbank. Nat's mid-week nail painting fun. Quote on a pink playhouse in Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Crazy sheep happily rolling around. Banana and strawberry pancakes drizzled with honey on a sunny Sunday morning]

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Not-So-Naughty Treats

This week, in fact in a mere few hours, I am leaving the tempestuous and erratic English weather behind and flying away for 7 days of sunnier, and much more reliable weather. Excited as I am to give my under-used summer wardrobe an outing in the Spanish sunshine, like most of us, the thought of bikini season does install a slight niggle in my mind.

Not one to crash diet, I prefer a healthier approach of tasty, filling, but low-calorie meals in the run up to the summer months. So here are a couple of my most recent recipes that have been keeping me happy.

Carrot, Red Lentil and Tomato Soup

So easy to make, filling and you can make enough for a few lunches! All you need is a pan and either a blender or a hand-held pulser. This does around 4-5 reasonably sized bowls of soup.

1 cup of dried red lentils
4 carrots (grated)
1 onion (finely chopped)
1 Tin of Chopped Tomato
Chilli flakes
1 pint vegetable stock

Fry the onion in a frying pan on a medium heat until they being to soften. Add the grated carrots and leave to soften for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock (make sure it's hot so the temperature of the pan doesn't lower) and the lentils. Add a tsp of cumin and 1 1/2 tsp chilli flakes, and some salt and pepper to season.

Leave to simmer on a low heat for around 20 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. Add the chopped tomatoes and take off the heat. Blend until smooth and voila.. a tasty, filling and delicious soup!

Warm Greek Salad
This little beauty is a perfect alternative to your classic salad. And warm salads are always a great transitional dish for those days when the weather isn't quite sure what it's doing! This is a perfect side dish for 4, or if you're having a full meal then split between 2 of you.

3 courgettes
6 medium-large tomatoes
200g feta cheese or a low fat greek salad cheese alternative
Basil or parsley pesto
Fresh basil

Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees.

Chop the tomatoes roughly, not too small, and put into a large oven proof dish. Take 2 tbsp of your pesto and stir it into the tomatoes. Tear up a handful of basil leaves and scatter them over the top.

Slice the courgettes into roughly 0.5cm slices and heat up a griddle pan (you can use a very lightly oiled frying pan if you're without a griddle). Griddle (or dry fry) the sliced courgettes until they are slightly browned on each side. They don't need to be completely cooked through.

Once all your courgettes are browned, layer them on top of the basil and tomatoes and drizzle a bit more pesto over the top.

Crumble the feta cheese through your fingers so that it's scattered over the courgettes. (This recipe is great because you can literally throw everything in!)

Pop the dish in the oven for 10 minutes, lightly warming it. After 10 minutes, switch the grill onto a medium heat and brown the edges of the feta.

Serve up with some crusty bread or antipasti. Positively angelic!

And here are some snaps of my other favourite healthy treats...

[1. Roast parsnip courgette and red onion salad with walnuts and goats cheese 2. Chicken parmesan salad 3. Parma ham and mozzarella salad 4. Green bean and mozzarella salad 5. Fruit salad 6. Melon and Parma ham 7. Roast parsnip and feta salad 8. Berries with 0% fat yogurt 9. Roast butternut squash salad with goats cheese and pomegranate seeds 10. Sea food tostada with shredded salad]

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Leeds Calling!

On a rare rendezvous this week, we both managed to arrange a date together in Leeds. And a fine date it was indeed. It included nostalgic shopping trips, food galore and a sneaky outing for the camera. The day was spent enjoying the delights of Bakery 164 (their ever changing and mouthwatering selection leaves your average sandwich looking dull in comparison), nosying around Leeds' finest vintage establishments including new-find Birds Yard, indulging in coffee and cake (...and brownies) at the best coffee bar we know, Opposite, and gazing longingly at the Mac stand in Harvey Nicks.

Have a peek at the photos below and let us know what your favourite girl date is! Outfit purchases coming soon...

[Corn Exchange. Bakery 164 meatball, mozzarella, reggae reggae and mint focaccia. Calls Landing. Primos. American Apparel Neon Green, Barry M Berry Ice Cream, American Apparel Galaxy Glitter, vintage galaxy ring and Forever 21 shield ring. Outfit: navy American Apparel disco pants, vintage M&S blouse, Topshop allegra boots, Primark sunglasses. Opposite brazil nut brownie and chocolate Guinness cake. Bakery 164]

[Vintage ring, Birds Yard bow earrings made to order. Zara burgundy chinos, H&M stripe top, Miss Selfridge denim shirt, Accessorize sandals, Primark sunglasses. Window display at vintage shop on Boar Lane. Productive moment aided by coffee and cake. Necklace: Topshop. Chandelier at Corn Exchange entrance]