Halloween Cupcakes

Happy nearly Halloween everyone! This post is long overdue. Not just because it's been far too long since my last baking post but also because apart from the usual Autumnal header, we've been seriously lacking Halloween and general seasonal content on Megan Jean this year. So this year I've got an exciting one for you. Though they have a delicious orange chocolate chip sponge and smooth vanilla buttercream, if anything these cupcakes are purely style over substance. (I'm sorry Paul) But if you can't go overboard with the food colouring and fondant icing at Halloween, then really, when can you? They're also super easy to make and can be adapted to all sorts of different designs and seasons. So keep reading to find out how I made these spookily good cupcakes.

Christmas Gift Ideas For Him*

Now, I know what you're thinking... Megan, it's only October, why are you posting Christmas gift guides now!? But if you're anything like me, you'll have been thinking about Christmas for a long time now. Heck, I started thinking about it before July was even over. What I want, the theme for my bedroom, all the cheese I'm going to eat, wine I'm going to drink, my plans with friends and family and most importantly, what I'm going to buy for other people. And as much as I absolutely love going out and getting gifts for other people, wrapping them and seeing the looks on their faces when they open them, I have to admit that I seriously struggle with choosing presents, especially when it comes to the men in my life. You'd think after knowing my brother for 23 years and even sharing a womb with him I'd know what he'd like for Christmas but no, I don't have a clue. So, to help out anyone else who struggles with buying for their fathers, brothers, boyfriends, etc, I've put together a comprehensive gift guide to help you this festive period. Hopefully with any luck, there's a little something for everyone in here somewhere. Huge shoutout to Sam and Robbie for their help with this one, not sure I could have come up with half of this by myself so seriously go check these lads out if you haven't already.

The One Who's Into Grooming

Though I might be massively into my own makeup and beauty regime, I have no idea where to start when it comes to male grooming. I think the closest my brother has come to a hair and skincare routine is a classic Lynx giftset, a little bit of moisturiser and some hair gel (think primary school disco spikes). But if you want to get something a little classier than Lynx, maybe find out what their favourite scent is or if it's your boyfriend, your favourite scent on them. Try Aventus by Creed or Jean Paul Gaultier. Personally I love Paco Rabanne 1 Million. You could pick up a new washbag and pack it with a few products like some aftershave,  a Kiehl's moisturiser and some hair products. One brand with a huge selection of christmas gift ideas for men is L'Occitane. They have a new range inspired by the rays of Southern France covering everything from moisturisers to essential oils, shaving creams to colognes and more, with a little something for most budgets. They also come beautifully packaged so they're perfect for gifting to that someone special.

The One Who's Into Gadgets

Buying gadgets might seem like an expensive option but it's really only as expensive as you make it and there's loads of different options depending on your budget. If you've got a lot of cash to spend and fancy going the whole hog you could pick up the new iPhone or an iPad. Or if your budget isn't quite that high, maybe a mobile lens kit, perfect for the guy who's into his photography but maybe not looking to invest in anything too fancy. If he's into his cameras and photography maybe try a Go Pro or a Polaroid camera, both cheaper alternatives to a proper DSLR but just as much fun. Is he a bit of a bookworm? Try a kindle. A new watch is also a pretty safe option, whether that's something advanced like an Apple watch or Fossil Smartwatch or something a little more classic like a Timex. Wireless headphones and speakers are also great techy gifts and perfect for most people. Everyone loves music, right? My brother has the UE Megaboom and it was a great gadget for taking on holiday. Waterproof, so great for by the pool and the sound quality was excellent, perfect for that upcoming New Years Eve party. Of course there are loads more cheaper alternatives if that's a little on the expensive size. 

The Fanboy

I'm a big fan of buying for someone with a known hobby or interest. It always makes it 1000 times easier to find things that they might enjoy when you know exactly what they like, whether that be a favourite band or TV series, gardening or cooking, having a point to work from makes gift buying that little less daunting. I guess one of the easiest gift choices here is a DVD boxset of their favourite film or TV series. Star Wars? Lord of The Rings? Harry Potter? Most of them have really nice collectors editions or special extended editions perfect for any fan. Any good franchise will have all sorts of novelty gifts too. T-Shirts, mugs, wall art, etc. I absolutely love this Stormtrooper decanter, just fill it full of their favourite alcohol, sorted. Tickets and experiences are also a great present. Is their favourite band touring soon? Do they love super cars? Easy. 

The Fallback Options

And sometimes there's that one person where you just have absolutely no idea. They don't have any big hobbies or interests, you don't know what gadgets or activities they're into and you don't want to spoil the surprise by asking. For that person, you have the fallback options. Some novelty underwear or socks always go down a treat. Socks might seem like the most boring present when you're younger but I promise you, they're a welcome surprise when you reach adulthood.  Winter warmers are also the perfect Christmas gifts. Scarves, hats, gloves or a festive jumper. Maybe a novelty onesie for lying around in your Christmas dinner food coma. You could try a hip flask, wallet or cuff links. A bottle of alcohol will make anyone happy (even better if you know their tipple of choice), you could even get them some nice personalised glasses to go along with it. Or maybe games that you can play on Christmas Day, a big favourite of mine is Cards Against Humanity. If you've got a slightly dark, twisted sense of humour this one is a winner. 

At the end of the day. It's the thought that counts. I may spend most of my time present shopping stressing out about whether it's the right gift or whether they'll like it but I can guarantee that 9 times out of 10 the person receiving the present will absolutely love it. Or they'll at least pretend they do. And if you're really struggling, just remind them that your company is a gift in itself.

What are your go to presents for the men in your life?

*This post contains sponsored content but as always, all opinions are my own.

The Lorac Unzipped Palette | Review

Warning, if you're a bit of a sucker for a good eyeshadow palette then you might want to look away now. Seriously, I do not accept any responsibility for money that shouldn't be spent on make-up disappearing from your account after seeing this one. The Lorac Unzipped Eyeshadow Palette is by no means a new palette, in fact it's been around for a while now and been sat in my palette basket for nearly a year waiting to be reviewed but it's one that I fall in love with over and over again.

Luscious Locks with Alchemy Oils*

Once upon a time I decided that I wanted to be blonde for Summer. And I'm not just talking a few highlights blonde, I'm talking full head, bleach, toning, bright blonde. After a couple of failed box dye attempts I decided it was probably time to bite the bullet and invest in a professional. Long story short I visited the hairdressers three times in the space of about two weeks and you can only imagine the damage this inflicted on my poor hair. In a short space of time, excessive bleach, straightening and blow drying turned my soft past-the-nipple length brown hair into shoulder length, dry, damaged not-even-blonde hair. I didn't even get a haircut in that time, the change in length all came down to breakage, snapping and split ends. Safe to say I quickly went back brown and began the journey to repairing my hair.

Half Year Reflection & July Goals

It really doesn't seem like all that long ago I was sitting down to write my New Years Resolutions and 2017 goals and here we are coming to the end of July. My dad really was right when he said that time flies by when you get older and the last six months are complete evidence of that. I honestly couldn't tell you where the time has gone or what I've even been doing for the last few months, it seems to have gone past in a complete daze but no complaints from me. I'm pretty sure, apart from a few minor setbacks, it's been a fantastic half year and I'm excited to see what the rest of it has in store. I actually went back last week and had a read through my 2017 goals and 2016 reflection and it's amazing to see just how things can change in what is a relatively short space of time, so, if like me you're nosy and like hearing about people's lives, then sit tight and grab a cuppa cause we're going in. (For reference you can read my 2016 reflection post here.)

The Art of Being Alone

Being single is weird. One minute you're going to the cinema alone, feeling independent af, the next you're hungover in bed on a Sunday texting that fuckboy you know you shouldn't cause you're feeling needy and could do with a spoon. It's a constant mix of enjoying being out with your friends, sipping cocktails and feeling carefree, going on tinder dates, proclaiming how much you hate men and then wishing that boy you like would text you back. And though I definitely go through cycles of loving my own company and then wanting all the attention, one thing I know for sure is that I am slowly mastering the art of being alone.

Tarte Rainforest Of The Sea Foundation | Review

When it comes to makeup, my foundation is definitely something I'm not as experimental with. I tend to stick to the ones I know and love (shoutout to Makeup Forever Ultra HD aka my bae) and it's rare that I'll stray away from them until something really exciting comes along. A lot of bloggers are big fans of the Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation but as Tarte is pretty difficult to get ahold of in the UK, I never managed to jump on the bandwagon. So when I visited the States in December, I decided to pick up their newest offering, the Rainforest Of The Sea Foundation. (Kinda wish I'd also picked up the super hyped up Tape Shape concealer while I was there but hindsight is a wonderful thing).

The Embroidered Shoes You NEED

If there's one trend recently that I've been really digging, it's embroidery. On shoes, dresses, bags, everything. There's something about the simple addition of a few floral elements that can really bring what would have been a simple piece of clothing to life, whether it's a shirt, shoes, dress or jeans. And I have found THE best pair of embroidered mules to share with you, seriously, when I saw these I instantly fell in love. And the best part? They're only £16.

Relaxing Evening with Bolsius*

For the first weekend in what feels like months, I am staying in. No alcohol, no meals out, just an entire two days spent in the flat eating salads and only venturing out if it's for an intense gym session. Trust me, it's been difficult. It's now Saturday night and I've already fought off the urge to order pizza and turned down an invitation to go out for drinks, that's pretty good work for a girl with a serious case of FOMO. But it feels good. It feels good not waking up with a serious case of dry mouth and a killer hangover. It feels good saving money and it feels good not having to worry about the excessive calories I'd normally be consuming.

Brand Focus: MAC

If you're anything like me then your first dive into high-end or expensive makeup will have been with MAC Cosmetics. I still remember the rush getting my first lipstick, carrying around the little yellow Selfridges bag feeling fancy af, posting pictures all over Instagram like new lipstick, who dis? I also remember the slight heartbreak at spending £15 on one lipstick, HOW MUCH!? Little did I know a couple of years later I'd be spending twice that and then some with a makeup collection worth more than my car. After this time I've managed to accumulate a nice little collection of MAC product so I thought I'd take a post to talk you through the good, bad and ugly.

Home Touches with Cox & Cox*

You might recall a post I wrote back in February in which I shared a few of the homeware bits on my wishlist and the things I want to buy in order to make my room in Manchester more of a home. Well since that post, I've slowly been picking up bits and pieces when I can afford them in order to add little finishing touches to my bedroom. I was also lucky enough to be gifted a couple of pieces from Cox & Cox, carry on reading to hear all about them!

3 Products I've Panned

It' really not often that I hit pan on a product, I have so many blushers, bronzers and highlighters that I'm constantly flicking between that the end is never really in sight for most of them. That is until you find a ride or die product, one you just keep coming back to because it just works so well. Whether that be the shade, formula or staying power, these are the ones you'll always find in your makeup bag or not far from it. And before you know it, as heartbreaking as it is, you've hit pan. That small silver circle in the centre slowly starts getting bigger and bigger and the end is inevitable. But think of it this way, once it's finished, you get to buy a pretty new one. Here's three products I've recently hit pan on:

March Beauty Favourites

I've officially made it my mission this year to get more old and neglected products back into rotation and daily use and although I'll always be trying out new brands, it's been nice pulling out old favourites that I had long forgotten about. I've picked out four products that I've been using regularly and particularly enjoying throughout the month of March.

Making A House A Home

Some of you may be aware that in September of 2016, I moved out of my family home and into a flat in Manchester. And though I'm totally settled in now and I have brought a lot of little bits and pieces with me that made it feel like home, there's still lots I want to get for the room to feel complete. Some more practical bits and others more decorative but it's all of these combined that really help to make a space more homely and comfortable.

Bright Lips For a Dull Day

One of my goals or resolutions if you will for this year was to start rocking bright lips more often and though I absolutely love my nude shades from day to night, it's been a lot of fun pulling out a few old favourites of mine that have been far too neglected for far too long. For bright shades, it's all about Mac for me. They have such a wide range of colours in all different finishes that it's so easy to find something for everyone. Recently though I have been venturing into brighter liquid lipsticks, purely for their staying power, pigmentation and matte finish. (This girl loves a matte).

Double Chocolate Valentine's Cupcakes

If there's one thing I know for sure, it's that my love of chocolate will never die. Particularly my love of chocolate cakes. And as Valentine's Day is a time for celebrating with the cakes people you love, I thought I'd have a go at baking my own indulgent treat.

Why I'm Happily Single This Valentine's

We're getting to that time of year again. No, not Pancake Day or Easter unfortunately. Valentine's Day. As I write this we are four days away and it seems like with each year I get older, the pressure to conform to the holiday or do something special increases. As does the amount of people putting others down for celebrating it. (Can't we just let people enjoy things?) Everywhere we look we're bombarded by offers and ideas from different companies trying to capitalise on love. What seemingly just started as a commercial holiday aimed at making money off couples has now expanded to try and squeeze as much as they can out of us, single or not. (But I challenge you to find a holiday that isn't like that.) Still, I feel like there's still this underlying idea that as a single woman on Valentine's Day I should be bitter towards happy couples and feel lonely. And I honestly couldn't feel more the opposite. If anything, I've been thinking about just how happy I am being single. Not just for this one day in particular but at this stage in my life right now. Though I will be going out for a meal with my girlfriends and having a "Galentine's Day", I don't feel the need to do anything to take my mind off the fact that I'm single for the day because quite frankly, I couldn't care less. (Still, if Tom Hardy wants to show up with a puppy at my door, I wouldn't say no).

Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation | Review

This year I've made it one of my missions to experiment more with different foundation brands and formulas, having stuck pretty religiously to the Makeup Forever Ultra HD for quite some time now. (Don't worry, you'll always be bae.) And one of the most exciting and possibly different types of foundation for me to try, is the stick foundation. For me it was a toss up between trying the stick version of Ultra HD or this, the Anastasia Beverly Hills stick foundation, I actually had quite a lengthy chat with a lovely girl who worked in Sephora about which she would recommend before I made my purchase. I decided to go with ABH, mainly because it's slightly more difficult to get ahold of over here and it didn't work out any cheaper to buy the MUFE over in America, (boo you exchange rates). So now I've had a good month or so to trial this, I'm going to share my thoughts with you, all the pros and all the cons.

Brablems & Their Solutions With Third Love

Bras. Some of us love them, some of us hate them, some wear them and some don't, some of us can't wait to take them off at the end of the day and some of us prefer to keep them on. But I think one thing we can all agree on is that they can be annoying little buggars sometimes. Whether it's boob spillage, a rogue underwire or loose straps, there's loads of potential brablems we can encounter on our route to having perfectly supported breasts. So I've teamed up with Third Love to talk through some of these potential issues and their solutions. (Can I also just point out how pretty my bra in the above photo is, seriously, dat lace.)

Tackling That Time of The Month

Time of the month, girl problems, surfing the crimson wave, shark week, whatever you want to call it, we all know periods suck. I've not yet met one person who can honestly say they enjoy being on their period. For a good proportion of us, our hormones are all over the place, our skin is suffering and it feels like some sort of creature is desperately trying to escape our uterus. Even the few days leading up to it can be a total whirlwind of emotions. From the age of 15 I have experienced horrendously painful periods, I've passed out, spent days off school in bed unable to move and probably tried more painkillers than I care to admit. For those of you lucky enough to not suffer for a week out of every month, I seriously envy you, for those of you who do, hopefully I can help you with some of the following tips and guidance.

Reflecting on 2016 & Goals for 2017

2016, what a year eh? Most memes and quotes flying around social media seem to be brandishing it the worst year ever and one to forget. Yes, we lost a lot of legends from the world of music, acting and more. Yes, there was an awful lot of pain and suffering around the world. Yes, Brexit and Donald Trump happened.  But I have to say that it was overall a pretty good year for me and with the first month of 2017 nearly over, I thought it was about time for me to reflect on the last year and look forward to what the rest of this one has to offer.

Blog Photography | My setup, props, tips & tricks

For me, photography is one of the most important aspects of my blog. The perfect photo can pull a post together, draw in readers and just generally give your blog a whole new aesthetic. For ages now I have been so unhappy with my photos and in general my whole blog aesthetic, it's just not how I've wanted it to look for a long time so this year after getting back my blogging mojo, I decided I wanted to up my photo game. Seriously, looking back at my instagram and posts from last year makes me cringe like hell. Now by all means, I am no photography expert, I did Graphic Design at university which had elements of it but most of what I've learnt has been through other blogs, Google and practice practice practice. I'd also like to add that you don't need a good expensive camera or any of the things I'm going to mention in this post to make your blog "better", at the end of the day it's all personal preference and what works for one person might not work for another. But if you are looking for any tips and inspiration, then by all means, carry on reading.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lips | Review

*sighs* Can we all just take a moment to appreciate how dreamy the Anastasia Liquid Lipsticks are? They're just so pretty to look at and photograph. I recently picked up these beauties while on holiday in Florida, as up until recently they've been pretty difficult to get ahold of in the UK without forking out ridiculous custom fees. (Anastasia do now have their own UK site, so getting these should now be far easier!) And now I've had enough time to road test the shades, I wanted to share my thoughts with anyone who may be considering ordering a few.

US Beauty Haul | First Impressions

Y'all know that the first thing on my mind when I landed in Florida in December was "oh my days imagine all the things I can buy in Sephora and Ulta" swiftly followed by the idea pancakes and maple bacon.  The black and white stripes were calling my name. Unfortunately due to a poor exchange rate, it actually didn't work out much cheaper to buy certain products abroad like it has in previous years so I tried to stick to things we can't necessarily get over here, haven't been released yet or are a little harder to access. This post will be a quick run down of everything with a few initial impressions, the real juicy stuff will come in the reviews to follow over the next few weeks. Ooooh the anticipation.

Cape Coral, Florida | Photo Diary

I just want to start this post by saying that I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and a Happy New Year! I was lucky enough to celebrate my Christmas by jetting over to Florida for the most glorious two weeks. We flew out on the 16th and it was fourteen wonderful days of 28 degree temperatures, relaxing by the pool, exploring, boating, dolphin spotting and completely indulging in an amazing array of food. (I tried the American classic of biscuits and gravy and was pleasantly surprised at just how tasty it was, the gravy especially). I'm going to use this post to share my photos from the trip with you, as well as a few snippets about what we did, saw and ate etc but mostly, be prepared for pictures upon pictures. Oh and stay on the lookout for a US beauty haul and loads of reviews coming over the next few weeks, I picked up some proper goodies.

Latest Beauty Favourites

It's been a while since I've shared a few of the products I've been loving recently, in fact, I can't even remember if I ever had done a monthly favourites post. So here you go! I've been making it my mission recently to not only try some new bits and pieces but to also start looking into my stash and using things that have been a little bit unloved for a while. You'd be surprised at just how much neglected makeup I have, especially things like bronzer, blush and eyeshadow that take a lot longer to use up compared to foundations and mascaras.