The eye cream for beginners

I have come to that stage in life where I've finally accepted defeat and given in to the whole "prevention is better than cure" approach. I have never suffered from wrinkles or lines, apart from the obvious when laughing or frowning - but obviously I barely ever frown! Yeah right Cruella... - so have never really deemed eye creams a 'necessity'.

Since my birthday last year and turning the grand old age of 21 - I know, it all goes downhill from here - I started to look into eye creams, night creams, SPF and so forth as, as much as I joke around, I know that it really is beneficial to start younger than get to my late twenties and cry over having a face/hands/whole body that looks like a shrivelled up prune. Which is why when I received an email seeing if I'd like to try Pond's Eye contour cream, I jumped at the chance. (.... whilst examining my crows feet in the mirror on the brink of tears as obviously this was a hint/sign that I'm getting past my sell by date.

Ponds is such a bloody classic isn't it? If you haven't used it before, chances are you've heard your Mum, or your Nan, or Kyle Minogue - no really, she's admitted on many occasions to being a huge fan of this stuff - talk about using it. I've never used the product they're most known for - the cold cream - but I fully intend to pick it up after trying this eye cream. 

On to what I think of the eye cream. (I know, took me long enough to get to it)

Texture - What I first noticed was that it was pretty fluidy (of course that isn't a word, but it totally counts in my world) It's not like your typical eye cream which tends to be quite thick and moisurising. Because of it's like texture, it sinks in like a dream but still keeps the eyes hydrated enough to know it's there, that it's actually doing something.

Moisturisation/Hydration - As mentioned above, it's really light but also hydrating at the same time. If however you are concerned about aging or have dry eyes and it's a thick, creamy, emolient eye cream you're looking for, then this probably isn't going to cut it for you. Hence why I called it the eye cream for beginners.

Value for money - this is the part where you want to jump in the air and fist pump - no? just me?... - as it comes in at a mere £7.99 for 15ml. Amazing value for money Up yours Creme de la mer, up yours

Does what it says on the tin? - Ponds claims that their contour eye cream:

  • Helps improve hydration. For me, with not particularly dry skin, it definitely does. For those with much drier skins, you may find it not hydrating enough. 
  • Helps restore and soften the skin. I actually used this after a particularly stressful period where my eyes were not in the best shape (puffy, red, basically like something from a horror movie. Sexy...) and it definitely made a difference. They looked brighter, less red and inflamed and generally much more awake.
  • Helps nourish and calm the skin. Result, I've basically already answered this above so, erm...see above (Lazy bitch)
As I mentioned, I've never really tried any eye creams so I don't have a huge amount to compare this one with, but what I will say is that I think it's a great eye cream for beginners. If you're new to the world of eye creams then this is the perfect one to ease you in gently. No sticky eyes and slippy make up in sight!

And I think that's about it for this little Pond's gem today. So tell me, have you tried this product yet? Have any favourite eye creams that you think I might like? I would love to hear all about them.

As always, thank you so much for reading!


The Breakfast Muffin

I'm not exactly Nigella Lawson when it comes to the kitchen - and no, I don't mean that I don't cook up a storm while sampling a cheeky line of coke (sorry, too soon?) - I'm just not in the kitchen very often. Well, period really. So when I mentioned that I might 'experiment' in the kitchen for a blog post (...and my greed) it was greeted by the loudest laughs. What I'm trying to say is, if it turns out shit rubbish, I warned you.

Breakfast Muffins in the most ridiculously prefect forms. No oaty, blueberry, sweet style muffins today (although they are pretty out of this world too) I'm talking an English fry up style muffin. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Onto the process...

Start by greasing your tray with butter/oil/something...greasy? Yep, I've got this cooking lingo down..

Then, using a small glass or cylindrical shape cutter (disclaimer: I never claimed to be an expert, I have no bloody idea what those cutting things/any kitchen utensils are called) cut out cirlces of bread, for however many Breakfast muffins you're planning to make. I made 6, because they were for me and the boyf and my portion sizes are quite frankly, ridiculous!

Now, if you're a new reader to this blog, or just didn't pay too much attention before (story of my life *insert poor me/violin emotion here*), you'll probably not know that I have coeliac disease, which in short, means that I can't eat gluten (Unless I want to spend the next week in agony, glued to the toilet seat) So I've substituted the bread in this recipe for gluten-free bread, but if you can eat it, go for the good, proper, normal bread. You can't beat it!

Pop circular pieces of bread in the baking tray.

Fry some slices of heavenly bacon - because all bacon is heavenly - and mushrooms. I used coconut oil because it's apparently very good for you and I'm trying to balance this bad boy out. (And obviously by using healthier oil, it eradicates how bad the bacon is. Alongside a lot of eggs, bread, butter and salt)

Take a second to stop and take a picture of your boyfriend/friend/whoever you're with, modelling the ingredients. Clearly an essential part to any bloggers recipes, right?

Here comes the tricky part. Wrap the bacon around the outside of the baking tray hole (hole? That 100% is not the technical name for that, I just have no idea what is. Common sense isn't a strong point either) The bacon acts as a shell to hold the egg, mushrooms etc. in so it's best to try and get the edges to meet with no gaps in. I struggled with this because I am as delicate as a rhino, so I left this to my boyfriend. Hence manly hands and ridiculously short stubby nails ;) (side note: on showing this to boyf, he explained his nail cutting techniques to me. "I just cut them back as far as they'll go before bleeding"

*Insert shaking head in pure 'Give me strength' emotion, here*

Fill the bacon cups with the mushrooms.

Crack the eggs into the Muffin cups...

Double egg yoke, which apparently means good luck is on my way (... also believed to mean death or pregnancy with twins is on the horizon but I've chosen to ignore that folklore)

Once all your ingredients are in the muffin cups/bases, wack them in the oven on a relatively high heat for around 15minutes/whenever the eggs look cooked as I definitely failed in the 'counting time' department.

Open the oven, take a few pictures, then immediately instagram them right away. Another essential  part to this recipe. It will simply not work without it ;)

Once cooked, take them out of the oven, place them on a plate, and try to take just a couple more pictures before completely devouring them. This is possibly the toughest part of the recipe.

... And once your patience has worn thin, just shove them in your face and enjoy. I promise you, you will!

Please let me know if you've tried this little recipe and what you made of them. If you did, and you managed to hold back from scoffing them for 30 seconds to take a picture, feel free to send them my way on Twitter (@ellie_adams) or Instagram (@ellenextdoor). I always love to hear from you.

Have a lovely weekend!


(Sunny) London Calling: Spitalfield Market... and a little OOTD

In light of the most exciting news I've heard since, well, last summer - that this weekend was going to be a mind-blowing 18degrees, I know - I thought I'd better get my gladrags on (read: shorter, lighter clothing and not 300 layers) and check out my home town at it's finest. In other words, another 'I whacked some half decent/non-loungewear/not totally trampy clothes on and checked out some new eats, coffee shops, and clothing/makeup/something superficial shops.

This weekend's outing saw me visit a market (for a change... ) that I actually don't know much about/haven't been to a thousand times (Greenwich market I'm looking at you). Spitalfields is a mix of unusual clothing - think fur, weird and wonderfully patterned materials, leather and more fur - handbags, jewellery, food and so much more. So much more, that I'll let the pictures do the talking. With my occasional worthless pointless input too. Obviously...

Let's start with food (and coffee) which, let's face it, is pretty much what my life revolves around #SorryNotSorry

This stall - the name of which, for the life of me I cannot recall - was incredible. Everything apart from the wraps (which aren't pictured anyway) were completely gluten-free. It's incredibly healthy, unique and just do damn tasty. And look at all those pretty colours (yep, pretty coloured food, you heard it here first)

As is the running theme of this blog, the pictures of these cupcakes do nowhere near enough justice to just how pretty, big, and perfect they looked. They only had one gluten-free option - the mocha chocolate - which for once I turned down after being a little too coffee'd out. Which leads nicely onto...

The Daily Grind. Not the nicest coffee shop I've ever been to, but I'm the least likely coffee snob you'll ever meet so to sit outside - I know, hot enough to sit outside in London, in March *Haaaaalelujah* - with a latte, people watching. Happy Elle!

I can't even eat pies - screw you coeliac disease, screw you - so I can't speak from experience, but I've heard a lot about Square pie so, if you're in the are pies? Check it out I guess. (Check out the pies, not something I ever imagined I'd say in a blog post)

Now this is more like it, girly stuff. The candles smell amazing, look really pretty...and cost around the £20 mark. A nice treat or present but personally... I'm off to Primark. #TightArse

Vintage books anyone? 

I'm not particularly at all arty but I love the idea of buying random materials and making/customizing my own clothes or accessories with them. Or even just using them as they as scarves... for £1 you can't go wrong.

Now for the best part - in my opinion - these clutch bags by a brand called Gia. The pictures, I promise you, do not do anywhere near enough justice. In real life they are so beautiful. Made from cow hide (which I understand might not be to everyones taste) they come in black, brown, leopard print and a kind of splattered, paint splash kinda' print (terrible description, just check the pictures ;) ) but honestly, they're so unique and different, I'm just a little in love with them. The lady that owns runs the stall was also so passionate, explaining why she chose each colour, pattern etc. that I know I'll be back to purchase one next time I return. (I would've purchased one there and then but genuinely coldn't make up my mind over which one. Help a girl out, which one would you recommend?)

Market browsing over, it was time a wander outside. One of the things I love most about Spitalfields are the shops bordering the market. A particular favourite? ... was always going to be MAC wasn't it. Just putting it out there, this is my favourite MAC store. There, I said it. Huge, nicely decorated - yeah, I'm a loser when it comes to interiors - and helpful staff. Winning Charlie Sheen style!

Now, let's bring a bit of the fashion blogger back to this blog. I feel like I've neglected the old OOTD's of late - it might have something to do with either working a lot and there for looking like absolute shite, or that when I'm not working I'm generally slobbing out (...and looking like absolute shite)

What I wore today wasn't special, or unique... but it was comfortable, easy to shove on, and a nice balance stop gap between winter and spring.

Breton Top: New Look
Gilet: New Look
Shorts: H&M
Boots that I love, and wear far too much: Zara

And that just about concludes today's post. Apart from enjoying a lovely Spitalfields experience, it's also been so beautiful and sunny in London today - we all know that means it's -3 with a slight sunny spell ;) - and it has put me in the best mood ever and I finally feel ready to kick Monday's arse! (now that doesn't happen too often)

So, have any of you checked out Spitalfields market? Any other markets that it would be a crime not to check out? I would love to hear from you! :)

Hope you enjoyed this post (and wasn't bored to death, it was a lengthy one I know). As always, thank you so much for reading!


Coffee trawl #1 Flat White

Yesterday was a day of work meetings. Now, for me, the exciting part of that isn't the prospect of working on an exciting new show/venture (although that is obviously pretty exciting at times.) It isn't being back in more regular employment and therefore able to purchase half of my never ending wish list without feeling guilty (although that excites me a ridiculous amount) It's getting to sample just about every coffee shop in Soho.

Well that was a bit of an anti-climax wasn't it?

Yes, I've practically confessed to being an outrageous loser, but there's something about sitting in nice, quirky, authentic coffee shop people watching in and taking in the world around you. I love it so much that I headed back on the weekend to do exactly that. With the added bonus of being able to Instagram cute pictures of coffee and cake, without potential employers or clients thinking you're unprofessional... and an absolute knob!

The first coffee date in my coffee trawl adventure began at Flat White.
Flat White, Soho, in all honesty is pretty tiny. If you're going to go I highly recommend going in the week, as it's ridiculously busy on the weekend. But - there's the big but - it is really worth it. The coffee is great, the designs on the froth of your coffee (technical terms, obvs) are really cute and they also have a couple of gluten-free cake options which makes me very happy. Small things, small minds and all that...
After demolishing a very lovely chocolate cake and latte, I took a leisurely wander down Oxford St - another major perk of Flat White/having meetings in the Soho area - where I was dragged into the new Warehouse store on Oxford Street. 
I know what you're thinking, yeah yeah, I bet a gust of wind swept you away into Selfridges after but I actually genuinely did get dragged in (well, more politely ushered into the store) after being given a 'You're Gifted' voucher. It's basically all part of the marketing and promotion of their new store, where the shop assistants picked certain people - according to one particular assistant, 'fashionable, stylish, young girls (clearly hadn't gone to specsavers as I looked like the back end of a bus) - to come inside the store and receive a freebie.

Said freebies...
A pretty OK iPhone case - if ever so slightly tacky and not very well made, but very well timed as my current one is hanging on by a thread tiny bit of plastic - and a cake pop, which I obviously couldn't eat being coeliac however it passed the seal of approval from my Dad, who polished it off in one bite Like father, like daughter...

And just because I was on Oxford Street, a stone's throw away from the power 3 - that's House of Fraser, John Lewis and Debenhams in 'Elle World', FYI - it simply would've been rude not to pop in...

...and purchase something that would obviously change and enrich my life. 

I've used this for about 4 days, which is obviously nowhere near enough time to do a full review, but on first impressions? It's incredible. Smells amazing, feels so fresh and light on the skin. I'm pretty sure this is HG material. I'll keep you updated :)

I then wandered on towards a shop that sells products that also change my life, and greatly change my bank balance. Yep, Space NK time! 
I will also point out that I didn't even purchase anything this time. I understand this my be pretty standard for some people but for me, this is a huge achievement. Almost Blue Peter badge worthy. 

So I think that's about it for the first of my little coffee trawl posts. As I said, I absolutely love finding new, independent, quirky coffee shops and I know I'm alone in that - following an infinite amount of bloggers on Instagram proves that point - so I thought it might be nice to share my discoveries. And also discover new ones, courtesy of you lovely lot. What are your favourite London coffee shops, any I need to check out, all in the name of research of course ;)

Hope you enjoyed this post guys, I can't wait to hear any recommendations you have. As always, thanks so much for reading!

© the Elle next door

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