Thursday, 28 December 2017

the most delicious mince pies

It may have passed Christmas but that doesn't mean we should stop eating mince pies, does it!?
I mean, I do apologise, this should have gone up before Christmas, but alas we live and we learn.
I personally will be enjoying mince pies all the way through to the New Year, it actually makes me sad they aren't an all year around tradition. 
For years, I have always wanted to make my own mince pies, but never did. I love to bake, but making my own pastry almost scared me a little bit, however, I did it! And let me tell you, they taste amazing. 

Ingredients you will need: 

8 oz Self Raising Flour
2 oz Vegetable Fat (I used Trex)
2 oz Stork margarine
1 egg yolk
1 egg whisked for the top 
Icing Sugar to sprinkle on top
Jar of Mincemeat 

  • Firstly add your flour, margarine and vegetable fat into a large mixing bowl and rub together with the tips of your fingers until you get a crumb consistency
  • Add the egg yolk and mix in (don't worry if you can see it hasn't fully mixed in with the rest of the mixture, this is ok)
  • Pour in a small amount of water (around 2 tablespoons worth) and continue mixing ingredients. Judge the amount of water when it begins to bind together, you don't want it to be sticky though
  • Combine mixture together to form a ball, place in some greaseproof paper and leave in the fridge to stand for about 20 minutes
  • Scatter some flour onto a clean work surface and begin to roll out the pastry, until thin (around 2mm)
  • Use a medium circular cutter for the base, then once cut out place in low muffin trays, this recipe will make around 10 mince pies, as you need the tops too.
  • Then place a teaspoon amount of mincemeat into the centre of each pastry base
  • I decided on stars for the top, but you could use another shape to, it is really up to you, so ensure you cut out 10 stars or other shapes for the top of the mince pies
  • Crack a full egg into a bowl and whisk together, then using a pastry brush wash the rim of the mince pie base with egg wash, then add your star or shape on top
  • Egg wash the top of your mince pie, complete this for all 10 mince pies
  • Place in the oven on 180 degrees celsius for around 15 minutes, or until golden brown
  • Once cooked, remove from the oven and place mince pies on a cooling rack
  • Using a sieve, sprinkle icing sugar to the top of your mince pies to decorate
  • Eat mince pies, warm or cold, with or without cream, and enjoy.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe, pastry seems more complex to make that it actually is, and if you are a fan of mince pies then you will absolutely love these.
If you make these please let me know, or tag me in a photo on Instagram @Jessicalaarr I'd love to see them.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

my mental health and the contraceptive pill

Lets talk mental health. I approached the subject recently in a vlog on my youtube channel. I have a lot of experience of mental health both personally and professionally, so I have decided to start sharing that with you guys.

Today, I want to chat about mental health and the contraceptive pill. I think over the last couple of years there has been a lot more awareness about the link between taking the pill and depression, so I wanted to share my experience. Most importantly, I wanted to share with you what happened when I stopped taking the pill.

Lets go back 10 years, I started taking the combined pill which is where you take it for 21 days and then have a 7 day break which is when you would have your period. It contains artificial hormones of oestrogen and progesterone. I was prescribed this pill when I was around the age of 14/15 years old. At the time, I was suffering from heavy periods and also had acne which completely knocked my confidence, so after going to speak with my doctor he prescribed me the pill. I continued to take this up until today where I am now 24 years old.

During the years I took the pill I suffered from a lot of mental health problems, depression, anxiety, self harm (I can do further posts on this if you like) so I cannot say that the pill was the cause of all of these issues, because I am aware of other contributing factors. However, by the time I got to around the age of 21 years old I was not experiencing other situations which could cause my depression, yet I still felt so low. I started to think the pill may be affecting my mental health. I read a shocking statistic that 23% of people who take the combined contraceptive pill are also prescribed anti-depressants, I personally think that is an alarming figure.
I continued taking the pill for the next few years, as I was perhaps naive to think it was the easiest contraceptive and I knew it well.

Fast forward to now, at 24 years old I decided to stop taking the pill and the effects of doing this is what shocked me the most.
Physically I felt horrendous, I couldn't at the time work out what on earth was going on for me, I felt dizzy, my blood pressure was constantly low, I felt sick and faint. This went on for a good couple of months.
Mentally I felt even worse, I was irritable, I was just a horrible person, I was crying at absolutely anything and everything, and I just couldn't understand what was going on. I look back and felt as though it would have been better to just keep taking the pill, because mentally I felt so vulnerable and unhappy.

6 months later I have none of the physical effects and I feel a lot more mentally stable too, I of course have days where I am tearful and irritable, but this is usually coinciding with the week before my period is due, this is normal. I am so glad that I persevered with coming off the pill, but I was shocked and at times frightened with how badly my body both physically and mentally was effected by stopping this medication.

I have also made a youtube video about this topic, but I ultimately wanted to share with you the effects the pill had for me, especially when I initially stopped taking it because at the time I felt so frightened and depressed and I couldn't seem to find anyone who had experienced this too.

I know of course this does not happen for everyone, but I didn't think it would happen to me, so I hope that this post can provide someone else who may be experiencing what I did that it passes and sticking it out I feel so much happier now the pill is completely out of my system.

I would love to know what your thoughts are on this, or if you have experienced anything similar?

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

running watch review

Today I thought I would share with you my thoughts on my running watch. As you may know from my fitness update, that I am trying to get into running a little bit more, and actually I have plans to do a whole seperate post on getting into running, so definitely stay tuned for that. For now, I want to share with you why I decided to get a running watch and what I think about it. My boyfriend bought me this Garmin Forerunner 10 watch, it's one of the more simple watches for running, which is all I really wanted. I want to be able to use GPS to track my running and how far (or little) I can run, my speed and also calories.

I love how lightweight it is, and it really isn't one of those bulky watches, especially as I have fairly small wrists I didn't want something that felt huge on my wrist. It comes in a few colours, and I originally was going to go for black but last minute decided to go for green, I tend to prefer brighter colours for my clothes and accessories when running or going to the gym, although I really can't tell you why that is. The numbers are all a nice size to read, so when you are running and need to quickly glance down you can already see how far you have gone, and how long it has taken you, plus in darker light you can press the left hand top button and it has a built in light to the watch too.

I was surprised by the efficiency of the GPS tracker, it is a lot more precise than I was expecting it to be, however, on occasions I do have to stand still for about 5 minutes whilst it is searching for my location prior to starting my run. But honestly, that is the only downside, and heck I can be doing by stretches in that time, so it really doesn't bother me that I sometimes have to wait a little longer for it to find the location. After your run is over, you can come back home and connect your run online, so you can see the route in a map form which for someone who likes to look at things, I think that is pretty cool. The watch comes with a charger, and the battery life lasts for ages, but then again I'm not running every day, oops! Garmin does say that if you are continuously using the watch with GPS then the battery should last for around 5 hours.

I honestly find it so much nicer having a running watch when I do go out for runs because I know exactly how far I have gone and how long it has taken me, so for someone like me who is trying to progress it is really useful to have as a general guide to increase my pace and distance.
I don't think you 100% need a running watch if running is something you are just getting into, but I do find it really useful and because I'm not running daily or anything the Garmin forerunner 10 is simple and easy to use, I really didn't need anything more advanced.

I hope you find this post useful if this is something you are considering getting, or you were curious about whether you needed a running watch!

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

girls rule

This has to be currently one of my favourite outfits to wear at the moment. Looking back, there would have been a time where I would rarely wear white, especially on the bottom half, i'm not even sure why. However, these pin-stripe trousers from Topshop (Shop similar here) are one of my most comfortable and flattering pairs of trousers I own. I decided to team them with the girls rule t-shirt from Topshop as well, i'm all about that slogan tee life at the moment. I haven't been able to find that one online, however, there are a lot of similar slogan tees available. Of course I had to wear this with my chelsea boots, it may still be August but as the weather really is not the best, I feel like I need to resort back to my natural place of loving autumn and winter style. Although, on one hand I still want to be wearing cute dresses, I guess I just cannot make my mind up. 

I recently posted this outfit on Instagram, which you can check out here

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

gooey chocolate brownies

We all need to treat ourselves now and again, right? Well I am trying to get into healthy baking and there will no doubt be some recipes to follow, however, for now we have some home comfort gooey delicious chocolate brownies.
My mum has been making me these brownies for years and they are utterly delicious, the trouble is if you have one, you end up having them all! (maybe that is just me).

They are super easy to make and really don't take that long at all, what I would say is to be careful of over cooking them. Brownies are not supposed to come out of the oven feeling firm, they should feel very delicate, and will harden up over time, so leaving them in too much will only cause damage to your teeth!


  • 150g plain chocolate
  • 225g margarine
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 75g self-raising flour
  • 50g white chocolate buttons  


  1.  Pre heat your oven to 190 degrees c
  2. lightly grease a brownie tin and line with greaseproof paper
  3. Melt the margarine and the plain chocolate together, in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. Stir occasionally. Then once fully melted allow the mixture to cool
  4. mix together the eggs and the sugar, and then slowly beat in the melted chocolate mixture
  5. Fold in the flour and white chocolate buttons, then pour into the baking tin.
  6. Bake in the oven for around 40-45 minutes, once cooked leave in the tin to cool. 
  7. Cut the brownies into squares of your chosen size, transfer to a cooling rack and dust with icing sugar. 
  8. Enjoy, and try not to eat them all at once!

Let me know if you decide to make these delicious brownies and if you do  #jessicalaar on Instagram so I can see them. 

Sunday, 6 August 2017

ordering new glasses online

Have you ever ordered prescription glasses online? I certainly hadn't, until now. 
I was recently approached by a brand called Firmoo* asking to send me a free pair of prescription glasses, which coincidently fell just in time with the fact I needed a new pair anyway.
I'll be honest, I was very skeptical, how would I know they looked good? what if it wasn't the correct prescription? I had all of these thoughts around the fact it was online ordering. Well, my perception has quickly changed, I was so impressed and quite shocked at the ease of ordering online. 


I firstly had to enter the details of my prescription requirements which I was given from my opticians and I inputted the data into the Firmoo website when ordering. This part was pretty self explanatory, as I just had to fill in the sections, which were clearly labelled.


This was the hardest part, mainly because I am the most indecisive person going, but also because Firmoo offer such a huge range of frames, that will suit everyone's style or need. My first question "how will I know if they look good" was quickly answered when I realised you can upload a photograph of your face and try on the glasses like that. Pretty genius right! This made choosing an appropriate pair a lot easier as I was able to see whether the frame would be the correct size for my face. I then managed to get my selection down to two pairs, but being indecisive, I wanted to take my time on the selection, after all I do have to wear them every single day. This is another reason I have come to love ordering online, I can sit and choose my glasses in the comfort of my own home, rather than being pressured to make a decision immediately. Most of the frames were around the £20 price, which is a fraction of the price you would pay in an opticians on the high street, I couldn't believe how easy it was to get a pair of prescription glasses so cheap.


I received order confirmation and it informed me that my glasses would arrive between 7-14 working days, which I thought was very reasonable considering a. they are being shipped all of the way from America, and b. it takes the optician in town that sort of time to prepare your glasses. 
My firmoo order turned up on my door step around 3 days after ordering, I could not believe how quick the process was, and I loved the fact they were quicker than going to town and getting my glasses, this is just another reason why I will be ordering from Firmoo again. 

Overall I am so utterly impressed with the quality, design and speed of my order, I love the fact they are cheap, and by that I mean SO cheap compared to most glasses in most high-street opticians, I couldn't get over the fact they are really good quality for the price too. 

Have you ever ordered from Firmoo, or other online glasses retailers? what was your experience? 

I have made a youtube video as well which talks all about my experience, and Firmoo have kindly given my viewers a buy one get one free offer which you can get by heading over to my youtube channel.

I'll be back again soon, thank you all for reading X

*Firmoo kindly sent me the pair of glasses for free, this is not a sponsored post and all opinions are solely my own.

Monday, 31 July 2017

my abbott lyon watch


Back in December I was given an Abbott Lyon watch as a Christmas gift by my boyfriend. Over six months later I am just as in love with it as I was the first day I opened my present. 
This particular style is the Kensington Rose Gold chain with the 34mm circumference watch face, it is such a classic and timeless piece and I love the clean chic aesthetic it provides. At around £100 I feel it is an affordable but luxury watch. The watch face provides both date and time. I've never had a watch which also provides the date, I often just rely on my phone to tell me what date it is, I never thought I would use this feature, however, I love it. It is so easy, there is no faff looking through your bag to get your phone out just to find out the date when it is provided for you on your watch. I think it is such a simple, yet important part of the watch. 
I've reviewed the watch on my youtube channel when I first got it so feel free to check that out here.

Have you got an Abbott Lyon watch? 

Thank you so much for reading x

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

exploring rosemoor

Sorry for giving you an overload of floral photos, but aren't they just so beautiful!? 

I recently went back home to Devon, and my mum was keen to visit Rosemoor (which is part of the Royal Horticultural Society). As a photography lover I thought it would be a good opportunity and we shared a wonderful day together. I recently wrote a blog post about the outfit I wore and the struggles we had trying to get some photos because mum couldn't get the hang of using a DSLR, but I did teach her to use a small point and shoot and she was having a blast with that, so I'm glad I was able to share my love of photography with my mum. 

I must say I am pretty proud of these photos, considering they are all taken using the basic 18-55mm lens. I would love to invest in more lenses, imagine what else I could do. I love visiting beautiful places like this, and the grounds were just amazing and so well kept, I felt so relaxed and peaceful there. 

Which is your favourite photo? Mine has to be the one of the Bee, purely for the stress it took me getting it. I figured out Bee's are not photogenic and would happily sit still for hours, until a camera is pointed in their direction!

Thanks so much for reading!

Monday, 24 July 2017

fitness update #1

Well hello there,

Today I am talking all things fitness, and giving you all an update into my own fitness routine (or lack of routine). I've always been somewhat 'fit', I participated in school sports groups and then I began going to the gym once I started at university, however, I've never stuck at it, one thing or another would always get in the way and then I would stop going and ultimately start feeling sorry for myself. I know, oh woe me!

The beginning of this year I was actually doing pretty well, I was eating healthy and going to the gym on a regular basis and guess what, it felt good. So why then Jess, did you stop??

Well I went on holiday and when I returned to the UK it all went a little bit downhill from there. I had just started a new job alongside completing a post grad at university and I was / am always SHATTERED! So I literally stopped exercising for a good 3 months, and then me and Ben began 'Treating ourselves' most nights for being healthy during the day. I know that sounds ridiculous and it was a bit of a running joke at first (no fitness pun intended there). However, it became habit and I began feeling more tired and sluggish, it doesn't help that my job is pretty much sat down in a chair all day. 

So I am entering into a new fitness journey, one which I want to share with you guys along the way. 
I've started a week now, and I still have a very long way to go, especially in terms of my eating habits and continuing to motivate myself, because I cannot rely on someone else to continuously do that for me, right!?

My aim is to go to the gym 3 times a week, and I am looking to do a lot of high intensity workouts, so I won't be spending hours slaving away at the gym, its 35-40 minutes max. Along with this I am getting into running. Currently I've only managed to run for about 10ish minutes without feeling as though I am going to die, because I cannot breathe. 

Ben told me "your mind gives up before your body" and it is so true, I'm currently trying to learn some techniques to slow my breathing down in order to push my body further. I tell you one thing, once my run is complete I feel on top of the world, I just have to put my trainers on and get out of the door first and trust me that really is the hardest part. 

This is my first update, and I am excited to share with you some more updates and some workouts I have been completing in the next couple of months, and hopefully I may inspire someone else along the way.

I hope you enjoyed this little post, and stay tuned for lots more fitness fun. 

Saturday, 22 July 2017

holiday outfits

Just looking at these photos I'm getting all the feels to go back on holiday somewhere. But, alas I will just have to reminisce for now. 

These photos were from my trip to Malta a few months ago ( I know I am sorry its taken so long). I think my ultimate favourite is the Topshop floral dress, it is just so versatile and I have worn it on a number of occasions since purchasing it for my holiday. 
You can view my lookbook I created for these outfits, which I was pretty happy with so I hope you enjoy that. 
I'm finally getting back into the swing of things in terms of blogging and all things social and I am happy with the way things are going, so make sure you stay tuned! 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

blue stripy playsuit

Firstly, apologies that these are the best quality photographs; don't get me wrong they were taken on iPhone 6s so are not by any means the worst, but my mum took them and she could not grasp the concept of how to use a DSLR camera. 
Secondly, how wonderful is this Zara Playsuit, yes it is deceiving it looks like a dress but is in fact a playsuit, which is why I love it even more. I picked this beauty up just as it went into the Sale, I had my eye on it before hand and well it was just meant to be when I could see that red sale sticker attached to the label. I've seen a few people wearing this playsuit and thought they looked amazing in it, but for some reason I didn't feel as though it would be the right choice for me. I am fairly tall and as you can see this isn't the longest playsuit I have ever worn so I have to admit I did, at first feel some what self conscious in it. Then I realised, I shouldn't care, its a playsuit, not a dress so there was no chance of me flashing my bum and I loved it so why shouldn't I wear it!? 

I spent the day exploring RHS Rosemoor gardens which was utterly beautiful and I am actually going to do a separate blog post just on the day there. So as you can see I wore this to Rosemoor, and it was perfect for such a warm summers day, wandering around acres of ground. 

I picked the playsuit up for £17.99 and when I last looked I could not find it online, however, there were some in stores so it's definitely worth checking if this is something you like. If not, there are so many very similar styles out there on asos and also Zara. the blue stripe, in oversized clothing seems to be massively in at the moment and I am totally diggin' it! I just hope that summer lasts a little longer so I can get a few more wears out of it until I plan another holiday. I teamed this playsuit with my black and white old skool vans, so a little bit of a casual look, but I have visions of it looking fabulous with a pair of espadrilles, which is the beauty of this playsuit it is so versatile. 

How do you style playsuits? 

I'm loving this blogging thing again, so I will back soon with another post, but for now I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend! x

Sunday, 25 June 2017

GLAMGLOW supermud clearing treatment

It's me again! Looking somewhat scary.. well that is because I am pampering myself with a Glamglow facemask. 

I must admit I have never previously tried any of the products from Glamglow, however, they recently offered to send me a sample of one of their facemasks, which I was extremely grateful for.
They sent me the Supermud clearing treatment facemask and I was so pleased with it. Firstly for the fact it smelt so nice, unlike lots of facemask's I have previously tried, this one smelt like liquorice allsorts, which I thought was so cool.
This particular mask aims to combat common skin concerns and to help minimise pores. I'm lucky, in that, most of the time my skin is not problematic unless its that time of month (If you get what i'm saying). However, I have massive pores on my face, and I feel like this helped so much to minimise them, which I am so pleased about as I find i'm always searching for something to reduce my pores - so I will definitely be using this supermud clearing mask again!!

Glamglow suggest to leave the mask on between 5-20 minutes and I left mine on between this time and took it off when it was fully dry - it turns to a lighter grey once dry. 

I'm honestly in love with this product and now I just want to try more and more of their products, I've always heard such positive things about Glamglow and I certainly was not disappointed on this facemask. 

You can shop for this face mask here
Have you ever tried this mask? or any other favourites you have from Glamglow?                                                                         

Sunday, 18 June 2017


I recently saw these new Garnier face masks in Boots and thought I had to give them a go. Well i've tried and tested them and I can safely say they are so good. I love the brand Garnier anyway and have used a variety of their products for a while, so I had no doubt that I would also love these as well. They do a couple more new face masks but I picked these three up as I thought they would be the most appropriate for my skin. 
I have to say my favourite is the Volcano mask which targets pore minimisation - I did resemble looking like an Umpa Lumpa once I had applied it though. 

I will definitely be re purchasing these I think they are nice and they are gentle on my skin too which is something I always look for in face masks. After this weekend of hot weather I think my face will definitely need the Anti-Thirst mask.

Have you tried any of these new Garnier masks? If you have which one is your current favourite? 

Sunday, 16 April 2017


Hey Everyone, 

It has been an extremely long time, and well let me just say I have certainly missed blogging. However, I think I will do a complete update blog post later on, but today is going to be a fun one. 

I have been busy baking Easter Cupcakes over on my youtube channel, and I must say they taste super delicious, so chocolatey and they have cute mini eggs on top. 
I know, I am sure you are enjoying the sound of them, so I will share the recipe and photographs with you. They were super easy to make, and would have been even easier if I had an electric whisk, but alas I have just moved house, and sadly that is still something on my list of things to purchase. 

The recipe is as follows: 

For the cupcakes:
100g Plain flour
20g Cocoa powder
140g Caster Sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
40g Unsalted Butter
120ml Milk
1 Egg
1/4 tsp Vanilla extract

For the Frosting:
300g Icing Sugar
100g Unsalted butter
40g Cocoa powder

I would love to know if any of you guys decide to bake these or if you have made anything similar for easter. 

Jess x