Feeling spooky- Halloween inspired sketching

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October is upon us; that means my return to university, the inevitable rise of pumpkin spiced everything, and Halloween.

I feel as though when I have my own house I will go totally nuts at Halloween. I’m a big fan of spooky face paint, dressing up, pumpkin carving- and who doesn’t like sweets?! To be honest with you, I’m just one of those people who loves any excuse to celebrate and bake themed cupcakes.

But anyway, I was feeling particularly inspired today to get into the spooky spirit. Seeing as I didn’t have time to tackle any adventurous craft projects, I settled on a spot of painting.

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It’s actually been AGES since I last painted with watercolours. I used to do pieces like this all the time, but since going to uni there’s been very few additions to my collection.

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A piece like this usually takes me about two hours, so they’re rather quick in the big scheme of things. Sometimes I prefer doing them to my larger canvas works, because there isn’t as much commitment involved; if I’m unhappy with the finished product, I don’t feel as bad about throwing it in the bin. This usually means I experiment a bit more with these pieces, creating a messier and more abstract final result, which I like.

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This piece was completed using a combination of watercolour, dyes and ink. I can afford to work quite loosely with the watercolour rather than keeping my work restricted and neat, as sketching over the top with black ink adds detail.

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I hope you enjoyed this little artsy blog post today guys! Let me know if you’d be interested in seeing more posts like this in the comments!

Have a spooky October friends!

My 21st Birthday

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Turning 21 in my family has always been a way bigger deal than turning 18. I think it’s because both my parents and grandparents alike felt that you were a ‘proper adult’ at 21. Though to tell you the truth I am still definitely pretending to be an adult and certainly not a ‘proper adult’ by any means. Adulting is hard and I’d much rather bury my head in the sand and paint and bake nice food all day.

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But, to celebrate my 21st birthday on the 15th September, I had a small garden party with my family and a couple of friends. After a glorious Summer of sunshine in England, the weather has taken a turn since and spent the majority of the first half of September raining and cold. This was the case on the morning of my birthday, however it brightened up in time for everyone coming round and we actually had a great afternoon.

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Photo courtesy of Steve Monks. During my Dad’s speech.

I wanted my party to be a proper fiesta; I had a lot of Mexican influences in both the food and the decorations, as well as some elements of Cuban culture too. I really just wanted my day to be a super fun, super relaxed event for everyone, complete with party games, a piñata and a cocktail bar serving mojitos!

 

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Photo courtesy of Steve Monks. Like mother like daughter! We both like sparklers.

I am really gutted that I hardly have any photos to share with you from the day! I had gone to so much effort creating everything from the decorations to most of the food: as always, I made my own birthday cake, as well as pineapple and flamingo themed cupcakes, cactus cookies, a vegetarian chilli, dips, tray bake nachos- loads! Jason’s mum had also been a great help too and had made an amazing upside down pineapple cake, as well as a chilli con carne and a delicious mac’n’cheese. The food table looked amazing- and I have no photos to share with you! Sorry! 😦

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My homemade birthday cake. This is after we lit the sparklers which is why there’s weird black candles on the top- though I can assure you it looked great when they were lit!

I also painted a bunch of cardboard signs for the day; one for my Dad’s mojito bar, and a few others featuring cactii, Dia de los Muertos candy skulls and some Cuban classic cars! (With the rather cheesy slogan, ‘Havana happy birthday!’).

I hope to be able to recreate some of the Mojitos we made for the big day and do a blog post on those for you! I made my Dad a recipe card featuring a mojito clásico, a mojito zarzamora and a mojito ruibarbo recipe.

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Photo courtesy of Steve Monks. My Dad’s Mojito Bar sign, along with some of the Papel Picado and my Mojito recipes.

In short, I had an absolutely amazing day. It’s always great spending time with my family, and it was so much fun spending my birthday with them. The excitement didn’t stop there though! The following morning, tired and only slightly hungover, Jason and I were travelling down to London in order to get ready for our flight from Heathrow to Rome!

We had an amazing time, and no doubt I will be updating you all on how it went in a future post!

Thanks for stopping by- I hope you enjoyed this post! Have you been celebrating any big birthdays recently? What did you do to celebrate?

Let me know in the comments!

 

Guess who’s back, back, back… feat. Unicorn Birthday Cake

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Well hello there guys! It’s me, Maddie, hello. It’s been a while! Like, a hell of a while! Sorry!

The build up to Summer was a hella busy time for me; I was preparing for my summer exams, then doing my summer exams, then working full-time for a month as part of an internship. At last, I am now back in my home town of Chorley and looking forward to a reasonably quiet month when I will be able to dedicate some more time to my blog. The quiet time will not last long though, September will be an exciting month for me; not only will I will be turning 21, but Jason and I will be celebrating five years together by a trip to Rome.

Yes- my 21st birthday, which is super scary because it means I’ll be a proper adult and I’m still not very good at adulting, despite having lived alone for the majority of the past two years. Buuutt it does mean that I’m getting things ready for an awesome 21st fiesta, so keep your eyes peeled for some cool DIYs and party decorations up on the blog over the next month or so.

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First up though, today’s post is featuring this awesome cake that I made last week! Jason’s mum asked me to make a unicorn themed birthday cake for one of her friends and I have to admit, I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. Like, I’m no cake decorating expert, so I’ll be the first to say it could definitely have looked a little neater, but hey, I think it gives the little guy character.

I had a great time making this cake. It was the first bit of baking I’ve done since Christmas- and it was a great way to get me back into the swing of things! Despite being a bit of a mammoth project to begin with, I think the outcome was definitely worth it. Sadly I’ve no photos of the inside of this cake (I couldn’t cut into before the birthday girl after all!), but it was made with three layers of pink vanilla sponge cake, sandwiched with pink buttercream and lots of sparkles!

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The mane of the unicorn was created using buttercream in four different pastel shades, while I used regal icing to make the horn and ears. I painted these gold by using a mixture of golden baking dust and almond extract- this part smelled so good you guys.

Unfortunately we’ve been having freakishly hot weather in the UK this Summer, and the day I made this cake was no exception! This did lead to some of the butter in the icing oozing out as it melted, which is the yellow liquid you can see on some of these pictures. This was a problem that I’ve never encountered before in my baking, but I’ve since been wondering about how to avoid this happening in the future. Does anybody have any methods to avoid this with their bakes? If so, I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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If you’d be interested in seeing a step by step post on how to make this cake, please let me know in the comments! I’d be happy to create that for you guys.

I hope you’re all having great summers, and perhaps also looking forward to some of my upcoming posts!

Maddie.

My makeup collection- Eye shadow palettes!

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So those of you who follow me on Instagram (if you don’t, what you doin’? Let’s just take a minute to stop reading and go sort that out right now: @alittlemadsmith) will know that I recently did a little poll to see who would be interested in seeing my makeup collection- and I was pretty overwhelmed with all of the responses!

I’m a bit of a makeup collector. You could say that it is the one addiction that I have, as well as cheese of course. I’ve never really been bothered by handbags or shoes, but makeup is just that one thing that I am obsessed with. I guess it’s kind of stemmed from my love of art. I didn’t actually wear any makeup until I was almost fifteen; to be honest I found the whole thing pretty daunting at first. I remember feeling incredibly embarrassed whilst buying my first mascara from a box of sale items in Boots when I was fourteen Oh, how things change.

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Jump forward six years and I am now somewhat of a makeup junkie, though limited from becoming full on makeup junkie due to the restrains of living on a student budget. Most of the makeup in my collection is from the odd splurge after saving for several months, or presents from birthdays and Christmases.

Instead of writing an absolutely MASSIVE blog post where I talk about every single product I own, I thought I’d break this down into a mini series, so that I can give you all a bit more detail on each product.

Up today is my eyeshadow palette collection! Eyeshadow palettes are my main addiction; if you let me choose between buying a new foundation or a new eyeshadow palette, the palette would win every time. The artist in me loves colour, and I’m drawn to anything that shimmers. Of course, I have a lot of palettes with neutral colour schemes in my collection, but I still get very excited when I see a bright and colourful new release. I’ve had my eye on the Juvia’s Place Zulu eyeshadow palette for months now, still saving those pennies. 

Disclaimer- I have no clue why almost all of these are from Urban Decay!! I’ve actually been dying to get my hands on some of the Anastasia Beverly Hills palettes (that Soft Glam tho), some more Morphe ones, Juvia’s Place and Colourpop (but that international shipping cost *cries*). Unfortunately since my interest in makeup has really peaked, my income has really dropped. The last two years at uni haven’t left me with much spare change, so most of these palettes are from back in the day when I thought Urban Decay was the only brand in the history of ever.

Naked 2- Urban Decay

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This was the first eyeshadow palette that I ever purchased. I had just turned 18 and decided that I wanted to try out some more high end makeup; there was A LOT of hype surrounding the Naked series at the time. My friend Gabby had actually recently done my makeup for a party (it was that time in our lives when everyone we knew was turning 18), and she used this palette on my eyes. I was well and truly convinced that this palette was the best thing ever, and immediately went out and purchased one for myself.  This was actually my second ever high end purchase, after the Naked foundation. As you can tell, I wasn’t very adventurous and bought everything from the same makeup counter.

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This palette is great quality, but it isn’t something I reach for regularly when doing my makeup. It actually has more of a cool toned colour scheme, and I’ve since come to realise that I much prefer warm tones. I do still use the gold shade (Half baked) from time to time though and apply it onto my lid with my finger, its a really pretty shadow.

The Electric Palette- Urban Decay

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I went crazy for this palette. Like I said, I love colour, and boy did this palette have colour. I remember at the time I bought this palette I had just started working Saturday nights at a pub as a barmaid; once a week before work I would spend an hour creating some crazy ass eye look that the locals would always comment on. I owe most of my makeup skills to this palette really, it really taught me how to master the art of blending.

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I still adore the pigmentation in this palette, I was swatching it before writing this and OH MA GAWD I’d forgotten how good the shadows were! It isn’t the most wearable palette in the world, but I love it. Plus you can use the dark pink shade (Jilted) and the silver shade (Revolt) alongside other shadows to create more wearable looks, something that I do quite often.

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Naked Smoky- Urban Decay (See a theme here?) 

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For some reason I have always had an obsession with ‘smoky eyes’. Even before I bought my first eyeshadow, I would paint paintings with said ‘smoky eyes’. Something about it just seemed so mysterious and sexy to me. Hence when I saw that Urban Decay had a smoky palette I went bananas for it. I was a very happy girl that year for Christmas when my nan and granddad bought me this bad boy.

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I’m sad to say, like the Naked 2 palette, this isn’t one that I reach for much anymore. The brown tones are just a little too cool for when I want to do a bronze smoky eye, and I never really use grey shadow anymore. Though I can’t lie, once again the feel and blend of these shadows is great.

The Jaclyn Hill Palette- Morphe

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The most recent addition to my palette collection! For those who don’t know, Jaclyn Hill is a beauty youtuber who created this palette in collaboration with Morphe. This is my favourite palette hands down. It’s got cool tones, warm tones, transition shades, highlight shades, neutrals, pops of colour, shimmers, mattes- EVERYTHING you could want from a palette. And the blend on these shadows is unreal, especially for the price. Not a lot of fall out but highly pigmented colours, I can’t tell you enough how much I love this palette.

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Naked Ultimatte Basics- Urban Decay

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Another Naked palette- I know! Younger Maddie was scared of trying new things, ok? I actually love the warmed toned deep orange shade (Extra Bitter) in this palette, for me it makes the whole thing worth it. It was the first shadow I had in this sort of colour and I loved it, I started doing dark smokey eye looks with this in the crease for a really warm transition and I loved the way it turned out. I also love the deep mauve colour (Lethal); I did a few cut creases with this in the crease and gold on the lid which looked really pretty.

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If you like matte shadows and creating neutral looks, this palette would definitely be one to invest in. The shades have a good level of pigmentation, but it’s not so much that it would be daunting for a beginner. Plus theres a really good matte black in here, which everyone needs.

Full Spectrum Palette- Urban Decay

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Biggest waste of money EVER! These shades are so ridiculously not pigmented, and pretty dusty and dry. Even when I tried applying them with my finger, the colour pay off was just not what you’d expect from a palette in this price range. I was so disappointed by this as I had been looking forward to purchasing it for a while and was so excited by the colour scheme!

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I’m not sure if maybe I just bought a dud or if they were all that bad. Either way, this was not what I was expecting from the same brand who brought us the highly pigmented electric palette. I hardly ever use it.

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Naked Heat- Urban Decay

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Let’s leave this eyeshadow palette collection on a good note! My sister bought me the Naked Heat palette for my 20th birthday- she’s the best. Being the lover of all things warm toned that I am, this palette was a sure win for me. I love it, it’s the one of my Naked palettes that I reach for the most. I love creating really blown out dark smokey eyes with this palette.

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There you have it guys! Did you enjoy this little run through of my eye shadow palette collection? What part of my makeup collection would you like to see next? Be sure to let me know in the comments! 

Maddie.

My Morning Routine

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Going old school with these filters to make up for terrible lighting. Also lets pretend I didn’t cut my head of by accident and that we’re being cool and artsy- K?

As a person I would say that I awkwardly linger right in the middle of being a full on morning person and not wanting to be spoken to until midday. 

I love mornings. I love opening the curtains to a bright new day, the promise of a fresh start, and breakfast. 

I hate getting out of bed. 

But one thing I hate more than getting out of bed is staying in bed all day. I absolutely HATE lying in until the afternoon, or going a day in my pyjamas, un-showered and never opening the curtains.  So, I guess you could say that I am a morning person after all. 

Once I’ve built up the courage and strength to pull the duvet back and venture out into the cold, I actually really enjoy the morning. I am very lucky in that most of my lectures start late in the day, usually 11am or later. This means that I have loads of time in a morning to take it easy and really start my day right. 

8am- The dreaded alarm. 

If I don’t have a 9am start (which is most of the week), I will set my alarm for 8am. This includes weekends. I actually have the most cliche alarm ever- it’s birdsong. This is kind of a nice thing to wake up to, though I have noticed that in Summer I get woken up at the crack of dawn by actual birds singing. 

8:10am- Breakfast!

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The most important meal of the day. I bloody love breakfast, I will never understand how people can skip it. Even when I was waking up at 6:30am everyday for college, I always, AlWAYS made time for breakfast. Over the past few months I’ve gotten into the routine of eating porridge with honey, a chopped banana and ground cinnamon- it is so good. It really doesn’t take an age to prepare either, I get the little microwavable pouches of porridge oats that you just add milk to and pop in the microwave for 2 minutes. I chop the banana while that’s getting nuked and Bob’s my uncle.  

I also always drink a glass of water in the morning. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to start drinking more water as there’s so many health benefits of it, so this is a pretty new addition to the routine.

8:30am- Get on down to yoga town.

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Yoga has become an integral part of my life over the past year. I started it primarily as a method for dealing with stress amongst other things; fast forward and I am now in the best shape I’ve ever been, both mentally and physically. A morning started off with yoga is a morning started off right in my opinion. If you’re fancying starting your own yoga practice, I HIGHLY recommend checking out Yoga with Adriene on Youtube- it will revolutionise the way you see yourself and others, as well as improve your flexibility, strength and overall outlook on life. Honestly, Adriene is a miracle worker. 

I usually do around forty minutes of yoga in the morning, with the type depending on my energy level for that day. Sometimes I will opt for an ab or glute workout, or sometimes I will enjoy a slow morning sequence to help me wake up. 

9:15am- The boring stuff- shower, teeth, hair.

After I’ve finished with my yoga session I’ll hop in the shower, before cleaning my teeth and brushing my hair. Just the usual stuff here I’m afraid, nothing exciting. 

9:30am- The fun stuff- getting dressed and applying makeup.

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At this point in the morning I’ll usually do a quick check of the expected weather for the day and temperature and decide what to wear. As I live in northern England, the usual weather is the standard ‘freezing your tits off with an extra portion of rain’.

On a day to day basis I keep makeup pretty quick and easy; if I’m really rushing but still want a bit of something something, I’ll stick to just mascara, concealer, brow gel and blusher. If I have a bit more time on my hands I’ll add a bit of eyeshadow, bronzer, highlight and a lipstick too. And of course setting spray. I never wear foundation on a day to day basis, I like to keep my look pretty natural for uni.

10am- More food.

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If I don’t have to be at a lecture for 10am, I’ll squeeze in some extra time for eating before I head out the door. I have Gilbert’s syndrome, a liver condition that means I can get very lightheaded if I don’t eat regularly. Also I’m just a greedy b*tch. 😉 My favourite mid morning snack to have is some strawberries topped with greek yogurt and honey. I’ve recently been working on building my glute muscles, so the yogurt is pretty good for that. 

And there we have it!

There you are guys, I hope you enjoyed this little run through of my morning routine. My friends call me absolutely nuts for spending two hours getting ready in the morning, but I really think that taking some time for yourself to get your mind in the right place and ready for the day is so important. I can say that, at least for me, taking the extra time getting ready in the morning means that I arrive at my lectures awake and ready to learn, with a clear head and a full stomach, and the satisfaction that I’ve already done some exercise. 

What’s your morning routine like? Are you a morning person or would you much rather get up in the afternoon? Do you think I’m crazy for spending so long getting ready?

Let me know in the comments!

Love ya, 

Maddie.

Upcoming content- what to expect from A Little Mad Smith

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We’re going lifestyle baby! 

Yes, hold on to your hats ladies and gentlemen, A Little Mad Smith is becoming a lifestyle blog as of today.

“But Maddie, wasn’t this already a lifestyle blog?” I hear you cry! Well, yes, it was, but I had a mental rule that said every post must have a specific purpose, like a recipe or DIY. As of today the rule book is going out the window, and I will be posting whatever content I fancy.

Please do not be alarmed! Recipes and DIYs will still be a frequent feature here on A Little Mad Smith, especially when Summer comes around and I have some more free time. But in the meantime I thought it’d be fun to share with you some of the more mundane stuff about my life, so you can get to know me a bit better.

Check out my new and improved “About me” page to see what I mean!

So what sort of things can you be expecting to see from me over the next few months?

I’m hoping to get some more chatty posts up here, monthly favourites, morning routines etc. I’ll also be aiming to post some throw back posts for you all on a regular basis, to keep that creative content coming!

If I can commit to taking a photo of my face that I don’t want to immediately delete, I would absolutely love to start getting some makeup tutorials up for you all seeing as I’m a makeup addict. I’m also hoping to get some “Sister Style” and fashion posts sorted when I’m back home over Easter! Maybe some OOTDs? Who’d like to see that?

I’ll also be giving you some tips on dealing with stress, balancing a degree and a healthy lifestyle, and coping with loneliness as we get closer to exam season.

WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU GUYS LIKE TO SEE?

Please let me know what else you would be interested in seeing! Are you excited for the change? Or have you already gone and unfollowed me? (lol please don’t).

Have an awesome day,

Maddie.

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