Wednesday 25 December 2013

Christmas Presents 2013 – a beauty bonanza!

Merry Christmas! I hope you’ve all had a fantastic Christmas, eaten lots and enjoyed a good old rest in front of the TV. I know I’ve had a great day, seen lots of family and watched a few films (The Santa Claus and Hot Tub Time Machine!)

I wanted to share with you some pictures of what I’ve had for Christmas this year. This little lot is from three of my best friends that know me really well as you can see it’s very beauty focused!

REN, L'Occitane, Rodial, Eve Lom. Crabtree & Evelyn Christmas Gifts

The two biggest treats were the Eve Lom Kiss Mix Lip Balm and Rodial Glamstick in Thrill.

The Eve Lom Kiss Mix is a really moisturising lip balm with a minty flavour that can be worn on it’s own for a light sheen or under lipstick. It’s a real luxury gift and a step up from my trusty Carmex!!

Beautiful gifts including the Rodial Glamstick and Eve Lom Kiss Mix

I hadn’t heard of the Rodial Glamstick and had a real surprise when I opened it as I didn’t recognise it. However, here’s the spiel:

“Rodial Glamstick is a nourishing lip butter enriched with vitamin E and coconut butter to hydrate and protect. Infused with a light coconut flavour for beautifully scented lips with an irresistible sheen. Apply as and when needed to smooth lips for instant glamour.”

First up, the packaging is a funky square shaped clear cube, very grown up, with a silver bullet inside. The coconut scent is quite strong and reminds me of holidays. They come in three very neutral colours, thrill, bite and lust and Thrill is a neutral brown. Again, it’s a real luxury product and as a tinted moisturising lipbalm, great for using everyday. I can’t wait to give it a shot!

REN minis

I also had a huge lot of L’Occitane products including the Verbena soap, Verveine body lotion, Precious Cream, Essential Water and Precious Eye Balm from the Immortale range (I’m most excited about this little trio!) and Dry Skin Hand Cream.

Next up was a pile of REN minis including the Vita Mineral Day Cream, Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Gel, Vetiver Hand and Body Cream, Hydra Calm Global Protection Day Cream, Keep Young and Beautiful Anti Ageing Eye Cream and Frankincense Revitalising Night Cream.

Ok I admit, I've already eaten most of these chocolates!

Lastly, I received the Crabtree & Evelyn Rosewater Hand Therapy (love this already!), some handmade orangettes (my favourite chocolates) from my favourite little French chocolate shop in Birmingham and a Lindt bear.

Did you find any beauty products under the tree?!

Monday 25 November 2013

November Empties feat Soap & Glory, Armani Code, Clinique Chubby Stick and Chanel Le Volume Mascara

Okay so I admit, this isn’t all my empties from one month but actually a collection from the last few as it seems to be taking me ages to finish any of my make up at the moment!

Soap and Glory Off Your Face, Soap and Glory Clean On Me, Armani Code, Per Una Perfume, Clinique Chubby Stick Two Ton Tomato, Carmex, Le Volume De Chanel Mascara, Carmex, L'Occitane Hand Cream and GHD Thermal Protect

Soap & Glory Off Your Face Cleansing Cloths – An absolute must have! Although you should always remove your make up properly, I’ll use these if I’m falling asleep at the sink. At around £5, they’re great for emergencies and sleepovers and I’ve already repurchased them in the new packaging.

Soap and Glory Clean On Me – Probably my favourite shower gel, I can’t get enough of this scent. A bottle lasts me so long that I literally only need to buy a few of these a year. At the moment I’ve got loads of miniatures to use of though so I won’t be repurchasing this for a while.

GHD Thermal Protector – It’s so important to protect your hair before using heat products such as hairdryers and straighteners and this is one I’ve been using for years. However, it’s getting harder and harder to find and I really want to try a new one. Does anyone have any suggestions for good heat protecting products to try out?

Per Una Perfume – As you can see from the 2 empty bottles of this, I adore this fruity and sweet perfume! I get so many compliments when I wear this even though it’s a high street perfume. I love buying the purse sized sprays because they’re small enough to carry with you but big enough so that they don’t run out too quickly. I’m steadily going through my stockpile and I’m onto my last full sized bottle before I can use a Dior perfume that I’ve still got from last year.

Clinique Chubby Stick in Two Ton Tomato – Chubby sticks are ridiculously easy to use. You don’t even need to use a mirror to put these on so I always have one in my handbag ready for a touch up after work. I love this ripe red shade and the finish is shiny and sheer enough to be easy to use but saturated enough to make a statement. The only downside with these is that they don’t last long and at nearly £20, I wish they lasted longer. That doesn’t put me off them though and I’ve already repurchased.

Armani Code – I think I got this in a boxset a few years ago and I’ve only just got round to using it as I’ve got a bit of a perfume backlog to get through. This is a really sweet vanilla tinged scent and although I like it, I don’t think I’ll be in a hurry to repurchase it as there’s so many other perfumes I want to try.

L’Occitane Rose Petals Hand Cream – I think this scent is now discontinued as it’s not only and I saw them in Bicester Village recently which is a shame because I love roses! I’m always using L’Occitane hand creams as they’re so rich and nourishing, perfect for wearing just before bedtime. I’ve got a few more waiting to be used already. 

Carmex Lip Balm – Not much to say here besides I’m always using Carmex! I am trying out a few different lip balms at the moment but I think Carmex is a classic and a staple in a lot of make up bags!

Chanel Le Volume De Chanel Mascara – This might only be a sample size but I love this mascara! It’s great for thickening lashes and giving them a very dramatic look and I’d be tempted to buy the full sized version as a splurge. 

Monday 11 November 2013

Bicester Village Cath Kidston Haul!

I realised a few weeks ago that it’s been months since I’d been to Bicester Village. I usually go a few times a year, so I decided a visit was long overdue.

Cath Kidston Overload! - Cath Kidston cowboy mug, towels and cowboy notebook

Heading out on the train to Bicester North, we took a taxi from the station and started off in Dior in search of a designer discount. 3 hours later we’d been into almost every shop there! With stores including Prada, Gucci, Fendi, Ralph Lauren and Jimmy Choo, you could literally spend the whole day there and come back with some heavy bags and a light wallet.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the stories from lucky people who have nabbed shoes for £50 or a bargain T Shirt for a tenner, but sadly I didn’t manage to join them.  Despite my determination to take home a designer bag or pair of shoes, in the end I only splurged in Cath Kidston.

Although there were some beautiful purses in Mulberry, Dior and Burberry, all with huge discounts, I decided I didn’t need anything just yet as I’m still using my Michael Kors set. So instead I got everything in the picture from Cath Kidston for £20!

I wanted some new towels for my bedroom and the hand towel and face cloth were just £9 and £2.50. My favourite Cath Kidston print is the Cowboy so I had to get the mug for £3.50 and notebook for just £5!

We stopped off for lunch at Villandry and treated ourselves to a lovely meal as we wouldn’t be home till late. It was so nice to just relax and enjoy a leisurely lunch and we decided to push the boat out as we’d been so good and resisted the urge to splurge!

Even though we didn’t buy much, I still had a great day and really enjoyed some mother daughter bonding whilst eyeing up some seriously gorgeous bags, shoes and clothes!

What was the last thing you bought at Bicester?

Sunday 20 October 2013

Bistro 1847 Launch - Birmingham

Bistro 1847 recently opened in the Great Western Arcade, Birmingham. A vegetarian restaurant named after the year the Vegetarian Society formed, the Birmingham outpost is the first to open outside of the existing two outlets in Manchester. 

Heading over to the official launch for champagne and canapes, I met up with Ahmed from Dine Birmingham to try out a few nibbles. With music provided by the wonderful Rioghnach Connolly, we sampled quality food including beer battered halloumi, mushroom and liquorice pate and posh cheese and pineapple sticks.

The menu looks fantastic. From mediterranean mezze sharing platters to goats cheese tarts, tempura, cheddar brulee and some decadent desserts, every item on the menu is imaginative and has been carefully considered.

There's also a good selection of original cocktails such as the Spiced Caramel Apple, Black Mexican and Gin Tea to enjoy whilst listening to the live Jazz that will be playing on the second Thursday of the month.

Big thanks to Damien and Alex and I can't wait to come back and try out the menu!

Friday 18 October 2013

MAC Amplified Creme Lipstick Chatterbox

Mac Amplified Creme lipsticks have a moisturising cream finish and a vivid colour. Whilst looking for Candy Yum Yum, I picked up this great little shade and I'm so glad that I did.

MAC Amplified Creme Lipstick in Chatterbox available here

Chatterbox is a beautiful vivid pink, a real classic in my eyes. The texture is smooth and quite creamy, and it lasts ages before fading out to leave a pink stain and wears evenly too. It even works on dry lips without showing up your skin, although you might want to wear a balm underneath if you've got very dry lips just for comfort.

Whilst on some darker skins it comes out a light pastel, on me it comes out a bubblegum pastel pink, verging on Barbie pink. In the swatches you can really see the red undertones.

Long wearing, highly pigmented, quite matte and with an even application, these are a great formulation for wearable, everyday lipstick that you can eat and drink in.

Daylight swatch

Studio Light Swatch

At £15, it's a mid range price point, with high street lipsticks costing up to £10-£12 and high end ones costing up to £25-30, so really it's still pretty good value for money. Don't forget to use Back 2 Mac too!

Have you guys tried Chatterbox?

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Mohdoh Mouldable Aromatherapy in Sleep

I received this product in my goody bag from the #BrumBloggerMeetUp earlier this year and I've been using it ever since.

Mohdoh Mouldable Aromatherapy in Sleep available here*

Looking at it for the first time, it's not immediately obvious what it is. However, here's the hype for you.

"mohdoh combines three therapeutic elements, proven to produce positive results; aromatherapy, play therapy and colour therapy. It is these three elements that make mohdoh such a powerful holistic therapy."

"A powerful remedy for treating everyday ailments from insomnia, travel sickness, worry and anxiety to colds and flu, lack of focus, hyperactivity, headaches and tension, mohdoh can even help those trying to lose weight or quit smoking"

The product I've got it Sleep, which is good because I really like the smell! Although it's for Sleep, it's also a really great way to relax and calm thanks to the lavender scent. 

To use, all you need to do is mould the dough for 5-10 minutes at bedtime to release the essential oils. As well as the oils inside it, the violet colour has been chosen specifically as a "calming and relaxing colour perfect for settling tired minds" and the action of moulding the dough is "play therapy".

I love the smell of this so much, I really want to try out the other scents too, especially Calm, Unwind and Breathe next.

At £4.99 I think they're really good value too and they're definitely worth the price. Which one should I try next?

Monday 14 October 2013

Monday Manicure: OPI Nail Lacquer Sparrow Me The Drama

You know you have a nail polish addiction when you find polishes that you can't even remember buying. This is one such polish. I have no idea where it came from but hey, it's in my collection now so let's go with it.

OPI Sparrow Me the Drama Nail Lacquer

OPI's Sparrow me the Drama is part of the Pirates of the Caribbean Collection. I think it came out a while ago but you can still buy it, probably for a fraction of the price.

What suprised me most about this pink polish is how wearable it is. Most pinks are girly and loud and scream "look at me!" This one however is so subtle that you could even, dare I say it, wear it to work or even an interview. A dusky, creamy, pastel pink, this is both femininie and sophisticated. I used three coats but you could easily get away with two. I think it's quite a cool tone and it really suits my skin tone, even though I've seen it work on paler skins too.

As always the quality of these polishes is fantastic, no streaking, bubbling etc.

Monday 7 October 2013

Nicky Clarke Salon (re)opening at The Mailbox Birmingham

Nicky Clarke is one of the UK's leading celebrity hairdressers. With four UK salons, a line of hair styling products and tools and an OBE to his name, as well as a host of celebrity clients including models, actors, pop stars and royalty, it's not hard to see why Nicky has built a reputation as one of the hardest working hairdressers around.

Nicky Clarke at The Mailbox salon. Image c/o Jas Sansi

When an email entitled "Nicky Clarke" landed in my inbox, I couldn't believe it contained an invitation to not only see the newly opened Mailbox salon, but to meet the hair legend himself too!

Newly opened on Level 7 of The Mailbox, the Nicky Clarke salon was previously located downstairs on Level 3.
Laura from Luxx Mint, Nicky Clarke, Sarah from The Style Floozie and Me - Image c/o Sarah

Kicking off the evening with a few bubbles, the intimate group prepared their questions ready for the Q&A. Clad in a sharp navy suit, we were introduced to Nicky before he took to the floor to answer our questions.

Advising the group on how to achieve an at-home up-do, the right way to wash hair and what to look for in products for fine or thick hair, personal style advice was on hand to the female and male members of the audience.

I had a great evening, met some fabulous people and have to say that Nicky is an absolutely lovely, down to earth guy.  This is definitely one night that I won't forget and I have to say a big thank you to Sam at Rewired and Octavia and Maria at Octavia Coates.

To check out more images of the night click here.

Friday 4 October 2013

MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation SPF 15 NW22 - Product Review and Swatches

I'm currently looking for the perfect everyday foundation, one that's not too thick and matte, dewy but with enough coverage to even out my skin.

MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation available here

I picked up MAC Studio Fix Fluid as I tried it in the shop and really liked the finish. For me, it's perfect; just the right kind of dewy finish without looking and feeling greasy.

The shade is NW22 which I think is pretty close to what I need. It's perfect for golden yellow skin tones which is great for me as the yellow in the foundation counteracts the redness around my nose and chin. It's maybe just a touch too yellow fot me but it's still a good enough match to be wearable.

Daylight swatch

Studio light swatch

I like the creamy consistency and it's easy to apply. I use either a foundation brush or sponge and both work well. It's also really buildable so tend to go for a light base layer and then keep adding to my nose, chin and central cheek area to cover redness.

I think the coverage is a medium working up to a medium/heavy which works really well for me as the skin on my forehead and most of my cheeks needs less coverage than my T Zone, meaning that I hate to apply too heavy a foundation all over when parts of my face don't need that much coverage. It's good at covering small blemishes but you will probably need a little extra concealer for bigger blemishes and spots.

It lasts for around 7 hours and it does get a bit shiny around my nose and chin but powder helps combat this

The packaging makes it quite difficult to get the product out as it's a screw top lid that comes off and you can't squeeze the bottle as it's glass. Also, the lid gets dirty really quickly as it's a rubber finish.

It also contains an SPF15 which is great!

The downside is the smell which is pretty chalky, but at £21.50 it's really quite good value.

What do you guys think of Mac Studio Fix?

Wednesday 2 October 2013

L'Oreal Elvive Triple Resist Masque - Review

As much as I love the caramel colour my hair goes when it's been highlighted to high heaven, what I don't like is the dry straw like texture it gives to treated hair.

On my search for a good hair mask, I came across this; L'Oreal Elvive Triple Resist Masque with reinforcing serum.

L'Oreal Elvive Triple Resist Masque available here

Here's what I love about this product:

1. The size - it's a huge 300ml pot of product and at around £5, it means you can afford to slather on the product.

2. The price - £5 is pretty decent for a hair mask

3. The smell - it smells like a salon, one of my favourite smells :) 

The product itself is a glossy white and a comfortingly thick, gloopy consistency. I leave it in for around 10 minutes, just because I'd rather leave it in for longer and make sure it has time to sink in. It washes out easily and leaves hair definitely softer, smelling lovely, less tangled and is smoother after blow drying.

Overall, it's a really good value conditioning treatment that can be used every week guilt free.

Monday 30 September 2013

London Fashion Week and New Look Q&A - SS14*

Since London Fashion Week is finished and all eyes are on Paris, now is a great time to reflect on what we saw in London before it hits the highstreet next season.

New Look wanted to hear my thoughts on the shows, designers and emerging trends for SS14 and I'd love to share them with you too.

1. Do you have a favourite designer?
How could I choose just one? I love Elie Saab for glamorous eveningwear, Philip Armstrong for playful dresses, Burberry Prorsum for classic looks and Erdem just for being Erdem.

2. What was your favourite collection?
One that I felt resonated with my personal style was Osman Yousefzada. Clean lines, crisp silhouettes and classic colours are all things that I look for in my trans-seasonal wardrobe. Influenced by India and the East, he avoided the obvious and instead picked out elements such as embroidery, lace and repetitive pattern to subtly reference the look.

J.JS Lee

3. Do you think the event is important in promoting the fashion industry?
London Fashion Week is a hotbed for fresh young talent. I think London has a reputation as the maverick of fashion. It's a great mix of newer designers such as House of Holland and Giles Deacon  and more established houses such as Burberry and Mulberry which is what keeps it interesting.

Ryan Lo

4. Describe London Fashion Week in 3 words
Fun. Fearless. Exciting.

5. Is there any particular celebrity you base your fashion on or would you call your style individual?
Although I don't go out to follow any one celebrity, I adore the way that Alexa Chung keeps is classy and casual, Scarlett Johansson's flirty and sexy eveningwear and Monica Belluci for just oozing Italian glamour. 
Simone Rocha

6. What are the 5 most inspiring blogs you follow?
I follow so many!! Some of my bookmarks are Tanya Burr, Pixiwoo, Caroline Hirons, VIPXO and Fashion Train.

What did you guys think of LFW? Looking forward to next season?