Friday, 22 October 2010
Brrrrr, its freezing outside! Funnily enough, autumn is my absolute favourite time of year – there’s nothing I like better than wrapping up warm and going for a long walk through the crunchy autumn leaves. Plus I love bonfire night and Halloween! In honour of the seasons turning and my impending trip to New York (well, in January….) I decided to treat myself to some new winter boots.
I’m a big fan of my UGGs in autumn/winter but I find that they’re a bit of a death trap as soon as the ice hits, so instead of buying yet another pair of classics, I decided to mix it up a bit and went for some UGG Kensingtons which are more of a biker style. I had to size up which is a first in UGGs (I usually have to size down!) so I was a bit worried my feet would look huge, but as soon as I tried them on I didn’t care – it’s love!!
I also invested in a replacement for the famous River Island Panda hat, which will barely (no pun intended) be off my head until spring – whether the Mr likes it or not!!
What are your favourite autumn essentials?
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
I've had such a busy October that despite my best intentions I've lapsed on the blogging front somewhat! Anyway, I finally plucked up the courage to get my hair cut which, given my hairdresser trust issues was a massive step (more on that to come), but also gave me licence (in my mind at least) to place a little order with Lookfantastic. Most of you will know I have a bit of a fixation on Paul Mitchell products, so along with a couple of old favourites, I also picked up two products I haven't yet tried.
The Old Favourites:
The New Kids on the Block:
Thicken Up Styling Liquid
Reviews coming soon!
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
I have a very weird relationship with No7. Every so often I’ll find an absolute gem (like the Cleanse and Car eye make up remover which I absolutely swear by) but I only ever have a good look at the display when I have a £5 off voucher burning a hole in my purse.
I’ve read mixed reviews about the Radiance Boosting Hot Cloth Cleanser, however at £3.75 with a voucher (£8.75 normally, for anyone who’s maths is as terrible as mine) I thought it would be rude not to give it a whirl, as by this point I’d bought enough eye make up remover to fill a child’s paddling pool.
The product comes in a box with a small muslin cloth, however the one I picked up was without a cloth, so I can’t pass comment on the cloth that comes in the box as I had to pick up a pack from my local cook shop. I assume its the same thing, apparently muslin has a LOT of uses!
The directions on the box / bottle tell you to massage the cleanser onto your face then soak the cloth in very hot water, wring it out, lay the cloth over your face to open your pores, remove the cleanser off using the cloth in a circular motion, then splash your face with cold water and pat dry. Now most of you will know by now I’m always in a rush, I much prefer an extra 5 minutes in bed to sitting in the bathroom with a lukewarm cloth on my face, so when I read the instructions I was less than inspired. It all sounds like too much effort to me.
When I actually used the product, it was much easier and much less effort than I expected. The cleanser is really thick and luxurious feeling, and a couple of pumps is plenty for each use. I tend to use it in the shower after I’ve slapped conditioner on which means that I’m probably not getting the cloth as hot as I should, but it seems to be working fine for me. I’m not sure my skin looks any more radiant, but it definitely feels softer, something which is probably more attributable to the cloth than the cleanser - I’d be insterested to try out the cloth paired with different cleansers. I’m not sure I’d buy this product again at full price, but I’d definitely re-purchase with another £5 voucher.
Sunday, 26 September 2010
Hello ladies (and gents)
This review is the second product I received in the September Mypure Bloggers Parcel, Inika Mineral Foundation Powder. This product is available here and retails for £24.99 for an 8g pot. I was lucky enough to receive not only the foundation, but also the Inika kabuki brush which is available here and retails for £22.99, and a cute little gold make up bag to stash the brush and foundation along with a few other handbag essentials.
I was really excited to try this product, as I'm a big fan of mineral foundations. I like the way that the coverage can be built from barely-there to medium coverage without feeling mask like or heavy. I also like the feeling that my skin can breathe, which is something I sometimes struggle with when it comes to liquid and creme foundations.
Having read up on Inika, I learnt that the company are Australian and have a firm belief that women should be aware of what goes into their products and therefore goes onto their skin. I was also pleased to find out that this is one of the few 100% natural mineral foundations on the market at the moment.
When I cracked open the packaging I was pleased to find that the colour I was sent was a good match to my skin tone, and that the packaging incorporated a sifter – I've had many an accident with loose products which don’t include a sifter (Barry M Dazzle Dusts, I’m looking at you).
My favoured application method is to tip a bit of product into the lid and swirl the kabuki in the lid to pick up the product. I then tap off the excess and buff the foundation into my skin in a circular motion. I used the Kabuki supplied with the foundation and I was really pleased with the results. My skin tone was evened out and there was no cakey-ness or heaviness. The kabuki is fantastic, 100% certified vegan and 100% certified cruelty free. As it is retractable it is perfect for your handbag/makeup bag and the bristles won’t get damaged.
I’d definitely recommend this product to anyone who like me, doesn't like heavy foundation or anyone who is looking for a lighter foundation than they would usually use, perhaps during the summer or on a holiday.
Tuesday, 21 September 2010
Once again, apologies for the lack of photo. There were no camera issues this month, but rather product issues, which will become clear as you read on.
I’m a big fan of deep conditioning treatments, they’re a product that I’ve been well acquainted with throughout my various degrees of blonde-ness. My absolute favourite is Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor. I’m fairly confident in saying that there is no product on the planet that will ever come close to it – its perfect (for me at least). That said, I’m a bit of a product tart and I’m always open to trying out new products so I was eager to give this a whirl. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I loved the smell, but unfortunately the product did nothing at all for my hair. The packaging recommends leaving it on the hair for 20 minutes, and as the packaging said for normal hair, I decided to give it an extra 10 minutes. I could tell as soon as i started rinsing my hair that the product wasn’t for me – my hair felt worse than it had before I’d put the conditioner on! Luckily my 3 Minute Miracle saved the day once again!
Having had a look at the Mypure website, perhaps I would have fared better with Lovea Burkina Shea Moisturising Hair Mask as it seems to be more geared towards my hair type – maybe next time?
In the interests of fairness, I gave the product to a friend who has completely untreated hair to see if she had any more luck than I had. (This is where the photo issue comes in – in my wisdom I completely forgot to take a photo before handing it over!)
Here are Amy’s thoughts:
“I have long-ish, naturally dark hair. I don’t really use much of anything on my hair and apart from a quick blast with the dryer I barely use heat on it as my hair is completely poker straight. I use a deep conditioner maybe once a month, mainly because I like to have a pamper night, though I’m not really sure my hair needs it! So here goes with the ‘review’. First of all – the smell is lovely, I'm not exactly sure what it is, but its a definite plus! I left the conditioner on for an episode of Gray’s (about 45 minutes after I’d skipped through the ads), and though it took quite a lot of rinsing out, I was pleased with the condition of my hair afterwards. I rough dried my hair with the dryer but left the majority to dry naturally, and the next morning it felt really silky. The only complaint I would have is that it did not rinse very well.”
So there you have it – the product is great for normal hair, but not so great for bleached/damaged hair.
Sunday, 19 September 2010
Sorry I’ve been so rubbish lately but I’ve had a lot going on both at home and at work and unfortunately my blog is always the first thing to slip – sometimes there just are not enough hours in the day! Things seem to have calmed down a bit now (either everything’s going to be ok or its just the calm before the storm!), so from this day forward I’m making a concerted effort to get my blog groove back.
Thursday, 19 August 2010
I’m sure you all probably know more than you wanted about me, however the gorgeous Rosalyn tagged me
1. What's your favourite make up brand and why?
Urban Decay, because I've yet to find a product I don't love.
2. How many nail polishes do you own?
*counts* 36. I don't think that's too many…….is it?!
3. What is your greatest achievement in life?
Probably getting my degree/LPC. Its a boring answer but its the truth!!
4. What job did you want to do when you were a kid?
I always wanted to be a doctor, up until I was about 14 and I discovered a hidden talent for arguing. From then on I decided that I could probably carve a career out of it and decided I wanted to be a solicitor.
5. Do you have any other hobbies, apart from blogging?
Snowboarding, football (watching, not playing - if you’d seen me kick a ball you’d understand this), travelling and cooking/baking
6. What's your idea of a perfect weekend?
My ideal weekend is generally a 3/4 day weekend to be honest! I'd start by going to the cinema on Friday night with the girls, and maybe for a few cheeky cocktails afterwards!
Saturday: a lie in, followed the football (I'm lost without football!), then home for a night on the sofa with the Mr, with a take-away curry, bottle of red, a dvd and some Ben and Jerrys
Sunday: A Sunday lunch cooked by the Mr (with me as sous chef), then a nice long walk in the peaks
7. What's your favourite item of clothing?
I don't really have a favourite item of clothing, I don't really get to attached to clothes. If I had to choose one I would probably say my signed 2004/2005 Sheffield Wednesday shirt (not that I wear it, its currently framed and hanging in my spare room). Or my Mulberry Bayswater.
8. What's your biggest beauty problem and what do you do/use to combat it?
My biggest problem is probably my dry hair, which, admittedly is due to the bleach! I tend to combat it by using Aussie 3 Minute Miracle once a week – I love that stuff!!
My questions are:
What are the 3 beauty products you couldn’t live without?
What is your favourite nail polish brand?
Do you dye your hair?
What is your favourite clothing shop?
Who is your style icon?
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
What is your favourite TV show?
What is your favourite song of all time?
What is your most prized possession?
Do you have any pets?
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
Those of you who follow me on Twitter may well be aware of a teeny tiny hair disaster I had a couple of weekends ago. I'm a great fan of toning my hair at home in between bleaching sessions, and I've been doing so successfully for well over two years. My current toner of choice is L'Oreal Luocolor P01, which thanks to my Sally's Trade Card I get at a bargain price.
I was down at baby brother's this weekend and my mum had kindly offered to slap the toner on (I have a tendency to miss patches at the back when I'm doing it quickly) so I took her up on her offer. The only problem was I hadn’t realised that I was all out of Luocolour releaser - oops. As I didn’t know where the nearest Sally's was, I thought that I'd pop into the local boots to see what they were offering toner-wise. I spotted this Jerome Russell toner which came in two colours - champagne blonde and ice blonde and chucked the Ice Blonde version in my basket. If I remember rightly it was about £3.
THIS WAS A MASSIVE MISTAKE.
I toddled back to my brother's flat, changed into my PJs and got mummy bear to slap it on. I wasn’t too alarmed when it looked yellow on my hair as the Luocolour toner applies as creamy yellow colour and then gradually turns lilac once applied to the hair. I left it on for the recommended 20 minutes and shampooed it off as normal. When I left the bathroom my mum dissolved into giggles - I thought It was something to do with the mascara halfway down my face, but oh no it was my hair. I didn’t have the foresight to take a picture of it, but I looked very similar to this chap:
Yes, Big Bird. My hair was less ice blonde, and more sunflower yellow. After rolling on the floor with tears of laughter running down her face, my mum went off to locate a Sally’s to try and rectify the disaster. Luckily there was one less than two miles away (typical) and she came back with a bottle of releaser. Twenty five minutes later, my hair was back to its former glory (PHEW).
Monday, 26 July 2010
This is the second of the products sent to me for review by Mypure, it is billed as providing light conditioning and natural lustre to fine or oily hair’. Now my hair is quite fine, but oily it ain’t. In fact its very, very dry so I wasn’t really expecting too much from this product!
All in all I was pleasantly surprised, the conditioner was definitely very light but it did put enough moisture back into my hair for it to feel more like hair than straw (which is its usual texture), but not quite enough for it to feel as soft as I’m used to. I really liked the lavender scent too (which again surprised me) especially when I applied the product and left it to work its magic while I read a book in the bath as it was wonderfully relaxing.
The main gripe I have about this product is the packaging, the bottle was extremely difficult to squeeze one handed, due to the narrow oblong shape of it.
I wouldn’t buy this product again, as it wasn’t really right for my hair and I can think of lots of other products that I could buy for £7.49 which are more suitable for me, though I’m sure that for those with oilier (is that a word?!) hair it would be a great buy.
Sunday, 25 July 2010
My first impressions of the product were that the packaging is great - I'm a big fan of pump-action dispensers, as they're much cleaner, more hygenic and its easier to regulate how much product you are getting than it would be with a squeezy bottle. Also the smell is lovely - very similar to the scent of the Moroccan L'Argan Brilliance Shine Shampoo, which is no bad thing! I'd be interested to know whether this is a scent which occurs throughout the Lovea range, or whether it's a coincidence that the two products I've reviewed smell very similar?
Consistency-wise, I found the moisturiser to be light and great for throwing in my gym bag, however I do have quite dry skin, and I found that it wasn't really rich enough for me to use on its own and I needed to top up my moisture levels with a body butter every couple of days. It soaks in very quickly (so ideal for use in the morning) and doesn't feel at all greasy.
I'd recommend this as a light moisturiser for people with normal skin, but for my slightly drier than average skin it wasn't quite moisturising enough.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
Following on from yesterdays post, things have moved on somewhat. After the furore caused by the naming of the products in the Rodarte collection and the countless blog posts/articles which ensued, MAC and Rodart have issued further statements on the subject:
"We understand that product names in the M·A·C Rodarte collection have offended our consumers and fans. This was never our intent and we are very sorry. We continue to listen carefully to the comments we have received and have the following plans to address concerns:
· We are committed to donating $100,000 to a non-profit organization that has a proven, successful track-record helping women in need and that can directly improve the lives of women in Juarez in a meaningful way.
· We are changing the product names in the M·A·C Rodarte collection.
As we have done in the past, please be assured that we will communicate details regarding our progress in this matter."
"We recognize that the violence against women taking place in Juarez needs to be met with proactive action. We never intended to make light of this serious issue and we are truly sorry.
Helping to improve the conditions for women in Juarez is a priority for us and we are thankful for all the comments calling attention to the urgency of addressing this situation."
As I said in my previous post, the cynical part of me feels that a donation to the people of Juarez was never even considered until the inspiration behind the collection was called into question, and I can't help feeling that all MAC is doing is papering over the cracks by throwing money at a situation and hoping that it will go away. I am very happy to see that MAC have acknowledged the fact that the names of some of the items in the collection are controversial to say the least and that they will be changing the names of the products, and I hope that a lesson will be learnt from this debacle and put a bit more thought into the naming of and inspiration behind future collections.
On the other hand, I'm shocked by the statement from Rodarte, which to me suggests that they were well aware of the controversy/publicity that this collection would cause and seem to suggest that the collection was intended to help the women of Juarez. Funny then that there was absolutely no mention of any proceeds going to help the town or its people until the blog posts started to be published……..
Monday, 19 July 2010
Well here it is, my two'penneth on the whole MAC/Rodarte debacle.....
I held off posting this at 8 pm last night when the bulk of the posts on the subject went up because, firstly, I hadn't read up on the subject to put together an informed post and, secondly, because I was conscious that other bloggers would put together a much more eloquent post than I could. Having given more thought to the collaboration I decided that I would write a post on it, not because I want to jump onto some bandwagon, but because I’m genuinely shocked by what I have seen and read so far on this subject. I’m sure most of you have read countless posts on the subject, and if you don’t want to read another one I fully understand that, however I felt that I had to acknowledge what was going on, and put forwards my views on the subject.
When I initially read about the collaboration between MAC and Rodarte I thought "oh great, just what the world needs - another MAC collection". I'm not a massive MAC addict as my massive 3 purchases in the last 7 months is a testament to, so generally the collections just wash over me. However after hearing about the 'inspiration' behind the collection from various bloggers on Twitter, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to investigate.
First things first, we all know who MAC are, but for those of you who aren't 100% sure who Rodarte are, let me fill you in. Rodarte are a clothing and accessories label who have been around since 2005. According to Wikipedia: "Their style includes gothic and distressed designs, and layered gowns".
I first heard about the hoo-ha surrounding this collection when I spotted one of Mizzworthy's tweets. Being the nosy parker that I am I decided to investigate a bit further, and went straight to every-internet user's best friend: Google. Basically, the bottom line is this: though the collection was supposedly inspired by the Mexican landscape (which to me would scream warm, earthy tones), the chalky, deathly palette and the names of the products in the collection suggest that it was inspired by something altogether more sinister - the infamous Mexican border town Juarez and its recent history.
Juarez, as you may or may not know, is an industrial city in the Chihuahua region of Mexico which is famous for both its 'maquiladoras' and its staggering number of 'femicides'. A maquiladora is essentially an export assembly plant/factory set up by foreign companies to secure cheap labour. These are mainly located along the US/Mexico border. The average maquiladora worker will earn around $3.40 per day, which is approximately 33% lower than the American HOURLY minimum wage. The majority of maquiladora workers are female and though the legal working age is 16, it is not uncommon for 12, 13 and 14 year olds with false documents to be put to work.
The 'femicides' is the name given to the shocking number of violent deaths of young female students and factory workers aged between 12 and 22 in Juarez. Many of the bodies found showed evidence of rape and torture. There is some inconsistency between the 'official' figures of 400 deaths since 1993 and local estimations of more than 5,000, but whichever way you look at it the numbers are overwhelming. If the numbers weren’t shocking enough, the local attitudes to the killings is even more stomach churning. The police have become so blasé about the situation in Juarez, it is estimated that they only actually file one report for every eight missing women reported. Further, it has become a common belief, not only among law enforcement but also locals that the women who go missing (and worse) have brought it on themselves. One quote which particularly sticks in my throat is this: "Unfortunately, there are women who are in danger because of their lifestyles. After all, it's very hard to go out on the street when it's raining and not get wet." It is very hard to believe that these abhorrent words came from the mouth of the then attorney general of the state of Chihuahua, Arturo González Rascón. These shocking comments, along with a rapidly rise in the rate of murders and disappearances, led to the formation of Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa A.C. ("May our Daughters Return Home, Civil Association") in 2001; a group of family members of the victims of femicides who have tirelessly been campaigning to raise awareness and lobby the Mexican government to recognise the extent of the problem in Juarez.
Taking all of this into account, it seems in unbelievably bad taste that MAC and Rodarte should see fit to release a collection where the products are given names such as “Factory”, “Ghost Town”, “Juarez” and “Sleepless”.
The official line:
"We understand that product names in the MAC Rodarte collection have offended some of our consumers and fans. This was never our intent and we are very sorry. We are listening carefully to the comments posted and are grateful to those of you who have brought your concerns to the forefront of our attention. MAC will give a portion of the proceeds from the MAC Rodarte collection to help those in need in Juarez. We are diligently investigating the best way to do this. Please be assured that we will keep you posted on the details regarding our efforts."
"Our makeup collaboration with MAC developed from inspirations on a road trip that we took in Texas last year, from El Paso to Marfa. The ethereal nature of this landscape influenced the creative development and desert palette of the collection. We are truly saddened about injustice in Juarez and it is a very important issue to us. The MAC collaboration was intended as a celebration of the beauty of the landscape and people in the areas that we traveled."
I appreciate that Rodarte are a brand which appear to take inspiration from the macabre, and also that MAC is a brand which has a huge focus on artistry and expressing yourself through make-up but I strongly believe that there is a line which has been crossed by this collection. I don’t see anything artistic about glamourising this type of tragic situation, and it is to me ghoulish (for want of a better word) to attempt to justify the collection and its inspiration as art. I am shocked and saddened that such a huge brand as MAC would wish to produce a collection which is in my eyes in such bad taste, especially after all the good work that has been done by the Viva Glam line. I understand that an argument could be made that this collection has raised awareness of the atrocities in Juarez, but I firmly believe that this could have been done in other, less offensive ways, and I feel that MAC have made a token gesture by offering a percentage of the profits to the people of Juarez. Call me cynical, but I can't help but feel that this would never have entered their conscience without the outcry from bloggers.
For more information on Juarez and the femicides, please click here.
To see some other bloggers' take on the collection please click on the links below:
Thursday, 15 July 2010
As you have probably noticed I absolutely LOVE Paul Mitchell products – so much so that I should probably be on commission! The reason I’m so enamoured by them is that I’ve yet to come across a bad one. I’ve tried about 15 products from the range and I can safely say that I would repurchase each and every one of them.
The product that I’ve chosen to review today is one of the bargains I picked up in Debenhams a few weeks ago when the in-store hairdressers was closing. I believe that this product would usually set you back around £11, but I managed to snaffle two for the princely sum of four English pounds, much to my delight.
As my hair is bleached I do struggle with dryness – often my hair bears more resemblance to a haystack than golden tresses, but I persevere in the never-ending quest for silky locks (usually with more than a little help from Aussie’s wonderful 3 minute miracle).
The product is billed as a daily treatment, which seems like a bit of a contradiction –I mean who uses a conditioning treatment on their hair daily?! Surely you’d end up with a head like an oil slick?! I think that the product is sort of a halfway house between a treatment and a conditioner – its light enough so that I find I can use it 3/4 times a week without ending up with a greasy mop, or alternatively I can slather it on, and leave it to do its magic for 5 -10 min minutes and be left with gorgeous silky hair.
I don’t really know how to describe the scent other than clean – it doesn't have a stand-out scent like some of the other PM products, so it would probably be a good product for someone with a sensitive scalp too.
Its not going to replace my beloved 3 minute miracle as my go-to treatment, but I love it all the same (especially for 2 quid!)
Wednesday, 14 July 2010
If you follow me on Twitter you’ll be more than aware of my teeny-tiny crush on Iker Casillas, the Span/Real Madrid goalkeeper, also, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll know Spain won the World Cup on Sunday.
What you may not know, is that Iker’s current squeeze is a Spanish sports journalist called Sara Carbonero (a.k.a Pastasauce – think about it). I thought I’d share with you all a little clip of the interview between Sara and Iker after the match as it makes me go all wibbly everytime I watch it! All together now……….AWWWWWWWWW!
♥ Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award
♥ Share seven things about yourself
♥ Pass this award to ten bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason!
♥ Contact the bloggers you picked and let them know about the award.
First of all, a huge thank you to ShannenLove for giving me this award :).
Seven things about me:
♥ I am petrified about turning 25. I know its more than a little bit irrational but there is something about being closer to 30 than 20 that fills me with dread.
♥ My mum is my best friend in the whole world. When I was growing up we didn’t exactly see eye to eye, but since i moved out to go to uni 7 long years ago we’ve grown closer and closer, and now we have the best relationship I could wish for
♥ I desperately want a beagle puppy. I know I can’t have one right now as I don’t think its fair to go out to work and leave a dog home alone all day but I still spend hours trawling the internet looking at cute pictures of puppies! Example:
♥ There’s nothing I love more than curling up on the sofa with the Mr watching trashy American crime shows – yet another possible indicator that I’m getting old!
♥ I would love to learn to speak Spanish. I go to Spain quite often as the Mr part-owns a villa out there with his family (everyone loves a cheap holiday) and I find it really frustrating that I can’t speak the lingo. One day, when I have time its definitely something I’d like to do.
♥ I’m a clean freak and I have an unhealthy obsession with bleach, especially in the kitchen and bathroom!
♥ I love driving, I find it really relaxing. Luckily, living in Sheffield I’m close to some really great drives, my absolute fave being the Snake Pass.
Sorry they aren’t very interesting but I struggled to come up with some things that you didn’t already know!
♥ and anyone else who wants to take part!
Friday, 2 July 2010
Thursday, 1 July 2010
This is pinched from the lovely Rosalyn, if you haven’t already go and check her out!
Shampoo: Paul Mitchell Platinum Blonde
Conditioner: Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Daily Treatment / Paul Mitchell Instant Moisture Daily Treatment
Styling products: Paul Mitchell Hot Off The Press thermal protection spray, Mark Hill Holiday Hair serum, James Brown Scandalous Flaunt It hairspray
Shower Gel: Soap and Glory Clean On Me
Body moisturiser: Nivea Rich Nourishing Body Moisturiser
Deodorant: Nivea Calm and Care Roll On
Fake Tan: St Moriz
Cleanser: No7 Soft Soothed Cleanser
Exfoliator: Witch Exfoliating Face Wash
Moisturiser: Dove Summer Glow face moisturiser
Spot Treatment: None
Foundation: None if I can get away with it, if not Bare Minerals SPF 15 foundation in Medium Beige
Concealer: Benefit Boi-ing in 02
Powder: MAC MSF Natural in Medium Plus
Blusher: Bourjois Lune D’Or / MAC Springsheen
Bronzer: Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in Medium
Highlighter: Benefit Moonbeam
Eyeshadow base: Too Faced Shadow Insurance
Eyeshadows: Urban Decay Half Baked / Baked
Eyeliner: Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Zero / Stash
Mascara: Max Factor Lash Extension Effect / Maybelline The Colossal
Lipstick: MAC Viva Glam Gaga
Lipgloss: Urban Decay Pocket Rocket in James
Lip balm: MAC TLC (whichever is in my bag)
Nail Colour: Collection 2000 Hot Looks Fruit Salad on my toes, Tutti Frutti on my fingers
Wednesday, 30 June 2010
First of all a big thanks to Amy who has gone through the trouble of organising the blogger’s book club. I’ve still not posted my review of May’s book (LA Candy) because I’m a bit useless, but as I finished June’s pick at lunchtime I thought I’d get on and give my twopenneth while it was fresh in my mind.
This month’s book is Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella.
The blurb (taken from Amazon):
“Laura has always had an overactive imagination. Now she wonders if she is losing her mind. Normal twenty-something girls just don't get visited by ghosts! But inexplicably, the spirit of Lara's great aunt Sadie - in the form of a bold, demanding Charleston-dancing girl - has appeared to make one last request: Lara must track down a missing necklace Sadie simply can't rest without. Lara's got enough problems of her own. Her start-up company is floundering, her best friend and business partner has run off to Goa, and she's just been dumped by the love of her life. But as Lara spends time with Sadie, life becomes more glamorous and their treasure hunt turns into something intriguing and romantic. Could Sadie's ghost be the answer to Lara's problems and can two girls from different times end up learning something special from each other?”
I wasn't really looking forward to reading this book to be honest as I generally go for historical / crime books - I've never really been one for 'chick-lit' but here goes....
When I first started the book I struggled with it a bit, I found the ghost idea to be rather silly and the characters to be a bit, well, annoying really (Lara especially grated on me as was very wet and a in my opinion a bit spineless in the beginning). However I persevered and I really warmed to Sadie (who you would expect to be old fashioned and a bit of a grandmother like character but is actually very funny, vivacious, and much more street-wise than Lara).
I liked how there were a number of twists in the story and how there was a bit of mystery in there to keep me interested (and guessing!) I also liked the character development of both the main characters - how Lara grew into herself after starting out as quite naive and a bit of a mess and how Sadie's story gradually unfolded as the search for the necklace went on.
All in all I was pleasantly surprised by the book, despite having my initial reservations. I wouldn’t say that it was a real page-turner but it was engaging enough to wind down after a busy day in the office.
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
The are many things I love about summer: barbeques, beer gardens, picnics, huge sunglasses to name just a few. My absolute favourite thing about summer though is not wearing foundation. I hate the feeling of foundation when the weather is warm and sticky, as I'm not a fan of feeling like my face is about to melt so I tend to skip it altogether. I thought I'd do a post on my top make-up products for the summer months to share:
Dove Everyday Sun facial moisturiser - a light, easily absorbed moisturiser which is great for topping up your tan (or giving a bit of colour)
Max Factor Lash Extension Effect Mascara - gives lovely natural fluttery lashes - perfect for summer days/evenings in the park or beer garden
Benefit Moonbeam - I much prefer Moon Beam to High Beam as a highlighter when I have a tan, it gives a perfect golden shimmer just where you need it
Bourjois Lune d'or blush - this is my absolute favourite summer blush, its a pretty peachy hue with a subtle gold shimmer, which again looks fabulous with a tan
Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder – This is the most natural looking bronzer I’ve ever found, I generally find that bronzers either make me look dirty or orange but this one is perfect.
Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Stash - a gorgeous olive green which is perfect when you don’t want to look too ‘done’
MAC Tinted Lip Conditioner - in any colour! I like to make sure that my lips are protected by a balm/gloss which contains SPF. MAC TLC’s are perfect as they give a sheer wash of colour but also protect and condition your lips – I always have at least one in my bag at all times!
Collection 2000 Hot Looks nail polish in Fruit Salad – I can’t sing the praises of these polishes enough, they dry so quickly that they’re perfect a quick touch up between the office and the beer garden! This one is a gorgeous vibrant summery coral colour!
Monday, 28 June 2010
Most of you by now will know I love to pretend I’m a bit of a Nigella. Though I love cooking and trying new things for dinner, I have a massive soft spot for baking. After a rubbish day at work there’s nothing I love more than shutting myself in the kitchen and whipping up a batch of cupcakes or cookies - and I can’t say I’ve ever heard the Mr complaining either! I thought I’d share with you one of my absolute favourite recipes for the best chocolate brownies I’ve ever tasted – they’re perfect warm with a big scoop of Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream.
- 250g unsalted butter
- 200g dark 70% chocolate broken up
- 80g cocoa powder
- 65g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 360g caster sugar
- 4 large eggs
Optional extras: 75g dried sour cherries or 50g chopped nuts or 75g chocolate chunks (dark, milk or white) (or any combination of the above!)
1. Preheat oven to 180 / gas mark 4
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bain marie (a bowl over a pan of boiling water)
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and sugar, then add to the chocolate/butter mixture
4. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl, then add too the chocolatey goo and add mix well
5. Add any extras you fancy and fold in
6. Pour the mixture into a baking tin lined with greaseproof paper
7. Bake for 25 minutes
8. Cool in the tray, then slice up and eat!
Saturday, 26 June 2010
I did it, I finally caved in! After months of should I, shouldn't I to-ing and fro-ing I finally succumbed to the lure of the Bayswater. Recently, due to a sudden surge in my workload I've been taking work home on more occasions than I would like, so I decided I deserved a treat, and what better treat than a shiny new handbag….especially one which can hold a file (or two)?!
Friday, 25 June 2010
First of all, I should say a massive sorry - I know I've been a bad blogger of late *slap on the wrist* mainly because I was on my jollies until last week, and have returned to a massive bout of the post-holiday blues.
Anyways, to start off I thought I'd do a quick post on what I got up to on my holiday. I say a quick post because to be honest it was so hot that I didn't do very much at all, apart from sunbathe and shop! As some of you might already know, I went away with my mum for a few days in Dubai. I've never been before, but my mum is a bit of a seasoned pro with this being her 6th trip. We stayed in Atlantis The Palm, which is right at the end of the man-made palm island. Closer to the mainland on the fronds there are some beautiful villas, with David Beckham and Freddie Flintoff being some of the owners. As you can imagine, they are slightly out of my price range unfortunately!
The hotel was absolutely beautiful and all of the staff were so friendly, you really were treated like royalty. On top of its 12 restaurants, including Nobu, the hotel itself housed a small shopping centre known as the Avenues - including an in house Tiffany & Co *heaven*. Toni Terry and Joleon Lescott were also staying in the hotel, so for a football geek such as myself that was really exciting - especially when they came to watch the England match in the beach bar on Saturday night (not together, I don’t want to start any rumours!).
The temperature was between 42 and 46 degrees so hot, hot, hot which meant that the days were mainly spent lazing around the pool sipping cocktails or zipping round the rapids in a rubber ring at the on-site waterpark Aquaventure.
At night we decided to leave the hotel and head first for the Mall of the Emirates (which houses Ski Dubai, an indoor ski slope not unlike Xscape as Castleford, the only difference being that naturally as it was in Dubai it was three times the size!) and later in the holiday to the Dubai Mall. Out of the two I preferred the Dubai mall - you could easily lose a week just wandering around the 1200 shops which included an amazing sweetshop called Candylicious, a Sanrio shop *eek*, yet another Tiffany & Co, a Bloomingdales and British high street favourites such as Marks and Spencer and Debenhams, which was surreal to say the least!!
So that was my holiday – relatively short, but very very sweet! Where are you all going on your holidays?
P.S Sorry about the slightly dodgy quality of the photos, I took hundreds but it was so hot that every time I whipped my camera out it steamed up – I have more soft focus shots than a 1980’s issue of Playboy!
Thursday, 3 June 2010
This is the third and final product sent to me for review by Mypure.
The first thing that hit me was the smell of this product, I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it reminded me of to begin with, but then I remembered – Refreshers!
I didn’t use this product every wash as I like to use a toning shampoo every other wash to keep any brassiness in check, but overall I was quite impressed by the results I saw. I didn’t hold out too much hope as my hair is generally quite dry as its bleached, however I found that the product left my hair feeling soft and shiny, with the added bonus of extra bounce!
The only teeny tiny grumble I have is that the shampoo didn’t lather quite as well as my usual brand, however this didn’t seem to hinder its cleaning prowess in any way.
All in all I would recommend this if you’re looking for an organic shampoo (at £4.99 its even priced competitively), however I don’t think that I will be re-purchasing as it would take a miracle to tear me away from my beloved Paul Mitchell products!
If you want to try it out for yourself, Lovea's Moroccan Argan Brilliance Shine Shampoo can be bought here
Tuesday, 1 June 2010
This is the second of the products sent to me by Mypure to review. Though billed as a facial mist, the blurb states that this product can be used all over the body as a light moisturiser. The product contains hyaluronic acid, which is a natural ingredient which helps skin cells retain moisture. I’ve never used any type of mosturising mist product before so I was very interested to try this out.
Again, this product has a rose-scent, however this is a fresher scent and not as overpowering as I found the Kosmea product. I have been using the product post-gym and also used it on my travels to Bournemouth over the weekend due to a combination of slight sunburn and the drying air conditioning in my car. I found the mist to be moisturising but non-greasy and my skin felt pleasantly fresh after each use. I haven’t tried it out over make-up, but the packaging suggests that it would be fine to use in this way, and I’ve read reviews from other bloggers who have not had a problem with this.
I'd love to try it out during air travel, however as the bottle is 150 ml I won't be able to take it in my hand luggage! I will however, be decanting some of the product into a smaller bottle as I think that it will be a great product for a medium/long haul flight.
So onto the price: the mist is available on the mypure website for £12.99 for 125ml which may seem a bit pricey, however this is by far and away my favourite of the mypure products, and though I’ve been using this constantly for almost 3 weeks I’ve hardly made a dent in the product! Given that Evian’s La Brumisateur costs around £6 for 150ml of glorified water I think that the A’kin product is very reasonably priced
If you want to try it out for yourself, A'kin Pure Rose Hydrating Facial Mist can be bought here
Monday, 31 May 2010
I threw this little beauty together after my brother gave me possibly the easiest recipe ever. As I’m feeling very public-spirited today I thought I’d share the love (and recipe) with you as its the perfect bank holiday treat!
For the pastry
- 500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 100g icing sugar, sifted
- 250g butter, cut into small cubes
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 large free-range eggs, beaten
- a splash of milk
For the filling
- 2 ripe bananas
- 50g grated dark chocolate
- 300ml double cream
- 1tsp camp coffee
- 1 tin carnation caramel
First of all, make the pastry:
Sieve the flour and sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl. (You can do this straight onto a clean kitchen surface and not bother with the bowl but I find that a bowl stops things getting too messy) Using your hands, work the cubes of butter into the flour and sugar by rubbing your thumbs against your fingers until you end up with a fine, crumbly mixture then mix in your lemon zest. Add the eggs and milk to the mixture and gently work it together till you have a ball of dough. Flour the dough lightly. Pat it into a flat round, flour it lightly, wrap it in cling film and put it into the fridge to rest for at least half an hour. Once the pastry has had chance to rest, roll it out on a floured surface and line a flan tin (preferably with a loose bottom), fill the pastry case with baking beads and bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees, Remove the beads and bake for a further 10 minutes. Leave to cool.
Alternatively you could dispense with this step entirely and buy a pastry case from the supermarket!
Then for the filling!
Spread the caramel on the base of the pastry case, then slice the bananas and layer on top. Whip the cream with 1 tsp of camp coffee and spoon on top. Sprinkle with chocolate and enjoy!!
Some of you will already be aware that skin care is not really my forte. I religiously remove my slap and cleanse, tone and moisturise but I have never paid too much attention to fancy-schmancy skincare brands, I mean why would I when there are so many eyeliners and so little time?!
This means that serums are not high no my list of priorities, in fact the only time I have ever used a serum is when my mum gave me a sample of Boots' famous Protect and Perfect Beauty Serum to try out. I quite liked the serum, and loved the way it made my skin feel however I have never re-purchased as I was of the opinion that during my early twenties I didn’t need to concern myself with anti-ageing products. However now that 25 is looming round the corner I've decided I need to take a few more pro-active steps than just wearing my sunglasses at all times to try and stop the onset of crows feet!
This product was sent to me for review purposes by Mypure, a site offering the best in natural make up, haircare, skincare and organic products. Kosmea is an Australian brand which has been at the forefront of natural skincare since 1993, with this latest product being one of the first natural skin care products to use patented anti-ageing ingredients.
So, on with the review:
My first impressions were that the serum smells VERY strongly of roses (funny that, as it contains Rosehip oil). I don't mind gently scented products but I found this a bit overpowering. I’m not sure how strongly scented the rest of the range is, but as all of the products appear to be formulated using rosehip oil it could well be a recurring theme.
The consistency wasn’t at all what I expected – it was more of a cream than the slightly more gel-like serum I was expecting, and the product took an age to sink in. Though this wasn't a problem at night I'm generally in a bit of a rush in the morning as I like my bed, so I can't really afford waiting around for 15 minutes for the serum to sink in.
Also, immediately after application I found that my skin came out in bright red patches all over it! I don't know if it was the serum 'working its magic' or what it was, but the patches did fade out when the product had soaked into my skin
The packaging recommends wearing this under moisturiser during the day - as I found the product to leave my skin feeling quite greasy I think that if paired with a moisturiser my face would literally slide off!
I found that though it did leave my skin feeling soft and kind of plumped, I didn’t feel that the results were any more than my usual moisturiser gave. Perhaps this product would be more suited to mature skin, and I'm considering passing it on to my mum to try as I think I’ll be sticking to my good old soap and glory!!
If you want to try it out for yourself, Kosmea Eighth Natural Wonder Revitalising Facial Serum can be bought here
Sunday, 23 May 2010
Saturday, 22 May 2010
All in all I’ve had a pretty rubbish week this week, what with falling off the gym wagon due to a heinously busy week at work, the Mr being away all weekend and silly fall-outs with one of the besties due to incompatible diaries. I was planning on sitting on the sofa all weekend and wallowing in self-pity but I realised not only is that a complete waste of a weekend but its also counter productive, so I decided to head off on a little road trip to my brothers and count my blessings instead – which made me realise that I need to give myself a good shake and get on with it.
I thought that I would share some of my reasons to be cheerful, so that the next time I’m feeling sorry for myself I can re-read this post and realise how silly I’m being!
- Three weeks to my holiday - I absolutely can’t wait, In under a month I’ll be topping up my tan here:
- The besties – like any group of friends we have our ups and downs, but I know that they’ll always be there for me – whether its to tell me to man up and stop moping around or with a shoulder to cry on complete with Ben and Jerry’s.
- My family – I haven’t lived with my mum and dad for almost 7 years now, and my brother is currently exiled at the other end of the country but I know that I just need to pick up the phone to be cheered up by any one of them.
- The Mr – there's not really much that needs to be said here, I love him to pieces
- Millie – she’s always there for a cuddle (even if I don’t particularly want one!)
So there you have it, my reasons to smile! Sometimes I just need to remember not be such a miserable sod an shake myself!
Hope you’re all enjoying the sunshine :)
Sunday, 16 May 2010
Have you picked up any of these polishes, and if so which is your favourite?
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device
Friday, 14 May 2010
First up are two of the Special Edition Nails Inc polishes in London and Paris. I’ve had some issues with Nails Inc polish in the past, however I pretty much run on Diet Coke and figured that as they were free it would be rude not to get involved. I’ve fallen completely in love with London and am planning on picking up a back-up over the weekend.
Next, I put my No 7 vouchers to good use for once. Usually I use them on eye make-up remover as I’ve never been very taken with No 7 products, but after a glowing reference from Rhamnousia I picked up a couple of the Metallic Eye Pencils, in gold and green. I’ve been really impressed by these so far and may have to pick up some of the other colours, turquoise and blue in particular have been screaming out to me!
Finally, my favourite bargains of the week were 3 full-size Paul Mitchell conditioners for £6 in Debenhams – yes, you read that right SIX POUNDS!! All in, they should have set me back somewhere around the £30 mark. As regular readers will be aware I’m a Paul Mitchell junkie and (after concealing a squeal of excitement) I picked up a Super Skinny Treatment and two Daily Moisture Boost conditioners. I found out the reason that they were on sale at such a knock-down price was because the in-store salon was closing down, if only I’d realised this earlier in the week I’d have cleaned them out!!
p.s Sorry about the dodgy picture quality, I’ve lost my camera lead – again!!