Monday, 29 August 2011

500 Dresses Of Summer: 16 and 17

Despite the fact that I arrived home today resembling a drowned rat after an unfortunate encounter with a large puddle and a speeding taxi, it is still summer and I have two new dresses to share with you:

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Dress 16: Joy

This is definitely my new favourite dress. I love the nipped in waist, exposed back zip and heart shaped buttons. It's weird getting to the age (nearly 24) where I feel that certain dresses are "too young" for me while other styles and brands just feel too grown-up. This strikes the balance just right between girly and ladylike.

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Dress 17: Topshop via Petticoat Lane Market, Tights: Accessorize

Despite trying to be a grown-up, I still can't resist a bargain and coloured tights. Especially in the same outfit. I'd definitely recommend a visit to Petticoat Lane if you're in London and don't mind sacrificing your Sunday lie-in. This Topshop dress was picked up for only £10. It's not a style I'd usually go for and the lace underskirt does make me feel a bit bigger than I am but for £10 it's the perfect "I feel like dressing up in the daytime" dress.

Do you struggle with age-appropriate dressing? And what's your favourite place for picking up a bargain?

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Friday, 26 August 2011

Incoco - The Nail Polish Revolution?

I have always been a fan of nail art. My pre-teen years were spent sticking on nail gems from Claire's Accessories and creating my own glitter nail polishes with art shop glitters and clear nail varnish. Those were the days. Nail art is now officially "in" with Giles Deacons's super-cute manicure and Wah Nails amazing hand-painted designs making the transition from "trendy" East London to Topshop branches.

While I wish I was as talented and steady-handed as Leanne my past forays into nail art have been no more complicated than Gem-style polka-dots (so simple but really effective) so when I spotted the Incoco stand in Selfridges last week, I was intrigued.

Incoco claims to be the "nail polish revoultion" boasting real nail polish in an easy-to-use stick on format lasting up to two weeks. There are a huge range of designs and when the sales assistant saw me admiring the leopard print she gave me a demonstration of how the product works. I was feeling impulsive and sufficiently impressed with my now-sparkly leopard print index fingers to spend £40 on three designs. I think this is a little pricey but it worked out cheaper to buy three sets and it was the first day after my exams. I hadn't been in a shop for a while!

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My chosen designs - leopard print, tiger stripe and dog-tooth check.

After trying out the leopard print design myself I can honestly say I've never had more compliments on my nails. They are definitely a conversation starter!

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I found these really easy to apply. I filed my nails quite short beforehand as I prefer having shorter nails, especially for dark polishes or a design like this. After lightly buffing them I applied the stickers - as my nails are short I was able to use one stick to do two nails which is a handy tip and makes the pack go further. I also had enough to do my toe nails too and I have a few left over which I'll use to do accent nails. Three days in the polish is holding up well - no chipping or peeling which I was worried about. The stickers are incredibly thin so you don't get a ridge between your natural nail and the stick like you do with a gel polish.

I'd definitely recommend these. I was worried that I'd regret spending £40 on them but I'm glad I made the impulse purchase - it's such a fun product and my nails have loved all the attention they've been getting!

Have you tried stick on nail polish?

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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Review: Clarins Instant Definition Mascara

When I opened my copy of this month's Glamour magazine and saw a voucher for a free sample of Clarins Instant Definition mascara I couldn't wait to claim mine and try it out. I'm a mascara-holic but usually stick to "drugstore" brands and don't spend more than £10 on a tube as I'm very fussy about which mascaras I like and I tend to go through them pretty quickly.

Instant Definition is priced at £19 so it's over double the price of Rimmel Lash Accelerator, my current and recently re-purchased favourite.

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Wearing: ELF Undereye Concealer, 17 Pressed Powder, Rimmel Hide The Blemish Concealer, Nars Nico Blusher, Mac Rubenesque Paintpot, L'Oreal Superliner, Clarins Instant Definition mascara, Clinque Red-y To Wear lipstick.

The Wand:
The wand of this mascara is really unusual. The tip is a rubber comb-style want with the remaining two-thirds being a standard bristle wand.

Application:
The wand is surprisingly easy to use and the comb tip really helps reach every lash. I like the slim brush as I find that big brushes just result it me making a big ol' mess around my eyes. Two coats are enough to give me the thick, dark lashes that I want and the comb part of the wand is perfect for my lower lashes.

Lastability/removeability:
No smudges or flaking all day which is a relief as I'd be very disappointed if I'd paid £19 for it and it smudged. The mascara came off very easily with my usual eye make-up remover (Clinique's Take The Day Off) and didn't leave me with panda eyes in the morning.

Overall, I'm impressed with this mascara. I'm just not sure I'm impressed enough to pay £19 for it but if money were no object I would definitely purchase the full size. Maybe it's one for the birthday list?

Did you get your free sample? What did you think?
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Saturday, 20 August 2011

Any Excuse For A Party - THE WINNERS!

My Aussie Party Pack giveaway has now closed. Thank you all for your entries, it was really fun reading through your reasons to celebrate and it proves that there really is any excuse for a party! My 7 winners are:

Caz
squeakymom
Laura
I Am Fabulicious
pinklittlebean
Mademoiselle Lala
Em x

It was so hard to pick, I am really indecisive and loved all of your reasons to celebrate. Congratulations to the winners and hope you're all celebrating this weekend regardless!
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Friday, 19 August 2011

Review: Rimmel Vinyl Max Gloss

My latest Rimmel VIP mission arrived a few weeks ago in the form of Vinyl Max Gloss. I've only just got around to trying it as during exam-time I was reaching for the same products every day in an effort to minimize make-up time and maximize study time (I was still distracted by Angry Birds and trips to Starbucks but er, every little helps).

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My first reaction on seeing the floss was the size of the tube - it's enormous! The wand is equally massive - the only thing I could find to compare the size to was a Biro but you get the idea. Rimmel say that this gives "one stroke maxi shine" and that this is "our most plumping formula with magnifying complex based on Hyaluronic spheres to voumize, smooth lips and reduce fine lines and wrinkles for fuller, plumper lips."

What did I think?

The giant wand makes application easier than I thought it would, I did only need one stroke per lip to apply the gloss. There is thankfully no taste or discernible fragrance which scores well with me as I'm not a fan of flavoured lip products. I was sent shade 121 "Excess" which I would describe as a lilac-y pink with blue undertones. I liked the colour and the shade would probably suit most people as it is quite sheer. The gloss is shiny without being sticky or feeling heavy and gloopy.

A few seconds after application the gloss creates a cooling, tingling feeling. I wasn't expecting this so it was a bit of a shock the first time I used the gloss. It didn't make my lips feel any plumper but that's probably the idea behind it. I'm hopefully too young to have fine lines and wrinkles on my lips but the gloss did give a really smooth finish and while it didn't make my lips feel plumper, glosses usually do give the appearance of fuller lips completed to matte lipsticks.

I didn't find this particularly long-lasting, after 2 hours it had completely disappeared but I think that's to be expected with a lipgloss as they're not usually known for their long-lasting qualities.

Vinyl Max Gloss is £5.49 and there are six shades to choose from. I think this is a good value gloss and I prefer it to Rimmel's standard Vinyl Gloss which I reviewed here.

What's your favourite lipgloss?
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Wednesday, 17 August 2011

500 Dresses Of Summer: 14 and 15

Every time I do one of my dresses posts I fear it may be the last. The weather seems to have reached new levels of unpredictability but as it's technically still summer until September 21st and I still have a few un-blogged dresses to wear I'm going to wear them regardless. There's plenty of time for winter clothing. In winter.

Dress 14:

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Dress: Topshop, Belt: Primark

As someone told me last week, "all your dresses are the same style!". I have a fair few dresses that are this shape but I know that they suit me and so it makes sense to buy them in every colour combination I can find. They're really comfortable to wear and great for lazy summer days (I wish. I actually wore this for a day in the library).

Dress 15:

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Dress: Vintage Laura Ashley

This dress was my mum's in the 1980s. It used to be about a foot longer and a size 12 but my mum altered it to fit me. It still doesn't fit perfectly - it's a little small around my bust and a little too big around my waist but I love the print so much that I don't mind. It also has a rather annoying habit of flapping up in the slightest breeze which is entertaining and embarrassing in equal measures.

I wish my mum had kept more of her Laura Ashley dresses, she had loads of them in the 80s but most of them went to the charity shop to be replaced with 90s stirrup leggings and baggy jumpers. These have thankfully gone to the charity shop too. It's strange how only certain things go on to become "vintage". Actually it's not too surprising. Floral dresses are nice and stirrup leggings are hideous.

What's your go-to summer dress style? And what vintage trend do you think will (or should) never come back into fashion?

PS. Don't forget to enter my Aussie giveaway - 7 of my readers will win a party pack from Aussie!
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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Giveaway: Any Excuse For A Party? [CLOSED]

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I arrived home late last night to find a parcel had arrived for me. I had an inkling that Aussie were going to be sending something my way and the giant gold envelope confirmed that this was another Angelic delivery! Inside I received Take The Heat 3 Minute Miracle and Take the Heat Shampoo - both in Limited Edition Aussie-versary bottles. There's always a surprise twist with Aussie and this time was no different: flip-flops, sunglasses, popping candy and party poppers!

As Australia is celebrating 110 years since officially becoming a country, Aussie are asking what your excuse is to celebrate. It can be anything at all - just so long as it's a reason to celebrate and an excuse to party.

So, tell me your reason to celebrate and you could win one of 7 Party Packs containing an Aussie product of your choice. You can choose from the following ranges:

Take The Heat – shampoo, conditioner, 3MM, heat-protection cream, heat-protection spray.

Miracle Moist – Shampoo, conditioner, 3MM.

Luscious Long – Shampoo, conditioner, 3MM, leave-in conditioner.

All in Limited Edition Aussie-versary packaging!

To enter, either comment below telling me your reason to celebrate or write a blog post on it and comment linking me to the post. Please also leave your email address so that I can let you know if you're a winner.

The giveaway closes on Friday 19th August and the 7 winners will be informed by Tuesday 23rd August.

What's your excuse for a party?

The Small Print
1. This competition is open to the Aussie Angels online communities
2. Winners must be UK Mainland residents and aged 18 years or over
3. Winners of the giveaway are to be chosen by Aussie Angels
4. To enter, community members must write a blog post, OR comment on an Angels’ Giveaway blog post, stating how they qualify for a Summer Party pack
5. To qualify for winning the Summer party pack, they must have something to celebrate (there are no restrictions on their reasons for celebration)
6. Selection criteria: Each Aussie Angel will select their own 7 community member winners. Selection is entirely at each Angels discretion
7. The Promoter will not be liable for applications not received, incomplete, delayed or damaged. Last date for receipt of entries is Friday 19 August 2011
8. There will be up to 7 winners per Aussie Angel
9. Winners must be chosen and notified in writing, by the Angels, by Tuesday 23 August 2011
10. The Angels must also notify Aussie, in writing, who they have chosen, by Tuesday 23 August 2011
11. A list of the prize winners will be available on www.uncoveraussie.co.uk after this date.
12. The prizes are as stated and cannot be transferred, sold or exchanged. There is no cash alternative. Only one prize per household. No bulk or third party entries accepted
13. Summer Party packs will be sent by Aussie, and all delivery costs covered by Aussie
14. By entering this competition, entrants agree to be bound by the rules and by any other requirements set out in the promotional material.
PROMOTER: Procter & Gamble UK, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 OXP
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Sunday, 14 August 2011

Tea For Me

As my 500 Dresses of Summer series has made rather obvious, I wear dresses a lot. Most of my wardrobe is dresses and these days I tend to only buy dresses. I find skirts and shorts don't get worn so much as I never seem to have the right top to go with them and even if I find a suitable top then I never seem to have a cardigan that goes with both the skirt and the top and it all gets very stressful. Dresses are much easier.

Sometimes, it's nice to change things around a bit and I actually really liked wearing shorts for a change!

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Shorts: Forever 21, Top: F+F @ Tesco, Necklace: Dragon Dreads @ Hyper Japan

Do you prefer dresses? Or are you a fan of separates?
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Thursday, 11 August 2011

500 Dresses Of Summer: Fresh and Floral Dresspiration

No summer dress collection would be complete without a few floral numbers. Like these. I always feel summery when I'm wearing a floral dress, even if the weather is being is usual unpredictable self. I may also be wearing a cardigan and holding an umbrella, but in my mind I'm picnic-ing in a sunny park eating strawberries.

I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite floral dresses that would make me feel summery regardless of the weather:



Vintage Summer Days Dress

I love the dark floral print of this dress. The dark background would make it a great option if its your first foray into florals too. The floaty tiered skirt is so feminine and the corset detail on the back is a really nice touch. I'd style this really simply with just some flat sandals for an easy daytime look.






Maxi Beach Dress

Despite being only 5'1 I really like wearing maxi dresses. It feels so feminine to wear something long for a change as I usually live in short dresses or shorts. This dress would definitely make it into my summer holiday suitcase as it would look great during the day by itself and would be easy to dress up for night time with heels and a long necklace. Maxi dresses can definitely be made to work in the city too, confidence and a denim jacket cover-up are all you need to prevent the dress languishing in the back of your wardrobe until your next holiday.



Fresh and Floral Dress

My fantasy summer dress collection would definitely include a white dress. White is great for highlighting a tan (whether its real or fake) and there's just something about wearing white that feels so crisp and fresh. I'd wear this with wedge sandals and a cropped cardigan or denim jacket to compliment the blue floral print. The length makes it perfect for summer in the city and means you can embrace summer style without baring too much.

All dresses from Joe Browns. Take a look at their women's dresses and let me know which one would form part of your fantasy summer dress wardrobe.

PS. This post is in association with Joe Browns but all opinions are my own. I will only ever feature brands that I believe are worth spending my own money on and only ones that I feel are relevant and appropriate to my blog.
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Saturday, 6 August 2011

500 Dresses Of Summer: 12 and 13

The weather was so terrible last week that I was starting to think that it might have been the end of this series. Thankfully, the sun came back which meant only one thing - dresses can be worn again!

Dress 12:

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Dress: Derby @ John Lewis, Shoes: M&S

I wore this dress for a formal dinner. I wanted something somewhere in between classic/conservative and memorable/standout and I think this fitted the bill perfectly. The dress was a present from my dad and an epic sales bargain - £160 reduced to £29.50! He loves bargains as much as I do so couldn't resist buying it for me, thank you daddy!

Dress 13:

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Dress: French market, Shoes: River Island

I don't usually wear long dresses in England. They feel a bit too "holiday" and not very practical but I couldn't resist wearing this when the sun came out. I purchased this about 4 years ago from a market stall in France, it was only 5 Euros (about £3.50 with the exchange rate back then) but I'd never worn it until now, it still had the tags on it!
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Thursday, 4 August 2011

Review: The Body Shop Super Volume Mascara

I don't usually buy InStyle magazine but when I saw that it came with a free Body Shop mascara I couldn't resist picking up a copy. As a mascara addict, I'm always in "need" of a new mascara and I've never tried one of The Body Shop's offerings before.

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The Brush:
I'm not a huge fan of bristle brushes. I find them hard to use and hate how they cause messy mascara blogs around my eyes but the spiral design of this brush looked intriguing. I imagined that the closely packed bristles would give super-thick lashes. I was wrong. The brush needs multiple strokes before I get my desired lash look and while it doesn't result in too much mascara mess it is harder to reach the small corner lashes without blobbing product onto my eyelids.

The Product:
After getting used to this mascara I like the fanned out look it produces and how it slightly groups my lashes together to give a volumised appearance. The mascara is a rich, glossy black and doesn't smudge or flake off throughout the day. It's also easy to remove. The only downside to this mascara is the smell. It has a strange, hard-to-describe fragrance which seems to linger on my lashes, to the point where I get random wafts of it throughout the day. I thought I was imagining it the first time I wore this mascara but after a few days of wearing it I'm sad to say that the smell is very much real. I've never experienced this before with a mascara...I'm not usually aware of a mascara even having a particular scent. It's really odd.

Verdict:
The off-putting smell aside, this is a good everyday mascara but not one which creates dramatic enough results for my liking. It retails for £10 which I think is a little overpriced when compared with Maybelline and L'Oreal mascara offerings.

Have you used this mascara? What did you think?
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