Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Current Favourites

I sometimes forget that this blog started life as a "beauty blog". I haven't done a proper make-up post for so long! I thought I'd share some of my favourite products at the moment, most of which are new discoveries of mine:

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1. Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream

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I've owned a few tubes of 8 Hour Cream in the past but couldn't resist this limited edition pot. It is essentially expensive Vaseline but with a much nicer fragrance and while it does not last for 8 hours it does last far longer than regular lip balm. The pot is huge so this will definitely last me for the rest of the winter. And it makes me feel like I'm worth it to know that I spent around £15 on something that, really, is just expensive Vaseline.

2. Benefit The Porefessional

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One of my biggest skin woes is the dreaded midday "shiny nose". I hate having to constantly touch up my make-up and before trying this I was really doubtful that pore products would make any different to my skin besides clogging it up more. I tried out this at a Benefit counter and I'm so glad I was persuaded both to have the "free" make-over and to buy it. I use this every single day and genuinely don't know how I ever survived without it. It really smooths out pores, stops shine and hasn't made me breakout. Definite repurchase. (FYI, Diet Coke are doing a £5 off a £20 online spend at Benefit at the moment. I have about 10 of the ring pulls floating around in the bottom of my handbag)

3. Chopard Wish Perfume

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I don't have a signature scent and love trying out different perfumes. I've been using this tiny bottle of Chopard's Wish lately as I wanted to check I liked it before I pack it for my holiday at the end of this month and now I've used over half of it up! I'm rubbish at describing perfumes but this is just a nice, inoffensive scent - it's not too over-powering and there's nothing really not to like about it. The little bottle has a loop on the lid so that you can attach it to...something. Cool.

4. Monu Revitalising Moisturiser

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Before I reached the grand old age of 24 I never really used moisturiser. I've never felt like my skin needed it and used to worry that it'd just give me spots. Since working in a freezing air-conditioned office my skin has been noticeably drier so I've been taking my first tentative steps towards becoming a moisturiser user. This came free in my November GlossyBox. Originally the fact that it has a definite scent really put me off (I have super sensitive skin that freaks out at anything perfumed)but after gradually trying it out until I was sure my skin liked it I now use this every day. It hasn't made me break out and isn't too heavy for a first-timer, I like how it also has sunscreens in it, just in case a few chance rays of sunshine hit my skin on my way to work (unlikely but it could happen).

5. L'Oreal Glam Bronze

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I got this free in a L'Oreal gift set and it's quickly become an everyday product. The mix of blusher and bronzer is ideal for my pale skin and it has the perfect amount of shimmer - enough so that I look healthy despite not seeing sunlight since October but not too much that I look like a glitter ball under the unflattering office lighting at work. It even has a little brush underneath the powder which makes it perfect for touch-ups.

6. Topshop Cream Blusher in High Five & Ecotools Foundation Brush

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Further proof that I am not a real "beauty blogger" - this is my first ever cream blush. I finally purchased one of the Topshop cream blushers as I'd read so much about them on blogs and wanted to try one out for myself. At £6 I wasn't going to cry if I hated it (I would, in fact, have given it to my mum who probably would've pretended that she liked it even if she didn't). I hate putting my fingers in products so also purchased a foundation brush to apply it with as that's how the make-up artist at the Aussie event did it. I got the Ecotools one because it was the cheapest in Boots and because I don't actually wear foundation so wasn't too bothered about the brush. It's actually really good, nice soft bristles and absolutely no shedding. I just dab on the blusher with the brush and then quickly blend it with my fingers. I mostly use this on days when I feel super pale and gross - it's amazing how happy and healthy this makes me look. £6 well spent!

What are your current favourite products? Have you used any of these ones?
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Thursday, 26 January 2012

January Blues

I find January to be one of the longest months of the year. London just seems so dull and grey, there's still a good 4 months to go until the weather gets nicer and it's a long time until payday. Despite getting some lovely Christmas gifts and some good sales bargains, that all feels like rather a long time ago now so a little bit of top-up retail therapy has been needed:

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1. Lush Melting Marshmallow Moment - this was actually a Christmas present. Like everything from Lush it smells amazing. I'd say that this is a mix between a bath melt and a bath bomb. It turns the bathwater a lovely pink colour which is definitely a nice end to a long January day.

2. L'Occitane lipbalm - this was a freebie! There's a voucher in the month's Glamour magazine for a free lip treat from L'Occitane and I'd definitely recommend popping into a branch if you can. The tin is huge and this smells so delicious.

3. End of sale purchases - my favourite part of the sales is trying to find something nice when everything has been really, really reduced. I got this dress for £3 in H&M, I'll probably only wear it on holiday but for £3 you can't really go wrong! The skirt was £4.90 in Uniqlo, I love the print and will wear it on snowy days if we get any with boots and thick tights.

4. Pizza - I was meant to be going to a restaurant in Mayfair with a friend but it was closed. We walked to the other branch on Charlotte Street which was also closed. Ended up eating the best pizza ever in a rather odd looking restaurant - unexpectedly yummy and definitely deserved after walking around for an hour trying to go to the first restaurant!

5. Malava nail polish - having bright nails always cheers me up. This Malava pink was in my goodie bag from the Yuki event, I've never used a Malava polish before but I'm really impressed. Five days on and it still hasn't chipped!

6. Earrings - I loved the pre-wrapped presents that Kurt Geiger had this year. These earings are really cute and were reduced from £30 to £8! I seem to have lost all my small stud earrings (mainly in shop changing rooms when I get clothes stuck on my head) so it's nice to have some new ones!

How have you been brightening up your January?
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Sunday, 22 January 2012

Ladybug

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to book a hair appointment for 9am on a Saturday. It then seemed like an even better idea to not get out of bed until 7.30am for the very reason that it was a Saturday. Cue a panic of what to wear. I always feel a little bit judged when I go to the hairdressers, possibly because I only go twice a year and my hair is always a mass of split ends and tangles. Possibly because the thought of staring at myself in the mirror for an hour makes me feel a little uneasy. And possibly because there's always the risk of crying myself to sleep for the next month because I hate the results.

After a few minutes of panic I opted for a polka dot skater dress, opaque tights and flat Chelsea boots. Feeling that this outfit was "haircut appropriate" I rushed out of the door and even managed to get to the hairdresser early:

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Dress: Primark, Hair: prior to hairdresser's work

I got my haircut at Lisa Shepherd, just off of Oxford Circus. The salon was one of the nicest I've been to - really slick and modern and they gave me a very nice cappuccino which definitely helped make me feel a bit more awake. My stylist, Luke, was super friendly and made me feel much more chilled out about the hair cutting process. He got rid of all the yucky ends and put in some long layers before blow-drying it to a nice bouncy finish after I'd expressed my hatred of straightened hair! All while I caught up with the latest trashy magazines.

I took a sneaky picture in the loos at the salon so as I didn't trust the London weather to keep it looking nice for the rest of the day:

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My hair doesn't look an awful lot different but it feels so much healthier and I'm glad that I resisted "face framing layers" or any sort of fringe as I've learned from past errors that they're just an invitation for my hair to misbehave.

Do you like visits to the hairdressers? I get really nervous beforehand but do like getting my hair washed and blowdried without me having to lift a finger!
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Thursday, 19 January 2012

Peter Pan & More Aussie More

Peter Pan collars seem to be a bit of a blogger staple. I finally have one in my wardrobe, courtesy of Santa.

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Top: Oasis, Skirt: ASOS, Hair: Aussie More wash #10

I love the lace collar on this top, even if it does remind me of a doily! The skirt is from last Christmas' ASOS sale, it's one that I think is just a little too short for work so I tend to save it for days when my boss isn't around or when I know I don't have any meetings to go to!

In keeping with my 2012/Aussie resolution to do more with my hair I tried a variation on my usual style today - this was super quick to do, I rough dried my hair and then sprayed some VO5 texturising spray into. After a bit of scrunching I had a beach-y textured look that lasted all day.

Do you own and Peter Pan collars? And, Angels, how is your Aussie challenge going?
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Sunday, 15 January 2012

Mascara-holic

New year, new mascaras!

First up, L'Oreal Telescopic. I've had mixed experience of L'Oreal mascaras in the past but decided to give this one a try as I've heard good reviews of it and it helped me reach the £15 spend limit needed to get a free gift (I'm easily persuaded).

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I'm really impressed with this mascara. The brush is nice and thin so it doesn't blob all over my eyelids. The rubber comb brush is great for getting right to the root of my lashes and it only needs a couple of coats to get my desired look. The formula is glossy and it hasn't smudged once despite the ridiculously windy weather making me cry on my walk to work every morning! I've actually thought of wearing sunglasses to stop this happening but that could look a bit ridiculous seeing as there is no sun.

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Mascara number 2 is 17's new Peep Show. In another fickle moment of consumerism I bought this one because I liked the packaging and because it came with a free eyeshadow palette. Even though I already have loads of eyeshadows.

This mascara has a much thicker brush so has to be applied a little more carefully. Once I'd got used to the brush I really like how full and curly it makes my lashes. This mascara is less glossy then Telescopic but gives a softer look and can easily be built up for a more dramatic look whereas Telescopic isn't as buildable. The eyeshadow palette is really pretty. After not wearing eyeshadow for ages I've actually used this everyday since I got it. The shadows last well and don't crease or fade throughout the day. Not bad for around £5 for both of them.

Have you tried any of these mascaras?
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Thursday, 12 January 2012

Red Coat

I might have mentioned my hatred of winter before. I'm not a huge fan of winter clothes either. I've been wearing the same Zara coat for the last three years because a) I can't be bothered to buy a new one and b) coats are pricey and I'd rather spend my money on actual clothes. My latest sale bargain has changed all that. It may be because it's bright red. It may be the gold buttons. Or it may be that it was reduced to only £30 but whatever the reason I love this coat:

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Coat: Dorothy Perkins, Dress: Topshop

Wearing this coat is making these dull January days just that little bit brighter. It's also keeping me nice and warm because shivering will never be in fashion.

What's your favourite winter coat?
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Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Foodie Heaven: Tas

Tas is one of my favourite London restaurants. It's a small chain so there are a few branches to choose from but it lacks the feel of a chain restaurant. The food is super yummy, there's a great selection of vegetarian choices and the prices are really reasonable. I visited for dinner with my mum and this is what we had:

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Lentil soup and Turkish bread arrived at our table not long after we'd been sitting down. I was starving so this was much appreciated while we pondered the menu and tried to decide upon our main course.

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I opted for a Pide - a sort of Turkish pizza. The base was really light and crispy and the mixed veggie toppings were very yummy. This tasted far healthier than a regular pizza!

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My mum chose the stuffed baby aubergines with cous cous and Greek yogurt. I had this last time and can say that it's delicious.

I'd definitely recommend Tas if you're looking for looking to try something a little different from the usual chains but without spending a lot of money. I'd go back for the Turkish apple tea alone!

Have you tried Tas?
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Saturday, 7 January 2012

Whistle Down The Wind

I took these pictures in December but with the excitement of Christmas they were left unloved on my memory card. This dress was a "starting work" present from my dad although I shamefully didn't get around to wearing it until December. I think this year I need to make a resolution to actually wear clothes when I get them and not have new items hanging in my wardrobe for months with the tags still on them. I think this stems from childhood and wanting to "save" new clothes for special occasions. Ok, enough with the psychology. Here's the dress:

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Dress: Whistles, Awful Lighting: December in London

My hair is just a my usual clipped style with the a twisted side pony (make a hole above the band and loop your hair back through the hole - far easier to do than it sounds!).

Do you wear new clothes as soon as you get them or do you "save" them for a special occasion?
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Wednesday, 4 January 2012

More More More! (Aussie Washes 1 - 4)

I'm a little late with this post. My giant bottle of Aussie couldn't be delivered to mine as I was at work so I re-directed it to my dad's office. My parents weren't quite sure what to make of the giant inflatable shampoo bottle! My mum did, however, decide to sample the shampoo and conditioner before I got home for Christmas to meet my giant Aussie.

The new Aussie bottles are absolutely huge! Aussie have set us a challenge to not only see how long these bottle last but to try as many different hairstyles as possible in the process. One of my 2012 goals is to do more with my hair. It's long and naturally straight so I usually just shove a couple of clips in it and go. I need to be more creative and try out some new styles so hopefully this challenge will give me the inspiration to do so while having lovely, soft, sweet-smelling hair thanks to Aussie:

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So this has been how my hair has looked for the first few washes. To do the sides I just twist the sides of my hair until it rolls back on itself and then slide in a kirby grip.

Angels Lauren and Cat have been doing some great posts on the challenge so far. I think I need to get a little more imaginative than "twist and clip" if I want to win this...

Do you have any style suggestions for me?
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Monday, 2 January 2012

Santa and Sales

Christmas already seems like a bit of a distant memory but I thought I'd share some of my presents and sale purchases (a little belated, I know, but being back home completely wrecks my routine and results in an awful lot less time spent online). Santa was good to me this year and I love all of the presents that he my parents got me:

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1. Presents arrived in this stylish "Mrs Santa" bag.

2. Rituals shower gel and Kenzo Flower perfume.

3. Stationery - 2012 Paperchase diary, "Gloomy the Grizzly" notebook and a Santa bear notebook.

4. Whistles fur collar cardigan.

5. Jack Wills sweatshirt.

6. Oasis top and animal print socks.

7. Silver ring from Helen London @ Spitalfields Market.

8. Silver and gold bird necklace.

My Christmas money from my grandparents was put to good use at the sales:

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1. Limited Collection @ M&S heels - £25 reduced to £9.

2. Nike trainers - reduced to £19.50.

3. Dorothy Perkins coat - £59 reduced to £30.

4. Next dress - reduced to £14.

5. Dorothy Perkins dress - reduced to £17.

6. Limited Collection @ M&S dress - reduced to £25.

I'm super excited to be starting 2012 with some nice new treats and a few additions to my working wardrobe. It makes the prospect of January and February (my least favourite months) a little less depressing!

What were your favourite Christmas presents and sales bargains?
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