Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Beauty In The Spotlight

I'm a big fan of the Emerald Street daily emails from the team behind Stylist Magazine. Last week, Emerald Street teamed up with John Lewis for a "Beauty in the Spotlight" event which a friend and I headed to after work. For £10 we got an amazing goodie bag (I was genuinely impressed with the amount of products that had been crammed in to it!) and £10 off our purchases that evening. After browsing all the counters I settled on a Topshop blusher and lipstick (reviews to come). The Topshop range is perfect for affordable, high quality products and as I'm still supposedly on a spending ban this meant I only spent an extra £4.

The goodie bag:

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I'm going to have fun trying out all of these! I've wanted to try Elemis and Ren products for a while so this is a great way to see what the products are like without splashing out on a full size. Pretty impressed with the NARS eyeshadow trio, too! I'll be reviewing some of the products in future posts.

One of the products I looked at at the event was Abi O tan. The creator of the tan was at the event, she was lovely (and not remotely orange) and explained her range to my friend and I. There is a tan for "English Rose" skins which contains less DHA (the ingredient in fake tan that develops to give the colour) than traditional fake tan and promises no biscuit-y fake tan smell. For darker skins there is a shimmer product with a low percentage of DHA to enhance already tanned skin and help even out skintone. I was tempted to purchase the tan but at £26 I would have felt a little guilty at spending so much. Luckily, there was a sample in the giftbag:

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I've been using this since the event and I love it. I've dabbled with fake tans and "Holiday Skin" type products in the past but detest the smell of the products and even the ones designed for light skin make me go slightly orange.

The formula of the Abi 0 tan is a gel-cream which feels light on my skin, it sinks in quickly and has no smell on application nor while it develops. The cream has a slight shimmer so you could put it on in the morning and have it develop throughout the day or just apply it in the evening for it to develop overnight as I have been doing. After two applications my skin no longer glows white in bright sunlight and I have the colour that I would usually have after a two week summer holiday. I didn't exfoliate or moisturise before applying this and I had no streaks of patches of uneven tan the next morning.

I'd definitely recommend this to fellow "English Roses". I'd never go for a full on TOWIE tan but I do like how this makes me look healthier and takes the edge of my pallor. I've never really appreciated before how much of a confidence boost a tan can be, I feel like I've just come back from a holiday (the nice weather in London has definitely helped with this!) and I'm definitely going to spend that £26 when the sample runs out.

Are you a fake tan fan?
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Sunday, 27 May 2012

Golden Collar

Upon spotting a sold gold (as in gold-coloured not real gold) metal collar my first thought was "I NEED THIS". A more normal thought would probably be "what the hell is this" or "why would anyone want this" but this is fashion blog world where collars of any sort are viewed as a good thing so, of course, I wanted this. Hannah and I both purchased one for the bargain price of £16 (thank you V&A members' discount!) and I felt happier with my purchase of this than I have with any buy for a long time. Break in spending ban disregarded for this one purchase.

We decided to wear the collars the following day for a busy busy day of exploring London. Londoner's seemed to like the collars, or at least find it interesting/amusing that we'd both (albeit intentionally) decided to wear the same gold metal collar.

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Dress: Primark, Jacket: H&M, Shorts (under dress): American Apparel, Collar: V&A, Earings: Topshop

I kept the rest of my outfit fairly "normal" to make the collar stand out. Last weekend was still freezing so the bare legs were not the best idea but it was MAY and I was sick of wearing tights. I try to spend my weekends in bright colours and quirky accessories as I spend Monday to Friday in a fairly conservative office environment so weekends are a chance to go a little crazy and try not to forget that I'm still young(ish) and am definitely not ready to start wearing sensible, weather appropriate clothing.

Instagramming:

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What do you think of The Collar? And do you mind when strangers make comments on your outfits?
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Friday, 25 May 2012

Friday Treat: 20% off Motel Rocks

Checking in to let you know about a weekend treat - Motel Rocks are offering 20% off with the code MEMORIALDAY (valid until 9am on Monday morning) to celebrate the opening of the US sight. Could be a good chance to treat yourself to a summer wardrobe update with the nice weather that we're having at the moment (hopefully its here to stay!).

I love these Jubilee leggings which are £16.80 with the discount:




And this feather print playsuit which is £38.40 with the discount:



Happy shopping! I'm off to enjoy the last of the sunny evening. Hope your weekends are full of nice weather activities. Hannah and I are running the Bupa 10,000 on Sunday - it's going to be a hot one I fear but I'm starting to get excited for it!
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Thursday, 24 May 2012

Gelish Nails

I'm pretty lazy when it comes to painting my nails. I go through phases of painting them regularly and then weeks go by when I just can't be bothered. I've had Gelish/Shellac nails twice in the past and really like how long-lasting and effort free they are.

This time I visited St James Hair and Beauty for a Gelish manicure and pedicure. I had a black tie event that evening and wanted to treat myself to nice nails as I was wearing a dress that I'd worn before. The colour range of Gelish is quite limited and as they last for a while I find its best to pick something that won't clash with what you wear and that you won't get sick of looking at! I picked a bright pink as I'm really pale and pastels/neutrals don't suit me.

The manicure and pedicure that come with Gelish nails is not particularly pampering or relaxing. Soaking the nails first or using oils/creams is bad for the gel polish so its just a quick file, buff and cuticle tidy but it does the job. Nails are prepared with a basecoat and then layers of colour and top coat are applied, setting each for 60 seconds under a UV lamp. The whole process took just over an hour for my hands and feet.

The best thing about Gelish is that the nail polish is instantly dry. It's weird at first as your brain wants to tell you that the polish is wet! No sitting around waiting for it to dry or spending the next couple of hours too scared to touch anything in case you smudge a £20 manicure. My manicure lasted over two weeks before the edges of the polish started to peel. I half picked/half soaked it off and while my nails did look a little dry there was no lasting damage. My pedicure is still going strong three and a half weeks later!

Newly painted:

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One week later:

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Two weeks later:

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Close up:

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I'd definitely recommend Gelish for a low maintenance, long lasting manicure/pedicure. Its perfect if you have a big event to go to or are off on holiday. If you're someone who likes to change their nail polish regularly then it may not be ideal as you are stuck with the same shade for a while but for me this far outweighs all the effort of painting my own nails and waiting around for them to dry!

Have you tried Gelish?

PS. I paid £19 for my main/pedi on KGB deals. The full cost would have been £80 but there do seem to be a lot of these sorts of deals on Wahanda and Groupon too so its worth keeping your eyes open for one if you want to try this!
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Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Week (/Month?) Just Gone

I haven't done a photo round-up post for a while. Here's what I've been doing:

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1. Baking (not going to lie, it was a Weight Watchers cupcake mix). I don't do cooking.

2. Graze box (use my code 7KN159X for a freebie).

3. Tower Bridge on an early morning run.

4. New hair and a new hairdressers. I can't seem to stay salon loyal. This was at Rush The Strand and I got a 50% discount so I was pretty happy.

5. Beautiful glasshouse at the Horniman Museum. Definitely recommend a visit if you're in SE London.

6. The Cutty Sark during a freezing May afternoon in Greenwich. Oh how I love the British summer.

7. The Britannica exhibition in Selfridge's Wonder Room.

8. Monte Cristo Sandwich at The Diner in Kensal Rise. Turns out that a club sandwich dipped in blueberry jam is pretty nice. Especially when you then go to watch a film about running. Seriously, though, go see Town of Runners, it's amazing.

9. Book club reads. I'd never heard of Ford Madox Ford before this book came up and wasn't expecting this to be "my thing" but I actually really enjoyed it. This little paperbacks are such good bargains, too.

10 - 12. A weekend in Yokrshire. I went Up North last weekend to run in the Beverley 10k (did it in 1:07, it was hilly!). We stayed in a lovely guesthouse for two nights and spend Monday exploring York and visiting Betty's tea room.

13. 55 Factory Event at Rokit. Vintage clothing, a blow up doll and make-overs on a Thursday night? Yes please!

14. Dead Hippie burger at Meat Market. I hadn't eaten beef in about five years before this. It was super greasy and not something that can be eaten in a ladylike manner but very enjoyable.

15. Said blow-up doll.

16. Ballgowns Exhibition at the V&A with Hannah on Friday evening - loved the display of dresses and the giftshop was amazing.

17. Song Dong's "Waste Not" exhibit at the Barbican. Also visited the Bauhaus exhibition, the Hermes Leather exhibition at the Royal Academy and the Louboutin exhibition on the same day as well as a yummy lunch at Village East.

18. Hannah and I on a vintage Routemaster. Sat at the front of the top deck. Yessss.

19. Louboutin Exhibition at the design museum. I'm not sure whether I actually like Louboutins but the exhibition was really well put together and the hologram display is amazing. Some of the shoes made my feet hurt just looking at them and while the design of the shoes fuses fashion with art I'm not sure I would buy footwear that can only be worn while "leaning on a man's arm" for support!

20. Wearing my metal collar from the V&A.

21. Animals on the Southbank during another run.

Busy busy! This week I'm going to a Stylist beauty hall event at John Lewis and running in the Bupa 10,000 on Sunday. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for better weather soon as I'd quite like to wear my summer clothes and I've been spending a small fortune on indoor activities!

How was your weekend? And what does next week have in store for you?
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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Every Little Helps

Way back in November, although under not so different weather conditions, I attended the Clothing At Tesco press day. The clothes I had a sneak peek of then are now in stores, how time flies! I was given a £30 voucher to spend online and couldn't resist spending it as soon as I could on a bright red pencil skirt (£16) and a knitted body con skirt (£14). I was super proud of myself for hitting £30 exactly but due to my rather bulging wardrobe I didn't get around to actually wearing the skirts this winter.

I re-discovered the pencil skirt while frantically looking for something to wear that wasn't a summer dress. I'm lazy when it comes to laundry and dry-cleaning but didn't quite feel like wearing a sleeveless dress when there seemed to be a full scale storm going on outside.

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The skirt is very bright so I paired it with a trusty M&S black top and minimal accessories. I work in a grey suit sort of office so this felt quite daring. For £16 the skirt is amazing quality, its lined and the fabric is fitted without being clingy. After a day of sitting at my desk the skirt wasn't creased at all - I hate it when clothes look like I don't own an iron after an hour of sitting down in them. I'm definitely going to look out for this in black next winter.

What's your favourite supermarket clothing bargain?
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Thursday, 10 May 2012

Refresh: Working Wardrobe v.2

A few weeks ago I had a bit of a panic that I didn't have enough office appropriate summer clothes. Not to worry, though. It still feels like winter outside so I haven't needed to manically purchase any and break my spending ban in the process. Last week during a particularly miserable downpour I popped into House of Fraser for shelter and found some sale bargains to look at while I waited for the rain to stop.

I ended up picking up this Warehouse dress reduced from £55 to £12:

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I love the black/blue colour combination and while this is definitely a "winter" dress its perfect for the current weather. Once summer does make an appearance I'll have something that's (hopefully) barely worn for next winter!

Have you picked up any sales bargains lately?
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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

What I wore...in Marrakech

It might be May but so far these are the only outings that my summer dresses have had this year. I might need to start booking more holidays just so I can justify my rather large dress collection...

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L-R: Louche @ Joy Floral Dress, Louche @ Joy print dress, Motel floral dress, Forever 21 orange dress.

Joy is one of my favourite shops for dresses, I bought these two last summer but, like a lot of my summer clothes, they've not been worn an awful lot. The Motel dress was £10 from their sample sale and the Forever 21 dress was bought in Dubai last year. I'm wearing my new Birkenstocks as they Marrakech streets were very uneven and because I actually really like Birkenstocks even if they are the summer equivalent of Uggs!

PS. I'm now on Pinterest, still figuring it all out but you can follow me here.
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Saturday, 5 May 2012

Travel Journal: Marrakech [picture heavy]

I recently escaped the "spring" weather with a trip to Marrakech. My mum and I spent 5 days staying in a beautiful Riad, exploring the city and mainly enjoying the sun and being somewhere so entirely different from London. My highlights were: having afternoon tea at the luxurious La Mamounia Hotel, taking a horse drawn carriage around the city walls, the beautiful Maison Tiskiwin, drinking fresh mint tea and relaxing in the Marjorelle Gardens. Can I go back please?

Our Riad:

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Exploring the souks:

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Delicious salads and afternoon tea at La Mamounia:

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Sight-seeing:

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Have you been to Morocco?
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