Saturday, 30 November 2013

November Empties

November Empties
Well, that's it guys, November is over for another year and tomorrow you're all officially allowed to start talking about Christmas - I've already told Leanne and Sera off for various decoration-related offences! When I lived with my parents, we never put up our tree until Christmas Eve, which is a tradition I'm really trying to continue as much as I can now I've moved out; we'll be having Christmas with my step-kids on Christmas Eve so it'll have to go up a little earlier than that, but I want to leave it as long as possible. I always feel like it makes things more special if you only have your decorations up for a couple of weeks (ours come down on Twelfth Night - traditionalists!), rather than them having become "just part of the house" by Christmas if you put them up too early. ANYWAY. Enough of my Christmas-related rants, and onto what I've finished up this month - it's been a pretty slow month and I'm quite disappointed, although I know I've got quite a few "almost there" products so next month should be better. Here goes:
November Empties 1
Boots Smooth Care Shaving Gel This is about my second can of this, I usually buy Gillette but whilst we've been on a tight budget and this has been on offer, I've been saving where I can. I like it, it does the job and smells really lovely, too. However, it's gone back up to full-price in Boots now, which makes it more expensive than Gillette from Bodycare, so I won't be buying it again unless there's another offer.
Repurchase? Already have a spare can, but not again unless it's on offer.
Naked Volume Body Building Shampoo I adore this shampoo, it's the best I've found for not irritating my eczema and also stopping my hair getting oily too quickly, which can be a real problem for me. It also smells gorgeous! A bottle usually lasts me around a month so it's not too pricey, either, at £4.19 per bottle from Boots.
Repurchase? Probably, although I've been sent a little something else from Naked to try first!
Batiste Tropical Dry Shampoo A staple for me, I've gone through two cans this month (cue the disastrous morning where I had to wash my hair, unplanned, because the can I thought I had in the cupboard turned out not to exist...) and wouldn't be without it. I've actually got one of the massive 400ml cans now, as they work out cheaper when the 200ml cans aren't on offer.
Repurchase? Always.

November Empties 2
Collection Loose Powder Another staple, make-up wouldn't last past lunchtime on my oily skin without a decent powder, and I really like Collection's offering - a pot lasts ages and it does the job for me. I prefer loose powders as, although they can be messy, I find it's easier to get a decent coverage, which is important for me. I do tend to use a pressed powder for travelling and for touch-ups during the day, though.
Repurchase? Already have.
Mitchum Advanced Control Anti-Perspirant Deodorant Stick Aaaand another staple, I love Mitchum deodorant, it smells lovely and works well. What more could you want? There isn't really a whole lot else to say.
Repurchase? Already have.
Peach Deep Moisturising Foot Pack I'll have a review of this coming soon - this was a Poundland impulse buy which I actually quite enjoyed using, so look out for my full review in the next few days.
Repurchase? Maybe.
Armani Code Perfume I'm gutted to have finished this, although it did come on offer with a smaller travel size version which I haven't finished just yet, so it's not completely gone. I adore this perfume, it smells beautiful and lasts really well on my skin, and I've had tons of compliments on it. I've been wearing this for about 18 months now, as I only really use one or two perfumes at once so they don't go off, so this will be a nice opportunity to try something new.
Repurchase? Probably not.
So, there you have my disappointingly small list of Empties from November - I think this was the quickest Empties post I've ever written! Have you tried any of these products? What have you finished up lately?

xo

Friday, 29 November 2013

How Much Water Are You Drinking?

It's recommended that we drink between 1.5-2L of water per day, with around 20% of that volume coming from the food we eat. Today, I just wanted to share a few of the benefits of making sure you get enough water, as well as my top tips for drinking more water!
Glass water splash
Keeping hydrated is essential for the body to function properly, since water is necessary to regulate temperature, provide your cells with nutrients, flush out toxins from your body, and a whole number of other functions. Your blood is made up of water, as is the fluid around your brain and spinal cord; without water, the body becomes dehydrated, resulting in headaches and fatigue amongst other problems.
Drinking enough water is also important to look good! Without adequate hydration, you're likely to suffer from dry nails and hair, as well as dull, dry skin and a greater chance of spots. I know I notice a difference in my skin when I drink more water, with my skin looking smoother, plumper and clearer when I've drunk plenty for the last couple of days.
So how can you make sure you're getting enough to drink? Well, the good news is that tea, coffee, fruit juice and cordial all count towards your daily intake! I like to start my day with a glass of orange juice with breakfast, which also helps top up your Vitamin C levels to ward off colds. I carry a bottle of water in my bag with my so that I can have a sip when I'm thirsty. And when I'm at home, I keep a bottle or glass on my desk, because out of sight really is out of mind! If it's there in front of me, I find I can go through a 1L bottle in an afternoon, easily. If you're not keen on the taste of water, try adding a dash of lemon, lime or cordial to it. If you're interested, you can check out this article for some more water facts, I found it really interesting!

xo
[Please note this post is a PR collaboration; as always, this has not affected my opinions in any way and I'll only share content which I think is of value to my readers.]

Thursday, 28 November 2013

NOTD: Star Spangled

No matter how much my boyfriend tells me off for buying magazines "just for the freebies", I highly doubt I'll ever stop being tempted by something shiny on the front of a glossy - this month, it was the choice of four mini Orly polishes with the December issue of Cosmopolitan UK (with Miley Cyrus on the cover) which drew me in - I went for 'Star Spangled', which looks like a lovely dense glitter-packed red polish in the bottle. It applied beautifully, although on application it's less of a glitter polish and more of a shimmer. The first coat goes on quite pink-looking, but a second built it up nicely to a gorgeous deep, shimmering red shade which I can't help but think will be perfect for the upcoming festivities! In these photos, you can see two coats of 'Star Spangled' over 17's Strengthening Base Coat.
Orly Star Spangled NOTD
NOTD Orly Star Spangled
The other shades available with this December's Cosmo include 'Hair Band', a golden glitter, 'Country Club Khaki', a nude shade, and 'Naughty', a deep burgundy red. Did you pick up this month's Cosmo? Which Orly shade did you go for? Do you like the look of 'Star Spangled'?

xo

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Review: Detomaso Concetta Watch*

Detomaso Concetta Watch Review title
I was recently offered the opportunity to try out and review a Detomaso watch of my choice; after browsing the site and having a nosey at the available styles, I was thrilled to accept and chose the beautiful Concetta* watch in white. The watch arrived quickly from Germany via UPS, and within the black cardboard outer box it was beautifully presented in a brushed stainless steel tin, packed with protective foam.
Detomaso Concetta Watch Review
The watch itself was encased in plastic wrap to be completely certain that it reached me in perfect condition, which it did. Made of stainless steel and ceramic, with a mother of pearl dial and tiny sparkly stones surrounding the face, the Concetta is just gorgeous to look at.
Review Detomaso Concetta Watch
Concetta Watch Review
On removing the watch from its presentation tin, it became evident that I would need to have the bracelet altered; five links later, the watch actually fit my apparently tiny wrist! The bracelet clips together to fasten, with the mechanism feeling strong and secure once on the wrist. My only complaint with the watch lies here; the catch to release the mechanism can dig in ever so slightly when I bend my wrist - it only happens if I just catch it at the wrong angle and the catch is rounded so it doesn't hurt, but in the interests of an honest review I thought I'd mention it as it is uncomfortable.
Concetta Watch Detomaso
The watch feels heavier than I'm used to (probably because I've previously had leather straps rather than steel & ceramic bracelets!) but in a good way, like it's high-quality and well made. It's easy to set the time and date following the instructions in the enclosed book, but basically the crown clicks out once to set the date, and then clicks out further to set the time, before clicking back in. I really having the date on my watch, it's so handy as I truly am awful at remembering what day it is, never mind the date!
I love my Concetta watch, it's so lovely to look at, keeps time well so far, and because of its silver and white colours it goes with my whole wardrobe whilst still standing out on my wrist. The Detomaso Concetta Watch has an RRP of €229 (approximately £170), which I think makes it a fantastic choice either for yourself or as a gift, with the presentation tin making it ideal for the latter. The Concetta is also available in stainless steel with black ceramic, or rose gold with black ceramic, both of which look equally beautiful.
Have you heard of Detomaso Watches before? What do you think of the Concetta? Which colour would you choose?

xo
[*Product provided for consideration.]

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Autumn Style feat. Repertoire Fashion

I was recently contacted* about Repertoire Fashion, a collection of formal and casual fashion for both men (check out their range of Jeffery West shoes!) and women; one of the largest retailers of designer labels in Southern England, Repertoire also have an online site with a huge range of brands from Armani to Ted Baker. It certainly makes for lust-worthy browsing, and I was challenged to put together three Autumn outfits using pieces from Repertoire along with other online retailers - have a peek at what I came up with!
Festive Party Outfit
Forever Unique Berry Red Leather Pencil Skirt, Repertoire Fashion, £62.96
Gold Sequin Peplum Top, River Island, £15
This burgundy leather pencil skirt is an absolutely gorgeous colour, hitting the Autumn berry shades trend right on the head. Paired with gold sequins for instant glitz, plus leopard print heels to keep the look glamourous, I think this is an ideal outfit for the festive party season, without resorting to the clich├ęd LBD. Accessorise with a boxy clutch for your essentials, a gold cut-out cuff bracelet to bring the whole outfit together, and matching lips and nails for a well-groomed finishing touch.
Office Outfit
Ted Baker 'Monay' Oil Painting Scarf, Repertoire Fashion, £53.10
Roma Black Shift Dress, Pinstripe & Pearls, £95
Fiorelli Chocolate Tote Zip Bag, Debenhams, £44.25
The second outfit I've put together is a smarter, more professional one which I think is perfect for the office; I fell head over heels for the Vivienne Westwood shoes and just had to include them! A simple black dress is so versatile and easy to dress up or down; here, I've gone for gold accessories with the belt and necklace. The Ted Baker scarf is a gorgeous print and adds a splash of colour, whilst keeping off the chill of over-zealous air conditioning. Finally, a huge bag is a must for me; you never know when you might need your diary / Kindle / choice of six magazines / entire make-up bag / kitchen sink! I love this tan Fiorelli number and have been doing some serious lusting over it at work.

I love this leather jacket; the bottle-green leather is a bit more unusual than your standard black, but subtle enough to still be super wearable - it's pricey but beautiful. Here, I've dressed it up for a smart/casual date outfit, teaming it with this super-pretty cap sleeved polka dot dress to keep it girly. Ankle boots will keep your feet warm and dry in this inconsiderate British winter weather, whilst also balancing the jacket. I've gone for metallic jewellery in the form of a ring and bracelet, completed with a Barry M nail polish to complement the dress, and a little bag to keep your phone, purse and keys safe.
Have you heard of Repertoire Fashion before? Which are your favourites from the items I chose? Which outfit do you prefer?

xo
[*Please note this post is a PR Collaboration; as always, all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own!]
PS,

Friday, 22 November 2013

Review: Superdrug Tea Tree & Peppermint Facial Scrub

Due to my oily skin, I'm a regular exfoliator and have tried a vast range of different brands over the years, but one of my favourites is Superdrug's Tea Tree & Peppermint Oil Facial Scrub; it's one of three exfoliators that I've actually repurchased, and one that I genuinely look forward to using!
Superdrug Tea Tree & Peppermint Facial Scrub Review
Packaged in a simple green plastic tube with a flip cap, this is easy to use even in the shower with wet hands, which is when I prefer to use it. It's easy to squeeze the creamy scrub from the tube, and it smells amazing - really fresh and minty with a definite tea tree undertone. I love the scent of tea tree so this is gorgeous to me, but if you're not a fan then you may find it offputting.
"This creamy Tea Tree and Peppermint Facial Scrub contains natural walnut shells to exfoliate dead skin and remove dirt and oil, helping to promote a clearer spot-free complexion. It will leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and refreshed. Tea Tree Oil originates from Australia - it is a natural antibacterial agent know for its antiseptic healing properties. Peppermint oil is renowned for its therapeutic effect on skin disorders and its cooling sensation."
Sounds good, right? Generally speaking I love products which contain tea tree, as I find they're really effective in keeping any breakouts under control. I also love minty products and definitely agree with the claims that this feels cooling on the skin - it's really pleasant to use. As you can see in the photo below, the walnut shell pieces are reasonably small and not very densely packed, yet the scrub still does an amazingly effective job of exfoliating my skin, leaving it feeling soft, smooth and pleasantly tingly. Aside from the inclusion of SLS which tends to trigger my eczema, this is pretty much my perfect scrub. I tend to use it every two or three days, due to the SLS and also the fact that it is quite a "scrubby" scrub and using it more often would irritate my skin.
Review Superdrug Tea Tree & Peppermint Facial Scrub
Overall, I think this is a really nice scrub, particularly for the price, and would recommend it to those with oily and/or blemish-prone skin, as its ingredients are pretty much geared towards helping with those problems. Superdrug Tea Tree & Peppermint Facial Scrub is available online and in stores, priced at £2.99 for 75ml.
Have you tried any of Superdrug's own-brand skincare products? Do you use exfoliators? What's your favourite?
xo

Thursday, 21 November 2013

I Love Make-Up Tag

I saw this tag on Charlotte's lovely blog, Makeup by Candlelight, and although I haven't actually been tagged I thought the questions sounded interesting - so here you have my rather rambling answers to the I Love Make-Up Tag!
The I Love Make-Up Tag

1. When did you begin loving makeup?
I remember "borrowing" my Mum's make-up when I was about five or six - if I was awake before her at weekends, I'd creep into the bathroom and give myself a bit of a makeover, which generally involved lipstick everywhere and a huge amount of mess and ruined make-up. Sorry Mum! I started wearing make-up myself probably when I was about 12 or 13 - just eyeliner really. I started wearing a proper "face" for sixth form when I was 16, and my love began properly in my second year of University.
2. How do you feel without makeup?
Mostly, fine - if I'm not leaving the house, I tend to put make-up on more as a routine (I like my routines!) than because I feel bad without it per se. I'm perfectly happy to not bother, though, on a lazy day. I'm fine nipping to the shop without doing my face although if I'm actually going anywhere I'll tend to at least put on some foundation and do my eyebrows or my face looks weird!
3. What do you like about makeup?
I like the ability to be creative and change the focus - I love playing with eyeshadow in particular, and have recently been wearing lipstick a bit more, too. Make-up is different for everyone but I like the fact that you can do pretty much anything with it - and of course, it's nice to look at, too!
4. Three Holy Grail Makeup Products:
I don't think I actually have three Holy Grail make-up products - most products I'll buy fairly indiscriminately depending on what's new/on offer/currently hyped in the blogosphere. I don't think there's actually a single product where I wouldn't consider buying anything else. The closest I have are these:
  • The Body Shop Tea Tree Pore Minimiser: I actually don't have a tube of this currently as I'm trying to use up some other primers, but I have to say this is probably the best primer I've ever used in terms of hiding my pores, mattifying my skin and feeling like it's good for my skin at the same time, and I will repurchase it eventually.
  • Soap & Glory Thick & Fast Mascara: Again, I'm not currently using this (although I do have a tube in my stash, unopened) but it is the best mascara I've ever used; my lashes are long as it is, so what I really look for in a mascara is something to darken them and thicken them up, which is exactly what this does, to perfection for me!
  • W7 12-Hour HD Foundation*: I'm only about halfway through my first bottle of this foundation but I really, really like it - it's a perfect match for my skintone, goes on matte giving a great coverage, and lasts really well which is often a problem for me. I'll definitely repurchase once I've finished the bottle I was sent, although I happily use other foundations and I definitely wouldn't say I'll never buy anything else - because I will!
So, those are my answers to the I Love Make-Up Tag! I'm tagging Laura, Marie, Jess and Ebony to answer the questions, too. If I haven't tagged you but you'd like to answer the questions then please do feel free - the more the merrier!
Have you completed the I Love Make-Up Tag? Link me to your answers in the comments, if you have! Do you have any Holy Grail make-up products, or are you like me and love trying new things too much to commit like that!?

xo

Friday, 15 November 2013

Review: W7 12 Hour HD Foundation*

Recently, the lovely people over at Xtras sent me a few bits and pieces from W7 to try out, one of which was the 12 Hour HD Foundation* in the shade 'Buff', which is the lightest shade. I've been using it for around a month now and thought it was high time I shared my thoughts!
W7 HD Foundation Review
The packaging consists of a frosted glass bottle with black print, a red plastic pump and a clear plastic lid; it actually reminds me of Bourjois's foundations, although I've never actually tried any of them so I won't be drawing any further comparisons. The instructions suggest to, "Apply this light foundation evenly to your face for the perfect catwalk look!" I've found it applies smoothly and easily, blending seamlessly, with both my fingers and my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush - I tend to use my brush as I think it's more hygienic, but on the occasions it needs washing or for travelling, my fingers do just as good a job.
W7 HD Foundation 'Buff'
I've been wearing this over W7's Prime Magic Brightening Primer, which gives a lovely smooth base, and the foundation itself goes on really nicely, giving medium coverage which is buildable for a near-full coverage where necessary; I touch up with concealer under my eyes but rarely need to add it over any blemishes. The shade, 'Buff', is actually perfect for my winter skin - finally a budget foundation which caters to us pale-faces - and two pumps is sufficient for my whole face unless I really need to build coverage in quite a few areas, in which case I'll use three.
The foundation gives a semi-matte finish, not completely matte but definitely not shiny-looking, either. It also feels really light on the skin, as claimed, which is great as it doesn't feel uncomfortable or mask-like throughout the day. I find it lasts a good 4-5 hours before I start to get a bit of shine on my forehead, which is pretty good going for my oily skin. I don't think I'd quite agree with the 12 hour claim, but certainly 8-10 seems to be absolutely fine as long as I touch up with powder halfway through the day.
W7 HD Foundation Ingredients
[Ingredients: Aqua, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane/Dimethicone
Crosspolymer, Isododecane, Glycerin, PEG-9 Dimethicone,
Phenoxyethanol/Ethylhexylglycerin, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene
Carbonate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate/Mineral
Oil/Disteardimonium Hectorite/Propylene Carbonate/Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1,
Tocopheryl Acetate, Disodium EDTA, Niacinamide, Sodium Hyaluronate.
May contain: CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77492 (Iron Oxide Yellow),
CI 77491 (Iron Oxide Red), CI 77499 (Iron Oxide Black).]
The ingredients aren't amazing, what with the Mineral Oil, and if silicon is a problem for your skin then this is a no-go. However, I've had absolutely no problems with this and haven't found it to break me out or irritate my eczema at all.
W7 HD Foundation
[Also wearing: W7 Prime Magic Anti-Dull Skin Balancing Primer*; Soap & Glory Kick Ass Concealer
in 'Light'; Collection Loose Powder in 'Barely There'; Deborah Milano Natural Blusher in 'Cherry'*;
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in 'Verve' and 'YDK'; Collection Longer Lash Lengthening Mascara
in 'Ultra-Black'; MUA Pro Brow KitSoap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Gloss in 'Punch Bowl']
All in all, I think this is an amazing foundation for its price point, giving a great and buildable coverage with a semi-matte finish and a long-lasting formula. I'm also really impressed that the lightest shade is fair enough for my skin and doesn't make me look orange at all! I'd definitely recommend this if you're looking for an affordable foundation for pale skin, or if you struggle with your foundation disappearing midway through the day.
W7 12 Hour HD Foundation is available from Xtras, for the great price of £3.99 for 30ml.
Have you tried any W7 cosmetics? Have you ever shopped at Xtras? What's your favourite budget foundation?

xo
[Please note this product was sent to me for the purposes of this review - this has in no way affected my review and as always, all thoughts are completely honest.]
PS, Remember to enter the Massive Winter Ad Space Giveaway to be in with a chance of winning 14 ad spaces for December!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Christmas Ad Space Giveaway {NOW CLOSED}

Anita from Style of Colours is holding a massive Christmas giveaway to win an amazing FOURTEEN ad spaces on the blogs of various lovely ladies - and me! This is an amazing opportunity to get some great coverage for your blog, with a range of ad spaces on offer - read on for more details and to enter via the Rafflecopter form - but do be careful to read the terms and conditions before entering!
____________________________________
Hello Beauties. The holiday season is amazing and with it approaching, I have gotten together with 13 amazing bloggers to bring you a huge ad-space giveaway. This will be an early Christmas present for one blogger, who will get a lot of free exposure for his/her blog. I am so jealous of whoever wins this giveaway.
Now on to the giveaway and the bloggers who made this happen.
This is the giveaway banner which you can share.
Meet the amazing ladies who made this possible.
Here are the details of the ad-spaces we are giving away.
Style of Colours - 1 month Gorgeous Package Ad-space {170x170}
My So-Called Chaos - 1 month 200x100 Ad-space starting on January 1st {200x100}
The Craziest Paradigm - 1 month Large Ad-space {250x250}
A Beauty Moment - 1 month Large Ad-space {250x250}
Life, Set Sail - 1 month Ad-space {160x160}
Futures - 1 month Ferris Wheel Ad-space {200x200}
CurlyGirlBeauty - 1 month blog post banner on all posts except sponsored {728x90}
Fashion At Its Fall - 1 month Ad-space {200x200}
Fashions on Top - 1 month Ad-space {300x250}
Obviousleigh - 1 month Ad-space {300x100}
She Who Does Nails - 1 month Large Ad-space {220x110}
Funfairs and Fairydust - 1 month Ad-space {200x200}
From, Rachael Claire - 1 month Large Package Ad-space {300x300}
Just Jess - 1 month Deluxe Ad-space {160x160}

Enter using the rafflecopter form by completing the mandatory entry and then as many optional entries as you like. The more entries you complete, the higher your chances of winning.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

NOTD: Matte Mocha

I was lucky enough to win an AX Paris goodie bag in etailPR's giveaway, and one of the lovely prizes was a Barry M Matte Nail Paint in the shade 'Mocha', an unusual (for nail polish) mid-brown. These photos show two coats with no base or top coat, and I have to say this was a pleasure to apply; it went on smoothly and easily, drying quickly to a lovely matte finish. I'm not 100% sold on the colour as I don't think it's quite right for my skintone, but I can't deny it's a lovely nail polish and I'll definitely be picking up a couple of other shades from Barry M's Autumn Mattes range - I've got my eye on the gorgeous deep burgundy of 'Crush'! In the photos, the left are in natural light and the right are with flash, which shows the colour a bit more true-to-life.
NOTD Barry M Matte Nail Paint Mocha
Do you own any of the new Barry M Matte nail paints? What do you think of brown nail polish? Are you a lover of matte nails?

xo

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Christmas Wish List

I KNOW it's only November and it is, in fact, far too early to be thinking about Christmas - HOWEVER, etailPR are hosting a competition in association with The Watch Hut, with first prize being £300 of ASOS vouchers - yes please! For more details you can read etailPR's blog post, but for now this is my entry - a few things that would be lovely to find under my Christmas tree this year.
Christmas Wish List
First up is this beautiful white and rose gold watch which I think is just stunning, it's such a classic colour combination and would go with literally everything. I've heard nothing but positive reviews of Urban Decay's Revolution Lipsticks, and 'Lovelight' looks like a gorgeous, wearable shade which would go with everything. I love my Velvet Goth polish in 'Amethyst' and 'Absinthe' was the other shade I was dithering between in the shop, so I'd love to add it to my collection. I've been lusting over these gorgeous tartan heels at work; granted I'd break my ankle in them (or worse) but they're just so pretty! I've had a sample previously of Origins' Clear Improvement Mask and did find it made a remarkable difference to my skin, so I'd love to get the full-size version to use on a regular basis. I'm in desperate need of a wok in my kitchen, mainly because my meals tend to contain all the veg and my frying pan isn't big enough - this 35.5cm beast from Amazon would be ideal. I'm in love with Delilah Dust's Agate Druzy necklaces and in particular this delicate green one with silver edging is just gorgeous. Flash by Jimmy Choo is another product I've had a sample of, which I absolutely adored, so I'd love a full-size of this, too. Teal is one of my favourite colours for clothing so it amazes me I don't own a teal dress - this pretty lace skater number would be perfect with thick black tights. Finally, I suffer from perpetually cold feet, so these cosy-looking slippers are an object of adoration for me!
What's on your Christmas wish list this year? Would you be pleased to see any or all of these beauties under your tree?

xo

Friday, 8 November 2013

Review: MUA x 1 Direction Kiss You Lipstick 'I Want'

I'm not especially a 1 Direction fan, so I wasn't particularly excited by their collaboration with MUA, until I saw that one of the lipsticks was named after their song 'I Want' - which just so happens to have been written for them by McFly! Consider me interested - this lipstick is now mine! 'I Want' is, apparently, assigned to band member Liam, so his signature adorns the inner tube; this means very little to me as I don't know which one is Liam, but there you go. This is making me feel old!
MUA 1 Direction Kiss You Lipstick 'I Want'
The packaging consists of a red base and black lid, both made from plastic, which in my opinion feels cheap and tacky - I really don't like it, although I do understand this is aimed at people a lot younger than myself. Even so, I don't think it would've made much difference to the target audience since they're buying it for 1 Direction, so I would've liked to see something a little nicer in terms of packaging. That aside, the packaging also contains a small "tester" pot at the base which allows you to see which colour you've picked up without removing the lid, and can be snapped out to give you extra product to use - I think this is a lovely touch to all of MUA's lipstick packaging. The bullet is decorated with "1D" on the tip and "XO" over the sides, which I think is a nice touch although it doesn't particularly appeal to me personally. The tip is quite angularly shaped which makes it easy to apply straight from the bullet with a good level of precision - always handy.
MUA Lipstick I Want Swatch
'I Want' is an orange toned red shade with a definite shimmer to it. It applies really smoothly to the lips and doesn't feel drying at all. Despite its creamy texture, I didn't find it to slide around on my lips at all, which was a pleasant surprise, and it actually survived eating better than I expected as well. The shimmery finish faded quite quickly but the colour itself stains the lips and so sticks around nicely for a good 2-3 hours, which I don't think is bad going for a product in this price range. It's quite a striking shade, especially with my pale skin, so I've worn it with minimal other make-up, but I think it suits me quite well.
MUA 1D Kiss You I Want FOTD
[Other products used: W7 Prime Magic Brightening Primer; W7 HD Foundation in 'Buff'; 
Collection Loose Powder in 'Barely There'; Collection Longer Lash Lengthening Mascara in 'Ultra Black']
MUA Kiss You Lipstick I Want Ingredients
[Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ricinus Communis Seed Oil,
Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Cera Alba, Hydrogenated Microcrystalline Cera, BHT, Paraffin,
Glycol Montanate, Synthetic Wax, Montan Cera, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2,
Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Parfum, Benzyl Alcohol,
Benzyl Salicylate, Hydroxycitronellal, Benzyl Benzoate, Hexyl Cinnama
(+/- CI 77499, CI 15850, Mica, CI 77491, CI 77891, CI 77492, CI 42090, CI 19160)]
The ingredients, as you'd expect from an MUA lipstick, aren't particularly brilliant, including Paraffin, but no Parabens which again I was pleasantly surprised by.
MUA Kiss You Lipsticks are available from Superdrug, priced at £3 for 3.8g of product.
Have you bought any products from MUA's collaboration with 1 Direction? Are you a fan of the boys? Do you like the look of this lipstick?

xo

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Best British Autumn Mini-Break Destinations

Autumn is upon us so take advantage of this beautiful time of year with a relaxing mini-break. We've put together three of our top destinations with tips on what to see, where to eat, and what to pack.
Edinburgh
Why go: If the weather is less than lovely you can lose yourself in the museums and galleries. When the sun's out, head up Arthur's Seat for breathtaking views.
Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh
What to see: For a proper taste of Scotland, the Scottish National Museum, National Portrait Gallery and the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre are unmissable. Make the most of the longer nights with some stargazing: the Royal Observatory does weekly public astronomy evenings.
Where to eat: Head to Michelin-starred restaurant The Kitchin on the Leith Waterfront for fresh Scottish produce cooked with a fancy French twist.
What to pack: A warm lightweight jacket, sturdy boots and chic day dresses from Isme.
I've chosen a few of my favourites below:
Isme Day Dresses
The New Forest
Why go: With the leaves turning gold, the ponies looking adorable in their shaggy winter coats and the pubs lighting their log fires, now is the best time to explore this ancient woodland on foot, bike or horseback.
What to do: Some of the most gorgeous forests can be found near Burley, which also hosts an annual cider pressing weekend. Work up an appetite with a country walk, or check out one of the pretty Christmas markets to get ready for the festive season.
Where to eat: The Royal Oak in Fritham was named the Good Pub Guide's Best Country Pub 2013, so head there for a tasty lunch and a few drinks.
What to pack: A chunky knitted jumper and some cosy socks.
The New Forest Pony
Blackpool
Why go: While a beach resort isn't the most obvious choice for an autumn mini-break, this vibrant town really comes to life as the nights draw in, and the famous illuminations are displayed from as early as mid-September.
What to do: The iconic Blackpool Tower gives you a wonderful view of the city, and afterwards head to the High Jinx Magic & Illusion Show at the Horseshoe Bar.
Blackpool Tower
Where to eat: It probably won't be ice cream weather so warm up with fish and chips for a classic seaside treat.
What to pack: A smart padded coat and printed scarf.

[*Please note this post is written in collaboration with Catherine.]
Where's your favourite place in the UK for a mini-break? Have you been to any of these places?

xo
Remember to check out my beautiful Featured Advertiser, LaylaD Beauty, for gorgeous natural skincare and cosmetics!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

NOTD: Velvet Goth 'Amethyst'

I picked up 'Amethyst' from Models Own's recent Velvet Goth collection in Superdrug a couple of days ago. I have to admit to being drawn in by the beautiful velvet lids in coordinating colours to the polishes within, and I did have a tough time deciding between this and the deep green of 'Absinthe', but in the end purple won out for me! The photos below show two coats over a base coat of Nail Envy (as always); you could definitely get away with one coat but I chose to apply two for extra depth of colour. 'Amethyst' is a beautiful deep, inky purple with micro-glitter and small round glitter, which dries to a semi-matte finish which looks quite unusual. I added a top coat for a glossy finish which I found really brought out the sparkles, but I love how it looks matte as well - the first photos show the polish matte, and the second show it with top coat, although none of them really do justice to how beautiful this polish is!
NOTD Models Own Velvet Goth Amethyst
NOTD Models Own Amethyst
You can purchase Models Own Velvet Goth polishes from Boots, Superdrug (though I can't find them online...), and direct from Models Own, priced at £5 for 15ml of product, and are currently included in the 3 for 2 on all cosmetics offer at Superdrug! The other shades include 'Sardonyx' (Red), 'Valerian' (Blue), 'Obsidian' (Black), and 'Absinthe' (Green).
Have you tried any of the Velvet Goth collection? Which is your favourite shade?

xo

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Review: Forever Marine Mask

I was lucky enough to receive this Forever Marine Mask as part of a prize from Emma's Girls' Night In Giveaway over on her blog Beauty By Emma. According to the packaging, "Forever Marine Mask provides deep cleansing while balancing the skin's texture with natural sea minerals and conditioning properties of aloe vera, honey, and cucumber extract." I'm a massive lover of face masks so I was excited to try this!
Forever Living Marine Mask Review
I like the packaging, a sleek white tube with blue-grey and gold writing which looks classy and elegant. The flip-cap makes squeezing the product out really easy, and the inclusion of a hygiene seal makes me happy as it's always nice to know that no-one's had their sticky fingers in your face mask! I also like the fact that there's an expiry date on the tube, as it can often be hard to know how long products like this are okay to use.
Forever Marine Mask Review
The directions recommend that, "After thoroughly cleansing your face, spread Forever Marine Mask generously in an upward and outward motion over the entire face, avoiding the eyes. Let dry for 15-20 minutes, then removed with warm water and a soft cloth. Use at least twice a week for optimal results."
Forever Marine Mask Review Ingredients
Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Stabilized Aloe Vera Gel), Water, 
Bentonite, Glycerin, Honey, Kaolin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Algae Extract, 
Macrocystis Pyrifera Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, 
Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), 
Ascorbic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, 1,2-Hexanediol, 
Caprylyl Glycol, Methylparaben, Fragrance.
So, with the exception of the Methylparaben (a preservative) the ingredients list looks pretty good to me, with Glycerin and Honey being excellent moisturisers, Kaolin being great for extracting impurities and cleansing the skin, and the Tocopherol (Vitamin E) and Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) being nice additions for brightening the skin. The mask is a creamy greige when squeezed from the tube, and has a creamy texture which is easy to spread over the skin. It has a light, skincare-esque scent but nothing too strong or noticeable, so I wouldn't have thought it would irritate sensitive skins. It tingles slightly on application which feels nice, whilst also feeling cooling and soothing on the skin.
Review Forever Marine Mask
Once on the skin, it dries within about 15 minutes to an almost invisible finish, tight due to the kaolin but not so tight as to be uncomfortable. I tend to remove in the shower where it rinses off pretty easily under the water, with no rubbing and scrubbing required. In the short-term, it leaves my skin feeling soft, smooth, toned and hydrated, and helps to calm down redness and any nasty red blemishes. In the longer term, I do think it's calmed my skin down and reduced the number of blemishes I get, although as always it's difficult to be sure what changes in my skin are down to! Nonetheless, it's pleasant to use and something I'd consider repurchasing.
Forever Marine Mask is available to purchase direct from their online store, priced at £18.36 for a 113g tube. I think that's quite a reasonable price for such a lovely product, especially on a cost-per-use basis - I must have used it about eight times and there's still at least half a tube left. It's similar in price to Origins masks and the tube is quite a bit bigger, so I honestly think it's good value, although it's unfortunately more than I can afford to spend on skincare currently.
Have you tried any Forever Living products? How much do you think is reasonable to pay for a product like this?

xo
Remember to check out my beautiful Featured Advertiser, LaylaD Beauty, for gorgeous natural skincare and cosmetics!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Recipe: Five Minute Chocolate Cake

You know those occasions when cake is not something which would be nice, but something which you categorically need? NOW? And going out in the cold and the rain to the shop to buy cake at 10pm isn't an option? Yeah, that happens. And this is the solution: Five Minute Chocolate Cake which you can make in the microwave! I remember microwave cakes from my Uni days and they were never very good; always kind of rubbery and disappointing. This is completely different; it's gooey and chocolatey and quite simply perfect for those cravings.
Five-Minute Emergency Cake
Start by mixing 4tbsp Self-raising Flour, 5tbsp Caster Sugar and 3tbsp Cocoa Powder in a bowl. Add 3tbsp Milk, 3tbsp Oil or melted butter, and 1tsp Almond Flavouring (you could also use Vanilla!) and mix well. Beat in one medium egg, and sprinkle in a handful of mini marshmallows and a few chunks of chocolate. Cover with clingfilm and microwave on full for one minute. Leave for a few seconds, then heat again on full for fifty seconds. Remove the cling film, add a scoop of ice-cream, and inhale!
Microwave Chocolate Cake Recipe
Five Minute Chocolate Cake
It's seriously perfect and so quick to make - you could also split the mixture into two mugs before microwaving if you were in the mood to share! Do you like microwave cakes? Do you have a go-to recipe when you have a mega cake craving?

xo
Remember to check out my Featured Advertiser, the lovely LaylaD Beauty, for gorgeous natural skincare and cosmetics!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Top Five: Autumn Eye Shadows

Top Five Autumn Eyeshadows
Following my Top Five Autumn Nail Polishes and Lip Colours, I had a request for another post in this series; so today, read on to find out my Top Five Eyeshadows for Autumn!
Autumn Eye Shadows Top Five
Top Five Autumn Eyeshadows Swatches
Swatched left - right: Urban Decay 'Half Baked'; W7 Rock & Roll Eye Shadow 'Terracotta'*; Urban Decay 'YDK'; MUA Immaculate Collection shade 14; Calvin Klein 'Merlot'.
I love 'Half Baked' all over the lid for a gorgeous shimmery look, or applied with a damp brush as a liner to really brighten up my eyes on these horrid dark mornings we're getting now the clocks have gone back. I reviewed W7's 'Terracotta' a couple of weeks ago and have been wearing it regularly since as it's just so easy to apply and the colour is perfect for this time of year. 'YDK' is another really easy-to-wear shade which is perfect just blended all over the lid for a pretty smoky look which is suitable for daytime wear. Shade 14 from MUA's Immaculate Collection is just stunning and looks amazing patted onto the lids quite heavily, it reminds me of Autumn leaves. Finally, CK 'Merlot' is a beautiful dusky purple with the tiniest hint of a shimmer which is just barely noticeable once on the eyes; I have to be careful with this one to avoid looking like I've got a pair of black eyes, but it's another beautiful colour and one I think works really well this time of year. I've used it blended fairly softly over my whole lid for the look below, along with a dab of shade 14 in the outer corner and crease of each eye. I really like how this looks, it's subtle but still decidedly Autumnal!
Autumn Eye Shadow FOTD
[Other products used: W7 HD Foundation in 'Buff'*; MUA Mosaic Blusher in 'English Rose';
Collection Loose Powder in 'Translucent'; Revlon Lip Butter in 'Macaroon'; Collection Longer
Lash Lengthening Mascara in 'Ultra Black'; MUA Pro Brow Palette]
Autumn Eyeshadow
Do you mix up your make-up with the seasons? What are your favourite eye colours this time of year? Do you have and love any of these shades?

xo
Remember to check out my beautiful featured advertiser, LaylaD Beauty, for gorgeous natural skincare and cosmetics.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Hussein Chalayan: Three Ways

I was recently contacted about Hussein Chalayan at Avenue 32, and fell head-over-heels for this gorgeous Oxblood Cup Sleeve Jumper Dress, a bargain at a mere £570... Oh wait. That's a month's wages for me at the moment! Needless to say, as beautiful as it is, I won't be splashing out on this dress just now, but that hasn't stopped me coming up with three ways I'd love to wear it if I did happen to have a month's rent just floating around for spending on a dress... After all, we can all lust after impractically expensive pieces every now and then, right!?
Chalayan
Red Herring Faux Leather Studded Belt, Debenhams, £10
Look Beauty Nail Pop in 'Berry Fizz', £2.50
Rimmel London Kate Moss Lasting Finish Matte Lipstick in 111, £5.49
Topshop Alpy Lace-Up Velvet Boots, £78
For my first look, I chose to pair the dress with simple ankle boots and a studded waist belt. A sparkly Look Beauty nail polish and a deep, berry red lip finish the look off, complementing the colour of the dress and planting this outfit firmly in the A/W camp as far as make-up is concerned!
Chalayan#2
Envy Gold Sequin Trim Platform Court Shoes, now £16
New Look Limited Edition Sleek Geo Bib Necklace, ASOS, £17.99
Barry M Glitter Dust in 'Yellow Gold', £4.59
Oasis Glitter Frame Hardcase Clutch Bag, £28
Secondly, I've put together a Christmas party type of look, perfect for a Christmas meal out or similar type of event; a bit glitzy, but the jumper dress means you won't get chilly! I think oxblood looks stunning with gold so I've gone for gold accessories - sequinned heels, jewellery and make-up.
Chalayan #3
Converse All Star Collar Studs Hi-Tops, £60
Jenson Fur Collar Biker Jacket, Topshop, £58
Leopard Print Long Shoulder Strap Bag, eBay, £7.99
Barry M Matte Nail Paint in 'Burgundy Crush', £3.99
Collection Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Eyeliner in 'Black', £2.99
Finally, I've gone for a more casual outfit, perfect for a shopping trip or maybe an evening at the cinema. Converse are a classic but the studs on this pair brings them nicely up-to-date. Oxblood and leopard print look amazing together (I love leopard with everything so I would say that...), and this bag has plenty of room! A faux leather jacket would keep you nice and warm, and finally a nice cat-eye flick of eyeliner and nail polish coordinated with the dress finishes look #3 off perfectly for me!
Which is your favourite of the three looks I've put together here? Do you agree with me that a dress like this would be an investment piece as it's so versatile? Would you ever spend so much money on a single piece of clothing?
[*Please note this is a sponsored post, but as always all 
thoughts and opinions are entirely my own!]
xo
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