Posts tagged bbloggers
The lovely folks at Fragrance Direct recently set me a fun challenge – to create a look for Valentine’s Day using make up from their site. I was given a budget of £20.00, and could choose five items in total. I initially planned to go for smokey eyes and vampy red lips, but as that’s quite a clichéd Valentine’s look, I went for something a bit different in the end. I wanted to keep it simple, so I settled for a fresh-faced ‘English Rose’ look that makes the most of my pale skin, with pretty pink cheeks, lips and nails. After all, roses are what Valentine’s is all about, right? These are the five items that I chose…
Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation in ‘Light Porcelain’ £5.50 / Rimmel ScandalEyes Thick Eyeliner in ‘Black’ £5.00 / Bourjois 10 Day Anti Choc No Chips Nail Polish in ‘Shade 26′ £1.99 / Maybelline Clear Smooth Blush in ‘Fresh Rose’ £2.50 / Calvin Klein Delicious Luxury Creme Lipstick in ‘Mesmerize’ £1.99
On the high street, these products would have cost over £35.00 in total, so to get everything for under £20.00 is a massive bargain!
As was allowed, I used a few bits and pieces from my make up bag to complete the look (namely concealer, face powder, a bit of kohl eyeliner and mascara), and here is my finished look…
I must say, I am really impressed with the staying power of all of these products. The lipstick stayed put through a meal and several drinks, the eyeliner didn’t budge at all until I removed it, the foundation gives amazing coverage which lasts all day, as does the blusher, and the nail polish is supposed to stay chip-free for 10 days!
I’m happy with my Fragrance Direct Valentine’s Look – it’s subtle, but still pretty, and I think it’d be perfect for a relaxed Valentine’s Day lunch. You can check out Fragrance Direct’s full range of cosmetics here.
*These make up items were sent to me by Fragrance Direct. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
There are probably thousands of STEAMCREAM reviews floating around in the blogosphere, but for what it’s worth, I thought I’d add my tuppence worth to the mix today.
So first, a bit of background. STEAMCREAM is a multi-purpose cream for the face, body and hands, and is produced in a unique process using steam (rather than emulsification), to create a lightweight but moisturising lotion. It contains natural, high-quality ingredients, including oatmeal, orange flower water, lavender oil, organic jojoba oil, cocoa butter and essentials oils such as rose, and is 100% vegan and handmade.
I hate to admit it, but one of the first things that attracted me to STEAMCREAM was the packaging. The cream comes in a 75g, eco-friendly aluminium tin, which is the perfect size to take with you when out and about or travelling, and each one is decorated with a different gorgeous design. The tins are just so eye-catching and pretty, and I can see how you could get addicted to collecting them! My particular design is a limited edition called ‘Buttons by Lisa Milroy’, and though it wouldn’t be my first choice (it’s a bit too understated for my liking), I still really like it. There are so many to choose from, but some of my favourites from the STEAMCREAM Design Gallery have to be Light From Space, She, and Cosmos.
I’ve seen some bloggers say that they don’t like the smell of STEAMCREAM, but I think it smells absolutely beautiful. It’s quite earthy due to the natural ingredients, but the sweetness of the lavender and rose really shine through. Overall it’s a nice relaxing scent, and I like to use the cream before I go to bed as the lavender is soothing and helps me sleep.
Now, the important bit. STEAMCREAM has a light and loose consistency that is very gentle on the skin. I find it pleasant to use as it massages in well, is non-greasy and absorbs nicely, and it leaves my skin feeling cool and refreshed. I’m sort of in two minds about its effectiveness though. It makes the skin on my face and body feel soft and smooth, but it’s nowhere near intensive enough to help the dry skin on my hands. I do suffer quite a bit with it in the winter, so perhaps it will do my hands more good in the summer, when the dry skin eases off.
All in all, STEAMCREAM is a fab little handbag essential. It’s versatile, smells great, feels nice and looks amazing, and gets a thumbs up from me! STEAMCREAM retails for £12.95 with free worldwide delivery, and can be purchased here.
*This STEAMCREAM was sent to me by STEAMCREAM for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
After two years of hard work, and juggling studying with a part-time job, yesterday I finally graduated from the University of Leicester with a postgraduate degree in Modern Literature! It’s been a long and, at times, difficult couple of years, but I am so happy that I can now officially call myself a Master of the Arts. And to make things even better, my fiancé graduated at the same time with the same degree, and because our surnames are alphabetically next to each other, we got to cross the stage one after the other! I was very nervous before the ceremony, which is odd considering I’d done it all before in 2011 in the same place, but in the end I really enjoyed the day and I’m so proud of my achievement.
Between them my family took hundreds of photographs, but after a hectic day I’m yet to sort through all of them, so for now I can only share a few. Hopefully I’ll have some better ones to add some time next week which actually show my outfit properly!
On the day I wore a beautiful textured floral dress from Dorothy Perkins, which I bought especially for the ceremony. We were told to wear ‘sombre colours’ but I didn’t want to look too drab, so I chose something with a nice print and teamed it with red lips and nails to match the colour of my hood.
Illamasqua Lipstick in ‘Snap’ / Ciaté Nail Varnish in ‘Dangerous Affair’
Excuse the pose on that one!
In the evening, my family, my fiancé, my fiancé’s family and I went out for a meal to celebrate the occasion. I wore the same dress as I did during my graduation, but I swapped my low New Look heels (I didn’t want to fall over on the stage!) for my new Kurt Geiger Sally Ankle Boots, my red lips for pink lips, and I also took my Zatchels Gothic Lace Saddle Bag out for a spin.
Also, I feel like MUA’s Pro-Base Makeup Fixing Mist needs a special mention here. I used the spray in the morning after applying my make up, and it did an amazing job at keeping it in place. I expected to have to reapply my make up before going out for the meal in the evening, but it still looked great, and did so right up until I removed it at 11pm! A real saviour on a long, busy day.
What did you wear to your graduation?
After seeing a few reviews of Collection’s new Gothic Glam lipsticks popping up on other blogs, last weekend I decided to nip into Superdrug and pick one up so I could give it a try myself. I’ve always loved a dark lipstick, ever since my teenage Goth days, and the Gothic Glam range features three beautiful deep shades that are just my thing, so I had high hopes from the start.
The three shades are 1 Seduction, a lovely pinky red, 2 Scorned, a dark purple, and 3 Revenge, a deep berry red, which is the shade I went for, and they’re all perfect for Autumn/Winter. All three lipsticks have Collection’s signature black packaging, but rather than pink it is embellished with gold, which I think gives it a more luxe look.
The lipstick itself has a very creamy texture, so it glides on easily and evenly. It’s also quite moisturising, however, I would still recommend using a lip balm underneath, or exfoliating your lips before use, as after a while it tends to show up darker on any dry patches/creases. Not ideal in winter I must say!
‘Revenge’ is a stunning, vampy, almost maroon red, and is very highly pigmented, or as Collection says, ‘deeply intense’. The colour lasts well on the lips and it stays bold for several hours after application, but it does eventually start to wear off, and needs touching up every now and then. But I tend to expect that of dark shades anyway. I have noticed that it acts almost like a lip tint though, as even after I’ve removed it my lips look slightly stained with a hint of berry red.
Collection’s Gothic Glam lipsticks retail for £2.99 each, which is just so affordable, and for a budget product ‘Revenge’ is really quite impressive. The colour and staying power could even rival some of my more expensive lipsticks! It reminds me a little bit of Dainty Doll’s 001 Couture, which is another of my favourites. So, if you love dark shades and are willing to moisturise/exfoliate before applying lipstick, then Collection Gothic Glam Lipsticks could be for you. You can find them in Superdrug and Boots!
What are your thoughts on this range?
This review has been sitting in my drafts for ages now, so I thought it was about time I shared it with you all!
Whenever I’m tired (which is most of the time) I tend to get dark circles under my eyes. Not bags, just circles, and I’ve always had trouble finding an affordable concealer that will cover them. In the past I’ve mainly used concealer sticks, but they’re more suited to covering blemishes and they never do a very good job, so a few months ago I decided to pick up a liquid concealer to try. Whilst browsing Superdrug for the perfect shade I tried many concealers from different brands, most of which were too orange or too dark for my pale skin tone, but whilst checking the cheapest stand in the shop, 2True, I was surprised to find the ideal match – their 3 in 1 Concealer in Shade 1, for just £1.99.
The concealer comes packaged in a very basic looking tube, complete with a soft, angled wand for easy application. The packaging is nothing to shout about, and in all honesty it is fairly impractical as it gets very messy, very quickly (as you can see below), and it’s impossible to get the last dregs of product out of the tube. But for £1.99 I’m not complaining too much!
The concealer has a light, creamy consistency and can be blended easily with a fingertip into all nooks and crannies. It also dries fairly quickly so it’s perfect for the morning rush, and it doesn’t go powdery or tight on the skin. In fact, I actually find it quite moisturising, without being greasy, and it leaves your skin looking smooth with an even tone.
The concealer goes on very pale, but once blended it is a brilliant match for light skin tones, with its lightness giving the skin a little boost of radiance. For a bargain concealer the coverage is actually quite impressive, and it covers up my dark circles well, and stays put for a good while. By the evening the dark circles start to show through again however, so it does need touching up/reapplying if you’re heading out anywhere.
Other than the impractical packaging, this concealer is a little gem and at £1.99 you really can’t go wrong. I’m already onto my second tube and it makes a nice little addition to my make up bag, and I use it on a daily basis for work to hide the signs of tired eyes. It gets a big thumbs up from me!
Earlier this week I nipped into Superdrug whilst shopping with my mum, and whilst browsing the make up stands I spotted this gorgeous nail varnish by GOSH. Most GOSH varnishes usually retail for £3.99 each, but the range of ‘Frosted Sand’ glitters, which are very similar to OPI’s Liquid Sand collection, are currently discounted to £1.99. I was instantly drawn to this shade, ‘Frosted Purple‘, as the colour looked incredible in the bottle, so I snapped it up and couldn’t wait to get it home to try it out.
‘Frosted Purple’ is a simply beautiful colour, and is neutral enough to wear with just about anything. It’s a dark silver tone with a lilac tinge, and consists of two sizes of glitter – a very fine micro glitter, with larger flecks throughout. The varnish dries matte, which is quite unusual for a glitter varnish in my experience, and is textured like ‘frosted sand’. It feels slightly rough to the touch, but I’ve used far rougher glitters in the past.
Now, I know this is a bold statement to make, but I think this varnish is the best glitter varnish that I have ever owned/tried. It even beats my trusty favourite brands, Barry M and Models Own. Most glitters need layers and layers for full coverage, but not this one. My swatches show the coverage after just one coat. That’s right, ONE COAT! And it really doesn’t need any more than that, as it’s completely opaque. The formula is lovely too – very smooth and not at all gloopy, so you can actually brush it on (the brush is nice and wide, yay) rather than dab it on, as is usually required with glitters. It also dries very quickly for a glitter.
In terms of hardiness, I’ve been wearing ‘Frosted Purple’ for three days now, and the tips of my nails are just starting to show signs of wear. There are no chips or anything though. I can tell it’s going to be a pain to remove as it has the same texture as Models Own ‘Northern Lights’ and ‘Southern Lights’ which are really tough to get off, but it’s a small price to pay for such a high quality glitter.
EDIT: I was wrong! The varnish was actually really easy to remove with a normal nail varnish remover, and it barely took any soaking or rubbing to get it to budge. I’m very, very impressed.
I spotted four shades in the ‘Frosted Sand’ range, all of which are Toluene-free and Formaldehyde-free. ‘Frosted Silver’, ‘Frosted Gold’, ‘Frosted Purple’, and ‘Frosted Plum’, which I think is a new addition, and is next on my nail varnish shopping list! Will you be trying any? If so, get on down to Superdrug quick to take advantage of the £1.99 offer!
Today I thought I’d share with you what I wore on New Year’s Day. My outfit of choice consisted of a gorgeous new pair of jeans that I purchased from ASOS in their winter sale, which I paired with a simple black zip back jumper from Primark.
I seem to have collected quite a few black tops over the past few months, so I decided to invest in some colourful pieces to wear with them, and these Batik Skinny Jeans by Danish brand Only do not disappoint. Purple is my favourite colour, and I’ve always been a fan of batik/tie dye style prints, so as soon as I saw these I knew I had to have them. They’re an excellent fit as well. The sizing is accurate, and they have a range of leg lengths to choose from, so they are plenty long enough for my 36″ inside leg! These jeans cost me £12.50, down from £60.00, and they’ve now been reduced even further to £11.00, so I have ordered another pair as I love them so much.
To finish the outfit, I went for more black. A few weeks ago I received a couple of fashion items from BLOGGERS to review, so I decided to give them a whirl with this outfit. Despite only expecting one item from them, BLOGGERS actually sent me two (thanks!) – a gorgeous pair of black ankle boots, and a surprise black and gold clutch bag, both from H&M.
Those who read my blog regularly will know that I have a thing for black, and a thing for boots, so these Black Ankle Boots are right up my street. They’re made of imitation suede which looks and feels almost real, and they have a sturdy but flexible rubber sole so they’re easy and comfortable to walk in. One thing I always look for in simple black footwear is a little bit of a twist to make them a bit more interesting, and these pass that test. The boots have a curved panel on the front, and a lip at the top that sits higher than the back, giving them a slightly more unusual shape. At £24.99 these are a real bargain!
This Black and Gold Clutch Bag is a little beauty, and even comes with a chain strap hidden inside, so you can wear it over your shoulder if you so wish. The bag has a sturdy gold metallic shell, which is underlaid with soft black suedette, and it fastens with a large clip on top. Despite only costing £14.99, the bag oozes quality, and adds a touch of glamour to any outfit. It’s not the biggest bag in the world, but it’s roomy enough for your phone, keys, money, lipstick and chewing gum, which is just about everything you need on a night out.
What do you think of this outfit?
*These Black Ankle Boots and Black & Gold Clutch Bag were sent to me by BLOGGERS, on behalf of H&M, for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
One of the first places I look when searching for a beauty bargain is Fragrance Direct, especially when it comes to nail varnish. In the past I have purchased Essie products from them for £1.99, and even OPI for £3.99, and last month they added another well-known brand to their site – Orly. Orly nail varnishes usually retail for £10.95 each, but Fragrance Direct are selling full-size bottles for just £3.99.
Fragrance Direct very kindly sent me four Orly shades to review, and after trying all of them out I can now share my thoughts, so here they are…
Despite their different finishes, all four varnishes have a very similar formula. The consistency is smooth and, even though the brush is narrow, it applies easily, but the first coat always comes out slightly streaky. No matter how careful I was when swatching these, I couldn’t get the first coat to look right, and it was nowhere near opaque. Luckily, a slightly thicker second coat solved that issue, and the overall look was good. They also dry fairly quickly which is always a positive. They’re not quite 60 second varnishes, but they’re not far off.
When choosing the shades I wanted I struggled slightly as there are so many gorgeous colours in the range, but I’m really happy with the ones I settled for, and here they are…
As it’s my favourite colour, my nail varnish collection is overflowing with purples, but Velvet Rope is unlike any other I own. It’s a lovely violet purple with a shimmer finish, which is studded with particles of silver micro glitter. The overall effect isn’t quite ‘velvet’, but it’s really pretty, and despite the glitter is still easy to remove.
I’m not always keen on red varnishes as a lot of them have an orange undertone which I really don’t like, but I love Moonlit Madness as it’s a bright cherry red, which I wore a lot over Christmas. It also gives the classic red nail a bit of a twist with a subtle shimmer finish.
Charged Up is my favourite of all four shades as it’s so beautifully vibrant and eye-catching, and in the right light hints of both pink and blue come through, as seen above. It also has a lovely creme finish. This is a great shade for Spring and I know I’ll be getting a lot of wear out of this one in the coming months.
I currently have three black nail varnishes – one from Primark, one by Barry M and this one, and this is by far the best. As the name suggests, Orly’s black is gorgeously fluid and looks stunning on. It has an incredible shine to it as well, and its high quality is just so obvious.
If you want to grab yourself some bargain Orly shades, just visit Fragrance Direct. Their standard delivery is only £1.99 too!
*These Orly Nail Lacquers were sent to me by Fragrance Direct for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
With only a few hours left of 2013, I thought I’d put together a reflective post of my ‘Best Ofs’ from the last twelve months, both blog-related and things that I’ve generally enjoyed this year. 2013 has been fairly eventful for me, what with getting starting to keep rats again after a five-year hiatus, finishing university, working more regular hours, and moving my blog to its own domain, thus growing its success. Luckily I’ve also had a lot of time for leisure, and managed to fit in some exciting trips and weekends away. So without further ado, here is my Best Of 2013.
TV Show: Breaking Bad
Now, I’m only three seasons in to Breaking Bad, so I haven’t yet seen the final one which aired this year, but Breaking Bad is easily my favourite TV show of 2013. I’m not usually one for following series (I’m more of a documentaries kinda girl), but I started watching Breaking Bad a month or two ago, and nothing on television has ever got me as hooked as this has. I genuinely have no idea what I’ll do without it.
Film: Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
Out of all the films I’ve seen at the cinema this year, ‘Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa’ stands out as the best. There’s nothing like a good British film, and it had me laughing all the way through. Admittedly, Alan Partridge as a character is an acquired taste, but I’ve always been a fan and I think the film did him justice (others I know would disagree, however).
Theatre: War Horse & Sweeney Todd
I was lucky enough to go to the theatre several times this year and I found it hard to pick a winner, so there are two. After years of wanting to see it, I saw the stage version of ‘War Horse’ at the Birmingham Hippodrome, and it was more beautiful than I had imagined. The puppetry was incredible and I shed many a tear. I would love to see it again, perhaps in London next time.
Source: Birmingham Hippodrome
I also went to see the Curve Community Production of ‘Sweeney Todd’ in August, at the Curve in Leicester. I’m not usually a fan of musicals, but I love the story of Sweeney Todd, and the quality of both the acting and the set were so high that I was instantly transfixed. My fiancé’s sister was in it too!
Book: Stonemouth by Iain Banks
‘Stonemouth’ by Iain Banks was actually published in 2012, but I didn’t get round to reading it until this year. I’ve been fond of Iain Banks’ writing ever since reading ‘The Wasp Factory’ when I was a teenager, and ‘Stonemouth’ is a classic Banks story. The characters are well developed and I couldn’t put the book down, which is always a good sign! I won’t say too much about it as to avoid spoilers, but I’d definitely recommend it to those who like fiction set in the real world. Unfortunately, Iain Banks passed away earlier this year after a short battle with cancer (RIP), and I for one am really sad that he is no longer here to write any more brilliant books, but at least he can live on in his existing literary legacy.
Gig: Sleepwalk City by 65daysofstatic, Sheffield
I tend to go to quite a few gigs every year, and 2013 was no different, but the best gig of the year wasn’t a straightforward one. It was actually a live sound and visual installation called ‘Sleepwalk City’, in an art gallery in Sheffield, performed by my favourite instrumental post-rock band 65daysofstatic. In short, the idea was to become immersed in sound, and the 30 minute performance for a select number of people was one of the most interesting and overwhelming musical experiences that I’ve ever had.
Celebrity: Aaron Paul
Aaron Paul, aka Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad, is my absolute favourite celebrity of 2013, for many, many reasons. As BuzzFeed quite rightly said, Aaron Paul Was The King of 2013, Bitch, so visit the article to find out why!
Eatery: Spanky Van Dyke’s & Cornucopia
Spanky Van Dyke’s is a bar on Nottingham which sells some of the best burgers I have ever tasted. Their homemade fries and desserts are amazing too! I’ve been there countless times this year (usually before heading to a gig), and I always enjoy it. My menu recommendation is the Shroomaloomi burger, which is stuffed full of flat mushrooms and grilled halloumi, mmmm.
Another of my best eateries of 2013 has to be Cornucopia in Dublin. I can honestly say it is hands down the best vegetarian/vegan restaurant I have ever been to. It’s a little on the pricey side, but the atmosphere is relaxed, the food is all homemade and they experiment (and succeed) with unusual ingredients, so it’s well worth the money.
In September my fiancé and I went to Dublin in Ireland for a short holiday, and we had an absolutely lovely time. The city itself has so much to offer – so much to see and do, and I’d love to go back to see and do what we missed the first time! Whilst there we did the touristy thing and went to Dublin Zoo, Trinity College, the Guinness Storehouse and Croke Park, but we also spent a lot of time relaxing in the local parks (and pubs!)
Achievement: Becoming a Master of the Arts
After two years of studying hard and writing essays, and a summer spent writing my 20,000 word dissertation, I finally finished my Masters degree in Modern Literature in September. I passed, with Merit, and I am so, so happy and proud. Bring on graduation in January 2014!
Blog Post: Interview Review: Superdrug Colour Rewind Hair Colour Remover
After looking at my blog stats for this year, my most popular blog post, with the most views, is the Interview Review I did with my sister about Superdrug’s Colour Rewind Hair Colour Remover.
Giveaway: JollyChic $100 Fashion Giveaway
I’ve ran a few giveaways in partnership with several companies throughout the year, but the one with the most entries has been the JollyChic Giveaway to win $100 to spend on fashion. The giveaway is actually still open, and is running until January 12th, so if you want to enter click here!
PR Product: Helvin DUO Boots
I received a lot of gorgeous PR products and samples this year, and I found it difficult to choose a favourite, but in the end these Helvin DUO Boots triumphed. They’re top quality and look fantastic on – you can read my full review here.
Fashion Item: Primark Winter Coat
The best fashion item I have purchased in 2013 has to be my winter coat from Primark. As my review says… ‘Every year I end up trailing around shops for hours, trying on coats that just don’t look or feel right, before eventually settling for something that I don’t particularly like. This year, however, was different. I walked into Primark, picked up the first coat that caught my eye, tried it on and, much to my surprise, I loved it! And, to make things even better, it only cost £25 – a third of what last year’s coat cost me.’
Beauty Product: INIKA Certified Organic Liquid Foundation
I struggle to find foundations to suit my skin tone, let alone ones that are natural, vegan and cruelty free, so when I discovered INIKA’s Certified Organic Liquid Foundation I was very happy, as it fulfils all of the above criteria! You can see my swatches and read my review here.
Skin Care Product: Eucerin Dry Skin Intensive Hand Cream
My favourite skin care product of the year is one I haven’t got round to reviewing yet – Eucerin Dry Skin Intensive Hand Cream. Every winter my hands get so dry that they actually crack and bleed, but this year I found the cure. At £9 for a 75ml tube it’s not the cheapest, but it actually works and that’s what matters! I’ll be reviewing it next month so keep an eye out if you’re interested in hearing more.
What are your 2013 ‘Best Ofs’? I hope you all have a happy new year!
I hope you all had a great Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year. My Christmas was spent at home with family, as is traditional, and was filled with lots of food and games!
I was very lucky this year and received a lot of lovely gifts, some that I’d asked for and some that were a complete surprise. I love being nosy and seeing what other people got for Christmas, so I thought I’d do a similar post and share my haul with you too!
Dove Gift Set / Snow Fairy Shower Gel / OPI Nail Lacquer x 2 / The Body Shop Body Butter / 17 Nail Polish / Ghost Captivating Perfume / Scholl i-Pop Massager
Snood / Butterfly Hair Clip / Socks / Kitty Slippers / Owl Mittens
Monsters University Shower Set / Monsters University Glow in the Dark PJs
Agate Necklace / Amethyst Silver Ring / Copper Spiral Amethyst Pendant
Black Stud Bag
Ratty Compact Mirror
Kurt Geiger Sally Ankle Boots / Kurt Geiger Brace Wedges
Sugar Skull Money Box / Owl and Star Photo Frame / Salads Recipe Book / Dinosaur Cushion / Rocket Tea Infuser
The Dark Knight Manual / Batman Arkham Asylum Anniversary Edition Graphic Novel
Breaking Bad DVD Box Set / Skullcandy 50/50 Earphones
Rats 2014 Calendar / 2014 Button Diary
Lots of chocolate!
What did you get for Christmas this year?