Tuesday 31 December 2013

New Year's - A Happy One to All, How About Some Resolutions?

As a rule I don't believe in New Year's resolutions, to me they're just a way to put things off. If you want to change start it straight away. However sometimes things can't happen immediately so having a point to focus on in the future is a good way to set a goal.

Now instead of posting a review of one of the many items I received this Christmas instead I wanted to look back at the year and look forward to the next. This year has been a strange one, sadly I lost my Grandfather a couple of weeks back, I spent a lot of time with him growing, up, we were close, his funeral was yesterday and although he was very old it is a loss in my life that I'm still getting used to.

One strange thing about this year is how secluded I've been, it seems so long ago now but the reason I started this blog was to give myself something to focus on. I'd been ill for a while and off work from November 2012 until October 2013, most of this time was indoors and after the surgery I was mainly bed-bound. It has almost been a year that hasn't existed. Apart from my blog I also took up entering competitions, a bit of a weird hobby, it was more that I decided to not ignore those amazing competitions in my favourite magazines or websites under the belief that nobody wins anything, I've been rather lucky in that respect. This of course doesn't make up for a year of doing practically nothing. I can however say that I watched all series of Buffy and Angel back to back, two and a half times. I also played hours of Animal Crossing: New Leaf thanks to my post-surgery 3ds XL treat.

Now I'm back to work, not quite running at full speed but I'm managing a full week, I just rest a lot in the evenings and weekends but I'm still positive it will improve. This is why this year I decided on having resolutions, I knew 3 months back there were certain things I wouldn't be able to do for a while so I promised myself some time to recover and to aim for the new year.

So what is on my list?

  • Return to a normal exercise routine and add boxing to the mix. I want to be able to do at least 30 minutes a day of intense exercise but that will be something to build up to rather than leap start. In time I want this to lead to some weight loss. 
  • Save money. This is a big one, I managed to get myself out of debt last year but I didn't have any income. My first full pay was today so I've already started this resolution by putting a chunk aside for saving towards a home, eventually. I also have a bit aside for shopping - everything is easier to do when you can allow yourself a treat and a bit aside for The Beast - I'll mention him further down.
  • Work through my toiletries. I did start my six month challenge, well about 8 months ago. After the surgery I was bed-bound and cleaned by someone else for so long I didn't use any of my normal stuff as I had to stock up on the non-perfumed variety but I've been keeping an eye on this and saving my empties. I cling onto things for the wrong reason, time to start using things up and doing an update post. This doesn't mean I'll stop buying make-up or even toiletries, just that I'll buy them to use rather than to admire for a while, starting with the Richard Ward keratin sleek shampoo and conditioner - my hair desperately needs a new product, it needs fixing. 
  • To budget my groceries, I never stick to a shopping list and I never will, James tends to spend less but he effectively wastes money by missing out on offers, I however stock up too much. Next year I will be aiming for meal plans, plus I need to eat more lentils. I love lentils but I can't even say I have one meal a week with them in. I would honestly prefer to spend more money on anything else but food but I still overload my trolley in Waitrose (like I did tonight.)
  • Be more organised in my own home. I know as a hoarder living with my partner at my parents I will never be as neat as James would like but I would like to be more organised. James thinks I like to live in piles, not quite true, I do like to look at my lovely bits but I would prefer having a place to put them. First thing I need to do is replaced my wardrobe that gave up being a wardrobe when the rail came crashing down. 
All in all I have a full on life haul, just done at a snails pace. I also hope that I will be able to take less medication and be able to drink alcohol again. Sometimes it's frustrating to do things slowly but I always think those that take it one step at a time are usually the most successful in the long run. 

Before I go to make myself up for a new year at home with a delicious take-away (If you were interested James and I will be sharing a portion of sweet and sour bean curd with boiled rice and a portion of vegetable chow mein) I should introduce The Beast. He popped up on my Christmas day goodies post but I haven't really spoke about him, well not on here, all my friends will say I talk too much about him.

The Beast is a little black cat that has lived on our road for as long as I've been back so over two years, he is always out, he follows everyone including he postman but nobody is aware of where he has come from. We haven't been able to track down an owner, we're sure they would be on this road as he has always been here, well at least for over two years. He has been visiting us for a while but on the 13th December, actually the day my grandad died so we were all distracted and he just kind of moved in and apart from bathroom trips and the occasional meander he keeps coming back to us.

He likes to rest his head and paws on my hand or arm, sometimes his whole body if he is worried I'll leave
I don't quite feel like he is truly ours yet but I hope we will get to keep him. Even though he insists on sleeping on my chest at night - usually with his face about two inches away from mine, unfortunately he had a sneezing fit two nights ago so I ended up with a face full of cat saliva, I still think he is beyond cute, even after this act. Last night I woke up to find him stroking my arm, not padding but actually stroking it. So I will leave you with a small selection of photos of the little black cat that found a new home this Christmas. 

Happy New Year! 

Sunday 29 December 2013

Illamasqua Lipstick in Howl

Photo on lips taken in natural light
Illamasqua Lipstick in Howl £16.50

I'd been eyeing this lipstick up for a while and a couple of weeks back they were offering this for free with the purchase of any of the Christmas gift range which included a nail varnish I was also desperate for. The offer was too good to miss.

What I loved about the look of this lipstick was rather than it being a dark, night time shade this would work perfectly in the daytime. It's still a striking terracotta red just a more subdued shade.

I always prefer darker shades to be matte and this is really matte so it works best with a layer of balm underneath. I wore this to go out shopping on Christmas eve, after a couple of hours of shopping, a few quick drinks, four hours of wrapping, a ton of stress and it was still in place, truly a Christmas miracle! 

Saturday 28 December 2013

Ciaté Nail Polish - Serendipity

Ciaté nail polish in Serendipity

Now when it came to choosing this years advent calendar I waited to the last minute, ordering the day before. I ended up going for the Ciaté Mini Mani Month advent calendar, I'm so pleased I did. I had 23 days of wonderful miniatures followed by a gorgeous full sized one on Christmas Eve, Serendipity, this is an exclusive only available in the advent calendar, I'm going to review this today as although it is limited I'm sure it will pop up on Ebay and currently Ciaté still have the advent calendar available, at half price, see here, it was totally worth it at full price so at half price you really are getting a bargain.

I've decided to give up saying I'm not a pink person, I've found plenty of pink shades I love this year and this glittery pink nail varnish is one of them. Rather than being a girly, light pink, Serendipity is a warm, metallic pink-copper. A suitably dressy shade without being trashy. One coat is rather thin but you can really build this up with just one more coat. I didn't need to use a base colour as this on its own is strong enough, it also looks just as nice with one coat over another colour. It dries rather quickly, unfortunately without a top coat it chips easily. I sometimes prefer this when it comes to glitter nail varnish as they're a pain to remove, when it came to removing the varnish I didn't struggle too much, of course as it is glitter it needed more of a scrub. A perfect nail varnish in the calendar for the final day.

I'm looking forward to the next advent calendar from them, I'm pretty sure my next nail update will involve a couple of shades from the advent calendar! 

Friday 27 December 2013

A Very Merry Christmas - Just What Did I Get?

Presents under the tree - The Beast wasn't one of these although it feels like he is he's such a lovely, old boy.

Now I like to spoil my family and friends but of course I also like to be spoiled, I would much prefer to have 52 presents under the tree than a present for each week of the year. We do go overboard, I start shopping as early as I can looking for bargains, good deals. I spoil my young cousins rotten, not necessarily because I'm spending lots of money but I spend time thinking, searching, planning and shopping. I like to make sure I'm getting everyone what they would love rather than a gift for the sake of it. 

The photo above shows what was under the tree, The Beast (pussy cat) gatecrashed the photo, he has a longer story to him which I won't go into now.

The Beast with one of his presents

James and I have out own tradition, we tend to save presents for when we have a free moment and as we spent Christmas running around we instead left all the other presents until Boxing day.

Now I won't be adding much more text to this post, photos are a much better idea but there are quite a few so seek them after the cut!

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas (Eve)/aaaarrrrgghhhh!

Boxes of presents on the floor to the left, on the floor to the right and in the middle of the bed + The Beast. So many presents, so little time! 

Well I was hoping today would be more relaxing but as usual I am experiencing a busy Christmas Eve, I just had to take a break for a second!

I went out to the shops this morning, a mixture of festive friendly people and miserable folk. Plus the usual people that don't understand that if someone says excuse me they need to get passed. This leads to much stress, add to that my dad asking me to wrap mums presents for him, the ones I had to buy for him, I have around 80 presents I need to wrap myself while he has nothing to do at all and I'm not in the mood. I would kill for some Glühwein right now!

Even more annoyingly I caught my dad telling my partner that he was going to purposefully get in the way when I was making a trifle/baking a chocolate cake for Christmas yesterday! Hopefully by tomorrow morning there will be tears of joy rather than tears of frustration.

I had planned to do my nails today, I will at some point but not in time to post, this is why I'm posting a Merry Christmas Eve/aaaarrrrgghhhh post instead. I actually planned on Saturday to do two different Christmas nail styles, how foolish to believe I would have the time but hopefully I'll get a pretty silver frosty style done later.

While I'm at it does anyone else feel that receiving emails about the sales before Christmas is very un-festive? I think I wouldn't mind as much if I already had money to spend.

Anyway, if I'm not back Merry Christmas, I hope those of you that are celebrating are a lot more organised than I am! 

Monday 23 December 2013

Too Faced - Glitter Glaze in Silver Spark

Too Faced Glitter Glaze in Silver Spark £18.00

I love entering competitions, I always enter any competitions I see for things I would like, I used to ignore any mention of competitions under the belief that it would never be me but after being off work long term due to illness I start to pay more attention to them. So I now know this time of the year is bliss for competitions as loads of places offer Advent style competitions, i.e. a prize a day. Now I haven't won much, only the one thing, but it was one thing I was very excited to try and all thanks to BeautyBay I got the chance to do so.

For years I've been all about gold, silver was on the back seat, silver had been my staple in the 90's, whether it was jewellery or make-up but in recent years I've stocked up on gold, make-up, jewellery and clothing. Although after reading the Silver Edition post on Makeup by Candlelight I had the urge to go back to silver.

Now with this product in particular I think whether you love it will depend on what you want from it. It is a glaze so the colour is a nice transparent, shimmering silver. Although if you want it slightly more intense you can build on the colour, I usually find liquid type eyeshadow can spread when you try to add more layers but this product doesn't, instead it dries but doesn't crumble. My first coat was a light sheen but I was able to add another for a slightly more intense look. With a touch of mascara I had a nice, light sparkly daytime to night look, I'd forgotten how well silver works with blue eyes.

My eyes don't usually look that blue, they've become dull with age, the weather is so miserable it was hard to get decent natural light! 
I've found this product lasts, it doesn't fade even with it drying and because it does dry it doesn't lead to accidental smudging. I'm very impressed with this, in fact I might have to pick up the gold too! 

Saturday 21 December 2013

Christmas Wrapping - Festive Nightwear

Christmas Wrapping - Nightwear

Boohoo Ella Cat Christmas Jumper, £10.00 // Topshop Christmas Cat Sweater, £29.00 // Dorothy Perkins Grey Zebra Legging Pyjama Set, £24.00 // Dorothy Perkins Cream and Grey Raccoon Pyjama Set, £20.00 // TOPSHOP Fairy Lights Lounge Trousers, £25.00 - sold out now // Boohoo polka dot pj, £24.00 // Joules pink socks, £7.95 - sold out // Boohoo Annie Wrapped Up Pyjama Set, £12.00 - sold out //Therapy Reindeer novelty sleep tee £20.00 //Totes Reindeer sherpa socks, £15.00 // Therapy Curly fur booties £20.00

Now I'm sure I'm not the only adult that likes to have special Christmas nightwear. I tend to pick up a new piece each year which really I shouldn't need to, I can't help myself. I do try and have a nice mix of winter style rather than full on Christmas but some items are too hard to resist. I've been wearing my Topshop fairy lights pants for weeks now (well, with the odd wash!).

The above are my choices for this year, I always think even if you don't have them for Christmas you can always pick them up in the sale for next year. 

Unbelievably I only made this list on Polyvore a couple of days ago and many items are already sold out, everybody loves a bit of festive nightwear! 

Friday 20 December 2013

Festive Nails - Snowy Night

Now I have thought about festive nails previously but I haven't found the time to do them until now, even then I've been doing such an easy look over the last few days.

Close Up
This is a simple, plain but effective look. Great even if you're still at work as they aren't over the top festive. Taking queue from last nights brief snow blizzard that has left us with barely any snow (booo, I want heavy snow!) I updated my already dark blue nails with a snowy top coat.

The dark blue I used is from the MAC Archie's Girls collection -Veronica Nail Lacquer in Double Trouble (see previous post about this) I then topped with my fairly new Illamasqua nail varnish in Blizzard, two coats of each.

Not much more to say as this really is a simple, stylish effect. Hopefully I'll fit in a couple more styles before Christmas day.

Thursday 19 December 2013

What's in My Glossybox? - December 2013

I don't think this is usually the case but both the beauty boxes I subscribe to arrived within a day of each other! I have been slightly disappointed with the last couple of months boxes but the December box has convinced me to stick with it for a while longer.

So what's inside?

Tuesday 17 December 2013

What's in my Birchbox? - December 2013

Even though I now subscribe monthly to Birchbox receiving the December edition felt like an extra special gift. I've only had a few months worth but so far I'm very impressed.

So what did I get?

Saturday 14 December 2013

Great Sadness

I've had a busy week which has led to me not posting much which I was planning to catch up on at the weekend. Sadly my beloved Grandfather passed away suddenly yesterday, he will be greatly missed. Although he was rather old he was also lively, active and mentally still very sharp. He had been having a few mobility problems recently but we couldn't have predicted this. Part of me thinks posting will take my mind from it but I honestly can't think of anything else at the moment.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Clothes Show Live: Models Own Goody Bag

A complete overview

For years I've wanted to go to the Clothes Show Live, I used to watch it when it was on TV with my mum when I was little but in all those years in-between I have never once managed to get to the actual exhibition. Last year I  thought 2013 would be the year, In 2012 I was recovering from having an embolisation, lost a load of weight, was due to get out of debt so 2013 was going to be the prime year. I actually ended up ill again, off work for months and in hospital for surgery so needless to say this didn't happen.

So why have I got this goody bag you might ask?

From top to bottom: A selection of accessories; thee eye liner pencils, 1 brow, 1 black & 1 black AND sparkly; a gorgeous lipstick in coral

I asked a friend! My friend diligently goes each year with her sister. I knew she always hit the Models Own stall. This is one in many she visits but it was the one I primarily wanted. Like the Clothes Show Live, Models Own has been one of those meaning to things in my life. I had meant to try their nail varnish for years, I finally did this year, then I had the lip-stix, well I quickly fell in love so even though I wasn't going to the event I was determined to have a goody bag. My friend did amazingly well, not only did she pick it up for me but she also chose some absolutely amazing colours with the nail varnishes - I think I'll be slapping on Pinky Brown for wearing to work, well it is the time of the year you can sparkle in the work place.

From left to right: Powder Eyeshadow in Gold & Gold Sparkle; nail varnish in Prussian Blue (so excited about this one!), Pinky Brown & Jade Stone; finally a Clothes Show Live special colour in Show Stopper 2

Right now I feel like it's Christmas already but hopefully next year I'll be picking it up myself! 

Saturday 7 December 2013

Festive Viewing - Light-Hearted Fun to Hideous Horror

Today feels like a good day to post this, my partner is making me watch Babe (1995) as I've never watched it before (read the book when I was younger) even though he's been crying throughout the film, I will be in floods by the end!
Every year, like most people, I have a tradition. There are certain films and TV series I try and fit in before Christmas. I usually start in November with Groundhog Day (1993) but the month passed so quickly that I'm determined not to miss my other usual viewings so what is on my line up?

Now I have a load of films I like to watch:

The Christmas Toy (1986)
Santa Claus: the Movie (1985)
A Christmas Story (1983)
Scrooged (1988)
Black Christmas (1974)
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Christmas Evil (1980)

I think you can see that most of the Christmas films I watch are my era, I grew up watching Santa Claus: 

The Movie, I used to start watching around October time! The Christmas Toy was another one I watched repeatedly as a youngster the story of what happens when toys are left alone and the tremendous stress they suffer each year when a new toy comes in to take their place as the kids favourite toy. Scrooged was a film I used to sneakily watch at night, I had my own TV when I was about 8/9, I was always a night owl so would stay up late watching things I shouldn't.

My favourite viewing has to be a Bob Clark Double bill, A Christmas Story followed by Black Christmas. Two totally different films but with a common theme, Christmas and a common director, Bob Clark. That is where the similarities end, A Christmas Story is a very funny tale of one young lads Christmas wish, the run up to Christmas and general family life whereas Black Christmas is a full on Christmas slasher.

Speaking of slashers if you do love a good horror at Christmas you can't beat Silent Night, Deadly Night or Christmas Evil, nuff said.

On top of that my TV viewing changes too, I love that Gold show all the classic Christmas specials but I also love a good ghost story at Christmas.

Last year I was very excited when BFI released the gorgeous Ghost Stories for Christmas box set, the majority are M.R. James tales, I've had a copy of The Signal-man (1976) for years, I watch it every year before Christmas and I had watched both A Warning to the Curious (1972) and Whistle and I'll Come to You (1968) but didn't own them but I hadn't got them all. Now in this box set I have those three plus The Stalls of Barchester (1971), Lost Hearts (1973), The Treasure of Abbot Thomas (1974), The Ash Tree (1975), Stigma (1977), The Ice House (1978), A View from a Hill (2005), Number 13 (2006), Whistle and I’ll Come to You (2010). I really don't think there are as many films or TV shows as creepy or atmospheric as this series was which is one reason I'll be pulling this out for many a Christmas to come. See trailer for the box set below!

There have been plenty of exciting releases from BFI this year, especially in the lines of creepy, supernatural horror series. Supernatural, a British Gothic horror series with ghosts, werewolves and vampires. Neither myself or James were around the first time it was broadcast so a complete blind buy but I can guarantee it will be my thing.

Now Classic Ghost Stories of M.R. James. We were looking forward to The Mezzotint as both James and I love the story, so we popped it on the other night, it scared the crap out of us, James had to search the house at one point! These are only short so we're trying to pace ourselves. Nothing beats a Gothic horror story at Christmas.

Last up Dead of Night, I am obsessed with horror anthology, the more old TV series like this released the better. I had watched the episode The Exorcism but hadn't seen any others and unfortunately only a few episodes exist, however in my eyes three episodes are better than none and these will be adding to that festive feeling.
What festive-ish film do you watch every single year?

Benefit - Hydra-Smooth Lip Colour - Nice 'n Teasy

Benefit - Hydra-Smooth Lip Colour - Nice 'n Teasy £15.00

I added this lipstick to my wishlist a couple of weeks back and about a week later I ordered it myself. I know I'm terrible but I was desperate to try it and my mum made me jealous by having one of these lipsticks already!

I've always liked Benefit lipsticks and although the packaging is usually smart it's also a bit nondescript. Now the packaging for this is magnificent, retro, rather 70's. I know I can't love a lipstick based on packaging alone but it is a good start.

The colour I opted for is nice 'n teasy, a rosy neutral, with a medium coverage. I wanted something I could wear to work, to the shops or even, as today's task was, to look after a cat. This lippy is incredibly moisturising, it applies like a lip balm. I do find this lipstick to last a little less longer than matte style lipsticks, I also think this is down to the colour as darker ones tend to stain. Not that this is a big issue, as this is the sort of lippy I'll be proud to pull out of my bag.

There are ten different shades in the collection ranging from sheer coverage to medium-full coverage so I'm pretty sure there will be something for everyone and the neat packaging makes for an amazing gift. 

Friday 6 December 2013

Life Update - Savvy Christmas Shopping + Fitness Review

Well I hope everyone is well, I've had a super busy, super tiring week and although I've got a lipstick I'd like to review, my life is taking over right now as I'm going out tonight! Unfortunately it will be an evening of diet coke rather than my usual cider/gin and tonic/red wine/snakebite and black/brandy/sparkling wine/vinho verde - NOT in one go. Of course I am hoping everybody else will drink and make a fool of themselves in the spirit of Christmas. I'm digressing from the subject, let's start with Christmas shopping.

Although I do like to shop I do consider myself a savvy shopper, I have a good idea of the price of things and usually keep an eye out for a great deal. I think us ladies have a natural talent for it, my partner however is terrible, he doesn't even buy multi buys in supermarkets on items we use a lot. However he has been super impressed with the goodies I've managed to pick up for myself, mainly for free.

Black Friday was pretty amazing for Christmas shopping albeit avoiding the bedlam of going to actual shops many online shops had great deals too. It wasn't just Black Friday that impressed me though, I received an email from The Hut Group thanking me for being a great customer as I'm sure a lot of people will have done. I know most offers I receive by email can be pretty feeble but this email was full of amazing deals. Let's go through them;

To start with I managed to bag myself some Sleep-In Rollers (RRP around £30), I had these on my Christmas wishlist but I managed to get them for free. Okay not completely free but I ordered an OPI nail set that I was already planning to get for my Aunt, £11.86 was my total spend at HQ hair. I know some freebies are pointless, but getting something I actually wanted, well I didn't believe it until they arrived.

Next up I went to Beauty Expert, the offer was a free Mavala complete nail care kit with any order, again I didn't get too excited until it arrived. So more Christmas shopping, my Mum was after an eyebrow gel, she really one with a slight tint so I think I've found the perfect present with the Lord & Berry glacee eyebrow gel Fixer. This came with another free Lord & Berry Posh fragrance and a cosmetics bag. I was just expecting a sample but this is actually 20ml! Now I bought a few other gifts my total spend was £30.50 goodies total was £58.75! Fabulous freebies! The Mavala nail care set is gorgeous, the bag looks incredibly luxurious and the goodies inside will take care of my poorly nails.

Now I have to admit to being a little bit naughty. The offer was buy any Lord & Berry product and you get the perfume and cosmetics bag free. I LOVE this perfume and I realised my Mum would love it too. It's a very adult, warm scent, Sandalwood and Bergamot. I went back to the website to buy this perfume but they don't sell it. The offer was still there for the free perfume so I decided to buy another Lord & Berry product to get the free perfume, I spent £3! I feel completely cheeky but I really wanted to keep the perfume for myself but I also wanted one for my mum, however, if they had spotted my cheekiness and just sent me the pencil sharpener I would have given my bottle as I love giving surprise, amazing presents and she will really love this.

Next up Clinique. I've finally treated myself to a chubby stick, when I looked in store I couldn't find a colour I liked for my lips but online I've found mega melon which is a gorgeous daytime lippy. I also really wanted to try the chubby stick for eyes so I've gone for lot's of latte for me and fuller fudge for mum. As I spent over £50 I got a pair of nail varnishes for free, I've never had a nail varnish from Clinique so I'm looking forward to trying them.

Okay not a freebie but I stocked up on goodies from Lazy Oaf as they were offering 50% off, I had to show off these cute socks. I won't show the rest of my goodies but I did get James an amazing t-shirt and myself a couple of baseball tops I'd been eyeing for a while!

Now to skip away from the shopping (I've done much more) my pedometer arrived this week and boy was I eager to try it! I had it on at work from Tuesday onwards, this week I wanted to try and work out my average just for now with the eventual goal of hitting 10,000 steps per day. I have to show off today's total, I'll be walking to the bar and back so I'm going to beat my eventual goal! I told you I'd been busy today.

If only I could celebrate with a glass of something that would make me feel warm and fuzzy!

As usual I'm now running late, I have 20 minutes to dry my hair, throw on some make-up and get my bag together, wish me luck! 

Wednesday 4 December 2013

nails inc - Limited Edition - Best Dressed Nails Set

nails inc - Limited Edition - Best Dressed Nails Set

I have gone a bit nail varnish mad recently, not only did I get the Ciaté mini mani month advent calendar but I also had to pick up this set from nails inc. This set is gorgeous and the packaging is lovely which would make it a perfect Christmas gift. Saying that I had to have it beforehand, the colours are rather festive and my plan was/is to wear each week on the run up to Christmas. Unfortunately my nails are in critical condition along with the skin around my hands which is why I had to use a plastic nail wheel to demonstrate the colours. 

Colours included in the set, from left to right of the wheel above are:

Old Street – rainbow glitter polish
Westminster Bridge Road – new Galaxy polish
Hampstead Court - silver hologram fibre optic
Regents Park – red glitter polish
Kings Road –  foil effect polish

These are all miniatures but I'm not sure what most people are like but I rarely use up full size pots, I'd say you'd easily get 5 wears out of each pot, depending on nail length.

I have to say my favourite(s) has to be the Old Street for a full on Christmas nail, Hampstead Court just because the fibre optic effect is fantastically, colourfully illuminous and the Kings Road a gorgeous rose gold foil effect which is perfect for any time of the year, these three will definitely be purchased in full, if possible! 

Monday 2 December 2013

KIKO - Twinkle Eye Pencil - 06 Hypnotic Starry Black

KIKO - Twinkle Eye Pencil - 06 Hypnotic Starry Black £6.90

I am finally getting around to trying some of the items mum purchased for me at a KIKO store back in October. Unfortunately that has meant she has travelled back to Portugal (and near another KIKO store) before I had a chance to prepare another list. I thought it wouldn't matter, I can wait until next year but after trying out this eye liner I will be sending her a text asking her to pick up this eye pencil in all other colours. Let me tell you why.

It is perfect. I've always been an eye liner person so I know my class from my crap. This pencil reminds me of the practically perfect Benefit BADgal liner just at a fraction of the cost. This pencil glides across the skin like butter yet when it comes to removing it you will need to use a remover. I was impressed with how easy it was to create a thin, neat line as pictures in the collage show, but as you can see below you can also use it for a full on thick line with a flick.

Saturday I wore it for 9 hours before removing it. Now this is where the only issue I have with it comes into play, you may have noticed there is a bit of sparkle, as is the nature of the pencil, and as always glitter is a bit of a pain to remove but at least it doesn't spread whilst you're wearing it. I find this black version to be more of a very dark grey, a very small difference I know, the sparkly effect is beautiful and subtle, even though it takes effort to remove.

A relatively low cost eye pencil for the quality. Time for me to stock up, hopefully my mum will be passing the KIKO store again before coming home.

Sunday 1 December 2013

My Perfect Festive Sunday

Winter sun. Roaring fire // Ice cold coffee from Caffè Nero // A little bit of Waitrose shopping // John Lewis goodies picked up from Waitrose // Bath time goodies.

It's the 1st December (It only feels like a few days since Halloween) and already I'm being as festive as possible. I know not everyone loves the Christmas period like I do and possibly wouldn't understand why I'm being so festive already but there is a practical explanation.


Although there are still 24 sleeps until Christmas day this doesn't mean there are 24 days to get things done and get in the spirit. I start early as I do enjoy Christmas but wouldn't have the time to do it all. Like most people I do have a busy life, I'm back at work full time, weekdays can be pretty much scrubbed out of the equation so really I have just six more days to enjoy the festive period and get things done before Christmas. 

I think I always start to relax and enjoy the festive period once the majority of my Christmas shopping is done. Yes, I've pretty much finished my Christmas shopping! I have basically got everything I need to for the females in my life, I still need the odd bit but I'm basically done. A lot of clever shopping with the Black Friday deals and also a few great deals which has led to freebies for myself - I'm sure I'll post them once they arrive as at the moment they seem too good to be true. I get paid at the end of the month so I've already had my last pay before Christmas. In previous years I usually start with October pay but as I've only just returned to work and I don't have many pennies to spend. Next year will be different which will become apparent with my New Year resolutions lifestyle changes.

So what did I do on my first festive Sunday? Quite a bit, it's just after 4pm and I'm just about to rest. I was up by 9:30, cleaned out the fire then lay it, it's still roaring away I also cleaned the kitchen. I then spent the morning going through what I've ordered for my friends and family and making a mental note of the gaps I need to fill. Then I entered quite a few competitions. The Christmas period is fantastic, there are always loads of competitions being run, usually in an advent style fashion (i.e. a prize a day) but it does take up a lot of time.

Next I had to nip out, unfortunately as I don't drive nipping out is usually at least a 60 minute job even when only going to a couple of shops. My main goal was to go to Waitrose to pick up some John Lewis goodies. My partner had promised me a luxury advent calendar but I had dithered over what to go for, yesterday I finally decided I wanted the Ciaté Mini Mani Month advent calendar, after a quick search of the internet I found that John Lewis were offering it at a very reasonable £37.80, I quickly ordered this along with a few other bits to collect from my local Waitrose. I was incredibly impressed that I was able to pick it up the next day, especially as today is a Sunday - it now makes me feel like even though I'm in a small town I do have John Lewis on my doorstep. I'm now a proud owner of a fancy advent calendar - I haven't opened this yet as I'm waiting for James to come home a bit silly really as I doubt he'll be impressed with the contents! Although he does secretly have his toe nails painted to be festive.

I hadn't really thought about how heavy all this nail varnish would be but I made the effort to walk home and treated myself to an icy cold frappé latte from Caffè Nero, I could drink this in sub zero conditions but I'm sure people must think I'm weird wandering home with a freezing cold drink on the 1st December. 

I'm completely knackered now so the plan is to take a relaxing (festive) bath, I have a gorgeous Christmas frankincense and myrrh candle from Waitrose, Cinnamon cakes bubble bath from Waitrose - a bargain, I also found a Lush product I haven't used which I'm presuming is a soap! Now I've been listening to 6 music all day but when I'm in the bath I plan to whack on A John Waters Christmas, I have to bring it out every year. After that I'll be in some warm pyjamas, watching a bit of Twin Peaks (again) whilst eating my tea and drinking tea in bed, I'm guessing I'll be asleep by 9. 

Only 3 more weekends to go! 

All I want for Christmas - Beauty Edition - For Men

All I want for Christmas - Beauty Edition - For Men

Comme des Garçons Blue Cedrat Eau de Parfum, 100ml, £68.00 // Biotherm Total Perfector Christmas Gift Set, £39.00 // KORRES Saffron, Amber, Cardamom Eau de Toilette 50ml, £30.00 // Biotherm Aquapower Duo Gift Set, £27.00 // L'Occitane Debenhams Exclusive: Protecting Shea Butter Collection Gift Set, £28.00 // Clinique Great skin for Him Gift Set, £30.00 // Rehab London John Lewis Exclusive: Skin Revital Shave Pack Gift Set, £24.95 // Korres Magnesium and Wheat Proteins Tonning and Hair Strengthening Shampoo 250ml, £9.00 // Prada Luna Rossa 100ml Eau de Toilette Christmas Gift Set, £62.00

Time to think about the man (or men) in your life, if any, although really they can be used by anyone. Items like this are perfect whether you have a man obsessed with grooming or one that relies on getting these items at Christmas.

Saturday 30 November 2013

Christmas Wrapping - Dresses Part Two

All I want for Christmas - Beauty Edition - Part Two

Friday 29 November 2013

Lord & Berry 20100 Lipstick in Vintage Pink

Lord & Berry 20100 Lipstick in Vintage Pink £8.00 Amazon

I always find when trying a new range of lipsticks for the first time it's best to go to the opposite ends of the spectrum when choosing two colours. I love the tulip red but having recently grown fond of natural, nude style lipsticks I found it hard to resist this vintage pink.

When ordering online it is hard to tell the true colour, living in the middle of nowhere this is the risk I need to take every now and then. The colour isn't quite as dark as it looks on the pencil but instead if you just judged it by the name, vintage pink, you would be bang on the money. This is a really light pink, think 60's style. Although this lipstick is a light colour this doesn't come down to it being just a slightly tinted, weak lippy. Whatever your natural lip shade, this lipstick will cover it up leaving you with incredibly light, pretty pink lips. Another lipstick that will work perfectly with a cat eye flick for the ultimate retro look.

The colour is fantastic but as it isn't dark it doesn't stain, with the usual blotting routine the lippy does last depending on what you plan on doing with your lips, talking, drinking, eating, it will wear away but reapplication is hardly a task and carrying around this pencil lippy is never going to be an issue. 

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Bloggers Christmas Slimming Club - What kind of an eater are you?

All this taking it slowly, being in tune with my body and eating sensibly-ish (everything within reason) is taking its toll on my brain. As I can't spend much time working out I spend a lot of time thinking, thinking about working out and thinking about losing weight. Which brings me to pose this question;

What kind of an eater are you? 

Now not everything is black and white but I think most people fall into one of two camps, although I have to acknowledge there are three camps; 
  1. I eat when I'm feeling down, it cheers me up to eat something special after or during a stressful day
  2. I just can't eat when I'm in a bad mood, I only eat food I enjoy when I'm happy
or, one of the lesser known, rarely seen, possibly mythical camps;

    3. My mood doesn't effect how I eat, I have a sensible approach however I feel

Now I know there are plenty of people that fall into the third category but I'm guessing they would never be reading a post like this, unless they want to see how the other half live? 

Personally I fit into camp 2, when I'm at work I don't really think about eating. I usually have breakfast at home and always take a sandwich in with me and fruit, sometimes a boiled egg. I usually stick with that, most of the time. By Friday I'm more relaxed, I'm more likely to have a big treat on a Friday, a hot chocolate, chocolate bar, both! Usually this wouldn't be a big deal but we usually have a take-away on Friday night too and although I don't go over on calories I still feel like I'm overdoing the junk. The majority of the food I eat should be for nutrition not fun. Thus begins the weekend slide. We don't cook, we tend to have take-away food which I don't mind as it is within reason BUT I am starting to lose focus with what I eat at breakfast and lunch - this needs to change. 

I wonder if when I get on top of this I can fall into camp 3? Food will just be food, no special precedence will be set just because I'm not in work. 

So now I have to change something, I can either moderate myself, make sure I don't keep special treats to the weekend and have a little every now and then rather than an almost guaranteed overload at the weekend, even though I still keep within calories I still want to aim for a healthier diet the other option would be to ensure that I'm never happy and make myself miserable so I never want to eat scrummy goodies, I think the first option is the most sensible.


I know I also rant a lot about this next subject but I'll say it again. I really hate how faddy, restrictive diets are posted in women's magazines as being normal, they're not. One very popular magazine was featuring crazy celeb diets this week, they were at least calling them crazy and not advising but it gives people silly ideas. These diets were so restrictive, I believe none of them suggested eating over 1200 calories a day - 1200 is the minimum a woman should eat, a short woman at that. We're all different and we need to eat enough to keep our body healthy. Any cut to aid weight loss should be relatively small, no more than 20% and only that if you have 100lbs+ to go. The faddy diets mentioned are not going to help anyone be healthy, they're basically prescribing an eating disorder. A sensible, steady approach to fat loss is the only way to go. Sometimes I think we would have a more realistic approach if these magazines didn't exist.

Now that I've posed that question and had a little bit of a rant I should really review my week, how did I do? I did okay, nothing to throw a parade about, I didn't lose an ounce but I also didn't gain. It feels like I've been at a standstill for a while but in reality it has only been a couple of weeks and I haven't been able to increase my activity. I want to go grumble, grumble but I'm just happy with being a little bit stable. Excitingly I have just ordered an Omron walking style III pedometer for £11.99 thanks to the Black Friday offers on Amazon. It will be nice to see how much I walk around at work. 

There was one positive this weekend, as usual we had pizza and even though it was lovely I stopped before I was even starting to feel full, to quote myself I said;
I'm not full but I will stop eating now, I don't need any more pizza
Amazing I know, maybe I should throw a parade? One with veggie trifle? Here's some Christmas veggie trifle!

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Exciting Illamasqua Offer!

I think I've made my love of Illamasqua well known on my blog. They're one of my favourite cosmetic brands not just because of their exciting products but also because they're ethically sound.

So you can imagine my excitement over this weeks special offer. Complimentary lipstick in Howl, a deep terracotta red, with every Christmas gift purchase. It helped sway me into purchasing Blizzard, their snow glitter nail varnish which I had been eyeing but being very good, until now. I had also been planning to pick up Howl and a few other of their red lippies in the near future so everything is once again justified.

This also makes it my second order meaning I get 10% off my third one. I think next week I'll actually pick up gifts for others.

Now usually I post photos of my purchases once they arrive but as this offer is for a limited time I thought I should share the new immediately and post photos at a later date. 

Monday 25 November 2013

Illamasqua Liquid metal in Electrum

Illamasqua Liquid metal in Electrum £17.50

Visiting the Illamasqua counter quite a few months back in Debenhams, (this shopping trip), I was immediately drawn like a magpie to the shiny liquid metal. I didn't have a use I just knew I had to have it, of course I didn't just buy a pot, I had to go with the mystery box which would include the liquid metal in Electrum and the liquid eyeliner precision ink in glister along with a few mystery items, at £35.00 a bargain. Now although I've had this for months it's only now that I decide to try it, Christmas is around the corner and I want a quick, simple fancy look.

The colour is amazing, pure electrum. A bold, gold, I get the feeling that if I had a few thousand pots I could make myself look like a bond girl. Sadly this colour on its own has been discontinued (can be picked up from Ebay) however there are other gold colours in the Illamasqua range and you can still get electrum in the liquid metal palette (£34.00) along with three other colours.

From now on I'll concentrate on the product itself. It's really glossy and easy to work with, you can apply with your finger, brush or sponge. I definitely think you need to blot/powder beforehand if you have oily skin, this product is so slick any extra moisture is a no no. I like the fact that you can use just a little bit for a light, casual effect or go full on.

In my photos I've slicked it all over my eyelid up, up to my brow and applied to my lower lash line. I blended above the crease but added it liberally on my lid for a foil effect. I could have added black liner for a more dramatic look instead I'm just wearing mascara. I see it as a quick and simple stunning look, heavy emphasis on the quick and simple.

Now not only can you wear it on your eyes but really you can put it anywhere, in the photo below I've applied it my lips as well, just lightly but I really love the colour.

I do have problems with the longevity of liquid shadows. This product isn't bad, I did find myself having to smudge it around every couple of hours but the colour was still there and it's so easy to work with. After a few hours of talking, laughing and plenty of blinking only a few touch ups and it still looks fabulous. My partner has dry skin and I sneakily applied some on him too to further test its durability, it lasted on him until he moisturised so at least 5 hours - this is without having to smudge it around, I obviously move my eyelids too much!