Friday, August 31, 2012

August Empties

Caudalie Eau Demaquillant Cleansing Water
(I know that this is clearly full in this picture, but I had to use an old photo of it thanks to my hubby throwing away the empty bottle before I could snap it! All the other pics were taken today, though.)
Probably my favourite product of the month, this micellar solution is great for those lazy evenings when you just don't have the energy to cleanse at the sink. Just pop some onto some cotton pads and wipe over the skin to remove makeup. I usually then do this again to make sure that my skin is lovely and clean if I am not doing my usual thorough routine (which would involve a hot cloth cleanser - Liz Earle or Pai).
I love that this is gentle enough to use on the eyes, and that it removes every last scrap of mascara without stinging or irritating. For my full review on this product, head over here.

 Aussie Aussome Volume Shampoo
This is my all-time favourite shampoo, so it's nothing new, but I was fairly sure it was worth sharing with you given that I go back to it again and again. I LOVE Aussie shampoos - they smell amazing and always leave my hair feeling lovely and soft. I'm not sure that this one does make a huge difference volume-wise on it's own, so don't expect miracles, but it smells divine and does leave my hair feeling somewhat thicker. I tend to alternate it with Aussie's Mega and Miracle Moist shampoos, depending on what I feel my hair is most in need of at the time. Find my review of both Aussome Volume and Mega Shampoo here

Clinique All About Eyes 
I got this little pot of eye cream free in a little goodie bag I was given a while ago when I popped in and bought a few bits from my local Clinique counter. To be honest, I've only recently felt the need to use it, as (and I have mentioned this more than once on here of late) I have suddenly started waking up with really puffy eyes, with dark circles which last throughout the days. All About Eyes is designed to help with both of these issues, so I have been applying it every morning along with my moisturiser. It does seem to help the puffiness go down a bit, but unfortunately I can't say it does anything for the dark circles.

 Eucerin Dermo-Purifier Exfoliator
I picked this up abroad after forgetting to take some of my skincare products with me, and I've been quite enjoying using it a couple of times a week. However, I don't really find exfoliators necessary when I am using a hot cloth cleanser on a regular basis, as the muslin cloth does a pretty good job of sloughing away any dead skin cells to reveal soft, smooth skin.

 Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic
And another bottle of this lovely stuff bites the dust. I am a huge fan of Liz Earle skincare, and of all the products I have tried, I adore the fresh, gentle scent and refreshing feel of this on the skin the most.
Recently though, through the summer months, I have found myself favouring a nice facial spritz such as Pai Peppermint Spray Toner or Caudalie Beauty Elixir. I just find them really refreshing, and they seem to be really beneficial for my skin. However, I am in no doubt that I will repurchase this product as I just love it so much.

 The Body Shop Mango Body Butter
I was recently rummaging in my stash of body moisturisers and came across this deliciously fragrant mango Body Butter. I've actually had this for a good couple of years, but had forgotten all about it, so the summer months seemed like the perfect time to dig it out. I love the texture and the feel of Body Shop Body Butters on the skin, and for me, they moisturise better than anything else I've tried. Plus, who doesn't like smelling like tropical fruit?

Palmolive Naturals Shower Cream in Yoghurt and Fruit

This is another product that I picked up whilst abroad. I always enjoy using Palmolive Shower Creams, and I would say that they are my go-to brand for these sorts of products. They feel really luxurious and moisturising, and - as many of this month's empties do - smell fantastic.
I'm also a huge fan of their Aromatherapy shower gels, which are great for a pick-me-up first thing in the morning. I will definitely be stocking up on a few more of both of these soon.

So, that's it for this month's empties, hope you enjoyed having a little nose.

Which products have you finished off this month, and which was your favourite?


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Memory Lane

By Thursday each week, I am usually flagging a bit and willing the weekend to arrive more quickly. It also seems to be the day which throws me the most when it comes to blogging, although I have no idea why that is!
So I thought to myself today that it would be a nice idea to share a photo with you each and every Thursday, that is linked to a happy memory of mine. Hopefully, it'll be interesting for you, and I know that reminiscing about some of my happiest times will put a smile on my face and give me the boost I need to get me through to Friday!

So, on that note, today's picture was taken on 1st January two years ago, on the beach in a place called Arraial d'Ajuda, Brazil. My husband and I had spent a week there, soaking up the sun and sipping cocktails by day and eating delicious meals and partying it up by night, and we met lots of fun people along the way. We had, on this occasion, been to a New Year's Party at an outdoor club on the beach, spending the night dancing barefoot on the sand, chatting and guzzling the free champagne, as well as watching a spectacular firework display out over the water.  I snapped this photo just as the sun was rising on New Year's Day. The party was still in full swing.  It was one of my favourite New Year's Eves to date and Arraial d'Ajuda will always be one of my happiest places. We have since been back with friends and had an equally amazing time.

What is the best way you have ever spent New Year's Eve?


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream: Review

Not being someone who suffers from particularly dry skin, I had never really thought about purchasing the cult  Elizababeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, but when I was given this travel-size tube by a friend, I was happy to try it out.
At first, I wasn't really sure what to do with the cream. Being a multi-use product, it's designed to be applied to any area of dry skin, anywhere on the body, so as my lips do get a bit dry and flakey from time to time, I decided that this would be the best area on which to test the product.
The cream is really more of a balm, and is thick and waxy in texture and dark orange in colour. 
I must also mention, as I know it's a deal-breaker for some of you, that this product is meant to be fragrance free, but personally I have noticed a slight vanilla scent. It's very mild, but it is there.  Personally, I couldn't imagine using it as a general moisturiser or hand cream as suggested, as I find it too dense and sticky, but I can see that it would be useful if you are someone who tends to develop very dry patches of skin or eczema.
I have been applying this product to my lips a couple of times a day for about a week now, and I must say, I have noticed an improvement in the skin on my lips. It feels smoother andless flakey, and they feel slightly plumper too. I wouldn't say that my lips tend to get overly chapped, but even so, I have always failed to find a lip balm or other treatment that made a great deal of a difference to them - they always feel 'thirsty' and in need of moisture. However, while I wouldn't say the Eight Hour Cream is a miracle-worker, it certainly does a better job than anything else I've tried.

I will definitely be packing this in my hand-luggage next time I go on a long-haul flight, as my skin really tends to dry out in the cabin and I think this will help. I'm also going to continue using it as a lip balm, although I don't know if I'll repurchase when it runs out as it's an expensive product to buy for this purpose only (£25 for 50ml from Boots).
Other potential uses for this product include eyebrow grooming and highlighting, but neither of those ideas really float my boat - I don't tend to use any sort of grooming product on my brows, and I much prefer the effect I get from powder and liquid highlighters.

Have you tried Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream?
 If so, what do you like to use it for?


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Skincare Haul (Giveaway Win)

 (L-R)  Natural Empathy Beautifully British Luxury Hand and Body Lotion,  Pai Camelia and Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, Suti Peppermint Water Organic Facial Toner, Spirit of Beauty Dancing Orchid Skin Balancing Moisturiser.

 (L-R) Viridian Ultimate Beauty Complex, Deborah Mitchell Heaven Bee Venom Mask

I was recently lucky enough to win a fantastic skincare giveaway held by the lovely Product Pixie (go and check out her beautiful blog by clicking on the link if you haven't already). The prize was a selection of six top British products from Nutribeauty, all full-size, and I was thrilled to bits to receive them in the post, especially since I had just run out of my beloved Liz Earle skincare products and was in the mood to try something new. I'll always go back to Liz, but being a beauty blogger, I do feel the urge to experiment from time to time, and it's just as well I do as it's the only way to find wonderful new products.

I received: 

  • Natural Empathy Beautifully British Luxury Hand and Body Lotion,
  •  Pai Camellia and Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser 
  • Suti Peppermint Water Organic Facial Toner  
  • Spirit of Beauty Dancing Orchid Skin Balancing Moisturiser
  • Viridian Ultimate Beauty Complex 
  • Deborah Mitchell Heaven Bee Venom Mask
So, as you can see, I've got pretty much everything I need to take care of my skin. 
The Pai Cleanser is quite similar to Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish in that you apply it to your skin and then 'polish' it off, using a warm, damp muslin cloth, so I instantly loved the idea of this product. I have used it a few times now and am really enjoying it, so keep your eyes peeled (yuck, I hate that expression) for a full review in the near future. 
The Suti facial toner is another product that has instantly won favour with me. It comes in a spray bottle, ready to spritz over your face after cleansing, or throughout the day as a refresher where needed. The peppermint scent is really invigorating, but I also find it really relaxing to use before bed.
The product I am the most excited  (and also a little bit scared) about using is definitely the Deborah Mitchell Heaven Bee Venom Mask, of which Camilla  Parker-Bowles (do we still call her that?) is supposedly a huge fan. Now, I'm not exactly eager to replicate Camilla's look, but this mask is, apparently, nature's answer to botox. It contains a tiny amount of bee venom, which when applied to the skin sets off a reaction that causes the skin to regenerate and repair itself, presumably under the impression that it has been stung. I can't say I'm hugely enthralled by the prospect of allowing venom anywhere near my skin, nor am I of an age at which I might require botox (and even if I was, I doubt I would be having any), but I am definitely going to be trying this product out regardless - the amount of venom it contains is very small and therefore safe, and who doesn't need a bit of help in the anti-aging department, whatever their age?

I shall be reviewing all of these products in full just as soon as I feel that I have trialled them for a sufficient amount of time, so if you are interested in trying any of them out then do pop back and have a look.

Have you tried any of these products?
What are your favourite skincare products and brands at the moment?


Monday, August 27, 2012

Week in Pictures

1. Japanese lunch   2. Vanilla Latte and Pain au Chocolat   3. Chilling in a book shop with iced coffee and magazines   4. Mini VW Vans   5. Patisserie cakes   6. Looking at vintage bits for the house   7. Duck Tagliatelle - out for an Italian meal to celebrate five years together   8. My outfit of the night (Studded-collar Zara blouse and River Island leather-look shorts)   9. Giveaway goodies!   10. Outfit of the day - lace and denim   11. More giveaway goodies (Oops!! Just realised I accidentally used the same photo twice! Fail.)   12. Treats in the post from my mum   13. Zara mini-spree   14. More cute VW vans...I was so tempted to buy these for the house but they cost a fortune!   15. Weekend nails   16. Pitta and dips for lunch

I've had such a lovely weekend!  Up until Friday, my week had been pretty uneventful, as I had been at work as usual. But when Friday arrived, the hubby and I decided a mini-roadtrip was in order and so we headed off for a couple of days in honour of our having been together for five years. Five years!! I actually cannot believe it has been so long. 
Anyway, we spent the majority of Friday doing a bit of shopping and had a bit of a splurge in Zara. I got a sleeveless version of the iconic cream chiffon shirt with the studded collar, which I was absolutely ecstatic to find, as I hadn't seen it before. It's got a dipped hem at the back and I am so in love with it! I also got a cute pair of mint shorts with tiny pink polkadots, and then just a plain, thin cardigan, because who doesn't always need more of those? The hubby also picked up a few bits, and then we went and refuelled with some hummous, Baba Ganoush and pitta, followed by vanilla lattes and Pain Au Chocolat.....nom.
That evening, we decided to head out for dinner, so I wore my new Zara shirt with a pair of black leather-look shorts, my spiked necklace and black suede peep-toe heels from Primark. We went to an Italian restaurant which does the most amazing food. We have really similar tastes, and are equally indecisive when faced with too many delicious-sounding options, so we ordered two dishes and then sneakily shared them. One was a goats cheese ravioli in a pear sauce with pine nuts, and the other was a wholegrain tagliatelle with duck. Both were amazing and we finished off every last bite - washed down with a cocktail, of course.
The next day, we had breakfast at the hotel and then went back to the shopping centre, as the hubby had to change one of the t-shirts he'd bought for a different size. While we were there, we had a browse in the book shop and then sat in the cafe drinking iced coffees and reading magazines. I had a little browse in Mac too, but shockingly managed to leave without buying anything (!), and then we had Japanese for lunch before heading down to the beach to enjoy the afternoon sun. We had to come back that night, so when we got home we just chilled out with some films and munch. The diet went totally out the window for those couple of days!
Today has just been a really chilled one back at home. We had a lie-in and then went for a lazy lunch, before coming back and drinking cups of tea and reading our books . My poor little cat is not feeling himself and has been really quiet and withdrawn all day, so I think a trip to the vet might be in order tomorrow, plus it's back to work....wah.

How was your weekend?


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weekend Wishlist

1. Petite Lace Peplum Top, £28, Topshop
2. Shopper, £39.99, Zara
3. Petite Mink Peplum Top, £26, Miss Selfridge
4.  Applique Messenger Bag, £79.99, Zara
5. Striped Leigh Jeans, £40, Topshop
6. Studded Leopard Vectras, £28, Topshop
7. Nails in Pinch Punch by Louise Gray, £6.50, Topshop
8. Studded Ankle Boots, £89.99, Zara
(Click on the linked shop names and you will go directly to the page for each specific item)

I'm all about the accessories this week, and after a mini-spree in Zara yesterday, there are several beautiful items I couldn't help but add to my Wishlist. I find Zara to be a bit hit and miss in terms of clothes - sometimes they have some amazing iconic pieces in, and other times there is nothing much that catches my eye, but the sections that always reel me in without fail are the shoes and accessories. I can't say I am overly thrilled by their prices in these areas though - at £79.99 for the Applique Messenger bag, this is one item that'll be staying firmly on my wishlist. My favourite find of the week though, is undoubtedly the gorgeous studded ankle boots, and I am going to struggle not to treat myself to those.
I'm really excited about the Louise Gray/Topshop collaboration, and would happily go home with all the nail polishes in the range. She has also done some other lovely cosmetic bits and bobs and several statement items of clothing, so if you haven't checked those out yet then get on over to the Topshop site and have a little look before they sell out.

Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend so far!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Desire of the Day #7: Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector

My regular readers will know that for the past couple of months, I have been suffering from frustrating dark circles under my eyes (if you don't then you can read about my struggle and my quest for a solution here and here). I don't know what's causing them, as I eat very healthily (other than when tempted by cake), drink absolute gallons of green tea and water, and get some exercise several times a week. I am also being sure to get enough sleep, and haven't  been going out or drinking either, as I am at a point where I fancy a break - you do eventually get a bit fed up with hangovers after many years of them! I now haven't had one since the end of March, and I must admit, it feels pretty good, although that's not to say I have become permanently teetotal - I'll still enjoy a good girls' night out from time to time.
Anyway, went off on a bit of a tangent there, but never mind - I do enjoy a bit of mindless chitchat about irrelevant things at times!
The point is, nothing I have endeavoured to find myself an amazing product that would combat my dark circles and mild morning puffiness, and I have to say, I've failed miserably. Or rather, the products I've tried have. Concealer doesn't cover them, and eye creams don't cut it.

Enter, Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector.

" NEW Even Better Eyes has the power to brighten the appearance of the entire eye area. Plumping hydration makes thin eye-area skin appear less transparent, and the cooling massage tip refreshes tired looking eyes. Optics instantly brighten all skins, fair to deep".

Now, I am not expecting miracles. I have tried a little sample pot of the Clinique Even Better Eyes cream, and I'm not sure that it had much of an effect. It's hard to tell really, as I find that the darkness and puffiness I experience beneath my eyes does tend to subside a little bit after a couple of hours of being awake awake anyway. However, I do really enjoy Clinique as a brand, and I am intrigued by the cooling massage tip. Add that to my desperation to find a solution that works for me, and I am all over this product.

Clinique Even Better Eyes is available for £28 (eeeek - bit off-putting!) from the Clinique website, which you can find here.

Do you have any fail-safe dark circle solutions? If so, PLEASE let me know in the comments below! I will be eternally grateful.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thank you...

I have been nominated for this award by three lovely bloggers in the past couple of weeks, so I thought it was about time I popped up a post and said a great big thank you to Jen over at It's a Blonde's Life, Clare from A Bit of This and That and Zoe of My Wondrous Marvellous Obsession, who are all lovely, lovely ladies. I very much enjoy reading all three of their blogs, so do pop over and have a nose as soon as you get the chance.
Thank you very much for the nominations, my lovelies.

The Rules
1. Tell everyone 11 facts about you
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you by the person who nominated you
3. Tag 11 blogs that you love
4. Write 11 questions for your nominees

Now, as I have been nominated by three people, I'm going to bend the rules a bit and not write my 11 facts, as I think it's more important that I answer the 11 questions each of the girls have taken the time to write. Actually, Clare didn't ask any questions, so it'll just be 22.

Jen's Questions
1. What is your favourite makeup brand?
Loads, but I'm currently loving Revlon, as they have been coming up trumps on everything lately.

2. Boots or Superdrug?

3. What is your dream job?
Fashion and beauty or travel journalist.

4. River Island or New Look?
I can't choose. New Look for a bargain, River Island for more of a treat.

5. What's your favourite animal?
Probably a horse.

6. Who is your favourite singer/band at the moment?
So tough. MGMT and the Strokes. And Calvin Harris' stuff.

7. What has been your favourite holiday location so far?
Arraial d'ajuda in Brazil.

8. Mascara or eyeliner?
Sorry, can't live without either.

9. What kind of car do you have or which one would you like to have?
The hubby and I have a Mitsubishi Pajero but I hate it as it keeps costing us lots of money! Dream car is a vintage Porsche.

10. Which country would you most like to visit?
So many. Cuba, Belize, Malaysia....basically everywhere.

11. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I would love to be working as a journalist and travelling at every opportunity. And I would really like to be living close to my family and friends again! I think where I see myself just comes down to however I am happy.

Zoe's Questions:
1. What phone do you currently have?
Samsung Galaxy

2. Why did you start your blog?
I have always loved writing, fashion and beauty, so it made sense really. Plus I am currently living a long way away from my family and friends, so it helps to fill that void.

3. Do you have any pets?

4. If so, what are they?
A dog called Scout and a cat called Tosh. They are best friends and do everything together, so funny.

5. Favourite nail polish colour for the summer:
It changes on a daily basis, but I'm currently lusting after Nails Inc Sweets Way.

6. Are you a texter or a caller?

7. What did you last see at the cinema?
Haven't been for ages! Think it was Black Swan.

8. What is your favourite thing to cook?
I love baking, and I make a pretty good Chilli, but to be honest what I most enjoy is creating new dishes. I like almost every food out there, so I love trying new things.

9. Favourite TV show to watch?
Difficult. Skins, The Apprentice, Made in Chelsea and Waterloo Road.

10. Skirt or shorts in summer?
Shorts, I think. I own loads, but I do love a good maxi skirt too.

11. What do you think of blog awards?
I think they're a lovely way to share the blogger love! :)

I nominate all of my beautiful readers for this award, particularly those who have not yet received one, so if you want to take it for yourselves then do go ahead!

My Questions:
1. What is your biggest fear?
2. What is your favourite high street store?
3. Your favourite little-known fashion/beauty website (not counting blogs)
4. The blog you have most enjoyed reading this week?
5.  An embarrassing moment you've had?
6. Your favourite skincare product(s)?
7. Something that really annoys you?
8. Your favourite food?
9. The country you most want to visit?
10. Your current favourite item of clothing?
11. Your biggest current beauty saviour.

Do leave me a comment in the box below if you decide to  do this post, as I would very much enjoy having a read of it!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What I wore Today: Printed Jeans

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned how very much in love I was with my Topshop Baroque print jeans. I had originally missed out on them in store, as they never had them in in my size, but I was lucky enough to pick up these babies off Ebay and was pleased to bits. I wear Petite jeans, so it can be a bit of a pickle trying to find ones to fit me, and most shops only usually bother doing the plain, basic jeans in shorter lengths, so these really were an exciting find for me.
I actually took this photograph for the lovely Lisa over at Topaz and May, to appear in her 'Any Size' post, which you can find here (I'm looking a bit squinty because of the sun in my eyes, but go and check out Lisa's post to see how lovely everyone looks in their prints). I wore this outfit on Friday for a bit of a chilled day with the hubby (I don't work on Fridays!), so I wasn't going anywhere special, but I was pretty happy with it, as it can be a bit of a mission to find things which look good with printed jeans, and until then I had been teaming them with a white lace top and a bleached denim jacket, which I also really like, but I wanted a new way to wear them.

Jeans: Topshop
Belt: Topshop (free with a skirt)
Jumper: Ebay
Spike Necklace: Ebay
Bracelet: Miss Selfridge
Headband: Primark
Sandals: Bought in Brazil

Do you have any printed or bright-coloured jeans?
How do you wear them?


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mini Skincare Haul: Herbalife/Nourifusion

Just a quick post to show you the new Skincare bits I've picked up this week. I will be writing full reviews of them in due course, but for now just a sneak peek for you.

I have been looking for a good new anti-aging day cream, as well as a night one. I am not exactly drawing my pension just yet, but as they say, prevention is better than cure, and I am starting to worry that I really should have started this a bit earlier! Anyway, I decided to try out the Skin Activator from Herbalife, which is a brand I have never tried skincare from before, but have read great reviews about. The Skin Activator is a daily replenishing cream, so since I got it, I have been applying it in the mornings before my makeup.
The second thing I purchased was, surprise surprise, a face mask. Most  of you will have noticed that I have been going a bit mad for facemasks recently, and I have been trying out countless homemade versions over the past few weeks. But what I really wanted was a clay mask, as my T-zone has become a little bit oily and I've suddenly started getting the odd blemish. In the end, I decided to go for the Nourifusion Multivitamin Clarifying Mask, which contains orange and eucalyptus oil and witch hazel. It claims to deep-cleanse the pores, removing impurities and excess oil, which sounded like just what I need. I have already used this mask once, but I want to try it out a few more times before I spill the beans and share my thoughts.

Have you bought any new skincare products recently?


Monday, August 20, 2012

Baking: Banana Bread

At the weekend, I finally got round to doing some baking, so I thought I'd share this simple recipe for Banana Bread with you. It's a great way to use up any left over or over-ripe bananas that you might have hanging around your kitchen, is super fast and easy, and it is literally the perfect partner for a nice cup of tea.
For those of you who are not familiar with banana bread, in spite of the name, it's really more of a cake.
The recipe I used was not one which uses traditional British measures, quite simply because I didn't have any scales or a measuring jug to hand, so I just measured out my ingredients using a tea mug. Usually, you would use a smaller cup, but I wanted to make a slightly bigger cake, and I've always had great success making 'guesstimate' cakes before!

4 small ripe bananas
1/3 cup of unsalted butter (I used margarine)
3/4 cup of demerara sugar
1 1/2 cups of self raising flour
1 egg, beaten

1. Pop your butter into a pan to melt, and while you're waiting, peel and mash the bananas using a fork.
2. Pour the melted butter and bananas into a large mixing bowl and combine until smooth.
3. Stir in your beaten egg and your sugar.
4. Make a well in the middle of the mixture, sift in the flour and then fold it in using a metal spoon. Remember, you want to put air into the mixture, so don't stir it around and around - this will have the opposite effect.
5. Grease the baking tray with a little margerine or butter, pour in your mixture and pop it in the oven for 15-20mins at 180.
6. Remove from the oven, cut into slices and settle down on the sofa with a large chunk and a big cup of tea.        Enjoy!

Not the best photos as I took them on my phone in artificial light, but hopefully you can get the idea of how scrummy this was anyway!
This was a bit of a different post from me, so I hope you enjoyed it. Let's face it, we all love cake, so I'm assuming it'll be most people's cup of tea.....oh dear, do excuse the pun!

Have you done any baking recently? What did you make?


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Week in Pictures

Custard Apple - Outfit - Raspberry Cheesecake Cookies - New necklace - My dog wearing a hoodie - Nails - Baking Banana Bread - Stirfry for dinner last night - Being an organised blogger

I've had a pretty good this week. Of course, I have mostly been at work, but I have been going running in the park every morning, and am actually really enjoying it. I am finding that it really makes a difference if I just get up and go straight away, as I seem to be much more motivated to do it. Until now, I have always left exercise to the afternoons, and more often than not, after lunch I can't be bothered! I'm definitely going to stick to the new routine, as getting it out of the way first thing means I am free to relax for the rest of the day at the weekends.
I FINALLY got round to doing some baking. After putting it on my 'To Do' list two months in a row and failing to get around to it, I didn't bother planning to do it in August, and typically, this is the time I actually do it! We had a few bananas that needed using up, so I decided to bake some banana bread, and it was delicious - the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea. My hubby had never tried it before, and he loved it, so I am inspired to get back into baking more regularly now - maybe a couple of times per month, as I don't want to go overboard!
On Thursday, we felt like treating ourselves, as I had had a busy day at work and it's one off the only two evenings we get to spend together each week, so we popped to Subway after I finished work for some Subs and some Raspberry Cheesecake cookies - the best flavour ever created, in my opinion. Yum. After that, we just chilled out at home and watched some films. I honestly cannot understand why 'Winter's Bones' was nominated for so many Oscars - it was rubbish!
Today is going to consist of yet more chilling - maybe some sunbathing in the garden, a nice lunch and coffee out and, of course, some blogging.
Hope you've all enjoyed your weekend.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Weekend Wishlist

London Pop-up book, £5, TopshopPrinted Headband, £10, River IslandCaudalie Divine Oil, £25 (100ml), CaudalieNars American Dream Palette, $55, NarsTiger Beret, £10, TopshopStudded Bralet, £26, Miss SelfridgeCake Cases, £1.99 for 54, Hobby CraftTribal Shorts, £32, Miss SelfridgeRam Head Studs, £5, TopshopOrigins Spot Remover Blemish  Treatment Pads, £24, BootsLeopard Skater Skirt, £18, River IslandChain Peplum Top, £39, Rare at Topshop

Hi lovelies, hope you've all been having a great weekend so far and making the most of the sunshine. Apparently, it's going to last throughout the remainder of August, so hopefully that means finally getting some wear out of all the gorgeous Summer pieces we have been stockpiling since Easter!

I must admit, for once in my life, I felt a little bit uninspired by the 'New in' sections this week. I'm not sure whether it's because all my favourite clothing and accessories stores are a bit 'in limbo' at the moment, with a mixture of Summer's leftovers and new Autumn/Winter bits, but I think that must be it. Understandably, after the lack of sunny weather so far this year, I'm not really ready to start thinking about my Winter wardrobe yet. However, aside from clothes, there are certainly a few other random bits I'd be more than happy to get my mitts on, whatever the weather.

Origins Spot Remover Blemish Pads are not something I would have needed to consider purchasing until recently. Even as a teenager, I had perpetually good skin, and luckily for me, outbreaks have always been rare. However, more recently, my skin has been starting to play up a bit. I think this is probably down to my recent experimentation with skincare, and I now need to let my skin settle down into a routine, but while I am doing that I would very much like to try out these pads. Origins always come up trumps with their skincare, and I have heard good things about these, such as that they are gentle and do not strip the skin as many blemish-fighting products can do. They are, however, a bit on the pricey side at £24.

I've also got my eye on the Caudalie Divine Beauty Oil, which may sound odd given that I was just talking about my forehead being a bit oily, but I have again heard fantastic things about this and am keen to give it a try. It's a multi-use oil, so it can be used on the body and hair, as well as the face.

I'm still feeling a bit patriotic after the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympic Games, so I fell in love with the idea of the pop-up London book from Topshop. Granted, I am not a tourist, but I really like the idea of having a pop-up London landscape at my fingertips. Plus, I love books and like to collect quirky and unique ones from time to time.
I have been promising myself I'd find the time to bake for ages now, and I finally did  last night, when I made some scrummy banana bread. The hubby was more than impressed, and it has inspired me to get back into baking on a more regular basis (not TOO regular though, ashaving cake around all the time can only end in tears!). Next up, I'm planning to make some beautiful cupcakes in a selection of flavours. I'm thinking cookies and cream, caramelised apple and cinnamon, and peaches and cream, but if you've got any other suggestions then I would absolutelylove to hear about them in the comments box below! :) Anyway, the plan is to get a few of these pretty cake cases and a cake stand and to hold a little afternoon tea party, because let's face it, who doesn't love those?

The Nars American Dream Eyeshadow palette also caught my eye this month. Do I need to explain why? I don't think so, but let's just say that it's pretty, and it's Nars. As much as I love my beauty products and makeup, the one thing that I just can't seem to get the hang of is creating pretty looks with eyeshadow, and it really annoys me, so I'm hoping to be inspired to try again. Sadly, this is not yet available in the UK, but click on the link and you can buy it from the U.S. site.

I won't go on about the clothes, as I think they are pretty self explanatory. I just like them. Bralets, peplum tops, animal jewellery and Aztec print have all featured heavily across my Wishlists in recent weeks, and these are just the latest creations I have been admiring.

Are you ready to start stocking up on winter warmers, or are you still stubbornly holding out for more sunshine?
What's on your wishlist this week?


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Desire of the Day #6: Laura Mercier Deep Cleansing Clay Mask

Have you noticed that I have become a little bit obsessed with facemasks lately? Well, I have. I have been going a bit mad of a weekend, throwing together DIY mixtures and slathering them onto my face, and all to no avail. I think what I really need it this Deep Cleansing Clay Mask, by Laura Mercier, as I always find clay masks to be a lovely treat when my skin is really in need of some extra care and attention. As I have mentioned, my t-zone seems to be a little bit oily at the moment, which is unusual for me, and my forehead is not happy at all, and clay masks are great for drawing out impurities. The only downside, in my experience, is that they tend to 'draw them out' onto the skin's surface, as I often end up with a couple of spots after using one, before they disappear and give way to lovely smooth, clear skin. I think this is one for a quiet weekend when I am happy to hide away at home!

Do you use a facemask? Which one is your favourite?


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

SAVE #1: Bourjois Wild Paris Collection (A/W 2012)

So, I have been putting off writing this post, because I knew that this collection would be the perfect 'Save' alternative to the gorgeous Dior Golden Jungle, which featured in the first 'Spend' post of this Spend/Save series (find the post here), but as it's not due out until September, information on this collection is proving somewhat hard to come by. But eventually, I decided that I would give in and just share with you what I can for now, and then I will do a little update in an upcoming blog post in which I hope to be able to share some more images of the collection with you.

Wild Paris is the stunning new nature-inspired collection by Bourjois, due for release on 5th September, and featuring a palette of earthy browns, khaki greens, mustards and burgundys.
The most exciting addition to the collection, for me, is the gorgeous Python Topcoat, a burgundy nail polish which creates something similar to a crackle effect on the nails, only much more sophisticated, leaving you with a  chic snakeskin manicure.

 We can also expect two new smoky eye trios. The first, in Vert Jungle, features a deep khaki green, a light leafy green and a medium green which is somewhere between the two. As I mentioned in my Golden Jungle post, I am quite excited at the prospect of using khaki greens on my eyes, as it's something I haven't tried before. I used to be a huge fan of green eye makeup in the past, but I haven't ventured into that colour palette for a while now.

The second Trio, Brun Wood, will feature three complimentary brown shades, and is sure to do well, given that brown generally tends to suit all skin tones and is forever a popular choice.

It's clear that jungle colours, military hues and animal prints are here to stay, and that's fine by me. You can luxe up your look by adding gold accents, which will contrast brilliantly with khaki shades and is a look which translates well into clothes and accessories.

What do you think of the jungle trend?
Will you be 'Splurging' or 'Saving' this Autumn?


Monday, August 13, 2012

Maybelline Moisture Extreme Lipstick: Sugar Plum

I am not usually one for nude lipsticks. Or at least I wasn't, until recently. I have been really enjoying using lovely bright corals and fuchsias throughout the 'summer' months, but I was beginning to get a little bit tired of the maintenance they require throughout the day. I kept seeing people wearing lovely nude lipsticks across the blogosphere, so I decided that now might be the time to give them another try, having been put off by the infamous 'corpse effect' on my last couple of attempts.

I didn't want to splash out a huge amount on a lipstick I might not like, so I went for Maybelline's Moisture Extreme Collagen Lipstick in the shade Sugar Plum. I actually picked this up abroad, hence the name being slightly different on the tube (over there it's called Hydra Extreme).

Sugar Plum is a moisturising pinky-nude shade with a glossy finish. It is not hugely pigmented or buildable, leaving a sheer veil of colour on the lips, and is a really wearable shade. It doesn't seem to create the afore-mentioned corpse effect at all, though the colour doesn't apply all that evenly and may require going over a couple of times, as it is quite slippery.

It's not quite as pink as it appears in the swatch here, but it is a lovely every-day lip colour, especially on those days when you want a 'my-lips-but-better' look, without having to worry about how perfectly you have applied it, as you do with bright shades.
Wear time is really not great here though, I have to admit. The slippery consistency means that it slides of the lips in an instant, and despite the moisturising formula, it will still show up any dry or flakey patches if you haven't exfoliated your lips well beforehand. 

Do you ever wear nude lipsticks?
What's your favourite brand and shade?


Caudalie Eau Demaquillante Cleansing Water

Selling at £9 for 100ml on the Caudalie website, which you can find here, the Eau Demaquillante Cleansing Water is a micellar solution designed to remove your makeup before cleansing. You just apply a small amount to a large cotton pad and sweep it over your face and neck, repeating as necessary until you are satisfied. In fact, you could actually use this product alone, but personally I like to either exfoliate or cleanse my skin with a hot cloth cleanser afterwards in the evenings,to ensure that my skin is completely clean. In the mornings, however, I am happy just to use this to wipe away any oil or grime that may have accumulated during the night and it leaves my skin feeling refreshed, soft and clean.
Being a micellar solution, this product is very gentle, and yet it still removes all traces of makeup with ease. This is designed for use on the eyes, too, and it doesn't sting at all, nor is it oily, which are both huge bonuses in my opinion. I have quite sensitive eyes which are easily irritated by a lot of products, and I really dislike having to use anything unneccessarily oily on my face.
I usually tend to give my skin a couple of sprays of the infamous Caudalie Beauty Elixir after use, and I feel that together, they really leave my skin feeling supple, smooth and 'awake', without a trace of oil. I then moisturise as normal.

A quick summary:

                                                    The Good                                                  
  Gentle on the skin
Gentle enough to use on the eyes
Removes all traces of makeup
Leaves skin feeling refreshed and soft
Practical and easy to use, as it doesn't require water. Perfect for use on the go.

    The Bad
A little bit on the pricey side at £9 for just 100ml, especially as...
..100ml doesn't tend to last long

I would definitely purchase this again. I have been using a hot cloth cleanser for a while now, which I love, and while I really like the fact that I can use it to remove makeup and cleanse all in one go, I hate that I end up with mascara stains all over the muslin cloths and can never use them more than once or twice without having to throw them in the wash! It's so much better to use this Cleansing Water first, as I can dispose of the used cotton pads and then cleanse with a nice clean cloth along with my hot cloth cleanser.

If you are new to Caudalie then I would definitely recommend giving this a go, as it is one of the cheaper products available, and a 100ml bottle is not a huge commitment to make. I went for this size in order to try it out, and now I know that I will like it, I will go ahead and buy the larger one (200ml for £15).

Have you tried anything from Caudalie? 
What are your favourite skincare brands and products?


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Week in Pictures

I feel like I pretty much told you all about my week in yesterday's post, as I was feeling a bit chatty, and to be honest, there wasn't really much to tell! I have more or less been somewhere beneath a pile of paperwork in what little free time I did have, and the rest of it was, of course, spent at work. I did manage to pop out for a nice lunch on Saturday, and the hubby and I shared a delicious miniature lemon meringue pie for dessert, before spending a while relaxing in our favourite coffee shop drinking hazelnut lattes. He wasn't best pleased that Brazil lost out in the Olympic football to Mexico, although they still won a silver medal, and a gold in the women's volleyball, so it wasn't all bad. Speaking of medals, I must admit that I'm quite disappointed that the Olympics are coming to an end. Tom Daley did us proud today, although it's a shame he missed out on the gold after coming so close, though to be honest, I think I would have enjoyed watching him however he had done, if you know what I mean! Ha. I'm especially proud, with him being from my neck of the woods, although Luke Campbell did a fantastic job bagging us another gold in the boxing, too. I actually can't believe how many medals we've won this year! Amazing.
I have been absolutely loving my Topshop Baroque jeans this week, and if you are a regular then you'll know that I snapped these beauts up off Ebay, having missed out on them in my size when they were in the shops. I wore them on a little afternoon out we had on Friday, which is when the rest of the snaps were taken - how cute are those colourful buildings? We just visited a small village nearby, which I had never been to before, and had a little wander around and a spot of lunch.

That's me for today, hope to catch up with many of you later on this evening during the #bbloggers chat!

Hope you're all having a fantastic weekend!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Weekend Wishlist

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A bit of a crowded Wishlist for you this weekend!

Studded Eagle Jumper, £36, Topshop
Cutwork Peplum Top, £40, Warehouse
Floral Lace Jumper, £40, Warehouse
Studded Shopper Bag, £60, Oasis
Facehunter Book, £14.90, Topshop
Phoenix Jumper, £39, Miss Selfridge
London Studded Belt, £18, Topshop
Chunky Star Ring, £12, Warehouse
Petites Studded Maxi Dress, £49, Miss Selfridge
Horse Print Scarf, £18, Warehouse
Nude Studded Boot, £65, Miss Selfridge
Union Jack Clutch, Accessorize
Indigo Studded Jeans, £45, Miss Selfridge
One Ginger Morning Shower Gel, Treacle Moon (available at Tesco)
MUA Going for Gold Eyeshadow Palette,

I've been bit greedy this week. Once again, there is a plethora of treats in the 'New In' sections of almost every online store I frequent. The chilly weather has got me lusting after cosy knits, particularly printed and studded ones, and I am also loving the patriotic 'London' belt and the Union Jack clutch, as I am feeling quite proud to be British at the moment thanks to our wonderful Olympic Team. Go GB! It's also a great excuse to get my hands on the 'Going for Gold' palette by MUA - well, better late than never, eh? Anyway, the Olympics are still going, so the way I see it, it's still completely relevant.

I've been back to work this week and I can't tell you how shattered I am feeling now! After four weeks of rest, going back to being on my feet all day (in heels, of course!) has more or less done me in, and that's not to mention the mental fatigue my job seems to give me! If you don't already know, I teach English as a foreign language, which has it's moments, but you can imagine what it's like having to deal with pupils who are not interested in learning, or unruly groups of teenagers! Ha. I have actually been so tired that I have fallen asleep at 9.30pm every night this week, and believe me, that is NOT like me at all - I usually go to bed at around one or two in the morning! And it's not that I sleep all day either, I actually get up quite early too, but as my husband works until late, we usually stay up to spend some time together, as we work very different hours.
To be honest, I can't say that I've been up to much else this week, as I haven't really had the time! But I plan on a nice relaxing weekend consisting of snuggly jumpers, cups of tea, hazelnut lattes, homemade facemasks, deep conditioning hair treatments, nail art and magazines. I would say blogging and blog reading, but that very much depends on my unreliable internet!

Hope you're all having a splendid weekend!
What's on your Wishlist this weekend?


Friday, August 10, 2012

Penny Pinching Fashion

We all love to keep our wardrobes updated with the latest trends and key pieces, but the fast-fashion culture in which we live today doesn't make things easy for us. No sooner have you bought the latest studded pumps or dip-dyed shorts, than things have moved on, and the shops are full of collar-tip blouses and spiked jewellery. Keeping up can be a pricey endeavour, and given the current state of the economy and our need to save pennies for our futures, we can find ourselves missing out on some of our favourite finds, and with dangerously low bank balances to boot.
Luckily for us, there are some fantastic websites online which can help us to get the best of both worlds - a full wardrobe and some cash left over for other expenses and plans. So, where can you find these wonderfully helpful sites? Well, I'm about to show you.

Fashion Vouchers is a relatively new website which boasts a vast array of vouchers and deals for some of the best high street and online stores out there. If you enjoy shopping at the likes of Oasis, Missguided, My Wardrobe or Motel Rocks (to name but a few) then this site could end up saving you huge amounts on your shopping trips, with current offers including :
·         10% off all UK orders from Urban Outfitters
·         25% off Motel Rocks exclusives
·         £10 off your first order over £30 from In Love With Fashion
·         20% off full price dresses from Oasis
Just pop onto the website and grab the relevant voucher codes, and these great deals are all yours for the taking.

                                                                  Big Wardrobe
You’ve all heard of the concept of gathering together all your unloved clothing and accessories and swapping them with your friends, for great new outfits without spending a penny. Well, Big Wardrobe offers just that, only with a huge database of others users for you to exchange your items with, as well as buying and selling! The best thing about this is that you can often exchange your unwanted bits for designer and high street pieces from all over the world, meaning that you can stock your wardrobe with unique pieces that you are unlikely to see anyone else wearing nearby!

This site offers a personal shopper-type service, finding you your favourite pieces at the lowest prices. Want a studded-collar blouse or a gorgeous pair of mint high-waisted shorts? This site does the work for you.

For any self-respecting shoe lovers out there,  Shoeaholics is a godsend. With great deals and discounts on branded shoes,  you can scout out some real bargains, and what’s not to love about gorgeous shoes and money left over to take them out for the night and show them off?

A great site for those of you with expensive tastes but who resent paying the price-tags, Girl Meets Dress enables you to feel like a star for the night without the financial commitment. With top designer names such as Miu Miu and Stella McCartney,  you can hire a beautiful dress for a special occasion and return it the next day, with no harm done to your bank balance.

I think we are all well aware of Ebay by now. Still one of the best sites I’ve come across for bagging a bargain, you can find all manner of designer and high street brands going cheap. You may find that you need to spend a bit of time searching in order to find a worthwhile purchase, but if you are a savvy bidder then you can get your hands on some amazing items at great prices.

Boohoo is great for stocking up on fast fashion pieces, and is updated with new and exciting items on a daily basis.  Think of a trend, and you will almost certainly find an array of affordable examples to choose from, with prices beating the majority of the most popular high-street shops hands down.

So there you have it – my pick of the best money-saving websites out there for fashion lovers like myself! I really do think that these sites can make a huge difference to our spending habits when used wisely. Sometimes, we needlessly spend above and beyond what is necessary to get the looks we want, but have you ever stopped to think about what you could be doing with the extra money instead? Personally, I’m a bit of a travel junkie, so while I love to keep my wardrobe full to bursting with gorgeous clothes and accessories, I don’t want it to be the only thing I have going for me in my life! Besides, what’s the point in having all those beautiful pieces if you can’t afford to go out and show them off? Personally, I’m really trying to cut back on my spending this year, and sites like these have made things much easier for me. To keep me motivated,  I’ve set myself a little goal in that every time I save some money, it must be popped into a little ‘travel fund’ I’ve set up, so in the end I am going to have some lovely things to wear and a fantastic reward for my efforts!

Why not set yourself a goal and start putting your spare change aside for something you’d really like to do?


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