Showing posts with label beauty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beauty. Show all posts

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Elle's Benefit Party

The opportunity came for me to change jobs quite suddenly in the last week so it's been manic, but I am pleased to be starting a new role tomorrow in a bigger firm which I am very excited about - but also nervous!!! My blogging is sporadic I know, you know when you set aside time to do something and all of a sudden everything changes and there just ain't no time?!!

Anyway, this week I attended Elle's party at the Benefit store on Carnaby Street, which was a fantastic occasion. I got a fantastic brow wax which I am very pleased with - usually I go for threading so I was amazed at how precise they were able to be and for £12 it wasn't unreasonable. I had my brows filled in a little too with Brow Zings, which was a lot more dramatic than I'm used to with all those angles, but it seemed to wear off by the time I got home leaving me looking a lot more like me!
Mo' Brow
Au Naturel today

There were macaroons and fizz to enjoy while Lisa Potter Dixon, Head Makeup Artist at Benefit and the Elle Beauty team talked us through the latest beauty trends, and a Q&A from which I took home some wonderful tips, including double cleansing, where to apply eye cream (all around the socket) and a teensy little goodie bag containing Lollitint, Benefit's latest addition to the lip and cheek stain family - as yet I am not convinced so will go for some more experimentation over the coming week, perhaps at my new job! 

I am also looking forward very much to Benefit's new brow product, Gimme Brow, a brush-on product which is "brow volumising fibre gel", coming to the market in March, which can't come any quicker - some heavy birthday hints to be dropped I think!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Penhaligon's Vaara

A couple of weeks ago, I headed to the Penhaligon's Vaara launch at their longest-standing, beautiful Wellington Street Store. Vaara is the new fragrance inspired by the Royal House of Marwar-Jodphur in Rajasthan. In its beautiful packaging in vibrant orange and sky blue and the trademark elegant Penhaligon's bottle, with headnotes of quince, rosewater, carrot seed, coriander seed and saffron, Vaara is certainly a fragrance fit for royalty and it's perfect for these roasting summer days we're experiencing. You can read more about the launch event here.

The Wellington Street store is having a summer party on the 1st August from 18:30 to 21:00, to again celebrate the launch of this new fragrance. Onsite there'll be a henna artist and traditional folk dancing to entertain you, as well as Annesh Popat, chocolatier to talk about the creation of the divine Vaara chocolates that were created in collaboration with Penhaligons. so head on down for refreshments, a goody bag and discount of 15%. I know I will be!
Vaara, £120 for 100ml

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Melbourne: In my Beauty Bag

I have just returned from a wonderful holiday in Melbourne, and this is the first of many posts about my trip. I returned yesterday morning, so am still a little jetlagged, so lets start with the basics: what I took with me!

I've probably mentioned before my efforts to destash my bathroom cabinets, so I bought as little as possible for my trip, choosing to take with me a few half finished goodies so that I could throw them out once and for all. This resulted in an empty L'Occitane Precious Cream and one Eucerin Hyaluron Filler Day Cream, both lovely rich face creams. I particularly like the Eucerin product because it contains SPF15, but I am not particularly loyal to any one brand when it comes to moisturiser so will continue to hunt around for the best for me. I've still got my Ainhoa and Avon night oil to work through for now but am always looking for recommendations for a good all-rounder, so do let me know if you've got any tips.

Just before my trip, I popped to the Boots Get Out There (#Bootsgetoutthere) event for bloggers which gave a great overview of the products on hand from Boots this summer, that are there to help you look and feel your best this summer s that you 'get out there' and enjoy yourself in the summer sun! It was a great showcase of the products available to help you feel confident and safe this summer. I took away with me some Soltan Protect & Tan Ultra-Light Texture Suncare Spray to trial on my trip, and I have to say it's a great product, completely non-greasy, easy to apply, with real protection, and it's half price at the moment along with some other great products in the range! Its slimline bottle also meant it was easy to carry around for reapplication during the day.
Soltan goodies on display
 Another favourite of mine was the Boots No7 Stay Perfect nail colour in Stand Back, which I applied on day one of my trip. It actually did 'Stay Perfect' well into the second week of my trip, and the fun shade also went fabulously with my sandals (Primark 2011)! A steal at £6.

No7 Stand Back
When I wear sandals or flip flops for the first time after a few months of hiding my feet away, they are horribly prone to blisters again, no matter how comfy those same sandals had become the previous year. When we landed at Melbourne, my toes were horribly blistered already from the ancient flip-flops I'd been wearing. The weather wasn't so hot on that first Sunday so as soon as I got into my hotel I wrapped them up in my Converse and let them heal. When I wanted to wear sandals again, I sprayed my feet quickly with Boots Blister Prevent Spray for the first couple of wears, and remained blister-free for the remainder of the trip. I'd definitely recommend this spray to keep the blisters at bay, at £5.49, it's worth it to save that agony!

These are some products that will be sticking with me all summer, I am looking forward to hearing about more great products that have impressed you this summer too....

Sunday, 24 March 2013

My skincare routine

I've built up an enormous stash of beauty bits, makeup and toiletries, and at the moment I am trying to work through what I've got, destash, and streamline the amount of products in my cupboard, I've got far too many half finished bottles that I want to finally finish. My Boots expenditure is being kept to a minimum, I went today and bought only what I needed, cotton pads and deodorant, even though I had a purse full of No7 vouchers which I was tempted to use. Aren't I good?! Here's a bit on my current routine.
Exfoliating face disc - Sephora
I usually wash my face in the mornings when I shower with No7 Beautiful Skin Foaming Cleanser for Normal / Oily Skin, and recently have started using it with this Sephora exfoliating disc which I think is making a real difference to my skin, it certainly seems better than normal. I bought this on my recent trip to Paris so unless you're off to France soon, it's going to be a pain to order online so while I was in Boots today I looked for an alternative and found this Soap & Glory Face Massage Mini Mitt for £4. You are welcome.

At nighttime, I use makeup wipes to take off the day, and have been using No7 wipes for ages, but have recently switched to Champney's (currently 1/3 off), followed by DHC Make Off Sheets, available from BeautyMart. I find these 3 are the best at actually removing all your makeup including eye makeup. The DHC ones smell quite strongly of alcohol though, which might be something that puts me off buying them again although I will continue to monitor how I get on with them. The No7 wipes can be bought for as little as £2 a pack as Boots so frequently give away £5 off vouchers for the No7 range.

I also use No7 Eye Make Up Remover to remove stubborn eye-makeup that just won't come off. It's an oily one that you have to shake before use so that the two components mingle. I find it one of the best out there, and at £8.50, it's affordable.

One I've caught onto a little too late is the Avon Planet Spa Japanese Sake & Rice Luminous Face Treatment, which smells absolutely amazing and is definitely playing a part in the improvement of my skin condition of late. Unfortunately, it's no longer available through Avon, so when I'm finished with the current bottle and I've worked through the rest of my stash of products, I'm going to have to seek it out eBay. Has anyone else tried it, or do they have access to

While I was in Paris, swooning over Sephora I was given some sample sachets of the incredible Base Lissante/Smoothing Base. It felt amazing on my skin during and after application and had a lovely texture. It's only €10.90 for 15ml, and I was gutted I didn't try the sample whilst I was there otherwise I would have bought some. Oh well...maybe another trip is in order...

Triangle Initial Necklace

Off the subject of skincare, I treated myself to this sweet little Triangle Initial Necklace today from Urban Outfitters, only £8 in the sale! It was all I could do not to buy all the jewellery in there, there's a lot of goodies in the sale, but still three days til payday and I really should be putting some money aside, only 6 weeks til I go to Melbourne!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

See, Dance, Laugh, Buy.

My working week has been fairly meh. We are currently making a small number of redundancies, and working in HR, I get to do all the fun stuff. My boss has it a lot worse, poor mite as she's the one delivering the nasty messages, I'm just the one preparing the paperwork and holding everything else together. Whilst my job is safe (as one of the lowest paid members of the organisation, getting rid of me is hardly going to save them much money), it is still a depressing time, everyone else in the company is aware of what's going on, but they don't know who is involved. But we are not here to talk about work, we're here to talk about nice things. Here's what I've been doing this week.

Slathering: Dr Organic Manuka Honey Handcream (available from Holland and Barrett) all over my mitts. This weather is playing havoc with my skin health, espcecially the ever exposed hands. This hand cream is non-greasy, which means I can slather it on at bedtime and pick up a book without getting the pages all greasy. It smells delightful and feels like it is intensely nourishing my hands, they look instantly better moments after application. I am becoming a bit like my mother, who applies hand cream at every opportunity (i.e. at traffic lights) but I live in fear of grotty old lady hands. I have a small tube of the cream but it's lasting me forever, so it's super good value at £5.69 for 125ml.

Buying: I bought a lovely turquoise jumper in the H&M sale the other day for £10, great for the spring months as it's not too thick, and will be great for work or play, worn with black or blue jeans, or my lovely Next black peplum pencil skirt for office days. I might even try adding a bit of bling with my Talullah Tu necklace and earring combo.

I also picked up another four Wallpaper guides for Antwerp, Athens, Marseille and Warsaw. I can't resist them, especially when they are reduced to 99p in The Book Warehouse in Islington. I totally forgot when I bought them that I had a picture of my collection on my phone, so I ended up with 2 copies of Athens, so one has already been regifted to a charity shop. On Saturday I ended up in another branch on Southampton Row, picking up Prague, Venice and Madrid too!

Laughing: On Tuesday night I went to the Laugh Out London comedy night at the gorgeous Old Queen's Head in Islington, which was brilliant. Comedians included Suzi Ruffell, who we had bought the tickets to see after seeing her perform at the Stand Up To Sexism night at the Harold Pinter Theatre last year. We also go to see Tom Rosenthal (him off Friday Night Dinner), Australian Claudia O'Doherty's hilarious Lighthouse Keeper character, completely mental and random Holly Burn and American comic Rich Fulcher, who were all brilliant, sending us home with sore faces from all the giggling. The comperes kept things going and got the audience involved, with prizes (we got an Easter Egg) and a bizarre school assembly rendition of Lord of the Dance which I've now had in my head for days, but all in all a bargain at £5.50 in advance. The next Laugh Out London night is on April 5th at the Camden Head and is only £3 a ticket! On April 15th is Laugh Out London's second birthday at The Old Queen's Head, with Tony Law and Stuart Lee - it's currently sold out but they are trying to add more seats - Go, See, Guffaw.

Ogling: On Wednesday, my buddy Laurel got tickets for Burn The Floor at the Shaftesbury Theatre and so I accompanied her to that. I wasn't sure what to expect, knowing that it involved Strictly Come Dancing folk Robin Windsor and Kristina Rihanoff, I thought it might be a bit cheesy, in the same set-up as the show which I generally don't watch on TV. It was not. It was a spectacular show, perfectly timed and choreographed dance after dance, seriously sexy and upbeat with amazing costumes. Several times we gasped at the sheer bendiness of the dancers, and left the show vowing to take up dancing again (I did ballet, modern and tap as a kid). Definitely recommended. I'm off to find my legwarmers and get on down to Pineapple Studios...

Making: On the subject of Laurel, she's got herself involved in the White Stuff's Crafternoons, teaching some of their workshops taking place in stores this week. Crafternoons are free to take part in and most materials are provided (you may be asked to supply a needle and thread of your own), so sign up fast before places go, in Brighton, Islignton, Nottingham, Horsham, Belfast, Marlow, Beaconsfield, Newbury, Truro and Wilmslow! You can also check out the White Stuff's tip for hosting your own!

Sniffling: This weekend I've picked up a bad cold, but my mother-in-law-to-be is visiting, so we've been showing her the sights, here's a pretty picture of St Paul's Cathedral for you. Yesterday we went to the Tate Modern, and today, we're off to British'll find me by a trail of snotty tissues.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

My Week: Hair and Handbags

  • The Walking Dead. Love it so much. 
  • Siro-A's amazing show at Leicester Square Theatre, highly recommended. It's fairly short, but witty and awe-inspiringly well-choreographed. Book here. Sample it here. Click here quickly and you can get free tickets for this afternoon.
  • At Strada with Tesco vouchers (see post here). 2 mains, 2 desserts, one bottle of wine - £20 vouchers = £30, bargain.
  • A very naughty 2am KFC. Haven't done that for months. Was it worth it? I expect not!
  • Tonight: The Londoner's fish tacos, if I can just drag myself to the shop sometime in the next 8 hours to get some coriander and limes! Looking forward to it already, the recipe looks straightforward and foolproof.
  • A few weeks back I got an email telling me I'd won a Redken Smooth Locks Treatment at my local Supercuts. I had to have my hair tested to see if it was strong enough to take the treatment (and not over-processed). Supercuts is a walk-in salon, so I had to take my chances in terms of timing. I needed to stay in to try and get Beyonce tickets online at 9:30 but after they sold out in something like 10 minutes (which is a whole other rant) I hotfooted it down to Holloway Road and luckily the salon wasn't busy. First Wendy washed my hair with the Smooth Locks shampoo then applied the activator which is a very strong smelling substance indeed, not vomit-inducing but not pleasant either. The activator stayed on for 12 minutes before being rinsed out thoroughly (no unpleasant odour remained) and then the smooth sealer was put in before my hair was blowdried to perfection. The treatment is heat activated so blow-drying is an essential part. The results were great, I am blessed with having straight, manageable hair anyway, but it feels deliciously soft and light and looks really healthy, even after a night's sleep. The treatment which costs from £30 should last up to ten washes, longer if used with the Smooth Locks shampoo and conditioner. Here are the results:

  • I also picked up a mystery parcel from my local sorting office. Turns out I had won some Talullah Tu jewellery in a competition with Love it Magazine. It'll look great worn like the model with a strapless dress, or will dress up a plain t-shirt and jeans.

  • I went to the Orla Kiely sample sale in Clapham on Saturday (don't be jealous, I told you about it). I queued for about 25 minutes in the cold but boy was it worth it. I went with a particular bag in mind, which I'd seen in Mitsukoshi. but at £255 couldn't justify it (see my post here). That particular bag wasn't there, but this one was and I snapped it up at a much more palatable £120, it's an early birthday present to myself. It's a larger bag, but I like to have a big handbag anyway for notebooks, cameras etc, and it's a much more classic bag that will last me for years. It will actually probably be a good size for my upcoming one-nighter in Paris. Owning it makes me feel quite excited and nervous! This is the most I've ever spent on a bag and I know it's modest compared to some, but it's worth £345 according to this ebay listing (which has some much better pictures). I am going to take really good care of it, promise, I've already sprayed it with protective spray!

  • I also snapped up an Olive and Orange top for just £5. It's a simple top black/grey stripy long sleeved top (I've tried taking a picture but it's coming out all crazy, I can never get thin stripes to photograph well), one that will be great for all purposes, I can dress it up for work or dress it down for cosy weekends. Olive and Orange is Orla Kiely's diffusion brand which seems to have disappeared. The website is down, they haven't posted anything on Facebook or Twitter for a long time, and my online searching isn't bringing up any real results. Can anyone in the know shed any light on this for me?
  • While I was queuing to get into the sale, I got chatting to some ladies who'd travelled from Manchester to be there! They said that they'd heard about it through the Orla Kiely mailing list, but that usually the sale was held at Old Truman Brewery and that sometimes they hear about it through the venue before OK's own site, so I'm not taking any chances, I'm signing up for both newsletters and Sample Sales London, just to be on the safe side!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Saturday Bargain Haul at BeautyMart

Today I've taken my new non-smoking self for a bargain hunt in my local area of Holloway, and it's all been rather fruitful! I met my wonderful friend Laurel at Nag's Head with a view to visit all of the local charity shops, and that we did.

In Oxfam, I picked up season one of Grey's Anatomy for £2.99 on DVD. I have never seen Grey's but my friends rave about it, and this September my beau will be moving back to Sheffield to finish university so I'm going to occupy myself with this. As an exciting aside, we've just booked our wedding date for when he graduates next year, so I'll be treating the 8-9 months apart as an extended hen do!

In the Shelter store, I picked up this gorgeous M&S Limited Collection top for £6.75. It's brand new with the tags on, and was originally £25, so I consider this a real bargain! It's a great top to wear for work, or with jeans and a cardi at the weekend as Spring finally approaches.

BeautyMart's sample sale was today (and tomorrow, see below) at their Headquarters on Holloway Road so we tracked down their office just past the Odeon and had a rummage through the shelves and a very welcome cup of tea.
The charming art deco Odeon on Holloway Road
Racks of goodies at Beautymart HQ

I had been meaning to head to BeautyMart at Harvey Nichols for weeks, after a conversation with BeautyMart on Twitter about these DHC Make Off Sheets, so was chuffed to pick up a pack at 20% off (RRP £7). I've had a go with them already. The sheets are smaller than my usual make-up wipes (No7), and have a strong smell of alcohol but they do remove makeup very effectively and quickly. The fact that they come in a plastic tub too means that they will stay moist for longer.The pack contains 50 wipes so is very good value for £7.

In their bargain corner (where BeautyMart are giving proceeds from the to charity) I picked up some Becca tinted moisturiser in Cashmere which is a great match for my skintone, I'm pretty pale so can find it difficult to get a decent, natural match for foundation, so was pretty pleased to pick this up, along wit  Ainhoa Luxe Cellular Complex Hydro-Nutritive Cream, as pictured above. It contains caviar extract and is a lush gel cream that feels amazing on my skin, it smells great too. From the box: "...with light texture ad hydrating and repairing properties that helps to recover the skins tissues thanks to its composition based on Caviar Extract". Perfect for recovering my cigarette-ravaged skin!

There were some Ruby and Millie products there too, I hadn't realised that Millie Kendall co-founded BeautyMart before the event so a perfect opportunity to pick up those now-hard-to-find products. I had a quick look for the makeup bag I spied in Boots 2 years ago and failed to get, but alas, it wasn't meant to be! I was chuffed to have had the chance to attend this sale and that it was so close to home. I spent a princely £10.60 on all 3 products, which is pretty good considering the RRP for the tinted moisturiser seems to be £35! The sale is at Block F, 443-449 Holloway Road, London N7 6LJ and is on tomorrow (Sunday 17th February) too from 10 til 4, open to the public.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Winter Pampering

I have had an underlying feeling of general GROT for the last week or so, not surprising with the weather we've had and the fact that all my colleagues have been ill recently, it was only a matter of time really. I felt super yucky on the bus home yesterday, and woke up this morning feeling naff, so decided to allow myself to get better and call in sick. Naturally by the afternoon I felt much better and got that hideous guilty feeling that perhaps I should have gone to work after all. That always happens, but I knew this morning that if I went in, I wouldn't have lasted the day.

This afternoon I had a little pamper to try and feel a bit more human. I got some Soap and Glory goodies for Christmas, including The Daily Smooth body butter and Scrub, Actually body scrub and Girligo body mist, which I slathered and sprayed, in the appropriate order. I really like Soap and Glory products, they smell delightful, work really well and are really good value. They are nearly always on offer in Boots, they're 3for2 at the moment (GO!).

I've also been trying to be better at moisturising. I received some gorgeous Elemis day and night creams for Christmas so I've been using them as religiously as I can remember to. Elemis products are pricier at around £40, but even after using for a short time, I can see why, my skin is silky baby soft at a time of year when it should by rights be feeling much crustier!

Pampering wouldn't be pampering without a big fluffy robe to do it in. Another Christmas gift for me, I was well and truly spoilt this year! My last robe was a fleece one, a Christmas gift about 12 years ago so I was long overdue a new one, and I found this one in Debenhams and directly my mum promptly to it. It's so soft, and makes me feel relaxed and cosy within seconds of putting it on.

Lovely Fluffy goodness
I've had a fairly busy old time recently, work has been manic with various team members being off and the weekend passed in a blur as usual. Here's what I've been doing:

Watching: Green Wing (old school hilarity), Breaking Bad (stunningly gripping, or grippingly stunning, I haven't decided), Movie 43 (odd. Very odd).

Listening: More Les Mis and showtunes courtesy of Elaine Paige - yesterday I had EPOS to thank for the fact that I had Hakuna Matata in my head ALL day.

Eating: An indulgent day on Saturday, I ate in Food for Thought which is an amazing vegetarian cafe/restaurant in Covent Garden, I've been going there for over 10 years, fantastically filling and healthy food. I also ate an amazing pork and chorizo burger at The Calf in Clapham on Saturday night. There might have even been a naughty cake in Le Pain Quotidien in between, but who can resist a chocolate fondant slice? Sunday, even naughtier, I popped to my good friend Laurel's who treated me to some amazing cake which she's entering into a competition. I'd post a picture but I don't want to compromise her chances of winning (and to my mind, she's got a blimmin' good chance)!
Food for Thought
Buying: Payday this month could not have come quickly enough. I treated myself to a case for my tablet which is on it's way from Hong Kong, as below, in my favourite shade of blue. Once it comes I might even be brave enough to leave the house with my tablet. 
Super kitsch tablet case
Laughing: This Tumblr is hilarious and combines two of my favourite things, Les Mis and Mean Girls

Losing: My efforts in walking, WeightWatching (apart from this weekend, ahem) and abstaining from booze have culminated in me losing 11lb as at last Wednesday. I'm weighing in this Friday to get the final end of Dryathlon result so I can pester my colleagues to sponsor me pound for pound!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Silky smooth hair

On Saturday I had my hair cut at Denbury Hair Lounge on Holloway Road. I'd had it done there before in October, when I had a Wowcher for a cut, treatment and blowdry for just £19. At the time I had just a trim, which met my needs, as I am trying to keep my hair long for my upcoming (ahem...Summer 2014) wedding. At the time they told me that if I came back within 3 months, they'd give me the same price again for a cut and blowdry, so I just had to make the most of this price and go back this weekend.

This time Maela cut my hair, she is a very sweet Spanish girl. Her English isn't great but she understood what I wanted and I really liked the way she cut my hair. I just asked for a trim but for her to thin it out a bit as it does get a bit heavy at the bottom. We didn't have much conversation, but I noticed that while Maela cut my hair, she was smiling the whole time, she obviously really likes her job! I was really pleased with the results, my hair felt so light and healthy afterwards, which I always have after going to the hairdresser but I find so very hard to recreate at home.

Glam location shot: in front of my fridge after the cut
In an attempt to keep the condition up, I've just changed to John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Multi-Tone Revealing shampoo and conditioner too, which felt delightfully luxurious when I lathered up at 6:55 this morning, much more than my usual shampoo (i.e. the cheapest thing going!). After washing, I used a small amount of Rusk Str8 Anti-Frizz and Anti-Curl Lotion and then roughly blowdried my hair (I rarely have the time to do it properly) and then added a little John Frieda Liquid Shine. My hair remained straight and sleek all day. Even though I walked 4 1/2 and then worked all day, I actually feel like I've just walked out the salon all over again. I am terrible at keeping up a haircare routine beyond shampooing and conditioning, and terrible at using products, I always end up using too much and making my hair feel greasy, but this one seems manageable with petit pois sized amounts!

I have always been super cheap when it comes to toiletries, buying own brand, low cost items, and while I still don't think it's bad to be frugal in some areas, I am starting to recognise the areas that I should splash out more in. My top tip for finding the products you like at the best prices is to use My Supermarket's Health and Beauty shop, where you can compare prices of toiletries and cosmetics in Boots, Superdrug, Ocado and the main supermarkets. Immediately I can see that the shampoo and conditioner are available on a 3 for £10 deal at Asda, from my sofa! I love this tool, as it gives me the choice between shopping online, or making a beeline for the store rather than traipsing around in the rain looking for the best price.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Early Christmas presents for me....

Christmas time is a time for giving, and people have given me some amazing gifts already so thank you! Today my boss gave me this Bare Minerals lipgloss set. I've sniffed 'em all and they smell gorgeous, and come in great, wearable shades.

I also have been given some of the amazing Lotus biscuit spread by my friend and flatmate. We love this stuff, and she sprung it on me at the weekend after we'd said we weren't doing gifts! It's available at Le Pain Quotidien or at a much more reasonable price from Waitrose. Someone get me a spoon....

On a serious note, Christmas is a time for giving and for being with the ones you love, although getting stuff is always a nice little bonus! My sister is in Australia this year and it will be the first time I've not seen her at Christmas. My dad, as mentioned has had two serious bike accidents this year and is only just out of his backbrace, and my beautiful Grandmother had a heart attack last weekend. At present, the hospital are saying that they will be able to let her out on Christmas Eve, and she will be able to spend Christmas at home with us, and I really hope this is the case. This Christmas is definitely about spending time with loved ones. To my family.... cheers!