Thursday, 28 February 2013

Black doesn't mean boring...

I don't profess to know much about fashion, but I do know that one of the key trends this season is Monochrome {I know this because the clothes in shops and glossy mags tell me so, clever, right?!}. I also know that I wear a lot of black, and seem to be naturally drawn to monochrome colour schemes {if we can call black and white a scheme?!}. I even prefer black and white photography. To me, black is far from boring.

As a busy working single Mum, I need clothes that are smart and flattering, yet effortless to wear and easy to coordinate. With this in mind, and inspired by some new work trousers I  recently purchased, I burnt a hole in my virtual credit card and did some online wish-list shopping...

I tend to use my nail polish and make up to inject a bit more colour vibrancy into my day to day appearance - I probably have more nail polish than I do clothes! I'm trying to make more informed choices about the clothes I buy, opting for classic, simple pieces that will last, and hoping I have the pennies to supplement them every once in a while if I feel uninspired.

And just to prove I don't always wear black... I totally fell in love with these grey studded ballet shoes! Grey is a colour...honestly, it is!

Disclaimer: Sponsored post. All content created myself. 
All items and photos chosen from the New Look website. Some links may be affiliated.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

25 facts about me...

1) I'm a July baby and was always the youngest in my year at school. Having a birthday just after the start of the summer holidays meant I never had to endure sitting through lessons though!

2) I am absolutely terrified of spiders. I simply can not deal with them. Tiny ones are just about bearable, but any bigger than my thumbnail and I'll run out of the room screaming. I am trying my hardest to hide my fear from Jamie - I think perhaps I shall train him to search and destroy?!

3) I'm newly single for the first time in 9 years. 2013 has served up some major life changes, but I'm looking upon them as a chance for a fresh start and a new beginning.

4) I take hundreds of photos. I Instagram constantly, and fill up my iPhone memory on a monthly basis, seeing the photographic opportunity in almost every moment. I simply point and click, but I love the feeling of capturing a moment and preserving it for posterity.

5) I paint my nails on an almost daily basis.

6) I haven't ever been to Paris, and I am absolutely desperate to go. I want to be a horribly stereotypical tourist and take hundreds of photos of the Eiffel Tower whilst munching on a baguette.

7) I'm actually pretty shy, although no one who meets me ever believes that. I've grown in confidence as I've grown up, and going to University was certainly the catalyst that boosted my self esteem and gradual self belief. Being confident is not something that comes naturally to me. 

8) I laugh a lot, and have a pretty immature and sarcastic sense of humour. Fart jokes are almost guaranteed to make me laugh. Reading Damn You Auto Correct makes me giggle until my sides hurt.

9) I was quite the tomboy when I was little. I used to play with two boys that lived on my street, making mud pies, building dens in the bushes outside my childhood home, and generally getting rather grubby. I also used to make them play 'Mums & Dad's'...I was always the Dad!

10) I have this little sister Lucy. She is small and very funny. Sometimes we take silly photos of ourselves.*

11) I'm a bookworm, and when I have the time I love nothing more than to immerse myself into a fictional world.

12) I have never broken a bone in my body {hope I'm not tempting fate}, despite being ludicrously clumsy.

13) I have lived in Surrey my whole life, although I am often surprised when strangers comment on my 'posh' accent.

14) I got my first tattoo in 2012, and am already eager to get another. Sorry Mum!

15) Being a Mother is the hardest thing I've ever done, whilst simultaneously also being the very best. Nothing can truly prepare you for what you will endure for your little person. Jamie will always be my No.1 man.

16) I really love music, and how instantly it can transform my mood. My heart most definitely lies with drum & bass.

17) Speaking of music, I went through a 'goth'/'emo' stage in my teens, and drove my parents crazy with the sounds of heavy metal blaring out of my stereo. Even now if I hear a System of a Down, Slipknot or Korn track it is an instant hit of nostalgia.

18) I would dislike living in a city. I need to be somewhere with fresh air, near green fields, woodland, winding country lanes and small, cosy pubs.

19) Having said that, I was never much of an outdoorsy person {although I am more so now, especially since having had Jamie, who loves to be outside}. My Mum used to call me a troglodyte because I would be hidden away inside all through the summer!

20) I am utterly obsessed with Christmas. It is such a magical time of year.

21) I didn't realise I had a 'type', but over Christmas a close {male} friend identified whist watching MTV that I appear to - 'rough and ready', tattooed/pierced, stubble, a skinhead or messy hair and a toned body. Well, what can I say?! 

22) I am embarrassingly awful at maths. Numbers are my nemesis, words are my friends.

23) I have a fair amount of phobias, but by far the most irrational are my {genuine} fears of cheesecake and dinosaurs.

24) I'm pretty obsessed with Pinterest, and 'pin' almost daily.

25) I really like the 'Keep Calm' trend, however annoying or outdated it may be now. It is just a motto that appeals to me, I find it inspiring {my dedicated Pinterest board probably attests to that}.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the websites mentioned here. Some links may be affiliated. All photographs and opinions are my own. 
*Kudos to anyone who spotted the ode to Charlie & Lola here! Jamie and I are huge fans of the books.

Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 Favourite Products

There are but a few hours of 2012 left, meaning there is just time for me to sneak in with a post showcasing my top stand out products of 2012. There were, of course, many products I continued to use and love over the year that haven't quite made it into this post, but those have been featured in review or favourite posts over the past 12 months.

{Poor quality lighting courtesy of the poor quality English weather!}
Drum roll and applause please, as the 2012 winners take to the stage to claim their accolades...

 Holy grail foundation and concealer duo: Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation & Esteé Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place Concealer SPF10

 Facial skincare fabulousness: Caudalíe Beauty Elixir, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat & Hydraluron

 High end make up delight: Chanel Illusion D'Ombre in Illusoire

 Shampoo of wonder: Clynol Colour & Care Reflex Silver Shampoo

"You smell intoxicating" perfume: Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb

Brow saviours: Liz Earle Brow Pencil {Fair} & Brow Brush 

 "Oh this old thing" eyeshadows: MAC Smoke & Mirrors quad & No7 Stay Perfect eyeshadow in Mink

Natural flush blush: MAC Well Dressed 

Sort my skin out face mask: Manuka Doctor ApiNourish Rejuvenating Face Mask 

Nail polish porn: Nails Inc OMP, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat, Essie Angora Cardi & Topshop Adrenalin 

Tools of the trade: Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman 

My lips but better: Revlon Colourstay Lip Butters 

The DON hand cream: Soap & Glory Hand Food

So there we have it folks. Another year, we all survived the end of the world, and will awake to start 2013 fresh faced, primped, preened and manicured to within an inch of our lives!


Sunday, 4 November 2012

October Favourites {2012}

I've got stuck in somewhat of a make up and beauty rut of late, and most of the products that feature in my October favourites are actually things that have been trusted staples for a while now, but I often forget to mention. I've been {very loosely} trying to operate on a 'one in, one out' beauty product basis, which often means some things get overlooked whilst I desperately scrape the dregs of another product up.


MAC Eye Shadow Quad {self made}
Top left ~ Patina; Top right ~ Carbon; Bottom left ~ Shroom; Bottom right ~ Satin Taupe
I'm trying to make more of an effort with my eye make up again, and whilst daily work make is applied more with ease and speed in mind, if I'm off out I've tried to use more than just a simple wash of shadow over the lid. I've dug out my {self made} MAC eyeshadow quads again, and my 'neutrals' are always my most used. Satin Taupe is easily my favourite MAC eye shadow, and looks great paired with Patina, with Shroom in the inner corner and as a brow highlight. I often use Carbon to line my eyes, or darken up the crease and outer corner shadow of an evening. Simple, reliable and effortless.

Clinique High Impact Mascara
I've lost track of the amount of mini Clinique High Impact Mascaras I have tried over the years, so often are they included as a GWP or magazine freebie - which is how I acquired the most recent tube. Previously I've been significantly underwhelmed, and chucked them in the bin after one or two uses, however, I've persevered this time and actually ended up wearing this mascara almost every single day of October {there's a fair amount of product in this small tube actually too!}. It separates my lashes well, holds a good curl and provides definition that doesn't flake. I have found it transfers under my bottom lashes slightly throughout the day, and wouldn't purchase a full size, but I've enjoyed actually using one up for once!

Essie Bahama Mama
Another month, another Essie nail polish. I am fast becoming addicted to Essie, and would quite happily contemplate streamlining my collection and have it largely compiled of just the beautiful shades in the Essie diffusion line. Bahama Mama is just stunning, a "warm, rich, creamy dark plum" that perfectly complements autumn, and makes me feel more stylish and elegant. I love darker shades on me, and find it to look good on long or short nails.

Korres Pomegranate Lip Butter
As a recent convert to the infamous Korres Lip Butters, I too can now loudly sing their praises. I don't think they are the most hydrating lip balms I've ever tried, however, they leave my lips feeling soft and subtly tinted - I do love a good multi-tasker! They smell great and the pigmentation is surprisingly good for a tint. These have fast become a handbag and desk essential for me.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal in 004 Taupe & 005 Nude
These purchases were entirely enabled by Meg {stalk her on YouTubeTwitter or her blog}, and I'm so pleased I got hold of them. Marketed as "long-wear waterproof eye liner" the 'Scandaleyes' are perfect for wearing along the waterline, or even for smudging out and wearing as an eyeshadow or base. They have a soft and creamy texture, and really do have decent longevity - I wear the Nude shade on my waterline to help me look more awake, and it's still detectable in some form at the end of the day - albeit not quite as perfect as when it was applied. The Taupe shade lends itself perfectly to a gentle smokey eye, and it's dirty mauve brown tones are fantastic for autumn style.

Revlon Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie & 17 Mirror Shine in Belle
I've been leaning toward more berry toned, darker lipsticks now that autumn is upon us, and dug out some staple favourites from my humble collection. Both of these shades are effortlessly wearable and help me to look {and feel} instantly more 'together'. I find it easier to coordinate the rest of my make up when I'm wearing a slightly darker, more berry toned lipstick too, so do tend to gravitate toward them.


Mama Mio OMega Body Buff*
You all know I like a good scrubbing, and there aren't many scrubs I don't like or haven't used. However, I'd never before tried a scrub that is designed to be applied to DRY skin, BEFORE you shower - enter the OMega Body Buff. The pumice grains are tiny, and the scrub feels 'dry' - in comparison to my normal sugar/salt scrubs - meaning that it's not messy or sliding off all over the place whilst you hop around the bathroom buffing yourself. It's a great time-saving product, that I tend to apply whilst waiting for the shower to warm up, and it leaves my skin feeling smooth and actually fairly moisturised. As scrubs go it's pretty pricey, but used once or twice a week I think it's a great product.


Schwarzkopf Professional BC Oil Miracle Finishing Treatment*
I've been using this Oil Miracle Finishing Treatment for months now, and really love it. Initially I preferred my Moroccan Oil, so was attempting to use this up first, although I've ended up rather loving it, and my hair feels so much nicer when I use this. I believe there is actually a 'light' version of this product, however, I find this to be lightweight and barely detectable after use. It's a relatively thick oil, that I run through the ends of my hair when wet, before blow drying. My hair absorbs it instantly, it helps to keep my dry ends soft and tamed, and makes styling a little more streamlined. I like the lingering scent when I waft my hair too, it's soft and clean but not overpowering.


iPhone 5
Early October meant the time had finally come for me to upgrade my phone contract, and I opted for the newly released iPhone 5 {after much terrible service, delays and faffing by O2}. I must admit to not being overly excited by new technology, I just wanted a faster, sleeker phone, and I've got to say it was worth the wait to get my hands on. 

iPhone 5 padded case 
To keep my shiny new phone safe, I invested in this gorgeous padded case, purchased from eBay {link to seller}. It's made out of a lovely Cath Kidston fabric 'Hampton Rose', and fastens with a loop and button at the top. It's excellent quality and superbly well made, meaning my phone is protected as well as stylishly housed.

Disclaimer: Products denoted with a * were provided for review consideration purposes. I am not affiliated with any of the brands or companies mentioned. All words, opinions and photographs are 100% my own, unless denoted by italics. Some links may be affiliated.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Spotlight On: Burberry Lip Velvet Long Wear Lipstick

Burberry Lip Velvet Long Wear Lipstick
Pink Apricot No.301* 

If the packaging and presentation of this product wasn't so darn sleek and stunning, I would apologise for the photo heavy post. However, I fear even the final selection of the 30+ photos I snapped of this beautiful creation, do not quite do it the justice I feel it deserves. The length of this post, for just one lipstick, is testament to my adoration for it too I am sure.

Pink Apricot {No.301} is one of twelve refined shades from the Burberry Beauty AW12 collection. The Lip Velvet's are "effortless long wear matte" lipsticks, with richly pigmented and hydrating shades, that leave a velvety finish to the lips. The lightweight, water resistant formula offers impressive longevity, without feeling heavy or overbearing.

For my first foray into the world of Burberry Beauty products, I was unapologetically impressed. From the subtle and classic Burberry print design on the packaging, the satisfying magnetic snap closure of the lid, to the embossing on the bullet itself, this product oozes high end make up sex appeal. It feels exquisite and excellent quality before you even apply it to your lips - and may I also add, the scent is reminiscent of Parma Violets, if a little more sophisticated.

As for the shade itself, Pink Apricot is indeed an accurate description - think warm, brown toned pink, combined with a gentle apricot, to create an incredibly wearable and flattering shade, that has the perfect amount of colour for these dreary days. From the shade to the packaging, this lipstick makes me feel less like a kid playing dress up, and more like the adult that I suppose I should embrace being. 

When applied to the lips, the consistency is thick, yet glides on smoothly, and I find this to be surprisingly hydrating for a matte lipstick, making it not only effortless to apply, but comfortable to wear too. Burberry Beauty designed this with a "breathable, protective and elegant" finish in mind, which I think they most certainly have achieved. I can also testify to it's long wearing properties pretty successfully, for the swatch I initially applied still remained visible after 3 washes with vigorous scrubbing each time - impressive.

Burberry Lip Velvet Long Wear Lipsticks retail at £22.50, and are available online or from various instore beauty counters {hint: check out the store locator to find your local stockist}. Someone should probably physically restrain me from visiting my local counter...

Have you tried any Burberry Beauty products? What are you lusting after from the AW12 collection?

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any brands/companies mentioned. All words, opinions and photographs are 100% my own. Some links may be affiliated. Products denoted with a * were provided for review consideration purposes.