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!


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Who doesn't like chocolate?!

"Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world's perfect food" 
Michael Levine

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the gift of chocolate, and whilst there is nothing wrong with the humble Terry's Chocolate Orange or a box of Quality Street, for the ultimate indulgent treat to surprise the chocaholic in your life, look no further than ESPA and their 'Hot Chocolate' Christmas gift-set {£40.00}*.

Beautifully presented in a purple gift box, this gift promises decadence and tranquillity for the lucky recipient - with a full size ESPA Restorative Candle and a beautiful 250g tin of William Curley Gianduja Hot Chocolate - arguably perfect companions. 

The Restorative Candle {worth £28.00}, with it's scent of palmerosa, sweet orange and lavender, is relaxing, calming and tranquil, casting it's warm glow upon whomever graces its presence. It's not often I can warrant having a 'posh' candle alight in my toddler proofed home, so this provides the perfect opportunity to unwind of an evening, and would be a welcome gift to anyone leading a busy lifestyle. Settling down on the sofa in front of a Christmas movie, feet tucked into cosy socks and a steaming mug of the hazelnut Gianduja Hot Chocolate really is my idea of the perfect mid-week treat.

EPSA gifts are available to purchase from Liberty {the worlds most beautiful store, in my opinion}, selected Harvey Nichols, House of Fraser Westfield and ESPA spas worldwide.

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.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Sssh... It's Sleepy Time!

"'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse"

Sleep... aah, what a wonderful thing. For a borderline insomniac with a toddler struggling to make the transition from a cot to a bed, sleep is a commodity not taken for granted in my household.

 This Works Deep Sleep Bath Soak {200g}* & This Works Sleep Balm {10g}*

Anything that can promise the onset of peaceful slumber sounds like heaven to me, so these sleep inducing offerings from This Works are practically perfect. Available from the lust-worthy Handpicked Collection website, this combo is packed full of relaxing lavender,  well known for it's ability to help conjure up zzz's and send you off into dreamland.

This Works Sleep Balm {£11.95} is a '100% natural multi-purpose balm', designed to be massaged gently onto pulse points {think wrists, temples} where it's lavender, monoi and rose essential oils will actively work to help calm you - hopefully the makings of a restful nights sleep. The very act of massaging this onto my pulse points is relaxing, and although I'm not overly enamoured with the scent of lavender, there is no denying that it does help to restore peace and calm. Being a multi-purpose balm, the Sleep Balm is also fairly nourishing on dry patches, such as cuticles, elbows and rough old knees, making it a great product to travel with.

This Works Deep Sleep Bath Soak {£21.95} is a glorious tub of bath salts, with an overwhelming aroma of lavender, vetivert and wild camomile essential oils, that makes a bedtime bath deliciously luxurious as well as completely relaxing. Slipping into a hot bath can be like therapy for me, as soon as my body is enveloped in the silky smooth hot water, it's as if all of my stresses and strains drift {temporarily} away - adding a bath soak such as this only ever adds to the healing and soothing properties the humble tub can provide. Honestly, the only problem I find is actually getting out of the bath and into bed before falling asl.....eep. Zzz.

Christmas might only be 6 windows on the advent calendar away, but there is still time to pick up last minute, thoughtful gifts. Take it from me, what better thing to provide than the gift of a good nights sleep?! If you can add a night in a hotel into the mix even better... You can hop, skip and jump over to Handpicked Collection to sneak these peaceful treats into your online basket - I recommend also checking out the 'Gifts for Her' page, and maybe even treating yourself too.

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.