Sunday 23 November 2014

Christmas Space Saving Hacks with AbleSkills & Victoria's Vintage

Hi everyone! Today I've got a little bit of a different post for you. I've been following Victoria at Victoria's Vintage for a couple of years now, and have always been in awe of her numerous competition wins! When she posted about this fantastic competition she is hosting in association with AbleSkills, I knew I had to get involved!

The main jist of the competition is to create a Christmas DIY, making use of a small space. As soon as I read it, I knew exactly how I could put my spin on the requirement. Our lounge is very long and narrow, so not very practical for a giant real Christmas tree. We usually just have a small artificial tree, but this year I decided to do something a little different. 

We have a decorative tree in our lounge all year around, so I decided to jazz it up a little!  The tree fits perfectly into a little cove next to our fire place, utilising a previously wasted space. After an afternoon of creativity, this is what I ended up with...

Decorations wise, I used fairy lights, plastic jewels, mini pink baubles, and glass jars with tiny artificial flowers inside.

I also bought some larger pink baubles that didn't quite sit right on the tree, so not wanting them to go to waste, I filled some decorative "fish bowl-shaped" containers with them instead!

I am so pleased with how our "Christmas tree" has turned out, and cost under £10 to decorate! I now feel like it's really almost Christmas (because what's Christmas without some sort of tree?!) and I've received so many complements on it already!

I hope I've shown how you can have a "Christmas tree" even if you are short on space! Huge thanks to Victoria and Ableskills for running this competition, and if you feel like participating, you can do so here.


Monday 31 March 2014

3D Hearts For Your Nails?! Kleancolor Twinkly Love

I first discovered this nail polish on Lily's (llymlrs) instagram and I fell in love! After a quick scour on ebay, I found it and bought straight away without a hesitation! Kleancolor "Twinkly Love" is a thick, clear nail polish embedded with hundreds of tiny silver, blue and pink hearts. I can safely say I am in love with it, and it was definitely worth the wait, coming from America.

How pretty is it?! I am completely head over heels with it, and it was a bargain too! I managed to find it on ebay from this seller for just £3.83 including postage, and it was coming from America! What's more, it arrived just 10 days after I ordered which is pretty impressive. Now, the only downside to the nail polish is it isn't the easiest to apply. In my experience, it definitely cannot be applied as you would a normal nail polish, as it's a bit hit or miss, as to how many hearts come out. I like to use a cocktail stick to pick the hearts from the brush and dot them on to my nails. This way, I can control how many are on each nail, and also the colours of the hearts. This may sound like a painstaking task, but it is very easy once you get the hang of it. 

As applying the hearts is a very intricate process, I would definitely save it for special occasions. Nevertheless, I love it so much and have had so many complements from wearing it. I think it looks gorgeous with my favourite nail polish recently, Essie's Where's My Chauffeur? and Essie's 3 way glaze is the perfect thickness to ensure the hearts are well-bonded to the nail. As the hearts lie quite flat on the nail, you actually get quite a long-lasting look. I've had two days wear out of mine already with none falling off, so am very pleased!

Kleancolor Twinkly Love is available from this US ebay seller for £3.83 including postage.

Do you love this top coat as much as I do?


Saturday 22 February 2014

Banishing the Blemishes #004: Balance Me

Hi everyone! Part 4 of my Banishing the Blemishes series comes from Balance Me - a natural skincare company who seem to be popping up here, there and everywhere recently! They pride themselves on creating natural yet sophisticated products, bursting with pure natural extracts, essential oils and natural actives. I was sent the Congested Skin Serum and Radiance Facial Oil to try out...

Now the weather's getting a bit warmer, it has been the perfect time for me to put the Congested Skin Serum to the test. Much like many others, my skin turns in to an oily mess in the summer, which is not a good look!

 The Congested Skin Serum is an antibacterial gel that contains lots of beautiful extracts such as lavender, eucalyptus and aloe vera to soothe and moisturise the skin, as well as fighting blemishes. I like to apply it to cleansed skin, and it acts as both a light moisturiser and a spot treatment, which is fantastic. It is perfect for use twice a day, as it doesn't at all dry out my skin. I do however like to apply SPF over it during the day, but my skin feels fine without it none-the-less. It is definitely very good for clearing congestion, which I suffer from quite badly on my chin. However, I do find for bigger spots, my skin needs a spot treatment in addition to this. I will definitely continue to use this but only on areas such as my chin and t-zone, where I'm prone to congestion. This would be a fantastic substitute for any chemical exfoliators, as it does a really good job of gently clearing up congested skin, with no irritation whatsoever in my case. It also smells delicious and is beautifully packaged WITH a pump dispenser - what's not to love? You can buy the Congested skin serum here for just £16!

Alongside the serum, I've been trying out their Radiance Facial Oil. Having tried several facial oils in the past (such as jojoba and Clarins Lotus) with good results, I was really excited to give this a go. Contrary to belief, oils can be very beneficial for oily skins as they work to balance out the skin's oil production, while smoothing and moisturising the skin. The Radiance facial oil contains a potent blend of Amazonian buriti, moringa and camellia oils, that feed skin lacking lustre, leaving it feeling balanced, hydrated and comfortable. I really like the roller-ball applicator, which makes the oil ideal for carrying around in my handbag, ready for when my skin (particularly on my forehead and nose) gets a little dry. It also dispenses the perfect amount of product, to ensure you're not left with an oily mess post-application. I like to apply the oil to my forehead (prone to dryness), as well as my chin, where most of my scarring is. Following using the oil religiously for 4 weeks, I can definitely see an improvement in my scarring. A combination of the oil and massaging my skin has been really beneficial for my scarring, and I can't wait to see the results following continued use! You can buy the oil in rollerball form and from the bottle here.

Have you tried any of Balance Me's products?


Wednesday 21 August 2013

Hydraluron From Indeed Labs - The Every-Skin-Type Must Have!

We've all been there, freaking out over oily skin and reaching for the harshest, most stripping products to get rid of it. Truth is, when you remove all of the skin's natural oils, it goes in to overdrive and actually produces more oil - it's a vicious circle. It wasn't until I started getting interested in skincare (and frustrated with my own skin!) that I researched and found this out, and my whole skincare routine completely changed. I am now as gentle as possible with my skin, and I have seen massive improvements as a result. 

One thing that I thought my skin would never ever need was hydration. Afterall, with naturally oily skin and twice daily application of moisturiser, surely that's enough? Wrong. Standard moisturisers cannot penetrate the skin deeply enough to provide sufficient hydration, and as many of us oily skin girls are very frugal with moisturiser application anyway, this leads to dehydrated skin. Dehydrated skin cannot repair itself as efficiently as when it's hydrated, leading to numerous skin problems.

Hydraluron by Indeed Labs contains hyaluronic acid, which can penetrate to the deeper levels of the skin, and therefore delivers thorough hydration to your skin, where it really counts. Infact, it can hold up to 1,000x its weight in water, making it an incredible ingredient for hydrating and plumping the skin, as well as refining the overall texture. I use Hydraluron in the place of a serum at the night, so after cleanser and toner (Serozinc for me, review here), but before moisturiser. It disappears in to the skin within a couple of minutes and that's it. You don't necesserily wake up the next morning and think "Wow!", as if you were using Alpha H's Liquid Gold. Instead, it's more of a gradual effect. Your moisturiser will glide on to your skin, it will glow and feel plump and youthful. I have noticed that breakouts calm down and heal twice as fast as before, which is amazing as the red marks left behind after spots are, in my opinion, more annoying than the actual spot! Hydraluron is also supposed to be fab for smoothing out fine lines, but I can't comment on that as I don't have any.

I think Hydraluron would be beneficial to everyone - hydration is so important for preventing facial ageing, and preventation is better than cure, right? 

Have you tried Hydraluron?


Thursday 8 August 2013

Avene Cleanance Exfoliating Mask - Review

Chemical exfoliators are a hot topic in the blogosphere as of late. Gentle, low concentrations of those such as glycolic, salicylic and lactic acids, which gently remove dead skin cells and renew the skin, tend to be favoured for problem skin as they minimise the irritation that physical exfoliators can cause. Following my success with Avene's whole Cleanance range, I was eager to try the latest addition to their acne-fighting arsenal, the exfoliating mask.

I love to use face masks twice a week, as they are the perfect excuse to ensure I get a little bit of time to myself to relax during a busy week. Combining effective yet gentle AHA and BHA with kaolin, this absorbant mask is perfect for detoxing and renewing sluggish skin. It also contains miniscule grains to manually exfoliate the skin. I must admit, it took me a couple of uses to even realise they were there because they really are that small and gentle! Although it isn't branded as a multi-use product, I think it would also be perfect as a gentle exfoliating cleanser if you don't have time to use it as a mask.

The mask dries up any impurities extremely fast, while refining the texture of the skin and leaving it silky soft. What really sets this mask apart from others is how it doesn't dry solid leaving your face feeling cemented and uncomfortable. Instead, after washing off, my skin feels lightly moisturised, and not tight and dried out like many other masks. Of course, it does contain acids so always follow up the next day with at least spf 20 (which you should already be doing!)

Since using the mask, my scarring has definitley reduced, my face glows and the texture is a lot smoother. For a really intensive treatment when my skin is playing up, I like to mix the mask with a pea sized amount of Avene's spot treatment, Triacneal (reviewed here). They really are a dream team when used together, and my skin is a lot calmer and has been put back in its place by the following morning. All in all, another fantastic product.

If you are suffering with acne, I strongly recommend you give the Cleanance range a go. It is very affordable and the products are fantastic - the reason my skin is now under control. I always have the range on standby for skincare emergencies and will continue to repurchase them. You can buy Avene's cleanance mask from Boots for £15, or Escentual, where it currently has 10% off.

Have you tried anything from Avene?


Wednesday 24 July 2013

The Big "Muslin vs Flannel Debate" - Why I'm A Flannel Convert...

I've always had a sort of irrational fear of flannels - the sight of one would bring back memories of childhood, where my Mum would make me wash my face with one, and I've hated them ever since. A couple of years ago, after trying Liz Earle's infamous Cleanse and Polish, I introduced the muslin cloth in to my skincare routine. While they are fabulous for the first few uses, after a couple of washes, they are pretty much soft and useless. The past few days, I swapped  my trusty muslin for a Washi flannel (part of the Skin polishing set), and I am converted.

From using the Washi for the past few weeks, I have come to the realisation that muslins are useless. Girls, put down your muslins and order yourselves a set of these bad boys! Thicker than the muslin, they are much more effective at retaining heat, so your skin gets more of a spa-like steam with use. They are deceivingly gentle, unlike a brand new muslin, which is scratch-your-face-off rough. When I first tried the washi, I didn't really feel like it was doing anything - it's that soft on the skin. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my skin was glowing and extremely soft, even softer than after using a muslin - score! You really have to try it to believe it, but be incredibly gentle because that really is all you need for optimum results. After using the Washi just once, all of my useless, soft muslins went in the bin - seriously. Being a muslin devotee for years, if that's not a sign of a good product, then I don't know what is. You can buy a pack of 5 Washi's here for just £5.25, a lot cheaper than Liz Earle muslins!

Along with the washi face cloths, I received their skin polishing towel. If you suffer from skin problems such as acne, it is so important to have a seperate towel for your face, and to change it regularly. These towels are the ideal size so you can change it a couple of times a week, and not fill the washing machine up while doing so. They have a similar texture to the flannel and are to be used on damp skin to gently buff away any dead skin cells and leave the skin very glowy. It is very nice to use, but I wouldn't say it's a necessity if you are already regularly exfoliating. However, if you don't currently use a seperate towel for your face, you need one of these. And they're only £2.95 here, what have you got to lose?

If you fancy giving both the washi face cloths and polishing towel a go, they do a set which includes 4 face cloths and a towel, here, for just £5.95, usually £6.95. The products come packaged in the most gorgeous tissue paper, with information cards and even stickers - it is like christmas receiving your washi goodies (as if you didn't need another excuse to buy a set!). 

Which team are you on - flannel or muslin?


Friday 12 July 2013

Marc B "Millie" - Zara Office City Bag Lookalike

Being familiar with marc b bags from their range at Topshop, I was very excited when I was contacted about reviewing one of their bags on my blog. You can imagine my excitement when I spotted Millie - the Zara Office City lookalike. Multiple compartments for the OCD freak inside of me? Check. Bags of space (see what I did there?)? Check. Gorgeous lining and an additional long strap? Check. I was sold.

Owning both bags, I find myself reaching for Millie the most, and here's why...

1. The shoulder straps, which are actually long enough to fit over your shoulder!
One thing that really annoys me about the Zara bag is how the straps are so small that you can only wear the bag on the crook of your arm, which is ok for a day shopping, but when it comes to lugging everything and the kitchen sink to college, it just doesn't work. Millie's straps are the perfect length to be worn comfortably on your shoulder.

2. The soft, "leathery" finish
While both Millie and the Zara bag aren't actually leather, the feel of the Millie bag is so much nicer. Very soft, meaning the bag has a very nice slouch effect, whereas the Zara bag is so structured it's been mistaken for a briefcase on numerous outings. I find the Zara bag to be scratchy in texture, which isn't very nice.

3. Lots of space, depth-wise
This is the major plus for me of Millie compared to the Zara bag. The middle section of Millie resembles a bucket bag, which I love as it has so much more room than the Zara bag. Although it being notoriously a very big, I find myself quickly filling up the Zara bag, but Millie hardly ever looks full. The shape of Millie is a lot nicer as well, and definitely more feminine.

4. Variety of colours
I know Zara did bring out a tan version of the office city bag, but it seems to have disappeared off the face of the retail world. Millie is readily available in both tan and black

While Millie doesn't have a padded laptop compartment like its Zara counterpart, do you really need one? That's what I thought.

The only downside to Millie is that you can't fit an a4 folder inside, which may be a problem for some. You can fit a4 books if placed in portrait, but unfortunately no folders (boo hoo!) This doesn't stop me from loving Millie, and I've had so many compliments for the few days I've had her.

All in all, a gorgeous, good quality bag with a luxurious leather-like feel and slouched, femenine shape. Lots of zipped compartments which are very handy and a leopard-print lining. Additional long strap and gold detailing to finish.

If you fancy your own Millie, you can buy her in either tan or black from the marc b website for £65 with free UK delivery.

Which is your favourite marc b bag?


Sunday 7 July 2013

H&M Bikini Set Bargains - As Low as £2!

If you haven't got a bargain from H&M using their plethora of online discount codes, you are missing out. I've been using them for a good year now (they never seem to expire!), but my latest goodies are definitely 
the best bargains...

At the checkout, enter the codes:

1304 - £5 off your order
0241 - 25% off most expensive item

Using both of these codes allowed me to get the second bikini set for a mere £2, excluding postage! If that isn't a good deal, I don't know what is... One thing I will say though, H&M sizes come up tiny! Either try on what you want in store prior to ordering, or order at least a size bigger.

Are you going to take advantage of the H&M discount codes?


Monday 24 June 2013

Warehouse: Prom Style for us Tall Girls!

Standing at 5"11, finding an aptly-fitting prom dress was always a nightmare. Luckily, Warehouse have a fabulous range of floor-length dresses perfect for us leggy ladies, just in time for prom season! I've created a prom-perfect look using one of my favourite Warehouse dresses, the Embellished Yoke Maxi.

I literally squealed a little when I came across this dress. Not only is it bang on trend with the embellished neckline and neutral colour, but look how long it is on the 5"10 model - you could sweep the floor with it! Warehouse even have a clever tool which allows you to virtually try on items. The Fitting Room allows you to create your own online body, using measurements such as your height, weight, hips and waist, which you can save for use in the future. It will then suggest the most appropriate size for you and show you how the dress will look on. Here's an example using my measurements...  

Absolutely genius! A must for us tall ladies - definitely worth a try before you purchase to avoid disappointment of a dress being just-a-little too short. Here are a selection of other lovely "tall-friendly" Warehouse dresses worn by the same 5"10 model. You can check out the other lovely Warehouse dresses here.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Where do you go for your extra-long dresses?


Thursday 20 June 2013

ShopStyle's #festivalchallenge - My Entry!

If you're a regular reader, you'll know how much I love creating outfit sets. When Gwen contacted me about the ShopStyle Festival Shopping Challenge, I knew I had to become involved! The competition is running across ShopStyle UK, France and Germany, where one overall winner will receive a huge £1,000 cash prize to spend on a new wardrobe, and two runners up will each receive £200 to spend on their outfit. Amazing right?! The lovely Natasha is the UK ambassador, and you can check out her blog post for more details on how to become involved here. You can see my entry below...

Total: £199.47
(Could I have been any closer to the £200 budget?!)

I know I'm being a little hopeful for nice weather with my outfit, but a festival to me connotes glaring sunshine, blazing music and short shorts! Fringing is essential for any festival look - I love this H&M multi-toned bralette for its burgandy and orange hues. A pair of short shorts are essential to show off tanned pins and to also stay cool! Topshop is my go-to shop for denim, especially for their Tall section, and they certainly do not disappoint with these ripped hot pants. This gorgeous aztec-style kimono is ideal for stylishly shielding you from the sun whilst watching your favourite bands in awe, also from Topshop. 

I completed my look with my favourite New Look gladiator sandals and sunglasses, and of course a big floppy hat - a must for festival chic. The paint swirl blossom bag from Paul's Boutique is the perfect size and style for festivals - big enough for a couple of essentials but not obtrusive.

I went for a boho-chic style for my festival outfit, and I am really pleased with how it's turned out. I would definitely wear this outfit myself, and could see the kimono becoming my summer staple should I be lucky enough to win! If you decide to enter this amazing competition, you have until tomorrow at midnight to enter, and please leave me the link to your look, I would love to see it!

Do you like my festival outfit?