Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas Eve Eve! Aka, Prep Night!

Hey everybody!

I hope you are all ok and not too sick of all the Mulled Wine and Quality Streets yet. Well tonight, is Christmas Eve Eve, the 23rd of December, one of my favourite nights of the year. Prep, pamper, prep, pamper, prep I go for Christttttmaaaasssss is almost here. Yay!!!!

I'm quite excited this year. Working in the community means I've seen my normal 'Boringsville' get Christmassy and Christmassy and yep, if we ignore the sheets of rain and battle through the demon winds, there is some kind of magic in how 'Boringsville' has almost morphed in to a winter wonderland with all those lights and carols playing in the distance. Not to mention, the smiles. Yep, get this, people are actually smiling. Ninety year old people smiling as much as their great-grand children, isn't Christmas wonderful?!!

Anyway here is my Christmas Prep plan for tonight...

1/ Ooh and aah at all the Christmas trees lights as I drive home, all those flashing Santa's and wobbling snowmen. My favourite is those large trees endorsed with twinkling light blue lights, they are subtle but always a dead cert to give me that Christmas shiver.

2/ Get in and turn the heating on. It is all right trying to save money (and we all know how good I am at that, ha!) but I work hard for my money and I'm not going to freeze besides I need some Coconut Oil to melt for step 4.

3/ Switch on computer, check Bloglovin' updates and You Tube with the Yankee Christmas Cookie Candle burning silently but oh so fragrantly beside me.

4/ Check Coconut Oil. Oops, I was only meant to soften it, it is almost liquid. Scoop what I can out and distribute through my hair staying back from the roots. See this post on using Coconut Oil as a hair treatment.

5/ Finish blog post and watch one or two more vlogs then planned before cleansing face with one of my favourite products, the Una Brennan Cleansing Oil followed by the Rose creamy cleanser and then apply the Microdermabrasion Polish from Botanics starting in cute little circles before losing my patience and dolloping on. Try to slow down and wash off with a flannel (so much more comforting in the winter then those muslin cloths) before applying The Sanctuary Thermal Charcoal Face Mask and starting to run bath as the Snowflake Cookie, another lovely Christmas candle from Yankee flickers away over the sink.

6/ Half a Honeybee Lush bath bomb later and I dip my toe in, ouch, that's friggin' hot. Jump back and almost slip on floor retreating quickly. The last thing I want for Christmas is a scold. As cold water cools the bath, I'll rinse the Charcoal Face Mask off the face and find that little salt scrub sachet from The Sanctuary that I brought in Boots. On locating it, I dither, this is the scrub that has given me a rash before. However, so many people rave about this scrub just how bad can it be? Besides, the rash thing was ages ago. I decide to take the risk (Note: I do NOT think YOU should do the same if you have reacted to a product before, it is very much a case of 'Do as I say and not as I do')

7/ Hop in bath as agile as I can manage, ie. sort of stumble my way in and plop down with a big splash. Enjoy the warmth of the water before lathering up with my favourite shower gel (this post!) from Imperial Leather, Spellbound and rinsing away. I do this once again leaving the lather on my skin as I wash my hair with firstly the Deep cleansing/Detox shampoo from Boots brand (themselves) then the Bumble and Bumble Thickening Shampoo. I have never used this Bumble and Bumble line before, but I used to be so impressed when I used the Quench conditioning masque, that I'm very hopeful, this line will indeed give me a little volume. I apply the conditioner mid-length and down before rinsing off shower gel and applying scrub in circular motions occasionally ie. when I am concentrating on what I'm doing. Rinse off conditioner with shower head, stand up and rinse off scrub. Apply scrub to dry areas again if I'm not reacting and my skin will tolerate it before rinsing off and drying.

8/ Then moisturise with the Garnier Moisturiser. I like this stuff a lot and apply Thickening spray from Bumble and Bumble to hair then heat protector from Schwarzkopf . Let it dry a little and read a little bit of 'I Heart Christmas'. Use hairdryer to rough dry then apply some Schwarzkopf oil as recommended by my hairdressers and continue to rough dry. Brushing through to make sure my extensions aren't matting (too much).

9/ Then, the straighteners are coming out to straighten hair loosely, trying to keep some volume at the roots. I'm hoping the Charles Worthington, Texturising Spray will help with this, apparently it is a dupe for the infamous but very expensive Oribe. Tie back hair in ponytail and hope it's bouffant, glossy state lasts until morning and maybe even Christmas Day. Fingers crossed!

10/ Check blog post for comments, hint hint, after dressing in a random old tee shirt and trackies, THE Combo of the century for kicking back and relaxing this time of year. Apply a little Tea Tree toner from Lush to my face then Hydraluron and if I can be bothered the Una Brennan eye cream (I'm soo slack with eye creams) before plastering The Sanctuary Moisture Mask all over my face for the night.

Phew, here's hoping when I wake up in the morning, I am glowing and all polished for the Christmas celebrations. I'm very excited now. Are you ready for Christmas? For once I think I am, although I am a little tempted to pop in to town tomorrow and grab a pair of these red flats from Primark for the big day. 

Picture from Google Image Search here.

How cute are those bows and they sparkle and they are just £4. . !!!

I'm not sure if I'm going to have time to post tomorrow so just in case, Happy Christmas everybody. Have a lovely time and a fabulous Christmas! I hope it is your best one yet!!!

See this post for more information about skincare products!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Wanted 2/ The Pandora Star Ring!

I can not get this little ring out of my head ever since it caught my eye in Pandora. It is so pretty in reality and catches the eye. There is something about stars which draw me in (my tattoo is three stars). So yes, this one is on my Christmas list!!!

What is on your list? 

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A Rainy Afternoon in Bath!

Another quick post for you today, I promise my longer, wordy posts will return soon. It is just, as I guess you too are finding, as Christmas draws closer, I get ever busier but I'm determined to stay in touch with you and the blogosphere now after drifting for so long.

Today was lovely, I spent an afternoon in Bath with me Mama getting a couple of last minute (with a week to go, have I really left it to the last minute?!) Christmas bits and taking a few quick Iphone snaps. We went today because somebody dumb (Me!) thought the gorgeous Christmas market was still on and with one week, left until the big day, I was ready to drench myself in Christmas spirit but alas there was no Christmas market, it finished a few days ago. 'Why so soon?', I whined all the way home. Sob.

Still there were lots of little Carol Singers and more then a Santa or two hanging around to keep my Christmas levels high and as for the goodies. . ! Well, let's just say a lot was added to my Christmas list! The shopping streets of Bath had a bit of a revamp recently and now, you can get almost anything in the charming city and it is so romantic walking through the old streets in the shadow of such beautiful architecture. Even though, it was a wet afternoon and I could have returned home drenched and miserable. I actually returned home drenched and elated. There is something about the magic of Bath which allows it to pull off warmly even the most dreariest and gloomiest of days in a mist of style and dreamy haze.

I hope you are all having a good week. Are you ready for Christmas? What special place captures your heart?

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

LOVE: Pink Primark ring!

So yesterday, I mentioned my new ring from Primark (and before that I mentioned 
my new coat from . . . Primark!)

I adddorre her and not just 'cos she was £2.50. I've never worn a long oval ring before (these have a special name that I can't remember, don't they?!), they never seem to fit between the base of my finger and knuckle right PLUS they just seem so big and masculine to me.

However, this beauty is pink. That dusty pink, similar to Essie, Fiji (this post) and the colour I want to own a coat in. This pink is lovely and softens the ring so much. Swoon! I think, I like wearing her a lot, I do.

Have you picked up any bargains from Primark recently? Do you buy cheap accessories or is it high end all the way for you?

Have a lovely evening. Blimey, this time next week, it will be Christmas Eve . . . eek!!!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Currently . . .

Listening to . . . Love Somebody, Maroon 5 I just can't resist anything that Adam Levine sings and yep, this one is so bloody catchy!

Eating . . . Muller Corners, the Milk Chocolate Digestive ones, to be specific.
Image from Google Search Result here.

Drinking . . . The White Chocolate Mocha from Cafe Nero (or so I was earlier and probably will be tomorrow...) #OBSESSED #DRUGOFCHOICE

Wearing . . . My Top Shop Baxter Jeans, My ASOS black flowing top over my H&M sparkly vest with my charm bracelet and gorgeous River Island watch and almost forgot my new favourite ring from Primark (cheap as chips. . . £2.50!!!) This top in black, remember 'The Girly Peplum' post here?!

Feeling . . . Happy, happy, happy. Over the last couple of days, I have got quite excited about Christmas and I feel that this year there needs to be an 'official' Christmas jumper! I quite like this one from Top Shop and it is petite so maybe wouldn't swamp me?!!
Picture from Top Shop here.
Wanting . . . Another new bag (A Rockie'll do!) or a good quality neutral eyeshadow palette. Any recommendations? Coastal Scents?! Naked 3?!

Needing . . . A nice new year and more immediately some blogspiration. Running out of things to write . . .

Thinking . . . How could I have forgotten about Boots 3 for 2 this year?!!! Really but what a lovely surprise when I got to the counter and saved myself a tenner : )))

Enjoying . . . Reading a quote from Katie Piper's book daily. Here are a couple of my faves . . .

So how are you currently and what are you in to right now? I hope that Monday has been ok for you all.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Clutter, go, go, GO!!!!

Every Christmas as a child, I believed I had to tidy my room or Santa wouldn't come *Cue sinister music* Da dah dummm . . .

I'm not sure where I got this notion from, my parents; family or friends but it has stuck with me all the same. Suddenly in December every year, I initiate this cleaning frenzy that would have you think I was popping a baby out tomorrow.

This year is no different except maybe worse. You see, I'm reading 'The Happiness Project' which suggests if I declutter and restore order to my abode then I'm going to be happier.

Well, duh. Obviously I will be happier because if I tidy up then Santa will come! I've been so good. Why wouldn't he?! *Looks innocent and flutters eyelashes like I've er. . . suddenly got something in my eye.*

Anyway, this is where I am at today, I have made piles, lots of piles, lots of toppling piles and now they need sorting which is why this post is so short. What Christmas prep or rituals do you go through every December? Have you read 'The Happiness Project'?

I hope you've all had a fantastic weekend and I will see you tomorrow.

Night night *Waves and almost knocks over one of the piles of clutter . . .*

Saturday, 14 December 2013

'Tis the season to sparkle!!!

Ok, I like to think I'm getting in the spirit of Christmas and stuff and that is all this, is about. However, you Lovelies, probably know me better then that so I'll take a deep breath and try to be straight with you, my obsession with sparkle might be getting slightly out of hand! You've already seen my Sparkly Sleeved little number from Primark, well, there is more!!!


My Sparkly, Sparkly Bag.
This bag was originally from Russell and Bromley probably about four years ago. It has caught my eye -with all that twinkle, it was bound to- several times in the past and when I saw it on Ebay last week, I had a feeling it might finally become mine and it has. I absolutely adore this bag and despite eyeing it up for years, I'm not disappointed at all. It is a little smaller and more rectangular then I'd imagined it to be but that just makes it all the more adorable. It is gorgeous and I can't keep my eyes off it plus there is something extra special about having something that I have truly yearned for, for such a long time.

My New Look Sparkly Cropped Cardis.
As soon as I saw these, I dashed to the rack to meet them. They just look so soft (They are!) and touchable. The sparkle is inviting and bewitching and for a short ar*e like me who feels swamped by the trendiest and most sought after knitwear, these cardis are nice little alternatives to keep me warm and more importantly, in line with the season and all of the cosy knitwear looks that are so 'on trend' currently. Though, I'm pretty sure it is going to swamp me too, there is one jumper I really do want to try from New Look. Did you see Amelia's post? I love the look of that Smile jumper and I love the sentiment of it but the size options are limited online and my local store, doesn't have one. Sob! Anybody seen it around?

And finally kind of appropiate Christmas cards for me to send this year, don't you think?!

Do you think my sparkle love is excessive? What have you been buying lately? What seems to be defining your style right now?

Friday, 13 December 2013

Nail Polish: Fiji from Essie!

One of the things that annoys me most about my job is that our nails are meant to be natural and naked when we're working, boo! Unfortunately this means that even though I spend hours swooning over nail pictures and amazing nail art designs (which let's face it, I'll never master), I very rarely do much with my nails. My toe nails, of course, are almost always painted, usually a pale purple (Barry M!) or bright pink (Number 7 or Claire's Accessories) but with my finger nails, there seems little point in bothering when it all has to be scrubbed off early the next morning.
However, I did enjoy a love affair with one polish earlier this year and it has been on and off my talons ever since.

Let me introduce you to Fiji from Essie (though I wouldn't be at all surprised if you already know each other?!).

Fiji is not the easiest of nail polishes to apply. The first layer is very uneven and you wonder how an opaque look could possibly come together but it does. You can get the most beautiful final result with this pale pink nail polish after about three coats. It is so feminine and pretty that it gives your nails just enough emphasis to be noticed and admired but not enough to define you. Yes, I guess, Fiji doesn't exactly scream 'statement' but it just shows safe isn't always boring and there are so many ways that anybody can express their character and aspirations through their nails.

I'm hoping to find some time over Christmas to explore some of the other Essie polishes. Ballet Slippers looks right up my street but might just be a little too milky against my pale complexion. Maybe I should be looking at the Christmas releases or a red, what nail polishes do you rate? Which nail polishes do you plan to wear this Christmas? Happy weekend, everyone : ) !!!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Wanted 1/ Benefit, Bathina Body Oil Mist!

So I love lighting my candles and building my collections of fluffy throws and cosy cushions but the one thing I don't like about winter is stumbling out of that hot shower/bath in the morning or at night and having to slather horrible cold cream all over my body. As lush as some of the potions out there smell and as fab as they moisturise, even the thickest of body butters can be bloody freezing to apply.
So last weekend, I was lucky to give the Bathina 'take a picture . . . it lasts longer . . .' silky and glimmering Body Balm from Benefit a shot.

Image from Google image search here.

You apply it with a little velvet puff for a healthy glow, a glow I would have got from freshly moisturised skin if I could be bothered to slather on the cold stuff but the Bathina balm was a nice substitute. I didn't pick glimmer out as such on my skin but my skin looked well moisturised, healthy, soft and silky where the balm was applied and even if I say so my myself, I smelt lovely and that very nice Bathina scent lasted all day. Purely for the silky and well-fragranced skin that it gave me, Bathina Balm was about to go on my Christmas list but then I found out about the Oil version and now the Balm has been replaced.

You see my only concern with the balm was that although my skin felt and looked healthy even Benefit admit the product is not actually particularly moisturising and that it is a good idea to moisturise before hand. Eurgh, I was trying to get away from the cold cream thing.

Anyway, I may have found my escape in the Bathina 'soft to touch...hard to get' Silky and Seductive Body Oil Mist, a product that includes Sweet almond, Olive and Avocado oils as well as Vitamin E. Since Benefit claims this little concoction carries the Bathina fragrance (so beautiful) and instantly hydrates skin, I'm very tempted not only to put this oil on my Christmas Wish List but to add it to my Christmas Essentials list. Surely a super-fine oil mist is not going to be as cold and torturous as some lotion or butter and hydration this time of year is after all essential, isn't it?!!

What do you use to keep your body moisturised in the winter? Do you use Bathina or can you recommend any other Benefit products?

Both of the products mentioned are available on the Benefit website.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Mascara Review: L'Oreal Paris Voluminous x5

Ok, I know I might be quite late on this one. 

The L'Oreal Voluminous mascara is a mascara that I've heard talked about in blogosphere for a while. Actually, to be honest, it is a mascara that I've heard raved about in blogosphere. A lot. So obviously at some point, I was going to have to try it out and well, now I have!

I've been wearing this mascara daily for over a fortnight now and I thought I might as well type my thoughts out here. . .

Firstly, the packaging is sleek and classic. This is a mascara that looks like a mascara with simple, subtle gold and black colouring and branding. Both the casing and the wand are conventional, simple, light and portable. Basically, it looks like a mascara that will probably do it's job.


Also, the wand is simple and flaff-free to use. I found it very easy to use this wand compared with the one in the Bourjois, Fan-tastic mascara and some of the heavier wands that I have recently used. It was easy to get in to the lash and pull the mascara through the length of the lashes with the L'Oreal Voluminous wand.

My mascara claims to be extra black and volume building (x5) with no clumping. Well, there is certainly no large clumps and I like how this mascara seemed to separate and define each lash. I'm not sure how much blacker then black, extra black can be (though I always pick up the Extra/ Very black shades of mascara) but yes, there is no doubt that this mascara is black and makes my lashes look so. If we zoom in and focus just on the lashes then my actual finished lash line looks really tidy and groomed. My lashes probably also look ever so slightly longer.

Without mascara

With one layer of L'Oreal Paris Voluminous

With two layers of L'Oreal Paris Voluminous 
However, I do not think that this mascara volumises my lashes x5, if at all. In fact, although done tidily, the definition this mascara gives, actually highlights the gaps in my lashes. Even when I try to layer this mascara, there is not much difference between two layers and four. I would say that this mascara reminds me a lot the Lash Extension one from Max Factor except for one thing, my bug bear, the smudging a while after the mascara has been applied, just below the eye. I can be driving in my car a hour or two after make up application and suddenly see an inky smudge below my eye that was not there on my last mirror check. This mascara never seems to completely dry and I can't understand why it smudges so but doesn't clump much maybe because I'm using glasses for driving again?!!

Finished look! Note: I would not use this mascara on bottom lashes, too inky!
All in all, I would say this L'Oreal Mascara sits at a great price mark (around £8-10) and would be great for work and day to day use as long as you carry a little mirror around with you but it is not one that I would recommend for those occasions when excess lash action is required. For that, stick to L'Oreal, Volume Million Lashes!

Mascaras; perfumes and bags, these are my things. What mascara are you using? What mascara do you recommend? I'm not sure I've ever used a Maybelline one but know Tanya Burr is a fan, do you rate their mascaras?

I hope the week is going ok for you all!


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Clarins: The Gentle Brightening Toner etc.

OK, well, I am the first to admit that Clarins as a brand has never particularly appealed to me.

1/ As a contemporary brand selling their products to the 'modern' women, I find their approach quite non-descript. I find their red typeface and very red blazers (I'm sure they still wear these in my local department store) dated.

2/ As a higher end brand, I just don't find Clarins particularly engaging or inviting. As far as I know there aren't any gimmicks to reel me in (and if there is then Clarins haven't been shouting loudly enough above the Benefit Maker Uppers and Chanel Ombre hype for me to hear) apart from maybe the odd multi-buy (and multi-buys, come on, how dated is that?!! We want advent calendars and miniature goodies galore please). We don't just want that 'something more' when we're paying higher end prices, we also want that something 'extra special more'. We're looking for products that wow and anything less is unacceptable.

3/ This is where Clarins' straight-forward and no-fuss approach to the market seems to work. When a blogger or vlogger mentions or raves about Clarins, I do take note as their products are not particularly trendy or hyped with claims everywhere. If somebody is taking the time to purchase a Clarins product and then taking the time to tell you it works then in my opinion, it probably does. In my experience, of four Clarins products, they have always done what they were destined to do, well!

Clarins are one of the only brands that offer me a self tanning option for my face that looks natural, sun-kissed and appropriate for my skin tone. The Liquid Bronze Self Tanning is magic and if only I did not break out every time, I used it then I would probably have made their sun-kissed look my 'signature' by now. Unfortunately though, the tanner does always break me out around the chin and neck area and that kind of ruins the overall effect so back to pale, I go which actually is not so bad since I started using two of the Clarins base products, the Extra-comfort foundation and the Instant Light Brush On Perfector (both mentioned here). I was colour matched for both products at the Clarins counter and think I've been matched perfectly. They are both very lightweight and discreet. I think, an outsider would be hard done by to pinpoint 'foundation' on the skin. For me, the Extra Comfort was definitely lighter in coverage then Revlon, Colour stay and slightly thicker then Rimmel, Wake Me Up. Once blended (easily!) both of my base products seem to sit seamlessly on my skin. In the past, sometimes my ghostly white skin dressed in foundation can look cold and harsh but both of these products add a certain glow and softness to my face as if I'm under the most flattering light and I'd imagine, given a little longer to test, I could grow to worship these two products in spite of the price.

The one Clarins product this post was meant to focus on (three or four paragraphs ago. . .) is the Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner which I purchased after numerous mentions and praise from Caroline and others on her blog. Caroline claims that it is a beautiful, softening, exfoliating, brightening, hydrating toner that should be in everybody's arsenal (she also talks about the more technical stuff better then I would if you are interested).

I have been using this 'gentle'(!) toner since the middle of September and on finishing my first bottle I realise that I have grown to like it.

A lot! 

The little milia around my eye area have disappeared since I started using this. Indeed, my skin too feels very smooth and I've noticed, I'm not catching myself on my little bumps as much as I used when I use my fingers to apply foundation. Note: Having ran of my favourite Botanics Microdermabrasion Polish (mentioned here) I have not physically exfoliated my face for a long while yet it is still smooth.

Smoootherr, in fact! 

I'm putting that down to this gorgeous skin care goodie. I would say my skin looks healthier and a bit more alive since I started to use the Clarins toner so we can tick off the brightening box too. The only two boxes I'm unsure about is firstly the hydrating one, this toner does not feel particularly hydrating and when I first used it I was getting over a reaction from another product and to be honest, using this twice a day
did seem to heighten my discomfort and dry areas out as they healed. I would not recommend using this product twice a day until you have been using it for a while. I stopped using it twice a day about a week in and now I use it once a day at the most and that honestly seems to be enough and the optimum for me. I'm also not sure how softening this product is, I have not noticed any extreme difference.

Though, I think this Clarins toner is a decent skincare product, I do recognise how hard it is to say how good a skin product is as it forms just one step of an entire skincare routine. However, I would say that allowing for the routines I was using at the relevant times, I am much more impressed by the Clarins toner then I was by the Alpha H, Liquid Gold and that I'm hoping another bottle of the Clarins might be in my stocking (hint hint)

The Clarins Toner is widely available from pharmacies and department stores.

What toner do you use? How do you exfoliate? Have you used this Clarins Toner? What Clarins' products do you recommend? I hope you're all having a good week, almost halfway through it now. Ooh and we can almost say the same for #bigblogmasproject too!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Book Review: For One More Day, Mitch Albom

Image from Google search here. Sorry, for stock image. My copy had to go back to the libarary!
I'm sure that I've already made it quite clear that I found the beautiful book, 'For One More Day' by Mitch Albom captivating. When I picked it up in the library, I wasn't sure that it would be checking out with me. I only picked it up because I felt I should, Albom is one of those contemporary authors whose works are often hyped as future classics. However, the plot did intrigue me and the book came home with me and once I picked it up, it was a hard one to put down. I completely devoured it in two sittings.

'And one day spent with someone you love can . . .'

'For One More Day' is about a broken man, Charley, who tries hard to take his life one day. However, the result is one more day with his dead mother. He gets to spend one more day with a mother that he thought to a degree, he had recklessly lost forever. 'For One More Day' is based around the concept of spending one more day with that one person, you can't. So simple and yet so clever. We can all relate to this book, we all have at least one person who'd we'd like that one extra day or chance with. For Charley, this is possible as Albom suggests that the dead may be carried in our hearts and when we think of them, they live again.

'Remember me for these days not the old ones'

Obviously, there are a couple of major themes in this book. Life after death and family. This book is beautiful and the story feels so very real (which is of little surprise given who we find the narrator to be at the end). Apparently Albom often writes stories that make you think and will stay with you forever. There is no doubt, I will remember Charley and his beautiful mother, Pauline.

'Things can be fixed'

This story covers some harsh lessons in life and is full of quite dark and depressing elements but it is also full of love, surprises, a little humour and vivid descriptions. You probably realize by now that I found this novel utterly spellbinding (there were some smiles and a few tears) and about as lovely, sweet and perfect as I could imagine a read to ever be. I urge everyone and anyone to read it! Here is the Amazon link . . .

'You can find something truly important in an ordinary minute'

Have you read 'For One More Day' or anything by Albom before? What read do you recommend? What are you reading right now?


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