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Rob Ryan Cosmetic Bag

November 30, 2012

As you know from a previous post of mine, I love the artist Rob Ryan. He is a British visual artist who is famous for his detailed paper cut outs. I was really excited to find lots of beautiful Rob Ryan products on the online boutique website, Amara which specialises in luxury gift ideas, wedding gifts and lovely interior design ideas for the home.

The Cosmetic Bag* caught my eye straightaway. I was in need of a new cosmetics bag/wash bag to take away with me and I love the fact that this is oil cloth as well as being a beautiful design. It carries the 'this bell with ring' design which is just so cute and colourful. As you can see the lining is blue and it also has a handy zip-up pocket inside. The bag is a good size so can fit a lot of products. I actually used it last weekend and packed it full of make-up, plus toiletries and even my toothbrush! 

After seeing all of the Rob Ryan merchandise available I want it all NOW, notably the His n' Hers mugs and the "Hello Egg" Egg cups.

The Perfect Poached Egg

November 28, 2012
My favourite way to have eggs is poached. I love two poached eggs for breakfast and they are usually saved for a weekend treat. I wanted to share my foolproof method of making a perfect poached egg- I can't find a link to where I originally found this but I think it was a Jamie Oliver idea.

I love poached eggs but I could never get on with the usual methods of dropping the egg into simmering water- the egg would end up messy and breaking and it was just a disaster. So without further ado here is the way I do it...

Simply get a mug and tear off a good piece of clingfilm. Cover the mug with the sheet of clingfilm and make a well in the middle.

Drop your egg into the well. Sometimes I will make a larger well and drop two into it to save on the clingfilm but this weekend I just went for the standard one egg.

Then just create a parcel around your egg so it looks like the above (it reminds me of winning a goldfish at a fair!) and twist the clingfilm at the top so it is secure.

Drop your egg into a saucepan of simmering water and leave it for 5 minutes (I find this makes the perfect runny egg). When you take it out just cut off the top part of the clingfilm which will allow you to peel the rest of the clingfilm off- be careful as it can be hot. Also make sure you take off all of the clingfilm as I've been known to leave a bit on- Chris wasn't too pleased!

And that is it! So simple and so delicious!

Revlon Sweet Boutique

November 26, 2012
L-R: Raspberry Pie, Berry Smoothie

L-R: Raspberry Pie, Berry Smoothie
L-R: Berry Smoothie, Raspberry Pie

Even though the Revlon ColourBurst Lip Butters* have been raved and raved about, I was yet to try one properly until last week when I was sent two of their berry shades- Berry Smoothie and Raspberry Pie. When I first took off the lid I was a bit doubtful about liking the colours as they looked very dark (as you can see in the second photo). I needn't have worried though as the colour is quite different when actually used and not as intimidating as a lipstick formula.

The Berry Smoothie shade is really lovely- it's quite natural and sheer so is great for applying on the go. It's a great daytime colour- your lips but better! The Raspberry Pie is much more pigmented and I had to be careful when applying it in fear of creating a clown effect- I absolutely love this colour though, especially for an evening. I think it would look fabulous with just a sweep of black liner and lots of black mascara. I was really impressed with these- they feel so lovely on your lips and aren't drying in the slightest.

The title of my post is the Revlon Sweet Boutique because following it's amazing success this summer it is being re-launched in time for Christmas! Revlon will be giving away 100 lip butters every day until the 4th December- all you have to do is like their Facebook page to be in with a chance of winning.

Revlon's lip butters are currently £7.99 from Boots.

Louise Thompson Collection

November 24, 2012
Louise Thompson

It's no secret that I absolutely love Made in Chelsea (see my post on Caggie and Millie here) and think series three has been brilliant so far- so much drama in every episode! I was really interested when I heard that Louise had launched her own collection on the Goddiva website (after googling it further I discovered it was actually her second collection). The collection includes lots of dresses, sequins and a few jackets thrown in there too. I'm not sure if I would actually buy from the collection- there's nothing I am in love with although this embellished top is quite cute. 

Would you buy anything from this range? More importantly, are you a MIC fan?!

24 Days of Christmas with Liz Earle

November 22, 2012
Liz Earle have joined the array of brands whom have brought out an extra special Advent Calendar this year. Their 24 Days of Christmas with Liz Earle calendar* allows you to enjoy a botanical treat every day of the festive season. Behind each door awaits a mini skincare, bodycare, haircare or fragrance treat to help keep you pampered throughout the festive season.

It is not cheap at £100 but when you break it down, each product only costs £4.16 (to be precise!) so it is a fantastic way to try a range of Liz Earle products. Also- extremely fun too and much more healthy!

In the advent calendar you receive (look away if you want to be surprised!): 

♥ Cleanse & Polish 30ml with 1 muslin cloth  ♥ Instant Boost Skin Tonic 50ml  ♥ Skin Repair moisturiser 15ml ♥ Superskin Moisturiser 15ml  ♥ Superskin Concentrate 2ml rollerball  ♥ Daily Eye Repair 5ml  ♥  Smoothing Line Serum 5ml ♥ Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion 50ml ♥ Gentle Face Exfoliator 15ml ♥ Brightening Treatment Mask 15ml ♥ Intensive Nourishing Treatment Mask 15ml ♥ Orange Flower Botanical Body Wash 30ml ♥ Nourishing Botanical Body Cream 30ml ♥ Superbalm 5g pot ♥ Orange Flower Hand Wash 30ml ♥ Hand Repair 15ml ♥ Foot Scrub 15ml ♥ Foot Repair Moisturiser 15ml ♥ Energising Body Scrub 15ml ♥ Energising Body Wash 15ml ♥ Botanical Shine Shampoo 50ml ♥ Botanical Shine Conditioner 50ml ♥ Botanical Essence No.1 2ml

You can buy the calendar here and also keep an eye on Liz Earle's Pinterest page for the chance to win a festive treat every day- all you have to do is repin their festive pins every day throughout December to be in with a chance of winning every day.

And finally- a big thank you to my lovely Dad for taking the photos above- even if he did open a few of the doors like a naughty Elf.

Product Rave - Timotei Golden Highlights

November 20, 2012
I had to write a post raving about the Timotei Golden Highlights shampoo and conditioner. These are fantastic and I am about to make a bold statement by saying that these are the best shampoo and conditioner designed for blonde hair that I have ever tried!

Timotei claim that this set, infused with 100% natural camomile extracts, will bring out golden highlights and reveal the true shine and beauty of blonde or highlighted hair. These do exactly what they claim to do. I have used many products for blonde hair in the past and find that the ones which have camomile in do the best job at making it brighter so was pleased to see that this was a key ingredient. 

After using these Timotei products I can tell such a difference with my hair- my hair looks blonder and the highlights look so much more defined. It also looks really shiny which is quite difficult to achieve with blonde hair sometimes. I used this one night and then the next I used another brand (just for normal hair) and could tell straightaway that my hair didn't look as bright or shiny as after using Timotei. I could rave about these all day but instead I will stop and if you are blonde or have highlights to go get these hair products.

Here is a photo of my hair after using the shampoo and conditioner- I know it's hard when you can't compare but bear in mind that I haven't had my hair highlighted since July!

You can purchase them for Superdrug for a bargain price of £2.99 each for the set (there is a buy one get one free offer on). I will definitely be stocking up!

Neom Scent with Love Travel Candles Christmas Set

November 17, 2012
In October, Neom launched their range of limited-edition Christmas sets- Scent with Love (see what they did there?). The range includes a Body Care Gift Set and Home Scenting Gift Set but the one that caught my eye was their Travel Candles set*.

The set includes four travel sized Neom candles in their most popular scents:

Real Luxury - Lavender, Jasmine and Brazilian Rosewood. This is their best-selling scent of all time and labeled the cashmere blanket of the collection.

Invigorate - Grapefruit, Bergamot and Lime

♥ Tranquility- English Lavender, Sweet Basil and Jasmine
Harmonise- Pine, Cedarwood and Eucalyptus   

Neom candles are absolutely fantastic- they fill the room with their wonderful fragrance and I love each of the scents in the travel set. It would make a great Christmas present (to yourself too, ahem) as it gives you a chance to try a few different candles. The set costs £55 and can be purchased from the Neom Organics website

Chocolate and Raspberry Muffins

November 15, 2012
To celebrate a team member's birthday at work we always have half an hour that day (or a day close to it) for tea & cakes. It's basically what it says on the tin- we drink tea and eat cakes! We are quite a keen team of bakers and so there are always some lovely treats on offer and for the most recent tea & cakes I decided to bake these chocolate and raspberry muffins. 

I knew that I wanted to bake something with raspberries in and after a quick google I decided on this recipe from another blog (with a few tweaks). It was so simple to make and they tasted absolutely divine- especially straight from the oven. The combination of the zingy raspberries goes so well with the chocolate. I included lots of chocolate chips and lots of raspberries but you can play around with the amounts if you want less, or more of either. Let me know if you try it or if you know any other great recipes with raspberries!

Ingredients for 12 muffins
6oz Plain Flour
1.5oz Cocoa Powder
2tsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
4oz Caster Sugar
4fl oz Vegetable Oil
1 Medium Egg
5fl oz Milk
150g Raspberries
75g Dark Chocolate cut into small chunks
75g Milk Chocolate cut into small chunks


1) Pre-heat the oven to 180°c and place your muffin cases into a baking tray

2) Put all of the muffin ingredients except for the raspberries and dark/milk chocolate into a medium mixing bowl.  Stir until just about mixed together.

3) Add the raspberries and chocolate chunks and mix gently

4) Evenly distribute the muffin mixture between the 12 muffin cases.  Bake on the middle shelf in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Not on the high street - personalised gifts

November 13, 2012

Not on the high street

♥ Leather Bound Notebook (link) ♥ Initials Phone Cover (link♥ Enamel Storage Tin (linkHeart Chalkboard (link Christmas Sack (link) ♥ You're The Best Apron (link)

Discovering Not On The High Street was a revelation- it is my favourite website at the moment, especially with Christmas being less than two months away (hooray!). I had heard it mentioned before (my friend is getting married and it's great for wedding stuff) but had never investigated properly. I'm so glad I did as it's just got so many lovely things! I especially like all of their personalised goodies and so thought I'd share some of my favourites. I LOVE the personalised Santa sack!

I may do similar posts with gift ideas for different people so let me know if you'd be interested in seeing these!

October Favourites: My Top Three

November 11, 2012
♥  Smashbox Blush in Silhouette - I have totally rediscovered this blush since receiving it back in February- it is perfect for the Autumn when you want more of a neutral but warm glow to your cheeks. It adds a really natural but gorgeous colour to the cheeks and is extremely wearable.

♥ Jelly Pong Pong Supermodel Stain in Slenderella - another blush in my favourites this month but I had to include the Jelly Pong Pong lip and cheek stain as it is just so lovely. I use a tiny amount and gradually build it up- it's really easy to blend and creates a natural pink flush. I always wear it on days when I am only wearing a little make-up (foundation, mascara and blush) as it adds instant pretty-ness.

♥ Liz Earle Botanical Essence Eau De Parfum No 15 - this is the most perfect fragrance for Autumn. It is a spicy oriental scent but is not overpowering in any way (something I have found before with other fragrances). I have been wearing this for most of October and love spritzing it into my scarf so I can smell it throughout the day.

CB12 Mouth Rinse

November 10, 2012

Today I am sharing a product with you that isn't my usual style- a new mouth rinse from CB12. I received an email a few weeks ago asking if I wanted to give it a whirl and although I was pretty indifferent I knew a certain someone who would definitely want to try it. Whilst I spend hours in the beauty aisles in Boots, my boyfriend Chris will spend the same time in the dental aisle. If I ever lose him in Boots- I know where to go. Since having a terrible time with a dodgy tooth he has been obsessed with keeping his teeth healthy and so he was the perfect person to trial this mouthwash.

CB12 is described as a 'new, unique, long-lasting mouth rinse proven to prevent and treat bad breath. Effective for 12 hours, CB12 neutralises substances and processes that cause bad breath.'. There was a lot of scientific bumpf in the press release but basically it has a unique formula which treats bad breath, rather than masking it like lots of other mouth wash.

There are two versions of it- one is CB12 Mint/Menthol which has a strong taste of mint and then there is a milder version called CB12 mild.

I have been trying the mild version and my first thought was that the bottle is very clever as you turn it 45 degrees, press a button and it automatically dispenses the correct amount- fancy! I am a big fan of the flavour as I find other brands are so strong and feel like they are burning my mouth. This feels really nice and does the job as if I use it at night I wake up and still feel nice and minty.

Chris has been trying the stronger version and he says that it is much better than other brands of mouth wash because it dispenses the correct amount- other brands just say how much to use but this makes it really easy to use by providing you with exactly what you need. Its ease of use is a big plus. He felt that it kept his mouth fresh for a long time although didn't find it as effective as other mouth wash in terms of making his teeth feel super clean. Overall, he is a fan.

The mouth rinse is available in larger Boots stores and Lloyds pharmacies for £14.59. It is not suitable for those under 12 and for people sensitive to its ingredients.

Why do you wear make-up?

November 07, 2012
No make-up

After seeing this tag on I decided it was quite a good one and thought I'd jump on the bandwagon by posting a photo with no make-up and answering some questions...

When did you start wearing make-up?

I think I was about 14 and I remember that I liked to wear a blue eyeshadow (gorgeous). I started off by wearing eyeshadow and mascara and then moved onto pencil eyeliner. I didn't start wearing foundation until I was about 16 which I'm quite surprised at looking back as my skin was terrible! I think I had seen lots of girls at schools showing off some incredible tide marks and it put me off. There also wasn't the range of tinted moisturisers and BB creams available as there are now. 

I also remember buying a clear lipgloss from Rimmel which I used to wear ALL the time. I then had an ingenious idea of mixing a bit of Barry M fuschia dazzle dust with the clear lipgloss to make a new colour- why I didn't just buy a new lipgloss I don't know! 

I loved the Barry M dazzle dusts. I had them in a bright purple, fuschia pink and a pure glitter pot. It wasn't the most subtle of make-up so I'm glad I didn't wear it often! I do recall applying the pink dazzle dust in a dramatic (and awful) sweep of colour over my eyelids and my brother looking terrified. I would love to go back and give myself some tips!

How do you feel without make-up?

I love days where I don't wear make-up. It's a lovely feeling when you get ready for bed and realise that you don't need to battle with taking mascara off! If I am just mooching around the house, or popping to the shops then I won't put make-up on and I'm fine with that. There are days when I just can't be bothered! I don't wear it much on holiday either- the photo above was taken in Center Parcs after a sweaty game of badminton!

I will always wear make-up to work or when I'm going out in the day or at night. If I ran into someone in the day without wearing make-up I would feel a bit self-conscious and aware of having a bare face.

I don't feel bad when I don't wear make-up but I feel a whole lot better when I do wear make-up!

What do you like about make-up?

I like the routine of applying my make-up. I find it so enjoyable and relaxing- especially when I have new products to play with. I like how you can make yourself look so much better- I never like to look too 'made up' but have learnt the tricks of how to enhance yourself and look nice but natural. It doesn't matter how terrible I look before I apply make-up- I will always end up looking and feeling better!

3 "Holy Grail" items

If I am too lazy to do a full face of make-up I will use the three items below to create a natural but pretty look. 

1. Foundation - current favourite is the Liz Earle Signature Foundation
2. Mascara - enjoying the MUFE Smoky Lash at the moment
3. Blush - MAC's Well Dressed is my perfect pink blush.

Let me know if you decide to do this tag too!

Jergens Original Body Lotion

November 05, 2012

Jergens Original Beauty Lotion Cherry-Almond Body Moisturiser (longest name ever?) has finally arrived in the UK. This lotion is famed for it's cult cherry-almond inspired fragrance and is now available to buy for £3.49.

The body moisturiser is a new formulation for the UK market and it claims to give dry, dehydrated skin the thirst quench it needs. I gobbled up (not literally ate, obvs) the Ultra Healing body moisturiser as it made my skin feel so moisturised and sunk in within seconds. This offering has exactly the same qualities with the bonus of having a gorgeous cherry-almond scent. I worried that it would be an overpowering scent but not at all. 

Jergens are also running a promotion where Facebook fans can win a collection of great prizes. Jergens will be giving one lucky winner the chance to win a designer handbag, a designer scarf, a pair of designer shoes and the complete range of Jergens moisturisers including the Original Beauty Lotion. Simply click the link here for more info and to enter.

Nail SOS

November 03, 2012

After doing so well with stopping my nail biting habit it all fell apart after every nail started to break and I had a stressful week at work. I get my nails to a good length and then they all just break- it's very frustrating.

This weekend I was in Meadowhall in Sheffield and decided to get some good nail products in the 3 for 2 offer in Boots, in the hope of giving my nails some TLC and helping to make them stronger. These are the products that join me in my mission...

♥  Sally Hansen Gel Cuticle Remover - you apply a thin layer of this gel around your cuticle and wait 1-2 minutes (no more than 10) before using the pusher tip to loosen and push back the cuticle. You then wash off the excess with warm water and voila- cuticles should be sorted!

♥  Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Nail Hardener- there were so many Sally Hansen nail products to choose from but I settled on the diamond strength. It's for nails that won't grow without breaking so pretty perfect really. I am going to try using it as a 7 day treatment as outlined on the Sally Hansen website.

♥  Mavala Nail Hardener - this isn't a new product but wanted to include it anyway. You can read my post from 2010 raving about it here (look how excited I am about thinking I'd stopping biting my nails- sigh).
♥  Save The Nail 45 Second Coat - I haven't come across this brand before but I liked the packaging (oh so shallow) and have wanted a product that helps to dry nails quickly. This claims to do that so thought I'd give it a whirl.

Any other tips on helping nails to get stronger would be much appreciated!

Yon-Ka Paris

November 01, 2012

One of my favourite things about blogging is being introduced to new brands. Yon-Ka Paris is a brand that I hadn't heard of before but liked the sound of straightaway.

Some info on Yon-Ka Paris:

"‘the alchemy of pure wellness’ is Yon-Ka’s signature. Capturing the very essence of Yon-Ka, it evokes a natural and aromatic world of serenity and magic in perfect synergy with science and wellbeing. Based on 55 years of research, it reflects Yon-Ka’s holistic values and the technical, therapeutic expertise that promise a state of wellbeing and health in beauty delivered through its products and treatments."

I was sent a few products from their Essentials range to try:

Lotion Yon-Ka - this is their signature product with five essential oils making it smell lovely. It is described as an 'aromatic mist' which is to be used as a toner and also as a refreshing skin boost. My favourite use for it is applying it after I've done my make-up- it seems to help it settle and not look so 'done'. RRP £33.00

Masque 103- this is their detoxifying mask (for oily-combo skin) which is used to purify and brighten the skin. It is a pale green (I enjoyed the colour!) clay mask which you leave on for 10 minutes and then just wash off. I can't say I noticed an immediate difference in the look of my skin from using it but it made my skin feel nice and soft. RRP £31.00

Crème PG- the final product is their moisturiser. There are three different moisturisers in the essentials range and this is to keep skin clean and balanced. The other two are for skin that suffers from breakouts (Crème 15) and for redness and/or sensitivity (Crème 11). RRP £35

As you can see, this isn't a cheap brand and I don't know if I could justify parting with that money. However if you like a luxury brand then this is a lovely one to try. The products remind me of Liz Earle in terms of scent and ingredients which is why I am really enjoying using them- especially the toner!

Yon-Ka can be purchased here and here.