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Life: Monthly Summary September

September 29, 2015

Doing
  • Enjoying the long bank holiday weekend with a party at Kensington Roof Gardens (such a great venue!) followed by a late night venture to Putney Pies.
  • Surprising our friend Jeremy for his 30th birthday in Brussels! We spent two nights there and it was the most amazing weekend - you can read about our trip here.
  • Spending the weekend in Bristol with three of my best friends. We treated ourselves and stayed the night in a hotel, enjoyed the spa and went for dinner and cocktails. I highly recommend the Cosy Club as it was such a beautiful bar.
  • Looking at lots of new launches from Pegasus at their Pegasus Live beauty showcase - love the look of the new Trilogy Cleansing Balm.
  • Feeling a little under the weather with a cold- Brussels broke us!
  • Watching the rugby at a Sports Bar in Canary Wharf. Sad that England lost! 

Reading

Watching
  • Downton Abbey - can't believe it's the last series! Sad face.
  • X Factor. I love it when all of the Autumn TV is back on our screens and although you know what you're getting with X Factor, it's just great easy watching. I think the talent seems better than previous years too - probably because they have been scouting people from YouTube!
  • The guru of all things skincare - Caroline Hirons, has started doing weekly vlogs and they are brilliant - Caroline is hilarious! Watch them here

Beauty: Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in Penelope Pink

September 27, 2015


Please join me in admiring this Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick - just look at how gorgeous the packaging is? Simply beautiful and a wonderful addition to my make-up collection. I could admire it for hours.

K.I.S.S.I.N.G is Charlotte's signature range of ten lipsticks which have been created with modern and classic icons in mind. I have heard so many great things about these lipsticks and after a bit of blog research I decided that Penelope Pink was the shade for me - a pink/nude which I feel would suit every skin tone.

This is a beautiful lipstick to wear - it is easy to apply and the formula is very moisturising. It also has a lovely faint scent which doesn't feel overwhelming. Lasting power isn't amazing - I had to reapply every couple of hours but that's the only negative. 

I now want to buy every Charlotte Tilbury lipstick that I can get my hands on! If you have any recommendations I'd love to hear them!

The Penelope Pink lipstick costs £23 and can be found here.


Life: A Trip to Brussels

September 24, 2015

At the beginning of September we made a trip to Brussels - it had been in the planning for quite some time as was a surprise trip to celebrate our friend's 30th birthday. He thought he was going on a romantic weekend away with his girlfriend but nope - it turned into a 14 people celebration!

I took lots of photos but most aren't really blog suitable as it was a pretty rowdy weekend. Needless to say, we enjoyed lots of Belgium food and drink and ended up dancing on tables in a fantastic bar!

We did find a little time to wander around the city and I absolutely loved it - it's got a lovely vibe and so many chocolate shops - it was a chocoholics dream! There is lots to discover in Brussels and we found a little gallery off a side street with some fantastic art. I wish we had had more time there so I could do some shopping as there were so many gorgeous shops - noticeably Maje and Brandy Melville.

I've also listed some of the other places we visited and would recommend:

  • Steigenberger Witcher Hotel - we stayed here and it was amazing (check out the bathroom- it was so beautiful!) and we got a great deal through booking.com - I highly recommend it as somewhere central with lovely rooms and fantastic service. 
  • Aux Armes de Bruxelles - we enjoyed a meal here and were really pleased. There were 14 of us (and we weren't the quietest bunch) but the waiters were so accommodating and the perfect mix of being helpful but not overbearing. The menu is traditional Belgian cooking so good if you want to sample their specialities.
  • Le Corbeau and Delirium Cafe - two great bars/pubs. Delirium is huge and has the biggest beer selection in the world, and Le Corbeau had the biggest buzz and is where the previously mentioned dancing on tables happened!
Have you been to Brussels before?


Beauty: New Products to Try

September 22, 2015



I recently attended a beauty showcase, held by Pegasus Beauty who do the PR for lots of wonderful brands. It was a beauty-lovers dream with so much to see and lots of exciting new launches. I was very kindly given a goody bag with some great products and so wanted to share a few of the ones I am most excited to try.

Eau Thermale Avene TriAcneal Expert - this is an evening moisturiser which targets blemishes, marks and the first signs of ageing. It's easy to find products which target acne, but these are often aimed at younger skin so the TriAcneal Expert is a great combination which combats both acne and ageing. I'm looking forward to seeing if it helps my skin as it's been terrible recently! The TriAcnal Expert launches in October and will cost £23.

Dr Organic Snail Gel - Dr Organic were at the event to share their new hair rescue & restore line which is a bio-active haircare range with Organic Hemp Oil, however I was most excited to try their famous Snail Gel. This is a moisturising, soothing, anti-aging gel which harnesses the amazing cosmetic benefits of Helix Aspersia Muller- the unique substance the snail produces to quickly regenerate its own shell and skin when damaged. It's an intriguing product! You can buy the Snail Gel from Holland & Barrett and is currently on offer for £12 (usually £20!).

Bio-Oil - Bio-Oil is far from a new launch and is a hugely popular and well-respected beauty product, however they were at the beauty showcase to introduce their new mission. Bio-Oil is working closely with Body Gossip to take a selection of body philosophies into schools to inspire body confidence amongst young people - something which is so important. I love the project and am also keen to give Bio-Oil a try. Bio-Oil costs £8.99 and you can find out more about My Body Philosophy here.

Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Oil - Weleda have just launched their Almond body care, after the popularity of their soothing skincare range. Their soothing facial oil is a mild oil, formulated for sensitive skin and can also be used to remove eye make-up. Perfect for using as we enter the colder months. The facial oil costs £15.95 here.

Trilogy Make-Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm - this is a new launch from Trilogy and probably the product I am most excited to try. The balm is formulated with mango butter and pure coconut, sunflower and rose hip oils and leaves skin soft, supple and perfectly cleansed. The Trilogy cleansing balm costs £19.50.


Beauty: My Favourite Makeup Brushes

September 20, 2015

Today I wanted to share my all-time favourite make-up brushes. Buying good quality brushes has made such a difference as to how I apply make-up and are a great investment - the two MAC brushes I have were purchased in 2009 and they are still going strong! 

Real Techniques Buffing Brush - I bought this as part of the Real Techniques Core Collection last year in Florida and have used it most days ever since. It makes applying foundation an absolute dream - it blends quickly, leaves a natural finish and you can have your base done in just a couple of minutes. It's also super soft. Out of all my brushes - this is my number 1.

Real Techniques Contour Brush - this was another brush included in the Core Collection and it's great for precision countouring, although to be honest I use it more to apply blush.

Sonia Kashuk brush (I'm not sure of the exact name!) - I purchased this a few years ago when Sonia Kashuk sold brushes through SpaceNK - unfortunately I'm not sure you can still get it although there are many similar brushes. The handle has a really ergonomic design and I use this every day to fill in my brows with MAC's Omega eyeshadow. 

MAC 226 Small Tapered Blending Brush - this was a limited edition MAC brush which came out a few years ago and everyone in the blogging community raved about it. I remember being so pleased to get hold of it as it sold out in many MAC stores! I love it for blending eyeshadow into the crease. I don't think you can buy the 226 now but the 224 is very similar.

MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush - I absolutely adore this brush and it's been with me for many years! It's such a great brush for applying eyeshadow as really packs on the colour. You can find it on MAC's website here.


Fashion: Perfection Secrets

September 17, 2015

I'm sure you will recognise these products - Perfection Secrets* are a brand who are often seen in Topshop, River Island, ASOS and many other high street stores. They specialise in the little fashion solutions to things that you don't even think have a solution!

I regularly use the gel cushions (£3.50) for when I wear heels as they make them a million more times comfortable and am looking forward to trying the gel heel shields (£3.50) as haven't come across these before and I always struggle with ballet pumps rubbing on my heels - hopefully these will help! Another product that took my fancy was the racer back clips (£3.50) as this is such a genius idea for when you are wearing a racer back top, or even a sleeveless top where you don't want bra straps showing.

Perfection Secrets have just launched a lovely new website where you can now shop the products online - www.perfectionsecrets.com so go and check them out!



Beauty: Molton Brown Heavenly Gingerlily collection #PrepforParadise

September 15, 2015

Ooh I really love Molton Brown products. If I could fill my house with Molton Brown and Jo Malone I'd be a very happy lady.

To celebrate the launch of their new Body Polishers collection, I was invited to indulge in a skin-pampering experience using three products from their luxurious Gingerlily range*. This three step skincare routine purifies and pampers skin, all featuring the beautiful gingerlily scent. The scent is absolutely wonderful, and as summer is coming to an end it is the perfect way to extend the summer feeling and to transport yourself back to a tropical paradise! 

1. Cleanse
First step in the pampering regime is to use the Gingerlily Body Wash (£18) which contains moisturising extracts of white lily and tamanu oil and also has warm notes of ginger and cardamom to leave a beautiful scent on the skin.

2. Exfoliate
The Heavenly Gingerlily Body Polisher (£34) is such a beautiful product and the real star of the show. It contains micro-exfoliating Tahitian sand which you massage into skin to stimulate and revitalise. Whilst you are doing this, the gel in the product transforms into silky milk to help keep skin moisturised and glowing. Beautiful.

3. Moisturise
Final step in the routine is to use the Gingerlily Nourishing Body Lotion (£25) to moisturise after you are dry. This body lotion is clinically proven to firm and hydrate skin while locking in the iconic gingerlily scent.

I am a huge fan of anything Molton Brown and these products have just made me love it all the more - the scent has filled my bathroom and lingers for so long on my skin. It's a body pampering dream! 

You can check out the full range of Body Polishers by clicking here and do visit Molton Brown's website to explore all of the other gorgeous products that they offer. 



Life: Five Tips to Declutter Your Life

September 13, 2015


Having a good declutter seems to be 'the thing' at the moment - especially with Marie Kondo's book being so raved about. In my post 'Five Ways to Destress' I mentioned that decluttering is a great way to help with feeling stressed and wanted to give some of my tips as to how to get started. 

1) Declutter your bedroom - having a clean and tidy space is so important for your state of mind. Having a clear and decluttered house is the ultimate goal (and one I'm really trying to do) but if you're just going to focus on one room- make it the bedroom. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary where you sleep and relax. Recently I gave our bedroom a good tidy and changed our bedding to a white duvet set- it made me feel so much calmer and settled every time I got into bed and in the mornings too. It makes you feel so much more ready for the day ahead than wading through clutter.

2) Look at what you really need to have on show - tidy away stuff that you have out and really doesn't need to be. A big offender for me is bottles around the bath. I have about ten out when I only use two or three each time I shower. I also have a basket in the bathroom filled to the brim with products. Finding storage that will keep them hidden away will do a world of good. Same goes for everything that you have out in the kitchen - don't keep a big bread maker out if you only use it once a month.

3) Tidy stuff away as soon as you think about it - often I will look at a towel on the bed (not my towel, obviously it's Chris'!) or a glass of water which is on the side and think that I will move it later. Don't think- just do it. Tidying as you go along will make keeping a clear space so much easier.

4) Regularly clear stuff out - I regularly go through my wardrobe and make up to give it a good declutter. I put items into piles- one for friends/family/charity shop, ones to be thrown away (like old mascara) and ones to keep. Doing this will mean that you are always keeping on top of it.

5) Work out where areas of clutter build up and work with it - there are always going to be areas where clutter seems to gathers - the corner of our kitchen always cumulates keys and random items like paracetamol and card readers so I decided to buy a nice tray which these could go in which I try and regularly clear out. Sometimes you just need to admit that it is never going to be perfect and make it as clear and tidy as you can!

Beauty: IrresistibleMe Hair Extensions Review

September 10, 2015


I am a complete newbie to hair extensions but have often thought about buying them as they can look so great - and it's always fun to have a change with your hair. The decision was made when IrresistibleMe got in touch to see if I wanted to give one of their sets a whirl.

I went for the Royal Remy Hair in Royal Golden Blonde* and decided on the 20inch length and 200g weight. It was tricky deciding on the colour but I watched IrresistibleMe's video on choosing the right shade and also watched lots of reviews on YouTube to see what colours other girls had gone for. 

The hair extensions arrived in a bag with a small separate section containing one weft - this is so you can have a look at the shade and see if it's a match. If not you can return it. Once you open the main section containing the other wefts you can't send it back so do check that it suits your hair colour. 

The Royal Golden Blonde was a great match for me - I think it comes across a bit darker in the photos than it is but you can see how many different tones and highlights are in there so even if it's not an exact match it will still blend into your hair. The hair is super soft and really thick too. 

The set comes with 10 pieces- 1 piece of 4 clips, 2 pieces of 3 clips, 5 pieces of 2 clips and 2 pieces of 1 clip. I found that I really didn't need them all as you get so much hair.

The wefts are super easy to put in - you just snap them into place and it takes 5 minutes. I absolutely love these hair extensions - I think the photos speak for themselves but they just give my hair so much volume and I adore the length. I feel like a Disney Princess! When I put them in I really don't want to take them out. They blend really well into my hair (especially as I have quite a few layers) and look very natural.

You can find out more and order your own extensions through Irresistible Me's website here


Beauty: Premier Laser Clinic Review

September 08, 2015

A couple of months ago I was kindly invited to have a treatment of my choice at the Premier Laser Clinic - a leading beauty and skin clinic with seven clinics across London who specialise in laser, body and skin enhancing treatments. I wasn't brave enough for anything like laser hair removal or botox so played it safe with the Vitamin C Rejunevating Facial which is a gentle, yet effective treatment suitable for sensitive and skin prone to rosacea- it also claims to improve your skin after one session so I was sold.

After having to rearrange my appointment a million times due to various reasons (and the clinic were very accommodating which I appreciated!) it was finally time for my treatment.

The clinic
I went to their branch in Clapham old town which was very easy to find. It's a very clinical clinic (ha) but very pleasant and clean- if you want a pretty-smelling, spa-music type facial then this isn't for you as its all about the treatments. The staff were all very friendly and apologised for the delay with my appointment.
My appointment was half an hour late which was a shame but it happens, especially with evening appointments.

The facial

It started with a deep clean of my face (there was a steam machine which she used while she cleansed, I want this for my house!) and was followed with the peel which consisted of repeatedly painting the product onto my face and then massaging it in. It finished with a serum being applied all over. The treatment is sold as lasting 45 minutes but for me it was only 30 minutes and there wasn't a scalp and shoulder massage which was advertised on the site - I'm not sure why this was missed.

After the facial

Straight after the treatment I looked slightly red and very fresh faced. I also couldn't get over how soft my skin felt. For the next few days I cleansed with a natural cleanser and applied moisturiser regularly to keep my skin hydrated. My skin felt a little uncomfortable (not painful in the slightest) and a bit tingly but it was ok. Over the next few days I noticed lots of my skin flaking off - especially around my mouth and chin area but a week after the treatment this had stopped completely. 

Results

The best thing about the treatment was the results- it left my skin looking so much better. It has smoothed its overall appearance and just looks cleaner and fresher. It's not a miracle worker but does make your skin look far more healthy than it did before!

The Vitamin C Rejuvenation Facial costs £90 for one session and you can find out more about Premier Laser Clinics here.


Life: Five Ways to Make a Little Extra Money

September 06, 2015


Today I wanted to share a few ways of making a little extra money each month. I'm always eager to find easy ways of bringing in a little extra cash and have been filling in online surveys for a few extra pennies since I can remember! I've found a few different ways which have been really great in topping up my salary each month. 

1) Focus Groups - these are brilliant as they pay fantastic money. Usually you get around £50 for two hours so it's well worth doing- some pay even more. If you haven't heard of them before, they basically come about when a company wants to carry out research on something, such as a new advertising campaign or product they're launching, and would like to gather real thoughts and opinions on it. It's such an easy way of making money as there are no wrong answers and you're getting paid to just have a chat! The majority of focus groups are held in London but I do see them being advertised elsewhere too. Focus Force, Take Part in Research and London Market Research are all good ones to register with. Also, don't get disheartened if you apply and don't hear back on many - often companies are looking for a certain profile so it can take time before you're asked to go on one. 

2) VoxPopMe - this is a lovely little iPhone app where you get paid to record a short 15-60 second clip answering a question or giving an opinion on something. It's worth checking out their terms to see how they may use the clips but generally it seems to be for market research. You usually get paid between 25p-65p per clip and it has to be approved before you get paid. Once you've earned £10 you can withdraw the money via Paypal. I find that it adds up really quickly and is also quite fun to do - once you get over the initial embarrassment of talking to the camera! You can sign up here and if you use this link I'll get a bit of money through it so go on, you know you want to! 

3) Pinecone Research - Pinecone Research are a leading consumer research agency who help companies with developing products. Once you sign up you are sent surveys to complete and you get paid for them in points which you can redeem for prizes or cash (via Paypal). Each survey generally pays 300 points which equates to £3 - not too shabby! I signed up a few weeks ago and have already made £12. The catch is that it's pretty hard to get on their panel as they are looking for specific households (and only accept one person per household)- but give it a go by signing up through the link here.

4) eBay & Gumtree - I use eBay and Gumtree regularly for selling items. eBay is super easy to use and a great way of selling old clothes that you no longer want - only catch is that you have to pay eBay a percentage of the final selling price but I think it's worth it for how straightforward it is. Gumtree is far less 'pretty' but is great if you want to sell items quickly and you don't have to pay them anything- we have put a few pieces of furniture on there and it's always gone within a couple of days for a decent price. IKEA furniture seems to be the most popular!

5) Airbnb - I haven't personally used Airbnb to make money, but my parents have had success with it and we are thinking of putting our spare room on when the flat is finished. Airbnb seems to have exploded in popularity recently. You can use it to advertise your spare room, or even whole house as a place to stay. The site is really user-friendly and makes the process so straightforward. My Mum and Dad have had lots of people coming to stay at their place and it's making them a great bit of extra money - they have also met some really interesting and lovely people. I may ask them to get involved and write a post with some Airbnb tips! 

I hope these were useful and it might help you make a little extra cash! Do leave a comment if you have any other money-making ideas.


Beauty: Seventeen Instant Glow Shimmer Brick

September 03, 2015

Earlier this week, I was having a chat with a girl at work and I noticed how glowy and tanned her face looked. Obviously I asked what she was wearing and it was the Seventeen Instant Glow Shimmer Brick. She said that another colleague had been wearing it (who I have also always admired for her lovely looking skin) which had led to the whole team buying it.

Of course, this meant that I had to jump on the Shimmer Brick bandwagon and so bought it from Boots at the next opportunity. I haven't been disappointed - this is the perfect summer product and a bargain too at only £4.99. You can use the colours individually or all together - I have been swirling my brush in it and using it on my cheeks as a blush/highlight, and then also using the lightest shade as more of a traditional highlighter on my cheek bones and under the arch of my eyebrow. The darker shades are great for a more dramatic bronzed look, and the colours also make a great eyeshadow shade. 


Beauty: Fake Bake Beauty at Home

September 01, 2015

I mentioned in my post about eSalon that I had been at a been at a beauty event to introduce the brand, and to tell us all about Fake Bake Beauty at Home. I think every beauty blogger is aware of Fake Bake - they are a hugely popular award-winning fake tan brand and are very loved amongst the celebs!

They have now embarked on a new venture and have launched Fake Bake Beauty at Home - a new business and shopping concept. It gives someone the chance to become their own beauty entrepreneur by providing the ingredients needed to make it a success at no risk and low cost - the founder of Fake Bake, Sandra McClumpha has had a great success story and so wanted to do something which could help others have the same. You join the scheme for £99 and get kitted out with everything you need to get set-up.

In addition to all of the Fake Bake tanning products, the brand have introduced three new collections which we got to try out at the event; Dolce Dreams bath and body products, Skin D-Luxe skincare and Scream & Pout make-up. I haven't had the chance to try many of the products yet but the bath products smell divine and I really like the two highlighter cream products in the Scream & Pout palette.

To find out more about the scheme and view the whole range from Fake Bake Beauty at Home visit their website - www.fakebeautybeauty.co.uk.