Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Frog Prince


This little fella lives on my bedside table, sadly when kissed he doesn't turn into a Prince but one can keep hoping!

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Frankie & Bennys Breakfast Menu, Harlow Essex

Frankie & Benny Breakfast Menu

Frankie & Benny Pancakes & Bacon

On a rare day off work my plans for a lie in were thwarted when I remembered the cleaner was due a visit so I jumped in the car and headed to the local shopping centre to tackle the days to do list. Strolling past a newly opened Frankie & Benny's I noticed they had a £5 breakfast menu and hearing my belly rumbling I decided to treat myself to some bacon and pancakes.

Unfortunately I wished I hadn't - it was not good. I appreciate for £5 what can you expect but... rubbery pancakes which I have no doubt were reheated and under cooked bacon nowhere near the crispiness you need when accompanying pancakes and then the maple syrup. I love maple syrup but this arrived drowning the plate. I actually didn't even eat it all it was that bad and I'm not one to not clear my plate.

All in all a disappointing experience - have you had more success from Frankie & Benny's breakfast menu?

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Review // Erborian BB Creme Au Ginseng

Erborian BB Creme Au Ginseng available from Space NK & Selfridges

BB Creams hit the beauty market some time ago and everyone raved about them but since then they are losing favour especially with CC Creams following and rumoured DD creams on their way and how well they actually do their job.

We all know by now that BB creams originated in Korea and are promoted as all in one products combining light foundation coverage and used as a moisturiser. I like tinted moisturisers/BB creams as I don't find that I need much coverage and have only started using foundations recently when I want a different finish.

Erborian BB Creme Au Ginseng was in my Selfridges Summer Beauty Box claiming to transfer your skin to a velvety softless finish. Their formulation claims to unify skin tone and conceal all imperfections, moisturise and nourish and afford a velvety touch.

So how did I find it?

I tried using this with and without a moisturiser and found that it was drying on my skin and didn't apply as well. I wouldn't usually use a BB cream to replace my regular moisturiser but for the purposes of this post I wanted to try it out.

As for the finish I loved it. It genuinely does make your skin feel velvety to the touch and blends so nicely on your skin it's perfect for the no make up make up look. This BB cream is designed to blend with your skintone and only comes in a couple of skin tones so this certainly won't suit everyone.


This is definitely a product I would repurchase and such a small tube that I applied either with finger or a Real Techniques buffing brush its perfect for popping into your travel make up bags.

What are your thoughts on BB creams, are you a fan or have you tried this product and love it as much as I do?

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

#theSOproject // Week 1 Skincare


It stands to reason that the first post in the #SOproject is skincare as it is literally the starting point. If you don't look after your skin you will pay the price and without prepping the skin no amount of fancy make up tricks will work to their full potential. That said and despite my collection of skincare goods above it is only the last couple of months I have really started paying attention to my skincare and that is in large part from reading Caroline Hirons blog and my subsequent skincare consultation with her which you can read about here.

Halfway through writing my post I found it was getting to long as there is so much to learn about double cleansing and so on and each step is a blog post in itself. I found myself constantly referring back to Caroline's blog posts and advising you read her cheat sheets on the various steps that it made sense to start again and simply say read Caroline's blog.

I hope no one finds that cheating but part of sharing wisdom is to share the resources you use and defer to those that really know. I wish I'd had such a blog to read years ago so I didn't rely on removing my make up after a night out but rubbing my face into the pillow!

Having done my reading here is my regime and some products I use


Eye Make Up Remover

Despite Caroline saying you don't need to have an extra step in removing your eye make up with something other than your cleanser I like to do so. I've suffered a number of eye infections over the past year and like to remove the eye make up in the first instance and also prefer that than seeing a wash of black on my cleansing flannel. Remover of the moment is L'Oreal's offering, Liz Earle's eyebright is washed over my eyes in the mornings to help wake me up when all I want to do is hit the snooze button and the one I stay away from, Clinque - that one stung dreadfully.


Cleansers

I've never been good at a full cleansing regime and here I am with an array of products and double cleansing! Micellar waters are for my lazy days and I always ensure I have one by my bedside with some cotton wool pads so I have no excuse when I'm too lazy to walk to the bathroom! My Rodial cleansing balm is absolutely luxurious and a dream to use (and a bargain price if you saw yesterdays post here)


Toner

Toning has long changed from being the forgotten step, an afterthought to simply remove last traces of your make up. I was even told at Kiehls when I started taking my skincare seriously that I didn't even need to use toner - read about that here. As well as double cleansing I'm double toning, an exfoliating toner; Pixi Glow Tonic and one for Hydrating, Nude Purify Toning Water. Another favourite for hydrating is Liz Earles Skin Tonic and I've recently been swapping out Cadaulie Beauty Elixr.


Moisturiser

This month I was going to treat myself to Origins Ginzeng moisturiser but having gathered my stash for this photo I don't really think I can justify it. I am still playing around with moisturisers trying to find one I like. Currently I'm swapping between the L'Occitane Ultra Rich face cream and Clinque's Youth Surge which the latter of I'm not too keen on. I am very happy with my night time treatment of Kiehls Midnight Recover Concentrate. This smells divine and is the prefect step of an evening. I'm not a fan of oils as can't bear my skin feeling greasy but this one is just the right balance. Pricey this may be but I'm using it nightly since April and I'm not even half way through the bottle as you only need a small drop so initial outlay is costly but on a price per use basis it's very fair.



Serums and Eye Creams

Serums etc are an area I'm still looking into. Ultimately there are no wonder treatments and at 34 I've left things a little late and am extremely lucky to show too many signs of ageing. I've been using the Balance Me Facial Expression* filler for some weeks now and much prefer it to Kiehls Line-Reducing Concentrate which I had such promise for. Bare Minerals Multi-Wrinkle* is a product I've yet to try so stay tuned for a review on that.

Hydraluron is a blogger staple new to my arsenal. It's not the nicest product to use as it's quite tacky on the skin but if it locks in the moisture I will continue using. Clinques Even Better Eyes is another new product so I can't comment on that too much as yet.


Masks

And finally my two masks of choice at the moment. Clarin's HydraQuench Cream-Mask which I use as an overnight treatment or now I've finished my GlamGlow Mud mask (read a review here) it's the turn of Origins Charcoal mask of which a review will come soon.

I hope this post wasn't too long for you and if you've stuck it out and you're still reading; thank you! I'd love to hear any of your skincare recommendations and if you try any of the products I've mentioned I'd love to know your thoughts.


*PR Sample

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Beauty Buying; Save while you spend


Tonight at 6pm over 100 bloggers will publish the first post in a series called #theSOproject (read more about it here). The chances are if you're anything like me when reading beauty blogs you'll be armed with a notebook and pen and by the end of the 10 week series you'll have amassed a list of products that you want to add to your own make up collection - and we all know, this can be costly.

If I'm going to spend as much money as I do on beauty products I like a little incentive to ease the blow of my diminishing bank balance and it's only fair I pass on some tips.

Firstly we all have Boots Advantage and Superdrug Beauty cards right? My Boots card is the most used and I try to pick up my beauty buys from there where possible. Covering both high and low end products its amazing how quickly those points mount out. At the moment I have enough points that I can leap on Chanel Les Beiges when it's release next month and it won't cost me a penny; who would argue with that?

I'm lucky that I work in London and have access to larger Boots stores with wider ranges of products, if you're not blessed with a fully stocked local store head online. Often there will be additional bonus points available for online purchases and you can have orders delivered to your local store - of course where buying new products you'll have to look in stores for colour matches. Another tip for Boots online ordering, go via TopCashBack and you can earn 2% on your beauty purchases.

Of course always investigate Superdrug and Boots for various offers. I think it's safe to say that at one point or another either store will be doing a 3 for 2 on beauty lines whether it's nail colours, particular brands or reductions on skincare.

5 minutes walk from my office is House of Fraser with it's very own Mac counter and yes it's very dangerous. Whilst some products are only available in pro stores where possible I'll make my purchases here to earn cashback to use in store. Of course they have a wide variety of beauty counters so if I'm not adding to my Boots advantage points I'll be adding to these. My local store has a Nails Inc nail bar so I can earn points on my manicure as well as new clothes and shoes.

I'm new to Space NK's Ndulge incentive scheme rather frustratingly only discovering a few months ago despite visiting their in store Blink Brow Bar for years where you can also earn NDulge points. Different from the other programmes, you only have 3 months to amass and then use your incentive and we all know shopping in Space NK is never going to be a cheap experience so it's not something I do too frequently. That said last month I had earned £10 to spend in store making my Shu Umera eyelash curler purchase half price so it's definitely worth having.

Finally I must give a mention to QVC, the housewives favourite shopping channel I was introduced to by my aunts many years ago and has been responsible for many many impulsive late night shopping purchases. You may be forgiven for thinking that QVC isn't for you but take a look at their shopping guide and see high end brands such as Bobbi Brown, Benefit, Decleor and Elemis featuring on their shows and you'll be tuning in with regularity. I find QVC so helpful to watch demonstrations of products and learn so much from watching their shows look out for their TSV offers when it's one of the beauty brands I mentioned, the prices are amazing. QVC talk about their buying power which they transfer to the customer and you can often pick up products at greatly reduced prices to the high street. Currently Rodial Glamtox Cleanser & Cloth is at an introductory price of £20.52 on QVC versus £50 on Space NK - without the cloth!

So there you have some ways to cushion the blow from buying all those 'must have' products and if you have any tips that I've not mentioned please share in the comments.

This is not a sponsored post but if you use my Topcashback link here I will receive a £12.50 reward

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Starting Out // #theSOproject‏


Stephanie at Steph's Invoice Voice has asked bloggers to join in a 10 weeks series called #theSOproject which aims to reach out to younger teens and/or those deciding to start out exploring make up and skincare giving advice and sharing tips and tricks they have picked up along the way.

The first post will go live at 6pm UK time on Tuesday 27th August and every Tuesday thereafter for 10 weeks. Here's what you can look forward to

Week 1: Skincare link
Week 2: Concealer link
Week 3: Foundation link
Week 4: Bronzer link
Week 5: Blusher
Week 6: Mascara
Week 7: Eyeliner
Week 8: Eyeshadow
Week 9: Lipgloss/Lipstick
Week 10 Make up tools

Now I'm no expert in any of these areas or offer any specific training but I am well versed in amassing a head full of snippets I've picked up from fellow bloggers and youtubers who I'll be directing you to. I have also got a collection of products I use and love and others I have tried and hated.

I'm really looking forward to this project and there's so many fabulous bloggers involved I can wait to see what new things I can learn too! I hope you'll join us.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review // Glamglow Mud Mask

glamglow mud mask review

Having read so many rave reviews about GLAMGLOW Mud Mask and it's favoured use by many celebrities it was hard to resist throwing a pot into my basket on a recent Space NK shop. Caroline Hiron's recommended clay/mud masks to me during my skincare consultation (which you can read about here) so this was as good a place to start as any.

So how did I find this product hailed as instant facial that works to brighten, tone and tighten skin in 15 minutes? I applied the product to cleansed skin and instantly felt the tingling sensation although not worringly so and I like to feel a product "working" in any case. This mask is not easy to apply in my opinion. I may be a little heavy handed but there were bits of tealeaves dropping out of the pot/off my skin all over my bathroom and you can see one sitting on my cheek in the picture below.


I left the mask on for the suggested 15 mins when you can see it had dried apart from particularly oily areas or where there was a thicker consistancy of product and where the tea leaves were


I removed the product with some water and flannel and voila - radiant glowing skin?


Overall this was a nice product to use on my skin and it looked great at the end but as I mention messy to use and pricey and I don't feel it was good enough - time to test my Origins Charcoal mask and see how they compare!

Glamglow can be purchased at SpaceNK here or CultBeauty here

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Girls Night In



According to a recent survey 50% of us girls just don't think nights out are what they used to be and 69% of us would rather have a night in with our friends; pampering, watching films and ordering a takeaway.

I can't deny I love a night out but as the years go on and my friends start to settle down and have children the crazy weekend benders of the past are few and far between. I find these days my nights on the town follow a day at work and come the weekend I'm happy to invite friends round for a comfy evening spent on the sofa or visit their homes so we can enjoy a glass of wine (the girls drink of choice in the poll) whilst babies sleep in comfort upstairs.

When my friends and I get together and there's nothing on the tv we fancy watching, the film we always reach for is Bridesmaids. Never has a film repeatedly made me cry with laughter no matter how many times I watch it. If you haven't seen it, where have you been for a start, get the girls together right now and arrange a viewing with some bottles of wine. I guarantee you'll be singing along to Wilson Phillips at the end of the night!

I'm not against inviting friends round for the odd dinner party as you can see here but sometimes only takeaway will do. My favourite is a chicken kebab and chips and somehow I even talk myself into believe that's a healthier choice but if I'm feeling extra naughty or the night in is a result of a raging hangover only pizza or a spicy curry will do.

Surprisingly only 35% of us girls favour some pampering on our nights in but of course that's because we already have such strict pampering routines I'm sure! Thankfully us beauty bloggers will have a collection of masks like this one from Origins to hand should we fancy giving our faces a little treatment and yes my friend and I have sat on my sofas with our clay masks on sipping a glass of wine keeping our fingers crossed that a neighbour doesn't knock on the door asking to borrow a cup of sugar.

So there are a few ingredients that I bring to a girls a night. I'd love to know what you and your friends think makes the perfect night or maybe you prefer a night on the tiles and watching X Factor with a bowl of popcorn is your worst nightmare.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Clacton on Sea Day trip


I already mentioned in Sundays outfit post here that last week I went to stay at my brothers for the night and we treated ourselves to a day at the seaside. Whilst the weather wasn't entirely on our side Clacton-on-Sea was still filled with fellow day-trippers enjoying the seaside award winner.


The day started successfully with my niece and nephew running impatiently onto Clacton Pier. Funnily enough they ignored all the cuddly toy filled grab machines and were happy enough just climbing on the amusements without so much as a request for money to activate them.



A trip to the seaside would not be complete without ice creams and lollies before tackling the very stoney beach. Whilst my sister in law and I relaxed on our blanket the children had rather dramatic reactions to the sea and sand. Violet had her drama queen moment when she got her t-shirt wet and Brody decided sand was not nice and instead wrapped himself up with mum and I!






Thankfully normal service was resumed after a change of clothes and Violet took off home whilst Brody practised being a monster! Tears, tantrums, laughter and smiles - a typical family day out!




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Monday, August 12, 2013

July Pay Day Haul



I'm sure I'm not alone in come pay day having amassed a long list of beauty products that have been down whilst reading blog posts and watching You Tube videos. This month as you can see I had a bit of splurge having added some money to my paypal account from eBay sales.

The Real Techniques Core Collection has been added to my brush stash and the Mac 217 is sure to change my world and aid my ability to perfect the smokey eye. The Shu Umera eyelash curlers have been on my wishlist since watching the Devil Wears Prada. I've always resisted but with a £10 Space NK Ndulge voucher due to expire meaning they were half price it was surely a bargain?




My faithful Liz Earle Eyebright is due to run out so I decided to try two new brands this month, one high end and another drugstore. The Clarin's eye make up remover has been raved about in blog circles so I hope it's a worthy contender and as I was adding the L'Oreal Micellar Solution to my shopping bag I thought why not add their Absolute Make Up Remover too. I find being a contact lense wearer that I need to ensure my eye make up is removed properly - especially since my optician ticked me off for having make up in my eyes on my last visit!

I've been eyeing up the hot pink Hydraluron Moisture Booster every time I walked through the Boots aisles and finally it is mine. I've yet to add it to my skincare routine but when I do I hope it makes the great impression on me that it has on everyone else.




Superdrug were running a too hard to resist 3 for 2 offer on Nail Colours pay day week and since I've been obsessing over the yellow Bourjois for weeks it was the perfect opportunity to try Lychee and Guava from Barry M - yes for someone who said they didn't like the Gelly paints I seem to be amassing quite a collection. Likewise for someone who was rarely wearing any mascara why I felt that I couldn't resist buying the Clinque bottom lash mascara I don't know but into my collection it has gone.

I've recently discovered that I'm something of a lipstick junkie and had been swatching the Rimmel Apocalips almost daily when I'd nip into Boots 'just for a look'. I decided to pick up Apocaliptic a bright fuschia which I wore in this post and Stellar a red orange. So far I've found Stellar easier to work with. Apocaliptic led to my friend constantly telling me to lick the lipstick off my lips. 


A few more blogger faves have now been ticked off the list. Bourjois Bronzing Primer which I'm still a little scared of so it's reserved for days when I have a bit of time to work with it. Another Colour Tattoo from Maybelline this time in Pomegranate which I've seen used with Mac's Cranberry in a number of tutorials I've watched lately - stay tuned to see if I manage to carry of any of those looks. And Teddy eyeliner from Mac.




Finally I jumped on the Bourjois Lip Crayon bandwagon with Red Sunrise and love how easy this is to wear and use - perfect for tube journey application. I haven't used Collection make up since my early teens but I'm joining the fanclub for their concealer, it works like a dream and last but no least saving me from shine in the heat Rimmel's Stay Matte powder is the perfect partner.

So there you have my goodies for the month, let me know what you've been treating yourself too this pay day or what's on next months wishlist?

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

OOTD // I do like to be beside the seaside



Dress: River Island 2012, similar here // Sandals: Primark // Bag: Anya Hindmarch // Sunglasses: Rayban

Last weekend I went to stay with my brother and his family and with a daytrip to the seaside on the cards I knew that my London print dress was the perfect thing to wear. I also had an opportunity to use my new Anya Hindmarch beach bag and pop on my bargain sandals from Primark which I'd managed to pick up for £3!

I picked up this dress last year to wear at my families Jubilee celebrations and it's still going strong this Summer. I like that its something different from typical florals - what do you think?

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