Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

Christmas Day 2013
I make no apologies for the blog taking a backseat this week as I've indulged in festive spirit and spent time watching Christmas movies, drinking red wine with friends and thoroughly enjoyed myself and if that isn't what it's all about then I don't what it is.

Today is one of my favourite day of the festive season spending yet more time with friends and family before the craziness that tomorrow will bring with my niece and nephew. I'd like to take the opportunity to say thank you for everyone who has read Florence and Mary, it's been a great year and I can't wait to see what is in store for me and this blog in 2015. I look forward to catching up with everyone next week when normal business will resume.

Merry Christmas! 

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas at Liberty's

I hope you don't mind the next couple of days will be photo heavy/word light as I wind down for Christmas. Today's post will feature photos taken from a trip to Liberty's way back in October before we'd even celebrated Halloween.

It's safe to say that Ben this year has taken on the role of Buddy the Elf, hence the early trip. We also went to Fortnum & Mason which will feature in tomorrow's post along with one or two photos taken on Sunday's visit.

And just because it's Christmas doesn't mean there isn't time for a pineapple!!

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Reading Tag

I saw the reading tag floating around one or two blogs and thought I'd throw it onto my littel space in the hope it'll reignite my love of reading. Having just finished reading Victoria Fox's Power Games and enjoyed it to the point that I couldn't get into any of the other three books pictured above I thought it was worth a shot.

If you're interested in a book that's a cross between Lost and Dynasty I'd definitely recommend Power Games highly. It's your typical page turning book that fans of Jackie Collins and the like will enjoy. Pure escapism is the name of the game as you journey with seven 'deadly sinners' on a private jet to paradise - or so they think.

So on with the tag....

Do you have a certain place for reading at home?
My reading tends to happen on the train to work. It's only if a book is a real page turner and I can drag myself away from the laptop I'll pick it up at home.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?
Neither, I'm one of those naughty people that folds over the corner of the page I'm on.

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter or a certain number of pages?
No I have to wait for a chapter to end or a break in the story. I have been known to carry on reading up the station escalators to achieve this!

One book at a time or several at once?
One at a time

Reading at home or everywhere?
If I could choose somewhere on a beach would be nice

Reading out loud or silently in your head?
I think I'd get some strange looks on the train if I were to read out loud

Do you ever read ahead or skip pages?
Much to peoples frustration I can happily know the ending and/or skip pages or try to read ahead if I want to know what happens.

Breaking the spine or keeping it new?
There is nothing better than breaking the spine of a new book although as I get most from the library I don't often have that pleasure

Do you ever write in books?
Never fiction but sometimes if books are of the reference kind I've added a few notes

What are you currently reading?
Tori Spellings Unchartered TerriTori

Do share with me what you've been reading lately.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Kiss Gel Dress My Space Nail Wraps

Kiss Gel Dress My Space Nail Wraps* link
You know by now I love gel nails but I can't always get to my appointments so Kiss may just have the answer with their Kiss Gel Dress Nail Wraps*. And more importantly these gel wraps are at least a quarter of the price at £5.99 of your usual gel manicure and even if it doesn't replace it, it'll certainly allow you more time between appointments.

You can wear your Kiss Gel Dress Nail Wraps one of two ways. The regular peel off, stick down and file to size which will last approx one week or with a LED lamp which will add another week onto their wear.

Nail wraps can be a fiddly business and I do need more practice with the filing down and shaping of them since mastering not making a complete mess sticking them down but what is great about those I tried and many from the range is that the glitter hides a multitude of sins. Also don't forget this style will mean removing the glitter is not so troublesome as you simply peel off.

These wraps are so handy to have in a draw for impromptu nights out and I found that wearing these saved my nails from any breakages as they added support yet won't leave behind any damage. I also like that many of the wraps allow you to dabble with simple nail art without having to use various different brushes and tools and instead just get handy with different patterned wraps.

I don't know about anyone else but I'm working on New Years Eve this year and something like these nail wraps to take me from desk to disco in a matter of minutes could be just the thing.

*PR Sample

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Janjira Therapy Massage Candle

Janjira Therapy Massage Candle* link

When one of my BFF's got engaged a few weeks ago I wanted to get her a little something in celebration particularly when she picked me as her bridesmaid. There was the obvious choice of flowers but at a time when Christmas decorations are in full abundance and the Facebook evidence telling me that others had already done that I wanted something different. Then I remembered the Janjira Massage Candle* I'd recently tested and how 'couple appropriate' it would be.

First of all get all your mucky thoughts of Body of Evidence style candle behaviour. This isn't about pouring molten wax on your or anyone else's body. This candle melts to a warm oil that once you have blown out the flame and allowed to cool slightly can be poured, using the holders handy spout, into the hands and used as a massage oil.

This isn't the cheapest candle at £34 but it is one of the most luxurious I've ever used and for my solo expedition I tried it on the cuticles, elbows and feet, oh to have someone to massage my feet. The scent is what I can only describe as 'spa-like'. I appreciate that is somewhat cliched and of course the real scent is somewhere in the zesty, citrus bracket but to have this burning in my bathroom and then used after on my skin was a real delight for all senses and for a newly engaged couple I could imagine quite fun!

Does this sound like something you would like to share?

*PR Sample

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bio-Oil beyond stretch marks

Bio-Oil* link

I received this bottle of Bio-Oil* in a goody bag after a press event a few months ago and must confess it was thrown into the pile and forgot about. I mean, unless I have any pregnancy plans coming up isn't Bio-Oil only used when you're trying to get rid of stretch marks? Ok it does work on scars too but I'm low on bar fights these days so it's not really something I had much use for. How wrong I was!

Last week I was made aware of how many uses Bio-Oil has beyond its award winning formula for targeting stretch marks so I thought it only right I share with those as clueless as I was.

Tired eyes? Check. All those Christmas parties can take their toll and we still have New Year's Eve celebrations to come. Try a little Bio-Oil under your eyes and you'll be surprised how awake you'll look, ready to fool anyone in that early morning business meeting.

Missing the sun-kissed glow of Summer? Try mixing with your bronzer. I haven't tried this one yet but it's on the list. Who needs a separate cuticle oil when you have Bio-Oil to hand and there's always the addition of a few drops to your bath and your skin is left silky smooth.

Slightly more obvious are taming flyaway hairs. I don't suffer with this issue in the morning but sometimes when I run a brush through my hair at the end of the day things get a little crazy and a small amount run sorts this out perfectly.

You can also fit Bio-Oil into your skincare regime due to its various ingredients such as Chamomile, Rosemary and Lavender Oils and Vitamins E and A. All these work for the familiar stretch marks and scars but will also help with uneven skin tone and dehydrated skin (another hands up for me especially after a night on the town).

Bio-Oil's ingredients help to make skin softer, smoother and more supple which will reduce the appearance of wrinkles or sagging skin in 2015. We're at the perfect time of year for adding oil's to our routines due to the harshness of the weather and central heating conditions  and as mentioned above the dehydration from Christmas cocktails.

With 3 for 2 at Boots skincare at the moment it's the perfect opportunity to add Bio-Oil to your shopping basket.

*PR Sample

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Elle Macpherson LED Compact Mirror

Elle McPherson LED Compact Mirror

Elle McPherson LED Compact Mirror

A lot of makeup powders and products have their own handy mirrors contained and I don't know about you but I'm dreadful at remembering to clean them. By the end of the week/month/year I'm moving the mirror around trying to find a clean spot in which I can actually see how I'm applying mascara to my lashes.

Enter the Elle Macpherson LED Compact Mirror*. I used to always have a separate mirror (the Chanel compact which you can find here) in my make up bag and having been reintroduced to how handy they are I know I won't be without one.

Like many compacts the Elle Macpherson mirror is two sided, one of which is for magnification and very handy for tidying up those brows before a night out but the extra from Elle's mirror is the LED lights which help out with things are a little too dark. I don't know about you but so many bar and restaurant bathrooms make me wish I'd brought a torch light with me they're so dimly lit that this has come in very handy for a quick once over.

The price of this mirror compact sits around the £10 mark which makes it half the price of the Chanel one I mention above which doesn't have any such illuminating features. It's also quite a handy size fitting comfortably in the palm of your hand.

If I were to be critical the colour lends itself well to getting a little grubby but as long as the mirror remains clear for all to see I'm happy.

Do you carry a compact mirror in your handbag?

*this post contains press samples

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Gift Ideas for Young Girls

We all love to receive a beauty or fragrance gift set whatever age we may be but I do remember fondly feeling oh so chic when I'd receive a fragrance gift set such as the Kiss Me City Chic* set from So…? when I was younger. I was recently having a conversation with my friend asking what her daughter would like for Christmas and her birthday on the 19th (oh those December birthdays!!). At the age of 11 she is very much at that stage of loving make up and perfume and who better to aid her on that journey than her little old me!

The Kiss Me City Chic set first of all appeals to me on so many levels, I love the drawing style of the chic lady on the box and inside you receive an EDT, body lotion and lip balm. I have a feeling this kit will be well received by that special little lady and come in handy for her mum's forthcoming wedding next month. Whilst there is a RRP of £5.99 it's available for much lower prices at your usual supermarkets so handy to throw in the trolley whilst you're picking up your turkey and brussel sprouts. 

So…? have many gift sets available such as these rather excellently designed body fragrances which I'm sure any little madam you may know would like and if you live in a house of little ladies these are ideal for splitting up for stockings or for children to give as gifts to their friends. Christmas can seem pricey and never ending but this sets are so affordable and as mentioned above available from your local supermarket they also come in handy when you realise you've forgot someone and the only store open is your nearest branch of Tesco.

KISS Nail Art Starter Kit* UK link / US link
I'm fairly certain I won't be very popular with the recipients of the KISS Nail Art Starter Kit* mum 
but I can imagine the fun my honorary niece will love bringing together her love of crafting and beauty with a little nail art and certainly do a better job than I would.

Has this given you some ideas for the younger ladies you buy gifts for or would you be jealous and want them for yourself?

*PR Sample

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Beauty Tag

1. Would you rather lose all of your mascaras, eye liners, lipsticks and glosses or loss all of your palette and eye shadows?
Sadly it would be my palettes and eye shadows which I'd have to pass on. My eye make up skills are limited at best and there is no way I could live without red lipstick.

2. Would you rather chop off all you hair or never be able to cut it again
I'd rather chop off all my hair as it grows quite quickly and I've had short hairstyles in the past. Far better to make a shorter style work than live with ever growing hair in bad condition.

3. Would you rather have a coral or pink blush

4. If you had £1000 to spend, would you rather buy clothes or make up
Can't I spend £500 on clothes and £500 on make up? Whilst the thought of going mad in Selfridges Beauty Hall with £1000 sounds great I think I'd have to go clothes, or at least a bag.

5. Would you rather only use on eye shadow or one lip colour for the rest of your life?
As I've said eye make up isn't my fortay so I guess one simple eye colour would be fine and I could change up the lipsticks but equally I could cope with red lips all year round too.

6. Would you rather have dark nails or bright nails year round?
Chanel Rouge Noir all year round would make me quite content.

7. Would you rather only wear your hair in a ponytail or a messy bun?
Messy bun always.

8. Would you rather never paint your nails again or never use lip gloss?
This is an easy one, never wear lip gloss. Whilst lip glosses have certainly improved over the years it's still not something that's an every day staple in my make up bag.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

The Fragrance Shop Discovery Box

Discovery Club from The Fragrance Shop* link
Let's be honest, perfume is pretty simple you either do or don't like the smell of something but sometimes the spritz of a tester in store isn't enough and there aren't always samples to take home on offer. That is where The Fragrance Shops Discovery Club comes in.

Much like the beauty boxes bloggers know and love every quarter for the price of £5 per box you will be sent a selection, at a minimum of five vials, of fragrances to try. I don't know about anyone else but I always used to think those vials of perfume received as samples wouldn't last more than one spray but I received a Discovery Box for Christmas last year from mum and spent the year working my way through these samples and it's surprising how long they last. One would certainly last a weekend break and one or two would more than cover your Summer holiday.

I complain I don't have a great sense of smell but I know what I do and don't like from my fragrances on first spray. When I do find something I like I prefer to wear it throughout the day and see how it settles and works with my skin, then I will choose to buy the larger size. One of the samples in the Discovery Box I received is a fragrance on my wish list following some testing from a sample.

Back to the current quarter's box which is to celebrate two years of the Discovery Club and is the Classic Collection for Winter 2014*. Filled with familiar fragrances such as Jean Paul Gautier and Angel from Thierry Mugler and new to me from Lacoste and Jimmy Choo. There's even some Boss from Hugo Boss and another from Issey Miyake to share with the man in your life. Due to the celebrations this box even includes Modern Muse in a 7ml size for you to try and I for one can't wait to try this out properly.

I think this is a great way to avoid perfume disasters such as a friend had when she tried a perfume which she loved the smell of when I wore it. Unfortunately the strong scent completely changed on her so much so that after half an hour she had to go and have a shower to wash it off as she couldn't bear the thought of having to go out wearing it. Extreme yes, but possible for all.

Your Discovery Box will also come with a rather comprehensive booklet telling you about the fragrances you've received even down to their top, heart and base notes which is a great way for you to start to build a picture of the sort of scents you enjoy beyond 'floral', 'musky' and so on.

Whilst I certainly see the appeal of beauty boxes and have hovered over the sign up button once or twice I'm always swayed by thinking I could spend that money on a specific product I know I want/like whereas with perfume and the competitive price of these boxes it's a much better deal.

I appreciate bloggers must be driving everyone nuts with their 'this would make a good Christmas present' line for anything featured in blog posts but I love the idea of paying £20 for a gift for someone that they will receive throughout the year rather - and it certainly takes the guess work out of what they might like and next year you might have a request for the full size bottle of something they tried!

You can find details on the Discover Club here. I'd love to hear your comments on whether you like the sound of this subscription service.

*PR Sample

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas with Balance Me

Super Protecting Hand Cream Christmas Gift Set* link

Last night Carissa, Zinita and I battled the Christmas shoppers and met with the Balance Me girls in Debenhams on Oxford Street to find out a bit more about the range and what suggestions for Christmas gifts they had. 

You can imagine how happy I was to bring home Balance Me's Hand Cream Gift Set* being such a lover of hand cream. Firstly I'm seriously in love with the box, it's so pretty and easy to wrap. Now onto the real good stuff, what's inside? The set contains two 50ml tubes of Balance Me's award winning hand creams, Rose Otto and Super Moisturising. 

Rose Otto is something of a signature scent for Balance Me and is the range I've always associated with them. I confess I'm not much of a rose fan although I know many that are and it is a delicate rose scent that doesn't offend me greatly. For those worried about anti-ageing Rose Otto Hand Cream contains a blend of kukui nut, camellia oils, shea butter and naturally active Arctic cloudberry to hydrate, plump and keep those visible signs of ageing at bay - they do say the best way to tell a womans age is by looking at her hands.

For none rose lovers there is the Super Moisturising Hand Cream, which again is anti-ageing and designed to protect hands from daily wear and tear - it's even been voted the anti-ageing hand cream. I was given a lovely hand massage with this hand cream and despite more being applied for massage purposes it still sunk into the nicely and didn't leave my hands feeling greasy which is great from a rich hand cream designed to tackle even the driest of hands.

Far be it from me to say that you could maybe keep the box for yourself and split the hand creams up in two gifts.

Rose Otto Body Wash* link
Let's be honest no one would turn down a body wash of any description as we're all using them daily and if you have a rose fan and looking for something to accompany your hand cream there are many items in the range including the body wash. I've not used this myself and will likely pass this on to my mum who adores rose and her sensitive skin will appreciate that it is sulphate free, suitable for allergy-prone complexions and still wants to enjoy luxurious products. Rose Otto body wash is available in 3 sizes ranging from £3 - £9 which means there's a price bracket for everyone.

Are you a Balance Me fan, I've enjoyed my introduction to the brand and would love to hear your recommendations. Don't forget to tell me if you're Team Rose or not!

*PR Sample

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