Tuesday 24 December 2013

Christmas NOTD 2013: Essie Toggle To The Top

Thought I'd squeeze one last post in before the big day! In honesty, I did have another Last Minute Gift post I wanted to do but I ended up having a bit of a mad 'here, there and everywhere' kind of weekend so never got chance to post it. Anyhoo, it's Christmas Eve now and I'm performing my last minute beauty rituals so I thought I'd show you my fresh Christmas Manicure courtesy of the Essie Winter Collection...

Jeez, I am so messy with dark polishes aren't I haha. The photos haven't turned out amazing either due to my parents having the DARKEST house in the world and the weather being so ghastly. 
Toggle to The Top came as part of my Essie Winter 2013 Mini-Collection (see my post Here) and I just knew it would be my first choice for Christmas Day. Essie describe it as Sparkling, Crushed Garnet Red and that's pretty much spot on really. I love that it's a little bit more grown up that your average 'Dorothy' inspired red glitter polishes. 

Here I've done two coats topped off with a layer of Seche Vite. It's certainly a beautiful polish. Only slight grumble is that it seems to be coming away at the tips already. Or maybe I'm just noticing it more because it's a darker colour. Either way it's not the end of the world. No doubt they'll be changing again by New Years Eve. 

What colour will you be wearing on your nails tomorrow?? Do you go for sparkle??

Thursday 19 December 2013

TLC's Last Minute Christmas Crackers Pt2: Benefit Crescent Row

My last minute Christmas Shopping Spree continues! It might be less than a week to go before it all kicks off but there's still plenty of shopping hours to be had. A quick nip into Debenhams or Boots is all that's needed to pick up this little beauty of a Fragrance Gift Set by Benefit. I'm a HUGE fan of Benefit fragrances and was presented with this Limited Edition Crescent Row Set* at the Benefit Christmas Bloggers Party. This is a mini selection of all of their best loved fragrances, including a new addition to the gang.

This set contains four of Benefit's Best Loved Fragrances in dinky 10ml sizes...
Laugh With me LeeLee
Ring My Bella
My Place or Yours Gina
NEW Under my Spell Noelle

These are perfect for handbags! I've been carrying around Noelle and Gina almost constantly ever since I got this set. It's great to have them handy, should the need for a quick dab of something gorgeous arise. The only fragrance out of the bunch I was unfamiliar with was LeeLee, but I'm learning to love her just as much as I love her Crescent Row sisters. And, of course, in true Benefit style, the packaging is beautiful. It's something any Benefit or fragrance fan would love to unwrap for Christmas.

This Gift Set retails for £29.50 for 4x10ml

Benefit have so many gorgeous Limited Edition sets this year! Why not have a browse on the website before you dash out to brave the shopping madness and save some time? If you REALLY haven't got time to get to a counter before Christmas, Benefit are currently offering an Express shipping option before midnight tomorrow (20th) to ensure your online orders get to you before the big day.  

Are you a fan of Benefit Fragrances?? Who is your favourite of the Crescent Row Ladies?? 

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Christmas Lipstick Love: MAC Rebel

Last year's Christmas lipstick choice was a roaring success for me. I felt so festive rocking my Ruby Woo throughout last year's festivities. This year, however, I fancied something a bit darker and you all know I'm going a bit bonkers for darker berry shades this season. Then along comes Rebel.... 

I've always struggled with purple tones. I have no idea why because I have green eyes so (in theory) it should be a match made in heaven. Purples always seem to drain me somehow and the yellow tones in my skin always seem to overcompensate. However, after seeing several swatches online I knew I had to have Rebel (Satin). MAC's description of this shade was music to my ears. They define it as a midtonal cream plum which means that it should work with most skin tones, even mine! I was so convinced that I swept into Selfridges this week and bought it outright without even swatching it (which also had something to do with the fact that Selfo's MAC counter happened to be CRAMMED with people and I couldn't get anywhere near the lippy rack). 

I loooooooooove this lippy! It's a gorgeous deep berry purple shade with just enough red in it to cancel out the corpse-effect. It's also dark without being too dark (ie. my dad didn't tell me I looked like a Goth when I walked off the train wearing it this afternoon). My usual Satin finish grumble does apply here: It's not my favourite and I find it to be the dryest of the MAC finishes, but it gives good coverage and lasts a long time. I had to scrub this swatch off my arm with washing up liquid and a scourer! 

I can't wait to share my Christmas FOTD with you all! I plan to team Rebel with MAC Nightmoth pencil, just like I do with Ruby Woo (which will no doubt also be making a reappearance over the holidays). 

If you haven't found your perfect Holiday lip colour yet, don't despair! I've just had a nosey on the MAC Website and you still have until 3pm on Friday for guaranteed Christmas delivery! Get on there and have a nosey... Go on, it's CHRISTMAS!

What's your favourite Festive lip colour??


TLC's Last Minute Christmas Crackers Pt1: Radox Bath Therapy Gift Sets

I leave my Christmas gift posting as late as I leave my Christmas gift SHOPPING! There is a reason for this. I've discovered some lovely gift sets this year and I've got several to show you all this week. The beauty of all of these items is that they are super easy and quick to snap up for even the most behind of Christmas shoppers. I thought I'd get the Christmassy ball (or should that be bauble) rolling with these fantastic sets courtesy of Radox, who are the UK's number one washing and bathing brand with over 100 YEARS experience in producing the best products.

The products in these sets are all old favourites that are loved and used by many, but they've been given an extra something special for Christmas 2013. The 'Love a Duck' and 'Relax Ducky'* (pictured above) sets are great fun. You get two lovely, BIG 500ml bottles of two gorgeous varieties of Radox along with everybody's favourite bathtime companion... The flashy rubber ducky!! Seriously, no bath is complete without this little chap. He brings me so much JOY haha. The set that I have is just perfect for me. I adore Moisture Soak. It's like having a bath in moisturiser and leaves my skin so silky. It will always be a favourite. I'm looking forward to trying out Radox Relax too. It smells divine. Love a Duck is the more masculine of the sets (having said that, Muscle Soak has been a staple for me for some time with my dodgy limbs haha). It also contains the Original Radox bath formula. 

They also have an extra indulgent Home Spa gift set consisting of Spa Soothe Bath Soak and Spa Radiant Shower Cream wash. It also comes with a massager to work that lather right in for a real treat. 

These sets are all available from Superdrug and Boots and other Radox Stockists

Love a Duck - RRP £7.50
Relax Ducky - RRP £7.50
Home Spa - RRP £10

Do you leave it all until the last minute at Christmas?? Are you a Radox devotee?? Is there anything better in this world than a flashing, purple rubber ducky?? 

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Smells Like Christmas... Yankee Festive Fragrances

I don't know about you but Christmas isn't Christmas for me without a big Yankee Candle haul. I look forward to their Festive selections every year! It's now a tradition for me to go out and buy a massive selection of votives and wax tarts and then decide which one I love the most so i can go and grab a BIG jar. I've been absolutely obsessed in my quest for about the last month so I thought I'd show you my Yankee haul so far this year (my large jar won't be making its arrival until Christmas Day as it is a gift from my parents) and which fragrances are my favourite.

Wax Tarts....
Red Velvet: Not technically from the Christmas selection I suppose but I hadn't come across it before and popped it in with the others. Comforting, sugary and sweet and just what a cupcake fragrance should be. WINNER!
Cranberry Ice: Can't have Christmas without Cranberries can you? Yankee were dead right to pop this into their Festive mix this year. It's fruity but still has a bit of a sharp bite to it. 
Christmas Eve: This is up there on my favourites list. It's spicy, sweet yet mellow. I could burn this for hours! Too good to save until Christmas Eve itself in my opinion (I ended up getting 3 of these). 
Christmas Cookie: An oldie but still a goodie. I had to pick one of these up again this year as it was such a favourite last year. It never loses its charm. I burn this all year round! 
Snow in Love: This is my ultimate winner out of the bunch, and the one I have chosen for my large jar. I adore woody fragrances and this is just perfect. Clean, fresh and woody with a slight sweetness about it. Just like a walk in the snow with your special someone (I'm assuming haha). 

Fireside Treats...
I gave 'Merry Marshmallow' a miss this year, purely because I liked this one better and didn't feel that two marshmallow fragrances were called for. I opted to get a medium jar of Fireside Treats as I just found it a lovely, warm, sweet fragrance, just like grilled marshmallows! It's not the strongest of Yankee's scents and you stop noticing it after a while but it lingers in the room and, if you've been out and come back in, you walk back in and get a lovely sweet hit. 

Snowflake Cookie...
This was the runner up in the battle of large jar supremacy. To be honest it only really missed out because I've not been able to source any jar of this at all. It must be a popular one! I can see why though, as I actually prefer it in some ways to Christmas Cookie. It's just that little bit less stodgy and more fresh smelling.  Seen as I couldn't get my mitts on a jar I took the liberty of stocking up on wax tarts and votives in this scent.  It's given me the perfect excuse to christen my gorgous purple glass holders. They look so pretty in low light. 

So those were my Festive fragrance choices for 2013. No doubt I'll still be burning them in July (I've bought that many, I have multiples of most of the tarts featured in this post) which doesn't bother me in the slightest! I do it every year hahaha. 

I'm sure you all know where you can buy Yankee Candles by now BUT... Just a heads up that Yankee Online have some fantastic discounts at the moment, so it's well worth checking what they've got left (I think a couple of the Christmas Fragrances are sold out online now). And there's still time for delivery before Christmas!

Do you love Candles at Christmas?? Are Yankee a favourite of yours?? Which scents are you loving for Christmas 2013??


Monday 9 December 2013

The Christmas Tag

Eeeeeeeeek I haven't done a tag in FOREVER! Mainly because nobody's tagged me or I just haven't found one that got me thinking. However, I was tagged last week by the lovely Natalie to do the Christmas Tag! In more recent years I've been rediscovering a fondness for this time of year after spending so many years just spending it working so this will be a great opportunity to tell you a few things I'm loving about the holiday season....

Well.... It's only going to be one of two things for me. Gingerbread Latte or Toffee Nut Latte (always with soya). In my opinion Starbucks make the best Gingerbread latte by far BUT I'm loving the Christmas cups Costa have come up with this year so I've found myself sneaking in there a little more often lately. 

Real or Synthetic Tree??
Everybody loves a real tree don't they? There's just something about the smell and feel of a real one. I'm no exception to this but I guess it just comes down to practicality at the end of the day. Pine needles are a whole load of hassle and I can't be doing with it. Plus my ferrets would strip it all to the bone within seconds. So I'll be going for a synthetic tree this year. 

Gold, gold, GOLD! I always have gold on my tree. The other colours I use can vary from year to year but I have to have gold somewhere in there! I must admit I do like the traditional reds and greens as well but I think my favourite combo would have to be white and gold. My parents have a beautiful gold star that they always put at the top of their tree which I have been secretly plotting to steal for quite a few years now but, as I've spent the last two Christmases at their place in Derbyshire I still get to look at it. 

What's Your Traditional Christmas Lunch??
I'm a turkey girl. I must admit that I eat VERY little meat in general, but I am a sucker for tradition at Christmas and only Turkey will do. My folks went through a phase of buying a goose or a duck at one point and every year I'd get a strop on that we didn't have a turkey. Another thing I can't live without at Christmas is the ham. It's become a custom now that, as soon as I arrive home for Christmas, my mother and I go shopping for a HUGE ham and we'll cook it in the slow cooker until it's perfect. Nom nom nom!

Hmmmmm... I'm on the fence with mince pies. I'm not particularly fond and it's not something I'd choose but I will partake if it is offered, just for the sake of entering into the spirit of it. It has to come with some kind of sauce though (brandy sauce FTW). Same with mulled wine. Definitely not a fan of that either, but it's a 'Christmassy' thing to have and therefore I will. 

Christmas Day Fashion
If it's just me, at home, I won't get dressed at all! Onesie all the way! At least that's how it was when I was working Christmases. Nowadays, my extended family seems to be making much more of an effort to get everyone together for Christmas so I've got into the habit of buying a new dress for the occasion. Last year it was a green Sugarhill Boutique dress with bats printed on it (festive I know), which I wore with leather look leggings and ankle boots. This year I've gone for something plainer, but you'll see it soon enough in a Festive OOTD I'm sure. 

Favourite Christmas Movie

It's a toss up. There are two movies I cannot last the Festive season without watching. The first is The Muppet Christmas Carol and the second is The Nightmare Before Christmas. I've already watched the Muppets 3 times so far this year (it's impossible to scroll past on Netflix). I also love National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I'm a bit odd in that I HATE Home Alone, which I know is a popular one and Will Ferrell annoys the HELL out of me in Elf. Sorry not sorry. 

Favourite Christmas Song
Fairytale of New York. Hands down. Every time! Runner up is Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews 'It's Cold Outside'. Oddly, I find that East 17 'Stay Another Day' makes me feel more Christmassy than any of the traditional Christmas songs even though I wouldn't class it as one. Maybe I've attached it to a Christmas memory or something. 

For me Christmas isn't really about presents. It's about finally getting the chance to be with everyone all together on one day. A lot of the time we don't really do presents on Christmas day at all. In fact it's usually the day after Boxing day by the time we get round to it. Sometimes we even do it on Christmas eve before all the madness begins. It's all about the socialising and food for us. In general though I think it's nice to Give AND Receive, although it really isn't a priority in our house. I usually get very practical presents from my family at Christmas. Last year it was an electric blanket! I do enjoy picking out gifts for my parents and nana in particular. I get so excited for them to open them. 

Open Presents Before or After Lunch?
I kind of already answered this. If it's just my immediate family for Christmas and we've got the opportunity to do it on the day, we'll do it in the evening. There are no small children left so we're under no pressure. We just tend to fill our bellies during the day then crash out in the evening and open presents. 

Many thanks to Natalie for tagging me! 
I tag
and anyone else who fancies taking part! If you do, please feel free to leave me the link to your post below. I'm a nosey bugger hehehe



Sunday 8 December 2013

Essie Winter 2013 Mini Collection

Second post of the day! Woohoo! Hoping this means I'm back on track blogwise (but I don't want to jinx anything). I thought I'd pop this one up straight away as it kind of follows on from the previous post about my adventures at Boutique Spa. This post features my purchase from that evening which I am so excited about. It's the Essie Winter 2013 Mini-Collection. 

I think mini collections like this are a fantastic way to sample the highlights of a collection which would, otherwise, be pretty pricey to purchase separately in the full size (and let's face it, who uses up EVERY drop of polish in a full size bottle?). This one features 4x 5ml shades. For me, this Winter is shaping up to be all about deep, rich shades with a hint of festive sparkle and Essie have got this little set spot on in my opinion. 

Left: Sable Collar - Luxurious Pearlescent Cocoa Plum
Right: Toggle to the Top - Sparkling, Crushed Garnet Red

Left: Shearling Darling - Rich, Plush Ebony Red
Right: Mind Your Mittens - Deep, Double Diamond Black Teal

These colours look so luxurious! I love how they're completely different to my Nails Inc Autumn/Winter Collection (my post on that can be found Here for comparison and swatches). I'm a little bit peeved that I haven't been able to capture the true, pearlescent beauty of Sable Collar. The finish is really beautiful. I'll be wearing it over the festive season so hopefully I'll be able to snap a better photo for December's 'Month in Manicures' post. If I had to pick a favourite at this point it would be Mind Your Mittens as it's completely different from anything else in my collection and your usual festive shades, although it still seems completely appropriate for over Christmas. That said, I think that Toggle to the Top will definitely be my Christmas Day nail colour this year. 

I picked this up at Boutique Spa in London for £15 but, if you're not local, I'd definitely recommend running down to your nearest Boots/Superdrug Essie stockist before they sell out (which I'm willing to bet will happen soon). I've scoured the internet for online stockists but it has proven tricky as there seem to be several different sets out this year which are all pretty similar yet not quite the same. As always, I'm sure a thorough eBay or Amazon search with uncover a bargain or two. 

What are your Ultimate Festive nail polish shades?? Which brand do you prefer?? Did you rush out to get any polishes from this collection??


Winter Pampering with Boutique Spa London

Recently, I was invited along to Boutique Spa on London's Queensway for a little tour and a bit of pre-Christmas indulgence. It is a relatively small high street spa, but don't be deceived. It's not the size, it's what you do with it that counts and this place just screams luxury. I had the chance to look around the treatment rooms, smell all the gorgeous ESPA products and get a fabulous Winter manicure using some stunning new Winter shades by Essie. So here's a little pictorial of the evening to give you a glimpse inside and why I think it's a great place to go for a Winter treat! 

Dunk your cold, Winter feet in here for an indulgent massage complete with mood lighting!

Gorgeous Gift sets by ESPA (Boutique Spa are the first on the High Street to stock these products)

This place is polish-junkie paradise. Brands on display include Essie, OPI, Seche and more. On the night they were launching the new Essie Winter Collection (of which I MAY have made a purchase). Even the Christmas tree was decorated in Essie!

Manicurists were on hand giving gorgeous Essie manicures (sorry for the grainy iphone images)

Champagne and sparkly Winter nails... What more could a beauty blogger ask for? 

The manicure I was given on the night starts at £14 and comes with the option of upgrading to a classic manicure which includes a hand and arm massage, or for those wanting The Boutique Spa Manicure this includes a soak, exfoliation, mask, heated hand and arm mits, massage, cuticle tidy, shape and buff/polish starting at £25 for 20 minutes. I think these prices are actually rather affordable and it's certainly something I'd consider myself if I was in need of a treat (even on my student budget). 

The Spa also offer a wide variety of facial and massage treatments using the high quality ESPA products and can even scan your face to give you a personalised product prescription. I was actually shocked at how dehydrated my skin was. I'm on a moisturisation mission now. 

  Boutique Spa is located at 123 Queensway, London W2 4SJ; bookings can be made through 0207 2218017

Visit their website at www.boutiquespa.co.uk
  Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10am-9:30pm, Sunday 10am-8pm

If you're in the area why not pop in and have a look. You could also purchase a Gift certificate for someone you love as a Christmas treat (or book yourself in hehe) or arrange for a group of your girlie friends to pop in and share the ambiance together.  


Tuesday 3 December 2013

Bourjois Happy Light

This may quite possibly be one of the product launches of 2013 that got me the most excited. You all know I go BONKERS for Bourjois, especially their foundations. Healthy Mix has always been my go-to when it comes to drugstore foundation. However.... when I found out Bourjois were launching Happy Light with it's innovative formula, I almost fell over myself to get at it!

My Happy Light collection isn't actually complete yet. I have yet to pick up the primer but I suspect that curiosity may get the better of me and I am likely to go in search of the Mattifying version in the near future. I am lucky enough to own TWO shades of the Happy Light Foundation* and the concealer* to go with it. 

Here's what Bourjois have to say about the Formula...
- Translucent pigments selected for their perfect affinity with the skin.
- Concealing power that enhances the radiance of your complexion, concealing whilst being light in texture.
- Absorbs then reflects the light creating a radiant finish to the skin.
- 16hr hold.
- Ultra fine, soft powders that melt into the skin for a velvety feel.

Before I tell you what I think of the product, it is definitely worth mentioning that the foundation shades are a shade DARKER than those of Healthy Mix. So if, like me, you normally take a #53 in HM then you will need a #52 in Happy Light to get the same colour match. There are a total of 9 shades. 2 fair (Vanille), 4 medium (Beige) and 3 dark (Hale). I'm actually mixing Happy Light #52 and #53 at the moment as I'd felt for a little while that my #53 Healthy Mix wasn't quite dark enough (plus I've got a bit of fake tan on). I've swatched below to demonstrate the differences.....

Now.... the foundation itself.
I do really like it. It is a pleasure to apply and really does just meld into the skin with very little working in needed. I usually apply with my Sigma F80 or Real Techniques Stippling brush (depending on which one is clean that day haha). A couple of pumps does a whole face and I've been finishing it with Bourjois Java Rice Powder* to add a bit of extra radiance. This foundation photographs EXTREMELY well. It gives a velvety, soft focus effect. The only pictures I have of it so far are in false light so I haven't included one in this particular post, but plan to feature it in an upcoming Winter FOTD-type post I'm working on so you'll see it in all it's glory. I did feel that my skin didn't seem as hydrated as it does with Healthy Mix. It felt a little bit tight towards the end of the day. However, this was not reflected in the finish which stayed true and lasted well.

The concealer, although I haven't thoroughly road tested it yet, held up very well under my eyes the first time I tried it and compliments the foundation extremely well. It's only a tiny compact though so I'd imagine if you were using it every day you would run out quite quickly.

All of the Happy Light products Launched in October and are available NOW from all the usual Bourjois stockists such as Boots and Superdrug. You can also pick them up online via Boots, Superdrug, Amazon and very.co.uk

Happy Light Foundation RRP: £11.99
Concealer: £8.99
Serum Primers (each): £10.99

Do you go bonkers for Bourjois?? What is your ultimate drugstore foundation?? Will you be trying the Happy Light collection??

Monday 2 December 2013

Going Totally Tartan for Xmas with Freya

Despite having been MIA from the blogging scene on and off recently (excuse for last week is a good, old-fashioned dose of the flu), there's still not a lot that passes me by when it comes to what's hot and what's not. What is DEFINITELY hot right now is Freya Lingerie. Did you know they were recently awarded CoolBrand status?! How amazing is that! Freya have a very devoted fan club who just adore their lingerie. My brother's girlfriend is such a fan that she even named her daughter after them. I was lucky enough to meet up with the lovely ladies from Freya during the last London Fashion week for a fitting and a nosey through their Autumn/Winter styles. Boy, it was an eye opener!!

Another trend that I have been happy to discover this year is the tartan CRAZE that appears to be sweeping the country in the run up to Christmas this year. I do love me a bit of tartan. I fell head over heels in love with the style and pattern of this beautiful 'Totally Tartan' lingerie set and, being all amazing and all, Freya fitted me up and sent along this beautiful padded balcony bra and matching short in my perfect size. I honestly was blown away at the fitting. I couldn't believe I'd got my size so wrong (especially as I am familiar with the traditional method of bra fitting and thought I knew my size inside out). Not sure I want to reveal my true size to the whole of the internet but it's a good 2 cup sizes BIGGER and a size smaller round the back than I had been wearing.Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat??? These ladies really know their stuff because the lingerie is so comfortable and fits like a glove!

I'm not going to subject you all to a photograph of me wearing the undies (believe me when I say, nobody needs to see that at such a happy time of the year) but it's such a flattering style. Freya bras really are fantastic quality and the comfort factor is out of this world! The straps are lovely and wide and don't dig in and the back is as sturdy as they come. I'll think twice in future about just quickly grabbing cheap bras from Primark. I think it really is worth it for a piece that will last a long time and keep its shape to spend that little bit more. 

The tartan pattern of this set is a really soft, feminine take on traditional tartans and also features pinstripe denim and delicate button details. It's perfect for girly girls who also want a piece that's a bit different as well as being on trend. I don't think I've seen much tartan in other lingerie departments this year!

The bra in this set is available up to a G cup and sizes range from 30-38. RRP is £31 and it is also available in a plunge style. It comes with options of a thong, brief or short with prices starting at £12. Definitely one for your Christmas Wishlist! Start dropping those hints now...

Check out this style and many many others at freyalingerie.com 

Which 2013 Winter trends are your favourite?? Do you go crazy for prints?? Is long lasting, quality lingerie important to you??
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