Thursday, 30 December 2010

My almost empty perfect nude eyeshadow palette

A few years ago, I went to New York with a bunch of boys. They were trying to be good and come shopping with me but in the end I got so irritated that I abandoned them and went off by myself for a few hours.

I went onto Bloomingdales in search of some make up, and one of the stands I ended up in was Clinique. Not very exciting I know. But I got talking to an assistant who gave me a make over (and boy did I need it) and introduced me to the perfect neutral eyeshadow colours for my skin. Or any skin tone for that matter. It is called the 'Colour Surge Eye Shadow Trio in Blushing Nude'. This is what it should look like:
This is what is left of my beloved palette

This has lasted me for YEARS. The two shades in the corner admittedly finished a couple of years ago but I still used the middle, medium shade for contouring. Perfect for work, along with a brown eyeliner. You can get it online at the Clinique website for £20.50

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

My weekend Travel sample stash

I love samples, for so many reasons. One of those reasons is that they are small enough to take away for a couple of days, and they are usually free!

I went away a couple of weekends ago, and managed to take away with me a skincare kit that was mostly accumulated from free samples that I had accumulated over time.

So the list includes:
1. Caudalie face cleanser - free with purchase 
2. Sure deodorant - from a goodie bag when I did 'Race for Life' in the summer
3. Sanctuary Body Cream - part of a goodie bag when I bought some Sanctuary products
4. Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine cream - came in a toiletry bag from a flight - love this stuff - will have to do a separate post on this
5. Benefit You Rebel tinted moisteriser - requested at a Benefit counter
6. Nivea eyecream and exfoliator - free inside a magazine
7. Estee Lauder prefume - bonus pack
8. Molton Brown 'black pepper' body wash - free with a purchase 
9. Liz Earle shampoo and conditioner - through the post
10. Shu Uemura Stage Performer Instant glow- when I picked up the full size at their store

There you go, everything I needed for a couple of days away and it was all FREE!  Does anyone else hoard samples like I do? 

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Sunday, 19 December 2010

Some nice Avon Planet Spa things

I always seem to forget about Avon. It used to be easier when my friend was an Avon lady and was always introduced to new things. The other day, I came across by chance an offer where Avon were giving out free delivery to any orders over £5. So thought - why not?

I looked at their Planet Spa range and picked up these:

This goes usually for £4.50, but is now on offer for £2.25. For anyone with dry skin - you need this. My skin gets exceptionally dry during these winter months. As this year the cold is extra crazy, this is one thing that seems help prevent a flaky nose and cheeks. 

The odd thing about this product is that is doesn't actually give a good description of what it does and how to use it. So this is what I do. I use it in the mornings (about twice a week at the moment) when I've had a shower and washed my hair the night before. I massage it onto dry skin and then use a damp sponge to wipe it off. 

The product is pretty thick in consistency as you would expect from Shea butter. Shea butter and ginger are two of my worst smells and this smells pretty strong. But it doesn't linger once wiped off so I'll tolerate it. It also has small exfoliating beads that is great to help wake the skin up in the mornings. It keeps my skin nourished and soft throughout the day. A very pleasant winter find for me.

Dead Sea Minerals Exfoliating Body Scrub
This, I cannot find on the website anymore, but thought I'd mention it again in case they restock. I think I picked it up on offer for under £3 at the time.

It exfoliates really well. I really like using this on my back especially as it scrubs really well. It also doesn't over dry the skin though body lotion is needed afterwards.

Everything I have bought from Avon, I have liked (albeit it's not loads of things) and I'm really liking this Planet Spa range. It just goes to show that the price tag of a product does not necessarily determine how good it can be. Each product cost me under £3 and they have worked really well for me. I can especially see myself picking the All-in-one facial every winter from now on :)

You can have a peruse through their entire Planet spa range here.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

XFM Winter Wonderland 2010

I got extremely lucky this week. I managed to get a couple of tickets to the XFM annual Winter Wonderland show at Brixton Academy on Wed 15 December. It was purely by chance and I feel so lucky that I got to go.

The Line up was amazing:
Manic Street Preachers
White Lies
Two Door Cinema
The Drums

SuedeImage by simononly via Flickr
I was and still am a HUGE Suede and the Manics fan. Their (and some other band's) music played a big role in my life when I was growing up. So to see them together under the same roof was like a dream to me. Suede's drummer, Simon Gilbert was ill and could not perform. So instead, Brett Anderson, Richard Oakley and the delicious looking Neil Codling did a three song acoustic set. I got to see them at the 02 last week and they blew the audience away.  Here, they did the same as well. Brett has such stage presence, and his voice is pitch perfect. And he is so bloody handsome, you can't help but just stare at him in awe when he is performing. I want to go see them again, again and again. I am so glad they are going to continue next year. I reckon this performance have given them a whole new set of younger followers. They still dress in cool black and its as it they were put in a youth capsule for 10 years as none of them, especially Brett and Neil, look any older.

Manic Street PreachersImage by simononly via Flickr
The Manics. Were. Perfect. I really got into their old stuff again a few months ago and was so happy that they played some of it. When 'Faster' came on, I felt like I was in euphoria. It was so surreal seeing Nicky Wire in his (and Richey's) trademark animal print coat, sailor's hat and doing his scissor jumps. James Dean Bradfield is simply awesome. I love his voice and he sang as perfectly as he does in every album. That man is super-doopa talented. You watch them on stage and they look like they love every minute of it, they still love the songs they sing, and you love them more for it. Because of this (particularly the genius first three albums), I can just about forgive them for Kylie, Daybreak and Strictly Come Dancing ;)

White Lies were pretty good also, I reckon they will be here for years. We were in the mosh pit which was at it's craziest that night when they played 'Death'. It still makes me chuckle thinking we were right in with the crowd jumping and getting thrown around, it felt like being a teenager again!

I uploaded a couple of the clips that I managed to record onto my youtube account. But the quality isn't very good.

But check out  a1999f's channel who did very good recordings. The girl with the holding the camera near the front of the stage with her pinky finger out in those videos? Thats me!

I get to see the Manics and White Lies individually next year and cannot wait. 2011 is going to be a lot about live music again for me I think.

Manic Street PreachersImage by simononly via Flickr

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Sunday, 5 December 2010

M Moroccanoil

I haven't written here for a while. For no dramatic reason; things just got in the way, been away a couple of the weekends, and haven't felt much up to writing stuff. Might get my 'mojo' back soon, maybe. I might write about it all at some point.

Anyway, today I wanted to write aboutone of my most recent discoveries - Moroccan oil. Yes, I have jumped on the bandwagon pretty late, and I am sure most of you already have this as a staple hair care product. Those few of you that haven't yet - GO AND GET SOME!

I picked mine up from my hairdressers. This brand, seems to specifically for salons and maybe that is why it works so well. Salon hair products always seem to have better ingredients (and are more dearer) than the ones from shops. This cost me, I think, £12.50 for 25ml. I have been using the same hairdresser for years and years, and have followed her to the salons she ended up in over the years. I trust her with my hair and she doesn't try and pressure me to buy products from her. She used the MoroccanOil shampoo and conditioner, and then put some of the Oil Treatment into my damp hair. She did the rest of her usual magic, and I came out of the salon with super soft, bouncy hair.

I thought I would buy the smallest bottle to see if I can get the same effect at home. And I'm happy to say that it does. My bottle is pretty small (about the size of my palm) but I've been told that this should last me months even if I use it every day as you only need a small amount.

Basically what Moroccan oil does is conditions the hair, gives it a healthy shine, and and protects it from environmental pollutants around you. It's main ingredient is Argan oil which restores damaged hair and heals split ends. Its is also packed with vitamins such as Omega 6, Vitamin A and E.

I have been pretty lucky with my hair. When I was younger, my mum would massage Pure Silvkrin Hair Tonic into our scalps after we had a bath. About twice a week it was coconut oil and the horrendously stinky Amala Hair oil. I believe it was my mother's strict hair regime that allowed me to have total disregard for the maintenance of my hair throughout my teenage years, and up until last year. I have been dyeing my hair since I was 14 - in every colour you can think of. I blow dried it every day and never used any heat protectants. Only in the last couple of years, my hair started showing signs of damage because of some very dramatic highlights.

I have dyed my hair to black again until my hair gets restored and this oil is the thing that is going to help me. This oil has all the benefits of the products my mother forced on us when we were younger, but without the smell and heaviness of texture. I LOVE this stuff. This does not leave my hair greasy in the slightest. In fact my hair still feels and looks soft and fresh the next day, and part of the day after (with a bit of Batiste dry shampoo on the roots towards the end of the second day).

Get this stuff people. I really understand what the whole fuss is about now!

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Thursday, 18 November 2010

Whats all this Big Issue about then?

I first heard of the Big Issue when I was about 15. It kind of helped shape my outlook on the world and the way I perceived society in general. It was set up in 1991 and aimed to help people living on the streets have a means to get back on track. I think it is a wonderful programme. This is what the website says about itself:

The organisation is made up of two parts; a limited company which produces and distributes a magazineto a network of street vendors, and a registered charity which exists to help those vendors gain control of their lives by addressing the issues which have contributed to their homelessness.

It is a legitimate way of earning an income. They buy each copy for 85p. For each issue they sell (£1.70), they make an 85p profit. So to earn £50 a day, they need to sell over 40 copies per day. Rain, shine, whenever. What they don't sell, they don't get to get the money back for it. Every Big Issue vendor I have come across has always been smiley, unhassling, funny and dignified. This job is usually the only one they have.
I have a lot of admiration for Big Issue sellers. Its a bloody hard job, especially in a place like London where people can be walking past hundreds of others each day but won't even look up to smile at anyone.  Its easy to say 'oh in Britain, there is no reason to be homeless' or 'they must all be drunks or druggies'. I've never saw it like that when it came to homelessness. Even if someone is a drug addict or alcoholic, who chooses to be one? If anything, they need help in getting rid of those demons. As with anything, I think life can just get in the way sometimes and people just end up where they never thought they would be. Next time you see a vendor, chat to him or her. They aren't invisible. They all have unique stories to tell. The Big Issue magazine itself is great. Reviews, interviews of pop culture, as well as really good articles on social awareness. Pick one up next time, you know your money will be going to helping someone. Check out their website, its really informative.

The Big Issue is a brilliant concept and I wish there was something similar like this everywhere in the world. Maybe there is, I would be interested to know. But the work it does can only sustain with our help. Giving £2 to a vendor for a magazine instead of picking up a latte on the way to work or school is just a tiny sacrifice in the grand scheme of things.

There is so much more I want to say about little ways of giving charity but I'll save it for another post or this will turn into an essay. I hope I haven't come across too 'preachy' - hate those type of people!

p.s my Big Issue guy stands just outside Pret a Manger on High Holborn, near the station :)

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Saturday, 13 November 2010

Some face washes

I took advantage of the Boots 2 for 3 offer and picked up these three face cleansers. Two I like, one my skin hates.

Like number 1: Neutrogena Visibly clear 2-in-1 (£3.99)
This is a bit of a clever concept. A daily face wash, but also acts as a mask when you want an bit of an extra cleansing for the skin. I like the fact that it only takes 5 minutes to work as a face mask. The texture is like a thin clay mask which helps absorb the excess oils in the mornings and get rid of the dirt. I can see this working really well for those with oily skin. It does leave my dry skin a bit tight when and I have to go in with a moisturising rose water toner straight after. But I don't get a bad reaction from it which is good. At the moment, I'm using it on my t-zones in the morning every few days. But I can see myself using this every day in the summer.
 Like number 2: No 7 Total Renewal Microdermabrasion Exfoliatator (£10.75)
I had tried this as a sample before and I thought it did a decent job.
The grains a very fine and needs to be used very gently or can be a bit too abrasive on the skin. It claims to do great things:
- take away dead skin cells
- smooth and renew skin surface
- produce radiance on first use
- helps reduce appearance of dark areas, sun damaged or blemish prone skin
- evens oil skin tone
I haven't noticed that it does most of these things for me. I use it about twice a week, usually when I have come back all sweaty from the gym so that I make sure that all the dirt has gone. It is very thorough to the skin. On a side note, I joined the gym three weeks ago, and I have only been three times. I'm rubbish

DISLIKE: Johnson's face care nourishing cream (£2.99)

You'd think Johnson's understand sensitive skin right? All the writing and look from the packaging seems like this is going to be perfect for my dry skin. But alas, my face hates it. The product does look nourishing, and very sparse, small beads which I thought I'd like as I was looking for a gentle wash for the mornings. Something that doesn't scrub or exfoliate, just something that washes the night cream off. When I first used it, my skin felt so tight and stripped of any moisture. I tried it again and my skin felt so uncomfortable until I used my rose water and glycerin toner. But then, the skin around my cheeks started developing those annoying bumps. Maybe its not this wash, but I'm not risking it just to use up a £3 product so I'm going to give this away. This product is just not for me.

So my search for a gentle, basic face wash continues... sigh
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Saturday, 6 November 2010

One hour shopping damage

I had been trying so very hard not to buy any clothes at the moment as the sensible thing would be to wait for the sales. Also, with the whole redundancy thing looming, and my plans to do South America next year, money is pretty tight at the moment. But I relapsed earlier this week. We had a train strike a few days ago and I thought I'd wonder around oxford circus for a bit until the crowd dies down. My mistake. I was only out for an hour, and this is what made a dent in my bank balance.

First up, H&M. I picked up a few things from there.
I have been eyeing this dress up for ages, and it was a pretty good price for under £25. The reason why I was umming and ahhing about it for ages was because I don't really go out places where I can get really glammed up anymore. So I thought it would be another dress in my wardrobe which I love, but never wear. But now, its on sale for a FIVER!!! How could I not pick it up! Its a very snug fit for a size 10, but I love it so much that I am prepared to journey down to the gym to lose a few pounds for it. Its pretty short so some thick tights, accessorised with ankle boots, chunky dirty gold jewellery and a short black jacket (leather maybe) - and I've got my new year's outfit!

This casual t-shirt actually cost me more than my dress by a few pounds. I got this in a size six as I wanted it to be snug fitting with a pair of black skinny jeans. 
As I have to wear smart at work, I love being more casual outside of it as I used to be all the time. It makes me feel that I'm not completely not sucked into the corporate world :) Army clothing/colours were something I wore a lot as a teenager and the fact that this is khaki coupled with animal print, it makes me one happy, nostalgic person.
A couple of basic stuff for work, a top and a cardigan (sold separately)

I then wondered over to Zara and bought myself a brown casual top which I will layer over with a white vest top. I just really like the frayed detailing of it. 
Over at Bershka, they have the most amazing printed t-shirts and leopard print tops which I'm going to buy with my next pay packet. I settled for one top in the end.

The detailing at the bottom is a knot at the middle and sits at just the right place on top of my skinnys. This is one of those tops you kinda get once you wear it. I'll try to remember to take a picture next time I'm wearing it. I think this cost me £16.99.

Lastly onto Uniqlo for a pair of black skinny jeans. Bargain at £15! They are so comfortable and easy to move around in. I would recommend going a size smaller though as the assistant told me that they do kind of stretch after a little while.
My total shopping budget ended up to be just over £80. So actually, I did pretty good considering I have seven pieces to show for it!
P.s I am ubber excited about the Lanvin range for H&M. I love their designs and they do one of my most favourite perfume EVER.
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