Monday, 28 June 2010

What to wear at a summer wedding?

I'm going to the wedding of a good friend of mine this weekend (gosh, she's a couple years younger than me - and here I am gotta do a post on my utter crap taste in men). Anyway, this wedding is going to be pretty hippy - the bride, groom and most guests are camping on the night of the wedding. I've got myself a hotel room. I can just about manage festival tents - but to get ready for a party?? Nope.

I need help. I've looked at so many dresses, searching for something unique, that in the end all the dresses blurred into one. All the dresses around at the moment are pretty short in my opinion and don't know how suitable they can be to a wedding. I ended up in a high street shop - Warehouse - and picked up a salmon coloured dress that seems to be a hybrid between a ra-ra skirt and prom dress. At least I know I will be the only person in this dress, most people will be far too trendy and 'cool' to be wearing mass produced clothing. It was on sale for £40. I'm not over ecstatic about it:
Trust me, they look better on

I'm thinking gold jewellery, with specks of pearl. The couple's request is for all guests to wear a head piece. I have absolutely no clue what colour or thing would suit this outfit. Any good recommendations for a good place to buy a cheap fascinator? The dress comes up a couple of inches above my knees, and coupled with a pair of sandals a bit similar to this, I'm a bit worried it might be a bit inappropriate especially as it will be a church ceremony. The main thing that makes me still want to wear it is that the corset bit helps flatten my lower stomach is currently resembling a mini hill. But I don't want to feel uncomfortable around the couple's parents and family. Does anyone think it looks a bit tarty? Should I go for a different type of Sandals, or different dress altogether.

The hen do was much simpler to choose. This is from the Top Shop boutique:
On sale for £20
The weather in London is almost unbearably hot. I have tanned so much that I feel like I am unrecognisable when I see myself in the mirror. I really hope it cools down by the weekend in time for the wedding.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Some Revlon Superlustrous lip products

Boots (again!) were doing one of their 3 for 2 on revlon products. I spent ages picking the three I wanted as all the colours in this range are pretty good. 
The colours seem to look more red/pink with this camera
The lip gloss on the left is called 'pink crystals in 21', middle one is called 'coral reef in 170' - one of their new ones and the lipstick is called 'kiss me coral' on 750. 

Revlon claim they are mineral infused - I don't know about that, and why its beneficial. Reviews on these are mostly postive. I'm not so much a great fan.  My lips are naturally always dry and these products seem to dry them out even faster. Shame, because they are gorgeous colours. But the formula don't seem to work on my lips.
'21' has beautiful subtle gold flecks, and I use this over a nude lip liner for those natural days. On it's own, it is far too sheer for my pigmented lips. As I tend to use my lip glosses as lip balm, this just does not help hydrate them. Also, I don't know if you can notice in the pictures, but it is already half finished. I haven't had it for too long so that's very pants. 

I tend to use '750' and '150' together as they are both coral colours. The lipstick cracks on my lips after a little while, and the lip gloss just doesn't go on evenly. 
Overall, I had really high expectations for these products but ended up being hugely disappointed in them. I spent nearly £14 on them which I'm not happy about. I could have put it towards a YSL volupte which I have been eyeing out for a while. Now I feel guilty about being so harsh on them. I'll will use them up (well that will be easy with the lip glosses as they seem to finish up pretty quickly!) - and see if they can work in other ways.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

No 7 Anti-dark spot facial sun protection cream

I had run out of my trusty clinique face cream and was waiting around for a decent bonus time before I picked another one up. I came across the No 7 Anti-dark spot facial sun protection at my last trip to Boots, and as I had one of those £5 vouchers, I decided to not get a nail varnish this time, and pick one of these instead. It costs £10.50 for 50ml at full price.
The description ticks all the right boxes for me:
- contains UVA and UVB filters
- has skin brightening properties to help improve appearance of skin tone
- helps prevent dark spots and hyper-pigmentation
- no shine
- great for make up base

I got it in the highest factor available in the line, 50+. It is a very soft, beige lotion and goes on really easily. I do have to wait about 10 minutes before I feel its absorbed properly into my skin before I apply my foundation.

Under my foundation, I feel it helps give my skin a bit of a glowy and healthy appearance. I tried to demonstrate this in pictures on the back of my hand, but alas the flash just washed the effect away.

I have been using this every day for about a month and a half now and I do like it... It hasn't clogged up my pores or broken me out, and my skin does not feel heavy or weighed down when I use it.  I have not yet seen any improvements on my hyperpigmentation, but i'm not using this cream strictly as recommended (i.e reapply every few hours).

One huge downside to this however, and the reason that I'm torn on whether I would repurchase again, is that it is not a great make up base for my foundation. In fact its the opposite. When I was at the nars counter at selfridges last week, the MA used a wipe to take my existing foundation off my face. Nothing transferred onto the wipe because it had all disappeared. This is because the cream seems to act as a barrier on my face and the foundation just glides off. This was about 6pm and I had done my make up about 7am. Usually I don't have a problem with my make up disappearing. So I was quite horrified to know that I was walking around with no foundation on my face. 

Such a shame because it is a good product. The slight tint is ideal for the beach or with someone with perfect, even skin. I have it on now, without any makeup on and my skin feels really soft and brightened. I will certainly use this up, but maybe not under the foundation anymore. Any recommendations on primers with spf?

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Blast from the past

I was at Rhythm Records in Camden a few weeks ago, where you can go in, browse around, exchange or buy old records, cds, vinyls, dvds, tapes (I think) etc. I hadn't been there in years, so it felt like I was back at college when Indie was huge and I used to listen to loadsa new music. Anyway, I came across two bands who were quite well known in the 90's - I got so excited and I just had to get them for old times sake. Menswear and Gene!

Its not that I was a big fan of Menswear, they had a lot of controversy around them for being not a very good band, or they weren't authentic or something. I can't remember now. But their debut single 'I'll manage somehow' just kicked ass!

Gene on the other hand, are still one of my favourite bands. I have them in my fav list on my ipod. I saw their last ever gig at the London Astoria (which sadly closed down last year - many good gigs were had there) a few years back and I think I saw them live a total of 4 times. They are still just great. Their first album 'Olymipan' is still one my top list. 'Sleep well tonight' was the first single I heard of theirs. I remember studying for exams, hearing this song on the Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley Evening sessions on radio one, and falling instantly in love with it. So for that reason, I picked up this cd single as well. In total, the one album and two singles cost me only £3.50. This shop is full of gems. I recommend anyone to go in there and pick up a bargain.

Typical gene design!

Saturday, 19 June 2010


I tried Ardell false eyelashes for the first time yesterday to wear at Royal Ascot. I didn't want anything too dramatic as is was daytime so opted for the 'Demi Pixies'. I also picked up short individual lashes for days when I'm out and about and feel like making my lashes fuller. They are also from Ardell - I've just thrown away the box. 
The individual set didn't contain any glue, so after a lot of umming and aahing, I took the bullet and spent the eight-odd quid on some lash Duo glue. I consoled myself to the fact that the assistant at the store said that her one lasted her a couple years without drying. Here are some blurry pictures of my eyes without the falsies on, with one coat of mascara.
I didn't think the duo would make much difference to application of the lashes. But boy, it did. I found that it was much easier to apply and it didn't feel weighty as they normally do with the glues that usually come with falsies. The lashes lasted on me all day, except for my right eye but that's because I hadn't applied it correctly. It was a good investment so I am happy with it. The falsies themselves are short on the inner corner, long and wispy at the outer corner and the aim was to accentuate what I already have. It might the lashes themselves, or the glue, or combination of both - but they were so easy to put on.
This is what they looked like on my eyes:

Ascot was loads of fun. we went for the silver ring this time which meant we were allowed to take in our our drinks and picnic. Queenie and the family rode past and the whole ground stood up to sing/shout/hum the national anthem. We didn't win much but that's okay, the weather held up and everyone was in good spirits. Loads of the men at Ascot cleared out by 5pm to get back home and watch England play at the world cup, so they missed the last race. The station was packed on the way home and it started raining but because everyone was in a jolly mood, it didn't matter. I do wonder whether people who live in Ascot dread the racing season - with all the drunken, fake tanned, loud, top hat, fascinator clad people swarming in and taking over their little town.

Anyway, a quick picture of my shoes and head gear! I decided against the black one I bought earlier on in the week as it just blended right into my newly dyed black hair. I wore a short black and grey animal print dress that I bought from Oasis with black tights.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Unnecessary buys

Oh dear, I am meant to be saving to move out. I only went to the west end after work to pick up a head piece for the Royal Ascot on Friday... I ended up here......
From the Nars counter, I jumped onto the bandwagon and bought Sheerglow in 'Syracuse'. Not cheap. My skill-less internet research found that this shade seems to be a mac equivalent to NC42, which sounds about right as this is what I've always been matched to. Have to say, on first impressions of the foundation the MA put on me, I like it. 
Over to mac - and bought something really boring. Duo adhesive eyelash glue for the false lashes I want to wear at the races. I resisted very hard not to pick up any make up. I kept telling myself "you're only one person, you don't need any more make up". 
The only consolation was the mail I got through the post from Origins the other day. If you go to their counter in Selfridges and give them an empty moisturiser (ANY container at all. I took in a sample of Clinique dramatic lotion I got from Bonus Time), they will trade it for one of their 30ml moisturisers suited to your skin. I am obsessed with getting even skin tone. So they suggested 'Starting over'. Its costs £34 for 50ml. The 30ml is a huge freebie and will last me months and months and months. I'm excited about this.
Oh, I did pick up a head band from Therapy in House of Fraser, and some shoes from New Look, for Ascot. I'll try and do a picture of the entire outfit. If I can. False lashes, sparkly stuff... I think I'm going to end up blending in with the rest of the ladies at the races. Pants
Also, I picked this up over the weekend before I went to watch the England Vs USA match (by the way, booo):
Its an 'i-groom eyebrow grooming  pencil and brush'. An impulse buy.

I'll do more in depth reviews on the products once I've played around with them. 

I'm really annoyed with myself with all these purchases. I didn't need any of them and I don't really have the money to afford them either. But I've got them now. No more make up buying until I've finished at least one thing. That even goes for lip sticks and glosses.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Lush Toner Tabs review

Another Lush product I'm afraid. I get into phases with this line - I really get into it for a bit, and then forget all about it. I think I've made about four trips into one of their stores in the last two weeks.

This is the first time I've tried a toner tab, and I think it is one of their more recent products (well its been in the market for about a year or so I think). I got talking to a Lush assistant last time I was there, and I spoke to her about recreating a salon-type facial at home. She recommended these little pretties. This pack is called 'Toner Tabs etc etc.'
They are pretty chalky so be careful when handling!
The tube contains six Toner Tabs, two of each:
  • T - tea tree, anti-bacterial essential oils. Advertised for teenage oily skin, prone to breakouts. But as my skin can prove, you can still get breakouts in adulthood!
  • E - Vitamin E. Contains omega 3 and lavender essential oil to balance and refresh the skin. Good to use after a tiring day - or a heavy night after I suppose
  • C- contains vitamin C antioxidant to help wake you up in the morning. Also contains skin softening rose. Apparently for the 'older' faces as it cheekily says on their website! 
Individually, they are priced at 75p each. A pack of 6, which I got, is £4.25. A whopping 25p saving.

How I used it 
The lovely assistant gave me a generous sample of their Ocean salt scrub. So what I did was first gently exfoliate away with this. Then I dropped the C tab into a bowl of hot water and put my face over it for about 10 minutes (or until the end of three songs - i got too impatient by then!). I placed a towel over my head to keep the steam in, and boy in this hot weather was that hard. This method helped open up the pores and get the steam right into the skin. I gotta say, the experience was quite pleasant in the end. I was breathing in through my nose throughout the whole time (remember to leave a keep a small part of the towel loose to let air in or else you'll end up suffocating), the smell was divine and really cleared up my senses. Never underestimate the sense of smell ladies and gentlemen. 

Wait until it stops fizzing.
The smell briefly took over the entire room - lovely
After this, I attempted to extract some horrid blackheads with my trusty extractor from the body shop.

Finally I finished off with a mask. As I mentioned earlier, I picked up these tabs to help recreate a salon facial at home. Whilst it probably was not in the same calibre, I can attempt to do this every now and then in between my expert facials. There is however a danger I don't keep this regime up as there are far too many steps for a lazy arse like me.

Quick tip: let the water that had the toner tab in, cool down, and then transfer into a spray bottle. And voila, you get a home made toner - good for only a week mind.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Nails Inc freebies haul


This is a bit unfair as the offer is over now, but I'm really loving the colours and extra pleased because the whole bunch was such a bargain. Boots were doing an offer last month where you buy two bottles of diet coke and get a free 10ml Nails Inc nail polish. I got really excited and bought 8 bottles (most of which I gave away as I'm not a big fan of fizzy drinks any more, thank goodness) so that I could get all the four available colours. In addition, the same week, a friend of mine gave me her Nails inc varnish that she got from Instyle magazine for free. So now I feel like I have a whole new nail polish collection of colours which I really love.

'Milan' - classic red
'London' - my current fav
'Paris' - nice colour but one we've all seen a lot before of.
'New York' - lovely bubblegum pink on first coat. Ideal
to use on toes with two coats
In Style 'Candy'
I really like the Instyle 'Candy' colour. But I did  find it quite hard to work with because the cosnsistency is less fluid than the Boots freebies. But I persist, and as long as I apply it carefully, its all fine.

All the Boots colours go on a glossy finish, whist 'Candy' is a bit more matt.

I am sure nails inc must have similar colours to these in stock. One coat is all you need - I really, really love these bargains!

p.s please excuse my nails and cuticles - manicure long overdue!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Current Toners

Toners. They are one of those beauty skin care mysteries, where you are quite not sure if they actually worth adding into the skincare regime (can't you get the same effect with just splashing cold water over your face?). I have had bad experience with toners in the past, where the only one I used literally stripped my skin off after a few uses. So I was scared away from them for years. Last year, I did a bit of research and I realised that the product had lashings of alcohol in it so my poor, sensitive skin didn't stand a chance.

So I thought I'd give the murky world of toners another chance and seem to have accumulated a few now. Here's my thoughts on them.

Elemis Rehydrating Ginseng Toner

This was the first one I acquired after my disaster years ago - and only because it was given to me by a friend who didn't want it. The fool. Well, her junk, my treasure (that's how they say it don't they?). This stuff is great. It contains ginseng, quillaja wood and sweet berry flower* which is meant to rehydrate, and nourish the skin. Suited for mature and dehydrated skin. My skin is not yet classified at 'mature' just yet but it does get pretty dehydrated and I am at that stage where it is recommended to start taking extra care of it. It comes in a pump spray which I love using. I know there are articles about this subject, and a lot of bloggers have stressed, that, you should spray a toner onto a cotton pad, and sweep it across the face. But with this one, I love to spray it directly on my face. It just gives me a feeling of instant revitalisation. I let it sink in for a couple of seconds then place a thin tissue over my face to remove any excess moisture. Its an absolute treat to use. All natural ingredients (as natural as they can be I suppose), and my skin always feels pampered and supple after I use this. I tend to tone every other day and this has last me for AGES (nearly a year I'd say) and as you can see from the picture, a whole bunch of uses left.
You can get this toner at their timetospa website. But if you google name, you can find a ton of websites that go great elemis deals. You'll be sure to find a bargain.
Lush Tea Tree Water (£6.35 for 250ml)

This is my most recent purchase - a week ago to be exact. A short while ago, I started developing a whole range of spots across my neck, under my chin. I don't know why this has happened, as its not happening to the rest of my face. Anyway, I bought tee tree oil which I applied to the spots with a cotton pad. It seemed to help calm them down but then fresh new spots started developing in other areas of under my skin. Now, I managed to use up my tee tree oil within a couple of weeks and thought this is going to be a very expensive treatment for me. Then I remembered Lush did a toner with tee tree in it. So off I went to covent garden and picked one up. 

It says that its for oily skin, which mine really isn't, but it can get greasy as they day wears in. It also includes juniper berry and grapefruit waters to help refresh and gently tone with natural oils. This also comes in a spray bottle, but with this, I do apply with a cotton pad and sweep across my neck. This is because as it is watery, it is more diluted than the one I bought previously. So I use the pad to concentrate on the trouble areas. I gotta tell ya, although it has been a week, it has helped a huge bunch. Some of the blemishes have disappeared overnight without leaving scarring. I'm glad I got this.

Boots Traditional Skincare Glycerin and Rosewater (A couple of quid???)
I was attracted to it because:
a) Rosewater has always been my friend and gylcerin is always a good thing
b) Bloomin' cheap and very multi-purpose

Its in the Boots Traditional skincare line. I'm sure it costs under £3 but I couldn't find it on the website and am a bit worried that they have discontinued the line. This is great. Its not so much a toner as I don't think it clears away any make-up debris etc. But what it does do is nourish the skin and makes it supple, ideal for applying moisturiser afterwards. A definite gem that doesn't hurt the wallet. People with dry skin - get this.

* I did some research to see what skincare properties ginseng, quillaja wood and sweet berry flower have for the skin. What I found is this:
  • Ginseng:  stress reducer, energizes those suffering from fatigue, and helps calm those prone to stress or nervousness.  It also has a reputation for improving mental clarity and memory, enhancing physical stamina, and bolstering the immune system. I can see how this can work by spraying it across the face, and hence the revitalising feeling when I use it.
  • Quillaja: meant to be cleansing and water binding. This is was must make the product foamy when I shake it.
  • sweet berry flower: just don't know what this is

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Lush Aqua Marina face cleanser

Although the 'Angels on bare skin' Lush's best seller for face cleansers, I wanted to give a shout out to their lesser praised - 'Aqua Marina'. Firstly, I think 'angels...' is blooming marvellous - and such a treat to use - I'll do a separate appreciation post on it later on. Anyway, onto Aqua Marina (£5.50 for 100ml on website). When I first bought it, the Lush assistant recommended this over the 'angels..' but didn't really explain why. But then I went back recently, I explained in details what my skin type was. I didn't really need to because the assistant seemed to know straight away what I needed. She explained that sea based products is ideal for my skin as it will help calm any irritation and smooth it out.

Aqua Marina is generous chunks of seaweed wrapped around a pink mousse consistency which can kind of become clay-like when it dries on the skin. I place a bit on a wet palm, mix it round a bit and smooth over my face before rinsing it off. It has calamine and aloe vera to soothe irritated skin, and the kaolin ingredient is meant to cleanse deeply and tighten your skin. It leaves my skin feeling smoother, softer and just more fresh! Sorry, I've said skin a lot. 

I do however need follow it with my Boots rose water and glycerine water to get rid of the tightness. I'll only use this once a day (alternately with a bunch of other not so great cleansers I'm trying to use up) - either at night once I've taken my make up off or in the morning. Its not a make up remover, just ideal for a basic facial wash. 

Onto a picture of what it actually looks like... When you open the tub, a pungent smell just hits you. For those who are extra sensitive, it might even make you gag. My recently purchased tub new seems to smell far more worse than the ones I've bought in the past. But if you don't breathe it in too much, you'll be fine using it and luckily the smell does not linger on after you wash it off.

The container says that my batch was made by 'Monica' (just something I thought I'd mention!). The only bum thing about this is that, along with most Lush products, it has a shelf life of only a couple of months.

I also picked up a piece of the 'Honey I washed the kids' soap for a friend of mine to cheer her up. I wish I got myself a piece as well now!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Clinique Face Cream SPF40

I love this stuff. I never thought I would succumb to using sunscreen on my face. I wasn't sure whether or not it was another one of the scaremongering things that there is no evidence to show whether or not it works. I bought this in Spain last year when the weather was at boiling point and spent the days at the beach. One of the girls I was with had one, so I tried a bit and really liked it.
This is what the website says:

Innovative SolarSmart™ technology stabilizes high-level protection against the aging and burning effects of UVA and UVB rays. Adds a barrier repair and solar-activated antioxidants to help prevent signs of aging. Dermatologist tested. Oil free. Water and sweat-resistant. Appropriate for sensitive skins. 100% Fragrance Free. 

It costs £15 for 50ml, which is reasonable I suppose. You can have a look at the full range from the clinique website. It is a white creamy- lotion but goes on transparent to the skin. It also goes on pretty smoothly. I'm really impressed with it! Especially as my foundation goes over it fine. Only draw back is that I have noticed that my skin looks a little 'tired' in my photos these days when I have the cream on. But to be honest, its not that noticeable and definitely worth it if the cream is helping me fight the ageing process. It could even be that my skin does actually look naturally tired now, oh dear.

This is what it looks like when you buy it:
This is what mine looks like now:
I always do this to my products, I cut and squeeze as much as I possibly can so that I have used everything up. I keep it in an airtight container and it hasn't dried the product up.

I actually wear this as my day moisturiser some days when my skin doesn't feel too dry. Especially when it is warmer outside and I don't have to endure the evil air conditioning at work. I am down to a few more days of application, so off to look for the clinique bonus time stores!

So, overall, has spf on my face made any difference? Well, the answer is, I still don't know. My skin was certainly fairer than the rest of my body when I went on holiday (I forgot to wear spf on my body). And I noticed a bunch of wrinkles around my eyes on a recent bunch of photos. But I've got myself into the scaremongering, so I reckon I will stick to it all. 

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Weekend away

I just had to share with you this place I stayed over at recently. This was my bedroom - TWO floors!
Vanity Table
A gorgeous, traditional tea set

Bath tub which was so deep and wide,
behind is the walk-in shower!
Cute bathroom tumblers

The most generous bathroom sundaries I have ever seen-
I made sure they quickly went into my suitcase
incase I forgot about them!

Fresh flowers by the windowsill

I felt truly humbled and grateful to have had the opportunity to be here. I wish the reason why I was there was not that reason, but I made sure that I tried to make the most of it. This place is just lovely and beautiful. I can't describe how lovely this place was and the company I was with .... was almost perfect. I just wish I never had to come back to this crappy reality!

On a side note, I saw a big mirror in my room and thought I'd take a log of what I wore each day (daytime and evening). Alas, I only managed to take one picture at the beginning of the weekend before my camera decided to die on me. So this is all I took:

Jacket: £40 (originally £50) from Oasis - new season
Top: £5 from Primark
Skinny Jeans: £60 I think, from Whistles
Shoes: £55 from River Island