Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Technical Difficulties! (and a solution)


I just wanted to let you guys know that Blogger seems to have been experiencing some technical difficulties lately and I'm not entirely sure how many people it's affecting.

So the problems for me were as follows:

1) I couldn't seem to comment on anyone's posts
2) My blog wasn't displaying properly on Internet Explorer
3) I wasn't able to change elements of my blog such as the font

So what is the solution I hear you ask? Well, I have found that both these issues are resolved when you use Google Chrome as a browser instead of the bog-standard Internet Explorer.

Hope this helps anyone who was having problems!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Small ASOS Haul, Colour Blocking Trend and Origins

I can never resist a good sale and especially when ASOS are hosting it! I only picked up a couple of things (so far) but I love them both.  There seems to be sales galore on at the moment.  If only I was a millionaire and I could buy everything my heart desired...mind you, I would probably just want more.  I doubt I could ever satisfy my hunger for clothes and shoes and bags and jewellery and makeup and....

Actually, the first thing I got wasn't even in the sale so I have no defence your honour.  It's a multi-chains horn bracelet...


I have never seen a bracelet like this before and since I'm a fan of unusual jewellery, I felt obliged to purchase it.  The fact that it was only £6.00 only sweetened the deal!  ASOS actually have some really cool pieces of jewellery at the moment, they also have a delicate skinny bangle with a cross in it that I really like the look of.  You may see it popping up on a future post...

I can justify the next item because it was in the sale, reduced from £42 to £25...sweet!  It's the Mesh and Ribbon Trim Bandeau Dress...


I would describe it as a less scary version of the body con dresses that are around, in that, it's fitted without squeezing the air out of your lungs.  It's a little more forgiving than those Herve Leger-style dresses that have been doing the rounds for ages.  It has detachable straps and I just dumped them when I got it because I prefer it as a strapless dress on me.  The spaghetti straps generally just cut into my shoulders, become annoying and sometimes make me look like a trussed up piece of meat on sunday.  The arrangement of the ribbon detail on the body of the dress is very slimming too.  The diagonal parts draw the eye inwards and show off your figure in a flattering way.  Cue totally unnatural pose...


I've been thinking of what to pair it with and I did spot a bright coral slouchy blazer in Zara that would be the perfect pop of colour for all that black and neutral.  I don't like things to be too matchy-matchy because it can cheapen a look.  I will get my thinking cap on because I'm going to wear it to a birthday bash on Saturday.  Any suggestions on what to pair it with?

Next up, a miracle worker for my skin this week...Origins Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Pads...*cue angels singing*.  My skin started acting up a few days ago and decided it was going to produce some lovely spots for me.  Thanks.  So I got right on it with these miracle pads, applying every morning just on the areas where I needed to banish any blemishes (I cut the pads in half to make the most of them).  When I use spot control products I want them to work and I want them to work FAST.


Each pad is soaked with salicylic acid, which opens and clears blackheads, while saw palmetto, a fruit extract known for its oil-minimising properties, cleans and removes dirt and debris.  I didn't feel any irritation or stinging when I applied it to the spots and it didn't dry my skin out either. 



I have also been using the Origins Super Spot Remover Blemish treatment gel at night applying it with a cotton stick (cue tip) to make sure I'm just concentrating it on the affected area.  This gel is also fantastic and works it's magic REALLY fast.  After just one application, I woke up with noticeably smaller spots and the redness had all but gone.  Impressive!


It also contains salicylic acid, which loosens dead surface cells, you can actually feel and see your blemishes becoming smaller after each application. If you have scarring from previous breakouts or hyper pigmentation, the cucumber and apple extracts help to reduce the visibility, while caffeine will calm skin.

I love these two products and will be reaching for them whenever my skin decides to go all hormonal on me again!  I was sent both of these products from Origins for consideration but as always, I have given my honest views and opinions.  They will be available next week and are priced at £12 for the gel and £22 for the pads.


Now for my new favourite blog/site is Travel In Style, which is a part of CreatorsOfDesire.com, a Dutch fashion blog collective featuring 5 really stylish bloggers.  I found it after visiting The HONEYBEE's Facebook page.  She mentioned the Travel In Style Blog and I'm so glad I checked it out!  The blogger in question is Phuong and I really like her sense of style and the way she puts things together.  Her outfits always seem to have an edge and individuality...



Pics courtesy of www.creatorsofdesire.com

The other fashion blogs on this site are also really inspirational and they all give you ideas about how to put your own outfits together.  Believe me, once you go to that site, you will lose yourself in the posts and surface 2 hours later wondering where all the time went!  Check it out!

And on the last note, I am loving the Colour Blocking trend at the moment...it just gives you the chance to wear vibrant, in your face colours in unusual combinations that shouldn't work but they just do. I'm dying to get a pair of the bright skinny jeans that are around at the moment.  I haven't tried any on yet so I'm hoping they won't make my legs look like tree trunks!



The point of me mentioning this is that I found a great blog post today on the rules to the colour blocking trend here so if you're unsure of how to rock this look, then you can find all the info you need there.  I found it quite helpful in working out which colours to mix and how to accessorize the outfit as a whole.  Hope you find it helpful too!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Reminiscing...

I was chatting to someone the other day about the TV shows I loved when I was a teenager and you wouldn't believe how much fun it is to look back at who your heart-throbs were, which theme songs you knew all the words to and how upset you were when you missed an episode.  Ok, so you you have to be of a certain age range to appreciate this post but what the heck.


First off, my FAVOURITE show when I was a teenager, hands down, had to be My So-Called Life (partially due to my unwavering obsession with Jared Leto at the time!).  I loved Clare Danes character with her red hair and awkwardness and Jordan Catalano was, like, um the coolest, enigmatic rebel in school who sang in a, like, totally awesome band called the 'Frozen Embryos'...


  Swoon...he's not just a pretty face though, he's like totally deep and emotional (ha ha).  Ah the checked/plaid shirt, the floppy hair and the leather thong around his neck.  To my 14 year old self he was a god.  I was devastated when the show was cancelled...my life was over (for about a week then I was ok again).  Let's all re-live the intro (and try and pause it on the bits were Jared Leto makes an appearance! (Not that I ever did that...):


Another show, another teenage crush. Party of Five! Although I could never make up my mind who was hotter...Charlie or Griffin? I pledged my heart to Griffin and my best pal loved Charlie (and still does!).  Hey Pam! Named and shamed. 
 It was another show of angsty goodness with verbally complex, hormonally charged teenagers with a general moral tale running throughout like 'don't get pregnant' or 'don't cheat on exams' or 'don't wear those really high-waisted jeans that make your ass look weird'.  I didn't really care about those hard-hitting issues back then though because I was too busy trying to decide who would be a better kisser out of Charlie and Griffin.  Such was the sadness of my mispent youth! Don't pretend like you didn't do the same though!


Ahhh, Griffin, how I loved thee (not now though because according to E! News you're bloated, spaced out and kinda weird)...


I'm spotting a trend in my teenage lustings...floppy hair anyone? I'm also sure he pretty much lived in a checked shirt as well.  90's fashion...you gotta love it! Altogether now..."Everybody wants to live, like they wanna live..."


Although most of my favourite shows were from the US, this show was one of the exceptions.  Heartbreak High was a teenage drama set in Australia in quite a tough, working class school and it was probably seen to be rather more gritty than other shows at that time. 




It seemed to deal with more controversial subjects and yes, it spawned yet ANOTHER crush...Alex Dimitriades who played Nick Poulos. 


Listing all these crushes, you may get the impression that I am a fickle woman but my heart will always belong to Jordan Catalano! Or maybe Griffin...

Then of course there was Dawson's Creek and the strange thing about this one is that I didn't lust after either of the male leads yet I watched it religiously.  The whole Dawson and Joey 'will they?won't they?' scenario was dragged out and I lapped it up like a dehydrated kitten.  I caught an episode on SONY TV channel on Sky last week and it was hilarious.


It's hard to believe that I ever took the show seriously because they play 15 year olds but look 21, they use the advanced vocabulary of a literary boffin and no one ever dated for more than one or two episodes before they decided that they had to create some convoluted reason as to why they would never work out.  Depressing much? Yes, but as I say, the mind of a teenage girl is a strange place and I'm glad I got a one-way ticket out!

Looking over these shows brings back loads of memories though and it's funny to think back to when you and your friends would swoon over these TV heart throbs, tape the shows so you could watch them continuously and even kiss the posters of them goodnight...you guys did that too right?...no?...just me? Ok. 


What were your must-see TV shows when you were a young teenager? Come on...fess up to the embarassing things you did! It'll be like therapy!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Sleek, Lancome, Clinique & A New Career!

I won't go on too much about the new Sleek Monaco eyeshadow palette because it's been featured on so many blogs already.  If by some miracle, you haven't seen the palette yet, then here it is....




My favourite shades have to be Lotus Flower and Hummingbird because they will make the prettiest iridescent wash of colour on the eyes.  I was a bit disappointed by some of the matte shades as they fell short on the pigmentation side of things BUT to be quite honest with you, for £7.00...even if only 5 of the colours are good then it's worth getting.  I just did a wash of the Lotus Flower on my lids with a bit of MAC Satin Taupe in the crease and a flick of black liquid eyeliner....


Together with my fave bright pink lipstick, Daniel Sandler Micro Bubble Lipstick in Flamingo, it makes a nice change from neutrals.  The lilac Lotus Flower shade really brightens your eyes and your overall complexion.  Love it!


One product that has been my absolute favourite this week is the Lancome Artliner (I'm wearing that in the pic above too).  This has to be THE easiest eyeliner to use in my collection.  If you have always struggled with liquid eyeliner, then this is definitely the product for you!  It has a fine felt tip applicator that ensures minimal drag and less mistakes.  It doesn't flare out like a brush would so you can draw an exact line without wobbling around everywhere.  It makes the application process so much quicker.  I know some people have complained that this liquid liner is slightly reflective instead of being matte black BUT the way around that is to apply a matte black eye shadow over the top with an angled brush.  That will soften the line and also ensure the liner stays put all day.  This Lancome liquid eyeliner also doesn't transfer to my lower waterline which is a major plus because that is a real bug bear of mine.  Just remember you have to shake it before you use it to ensure the felt tip applicator has soaked up enough product.  

You can get this Lancome Artliner here from eChemist for £19.37 including delivery.


My favourite brush of the week has been this Clinique Bronzer/Blending Brush.  It's the perfect application tool for a wash of bronzer all over the face.  It has the perfect density to create a very natural and flawless bronzed look to the skin.


At first I thought it might be too big but it's actually perfect for distributing the product evenly on the face and neck.  It also works really well as a blending brush for the cheeks if you have accidentally gone overboard with your contour powder or blush.  It also has unique anti-bacterial technology to stop nasty build up on your brush that causes blemishes over time.  It's priced at £20.50 but I think it's worth investing in good make up brushes if you want them to last and keep their quality and shape.


I have been using this Andrew Barton The Ultimate Blonde Twice A Week Brightening Shampoo for the past couple of weeks and I love how it brightens my highlighted hair and removes any residue of other products.  It was only £4.00 for a 400ml bottle at ASDA and they are also doing a 2 for £6 deal on the range at the moment.  It's a silver coloured shampoo which also helps to cancel out brasiness in blonde hair.  Here's the product blurb:

"This gentle but effective hair cleanser gives blondes a "spring clean" feeling every time you use it. Wave cheerio to all product residue and modern living pollution and release the blonde inside!

•Sunflower seed - Helps maintain colour
•White Willow - Gentle cleansers combined with effective moisturisers to help smooth and soften hair.
•Silk - Will help boost moisture".

It has made a real difference to the colour of my hair, it makes it feel lightweight and volumised and it has stopped my colour from fading as fast.  Something all blondes have to contend with!
And on a completely different note, I just wanted to apologise if I haven't been as active on my blog as I used to be.  Basically, for the past few months, I have been setting up my own business (together with my mum) as Wedding Planners! We will be covering the North-East of Scotland and will be offering packages like full planning, on-the-day management, pre-wedding pamper parties, destination weddings and design concepts.  I am so excited about this new direction and I have been working so hard to get everything in place.  It's a huge undertaking and there's still a lot of work to do but I'm loving every single second of it.  I feel like I have really found my vocation in life and it combines all the things I love like being creative, meeting new people and being involved in the business side of things.  Our office has just been built which is a gorgeous pastel green/blue cabin...


I will show you guys some pictures of the lovely interior once we get that finalised in the next couple of weeks.

I won't be advertising via my blog as I want to keep the two things completely separate.  However, I will be starting up a blog which will run through our new business website featuring all the lovely wedding stuff you would expect, including a hair and beauty section for brides.  I cannot tell you guys how happy I am doing this! SO exciting!

Oh and on a random note, I didn't like this song at first but now I love it! Strange video though...

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

My Holiday Action Plan!

Just about every woman steps up her exercise and beauty regime when summer trots into town and I am no exception.  I believe in balance so I like to live healthily all year round but I do put in that extra bit of effort at this time of year.  I probably start thinking about cutting down on all those bits of chocolate and starchy foods around about February time.  Although I'm on a weight loss journey, I certainly step it up another notch before summer.  AND this summer I have the added pressure of a certain cut-away swimsuit!  Eek!

On holiday I always want to look like the best version of myself.  The 'Holiday Laura' I have in my head is all glowy, tanned skin, shiny hair and half a stone lighter!  So my action plan commenced this week and here are the main points:

6 Weeks To Go...

 GYM / HEALTHY DIET / ANTI-CELLULITE CREAM


I am continuing to go to the gym 5-6 times a week as I normally do and I am currently following a balanced and healthy diet.  But if you're not a gym bunny, my personal trainer at the gym reckons you can make considerable improvements to the appearance of your body in just 6 weeks.  And the good news is that you don't have to be in the gym every day for 2 hours.  Concentrating on five 30 min sessions of hard cardio a week on the step machine, cross-trainer or rowing machine will seriously tone your muscles.  Add in a 15-20 min session of resistance training and weights and you're laughing.  One of the best and most time-efficient machines is the Power Plate because it stimulates your muscles to contract and relax more frequently, allowing you to cut your time commitment in half. A 25-minute session three times a week and a sensible, healthy diet can yield results after just three weeks!  You could easily drop a dress size.  I think I burnt off a bit dancing around my living room the other day to that LMFAO song 'Party Rock'...try it, just make sure no one sees you shufflin.


I am also currently using Bliss FatGirlSlim which is a cellulite busting cream.  It is designed to stimulate the skin surface to firm and contour with caffeine and apparently visibly reduces the appearance of excess fluid retention in skin layers.  Now I don't suffer from bad cellulite but I still have uneven area on the tops of my thighs and bum.  I will report back on the effects of this cream in 6 weeks time!  And remember, don't feel bad if you have cellulite...even supermodels get it!


4 Weeks To Go...

SUPPLEMENTS

I know it's boring but I like to take the following natural supplements in the summer months.
SPF Skin Pro-Factors by Viridian is specially formulated to aid in the maintenance of healthy skin, especially during the summer months.
True Food Vitamin B Complex by Higher Nature. B Vitamins are involved in almost every metabolic process in the body, and play an important role in the release of energy from food, the normal functioning of the immune and nervous systems and the regulation of hormonal activity so it's particularly good for gym-goers.
Pure Synergy Greens by The Synergy Company contains 60 of nature’s most life-giving and nutrient-rich organic whole foods and botanical concentrates and helps to restore and regenerate your overall health.  It also helps to reduce bloating which is VERY handy in summer when you're likely to be wearing  less clothes!

3 Weeks To Go...

SHOWER OIL / MIX OIL IN WITH MOISTURISER


I only use shower oil in the weeks leading up to a holiday because it ensures your skin is fully hydrated and prepared to be on show.  It adds that extra bit of moisturisation and is great for people with dry skin.  I love L'Occitane Amande Shower Oil...it's just plain gorgeous and such a treat to use.  I have already started mixing a few pumps of body oil, L'Occitane Almond Tonic Body Oil,  in with my current body cream (Garnier Intensive 7 Days Ultra Softening Body Lotion).  This becomes even more important in the weeks leading up to a summer holiday because skin can dry out in the heat of the sun.  You want to make sure your skin is in the best possible condition and maintain that while you're on your holiday.
2 Weeks To Go...

FACE MASKS / EXFOLIATION 

The best beach bodies are always scrubbed, soft and moisturised so it's important to get into the habit of exfoliating your whole body in the weeks leading up to your holiday to refine the texture and prevent blemishes (gross, I know but it happens to everyone!).  I like to use exfoliating gloves because they are so cost effective but it's nice to use an oil-based scrub to give your skin a treat.  I like Origins Incredible Spreadable Ginger Scrub...it's leaves your skin so soft and smells amazing!
I also like to use a super hydrating face mask every 3 days to boost the radiance of my skin.  My favourite is Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask.

10 Days To Go...

BODY BRUSH / HAIR / FOOT & NAIL CARE / 2 WEEK PEDICURE

I like to start body brushing just over a week before I leave because it has the following benefits:

Stimulates blood flow to increase nutrient delivery to cells
Improves lymph flow to carry toxins and waste products out of the body
 Removes dry, dead skin cells 
Encourages cells to regenerate 
Results in smooth glowing skin 
Stimulates production of sebum (oil), to nourish dry skin
Helps combat cellulite and fatty deposits

So it's well worth taking the time to do if you want to look and feel great!  It is important to make sure you are doing it correctly though.  You should start at your feet and always work towards the heart as this is where the fluid along with all the toxins, is finally pushed back into the circulatory system.

I like to get my hair highlighted at this point so it has time to recover before it's exposed to the blazing sun.  You can fit in a few intensive conditioning treatment before you go away to make sure your hair look and feels healthy.  This is also the time I like to start concentrating on getting my feet in good condition by using a foot file every 3-4 days, foot scrubs and cuticle oil for my toenails.  I also concentrate on intensively moisturising my hands and nails because they seem to dry out quickly in the sun otherwise.

It's probably best to get a 2 week pedicure to make sure you don't have to worry about painting your toe nails on holiday.  It takes about 30 mins and remember to choose a colour that will go with everything you want to wear! 

7 Days To Go...

PROTECTIVE SHAMPOO / INTENSIVE CONDITIONER / HEAT PROTECTANT

I always use a protective shampoo and strengthening intensive conditioner in the week before I go away to make sure my hair has a chance to build up resistance to the sun's rays.  I really like the Kerastase Soleil range and also the Paul Mitchell Strengthening Treatment.
It's always important to use a heat protectant spray when you are styling your hair but it's especially important to use it before you go away.  It will reduce the damage to your hair whilst in the sun and some of these products contain UV ray protectants so you can use it while you're on holiday too.

5 Days To Go...

FAKE TAN / DAILY EXFOLIATION

I like to fake tan my whole body around 5 days before I go away an then the night before I fly, just to build up the colour gradually.  For me, being tanned is ESSENTIAL when baring all because it makes you look slimmer, hides cellulite and makes me look healthier.
I also like to exfoliate my whole body every day with a gentle body scrub like The Sanctuary Body Scrub with natural pumice and orange oil.  It's gentle enough to use every day without irritating your skin an will ensure an even and flawless tan!

3 Days To Go...

EYELASH TINT AND PERM/ MANICURE

Since it's no fun wearing mascara on holiday, I like to get an eyelash tint and perm to make the most of my lashes without having to coat them in the black stuff.  It also means make up removal  is a lot easier when you don't have to rub off waterproof mascara!  It's a good idea to get a manicure before you go to make the most of your nails.  You can get it done at a salon or just do it yourself is you are on a budget.  I always do my own nails.

When I Arrive...

I like to take a digestive enzyme supplement which prevents bloating and that yucky feeling you can get from eatin out all the time on holiday.  Believe me, it helps when you want to hit the beach and bare your body in a swimsuit!  I like Probio Enzyme by Holland & Barrett.

So that's my plan and I'm stickin to it! Do you have any action lists for your holiday? Please tell me I'm not the only geek who does this!ha ha

Oh and I just wanted to announce that rosie2460 is the winner for my Nails Inc giveaway.  Well done!

Monday, 20 June 2011

My Nail Care Tips & A Small Giveaway

We use our hands every day of our lives so I feel like it’s important to keep them looking manicured and presentable. I always feel really self conscious if I have chipped nail polish or dry hands so I always stick to these following guidelines to make sure they always look good.  I am a bit funny about my nails because if they even get the tiniest bit smudged or chipped then I have to remove all my nail polish and do it again.  I know...I'm a freak.  BUT they do say you can guess the age of a woman by her hands so I intend to keep mine in tip top condition!


Everyone has completely different ideas on what is the perfect nail length and it can depend on the shape of your fingers and nails.  I always find the perfect nail length for me personally is when the white part of the nail tip has grown a couple of centimetres from the pink part of the nail (as shown in the pic above). This gives a nice length but also a manageable one that is less likely to become weak and split or break. I always file them straight across and then curve the edges.


I file my nails around twice a week to maintain their shape and keep them strong. As soon a split appears file the nail to seal the layers and prevent further damage.  I ONLY use crystal nail files because they have a much finer grain to them which means they are a lot less likely to damage your nails.  My favourite is the OPI Crystal Nail File...


I also buff my nails once a week to smooth any ridges and create the best possible base for my nail polish. It also gives them a nice smooth appearance if you want to go without nail polish.  My favourite is the Leighton Denny Quatro Buffer...


You don't have to buy expensive hand exfoliators.  I just use a normal body scrub (preferably containing nourishing oils) on my hands two or three times a week to keep them smooth and moisturised and also to hydrate my nails and cuticles.

This will sound weird but the best hand cream I have used is actually a product that was designed for feet! I find i's the most effective hand lotion I have used because it totally eradicates any dryness in a very short space of time.  It's Soap & Glory Heel Genius....


I always use a Base Coat and let it dry for at least 1 minute. The Base Coat helps to keep your nail polish from chipping, makes polish last longer and stops discolouration of your nails.  My favourite is OPI Natural Nail Base Coat...



I never rush when I'm applying polish because that always leads to annoying smudges and chips.  Always allow your polish to dry thoroughly for several minutes before you apply the next coat. This will avoid the new coat from dragging on the surface of the previous coat and allow the next layer adhere better. Also, remember that darker shades take longer to dry.

Once my nail polish has dried, I always apply a clear top coat to seal it and make it less likely to chip in the days to come. My favourite product to use for this is Mavala Colorfix...

Try to use a nail polish remover that contains hydrating oils and only use the product once or twice a week if it contains acetone as constant use can weaken your nails.

I always wear rubber gloves when doing housework or washing the dishes as subjecting your hands to long periods of being damp or wet will weaken your nails. Cleaning product also contain drying ingredients that will strip your nails and dry our your hands.

You can remove dead skin cells from your hands using a sea salt-lemon solution. Use an old toothbrush to brush it in your hands twice a week. This will help soften your hands and get rid of any discoloration on your nails.

It is not a good idea to remove the cuticles from your nails, as it will make the nail susceptible to infection. I prefer to use a good quality cuticle oil and gently push back the cuticles, with the help of an orangewood stick. My all time favourite fail safe cuticle oil that i apply every day is OPI Avoplex Cutcile Oil To Go...


If your cuticles really need a revamp, then you can always use a cuticle remover.  This stuff is amazing at transforming your cuticles and it's so easy to use; Dr G's Cuticle Healer...


I try to give my nails a break from time to time and go without nail polish for a couple of days. Otherwise, your nails can develop an ugly, yellow tint. If you file and buff your nails then apply a cuticle oil then they can actually look really natural and healthy. If you have brittle nails, it's probably best to wear a strengthening nail treatment, or at least the colorless base coat, as much as you can.


I also wanted to let you know about a Nails Inc giveaway courtesy of the News of the World free beauty magazine, Fabulous, which comes with the newspaper every Sunday.  They will be giving away two free Nails Inc. polishes worth a total of £22.  The two shades, Atomic (orange) and OMP! (pink) were created especially for Fabulous and are great summer colours.  In order to get your hands on these two free nail varnishes, all you need to do is cut out and collect three of the tokens printed over the next four weeks in Fabulous, starting this Sunday (19th June).  I'm sorry, I know that was yesterday but you can maybe find someone who has the paper from then and snab the token that way! You then have to take these tokens to participating Tesco stores from 3rd July to redeem.  Plus, you can also get a half-price manicure for £14 (usually £28) at any participating Nails Inc salon.

I actually have one set of these summer polishes to give away to one of you guys.  You can enter by just posting a comment under here (saying anything you like!) with your email address.  I will pick the winner at random and let them know via email.  Sorry but the giveaway is only open to UK subscribers.  Good luck!