Saturday, 29 October 2011

OOTD: Monochrome

Ahhh, there's nothing like a good lie in and I treated myself to an especially satisfying one today.  Today consisted of food shopping (yawn), looking at a couple of possible new cars, the gym and then, later tonight, a few drinks in town with friends.  I love any excuse to get dressed up!

Anyways, I digress, this OOTD post is to showcase a couple of new purchases I wore a couple of days ago...a monochrome blouse from A Wear and some wedge boots from Faith@Debenhams.  I kept this look very simple and felt like it didn't need any jewellery to complicate the overall effect.

Monochrome may seem like an easy trend to adopt but sometimes it can look a little plain or too obvious.  I like to break up the look by mixing it with grey tones and pairing it with a red lip (Estee Lauder Pure Color Lipstick in Raspberry in this particular case).

I love this monochrome blouse from A Wear because it's bang on trend, a flattering fit and for a current piece, it won't break the bank at £30.  The only con to this blouse is that the material is the kind that builds up static easily...don't you just love synthetic fabrics!?  The blouse is on the more fitted side so don't be fooled into thinking it's an oversized garment.  Just order your normal size!

Jacket: Zara (link)
Blouse: A Wear (link)
Leggings: H&M
Boots: Faith (link)
Bag: Ebay (link)

The boots are EXTREMELY comfortable and fitted the bill for my transition into more sensible shoes for the cold weather.  They offer a more casual look but they still maintain a smart look.  The wedge is also a great height  of about 3 inches which means they aren't awkward to walk in.

The boots are made from suede so a little care and maintenance is required.  They also come in a light beige colour but I figured the black ones would be more versatile to wear with black tights.  We all know that wearing the same coloured shoes as your trousers/tights has a lengthening effect! I'll have some of that!

These Faith boots are currently on sale for around £48 so it's best to pick them up now if you are looking for really comfortable, sturdy boots for Autumn/Winter.

In other news, myself and the hubster have been looking at houses in the view to moving in March...VERY exciting.  Yes, I have already started to compile a folder of inspirational decor on my may become an obsession I fear!  Anyway, once we get a house, we have decided to get two puppies!  We are both big animal people and a house without dogs just seems wrong to us.   I am in two minds about whether to get a Golden Retriever (my family have always had those) or a Bernese Mountain Dog....

Could he be any cuter????

Chris wants a long-haired Alsatian...

Also VERY cute! I just want to cuddle him!

We wanted to get two so they can keep each other company.  Dogs also seem to learn a lot faster when they have another pup to observe.  Although we have our little hamster chap, Wolverine, we have both always had dogs at so having a couple of them will just complete our family.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Fake Bake@New Look And New Shoes

New Look and Fake Bake have joined forces to offer an affordable paraben-free self tanning range specifically designed for younger users and also first-time tanners who are a bit iffy about using stronger formulations.  The 'Lovingly Formulated By The Boffins At Fake Bake For Fair Maidens' self tan contains less DHA to give a more subtle and natural tan.  I was sent all four of the products in the range to test out:

Rough To Buff Perfectly Smooth Body Polish (£5)
Dull To Delicious Soft 'n' Juicy Oil Free Moisturiser (£5)
Bland To Tanned Sun Kissed Self-Tan (£10)
Pasty To Tasty Wash Off Instant Tan (£6)

The packaging is simple and quite obviously geared towards appealing to younger girls.  That said, it looks fun and does the job so no complaints there.  The range is called FanTANista but it doesn't feature this brand name on the packaging for some reason and the 'Lovingly Formulated..' bit is a mouthful!  Click here to see all the current info and competitions on their Facebook page.

The 236ml bottle of Body Polish contains tiny granules of pumice, Aloe Vera, Chamomile, Elderflower, Sage, Fennel and Yarrow.  The scent is slightly tropical and very pleasant but I am aware that not everyone likes the same fragrances.  This one is definitely not offensive though.  Because the 'loofah' particles are so small, the Body Polish is very gentle on the skin and doesn't scratch or irritate.  Therefore, this would be a good gentle exfoliator for delicate or sensitive skin however I preferred to use my exfoliating gloves with this product to get the best result.

The moisturiser contains Green Tea and Ginger to retain moisture instead of oils which can lead to your tan fading a lot faster.  I am not a massive fan of the fragrance but that wouldn't stop me from using it because it's surprisingly substantial for an oil-free moisturiser.  It sinks in quickly leaving no residue and left my skin soft and smooth, ready for the self tan.

The tinted Self Tan cream is quite dark in appearance and you have to take care to make sure it has been blended in properly.  I was really happy with the natural result though and my skin looked even and sun-kissed as promised on the tube.  I would say that I would prefer self-tanning products without tints because otherwise they make a mess of my bed sheets! This product was easy to use and can be built up to get a a slightly darker tan when applied on consecutive days.  I wouldn't apply this product to my face though as I prefer to use self-tanning creams especially formulated for the face.  Given that your body is a large area, it's great to have a self-tan cream that doesn't break the bank.

The instant wash-off tanning cream doesn't contain any shimmering particles so it gives a nice sun-kissed and natural look.  I applied it swiftly with my bare hands and then washed them immediately with soap and warm water.  The cream didn't stain my hands which is a big bonus!  It also sets nicely and doesn't leave your skin tacky or greasy so it doesn't transfer onto your clothes either.  It's very similar to the Rimmel wash off tans however they are much worse when it comes to staining your palms! Also, you get 133ml in this tube for £6 whereas you get 125ml for £5.99 so that's a little bit more for your money.

So in conclusion, it's a good cheap range that performs well for it's price range.  It doesn't compare to St Tropez, Xen Tan or Clarins BUT it's not trying to.  It's a self tanning range for a whole different market and taking in mind what they were trying to achieve, I think it's a valiant effort.

Next up, the wedge heel ballet pumps I picked up in A Wear... 

I can't tell you how long I have been looking for shoes like this! Basically, here's the deal...I can't wear completely flat shoes because I have flat feet and although that should be a match made in's not.  I find it uncomfortable to wear totally flat shoes, they make my size 7 feet look huge and I also walk funny.  It must be the years of high heel trauma I have put my tootsies through but now they refuse to be housed in flat shoes!

For longer than I can remember, I have been looking for cute ballet pumps with a small wedge heel but I never seemed to find what I was looking for.  Then I spotted these babies!

Reasons why I love these shoes:

1) They come in Black, Monochrome and Metallic Pewter (two massive trends this season)
2) They have a 1 inch wedge that's comfortable and easy to walk in
3) They have black patent detailing on the back and toe
4) They have a gorgeous bow detail on the toe with laser cut design and chaining
5) They are made from leather and can be easily wiped clean

Finally a sensible shoe that actually looks good on me! I will get so much wear out of these and they are smart enough to wear when I'm working too.

The only problem? Now I want the Black and Monochrome ones too!

Random music moment...this cover song is featured on the Twinings ad at the moment and I love it!

Have a wonderful Friday everyone!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

OOTD: Cranberry Goodness

I took a short vacay to visit my lovely in-laws in Cork, Ireland for a few days and it's always nice to have a mooch around the shops over there as they have a few stores that aren't in bonny Scotland.  One shop that ALWAYS seems to be packed to the brim with garments which appear to be made for me is A Wear.  I almost always find 4 or 5 things that take my fancy.

I picked up a few things from their current sale and also from their new collections.  This outfit of the day post features two of those items: a pair of cranberry skinny jeans and a blush/rose coloured casual blazer.  I absolutely ADORE both of these items and I actually think the unusual colour combo works well together.  My love affair with skinny jeans in the brightest hues continues!

My fringe was annoying the hell outta me today so I decided to tie it back so please excuse my five-head (I think Rihanna originally coined that term).  On referral of the urban dictionary:

"A "four-head" is when you can only fit four fingers between your eyebrows and your hairline. You have a fivehead if you have such an abnormally large forehead that you can fit all five fingers".

I carried out this experiment today and I can fit five fingers between my eyebrows and my hairline.  I would however like to point out that I have VERY skinny fingers!

Blazer: A Wear (I can't find this on the website but you might be able to find it in store in the sale section)
Skinny Jeans: A Wear (link)
Blouse: Zara 
Shoes: Dorothy Perkins
Bag: ASOS (link)
Necklace: Accessorize
Bracelet: New Look
Ring: Dorothy Perkins

Although you can fit chuff all in the small ASOS Grab Bag, I still love it regardless.  It's so unusual to find such a lovely contrasting colour combination and the fact that it's real suede just adds to the stroke-able pleasure of it!  The Dorothy Perkins shoes were another amazing find.  They just look and feel incredibly high quality considering they were so reasonably priced.  It's a great shop for really wearable, on trend shoes.

I love Zara for beautiful basics like this floaty casual blouse.  It can be teamed with almost anything and just adds a smart-casual vibe.

I have a few other bits and pieces from A Wear to share with you guys so stay tuned!

Monday, 24 October 2011

OOTD: Let's Do The Twist

You'll be pleased to see that I look considerably more smiley in this Outfit Of The Day post!  I thought I better crack a smile before I became known as the moody cow blogger! ha ha.  I am still consoling myself with wearing bright colours even though summer is well and truly O.V.E.R! It's lifts my mood and I always look better in vibrant colours.  It has a nifty way of lifting your complexion.

I got this Twist dress with draping and a tulip style skirt from ASOS.  Their sale is in full swing again and I picked it up reduced from £30 to £16.  It's made out of viscose and elastane which is usually pretty easy to take care of.  I had to pair it with black tights because it's a rather chilly 5oC outside today and I didn't fancy freezing my butt off.

Check out my nonchalant jacket-over-the-shoulder catalogue pose here...ha ha ha ha ha.  You can see by my expression that I'm laughing at myself!

Dress: ASOS (link)
Jacket: La Redoute
Bag: ShoeDazzle
Shoes: Zara
Necklace: Monsoon
Bracelet: ASOS
Ring: Accessorize
Belt: H&M

These amazing black Zara heels with gold keyhole detailing at the front are one of the comfiest high heels in my closet.  I am gutted because they are almost on their last legs and I will be very sad to see them go.  It's quite difficult letting go of a pair of shoes you're really fond of!

Given that I was wearing a bright coral dress, I decided to break out my Topshop Confession lipstick in Ooh La La.  To think I never used to wear bright lipsticks and now I am completely and utterly addicted to them! Go figure! The weird thing is, a bright lip makes me look totally different in photographs.  I put it down to the fact that my lip shape shows up more whereas nudes mean that my lips get lost in pics.

Are you ready to don more toned down shades for Autumn/Winter or are you holding onto those vibrant hues?

Thursday, 20 October 2011

OOTD: What A Stud!

Although the title suggest that this post could be about Ryan Reynolds topless, I'm sorry to disappoint you but it's just about little old me and what I wore today.  I have made no secret of the fact that I ADORE studded clothing of all kinds and lucky for me, it's one of the key trends for A/W.  Hurrah!

I got this heavily embellished Monsoon dress last year and the funny thing is that I actually have it in two sizes.  I originally got it in a size 14 but when I lost weight, it was too big.  So the one I have on in the pics here is the size 12.  It worked out quite well because I can wear the bigger one on bloated days when I want a looser fit and the smaller one for when I feel like a slim jim! I'm not in the habit of buying two sizes of one item though, I assure you!  That would be slightly extravagant.

Dress: Monsoon
Jacket: Zara (link)
Boots: Rebel Heart@USC
Bag: Ebay (link)

I got the grey Zara jacket/blazer with zip detailing recently and I absolutely love it.  A word of warning though...the sizes are TINY (rather ironic that I put that in big letters).  The sizes are like Hobbit-tiny so if you are ordering online, keep that in mind.  The sleeves are especially small in all of the sizes but I'm assuming that's just the style of the jacket.  I can't wait for the day when shops start to actually use some kind of standard sizing! I'm a different size in every shop!  We all know that it can make or break your day.

It would be boring to keep the whole outfit in shades of grey so a pop of cobalt blue was in order.  I just realised that 3 out of the 4 components of this outfit are studded! Oh well...I did mention my fixation...Stud overload!!!

I now have my beady little eye on this studded Zara blazer! I have a serious problem my friends.

On a separate note, I have been listening to this song a lot on my iPod...a nice chill out tune :) It's very Florence + The Machine-esque with the harps and ethereal vibe.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Weekly Favourites

It's always helpful to know what someone's favourite products of the moment are, although some of these are old re-discovered favourites too.  This week's most used products and tools vary from Lancome to Bobbi Brown to TopShop.

Although I don't have oily skin, I do get a very shiny T-Zone which can be very annoying.  However, a really fantastic powder for this is the aptly-named Clarins Shine Stopper Powder Compact.  The powder is encased in the usual sleek Clarins packaging and contains a mirror and a sponge.  I apply the powder lightly over my whole face with a powder brush and use the sponge for touch-ups during the day.  The powder is translucent and super light so it's undetectable on the skin.  the best thing is it keeps my face softly matte all day without any powder residue or cakey effect.

Although I have used many under-eye concealers, I can whole heartedly say that the Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light to Medium Bisque is the best.  I have deep-set eyes that are prone to dark circles and this is the only corrector/concealer that completely obliterates the shadows.  The peachy tone of this particular shade camouflages my dark circles and leaves my eyes looking really fresh and bright.  The other things I love about this corrector are the consistency and formulation.  It's so easy to apply with your fingers, easy to blend, doesn't settle in fine lines and stays put all day when set with powder.  This is definitely an HG status product!

Two brushes that have been constants in my daily routine for a while now are the Bobbi Brown Concealer Blending Brush and Daniel Sandler Contouring/Powder Brush.  I normally prefer a fluffy blending brush for my concealer but the Bobbi Brown Concealer Blending Brush actually works really well.  Although the brush is flat, the bristles are very smooth and don't scratch or pull at the skin.  This brush is perfect for blending concealer over blemishes or even blending under-eye concealer.

The Daniel Sandler Contouring brush is the perfect size for enhancing cheekbones.  It fits perfectly into that hollow and with soft, circular motions, you can make the most of your bone structure.  The bristles are soft but firm enough to be used for this function.  Also, it never sheds fibres which is a massive plus!

This huge Lancome Star Bronzer compact has been in my makeup collection for a long time but it lay unused for a few months.  As you can see, it's almost finished and there's a reason for's frickin brilliant!  This bronzer is definitely in my top 5, right up there with Dior Matte Sunshine and Korres Monoi Oil Bronzing Powder.  The Lancome bronzer is a beautifully natural subtle bronze that never streaks or looks orange.  It feels moisturising on the skin and lasts all day without fading or having to be reapplied.  Love it! They now have a newer version on the Lancome site with the same formula but more shades.

My most used blush product of the last two weeks has been the TopShop Powder Blush in Pop - an almost neon coral shade.  Even though this looks like more of a summer blush, I love this product to brighten my complexion.  All you need is one tap of the blush brush on the pan to get enough colour.  I apply it lightly for a real pick-me-up.  I would say it suits light/medium to medium/dark complexions the most due to the colour pay off.  It's a fantastic blush and the fact that it's only £6 is quite simply unbelievable!

I haven't tried many Benefit powder eye shadows before but these two shades have been my daily choice for the past week.  Leggy (a pale peach/champagne with pearlised finish) and Where There's Smoke (a grey-toned taupe with pearlised finish) are the perfect combo for a soft and wearable neutral eye.  They both have a smooth texture, are easy to blend and have great colour pay off.  These shades look particularly good against blue eyes.  If you want a more intense look, then you can just apply more of the Where There's Smoke shade as it can easily be built up to transform your look to get a more smokey, sultry feel.  I also love the delicate bird motifs on the pretty.

TopShop have really outdone themselves with their make up range because there's so many of their products that I really like.  I have been using this Eye Crayon in Zephyr which is a gunmetal grey with tiny flecks of shimmer in it.  I like to use this retractable chunky crayon for roughly lining my top lash line, then smudging in to create a very relaxed, soft look.  This would be an amazing liner for a smokey eye because the creamy formula means it's super easy to blend.

The shimmer in this liner is so small that it just translates as a metallic sheen on the eye...gorgeous!  This isn't a liner for precise and crisp lines but it's great when you just want to pop something on your eye and blur the lines.  Although the formula is creamy, it's also long lasting and stays in place all day without bleeding or transferring to your lower eye line.  I think this shade would look amazing applied all over the lid and smudged out!

Here's how I have been wearing it with the Benefit eye shadows all week (I applied a tiny bit of liquid eye liner really close to the lash line for extra definition)...

I have really been getting into make up setting sprays over the past year or so and they are a great way of ensuring your make up doesn't look powdery or cakey.  They also really do help to ensure your make up stays out for longer.  My new favourite make up setting spray is Urban Decay De Slick Oil Control Make Up Setting Spray:

Normally make-up sprays give your skin a fresh, dewy look so I was a bit dubious about how this product was going to keep my skin MATTE all day?

I have to say that this stuff is amazing and it really does work! This super-fine spray is weightless, easy to use and really does control shine.  I spritz it lightly over my face after applying my foundation and all powder products (I do it at this stage as I don't like doing it when I have applied mascara...sometimes it can cause it to clump together).

The result is that my skin looks fresh but matte and it stays that way all day.  This also means that you hardly ever have to re-apply any powder.  I will be using this before any special event or night out because it's the perfect way to prevent a shiny face.  I highly recommend this spray if you suffer from a shiny T-Zone or have oily skin.

Now I wouldn't normally blog about underwear BUT this Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless Bra is incredible.  I already have two in nude and black and when I bought them, they completely transformed my wardrobe.  Before I could never wear strapless dresses or tops because I could never find a strapless bra that fit me properly or was reliable.

This smooth, moulded strapless bra with 'hand tech support' has silicon inner trim to ensure the bra stays in place and now comes in some really pretty designs.  I love this new black lace version over a nude shade.  It's a more glamorous and feminine take on the more basic versions.  Being a larger-chested lady, this bra is the ONLY strapless one I can wear and feel totally confident.

One thing I would say is that although I'm normally a 34E, but I have to buy these Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless Bras in 36D to ensure a good fit.  Wonderbra generally makes their bras slightly smaller around the back and a smaller cup size is required for a secure fit.  I would highly recommend trying one on in a store and then ordering it on Amazon using the link above to get it at a cheaper price.

I am so thankful that I found these bras because they have opened up loads of new clothing options for me!