Tuesday, 20 December 2011

It's Goodbye From Me...

It has just dawned on me that I won't have time to do any more blogging until after Christmas! Usually I would post about my Christmas day etc but I just won't get a chance to this year so I will update you all when I get back.  I leave for Ireland tomorrow afternoon and I have client and supplier meetings for the rest of today.  So I just wanted to say that I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas with your loved ones.  I will no doubt post something before New Year so I will catch you all then.  I can't wait to read all your Christmas posts!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

OOTD: The Detail Shirt

Ever since Wolverine chewed through my beloved Zara cream silk blouse, I have been looking for a new one that fitted my criteria:

Relaxed fit
No embellishment
Long sleeves which can be rollled up
Slightly below hip level

Blazer: A Wear
Blouse: Warehouse (I can't find the link online but have a look in your nearest store)
Skirt: Rise Fashion
Shoes: Next (link)
Bag: ASOS (link)
Necklace: Ebay (link)
Bangle: Gift from my mum

The Warehouse blouse has a lovely cross-hatch detail on the back which gives it that extra something. It also has lovely pleating detail coming down from the shoulder area.

It's sheer so if you're not a bra flasher (which I'm not) then it's best to invest in a nude vest for underneath or layer it up with something.  I found that this top I got from Oasis looks perfect with it!

I also got this adorable ring from my latest hunting ground...Ebay.  It's so dinky and cute!

It has an adjustable band to fit an finger size.  I got this Mesh Bow Ring from this Ebay seller for just 99p!!! It's from China so at that price I'll have to wait and see if it turns my finger green.  But for 99p that isn't really a major issue!

TAG: Top 11 for 2011

Following in the footsteps of fellow blogger Tali, I'm gonna go on ahead and name some of my Top 11 things of 2011...

Top 11 Products

It was so hard to choose just 11 products and it goes without saying that Estee lauder Double Wear would have been on there but since you guys know how much I love it, I thought I would include something else instead.

Estee Lauder Maximum Cover - THE best concealer ever for blemishes.  A complete life-safer.
Clarins Skin Smoothing Eye Mask - Your only friend when your bags are big enough to carry your weekly food shopping!
Urban Decay De-Slick Setting Spray - Keeps your face flawless and shine free all day and night.
Clarins Mosaique Bronzing Powder - Natural, streak-free golden glowy-ness.
Bobbi Brown Corrector - Hides my dark circles like no other colour corrector.
Loreal Studio Secrets Smoothing Resurfacing Primer - Fills pores and smooths skin out for complete flawlessness.

Ardell 110 Lashes - The best lashes for a volumised look without looking too obvious.
Bourjois Volumizer Mascara - Makes the most of my feeble natural lashes!
Orly Polishield - Makes any nail polish last 3 times as long. Genius product.
Daniel Sandler Micro Bubble Lipstick in Flamingo - I always get asked what I'm wearing when I put this on.
Dior Shimmer Powder in Amber Diamond - There's a reason why this features on SO many blogs.  Lives up to the hype.

Top 11 Blogs

Top 11 Songs of 2011

Top You Tube Videos of 2011

Top 11 Things That Happened in 2011

Started my own wedding planning business
One of my best friends got pregnant
Had my one year wedding anniversary
Finally met Tali in London
Had my first group holiday with friends
Figured out how to use false lashes
Rocked bright lips for the first time
Made In Chelsea came into my life
I mastered how to curl my hair without it looking a mess
I got a new to play with, my Canon 550D SLR camera
I met even more lovely fellow bloggers

I now tag Holly, Chloe and Emma.

Friday, 16 December 2011

OOTD: The Shirt Dress

I possibly got SLIGHTLY sidetracked today whilst Christmas Shopping.  It's the season of giving but in this case, I gave to myself (ahem).  After catching sight of this navy shirt dress on the Warehouse website, I instantly wanted it.  It's a fabulously versatile garment that can take you from work to dinner and drinks with the addition of the right accessories and heels.  I feel like there's something effortlessly stylish about a shirt dress in a drapey material.  Like the mac, the black blazer and the perfect pair of jeans...it's a style staple!

The dress is made from viscose so it hangs in just the right way, it has a drawstring waist with gold hardware and tab sleeves.  I like the way it curves up at the sides revealing a bit more leg and because of the drawstring waist, you can alter how short the dress is...genius!

I figure this dress will also work with black tights and boots/flats for the cold weather we are experiencing.

Blazer: M & S
Dress: Warehouse (link)
Shoes: Dune (link)
Bag: Ebay (link)
Necklace: Accessorize
Bracelet: New Look

I have been wearing this gorgeous nail polish from Pop called Golden Metal (46) and it's the perfect festive metallic that's also day-appropriate.  I've never tried Pop polishes before but I have been incredibly impressed by this nail varnish.

It goes on like a dream, no streaks and actually can just be applied in one coat.  The thing that I love about this polish is that it dries in record time so you don't have to wait around for ages.  The golden shimmer is so finely milled that it appears as a true metallic i.e. no chunky glitter!

I have a feeling this will be my favourite for Christmas Day!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Chantecaille and Max Factor

There's nothing quite like a luxury make up brand to ignite the excitement of a beauty blogger and Chantecaille has to be one of the most talked about luxe brands of late.  Tali recently did this post on various products from the brand.

This gorgeous New Classic quad contains three lovely wearable cool-toned eye shadows and a brightening pink cheek shade that are perfect for this time of year.   The pans are larger than your average eye shadow and feature an embossed 'C'.  The quad palette itself is chrome, sleek and contains a mirror.

"Three classic and extremely wearable eye shades in Valerian, Thistle and Lavender

Brightening pink cheek color in Rose is enriched with vitamins A, C and E 
Glamorous and highly pigmented Lavender can be used to define the eye, or create a smoky look 
Pearlescent Valerian’s subtle shimmer can be used to highlight the brow bone, or the inner corners of the eye 
Neutral Thistle is the perfect silver gray lid shade for both day and night."

Here are some swatches with flash....

And without...

The eye shadows and cheek colour all have good pigmentation and a smooth texture.  I like the lovely lilac tones in the eye shades and they offer a softer alternative to harsh greys and black.  All of the soft shades contain delicate shimmer that doesn't create any messy fall out.  I really like this palette but be warned, it's VERY expensive and I would only consider something like this as a big treat!

I'm always on the look out for cheaper make up brushes that also maintain quality.  Max Factor now offer a small range of brushes and I just wanted to do a quick overview of 4 of them to give you my thoughts on which ones are worth a look.

On first impressions, I was impressed by the packaging.  Usually pharmacy/drug-store brands just package their brushes in flimsy plastic sleeves, however Max Factor brushes come in sturdy matte black boxes which instantly make them seem more up-market.

Let's take a look at their Powder Brush first which retails at £15.35.  The Powder Brush is full, soft and silky on the skin.  I have been using it to apply face powder and it does the job beautifully, applying JUST the right amount.  I can't say that it doesn't shed at all, I would say that on average it sheds maybe one fibre every third time I use it.  To me, that's pretty good for a cheaper brand of make up brush.  I have washed it once and it definitely sheds even less now it has been cleaned.

The Blush Brush retails at £11.25 and is also soft to the touch with a fluffy feel that I often prefer in blush brushes, due to them distributing the product more evenly and lightly.  It hasn't shed at all as of yet and I have also cleaned this one once.  It seems to pick up just the right amount of blush and gives that natural look with even the most vibrant of colours.

The Eye Shadow Brush retails at £6.50 and even though it was voted as part of Bazaar Beauty Hot 100, I wasn't as impressed with this one.  I think Elf actually do better budget eye shadow brushes, specifically their eye blending brush.   This Max Factor brush is ok but it doesn't seem to pick up very much powder and I often found myself having to apply eye shadow in layer after layer to get the desired effect.

This Eye Definer brush also retails at £6.50 and has been designed to line the eyes with powder shadow.  I wasn't keen on this brush because the bristles were too sparse to create clean definition.  I prefer a definer brush with a sharper edge to give me more control.

So, in conclusion, if you were thinking of trying these brushes, I would recommend the Powder and Blush Brushes.  They are very reasonable in price given their quality and performance but for cheaper eye shadow brushes, try Elf.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Birthday Post

Yesterday I turned 29 and I'm still in shock to be honest because in my head, I'm still 21!  I can't say getting older bothers me that much though because I'm happier now than I ever have been before so I would never wish that away.  2012 is going to be a very exciting year so I'm looking to the future with a positive attitude!

This post will just be a quick over view of what I got for my birthday.  I was very lucky to get both birthday presents from my hubby very early and that was my Canon 550D SLR which is my favourite toy at the moment...

He also got me this Reiss dress which I plan on wearing over the festive season!

My brother and his lovely girlfriend, Vicky, surprised me with £100 of Oasis vouchers which I was VERY happy about because I had spied a few things I wanted in there.  The first item I pounced on was this silky embellished top which wasn't in the sale but I just had to have it! I love the beaded detailing around the neck...the styling almost has a 1920's feel to it.

Since wearing my Warehouse waterfall black blazer TO DEATH, I decided I better get myself a new one because it's a wardrobe staple for me! I plumped for this drapey one in Oasis.  Lastly I picked up some soft shorts by True Decadence at Oasis.  The go-with-everything pale taupe shade and soft tailoring makes them perfect to wear with black tights and they will last into next summer too.

My beautiful friend Patricia, who is currently 6 months pregnant and looking amazing, gave me these three gifts...

A cute mouse ring holder (which I was in dire need of!).

A pretty little japanese-inspired cosmetic mirror.

Inglot Nail Enamel in 212 which creates the shattered effect on nails.

I tried it out yesterday with a pale gold nail polish underneath and I like the cool effect it gives...

I did treat myself to three presents from Ebay and luckily they arrived ON my birthday.  The first was this leopard print and pink patterned soft scarf which was only £8.42.  It did take a couple of weeks to arrive but it was being shipped from Hong Kong so I expected that.

The second scarf I got was this Alexander McQueen-inspired pale grey skull one which was only £3.24 from this seller.

The last present to myself was this variation on the Alexander McQueen skull clutch.  It was £16.21 from this seller.  It's made from faux leather and has the skull, jewel and ring design finger handle.  It also has a delicate chain which can be concealed inside the bag of you want to use it as a clutch.

My mum gave me this cobalt blue blazer and I COULDN'T believe it when she told me it was from Marks & Spencer...I never shop there and wouldn't even think of looking there for a blazer.  I absolutely adore the vivid colour which is actually slightly darker in real life and the drapey/relaxed feel to it.

I also got this cuff from my mum which has my birthstone set into it, Turquoise.  It's quite rare to find such good quality Turquoise nowadays but there's an amazing crystal shop near us where they make jewellery out of rare stone, gems and crystals.  Turquoise symbolises speaking your truth as it have a strong effect on the throat chakra.  My mum is a Reiki master and alternative therapist so that may explain the gift and the symbolism behind it.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Wrap It Up

I am a nail wrap virgin so when I was sent these Myleene Klass ones to try out, I thought I could give it a go.  Nail wraps boast:

No gluing
No polishing
No Chipping
No Smudging
No Peeling

These red glitter wraps are part of the Myleene Klass Sparkle collection... 

They come with full instructions on how to apply them...

There are 24 nail wraps in the pack (presumably the extras are to cover mistakes) with a nail file included...

I made sure my nails were clean and dry and then began to match up the different sizes of nail wrap with my fingers and toes.  I have narrow nails so I had the cut them to size, smooth them on, then bend the wrap over the tip of my nail and file off.  It was really easy to file the end of the wrap off and create a neat finish which I was impressed with...

Apart from a couple of small creases, I thought I did a pretty good job!

So, the big question is, what did I think of them overall?

Well, this is the not-so-fun part of blogging when you don't like a product.  BUT I think it's really important to blog about product that didn't work for you as well as ones that did.  Now, I have a couple of problems with this product:

a) The nail wraps only lasted about an hour before they started to peel away at the edges and I constantly had to keep smoothing them down.  I washed my hands once and they began to loosen.  That disappointed me as surely this would be classed as a normal day-to-day practice?!

b) I don't feel like the wraps are cost effective when you can buy a nail polish and then seal it with something like Orly Polishield to prevent chipping etc.  You get multiple uses out of bottles of polish whereas you only get one use out of the wraps.

I understand that they offer a unique design or finish that is difficult for a novice to achieve with nail polish but the fact that you can't even wash your hands without the wraps peeling off is very disappointing.  When I was forced to remove the wraps after the first day, they left a messy gluey residue on my nails which was removed after some scrubbing with nail polish remover.

I do have a couple of Nail Rock ones that I recently got with amazing designs so I'm hoping that they fare a little better.

Are all nail wraps like this or have you found a brand that works for you? Is it better to stick to wraps that are professionally applied by a beautician?

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Strapless Party Dresses

I seem to have developed a penchant for strapless dresses of late.  Well, less of a penchant and more of an infatuation.  Strapless dresses used to be a no-go area for me because I could never find a strapless bra that worked and actually stayed up.  I got to the point where I just vetoed any dress that had to hold itself up.  Then I discovered the Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless bra which I blogged about here.  If you are a big-busted lady like me or have trouble finding good strapless bras, then you need this in your life! I get mine from Amazon because they tend to be cheaper there BUT I advise trying it on in a store first because they run a little small around the back and you often have to go down a cup size. I really like the new design with black lace on nude and bought two recently.

Anyway, I just wanted to run through three strapless dresses that I got recently.  The first is from ASOS and only cost £27 in the sale!

I absolutely love the bronzey-gold colour of this dress and the textured fabric makes it all the more interesting!  It also makes the dress feel expensive and luxe.  The thick black waistband nips you in at your smallest point and the length of the dress is perfection.  It has a really interesting back which I forgot to take a pic of so here's the image from the website to demonstrate...

The only problem with the back of this dress is that you get more than a little self-conscious about where the back of your bra is located in relation to the elasticated straps across your back.  It is possible to conceal your bra at the back but I think I may get someone to safety-pin the dress to my bra to make sure it doesn't shift during the night! (that's a job for the hubster).  This dress feels really festive to me because of the metallic look of the fabric.  The best thing is, it's perfect for any occasion.  The cleavage is minimal so you could wear it to a meal but the length and look of the dress would easily lend itself to a glam night out too.  It could be teamed with opaque black tights on colder nights too.

Now you'll have to excuse my pasty legs in these pics.  I haven't applied any fake tan so I can't be held responsible for you being blinded by the glare coming from my legs!

This next dress is also from ASOS via an Ebay seller and was only £14.99 with free delivery (I have coupled it with a skinny gold belt from ASOS and my blazer from AWear).  I must say that on my figure, I much prefer this dress WITH the blazer than without.  I feel like it's more figure-flattering when the chest and torso area are minimised by the vertical lines of the blazer.

It's made from VERY light cotton so it doesn't feel as high quality as the first dress but the boning on upper section of the dress adds shape, support and definition.  I love the fan pleat ruffle hem and the delicate pale peach hue.  Because this dress is cotton, I feel like it could be dressed down with a long cardigan and ballet pumps.

This next dress is from Boohoo for £20.00 (the brand of the dress is actually AX Paris which I think is also available in New Look stores).  I ordered a size 12 but the sizes run a little small so this felt more like a size 10! After a lot of jiggling, humping and shimmying around, I got the dress on.  It's VERY bodycon and for that reason, I would wear a blazer over it to tone it down a bit.  It's difficult to wear certain dresses when you have a big bust without them looking overly sexualised so I often find it best to neutralise it slightly with a drapey blazer.

I think if this dress is going to fit me at Christmas then I'll have to lay off the mince pies! This week was going  quite well gym-wise until I woke up today with a horrible cold! I didn't know it was possible for the body to produce this much snot.  Attractive!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

OOTD: Leopard Print

I don't know if it's down to blogging or just an evolution of style as I get older, but despite never being keen on leopard print, I have recently found myself adding touches here and there to outfits.  I guess before I always had a vision of Bet Lynch in mind which inevitably put me off completely! (if you don't know who that is, click here).

It's always nice to find ways to utilise your summer wardrobe (i.e. summer shorts) and cosy them up for the cold weather.  These 200 denier tights are SO warm!

I can't ever see myself donning say, a leopard print dress, but I do like to add accents to an otherwise plain outfit.

Blazer: Zara
T-shirt: H&M
Shorts: A Wear (link)
Boots: Faith (link)
Scarf: Ebay (link)
Bag: Moda In Pelle
Necklace: Ebay/River Island (link)
Ring: Topshop/Ebay

My hair was a lot fuller than this until I got rained on! It's absolutely freezing outside so I chucked on a winter coat over this ensemble.  I think it's going to snow here soon!

I have more Ebay finds to show you in upcoming posts. Are you partial to a bit of leopard print? Any great Ebay finds to report?

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Enrapture, New Make Up Case & an Imposter!

I love wearing my hair wavy, because it gives my fine hair that extra bit of volume and shape.  On lazy days though, sometimes it can be a bit of a faff! I wanted to try out a new hair tool so I very quickly waved my hair on Saturday night and this was the result...

I'm not wearing any hair extension in these pics so it's just my own hair.  I used the Enrapture Encode Totem Styler which is the first styler to have three heat zones that can be independently set to different temperatures.  This means that you choose how tight your curls, whether you want loose waves at the roots and tighter ones at the ends etc.  For example, I styled my hair using the 1-2-2 combo which gives you larger waves at the top and gradually getting a bit more wavy towards the ends of the hair.

The Encode Totem Styler comes in a gorgeous cobalt blue box and right away, it looks and feels like a high quality styling tool.  I fully intend on keeping the sturdy box for storing the styler.  You get a heat resistant travel pouch and a style guide to help you try out all the different heat combinations.  This styler heats up super fast and I only had to hold the styler in place for 10 seconds to get the desired effect.

It has a mini flipper so you can use it like traditional tongs but I prefer not to use that as that often leaves kinks in my hair where it gets clamped.  It didn't snag or pull at my hair whatsoever and the titanium plate technology is supposed to increase performance and longevity hence the 3 year guarantee on this styler.

I really like this hair styling tool because it's so flexible and is basically a conical wand and curling tongs in one.  It's also really simple to use and gives you waves in a jiffy.

I just noticed that the Enrapture Encode Totem Styler is on sale at Curry's at the moment (reduced from £74.99 to £49.99) AND remember that you can also pick up Boots Advantage Points from the transaction by logging into Boots Treat Street before you buy.  I always seem to forget about Boots Treat Street but it's worth remembering because you can build up loads of points and spend them on lots of lovely cosmetics and beauty products!

I used Tigi Catwalk Volume Collection Your Highness Root Boost Spray which held the waves in my hair all day.  It gives nice volume at the roots too which I could always do with.

"Introduce some texture and lift to your hair with TIGI Catwalk Your Highness Root Boost Spray. This amazing styling spray foam delivers the lift and support essential for a long lasting, dramatic style.  Magnificent volume starts at the roots and with TIGI Catwalk Your Highness Root Boost Spray you’ll get just that. The conditioning ingredients of lavender, wisteria, jasmine and violet coat each strand of hair, injecting it with nourishment and shine. The lightweight formula is ideal for fine hair and will leave it moisturised without being too heavy."

I love the smell of this Tigi range and I particularly like the shine spray they do as well.  This Root Boost Spray doesn't weigh my hair down or leave any sticky/greasy residue so it's ideal for my fine hair.  I just spray it straight into the roots of my hair, work it in and then run the remainder of the product on my hands through the lengths of my hair to keep the curl.   I don't like using too much hairspray on my hair because it can look too solid and unnatural.  That's why I need a good volumising spray to rely on instead.

And now for another fab item which I bought from Ebay last week.  I felt like I wanted a portable make up case for my cosmetics and spotted this one for £30.96 with free delivery from this seller.  There are other sellers who also provide the same case in pink.

The case is 31cm x 24cm x 25cm and has a zip down top, shoulder strap (not shown in pic), carry handles and is made from a sturdy, wipe-clean faux croc fabric.  The inside of the case has two 2 tier interlocking shelves with different sized compartments...

The tiered shelves open outwards to reveal a larger section underneath which is roomy enough to house MAC palettes and any larger items you have.  You can fit absolutely loads of stuff in this case!

I just like to have my most used items in one place and my smaller make up bag was full to the brim.  This way I can keep all my favourite products clean, tidy and organised.  I think I will mix up the case once a month and introduce new products to make sure I'm making the most of my whole collection (which is now disgustingly vast!).

Maybe I am slightly OCD but organising my things in this way gives me a sense of enormous satisfaction and  calm! ha ha.

I was notified last week by the lovely Sophie that someone had stolen posts from my blog and is passing them off as their own.  This fake blog hasn't posted since last year BUT that's not the point.  It really annoys me that someone thinks it's ok to plagiarise like that and use my photos (which is just plain weird).  I just wanted to bring this to your attention and also say that unless you get an email from liparazzi@googlemail.com then it's not me contacting you.  I worry that someone will try and scam people using my good name.  I notice that similar things have happened to other bloggers of late so it's just something to look out for.  That is all.

To close this post on a more positive note,  I just wanted to share this song which I'm loving at the moment...it's deliciously chilled!