Wednesday, 27 February 2013

This, That And The Other

I couldn't whittle down a specific name for this blog post because it literally contains a bit of everything.

However, let's kick it off by talking about an amazing new product from James Read - the aficionado of tanning.  Let's talk about James Read Sleep Mask Tan:

Here's a bit of insider information on Sleep Mask Tan from the man himself:

'For years I have been looking for a product that added moisture, gave a soft and subtle glow, that could work whilst you slept, but also did not transfer onto bedding. It’s well known that skin looses moisture more rapidly at night, so this is the key time to repair skin – but that shouldn’t mean you can’t tan too. So after years of work, I am thrilled to announce the the first sleep-in tanning mask – the James Read Sleep Mask - a mask packed with hydrating ingredients, boosted with an added hint of tan. For best colour results, use twice a week and the best part is that it will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth too. This product is also perfect to apply at the beginning of a long haul flight and great if you come back from holiday and want to maintain a nice colour on your face and neck. When applying your Sleep Mask, start from your hairline and work your way down your face and neck. Leave to dry for 5-10 minutes before you go to bed and then wake up to beautifully smooth, glowing skin. It’s the definition of beauty sleep'.

This innovative, lightweight gel formulation contains aloe vera, cucumber, hyaluronic acid and red algae to moisturise and soothe the skin overnight.  It creates a really natural glow that actually just looks like healthy skin rather than a face slathered in fake tan.  I have been extremely busy lately and haven't had the time to faff around with numerous products at night.  So you can imagine that a multi-tasker like this has been my saviour in keeping my skin glowy and hydrated.  The formulation is a dream - clear, easy to apply, quick to sink into the skin and it leaves my face feeling incredible in the morning.  I awake with silky smooth, healthy looking skin that feels nourished.  At £25 for 50ml it isn't cheap but you only need a very small amount for each application and when you get your head around the fact that it does a few jobs in one and is pretty much beauty sleep in a tube, it's a no-brainer.

My favourite nail combination this week has been Topshop Suffuse; a rose gold and OPI Bring On The Bling; a full on multi toned glitter.  A girl's night out recently called for full on glamour, so this seemed like the obvious option.  Glitter polish is always a pain to remove but it's worth it when your nails look this good.

And since you guys are always asking for pictures of the rapidly growing kittens, or 'cattins' as we now refer to them as, here are some snaps from yesterday.

Seámus doing his 'Lion King' pose.

Minnie learning new tricks.

Seámus and his split ends...whiskers that is.

Sibling love.

Monday, 25 February 2013

The First North East Blogger Event

As you may already know - partially because I have been harping on about it - that Thursday was the first of many North East Blogger Events.  I think it's fair to say it was a resounding success and I picked up some great tips from celebrity make up artist, Sara Hill who is the founder of the Academy Of Make Up in Glasgow.

Here's a lovely group photo together with links to each blog:

It was an evening of Prosecco, mini cupcakes, blogger chat and tutorials.

I roped my best friend Pamela into being a model for Sara to work her magic and I'm not sure I would have been so comfortable having everyone looking at me and taking pictures!

I had some yummy little cupcakes made by my good friend Maggie from Maggie Loves Cookies and she also made some really cool cookies featuring the North East Blogger Events logo.

Sara covered loads of topics from how to create flawless skin to foundation matching to the perfect smokey eye and applying false lashes.

I found it really interesting that Sara often uses brown tones and navy blue together to create a really flattering smokey eye for blue eyes.  I had never really thought of mixing those two colours before but I tried it out on Saturday night and it works so well.

It was really great to be in the company of such lovely, genuine ladies and I felt like all my hard work had definitely paid off.

I put together a gift bag for each blogger containing lots of goodies including Hotel Chocolat Champagne truffles  and Lip Balm, a notepad for all their blog post ideas, a Lindt Bunny, some Bath Bombs and various samples and discount vouchers.

Sara gave some really constructive advice on how to do a smokey eye and where to place the most colour - I found this really helpful.

This is the finished look on my beautiful friend, Pamela.  I love how gorgeous her eyes look and they are totally mesmerising.  I was surprised to see Sara applying a very pale lilac gloss over the nude lipstick - she uses this to cool down the tone of the lips and let the eyes do the talking.  I think it's a really effective technique!

I am working with lots of brands and companies at the moment to bring more fabulous blogger events to the North East of Scotland.  I already have more in the calendar for the next few months!

If you represent a brand or company and would like to talk to me further about creating a unique blogger event, please contact me at

Friday, 22 February 2013

Some Recent Purchases

I just wanted to do a little post as an overview of a few bits and pieces I have bought over the past few weeks.  No doubt you will see some of these cropping up in future outfit posts.

I had to kick it all off with my favourite footwear of the moment - my Kurt Geiger Vito Boots.  I won mine on Ebay for £19.26 but I think they are more than worth the £90 price tag in House of Fraser or Selfridges.  Although they are high, they are incredibly comfortable and easy to walk in.  Also because they are neutral, they go with absolutely EVERYTHING.  I now NEED the black pair.

You guys know that I am a sucker for a statement necklace and when I spotted this one in the Oasis store in Cork, I snapped it up quick style.  It adds interest to a white shirt, looks great with jumpers and can dress up a plain dress.  I love the mixture of smooth and textured discs that make up the design.

Oasis Statement Necklace

I'm always drawn in by any type of embellishment and this Warehouse jumper is a great example of understated detailing:

I've seen people style this with maxi skirts, skinny jeans and leather skirts - all of which look amazing.

Yes, it's another statement necklace but since I don't own a black one, I figured I could round off my collection.

Oasis Circular Disc Necklace

I'm all about the metallic trend this season and this Topshop oversized textured tee is a great way to update your outfits.  I got mine from Ebay and this version is always popping up on there so keep a look out.

Topshop Metallic top

I am a big fan of Reiss jewellery.  They have this knack of making very simple pieces that just look so stylish and chic.  I saw this choker ages ago on their website and you can imagine my joy when I saw it pop up on Ebay.  I won it for just £10 and given that the RRP was £69, I reckon I got a pretty good deal!

Reiss choker

I love Topshop jumpers. They always have a fantastic range of styles and colours but it's always their embellished ones that catch my eye first - there's a theme emerging here.  I found this pale peachy pink one on Ebay where you can pick them up at a cheaper price.

I never normally look at anything in Primark in Aberdeen because the store has always been a hot mess when I've walked in there spontaneously.  That really puts me off browsing to be honest.  However when I saw this scarf on Ebay, I fell in love with it.

Primark Skull and Cross Oversized Scarf

Friday, 15 February 2013

Valentines and 25 Random Facts About Me

I'm not really one for Valentines Day, in that I don't really like to be crammed into a crowded restaurant playing a game of which couple loves each other more.  Our Valentines Days are always more low-key and I like to think that it's indicative of who we are as a couple.  The best times we have are spent curled up on the couch together chatting or watching a film.  So I can think of nothing more fitting for Valentines Day.

I spent the day cooking a lovely meal and cracked open some champagne we had hiding in the pantry, mixing it with some lovely blackcurrant Cassis.  A very yummy combination if you ever care to try.

I slow-cooked some beef brisket for the meal but I wanted to share the dessert recipe with you for a few reasons:

It's delicious
It's incredible easy to make
It looks impressive

Dark Chocolate Mousse:

Makes 2

2 medium eggs
60g chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
2 tsp sugar (or to taste)

Break the chocolate into pieces and put in a bowl over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water. When the chocolate begins to melt, turn the heat off. Separate the eggs.

Whisk the egg whites into soft peaks, add the sugar, and whisk briefly.

Mix the egg yolks quickly into the melted chocolate and then whisk in a third of the egg white. Fold the rest very gently into the mixture until just combined (be careful not to over-mix), and then put into small tumblers or martini glasses and refrigerate while you make your white chocolate mousse.

White Chocolate Mousse:

85 gram(s) white chocolate
45 ml milk
1 egg white
dash of lemon juice
110 ml double cream

Melt the chocolate, stir in milk, set aside.
Whip the egg whites and lemon juice until stiff, then fold into the chocolate mixture until well combined.
Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.
Gently fold into the chocolate mixture.
Divide into the two glasses on top of the dark chocolate mousse.
Melt some dark chocolate, let it cool for at least 10 mins and then pour over the top of the mousse.  Cut a strawberry in half and then into heart shapes to decorate.
Chill for at least 2 hours.

You have to try's gorgeous!

I have seen this random fact tag going around and although I'm not really one for tag posts, I enjoyed reading other people's and thought I would have a bash at it myself...

25 Random Facts About Me

I am obsessed with mafia books and films
I didn’t take my driving test until November last year – luckily I passed.
Every time I get on a plane, I make my peace with god just in case it crashes – weird but true
My hair has been dyed just about every colour until I settled on a lighter version of my natural hair colour.
I started my blog 4 years ago after reading about Laura from Buy Now Blog Later in Company magazine
I never take myself too seriously and I admire that quality in other people
I have a degree in Computer Art and Japanese
I always check the desserts on a menu before ordering a starter
I can’t stand pretentiousness
My favourite smells are fresh coffee, fresh bread and my hubby’s favourite aftershave
Despite being a confident woman now, I was bullied a lot at school
Musicals, stage or film, are my idea of torture – apart from Grease for nostalgic reasons
I am fascinated by the Crime channel
I have a weird intuition about situations and people
My careers teacher at secondary school told me I would be a prison warden
Lack of manners, ignorance and people who are continuously late are all things that drive me crazy
I believe in taking chances – even when it scares you half to death
My mum is a Reiki Master and taught me everything I know about spirituality
I have full blown conversations with my dog, Decky when there’s no one else around
I have never considered myself to be ‘cool’
Having my hair brushed is absolute heaven to me – it sends me to sleep!
All the coolest people I know are geeks
Cooking and baking makes me happy – it’s a nurturing thing
Sometimes I still play that game with myself where you can’t step on the lines in the pavement
Making a difference and making other people happy is generally what motivates me

Products I Have Been Loving Lately

Every so often I like to let you all in on which products have been floating my boat of late.  You will know by now that I am all about the glowy skin so any kind of illuminating product is sure to catch my attention.  Let's talk about Clarins Instant Light Complexion Perfector in Rose Shimmer...

'A radiance-boosting complexion perfector that smoothes and evens skin tone for a more luminous glow and a fresh, radiant, healthy-looking complexion. This lightweight texture glides on effortlessly, illuminating the complexion and promoting a long-wearing natural finish. Can be used alone, under or mixed-in with your usual foundation'.

This gorgeous illuminator has everything you could possibly want from a radiance-inducing liquid formulation.  It has a lightweight formula that primes the skin perfectly for foundation and you only need a couple of pumps for your whole face.  I like to mix it in with my moisturiser of choice.  I love the fact it comes in a tube with a pump applicator because, as all of us beauty bloggers are aware, it's the most hygienic and fuss-free way of applying a product.

It definitely evens out your complexion and gives your skin that lovely glow-from-within quality.  It comes in three shades; rose shimmer, champagne shimmer and bronze shimmer. I personally hardly ever skip an illuminating product in my daily routine because it just gives you that little extra something that makes your skin look flawless and healthy.

I have had my eye on a few of the products from Wild About Beauty and these two certainly didn't disappoint:

Ultra Sheer Powder Blush in Bella and Nutrilips Balm in Lorella.

Our ultra fine, sheer-colour powder blusher glides on to the skin beautifully, instantly adding a healthy flush of long-lasting colour to your complexion. With key beneficial ingredients such as Vitamins C, E and soothing Aloe Vera, our Ultra Sheer Powder Blush keeps skin nourished whilst giving your skin a natural, fresh ‘pinched cheek’ look'.

'A super rich, hydrating and soothing lip balm has a subtle colour tint for a soft and natural finish. With key beneficial ingredients such as Shea Butter and Vitamin E, Nutrilips Balm will keep your lips supple, conditioned and nourished for longer'.

The Sheer Powder Blush in Bella is a perfect shade if you are partial to a peach pop of colour on your cheeks.  This is one of the strongest peach shades I have in my collection and it's great for breathing a bit of life into a tired complexion.  The formula is gorgeous - silky and lightweight - I only need one tap of the brush on the pan to get the right amount of pigment.  The finish of this blush is satin with a radiant glow, no sparkly bits here to speak of.  The colour is definitely build-able so if you prefer a stronger look, then this blush can deliver that too.  I really like the intricate nature-inspired design on the pan too. Love it!

The balm has graced my handbag for the last couple of weeks and I have to say that it's one of the best I have ever tried.  I mean it's up there with my By Terry Baume De Rose, Rodial GlamBalm and Korres Lip Butters. At £13.00 I feel like it's at just the right price point too.  The formula is creamy, with a gorgeous slightly sheer pigment.  The Lorella shade is a cool-toned pink that really does creates that 'my lips but better' effect.  As you can see in the pics here, it gives a lovely glossy finish with just a little colour.  I have it in my handbag at all times now and I will definitely be picking up the other two shades.

After being tempted away by Xen Tan and St Moritz, I recently went back to using the St Tropez tanning system.  Nothing adds that lovely glow to my legs like St Tropez and believe me, they could use all the help they can get!  They have been cruelly starved of sunshine for some time now.  I have a bodycon dress or two lined up for some special occasions coming soon so I definitely need to get my tan on for that.

I think by now every man and his dog has tried St Tropez self tan.  I also think there's a very good reason for this.  I have always been a fan of St Tropez however I definitely prefer their foaming mousse formula because it's so much easier to work with.  I apply mine with latex gloves to avoid the dreaded stained palms.  I sometimes use the mitts but more often than not, some tan sneaks through and stains my fingernails.  Not a good look.  The Body Polish is a great way to prep your skin in the shower and I find that using it with an exfoliating glove gives the best results.  The Body moisturiser is a great oil-free formula that sinks into your skin in no time, leaving the perfect canvas for application of the tan.

The St Tropez foaming mousse is easy to apply with a a mitt or gloves and the olive tone to the formula ensures a lovely, natural tan.  If you use the body polish and moisturiser during applications then you can avoid any patchy areas as the tan wears off.

Which products have been setting your world alight these past few weeks?