Wednesday, 27 August 2014

LOOKING FORWARD TO: HOUSE OF FRASER AW14


I recently attended the House of Fraser AW14 Press Preview to view the new season collections. I fell in love with so many pieces, so I wanted to share some of my favourites with you.


The folk trend was big in the Dickens & Jones offerings, with heritage-style textures and prints, embroidery and heavy fabrics.


I also loved the twist Marlene Birger put on the fairy-tale trend by teaming jewels and embellishments with a stiff modern neoprene sweater.


Newly stocked French brand La Fée Maraboutee also played with the fairy-tale and folk trends by mixing rough tartan panels with delicate floral sleeves in this pretty zipped cardigan. 

My AW14 House of Fraser wishlist is now huge thanks to this preview!

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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

EXPLORING DEBENHAMS BEAUTY HALL



Last week I was invited by Debenhams to spend an evening in their beauty hall in Glasgow, to learn all about the new releases from some of their most popular brands.

Laura Pearson-Smith in dress

I wore my brand new dress from Bonmarche (£30). I love its bright pink and red floral print. This could be a great formal occasion dress; but I styled it down with leggings, a cardigan and black ballerina pumps and think it works really well this way too.

My night with Debenhams was a bit like speed dating, except instead of the dodgy men, I got the glamour of YSL, Dior, Urban Decay and Elemis. If I could have taken the YSL counter home, I would have. Their 'perfect pout' lip tutorial tugged on my wallet's zip.

Girl With Lipstick


Yves Saint Laurent used their famous Touche Eclat highlighting concealer (£25), their Vernis a Levre glossy stains (£25) and their Forever Youth Liberator Serum (£65) to show us how to achieve the 'perfect pout'. After applying the Forever Youth Liberator Serum to the lips to plump and create a good base, they are then outlined with Touche Eclat (and blended) and then the glossy stain is applied, before finishing with some more Touche Eclat on the cupid's bow.

Dior Star Counter Display

Girl Having Foundation Applied At

At Dior, it was all about getting a flawless base with their new illuminating Star Foundation (£32) and its beauty blender partner, the Backstage Blender (£12). This new foundation is so light and it blends into the skin very easily to create a good medium coverage level and skin that looks flatteringly lit. They colour match you with a nifty electronic gadget to get the right shade for you too.

Spa Treatment Room


Over at the Elemis counter, we learnt about the treatments on offer in their treatment room. I enjoyed a hand and arm massage which is a £10 add-on option to their £30 facial. They used a gorgeous body oil (£32) from their Frangipani Monoi range, which smells of delicate tropical flowers. The scent lingered long after I had gone home, which was great.


girl with smokey eyes and mascara

Modern and experimental make-up brand Urban Decay introduced us to their new Subversion Perversion mascara duo. At the moment you can get both the Subversion white base coat and the dark black Perversion mascara in a set for £17 instead of paying for them both seperately. This duo creates a stunning ultra black look with lengthened and volumised lashes, and is a must-try for those who love Urban Decay's signature dramatic smokey eyes.

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Monday, 25 August 2014

BEAUTY REVIEW: WRINKLE MD EYE HYALURONIC ACID DEEP INFUSION SYSTEM


I use anti-aging products daily to prevent wrinkles and fine lines from appearing on my, so far, smooth 30-year old skin. However, when this WrinkleMD device and products came through my door, their wrinkle-fighting claims were too big to not put to the test on someone with real wrinkles- so i've been using my Mum as a guinea pig for the past six weeks to see if this very expensive regime does actually do what it claims on the tin.

We started with the view that due to its £189 price tag for six weeks use, plus nearly £80 for serum refills and £139 for patch refills, this device had better work wonders on reducing the appearance on my Mum's quite pronounced eye area wrinkles. It claims "painless Micro-Pulse Ion Technology, this breakthrough at-home product effectively delivers peptides and medical-grade Hyaluronic Acid (HA)—the same primary ingredient found in the wrinkle fillers used by dermatologists— deep into the skin for a significant reduction in the appearance of wrinkles".



First, you cleanse as normal then use their Infusion Prep Solution (£29.99) on a cotton pad to wipe over your skin. This is supposed to remove any left over dirt etc and help the patches stick to the skin better. You then open a pack of patches and attach the little machine's wires to them. Stick the patches under your eyes and clip the machine to your top, and let it do its work for 30 minutes. Once you have removed the patches, you then apply the serum. You do this twice in week one, then once a week for the next four weeks.

Before                                                           After

I went through the procedure each time with my Mum as instructed, and sadly, neither of us noticed a reduction in her wrinkles. The WrinkleMD Eye Hyaluronic Acid Deep Infusion System made no difference to her eye area skin, so it's not a product either of us would pay for refills for unfortunately.

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Friday, 22 August 2014

FASHION NEWS FRIDAY #19


Liberty Ross X Genetic Denim (Grazia) - The collection lands on Net-a-Porter.

Victoria Beckham Sells Her Own Clothes On The Outnet (Grazia) - Grab a piece of fashion history while you can.

Christopher Bailey Sells Burberry Shares (Fashion United) - The Chief Executive made 5.2 Million Dollars cashing in his shares.

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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

LINKS I LOVE WEDNESDAY #19


As you may know, I write for the editorial Groupon City Guide website. It's not a site selling deals, it's just giving you great free articles on what's hot to do in your city written by local bloggers. I wanted to share with you some of my favourite articles on the site- not just for my city Glasgow, but for the likes of London and Belfast too. Why not have a look and try out some of the tips to discover new places in your city! You can tweet me and the team and ask questions using the #grouponguide Twitter hashtag too.

Glasgow

London

Belfast

Manchester

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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

NAIL TUTORIAL: CARNIVAL-STYLE FRENCH MANICURE

woman in carnival costume

As it's the Notting Hill Carnival next weekend (Sunday 24th & Monday 25th August), I thought I'd do a tutorial for a French Manicure with a twist.


Instead of the classic nude base with white tips, I've opted for a bright fuschia with orange tips, topped with a sparkly multi-coloured glitter. You can of course do this with different bright colours if you prefer. I used O.P.I polishes from their Brazil Collection for the base and tips (which sadly don't have shade names written on the bottles). 

First, apply two coats of your base colour and let it completely dry before neatly filling in the tips with the contrasting colour. Once the tips are dry, top with a fun glitter top coat of your choice.

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Monday, 18 August 2014

MY THOUGHTS ON BEACH BODY CONFIDENCE


I was reading a survey today where online voucher site My Voucher Codes questioned British men and women on their ideal beach body, and their body insecurities. The results generated these 'perfect' body mock-ups as images to aspire to, as voted for by the people questioned. 

A massive 45.5% said they were not happy about their waistlines and would change them. Followed by 12.4% wanting to change their legs. Mark Pearson from My Voucher Codes says "We know from previous research we have done that many people get their inspiration from celebrity bodies, as shallow as that may seem. We want people to be happy with the body they have but also to be healthy...we found previously the ideal stomach for women is the toned stomach of Lucy Mecklenburgh from TOWIE, and for men, the muscular stomach of Scotty T from Geordie Shore".

I always get really annoyed every Summer when I see newspapers and magazines run bikini-body diet guides. Not everyone looks good in a bikini- fact. If you are a healthy person, it's a waste of time trying to perfect your body for a holiday- do something more worthwhile with your time. It's also a waste of a good holiday worrying what you look like. If you don't think you look good in a bikini or shorts, wear a light cover-up over them; or if you are happy wearing them, then do so and don't concern yourself with what other people think. We aren't all supposed to look the same.

A holiday is for relaxation and making memories; not for worrying about what you look like. Concentrate on what's important in life- your cellulite is most definitely not.

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Image Credit: My Voucher Codes

WHAT MADE ME SMILE LAST WEEK #19

The last few weeks have been difficult for me personally, so I have to admit that I did struggle when trying to think of what made me smile.

collage of film images

I've been enjoying the simple things in life- I cannot even count the number of films I've watched. Some great ones that I thoroughly recommend are Chef which is about how a restaurant chef gets to truly realise his passion for cooking and connect with his young son. I also really enjoyed Tammy which is a hilarious comedy with one of my favourite actresses Melissa McCarthy. She plays a down-trodden woman on a road trip (full of mishaps) with her eccentric gran. If horrors and thrillers are more your bag, Devils Due is a suspenseful film about a newlywed couple that get involved in the occult on their honeymoon.

poster on table with flowers

I also got sent a very cute poster print from Chatterbox Walls. They have lots of designs that you can personalise with your own details. A small print (A4 size) is £14.99. I don't think the print-out of the simple design I got is worth that much as I could have made it myself; but the more complicated designs on offer are definitely worth paying for as you couldn't recreate anything like those at home easily.

a diary and notebook from Tesco

I also got myself some new stationery in Tesco. I found a great notebook in the sale for £5 that says 'write, think, create' on the front. I'm using this for planning my editorial calendar and for post/article ideas. I also got a new pink diary, as mine was too big and getting a bit messy. I love fresh new things to write in.

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Photo Credit: Kali187 via photopin cc

Thursday, 14 August 2014

MY CURRENT SKINCARE REGIME


I really enjoy my morning and evening skincare routine. The products change around every so often obviously, given my job; but once I have a set of products that I enjoy and feel work well together, i'll stick to that regime for a long time. I wanted to share with you my current skincare routine, and the products I am loving at the moment.

I prefer anti-aging products for my face and neck to prevent wrinkles and fine lines from appearing now that I am 30. On my eyes, I use hydrating products as scans have shown me these are an area of my face in need of hydration. 


In the morning, after cleansing and toning (which I do purely for refreshment), I apply a serum. The one I am loving at the moment is ARK Regenerating Skin Defence (£70). It uses plant stem-cell technology to restore and regenerate our own skin's cells. It's anti-aging and helps protect against environmental pollution. The serum itself is light and absorbs easily. It dispenses from a hole in the middle of the tub via a twisting action. One pump is enough for one side of my face, so I twist it twice. I find that this serum brightens my skin and plumps it (thanks to the Hyaluronic Acid ingredient).


After i've applied my serum, I use the Dr Organic Aloe Vera Eye Gel (£9.29). This is a great affordable product that really hydrates and refreshes my eye area with its pure bioactive organic Aloe Vera and a blend of cucumber, Witch Hazel and calendula. It has anti-aging properties too, which is great. This light gel formula absorbs really easily, and is very cooling.
I then apply my day moisturiser- Murad Essential C Day Moisture SPF 30 (£57). I am using the miniature from a Murad Starter Kit; but as soon as this finishes, i'll be purchasing the full size. This moisturiser contains a good SPF level and protects against UV rays, which is important to me as my skin is so fair and I burn easily. It has a citrus scent from all its citrus Vitamin C-packed ingredients that brighten skin and add hydration. This product also contains antioxidents to protect against environmental aging.


At night, I continue with my serum and eye gel; but change moisturising products for thicker and stronger ones that penetrate my skin and work their magic while I sleep. The night cream I use is Soap & Glory's Wish Upon A Jar Peptide Plus Rejuvenating Night Cream (£16). The spherical mirrored tub is beautiful to look at, and the cream itself is delightful to use. Soap and Glory describe it as a "potent anti-aging mix of tetrapeptides, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and oxygen boosters". It is quite thick and a little goes a long way. It is silky smooth, absorbs easily and doesn't feel greasy at all- which i've found a few other thick night creams do. It plumps my skin, brightens it and helps prevent wrinkles. When I wake in the morning, my skin always feels so soft and hydrated.


Every second night, before applying this Soap & Glory night cream I will apply an oil underneath for an added boost. I'm using Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate (£36); which is the lightest and most easily absorbed oil I have ever tried. It doesn't leave me feeling all greasy and sink into my skin quickly- which is great for when i'm applying a moisturiser on top. My skin feels plump, firm and soft in the morning after using this. It comes in a glass bottle with a glass dropper, and a few drops is all you need of this.


Two other products I use as and when needed is the new Witch Skincare Blackhead Clearing Gel (£4.99). It is a gently exfoliating gel that removes dead skin cells and clears pores. I sometimes require this for my nose, where I am prone to blackheads. I've been using it for a month now, and am finding it really effective and very refreshing at the same time.
Also, at night time, if i'm really stressed and having trouble sleeping, i'll use a more intensive treatment that my usual night-time products above. I adore the Temple Spa Repose Aromatherapy Resting Cream (£38). This is an intensive treat for my skin at bedtime. Its aromatherapy oil and hops ingredients are very relaxing and sleep-inducing, and the natural plant extracts firm the skin and help prevent aging. It really helps prepare me for sleep and relax, as it is aromatherapy and skincare combined.

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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

IN LOVE WITH: VIVIENNE WESTWOOD A/W14 TARTAN BLANKETS


These are just glorious, and will make great stylish cover-ups for the upcoming colder Autumn days. They can be worn in so many different ways too, and are finished with a brass safety pin. 


The yellow, purple and green wool blanket is my favourite; but I love the more classic colours of the red, black and green too. They are £175 each from www.viviennewestwood.com.

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BEAUTY REVIEW: ESSENCE UK EYE MAKE-UP HAUL

I'd heard the hype surrounding Essence cosmetics and their UK launch in Wilkinsons' stores, so I thought I should do a haul of a selection of their eye products- a good way to assess a new make-up brand I feel. Overall, I haven't been that impressed- there are some gems in amongst the items I purchased; but also some really quite poor products. I hope this post helps you with what to try if you haven't experienced Essence UK before.


First, let's take the mascaras. I've never thought coloured mascaras would suit me; but I really like the blue of this Colour Flash Volume Mascara 02 (£3). Despite what it looks like on the wand; on my already quite dark lashes, it is not too intense at all and really enhances my blue eyes. If I don't want to wear much eyeshadow, this would be good as the statement element of my eye make-up. Alternatively, i've been wearing it over my black mascara. It just adds a subtle hint of blue (mainly to the tips of my lashes) and serves to brighten and enhance my eyes. If you've got blue eyes, this is a handy make-up bag addition for just £3.


Next up is their Maximum Volume Mascara (£2.80). This black mascara has quite a unique wand, with prominent thin spikes on each side. This really helps to separate the lashes and stop clumping. It makes my lashes longer and fuller, which is all I really want from a mascara. For £2.80, this rivals a lot of my more pricier mascaras, and is definitely one I would re-purchase.


Finally, I tried the Lash Curler Mascara (£3.30). I didn't get this product at all. The concept is that you are supposed to twist a section on the lid/holder as you apply (actually very tricky to do) and the wand will rotate to curl and lengthen your lashes. My wand didn't rotate, and the mascara was average at best.


I also picked up a selection of their eyeliners. Anyone who knows me or reads this blog will know that i'm not great at applying eyeliner properly; but I can tell a good one from a bad one in terms of pigment and 'waterproof-ness'. 


The first three eyeliners I tried are all supposed to be waterproof. This didn't work so well- they all rubbed off of the back of my hand easily just by licking my finger. The only one which took a little bit of extra rubbing to remove final remnants was the black Essence Gel Eye Pencil 01 (£2.30). I liked this as it is much softer and creamier than a pencil since it is a gel in pencil form. I also tried the light brown Essence Gel Eye Pencil 06 (£2.30 and too light for me) version of this- the formula was again easy to work with; but it had no staying power. These are the middle two swatches.
The top swatch is the felt-tip style black Essence Eyeliner Pen 01 (£2.80). It has no staying power at all, and bleeds easily, yet has a strong and dramatic black pigment level. I'm not a fan of this one sadly.
I did, however, really like the Big Bright Eyes Jumbo Pencil 01 (£2.00) which is the bottom swatch. It's a good budget alternative to Benefit's version- there's really no difference in terms of performance. You can apply it to the inner corners of your eyes, or under your brow bone as it's a highlighter. I've also been applying it to my bottom lash waterline and it works well in making my eyes look bigger and brighter this way.


Now, onto the eyeshadows. The quality and pigment level of Essence UK's eyeshadows are not the same across the board. Some are really poor and some are great. 




I adore the 3D eyeshadows. I tried Essence 3D Eyeshadow 11 (£2.80). The quality here is great for such a bargain price, and is one I now reach for in my make-up back over much pricier brands. Each contains two shades that you can wear together or separately. I've been using them separately, and they are highly-pigmented, easy to blend shimmering metallics. I love how smooth and silky they are to apply. 
I wasn't as keen on their single eyeshadows. I found Essence Eyeshadow 72 (£2.00 and a turquoise blue) quite chalky and needing quite a few coats to get any powerful colour pay-off.



I also wasn't impressed at all with the Essence Smokey Eyes Set 01 (£.2.80). This had terrible fall-out, was very chalky and not a pleasure to apply at all. 



Although, I did find the Essence All About Nudes (£3.50) palette shades much easier to work with. Two of them, on my very fair skin, don't pick up well in the swatch image; but the six shimmering shades were silky to apply and are reasonably pigmented. They blend well too. It in no way rivals the quality of the likes of the Urban Decay Naked palettes in terms of pigment and blendability; but this is a good budget alternative for a tenth of the price.

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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

LOOKING FORWARD TO: THE BODY SHOP COLOUR CRUSH NAILS COLLECTION


The 24 shades in the new Colour Crush Nail Collection from The Body Shop are so pretty. They are all inspired by nature, and contain no harsh chemicals (such as formaldehyde) like most other nail varnishes do.


The varnishes are enhanced with Fair Trade marula oil to care for your nails as well as beautify them, and all of the shades have a really glossy finish. I can't wait to pick up some of these for just £5 each- I especially love the blue shades.

You can get them in selected stores from 9th September, and then nationwide from 16th September.

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BEAUTY REVIEW: ORIGINAL SOURCE SHOWER GELS


Tesco are doing a really great deal on Original Source shower gels at the moment- 3 for £3. When they are usually around £2.30 each, this is a bargain offer.

I wanted to shake my shower regime up a bit, so I picked up three when I was in-store doing my food shopping. I love them as each is packed with a powerful scent that lasts on your skin after you get out of the shower. 

I got the sweet and creamy Vanilla & Raspberry for use at night, the Mint & Tea Tree to wake me up in the morning, and the cooling Lime for showers after i've been out in the sun. I don't know when this current promotion ends; but if you've been wanting to try Original Source, take advantage of it and get to a Tesco pronto.

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Monday, 11 August 2014

IN LOVE WITH: PANCHOS FOOTWEAR


I was looking for some comfortable and bright Summer trainers when Panchos Footwear asked me if they could send me a pair of their Aztec-themed creations. I instantly fell in love with the Raya Red Low Tops (£65).



They are so comfortable, and the fabric is beautiful. Panchos Footwear was founded in 2013 when the British owners were staying in Peru. They made friends with a shoe maker there, and formed a business relationship. The trainers are manufactured in Peru in a family-run workshop, and are made from Ilama wool and with dyes made in the Andes.

They have some really interesting and quirky designs and patterns, and also sell high-top varieties too. I find my trainers feel really unique to wear.

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