Saturday 31 December 2011

Cosmo Blog Awards 2011

Dress - Topshop / Jacket - Primark / Bag - Mulberry Mabel / Belt - Primark / Badges - Stolen Thunder & Helpless Romantic / Necklaces - Girlprops, Topshop, Urban Outfitters & This Charming Girl / Rings - Urban Outfitters, Me & Zena, Galibardy & Topshop

Not quite sure why its taken me until now to write this post but I didn't want the year to end without acknowledging this event. I took these photos today because incidentally I'm wearing the same thing sans more gold jewellery than Mr T owns. If you compare them with the pictures below you can see how bad my roots have gotten! This outfit is literally comprised of my very favourite items of clothing. Fave jacket, fave dress, fave bag & fave lipstick, which is Tramp by Illamasqua. Its probably safe to say that this outfit represents me in a nutshell. Of course I love bright colours, polka dots & peter pan collars as well but I often find myself going back towards my gothy tendencies.

Sarah, Lauren, Olivia, Jazmine & Me

Lyzi, Olivia, Lauren, Jazmine, Gem & Me

Me & Gem

I'm not gonna go on about the awards themselves because they were months ago but I'm sure you all know by now that I didn't win. I don't think anyone was more deserving of the honour than Zoe so they definitely chose the right winner. The main reason I made the three hour trip down to London was because this was going to be my very first blog event and I was so excited to get the chance to meet some of my favourite bloggers. I was feeling ridiculously shy at the time & was relying on the much needed free cocktails to ease my nerves. I think they only used about one shot of vodka per ten cocktails so even though I chugged that amount back I was nowhere near drunk enough and remained my awkward self for most of the night. Luckily Gem put me totally at ease. She really is one of the loveliest girls you could meet. Everyone I met that night was so nice & I can only hope I get to meet some more of my fave bloggers next year.

Being nominated for a Cosmo blog award this year has opened up so many doors for me. I've been to a few more events since this one, made some PR contacts, gained loads more followers & best of all I can now say that I count some bloggers as my friends. I'm not really sure how I made the shortlist but I'd like to once again thank everyone who nominated & voted for me. Thanks for supporting me this year & I'll see you all tomorrow in 2012 ;)

Friday 30 December 2011

Christmas Presents

Kindle & Hairbows
Every year when I go shopping for everyone else's presents I can't resist buying myself a few items as well. This year I bought myself a Kindle & a couple of hairbows from Georgie's shop Beauxoxo. I love how small the kindle is and I can't wait to start filling it up with books. So far I've only downloaded the A Song Of Ice & Fire series, really enjoying those so far. I used to ruin all my books by dog-earing the corners to save my place so I love that it remembers exactly where you were in the story for you. Brilliant invention. The hairbows are so gorgeous & sparkly, I'm really tempted to buy some of the other colours too.

Thorntons Chocolate Hamper
My mum likes to fatten me up so she got me this HUGE hamper of chocolate from Thorntons. Shamefully I've already managed to polish off a few of the packs in here. Can't resist anything with a caramel centre, nom.

Estée Lauder Makeup Artist Professional Colour Collection
She also got me this beautiful makeup kit from Estee Lauder. It's worth over £300 but you can buy it for £50 when you buy one of their perfumes. My sister wanted the perfume so win win. The bag is really gorgeous, it comes with two smaller bags containing a mirror and some brushes. The palettes have some decent colours in so I should get a lot of use out of this kit. The lippies are especially lovely.

Space.NK Goodies
My sister bought me some things from Space.NK. She got me the By Terry Touche Veloutee concealer (which is basically Touche Eclat x 1000), the By Terry Blush Terrybly in Rose which is a super pretty pale pink colour, the Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder & a little Ren body set.

These were all gifts from various inlaws. One of them asked me what I wanted so I chose a Cherry Yankee Candle. I've been burning it every day and theres hardly a dent in it. As with most Yankee Candles, it smells divine. The other day his partner decided to dump loads of recycled gifts on me in the form of a mug, a diary, a body scrub & a calendar of hunks which my boyfriend promptly chucked in the bin. The scrub looks okay I guess lol. My mother in law got me a little mirror with my name on it & this lily & magnolia candle set.

I asked Andy to get me some lingerie because hes always moaning about my M&S underwear. He got me these from La Senza. He paid like £60 for these sets and now they're down to a tenner in the sale, fail :( They are lovely though so he did well this year.

Angry Bird!
He also got me an Angry Bird! He knows I love Angry Birds and he probably thinks I am a bit of one so its a very appropriate gift haha.

I love seeing what other people got for Christmas so feel free to link me to your post :)

Thursday 29 December 2011

Jingle Bell Rock

Blazer - H&M / T-Shirt - eBay / Skirt - American Apparel / Belt - Primark / Hairbow - Beauxoxo

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas! This is what I wore on Christmas day. I was planning on wearing my cat onesie all day but I couldn't find it anywhere, sad times. Instead I went for something red in the form of this American Apparel skirt & I added some sparkle with red glittery nails & this silver glitter hairbow. I got this Sonic Youth t-shirt from eBay a few years ago, I'm all about the 90s alternative rock ;) I bought this blazer from H&M last week. Its really thin & silky so its perfect just as a light jacket.

The highlights of the day were probably the epic Christmas dinner I made & watching Chloe play with all her new toys. I hate most Christmas food like turkey, sprouts, mince pies & Christmas pudding so we had chicken & veggies with tons of pigs in blankets & stuffing balls. Then we had mini chocolate cupcakes for dessert. Chloe got a million new toys so my living room is currently a bombsite. Check out her awesome Dear Zoo pyjamas! I'm pretty glad Christmas is over with now, its always a bit of a let down to be honest. Anyways roll on 2012!

Saturday 24 December 2011

Soulmate Food Juice Master Cleanse

If you've followed my blog for a while you'll know that I've always struggled with my weight. When I was 13 I used to weigh 13 stone. I got down to 9 stone through healthy diet & exercise but pregnancy put me back to square one. Since having my daughter I've managed to get down to 9 & a half stone but I no longer have access to a gym & tend to sit around eating too much chocolate & finishing Chloe's leftovers. The only exercise I get a chance to do these days is power walking with the pram & various Wii exercise games. Whilst I now fit into all my old clothes, I still look on the heavy side. God knows how many pictures I have to take for my outfit posts to avoid exposing my double chin! I don't really have much of a problem with my body anymore, not even my wobbly mummy tummy - its just my huge bloody face! I've decided its time to get serious about ditching those last 7lbs. I've tried a couple of quick fixes in the past including Capsiplex pills & Rodial's Skinny Beach sticks, neither of which did anything at all. This past week I've tried yet another quick fix in the form of Soulmate Food's Juice Master Cleanse.

I've toyed with the idea of ordering from a diet food delivery service before. I really wanted to give Diet Chef a go because its the cheapest service out there. They sent me a sample of one of their meals in the form of a microwavable pack of macaroni cheese. It was disgusting. I was willing to look past that if it meant I would lose the weight but to pay such a large amount of money for food that I wouldn't enjoy and would have to supply the vegetable portions of the meal for seemed stupid to me. Then I saw on Groupon that there was an offer for this juice cleanse which would normally set you back £200. The cleanse intends to increase metabolic performance & energy output. It will rid the body of toxins, aid digestion & it claims to help you lose up to 6lbs in five days. A quick look on the Soulmate Food website shows that the food they offer is delicious and nutritious. They even offer a fitness service to help you with exercising properly. If I had a few grand lying about I would definitely order one of their food delivery packages. It appears that lots of celebrities use their services including Cheryl Cole.

I went for it and on Monday I had two huge packages delivered in the middle of the night. In these I recieved 30 bottles of freshly prepared juice. For the next five days I drank six bottles of juice and six glasses of water every day. You have to drink one of each juice each day in number order, having the first the juice when you wake up and then one every two hours. Apparently the six juices add up to an average of 1200 calories per day. These are the juices I was sent:

Juice 1 - Detox Breakfast: Carrot, Orange, Ginger & Superfoods
Juice 2 - Vitality: Pineapple, Banana & Coconut
Juice 3 - Berry Active: Antioxidant Blend, Cherries & Mixed Berries
Juice 4 - Earth: Apple, Beetroot & Blackcurrant
Juice 5 - Tropical: Orange, Mango & Passion Fruit
Juice 6 - Nutrilicious: Strawberry, Banana, Grape & Orange

All of them were delicious, the only one that tasted a little odd was the Earth one because of the strong beetroot flavour. Surprisingly I found that these filled me up very well and I never felt like snacking or cheating throughout the day. I had one macaron when my friend came over but that was it.

The only downside to having all these juices sent to me at once was how much room they took up in our tiny fridge! I suppose they think if you have the money to order one of these food delivery programmes, you'll have the money to buy a huge fridge too. I felt a little headachey on the first day and couldn't wait for the time to drink my next juice. By the second day I felt absolutely fine, really energetic & happy. After the fifth day I am very happy to say that I have lost 5lbs. I have also lost 2 inches from my waist & 1 inch from my hips. The programme was expensive but I would say that its worth it if you're looking to kickstart your weight loss in a dramatic way or need to look your best for a special event. A much cheaper way of doing this would be to buy a juicer and just make the juices yourself, which I think might be what I'll do in future. I know that most people will probably dismiss this kind of weight loss as only temporary but I think that doing this has retrained my attitude to food. Its such an obvious thing but I feel like I don't have to eat so much to become full now. Its made me realise that you can survive on small healthy portions of food and be perfectly happy. I'm sure people will also think I'm mad for doing this over Christmas but I tend not to eat much over Christmas anyway. And whilst everyone else is gaining a few pounds I've lost a few, which makes me feel even better about it haha.

Friday 23 December 2011

Illamasqua Leeds Store Launch

A couple of weeks ago Illamasqua launched their latest standalone store in the Victoria Quarter in Leeds. Illamasqua are one my favourite makeup brands. The first time I visited their London Selfridges counter I left with the perfect red lipstick & lipliner combo and a bright magenta blusher. Then Alex Box, Illamasqua's creative director, told me she liked my newly pinkified hair & the MUA serving me told me that Courtney Love had visited the counter the day before and bought a ton of stuff. I was completely sold. I instantly felt an affinity with the brand as I've always been drawn to dramatic makeup & expressing who you are through your image. I longed for them to open a counter nearer to me. I haven't visited the one in Meadowhall yet but otherwise the trip to the Trafford Centre in Manchester was way too long for my liking. Thats why I was over the moon when I got sent an invite to preview their Leeds store.

I met up with some of my fave bloggers including Ray, Tor, Laura, Sinead, Danielle & Nicoletta and we all got to explore the new store together. The shop itself is really beautiful. It fits perfectly into the boutique stores of the Victoria Quarter. I loved the second floor with its glittery walls & black vanity tables with mirrors. If I ever get the chance to redecorate my own room, I would probably go for something similar. It was brilliant getting to have a good play with all of the products & we all had the chance to get mini-makeovers. I really wanted to recreate the blusher from this Theatre Of The Nameless look but they didn't have any of the shimmer blushers in stock yet. It still looked really nice but I don't have any pics because I collapsed in a drunken mess as soon as I got home. Thats what I get for drinking whole bottles of cider & not having anything to eat all day!

At the end of the night we were all gifted with a wonderful goodie bag. Sinead, Ray, Laura & I also went to a late night Topshop event where we got this photobooth pic of us pulling our best duckfaces. Love these girlies! In my goodie bag I received a pair of false eyelashes, a bottle of Illumine Oil in Pulse, the Bronzing Duo in Glint/Writhe & an Intense Lipgloss in Femme.

I also purchased two items - a Cream Pigment in Hollow and a Pure Pigment in Breathe. Hollow is a toffee coloured matt finish cream which is, hands down, the best contour product I have ever tried. I've tried the Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel, MAC's Harmony blusher, Sleek's Contour Kit & the Bourjois Delice De Poudre, none of which come anywhere close to how amazing this pigment is. I literally take one swipe of this on my finger and run a line underneath my cheekbones & jawbone. It blends out so easily and looks so natural, like a shadow on your face which is exactly how a contour should look. Can't recommend this enough for anyone looking for a really easy way to contour your face. Breathe is a white pearl shimmer loose pigment which I think is really wonderful for highlighting with. I dip my Sigma F35 Tapered Highlighter brush into the little hole at the top of the packaging and then blend it over the tops of my cheekbones, under my eyebrows, down my nose & on the top of my cupid's bow. If you couldn't tell, I like to use a lot of highlighter haha.

This is how I did my makeup using some of these products. Ignore the mental face, totally failed at taking any flattering pictures today!

Makeup - Bobbi Brown Light Bisque Corrector, Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation 02, Collection 2000 Fair Lasting Perfection Concealer, MAC Pearl Cream Colour Base, Illamasqua Hollow Cream Pigment, Illamasqua Thrust Blusher, Illamasqua Breathe Pure Pigment, MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural Light, MAC Brow Shader Browning/Porcelaine, MAC Clear Brow Set, Lancome Doll Eyes Mascara, L'Oreal Carbon Gloss Super Liner, Illamasqua Femme Intense Lipgloss

To top it all off Hayley, who invited me to the event, sent me this gorgeous Christmas card through the post. I can't thank her enough for everything. The whole Illamasqua team are just lovely & so are their products. They've even got a sale on their website right now where you can buy some of their best products for a ridiculously low amount of money. If you've not checked out the brand yet you really should. Everything I've tried has been amazing & I can't possibly express how much I love Illamasqua!

Monday 19 December 2011

Mii Cosmetics

Mii Cosmetics are a fairly new makeup brand within the UK. They have a huge range of products inspired by the wants and wishes of thousands of beauty spa and salon devotees, as well as a team of beauty experts. I was offered the chance to try out a couple of their products. I chose their Moisturising Lip Lover lipstick in Whisper and Uplifting Cheek Colour blush in Kissed.

The cardboard packaging of the products has a really nice aesthetic. Its the kind of thing I would do for a makeup brand as a graphic designer. The spot gloss on the Mii logo makes it stand out and the script font is elegant yet readable. The packaging of the actual cosmetics is just as lovely. The high shine plastic feels expensive and durable.

The lipstick really does live up to its name. It contains ingredients that supposedly increase the softness & condition of your lips each time you wear it. I can't vouch for that yet but it does glide perfectly onto my lips and leaves them feeling silky smooth. I love how it makes my lips look. The colour isn't anything exceptional, its just a shimmery midtone pink but the shimmer & moisturising ingredients do help to make my lips look healthier & fuller. The lipstick is available in 12 different shades for £14.95 a piece. For the amount of product you get it works out to be around the same price as a MAC lipstick. The moisturising aspect is the definitely main selling point here as the colour range isn't brilliant.

The blusher is ridiculously pigmented. The colour payoff is certainly within the same league as the Illamasqua blushes. This also glides onto your skin so its easy to go a bit blush mad like I normally do. I found it hard to control how much I applied and had to blend it in with some powder to stop myself from looking like a clown. I suppose thats a good thing because you'll only need a tiny amount so it would last you a long time. The colour of this blush is really gorgeous, its such a lovely bright candy pink that would look good on most skintones. I feel like it really brightens up my face. The Uplifting Cheek Colour costs £16.50 for 7g of product making it cheaper than a MAC blush but pretty much the same quality.

Saturday 17 December 2011

Pink Lady

Dress - Reko / Cardigan - Upper 5th / Necklace - Raffles Bizarre

Every now and then I get really bored of wearing black all the time. Especially in winter. To combat this I try to wear something as bright as possible. This neon pink cardigan never fails to cheer me up. I used to wear it all the time when I was at uni but its just been sitting in my wardrobe for ages. I got it from an Upper 5th concession in Topshop. This dress is from another Topshop concession called Reko. I love polka dot dresses & the collar is perfectly retro. The lovely Jess from Raffles Bizarre very kindly sent me this uber-cute necklace. I love how tiny the cupcake is, makes me want to go and get some of those mini cupcakes from M&S! I've definitely been indulging my sweet tooth lately. Not a day has gone by where I haven't stuffed my face with chocolate or cake. 'Tis the season I guess.

Right I'm off to catch up on Boardwalk Empire. Though I fear that someone has already spoiled it for me :( Damn you internets!

Friday 16 December 2011

Object Of Desire: Christmas Edition

Marc Jacobs Oh Lola Perfume
I used to have a bottle of the original Lola perfume as I really loved the scent. But it pales in comparison to Oh Lola. Its so much lighter, sweeter and fruitier which is definitely the type of perfume I normally go for. I tend to alternate between which perfume I use every week so theres always room for another in my collection.

Amazon Kindle
I do love reading and the physical quality of flicking through a book. However I hate the clutter that stems from having loads of books laying around the house. I would give my books away to the charity shop but what if I want to read them again? Thats why I would love to get a Kindle. You can keep all your books in one small space and you can take them all with you wherever you go. When I'm traveling theres only so many times I can refresh twitter without going a bit mental so this would be a much more intellectually challenging way to pass the time.

Antique Silver Knuckle Ring
I've been a bit obsessed with rings for a while now but I only have a couple of long ones. I really like this one from Love Hearts & Crosses as it looks quite elegant and its pretty cheap too. Perfect stocking filler.

Nintendo 3DS Limited Edition Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time Bundle
I already have a pink DS but its the huge crappy original one from 2005. When it was announced that Ocarina Of Time was gonna be rereleased on the new 3DS I knew I had to get one. I'd been holding out for a pink one but a special 3DS with a Zelda design seems infinitely cooler.

Canon 600D Camera
I currently use a Canon 400D camera which I've had for many years. Before that I had a 300D but I've never felt the need to upgrade from the 400D until now. I want a 600D because the images it can produce are really high quality and the HD video is ridiculously clear. I'd love to start doing Youtube videos and feel that if I had a good quality video camera it would really help me get into it.

Vivetta Cat Skirt
I adore pretty much all of Vivetta's clothes but this cat skirt is just perfection. I don't think theres a cuter piece of clothing out there. It comes in a few colours but if you're gonna wear a skirt that looks like a cat's face it may as well be pink right?

Topshop Konfetti Fine Glitter Lace Ups
I like sparkly things. I like brogues. These babies marry the two beautifully. Topshop's shoes have become really expensive though so hopefully I'll get a Topshop gift card or something.

Sadly I don't think I'm gonna get any of these this year. I think I will probably invest in a Kindle next year if I get some money for Christmas because it does seem like a great thing to have. I would also like Joe Gilgun to be my boyfriend but something tells me thats not gonna happen either!

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Beat Your Heart Out

Dress - New Look / Brooch - Fairytales & Hidden Notes / Socks - American Apparel / Shoes - Topshop

I'm pretty infatuated with this colour right now. I seem to keep buying maroon coloured clothes for some reason. Makes a change from all the black I normally wear so I guess its a good thing. I got this dress from New Look when they had 20% off. Its a lot easier to justify buying new clothes when theres a discount involved! I caved and bought one of those heart collar brooches from Fairytales & Hidden Notes that everyone seems to have. I don't think it works that well with this dress because the collar is flimsy so the hearts kept on turning around. It'd be much better with a stiff collared shirt. I've had these shoes for a few years now but never really wear them. All my flat Primark brogues have fallen to bits so I dug these out instead. They're really comfy to walk in even though they've got quite a big heel. Its nice being fairly tall for once!

I wore this yesterday for a lunch date with Andy. He's been working really hard lately because hes a retail manager so has been in on all his days off. He bought me lunch in Varsity as a nicey treat. We used to go there all the time and eat those huge buckets of chicken strips & curly fries. I had a Dirty Hot Dog which is a footlong hot dog covered in chilli, jalapeños & mustard, it was seriously good. Speaking of food I'm obsessed with this new iPhone app I got called Foodspotting. You basically upload pictures of food you're eating, tag where its from and then people can award it 'noms' if they like it.

After lunch I finished off my Christmas shopping and bought loads of wrapping paper & cards. Think I'm gonna spend the rest of today wrapping all the presents. I've not even put up any Christmas decorations yet! God knows when I'm gonna have time. I thought I was being really organised this year by getting all the presents bought ahead of schedule but obvs I was not. Oh dear...