Saturday, July 27, 2013

Serendipty // Topshop Tea Dress and Primark Sandles

Primark Red Sandals

Primark and I have a funny relationship. I often see friends or bloggers proudly displaying their Primark purchases but on entering the store I rarely find anything I like the look of and generally run out as quickly as possible away from the hoards of people fighting over the latest bargains.

That said as you know I'd been lusting over a floral crown I'd seen so a couple of Saturdays ago I took the decision to be at my local store as the door opened giving me the opportunity to have an almost peaceful look around.

Whilst overjoyed at having my flowers in hand - which you can see me proudly wearing in this post - there wasn't really much else that took my fancy until I came to the shoes. I'd spotted these sandals in various colours during other visits and always resisted purchasing, thinking I didn't have any reason to wear them but on this occasion feeling like I needed something more in my shopping basket to jump on the Primarni bandwagon I decided to give them a try. Once they were on my feet I was sold. I still didn't really have an occasion for them but come on, they were £12 and we all know I love red and this wasn't just any red but a gorgeous orangey summer red.

Happily swinging my Primark bag of treats I decided to have a quick nose in Topshop to see what was around. I always try to have forthcoming events in the back of my mind when shopping so if something appropriate presents itself I have an excuse to get out the debit card. Knowing I had a family BBQ coming up (today in fact) when I saw this dress I wanted to give it a try.

I'm not a fan of my legs in flats and wasn't too sure on the dress until I remember my recent Primark sandal purchase - serendipty right there people! I popped the sandals on and sale number 2 was made. During a major drugstore haul this week (it's payday week!!) I picked up a couple of nail colours which will work perfectly with this dress; which one to chose? And even more exciting is I'm off to one of London's braid bars to have my hair plaited this morning.

I will let you know what colour I decided upon later in the week with an outfit post and give you my thoughts about the braid bar experience but if you're an impatient sort I'm likely to be tweeting about my adventures and you can find me here

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Friday, July 26, 2013

House of Rush // Elemis Facial & Essie Manicure

House of Rush Piccadilly

Elemis Facial

Essie First Timer
(please ignore the dreadful ridges in my nails from my acrylics and let them be a warning to you at the damage they do to your nails!)

Last week I was invited along to the House of Rush flagship store in London's Piccadilly to enjoy an Elemis facial and Essie Manicure and rightly described as a sanctuary of urban indulgence the experience was fabulous from beginning to end.  

I had visited the Piccadilly branch a few months ago when they hosted an event for Beauty Bloggers and PRs but was far too busy networking chatting away and sipping champagne with fellow bloggers Alice and Carissa to sample any treatments on offer so I was glad to be welcomed back. 

On arrival I swept up the stairs to the salon and was led into the beauty suite where the therapist talked me through what I would like from my facial. Following the advice I received from Caroline Hirons at my consultation with her (which you can read about here) I advised I needed a facial concentrating on extraction. 

My treatment began with warm mitts massaged on my feet which instantly put me into a relaxed state and the worries of work disappeared. I was quite apprehensive about having a facial as my last experience wasn't an enjoyable one so I was interested to see how the Elemis one would compare. My last experience felt like someone was simply pawing at my face and I left feeling like my skin was clogged with products and I wanted to give it a good wash - this time it was completely different. 

The therapist applied multiple products yet I didn't feel oily or greasy and they were expertly massaged into my skin. The treatment even went so far to massage my shoulders and head whilst the masks were applied - which was of course Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel.

It's safe to say that I'm a convert to facials if they're all carried out as expertly as the Rush therapists and using Elemis products. My skin looked amazing and leaving the store make up free wasn't an issue for me as I felt like I was glowing - and that's glowing in a good way not an oily greasy way!

The fun wasn't over as I still had my Essie manicure to follow. I took my seat in the store which was great as I was able to nose at the skilled hairdressers at work. I was most impressed that each hairdressers station has a tote bag hanging from the table so that customers can put their handbags inside safely rather than carrying them back and forth to the wash basins or having them in the way of the stylist whilst they're working their magic, a nice touch I thought, but back to the manicure.

Slightly overwhelmed by the colour choices from Essie available, particularly as this was my first time using an Essie polish I finally decided on the appropriately named First Timer. Well that's not strictly true, I picked Shake Your Money Maker first but it came our quite light and watery so that's where First Timer came in. Testing the colour on your nail for you first was another touch I loved by House of Rush. I have often gone for manicures and had all my nails painted and sat watching them as they were drying absolutely hating the colour but to rushed for time to ask for it all to be changed.

After finishing my glass of ice water (complete with slice of lemon!) and nails touch dry there were no more excuses and it was time to leave the relaxing House of Rush for the busy and very hot streets of London.

The whole experience was fabulous and I will 100% return to House of Rush for more beauty treatments and next on my list is a visit with one of their hair stylists. I'm considering some slight changes to my the old hair do and I have the faith that they can definitely offer me something special.

And for fellow Apprentice fans if you were interested in the services Dr Leah impressed Lord Sugar with, well House of Rush are already there offering Rush Aesthetics Anti-Wrinkle Injections or Fillers and right now the £30 consultation fee is being offered complimentary so now's your chance to investigate - find out more here.

I'd love to hear about your experience of facials and beauty treatments - especially if you've tried the more permanent options! And let me know if you've had your hair styled by House of Rush and who your recommended stylist is.

**I was gifted the facial and manicure for the purposes of this post

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dining out on a diet - Pizza Express

Pizza Express Leggera Pollo Ad Astra

Last week after a successful result on the scales I decided I need to get my head back into my Weight Watchers diet and was all prepared when a friend reminded me of our plans to meet for dinner. There would be no way I would turn down an opportunity for dinner - my weight doesn't bother me enough not to enjoy a good meal - but I still wanted to be mindful of my WW points and not ruin all my good efforts.

It's not unknown for me to peruse the menu in advance of wherever I may be dining no matter how many times I have eaten in said restaurant but it also comes in handy to have a browse through when you're on a diet to see what your healthier options are, make a decision and then you have more chance of not losing all willpower once you're surrounded by the delicious smells coming from the kitchens.

If like me you are on WW you can also type meals into your handy app to see what the point allowance would be and therefore plan your week around it rather than what can often be the case of typing the points in after the event and realising you're on lettuce leaves for the next 3 days.

The chosen restaurant was Pizza Express where I would usually chose the Pollo Ad Astra so I was delighted to see this was available in the low calorie Leggera option. For fellow weight watchers this was a 7 point difference and we all know those 7 extra points throughout the week would be very welcome.

So how did the Leggera stand up to it's higher calorie friend? I was very impressed and whether dieting or not I would go for this option. The selling point of the Leggera is it's hole in the middle filled with rocket, this was a big plus for me as I often find with a pizza I want some greenery on the side so this fulfilled that request without the need to pay for a side order. Other than the hole in the middle I couldn't see any other difference to my usual pizza so it was a definite thumbs up and I was able to enjoy my usual pizza whilst still diligently following my diet.

What are your tips for eating out when you're dieting?

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Monday, July 22, 2013

DIPTYQUE; Eau Moheli Eau De Toilette Roll-On

DIPTYQUE; Eau Moheli Eau De Toilette Roll-On Review

Whilst I enjoy reading about perfumes from fellow bloggers I rarely pay much attention being a fussy sort who tends to stick to the perfume I know and love (Chanel Coco Mademoiselle & Vivienne Westwood Boudoir fyi) . A few months ago the new release from Diptyque saw reviews doing the rounds so whilst in a far too frequent lunchtime browse of Space NK I decided to have a spritz and see if I could see what all the fuss was about. I was pleasantly surprised but not instantly bowled over and carried on my business... but throughout the afternoon all I could smell was Eau Moheli and loved it!

So much was my love that on leaving work I headed straight back to Space NK and picked up the roll on version which is perfect for throwing in my handbag. As you can see from the bottle I am steadily working my way through the bottle and it's the perfect scent for the glorious Summer we are finally having rather than my heavy choices.

What is your Summer scent this year?

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Sunday, July 21, 2013


Toni & Guy, Malibutique, Victory Rolls, Raybans

Nails Inc, Manicure, Malibutique

Malibu, Nails Inc, Mali-Woo-Woo

Nails Inc Mali-Woo-Woo

Malibutique is a promotional pop up boutique hosted by Malibu Rum bringing together Toni & Guy, Nails Inc and ASOS and following a successful start in Liverpool Malibutique hit London last week and I was invited along to sample the fun and enjoy some Malibu laced cocktails.

The sun was shining on my arrival and I happily accepted the offer of a Malibu laced cocktail, choosing the Mali-Blue and was instantly transported to memories of holidays and pleasantly reminded of how much I enjoy Malibu Rum.

After a unique opportunity to browse through the racks of ASOS something usually only possible online I took my seat for some styling assistance from Toni & Guy. There was a choice of 4 specially created looks and I went for their Go Bold option - unfortunately the wind reached it before I managed to take my snap but it still looked great to me and if only I could create a similar look myself.

Nails Inc were on hand to offer manicures and I was lucky enough to win a bottle of Mali-Woo-Woo a shade created just for the event and before it was time to head home there was an opportunity for a cocktail masterclass.

The good news is that Malbutique still has two further stops on their tour at Birmingham Bullring next week, 25th - 28th July and then Manchester Exchange Square 23rd - 26th August and if you're local to either City do take yourself along with some girlfriends for a fun hour or two.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

On The Lash with Boudoir Lashes and BeautyMART

boudoir lashes, eyelash extensions, beautymart, shoreditch

Last Friday BeautyMART joined forces with Boudoir Beauty Parlour to host ON THE LASH at the trendy new location of London's Boxpark in Shoreditch. Boudoir Lashes were offering a taster of their usual eyelash extensions by adding individual lashes to your own - for free with an accompanying glass of bubbly!

One of the lucky few to receive an appointment I shut down my computer Friday evening and took a stroll in the sunshine down to Shoreditch. Whilst I waited for my slot I was able to take a look at BeautyMARTs packed shelves. A very different space to Harvey Nichols yet full of all the brands we know and love.

The sales assistants are as knowledgeable as you expect and I was introduced to Balmain's great new range of haircare products which smell amazing! Let me know if you've tried them as they're definitely sitting on my wish list now.

I was slightly apprehensive about the experience and whether I would like the results but I had no reason to fear. In Asma's more than capable hands I sat, eyes closed whilst she went to work. I have seriously neglected my lashes over the years and only the past year started wearing mascara on a day to day to basis (much to my mothers delight!) and the application of false eyelashes has never really crossed my mind.

I LOVED the results and can't deny I did pause once or twice as I passed mirrors to admire the finished effect. Lashes from Boudoir Lashes start at £65 but will last weeks compared to the couple of days mine would last. That said we're on day 3 and they're still going strong.

A colleague at work asked me today if I'd changed mascara because my lashes looked fantastic and I revealed my secret and she too was impressed with how natural they looked. My only criticism, wearing sunglasses was quite bizarre with my extended lashes fluttering on the glass/wearing the sunglasses down my nose for room but I can handle that!

I'll definitely be returning to Asma and her team at their salon which offers all the usual treatments, including an extraction facial which was the treatment Caroline Hirons recommended I start having.

I'd love to hear if you've had lash extensions or experiment yourself with false lashes.

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

OOTD: Family Day

Dress: Gap sold out online similar here // Wedges 2012 season similar here // Floral Garland Primark similar here

My parents arranged a family gathering yesterday to take advantage of the sunshine and I decided that a day in the garden needed a dress that was comfortable enough to take the heat yet pretty enough for the occasion. I spent Friday lunchtime stalking my usual haunts in the City and finally ended up in the branch of Gap next door to my office and found just what I was looking for, this blue little number.

At £24.95 it was a great price, a fabulous colour (they have them in grey and orange too) and had some room once I'd indulged in the feast my mum was laying on. Unfortunately it seems I'm not the only one who liked this dress as it has sold out online but I'm sure you'll be able to find some in store.

I'm suffering from festival envy at the moment hence the floral garland in my hair. I actually got up at 830am so I was in my local Primark on opening Saturday morning to buy this. I'd seen it a few weeks ago and loved it but didn't think I'd have any reason to wear it so popped back on the shelf then hadn't stopped thinking about it since - and if you can't wear flowers in the garden then when can you?

The shoes I had completely forgot I owned having had them hiding at the back of my wardrobe. I picked these up last Summer, again another item I'd seen in the shops, deciding against because they were quite expensive. When I was still thinking about them wistfully weeks later I decided to treat myself and was rewarded by them appearing in the sale and half price - sometimes it pays to wait.

I hope you're all having great weekends in the sun with your friends and families too, I'd love to hear what you got up to.

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Friday, July 5, 2013

Spending Ban - Magazines

I've decided to impose a spending ban of sorts this month as things have been getting a little out of hand. Instead it's time to think about what I part with pennies for and the first thing is magazines. This is the current hoard piling up in my living room, half of which have barely had a glance through.

My reading matter of choice these days tends to be my Twitter feed or Bloglovin reading list yet I still can't resist throwing a magazine into the shopping trolley when I visit the Supermarket. I've even found my book reading waning on my journey to and from work lately usually playing with my iPhone until my train loses service when I turn to applying my make up.

So until I've been through this pile of magazines there will be no more additions - let's hope I don't miss out on too many free gifts that seem to be accompanying so many these days.

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Barry M Gelly Nail Paint - Pomegranate

Despite not being overwhelmed by the Barry M Gelly paints previously (see post here) I decided to give them another try when after a browse of the counter days later I was still thinking about the colour Pomegranate and thought they deserved a retrial on my natural nails.

Second time around I was much more impressed. The shine is certainly there and I was able to apply just one coat to avoid the thick consistency I didn't enjoy from their last outing. Again it was a challenge painting my own nails, especially in a darker colour than my previous attempt (see post here).

There was one disappointment, the colour. If I'm honest I'm looking for a raspberry shade and whilst I knew this wasn't the colour I have in my head (please tell me I'm not the only person that designs something in their head that may or may not exist!) it did appear pinker in the bottle yet once applied was more red, and don't we know I have no need for any more reds in my collection!

That aside Barry M is back in favour and I think it's highly likely that more paints from their range will find their way into my collection. And if you have any recommendations for the raspberry colour I seek - please send them my way.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Vaseline Cocoa Radiant Lotion and Oil Gel Review

I was recently sent a few items from Vaseline's Cocoa Radiant range to try and there is no argument from me that they smell amazing. I was particularly keen to try the Cocoa Radiant Oil Gel* wondering if it would be a good alternative to my favoured L'Occitane Almond Oil (read post here). My haste and excitement meant I only saw Oil and didn't pay attention to Gel and when I got handy with my razor I was left with a very gunky razor and unshaven legs. Note to self, this will not aid shaving.

I'm undecided how I feel about this product. I quite liked the feel on my skin initially but after removing myself from the bath I felt like I was left with a slick on my body which just felt messy and unclean but it certainly kept me moisturised. I've now passed this on to my mum as she has drier skin than I to see what her thoughts are - I will keep you posted.

A win was the Cocoa Radiant Lotion* which had everything you'd expect from a body lotion, good smell, kept my skin moisturised and a product I would happily use, especially whilst the sun is shining and for a few moments I can imagine myself on a dessert island!

*PR Sample

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Soap & Glory Hand Food.... and a couple of extras!

Missing a hand cream on my desk I nipped out to Boots across the road (yes it's very dangerous!) to have a look at their offerings. I didn't have anything particular in mind so I decided to go for a travel size and take advantage of the 3 for 2 offer in store. Hand Food was the choice of necessity and I paired with Hand Maid as I thought a sensible choice on my desk and I can never resist the smell of grapefruit.

The third choice was more difficult as there wasn't much obvious choice and whilst I know that Soap & Glory's Breakfast Scrub is the blogger favourite I went for Scrub Em and Leave Em Body Buff which was available in travel size.

I'm very picky about my hand creams and Hand Food did not let me down. What makes a good hand cream to me? Can I pick up pen or mug after applying and indeed I can. Hands moisturised but I don't feel I have to wipe them clean after. Hand Maid was also a success and the smell is lovely, I wish there was a complimenting hand cream as I find I don't want to lose the grapefruit smell by applying the hand cream after.

I love using the body buff, it feels just like dipping my fingers into (gritty!) marshmallows. The smell is perfect and my skin feels so smooth after I'm definitely in the market for the breakfast scrub now. Please share your favourite Soap & Flory skincare products as I have a Boots voucher to use.

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Monday, July 1, 2013

June Empties

It's Monday, it's the first of the month so that must mean it's time for another round of empties. I haven't appeared to have used to many items this month and now I'm embarking on a spending ban of sorts (more sensible spending than ban shall we say!) so trying to use what I have in my stash rather than adding more items that I don't need nor have the time to use!

Enough rambling, on with the empties. First up is Molton Brown's Warming Eucalyptus and Ginger Salt Scrub. I absolutely love the smell of this scrub and have the matching shower gel which is a winter favourite when I'm suffering from a cold and was actually dug out of the cupboards last week when I had a bit of sniffle. This is a definite repurchase although likely later in the year read for the cold season - and of course I'm desperate to try the Soap & Glory Breakfast Scrub receiving rave reviews from bloggers everywhere.

L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil is my desert island essential. This is the one product that I have repeatedly used and repurchased time and time again. Again I love the smell which lingers long after your bath or shower but more importantly how fabulously it leaves your legs when shaving. Having pre-beauty blogging times I was very lax with body lotions so this shower oil helped put some moisture back into my legs. The only negative with this product is that it's not ideal for the Summer months when tanning so I'm currently embracing new shower gels and body lotions to compensate.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Toner was a bit of a miss with me. I was given this as a freebie when buying my Kiehls skincare haul (see post here) a few months ago and glad I never added the full size to my purchases. I literally have nothing to say about this product as there was nothing significant to mention. I didn't enjoy using, my skin didn't acknowledge I had used and I could easily have been putting water on my face!

When I received VO5 Hot Oil* treatments in the post I was instantly transported back to being a teenager. I remember back in my younger days when I wanted to feel grown up, popping the oil in a mug of hot water before treating myself to a treatment - so glam! I'm actually typing this post with my hair wrapped up in a towel following a second hot oil treatment as they're just the Sunday night boost I need.

Unfortunately I cannot give a full review on the Rosa Arctica Youth Regenerating Eye Balm from Kiehls as there wasn't enough to use long enough but as a cream on the eye area it felt pleasant and no complaints.

You can see a full review on LUSH Sparkle Toothy Tabs here but I'm a fan but think I'll be reserving for travel only.

The next item was a BIG disappointment. Chatting with a fellow blogger I saw that Yankee Candle had brought some new scents out for Summer so I immediately purchased Yankee Candle Summer Scoop and Fireside Treats. Sadly I found that both were lacking in scent. I do love Yankee Candles but find they're hit and miss whether the smell is strong and in the case of these two - nothing! I thought it may have been me but mum commented that she couldn't really smell anything either. Currently I'm burning another newbie, Movie Night and my living room is filled with the smell of popcorn!

The Creme De La Mer Oil Absorbing Lotion was another sample that I was impressed to be handed on one of my far to frequent trips to House of Fraser. Again I don't feel there was enough product to give a full review but I did find this quite a watery lotion that didn't feel particularly luxurious bearing in mind the price point. I'm not surprised they're having to charge so much for their products as on another trip a few days later they were once again handing out samples! I was a good daughter on the second occasion and handed over to my mum to use.

So there you have it, some thumbs up and thumbs down on the empties for June. As always let me know if you've any thoughts on any of the products I've discussed and if you have an empties post this month share your link.

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