Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sponsored Post | Daniel Footwear

Michael Kors online UK

After the success of my Michael Kors Pouch whilst on holiday earlier in the year I decided I needed another for my trip to Italy, a gold one to be specific. With a christening to attend and not wanting to incur Ryanair excess baggage charges and have multiple bags I thought that one of the Michael Kors Pouches would be perfect for both day and night events. After no luck at Lewis Yates another local stockist, Daniel Footwear had the bag in stock - I must add this was all decided a matter of days before departure - and my holiday wardrobe was saved from disaster.

Daniel Footwear is a brand familiar to me through the aforementioned local branch but they have a fantastic website stocking many luxury brands offering their footwear and handbag ranges such as Michael Kors. including at present, a silver coloured pouch in the style I've come to love.

One of my favourite features of the website is it's ability to search exactly what I might want or need. Earlier in the Summer I was trying to find a replacement for a pair of red sandals I love and it was so frustrating when I'd look online and often online retailers would not offer the full range of search options at first click, particularly in reference to colour. At Daniel Footwear I can easily search at any starting point whether its colour, size or style.

Daniel Footwear offer all style and design of shoes you could wish for, in fact as I write this post and am clicking back and forth on the site I'm making a rather long wish list. More comfort over style is the infamous Ugg brand. Typically I pick up Uggs in the US and was tempted with a black pair of Classic Short Uggs to wear this Winter but the exchange rate being what it was it didn't make sense to purchase on my recent trip to Las Vegas. Now I know I can hit 'add to bag' or pop down to the local brand and purchase a pair there. For now I'm making do with my love them or hate them leopard print version I brought a few years ago and wear about the house as slippers but perhaps I should just buy these instead.

*this post is sponsored by Daniel Footwear

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Review | Busy B DAY A PAGE DIARY 2017

I love a diary but I'm incredible fickle about my choices and have been known to chop and change between types and methods throughout the year depending on where my life is at. Currently, whilst 'unemployed' I no longer have the Outlook diary in the office which I can view at a glance five days a week and no need to carry my Louis Vuitton Personal Organiser around because I now have the weekly diary to hand during some point of the day.

I'm finding the Diary currently suits my needs as I keep track of what is becoming a far busier lifestyle during my 'sabbatical' but I have managed to find a way that works for me perfectly - and I may well share with you in due course.

Something I am conscious of is returning to the corporate world and wanting to maintain my diary at home and my blog requirements. That is where the Busy B Day A Page Diary 2017* comes in. The is perfect for keeping track of appointments, notes and reminders but what about my plans for the day when I need more space than a few lines to plot my day?

Currently whilst finding my 'working from home' routine I'm using a regular notebook simply to write down my tasks for the day whether blog or home related and only yesterday I was writing the dates for the forthcoming week to add future tasks that are coming up which isn't ideal and a day to a page diary would do just the job.

When I return to work and I'm reliant on scheduling posts and some might say being more in front of my blog planning the Busy B Day a Page Diary 2017 will be perfect for this and I wish I could start using it now - in fact as I write this post I remember my 2016 diary that has been untouched and will start using that for the remainder of the year. 

I'm sure stationery lovers are already familiar with Busy B as they have some wonderful products to keep you organised whilst aesthetically pleasing. The Day a Page Diary I have compliments my marble planner and is A5 in size so sits nicely atop it and create one of those areas of your desk that you could almost consider Pinterest worthy. 

It's not a diary I would want to carry around in my bag on a daily basis as with most day a page diaries it is weighty but not overly so, compare it to one of your more heavier books you're reading. The cover is soft, similar to your Moleskine notebook which ensures there is no added weight but has a sturdiness I'm not concerned about becoming too damaged. It's cream colour I'm sure would suffer some battering over time but I'm not too worried about that for now.

Its internal design is very simple, a day a page and that's that. The pages are lined which is a thumbs up for me and my preference and there's enough space for me to cover my tasks for the day whether simply 'share post on social media' to reminding me of products to follow up on. I can easily make notes about products I'm currently testing and other such musings on the pages.

Another thumbs up from me in addition to lined pages is that Saturday and Sunday are also included as full days to pages. So often diaries limit the space for weekends which would drive me crazy. When I was working full time it would be the weekends when I would have to run most of my errands, particularly blog tasks so its great to see that I can carry on as normal without limited space.

In short for me I will be using this less of a typical diary and more of a dated note or list book - which I guess is what a diary is! I'm sure there will be some days left blank and I'm keen to investigate some stamps or stickers for repetitive daily tasks that will be time saving in the future and if I'm so inclined I can pretty the pages with some washi tape if the mood strikes me.

Diaries are very personal things depending on your lifestyle and requirements but I'm Busy B will have one for you.

What diary method do you use?

*this post contains press samples and/or affiliate links

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Monday, November 28, 2016

US Drugstore Haul Hits & Misses

US Drugstore Haul Hits & Misses

Whilst I miss my friend Rose it is rather handy having a friend who lives in the US and can pick up all those products that I either can't get hold of in the UK or in advance of their release date. This collection of goodies accompanied her on her last trip to visit after she foolishly asked if there was anything I'd like picked up for me.

Starting with L'Oreal Revitalift Bright Reveal Peel Pads part of the new Revitalift range currently only available in the US. You'll have already read about my favourite exfoliating toners in this handy pad form so I couldn't resist trying these. Anti-wrinkle and brightening pads designed to resurface dull or rough skin with Glycolic Acid. The pads themselves are thicker than others I've used and are great to reach for for days when my skin isn't playing ball. Would I go to such effort to get hold of these in future? Probably not, they've been great to try but at the same price point as other favourites I'll stick with what I can pick up in the UK.

Moving onto L'Oreal 24 Hour Matte Waterproof Foundation which is available in the UK although I hear it's a different formula - and that worries me. I LOVE this foundation and it's swiftly moved into holy grail territory since appearing in my August Favourites so I need to know whether to stock up on the US version or risk trying the one found on my local high street. Rose added this to my goodies as she'd been unable to track down the newer release, L'Oreal Glow Foundation (never fear I have since purchased for myself and my thoughts are forthcoming). I was so pleased as I'd had my eye on this but had not been able to justify it's purchase.

For a high street foundation the coverage is flawless and I'm confident enough in it's finish that I've taken it away on all my recent holidays due to the added bonus of a travel friendly tube. My only concern is I've gone through it at a rapid rate and fear it's coming to the end of it's life. Whilst I'm loving the foundation from my Chanel Haul I could happily settle with this drugstore alternative.

A disappointing product was the Wet n Wild Color Icon Ombre Blush in Princess Daiquiris. I'm a big fan of Wet n Wild as a brand and usually find there products have great pigment. This blush did not. I enjoy blusher and the pop of colour it gives to cheeks and  whilst I don't mind a subtle flush of colour on occasion this felt like it did nothing for me.

Maybelline Color Jolt Lip Paints are now available in the UK, called Color Drama Lip Paints although I believe there are some differences in shades as I can't find Talk Back Red, the one I have in the line up. This product is another thumbs up and I've since purchased two further shades on my travels. A rich red I find this product creamy, doesn't dry the lips out and is easy to apply. For lasting power this does well and it's such an easy product to slip in my handbag I grab it often for days when I'm out and about.

Finally is the Maybelline Master Strobing Stick which again is now available to pick up on the US high street. I have the shade Medium Nude Glow and interestingly have a number of similar highlighting sticks that I'll be posting about soon - they are clearly one of those products that all the brands are sharing right now. My biggest issue is perhaps my lack of 'skill' but I know where I am with powder products. When using these creams sticks I wonder if my unimpressed stance is because I'm applying on top of a powder blush and we know the rule, creams before powders. I'm persevering and am interested to see how it compares to others I have to see if it's the product type or particular brand I'm not keen on. Stay tuned, and do let me know what your thoughts are on strobing sticks.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Dr Oetker Pud in a Great Bake Mug

Great British Bake Off Mug

If I may say so I'm a pretty good baker, certainly not Great British Bake Off standards but I can follow a recipe and create something that looks and tastes good. What I don't like is the washing up that follows and my waistline fears the gluttonous behaviour that can follow should there be a plate of cupcakes sitting in my kitchen.

Even if I get around the washing up issues and perhaps treat myself to a sweet treat from the supermarket they often come in multipacks. If I want a brownie its a box packed with them that should last days and I'm lucky if it last hours and so on it goes. Even if the mood strikes me and I am able to pick up 'just one' sweet treat on my way home what about when I'm unprepared for when my sweet tooth strikes?

Who remembers the Microwave Mug Cake phase? A few ingredients that everyone should have in the cupboards thrown together, popped in the microwave for a matter of minutes and viola. I jumped on this bandwagon but the reality is my cupboards are often bare and I am unable to cobble together what is needed and I rarely have eggs to hand. Thankfully Dr Oetker* got in touch as they have come up with perfect solution for a single girl like me whose fridge contains little more than wine chilling on day to day basis.

Dr Oetker have created three Sponge Puds, Rich Chocolate, Chocolate Chip and Lemon, that cook in a mug, popped inside the microwave for about a minute or so. Powdered sachets that all you need to do is add milk to. This was the best bit for me. I always have milk in the fridge so it's even better than those speedy mug cake recipes you can google in seconds.

You simply pour the sachet into your chosen mug, in my case the Great Bake Mug* which is part of the Great British Bake Off range available at Debenhams, ironic choice don't you think? Next add four tbsps of milk, stir till it's smooth and then 'bake' in your microwave.

Depending on your cake preferences you can cook for approx one minute to have a 'sauce' of sorts at the bottom or a little longer to cook through. I eat straight out of the mug (less washing up of course) but you can see it coming away from the mug so it may be possible to tip into a bowl if you were trying to impress someone with your home baking.

Of course this isn't the most decadent chocolate pud or lemon sponge you're going to eat but it's handy in a pinch and I will be purchasing more to have in the cupboards for 'emergencies'. Anything with a long shelf life works for me which these have.

They're also perfect for young children who can watch the pud cook and grow in the microwave without going near hot ovens. Be warned the mug is of course hot when you remove it from the oven but it cools quickly and I'd recommended what I refer to as a more traditional mug, nothing too wide mouth otherwise the pud will look a little sad.

Do you fancy trying these out or are you a baking purist?

*this post contains press samples

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Range Review

Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Range Review

Shea Moisture is a brand I had initially seen on American channels but it had escaped my notice it can also be picked up in the likes of Boots and Superdrug which is great news. I was recently sent some products from the delicious Fruit Fusion range that I'll be sharing my thoughts on today. 

Shea Moisture has an engaging back story of Sofi Tucker who started selling Shea Nuts at market in Sierra Leone in 1912. As a 19 year old widower and mother of four she expanded her range to Shea Butter, African Black Soap (maybe something the recent Apprentice participants should have been more aware of!) and homemade hair and skin preparations and was travelling across the countryside to sell and earn a living for here family and now it is a brand sold in beauty stores internationally. 

There are numerous collections within the Shea Collection range such as; Coconut & Hibiscus, African Water Mint and Ginger and Fruit Fusion which I've had the opportunity to try. Fruit Fusion is powered by Coconut Water to revitalize fine, lifeless hair. The products are infused with a natural blend of Dragon Fruit, Lychee Berry, Green Apple extracts and of course certified organic Shea Butter. 

Whilst in danger of repeating myself my hair is recently dyed blonde so it's become dryer than it was previously. Whilst my oily hair has benefited from drying out a little and means I can manage second day hair far easier I am still conscious of keeping it hydrated which is where Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion range has worked for me.

Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Shampoo* and the Fruit Fusion range is marketed to hydrate and soften fine, wavy hair of which I lean towards fine hair. Whilst I find the shampoo is great for 'down days' when I'm looking to clean and hydrate my hair this works wonderfully. If I'm looking for a bit more oomph then this isn't the best choice for my hair type but it certainly looks healthier after I've used it. Sulfate free this is a product to consider for your hair. 

I must also make special reference to the scent which smells good enough to eat. If you're missing the fruity cocktails of Summer and not a fan of the Winter and cinnamon smells of the season you'll love this. 

The two stand out products I'm loving from the range are the Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Masque* and Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Texture Spray*. I was recently at the hairdressers having my roots touched up and a toner put through and my hairdresser commented how well my hair is handling the dying process and what great condition it is in and still so shiny which I'm confident is because of my regular use of the Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Masque*. 

It's your typical hair mask for deep conditioning and eliminating frizz and static whilst creating a protective sheathe around your hair cuticles to protect against every day environmental stresses. For days I'm at home and not too worried about overpowering my hair with hydration then I reach for this conditioner. Applied to clean wet hair, for me I concentrate on the ends where my colour is, and washed out it can be either used as I do as a simple intensive conditioner or if you have a little more time on your hair, apply, cover and leave for 30 minutes.

I'm also regularly reaching for Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Texture Spray* whether I'm giving myself a concentrated blow dry or just a burst to take the dampness out. It's the perfect product for those who like salt sprays but are looking for something less drying in the colder months. Aloe for shine and Imbe Oil to block humidity. It doesn't weigh my hair down as I'd think it would and it's the perfect balance to create manageable tousled hair. 

There is a product from everyone in the Shea Moisture range and it's definitely a brand to investigate further. If you've used the brand and have any recommendations please let me know in the comments.

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

By Invitation | A Michael Buble Fragrance

By Invitation | A Michael Buble Fragrance

It feels rather unseemly to publish a review of Michael Bubles' new ladies fragrance, By Invitation when his family are going through a rather difficult time but as I was lucky enough to be sent a bottle and it's such a great scent I'm keen to share it with you so decided to hit publish.

By Invitation has burst onto the blog scene and I'm sure if you're a regular blog reader you will have stumbled across at least one review. Celebrity fragrances are coming a long way from their early beginnings and I've come across one or two in recent years which I've been both surprised by and enjoyed but By Invitation with Michael Buble is on another level.

There's a great marketing campaign from the Michael Buble Perfume team and wonderful quotes from Michael himself about how it's 'love in a bottle' and he wanted to create something special for his fans to enjoy and celebrate love but how does the fragrance match up.

In my opinion it's surpassed any expectations I might have had for it to be 'nice' and it could easily become a favourite of mine. This fragrance is as described stunning and elegant and perfect for the season.

It's a warm scent which is modern floral oriental scent and long lasting, I've been wearing this for a number of weeks now and every time someone has commented on the smell (positively I might add!) and that is late in the day when I first applied. Its crisp and light enough to be warn by day but has enough fragrance to carry you through till evening.

My only complete is the bottle design, whilst pretty to look at I find the 'gold' element or the 'bracelet' is a little bit too 'plastic' for my liking. My bottle was actually damaged in transit so my lid is cracked and the atomiser detail is snapped off which the eagle eyed will notice in the photo. Obviously this doesn't effect how it sits on my dressing table but perhaps I would've preferred they concentrated on the glass bottle rather than the extra details.

If you know a Buble fan and struggling to know what to buy them for Christmas this is a great pick. Visit to see more.

*this post contains press samples

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Chanel Beauty Haul

Chanel Beauty Haul

I don't need much convincing to hit the Chanel counter and when there is an array of new releases and I'm roaming the World Duty Free Beauty Halls it's safe to say purchases will be made.

My mum wears Chanel No 5, I wear Chanel Mademoiselle so I expected that the reboot of Chanel No 5 for a younger and more modern audience would pass me by. Of course walking past a Chanel counter I gave it a spray and hours later I was enjoying the scent of Chanel No 5 L'Eau so with a few leftover Euro's on my return from Ibiza I decided to treat myself. When I returned home it ended up in my photography pile unworn. I decided then to save it for my trip to Las Vegas with mum so that we could both wear it for the first time and associate the memory of it with that trip.

Chanel No 5 L'Eau is a lighter fragrance and whilst I won't go into all the notes and so forth as I'm afraid my nose isn't that specialist I can tell you that they have changed the tones and accents. It certainly has a scent of Chanel No 5, on spraying I am reminded of my mum but it doesn't feel as heavy or overpowering as the original whilst still packing a punch that I could go day to night wearing it.

One of my traditional duty free purchases is a lipstick so the new Chanel lip product launch, the Ink Matte Liquid Lip was well timed with my trip to Las Vegas. Predictably I went for a red, the shade Libere. So how did Chanel fair jumping on the matte liquid lip trend? For me it was a thumbs up and I really enjoyed wearing this during my trip, though it wasn't perfect depending on your preferences.

It's a very wet formula that is a little messy to apply and I would've benefited from a lip liner. It takes some time to dry down so be careful of stray hairs or the like which can leave you smearing lipstick across your face. It's also not particularly matte. The wet formula and the fact it doesn't dry down to quickly means it has more of a glossy finish than you would expect. That said it wasn't something I didn't enjoy and also it does mean that your lips forgive you for prolonged wear unlike the Sephora Lip Creams for example.

As always my smoking habits give a long lasting lipstick a challenge to start with but I commend Chanel Lip Inks for putting up a good fight. It was my inner lip that posed the problem and the only reason I would have to be conscious of reapplication.

As for packing it's a big thumbs up. A petite lipstick sized tube with frosted glass showcasing your colour of choice and a black lip emblazoned with the Chanel name and double C's. I found I was able to slot this in my Chanel WOC whilst strolling the Las Vegas strip alongside my iPhone.

My final purchase was made a risky purchase after a not so great shopping experience. I heard about Chanel Le Teint Ultra Tenue Ultrawear Flawless Foundation, their newest foundation release on Beautezine and after an a quick Tweet to Jane at British Beauty Blogger discovered it would not be released in the UK until the new year. This discovery meant it was the perfect 'affordable' purchase to make in the Chanel Boutique during my Las Vegas trip completely justifiable as being 'for the blog'.

Mum and I dived into the Chanel Boutique at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino and after swooning over various bags settled for the beauty counter. I love and wear the Chanel Les Beiges foundation range so when asking about Chanel Le Teint Ultra Tenue I referenced shade 30 as my usual shade. I was told that the shades, whilst named the same to do not marry up to the Les Beiges range. Why do brands do this? The sales assistant unfortunately wasn't very confident as she tested out different shades to match me up, Shade 30 would be too warm in the new formula and others varied from too light, yellow, pink so there wasn't a perfect match for me. In the end as I had no confidence with the sales assistances musings I decided to go for Shade 30 which was a little paler than my current skin tone although with winter on the horizon and ability to warm up with bronzer I went for that. As it happens the colour match seems to have worked perfectly for me so I would urge some time if looking into this foundation to make sure you are happy with the right shade for you.

Since I have returned home from Vegas I have been reaching for this foundation a lot. Nights out or occasions when I'm in London all day rushing about on the underground this has been my foundation of choice and I'm impressed with it's flawless full coverage finish which lasts all day.

I liken it to L'Oreal Infallible Matte Foundation (I used the US version) with more staying power or Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation although less flat due to a light diffusing complex that creates natural luminosity. As Beautezine references this is not the easiest foundation to apply. My Real Techniques Brush left things a little streaky but the Beauty Blender works much better for me. I'm finding as I get older and have a busy day ahead I like to use a fuller coverage foundation and this ticks all the boxes for me without feeling heavy or like I'm wearing a mask. As with all Chanel products there is a scent which can offend some and irritate others but for me it's not an issue. It's definitely one to grab a sample off when it's released next year.

Are you a Chanel Beauty fan?

*this post contains affiliate links

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016


The Elite Kiera Cass Book Review

The Elite is the second in the five book Selection series, the first book you read review here and it picks up where that left off.

The Selection gets fierce as rivals stake their claim on the prince. Six girls, one life-changing prize. America Singer will leave her pre-destined life for a world of glamour and luxury, if she wins.. But surviving The Selection is touch. Rivals are battling to become Prince Maxon's bride as the threat of rebel violence just beyond the palace walls escalates into war. Only six girls are left and sworn friendships are tested to breaking point. America's feelings for Maxon grow stronger, but she suspects darker mysteries in his royal past. With ex-lover Aspen waiting for her in the shadows, where do her loyalties truly like?

I enjoyed The Elite in the same way as I enjoyed the first, it's not the most ground breaking of novels but one I can read easily in a couple of days. I did find America somewhat frustrating in this book as she acts impetuously and without consequence whilst dithering between the two men in her life, without appreciating their feelings.

I was again reminded this is a Young Adult book and never delved deep enough into certain aspects of the story or the characters you're introduced to although you do find out some darker sides of one or two that left me requesting the next installment from the library so I can continue my journey through The Selection process.

What have you been reading lately?

*this post contains affiliate links

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Monday, November 7, 2016

What beauty products can you really pack in your hand luggage

Hand Luggage Beauty

A couple of months ago I headed out to Ibiza for a couple of nights, hand luggage only which caused no end of concerns as everything I needed beauty wise in liquid, gel, cream form (so basically everything) had to fit in a 20cm by 20cm clear plastic bag.

So what beauty products you can really fit in your hand luggage? Or specifically one of those small plastic bags is what I'll be answering today.

Travelling light is not something I'm good at and when it comes to beauty even less so. Yes I could settle for face wipes but I'd still want a moisturiser so I think I might as well use a regular cleanser. And then there's the make up, from mascara to your favourite liquid lipstick it all needs to go in 'that bag'. You've seen some My Holiday Essentials so how was I going to reduce that further?

Often types such as this will show a selection of products that I don't believe would fit in on of these tiny plastic bags and often suggest decanting which just doesn't make sense to me. You often end up with bulkier bottles and pots that once empty you have to return home and clean for reuse. At least with various tubes, sachets and smaller sized bottles once they've been used on your trip you can throw straight into the bin.

Firstly I use the Sephora Beauty on the Fly Travel Bag. This is actually my second as perhaps the fact I have been known to and can overstuff this is the reason why. These TSA friendly bags are zipped which stops products falling out when going through security and more importantly you can plan ahead and have all your products packed and stored without a scrabble at the security desk. For $4.95 this bag is essential for all my flights.

Starting with skincare, I took along AEOS Dew Facial Wash* which worked for both day and night cleansing. I didn't wear too much heavy make up or SPF on my trip so this facial wash was great to use.  I paired that with AEOS Refreshing Hydrating Mist* which has been tagging along to all my trips. I'm not a big fan of it's botanical scent but it's hydrating qualities have worked well, especially on long haul flights.

I probably would've forgone serum for two nights but mum handily had a sample of the Clarins Double Serum which you may remember from my Pycnogenol Challenge. Eyes were covered by Dermalogica Intensive Eye Repair*, another in flight favourite thanks to it's hydrating qualities. The biggest concern was SPF and I was saved by the new release of Garnier Moisturise Bomb 3 in 1 Day Cream and it's appearance in sachet form in a number of magazines. I gathered them up and they saw me through my trip.

Another sachet I did have and enjoyed instantly was L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Magic Blur Instant Skin Smoother Finishing Cream. I found it thicker than I expected and did see my skin smooth out. I'd definitely be interested in purchasing this in full size to use regularly and see if it continues to meet my expectations.

Moving on hair, an area I could've settled with simply shampoo and conditioner but I refused to be without my Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray or a volumising dry shampoo, in this instance Percy & Reed Big, Bold & Beautiful Dry Instant Volumising Spray* which is great to add a bit of oomph to my hair between washes although perhaps more than I'd like to spend in full size. Handily I had some sachets of Bedhead by TIGI Volume Shampoo and Conditioner which with my short hair and being conseravative I was able to use for the three days and two nights and had no need for the back up from L'Oreal.

When it came to make up I returned to an old favourite, Erborian BB Creme Au Ginseng Dore. It's tube was a travel friendly size, it had SPF and was a light enough coverage for in the sun whilst adequate for a fuller face. I added the Maybelline Eye Eraser, again as it's packaging slotted nicely into the travel bag although I have to admit what was once a favourite is not evoking the love any longer. A handy Chanel Mascara in mini size was the perfect accompaniment and lipsticks, the hardest part to edit came from KIKO, Revlon and Benecos.

Other items I couldn't do without were Liz Earle Hand cream, my Diptyque Rollerball, Arm & Hammer Toothpaste and of course a Soap & Glory shower gel and spare contact lenses.

I think you can see I managed to pack quite a lot into my hand luggage beauty bag and all that was left for me to do was pop to the supermarket and pick up some disposable razors. Anything you think I missed or was unnecessary?

Let me know how you would pack your hand luggage and hope this helps if you're heading off for some Winter sun.

*this post contains press sample and affiliate links

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Friday, November 4, 2016

Spirit of Christmas Fair 2016

Spirit of Christmas Far

Yesterday I was invited to visit the Spirit of Christmas fair* at London's Olympia, home of over 750 independent retailers and designers which is described in a nutshell as the UK's biggest high-end Christmas shopping event. A vast number of boutique brands with products ranging from the eye watering expensive to the more affordable, all offer something different than you will find in your typical shopping centre. I defy you to be unable to find a gift for even the trickiest person on your list and if you're looking for something different, unusual or truly special you will find it here.

Spirit of Christmas Fair

In addition to being a shopping mecca you will find interactive workshops offering advice on everything you might need to know at Christmas from flower arrange and gift wrapping to champagne tasting. You really could spend a couple of hours or a whole day walking round and taking everything in. I saw many people taking advantage of the seating areas around the hall laden with bags even so early in the day.

Spirit of Christmas Fair

Spirit of Christmas Fair

There is also a food market and I could've become quite tipsy walking round from all the booze samples on offer, from gin to flavoured vodkas and all manner of cheese and meat offerings to liven up your festive dinner table. Keeping along the alcohol theme if you need to take a break from all that shopping there are a number of Louis Roederer Champagne bars located around the floors as well as coffee shops and Mosimann's exclusive pop up Winter Restaurant. 

Spirit of Christmas Far

I arrived at the Spirit of Christmas fair an hour after it's 10am opening time on a Thursday and whilst busy it was still a pleasant environment to shop in, although do expect some bustle at particular stalls. I imagine it gets busier throughout the day and also over the weekend (you still have until Sunday to attend).

So what are my thoughts on the Spirit of Christmas fair and is it worth a visit? If you're happy to pay £20 for what is essentially a shopping venue and you like to buy from boutique brands then this is perfect for you. It is a lovely day out and if you're so inclined Westfield Shopping Centre in Shepherd's Bush is 5 minutes away by train if you want to have a full day of shopping.

Spirit of Christmas Far

Spirit of Christmas Far

Spirit of Christmas Far

Spirit of Christmas Far

My mum and her friends often go to these types of events and will spend the whole day shopping and enjoying some lunch and I did text both my mum and the BFF on way round and said we should visit next year.

Despite an abundance of Christmas trees decorating the venue and hanging from the ceiling it didn't feel as 'Christmassy' as I'd have liked and also a lack of Christmas decor available to buy. Both maybe a plus point for many and that does me more varied choice of items to buy that other Christmas fairs I've intended. Nonetheless perhaps a little more emphasis on the season or 'spirit' would've been good.

Prepare for photo overload as I give you a walk through some of the great items I saw for sale and I've tried to include links where I can. Starting with the gorgeous clutches from Tea & Tequila Trading which really caught my eye. If I opened one of their gorgeous clutch bags on Christmas morning and saw a sequinned flamingo or pineapple staring at me I'd be very happy.

Spirit of Christmas Fair

Spirit of Christmas Fair

Next to catch my eye was Proud Couture and the amazing fashion illustrations available as prints or cards. If I didn't want to damage the print carrying it around for the remainder of my day in London I would've made a purchase there and then. Proud Couture's website is currently under construction but you can find them on Facebook and Instagram and just drop Rosie an email if you'd like to make a purchase.   

Spirit of Christmas Fair

Spirit of Christmas Fair

Spirit of Christmas Fair

For my beauty friends there were only one or two sellers from the well known brand Elemis to LouLouBelle London, a boutique aromatherapy brand founded by Magda Thompson who was herself manning the stand on Thursday. Abandoning work as a PA Magda retrained at London Esthetique Beauty College, trained further with a number of well know brands before she developed her own skincare range.

Spirit of Christmas Fair

If anyone is feeling generous this Christmas and needs an idea of what I like for Christmas then please see Rosanna Lonsdale and treat me to one of fabulous Flamingo lamps. I was able to meet Rosanna and she talked through the process of making these lamp bases; how each is hand made through a process of both painting and decorating glass vases using an 18th Century technique called Decalcomania.

The prices are high but when you realise you're purchasing a piece of art that can be bespoke to your requirements you realise they're worth every penny and would be a real talking point in any home.

Spirit of Christmas Fair

If like me you're not a fan of the hype surrounding beauty advent calendars (see last years post on the topic here) then you might be as taken with The 12 Days of Christmas handcrafted wooden advent calendars as I was. I love the idea of something you bring out year after year and can fill with treats for children. 

Spirit of Christmas Fair

Don't we all love anything with a monogram so of course Apatchy caught my eye straight away. Whether you want to pick a personalised 'ready made' item such as these cosmetic bags or pick from the range of patches (including Liberty and Sequinned variations) and personalise your own item the choice is yours. 

Spirit of Christmas Fair

Louisa Elizabeth was creating quite a stir as I walked past with people expressing what a wonderful idea she'd had and what perfect gifts they would make. Louisa actually designed her first map as a gift for a man who had everything. Drawn by hand and personalised as you wish they would make an excellent wedding gift. 

Spirit of Christmas Fair

Spirit of Christmas Fair

Spirit of Christmas Fair
Mackenzie & George
Spirit of Christmas Fair

Spirit of Christmas Fair
Culinary Concepts
Spirit of Christmas Fair

Spirit of Christmas Fair

Spirit of Christmas Fair

Spirit of Christmas Fair

I'd love to know your thoughts on the Spirit of Christmas Fair if you have been before, or if indeed its somewhere you'd like to visit.

Do Open Until Christmas Sack

*I received complimentary tickets for the Sprit of Christmas fair

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