Tuesday, 8 July 2014
I have a bit of a candle obsession.
It started a few years ago when I used to work at the Christian Dior head office. I was the Front of House gal and a PA, and one of my jobs was to keep the entrance of the office looking pristine and perfect. One of the regulations was that there always had to be a Diptyque candle burning and it had to be Opoponax. I had to bulk order these candles (about 20 at a time) to ensure we always had one burning. When the candle got down to about a quarter empty (or full if you like) that candle was discarded, as it looked messy apparently, and a new one was lit.
Now, this seemed like a HUGE waste to me, and considering my 21 year old brain couldn't fathom the idea of binning an almost £40 candle, when it still had about 15 hours of burn time left, I asked if I could take the discarded Diptique candles home with me. And they said yes!
So that was the start of the obsession. Not just for scented candles, but expensive (tsk tsk) scented candles. They just smell better, burn better, last longer and look nicer. Yes I am a bit of a candle snob. I tried the cheap versions, but they just didn't do it for me. However, I also realise that spending £40 on a candle is a bit cray cray, so my eyes were opened up to the world of Anthropologie candles and, of course, the amazing Yankee Candles. Here you have candles, which do everything the crazily expensive candles do, but for a quarter of the price (depending on sizes).
I received a marketing newsletter from an online gift company recently, about a flash sale for Yankee Candles. Normally these emails make no impression, but I was quick to click on the links and be taken to the Yankee Candle section of the website. All candles at 30% off! Cue one happy girl!
Now, I am trying to save and not splurge at the moment, due to doing major house renovation works, but I have been very good recently so I thought, these candles would be a good compromise purchase - 30% off AND you could argue that they are a home essential, thus needed for the house. That was all the convincing I needed.
I decided to limit myself to just 2 of the large jars. These have around 100 - 135 hours of burn time, plus the chunky glass jars look great and can be used as storage jars when they have finished (thrifty girl me!)
After scrolling up and down the choices for ages, I finally narrowed it down to 4 candles. It is hard choosing scents without smelling them, but I knew I wanted to go for sweet, edible smells. Their floral fragrances are gorgeous, but I aim to put one in the kitchen and one in the lounge, and the yummy smells always seem to suit my house the most.
After a bit more umming and ahhing, I finally chose Vanilla Chai (my favourite hot drink) and Snowflake Cookie (who could resist such an adorable name?) The Vanilla Chai is a deep red and smells just like its namesake. Vanilla, cinnamon and slightly spicy. Mmmm! As for Snowflake Cookie, it's a pretty fairy pink and smells all warm, sugary and just like freshly baked cookies. It makes me hungry just smelling it.
Have you tried either of these scents? What's your favourite candle? Enjoy x
Friday, 27 June 2014
You know when you stumble across a real treasure of a shop, and part of you wants to keep it a secret, so no one knows where you bought that amazing gift from and part of you wants to rave about it so everyone can go? Well, I have found such a shop and decided to do the latter...rave about it and, more precisely, blog about it!
I work in Kensal Rise (just off of Ladbroke Grove) and it is a little hive of activity. Cool, little independent shops and restaurants, a smattering of celebs, a canal with pretty barges and a laid back vibe. It's an area of London I have never worked in before (and I have worked ALL over London) so I was a bit unsure of it at first, but I have actually grown to love it.
During lunch breaks, I like to go out for a wander, either down by the canal or to check out the local shops and cafes. I always pass a little gift shop called Rise and I have always been so tempted to go in, but often found myself in too much of a rush. The shop frontage is so intriguing, that most people stop to have a little peek when they pass. The shop's sign is that if an old fairground sign. The word RISE spelled out with light bulbs surrounding the letters and a general vintage look about it. There is a black chalk board outside the shop, which always has a fun or witty quote or slogan written on it in white chalk. The shop window contains all those gorgeous little bits and bobs, which I always find so difficult not to buy - homeware, jugs, candles, mugs, Jelly Cat teddies...things basically saying "please buy me!"
Last week I actually had a genuine reason to venture in. It was my parent's anniversary and I wanted to get them a present and card and I thought that Rise should be able to rise (sorry) to the occasion!
I popped along during my lunch and had a lovely schmooze. The shop is small but beautifully presented. Signs, candles, jugs, cushions, gorgeous cards and wrapping paper, door mats and door stops, incense and delightful bits and bobs all called to me and I instantly fell in love. A Russian Doll water decanter was very almost purchased, as was the giant white Jelly Cat rabbit (a favourite of Elijah) and the beaten leather cat door stop almost found its way home with me, when my eyes fell upon a gorgeous display of Rob Ryan pieces. If you are not familiar with Rob Ryan, he is an amazing artist who creates intricate illustrations of sweet, whimsical scenes. Displayed on a lovely wooden display case, were Rob Ryan mugs, jugs, plates and the most gorgeous white ceramic vase with a blue design of a boy and girl smelling some flowers, with the words "Smell Us" written on it. My dad recently (accidentally) broke one of their vases, so this seemed like the perfect choice!
I was asked if I would like it gift wrapped for an additional pound and the choice of wrapping paper was so adorable and kitsch, I couldn't say no! I chose a beautiful pink paper with Bambi and love hearts in white silhouette decorating it. Topped off with a yellow ribbon, the gift looked too good to open! While it was being wrapped, I continued to look around the shop. Gorgeous kitchenware adorned with illustrations of animals caught my eye, along with displays of glassware and beautiful cushions. The greeting card display was filled with fun and colour cards, the kind you always take ages to look at and read because they are all so delightful and sweet.
Fast forward a few days and my parents loved their present. I loved buying it, which always makes the process so much nicer. I can't wait for another excuse to go back to Rise and choose another present...but then again...do I really need an excuse?!
If you fancy paying Rise a visit, you can find them at 21 Kilburn Lane, London, W10 4AE. Maybe I'll bump ino you there! Enjoy x
Thursday, 5 June 2014
I had a little schmooze in Boots the other day, as I had to pick up a couple of essentials (isn't that always the way it starts?)
We're staying at my parents for a few weeks, while we have some work done to our house and over the weekend, I realised that I really didn't bring enough nail varnishes with me. As summer is well and truly on its way, I decided that a few new summer shades were an essential buy. And yes, I could pick some up from the house and bring them to my parents...but it's a good excuse to buy some new bottles, and the collection could always do with a refresh.
I was going to opt for a couple of Essie shades, but then the Models Own stand caught my eye. A stunning neon pinky/red immediately found its way into my basket, followed by an adorable little box containing a beautiful pastel pistachio shade called Pastel Petals Green and a roll of floral stickers. Behold Models Own Sticky Fingers collection. A collection of must-have shades, which come with a roll of stickers, which complement the colour.
We are running a floral design competition at work at the moment and my thoughts during the working week are consumed with all things floral related, so this choice was right up my street.
The colour is so me - in fact, it's the colour I want to paint my new kitchen, so you could say this purchase was all in the name of research! I applied 2 coats of the colour and then waited till they were touch dry before carefully peeling off the floral stickers and gently placing them on my nails. I then applied a layer of top coat and left them to dry.
The effect was really pretty. I think I should have waited a bit longer before I stuck the pictures on my nails, as the corners peeled up a little bit, because I couldn't press them on hard, so when I give it another go, I'll make sure I am more patient and wait a little while longer. Overall though, it is a really sweet idea and a quick (and lazy) way to customise your nails.
Have you tried the Models Own Sticky Fingers? What do you think of the range? Enjoy x
Thursday, 29 May 2014
When Darren told me a few weeks ago that he would be going to Paris for work for three days, my first thought (after "can I go too?!") was Oooh...French pharmacies!!
Any beauty blogger or beauty lover worth their salt are well aware that the French hold a veritable Aladdin's cave of products and brands when it comes to beauty, and their pharmacies are truly the cave of wonders!
Stocking brands which we mere Brits can only find in very upscale or Central London pharmacies, or online, both with a very high price tag, the French truly know what they are doing when it comes to the beauty and skincare market, and I was very excited when Darren told me he would be heading there...so...obviously a list was drawn out!
Now my list contained about 6 things, which can be found in pharmacies and 5 things, which can be found in Sephora (seriously people, we need to petition to get Sephora reinstated in London!) Darren was very good and went to 3...yes...3 pharmacies for me, to try and find my bits. The boy didn't do too badly. They were out of stock of a couple of the Bioderma bits, so I ended up with 3 pharmacy treasures - the Caudalie Beauty Elixr (L'Wren Scott limited edition bottle), the Caudalie Micellar water and a tube of Homeoplasmine.
The two Caudalie products are divine! I fancied a change from my normal micellar water of choice, Bioderma, so I thought I'd give the Caudalie version a go! It's lovely. Does what Bioderma does and smells gorgeous. It's soothing and removed my make-up easily and effortlessly and the grape extract made it super hydrating.
The Elixr is a "beauty mist." The bottle is gorgeous (besides the point I know) It's plant based and soothes, hydrates and tightens the pores - miracle in a bottle. It sprays lightly onto the face and you feel instantly...well, I guess the word is "Ahhhhhhh." It has a lovely herby scent and makes an excellent refresher at any point in the day. I also spray it on before I moisturise in the morning and evening and it's just gorgeous really.
There has been a lot of hype about Homeoplasmine. A multi purpose balm or pomade, which has become a cult beauty favourite. It's talked about A LOT and I was keen to give it a go. It's been hailed as the "ultimate balm" and is a must-have for models, make-up artists, nail technicians...you name it. It's basically one of the items, like Vaseline, which helps soothe irritated skin, dry skin, sunburn, chapped lips, chapped skin...everything. It is also an excellent lip balm and a teeny dab on the old cheekbones makes them pop! Another score!
Next was Sephora. Sadly, they didn't have the Hourglass products I wanted, but Darren did manage to get his hands on a couple of the Cream Lip Stains and an eyebrow pencil complete with spoolie (don't you love that word?!) The Cream Lip Stains have had a bit of hype, so I wanted to give them a go. I opted for a nude shade and a deep berry shade - perfect for day and night. They apply easily and smoothly, like a lip gloss, but they have SO much pigment! Seriously, these are as pigmented as a lipstick but have the creamy consistency of a lip balm. The staying power is brilliant, however, as with most stains, they are slightly drying, but I popped on a dab of Homeoplasmine and, perfection! Love, love, love them!
Not much to say about the eyebrow pencil, except it is the perfect shade for my almost black eyebrows and glides on and blends out nicely. Job done!
So there you have it. Not a bad mini haul really. The boy did good but I am already planning the next haul.
Have you tried out any of these products? What are your French Pharmacy must-haves? Enjoy x
Tuesday, 20 May 2014
It's been a while since I posted a fashion or beauty related news story, but I recently came across one, which just couldn't be ignored really!
My step-sister-in-law (#toomanyhyphens), who loves Disney films as much as I do, excitedly showed me a link, filled with amazing images. A Japanese designer who goes by the name Ruby Sparks, has basically created the most amazing illustrations of 19 stunning perfume bottles, each taking on a persona of a Disney villain! Genius!
Now, Disney villains have always been a big hit in the fashion and beauty world (some of MAC's best collections have been villain themed) and with the new movie Maleficent about to be released, it's no wonder that these sassy bad guys are so en vogue at the moment.
The artist explains; “There’s something special about each and every Disney villain. When I look at them, they have a sort of mysterious sexiness you’d never get from the princesses.”
Ruby goes on to say that she her inspiration for the set came from musing about the different kinds of perfume women have to choose from. “Perfumes aren’t always soft and floral. Some of them have a tempting character, something that feels almost a little dangerous, even. I thought it’d be wonderful to combine perfumes like that with the motif of Disney villains.”
Hopefully some perfume company will realise how amazing these designs are and commission Ruby Sparks to create the bottles for real. I already have my eyes on at least 6 of them!
Here are the bottles and I have popped the names of the villains underneath...but come on...you Disney fans should know who they are inspired by without looking!
|The Evil Queen from Snow White|
|Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty|
|Ursula from The Little Mermaid|
|Ratcliffe from Pocahontas|
|Captain Hook from Peter Pan|
|Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame|
|The Wicked Stepmother from Cinderella|
|Cruella de Ville from 101 Dalmations|
|Hades from Hercules|
|Jafar from Aladdin|
|The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland|
|Gaston from Beauty and the Beast|
|Foulfellow and Gideon from Pinocchio|
|Mother Gotheil from Tangled|
|Doctor Facilier from The Princess and the Frog|
|Yzma from The Emperor's New Groove|
|Madame Medusa from The Rescuer's|
|Prince John from Robin Hood|
|Scar from The Lion King|
Monday, 12 May 2014
You know when you find a product you really fall in love with and you want to shout it from the rooftops?
OK, you might not all be as mad as I am, but when I like something...I like it a lot!
I recently came across the Ionic Clay Mask from the Botanics range in Boots and remembering reading about it on some of my favourite blogs, I decided to give it a go. I haven't bought a new face mask in a long time, as I find my skin doesn't always react well to them. I have uber sensitive skin and for some reason, masks always make me either break out or makes my skin go all red and dry.
What I loved about this mask is the fact that 1) it doesn't break the bank (it comes in at under £6) 2) you only need to use it once a week and 3) there were not a lot of nasties in the ingredients.
I picked up a tube and trotted home, where I used it in the evening after removing my make up and cleansing with the normal Bioderma and Liz Earl Hot Cloth Polish. The instructions recommend applying to clean, dry skin and leaving on for 10 minutes before washing it off. I left it on for slightly less than 10 minutes - right after the clay turned hard and started to crack when I smiled. A quick wash off and my skin was clear, squeaky clean, bright and refreshed! I finished off with my Pixi Glow Tonic and Origins Ginzing moisturiser and was left with very happy, very clean skin.
The clay in the mask really draws out impurities and leaves you feeling fresh and clean, without feeling dried out.
This is the first Botanics product I have tried and I really loved it! Have you tried this mask? What are your top budget masks? Enjoy x
Wednesday, 30 April 2014
We all have things about our bodies that we would like to change...too fat, too thin, chunky thighs, a wonky nose, whatever it is...we all have our hang ups. There are things we can change and things we can't change, and I have something that I had always wanted to change but couldn't, that I have finally accepted.
It's not a big deal at all...in fact, most people don't notice it unless they look right at it, but I have a misshapen finger. The middle finger on my left hand looks a little weird. This goes way back to when I was under 2 years old and my brother accidentally trapped my finger in the bathroom door. My finger came right off and was hanging by a tiny bit of skin. My poor mum freaked out and luckily, our neighbour at the time was a doctor, so we were rushed to hospital and my finger was reattached.
Fast forward a few years and the top of my finger is now kind of bumpy and instead of a single nail, the nail bed was permanently damaged and it now grows as four nails, with two layers overlapping each other. When I was little, kids noticed and I was embarrassed by it, I mean, it does look odd. Although when people asked to see it, I had to literally give them the finger...which always kind of felt good!
Since I started becoming more interested with all things make-up, beauty and fashion, I have become a pro at disguising it as best as possible with nail varnish...another reason why I have so many bottles in my collection! I never really get manicures, because firstly it hurts when they file that nail and secondly, I always think it looks more obvious, whereas I have developed the knack for it.
I have thought in the past about getting cosmetic surgery on it, but I've come to accept my weird looking finger. It's a part of me and even in my wedding and engagement photos, I didn't try to hide it when close up pictures were taken of the rings. After having several surgeries in the past, I don't see the point in going through something traumatic and painful if it's not a necessity.
Over the years, my wonky finger has been joined by a scar on my lower back, due to spinal surgery and more recently, my "crooked smile" C section scar thanks to Elijah's traumatic birth. These are all things, which make my body and along with a bunch of stretchmarks from pregnancy, make my body mine. Would I change them if I could? Maybe. But they are me and me ain't that bad ;o)
Friday, 18 April 2014
It was my friend Sarah's birthday last week and I wanted to make her something special, as it was a bit of a milestone birthday!
You might remember Sarah got me a gorgeous, personalised Nails Inc nail varnish, which I posted about here.
I remember reading a post by Becky from Milk Bubble Tea, where she created recipe, where a whole cake (rainbow coloured at that) was mixed and baked in a glass jar. I loved the idea of creating something lovely in a jar that I decided that was the way to go with Sarah's birthday present.
Like me, Sarah is a huge fan of beauty products. We have had many a conversation and many a Boots trip involving lipsticks, mascaras and beauty balms, oh my! So, I decided to make Sarah a jar of beauty!
First I went to Cargo and picked up a Kilner jar. These are those rustic looking jars with the clip latch, which look lovely in a country style kitchen. They are not the cheapest (between £3-£4 a jar) but they look so pretty! I then headed to Poundland and picked up a bag of iridescent scatter stuff and mini eggs. The pretty sparkly stuff is perfect for lining your jar and making it look like a a jar full of magic and sparkle!
I then headed to Boots and Superdrug and picked up a load of lovely beauty things like nail varnishes, Maybelline Baby Lips lip balm, vintage looking nail files, a face mask and a few other bits.
The next step was to line the jar with the sparkly stuff and then arrange the items in the jar. I carefully placed them in, as I wanted you to be able to see what was actually in there. Then I scattered the mini chocolate eggs in the jar to fill up any spaces...and because girls need chocolate...fact!
The finished result looked so pretty and I was so excited to give it to Sarah! It went down very well and I have already started planning the next jar.
The best thing about them is that you can spend as much or as little as you want on them and make them completely personal to the person you're giving them to.
What do you think of this gift idea? Would you give it a go? Enjoy x
Friday, 11 April 2014
Well, actually strike that...I am a bit of a make-up obsessive (or lotions and potions as my hubby affectionately calls them).
With that being said, over the years I have bought a lot...and I mean A LOT of lipsticks. And not just lipsticks; lip balms, lip glosses, lip lacquers, lip stains. I mean, when I last emptied out my current bag of choice, I had 12...I repeat 12 lipsticks flying around loose in my bag. That does not include the ones in my make-up bag or lip balms and glosses.
So yes, I like lipsticks.
It's taken me a good long while to find a favourite among favourites. One, which really stands out from the rest and one, which if it was discontinued, I would die a little bit inside. After my love affair with Kate Moss's Number 3 from Rimmel, Notting Hill Nude from Rimmel and Syrup and Up the Amp from MAC, I have finally found THE one.
Drum roll please...Pink Truffle from Revlon. It is a Revlon Lip Butter shade and the consistency of these lip butters is so soft and creamy, it feels like a moisturising salve but the pigment is that of a lipstick. And the shade. Well, the bullet is a sort of pinkish nude, with a glossy finish, but when I apply it onto my lips, all hint of pink disappears and I am left with a beautiful, subtle mocha tinged nude.
It is so wearable and lasts ages. It goes with whatever make-up or outfit I choose and looks gorgeous day or night. It suits my skin tone and hair colour so well, and for me is my Holy Grail of lipsticks.
So there you go! Have you tried Pink Truffle or any of the Lip Butters? What's your ultimate lipstick?