Monday, 31 March 2014

Instagram: March 2014 + Giveaway Winner!

non-stop • 2 ingredient pancakes • fresh tulips • words of wisdom • another birthday, another burger • my 12-week blogilates journal began this month • love pretty packages • lush lovin' • 500 followers, now 700+ which is amazing • clean breakfast in heart bowls • homemade berry smoothie • delicious healthy breakfast • runner-up prize from nuxe • another car selfie • living in bunny slippers • the most scrumptious warm brownie with amaretto ice cream

Another month has flown by, I can't believe it. This time next month I would've handed in my dissertation which is currently such a frightening prospect. Anyway, this month has been full of birthdays and lovely things - mostly food. My god, I take so many photographs of food... At the very beginning of the month I reached 500 followers, and at the end I'm at over 700! I'm so happy and grateful for everyone that decides to visit my little corner of the internet. Thank you so much!

Which brings me on to the little known fact that I have a giveaway winner to pick. So many of you entered my 400 follower giveaway which went live in February and I'm delighted to tell you that the winner is...

Entry Number: 2063
Daniela Di Raimo

Congratulations, lovely! You've won all the goodies pictured in the competition post, including a MAC lipstick and eyeshadow of your choice. I will be emailing you shortly to confirm your choices and get an address to send the prizes to. After ordering your MAC goodies, postage will probably be 3-7 working days. And do let me know when you do receive your package!

Thank you to everyone who entered, and stay tuned for another giveaway soon! I'm thinking of doing another one if/when I reach the big 1000! Let me know if you would like that.

How was your March?

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Chanel Vitalumiére Aqua Foundation

Hi lovelies! A couple of weeks back I was perusing the #bbloggers chat on Twitter and asked fellow bloggers whether or not I should pluck up the courage to splash out on an expensive foundation. Of course, you little monkeys said yes! I had only one in mind - and have done for a long while now - however I was so, so, so apprehensive about buying it, mostly because of the price and size of the product. Not to be crude but I've now realised that big things can, indeed, come in small packages!

Chanel's Vitalumiére Aqua foundation is water-based (aqua, duh) "ultra-light skin perfecting makeup" with built in SPF 15 to protect from the sun's rays. It's very lightweight and offers a semi-matte finish so it's great for most skin types. The coverage is light but is still enough to cover up any redness and imperfections - especially if you're like me and use concealer before foundation. The scent is gorgeous too - a fresh, floral fragrance that I personally love. Longevity-wise, for a light foundation is does have good staying power and I'm quite impressed by that. 

I do worry about purchasing foundations online as I don't want to spend all this money on a product that doesn't even match my skin tone - nightmare! That's where the Twitter chat came in handy yet again, and I discovered Findation - a website that finds your shade in most foundations based on your previous picks. In conjunction with this, I did go to my local House of Fraser to get matched up just to make sure. I was advised to get the shade B10, which is one of the lightest as I'm super pale at the moment, and while it's a little bit yellow for my taste it does blend very well with my skin with the help of a buffing brush.

This product would definitely be my preferred foundation in the hotter months because it has the right sheer coverage whilst adding some protection to the skin. For the size of the bottle and the price of it, I really would expect it to work miracles. Perhaps it doesn't deliver on miracles per sé, but it does come pretty close. It feels luxurious, smells lovely and lasts a good amount of time on the skin before powder is needed. And the packaging is fabulous, as you'd expect. The only gripe I have is the size of the bottle and even then I can still find a positive - it's a great size to pop in your handbag on the go! I think this is now my go-to foundation for better skin days. I still don't think I'm able to part completely with my beloved NARS Sheer Glow but we'll see.

Have you tried this foundation before? What's your favourite?

Chanel Vitalumiére Aqua Foundation retails at £32, and is available from Chanel, Debenhams, and House of Fraser.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Lush's Secret Garden

Hello lovelies! So last week I went a little bit overboard in my local Lush store and came home with around 10 or so new items to try at bath time. The bag was mostly packed full of Easter and Mother's Day treats, with some old favourites thrown in for good measure (hello Butterball!) and I couldn't wait to get started on my descent into bath heaven.

Secret Garden immediately grabbed my attention when I walked through the door, not least because it was the nearest bath bomb to me. It just looked so - for want of a better word - funky! Jazzy forest green with a bright pink power flower on either side? Sold! I didn't hesitate in popping it in my wicker basket as I merrily carried on browsing everything new that Lush had to offer. 

Rich in rose, sweet wild orange and rosehip oil, this baby bomb packs a floral punch! It fizzes for ages, releasing a beautiful floral scent that fits perfectly with spring. The colours are, as you can probably see, pretty amazing, and certainly liven up your run-of-the-mill bath bubbles. And did I mention the secret of this "secret garden"? Yes, a treasure trove of pretty petals from a bouquet of spring flowers including rose, marigold, blue mallow and yellow rose buds - beautiful! It made my bath time much more relaxing, which is obviously what I look for after a long day. The fragrance itself creates a lovely floral, earthy and uplifting feel (exactly as Lush advertise) and I could've stayed submerged until I went wrinkly like a prune!

There is no doubt in my mind that this is a new favourite bath bomb. It's cheap, fun and smells gorgeous. I absolutely love bath bombs and bubble bars that alter bath time with their brilliant bright colours. It makes the experience much more fun! And for a little while you can switch off and imagine yourself in your very own secret garden.

Secret Garden retails at £2.95, and is available from Lush stores and online.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Wish, Wish, Want: H&M Home

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with H&M, especially with their online store. Every month or so, I receive a free catalogue showcasing the finest clothing and homewear that H&M have to offer, but do you think I can ever find anything in store? It's always like looking for a needle in a haystack! Sometimes I think they're worse than Primark when it comes to chucking out clothing on rails... The lure of lovely clothes always entices me into indulging on their website instead, which is impractical for sizing and not that great for shipping costs and delivery times (I once waited over a month for an item only for them to tell me it was out of stock - shocking!)

Long story short, I soon discovered their Home section one evening, not really expecting much. I have to say that I soon had numerous tabs open on my laptop with goodies I wanted to bookmark for later. I don't know what it is about me recently, but I've grown to love the homewear section of most stores and have subsequently built up a collection of things which I don't really know what to do with! Maybe it's my subconscious telling me I need to move out and create a space of my own with all this new stuff. It's an idea I've been toying with for a while now...

So these are just a few of the products on my H&M wish list:

I really love the simplicity of this cushion cover. The print gives it a lovely vintage feel, what with the faded cream font. I'm a real minimalist as of late - some may think that's a bit boring - but I love Parisian-style white furniture and muted pastel colours. This cushion cover would add a pop of colour on a plain white duvet set. 

And my penchant for woodland creatures continues. This time it's a little decoration for the kitchen in the form of these darling squirrel salt and pepper shakers. These are needed in any household, because what's life without a little flavour?

Anything involving dinosaurs and I'm sold. A bit of a not-so-guilty pleasure, this dinosaur plate would take pride of place in my kitchen cupboard until I have my morning toast. Nothing more to really say about this one. Man, I just love those dino's...

Carrying on my splash of colour theme, this turquoise teardrop-shaped glass vase would be a lovely addition to my white dressing table. The dimensions aren't huge so it would probably accommodate a couple of flowers, or simply sit there as a decoration. It's also available in white, dark grey, purple and baby pink.

The most expensive of my picks, this gorgeous moss-knit blanket looks so soft, sturdy, and inviting. It may not be Winter anymore (thank god) but with the English weather you never know so this would be useful all year round. Use it as a throw blanket at the end of the bed, or on the back of the sofa to snuggle up with later. You can't go wrong really! I was tempted between the natural white, mole, and the dark grey. It's also available in green and mustard yellow - versatile for your chosen colour scheme.

Another glass vase, yes, but you can never have enough vases. The text also adds to the vintage Parisian feel. It's a bit wider and taller than the teardrop vase so could definitely fit a nice bouquet of tulips or roses. I always like to have fresh flowers in the house. They can come up super cheap, especially if you're buying them from supermarkets. Oh and if you pop a copper coin in the bottom of the vase then it stops your flowers drooping so quickly - little life hack for you there!

I didn't intentionally go for a colour scheme here, but I am definitely loving the duck egg blue and cream colours! It makes the wish list look much neater to me - that may be a bit of my OCD coming out though. I'm so glad I discovered H&M's Home section. Most of their stuff is super affordable. I just hope that the delivery doesn't let me down this time!

Have you bought anything from H&M Home? What are your favourite places to shop for homewear?

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm

The idea of a cleansing balm has long intrigued me, but up until now I haven't really thought about giving it a whirl. It seems to be a growing trend, however - there are so many brands out there that now cater to our balm needs that it's almost like walking through a minefield. If I'm honest it was a little overwhelming trying to decide which one would be best for me and my skin. That's where I'm thankful for the blogging community. You lovely people helped me to decide on the Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, and now I feel like it was a bit of a no-brainer!

I can be really lazy at times with my daily skincare routine and makeup removal (slap on the wrist for me). After a long day all I want to do is go to bed, but I love this cleansing balm simply because it's virtually faff-free; and anything that takes minimal effort gets a big tick from me already. This is one product that I would use the phrase "don't judge a book by its cover". It doesn't look the most attractive - let's face it, it looks like lard, but we all know looks can be deceiving. The balm melts into a lightweight oil that glides nicely across the skin so that it can be massaged in. It removes every last trace of makeup, even waterproof mascara, but still rinses off clean leaving your skin refreshed and sans-grime. I like to use a Muslin cloth to remove it, but just rinsing also works. For people worrying about using it on oily skin, I wouldn't: this balm doesn't add to your natural oils, still rinses clean and is completely non-greasy.

The (only) downside? Well, if you're a lover of smellies then this fragrance-free balm may disappoint you. Personally I can get past the total lack of fragrance if it does the job it's supposed to do, which it definitely does. I hear the Emma Hardie Amazing Face Cleansing Balm smells heavenly if you're looking for a more expensive alternative.

At £21, the balm is an extremely fair price for such a thorough cleanser. A little goes a long way, so it's pretty economical. The product is not luxurious, by any stretch of the imagination, but it gets the job done quickly and will fit into most beauty regimes - what with it being for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. I'm so happy that I trusted my fellow bloggers on this one - the balm is simply fabulous!

Clinique's Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm retails at £21, and is available from the Clinique website, House of Fraser, and Boots.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Revlon® Colorburst™ Balms

Last week I was in town shopping for my Mum's birthday present (a very lovely Cath Kidston teapot, I'll have you know!) and I couldn't resist popping into Boots for a look. As you probably know, Boots currently have a 3-for-2 offer on all beauty products and I was restrained in only picking up these three Revlon® Colorburst™ Balms.

Now I know we've only made our way into Spring - it feels like it's taken forever - but to me these coloured balms just scream Summer! There's nothing better on a hot July day than to enjoy a refreshing ice-cream followed by a top up of your favourite splash of colour. And I don't think there's anything wrong with talking about this in March, I swear! I really do think these balms are FAB (see what I did there?)

I bought one lacquer and two matte balms. There weren't a lot to choose from in my local Boots, and most of the "new" ones had been opened and used as testers - yuck! Still, I'm happy with my decisions and am very impressed with how well they last on the lips. 

DEMURE is a gorgeous pale pink shade with shimmer - very wearable for everyday.

AUDACIOUS is a matte orange-toned red - I think this is my favourite of the three.

STRIKING is a classic matte red - I think it's the balm equivalent of MAC Russian Red.

All of these balms are enriched with shea, mango and coconut butter. They come in the form of retractable chubby crayons which is really handy as you don't need to faff about with a sharpener. The crayons have a larger surface area to cover the lips quicker so application is effortless. I was glad to see that they were all quite pigmented - especially the matte ones - so the coverage is very good for a balm. It also has the added benefit of moisturising the lips as its applied, which always helps with chapped lips (although I would recommend a lip scrub before applying too).

Revlon® Colorburst™ Balms retail at £7.99 and are available from Boots.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

L'Oréal #TXT Volume Supersizing Spray

Say hello to my new favourite texturising spray! My hair is incredibly flat even though it's fairly thick - I pretty much have myself to blame half the time because I tend to straighten it a lot. But it really lacks volume and I hate that. All I ever want in life is for my hair to look like I've not made any effort at all and it just looks naturally fabulous every day. Wouldn't we all, eh?

L'Oréal #TXT Volume Supersizing Spray is a bit of a drugstore dynamo. It wakes up lacklustre hair with just a couple of sprays. I like to use this when I've just styled my hair to give it a bit more volume. I do this simply by separating my hair into a bottom and top layer, and spraying at the roots. I then use my fingertips to ruffle my hair to create the desired texture and volume. It couldn't be easier! And if you find that your style drops throughout the day then all you have to do is use your fingers to scrunch your hair again. 

The texture of the spray is mattifying, and I find that my hair doesn't feel crunchy or stiff like it would with a hairspray (I also found this with the Bumble and Bumble Thickening Spray too, unfortunately). This product is also brilliant if you're a fan of clip-in hair extensions. It's great for creating a sturdy hold for backcombing hair and hiding the clips! You can use it for messy up-dos too, and it helps make two-day hair appear less greasy because of the mattifying formula - hooray!

Overall, I really don't think you can go wrong with this texturising spray, especially for the price and size of the product. It has multiple uses and will work well with a variety of hair types and styles. Speaking from experience, it really gives flat hair that extra bit of oomph without making it sticky and unbrushable. 

L'Oréal #TXT Volume Supersizing Spray retails at £3.79 and is available from Boots.
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