Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A Night in London: The Ice Bar and Byron Burger

For one of Matt's Christmas presents, I bought him a trip to the Ice bar in Mayfair. Our reservation was a few weeks ago, and we decided to make a night of it and visit Byron Burger afterwards for a meal, somewhere I had been longing to go for ages! It was a really great evening where we could spend quality time together and do something a bit different too. All the pictures are from an iPhone so sorry for the bad quality!

The Ice Bar was a lot smaller than I thought it would be compared to the pictures online but it was still really cool (no pun intended!) with various ice sculptures and seats. With your booking you received a complimentary cocktail to enjoy from a glass made of ice! It was a bit of a shame that the cocktails were pre-made but they still tasted really good (and quite strong!) and the novelty of drinking out of ice made up for it. Before you enter the bar you are given big 'designer' cloaks to help keep you warm that have mittens with them too. The session lasts around 40 minutes but we didn't last that long as I was already developing an illness and we were getting rather freezing so we decided to head to the warmer cocktail bar afterwards.

Our cold faces!
The bar serves food and drink, and by this point we were starving so ordered a sharing platter. This included a mix of crisps, two types of olives and goats cheese, and a mix of nuts and wasabi peas which I am obsessed with! We ordered two more cocktails from the extensive list which were really lovely although I can't remember the names of them - mine was quite fruity where as Matt's was very strong and bitter.

We then made the short walk to Byron Burger in Soho and had to wait in a queue outside. I couldn't believe how popular it was, but I suppose it was a Saturday night! Luckily we didn't have to wait long as we were a group of two and managed to get seated in around 5 minutes. The atmosphere of the restaurant was really good with lovely friendly staff and super quick service. I was thoroughly impressed with everything.

We ordered two chocolate milkshakes which were incredible - so thick and chocolately and probably a meal in itself! I decided on the Cheese burger with American cheese (you get a long list of which type you would like) without the tomato and Matt went with the Byron burger. I really liked that you could say how you wanted the burger cooked and we both got it medium-rare. We got sides of coleslaw and french fries which were lovely, and the table next to us had the Mac and Cheese which I am totally getting next time we visit! I'm also interested in the courgette fries too. The food was sooo good and much better than your average burger. We really wanted desert but after the bar snacks at the Ice Bar and the massive milkshake we were absolutely stuffed!

The Byron Burger
The Cheese Burger
Have you ever been to the Ice Bar or Byron Burger? Where to you like to visit in London? xxx
Sunday, 24 February 2013

NOTD: Color Club | Insta-This |

Color Club // Insta-This // £10

In my last ever Jolie Box before the brand was taken over by Birch Box, I received this beautiful blue nail varnish by Color Club called 'Insta-This'. Formulated after being inspired by Autumn/Winter fashion shows, 'Insta-This' is a bright, deep cobalt blue. It reminds me very much of Nails Inc 'Baker Street', which I had been thinking about purchasing for a while so I was really pleased when I found this in my box. It isn't a normal 'me' colour, however I really liked the look of this on my nails and received  many compliments on it.

As it was my first varnish from the brand I wasn't sure what to expect. The first coat went on quite streaky, however when followed up with a second layer the colour was even and opaque, although a top coat is definitely needed for shine (I used Sally Hansen Diamond Strength). The durability of this nail varnish is great; after 2 days there was slight tip wear which you can see in the above pictures, but major chipping didn't occur until around day 4 which I was pretty pleased with.

If you like the look of this shade you can pick it up here. What is your favourite blue nail varnish? Have you tried anything from Colour Club? xxx
Monday, 18 February 2013

Review: Nars | Orgasm Blush & Laguna Bronzer Duo |

Two cult products in the beauty blogging world are the naughtily named blush 'Orgasm' and a bronzer in the shade 'Laguna' from Nars. I had wanted to try them for ages and was really lucky when my Mum picked me up the blush/bronzer duo a few months ago. They are my first Nars products and I'm pleased I got the duo so I could sample both products.

Housed in the iconic Nars packaging and featuring a large mirror that is great for travel, the aesthetics ticks all the boxes for me. Lets start with the blush - silky smooth and with a finely milled texture, you only need to dip your brush a tiny bit into the pan to give your cheeks a lovely flush of colour and is easily buildable too. In terms of colour, Orgasm is a light pink with a hint of coral shade, flecked with lots of golden glitter particles. That might sound really scary but these golden sparkles don't leave you looking like a glitter ball but offer a lovely sheen which means you can forgo highlighter. This blusher has really lived up to the hype for me  with both the quality and colour being worth the price. I can see this lasting me ages as you don't need a lot of product and think it will be perfect for spring/summer make up.

In regards to Laguna I'm not really sure how I feel. Like the blusher this can also be built up very easily which is great for heavy handed people, however I felt like you can't see a difference when wearing it unless you build it up quite a lot. I really like that it has no orange undertones so is very natural and I've heard that it is great for contouring too (I don't really contour too much) but for some reason I just haven't fallen in love with it like other bloggers have and prefer the Bourjois chocolate bronzer. Maybe I'm not doing it right - if you have any tips on what to use/how to apply it to see if I can make it work better that would be great!

Overall I think this was a great product to introduce myself to the brand. The blusher has definitely won me over and I'll be exploring into other shades, but the bronzer hasn't done much to wow me. I do have my eyes on a few eyeshadow duos and lipsticks though so hopefully I will be expanding my Nars stash soon....

What is your favourite product from Nars? xxx
Friday, 15 February 2013

Review: The Body Shop | Almond Nail & Cuticle Oil |

A couple of weeks ago The Body Shop had an amazing deal on O2 priority moments to purchase £40 worth of products for £20! Obviously I had to use this to my full advantage and considering I had a few things I wanted to try out I thought it was a good time to do it. Among my goodies I picked up this almond oil pen and I'm so glad I did.

I love to keep this in my handbag so it can be used on train journeys/in lectures/anywhere you like while on the go as it is small and has fuss free application. To use you screw the bottom to get the oil out and apply with a brush applicator, which is reminiscent of certain lip glosses or illuminating concealers  The brush is bendy enough to flex to the curve of your nail beds but sturdy so its mess free. I'm not the biggest fan of turn applicators as I always get the wrong amount of product out, but that is my own fault rather than a design problem. I would describe the product as more of a gel consistency than an oil and I find it really nourishing as well as gorgeously sweet smelling - it reminds me of the scent of Whipped Clean by Soap and Glory which I also really enjoy. As it is thicker than an oil it takes longer to sink in than my Burt's Bees Lemon Cuticle Cream but that isn't too much of an issue with me.

With a cocktail of various oils including sweet almond (the largest ingredient), olive, soybean, wheat and grape, this has really helped repair and maintain the moisture and softness of my cuticles and skin around my fingers. I also feel like this has contributed to strengthening my nails too. It also features a little stopper on the lid to push back your cuticles but I don't think its that great. If like me you suffer from dry peeling skin around the nail bed (nice) this is a definite must have to pop in your bag. I still love my Bur'ts Bees for home but I think product is more suited for out and about. It's also on offer at the moment too with 30% off so snap it up while you can :)! I'm really interested in trying out the rest of the Almond range now too.

Have you tried this before? What is your favourite nail care product? xxx
Monday, 11 February 2013

Review: Neal's Yard Frankincense Hydrating Cream

A while back I posted about my winter skin saviours and the products which are helping to battle my dehyrated skin during these cold months. This moisturiser is one of those products mentioned and now I've used it for a few months its a good time to do a review on it.

I chose this particular moisturiser as I wanted something hydrating yet which was suitable for oily skin types too. After doing some research and reading countless reviews I thought this would be a safe bet as it is formulated for all skin types, is organic, with a supposedly light texture. The packaging is lovely, although some people might find it unhygenic, I love the iconic blue glass pot which personifies Neal's Yard and it isn't too large for travel either.

When I first used this I wasn't bowled over for a number of reasons. Firstly, I wasn't the biggest fan of the Frankincense smell and I found the cream quite heavy and left a slight film on my face therefore only being suitable for use as a night cream. However, I persevered and have grown to like this. I only need a little bit of product to cover my whole face and as you rub it in you can feel the plant oils sinking into your skin. I sometimes use it in the day before make up if my skin is particularly dehydrated to create a smooth base but it is worth noting this moisturiser took a while to sink in before I can apply make up. This has definitely worked to hydrate my skin, but sometimes it can feel a bit too heavy. In regards to fine lines, I can't really comment as I don't have any yet luckily!

Overall, this is a nice cream but I definitely think it is more suited to normal to dry skin types rather than combo/oily. I prefer using this as a night cream as it hydrates my skin over night well but won't be suitable in the day when the weather warms up. 

Have you tried this product before? What do you like from Neal's Yard? xxx

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Review: Lush Twilight Showergel

I know Christmas has been and gone and this was a limited edition shower gel for that period, but I'm still going to share a review as I have really enjoyed using it and the scent is still available in another form!

Luckily I received the biggest size bottle of this for Christmas from Matt and have been using it for my evening showers. I love everything about this shower gel - the deep purple colour with flecks of silver glitter, and the smell is lovely too. As with all Lush products, the smell is very pungent -this particular scent has a deep malt and lavender scent which is perfect for winter and night time to help you relax and send you off to sleep. The consistency is quite thin but with my loofah it lathers up nicely. The only niggle I have is that it isn't a moisturising shower gel which I like for colder months but I rectify this by applying a creamy moisturiser afterwards. Matt also liked using this so it is great for couples who like to share bath products or for families (he was lucky, I don't normally like to haha).

So where can you get this scent? Although the shower gel may not be available anymore (heres hoping it comes back this Christmas) you can get it in the form of a bath bomb, which not only looks super cute but will give the same relaxing effects and colours. You can check it out here.

Have you tried anything from the Twilight range at Lush? What are your favourite Lush products? xxx

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Weekend Face #1

As you may or may not know, Matt and I met at Uni but he has since graduated and got a big boy job in London, meaning our relationship has gone from seeing each other every day to every weekend. We are quite lucky its not too far to travel, however I am an appalling packer and find it virtually impossible to pack light. I've been making a conscious effort therefore to try and squeeze down my make up bag for the weekend and plan ahead (although I am still terrible at this!) Among making my case a little lighter (the amount of skincare I take is not ok) trying to condense my make up bag has lead to me using well loved things I had forgotten about again and mixing up my make up routine. So I thought it might be interesting to show you what I take as a mini series on the weekends I go down to visit, but leaving out the standard staples as that would get boring!

Lets start with the base. I chose Healthy Mix as it gives light to medium coverage, which is buildable and also helps to perk up and hydrate my skin in this horrible weather (review soon) with the usual culprits of Benefit's Erasepaste for under eyes and Collection's Lasting Perfection Concealer for any redness or blemishes. My new powder of choice - Rimmel's Stay Matte - was put to the test to set my foundation and keep oil at bay, but I'm not seeing much difference between this and my previous 17 Miracle Matte powder. Finally a dusting of 'London' from my Fashionista palette (amazing for travel) along my cheekbones combined a blush and highlight in one.

For my eyes, I chose to go for a natural look and began by lining the waterline with Rimmel's Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl in 'Nude' and swept 'Naked' from my Urban Decay Naked palette all over the lid. This palette is amazing for travel as it has shades for every occasion so I take it with me everywhere as you can probably see from the battered packaging! I took 'Virgin' also from this palette as my brow highlight and used Bourjois Intuitive eyeliner to deepen my lash line - still not too sure on this one but a review will be coming soon. Lastly, lashings of my two favourite mascaras completed this look. 

For lips I took two lipsticks - Kate Moss for Rimmel 107, an amazing deep red which I have been obsessed with recently and wear for both the evening or day and Barry M lip paint in '101' - a milky nude shade. As my eyes were pared down I either went for a bright pop of red or combined both of these together in the style of Lisa Eldridge to brighten up 101 which can be a bit dead by itself.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend! Let me know what you think of these products xxx

Monday, 4 February 2013

Turning 21 | Part 2 |

A month before my actual birthday I had a tea party to celebrate with my friends from home before we all went our separate ways back to uni. I had a lovely day filled with tea, laughter, gossip, macaroons and Cath Kidston! We had bucks fizz and pink champagne, played our traditional game of articulate and even a few uni friends came down which was great for them to meet my long term friends from home.

The day after my birthday I was back at Uni and so had a night out with my close friends at Gatecrasher. We managed to secure a place in one of the VIP areas, where we were really impressed that the tables had ice in them! haha. We drunk, danced and sung the night away, ending up with a cheeky take away and getting told I still looked 15 by the man in the chippy!

I really had the best birthday surrounding by great friends and family, love and happiness. I feel like the luckiest girl ever!

I was in Nottingham this weekend for another friend's 21st which was amazing, so may do a blog post on that too :) xxx
Friday, 1 February 2013

Turning 21 | Part 1 |

Last Sunday it was my birthday and I turned 21!! Although it is quite scary to be properly in my 20s now, I'm also really excited to start the next chapter of my life. I had the most amazing of weekends which I will remember for ever, so thought I would share some snippets of what we did on LML as this is kind of like an online diary for me as well as a place to rave about beauty. I felt so lucky, loved and happy the whole weekend and it really made me cherish having such amazing friends and family. Part 1 will focus on what I did with my family.

We began the weekend by having cocktails at the American Bar in the Savoy hotel and then we met up with my sister, her boyfriend and Matt and had a pre-theatre dinner in the Riverside restaurant there. It was so sweet Matt met me with some pink Moet and flowers :) Needless to say, the food and service was impeccable and it was an amazing treat to begin my birthday. After dinner I got presented with a plate decorated with some handmade chocolates and lemon macaroons which said happy birthday that was a lovely touch! We then got taxis to the theatre where the show was, which was meant to be a surprise, but my Grandma let slip earlier in the day (doh!) that we were going to see Phantom of the Opera which was so exciting as I have always wanted to see it. The show was fabulous although I wasn't expecting it to be so scary (I screamed twice :|) My mum and dad even bought me a mug afterwards as I collect mugs from places I have been and being a massive tea drinker I find I can never have enough! 

On the Saturday I had all my family over for a pseudo-Christmas lunch as Matt couldn't be with us on Christmas day and I love everything to do with Christmas! It was amazing, we had turkey and beef with all the trimmings and we even had my Grandma's homemade Christmas pud for dessert. We watched some baby videos of when I was first born which was rather embarrassing and had tea, birthday cake and turkey sandwiches in the late afternoon. I also opened some early birthday presents from my grandparents and extended family and felt so lucky. I'm not going to list everything I got as personally I don't like to do that, but I have included a few pictures of some special gifts that you might be interested in (also see my instagram!

The next day was my birthday and I opened my first present in bed - a bag that Louise also has! I then went downstairs and opened the rest of my presents from Matt and my parents with some Bucks Fizz. Matt was so thoughtful and got me 21 gifts arranged into three boxes which were colour coded - pink, gold and blue - each which represented a different area of my personality. It was so thoughtful and lovely I felt so lucky! My favourite present was in a Tiffany box - he put a set of keys to his flat in there which was really romantic! He also got me something to keep for ever which was a Tiffany pearl bracelet that is so beautiful. In the evening we made our way back to Birmingham for the best concert of my life - to see Trey Songz!!! I've loved him for years and to see him so close (we were right by the barrier) made my life!! I didn't get too many good photos as I was too busy screaming haha.

Overall, it was such a memorable and perfect weekend!! Part 2 will be what I got up to with my friends :) xxx

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