Monday, 28 October 2013

Date Day: Bluebird Chelsea & The River Cafe

Hi guys, I haven't done a personal lifestyle post in a while now so I thought I'd share what I did last Saturday with you. As you already know I had to defer my exams and therefore finished them later than everyone else.  I found out my results a few weeks ago and passed (yay!) and so Matt planned a lovely 'Date Day' to celebrate. If you follow me on instagram then you will have seen a few of my pictures of the day but here are a few deets of what we did.

First we had breakfast at the Bluebird Cafe in Chelsea. I'd been wanting to go here for ages because I love MIC (I know that's really sad haha) but unfortunately we didn't spot anyone famous! I had eggs royale with a pot of tea, while Matt had eggs benedict with a latte. It was so delicious and the service was super fast. We also ordered a Bloody Mary to drink as we hadn't tried one yet - it was so disgusting but at least we tried it!

After breakfast we wandered down towards Sloane Square tube station and popped into a few shops along the way, including John Lewis where we had to purchase an umbrella as it began to rain! We wanted to go Boris biking along to the river to the next destination but the weather didn't really allow this so that was the only disappointing part.

After working up an appetite walking around the shops we arrived at the River Cafe for lunch. This is another place I've been dying to go to for ages, one of the reasons being they serve the Chocolate Nemesis which I love to make from this book. It was a lot more modern that I was expecting but it was still gorgeous and very popular and busy. Once seated at our table we got presented with a bottle of champagne which Matt had arranged beforehand as a surprise :) It was so cute and reminded of me when we first started dating as he used to pre order a bottle of wine with a little note attached to it.

Food wise, the River Cafe is delicious but really expensive so I would definitely save it for a special occasion like we did! We chose to share a starter of seafood risotto which included scallops, squid, prawns, langostines and muscles. Matt carried on the fish theme by ordering the Seabass for main, while I had lamb with roasted beetroot and a horseradish cream. The food was of an amazing quality like you would expect and the service was friendly and attentive but not at all over bearing. After our late lunch we made our way home feeling very full and slightly tipsy and settled down to watch a scary film for the rest of the evening.

I had such a lovely relaxing and romantic day, it was great to enjoy ourselves and think of nothing else but each other. Sorry for the crap quality of the photos but blogger seems to have messed up their resolution! What is your favourite place to visit in London? xxx
Thursday, 24 October 2013

Review: Paul Mitchell | Forever Blonde Shampoo & Conditioner |

My first encounter with Paul Mitchell was years ago as a teenager, when I got my first set of highlights at Stephen Way located on New Bond Street (a fab salon that I really recommend!) They used a few products from the brand on me which I then promptly bought myself, but after years of being a product junkie and testing out lots of different hair care I forgot about how much I liked Paul Mitchell. Luckily for me I got sent a few items after attending a fab event they held, two of which were the Forever Blonde Shampoo* and Conditioner*. Normally I can only really tell a difference between conditioners and styling products but after using these for around 2 months now I can tell you that both of these products have really impressed me. I wash my hair every 3-4 days and have used this particular duo every time, bar the time I use a purple shampoo with a deep conditioner which is normally once every two weeks. 

I love the packaging and the smell of both products, both of which have a slight purple tinge to them to help keep brassiness at bay without leaving a colour cast. The Forever Blonde Shampoo is actually really nourishing while lathering and cleansing effectively even though it is sulfate free, which surprised me as most shampoos leave my hair feeling quite stripped and I need a good load of conditioner afterwards to counteract this. I use this twice before moving onto the Forever Blonde Conditioner that is also sulfate free. I really love the consistency of the conditioner as it is quite thick but not heavy - kind of like a hybrid between a standard conditioner and a treatment. It makes it easy to brush out any knots and you don't have to leave it on for ages for it to leave your hair silky soft and smooth.

Both these products have been great at combating problems that traditionally come with having lifted or bleached blonde hair: colour fading, brassiness, weakness and moisture - by the addition of KerActive protein that binds to the hair to aid damage repair and safflower which delivers moisture and seals the cuticle of hair. Once these run out I would 100% repurchase them as they are the only every day shampoo and conditioner I've found so far that really make a difference to the quality of my hair. If you have blonde hair I highly recommend these!

What are your favourite Paul Mitchell products? xxx

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Hair Extensions Help?!

One thing I have always wanted to change about my hair is its thickness. While I have a lot of it, my hair is naturally fine, which makes it really difficult to create and keep volume without using loads of products, most of which fail miserably anyway. For the longest time I've been thinking about purchasing hair pieces that can transform your look with an instant weave or clip in extensions as a remedy, especially since there seems to be a massive hype around them recently.

Last week I took to twitter to ask for some advice as I literally have no clue where to start! I got some great answers and links to brands including Foxy Locks and Bobby Glam. I also came across Glitz&Glam who carry celebrity collections like Vicky's from Geordie Shore, and Pauls Hair World where you can shop hair pieces and accessories online at So now I know the best places to purchase them, I just need to decide the best product for me. 

If you have any reviews of extensions or hair pieces please link them below because I'm still not 100% sure what hair type to get and I think its best to do as much research as possible when it comes to this type of beauty product. Let me know if you have any tips! xxx

*sponsored post
Thursday, 17 October 2013

NOTD: O.P.I & Models Own | Pink upon Pink |

As you probably already know, I am a huge fan of the colour pink. Teamed with pink sparkles, it is pretty much the best combo out there. The base shade of this duo, O.P.I's 'Be A Dahlia Won't You', is one of my favourite nail varnishes in my collection, which I received as a gift a few Christmases ago from my sister. A deep shimmery hot pink, it adds dimension and depth compared to my other opaque polishes. I love both kinds of finish, but for this time of year I think shimmer looks a bit more festive. I love the look of O.P.I bottles, and the wide brush makes application easy and quick. The formula is also lovely and thin which makes it easy to build up layers and an opaque colour in max 3 coats. Minimal tip wear occurs in 1-2 days - not the best but there is no major chipping which is a plus point.

To jazz it up a bit more, I chose Models Own 'Hot Stuff' for an accent nail which is featured in their Mirrorball collection, that in my opinion one of their best launches. A clear polish, it features large chunks of gold, pink and iridescent glitter. I also like the colour coded top makes it easy to pick out of my ever growing nail varnish stash. In order to get a good coating this needs a few layers but it looks so nice once layered up. The only annoyance is that it is such a pain to get off but I suppose that is the case with all glitters. 

I think these nail varnishes together make such a good pairing - even the lady who served me in the Body Shop said how much she liked it, which is always a good sign! I also have a lip product which matches this perfectly which I will be popping up a review of soon. It is annoying that the colour hasn't come out as well on camera but I'm blaming the gloomy lighting! What is your favourite pink nail varnish? xxx
Monday, 14 October 2013

Review: Clarins | Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector |

When it comes to the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector range everyone and their mum seems to rave about them, most notably the lovely Vivianna. A hybrid between a gloss, tint and balm, this moisturising gel is a perfect choice for fuss free make up days when you don't want to wear a full lip. Not only does the nourishing formula smell and taste amazingly sweet, the inclusion of shea butter and wild mango help to repair and soften while vitamins A and E help to protect. The packaging is also simple but feels luxurious, with a squeezy colour coded tube and soft doe foot applicator for easy application. I own pink shade '01 Rose Shimmer' and peachy '02 apricot shimmer' with the latter being my favourite by just a little. I love how glossy the product is without feeling heavy or sticky and that the repairing and protecting claims are true.

Wear time is quite good for a gloss, but only if you are not drinking or eating, but that was to be expected. I've also found the colour pay off to be quite weak - on the lips you can barely tell a difference between these two shades, and the little bit of difference didn't pick up on camera and that is why lip swatches seemed redundant in this post. For someone who loves a bright bold lip I was underwhelmed with the lack of colour, but I suppose it sticks with the natural theme and although it is only a slight tint, I must admit it does help to perfect your lips. Clarins have recently added 3 new shades to the line up which seem to be darker and have more colour pay off so I would be interested in checking them out and seeing how they compare to their lighter counterparts.

I really love Clarins and think these products fit in well with the theme of the brand. I think the Lip Perfectors would make a lovely gift or as a treat to yourself if you have the money. At £17 a pop (Clarins seem to be hiking up the price) I wish they had a bit more colour payoff but I definitely think they are more than just a glorified lip gloss. If 'no make up' make up is your thing then these would be a perfect addition to your collection.

What are your opinion on the Natural Lip Perfector range? xxx

Friday, 11 October 2013

Take 3: The Best of Aussie

My Take 3 series hasn't made an appearance in months but I'm excited to bring it back as it's a nice way to talk about different products in another way, rather than just single reviews. This particular installment is focused on the high street brand Aussie that I've loved for years, and who I think create effective and affordable hair care. I've tried a number of their products, but so far my firm favourites include an intensive conditioner, a leave in spray conditioner and a curling mousse. 

Aussie Miracle Colour Insurance Leave in Conditioner: Like all Aussie products this smells divine and the scent lingers for ages. I like to use spray leave in conditioners after washing my hair to detangle and this does a wonderful job. It has a decent spray on it as well and isn't too heavy on my hair which has the tendency to be weighed down by too much product. This is also great on dry hair in between washes to give it extra nourishment although it can leave it a little bit wet. I love using this on holiday on damp hair once I've been in the pool or sea to give it extra nourishment because sun + chlorine + highlights = super dry hair if not properly cared for. The bottle lasts for ages too making it really cost effective, which is the case for most Aussie products. There are many variations of this leave in conditioner and this is the best one for my hair type.

Dual Personality Curl Defining and Shine Mousse: My hair is naturally wavy rather than curly but nevertheless this mousse does a wonderful job of holding and defining my waves without feeling heavy, sticky or brittle. The product is easily distributed through damp hair by scrunching through the lengths and gives a light weight and flexible hold. I also use it on dry hair when I've styled it in a more curly fashion as it helps to hold the style for longer. It doesn't dry out my hair at all and it is easy to brush my hair too as I find many mousses make it difficult to get a brush through. Definitely one to try if you have a natural curl or wave pattern.

3 Minute Miracle Colour Mate Deep Treatment: Similar to the leave in conditioner, this type of product has lots of different versions dependent on your hair type. Seeing as my hair is highlighted I pick up the colour version which smells lovely. A splodge of this run through the lengths of your hair and left for a few minutes works wonders to add some moisture into over processed locks. It has a thick consistency which feels really nourishing, and once washed out I can feel a real difference in the quality of my hair. The squidgey tube also makes for easy application in the shower. This is a product which I will always have a back up of as an affordable treat.

So that is my round up of the best of Aussie I've found so far :) What are your favourites from Aussie? xxx
Thursday, 10 October 2013

Event: Pearls Exhibition with Pond's Institute at the V&A Museum

A few nights ago, I was lucky enough to attend an event put on by Pond's Institute at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London thanks to my bloggy friend Nuala. I had such a wonderful evening that I thought I would share a little about the night here with you. 

First of all, this is the only museum I haven't visited before in London so it was really exciting to go somewhere new. It was so beautiful inside with lots of marble and soft lighting for the evening. We were greeted with a champagne reception and I was able to meet some new people too - Bettina and Stacy who were lovely while trying out some of the products dotted around.

We had a quick talk by the brand's new ambassador for the party season Laura Whitmore and Caroline Neville, then a private tour of the pearl's exhibition that is currently running at the museum, where we learnt about how pearls are made and the history of their meaning. I wish we were allowed to take pictures because some of the pieces were incredible, including amazing necklaces, tiaras and even a dress. My favourites were seeing Marylin Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor's pearls and the pearl earring that Charles I wore when he was beheaded. As you may already know, half of my degree is in History (I did a joint honours with Political Science) so it really was a perfect night for me consisting of a mixture of beauty and history, two of my favourite things! 

I can't wait to try the products we received at the end of the evening, which includes the cult classic Cold Cream Cleanser (tongue twister right there!) and will be sure to have some reviews up in the next few weeks once I've had sufficient time to test them. 

Have you tried anything from Pond's before? xxx
Monday, 7 October 2013

My Very Late September Favourites

Hi guys, sorry this post is so late I've been meaning to get it up for ages but was waiting for the weather to perk up a bit to take some half decent photographs of the products. They still aren't perfect but seeing as we are heading into the darker months it can't really be helped. If only I had the money for some studio lighting! Anyway, as you can see I have quite a few favourites from the month of September, which are basically all make up related products compared to last month's which were more hair orientated.

001. Bourjois Bronzing Primer: When I first picked this up I used it to warm up my complexion all over my face before popping over a lighter base during the summer. However, I've really started to enjoy using it as a cream contour. I'm no expert in contouring so I find this product makes it really easy to build up the colour and blend in to make a much more natural finish. It's a really handy little pot which has a lot of uses. You can read my full review by clicking on the product name above.

002. Maybelline Colour Tattoo in 'Metallic Pomegranate': I am in love with these paint pot dupes from Maybelline and have nearly all the colours now. I picked up this shade months ago and it has really come into its own now that the seasons have changed. A deep purpley pink with hints of glitter, it looks lovely all over the lid by itself or as primer for similar shades of eye shadows. I can't wait to do a full review of this soon and show you some swatches.

003. MAC MSF in 'Soft and Gentle': I'm already reviewed this in full a while back but it is still a staple in my make up bag. I love it most for evening looks but if applied with a light hand it is beautiful in the day too. A lovely warm toned highlight, it perks up my complexion and completes my look. After pretty much daily use since I got it, the dome has only just flattened so it is great value for money too. Highlighters are one of my favourite make up items (after lipsticks of course) and this is a must have for any collection.

004. Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayons: Another Bourjois favourite this month is the recent release of their lip crayons. The concept of these type of products in general is a winner for me, but what pleased me most about Bourjois' offering are the shades which, although limited, are all so pretty, and the super glossy finish. They also last really well and are perfect for day or evening wear. Again I will be putting up a full review with swatches in the near future.

005. Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush: Real Techniques are the perfect brand for affordable but fantastic quality make up brushes. While the buffing brush is the star of the core collection this brush in particular is amazing from the eye set as I find it so multi-functional. Not only is it fab for blending and all over colour, the soft dense bristles make it perfect for blending under eye concealer which is now its main use. 

006. Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation: A long lost favourite from last year, I pulled this out of my foundation box to replace the super light bases of summer. Full coverage that can be sheered out, blendable, matte and long lasting, this is definitley one of my favourite foundations ever. The only negative is the flash back face it gives but for days when flash photography won't be in use this is perfect for long, busy days.

What were your favourites for September? Do you like any of my picks? xxx
Friday, 4 October 2013

Review: Vichy | Normaderm Micellar Solution |

Over the past year I've been trying out quite a few different micellar waters, some which I really didn't get on with (for example, the L'Oreal version), while others have been quite good. None of them have reached 'Holy Grail' status just yet though - not even Bioderma - but I prefer them 100% more to face wipes to take off the majority of my make up before cleansing properly and as a means to freshen up.

The only product I've tried from Vichy before is a thermal water spray, which I enjoyed during summer, so I decided they would be a good bet as the next version to try. At the time of purchase I didn't realise that they do different versions for varying skin types but as luck would have it I picked up the one for acne prone skin which is probably better suited for me as I have combo/oily skin which is prone to the odd spot or two. It also states that it is suitable for sensitive skin too.

One of the best points about this particular micellar solution is that it contains no parabens or alcohol. I'm not majorly fussy when it comes to ingredients normally, but in regards to my face I'd rather be as kind to it as possible. I also really like that its easy to dispense the product, meaning no waste or spillages and it smells nice and fresh. When tackling face make up and grime (yum) this is pretty good at getting most of it off but pretty weak at taking off eye make up, especially mascara. I've just repurchased a new eye make up remover for that which isn't the end of the world, but ideally to keep costs and my skincare routine down I would have liked it to be able to be good at taking off eye make up as well. Although there is a lack of alcohol in the ingredients, I have also found it a little drying however I think this may be down to the changing seasons too so the jury is out on that point for the moment. 

Overall, this product isn't ground breaking but it is rather nice and actually find it really similar to the one by La Roche Posay. I'm starting to feel like all micellar solutions are pretty similar bar a few bad ones, so if you like these products as part of your skincare routine this is a good one to try out. 

What products do you recommend from Vichy? xxx

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