31 Dec 2010

Products of the decade!

I've seen a lot of bloggers doing their 2010 favourites and I love reading them - I find it so interesting that everyone has different favourites and I love going out and trying them for myself.

For me, the noughties was a decade of growing up and trying out beauty products. I turned 12 when 2000 came around, so I'm going to round up my favourite discoveries, through my personal trials over the last decade. Let me know if you feel the same!


Makeup:
makeup
  • Boots No7 Intelligent Balance Foundation - the only shade light enough for my skin and gives great coverage for those bad skin days
  • Barry M blusher in "rose" - a lovely pink shade without shimmery tones
  • Eylure Naturalites lashes in "volume plus" - really light lashes, easy to apply and look gorgeous.
  • MeMeMe Flawless Concealer - I've raved about this in a review here. A really brilliant concealer
  • Boots No7 lash and brow perfector - this really neatens up my eyebrows and gives a great finish
  • MAC lipstick in Girl About Town - the perfect pink. As worn by Cheryl Cole apparently
  • MaxFactor False Lash Effect Mascara - I know a lot of people don't like this mascara, but I think it's perfect. I don't like clumpy eyelashes, and this is brilliant for separating, lengthening and volumising. I love it!
  • Sleek Storm Palette - I don't need to say anymore. It's just amazing.
  • Barry M nail varnishes - just amazing. So many colours, such perfect application. I don't know anyone who doesn't love these.

Skincare:
skincare
  • Jergens naturals ultra hydrating moisturiser - this is brilliant for post epilating or shaving soreness. It's soothing, great for sensitive skin and very moisturising
  • Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic - a lovely toner. It smells great, refreshes tired skin and is lovely. Read here for my review. I still love it!
  • Palmolive naturals shower gel - I love the "caring" version of this. It's very moisturising and smells fresh and delicious
  • Boots exfoliating gloves - I can't rave about these enough! They leave your skin (and hands) super soft and ready to soak  up moisturiser
  • Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser - so many blogs talk about this cleanser, and that's because it's genuinely amazing. A great product, try it out and you will be converted!
  • Braun Silk-épil Xpressive Pro Wet & Dry rechargable epilator - an expensive product but does the job. I have the middle version which doesn't have a shaver attachment, but I'd suggest you get the more expensive model with a shaver and epilator attachment. The epilator claims to get hairs as small as a grain of sand and it does really work. The only thing they don't tell you about epilators is you'll never get as smooth a finish as shaving, but it's fab and the hairs come back softer. Get the exfoliating gloves though!
  • Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser - a lovely smooth moisturiser which delivers what it promises. It hasn't made me break out, which is rare for a moisturiser and I am a total convert
  • St Tropez Bronzing Lotion - the original and best. I love St Tropez for the even, non-orange tan it delivers. It's expensive but worth it for the lack of digestive smell and great performance. Run to Boot's half price sale for a full size pack for £12.50. I buy the set every year in the sale and it gets me through the summer!

Hair Care:
hair care
For me, the end of the decade was all about ditching the GHD's and poker straight, boring hair, and instread embracing BIG hair! Here's what I use to achieve huge, sexy 60s hair
  • Tigi Bed Head "Queen for a Day" thickening spray - this spray is brilliant for thickening up hair and making it easier to back comb, when combined with...
  • Tigi Bed Head Superstar thickening lotion - when used with Queen for a Day, it gives volumous hair which is easily back combed, styled and looks gorgeous
  • Tigi Catwalk Headshot shampoo and conditioner - sadly this product has been discontinued by Tigi and is not being replaced (I emailed Tigi and asked, they said it was "removed due to changes in fashion" but I think moisturised, soft hair is never out of fashion!) so you'll see me buying up the remaining stock!
  • Super huge velcro rollers - use these for Beyonce hair! They don't curl but add volume and root lift when your hair is cooling after drying.
  • Tresemme hair spray - only Tresemme make a hairspray that holds so well! Great for beehives!
  • Batiste dry shampoo - a saviour! I don't need to say anymore
  • Accessorize hair flowers and accessories. More pricey than Claire's but much better quality and prettier
  • Osis Dust It powder - I have never heard of a product like this before but it's amazing. It's a tiny bottle of powder which you can dust directly in and it mattefies and makes hair a bit "dirty" feeling (but not looking) to give it great volume and texture which holds. You have to try it to believe it. It's just genius.
Hope you like my noughties favourites. I love reading what yours are.

Happy New Year! I hope 2011 is wonderful for everyone and thank you for reading my blog. I only started it this year and it means so much that you all like it.

x
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29 Dec 2010

How to: Liz Earle Energising Range - for New Year skin perfection

New Year's Resolution 2: improve my skin, prevent cellulite and wake up my dull skin

Urgh, Winter skin. Need I say more? It's not just the weather that's dull and grey at the moment is it girls? Well here's a quick "how to" get brighter, more beautiful skin.

What products do I use?


Boots exfoliating gloves - £2.60, Sanctuary spa results cellulite massager - £7.99, Liz Earle orange flower body wash - £10.75 (I would show the Energising body wash, but when I went to take a picture yesterday morning, it appears Mum has used it all up!), Liz Earle energising body scrub - £12.50, and Liz Earle energising body lotion - £16.50.

Step 1: dry body brush
This body brush by Sanctury from Boots is specially designed for detoxing, boosting lymphatic drainage and circulation in an effort to prevent or reductce the appearence of cellulite. Sadly mine has started to yellow a little on the side which first touches my body (I blame the fake tan last summer!) but the nodules work well to brush and energise the skin before you shower. Use it in circular, sweeping motions upwards towards your heart for best effects.

 


Step 2: wash!

Using the Boots exfoliating gloves, use a big dollop of Liz Earle energising body wash. Mum bought the Liz Earle energising body wash a couple of months ago and it's brilliant for your morning shower. This gel body wash is fresh and herby and really wakes up your senses on dull mornings before work. It includes essential oils and fragrances to wake up your skin and your brain, and smells quite herby and unisex. Definitely a hit in my house.

The exfoliating gloves are amazing! they really make your skin feel soft and smooth after a little scrub and again help wake up tired skin. I use these products before I shave my legs!




Step 3: scrub!

The key to glowing skin is to remove the dead layers and boost circulation and this body scrub does just that. After using the gloves to take off some of the cells, this scrub gets in deep and massages tired skin. It contains ground olive stones to gently buff skin, and has a refreshing rose and jojoba scent which is quite "woody" and again isn't that feminie so can be used by both sexes. I wouldn't choose it for the scent, but it does a very good job of buffing compared to many other brands (I'm looking at you Boots sugar scrub!)  I love that post-scrub feeling!

Raing: 4/5. I would prefer it to smell more feminine and delicate, but if you can ignore the smell, it's a very good body scrub.







Step 4: moisturise!

What must you do during winter? Put back that moisture! After abusing your skin with all this energising, cellulite preventing, scrubbing and buffing, you have to treat your skin to some TLC and this body lotion does just that.

Containg caffine, avacado, ginko biloba, grapefruit, patchouli and peppermint oils among many others, the smell of this is enough to wake you up and energise you! The ingredients smooth, firm and tone your skin, as well as helping to improve its appearance, elasticity and help firm skin. It can be used all over the body, and as with the body brushing, it should be applied in firm, circular motions moving upwards.

The actual product smells lovely, all the ingredients again ensure that it isn't floral and feminine, but fresh and bright. The lotion isn't greasy and sinks into skin well, helping it feel soothed and refreshed.

Another rating of 4/5 - I would prefer the scent to be less herby, but it performs well and is energising and refreshing.


I hope this tutorial was helpful, and here's to smoother, more lovely skin for 2011, and definitely less cellulite! (damn you Christmas food!)

x
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28 Dec 2010

Diorskin Nude Natural Glow Hydrating Makeup review

New Year's Resolution number 1: find the perfect foundation in 2011.

Today I have a review for you of Dior's Diorskin Nude Natural Glow foundation. This lovely product is a hydrating, natural looking foundation with SPF 10 for better skin. I'm using shade 20 - Light Beige, because I'm very pale with pink undertones (although this still can look orange if I don't blend it well enough, as my kind boyfriend was lovely enough to point out *rolls eyes*)


What is it? (what does the company say?)
This is a hydrating, natural looking foundation, with SPF 10 for protected skin, and is made of 100% mineral pigments and mineralised water to improve your skin over time as you wear it.

The packaging
The bottle is gorgeous! It's a heavy glass bottle with a silver lid. The product is dispensed by a little pump which is brilliant to prevent messy fingers and bacteria growth. 2 pumps is enough when using a foundation brush to give me a good coverage. Other reviews say that it lasts for a long time due to the pump and if you apply it with a brush.

How does it perform?
This foundation is very light compared to other liquid foundations, to give a sheer but natual coverage to imperfections, uneven skin tone and red patches. I still have to use a concealer with it if I have a spot, but it gives a lovely dewey finish to my natural skin. The smell is very light and fresh, and the texture is smooth and soft.

I have fairly greasy skin, so without powder it starts to slip off my face after 5 or 6 hours, but with some powder, it will last the whole day (although you'll need a refresh if you're going out that night).

What I love about it is that I don't feel like I'm wearing foundation - it's so light and moisturising, I have to keep reminding myself not to pull my white scarf over my face! For the winter this is lovely, and helps hydrate against the horrible winter, drying weather. In the summer, I hope the light texture will be good for the hot days at work, but only time will tell.


As you can see from the swatch, it blends well (I haven't totally blended it in or you wouldn't believe me I had some on my hand!) and gives a glowey, but not shiny finish.

Overall rating
For around £30, this is an expensive, high-end foundation, however you definitely get what you pay for with this. I think it's worth the money and it should last a long time if you apply with a foundation brush (if you have never applied with a foundation brush, I highly recommend you try one out - my brush is by QVS for Superdrug and cost less than £5 yet works really well).

The quality of the product is lovely, and I would rate this 4 stars. The only improvement I would suggest is Dior release a wider selection of colours for pink toned skins, this is still a bit yellow/orange for me. I would also like it to last longer, but I think that's everyone's problem with foundations, not limited to this one.

Rating - 4.5/5

Hope this review is helpful, let me know if you have any questions

x
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26 Dec 2010

A lovely Christmas story to warm your heart

I've been so excited to tell you this story but I had to wait until after Christmas Day. It's so sweet it will make you say aah!


In late November I recieved an email asking for help to locate the famous River Island panda hoodie for a guy to give his girlfriend for her Christmas present, but sadly it was sold out everywhere... here's his story:


"A couple of months ago, my girlfriend sent me a text/picture message to say that she'd seen River Island's new panda hooded jumper in their window. She really liked it, and thought it looked lovely and snuggly (and she already had the hat, so I knew she loved the design anyway), but she wasn't totally convinced about spending that kind of money on a jumper when she already had a few hooded jumpers.

So, after some hopefully fairly subtle enquiries ("But you like it though?" and "It is quite you, don't you think?"), I managed to do enough to confirm that she did indeed like it, but wasn't going to buy one for herself. At that point, I decided that that was what I would buy her for Christmas -- after all, I've always been of the belief that Christmas presents should always be the kind of things that someone wants, but would never buy for themselves...

Problem was, I then got completely swamped in work and forgot about it... :(

...until my girlfriend and I started talking about Christmas. "Ooooh, Christmas," I thought, "I must get her that jumper as soon as I get paid!"

Pay day came and went, and I started looking on-line at River Island's site. Sold out in almost every size. :( Bugger.

So, rang around my local branches -- sold out, sold out, sold out. Their suggestion was to e-mail customer services -- customer services, when they finally replied, told me to ring customer services.

Rang customer services, they gave me a list of branches in my area (mostly London branches) that each had 1 of the right size in stock. Rang each branch, and it turned out their inventorying system was wrong -- the item had either already been sold or had disappeared from the stock room or the shop floor, never to be seen again.

Panic set in. So I rang customer services, and widened the net -- asked them to find all the branches anywhere in England that had them. Got the list, each branch allegedly having 1 of the appropriate size in stock. Rang them all, all sold out. :(

By this point, I'd completely lost the plot -- I suddenly had NO idea at all what to buy my girlfriend for Christmas, I was completely and totally focussed on the now apparently unobtainable jumper. Another call to customer services -- all the branches in the UK. Suddenly, three branches stuck out as being good bets -- Hereford (just about doable in a day by train -- not sure why it didn't flag up before with the list of England branches) had 2, and both Belfast stores seemingly had them (one had 2, the other had 3).

I rang Hereford first. Another disaster -- the store had recently been completely gutted by fire. Gutted was how I felt at this point, too.

Belfast it is, then. Except getting to Belfast would be completely unfeasible, so the next question was did I know anyone in Belfast to even get hold of them? Who cares, I thought -- I should at least check first that they have them.

I rang the Donegall Place branch - the one that apparently had 3 of the right size. Nope, nothing. None. All gone.

By this point, I wasn't expecting anything of the Belfast Victoria Square branch. After all, nowhere else had them, even branches with allegedly 3 in stock, and besides, it was in Belfast. But still, "if you don't buy a ticket, you can't win the lottery". I rang -- they had one in stock!

...and a policy of not being able to ship it to any other branch, not being able to post it out, and not accepting payment over the phone. If I wanted it, I'd have to go into the branch and collect it. My heart sank. "Stuff it", I thought, and asked them to reserve it anyway. "It's reserved until the end of tomorrow", they said. So, now time was of the essence.

I started dredging the internet for ways to get someone to get hold of it for me from Belfast. I asked on the Facebook threads of a couple of Northern Irish bands I really liked -- appealing to the good nature of their fans and hoping someone would help me out. Nothing. A random google search -- trying to find people who appreciated the wonders of the panda hooded jumper -- offered up Lauren's blog (where you're reading this!). I e-mailed Lauren, not expecting a reply or anything, but instead Lauren tried to work miracles -- asking people to help out on Twitter, begging River Island's PR people to help make a Christmas dream come true...

...but still it came to nothing. :(

Disheartened, I let the item in Belfast go. Then Liz, one of my friends on Facebook, asked me how I was getting on with the hunt for the elusive hooded jumper. I told her about the Belfast one, seemingly the last one in existence. And she said she might have friends in Belfast, she'd see what she could do. I rang River Island Victoria Square back -- they still had it. They reserved it again. And then Ali, Liz's friend, agreed to pick it up - in spite of being a single mum and therefore having the whole worry about being out of pocket. To make sure she wasn't out of pocket, I PayPal'd her the money for the jumper AND for postage AND a little extra to say thank you. She collected it, posted it, and it's now sat in a carrier bag next to me!


Yay! Happy Christmas, Helen - I hope you like your present. :-D"

Isn't that just the sweetest story!? Merry Christmas everyone!

x
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24 Dec 2010

And the final winner is…

And the winner of the lovely Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish is...




Congratulations! I will be emailing you today for your details and get it out to you after Christmas! Well done. Thanks to everyone who entered my Advent Calendar giveaways, and interacted with my Advent Calendar. It's been fun!

To all my new readers who joined through the giveaways, stick around - there's much more fun to come!

x
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23 Dec 2010

Advent Calendar Day 23

Here's a treat, some exciting shopping news! Click the door!

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22 Dec 2010

Advent Calendar Day 22

This little treat is so pretty! Hint... it's a Christmas jumper. You know what to do, click the door!

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21 Dec 2010

Advent Calendar Day 21

You need today's treat in your life!

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20 Dec 2010

Advent Calendar Day 20

Some cosy treats today.

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19 Dec 2010

Blog Sale!

I have a couple of little things for sale for you. I have a Konad nail stamp set, a Rio nail foil set and some Levi's for sale.

The only rules are:
  • Postage to the UK is free, postage outside the UK will be added to the price.
  • Comment with what you'd like to buy and your email address and I will invoice you through PayPal

Konad set (although I suspect Fauxnad, I'm not sure).
Set includes a stamper, scraper and 4 plates - m3, m25, m40 and m38.
Set is used, but in great condition with only a couple of scrape marks on the Konad plates. Set costs £25 online. (I know the picture is too large for my blog layout but I think it needs to be this big)
£15



If you want closer up photos of the plates, let me know and I'll add them.

Rio Nail Foils set
Set includes CD of how to, nail glue, topcoat, 10 original foils (3 unused) plus an extra metallic leopard print, nail art brush and unopened packet of rhinestones. Some of the foils have been used but there is plenty left on the rolls. See this post for a honest review of the set.
£15




Finally, a pair of unworn Levi's 557, complete with labels. Size waist 26, length 32 inches (they're very small, about a size 8). Selling for £50 on eBay,
£20.





x
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Advent Calendar Day 19

Today's post is very delicious! .



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18 Dec 2010

Advent Calendar Day 18

Sorry todays is late. It's been an odd day... but anyway. It's a week today until Christmas! Hooray! To celebrate, here's a hilarious (and a little bit naughty) e-card website.



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17 Dec 2010

and the winner is...

I am happy to announce that the winner of the Wonderbra competition is...



Well done missy! I'll be putting you into contact with the Wonderbra girls and hopefully they'll have your bra on the way to you soon! Thank you to everyone who entered!

And finally, I have one more Christmas giveaway for you girls. I have a gorgeous Liz Earle treat so enter here for your chance to win!



x
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Advent Calendar Day 17

Here's my final Christmas giveaway! Click the door and enter the give away to be in with a chance.


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16 Dec 2010

Advent Calendar Day 16

I'm spreading the Christmas cheer and the blog love - here are some blogs you need to read.


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15 Dec 2010

Advent Calendar Day 15

Here's a little treat. I know we're all broke from Christmas shopping and it's all starting to get a bit stressful, but come away with me for a minute and look at these gorgeous items.

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14 Dec 2010

Vote for me?

Hey everyone, I have extremely exciting news... I'm up for nomination for British Style Bloggers "Blog of the Month"!


WOW! How exciting is that? I am so excited and I have some votes already but it would be great for people to vote for me. So if you enjoy my blog, please support me and vote for it, and I'll be really honoured! Click here to get to the website.

Thank you!

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Advent Calendar Day 14

Another hilarious website for your giggles!

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13 Dec 2010

Advent Calendar Day 13

Sorry I'm late with your treat today! But this one is a good one. Thanks to my friend Wheats who has just become an aunty (yay!) for showing me this website.

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12 Dec 2010

Advent Calendar Day 12

I need your opinions on today's treat please!

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11 Dec 2010

Lauren hates crimes of fashion!

Normally I love crimes of fashion, but this time it makes my eyes melt! What am I referring to?

FUR LINED CROCS or Mammoth Uggs.

That's right, they went there. Yuck. Here's some pictures.


I don't think I even have to discuss why these are a crime of fashion. But I'd love to know what was going on in the designer's mind! It must have been something like this: "crocs are shoes with holes in right? They keep your feet cool right? Well then I think we need to add a fur lining!".

WHAT?!

Hope I haven't upset you girls too much with this hideous sight!

x
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Advent Calendar Day 11

Today's treat is another selection of bling! You know me, sparkles mad!


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10 Dec 2010

Personal post: My holiday in Germany

As some of you who I chat to on Twitter will know (I'm @laurenlovesblog) I went to Germany at the weekend with my lovely boyfriend! We've been going out 5 years and this is our first holiday so it's about time!

Here's some photos of our holiday

Cologne Cathedral was HUGE! I felt dizzy when I looked up at it!


I loved the German markets! These little bread men had real pipes baked into them!


Next to the cathedral was a Louis Vuitton shop! I enjoyed looking in the window!


I loved this German nutcracker bin in the markets!


And that's me with a giant santa! Check out my shopping bags!!

There were lots of street performers in Cologne!

and on the last day we went to Bruges



We had a lovely long weekend! Sorry for my absence on twitter but thank god for scheduled posting right!

x
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Advent Calendar Day 10

Today's treat is a little something for the weekend


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9 Dec 2010

Lauren Loves... Glamour Rouge Accessories

The gorgeous Amy from Glamour Rouge is a talented girl! Not only does she blog with fabulous, inspiring posts, but also makes her own jewellery!

I was incredibly lucky to be sent a couple of her handmade pieces last month, but have been a bad blogger and haven't modelled it due to some very bad spots! However my skin has calmed down and here it is!

She sent me a gorgeous package, here with a lovely letter:



and inside I had a gorgeous vintage button ring and her famous gold 3 strand headpiece.

The ring is gorgeous!


It is a really stand-out piece and gets lots of comments at work. I love it.

The gold 3 strand headpiece is Amy's signature piece and looks gorgeous for all occassions and in all hair types. A gorgeous festival piece. I used it to accessorize my beehive!

Being blonde, it doesn't stand out as much in my hair as it does in Amy's but it adds that extra lovely sparkle! It's $16.50 from here (stupid American website!)

If you want to see any of her other items, they are here on her etsy page. Here's some of the items I love there:


Large pink rose ring - $9.51 from here

Gold crystal headband - $42 from here

Rainbow crystal shard bracelet - $14 from here

Lovely! Go check out her blog and her shop. Thanks for letting me try your jewellery Amy!

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