A blog for fashion, beauty, hair, cosmetics and lifestyle

31 Aug 2011

My Thailand Diary

So 2 weeks ago I set off on the adventure of a lifetime. Having never been out of Europe, it was a big leap for me to spend 2 weeks travelling around Thailand with my boyfriend Simon.


We arrived in Bangkok on Monday 15th of August and met up with my cousin Tom, and his gorgeous girlfriend Tan at the airport. They whisked us away to the buzzing Khaosan Road where we stayed for 2 nights. We spent the first day exploring the temples, doing a river cruise and discovering, and the second day shopping!

CLICK TO ENLARGE Bangkok from L-R: Simon and I with a large standing Buddha which we made a prayer to - apparently your first request to Buddha always comes true to fingers crossed; Simon and I in a tuktuk; hundreds of Buddhas at the Royal Temple; the massive reclining Buddha; we went in a river cruise and went past these amazing wooden homes which managed to stay on the water; me with a guard at the Royal Temple; Simon, Tom, Me and Tan; the boat we river cruised with - it was like something from James Bond!; Simon and I at the Buddha's feet; Simon and I at the Royal Palace

After our days in Bangkok, we got a coach to Koh Chang (Elephant Island) where elephants grazed free like cattle!

CLICK TO ENLARGE Koh Chang from L-R: Here's the "Hollywood" style Koh Chang sign; me on the ferry (I'm wearing a strapless top, not naked!); The island from the main land; The gorgeous White Sands Beach where we stayed in a hut on the sand! Tan and I on our scooter; Simon and I stroking a very happy elephant; Tan, me and Simon on the gorgeous beach where we tanned and swam and drank cocktails; the fire show which was on every night as we had cocktails on the beach; me with a baby elephant that I fed milk; Simon and I on an elephant.

After 3 relaxing days on Koh Chang, we got a very hot minibus to Jomtien Beach near the more sleazy Pattaya

CLICK TO ENLARGE Pattaya from L-R: Tom and Simon having a Beer Chang in the sea; Simon and I tickling baby tigers; the beach were we soaked up the sun; Me having a manicure and pedicure from the beach sellers; me sunbathing and enjoying my kindle (I was reading "One Day"); the tigers at the zoo, an elephant at the show doing a hula with his trunk, doesn't he look happy!; the lovely beach; me sunbathing

Finally after a short stay on the beach, We all headed up to Phetchabun in the north. Phetchabun doesn't see many tourists so we'd have people stop and stare at us, drive alongside and wave and just want to talk to us which was really strange! I also got bitten a whopping 23 times by mosquitoes and Simon got bitten once. I hated him

CLICK TO ENLARGE Phetchabun from L-R: a traditional house we went to visit; me with Tom and Tan's beautiful baby; Simon learning to ride a moped; all of us on a visit to the lake on a traditional farm vehicle; me with a strawberry daquiri; my lovely Thai family and me!; the lake we went to visit; the sign for real Tom-Yum soup (which was REALLY spicey for me) and finally Simon and baby (she fell in love with him instantly)

I had a wonderful holiday and hope you aren't too bored by my holiday photos. Thank you to all my amazing guest bloggers who did me proud and hi to my new followers!


30 Aug 2011

Final Guest Post: Mixing Prints

Hi, let me introduce myself. I’m Sophie from Country Girl Does Norfolk. I write a blog based on fashion, food and foliage. I do mostly outfit posts and today I’m sharing my take on how to wear multiple patterns within one look..

Mixing prints is a great trend. I am embracing it, not only because it means I can make more outfits from my wardrobe but also because its fun and bold.

You can go all out with clashing

Ok, so clashing is fun, but its not for everyone.

How about one obvious print and then a more subtle pattern?

A monochrome pattern, or very thin stripes or a pale polka dot can look like a block colour, so they can ‘calm down’ a look.

Or you could go with two subtle patterns. They may look like block colours, but take a closer look and you’ll see I’m wearing polka dots, stripes, florals, leopard and checks here!

My personal favour print mixing look has to be when I wore my leopard tunic with my floral skirt and they totally co-ordinated. Unexpected result!

So feel free to drop by to my blog Country Girl Does Norfolk and catch up with me! I don’t take myself too seriously and love to see new faces on my blog. I hope maybe I’ve given you some food for thought and maybe some inspiration to try something new.

29 Aug 2011

Guest Post: The Best Felt Tip Eyeliner

Todays post is by the always gorgeous Urban Butterfly


I have been on the hunt lately for a good quality felt tip eyeliner. I mostly wear my eyeliner in a cat eye or flicked out at the end, so a small fluid tip is ideal. Here's are my recent buys -


Collection 2000 Extreme Liner

I had never seen this until stumbling upon a review online which pushed me to hunt it down, and hunt was the word, everywhere I went it was out of stock. At first I quite liked it; the colour is quite strong and the tip sturdy for that sharp flick. After a few uses I noticed the colour was getting a bit washed out but for £2.99 you can’t really complain too much. UB rating 3/5


L’Oreal Super Liner Carbon Gloss


This is another bloggers favourite. This has a very good solid colour and goes on quite wet, however I found when touching up the line, the brush would pick up the colour leaving a bald/uneven line. The felt tip is a great size and shape for a nice sharp line. Sadly I also found that if I rubbed my eye a whole section would peel off. UB rating 3/5


Max Factor Glide and Define

Housed in a cute miniature, much like a little stubby pen; it’s great to sneak in your handbag if you want to touch up or dramatise your makeup while you’re out. I found the tip too pliable so I couldn’t get a precise line let alone a sharp finish. It’s also very watery so I had to keep trying to go back over the line to get a good solid black colour. UB rating 2/5


MAC Superslick Liquid Eyeliner

After getting quite disheartened with the above liners I took myself off to MAC. This is in a nice light pen with a long soft tip. Has a great solid colour that goes on very wet so a steady hand is required. I got a wonderful strong cat-like flick from this. The only issue I have is that the colour is so strong it’s quite full on for day time but ideal for nights out or when I want an intense eyes. UB rating 4/5


Barbara Daly Eye define

I found this by sheer chance whilst in Tesco and browsing the makeup. It comes in a nice long pen style with a solid felt tip. The colour pay off is fantastic, yet not too harsh for daytime. It’s very easy to use even if you want a nice thin line. I have raved about this to all my friends and loved it so much I went back to buy it in brown which is also fabulous. All in all my best buy by far and it was only just over five pounds! UB rating 5/5


28 Aug 2011

Guest Post: 10 Ways to Wear

Hi everyone I'm Alex, the creative mind (that may be a stretch) behind Life after 20. My blog is based around my whole life and this includes what i wear on a daily basis so one of my features i do is a "10 ways to wear"  and at the moment i am sporting this AMAZING lime green vintage maxi (well on me anyway) skirt that i thrifted for a hefty £1

To date i have worn it 6 different ways (well 7 if you include this one) with the challenge being to make it a totally different outfit every time, to mix up the seasons and to just generally push my own fashion boundaries.

Anyway onto this outfit, this is a super casual way of wearing the skirt, its also a great representation of how you can mix a vintage skirt with some cheap Primark pieces for a great on trend outfit. Also pairing the navy blue with the green is a very subtle way of colour blocking with the
jacket adding warmth (cause this is the UK you know!) but also giving it a edge!

What I'm wearing:

Skirt - Thrifted vintage.

Singlet/vest - Primark

Denim jacket - Primark.


I would wear this outfit shopping, to wonder around town, out for a meal, really anywhere!

What do you think of this combo? Where would you wear it?"

27 Aug 2011

Guest Post: Boots 17 Falsifeye Mascara Review

Hi ladies, I’m Sarah and I blog over on Knickers and Nail polish.

I’m always on the search for mascara at a reasonable price that will give me thick lashes that last all day! I’ve tried loads of different products, you name it from the very low cost to the high end brands, nothing seems to last on my lashes without making me look like a panda come lunch time.

One of my favourite brands is Boots 17; I think it’s a really good brand for a reasonable price. I often head straight to their stand in my local Boots to see what they have, usually to the nail polish but this time their new mascara caught my eye!

Falsifeye mascara claims to allow you to ‘create ‘wow’ effect eyelashes with this new mascara from 17’ all for the tidy sum of £6.49.  The packaging of this product is very chunky, which I quite like however it does make controlling the wand a bit more of a challenge when on the bottom lashes.

The brush is like the packaging, very chunky and it does pick up too much product which can get a bit messy. This is easily sorted out by simply wiping the brush on the top of the bottle to remove some of the product.  The product is quite a wet product so it does take time to dry and so it’s not something which you can put on and go.

Do I think this product lives up to the claim of ‘wow’ effect? I think is creates a subtle wow effect compared to what I started out with as you can
see below, I have no mascara on the left and 2 coats on the right.


I really like this mascara as the effect is subtle, if I wanted a false eyelash look then I would apply false eyelashes! For me this product is good because it does the one thing I need and that is to look as similar at the end of the day as it does when I first put it on in the morning. There is very little, if any flaking and crumbling and it gives me a lot more definition.



My only gripe with this product is that the brush is too big to do my bottom lashes, so I do have to use a different one. For £6.49 this product is really good value, and Boots are currently doing a deal where you buy this and get a black gel liner free, which is also really good!


26 Aug 2011

Guest Post: When black and white ruled the world

Today's blog is by Raimonda from Stall21


Who knew how much fun could be had with black and white when you add a print or two? Yes, I am indeed talking about the TOPSHOP A/W
2011 collection.


I was truly brown away by it after only seeing a few images from the collection and knew that I had to get saving, as I wanted it all!


I mean this has really hit the nail on the head for me by having everything I could ever want in an outfit. From the dalmatian print heels, the dog print blouses/dresses to the glamorous 30's inspired pieces of when black and white ruled the world.


It really annoys me when people/stores start Christmas early as I feel like it ruins the built up to it for me, so I fully understand if your reading this and thinking ' then what the hell are you doing talking to us about A/W'?


Well I could go on about how terrible the weather has been but if I am truly honest it's mainly because I can't contain my excitement any longer.


In the meanwhile I will just have to settle for some of the adorable knitted animal jumpers to keep me warm through the not so sunny English summer.


Here are some of my favourite pieces from the collection:



P.S. don't forget to fully embrace the trend by giving the dalmatian print nails a go.

Here is the best example I could find by Nails Anonymous:


25 Aug 2011

Guest Post: Review: Urban Decay All Nighter Spray

Post from Makeup Monologue  




I was recently at the Urban Decay counter at my local Debenhams to buy another one of my much loved 24/7 Shadow Pencils. I was told that I would get a product for free if I bought two items or more. Obviously, upon seeing what was on offer I did just that!


There were a few products to choose from as the free gift and the All Nighter Spray was one of them. Having heard a lot about it, I knew I wanted to try it out. Skindinavia was the brains behind it which was another reason for me to want to see what it was like.


I received a 15ml sample which is pretty ample to really get a feel of a product. The pump releases a fine mist which is perfect for getting an even amount of product on the face.


On trying it, although I had expected it do be better than not spraying anything at all, I didn't think it would be that amazing. I was however, pleasantly surprised!


After applying it at around 9am one morning, I kept checking in the mirror every couple of hours. I do have oily skin so I didn't really know what it would do. Three hours in, I normally blot a little but this time I really didn't need to. Although my face was not completely matte, it wasn't too oily either. I liked how my make up looked; as if it was being held in place (if that makes sense!). During the day I blotted two times, which is much less than usual and very uncommon for me!


I'm very impressed with this product and, for me, it is comparable to MAC's Fix+ which works well to keep my make up on for longer too. I will definitely be repurchasing when I run out.


Thank you to the lovely Lauren for allowing me to be a guest on her blog!


Atia x x x

24 Aug 2011

Guest Post: New City, New Skincare

 I jumped at the chance to write a guest post for Lauren’s blog since we share a background and training in psychology in common – I worked as a Counselling Psychologist in the UK and am currently seeking a license to practice in the US, alongside writing my blog www.styleonthecouch.com


When I moved from London to Manhattan in December 2010, my skincare routine needed a thorough overhaul. I was completely unprepared for the effect of an unfamiliar and new climate on my skin and suffered a lot of dryness and breakouts in the first few months of living in NYC.  The new environment, likely accompanied with changes in altitude and pressure during my travel abroad resulted in the need for a completely new skincare routine.


I am very happy with the products I use on my skin right now.  I have tried and tested a few American brands and have come to embrace Kiehls, a brand originating from New York whose philosophy is to develop unique and high quality skincare formulations using the finest, naturally-derived ingredients.  Speaking as someone who does not like to apply a lot of chemicals to her skin, this ethos is met with a big smile from me!


I would like to introduce you to my two favourite Kiehls products; one that keeps my skin hydrated throughout the day and one for the renewal of skin overnight.  Until recently I was not convinced about using a night cream or serum – I thought this was simply “clogging” my pores up rather than letting than letting my skin ‘breathe’ - although now this concept is a bit of an old wives tale to me!  I love Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate.  Used sparingly, this product, containing evening primrose oil, rich in Omega-6 fatty acids and essential oils such as Lavender, provides a boost to the moisture content of your skin.  When a few drops are applied overnight (something that makes the product good value
for money as you use little of the product each time) I find I wake up with soft and well hydrated skin rather than feeling parched and dry in places.  I also think this product is quite good for stressed skin, and as Lauren and other psychologists-in-training will know, stress is often part and parcel of our work…


I am also a big fan of Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream, a best seller of theirs since its introduction in the 70s – part of their “ultra” range offering gentle and hydrating formulas suitable for all skin types.  This fragrance free, light moisturiser keeps my skin hydrated throughout the day and I love that it is easily absorbed on application.  This product appeals to me as a simple and basic skincare solution – I have dry skin, and this works fabulously for me.


Kiehls often hand out generous samples in their stores (in the UK try asking as department stores with Kiehls counters, or Space.NK) and so I would encourage you to try these products!



23 Aug 2011

Guest Post: Current Favourites

Hey ladies!


I'm honoured to be guest blogging for Lauren Loves Blog today :) Today I'll be running down my top 10 fashion and beauty items of the month - don't forget to check out my blog if you like what you read!


Floral playsuits


I'm addicted to these! I seem to buy a new floral playsuit every summer! I bought this ditsy printed one from Apricot at New Look (LOVE that brand!) for under £20 recently. Here I've teamed mine with a tan satchel, tan gladiators and tortoiseshell wayfarers but I think they look really cute with a denim jacket as well :)


Bourjois Delice de Poudre Bronzer in Shade 51


I purchased this bronzer a couple of months ago after reading about it on loads of beauty blogs! Everyone raved about it as a Nars Laguna dupe and it certainly doesn't disappoint!


It's a very simple matte bronzer, but it's perfect for contouring! It suits my NC15 (aka very pale!) complexion seamlessly.


As you can see, it makes me look lovely and bronzed :) I chose the lighter shade, 51, as shade 52 looked slightly muddy and not something I could wear during the day. However, if you've got a darker complexion than me i.e. olive skin I would probably get shade 52 as it's more suited to you!


Boots Botanics Soothing Eye Make Up Remover


I might finally have found my holy grail eye make-up remover! As a contact lens wearer, and someone who wears a helluva lot of eye make-up, I've binned bottles and bottles of hopeless eye make-up remover! I have to choose something that's suitable for sensitive eyes as if I wake up with bits of eye-make still in my eyes it can rub off onto my contact lenses and cause them to sting! Ouch!


I've tried No7 (too greasy) and the Body Shop (stung my eyes) but this one appears to be top. You simply give it a good shake, pour some onto a cotton pad and wipe it over your eyes. It really does remove every last trace! I'd definitely give it a go if you haven't already :)


The Body Shop Cucumber Cleansing Milk



Speaking of removing make-up, I bought this cleansing milk back in May in my new skincare regime haul. What I'm most impressed with is how long it's lasted. I'm about half way through the bottle and it's now August, so I can imagine you will only need to buy this twice a year. It retails at £4 which is cheap enough as it is! It's such a bargain!


Now onto the product... I was worried it wouldn't suit my oily/combination skin as it's not oil-free, but it's lovely and soft and doesn't make my skin greasy AT ALL! It's got the mild scent of fresh cucumber but it just does the job so well, again with a little squirt onto a cotton pad. I'm so pleased I found this product as it saves me SO much money! I've heard the Body Shop are discontinuing their Anita's Favourite range so I'll definitely be stocking up on this item!


Bourjois 10 Hour Sleep Effect Foundation


I bought this foundation at the same time as the bronzer (above) as Bourjois was on a 3 for 2 offer in Superdrug! I'm soo glad I did! I read rave reviews about it on one of my fave bloggers' website, Bubblegarm, & as Muhsine is so beautiful I hoped the foundation would do the same for


Well, it's perfect. I bought it in the shade 72 Rose Clair which is the 2nd lightest shade. It's so light, fresh and buildable - it's the easiest foundation to apply in a rush!


It leaves you with a lovely, dewy glow! Perfect for the summer months, though I expect I'll need something a little heavier with the colder months approaching!


Jergens Aloe Soothing Body Moisturiser


I was lucky enough to win this in one of London Beauty Queen's competitions, but I would absolutely purchase it again! It's so light and refreshing, I use it especially before I apply self-tan as it's so quick to absorb! It moisturises your skin for the whole day, I love it!


Avon Planet Spa Dead Sea Minerals face mask


As I mentioned earlier, my skin is oily/combination... prone to spots basically! This face mask is a god send for me. It draws out all the dirt and impurities from my skin and leaves it feeling properly cleansed. I find mud masks work best on my skin and I really want to try the Sanctuary Spa one! I'll use this once a week, usually on Sunday when I've got some spare time :)


OPI Nail Envy base coat and Sally Hansen Diamond Shine top coat combo!


Now this is one of my ultimate favourite combinations EVER! I use it every time I paint my nails (which is very often!) The OPI Nail Envy (Original) is pretty pricey but lasts for AGES and it's the perfect base coat. It leaves your nails with a lovely shine as well so I often wear it on its own to give my nails a breather. It's available from ASOS!


The Sally Hansen top coat was a STEAL from Fragrance Direct but it's now unavailable so I get it from eBay instead! It's just amazing, it leaves your nails with a glossy shine and prevents them from chipping for AGES (3-4 days on average!) I don't know where I'd be without this nail combo!


Primark white linen blazer


Such a versatile item, I can throw this blazer on and feel 'done' :) It smartens up any outfit and goes with everything! It especially suits little playsuits and dresses! Now all I need is a pair of smart white linen shorts and I've got the short suit trend nailed!


and finally...


Green & Black's



Strictly not a fashion or beauty related item but as it contributes to my general overall well-being I'm sure Lauren won't mind ;)


I'm absolutely in love with this stuff (the dark chocolate variety only, mind) - it's perfect for an evening chocolate craving. Which, believe me, is most evenings!


I've just bought the Cherry and Hazelnut & Currant variations and they are DIVINE! :) stock up people!


That's it for this time, don't forget to check out my blog, Style by Sophia :)


Thanks Lauren!





22 Aug 2011

Guest Post: It's in my natural makeup

Today's guest post is from Charlotte at Write Like No One's Watching. You're going to love her hilarious writing style.


The first time I left the house without makeup on was terrifying. I felt naked. And not in a sexy way. I had spots. My bags were so bad, I thought I’d be accosted by some roaming urban panda. It was terrible. I walked the (admittedly very few) shaky steps to the local shop in a state of complete paranoia.
“Were they looking at me? Did she just laugh? Okay, breathe Charlotte. Head down. Walk quickly.”

In the shop, I grabbed my things and stood, twitching in the queue, willing it to move more quickly so I could find a rock to hide under. I paid with all the finesse of a thug, almost throwing my money at the cashier and leaving with a grunt and the slam of a door.


When I finally got home, I fumbled with the key, scrabbled indoors and sighed with relief. It was only then, I stared into the mirror opposite me and realised that, despite my wild-eyed, crazy bag lady look, I didn’t look that bad.


So why didn’t I feel right without makeup?

I felt like someone had taken my mask from me and made me go out and face the world et al with my duller counterpart. It was sickening. Would people even recognise me? Doubt it.

My experience of makeup has been a mixed bag. I’ve had good times, bad times, orange times, bushy-browed times, spotty times, deathly pallor times and even, dare I say it, pretty times.

I think it all started at my first ever go at dressed up. I was at a family Halloween party. I went as Kylie Minogue. I was three. There was glitter involved. And rosy-red cheeks. I loved it.

It started a trend. I was a natural girly girl and I embraced it.

I remember when I first properly discovered makeup -  I was around five or six and my auntie, who was then a hairdresser, used to put curlers in my hair and put makeup on me, at my demand – with the indignant insistence that only a child can have. I was a drama queen even then.

Makeup made me better. My cartoon-like features became more pronounced. I achieved sexy. I mastered the no-makeup-makeup-look. I was on to a winner. This was how I was SUPPOSED to look like.

But Jesus it was depressing taking the stuff off. Cleanser, toner and ten million face wipes later and my carefully sculpted cheekbones returned to their hamster-cheek ways. My eyes became sunken and googly. And my spots screamed for a felt tip and a dot-to-dot session.

I actually remember rising with the birds and creeping out of our bedroom, with the stealth and grace of a secret agent/gazelle, just to apply a little make-up before the boyfriend woke up. You know, the sort that makes you look like you haven't anything on? A dab of concealer here, a stroke of mascara there... I’d even brush my hair and mess it up again. I’d brush my teeth and try not to smell to minty. I’d spritz some perfume and perfect my best I’ve-just-woken-up-look-how-cute-I-am face. It was worthy of an Oscar win.

But that day, when I went to the shops, I just could not be bothered. I was hungry. I needed food. This obviously came first as I’m a greedy cow. I thought I could get away with it. And I did. I didn’t turn heads. Not least in the right way. And my life went on. No one threw rotten fruit at me. And it felt quite nice to have fresh air on my face for once.

I now skip the slap when I swim, a great joy of mine considering that I hate waterproof mascara as it’s like removing tar from my eyelids. I sometimes even spend a whole day makeup free. Okay, I confess, I usually spend that entire day indoors, but this is progress.

Last week, I didn’t even wear foundation to work. Not one carefully made-up eyelid was batted. Not one.

I'd love to say that beauty is truly skin-deep, but whoever said that was clearly a romantic or under the influence of some sort of narcotic. Christina Aguilera can tell us all that we are "beautiful, in every single way," but she's lying. If beauty was skin deep, the fashion and cosmetic industries would be non-existent and we'd be spending our pocket money on personality classes and the like. Can you imagine?

I'm pretty certain that I owe my success rate with men to the entire cosmetic department of Selfridges. I know I couldn't have done that alone, considering that I look like a 12 year-old male eunuch without makeup.

I’m not quite ready for life without my beloved makeup and I’m pretty sure the world isn’t ready for it either. I’ll stick with my ways for now, but when the mood takes me, I may just strip off and get naked. It’d be rude not to.


21 Aug 2011

Guest Post: Flower Power Nail Art Tutorial

Hello lovely Lauren Loves Blog readers! I'm Vicky and I blog over at Lady Bug Says and today I'm doing a guest post to fill in for Lauren whilst she is away on her holidays :)

I thought I would show you all a simple summery nail art tutorial.

Firstly you will need 4 nail polishes, a neutral and 3 complimenting colours, a nail file, 2 cocktail sticks and a scrap of paper.

I have used All About Face(available in Tesco) in 'Fudge', Barry M in 'Mint Green', Models Own in 'Baby Blues' & Elf in 'Mango Madness'.

Then you need to file down the ends on your cocktail sticks to flatten them off.

You now need to give your nails 2 coats of your neutral colour.

Then you need to put a few large drops of your remaining 3 polishes onto a scrap of paper.

Dip the end of the cocktail stick in your first colour and make 5 dots on your nail in a circular shape, this makes your flower petals. Repeat 2 or 3 times randomly on your nail

Repeat the above step with your second colour.

Finally using your third colour dot in the centre of the petals to make the flower centre.

You can finish it all off with a topcoat of your choice

So there you are! Simple flowery nails :)

Vicky x
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