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

31 Dec 2013

Goodbye 2013 - a review

Last year I wrote a blog post about my 2012 and resolutions for 2013, and I really enjoyed reading other people's so I thought I'd do it again. 
This year has been amazing. I've been given the opportunity of a lifetime by getting onto the doctorate course I'm doing. I have some amazing friends, family and boyfriend who had made this year so enjoyable. I created a collage of the Instagram photos which show my year
Checking in on the resolutions I made last year...

1. Pay more attention to my blog - keep for 2014
Well I was doing well at this until I started the doctorate! I'm trying to use every football match my boyfriend watches as a chance to blog everything. I need to start writing a blogging diary with my inspiration

2. Say yes more - keep for 2014
I have definitely done this! I used to be quite timid about new opportunities, preferring to play it safe, but I've made big changes this year. I've said yes to things which have scared me such as going out clubbing more often, going on short-notice or unplanned weekends away to London, Dover, Essex, Brighton, Bruges and Spain. I've said yes to experiences which I may have shied away from last year and it's made me feel so happy! This is one I'll keep up for the 2014

3. Say sorry less - maybe keep
I think I'm doing better at this! I do enjoy a good sorry though. 

4. Be less clumsy - bin!
Never. This will never work. Being gangly and knocking my limbs against anything I can is just part of my personality and I (and those around me) need to accept that. I'm just going to have to be the adult with legs covered in bruises in the patterns you normally only see on 5 year olds. 

5. Make more time for my friends - keep for 2014
My best friend Sarah who is an expert at being a good friend gave me lots of advice on this and it's going better I think. I have regular meet ups with my 2 best friends, trying to see my family weekly or more, having pay-day dinners with the girls on my course and attempting to get to know my boyfriend's friends/family and coursemates as well as I can. It's been quite exhausting but I'm pushing myself because it makes me a happier person. 

6. Watch more films - bin!
This still isn't going great. I just don't have the patience for films. I love googling them halfway through to get spoilers! 

7. Look after my skin - keep for 2014
I'm doing well at this. I've ditched liquid foundations (except for nights out) and my skin thanks me for it. I'm trying to fit in regular pampering sessions too. 

8. Take more photos - keep for 2014
I'm keeping up with this one! And I got a really lovely camera for Christmas which wirelessly connects to my phone and laptop so I can keep up with instagramming and blogging. 

9. Keep a diary - bin!
I only managed this till May. It was stressful! 

10. Always have something to look forwards to - keep for 2014
This has been a big change for me. I love having something to look forwards to and have a countdown app on my phone for. Now Christmas has passed I need to think of what my next thing is. My boyfriend and I have a shared document on Google Drive of all the things we want to do/go see/places to eat which we constantly update so we need to check the list out for ideas. 

Happy New Year and thank you to everyone who has supported my blog this year. Link me to your blog posts about new year and I'll check them out

Lauren x

24 Dec 2013

Review: Collection Berry Lipstick - the perfect berry colour?

Every winter I search for the perfect berry-toned lipstick. I want something not too dark but not too red, like the colour of mulled wine! My friend told me about Collection's new Gothic Glam lipstick which sounds a bit  Halloween-y but had the perfect colour in No 3 - Revenge for all my winter-y needs!

The packaging of this lipstick and the smell are nothing to rave about, but the lippie was only £2.99 which I couldn't complain about. The texture is quite matte, but doesn't highlight dry lips and can be patted on for a soft colour, or lashed on for a really deep, sultry berry shade. 

It's a warm red with hints of blue so flattering to most skintones including very pale. cold-toned me. I was scared it would be too intense of my pale, blonde features but it really pops and I am in love! I wore it to my best friend's Christmas party this week (picture below) and have been wearing it most days! 

Gross close-up. Don't know why people would want this photo. 

I think for anyone wanting to try a daring berry lip, this is the perfect answer. At under £3 it doesn't cost a lot to experiment with, and I think it's a suits-all shade. There is a certain level of bleed with this colour so a lipliner would be good, but it's not necessary and the colour is quite easy to apply without a lip brush. It has great lasting power so is perfect for those Christmas and New Year parties coming up. I think one to splash your Christmas cash on. 

19 Dec 2013

Independent Boutique Highlight - Love from Hetty & Dave

I was contacted by Barclaycard Freedom Rewards last week about their new scheme to champion Independent Retailers. I immediately knew I wanted/needed to promote Love From Hetty & Dave, a Bournemouth-based boutique selling all sorts of handmade leather and fabric items as well as vintage beautiful things. I walk past here most weekends and drool over most the lovely items on a regular basis.

Inside the shop, it feels like a kitch treasure-trove of beautiful things. Here's some pictures to show you

A step-ladder of animal shoes! I was very torn between cat, badger, or the love rocks leopard print shoes!

I absolutely love the love birds! 

I chose some gorgeous cat shoes. After the popularity of the Charlotte Olympia cat shoes which are around £500, at £32 they are a tiny percentage of the price, and you can own some hand-crafted shoes. Zoe (the owner and genius who makes them) didn't have my size in so made them for me and texted me when they were ready! 

 I wore mine out at the weekend with my Forever Unique bandage dress

I also got this very handsome sausage dog pillow for £12 who is living on my sofa and scaring my cat! 

What makes Love From Hetty and Dave my favourite local shop? Well obviously the things she sells are gorgeous, handcrafted with love and local (to me) but the very lovely owner Zoe, does custom items too. Do you remember Amy Winehouse's Blake hair clip? Zoe made that! 

So thanks Barclaycard Freedom Rewards for making my shopping dreams come true and allowing me to get a little Christmas present for myself. 

14 Dec 2013

Fashionably Fit - learning to run and SportsShoes

I'm not really sure what The Daily Mail has against women wearing makeup to exercise. In one article, a journalist has a very mean dig at Katherine Jenkins for running the marathon whilst wearing makeup and in another they state wearing makeup when exercising reduces the calories burnt! When SportsShoes got wind of this they created the Fashionably Fit campaign - that women can be fashionable and stylish but still be taken seriously. This campaign really got me thinking, as a self-proclaimed feminist, the idea that women are getting put down and made to feel like they aren't serious athletes because they want to (and are allowed to!) wear makeup and look nice is ridiculous! (and it's clear that the authors have never suffered with embarrassing acne which they will do anything to cover). 

Anyway, back to the campaign, we're asking why can't we look nice whilst exercising? SportsShoes contacted me last week asking if I wanted to try out some running shoes, and I had to admit at this point I'd never, ever gone running. I've done a lot of yoga and hula-hooping, but not running so I thought I could start on my journey using the NHS and Change 4 Life Couch to 5k training programme

I chose the Nike FS Lite running shoes which are amazing! They are super-light and super-bright and I feel like I've got all the gear and no idea! 

I'm also wearing the Nike long sleeve running top which has little thumb holes and is a lovely pink colour! I'm also wearing Nike Pro capri II running tights which are really comfy and easy to move around in. Shockingly I'm also wearing face powder, blusher and mascara! 

Overall I think I'm doing well. From not moving I've managed to run three times this week, and have built up from running and walking, to running a full mile! It has really helped that my boyfriend also bought some trainers so come and keep me company and keep me running!  

I've discovered it's really hard to keep running with cold ears! After my first run I had to come back and curl up to keep my ears warm! Sam managed to naughtily take a picture of my moment of weakness. Since I've been running with ear muffs on! 

Do you wear makeup when exercising? Either way do you care if other people do or don't?

13 Dec 2013

Review: Clinique Party Favours

Last week I was sent the Clinique Party Favours set from John Lewis to review. They have loads of cute little kits at the moment on offer which would make great Christmas presents for a gorgeous girl in your life. 

In the set you get a bright pink, fold down clutch bag, All About Eyes, Limited Edition All About Shadow Compact in Crystal Pink, Hazy, Raspberry Beret and Chocolate Covered Cherry, Quickliner for Eyes Intense Black Honey, Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Colour in Roundest Raspberry, A Different Nail Enamel for Sensitive Skins in Cosmo Chic. 

The nail enamel in Cosmic Chic is a lovely deep pink/purple cherry colour witch incredible shine

(Sorry about my present-wrappers thumb. It's due to the sellotape dispenser cutting into my skin during my earlier wrapping session!)

The nail varnish goes on really easily and is self-levelling. It also dries really quickly so you can get on with getting ready to go out. I'd recommend a top-coat though as I've already chipped some after less than 12 hours. It's supposed to be sensitive to the skin, this isn't an issue I've considered before as I've never found myself allergic or reacting to nail varnish but for those who are concerned this may be an option

Chubby Stick Intense in Roundest Raspberry


I love this product! This Chubby Stick gives a really great colour - a bright berry pink which is really hot this season but without being a terrifyingly dark berry. The texture feels really moisurising but looks like a matte satin and the colour lasts ages. It's really flattering for most skin tones and can be built up to being very intense. I'm really happy with this colour, which I gather is limited edition for this set. 

All About Eyes

All About Eyes is an eye cream which gives anti-dark circles, anti-fatigue and anti-wrinkle, but also has a really interesting texture. Many eye creams I've tried have pilled off when I've applied makeup over them, but this one has a satin finish like a primer and works really well as a base for your makeup. I don't know that I'd buy it again but it's a lovely addition to the set. 

High Impact Mascara

This mascara is certainly high impact! It is quite lengthening, but it also is really intensely dark and very thickening. It has a traditional brush applicator and is really easy to wiggle through lashes for an even coating, including on the smallest little lashes. I would say it performs as well as my favourite L'Oreal mascara so maybe wouldn't spend the money on it individually, but again it really brings the set together and means you can get ready for a night out with only the kit. 

Quickliner for eyes Intense in Black Honey


I was quite anxious about this! It's a brown-red toned eyeliner, and I was concerned it would make me look like I'd been punched in the face! However it's actually a flattering, earthy brown and the pinky tones (as you can see) don't stand out, but instead make my green eyes stand out a little more. It's a lovely, soft alternative to black eyeliner if you are doing a smokey golden eye and would be great for pale people with blonde hair and pale eyes like me.

All About Eyeshadow Palette

This was my least favourite part of the set. The colours were really not flattering for my skin tone and again there were pink shades! It made me think of the eyeshadow palettes from my childhood! I liked that the set had a guide on how to apply eyeshadow, but I'm not an eyeshadow wearer so my skills couldn't translate this into a good look so I thought I wouldn't show it (I didn't want you to all judge how an eyeliner-obsessed beauty blogger can't apply eyeshadow). 

Overall, this was a really lovely little treat! I think it would be a fabulous Christmas present, and contains lots of luxury items, most of which are full-sized. As with any "selection box" there are the odd things you don't like (I'm looking at you Bounty bars) but it's a really gorgeous present and will put a smile on lots of faces! Check out John Lewis' Clinique pages for lots more inspiration


11 Dec 2013

Girl's Gift Guide - for those who don't know what they want

Christmas special edition of Wednesday Wants today. What do you get a girl who doesn't know what she wants for Christmas?

Mango Mac - reduced to £49

Rings from J&S Gems - Around £100-130

Necklace swan - £117

That's about all the sweet treats I can find for today! If you've seen something gorgeous you want for Christmas let me know and I'll add it to the wish list

4 Dec 2013

Ray Bans

I've heard you're either a glasses or hat person. I'm definitely a hat person and Sam is definitely a glasses person but Vision Direct sent Sam some Wayfarer style Ray-Ban RX5260 glasses recently in size 52 and they suit us both! 

Looking stylish in the glasses!

Wearing them I realised with my fringe and knitted jumper, I look a little like I want to be Jess from New Girl (which I totally do) so I'm hoping to use this post as my "blonde New Girl" look for the Zalando competition! Although obviously she's incredibly cute and beautiful where as I'm long day at work fluffy hair.

Love the squiggly red insides!

We found ordering glasses much easier online than we had expected! We chose the glasses from the range on the website, and you enter your prescription details in the relevant boxes, and they arrive a few days later ready to go. They were also much cheaper than expected at £75 for Ray-Bans. I know Sam is delighted, after starting to wear contact lenses, these are his go-to glasses for non-contact lens days; and he'd definitely buy more glasses online (so much cheaper than in store). 

Luckily/sadly for me, I don't need glasses so I don't get a chance to wear these and look very intelligent/New Girl (although they do come without prescription lenses if you want, so if wearing fake glasses is your thing you can!)

2 Dec 2013

Review: Forever Ink Balm

Two weeks ago my boyfriend went to Amanda Ruby in Folkestone to get his half sleeve finished. We went out and bought nappy rash cream as recommended, but then Forever Ink contacted me about their new tattoo aftercare system (perfect timing).  

Forever Ink Balm is a new aftercare cream, specially designed to help the tattoo heal from the moment you get out the studio until it is all healed up. It contains antibacterial manuka honey and vitamins B and E to help soothe and heal tattooed skin, and as it's specifically for tattoos (unlike nappy rash cream) it does the job! 

The balm goes on smoothly and evenly, and turns clear and matte (so no white, sticky arm like with nappy rash cream). You put it on in smooth downwards strokes but don't rub as this could irritate the sensitive skin. You may need someone to help with this, but helper be warned - you'll get gross, black scabby bits on your hands from applying it! Nobody warned me of this! It's also oil-free so once you can get the clingfilm off your tattoo, it won't stain and ruin your clothes in the recovery stage.

It is important to note that because it's used on damaged skin, it shouldn't be shared with other people afterwards so it is a smaller tube as it's not needed life long. It is currently £6.99 at Boots

It's great for scabby, itchy dry tattoos like this:

And if you're interested, here's the before and after photos (but the after aren't fully healed yet)

 The Forever Ink Shield is for when your tattoo is fully healed. It is designed to protect a tattoo for life and reduce fading. It moisturises and has SPF45 protection from the elements, reducing colour fade (especially good for sunny holidays!) It also contains vitamins B, C and E and is quickly absorbed to a matte finish so again dressing is not an issue. This product is bigger as it can be used for longer and should be re-applied regularly if in direct sunlight. (that skin is scarred, look after it ok?!)

The shield is £12.99 at Boots

I was sent these products for review purposes.

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