22 Jun 2017

Review: Urban Decay All Nighter vs the Heatwave

I was sent the legendary Urban Decay All Nighter makeup setting spray last week, and I thought what better way to test it than in the UK heatwave we're having at the moment. 

The spray promises to keep makeup looking perfect for up to 16 hours without it melting, fading or settling into fine lines. Quite a promise! I decided to try it out for a full day at work in this super hot weather, and then for a netball match in the evening, hoping its temperature controlling properties hold out. 

First thing in the morning, here's my makeup

 I wore MAC Studio Fix Fluid foundation and MAC Pro Longwear concealer. I used NYX tinted brow mascara in blonde, MAC fluidline gel eyeliner in blacktrack and NYX Doll Eyes Mascara. I used MAC Creme Cup Lipstick and Charlotte Tilbury lipliner in Pillow Talk. Finally I used NARS Orgasm on my cheeks. I then sprayed on the All Nighter as suggested, in an X and T shape over my face. 

The spray was easy to apply and didn't wet my makeup too much. I felt it gave my face a very dewy look, which I'm not used to as I normally go quite matte. Maybe their De-slick spray would have been better for me

After a full day at work, sweating away in a hot office my face looked like this:

I felt my makeup had mostly stayed in place. My blushed was still on my cheeks and hadn't melted down to my jaw! My eyeliner was still around my eye and not on my eye socket or under my eyelids. Also it hadn't settled into the fine lines around my mouth from where I spend all day chatting which is quite unusual! I still felt more shiny than I was comfortable with, but looking at the before and after pictures it seems I'm just as dewy as when I left the house. 

I decided to push my luck, and wore my full face of makeup to netball! 

Again after netball, impressively my makeup was still fairly intact! A bit had wrinkled up around my nose where I'd scratched it, but otherwise it had faded fairly evenly all over!

Here are the before, after work and after netball photos

Overall, I think it helped my makeup survive some pretty crazy temperatures this week. I think it would have lasted better with a primer and power top-ups too. I found my foundation didn't crease into the lines around my mouth and make them look worse which I was very happy with. It also didn't flake as my skin dried out in the dryer patches which was lovely! My naturally very oily face was probably a big fight for this spray so I think it held up well. I imagine if you have normal or dry skin, this would have worked perfectly to give a lovely dewy texture to skin and maintain makeup. I think this would be perfect for a wedding or night out to keep skin looking fresh and lovely. 

Urban Decay All Nighter is £23.50 for a large bottle which will last a long time!


17 Jun 2017

Outfit Post: Floral Long Kimono

I love Zara. I think it's probably my favourite shop ever. This month, in an effort to not spend money, I've been trying not to shop. Therefore going on the Zara website was a massive mistake, but I'm so glad I did because I adore this kimono. 

 This is the "long printed kimono" from Zara and cost £59.99. It's a lovely floaty fabric and I was comfortable wearing it on a very warm day this week, but was thick enough to feel lovely quality. I love the cute black piping around it, and the tropical floral print fabric. Zara have got a great range of kimonos at the moment here

I paired it with some khaki cropped trousers from Zara, black t-shirt from New Look and gold flip flops from Long Tall Sally.

In other news, I got my hair did! Normally I have a lovely friend do my hair, but I was starting to feel like I only saw her when I wanted something from her so I decided to go to a salon. I asked to go blonder and get a fringe and I love it! I went to Hair OTT in Whiteley, and met a great hairdresser called Jamie. I love it! As you can tell, the day after having it cut I'm still not sure how to style a proper fringe but I'm getting there. 


3 Jun 2017

Outfit post: Evening walks

Yesterday evening, Sam and I took an evening stroll through town to the local new micro-brewery. It's been lovely weather recently, and I thought it would be the perfect time to wrap up with my scarfigan (a scarf-cardigan!) which I created by tucking my scarf into my belt! 

Look at my silly face, I'm so pleased with myself. As we were walking I came across this gorgeous tree covered in lilac flowers so I had to stop to pose for some photos with it as my backdrop. 

I am wearing:
My gorgeous new La Mo Designs Afroklectic lace print scarf - this gorgeous silk scarf was sent to me by the lovely Leonora Asomanin from Brentwood, who I met a little while ago when she threw a fashion show in Portsmouth. She recently started this company, selling large, fair trade silk scarves with ethnic prints
ASOS oversized tunic top worn as a dress (similar here)
Long Tall Sally Sash leather slip on sandals (which are on offer right now!). The softest sandals ever 

The scarf is gorgeously soft and silky. It came beautifully packaged (perfect for gifts, but also to keep the scarf in for safe-keeping). Geek me made a gif of the unboxing!  

We walked down to The Fallen Acorn Brewery in Gosport, Hampshire (just across from the Portsmouth/Gosport Ferry). It does locally brewed beers and has tap room nights on Fridays. It was a fun evening, hanging around and chatting. We walked home along the marina front and obviously a little tipsy, I requested more photos! 

Any ideas on how to wear scarves out there? I'm a big pashmina/wrap fan, but have never owned a lovely silk scarf before and have no idea how to wear them (other than tied around your neck like my vision of a 50s air hostess!) Maybe I'll try it around my head!

The brand have lots of other lovely prints - check them out here. They are all £50. Thank you Leonora


29 May 2017

Summer Dress Edit

Summer dresses are hard to choose from - I look for the perfect balance between pretty and short, but not too short and not too tight. Something which isn't sexy or hard work, but just easy to float around in. I've been looking for a while, so thought I'd share with you my favourite picks for the moment if you're having the same struggle. P.S for a TLDR (too long, didn't read) I'd recommend you head straight to New Look who appear to be smashing it.

Blue tie-front denim midi dress - £24.99 from New Look

Black wild Poppy dress - £30 from Silkfred

Vero Moda Gingham dress - £28 from ASOS

Red wrap-front midi dress - £27.99 from New Look (comes in other colours)

Louche Priam Spotty Dress - £48 from Joy the Store


20 May 2017

Hollywood Bowl Portsmouth Grand Opening!

On Thursday night I went to the newly refurbished Hollywood Bowl in Gunwarf Quays, Portsmouth with my BFF/housemate Sarah. It used to be Bowlplex for anyone local who remembers awkward first dates there. It was lovely to step out from the pouring rain into a busy evening, with lots of local businesses trying out the newly launched bowling allies.

The event was launched by a Marilyn Monroe look-alike who cut a ribbon to the VIP section. The VIP section was pretty cool - we had curtains around us and the incredible "princess Beth" kept popping in to see if we were ok. She was lovely, and I love they made her name badge say Princess (she's the one next to me in pink)

 So Sarah and I got down to bowling! Turns out I'm pretty poor at it!

Interesting technique Lauren...

Turns out fanning my arms around doesn't make the ball curve and do what I want. Look at me jumping around like a silly 


Sarah was much better at bowling and got two strikes! However the more wine she drank, the more I caught up (the pink wine is amazing). I also love that we didn't have to wear bowling shoes - no more stinky second hand shoes. Unless you're wearing stilettos, they are happy for you to wear whatever shoes you like. 

They still have the arcade area with pool tables, although we didn't venture that far. They've also built an American diner with loads of retro food. We tried out lots of it, including popcorn chicken, hot dogs, and the DELICIOUS veggie burgers which were better than the regular ones. 

They also did milkshakes and the oreo ones were just amazing. Here's me trying to pose like Audrey Hepburn in the background. The VIP lanes have Hollywood celebrity themes, and I love that I was paired with Audrey.

Obviously being me, I took the time to pose. I got a sticker for trying, and Sarah got some for being a winner. I'm wearing my favourite new top - this gingham Primark peplum blouse, with my ASOS Ridley jeans 

It was a really fun night! I can't believe I hadn't been bowling in 10 years! I really enjoyed the experience, it was a real laugh. I also remembered that I used to not enjoy it because it wasn't cool to enjoy bowling when I was younger. I'm pretty sure at 16 it wasn't cool to enjoy anything (just like the super-cool T4 presenters who thought everything was lame).

If you're planning a visit, remember under 18s can't go in alone in the late evenings due to the alcohol. The bowling is fairly disability friendly, and I'm told they're trying to find time to create an autism friendly bowling slot.

14 May 2017

Long Tall Sally weekend outfit #StyleHasNoRules

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Long Tall Sally. They have a new campaign where they found 80% of children wear what makes them happy, but for some reason as adults we don't feel this way. They got a group of 6-8 year olds to style some adults and the results were so cute! Check it out here

In the spirit of this, I chose an outfit I think my 8 year old self would have picked. I was mad into the Spice Girls when I was 8 and would wear anything denim. I often dressed as sporty spice in leggings and a crop top, and would try to steal anything faux fur to be scary spice. This weekend I went to Point Clear in Essex to a family beach house and decided to dress in my 90s favourites

I chose a denim button through midi dress - £65 and the Sash leather slip on sandals - £35. The relaxed but flattering dress is made of a super soft denim (trust me, my post-prosecco nap was very comfortable) and has a drawstring waist and pockets! It reaches my calves but has a cheeky little split to the knee which makes it modern and gorgeous. Plus the adjustable straps allow you to make as much cleavage as you want. 

The sandals were also really comfortable. The large soft band of leather was really comfortable for wondering on the beach with Teddy dog.

I think 8 year old me would have liked this outfit - cool enough to look like a trendy adult who knew what they were doing, but fun enough to feel like I was in Spice Girls or B*Witched! Maybe even Misteeq.

Having a weekend away in the beach house with little to do except hanging out with family and drinking prosecco is the dream. We've not done much, but sometimes doing nothing at the weekend in different surroundings is exactly what I need to do!

Sadly today is back to real life and work, but I'm going to try and make the most of lying in a different bed in the morning, walking on the beach and staring out the window at the sea!

4 May 2017

Starting Netball as an Adult

I thought I'd write a mini series of posts on hobbies and starting hobbies as an adult. I know for me, when I finished studying and moved back in with my parents after university, I was a bit lost. I was trying to get a job and move out, my friends weren't around anymore as we'd all gone off to all over the country for uni. I started exploring new ways to make friends as an adult which is surprisingly hard. I thought I'd share some of my ideas for hobbies I've developed over the past 6 years. The first one is getting into netball!

Getting into my late 20s, I've started playing netball for the first time ever! After I had my spine fused  at 16, I was really scared to do exercise in case I damaged myself. However this time last year I finally joined a gym. I was finally doing exercise and actually enjoying it. In Autumn last year, one of my friends, Marie, told me about her netball team.

I'd played a little netball in school back when I was about 10 years old, but not really done much after that. Once I'd had my back operation, I thought organised sport was off the table for me. However, Marie introduced me to her netball team and I went along to a couple of practices. It was SO nerve-wracking to go along and meet all the girls, who had mostly been playing continuously since leaving school and were amazing. However they were really lovely and supportive and really helped coach me gently into learning the rules and remembering how to play. This is me after a training session!

I signed up to the team after a few practices with trepidation. We play for a Royal Navy affiliated team, and started going along to matches thinking I would be watching. The team were short of players, so I was thrown into the deep end of competing almost straight away. Luckily with their kindness and shouting at me from the sides, I managed to get by and quickly learnt how to play. I think playing matches really helped me learn on the go. I also felt less guilty that I wasn't great, because they reminded me that without me there, they were a player short! A rubbish player has to be better than none at all!

Through their training and matches I've learnt to "be more mean" (that's what I get shouted at me each week!). At 5'9" I'm pretty tall, so I tend to play in the goal ends where there is a bit more shoving, defending, attacking... you have to be tough. Initially I felt really uncomfortable pressing my body into a goal shooter to keep them away from the goal post, or pressuring the goal attack out of the half circle. Now I'm slowly getting more attacking and enjoy learning how to play each position (except centre and any of the wings... I'm too gangly and slow for those!)

All in all, I love it. I still get a little nervous before matches but I absolutely love it. It's so exciting to go down and play, even when we're on a losing streak. We have a little whatsapp group and so much chat goes on there. We also have in-jokes and all the other aspects of "belonging" which I love about the team. I look forward to meeting the girls on the court each week, and going out together outside of matches

Now I'm an affiliated England Netball player, I've discovered it's a thriving network, with clubs in most towns and leagues of adult women wanting to play. They are hugely passionate about promoting the game and getting more women into playing beyond school years. You can start with the Back to Netball scheme as a gentle re-introduction, or you can go to one off coaching sessions with Netball Now. Beyond that, google for your local netball league and see if you can join a team, or help out teams without enough players as a floater. Finally, older people with less athletic ability can start Walking Netball. Give it a go!

26 Apr 2017

Review: MAC Fluidline Gel Eyeliner in Shade

 As someone who wears eyeliner every day, I have tried lots of different ones. I used to stick with little brushes in pots liquid liner, but at work I noticed my supervisor had a gorgeous eyeliner on - it looked matte black, as she moved around and moved her eyes, I noticed it was actually a dark green when it caught the light. I loved how subtle it was and said (embarrassingly) "please take this as a compliment - I love your eyeliner because it reminds me of magpie feathers when they catch the light". It could have gone badly, but my supervisor (being the lovely woman she is) took it well and told me it was MAC

That weekend I ran to MAC and said "I need an eyeliner you do which is kind of black but actually green" and thankfully the lady knew what I was gabbling on about and said "oh that's called Shade". I immediately bought it and began playing around with it. It's £16.50 and I got it from Debenhams

For the purposes of this blog, it was so hard to photograph. I took photos of it in the pot, out of the pot next to black, with and without flash... and it was so hard to tell it wasn't black in the photos. I managed to get some though. With this eyeliner, the more you apply, the darker it looks on the eyes.

It's a lovely smooth texture, but firmer than their classic black eyliner "blacktrack". However it smooths out evenly and can be built up to look darker. I found it quite hard to apply to a perfect "point" at the ends however as it kind of fades out as you'll see in the photos. I also had a difficulty with this colour when it dries as it seems to stay "wetter" than the black eyeliner from the same range and therefore can transfer to the browbone when I look up. This might be because I layer it on quite thick to get the black/green colour, so I have to make sure I don't look up! However once it is dry, it's not budging and will last all day without smudging or running off!

The best way to demonstrate how it looks is with photos of it on my face! So here is me at a normal distance

I like to think you can't really tell it's green on first glance, but it makes my green eyes look brighter. Then as I talk and move around and hold eye contact maybe you might start to notice it's green? This is indoors, in darker light.

Then close up...

and in brighter light...

Also quick question to dyed blonde girls - what do you use on your eyebrows to define them, but so they don't look too dark or ginger. This is Wunderbrow in blonde and I've just realised how orange it is!
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