Sunday, 23 December 2012

Westfield London Haul

It's been ages since I've written a haul post, because, quite frankly, it's been ages since I let go and treated myself to a big shopping trip. I do feel that these posts can look a little self-indulgent, but personally I really enjoy seeing what other people have lugged home in their shopping bags, so why not, eh?

I was treated to a bit of money for Christmas under the strict instruction to spend it on nice things and not waste it all on day to day stuff, so I obliged happily. I know, I know, should have waited till the post-Christmas sales, but I fully intend to spend pretty much all Christmas partying like an 80s rock star and then I'm in France for the New Year - and nobody wants to wait that long! Besides, I hate how shops get all messy and unorganised during the sale season, I much prefer neat tidy ones. (Admittedly, that's a little less rock'n'roll of me)

Aldo Aureola bracelets
I had a little snoop around in Aldo for some shoes, but didn't find any I liked. Instead, I picked up a pack of these bracelets to add a bit of fierceness to some of my outfits. Generally speaking, the high street jewellery I saw was a little disappointing. I'm bored of owls, moustaches and crosses. Any tips on where to look for something a little different?

Lush Bath Ballistics: Golden Wonder, Father Christmas and Melting Snowman
Lush was quite the experience: Small, hot, crammed with shoppers, concentrated soap smell and overexcited staff (the girl on the till started dancing when I paid). But it was worth it for a few limited edition bath goodies. I've been eyeing up Golden Wonder and the Melting Snowman last year already, but was gutted when I didn't manage to get them. On a side note, whatever it is that Lush give their employees, I want some too.

Little Big Planet Karting for PS3
A little something to play with the boyfriend or whoever fancies to pop in on quiet nights. Spent about an hour and a half playing it tonight and kept losing resulting in a massive strop on my side. Perhaps it's not such a good idea to buy racing games when I'm such an awful loser...

Ice Aquarium from Pylones
I'm not a massive fan of Pylones. I like colourful things, but this shop pushes even my limits. The boyfriend's a fan, however, and that's how we ended up with a fishy ice cube tray. Why ever not, eh?

H&M Dark Side of the Moon Print Top
Not sure if this counts as a dress or a top, but if in doubt you could always wear it as both. It looks equally good over leggings or tights as it does on its own and the slouchy fit makes for very comfortable wear, though the sleeves are cut very low, so skipping the bra is not an option!

Models Own Nail Polishes in (from l-r) Peaches & Cream, Pink Punch, Luis Lemon, Magenta Divine
Being a beauty blogger, there was naturally no way I could have just walked past the giant nail polish bottle that was the little Models Own shop. They had a promotion on where you could buy one nail polish for £5 or four for £12. It would have been rude not to. These aren't exactly winter colours (apart from the glittery one), but there's nothing to cheer me up on a dreary, soggy day like a pop of neon nail polish. Reviews and swatches will naturally follow.

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers
The very first purchase of the day. At the beginning of the year I put them on my beauty wish list, yet all along I just kept on putting them off, because let's face it: Beauty tools aren't a particularly exciting purchase. I hope these live up to the hype, but either way I'll let you know how I get on with them!

River Island White lip printed t-shirt
I used to have a similar t-shirt that I loved to pieces, but it got ruined in brown gooey mush when the washing machine broke (sad story, isn't it?). Spot colouring usually makes me cringe a little, but surely this doesn't count?

Nip + Fab Dark Circle Fix
Does anyone else find shopping for eye cream to be such a chore?? It took me forever to find one that sounded sort of appealing. I would have just stuck to the Murad one I tried recently, but this blog's causing this urge to try new products all the time. Expect a review in a month or so, when I've had it long enough to see any effects.

Urban Outfitters Grey Carlton High Top trainers,  Glitter Phone Clutch and Triangle necklace
By far the most successful stop of the day was Urban Outfitters. These amazing hi-tops were on sale for £20 - bargain! The necklace is an attempt to build my pretty much non-existant jewellery collection and you can't really go wrong with geometric shapes.
Now, when I saw the phone clutches I almost screamed. Which genius came up with this idea?? The amount of times I headed out and only wanted to take my phone and some cards, but had to lug around a hand bag to keep them in - this has a compartment for your phone and one for your cash as well as a few card slots and a handle that can be wrapped around the wrist. Genius. Simply genius.

Have you treated yourselves to any shopping lately? Let me know in the comments section below!

Friday, 21 December 2012

End of the Year / World Post

So far this whole end-of-the-world thing has been unsurprisingly anti-climatic. But with the year slowly coming to an end it's time for many to reflect on the past twelve months and maybe even (yes, I'm going to say it!!)... make some resolutions?

2012 has been a tough year for me, in many different ways. I had surgery on my wrist twice and even faced the prospect of disability at one point. I broke up with my fiance after five years and got back together with him several months later under the most ridiculous of circumstances. I moved country three times, alienated my family and racked up loads of debt, half of which I've paid off now. I had three jobs, all of which I had to quit and lived in four different cities. I made some great friends, only to lose them again. Without a doubt, it's been the most eventful year of my life so far, but rather than stick my head in the sand as I normally would, I came out stronger, more confident and fearless.

If there's one thing I've learnt over the last year it's that no matter what happens and how bad you think it is, it will turn out to be for the better in the long run. Learn your lessons and accept that what doesn't kill you will only make you stronger. If it wasn't for all that crap that happened this year I wouldn't be the person I am today, and as cheesy as that sounds, I'm grateful for that.

One thing I've read about in a recent issue of Zest magazine that I can wholeheartedly agree with is that New Year's resolutions shouldn't just be about all the things you want to give up (ultimately making life a lot more boring and frankly, a bit shit). This year, rather than saying that I want to lose two stone, stop drinking alcohol, never ever have takeaway again and blah and blah, I want to think of ways in which I can ENRICH my life.


Let's be honest, I'm not going to stop doing unhealthy things permanently. I'm still going to enjoy a glass of wine (or two or three), go to parties and not get enough sleep from time to time. But that's fine. The one thing I want to change is to listen to my body more. I enjoy eating healthy foods and I enjoy exercise, but sometimes these things get a little bit lost.
Our bodies are great at telling us exactly what they need, but do we ever listen? Most of us don't even know what it's like to be hungry, because we eat out of habit. What I've learnt through my injury was that trying to change your body hoping that it will give you more confidence is reverse thinking. But if you learn to appreciate your body for all the good things it does, then positive change will come by itself.


My goodness, the amount of time I've apologised for being MIA due to my crazy personal life this year. Truth be told, I love blogging and I love reading other people's blogs. I think this long, rambly post shows just how much I love writing and expressing myself, so I promise I'm going to try to be a better blogger next year.
Hand in hand with that goes starting to take my camera out with me. Truth be told I can never be bothered to lug it around with me, but then I'm annoyed cause I have nothing other than my phone to take snaps with.


Don't know what that's going to be yet, but ideally something that will push me out of my comfort zone. Any suggestions?

Have you started thinking about your New Year's Resolutions yet? Let me know in the comments section or leave a link to your blog if you have!
And to make up for that wall of rambling and blabbing, here's a cute picture of an owl in a hat:

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Murad Christmas Kit: Reveal Radiance

One thing I really love about pre-Christmas shopping is all the beauty kits available to buy. Granted, there are a few duds out there with products shops are desperate to shift - shockingly overpriced just for a bit of fancy packaging. But there are also loads of really great sets to get your mitts on with huge savings to be made. And in my books the only thing better than a great beauty product for Christmas is several great beauty products to play around with.

This year, Murad have launched several skincare kits which are perfect for gifting (and you've still got time to dash to your nearest department store for any last-minute emergency purchases).
Kindly enough, the people at Murad sent me the Rescue Radiance kit* to sample at home a fair while ago. The reason I only write about it now is because the products in there performed very differently and it took me a while to figure out which one was doing what to my skin.

This kit consists of:

  • Active Radiance Serum, 30ml
  • Complete Reform, 3.7ml
  • Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture, 7.5ml
  • Essential-C Eye Cream SPF 15 | PA++, 4ml
And for me, there was a product I liked, one I loved, one I felt fairly indifferent about and one I have a sort of love/hate attitude towards.

Packaging-wise the kit isn't too over the top and kept rather simple, but in my opinion that goes quite well with the brand ethos. The set is aimed to give skin a bright and radiant glow.
Now, on to the actual products. Let's start with the one I liked.

Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture is a daily moisturiser, which is meant to keep skin intensely hydrated and plumped. Despite its richness, the cream sinks in quickly and feels incredibly light on the skin. 

For my fairly normal skin it delivered the perfect hit of moisture, without at all weighing it down. It wasn't sticky or greasy but kept my face wonderfully moisturised. If it had an added SPF I would go as far as saying it's perfect. Nonetheless, it's a fantastic product I would more than happily recommend.

Now, on to the one I love. The Essential-C Eye Cream does feature an in-built SPF and again it feels insanely light-weight on the skin while providing it with a delicious hit of moisture.

What ultimately makes this a winner in my book, however, is that it is the second eye cream I have ever tried that really made a difference to my dark undereye circles (the other one is All About Eyes by Clinique). Nothing overly dramatic - the only thing that permanently rids me of them is plenty of sleep, water and a thick concealer - but it does make them less noticeable and made me instantly look a lot more alive than I felt in the mornings.

Next up, a product I'm not really sure about. The great thing about the Active Radiance Serum is that you get a whopping 30ml of product which will seriously last for ages. The texture is again quite light, but it doesn't sink into the skin as quickly as the moisturiser does.

Murad claim on their website that this will improve skin firmness by up to 63% in 15 minutes and unfortunately my own experience doesn't confirm that. To be fair my skin's still holding up well as I'm only 23, so perhaps more mature skin would experience a stronger effect.

For quite a while I was convinced that this serum was breaking me out, but that turned out to be wrong when I started shuffling products around. What I did find, however, was that it had virtually no effect on my skin whatsoever, neither positive nor negative. Again, maybe mature skin would benefit more from this, but for me this serum is more of a take-it-or-leave-it product.

Ah, now to the arguably most interesting product of them all. Complete Reform is as far as I understand a cross between a serum and a glycolic peel. I've heard a lot of people rave about the effects of glycolic acid in skincare, so I was very intrigued by this little tube.

As the packaging suggests you don't need to use an awful lot of this at a time - a little goes a long way. The consistency is quite similar to the serum, but it sinks into the skin almost as soon as it touches it, so there's no residue what so ever.
The first time I used it I was amazed. I don't even know where to begin telling you what a huge impact it made on my skin. It was soft and silky as a peach, bright, radiant... I swear it was almost as if my face was glowing. Then little red lumps started appearing on my skin. And from then onwards, those little red lumps got angrier and redder and more painful with every application. I took a break and they took almost two weeks to clear up. As soon as I began using Complete Reform again, they came back. "Gutted" doesn't even begin to describe how I feel. It's a fantastic product, but my skin just cannot handle it - and my skin is anything but sensitive!

So, the verdict in conclusion? I wasn't too keen on Murad after I received one of their products in a Glossybox (and, quite frankly, hated it!), but this kit made me reconsider a little bit. There are some gems in their repertoire and the eye cream is definitely a re-purchase. I'd buy the moisturiser too, but it's slightly out of my price league at the moment. I think the thing with all the products I've tried is that they are just very, very powerful and not everybody's skin is going to agree with them.
If you're interested, they're definitely worth giving a go. I'd recommend asking for a little sample at a counter, just to make sure your skin doesn't react to a product before purchasing. Murad have actually launched a Youth Cam at one of their House of Fraser counters, which gives an in-depth analysis of your skin, so it's definitely worth checking out!

The Reveal Radiance kit retails at £58.50, but contains products worth £137.31, so there's some big savings to be had!

*PR sample sent for consideration

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

No7 Beautiful Skin Energising Mask Review

After the babbling and rambling of my last post we're back to beauty reviews with this post (even though there may be some babbling and rambling thrown in here, as well - I just cannot help myself sometimes).
I bought this mask when my skin was in ridiculously good condition (I'm not showing off, it doesn't happen that often) and I didn't really know what I wanted from my skincare. That's when I came across this "Energising Mask". "Energising" is a good thing, surely - who wouldn't want to have more energy, even though I'm not entirely sure how my skin would behave more energised.

Random Anecdote #1:
I bought this when I was still living in Germany, which unfortunately doesn't have any Boots stores. During a day trip to Holland I spotted a Boots on the side of the road and erupted in a crazy screaming fit. Cue screeching tires, a very tight U-turn and a trip into said Boots. Now, imagine my disappointment when all I found inside was plenty of cough medicine and a teeny tiny No7 stand. Better than nothing, though, I guess. Now that I can go to a Boots as many times as I like again, my life feels so much more enriched.

The Beautiful Skin Energising Mask is what I call a peeley mask. You apply a thin layer onto the face, wait for it to dry and work its magic and then you peel off the hardened product together with whatever rubbish was stuck on your skin. In order for it to dry properly you need to make sure you spread only a very small amount over your skin, which means that this little tube will last for ages and ages.
It's not the most pleasant product to apply, as it's extremely sticky and will give your face an absolutely disgusting yellow tinge.

Random Anecdote #2
One of the first times I used this I got nice and comfy at home (I may have been wearing an Eeyore onesie), relaxed while the mask was working, before making my way to the bathroom to peel it off. In comes my boyfriend with a friend from work, both of them barging their way into the bathroom to say hello (as you do.....), just as I'm peeling what looks like yellow bits of skin off my face. Wearing an Eeyore onesie. I was mortified. His friend was mortified. The boyfriend was laughing so hard he almost cried. Lesson learned? Always lock the bathroom, even when you're home alone. Don't think I'll ever live this moment down.

The peeling-off part of the mask does actually give an odd sense of satisfaction, but be warned: If any of it hasn't dried properly it will stick like mad! Also, make sure your hair is well out of the way and that you don't get any of this on your eyebrows, as pulling it out is anything but fun.

My face afterwards does feel a little cleaner and always looks a little rosy and flushed which I put down to the pulling and tugging of my skin - maybe that's what was meant by "energising"?
Now that my skin is no longer in ridiculously good condition it doesn't really seem to make that much of a difference at all.
All in all, this is a product I will happily use up, but won't rush out to repurchase, as I think I prefer my skincare not to have the same texture as superglue.

The No7 Beautiful Skin Energising Mask retails at £12.50 for a 75ml tube.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Life lately

I'm getting ever so slightly bored of just writing the same old reviews over and over again, so I thought it's about time to give you all a little glimpse into my life with a little catch up post. Not to say there won't be any more reviews, but it's nice to mix things up a little from time to time, no?


I've had black hair, brown hair and (involuntarily) red hair, so I decided it was time to take the plunge and go blonde for a change. As my natural hair colour is fairly dark it took two bleaches to get rid of any orange-ness and I still need one more bleaching session to get it to the colour I want, but it won't be till the start of January, just so my hair can regenerate a little bit. This one's probably worthy of its very own blog post, but only once my hair's finally the colour I want!
At the moment it's a yellowish-golden colour with the ultimate goal being a silvery platinum.


"Mr. Rosenblum's List" is a book I've had for aaaages and this is the third time I'm attempting to read it. Hopefully I'll be more successful this time.
I used to have a subscription to more! magazine when I was at uni and straight away it brings back memories of times when life was just that little bit simpler. After graduating I felt like I was too old for this, but I recently picked up a copy and discovered that the mag has undergone a major redesign and I love it once again!


For a while I had a job where I had access to pretty much unlimited free food and unsurprisingly my belly's filled out quite a lot as a result. Now, during the festive season it's ridiculously hard to lose weight (especially considering my undying love for burgers and cakes and cheese), but I started going for proper runs again and that helps me to at least stop putting on weight.
Running is really a fantastic way of staying fit and healthy and the one thing that always gets me back into it, is this book. If you've ever even considered getting into running then this is a must buy - you will love and cherish it forever, promise!

Out And About

Now that me and the boyfriend are living in London again it would have been inexcusable not to go to one of the Christmas market, so we wrapped up warm and made our way to the one by Southbank Centre. We enjoyed mulled wine, chestnuts (well, I did....) and cheese filled Krakauer sausages and even got some of our shopping done. There was also a tragic incident involving mulled wine and my white Christmas jumper, but it has since recovered and is back to its original white state.

Mmmh.... Cheeeeese....

And guess what was right next to the Christmas market? The CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL! I got so excited with all the lovely chocolate and baked goods on display that I forgot to take pictures with my camera, but made sure we didn't leave empty handed!
There was healthy chocolate (well, as healthy as chocolate can get) and not-so-healthy cupcakes and brownies (some of which didn't survive the journey home and ended up in my belly).

We then moved on to Trafalgar Square to see the huge Christmas tree only to be majorly disappointed by the way it was decorated. I mean, come on.... A few lights that have been chucked over and a star that looked like it's been bought from Poundland - it actually made me angry to look at it. I was already annoyed that I'd trudged all the way there for nothing when something magical happened.
I was convinced it was an urban legend, but there it was, right in front of us: The Coca-Cola Christmas truck! All lit up playing Christmas songs! It's real and I have pictures to prove it!

My life feels just that little bit more complete now that I've seen THE Coca-Cola truck.

What have you been up to lately? Leave me a link in the comments section if you've got similar posts up on your blogs and I'd love to have a little nosey peek! :)