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August 2014
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October 2014

Milan Inspiration | Night

It's already almost Wednesday and I am going away to Milan on Friday, eek! This has been the most organised I have been for a holiday - not that I have been disorganised before but I started getting things ticked off the to-do list a few weeks ago. For any random ideas like a selfie stick (omg) and getting an extra memory card so maybe I can vlog (ahhh!), I noted them down in my phone and just started crossing things off earlier than usual. These things always come around so quickly and sometimes it does feel like a lot of pressure when you build the anticipation, but I'm just feeling really excited for this trip!

I still do not have my outfits finalised though and will definitely be sorting this tomorrow evening. I definitely have things to wear but I don't know exactly what my outfits are yet, and I can only take 10kg of just hand luggage with me so I can only afford to carry what I will definitely wear. Airports this year also seem to be only allowing one clear sandwich bag of liquids. Have you see the size of that Polly Pocket bag that has to fit all makeup and toiletries, and 100% close?! I've had to chuck away may products recently while a security person looked on as I reasoned over a body lotion VS. a lipgloss. Even a deodorant takes up about a third of that mouse-size bag!

I've pulled together some current inspiration for night time looks from Tumblr. Colleen (a RAD blogger!) commented that I hadn't shared my Tumblr before recently and I realised it's so true, even though literally I'm on Tumblr evvvvery day! My night time laptop routine is emails, twitter, blogs and then Tumblr. I'm back into watching YouTube videos while I'm pottering around too, and if I ever filmed a 'Nighttime Routine', it would be SO boring! Literally just me eating dinner and then sitting on my computer or washing my hair and scrubbing off my makeup. Would my life be better if I made a posh tea in a favourite mug and lit a scented candle? Maybe!! I don't even have a favourite mug, what am I doing with my life.

So basically I spend lots of time on Tumblr to reblog images of things I want to try or buy soon, like a visul shopping/beauty list. Then I'll visit it before nights out or holidays and pin point some things I want to try. When I sit down to do my makeup before going out, I need some direction or I end up adding and adding random products and have to take it off and restart as it goes wrong! I'll often try to copy a look but as I am using my own products, it ends up being a mix of my own style and preferences.

So for the past few days I've been obsessed with a very certain lip colour in my mind, and am going to hunt it down in town before I go away. I need a matte red that's definitely not plum or pink toned and not too vampy, almost like a rosy but pigmented stain? HMM! I'll ask at MAC and then browse around for a dupe maybe. I'm feeling everything matte for this holiday and I just got a new MAC Studio Careblend powder so can make sure my skin is a seamless canvas for a deep, chunky lipstick and lots of lashes and contour. As it's Milan, I'm all about jewel tones and jewel accessories! I'm going to take my most fabulous jewellery, bags and shoes, and really go all out. My last trip to Amsterdam felt very laid back and a bit more hipster, but I'll bring out my best classy/sassy lady vibes for Milan!

Now I just need to figure out what to wear for the day time! I have actually packed away my summer things and I don't think shorts or co-ords are so appropriate for a city. I'll definitely be pulling apart my wardrobe tomorrow!

In that case... Emoji iPhone case

I have mentioned recently that gadgets are not a passion of mine and I begrudgingly have an extortionate iPhone 5 contract, even though the camera is pretty pants. I think a portion of my mega monthly payout is that I can upgrade whenever I want to, BUT I just got the sweetest new phone case and this baby is sticking around!

Things are getting slightly emoji crazy as I saw this 'print' on Tumblr and knew it would make for the case of dreams! I tweeted that I couldn't find a phone case I liked anywhere and Fay suggested making my own! What a genius idea - I am obsessed with Tumblr and reblog millions of pictures that I would happily paste onto my phone. I wanted something a little tongue-in-cheek though as not everything needs to be too chic and serious in life, right! I got mine from CaseApp as they have a seriously inspirational Instagram with blog-worthy set ups. I'm not one for arranging flowers and complimentary colours for my blog photos (when I get chance to take them!) but their Insta has some really clever ways of photographing the different cases.

So cute!! So sassy!! Heart eyes overload. 

Nails of the Week 36: Barry M Coconut

Another day, another week gone by! I have freed up my weekend so I might do a little window shopping, where I don’t really need anything but may have a payday treat if I see something extra spesh! I am going to Milan for a long weekend on Friday too so please let me know of any recommendations or actually if you have seen any rather nice outfits in the shops right now?! I have a few things I can wear for the nights out, which luckily will be a bit dressier than many European cities we have visited, where no one really wears heels even. A major reason I look forward to nights out is because it’s a chance for me to wear anything I want to, so I’m excited to getting glammed up, despite not finding anything new to pack!

I also might get my nails done this weekend but I’m not sure whether to wait until the morning of my flight or have them a week in advance and tidy them up a little on the day. Pointed nails definitely round off when you type furiously across the day like me and can become uneven.

My latest nails are Barry M coconut; a colour I had my beady eye on for a while and could not feel satisfied without. I find more and more that during the very few chances I have to pop to Superdrug or Boots that the products I am actually after are sold out. What a pain! There’s been a Sleek Matte Lip Cream I’ve been hunting for for around a month! Frustrating to hear ‘our next delivery is xxx’ when you know you have to work all week and can’t get back until another weekend! So I discovered, an absolute nail polish mecca, and their home delivery is totally free so I could order my prize Coconut and also the new Almond Gelly. It's almost the same in the bottle as Matte Vanilla, which I actually added a shiny top coat before! Because polishes are small, they fit through the letterbox too so it’s a fuss-fee way to just get that polish you are after. Plus they have in stock all of the latest colours that just scream autumn. I don't often have dark nails but reds and purples are calling me. Once I have that nail polish itch, I need to scratch it!

I might have a clear section or cool design, like my last heart nails, for my holiday but for this month I opted for a classic full polish of Coconut, which is a creamy off-white - perfect if bright white is too stark and Tipp-Ex-like for you. I also had the urge for something a bit out of the box and got the 100 emoji sign on my thumbs! The guy doing my nails did think I was slightly cray cray again but definitely appreciates something different to do! They look a little bit like I am counting to 200 but those who are emoji fans get the joke! Do you remember the days of my bejeweled nails? I might revisit my nail decal (fit to burst) shoe box and see what I can find for my holiday! 

It's all about the suede at Missguided

I've finally got iCloud on my laptop so yes, I have been living in the stone age! But this does mean I can grab photos from my phone easily and share them - sweet! Indeed I don't have much time to be a technical guru, hence why I've never invested in a fancy camera or got all snazzy with my old YouTube channel editing. I'm quite a private person so as internet fame can grow so huge now, I just want to talk to the like-minded gals out there and chat about outfits and being 25! Alas I can never go back to the days when I first started my blog and the blogging world was such a tiny, scattered community, but I did just read a few of my oooold (circa 2008) blog posts and have felt all nostalgic! If only I could rewind back and relive the fun.

Anyhow, random exert aside! I must remember I am now a working woman striving towards the next steps on the career and life ladder (or jungle gym as Sheryl Sandberg would say), and I'm riding a shift from those little party dresses to something a big more sophisticated. Fashion is going this way at the moment anyway, as bandage dresses make way for ankle length pencil skirts (I'm looking at you Kim K - where can I buy one?!), but I'm trying to channel a little more business bitch/classy/sassy into my life. I still feel like I have to make an effort to feel a little more sophis rather than just waking up like that, but does anyone really wake up looking their ultimate?!

This Missguided Berryana skirt caught my eye right away, which wasn't hard as I literally visit that site every day. It's like my lunchtime commencing ritual. I've been mostly wearing midi dresses for nights out this year and pencil skirts would be right up my street if there were more out there in any material but polyester-stretch. I'm also quite full in the hip/bum area so it can be tricky to find one that fits. Don't even get me started on trying to find slim fitting work trousers!

I first bought the nude colour of the skirt and it is truly a gorgeous camel colour. I wore it to a 'casual' night with a friend where we drank many cocktails at a cool bar, ended up at a '90s r'n'b night we vowed not to go to, and ended up at an underground reggae club. I'm not about to now say 'and it was the perfect outfit!' because I dont't think there is a perfect outfit for that varied night, but it was awesome and felt quite nice to be wearing something I deemed quite laid back as it was essentially a plain skirt with a £4 H&M top I bought for the gym! I can see this outfit really isn't laid back but hey, it is slightly!

This week I also ordered the black and the red versions, but the red looked too much like velvet and somehow I don't think black really does a lot for me now my hair is lighter. I almost forgot, I also ordered the matching top to the nude skirt, which has such a gorgeous halter neck shape. I haven't tried the set on together as it may be a little too much of one thing, but the top is lovely in itself and will look fab with high waist jeans. I really have the urge to slash and rip the knees of all of my jeans, eeek!

I also adopted a berry lip that night, which was Rimmel Addiction lip liner - a very brown, rich nude, leaning toward the warm mauve side, and MAC Diva lipstick, which is a deep plum. At one point it smudged everywhere and almost looked like I had cried a tear of lipstick (embarrassing!) but overall it stayed put all night and I rather liked wearing such a bold lipstick and feeling very put together. Gosh sometimes I think I look so different from Saturday mornings running my errands with no makeup on, to the base I throw on for work at 7am, to the truckload of products and colours I carefully apply for evenings out!

Sometimes I think is that me, because I look different in each different mirror?! Is that insane? There are some mirrors in my house that always show things in an unflattering light, but some where things are OK! And then I catch myself in a shop mirror and think, did I think I walked out of the house looking like this?! I think the issue is I only have a small vanity mirror in my room and often step out the house without really seeing myself! So sometimes I don't really know what I look like nowadays - does that make sense? Haha this post is all kinds of random :)

Turn £15 into £30 at MAC, Benefit, Bobbi Brown... #ShareToWear

I would never normally share shopping offers or deals but holey moley I have something beaut for you! I joined Buyapowa a while ago, which offered beauty products from high end brands and the more people bought each item, the lower the price would go. Now they are only working exclusively with brands to double your money and at the moment it's Debenhams with #ShareToWear. For the next few days only they have 300 £30 vouchers for £15 each...! Last time I joined and bought two of the vouchers and I just purchased £60 of MAC makeup for £30!! And the deal is BACK today!

The offer last week was dubbed the AW clothing offer, but the voucher you receive is for the whole of Debenhams, and you are sent the voucher via email so you can use it online... AND claim your Beauty Club card points... AND at the moment they are offering a free beauty goody bag with a £50+ spend... AND there is free delivery to stores!

The deal is back for the next few days and at the moment the voucher costs £15 and automatically turns into £20, but like last time, it is due to sell out rapidly and sure to hit the £30 mark. Already 50 vouchers have sold. You do not need to use the vouchers until March 2015 so if you know you will be buying Christmas presents in Debenhams, sign up for a few vouchers today and you are basically doubling your money later in the year. There is not a MAC counter at Debenhams in Bullring so I ordered my MAC items online (which were mostly repurchases I knew I need soon!) and there is also Urban Decay, Benefit, Bobbi Brows, Estee Lauder.... the list goes on! And there is skincare and perfume - what's not to love!

I actually bought another voucher this week as I know I have birthdays coming up and never usually splurge on high end. Half price baby! The vouchers are sent to you when the deal ends and I had already planned exactly what I would buy before then. Take the chance and hurry - good luck! Social shopping is the future.

Nails Of The Week 35: White Heart

These nails were more of an accident as if you remember, I've had heart nails before. I was actually inspired by Vanessa Hudgen's mega nails and the dude doing my nails definitely laughed when I showed them him! But on shorter nails with a rounded cuticle, the bare triangles actually made the design look like hearts!

My favourite thing about leaving the base bare is that nails can grow out a little without it being noticeable! Gaining one more week before an infill is much more economical. Pointed nails do round off a little but filing them lightly gets them back to claws in no time, and they remain my favourite shape. I'm feeling a nude colour next as autumn approaches but I like these subtle designs at the moment; a sure bet for many compliments!

FYI this snap was taken in the new Selfridges beauty hall at Bullring where there is a host of those unique beauty products that have cult status but are hard to come by. Louise Young brushes, Aesop, and these EOS lip balms certainly caught my eye! I had the lemon yellow flavour earlier this year when the hall was unveiled and it felt very cool taking it out of my bag and applying the dome shape. Speaking of bags, I'm so after a new one for AW14 but have yet to find the perfect bag. Always the way - I'm so not a bag person! 

Show me the Shu Uemura

After my treat makeover at Illamasqua, beauty goddess Rose hooked me up with a session at Shu Uemura. This Japanese brand has always flown under my radar as a makeup brand but their skin care always attracted me – especially those rainbow coloured oils. I don't have the luxury to chop and change too often between my essential products so being talked through a full face is so valuable (and usually complimentary at many counters!).

After an hour or so with charmingly lovely Eva at the Selfridges Bullring counter, I came away absolutely armed with new tricks, techniques, and a whole lotta lust for the Shu Uemura movement.

In the past few years, beauty blogging turned my attitude to cosmetics into a sea of the ‘latest hype’ and ‘this month I love a whole set of different things’, making me shy away from investing in expensive products just as the next comes on the market and steals the crown as the new must-have. It is very overwhelming and I wanted to read and watch every single review and mention about an item before buying, which is stressful! A new brand would pop up and soon everyone would be touting a concentrated glacial iconic spritz that I never knew I needed, and hadn’t yet mastered even my favourite foundation. I don’t have enough attention or budget left to be trying and buying so many products, and my own beauty routine felt more and more inferior.

I took a step back from beauty shopping for a while but I’ve been feeling so inspired recently by meeting lots of brands and hearing about solid recommendations of staple products from Rose, rather than the new product sent to by PRs. Getting to know products and collections in person takes away the clouds and you have room to get hands on, without reading a rave review and feeling the pressure. I’ve had chance to really think about what it is I need for the next few months and the looks I want to go for myself, without too much comparison with others. Funnily enough, now I feel even more into reading beauty blogs and watching YT videos on beauty! I just needed to get a grip I think.

I began my time with Shu Uemura with a snazzy glass of bubbly – perfect as I’d left work a little early and was ready to ring in the final Bank Holiday weekend of the year. Unlike other counters, Shu begins with a facial. When you go for a purely cosmetic session at other brand counters, you are often handed a face wipe to rub off your makeup and some moisturiser is applied, so this was a wonderful chance to experience the Shu Uemura skincare, and also feel refreshed and prepped for a whole new face of makeup after a day at work.

The facial involved clearing and cleaning the face with one of the famous oils most suited to my skin, which is dehydrated. I also said now that I'm in that 25 -30 age bracket, I want to be feeding my skin to cope with life stress and new fine lines that want to pop up. My oil was the green Anti/Oxi Cleansing Oil, to counteract the pollution of city and office life, and rejuvenate for a youthful glow. I also tried out the new SPF 30 Under Base Mousse primer - yes a mousse! Primer is one of those steps that I always skip day-to-day but could probably make the biggest difference to the lasting power of my makeup. The mousse formula makes skin feel light and breathable rather than smoothed and filled like my night-out silicone face primers. Lovely!

The stars of the makeover were the Lightbulb foundation, shadow palette and the actual blush application. The Lightbulb Fluid comes with a super cute button sponge to apply it with, and you get a new sponge with each bottle so you're getting a good stretch for your money. The crazy thing is the high-tech coating of the sponge means you never need to wash it?! I know my own sponges get clogged after a few uses so this is awesome for the time-strapped gal like myself. The application was also right up my dream street - a definite colour payoff and coverage but a finish as light as air.

We couldn't decide which of the new Vision Of Beauty eye palettes to go with as they were all so darn beautiful. Eva chose the orange palette in the end so my eyes were warm copper and pink with a slight pop of hot tangerine.

Shu Uemura himself saw makeup as an art form and only used one brush for the entire face! It really was a technical process rather than standard beauty methods, and products are applied in vertical pats and strokes rather than sideways wiper motions. This led to my blush being placed under my cheek bone in almost an arrow shape, contouring my face so differently that I had to take multiple photos and rethink my usual curved-cheek application. I've tried to snap the results but alas, shop lighting isn't in my favour!

The makeover was such a technical treat that I really saw a different side to sculpting and perfecting the face, rather than flaunting and pouting. I also took away a sample of the cleansing oil and it really does take off makeup as delicately as it is put on, without a hint of harshness. I'm finishing a daily highstreet foundation right now and am considering adding the Lightbulb foundation to my Christmas list or if I have some funds left over during the next few months. It was just so light and and perfect for a poised, polished work face. Thank you Shu Uemura!