Saturday, January 31, 2015

Outfit of the Day - Baby it's Cold Outside

I'm back with another outfit post, I'm trying to make these more of a regular thing, but as with all new ventures it can take a little while to get into the swing of things.

For this post, I thought I would try something different in that I've not styled my hair and I'm not wearing a single speck of make-up. I've literally blow dried my hair with a round bristle brush and slathered on my usual skincare. This isn't something I'd normally do, but following on from my post on social media, I thought I'd keep things more natural for once to give you a real glimpse of me. Anyways, on with the post!
Today I'm wearing:-
Coat: Oasis - this is an old old favourite which I purchased around 5/6 years ago
Scarf: Gap - sadly I can't find the link online but it's around £14.99 in store
Jumper: Gap, again. I can't find this online but it shouldn't be hard to find something similar
Skirt: Oasis - sadly no longer available online
Boots: Aldo - again, at least 6 years old!

Whilst I can't find any links, I hope the post will give you some inspiration for styling similar pieces in your wardrobe.
What really drew me to this jacket was the colour, when I first purchased it, it was an incredibly vivid shade of electric blue but over the years, it's faded and become a little worn. Whilst the buttons no longer match the coat, I can't bear to part with it! It still fits incredibly well and nips me in just where I want it to.
As a side note, it's probably the only jacket I own which is remotely lady like so I thought it'd suit this outfit perfectly!
Moving on to what's underneath the coat, my chunky style knitted sweater and this midi-skirt from Oasis which, as a side note I'm totally in love with. Chunky knits are everywhere this winter and whilst they look fabulous with jeans, I actually think they look pretty peachy with a super girly skirt.
Yes, your eyes do not deceive you, this skirt has pockets! How awesome is that? The other great thing about this skirt is that the fabric is not overly weighty. There's just enough heft here to ensure that it creates a flattering silhouette and that my legs are keep warm in the chilly temperatures. Like I say, as it's not overly weighty, I'm hoping to get some good use out of the skirt right through the spring and summer months by paring with a cute camisole or basic crew neck t-shirt. 
Moving on, I can't forget to show you the print which, might I add, is pretty divine. I love the varying shades of blue and the pretty oriental style from the bamboo style trees to the tiny flowers dotted around. 

To help with the flow of the outfit, I tucked the sweater into the skirt to ensure that you could still see my waist. The other benefit of pairing this with a chunky knit is that there's plenty of room underneath the jumper for a sneaky long line thermal top. It is winter after all!
Finishing off the outfit with some slouchy boots gives everything a bit more of relaxed and cosy feel don't you think?
When putting this outfit together, I didn't want things to feel overly polished and I really think that I've achieved that here. Most of the outfit is fairly simple, the plain jumper, the basic boots (my thermal) all meaning that your eyes are drawn to where they should be...that gorgeous midi skirt!
My final shot for this post is a close up of my face. As I said at the start I'm wearing no make-up whatsoever, not even mascara. I know, I know, it's shocking. I've been really lucky lately with my skin and it's currently the best it's been for a while, I do have a couple of red marks on my cheeks from hormonal blemishes but the camera hasn't picked them up at all (lucky me!).
If you're interested, what I am wearing on my face is as follows starting with toner:- Queen of Hungary Mist, Nude Progenius Omega Treatment Oil, Estelle & Thild Eye Balm and Omorovicza Illuminating Moisturiser. 

I hope you've been able to garner some inspiration from this post? How would you style this midi-skirt for the warmer months? Are you happy to post pictures of yourself make-up free or is it a big no no?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sephora Lotus Mask - A Review

I love a face mask, if you read my blog you'll know that taking some time out on a Sunday evening to mask myself up is part of my weekly routine. During my first visit to Sephora, I decided to stock up on a ton of their natural fibre sheet masks, you know, they just looked fun and I fancied something new.
These retail for $6 a pop, but given they come in tidy wee packages, they're super handy if you're one for travelling. There is a whole range of masks, each is infused with a different active ingredient ranging from moisturising and soothing like the Lotus Mask above, to nourishing and balancing in the Honey Mask. Back to the product at hand, the Lotus Mask claims hydrate, but also to reduce the signs of stress and fatigue 
I really enjoyed using the mask, it was fairly simple to use namely cleanse skin, open the sachet, unfold the mask, plonk on your face, leave for 10-15 minutes, remove mask, massage in the left over product and you're done. No rinsing here.

Now to see the mask in action
That is some seriously scary stuff. The things I do for you guys. Hopefully you get the general gist, there are a couple of holes so you can breathe.

My only issue with the mask was that it was literally SATURATED in product, I mean it felt a little bit like the product was going to drip off the mask and trickle down my face. As you can see, it was so saturated I was struggling to keep it on my face.

The other con for me was that $6 for a single use seemed a little much, to make things a little more economical, I used the mask and then I'd flip it over and Ad would use it. There was more than enough product left over to have used it a couple more times but alas, into the bin it went.

Overall, a lovely product for a one off treat but I reckon in future I'll be sticking with a tube as it's far more economical.

Have you used the Sephora Fibre Masks? What did you think?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bootea Teatox - 14 days in

If you missed my first post on the Bootea Teatox, you can catch up HERE. The long and short of it is that I'm trying a Teatox by Bootea which consists of having a cup of the Daytime Detox in the morning and the Bedtime Cleanse before bed every other day.

Today marks the 14 day mark so I thought I'd let you know how I was getting on.
First of all, I've been able to integrate both sets of tea into my routine pretty easily and haven't missed any 'doses' so to speak. Both lots of tea actually pretty pleasant to drink and I've been getting two cups from each bag. Even Ad has commented on how pleasant the Daytime Detox was when he stole a sip.
On the Bedtime Cleanse front, we have had great success so to speak, 7 out of 7 times after having had the tea, I've had to go. I know, I know, TMI but you're reading this post so you must have expected it!

Other things to report to you are that my tummy does appear flatter and less bloated. This was something which I noticed within the first few days of having the tea.

A lovely colleague at work also commented on great my skin looks at the moment. I must say, it does seem to be a lot clearer and more even texture wise but I'm not 100% convinced this is down to the tea alone. It could be down to the fact that I'm no longer stuffing my face with sweet treats every five seconds like I was during the festive period, but it could equally be down to the fact that my body is flushing out lots of toxins, who knows?

Another awesome thing for me is that I've had NO tummy pain since I've started the Teatox. This is a pretty big deal for me, as I usually suffer with terrible tummy pain at least once a week and no amount of pain killers will shift it. Cue me looking fairly crippled in the corner not wanting to move.

The above point alone is enough to keep me going with the Teatox and I do think that if, after the 28 days I'm still getting the results I need, I'll probably keep buying the tea, perhaps in the 14 day boxes as opposed to the 28 day ones. Either way, no more tummy pain means a pretty chipper Laura.

I'll be sure to update you again in the next 14 days with my final thoughts so to speak.

I hope you're finding this helpful if you're undecided about whether to buy the Bootea Teatox. Please don't hesitate to leave me a comment if you have any questions!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kiko Luscious Punk Lip Set - A Review

My trip to Rome last year lead to a new  beauty discovery, that being Kiko Cosmetics. The best way which I can think to describe them is half way between a budget beauty brand and a luxurious beauty brand. The packaging often screams high end beauty but the products are surprisingly affordable and really good quality.
The Luscious Punk Lip Set contains a lipstick and a matching lipliner which cost a paltry 14 euros at the time I believe, although these particular kits are £9 in the UK Kiko Cosmetics sale HERE. I know, I know, euros and pounds, I should really be consistent.
As you can see, I opted for the more rose based of the shades available as I wanted something which looked like my lips, but better.
The lipstick itself is slightly glossy and borderline matt however, as it contains mango butter it's not drying on the lips at all and actually feels pretty nourishing. What I really loved about the lipstick was that the bullet nib is squared off, much like the newly launched (well, newish) Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipsticks. The lipstick certainly looks and feel more expensive than it is.
As a plus, the lipliner winds up making for easy application and you don't need to worry about having a sharpener to hand!
The liner is water resistant, non-transferable and incredibly long lasting. The feeling on my lips was a little odd as it almost felt tacky, as in, when I pressed my lips together, they were kind of sticky (hope that makes sense guys!). In all honesty, I found the liner to be a little drying so it's not something I would use on a day to day basis but it certainly did all it claimed to do on the tin.
In both swatches, the liner is on the top with the lipstick on the bottom. I wanted to get pictures in different lights to give a clearer reflection of the product.
All in all, I suspect I will be getting into my lip products in a big way this year. I think that rose based shades are a great introduction as they're subtle but feel like a step in the right direction to being braver with colour.

The lipstick in the Luscious Punk Lip Set is really lovely and fabulous value for money. I have a feeling this could be a slippery slope.

Have you tried any Kiko Lipsticks? Any tips on being braver with lip colour?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

My thoughts on Social Media & Anxiety

I remember my first foray into social media well, I was living in Scotland, it was the early noughties and I was logging onto Bebo.

At the time, I thought it was great, I added pictures, stuck in some of my likes and dislikes and didn't really give a thought about who was looking at my profile. I would literally just log onto the family computer after school and then get on with my everyday life.

I had a mobile phone at that time, (who didn't?) but it's capacity was literally limited to making calls and sending a text message which meant that it pretty much lived in my bag.

Fast forward 10 years or so and almost everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and surgically attached to their mobile or tablet. I mean literally attached to their phone; checking it every 5 minutes as though the world will cease to end.

Facebook is full of photos of friends and family all primped and primed to perfection. Each picture more perfectly polished than the last with a vast array of filters added to give the most flattering of finishes. If you happen to be 'tagged' in a less than flattering photo it's fine, don't panic, because with one click of a button any trace of you looking less than your best will vanish into the either and social media will be none the wiser.

Instagram is much the same; beautifully coiffed hair, white beaches, designer handbags and luxury restaurants.

Just thinking about it is exhausting, I mean who has the time to look THAT good everyday? 

Those Louboutins that look and are expensive, make your little Primark numbers looks positively shabby. Why can't you afford those?

Isn't it the third time that so and so have been on holiday this year? The extent of my travel one year was Brighton and back at the princely sum of £38 for two.

It seems that with the rise of Social Media, our expectations of each other and of our own lives increase with it. Please note the use of the word expectations rather than the word aspirations.

We need to remember that Social Media only gives us a glimpse of a person. As a good friend of mine once said, Social Media is effectively someone else's highlight reel. For example, check out the photo below.
What you're not seeing is that numerous attempts to get that shot just right. Nor the 2 hours I spent in the hairdressers that afternoon, or the hour and half I spent in John Lewis having my make-up professionally applied (let alone the fact I was actually on crutches but that's by the by.)
Even the recent 'no make-up' trend will have involved some element of staging, be it some flattering light and a perfect angle to catch that person at their absolute best. No one wakes up looking that good.
That rocking body your seeing, that probably took an absolute ton of hard work, diet, exercise and a heck of a lot of time and sacrifice. There have been many a time when I myself have been working out to the point I feel like I'm about to vomit (I know, TMI). My point being, a good body doesn't happen overnight, it takes work. The photos you see on Social Media are the best bit, the end result after months of training.

That friend who is constantly on holiday is either a) incredibly lucky, b) incredibly well paid or c) is heavily dependent on the bank of mum and dad and is sunning it up with her folks as we speak. I'm human, when I hear about exotic holidays planned by my friends I get incredibly envious!

What we see on Social Media is only a snapshot, it doesn't give us the whole picture. Your friends on Social Media do not translate into friends in the real world. Most people liking all those photos or posts probably only know that person in passing and only speak to them via the internet. Those people would never be there in the event of an actual emergency.

We need to stop comparing ourselves and our lives to those we see online. Going on those holidays and spending £1000 on a handbag will not get you a ton of friends overnight, nor will it make you happier. Think of Social Media as an ego trip; the more you log on and take notice, the bigger it's head is going to get.

I do realise there is some irony here in me being a blogger but as I'm sure you've noticed, my Social Media presence isn't really huge. I really don't like plugging myself on Twitter or Facebook but know that it is necessary and I will never truly be successful until I do this. 

The thought of doing this makes me incredibly uncomfortable. In all honesty if people enjoy reading my blog and like my writing style then that's great, I'm content plodding along. Please do take note though, everything you see on here takes time and effort to look the way it does. To prove my point here are some blooper shots.

I hope you've enjoyed my post, please do feel free to chip in your two cents below.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bootea 28 day Teatox - The Arrival

I'm not really into the whole New Year, new me mantra, it really isn't my thing. However, after all of that over-indulging over the festive period I did feel that perhaps things weren't running quite as they should.

My skin looks a little lacklustre, and well TMI WARNING my movements have always been few and far between and I quite fancied giving them a little bit of a helping hand to run a little more smoothly shall we say. 
I'd done some digging around and read about the Bootea 28 day Teatox which was promised to be a fuss free way to cleanse your body and help rid it of toxins. I thought I'd share things with you, I'll provide an update at 14 days and at 28 days of how I'm getting on.

It's worth noting that the Bootea 28 day Teatox claims to help you shed some unwanted pounds but I'm putting this out there right now, I won't be weighing myself during the 28 days as I've no interest in this particular aspect. If my body looks better after the 28 day period then that's all well and good.
What really appealed to me was the fact that the programme is really simple so I'm hoping it should slot into my routine fairly easily. The 28 day Teatox consists of a Daytime Detox and a Bedtime Cleanse. You make a cup of the Daytime Detox first thing in the morning (or ASAP like me if you forget) and then make a cup of the Bedtime Cleanse every other night before bed.
To clarify you get 28 of the Daytime Detox teabags and 14 of the Bedtime Cleanse teabags to last you throughout the 28 day period.
The other thing which really caught my eye is that all of the ingredients are natural. The ingredients list above is for Daytime Detox. No preservatives, just all natural ingredients. As a side note, yup, those are the preparation instructions, it doesn't really get much easier.
In the interests of symmetry, above are the ingredients for the Bedtime Cleanse, again, all natural with no preservatives. Please do note the warning of laxative effects, as I said at the start of the post, my body certainly needs a hand here so I really hope they work.
These are the teagbags, all loose leaf and in some beautiful pyramid bags. I reckon you could use them to make more than one cup of tea if you liked.
I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of the tea, I actually found it tastes fairly similar to my usual cup of tea. It was pretty tasty, and I certainly don't recall tasting any ginger or lemongrass so it must be subtle.

Like I say, I will keep you posted with my progress, namely, how my skin looks, how my tummy is looking, how I feel overall and whether I see any other positive benefits. I do exercise 5 times a week and will continue to do so and I certainly won't be changing my diet (it's already pretty healthy) so I'm intrigued to see how I get on. Stay tuned.

If you fancy trying the Bootea Teatox, you can grab it from Holland & Barrett for £26.24 for the 28 day version and free delivery. Just click HERE. 

Finally, yes that is a QVC mug, I'm a loser I know.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Outfit of the Day - The Chunky Knit

Perhaps my favourite thing to do post Christmas, is shop the sales (online of course) and this year was no different. I'd been window shopping for a couple of weeks prior to Christmas and therefore had a pretty good idea about what I wanted to get my mitts on come boxing day. This of course left me able to relax in my toasty living room simply waiting for my orders to arrive.

One such piece features in today's post and is from one of my favourite stores, Oasis. I apologise in advance for the darker photos #1st World Blogger Problems!
Today I'm wearing:-

Coat: Warehouse - sadly I purchased this moto inspired number last year so there's no link
Scarf: Oliver Bonas - this was a Christmas present and I can't spot it online, however THIS is something similar 
Necklace: Hema - £4 
Jumper Dress: Oasis - £25 in the sale HERE
Boots: Aldo however, they're about 6 years old now and so I don't have a link I'm afraid
I am totally in love with this dress, it's super fluffy and incredibly soft. The roll neck is nice and roomy which makes things feel lovely and cosy. The only downside to this dress is that the fluff does have a tendency to go absolutely everywhere. It's cool though, I have a roller tucked away under the sink.
In the shot above you get a bit more of a feel for both the texture of the knit and the pattern. Given the pattern, I thought this geometric style necklace from Hema was a nice addition to bring a little more interest to the dress.
In the colder months, my default is tights, leggings and anything that will generally make me feel warm and snugly should I decide to venture outside (BOOOOOO!). That said, this combo ticks all the right boxes for me the faux shearling collar, the gorgeous super long scarf and the slouchy boots. Comfort central here we come.

Finally, because I'm such a good person, here's a shot of me pulling my best Spice Force 5 pose. I can tell I'm on the edge of cracking into a big old grin. Oh yes, I indulged my inner child over Christmas, and it was frikken awesome.
Did you manage to spot any bargains in the Christmas Sales? How would you style a jumper dress? 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot

Being a lover of all things beauty, I get incredibly excited when it comes to Christmas and Birthdays as it's the one time of year I can ask for goodies which I wouldn't normally buy myself. This year I got some absolute gems which I cannot wait to share with you. The first of which being Benefit's Cheeky Sweet Spot which was a present from my future mother-in-law (Hi Maggie!)
This stunning looking sweet shop style tin contains one 4g sample and five 5g samples of Benefit's best selling blushes plus a cute wee brush and a little size of the Watts Up Highlighter.
Inside, the shades are as follows from left to right:

  • Dandelion - A gorgeous pink which can be used all over the face to brighten up your complexion
  • Bellabamba - A bright watermelon shade with shimmery gold undertones, this actually looks fabulous on the apples of your cheeks layered over Dandelion
  • Sugar Bomb - Four shimmering shades which can be swirled together to give your skin a good perk up
  • Hoola - I'm sure this needs no introduction as it's Benefit's best selling bronzer. I've not been brave enough to use this yet, but I've been assured it's wonderful and as it's matt, it won't highlight your pores.
  • CORALista - A bright coral pink shade which works well when used as a typical blusher. This can create a beautiful flush of colour or be built up to give a less than subtle pop of colour. Each to their own!
  • Rockateur - A wonderful rose gold shade which can be used on your cheekbones and brushed lightly across the hairline
Overall, given the Benefit blushes are usually around the £23 mark for one shade, this little box of goodies which features 5 full sizes is an absolute steal. It's also a fabulous opportunity to try other shades within the Benefit range to see if they're for you.

Thus far, I'm loving the Dandelion shade which is an old favourite and I'm so pleased to have it back in my arsenal as I'd forgotten how good it was. It's incredibly subtle but it really does lift your complexion. Great following one too many sleepless nights.
Can we take a final opportunity to appreciate this palette in all it's glory, it's beautiful?

Sadly I can't seem to find this online as most places seem to have sold out, and rightly so! I did however, spot some leftovers in store on boxing day, namely at Boots, and at the stand alone Benefit stores so it's worth hunting down if you fancy it.

Did you manage to get your mitts on the Cheeky Sweet Spot? What's your favourite Benefit blush shade?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Outfit of the Day - Christmas Goodies from my Man

At Christmas, Ad and I always like to set each other a challenge, this year, we decided to treat each other to an outfit which we would purchase from scratch (well apart from shoes and underoos of course.) 

What was pretty funny about our shopping venture is that it eventually transpired that whilst I was huddled upstairs in the menswear department of American Eagle grabbing some bits and bobs for Ad, Ad had actually been tucked away downstairs grabbing me some jeans as well. Great minds think alike?

So here's how I looked with everything layered together.
In Ad's words, when putting the outfit together he wanted something androgynous, universally interchangeable, and something which was a little outside of my comfort zone. I think he'd picked up on the fact that I was constantly stealing bits and pieces from his wardrobe and I'd recently become somewhat enamoured with brogues.
When styling, I kept my hair pretty shaggy to fit in with the boyish feel of the outfit, I didn't want things to feel too done. I also paired the whole thing with my mannish boots from M&S which you're all no doubt familiar with by now.
The sweater and shirt were both from Stradivarius, Zara's younger and cheaper sister company. I'd been keen to nip in here myself for a wee nose but Ad said it wasn't easy to navigate around and felt a little bit much. Probably not for me.
I have to say, the shirt is one of my favourite pieces, not least of all because it hides a multitude of sins with it's loose boyfriend fit. I'm not sure the camera is picking it up, but the fabric actually feels silky, it's lovely and luxurious and is super comfy.
In this shot, it kinda reminds me of a pyjama top, I don't care, it's comfy and I am totally obsessed with comfort right now.
For the bottom half, Ad got me some distressed jeans from American Eagle. I'd been after some distressed jeans for ages, but as I'm pretty wide on the thigh front, I find it really tough finding jeans which fit. 

Jean shopping for me is incredibly stressful, I normally have to go a size up, meaning the jeans are massive on my waist and constantly falling down. Ad was most nervous about the jeans as the lady in the store had told him to go down as their sizing comes up pretty big. As such he'd grabbed me an 8 and was in a wee bit of a PANIC about whether they'd fit!!!
I actually think the sizing was pretty spot on, especially given this photo was taken after several instances of indulging in copious amounts of alcohol, burgers, Christmas nibbles and Christmas dinner. The stretch in these jeans is fabulous and I suspect I'll be nipping back to stock up on some more jeans from there soon.
Overall, I loved the outfit which Ad pulled together for me, he didn't even need to ask me for my sizes. Genius.

As a side note, I've just taken down my Christmas tree, as I've lost our tree topper I topped the tree with Patrick Star, I'm kinda sad to see him go.

What did you think of Ad's outfit choice? Did he do well? Would you trust your man to pull together an outfit for you?
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