Monday, 30 September 2013

New Nails Inc Gel Effect Polish!

The other day, my friend Izzy and I went a-wandering around London after work and somehow ended up in a beauty hall...however did we manage that?! She decided to get a manicure at Nails Inc in House of Fraser on Oxford Street and I decided to watch.

Nails Inc Gel Effect in Porchester Square
The new polish in its element
Izzy went for the new Nails Inc Gel Effect Polish in Porchester Square. She'd already picked out the colour in the normal nail varnish range, but then decided to go for the new formula, because, hey, why not?! Also, according to the Nails Inc website, Beyonce has worn this nail varnish, so that's some flawless taste right there.

The nail technician, whose name I unfortunately didn't manage to catch was chatty and very helpful and even let us into a few nail secrets, such as how to remove gel nail varnish at home. I've always been put off getting it done at a salon because then you have to go back for them to remove it and it ends up costing twice as much, but here's her mehtod for how to do it, although shhh...don't tell anyone.

Nail Technician at Work
I'm trying to be arty here, but how artistic can a shot of a manicure posisbly be?!

How to remove Gel or Shellac polish yourself!

1. File the polish to break the seal. Do this enough so that the bulky bit of the polish (usually in the centre) goes, but not so much that you file your nails. You need to be pretty rough with this, in order to shift the polish.

2. Soak cotton wool in nail varnish remover and put it over you nail. You need to then wrap your nails in tin foil quite tightly to keep the cotton wool in place. Yes, you will look like a weirdo, but it really works. It's the same method for removing glitter polish, or any tough nail varnish. I personally like to twist the tin foil to look like claws, but that's entirely optional...

3. Leave this on your nails for about five minutes and then twist and remove. Hopefully that should have taken off all the polish, but if not, you can go over the last bits with a cotton bud soaked in nail varnish remover. And you're done! No more paying £25 for a salon to remove your Shellac :)

So, there we have it! Happy money saving!

Izzy's new nails
One happy customer!
On Izzy's nails, the nail technician used the A & E Base Coat to repair any damage to the nails, the gel effect polish and then the popular Kensington Caviar Top Coat, which gave a shiny finish. She also used a Cuticle Oil Pen. Izzy was very pleased with the results and I was also impressed that the polish did in fact look like gel nails, but it was nowhere near as damaging.

Nails inc in House of Fraser Oxford Street
Grease was on in the background- what a film!
Afterwards we made our way to Laduree cafe in Covent Garden and had a spot of tea and I had some bread rolls. I had the Laduree special blend and Izzy had the Marie-Antoinette tea. Both of which were delicious.

Bread at Laduree Cafe
I just want to eat it through my screen...
I enjoy trips like this, where you're heading out, but don't know what's going to happen. Especially if it ends with tea and chat!
 
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Sunday, 29 September 2013

Southampton Day Trip OOTD


So, I'm just trying something out and doing an outfit of the day post. I don't know if this will be worth it, or if anyone cares, but I don't know, I thought I'd give it a go. I'm a bit bored of seeing all the samey looks all the time, so here's my own ~look~ if only to throw a little variety into the mix. I'm also not a massive fan of the thousands of pictures of the same outfit, with different wistful looks into the distance, so I didn't bother with that. You get the idea from one photo, I think. Although next time I might bother with some detail shots, because I seem to have missed out my shoes...
 
In putting this up, I am in no way saying that I am fashionable, or a fashionista, or that anyone should be awed by my sense of style, but I like seeing how people dress, especially people who don't fit the model mould, so hey ho, I'll give it a go.
 
The other weekend we went down to Southampton for a little bit of a wander around and I wore quite a casual, comfy outfit. Not pictured are my brogues, which I mentioned in my Liebster Award post. I didn't manage to get them in a picture, but you can use your imagination I'm sure. I kept my makeup really simple as well (what's that called? A face of the day? Something like that) and kept the focus on my paisley dress. I'm a big fan of paisley and burgundy and this dress ticks both boxes.

Southampton Docks 
Just chilling by the docks, so caj
Outfit of the Day 
 
Chambray Shirt: Gap
Paisley Dress: Vila
Turquoise Necklace: Oasis
(Barely Seen) Ring: & other stories
Bowler Hat: H&M
Black Bag: Vintage

Face of the Day

Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturiser (Reviewed)
Rimmel Match Perfection Translucent Powder
Sleek Blush in Lantern (Reviewed)
Body Shop Brow and Liner Kit in 01 (Reviewed)
Max Factor 2000 Calorie Mascara in Black/Brown
Max Factor 24 Hour Colour Tattoo in On and On Bronze
Palmer's Cocoa Butter Lip Balm
Hugo Boss Orange Woman (Reviewed)
 
Unfortunately (or fortunately) for you, most of these items are pretty old, so you won't be able to ~steal my style~ if you were colourblind enough to want to, but I think paisley is pretty in right now, and there are always denim shirts banging about. 
 
So, there we go, my first OOTD post. Did you like it? Would you like more pictures, or is one enough? Let me know!  
 
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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Sleek Blush by 3 Pumpkin Review

Now, before you think I've lost my mind, hear me out. As I said in my last post, the lady at the Laura Mercier Counter said that I should wear more orangey toned blushers and lipsticks, so I found myself frantically scrabbling to find a decent high street coral blusher. She used the Coral Red Illuminating Powder on me, and it looked really good, but I'd spent enough money, so I thought I'd get something a bit more affordable.

This is where Sleek comes in. I already own their Countour Kit in Light, which I have already reviewed and I really like that, so was very pleased when I spotted one of their Blush By 3s in Pumpkin. At first glance it looks intimidatingly orange, but I've learnt that a little goes a long way and that less is definitely more.
 
Sleek Blush by 3 in Pumpkin
Woah that's bright
The set of three blushes costs £9.99, which is a pretty good deal. I'll have to be honest here and say that I will probably only use the one on the left, Lantern. The other two are a bit bright for me and Lantern is the perfect shade that I was searching for- a shimmery coral.


Sleek Blush by 3 in Pumpkin Swatches
P Pie, Squash and Lantern respectively
As with the contour kit, these powders are highly pigmented and glide on your skin easily. They have great staying power, great colour and stylish packaging. I really like Sleek blushers. I haven't tried anything else from their line, but if it's as good as these products then I'll definitely be back for more.

Sleek Blush by 3 in Pumpkin Swatches
Not quite as bright when blended
To avoid looking like a clown, I take the teeny tiniest bit of product- less than I have on my hand, above, and blend it out with very delicate sweeps. Once you've put too much on, you're gonna have to take it all off. It's easily buildable, however, if you want to look like a cartoon character. I was so uncertain about this suiting my pale, ginger freckled skin, but it really does work! 
But make sure, if you use this yourself, to please please only use a little bit. I learnt the hard way. Don't make the same mistake.

Bottom line: A set of affordable, high quality Sleek blushes. Would recommend in a heartbeat.
 
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Monday, 23 September 2013

Laura Mercier from the Liberty Beauty Hall

It was my birthday last week and one of my friends very generously gave me a Liberty gift coin and I was overjoyed. I love Liberty. It's possibly my favourite department store. It feels like a real treat to even step foot into Liberty and to actually have an excuse to spend some money in there, well, it was a dream come true! 

Liberty of London Department Store
What a stunner
I had done a little bit of research before stopping by, after all, you don't go into a beauty hall completely blind. I settled on Laura Mercier as my brand of choice. I do not own anything by Laura Mercier, or anything vaguely high end. As I said in my Liebster Award post, the most expensive make up item that I own is a Mac palette that I got for Christmas, so I have never spent a great deal of money on one item. Sure, I spend money on make up, but it's usually on a lot of items, rather than just one. This, however, was about to change.

I made a beeline for the Laura Mercier counter and got chatting to one of the sales assistants. I told her that I had my eye on a foundation and she sat me down for a consultation. She removed my foundation and then told me that I shouldn't be using a foundation and that I should be using a tinted moisturiser, since I had good skin and didn't need a lot of coverage. This surprised me because I thought that my skin was pretty bad, but maybe it's actually alright!

She also proceeded to tell me that all my make up was wrong for my colouring, except my eyeshadow. Lol. She did say this in a nice way and wasn't at all rude. It was actually quite useful to hear some professional advice. Usually I pick things based on whether I like them or not, without really thinking about whether it will suit me at all, so maybe it was for the best that she told me this now.

Laura Mercier Foundation and Lipstick
My two new faves

She told me that I shouldn't be wearing any cool toned, blue products (especially not pinks) and I should pick warmer, orangey toned products. I looked at her like she was a bit crazy because, as a ginger, I have always avoided orange like the plague for fear of being compared to any number of orange things- Tango, Wotsits, you name it. However, I was proved wrong because she used orangey toned lipstick and blusher on me and my god did they look good!

I ended up buying two products and with the gift coin, the Illuminating Tinted Moisturiser (£33) and the Creme Lip Colour in Roman Moon (£18.50). I was able to go for the lipstick as well as the tinted moisturiser because it just looked so good on me and I was a bit shocked that it did. She re-did everything on my face, except my eyes and my skin did look pretty good by the time she was through. I did like the concealer et al, but I really didn't think that I'd have time in the morning faffing around with spot concealing, so didn't end up getting it. Maybe another time.

I must say that it was a bit stressful handing over that much money for just two things, but I think for the quality of the items and the treat factor, it was worth it.

Laura Mercier Illuminating Touch Tinted Moisturiser


Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturiser
Getting fancy in the garden

Following the sales assistant's advice, I went for a tinted moisturiser, rather than a foundation. I've never used a proper tinted moisturiser but remember making one once by mixing my foundation with my moisturiser in an attempt to water down the colour of the foundation. Not a good idea. Thankfully I don't have to do this anymore.

The Laura Mercier illuminating tinted moisturiser is really sheer and I mean really sheer. At first, I was a little apprehensive, since it is so lightweight. I was worried that all my imperfections would be illuminated with big neon signs saying "hey look at my redness!" However, I need to stop thinking that my skin should look perfect and should roll with it. It does have enough coverage to correct any unevenness in skin tone and brightens the complexion, and I need to learn to get over my skin insecurities.

Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturiser Swatch
There's got to be a better way of doing these hand poses...

The tinted moisturisr is light, breathable and airy. The only drawback is that it is really light coverage, so you're going to need a good concealer if you're spotty or have redness and all that good stuff. It sinks in really quickly and blends really well. I did think at first that it might be a little yellow for me, but it matches my skin tone well once blended.

Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturiser Swatch
Where's Wally? There's the wally.

I've worn it out a few times and I really like it. It's stayed on all day and hasn't budged, even without primer and although initially I was worried that my redness might show through, this does a pretty good job of concealing it. It doesn't look like I'm wearing anything, so is perfect for a really natural look, which I'm a fan of anyway.

I don't know if this is necessarily the best tinted moisturiser out there, but I like it and that's what matters ha.

Laura Mercier Roman Moon Lipstick

 
Laura Mercier Creme Lipstick Roman Moon

Now, onto the lipstick. This is actually the first high end lipstick I've ever bought. I only actually own Rimmel Lipsticks, which I have reviewed, but that's it. No MAC, no nothing...until now. I have to say that what swung me on this was the colour.

At first, this lipstick looked really scary to me. Really, really scary. I was so confused when the sales assistant brought it over. I thought that she'd done it by mistake, or was taunting me, but actually, it looks really good. I would never have picked it up, but it's a gorgeous orange based coral colour. I really like the name as well, Roman Moon. I can see why they called it that, it does look like a Roman Moon from a mural or something. Gorgeous.

Laura Mercier Creme Lipstick Roman Moon Swatch
I do love a good swatch

This lipstick is really creamy. It feels very moisturising and although you can tell that it's on your lips, it doesn't feel dry or cakey. It glides on really well and dries to a creamy, matte finish, which is gorgeous. As you can see from the swatch, Roman Moon (sorry, I just like the name) is very pigmented and that's with just one sweep. Very impressive. It also stays on the lips pretty much all day, with only a few touch ups needed if you've drunk a lot of water or eaten something really messy.

Laura Mercier Creme Lipstick Roman Moon Swatch
Another awkward lips shot
I really like this lipstick and I'm really grateful for the sales assistant for trying it on me. In the future I'm definitely going to be trying more orangey based colours on my lips, instead of reaching for the cool tones. I think that it really brightens my complexion and makes me look more alive. Pretty impressive for a lowly lipstick.

And there we have it, my first high end purchases. I have to say that I'm impressed with the quality and staying power of both of these. I would baulk at spending that kind of money on a regular basis, but for a special birthday treat, they were amazing. Love love love them.
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Sunday, 22 September 2013

I survived climbing Up at the O2!

Last weekend my siblings and I embarked on an epic climb, no, not up a mountain, but over the O2 arena. Up at the O2 is a fantastic experience, where you can pretend to be an intrepid explorer and scale the O2, or as I like to fondly remember it, the Millennium Dome

I think it's very reasonably priced at £25 for around an hour's experience. This includes the rather fetching blue jumpsuits, Ecco boots and climbing equipment. Unfortunately you don't get to keep any of it, but the memories of that blue jumpsuit will haunt me forever.


Feeling very accomplished

Upon entering the 'base camp' as they call it, you are treated to a very silly safety video, where an 'explorer' (in the loosest possible sense of the word) explains all the health and safety info all the while pretending to be a bit ~quirky~. It's eye-roll worthy stuff, but it didn't last that long. He does tell you some fun facts about the O2 while you're there- there are 12 spikes, it's 364 metres in circumference and 52 metres high, thus representing a year. Pretty cool stuff.

If I had instagram on my phone, I would have instagrammed this

You're then  introduced to your guide, who shows you how to put your gear on. Next, you're ushered through to another room to collect your climb gear and get dressed. There's lockers for your stuff and you can only take a mobile phone or small camera with you on the climb. Your guide is there to help you put the harness off and checks it a few times before you get going, so no worrying about it falling off! 

The jumpsuits are pretty thick, so you don't need to leave a coat on or anything. I took my jumper off and wasn't cold at all.

Then, once the group is ready, it's time to climb! Before you get going, a professional photographer takes your picture (£12 for one print if you're wondering) and off you go. 

What a logo...

In order to climb, you attach yourself to a rail and climb up and up and up. This ended up making my hands ache because I didn't listen to the guide and tried to do it 'my way' and ended up hurting my hands. Top tip- actually listen to the safety instructor!

You won't actually be walking on the O2, rather a blue purpose-built walkway. The material that you climb on looks a bit like the material that bouncy castles are made out of, but is hopefully a bit thicker! It's steepest at the beginning and end, where it's a thirty degree angle climb, but it does straighten out towards the middle, where there's a viewing platform, which is made of solid metal. A blissful relief for me!

Making our slow progress up to the top

Climbing itself can be as easy or as strenuous as you want to make it. You're provided with Ecco boots, which I'd advise you to wear as they have fantastic grip. You could wear your own trainers, but to be on the safe side, go with what they give you. If you're a little nervous, like I was, the temptation is to cling onto the rail and drag yourself up by the arm, hunched over like an old woman.

The most important thing to remember when climbing is to stand up straight- it makes the climb so much easier. Using the harness and climb gear takes a little bit of getting used to, but it's not complicated at all. In fact, the minimum age is 10, so if 10 year olds can cope, I'm sure you can too! I did not do this at first and I was aching. The guide told me to stand up, and I listened (after a bit of persuasion) and it was so much easier.

The viewing platform and the 360 degree info on the landscape

I have to be honest here, I was more than a little nervous once my feet touched the material. I was fine up until that part, but since it's quite steep and was slippery (due to the rain that day) I was more than a little scared. However, once I realised that it was pretty much impossible for me to plummet to my death, I was fine. Yes, I am a little bit of a hypochondriac, but what you gon' do?

Once we got to the top, we were unleashed onto the viewing platform and had fantastic 360 degree views of London. Despite it being a drizzly day, it was still very impressive and I bet that it looks stunning at nighttime. You get about 15 minutes on the platform, which is more than enough time to take in the view and take  pictures. Then it's time to get reattached to the rail and descend towards the ground. 

The way down...
The climb down was a little scarier for me, because I could see myself tumbling down to the ground, but I took my time and took small steps and was fine. Despite the fact that it was really wet and slippery, nobody in our group fell over, so it's perfectly safe, so long as you're sensible.

I really enjoyed Up at the O2, despite my initial nervousness. Once my feet touched solid ground I was really proud of myself and couldn't stop smiling. It was exhilarating and yes, I know, it wasn't exactly a difficult climb, but I've never done anything like it before and found it really exciting. 

Exterior mode. 52 metres high apparently

I would definitely remind the O2 climb to anyone, with the exception of people with a fear of heights, obviously. I don't have a fear of heights and was a bit freaked out, but you know your own limits, so go for it if you think you'd enjoy it. I certainly did.

We took the clipper back to the station, so spent some time on the Thames
 

Tips when climbing the O2 arena

 

1. Take a small digital camera

It says on the website that you can only take a mobile phone up with you, but this isn't true. You are allowed to take a digital camera when climbing the O2, so long as it fits into the pocket provided, which is mobile phone sized. So, no DSLRs, but you will be able to take a standard point and shoot.

2. Take your time to climb

Do not worry about the other people in your group. If you're nervous at all, go at the back, so that you won't hold people up, or if you're nervous about falling, go in the middle. You are completely safe and will not fall over unless you do something silly. Take the shoes they offer you, be careful and you'll be fine. I was and I am very clompy.

3. If you want to go at the front, say it's your birthday

Or anniversary, or divorce party, or whatever. You'll also get happy birthday sung to you at the top, which is a nice touch. If you don't want the attention, keep your mouth shut

4. Go when the weather is good (if you can)

The O2 climbs operate in all weather, except for thunderstorms/snowstorms, so be prepared to climb if it's raining. It was when I did it and it was slippery. You do get given Ecco boots to wear, which are very good, but it is a little slippery when wet. If you're nervous about slipping, then I'd advise against going when the weather's bad. Although you can't guarantee anything where the English weather's concerned.

5. Talk to your guide

Maybe an obvious one, but utilise the expertise of your guide once you're at the viewing platform. They will be able to point out all the London sites and tell you all sorts of gossip. They're not just there to be your personal photographer!
I hope you found this useful. Let me know in the comment if you've climbed the O2 too!
 
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Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Simple Deep Cleansing Face Mask is Rubbish

I'm a big fan of giving credit where credit is due. I like talking up good products and singing their praises but unfortunately we don't live in a perfect world where everything is fine and dandy. Sometimes products fall short of expectations, of the claims they make, of their reputation. I feel the need to document these failures as well, in the spirit of fairness of course. 

One such failure is the Simple Kind to Skin Deep Cleansing Face Mask. Ok, so you might think that failure is a bit of a strong word, but this "deep cleansing" face mask deserves it. It simply does not do what it says on the tin (or tube if you're going to be pedantic about it). I'd actually probably go as far as to say that it's the worst face mask I've ever tried.

I should probably add that I'm no great fan of Simple skincare, but I do actually fit their demographic. I have dry, sensitive skin, which means that it should be a perfect fit for me. It's also an inexpensive brand, which is good, but I've never found their products to be that effective. Call me biased if you want, but at least I've admitted it upfront.

Simple Kind to Skin Deep Cleansing Face Mask
Here is the offending item. Just look at it lying to me...
Anyway, despite my reservations, I decided to give them another go and bought their deep cleansing face mask for £3.99. A great price, but that's where the compliments end I'm afraid. This face mask claims to draw out deep down dirt and eliminate dead cells. I can report that it did nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Simple Kind to Skin Deep Cleansing Face Mask
I don't know why my hand looks so ruddy here
The consistency and texture of it is not at all like a face mask as I know it. It's more like a moisturiser if anything. It's astonishingly thin, watery and bland, with no discernible scent. It applies quite easily, but that's due to its sloppy, wet consistency. The instructions say to leave it on for 3 minutes and then rinse it off. So, that's what I did.

Simple Kind to Skin Deep Cleansing Face Mask
I did actually try this on my face, don't worry
I've become accustomed to face masks drying, or changing consitency whilst they are on your face. I'm also used to maybe a tightening sensation, or a tingling one as the face mask does its work. This does nothing. Absolutely nothing. It just sits there. It's rubbish. When I washed it off my face, my skin felt exactly the same as it had in the minutes prior to my face mask experience. Seriously, don't waste your money. 
It claims to be perfect for sensitive skin and true, it didn't upset my skin, but it also didn't do anything else either. It's really not worth it. There are better face masks out there. I've written about Lush's Catastrophe Cosmetic Face Mask, which is so so so much better. I know it's tempting to buy a cheap face mask, but for a couple quid more you can buy ones that actually do something. Sorry, Simple, I'm not impressed. Maybe one day I'll find something I like from your line, but for now I'll pass.

The bottom line: Avoid like the plague. Rubbish.
 
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Monday, 16 September 2013

10 Top Tips for Car Boot Sale Success!

After my recent success at a car boot sale, where I managed to snag a MAC eyeshadow for 20p, I thought I'd write a post on how to bag the best bargains at car boot sales. Now, I'm by no means an expert, I mean, I won't be appearing on Antiques Roadshow anytime soon, but these are just some tips that I use when I go to car boot sales. I've also peppered this post with pictures of things I bought at car boot sales, because who doesn't like a good picture?
Gold watch for 50p. Although I need to get the battery changed...

So, here we go, my top 10 tips for car boot sale success!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Bourjois So Matt Top Coat Review

I have been on the hunt for a matte top coat for the longest time. I had my eye on Rimmel's Matte Finish Top Coat but I am not kidding when I say that I visited at least 6 Boots shops and could not find one for the life of me. What is that about?! Are they really rare or out of stock or something? I even went to Westfield, which has a massive Boots and nope, nothing. So disappointing. 

But, having gone all that way, I thought I should probably get a top coat anyway and was resigned to paying £12.00 for the Nails Inc Westminster Matte Top Coat, when I spotted the Bourjois So Matt Top Coat for around the £6 mark and I was delighted. Boots is having a buy one get one half price event at the moment anyway, so I couldn't really say no.

Bourjois So Matt Topcoat and & other stories Wincey Clay
Will they make good bedfellows? Let's find out...

Having not used a matte top coat before, I'm afraid that I don't have anything to compare it to, so cannot recommend the best matte top coat, and can but give my opinion on this one.

Today, I have paired it with one of the & other stories nail colours, Wincey Clay. I think that this colour is a good dupe for OPI's You Don't Know Jacques, which is a colour that I've had my eye on for ages, but didn't want to fork out £12 for. Fortunately, this & other stories polish is a pretty close match and is only £5, which sits a bit better with my inner accountant. Score.

I do like this nail varnish, but one thing does put me off. The name, Wincey Clay. Who came up with that? Apparently wincey is a type of cloth. Riiiight. I think it's just supposed to sound a bit whimsical. Sounds a bit weird if you ask me. If you have a look at the other names in the & other stories nail varnish collection, you'll see that they're all a bit odd. Worsted Aubergine anyone? Eurgh. Good colour selection, though.
Anyway, my camera pretty much died here, so you're going to have to wait until after my birthday when I finally get a DSLR (yessssss) and can take some decent pictures, so in the meantime, here's an instagram photo. Not great, I know, but it'll do.

Bourjois So Matt Top Coat
The filter doesn't distract from the finish...right?
As you can (sort of) see, the top coat dries pretty instantaneously to a beautiful matte finish. It's advisable to keep it really thin, otherwise it takes ages to dry. I don't think it's as robust as some other top coats, as my nails have already messed up because I can't stand sitting still and doing nothing. I start picking things up, and then my nail varnish gets little imprints in it and it all goes wrong. However, I think that's more down to me being impatient than any actual fault with the nail varnish.

For my first matte top coat, I'm really impressed with this one. It makes my nails matte and is pretty inexpensive. I don't know why some of the others are double the price when they produce the same effect. I'd say high street definitely wins over high end in this case. Four for you, Bourjois, you go Bourjois.
 
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Monday, 9 September 2013

Ben's Cookies are delicious. Seriously.

I have a confession to make, I am a serious sugar fiend. I am addicted to that saccharine goodness, to that sugar high, to the knowledge that it's bad, but also so good.
 
I am well aware that this is an awful habit, a terrible habit. I know that I need to change it and I know that it's bad for me no matter how I try to spin it, but you can't change the habits of a lifetime overnight...especially not when you walk past Ben's Cookies after work and they just smell so. damn. good.

Ben's Cookies Milk Chocolate Praline
So melty, so delicious, so sinfully good
 
I first came across Ben's Cookies in Bath and was impressed. Having been brought up on Roald Dahl novels, I immediately recognised Quentin Blake's etchings and had to have a peek inside. The shops are quite charming. For one thing, they smell amazing and the counters are piled high with delicious cookies. You can't go wrong, really. This charm is only really ruined in the London branches, where they often have queues out the door. Good for business, but not for dining in.

Ben's Cookies have 14 different flavours. I haven't sampled the full range. Yet... I do however, recommend the Milk Chocolate Praline cookie (pictured above). One thing that Ben's Cookies pride themselves on is having chunks of chocolate, rather than chips. This means that when you bite into the cookie, the chocolate melts in your mouth. Delightful. I must admit that the chocolate chunk cookies are better than the others. The coconut one especially is a bit paltry in comparison. So, if want a good one, go for chocolate.
 

Ben's Cookies Carnaby Street
This is the outside of the Carnaby Street branch, in case you cared

In comparison to say, Millie's Cookies, I definitely prefer Ben's Cookies. They're much heartier and taste less manufactured. I can't really vouch for how they are made, and whether they are as authentic as they look, but the Quentin Blake drawing certainly makes them much quainter! I can't remember exactly how much it cost, but I don't remember thinking it was overpriced, so get yourself down to a Ben's Cookies if you can and treat yourself to something sweet.
 
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Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Car Boot Sale Bargain: Mac Romp Eyeshadow for 20p!

I love Car Boot sales. They are a British institution. I even like watching programmes about them. Car Booty is great trash tv. Bargain Hunt is so so tense. I get a real thrill from bargain hunting and I seriously hit the jackpot  at one the other day. I found a decent Mac eye shadow for 20p. 20 freaking pence! That's £12.30 off the retail price. Or a 98.4% saving in Extreme Couponing terms! So bargainous, so good.

Mac Eye Shadow Romp
Mac Romp. 20p. What a winner

Now, I'd like to add that I do actually like the colour and there is no way in hell that I'd buy one for the sake of it. Say, for example if it was bright blue, or yellow, I would've left it behind. It just turned out to be a gorgeous browny-gold colour called Romp. Score. After a quick Google, it turns out that Romp is now discontinued, which is a shame, since I actually quite like it.

I don't actually own any of the singular Mac eye shadows, so was intrigued to see what it was like. It's good quality, which didn't surprise me. The pigmentation is excellent and it applies really well. I wore it out last night and it stayed put through mad dashes through a sweaty London tube and the Soho streets to get to the theatre on time, so well done, Mac. 

Apparently this is a 'frost' eye shadow, which I think means that it's shimmery without being glittery. Not bad. I think it's wearable for both daytime and night time and could easily be blended with other colours.


Mac Eye Shadow Romp Swatch
It's sort of the same colour as my freckles ha
Mac Eye Shadow Romp Swatch
What was I looking at?! Probably my hideous purple carpet

I own quite a few neutral brown eye shadows and I can see myself getting quite a lot of use out of this one. I'm not sure that I would've necessarily spent £12.50 on it (I'm a cheapskate at heart), but for 20p you really can't go wrong! Thank you car boot sale!

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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The Best Foundation for Pale Skin?!

At last, I have conquered my personal Herculean quest; a lifetime's worth of sleepless nights put to rest; a gargantuan weight lifted from my shoulders... I have finally found a foundation that exactly matches my skin tone. Hallelujah! Rejoice! A parade in the streets in its honour. Cake for all!

Ok, so I'm kidding. I'm not really that melodramatic, but I am pretty happy about my new foundation. I thought it might be a good idea to compare this new foundation to the one that I have been using, for science. Or something to like that.

Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation and Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation
Yes, I do have purple carpet. No, it was not a good decision

Monday, 2 September 2013

Best Vegetarian Restaurant in London- Mildred's!

For all you meaties out there, don't worry, this is not going to turn into a Morrissey-esque Meat is Murder ranty post, far from it! I'd just like to recommend one of the best restaurants in London, Mildred's
Inside of Mildred's restaurant, Soho
Excuse the retail therapy...it was payday
Mildred's is a vegetarian restaurant, but all you carnivores out there who need meat for flavour, will not even notice that it's not there. Every dish is so flavoursome and well balanced that you won't even notice the absence of meat. A lot of vegetarian dishes in standard restaurants are flavourless, paltry and limp, but not at Mildred's! 
 
Mildred's menu is small, but perfectly formed. With around 10 mains to choose from, ranging in price from £8.50 to £10.50, there's something for everyone. They also have a specials board, which changes daily. I would highly recommend whichever crumble they have on, or the burgers which are always delicious. 
 
The puddings and starters are also delicious. I like the gyoza dumplings to start and you cannot go wrong with a chocolate and peanut butter brownie!
 
The atmosphere in Mildred's is pretty laid back, with a slightly quirky decor, but not obnoxiously Pinterest. The staff are friendly and chatty and well, cool. Mildred's has a lot of cool customers, being in Soho, so it's fun to sit and people watch, or stalk, whatever you want to call it.
The big draw for me are the sweet potato chips/fries, whatever you want to call them. They. Are. Delicious. Omg. I find myself wanting them as a side to whichever dish I pick, whether it be a curry, burrito, whatever. Although I am perfectly aware that they don't go, they're just that good!
 
A review, wouldn't be complete without obnoxious pictures of what we ate now would it? I went with my lovely friend, Izzy, who also has a blog; Isabel's GF Kitchen. Read it...or else...haha.
Now, onto the pictures;
Drinks in Mildreds Restaurant Soho
Is that an ombre juice I spy?
I went for a juice (Apple, Orange, Ginger, Celery and Lime to be exact) and Izzy went for a Bellini. They were both delicious. The good thing about the juice is that you can choose exactly what you want to go in it from a list. It was tempting to just bung everything in, but I behaved myself.

Vegetarian Burger with Sweet Potato Fries in Mildreds Restaurant Soho
Aren't they so beautiful? Those gorgeous chips...
We decided to be sensible and skip starters, since we wanted pudding haha. I went for the Burger of the Day, which was made of courgette, pepper and tofu. It had quite a chickeny texture, but didn't taste of chicken. The sweet potato chips were of course delicious :)

organic energising detox salad from mildreds restaurant soho
Homer Simpson once said that you don't make friends with salad. He was wrong.
Izzy went for the Organic Energising Detox Salad with Tofu, which she was very impressed with. It looked good from where I was sitting. I did get a little food envy, but then I remembered my sweet potato chips and all was right with the world.

peanut butter and chocolate brownie from mildreds soho
Drooling indefinitely
For pudding, we both shared the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Brownie. My goodness it was delicious. It wasn't too sweet, which was a nice touch and there was more than enough for both of us, since it was so rich. I liked the swirly thing they did with the sauce. Very avant garde. Divine.
 
It was a really good night and I would recommend Mildred's to anyone, yes even die hard carnivores. Give it a go and you'll be surprised. I take all my meaties there and they are always impressed. I was still stuffed from dinner the next morning, so you won't go hungry!
 
I really think that Mildred's is the best vegetarian restaurant in London, so head on down to Soho and check it out!
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