Saturday, 29 November 2014

Wardrobe | The Gap Chelsea Boots

Gap Boots-0047

Shoe shopping and I just don't get along: I either fall for shoes that I can't pull off, or tumble into the trap of buying pairs and pairs of the same black heels that I will never actually wear because I don't go anywhere exciting enough to wear them. The next issue is my love of suede, one of the most impractical fabrics to ever cover something so close to the ground. You can just imagine how much shoe protector that I get through on a weekly basis. Finally and most detrimentally in the current shoe climate, I don't get along very well with ballerina flats because not only do they strike me as incredibly impractical for British weather, they just don't suit me and the way I dress at all. In a nutshell, finding footwear for casual daily wear is tricky.

Recently, however, I've been finding myself falling for leather ankle boots, as they're sturdier than flats, more wearable than high heels and much, much more practical than suede anything. The most recent addition to my growing ankle boot collection is my pair of Chelsea boots from GAP. I was in store with my mom (slumping against a clothes rail whilst she tried on a camel-coloured jacket) when I first saw them.

You know THAT MOMENT where you don't really have any spare money and everything in your bank account is for food and train tickets, but then you spot something that you know you'll struggle to live without and you let out a weird guttural sound because you're about to blow £70 "that you don't have" on something you could really do without, but can't really? That's what I experienced when I put these comfortable, beautiful bad boys on my feet. The regret was short-lived, though, because these boots are divine. I look and feel instantly more stylish when I put them on, and for a girl who went shopping today in the pizza-stained t-shirt that she went to bed in last night... that's no mean feat.

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Monday, 24 November 2014

Christmas | Secret Santa - The Affordable Gift Guide

Christmas Secret Santa Gift Guide

If you're anything like me, the annual Secret Santa announcement sends a cold chill through your entire body and leaves you on edge until the exchange date. And then, if you're really, really unlucky, your person will hate your present and you will be shunned for the rest of eternity. Or something else equally as awful will happen. There are so many aspects of Secret Santa that makes it such a nauseating experience-- the worry, the small price limit, the fact that you may not even really know or LIKE your person, etc. etc.-- so I thought it might be a good idea to look for a few generic Secret Santa presents that are both affordable and really quite nice... in my opinion

1. Stag Head Jewerlly Holder with Gold Detail - £4.50 - ASOS 
I think that this is adorable and I may have actually picked one of these up as a gift already.

2. Unicorn Ring Holder - £10.00 - ASOS

3. Bathroom Guest Book - £12.00 - ASOS
If you were to ask me what my favourite place is, I think I would honestly tell you that it's the bathroom. I think this book is hilarious and am actually contemplating buying one for my own loo.

4. Burts Bees Honey Pot Bodycare Gift Set - £7.19 - John Lewis 
Who doesn't love a bit of Burts Bees? 

5. Nano Block Mini Giant Panda - £8.50 - John Lewis
I was first introduced to Nano Blocks in Hong Kong and I've been a fan ever since. They're essentially very tiny Lego kits that would make a lovely Secret Santa gift for Lego, building and puzzle lovers. 

6. Lily-Flame Candle in a Tin - £8.50 - John Lewis
I was given one of these candles by my Editor at work last Christmas and the scent is wonderful; so wonderful, in fact, that I save this candle for 'special occasions' and still have a lot left! John Lewis stocks a few different scents. 

7. Instant Photo Coasters - £10.00 - ASOS
Such a lovely idea. An impersonal present that can become personal without any effort from you! Result!

8. Happy Jackson Headphone Case - £8.95 - John Lewis
Have we not all spent far too many minutes untangling headphones at some point in our life? This little gift will put an end to that for your Secret Santa Selectee! I think this is adorable. It's not pictured above, but it comes with a wire tidy that you can twist the headphones around.
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Saturday, 15 November 2014

FOTD | Featuring The Body Shop's Shimmer Cube Palette & Hourglass' Ambient Lighting Blush Palette

FOTD Hourlgass Ambient Lighting Body Shop Shimmer Cube -0518

I've had the Body Shop's Shimmer Cube in 06 Warm for a shamefully long time now and I go through periods of remembering it and then forgetting it, before remembering it again. Today is one of those remembering days after I caught a glimpse of it between some other forgotten (probably brown) eye shadows in the midst of my make up stash. This time around I decided to use the two darker shades in the palette to create a simple, day-time smokey-- but subtle-- eye. I used Choc Chip, a brown-come-plum shade all over the eye before blending Dark Chocolate into the outer corners and along the lower lash line. Even after all of this time these shadows are still a pleasure to use. 

| Eyes: Bodyshop's Shimmer Cube Palette in 06 Warm - Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Liner in 01 Black - L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes So Couture Mascara in Noir

| Face: Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum in 56 - Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in 35 - Hourglass Ambient Lighting Incandescent Electra blush - Paul &Joe Eyebrow Powder in 01

| Lips: Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in 07 Nude-ist (+ MAC Chile lipstick in the extra shot)

Friday, 14 November 2014

Wardrobe | Uniqlo for Work and Warmth

Uniqlo Shirts Workwear Lilac Duck Egg-0183

There are two things that most people in my life have probably learned about me: I wear a lot of shirts and I am always cold, especially at work. The shirt part of that statement is easy to explain because there's nothing worse than waking up at 5:20 in the morning and trying to decide what to wear, so with my collection of colourful shirts and various different cardigans, it's easy enough to throw on one of each and leave the house looking presentable enough for the office. One of my go-to places for work wear is Uniqlo because the clothes are just so affordable, well made and comfortable. When I visited Uniqlo last weekend, I picked up their 100% cotton Oxford shirt in a duck egg blue and muted lilac, whilst asking J to physically hold me back so I didn't put the other colours in my basket. Look at that lovely material, the button collars, the beautiful colours. Get all over my body. 

The second part of the 'things that most people in my life have probably learned about me' statement is the fact that thanks to standing around in the cold for half of my commute and having to sit still in a freezing cold office for 8 hours every day, I am left chilled to the bone. I take many, many steps towards combating this and my Uniqlo Heat Teach underwear is one of those. I'm in love with their fleece-lined Heat Teach tops but unfortunately they weren't in stock yet and I had to go for a standard one. The normal Heat Teach underwear is fine but it definitely doesn't keep me as warm as that sweet, sweet fleece-lined goodness. Soon, my loves. Soon.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Beauty | Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette

Let us all just take a moment to appreciate the beauty that is the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette. I've heard an awful lot about Hourglass cosmetics, particularly their ambient lighting powders and blushes, so when I heard that they were releasing a limited edition palette I thought that it could be a good opportunity for a personal introduction to the brand. So, with that in mind, I took a trip to the capital in search of a Space NK (to which the palette is exclusive here in the UK) and swatched away whilst angels sang and fairy dust fell from the sky.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Food | Nibsy's Gluten Free Cafe

Niby's Gluten Free Cafe-0100

Some of you may know that I have Coeliac Disease, an autoimmunity disorder that means anytime I eat gluten (a protein found in wheat and some other grains) my body mistakes it for a dangerous, foreign body and begins to 'attack', damaging the small intestine in the process. I was diagnosed in my first year of university so I've accepted it now, hardly thinking about it when I'm preparing food myself at home... but eating out is still one of the bane's of my existence after all of these years. You might have noticed that gluten free food has become all the rage lately, with Wholefoods-Loving, Fad-Diet-Following individuals paving the way to recognition. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that non-coeliacs are turning to gluten free food because it means that I have more choice, but one major issue is the fact that far too many establishments don't take real, honest-to-God coeliac disease seriously, failing to pay attention to cross-contamination in food preparation. One spec of normal flour in my gluten free dough will probably have me in pain for the whole day and leave me unable to use the toilet for 1-2 weeks, with continued exposure putting me at risk of bowel cancer, osteoporosis and infertility. This ain't no joke.

All of this is why I cry shoulder-shaking tears of joy when I discover a new food establishment that is 100% gluten free and 100% safe. Say hello to Reading's Nibsy's, ladies and gents. When my friend Natalie told me about a new gluten free cafe opening in our town, I was almost unable to concentrate on my work for the rest of the day, what with fantasies of gluten free cake and cheese toasties in a public setting playing on my mind. I've been to Nibsy's twice now and each time I'm overwhelmed to the point of glassy eyes by the fact that I can choose to eat absolutely anything and everything that they have to offer-- courgette and lemon cake, chocolate cakes, Victoria sponge cakes, soups, toasties, sandwiches, muffins, etc. etc. I am no longer limited to individually wrapped coconut macaroons or brownies... and it's MAGICAL. Thank you for making eating out easier, Nibsy's. You're a lunch saver.

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Saturday, 1 November 2014

Beauty | The Mascara Post - All About Brushes

What Different Mascara Wands Do-0930

General Brush Types

The Standard Fibre Bristle Mascara Brush
Typically made up of synthetic fibres, usually packed closely together, your standard bristle mascara brush is great for adding volume and curl. All of the tiny hairs work together to grip all of your lashes, coating them with product and making them look full and fluttery. One negative aspect of the standard bristle brush is that they tend to have quite large heads, which can make precise application difficult. Many a time when using my bigger, bristly brushes, I've ended up with mascara all over my eyelids. Very annoying when you've JUST SPENT THIRTY MINUTES ON YOUR EYESHADOW.... And breathe.
Examples: Dolly Wink Volume Mascara, L'Oreal Extra-Volume Collagene, Maybelline the Colossal Volume Express (UK)

The Plastic Comb Brush
These mascara brushes tend to be made of hard plastic  materials and have short, widely-space teeth. These brushes are often intended to create definition and separation of the eyelashes. One negative aspect is that they seem to pick up too much product that isn't distributed evenly because unlike your bristle brushes there's less surface area and crevices for the product to be absorbed in.
Example: Maybelline Lash Stylish Mascara (US)

The Plastic Bristle Brush
This type of brush is a combination of the plastic comb and the standard bristle brush, with firm and densely packed fibres circling the wand. Marrying the positive aspects of the these two types, plastic bristle brushes are wonderful for leaving you with defined, lengthened and wonderfully full lashes. One thing I have found is that they can leave you with clumped eyelashes if you're not careful and the finish tends to be less fluttery and 'light' than when you use a standard bristle brush.
Examples: L'Oreal Volume Million and Benefit They're Real.

Pro tip: wait for mascara mistakes to dry before you remove them; if you remove them while they're wet, you'll end up with smudges.

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