Sunday, 29 March 2015

Primark Haul - March 2015


Primark Haul 2015

Believe it or not but I've actually never done a Primark haul before! And it's been a while since I last did a haul post which wasn't completely beauty based, so here it is; my first Primark haul.

Over the past month or so it's safe to say that I've found myself frequenting Primark more than ever and every time that I've stepped through the doors of the shop I've left with quite a few things. I don't know if it's got something to do with the fact that we're transitioning into Spring fashion now or if there's just more on the rails that's to my taste but Primark really have been hitting it out of the park recently, so here's what I've picked up this month (I am planning another trip next week to see if I can find a pair of boots that I've been looking for for weeks now so this might not be the last Primark haul to be seen on Ellis Tuesday).

Sooty and Sweep Primark

Sooty Cosy Slipper Socks £4 - Sweep Cosy Slipper Socks £4
As you might have already seen if you happen to follow me on Instagram (link here), I managed to pick up these adorable slipper socks. I'm a big fan of Primark's selection of slipper socks meaning that it's a section I always make sure to check out when I'm in the store and as soon as I saw these two I couldn't stop smiling. Even looking at them now whilst I type up this post just puts me in such a good mood. I was the biggest Sooty & Co. fan growing up, so much so that I even appeared in the Sooty & Co. magazine when I was about two or three years years old. Definite claim to fame! Hehe. I had my beloved Sweep puppet on one hand and was balancing on one leg. I'll need to see if I can find the photograph to let you see.

Primark Necklace Jewellery

Necklace £6
The jewellery section in Primark used to be one of my favourite areas to check out but for some reason or another I definitely haven't paid it enough attention recently but I'm so glad that I reacquainted myself with it on my last visit. This necklace is just so stunning. It's hard to describe just how perfect it is for me and for the Spring/Summer seasons. The chain itself is gorgeous and unlike anything else that I've seen on the High Street recently and I simply adore the pastel shades mixed in with the metallic, pearl and diamant√© detailing.

Primark Black Heels

Shoes £12
I'm always on the lookout for heels that I can actually comfortably walk in and these certainly fit the bill. I very rarely wear heels but I do want to try and step out of (no shoe based pun intended there hehe) my comfort zone when it comes to my footwear choices this Spring/Summer. Normally it's ballet flats all the way for me (that's not to say I won't be stocking up on them too) but I really wanted a classic pair of black shoes with a bit of a heel for a variety of different reasons and I'm so glad that I managed to find these. They are honestly so comfortable. As you can hopefully see, there is a cushion at the front of the shoe for support and as they are of the wide fit variety, there is more room for your feet to breathe and fit. I can't wait to style these up over the upcoming weeks and months.

Primark Super Cosy Tights 2015

Super Cosy Tights £2
After years and years of hearing basically everyone rave about Primark's Super Cosy tights I finally gave in and added them to my basket this month. And to see them with £1.50 off of their usual price made the decision even easier. I've yet to try them out but I do love the feel of them. I do wonder how long they will last but for £2 I guess that it's not too much of a loss when they do inevitably rip/ladder.

Primark Navy Purse

Purse £2 
I also picked up this adorable little purse. As you will have seen if you read my recent 'What's In My Bag' post (link here), I tend to carry quite a large wallet with me on a day-to-day basis but that wallet is far, far too large for my Michael Kors Mini Selmas. And since I've been carrying my Mini Selmas with me more and more these days I really needed a significantly smaller purse or wallet for those days. As soon as I saw the size of this I knew that it would be the perfect size and at £2 I really couldn't complain.

Primark Mini Purse

The fact that it isn't just a coin purse (who only carries coins with them these days?) was what really sold me on it, as well as the lovely navy and white love hearts design. You can carry several cards in the front section of the purse and there are enough spaces for the essentials. Of course my Boots advantage card is an essential in my purse. Hehe.

Primark Green Trench Coat

Trench Coat £25
Now this purchase was an absolute no brainer! I've had the same black hooded trench coat for a good few years now and every single year I go on the hunt for one to possibly replace it. I've had to give up all hope of finding another one with a hood that is within my price range but this year there have been trench coats aplenty on the High Street. However, most of them are a bit pricey so to find out that this one was only £25 made me so happy. The shade of green is absolutely stunning and I love the way that it looks against my auburn hair. I also featured this very coat in my first article for Scotcampus on 'Your Spring 2015 Wardrobe' (link here).

Primark Disney Wrapping Paper Thumper Bambi

Disney Wrapping Paper £1.50
Just in case you haven't already noticed, Primark have really been hitting it out of the park when it comes to their branded merchandise (case in point; the Sooty & Sweep slipper socks) and their range of Disney items really is out of this world. I just so happened to be in the queue waiting to pay for the shoes featured above, when I happened to spot this gorgeous Bambi wrapping paper. And it was perfect timing as I was actually planning on making a trip to a card shop or supermarket to see if I could get some gift wrap to wrap up my mum's Mother's Day and birthday presents. And to get 4 metres of Disney branded wrapping paper is pretty amazing.

Have you bought anything exciting from Primark recently? If so, you'll need to let me know below so I can be sure to go and check it out. Hehe. What do you think of the items that I managed to pick up? And would you like to see more haul posts in the near future?

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Friday, 27 March 2015

This Has Been: March


Monthly Instagram 2015

Spending Sunday in bed watching both of the Sex and the City movies - Feeling exactly like Boo (The World's Cutest Dog) on the first Monday of the month - Summer Scooping - Sooty and Sweep - Catching up with the Stylist magazine and my favourite Girl, Shoshanna - A huge thanks to Team BWPR for the most adorable card to mark the end of my internship - Daisy Sorbet dreaming - Exciting times in Glasgow City Centre - I may have binge watched the entirety of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt within a 48 hour period - My first two articles for Scotcampus went live this month (link here) - So, Gordon Ramsay not only followed me and replied to me on Twitter but he also confirmed that Masterchef US is coming to the UK! - I finally bought Lush's Sakura - My dream boots (which are unfortunately sold out) from Primark - Escentual's #CleansingMilkTrial was really interesting and I can't wait to find out the results - Loving the DKNY stand in Debenhams - The Lush Braehead beauty school bloggers event was so much fun (link to full blog post here) - You're never too old for Bambi and Thumper wrapping paper - Shopping selfie - Saturday night takeaway - I'm completely obsessed with this Stila eye liner at the moment - Girls Season 4 Finale - Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies (link to blog post here) - Spring sandals - The #CleansingMilkTrial results are in and I'm so happy that my absolute favourite (Sample G) won

Much like February (link here), there have been a lot of highlights this month. Hopefully this is just the start of things to come in 2015. My internship at Becky White PR came to an end and in that same week I had my first two articles for Scotcampus (a Scottish magazine for students) published on their website which was really exciting. I've also had some great news about internships and work experience placements for upcoming months. After years of really not having any idea as to what I wanted to do career wise, it's so nice to finally feel passionate about what I want to do. 

In terms of blogging highlights this month, I had the absolute pleasure of attending a blogger event at Lush Braehead (link to blog post on it here)It was a fantastic night and it was so lovely to meet the girls at Lush and the other bloggers in attendance.

It also officially feels like Spring now. Hallelujah! I have a feeling that myself and fellow bloggers who also use natural light when taking their photographs, will definitely be rejoicing at that fact. The clocks go forward this weekend and I am certainly looking forward to more light mornings and evenings. Another real highlight of the month of March; the solar eclipse. Despite the fact that it spent the majority of the time hiding behind the clouds and that my camera was not for capturing it, I actually got to see it quite visibly a few times which was a pretty special moment. Did you manage to see it where you were?

What was your March like? Please feel free to send me your instagram links and I'll be sure to check them out.

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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Ellis Tuesday Bakes On Wednesday: Chocolate Chip/Chunk Cookies


Chocolate Cookie Bake

I never used to be a huge chocolate chip cookie fan (I know, pause for shock horror) but now I'm pretty much obsessed with them. I thought that I would try making my own this month and I have to say, despite them looking a little 'rustic', to say the least and not exactly identical to the ones that I usually eat, these tasted just as I hoped they would. And the chocolate chunks actually distributed pretty evenly which was a bit of a surprise. A good surprise, no doubt about that. Although saying that, the one cookie, the one with the most chocolate chunks (it's the middle one on the top row) was certainly my favourite. There was so much chocolatey goodness in that cookie! Mmmm! I would probably make them a little thinner next time but that's only a personal preference.

Chocolate Chip Cookies Baking Blog

Ingredients

100g Brown Sugar
125g Unsalted Butter
1 Egg
1 and a 1/2 teaspoons of Vanilla Essence
1/2 a teaspoon of salt
225g Self Raising Flour
200g Chocolate Chips or Chunks

Step One: Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5 and line baking tray(s) with greaseproof paper.
Step Two: Mix butter and sugar in a bowl until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla essence and mix again. Sieve in the flour and salt and combine once more. Add the chocolate chips/chunks and stir well.
Step Three: Using a teaspoon, place small mounds of the mixture on to the baking tray(s), making sure to leave considerable room between them.
Step Four: Bake for 8-10 minutes until light brown on the edges and still slight soft in the centre.

Top Tip: If you like your cookies that little bit chewier, make sure to take them out of the oven slightly earlier and leave them on the baking tray. They will still carry on cooking and your cookies should be lovely and chewy in the centre.

Chocolate Chunk Cookie Recipe

Are you a chocolate chip cookie fan? Will you be attempting to make your own using this recipe? And are there any specific bakes that you would like me to tackle next?

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Sunday, 22 March 2015

Lush Braehead Beauty School Bloggers Party


Lush Beauty School Bloggers Party

On Tuesday night I was invited along to Lush Braehead for their Beauty School Bloggers Party. In case you weren't aware, Lush do parties and events. So if you're a Lush addict, a bit like myself, doesn't that sound like the dream? There are three different events to choose from. To find out more about them (click here)Ours was the Beauty School party and myself and seven other bloggers were treated to an evening of pampering, products and face mask making. I hadn't actually met any of the bloggers who were attending the event before, even though I felt like I already knew a few of them from following them and their blogs for a long time. So it was really nice to finally meet them as well as the other bloggers in attendance and the fantastic girls at Lush Braehead too.

Lush Braehead Bloggers Event
(Image Credit @lushbraehead)

From left to right: Kristin - Linsay - Roisin - Gillian - Michelle - Me - Kirsty - Amy - Beth - Rach

After everyone had arrived we were directed to the back of the shop where there was a table set up with drinks and some gorgeous chocolate nibbles. Then we introduced ourselves to one another and spoke a little bit about our blogs and what we were looking forward to most about the event, before being shown some of the new, limited edition products.

Lush Easter
As I hadn't actually seen the Easter range in person I was really excited to have a proper look at it and of course, give it a good sniff. We were also given a demonstration of some of the products which is always fun to see. My favourite had to be Hoppity Poppity. It has popping candy in it! Popping candy!! Now how incredible is that?

We were then taken to the front of the shop, just as you walk into the Braehead store and given a seat around the table. It was then that we got to make our very own Catastrophe Cosmetic face mask, which we got to take home with us at the end of the evening. I would have taken a few photographs of us making the mask, as it was definitely an entertaining process but it all got rather messy once we had started. 

Lush Beauty School Event


And after all that hard work (it definitely gave my arm a bit of a workout), we were given the opportunity to pamper one another using some of Lush's best massage bars, exfoliators, cleansers, masks and moisturising products. We were paired up, I was paired with the lovely Beth and we were given a crash course in the art of arm and hand massages and facials by our wonderful host Kristin.

The Beauty School Bloggers Party was honestly one of the best nights that I've had in a long time. The atmosphere was relaxed, informal and most importantly, so welcoming. And our hosts were absolutely fantastic too. I also learned so much about some of my favourite Lush products as well as ones that I've wanted to try for a while now. If you would like to experience a Beauty School Party for yourself, it is priced at £25 per person but this £25 includes £10 for you to spend in-store at the end of the party.

If you live in or around the Glasgow area, I would definitely recommend paying the team at Lush Braehead a visit. They were all so friendly and they really knew their stuff. I tend to get a bit overwhelmed when I enter a Lush store as there is so much to look at and they always seem to have something new to discover, so it really does help to know that the Lush team at Braehead can assist you with any questions or queries that you have. Thanks again to everyone at Lush Braehead for such a great night and to Kristin for inviting me along.

What do you think of the sound of the Beauty School party? Would it be something that you would love to attend? Just think how perfect it would be for birthday parties, hen nights and those sorts of events? Would you like to see a review of the very Catastrophe Cosmetic face mask that I made at the event?

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Friday, 20 March 2015

What I've Been Watching In: March



This Is Where I Leave You (2014)
Starring: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Corey Stoll
When I was in the US in October of last year, I really wanted to go and see This Is Where I Leave You but no one would accompany me (we ended up going to see Annabelle (review here) which was still pretty enjoyable). So as soon as I saw that it was out on DVD here, I made sure to buy it and I'm so glad that I did.
This Is Where I Leave You centres around the Altman siblings (Bateman, Fey, Driver and Stoll), who are mourning the death of their father whilst staying together in their childhood home for the first time in many, many years for an entire week. This week, known as shiva, was their father's last wish according to their mother (Jane Fonda) so the Altman children oblige and that is where the story really takes off.
The scenes with Timothy Olyphant's character honestly broke my heart. I certainly didn't expect to be on the verge of tears whilst watching this movie but that's exactly what happened. Oh and I've also never been more attracted to Adam Driver. How is that even possible, especially as I've always had a bit of a soft spot for him anyway. Ben Schwartz (aka. Jean-Ralphio Sapperstein from Parks & Recreation) is great in this too, although he'll always be Jean-Ralphio to me.
Again, this is a rare occurrence in which an ensemble piece really works and the characters are actually believable instead of it just being twenty big stars who've been thrown together into the same movie. The supporting cast, who I have already briefly mentioned, are fantastic in this too. Rose Byrne, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton and Dax Shepard all appear and interact with the Altman family perfectly.

Gone Girl (2014)
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry
After hearing so many great things about the book and subsequently the movie, Gone Girl has been on my list of movies to watch for some time now. I received the DVD for my birthday last month (link here) and finally got around to watching it this month.
This really is one of the best and most interesting movies that I have seen in a very long time. I really did imagine it going one way (even after avoiding all of the spoilers and assuming that there would be at least one big twist) but then it went another way and another way and another. I normally tend to suss out how a movie might end but with Gone Girl I just sat there thinking to myself, "what on earth is going to happen next?!" Without spoiling it in the slightest, there are some shocking and frankly disturbing scenes, ones that even when I think back to them now blow my mind a bit. It certainly lived up to the hype for me and kept me captivated right until the final second and when you take into consideration that the movie is over two and a half hours long and the fact that I am the kind of person who often gets distracted, this really does mean a lot.
If you're a fan of David Fincher's back catalogue (Fight Club, Seven, Zodiac, Panic Room) and his style and aesthetic of film-making, then I have a feeling that you will really enjoy the way in which Gone Girl is shot.
All I can say is, if you've not seen it yet then it's definitely worth checking it out. I'm going to need to read the book next and see how and if it differs from the movie adaptation.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015-)
Starring: Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski, Carol Kane
Every so often there is a Netflix Original series that really does catch my eye (OITNB and Better Call Saul spring to mind) and that's what happened with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
First of all, if the theme song to this isn't the catchiest theme song that you've heard in a while, then there's something wrong with you! Hehe. I haven't been able to get it out of my head for weeks now. And even if you don't intend on watching the series or don't actually have a Netflix subscribtion, you need to hear the theme song (link here).
Ellie Kemper, who you might know from the US Office, 21 Jump Street or The Mindy Project, is absolutely brilliant as the protagonist Kimmy Schmidt. The show follows Kimmy's attempts to integrate back into society as an adult after being rescued from a doomsday cult underground bunker where she was held for fifteen years. So Kimmy has fifteen years of pop culture, experiences and life to catch up on and she's doing that in NYC. The jokes are fantastic and exactly to my sense of humour, so much so that I watched the entire first season, all thirteen episodes of it, in less than 24 hours. It's just so addictive and easy to watch and perfect for binge watching. There are also some amazing guest starts; Jon Hamm, Dean Norris, Nick Kroll, Keirnan Shipka and Tina Fey herself. Definitely give it a watch if you happen to have Netflix and let me know how quickly you find yourself watching the entire season. Hehe.


Failure To Launch (2006)
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Bates, Zooey Deschanel
When I saw that this was on one of the movie channels one Saturday afternoon I wondered why I hadn't stumbled across it until now. But after watching Failure To Launch in it's entirety I completely understood why it hadn't appeared on my 'Movies To Watch' list or radar at any point in the past decade or so.
The premise of this movie is; Matthew McConaughey's character, Tripp, is a 35 year old who still lives at home with his parents. Since he has no interest in moving out, his parents hire an 'expert' (SJP) to get him to move out instead of just, you know, asking/telling him to.
This movie really is a strange mix of watchable scenes, ones that remind you of any other romantic comedy that you've seen, especially those made around the same time as this one would have been and then there's these other scenes. These 'other' scenes involve weird animatronic or CGI animals, all of which are trying to bite Tripp. There's a chipmunk, a dolphin, a lizard and even a mockingbird which they do CPR on. Like what the hell was going on there? What were they trying to achieve? Oh and it's not just like there's one or two of those scenes, there are five. FIVE!
It's safe to say I would avoid this movie like the plague and that's even with Bradley Cooper being in it and Zooey Deschanel doing a pretty good job as SJP's character's best friend.

Nightcrawler (2014)
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton
This is another movie that has been on my 'Movies To Watch' list ever since I first saw the trailer all those months ago. If you've seen the trailer for Nightcrawler then you will probably have a good idea about the kind of experience that you will be letting yourself in for. And this movie really was an experience for me. From the get-go I was completely immersed in the world that Nightcrawler takes place in and what makes it so enthralling and captivating is the fact that it's not set in some far off land or fantasy world but it's set in current day Los Angeles and for me that's what makes it so disturbing. Again, if you've seen the trailer, you will have already seen Jake Gyllenhaal as you've never seen him before. He completely transforms into the creepy and remorseless Louis Bloom, a character unlike any that I've ever seen on film before.
Just in case you haven't seen the trailer or heard too much about this movie, 'nightcrawling' is the phrase used to describe camera crews or in Bloom's case, just him and his videocamera to begin with, capturing gruesome and explicit footage of accidents and then selling them on to local news stations for them to run as their 'breaking stories'. And all I could think about when seeing these horrific and terrifying scenes unfold on the news broadcasts was the way in which some news stories have been reported both here in the UK and most notably, in the US in recent years. I was instantly reminded of the coverage of the hunt for the Boston Marathon bombers and it's then that you realise how relevant Nightcrawler is and just how perfectly it encapsulates the current culture of news reporting across the globe. You just have to check it out!

Better Call Saul (2015-)
Starring: Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian, Jonathan Banks
As a big Breaking Bad fan I was one of those individuals who was counting down the days until Better Call Saul made it's premiere on Netflix and now that we're seven weeks (and episodes) in, I can now officially share my love for this show. Saul was always one of my favourite characters in Breaking Bad as he would often provide some much needed comedic relief to some of the darker scenes/episodes.
If you've seen and adored Breaking Bad then Better Call Saul really is the perfect continuation of that style of television, despite the fact that it's a prequel to Breaking Bad. It certainly has the same style and aesthetic as it's predecessor without rehashing the same storylines or character developments. But saying that, you could easily watch Better Call Saul without having seen or even heard of Breaking Bad. It really does stand alone in it's own right and unlike in Breaking Bad where Saul would be there for light relief most of the time, in this the character of Saul is much more fleshed out. But that's not to say that there aren't a few rewards for the Breaking Bad fans. The very first episode of Better Call Saul really did make me smile, for a number of reasons, but the biggest smile came at the very end when we see a familiar face from the early days of Breaking Bad. That in it's itself had me hooked and now every single Tuesday I will literally be counting down the hours until I can switch on Netflix and get my Better Call Saul fix, as unlike other Netflix Original shows like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt above, Saul is uploaded on a weekly basis, a bit like if you were watching it on TV which only makes me even more excited to watch the next episode.

What have you been watching this month? Do you have any recommendations? Have you seen any of these? If so, what did you think of them?

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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

What's In My Bag (The Internship Edition)


Ted Baker Large Tote Bag

From left to right: Top Row: Notepad - Pens - Maybelline Baby Lips Dr Rescue Medicated Lip Balm in Too Cool - Michael Kors Glam Jasmine Eau De Parfum Spray* - Chewing Gum - Keys - Victoria's Secret PINK You Can't Drink With Us Water Bottle
Bottom Row: Accessorize Leopard Print Wallet - Shaun The Sheep Tangle Teezer Compact Styler - Hair Bobbles - Ted Baker Large Bowcon Tote Bag* - Phone - Train Ticket

As some of you may or may not know, I completed my very first internship at the start of this month and I also have a few more internships and work experience placements in the works for the next couple of months. As this is the case, I've really been trying my very best to streamline what I carry around with me on a day-to-day basis so I thought that now was as good a time as any to share 'What's In My Bag' with you. 

As you can see from above, my current bag of choice is the Large Bowcon Tote Bag from Ted Baker. It really is the perfect size to fit all of my regular essentials, as well as those items that are all the more necessary when completing an internship. When it comes to interning, or even starting work at a new company, the most important item in my bag has to be my notebook. I picked up this particular notebook from Sainsbury's at the start of the year and it's such a great size for keeping with you at all times. It means that I can quickly jot down anything important and keep track of different log in details and passwords, which is especially helpful when you're learning the ropes. For me anyway, it really helps me to retain information if I write it down so having a notebook in my bag is going to be something that I continue to do even if I'm not interning or in a work environment.

My Victoria's Secret PINK You Can't Drink With Us water bottle tends to come everywhere with me at the moment and it really does spark up some water-cooler moments, especially if you're dealing with a fellow Mean Girls fan. Hehe. The rest of what I've been carrying around with me is pretty typical regardless of where I'm going or what I'm doing. But what really makes this Ted Baker bag so handy for when I'm interning is the fact that I can leave a significant amount of space at the top of the bag just in case I need to dash to the Post Office with some mail or some samples to send out. And it's also nice to know that I have that bit of extra room clear at the top of the bag for when I go and do a little bit of shopping before or after I'm at the office too. Hehe.

So what do you think of 'What's In My Bag'? Are there any items that you would deem essential that I'm missing from it? Saying that though, I do think that I'm doing quite well at not carrying too much around with me these days, especially when I don't really need to. It's never a good sign when you start to get a sore shoulder from carrying around your handbag, now is it? What do you make sure to carry with you at all times? 
And if you've done a 'What's In My Bag' blog post or video, please make sure to send me the link to it below and I will make sure to check it out.

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Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Best Of The New Spring Releases: Crayons


Spring 2015 Make-up Crayons

Over the past couple of weeks or so there have been so many exciting Spring make-up releases that it's been hard to keep track so I thought that I would dedicate a few blog posts to my top picks from those brand new releases, starting with these incredible crayons. So here's my round-up of the make-up crayons, all of which have just hit the market, that I would certainly recommend keeping an eye out for when you're next out shopping.

GOSH Forever Lip Shine

GOSH Forever Lip Shine in 009 My Valentine* - 005 Flirty Dreams* - 002 Sweet Moments* £6.99
Unlike some of the other lip crayons that I own, specifically those that resemble the Clinique Chubby Sticks, GOSH's Forever Lip Shine crayons are much finer which is definitely more advantageous to those of us who like to be a bit more precise when it comes to our application. The shape of the tip also means that there isn't a need to use a separate lip liner when applying these which is another big bonus. Again, unlike many of the other lip crayons that I've foolishly wasted my money on, these aren't drying on the lips in the slightest and they don't cling to cracks on the lips or dry areas either. It really is win win with these lip crayons.
Your lips are left with such a stunning sheen, a texture somewhere right in between a traditional lip stick and a shiny lip gloss, which is unique enough in it's own right and then they come in ten beautiful shades. What's not to love?

The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Velvet Stick

The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Velvet Stick in 50 Poppy Universal* - 30 Poppy Bronze* - 40 Poppy Coral* £12
I'm all for multi-use products, so these brand new Lip & Cheek Velvet Sticks from The Body Shop immediately caught my eye when I was first told about them a number of weeks ago. 
I've never gotten on particularly well with products designed to be used for both lips and cheeks, maybe it's because most of them tend to be stains which I'm certainly not a huge fan of but these crayons are a whole different story. The texture is almost velvet like, which means you can actually feasibly use them on both your lips and your cheeks and the colour is subtle enough to be built up to a level that suits you.
Of course there was one shade that captivated and excited me more than the others and that was the mystical and magical Universal shade (aka. the transforming black shade). This one adjusts to the pH of your skin to provide you with your own customised shade. Now how incredible is that? It gives my lips a gorgeous pop of purple-y pink.
These crayons do have a poppy scent to them, as you might imagine, considering the fact that they have a poppy emblazoned on the front of them but it's not too strong or overpowering which is nice.

Bourjois Colorband

Bourjois Colorband 2-in-1 Eyeshadow & Liner in 02 Brun Dadaiste* - 01 Noir Abstrait* - 05 Mauve* - 03 Beige Minimaliste* £5.99
Again, I seem to have amassed more and more eye shadow crayons than ever in the past twelve months but none with the pigmentation, staying power or quality of the brand new Colorband eye crayons from Bourjois. 
Out of all the eye crayons that I have tried these are easily my favourite. Much like my beloved Sephora brand eye shadow crayons (I really do need to review them at some point on here) the Bourjois shades do not budge. I repeat, unless you have some serious make-up remover to hand do not even attempt to try and remove these shadows.
They really do glide on perfectly and are so easy to blend. And talk about a creamy texture and consistency, these are just so soft and buttery on the skin. The Colorband 2-in-1 Eyeshadow & Liners are definitely of a holy-grail make-up status in my opinion and the shades on offer are spectacular. I've already got my eye on the rose gold shade, Rose Fauviste, and at only £5.99 it would be rude not to pick up a few more.

What are your thoughts on crayon-like products like these? Have you tried any of the products featured in today's blog post? If so, what do you think of them?
And what recent Spring releases have really excited and impressed you?

Spring 2015 Make-up Releases

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Friday, 13 March 2015

Degustabox: February Box (With Exclusive Discount Code)


Degustabox Discount Code

Whilst last month's Degustabox, entitled 'The Healthy Box' (review here), was packed full of suitably nutritious products, this month's box has a perfect balance between health conscious products and indulgent treats. On top of that, there's also a great mix of well-known brands and ones that I hadn't necessarily heard of before. As with every Degustabox review that I do, I have a fantastic and exclusive discount code for you to use to take £3 off the £12.99 price tag. All you have to do is enter the code D3G74 when you register. 

So let's see exactly what the February box comprises of.

Degustabox February 2015

From left to right: Top Row: Beet It Sport Pro-Elite Bars - Schwartz Spanish Paella Flavour Shot - Jack Link's Original Beef Snack
Bottom Row: Melba Thins Original - Schwartz Indian Mild Masala Curry - Whole Earth Three Nut Butter - Laimon Fresh

Degustabox Review

From left to right: American Muffin Company Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins - Lily O'Briens Cocoa Cookie Crunch - Peanut Hottie Peanut Butter Flavour Hot Drink

Degustabox have done it again with this box! As I have mentioned before when I've reviewed Degustabox, since I currently live at home with my family (my mum, dad and younger brother), there is always something for everyone in the Degustabox. My brother, the healthiest of the four of us by quite some margin was ecstatic to see the Beet It Sports Bars and the Three Nut Butter included in this box. And in stark contrast, the two products that I was the most excited to see included in this particular box were the mini muffins and the Cocoa Cookie Crunch and they certainly didn't disappoint! My mum is already planning meals around the Schwartz Flavour Shots, which she can't recommend highly enough and my dad is looking forward to seeing what the Jack Link's Beef Snack is like, especially as he tried their Beef Jerky when we were in the US last year and adored it. So it's another great box from Degustabox. I really can't wait to see what kind of boxes they come up with over the warmer months.

What do you think of the products in this month's Degustabox? Have you tried any of them before?

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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Collection Eyes Uncovered Nude Palettes


Collection Eyes Uncovered Nude Palettes

As you might remember, if you happened to read my 2014 beauty favourites blog post (link here), one of my favourite make-up discoveries of 2014 was the Collection Little Mix Love All About The Eyes palette. It quickly became my most used eye shadow palette, which really is saying something when I take into consideration how many I have accrued over the years. Collection have only gone and released three more incredible nude palettes, entitled Eyes Uncovered, which instantly reminded me of my beloved Little Mix Love All About The Eyes palette and here they are.

Collection Eyes Uncovered

The Eyes Uncovered Nude palettes come in three different shade varieties; nude, nude bronze and nude grey and believe it or not, when it comes to the shades and shadows, there are no duplications. Impressive stuff for such a budget friendly brand. It also means that you might want to scoop up all three of the Eyes Uncovered palettes as they have you covered when it comes to nude and neutral shades. I'd definitely keep an eye out for those hard to resist 3 for 2 deals if you fancy treating yourself to all three of them. Then that means that you would end up with three incredible nude eye shadow palettes, comprising of eighteen different shades, for substantially less than a tenner.

If you still need some convincing, here are the three palettes in more detail;

Collection Eyes Uncovered Nude Bronze

Collection Eyes Uncovered Palette in Nude Bronze* £3.99

Collection Eyes Uncovered Nude

Collection Eyes Uncovered Palette in Nude* £3.99

Collection Eyes Uncovered Nude Grey

Collection Eyes Uncovered Palette in Nude Grey* £3.99

Just like the Little Mix Love All About The Eyes palette, the Eyes Uncovered Nude palettes are great quality. The shadows themselves are soft and buttery on the eyelids and the pigmentation is pretty spectacular, especially for the £3.99 price tag.

For me, these three palettes are definite must-haves for your make-up bag or make-up collection and I've not seen anything like the Nude Grey palette, in particular, before. All I can say is, bravo Collection! 

So what do you think of the Collection Eyes Uncovered Nude palettes? Is there one in particular that stands out to you or are you in love with all three too?

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Sunday, 8 March 2015

How To Keep Your Skin Hydrated


Skincare for dry skin


Just because it's now technically Spring (although I am yet to truly believe that considering the fact that it was snowing here in Glasgow only a few days ago), doesn't mean that we should neglect the hydrating skincare products just yet. As someone with incredibly dry and dehydrated skin, I'm always on the lookout for new products to try that promise to work wonders on the areas of my skin that I am the most concerned about and that is where this blog post idea was born. I've been putting these products to the test over the past couple of months and on the whole, I've been very impressed with the ways in which they've helped to keep my skin hydrated, so here they are;

The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask

The Body Shop Drops Of Youth™ Bouncy Sleeping Mask* £22 
This product is the one that I've been using the longest now as I started putting it to the test at the start of the year after I was very kindly sent it before it's official release date. First of all, the texture of this mask is unlike any that I have ever seen or tried. The consistency of it is almost like custard and even more so like the kind of custard that is used when people try to break world records. You know when people try to run across custard without sinking into it, well that. I hope that you get what I'm talking about here. Hehe. What I mean, by comparing it to custard, is the fact that if you prod your finger into it it's bouncy, as the name would allude to, but as soon as it is applied to the skin it instantly transforms into a creamy consistency. I would definitely recommend taking a trip to your local Body Shop store just to make sure that this is the kind of product that will work for you, as I have to admit, when this first arrived I was a little put off by the texture of it in the pot but once you get past that this really is an impressive night cream/mask.


Applying this before I go to bed and when I say before I go to bed, I do leave it around 10-15 minutes for it to soak in or as long as I can possibly do so before I let my head (and face) hit the pillow, unless you will seriously stick to your pillow. Now that is a fact! Hehe. But aside from that, this really does leave your skin feeling incredibly fresh and renewed when you wake up and definitely hydrated.


Weleda Skin Food* - Super Facialist By Una Brennan Rose Hydrate Miracle Makeover Facial Oil* £14.99 - Bioderma Hydrabio Riche* £14 (Currently £9.33)

Weleda's Skin Food is a product that I have been wanting to try for quite some time now and I am so glad that I finally did in the past month or so. This really is the perfect multi-tasker when it comes to keeping your skin hydrated and is definitely a unisex product that I would recommend for a whole host of dry skin areas. This has drastically improved the dry skin on my elbows and knees which is certainly impressive as I do tend to find those areas tricky to keep hydrated at the best of times. It does take quite a bit of rubbing in for it to truly sink in to the skin but it is worth the extra effort.

Whilst I have been using at least one, if not several of the other hydrating products, on a daily basis, the Super Facialist Oil has been more of a treat for my skin when I apply it and what a treat it is! What you might not think or know about the Una Brennan Oil is the fact that it's actually a pre-cleansing product and is one that has definitely encouraged me to spend more time when it comes to cleansing my skin.

The oil itself is light and silky but it does pack a punch in terms of richness. It doesn't feel greasy or slimy on the skin and has really prompted me to do a bit more research into pre-cleansing oils similar to this one. My only issue with this oil; the scent. It can be quite overwhelmingly rosy but it's not a deal-breaker by any stretch of the imagination unless you are strongly against rose scented products, of course.

The next product, one that I have been using religiously and as a result is my favourite of the bunch, is the Bioderma Hydrabio Riche. I've been using this on a daily, sometimes twice daily, basis and it really has improved the visible flaking and dry patches around my hair line in particular. The cream itself feels very nourishing on the skin, without being too thick or gloopy and it sinks in almost immediately. Another big bonus; the fact that it is unscented. I think that a tide has changed for me when it comes to fragranced skincare, so the lack of perfume with this cream makes me even more enamoured with it.


NUXE Reve De Miel Ultra Calming Night Cream

NUXE Reve De Miel Ultra Calming Night Cream* £20.21

Whilst I have been putting another night cream kind of product to the test, as seen above, the NUXE Reve De Miel Ultra Calming Night Cream has also been put through it's paces by me over the past couple of weeks on an alternative week basis. Since The Body Shop's Drops Of Youth Bouncy Sleep Mask might not be to everyone's taste, consistency wise at least, I think that I've found an alternative that works ideally for what I was looking for.
My only issue with this night cream is the scent. Again a fragrance that is a little on the strong side for me has slightly put me off reaching for this at the end of the day. If you like honey scents and fragrances then this cream will probably be one that you will happily slather on but it was just a bit too much for me. And it pains me to say that as the product itself is so creamy and indulgent on the skin. This is also why I've put off trying the infamous Reve De Miel lip balm for years. Why isn't there a fragrance free version?!

E45 Intense Recovery Lotion

E45 Intense Recovery Lotion £4.89
As someone who has struggled to keep their skin hydrated for many years now, whenever I have asked anyone for suggestions on products that might finally bring around a solution, the one brand that everyone continues to recommend is E45. Despite that, this is actually the first of their products that I have ever tried and I feel a little foolish for not listening to everyone years ago about this brand.
Aimed at very dry skin, the E45 Intense Recovery Lotion, really does sink straight into the skin to give you that instant gratification of hydration and relief. The lotion itself is exceptionally cooling on the skin, which means that I will definitely be reaching for this all year round, especially in the Summer.
And the reason I picked this up in the store; it's fragrance free! Hallelujah! As I mentioned above, I've definitely been put off using some of the other body lotions and butters that I have at my disposal completely on the basis that some of them are so strong that they conflict with my body wash/perfume, for example. After using this and being as impressed with it as I have been, I am going to need to see what other products E45 have to offer.


What products do you use to keep your skin hydrated throughout the different seasons? Have you tried any of the products or brands that I have featured in today's post? If so, what did you think of them? 


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Friday, 6 March 2015

My Orlando, Florida Travel Tips: Restaurants


Orlando, Florida Restaurants

Whenever you tell anyone that you're visiting the US one of the first things that they tend to comment on is the amount of food that you are probably going to consume whilst you're there and how glorious the American portion sizes are.
 So today's Travel Tips post is dedicated to some of my favourite eats in the US of A. And as these are chain restaurants, it means that you should be able to find them throughout the US instead of just in Orlando alone. 

A lot of the time, we as a family, do tend to frequent the fast food chains (expect a blog post on this very topic at a later date) but when you feel like giving them a break or heading out for a sit down meal, there's nothing better than taking a seat at the following four restaurants, for us. All of these eateries can be found right in the heart of Orlando as well as throughout the state and the US more generally. All four are within walking distance of one another on International Drive which is a great thing for those of you who will be staying in and around that area.

So here they are, my favourite four restaurants (not including fast food establishments) in Orlando, Florida;

Longhorn Steakhouse

Longhorn Steakhouse Orlando

Having driven past Longhorn Steakhouse several times during our travels to Orlando in the past, we finally made a point of going in and trying it for the first time on our visit last year. As soon as the food arrived we realised the error in our ways for not trying it out sooner, as the food was so amazing. I went for the hand breaded chicken tenders which were really moist and packed full of flavour, something that can't be said for all chicken dishes. The fries were also incredible. I may be salivating just thinking about them right now...

Chicken Tenders Longhorn Steakhouse

I think that it might become pretty apparent that chicken is my protein of choice, especially as it is the only one that I eat but the clue really is in the name for what Longhorn STEAKhouse specialises in and my parents tried six different cuts of steak, between them, on our three visits to Longhorn Steakhouse and loved every single one of them. So if you're a fan of steak then Longhorn's is where you definitely need to head during your travels.

Longhorn Steakhouse Meal

The restaurant itself has a Western/Texan theme to it without it being too theme-centric and we certainly enjoyed the atmosphere there. I look forward to visiting again in the future.
For a full list of Longhorn Steakhouse restaurants in the Orlando area (click here).

Johnny Rockets

Johnny Rockets Mall at Millenia

I already briefly mentioned this incredible dining experience in the first of my Orlando, Florida Travel Tips blog posts (link here) as there is a fantastic branch situated in the Mall at Millenia, right in the heart of Orlando. This is American diner food at it's very best! So if you've ever wanted to try French fries topped with chilli, cheese, bacon or a combination of the three, then you need to take a trip to Johnny Rockets. 

Johnny Rockets Chilli Cheese Fries

Some of our absolute favourite picks are the Philly and Chicken Philly Cheese Steaks, the Hot Dogs and Chilli Dogs and the onion rings (oh god the onion rings are good!) And you seriously haven't lived until you've tried one of their milkshakes. The strawberry one really is just the tastiest treat! 
The experience of dining at Johnny Rockets really is just so much fun and you certainly feel like you've been transported back in time to the 1950's.

Johnny Rockets Fries

There are little coin operated jukeboxes on every table, meaning you can choose the music that will be played in the restaurant, which is always a fun aspect of dining at Johnny Rockets. And at some locations, the one on International Drive certainly does it, the wait staff will sing and dance every half hour or so. We definitely make a point of visiting Johnny Rockets while we're on vacation as the food and the restaurant itself make us smile so much.
There are two Johnny Rockets in the Orlando area, as I've mentioned, as well as one in nearby Kissimmee.

Applebee's

Applebees Sign

When it comes to value for money, Applebee's is definitely hard to beat. It's all about the 2 for $20 menu for us when we visit. For $20 you get one appetizer (starter) and two full size entrees (mains). As a family of four, we can all be fed for $40, which is really rather impressive and of course the portion sizes are unlike anything you could ever wish to receive here in the UK. 
The appetizers (starters) include crunchy onion rings, mozzarella sticks, boneless wings, spinach and artichoke dip and two side salads. We always order the boneless wings, without fail, especially as you get to choose which glaze your wings are smothered in. 


Applebees Chicken Tenders

And the entrees (mains) offer something for everyone, particularly if you're a big fan of chicken, like I am. There's fiesta lime chicken, three-cheese chicken penne, cedar grilled lemon chicken, oriental chicken salad and the chicken tenders basket (my favourite). And for carnivores there's a 7 Oz. house sirloin and Applebee's riblet basket. The rest of the Applebee's menu has such a great selection of dishes and the atmosphere is really relaxed and perfect for enjoying a meal, instead of just grabbing a quite bite to eat like we do when we stop at a fast food restaurant.

Applebees 2 for $20

For a list of Applebee's restaurants in the Orlando area (click here).

Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen

Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen

Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen, or Villa Pizza as we will always call it, is a firm family favourite of ours and we have made sure to visit it every single time that we have been in the US. We first discovered it back in 2001 on our very first trip to Florida and ten or more visits later, in 2014, we still made sure to pay it a call. 

Villa Pizza

However and this may shock you, I actually don't eat pizza. *Pause for shock and horror to wear off* This tends to get me some rather worrying looks when I reveal it to people for the first time. Don't judge me! Hehe. I have been known to eat some Villa pizza crusts in my time but the rest of my family sure make up for my lack of pizza eating. They certainly endorse the Neapolitan selection of pizzas and if like me, you're a food maverick who doesn't eat pizza, there are plenty of other dishes that should take your fancy. Their meatballs and stromboli's are pretty top notch and they give you enough fuel to take on even more shops, as Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen's tend to pop up most in malls.

Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen Meal

So what do you think of my choices? What restaurants do you tend to visit the most when you've been in the US? And have you been to any of the restaurants that I've included in this particular post? If so, what was your favourite and which dishes did you try?

Next month's Orlando, Florida Travel Tips post will be all about Disney's Magic Kingdom. It will follow the same format as last month's Universal Studios blog post (link here). I can't wait to share my top five attractions at the Magic Kingdom as well as some of the tips that I've picked up whilst I've been there.

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