Thursday, 29 May 2014

Illustrations: Chiara Ferragni

   I've been following The Blonde Salad's posts on Instagram lately, and I just can't get over how naturally beautiful  Chiara Ferragni is. 

   Subsequently, I decided to draw from one of her more recent posts featuring a For Love And Lemons dress and Isabel Marant sandals.


Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick

   Ever since I saw I Covet Thee review a Topshop velvet lipstick in one of her favourites videos, I have been obsessed with finding the perfect velvet lip colour.

   To my dismay, the Topshop product she mentions is now only sold on the American version of the site - and I'm not so desperate that I'd pay a ridiculous amount of p+p just for a lipstick.

   So I rummaged around on the ever-vast internet and found a dupe which I'm pretty damn impressed with! It may not be as rich and deeply toned as the Topshop version, but Bourjois' Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick really does a great job.

   It's perfectly matte, but not an icky, dry sort of matte - in fact, once you get over the initially odd sensation of velvety-feeling lips, you realise that it's actually quite a nice, soft texture.

   The colour is well-pigmented; I bought the shades 'Personne ne rouge!' and 'Peach Club', a deep, berry red and a coral red, respectively. This product is available in six shades from Boots, ranging from hot pinks to fiery red tones.
   In terms of staying power, I can wear it without reapplying for at least four hours (probably a bit less if I'm eating or drinking, although it doesn't rub off all that easily). I must add that this definitely isn't a lipstick that you can apply without a mirror; the applicator is good for getting into the corners of your lips, but it does build up product in the wrong places if you're not careful.

   £8.99 each.


Saturday, 24 May 2014

Banana & Avocado Smoothie

   This is another naughty little smoothie that will instantly put a smile on your face. I say "naughty" because I added two scoops of vanilla ice cream to the mix, just to make it that bit extra creamy and scrumptious - but of course, you can make this drink without ice cream! No recipe should ever be set in stone, and I totally encourage you to play around with ingredients.

   I used one diced avocado, one banana (if you can, use a frozen banana to give it a little bit of a cool kick), two scoops of ice cream and a cup of milk. Blend for around thirty seconds until smooth, and add a little more milk if you want the mixture to be a bit thinner. Generally, this makes about two glasses worth - depending on how big your glasses are.


Thursday, 22 May 2014

When You're So Short That Crop Tops Look Like Normal Tops

   Today's dilemma is one that only seems to affect me, and none of my friends, seeing as they all tower above me in terms of height.

   Ever since the neo-90s trend buried its roots into high street stores, my social media has been inundated with girls working crop tops to a fine art. I thought, "this looks great! I'll definitely have to try this out!" (having not bared my stomach since the early 2000s); however, it's a known fact that certain fashions suit certain people more than others and, to my dismay, my relationship with crop tops began with a sour start.

   Perusing the shop floor at Forever 21, I fell in love with a simple, long sleeve, grey top that looked like it would go with practically anything. Without trying it on (I know what you're thinking, "it's your fault"), I paid and left and within half an hour of arriving home I had covered my bedroom floor in piles of clothing, tearing my hair out and screaming, "NOTHING GOES!".

   It wasn't the top's fault. Of course I couldn't blame the top. It was my fault... actually, it's was my parents' fault for breeding and creating a child with an exceptionally short, stubby torso. The top was a great fit, all except for the fact that it finished at exactly the wrong point of the waist - the part where that persistent bulge makes it look as if I'm expecting. Damn muffin tops!! This 'crop' was literally the length of a normal top on me.

   Since then, I've bought several different crop tops in the hopes that one day, I would find the perfect length. I asked a fellow midget if they knew a solution; apparently, the only way out is to buy bandage tops or bralets.

   So here are a few of my favourite picks of tops that definitely ARE short enough to bare a bit of ab this summer:

   P.S. please let me know if you've had the same problem! Frustration ages me...

1. Miss Selfridge - £25
2. Zara - £19.99
3. H&M - £3.99
4. River Island - £22
5. Topshop - £22
6. MeeMee - £20
7. Coggles - £207
8. Three Floor - £72


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

OPI Matte Top Coat

   After a recent battle with hideously chipped nail polish, I've decided to switch to a more efficient, albeit more expensive, brand of nail polish. 

   I swore by Barry M, sucked into the consumerist ideal that their £3.99 nail polishes were actually saving money when, in fact, I found myself getting so frustrated at how quickly the nail polish chipped and, in some cases, peeling off in one go (thought I'm aware that this may be because off skin oils, it does happen more often when using Barry M). It came to a point where I was using way more product than I should be, just by painting over chips and peels. Cost efficient? Absolutely not.

   Testing out some mid-range brands, I found that my particular favourites were Essie, OPI and Ciate. I've got a few polishes by these brands in my collection, but I never really thought of buying more as I was so fixed on cheaper products.
   There are so many gorgeous shades and effects by all three of these brands, but my favourite has been OPI's Matte Top Coat - a polish which does exactly what it says on the packaging.

   You don't have to buy masses of matte effect nail polishes; instead, you can simply paint this over the top of any polish and it will magically mattify itself! Literally taking seconds to become touch dry, this is my favourite polish to paint over pastel tones to give an instantly summery effect. And, even better, it seems to protect the polish underneath, reducing the chances of chipping or peeling. Perfect!


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Nails Inc Express Nail Polish Remover

   Many a spillage has been caused by my forgetting to replace the cap on a nail polish remover bottle, and subsequently spilling the contents everywhere when knocking it over with a clumsy elbow. In fact, this has happened so many times that I only buy the severely dirt cheap bottles, as I end up wasting half of it anyway.

   If don't know if anyone else does this, or if it's just the 'clumsy gene' I've inherited from my dad (he's endlessly spilling food on my mum's new tablecloth's, much to her chagrin), but I began searching for alternatives in an attempt to end this ridiculous situation.

   ASOS was holding a discount day on selected beauty items, so I decided to take the opportunity to see if I could get my hands on a less messy nail polish removal solution. I came across Nails Inc.'s Express Nail Polish Remover, a product which I remembered seeing in a few haul videos, but never really took much notice of it, until now.

   The product is comprised of a pretty, compact container with a screw-top and a spongy interior, soaked in vanilla-scented nail polish remover. You stick your finger inside, twist it round a little, and voilá! Clean fingernails!

   I must admit, putting your finger into the container and having it engulfed by moist sponge feels a little bit like popping it into your mouth and swishing it round a bit. Odd sensation. But it does the job. And I don't have to muck about with several balls of cotton wool.

   It's safe to say that I'm super-impressed with this. I've already knocked it over twice and none of the solution has seeped out!

   However, it doesn't do so well with glitter or speckled nail polishes. Below, I've demonstrated the removal of a speckled nail polish and, as you can see, a lot of the speckles just wouldn't budge. I'm afraid, for the moment, we'll have to stick to soaking little bits of cotton wool in polish remover and leaving them on our nails to soak.


Thursday, 15 May 2014

Strawberry, Grape and Banana Smoothie

   When I tasted this creation, I was pretty damn proud - it was quite honestly the summeriest thing I've tasted all year. It instantly reminded me of watching Wimbledon at my local tennis club, eating bowls of strawberries and cream.

   Okay, so it's not the healthiest morning smoothie I've made - the ice cream does amp the calorie count up just a notch - but it's better than eating, say, a slice of cake for breakfast and nothing else.

   If you're feeling like a cheeky snack, here are the ingredients:

- Handful of sliced strawberries
- One sliced banana
- Handful of red seedless grapes
- Two scoops of ice cream, preferably organic or even homemade
- One cup of milk


Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Refreshing Your Beauty Routine for Summer

   Even though it's been raining all day, and this week's been perhaps the windiest week this year, Summer is just around the corner - I promise!

   With Summer comes positive changes, and your beauty routine should reflect that. It's time to shed those layers of foundation, say goodbye to heavy eyeliners and trade your vampy lipsticks in for deliciously fruity peaches and corals.

   Here are a few products to get you started!

Kiehl's Micro Blur Skin Perfector completely transforms your skin, making it the perfect product to wear either on its own, or as a base for a BB cream or lightweight foundation

NARS' Matte Multiple comes in a variety of gorgeous sun-kissed hues, and it's great as a multi-purpose product for both cheeks and lips (and saves valuable handbag space on those Summer nights out!)

Can't wait to get that coveted Summer glow? By Terry's Tea to Tan formula does the trick by enhancing the skin to give a radiant glow

Laura Mercier's Gel Lip Colour will keep lips hydrated as well as looking gorgeous in a sheer, glossy colour

Nails Inc's Gel Effect Polish in Covent Garden is the perfect shade for sipping cocktails with your friends, plus it's a great festival polish as it lasts all weekend!

Peter Thomas Roth's Rose Stem Cell Mask is a cooling gel which rejuvenates tired-looking skin - great for those Summer BBQs which just seem to drift well into nighttime

Don't forget (and I cannot stress this enough) to regularly apply a high protection sun tan lotion! You don't want those wrinkles to appear any earlier than they should! Clarins UV Plus is great for its SPF40 formula

Go back to basics with the perfect skin combo palette by Urban Decay - the featherlight powders will give your skin just the right amount of colour

When the British weather's not up to it, Benefit's Sun Beam Highlighter will give you a glow that'll trick people into believing you've just spent the week in St. Tropez


Monday, 12 May 2014

Spinach, Berry & Grape Smoothie

   I'm currently researching a raw food diet, after seeing so many positive faces on Instagram preaching about how it has practically saved their lives. At first, I thought the diet consisted of just fruit and vegetables but, after poking around on some raw food blogs, I discovered that there are so many foods that are acceptable, and really rather tasty!

   Firstly, I heard about this diet through one of my favourite bloggers, Annie Jaffrey, then I began following some dedicated raw food blogs (my favourites are 'This Rawsome Vegan Life', 'Rawmazing' and 'The Raw Food Sisters' - the amazing photography helps as well!) and was super inspired by their recipes.
   I found out that, unlike a normal and very restrictive diet, you can eat everything from cakes and pizzas, to porridges and other cereals, to soups and salads - as long as they're all made with raw ingredients. Oh, and that also means that there is no oven or stove involved; an absolute blessing for me, as I'm miserably lazy when it comes to cooking or baking.

   So, I decided to start the week, and my attempted raw food diet, by popping to Morrisons and grabbing a load of fruit and vegetables. I chucked some spinach, strawberries, blueberries and grapes into a blender to see how it would taste, and the results were great! I felt more energised, and didn't give into my usual five o'clock collapse-on-the-bed-and-nap-for-an-hour routine.

   To make this, I literally used a handful of each fruit/vegetable, chopped the strawberries up to make them easily processable by the blender, then poured in about one cup of water and blended for around 20-30 seconds. The end result looked a bit murky, but it tasted really rather nice!

   I think experimentation is key with these diets. There are so many combinations of food that we miss out on not through ignorance, but perhaps because our lives are just so busy that an average, routine diet is simply easier than anything else. 


Friday, 9 May 2014

Sí to Innovation

   At the beginning of every month, after I've finished work, I'll pop into WHSmith and buy the latest Vogue/Elle/Company. That's my guilty pleasure - the feeling of getting into a deliciously comfy bed (newly kitted-out with Next bedding, if I may add) with a pot of tea, holding in my hands a crisp, new magazine, its sleek cover untouched as if it's just been delivered hot off the press.

   New magazines make me feel just that little bit more special, more luxurious, than some of the other minutiae of everyday life. But flipping through the pages and finding that, stuck to a stunning photo of Cate Blanchett, there is a new fragrance ready for approval? Well, that's another feeling completely.

   I've always wondered about those old fragrance samples that they used to stick in magazines - the ones where you rip off the protective layer and underneath is a somewhat spongy bit of netted material drowned in eau de toilette that you're supposed to... what? If you handle it with your fingers, they become soaked in concentrated perfume (and don't try eating any fingerfood afterwards. It does NOT taste good), then you look like a fetishist rubbing a flimsy piece of material all over your neck, and THEN what are you supposed to do with this little rag once you've finished? Try and shove it back into its pouch on the page and hope it stays? Seems like such a task just to sample a bit of fragrance.

   Which is why I think Giorgio Armani has the right idea with its latest perfume, 'Sí', endorsed by the endlessly fabulous, Cate Blanchett. Instead of the complicated and rather pointless swatch as previously described, they've created a printed information card which unfolds to reveal the scent entwined in its paper. Complete with breathtaking photos of the Australian starlet, alongside various affirming captions in Spanish (but don't worry, they've translated it all for you on the last page), the card is a refreshing approach to perfume sampling. And it has very much succeeded in making me pine after a perfume that I never thought I'd be interested in.

   As for the fragrance itself? Well, that would require an entirely new blog post to describe. But you can find out more about it here!


Tuesday, 6 May 2014

April 2014 Fashion Haul: Topshop, River Island, Missguided etc.

   This year is going by too quickly for comfort; we're already in May and almost halfway through 2014! What's worrying me the most, however, is that we're five months in and we've only seen tiny peeks of sunny weather amongst the dreaded downpours of rain.. typical. It feels like the year'll be over before we even hit Summer.

   Despite this, I've indulged in a few pieces of bright, colourful clothing in the hopes that the temperature might just peak above 19 degrees! Watch the video below to see the pieces I bought last month!
Products mentioned:

River Island Blue Flatforms - SOLD OUT

Topshop Bralet - £8.00

* Items marked with an asterisk were gifted for review purposes


Friday, 2 May 2014

Style Your Outfit with Gemporia

   My regular readers will know that I'm a huge fan of gemstones; I can't help stopping and gawking at all the varieties of stones when I walk past a jewellery store! Real jewellery is definitely my thing, but I'm the first to admit that it's definitely not cheap. Retailers' margins can sometimes fly through the roof, and unfortunately in some cases the jewellery really isn't that great.

   For a while, I've been following online brand, Gemporia, who offer savings of up to 57% because they cut out the middleman completely. They source, design and produce their own jewellery and, in doing so, use genuine gemstones and precious metals - so they definitely won't turn your finger/ears/wrist that disgusting shade of green.

   From a philanthropic view, they also work with The Colourful Life Foundation, which supports and educates communities around the world. These communities are mostly situated in the areas where Gemporia sources their stones - so they create beautiful jewellery, whilst giving back to the community!

   Below, I've wishlisted five pieces by Gemporia, along with the outfits that I style them with. I hope this gives you some inspiration, and perhaps tempt you to nose around the Gemporia website at their stunning collections of jewellery!

Missguided Boots - £42.99

River Island Trousers - £35
River Island Bag - £35

* This is a sponsored post
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