Monday 28 April 2014

Happy 50th Birthday Superdrug! 'Birthday' Limited Edition Barry M Nail Polish Review

I'm a sucker for anything sparkly. Pink and sparkly is even better, so when my eyes landed on Barry M's 'Birthday' polish, I just couldn't resist...

The almost hot pink polish is full with chunky shaped glitter in white, pink and lilac, and for a glitter, this applies perfectly. I thought it was going to be yet another glitter polish were you are left rummaging around the bottle with your brush, trying to find another chunk of glitter to get an even application, but not with this! The colour is also quite 'strong', whereas some glitter polishes leave your nails looking fairly opaque with just one coat, with this you would still be left with quite a vibrant nail, which is perfect if you're in a rush!

To give you an idea, the left nail is 2 coats, right nail being just one coat.


Sunday 20 April 2014

April's Birchbox: Good Enough to Eat

Another month, another box..

Lets take a look at what I received.

On the run up to Birchbox releasing this box, they offered subscribers to choose their own nail polish colour. I think they only gave this opportunity to the first 200 people and I was one of the lucky ones. It's called 'Aquamarine' and as you can see, its a gorgeous pastel blue pearl effect colour. I can't wait to try this out.
I also received 'The Balm Cosmetics' 'How 'bout them apples' cheek and lip tint. This is a cream based formula - (I have added a little contrast so it's not showing its true colour). I love the packaging of this, its like a little magnetic book. Application can often prove a little difficult due to how small the pan is though. Ideal for the lips but not so good when applying it to the cheeks with a brush, maybe its meant for finger application only, I'm not sure.
Uh - Yet another body lotion, Campos De Ibiza Almond Body Milk - I thought this name sounded pretty cheap and tacky, however its surprisingly (fairly) expensive to buy the full size. It does smell delish though!
Propercorn Sweet Coconut & Vanilla popcorn was Birchbox's lifestyle choice this month - I'm not so sure about this flavor. I couldn't decide if I liked it or not! The kcal intake is pretty good though!
Lord & Berry Kohl Eyeliner. These are the type of eyeliners I prefer to use. Its the perfect size for travelling, however I have tested this and it's not overly pigmented, meaning application is really light and barely noticeable. Maybe it needs working in a little, but so far I'm not sold.
Yes to Cucumbers Facial wipes. You receive 10 towelettes in this pack which is perfect for my upcoming mini break! I've heard a few things about these from Fleur (De Force) so I'm excited to try them out because I think its these that she raves about.

Hope everyone's enjoying their Easter break!


Monday 14 April 2014

Book Review: Christmas At The Cupcake Cafe, Jenny Colgan

I know what you're all thinking, a Christmas themed book in April? I actually bought this to read in the run up to Christmas to get me into the spirit a little more but something just wasn't clicking and I really struggled to bond with the book (if bonding with a book is even possible!). If you know how I am for not wasting things, you can imagine that I was determined not to give up. A few weeks later I attempted to read it again and the same thing happened. I wasn't fond of the structure and very quickly got lost with all the characters that were getting introduced and who was related to who. Yet again I put the book down and decided to read another one. Fast forward a couple of months, low and behold, I picked this book up for the 3rd time and told myself not to give in... and finally, I finished it a couple of weeks ago.

I was pretty disappointed with this book.. like I have just mentioned, I felt it got off to a slow start with too many characters being introduced. There was something about the writing style that just wasn't flowing with me and sometimes I was left feeling a little confused (yes, from a chick lit!).

The actual story started kicking in probably half way through the book and I will admit, it had me gripped, but only for a little while. I was intrigued to know the outcome (which could have only been one of a few).

Plot Synopsis & Spoiler!

This book revolves around a young woman who runs her own cupcake café business in England. She has a boyfriend who is in the banking industry who gets offered to go to New York for work. She fears that this will become a permanent move for him and she will be put in a position of choosing between her cupcake business which she adores, or a new life in New York with him. She chooses her business and the relationship ends, however low and behold, all of her friends have put together and bought her another plane ticket to New York to rekindle her love and make things work. However the feeling is mutual his end, and as she is flying across to New York, he is flying across to England. Eventually they meet up in New York and make things work... he proposes and there's a cupcake café business on the cards for her in the new city.

There's obviously bits that happen in between that I've missed out but I'll let you discover those if you choose to read the book!

The bonus about this book is that its almost a book and recipe book in one! Every chapter starts with a new recipe that is related to the chapter, so it provides ingredients and instructions, so I have lots of yummy cakes to trial if I wish! Whilst reading the book I always skipped the recipes but its nice knowing that they are there!

It's the first time I've read something by Jenny Colgan and unfortunately I don't think I'll be rushing back to one of her books anytime soon.

Have you read any Jenny Colgan books? What did you think?


Friday 11 April 2014

Afternoon Tea at Healing Manor, Lincolnshire

A few weeks ago it was my mums birthday, so I thought I'd treat her to something different and take her for afternoon tea. I don't usually take my mum out places, so it made a nice change to get away, just the 2 of us.

We went to a local manor which was about a 15min drive out into a more rural village. Although I've visited this manor in the past, it was only very briefly, so it was nice for a change of environment too, because as you know, I love visiting new places!

Because I've had a few afternoon teas now, its giving me the opportunity to compare. Obviously having tea in 5* settings is obviously, for the most part, setting others up to fail!

The teacups were vintage with free re-fills, which is always a good start.

The stand was huge as you can see! (Infact a little too tall and ugly looking if you ask me!)
The sandwiches I felt weren't as good quality as others that I've tried. There were a lot of salmon sandwiches which I'm not fond of at all, so left the majority of these to my mum as she didn't mind them (although I think they got a bit too much for her in the end too!).
The top tier had these huge scones on, which were nice, but again, I've had better. Also the cream I felt wasn't proper clotted cream that's meant to accompany scones. The texture was a little different and wasn't as tasty. We did get a small pot of jam each though to have with it.
The puddings were the most disappointing. In fact one of them I didn't even photograph because by this point I didn't see the point! Very unimpressed... it was chocolate cheesecake but had the most sloppiest texture that felt like it only had a hint of chocolate in. It was lacking a biscuit base and just wasn't appealing at all.
I have no idea what the name of the pudding below was, but again, it did nothing for the palette. It was almost like a tiramisu mousse. It was coffee flavored and had hard but thin toffee layers throughout. The layers tasted exactly like the coating of a toffee apple at Halloween, that's the only way I can describe it! Either way, half way through the pudding, the coffee flavor became too much because of the lack of variety that both me and my mum left the rest.
This afternoon tea could be massively improved with just a few small tweaks so its unfortunate!
Safe to say I won't be returning here anytime soon!
I'm making it my aim to have afternoon tea in every new city I visit from now on! You can read about my other afternoon tea experiences here as I tour the UK! :

Monday 7 April 2014

March's Birchbox: Lulu Guinness

Argh, this post is a little late (I thought I had already posted it!). Before I fall behind with yet another monthly post, I thought I'd best post this than not at all!

I've been really loving Birchbox lately. Although some of the samples aren't as big as Glossybox, they have 1/2 extra items and the box is always so varied which I love!

Marchs' box was based on the British iconic brand Lulu Guinness. I loved the monochrome effect box as well as the stripy rock!

The No7 English Laundry fragrance is divine. This is the second one I've smelt from this brand now and really loved.. maybe its time to invest in a full size bottle...
It's always nice to receive a benefit product as I don't own many from that brand. This mini primer and eyeshadow concealer is perfect for travel. It's only 2.5ml which sounds tiny, but I can imagine this would last a few weeks.
AromaWorks body oil... I'm beginning to get a collection of body oils now which I need to begin working on to keep my collection limited. However applying oil, or any body cream for that matter I find quite tedious. I really have to be in a pampering mood to give my body the full works! Nevertheless, this smells delish.. almost almond-y if I remember correctly!
Dr Brandt Pores No More refiner. Primers and pore refiners (same thing in my books) are another product that I'm slooowly starting to get a few of. My foundation doesn't tend to sit well on my skin if I have primer on, so I don't use it that often, even though I absolutely love the velvety feel that it gives to your skin.
The Cellu-Cup - Haha.. at first a few things were running through my head what this could possibly be (although I wont disclose!!). When I found out what it really was I thought it was a pretty nifty clever little thing. I read the instructions and sampled it out on my skin and it was good. I then squeezed a little harder and tried again. Owch!!! This thing bloody hurts. For those that don't know, this is a body massager.. it advises on areas to avoid and also to use on either wet or oiled skin so the cup can slide. It pretty much acts as a suction but obviously the harder you squeeze, the more skin gets cupped in and in certain areas, this thing is bloody painful!! Its meant to help battle cellulite, which I'm sure it does!
And last but not least.. the rock! Can't say I'm a massive rock fan, however this was consumed one day when I was craving something sweet and old Mother Hubbard's cupboards were bare.. so this was the next best thing!

Were you happy with your March Birchbox?


Friday 4 April 2014

March Empties

I haven't done one of these posts in so long, and really enjoy collecting my empties to see just how much I've managed to get through within a month.. it kinda feels satisfying!

I haven't used all of these up in March, some obviously rolled over from February that I may have been half way through using. I've been trying really hard this year to get my collection of beauty products down, because not only was I hoarding things that were maybe over a year old that I'd never even opened, but its helping me save money too. I'm not massively into beauty products and cosmetics like I used to be. I still use them of course, but as I'm getting older, my passions are slowly changing to more *cough* mature *cough* things, like... pretty accessories for the house, or DIY craft bits. I still love my make-up too, I just don't crave for it like I used to. I've learnt to try and make a dent in what I already have before deciding that I 'need' that new product that's just come out.

Anyway, here's what I've managed to get through in March..

From L-R (Back row). Rimmel lasting finish 25hr wear foundation. I've been using this foundation for probably a year now and I love it. I downgraded to this from Estee Lauder's Doublewear foundation as I felt it didn't have the same effect on my skin like it used to. And Rimmel is a quarter of the price too, so a massive saving there! Love the stuff and can't see me changing anytime soon.
Nivea Eye Make-Up Remover. This is an oil-based remover and I love it. I've been using oil-based removers now for well over a year and think they are so effective. I don't think I'd ever go back to a cream-based one.
Sure Anti-Perspirant - Self explanatory really!
Johnsons Baby Talc - I have to have talc on after showers/baths, I know not many people use this. The user age range of talc seems to be either babies or the elderly, haha. I just love how baby soft it makes my skin feel, and helps to dry those more stubborn areas that often dry clammy.
Batiste - We all know how much of a life saver this can be. This came in a big box of products at Christmas as part of my present from my boyfriend. Perfect for those lazy non-wash hair days, and smells delish too!
Dove cucumber/Aloe Vera deodorant - This I have to say is one of my least favourite deodorants - It came in the box that my boyfriend bought me so wasn't a personal choice. It does its job however I despise the smell.
Superdrug Dry Shampoo (chocolate brownie). This is just not a dry shampoo - if you dye your hair dark brown/black, it is a god-damn life saver for roots. Because of this, it helps my to prolong dying my hair for another 3-4 weeks sometimes. I just spray it on and it looks as good as your gonna get to a fresh dye. I've done a review on this on my blog so go find it. Either way, its a genius, and is probably helping my hair in the long-run because I'm dying it less often!
Bayliss & Harding Shower Gel - I got this in a gift set. It wasn't the best to use - it was one of those that just slips off the sponge. I prefer more of a cream shower gel.
Carole Frank Moisturiser - This came in a beauty box. I love the unique packaging.. perfect for travelling! Can't really say if it did a great deal for my skin though as I wasn't using it long enough.

Front Row L-R - Snake serum - This was some form of thin face mask that I again, got in a beauty box an age ago. Finally got round to using it!
Another Bayliss & Harding shower gel.. can't remember too much about this but can say that it was better than the previous one!
Vichy Moisturiser - Again, beauty box sample, too small to trial properly though! Just glad to see the back of it cos I have a couple of these still in my drawer!
Olay Definity - This was an aging cream that I quite liked using. It felt fairly luxurious on my skin. There is another one by Olay (I think the 3 point generative serum) that I trialled a long time ago that I really liked, so I must go by the full size!
The famous collection2000 concealer that every beauty blogger has probably tried at some point. I've got through a lot fo these and they never fail me (except when the writing rubs off the packaging.. annoying!).
Derma Facial Wipes - I think I may have got these from either Asda or Tesco. I'm not normally one for buying cheaper, unbranded face wipes, however at the same time I'm a bit tight when it comes to splashing the cash on something that is just used to take the make-up off with to then put in the bin. However this particular time, no branded ones were on offer so I grabbed a cheaper pack 'just to try' and was pleasantly surprised. Took my make-up off fine, wasn't rough on the skin and had enough moisture to them. And I probably saved £2. Bonus.

Again, its not till I gather all my empties together do I realize just how much I can get through in an average month. I've got to admit though.. it still feels strange dedicating a drawer to empty bottles.. I hope no one ever goes through them!

I will take on another empties challenge in a few months!


Wednesday 2 April 2014

Book Review: The Stag & Hen Weekend, by Mike Gayle.

I think I've only ever done one book review on here but I've been telling myself for a while that I must do more, therefore I shall try and review each book I read this year!

If you remember my post at the beginning of 2014, one of my new years resolutions was to read 1 book a month. I know that may sound like no challenge at all to some of you, but when working a 9-5 job, then arriving home with a headache right on cue just about every night, topped with (self-diagnosed) fatigue syndrome, the last thing I want to do is pick up a book. There are only usually 2 places I read books - When I'm travelling on either trains or planes (which isn't very often!) or just before I go to bed. The latter is sometimes the worst time to read because you can guarantee 50% of the time I am falling asleep after a few pages.
Back to the New Years Resolutions - I'm already behind and we're only 3 months into the year, however I do have reasons for that, which I will explain later..

A lot of the time I like a good chick lit because its simple to read, doesn't take much brain power (when falling asleep!) and never really gets too 'deep' to the point that you daren't put it down, which is good for me, because I can only usually manage a few chapters at a time before my eyes begin to close! I also like how a lot of them I can (at some point) relate to them. I admit that some chick lit's are poorly written, however for the most part I do try and do my research before purchasing.

On that note, I am trying to give other genres a go. I'm not into sci-fi, or novels that are based years ago, so if you have any recommendations then please send them my way!

Anyway, onto the review!

Although a chick lit, 'The Hen & Stag Party' was a little different in terms of perspective and actual book design. It has 2 different front covers, half is written from the husband-to-be's perspective, flip the book over and the other half is written from the wife-to-be. I wondered if the authors intention of the design was to highlight that there are two sides to every story, and quite literally in this sense. Or maybe I'm just too clever and am the first one to have ever applied that saying to it? Hmmm.. probably not.

The book takes you on a journey of, yep, you've guessed it, a male's stag do in Amsterdam and a girls hen do in a spa hotel and a night on the town. Without giving too much away, characters appear in both parties that are linked and begin to cause trouble for each partner. The action continues throughout the majority of the book which leaves the reader craving for more at the end of each chapter. Question is, will they ever make it down the aisle?

A perfect read for you chick lit lovers. A nice light-hearted easy read, perfect for those sleepy heads! A first for me for Mike Gayle, but definitely wont be the last.

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