Saturday, 29 December 2012

Christmas Wedding Outfit and Face Of The Day

I tend not to do Outfit Of The Day posts very often, purely because no one needs to see my pjs, as exciting as they are (and they really are- bespectacled cupcakes, yummy happy sushi, ice-skating monkeys and tough cookies, just a small example), however I thought the outfit I wore for my sister's wedding this week was worthy of a blog post.



The dress is by Eliza J and is available from House of Fraser. It's navy with a ruched waist and 3/4 sleeves with diamante buttons, below the knee with a v-neck collar. It's kind of hard to tell from the photos but it's really swishy in real life- very 50's, is super comfortable on and would be very flattering on most figures- I would definitely recommend! I styled it with pearls, my Ted Baker coat (thank God for that as it was super cold), my sister's Anya Hindmarch sparkly pink clutch (she's never getting it back) and bright pink scarily high Kurt Geiger heels.




Beauty wise, I went with a 50's style up-do, the Urban Decay Naked palette, false lashes (the Eyelure Girls Aloud Nicola ones are my favourite), Kate Moss for Rimmel pink lipstick in 16, Laura Mercier silk creme foundation and Nars Orgasm blush. Nails were courtesy of Sally Hansen's Frutie Petutie (it looked closer to the colour of the shoes in real life):




I was particularly happy with my tan for the day- recently I was given a can of Cocoa Brown tan to try but had waited 'til now to use it. Basically Cocoa Brown is an Irish brand recently launched onto the market and available in most pharmacies nationwide for around the 8 euro mark. It's a mousse that you apply with a tanning mitt, leave for up to 3 hours to develop, then wash off only to be delighted with your lovely bronzed self! There's no orange tones here so you're left with a really natural all over tan. I only left mine on for one and a half hours, giving me a light tan which suited me perfectly as I'm so pale naturally and rarely use fake tans- mostly because I find they always turn out too dark and then don't think they suit me. No such problems here, however- I have to say that I'm now completely converted to using tan after trying Cocoa Brown, I felt like it gave me a really healthy glow and prevented me from looking washed out in my navy dress. Other plus points include the lack of that "fake tan smell" once the original application is washed off, the even and streak-free result and its longevity once applied. I've been searching for a non wash-off only, flattering tan for the longest time and I'm thrilled I've finally found it. In your face, pasty legs and bright blue arm-veins!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Right about now I've finished my present wrapping and am rewarding myself with a lit tree and fire (although in very different ways), Christmas movies and ice cream on the couch with Hubster. I'm so looking forward to the next few days- spending time with my family, eating until I resemble one of the 7 Deadly Sins (I'm thinking gluttony rather than vanity, obviously) and just general, relaxing festive times.

Some of my beautifully wrapped gifts!

I want to take this opportunity to wish you all an exceedingly Merry Christmas and all the very, very best for the New Year- something tells me 2013 is going to be a good'un (blind, wishful thinking perhaps)! Also, a huge thank you to everyone who has read my little blog and who took the time to comment since I started writing it this past April, it really means a lot to me to know that these aren't just the unacknowledged ramblings of a lunatic (the lunatic part still stands though, obviously).
In keeping with now, seasonal tradition, here's a cat dressed as Santa. A somewhat creepy and suggestive Cat-Santa, but Santa nonetheless.


Happy Christmas!
Xxxx

Liz Earle Intensive Nourishing Treatment Mask: Review

So, as we all know by now, I love an auld bit of Liz Earle. I adore the hot cloth cleanse and polish, toner and the moisturiser and am quite fond of the exfoliator in the range too. Given that, I said I'd like to branch out and try something different along with my usual order. So I added in a mini version of this nourishing treatment mask. This is only 15mls for 6.25 and to be honest, If I'd known it was just like one of the mini sizes they pop into your order for free for you to try I probably wouldn't have bothered. Because, lets face it, 15mls is a very small amount. I felt a bit gypped when it arrived, which is really my own fault for not reading the sizing on the website properly. Ooops.




The product itself is fine. It contains St John's Wort, borage, comfrey and rose scented geranium to "soothe and deeply rehydrate". Suitable for all skin types and a similar consistency to the cream Cleanse and Polish, this is applied in a thick layer to the face and neck after cleansing, left on for 10-15 minutes (during bath time is a good idea) and then wiped away using a muslin cloth soaked in warm water. It is supposed to leave skin "softer, smoother and hydrated" and while I like it (my skin was soft afterwards), I just didn't feel like it made a huge improvement overall to my skin after using it several times. There's pretty much none of it left now but I don't think I'll be picking up the larger version, I'm more than happy to stick with my Origins Overnight Drink up mask instead :)

Has anyone else tried this? If so, what did you think?

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Why I've decided Elf is the Best Christmas Film Ever

Before I start, I should point out that I love a lot of Christmas films- It's a Wonderful Life, Love Actually, Home Alone, The Muppet's Christmas Carol etc., so it was difficult to pinpoint just one movie to talk about. However, following a trip to the Lighthouse cinema to see Elf last night, I've decided that I've found the perfect Christmas film. Don't get me wrong, I've seen Elf a million times but I really wanted to see it on the big screen. I think seeing a film in the cinema that you already love gives you a completely different impression of it and I also really enjoy hearing the audiences reaction- often it's very different to how I've always perceived the film (people laughing throughout a screening of Rear Window springs to mind). Also, I was really in need of some festive cheer and Elf was definitely the way to go. So here's why I think Elf is the best Christmas film ever:

  • Will Ferrell is hilarious. Genuinely, he could read the alphabet and I'm sure I'd crack up. He's brilliant as Buddy the Elf, who's actually human, unbeknownst to himself. He leaves the North Pole in search of his father in New York and hilarity ensues.


  • Zooey Deschanel. That is all.
  • No, seriously, she's amazing. My love for her has not in any way started to wane yet. I loved her in 500 Days of Summer, I adore her in New Girl (I too like to rock a lot of polka dots) and she's brilliant in this. She's unbearably cute, even when she's being all cranky at the start and my God, that singing voice is just unreal. I've been listening to She & Him's Christmas album and it's fabulous- I would recommend. 


  • It's really laugh out loud funny- the whole cinema was in stitches last night. One of my personal favourite scenes is when he gets knocked down by the taxi. Good times.
  • It doesn't take itself too seriously- yes, it is a fair bit cheesy and that's usually not my vibe but it manages a nice combination of cheesy and comical, which as Hubster pointed out- a lot of Christmas films can fail to get that mix right. 
  • It's heartwarming. I'm really quite cynical and sarcastic in general but the scenes with Santa and Central Park pretty much get me every time. You'd have to be fairly miserable not to have left that cinema last night with a smile on your face. 
  • There's lots of great lines: "This place reminds me of Santa's workshop! Except that it smells of mushrooms and everyone looks like they want to hurt me", "You sit on a throne of lies!!", "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear", "I'm sorry I ruined your lives and crammed 11 cookies into the VCR", "I just like to smile, smiling's my favourite", "Santa's coming?? I KNOW HIM!!" and my personal favourite, which I said to my sister in law upon answering the phone this morning: "Hello, Buddy the Elf, what's your favourite colour?".


If you haven't seen Elf yet, you honestly have to make it your business to do so and bonus- it's child friendly so fun for all the family! Any other Elf lovers out there (that sounds really weird) or do you think there's a better contender for best Christmas movie? :)

Friday, 14 December 2012

December Empties

'Tis that time again- empties! Here's what I've gotten through in the past month (don't judge me!!):



Cutex Acetone Free Nail Polish Remover
Not the most exciting item but I said I'd pop it in anyway as it's something we all use. I seem to always buy this as I think it'll be better for my nails and then find that it takes an age to get any kind of polish off..next time I'm buying the regular one (except that I've already started a new bottle of this one again..sigh).

Lush Hair Doctor
I loved this stuff- a hair and scalp mask that works and smells really refreshing at the same time. HERE'S a full review on it.
Kerastase Resistance Conditioner
I'm also almost at the end of the matching shampoo to this as well. This one supposedly "reinforces and resurfaces damaged lengths and ends". Not 100% sure it does all that but it smells nice and is a reasonably good conditioner. I most likely won't get this again though, I've since bought a much more recession-friendly-priced Pantene conditioner that seems to be doing the job nicely.

Armani Designer Lift Foundation in 2
This was also my first time buying this and I have repurchased since finishing this bottle. I really like this foundation; it's perfectly suited for my dry skin, doesn't cause break outs, has an SPF of 20 and has a really nice medium coverage that doesn't look too heavy but equally covers all my skin sins! You really can't go wrong with Armani.
Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer
This was my first time buying this but I love it. Believe the hype! This is really reasonably priced and works as well if not better than a lot of high end concealers I've tried. I've already repurchased this and am half way through the new tube!


Origins Ginger Souffle Whipped Body Cream
I picked this up in Macy's in Chicago a couple of years ago and have only made it to the end of it now..is that because I didn't want to finish it cause I love it so much? Yes, yes it is. This stuff is divine. Probably not everyones cup of tea scent-wise as it is quite strong but I LOVE ginger so this is perfect for me. Apart from the amazing smell, the texture is really light so it absorbs into the skin really easily and quickly and is a brilliant moisturiser. I'll definitely be buying this again.
Benefit It's Potent Eye Cream
I actually ended up not finishing this completely- there's a small amount left but it's out of date so I decided not to chance it. I'm not really sure about this one- I didn't really feel like it was doing anything for my under-eye area and regular use of it didn't seem to make any difference. Maybe that's because the cream itself is too heavy for my skin but either way I won't be getting this again, nor would I recommend it.
Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser
I love Liz Earle, as I have previously mentioned, oh about a million times.  I really like this moisturiser (I get the one for dry/sensitive skin) and have repurchased it several times but I'm not sure it's heavy enough for my Winter skin so I'm using up my Lancome Hydra Zen at the minute. Having said that, I will be going back to Liz Earle in the future! I've spoken about it previously in more depth HERE. 
Blistex Intensive Moisturiser This is a lovely product- definitely moisturising and smells all minty and delicious, it's definitely helped my dry lips. I have since acquired a new tube but only because it came free with something else..having said that I probably would've bought it again anyway. One word of warning though- it does tend to add an attractive white hue to the lips so I only use mine going to bed. 

So that's the lot! Anyone tried of any of these products? If so, what did you think?

The Handmade Soap Company Body Lotion and Hand Cream

Recently I was delighted to be invited to and attend the Irish Beauty Bloggers Christmas Meet up in Dublin where apart from inspirational guest speakers and the opportunity to meet lots of lovely bloggers  we were also given some fabulous products, two of which I have here to review today, both from the Handmade Soap Company- an Irish brand set up in 2009 and based in Co. Meath who where possible use only natural ingredients in their products.


First up is the Hand Cream, containing Aloe Vera gel, golden Jojoba oil and Almond oil. If you've read any of this blog you'll know that I'm constantly on the hunt for a really good hand cream so I was very happy to get this and have been applying it every night. My pet hate with hand creams is greasiness and so I was pleased to find that I have no such gripe with this product and that it's very moisturising. Surprisingly, this smells strongly of lemon, which although I love, I would say that I'm generally not a big fan of overpowering scents on my skin. It does however mellow nicely after application.


This is beautifully packaged but the fact that it is a glass jar means it's probably better suited to looking pretty on your night stand (as it does on mine) rather than carrying it around in your bag. This isn't an issue for me as I only use hand cream at night-time anyway so I'm happy out (I know, it's grand for me, isn't it).

On to the Body Lotion- containing Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme and Mint. This smells heavenly. I love lavender and mint but am aware that these are often acquired tastes.


Fear not though, once applied the lotion just sinks into the skin leaving only a delicate and pleasant scent behind. I've been using this after every shower and my skin feels absolutely fantastic because of it- really soft and smooth. To say I'm impressed with this product would be an understatement; it's light and applies easily, absorbs quickly and leaves skin super soft, is guaranteed Irish and beautifully packaged and really importantly- doesn't contain any nasty chemicals. In fact the company affirms that their products "contain only the finest natural ingredients, free from all SLS's, parabens and petrochemicals". Good news all around!



Available around the country, I will definitely be popping into my nearest Avoca or Kilkenny store in Dublin to check out the rest of the range.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Christmas Gift Guide- Cosmetics, Nails and Skincare.

This is the last in my series of Christmas gift guides (thanks be to Jebus, says you) and I've left one of my favourites til last. Cosmetics, nails and skincare.
So as we all know, I'm a bit of a make-up addict (it's pretty and shiny and I have magpie tendencies. It's a no-brainer really) and I think the reason why it makes such a nice Christmas gift is that most people probably wouldn't buy a lot of these items for themselves as it could be considered quite a frivolous expenditure (don't hate me, other beauty bloggers!), especially in these miserable recessionary, budgetary times (but we do all hate you, Michael Noonan). So go forth- buy your loved ones a nice new eyeshadow palette, a shiny nail polish or a soothing hand cream! Huzzah for Christmas! (Again, links to the products are the description itself in grey).



  •  Stila Limited Edition Large Snowflake Eyeshadow Palette, 40.98 euro, Asos. Loads of shadows, some blushers and it comes with a free mascara. Bargainous!
  •  Urban Decay Vice Palette, £42.00, House of Fraser. Containing twenty all new eyeshadow shades, this is pretty cool. Also good bets from Urban Decay are the Smoked palette and the Naked 1 & 2 palettes.
  •  Nars Limited Edition Warhol Self Portrait Eyeshadow Palette, 54.87 euro, Asos (available in 3 different colour schemes, each with a Warhol quote on the mirror. While this is amazing, how would you even begin to use this?! I can't destroy Andy Warhol for the sake of eye shadow!!).
  •  Bobbi Brown Caviar and Oyster Palette, £59.00, www.bobbibrown.co.uk. OK so it is 59 pounds Sterling but look how fancy it is!! You get 8 eye shadows and a skin shimmer for that and by God, you'd be happy to get them.
  •  Diorific Grand Bal High Fashion Lipstick, £25.00, Feel Unique. This comes in 4 different shades of red, personally I think Marilyn is the best- bit of old school glamour. I've swatched this- it's creamy and beautiful and just look at the packaging- Love.
  •  Benefit Limited Edition High Flying Glosses, 27.09 euro, Asos. Six Lip glosses based on the original blushes of the same names. Very cute.
  •  Dior 5 Couleurs Grand Bal Eyeshadow Palette, £40.00, Feel Unique. This is a really lovely Christmassy set from Dior and would make a stunning look combined with the Grand Bal lipstick. I've also swatched this palette- all the shades are soft and easily blend-able and compliment each other perfectly. Swoon.
  • Nars Limited Edition Foreplay Palette, 54.87 euro, Asos. Four complementary shades based on the famous Orgasm blush. This just looks really pretty. I do love the original blush so I'd be interested to see how this compares.




  •  Models Own Wonderland Trio, around the 12 euro mark, this has actually sold out on Asos but could still be found in Boots or River Island. A lovely Winter-y looking set.
  •  OPI Limited Edition Top 10 Mini Nail Polish Kit, 39.59 euro, Asos. I bought this for someone as a present last year and it makes a really nice gift if you're a fan of OPI but would be equally as lovely if you were new to the brand and wanted to try it out- these are their top ten best sellers.
  •  Seche Vite Top Coat, 9.55 euro, beautyemorium.ie. One of the nicest top coats around, this would make a lovely present combined with another polish or even as a stocking filler.
  •  Dior Vernis Grand Bal Lacquer, £20.00, Feel Unique. This comes in four shades, pictured is Diorling. Personally, I would be going for the red shade- Marilyn, to match the lipstick I previously mentioned. I've also swatched Marilyn and it is a lovely polish- a proper red that looks as expensive as it is!
  •  L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream, £7.00, Feel Unique. This is just a really nice hand cream- I've reviewed it previously HERE.
  •  Nails Inc, The Backstage Collection, 27.78 euro, Asos. Three complimentary shades, two of which are special effect top coats. Very festive and lovely packaging.
  •  Illamasqua Limited Edition Nail Duo, 22.92 euro, Asos. Ooh, very cool colours. Also available in a more traditionally Christmassy red and gold set.
  •  OPI Nail Envy, 26.04 euro on Asos but only 19.25 euro on beautyemporium.ie!! It definitely pays to shop around. This is a rather brilliant nail strengthener, which I've been using myself and have noticed an improvement- a great treat for broken nails.



  •  Nuxe Reve De Miel Gift Set, 33.95 euro, Cloud 10 beauty. A nice starter kit for anyone new to French brand Nuxe. Contains their famous lip balm, hand &nail cream and body cream.
  • L'Occitane Cherry Blossom Gift Set, 41.67, Asos. Contains hand cream, shower gel and body lotion all in a lovely cherry blossom scent.
  • Paul & Joe Cosmetic Bag, Lip Balm and Skincare set, 15.28 euro, Asos. Known for their quirky prints and adorable make up items, this is a limited edition set containing a pelican print cosmetic bag (so cute), cleansing milk, moisturiser, hydrating lip balm and a foundation sachet, randomly enough.
  • Clarins Face and Body Essentials, 45.90, Debenhams. This is really excellent value, containing; Beauty Flash Balm 50 mls, Hand and Nail Treatment Cream 100ml, One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser 75ml, Moisture-Rich Body Lotion 100ml, Foot Beauty Treatment Cream 30ml and Hydraquench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase 15ml, all with a free case. Daycent.
  • Origins Ginger To Go & Stay Gift Set, £39.00, House of Fraser. I just finished a tub of the Ginger Souffle so I can confirm that this really is a great range. The set is great value too, containing 200mls of the Souffle Whipped Body Cream, 100mls of Incredible Spreadable Smoothing Ginger Body Scrub, 100mls of Ginger Burst Savoury Body Wash, and then those three again in handy 50mls sizes and a zip travel pouch.
Happy Shopping!


Monday, 10 December 2012

The G Hotel, Galway and Lush bath treats!

We recently headed off for a break to the G hotel, Galway, a rather lovely wedding present as the G is one of our favourite places to go. The decor of the hotel was designed by non other than Irish miliner Philip Treacy himself- apparently a fan of supermodels, seashells and large silver orbs- which lends an air of the delightfully surreal to most of the rooms. It's recently been upgraded to a five star and really is a lovely break away- good food, an amazing spa and beautiful surroundings.



Champagne Afternoon Tea, Baileys hot chocolate by the fire, delicious dinners, a trip to Salthill, the Galway Christmas Market and general lovely relaxation. Fabulous.
Knowing that I had a lovely big bath to look forward to in the G, I popped into Lush before we left Dublin and picked up a So White bath ballistic (4.20 euro), a Big Blue bath ballistic (3.90 euro) and a Wiccy Magic Muscles massage bar (8.90 euro).
Good news is that all of Lush's bath ballistics contain sea salt, which helps to improve circulation- so, definitely a good idea if, like me, your fingers and toes are always cold.
So White smells divine- like fresh apples:


While I liked this, I wasn't sure whether or not it was the bath ballistic or the hot water that relaxed my muscles..I didn't really feel like So White made a huge difference to my bath.
I did feel better after using Big Blue though- it contains lavender and seaweed and turns the water a delightfully tropical shade of blue, which helps if you're trying to pretend you're in Miami. Check it out:


I would definitely repurchase that one.
Wiccy Magic Muscles massage bar is for sore and stiff muscles and contains cinnamon, cocoa butter, Shea butter, organic jojoba oil, coconut oil, peppermint oil and Aduki beans.


It smells lovely and does indeed soothe sore muscles. Unfortunately, the sales assistant in Lush advised me that it can be used in the bath, as a massage bath bar. He was wrong. So very wrong. As it turns out this is because once in the bath it a) melts, causing the bath to fill with massage oil, which not only renders the massage bar useless as it starts to disintegrate but also means that the bath water becomes a bit slimy and unpleasant and b) the aduki beads come away from the bar and fill up the bath meaning you then have to clean them out afterwards or risk causing a drain blockage. So thanks for that, Lush assistant. Maybe a rudimentary knowledge of your products might be a good idea in future. Since then, I have used the remains of the bar for a regular, non bath massage, which was very nice and much less uncomfortable all round.
Lastly, here's a photo from our spin out to Barna:



Beautiful.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Christmas Cookies!

As is traditional at this time of year, I feel it incumbent upon me to pretend to be a 1950's housewife again and make baked goods. Delicious baked goods, at that. Here are my Christmas Butter cookies, the recipe for which can be found on the BBC Good Food website.

Ingredients:

  • 200g Softened Butter
  • 140g Caster Sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 300g Plain Flour 
(you could obviously make these more festive by adding in cinnamon, almond extract or whatever else you fancy, I just kept it simple and made them seasonally appropriate with the moulds I used).



Method:
  1. Mix the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a wooden spoon (or, if you're me and have a fancy KitchenAid mixer, use that on a low setting).
  2. Then add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and briefly beat to combine.
  3. Sift over 300g Plain Flour and stir until mixture is well combined- you may need to get your hands in there to bring the dough together.
  4. Some recipes for butter cookies suggest wrapping the dough in cling film and letting it cool in the fridge for 20mins..I didn't do that but each to their own. Mostly I was just impatient to eat some Christmas shaped cookies while decorating our tree.
  5. Roll out the dough and cut out into your preferred shapes- I used dough cutters in a tree and angel mould but a star shape would be lovely too.
  6. Pop onto a non stick baking tray or grease a regular tray, into the oven at 180C/fan 160C/gas mark 4 for 15 mins or until golden brown, remove from the tray and place on a wire rack to cool.
  7. Decorate as you wish. I made these for a girly Christmas get together so I decorated each cookie with each lovely lady's name, as you can see below. I used the Dr Oetker icing pen decorating kit, which is really handy. Be warned though- the icing pens will only work if they've been well heated up- I had to put mine in a bowl of just boiled hot water before I could use them, otherwise they won't flow properly and will result in you shaking your fist at the sky and cursing Dr Oetker, whoever he or she may be. 

Mmm. Cookies.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas Tag 2012! Yay!


Yay! Christmas!


The very lovely Aundrea from Dancing With Disaster tagged me to do this really fun Christmas tag, so here goes!:

What’s your favourite thing about Christmas?
There's just way too many things; I love spending the time with family, amazing Christmas dinner, that festive feeling around town with all the lights up and everyone rushing around shopping for gifts, sparkly decorations, Christmas songs (Wham's Last Christmas is my personal favourite, it can be heard on a loop in my house at this time of year while my husband goes slowly insane from having to listen to it. Good times.), seeing friends you haven't met in ages, getting all dressed up for Christmas nights out, and eh, celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus obviously. Ahem.
What’s your favourite makeup look for the season
Smokey eye, false lashes, loads of lipgloss, glittery nails and curly hair! I do love a good solid red lip with gold eyeshadow too.
Real tree or fake tree?
Ah God, I love a real tree, the smell is divine. When I was growing up we always had a real tree so it's a proper happy childhood memory thing. The last few years I've had a mini fake one to save apartment space but this year Hubster and I said we'd buy a decent one- we got a fake 6ft one and a LOAD of tacky Penney's decorations, which we're very excited about putting up this week!
Giving presents or receiving presents?
Giving! I start planning early on what I'm going to get for everyone and make little lists in my phone as I go along..generally I have all of my presents bought by the start of December. Hubster often leaves his 'til Christmas Eve and somehow still always manages to get amazing presents for everyone. No idea how he manages it and yes, I am uber jealous of his present buying skills!
Do you open your presents Christmas morning or evening?
Christmas morning so that everyone can bask in the happy festive glow of presents for the whole day. Also, so that new slippers can be worn throughout the marathon dinner.
Handmade Christmas cards or bought?
Pretty much always bought but I always make sure they're charity cards.

What’s your favourite Christmas movie? 

Elf, It's a Wonderful Life, Love Actually, Home Alone, The Muppet's Christmas Carol, Bad Santa. I love an auld Christmas movie! We're actually going to a screening of Elf in the Lighthouse Cinema next week which should be fun!


I tag Audrey from The Nail Affair and Sarah from RaRa Giggles!


Christmas Gift Guide- Accessories and Sleepwear!

Still stuck for a present idea? Look no further! Pyjamas, sippers, handbags and jewellery- all are ideal gifts for your mum, sister, friends, girlfriend etc. Again, clicking on the description highlighted in grey links you to the website the item is from:

1) Knitted Fairisle Slipper Boots, £12.00, Very.co.uk, warm and inexpensive.
2) & 3) Poppy Pointelle Top, £19.00 and Chrysanthemum PJ Bottoms, £19.00, Monsoon, perfect for wearing all year round- not just for Christmas.
4) Silver Sequin and Chiffon Slip, £65.00, Topshop. Ooh. Pretty.
5) Lace Trim Teddy, £35.00, Topshop. Ditto.
6) & 7) Robin PJ Set, £39.00, Monsoon. Very Christmassy.
8) Slipper Claw Boots, £12.00, Very.co.uk, nothing like a novelty slipper.


9) Ornate Stud Clutch, £35.00, Miss Selfridge.
10) Small Leather Satchel, 252.59 euro, DKNY (Brown Thomas have a fairly amazing selection of DKNY bags at the moment, there's a dark green beauty in there that I have my eye on but I'll be waiting 'til the sales!)
11) Bright Pink Matinee Purse £75.00, Ted Baker (I have one of these purses in gold and it's rather lovely so I can definitely recommend one of these).
12) Beaded Iridescent Clutch, 48.62 euro, Asos.
13)  Personalised Initial Wash Bag, 26.27 euro, notonthehighstreet.com.
14) Cambridge Satchel Company Satchel, 194.46 euro, Asos.
15)  Metal Corner Book Clutch, 34.73 euro, Asos (comes in green too, a very cute and unique item and not too expensive).
16) Lulu Guinness Fifi Dolls Face Clutch, 368.09 euro, Asos. You can't beat a bit of Lulu Guinness but granted this is very pricey..spending the same amount for a large handbag like the one from DKNY is easily better value but it obviously depends on the taste of the recipient too!


17) Michael Kors Rose Gold and Crystal Watch, 331.97 euro, Asos. Michael Kors watches are really popular for a reason- they're very lovely. They are also quite pricey.
18) Jeweled Bunting Necklace, 13.89 euro, Asos. This is so cute and such a great price!
19) What Do You Link Necklace, $43.99, Mod Cloth. This is rather funky but you will be facing a nasty shipping tax if you're ordering outside of the U.S.
20) Soft Mint Faceted Bauble Necklace, $44.00, Pree Brulee. Ditto the shipping tax, but look how pretty!
21) Amethyst and Rose Quartz Cocktail Ring, 91.63 euro, notonthehighstreet.com. This is really beautiful but you need to know the finger size of the person you're buying it for when ordering, which is a bit annoying. Self gift option maybe?!
22) Flower Earrings, 12.00 euro, Oasis. Oasis have lots of beautiful and relatively inexpensive jewellery items at the moment- lots of nice options for stocking fillers or to go with your Christmas party dress.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Christmas Gift Guide- Novelty, Home and Stocking Fillers!!

Novelty gifts- the way to go when you have absolutely no idea what to get for someone, need to get a secret Santa present or have a loved one who eh, loves novelty things (seamless introduction). Some of these would be great as stocking fillers too, such as the fox socks or the owl mirror. Personally though, I wouldn't be getting the likes of the bat keyfob as a stocking filler, even though it is small enough- I know it's super expensive, I just thought it was too cute not to include! I think some of the home stuff would be particularly well received by anyone into their home decor or those who appreciate quirky but completely unnecessary household items *cough, dancing cat speaker, cough*.
Again, clicking on the names of the items highlighted in grey will link you to the websites I found them on.

1) Fox Toe Ankle Socks, £3.50, Topshop.
2) Metallic Ballet Flats, 34.73 Euro, Asos.
3) Hopes, Desires, Quips and Scribbles Notebook, 26.39 euro, Ted Baker.
4) Racoon Hottie, £8.00, Topshop.
5) Paul Smith Bat Keyfob, 62.51 euro, Asos. I know it's stupidly expensive, but look how cute he is!
6) Gold Owl Compact Mirror, 16.67 euro, Asos.


7) Wonder Woman Mug, 2 for 20 euro (in which case I recommend you get the "Queen of F***ing Everything" mug too, I have both and they're both pretty amazing), Urban Outfitters.co.uk.
8) Paddy Fox Cushion, £26.00, Asos. Ridiculously cute and should go fabulously in most homes. The owl version of this is lovely too.
9) Antique Table Mirror, 32 euro, Urban Outfitters. This would be beautiful on any dressing table.
10) Dancing Cat Speaker, 53 euro, Urban Outfitters. You plug your ipod in and you can have this little guy dance away to your favourite song. AMAZING. The possibilities for hilarity with this are endless.
11) Robot Salt and Pepper Set, 14 euro, Urban Outfitters. Kitsch heaven.
12) David Bowie Mug, £5.99, Truffle Shuffle.com. You can't go wrong with a Bowie mug, I always say.
13) Rob Ryan "My Home" Cushion, 53 euro, Urban Outfitters. Famous for his illustrations, especially on his cards, this would make a lovely addition to any home.
14) Upcycled Vintage Pinup Side Plate, 39.41 euro, (cup and saucer also available) Not on the High Street.com. Retro loveliness.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Christmas Gift Guide- Books!

I love present shopping: hunting for and finding things for my loved ones that I know they'll appreciate is one of the best feelings ever. Full of the joys of Christmas spirit, so I am. Like Tiny Tim. Except without the crutches. As it happens I've actually bought most of my Christmas presents so I can rest slightly easier now and I can also impart my knowledge to you all here, in a series of gift guides.
First up, books. You pretty much can't go wrong with buying a book for someone- it's generally easy enough to suss out what sort of genre the recipient would like but even if it's something they normally wouldn't go for, then all the better- a change is as good as a rest as they say!
Here are my top picks (the links to where you can buy them are the book titles themselves, written in grey and all prices are in either sterling or US Dollars cause I couldn't be arsed converting them. That's just how I roll):


1) Back Story, David Mitchell, £5.99. Comedian, star of Peep Show and columnist for The Observer, I've always been a big fan of Mitchell's unique brand of wit so I can only imagine how funny this collection of his memoirs will be. 2) Moranthology, Caitlin Moran, £8.42. I loved Moran's (a columnist for The Times) hugely popular first book How To Be A Woman- a feminist work of brilliance. Her follow up, Moranthology, discusses everything from binge-drinking to Obama and plenty besides. I haven't read it yet but it looks great. 3) World War Z, Max Brooks, £6.89. I'm reading this at the moment and it's a good'un. It follows how a zombie pandemic would play out across the world- interviews with survivors 10 years after the end of the war. Good clean zombie fun. 4) Vagina: A New Biography, Naomi Wolf, £7.40. I'm also reading this at the moment- Naomi is an author, political consultant and feminist. In Vagina, she explores the link between sexuality and creativity and looks at what it means to be female. Personally, I feel like I'm aware of all of this already but it would be ideal for any budding feminist in your life. 5) I Can Make You Hate, Charlie Brooker, £8.50. Writer and broadcaster Brooker brings us a collection of his articles for The Guardian- his articles are pretty much always laugh out loud funny so this should be great. 6) The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling, £9.00. The most anticipated novel in years- Rowling's first non-Potter book is apparently a much more sedate affair but enjoyable nonetheless. 7) Bring Up The Bodies, Hilary Mantel, £8.86. Set in the court of Henry the 8th this follows the rise of Thomas Cromwell and the fall of Anne Boleyn. OK, this is a dodgy one because I read this book's predeccessor Wolf Hall, which won the Booker Prize and although I wasn't a huge fan, plenty of others were. This book has also just won the Booker Prize, so what do I know, eh? 8) Skagboys, Irvine Welsh, £8.18. Skagboys is the prequel to Trainspotting and follows the characters on their journey to becoming heroin addicts (Nothing says Happy Christmas like heroin addiction, am I right?). 9) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky, £4.71. Recently made into a film, this is described as a charming coming-of-age book. I haven't read it yet but it's received really positive reviews. 10) Me Before You, JoJo Moyes, £3.86. A bestseller, this is apparently a total weepie and a bittersweet love story. 11) The Mystery of Mercy Close, Marian Keyes, £7.60. I love Marian. This is her most recent book and follows heroine Helen Walsh- her battle with depression and her search for a missing boyband member. This has also received great reviews.


12) The Walking Dead Compendium: Volume 2, Charlie Adlard and Robert Kirkman, £29.51. Following the story of The Walking Dead and utilising stunning artwork, this is a great option for the zombie lover in your life (this is part 2, part 1 is also available). 13) The Hunger Games Trilogy Classic Boxed Set, Suzanne Collins, £11.99. These books are amazing, I don't know if there's anyone left who hasn't read them but if so, this is a great gift. 14)  I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar, Sharon Eliza Nichols, $9.99. For the grammar pedant. 15) A Song of Ice and Fire (7 volumes), George R. R. Martin, £29.98. A really reasonably priced collection of the Game of Thrones novels. 16) DC Comics: The 75th Anniversary Poster Book, £27.50. A great option for fans of DC Comics, features beautiful pullout artwork. 17) 101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die, Steven Jay Schneider, £9.99. These 101 books are always a fun read and ideal for those who enjoy making lists! 18) All My Friends Are Dead, Avery Monsen and Jory John, $9.99. This is just very cute, not a proper read but kind of dotey all the same. 19) The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead, Max Brooks, £7.09. Written by himself of World War Z fame, this is a good idea for anyone really- you'll thank me when the zombie invasion starts. 20) 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami, £6.29. 1Q84 is actually 3 novels, this is the first two in one book. These surreal works, based on a fictional Japan in 1984 explores the nature of reality and were big bestsellers. If you're looking for something a bit different, look no further.


21) Vintage Style: Iconic Fashion Looks, Sarah Kennedy, £20.00. Always wanted to look like Marilyn, Debbie Harry or Twiggy but never knew how? Look no further! 22) The Primrose Bakery, Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas, £13.00. Although mostly known for their amazing cupcakes, this lovely book also covers pastries and cakes of all varieties. Nom. 23) Kate: The Kate Moss Book, Kate Moss and Fabien Baron, £50.00. Written by Kate herself (I wonder if she could've wedged another "Kate" onto the cover title), this is a retrospective of the career of one of the most iconic fashion models ever- it looks really interesting. 24) The Wah Nails book of Nail Art, £9.99. Fairly self explanatory, this is perfect for the nail art lover. 25) The Little Paris Kitchen: Classic French Recipes with a Fresh and Fun Approach, Rachel Khoo, £10.86. Featuring beautiful recipes and photos (food porn, very important at all times), if you want to get to grips with French cuisine, this is the book to start with. 26) 100 Years of Fashion, Cally Blackman, £24.95. This book just looks so beautiful- any fashion lover will be delighted to receive this. 27) Jamie's 15 Minute Meals, Jamie Oliver, £11.99. Following on from his 30 minute meals, which I bought and used loads, this promises even quicker meals while still as delicious. 28) Style Me Vintage: Make-Up, Katie Reynolds, £15.99. This is actually one of a set of three- Style Me Vintage Hair, Clothing and here, Make Up. Very pretty. 29) Gok Cooks Chinese, Gok Wan, £8.86. I watched some of the accompanying series to this, which was really enjoyable. Any budding chefs looking to expand their repertoire into asian cooking will be delighted with this.

So that's the lot! Any of those setting your present-buying spider senses a-tingling?

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Lush Haul

As I've previously mentioned my love for all things Lush HERE and HERE this post should come as no surprise. Recently Lush has become my go-to for a quick pick me up when I'm not feeling great and also don't want to spend a small fortune on shower products that are relatively inexpensive but still effective.
Here's my little haul:

Soak and Float Shampoo Bar, 7.90 for 55g.



Lush suggests that "Good carrots grow in good soil", in other words, keep your scalp in good condition and your hair should follow suit. This promises to cleanse hair while bringing relief to sore scalps and unhappy hair (a lot of personification of things take place in Lush). I've always been a bit reluctant to try shampoo bars until Aundrea from Dancing With Disaster highly recommended them and really they're super easy to use- a bit of a rub on wet hair and scalp builds up a good lather, then just wash out as usual. I found this just so excellent, my hair and scalp both feel brilliant afterwards, with a definite improvement to my scalp visible after just two washes.
This particular bar smells of bonfires and cold November nights. I can't even explain how much I love the smell of this, it is a really strong scent but then I'm weird when it comes to my love for the smell of firelighters (I can often be found sniffing the box when lighting the fire-no, really), petrol (I'm known for inhaling the air at petrol stations..again, really) and peat burning (if you've ever visited the Bunratty Folkpark in Clare then you'll know what I'm talking about). Basically what I'm trying to say is, this is a required taste..but a delicious taste! Mmm.

Marilyn Hair Treatment, 11.50 for 225g.



This does exactly what it says on the tin (or recycled black pot), a pre-wash treatment for blondes who want lighter, brighter hair. Containing lots of lovely stuff; chamomile, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, this makes your blonde tresses all shiny and helps prevent a build up of orange tones. Marilyn goes onto dry hair, is left for 20 mins, then shampooed out and conditioner can be put in. This smells lovely- really fresh, like lemons and has definitely improved the overall condition of my hair. A must-have for those with fair hair!

Oatiflix, 8.95 for 75g



This face mask "Cuddles sore, Winter skin with luxurious, rich ingredients". Said lovely contents include oatmeal, fresh organic bananas, ground almonds, illipe butter, vanilla pod and sandalwood oil. This looks and smells edible- you have to store it in the fridge so I'm really hoping Hubster doesn't mistake it for food. Anyway, this is particularly good if you have dry, tight skin, especially in this cold weather. I like to pop this on while I also have a hair mask on-proper pampering session! My skin felt so soft after using this, it really is just a lovely product and I will definitely be repurchasing when it's finished.

Grease Lightning, 7.50 for 45g.



This little wonder gel is a treatment for spots-I had been using Origins Spot On but it was a lot more pricey for a much lesser amount and although it was effective I felt like trying something new. You only need a tiny amount of this, applied directly to the spot so I have a feeling it'll last a good while. It contains literally every spot-fighting ingredient ever; tea tree, lavender (which it smells strongly of), aloe vera, witch hazel and rosemary. All good stuff and so far it's been working really well.

As an aside, I just want to say that I really like the Lush staff- they're always so helpful and really make it a pleasure to shop there. Any other Lush products I should be trying?