Saturday, 27 April 2013

Spring Tag!

Last week I was tagged by the lovely Ashleigh at Quintessentially Me to do the Spring Tag.  I haven't done any blogger tags before but this one looks like fun, so here goes...

First off, I need to choose five bloggers I love reading to tag, my picks are:

Kel from Kel Loves
Clara from Smiley Clara
Sarah from Sugarpuffish
Cat from Outside Beauty, Inside Health
Kat from Tales of a Pale Face

Now, here come the questions.

1. What's your favourite Spring nail polish?
Definitely Merino Cool by Essie.  I tend to like darker nail polishes most of the time so this is actually quite a light one for me, but I find the lovely lilac grey is perfect for this transitional time of year.
Essie Merino Cool Nail Polish painted on my nails

2. What is your must-have lip colour this Spring?
The shade I’ve been wearing the most over the last couple of weeks is Illamasqua’s lipstick in Magnetism.  It’s a lovely deep raspberry shade and can be really vampy, but at the moment I wear it most often just pressed lightly onto my lips for a lovely subtle pink.
Illamasqua Lipstick in Magnetism pictured against a white background
3. Show us your favourite Spring dress.
In the past I’ve never been much of a dress person so really don’t have a favourite spring dress to show you.

4. What's your favourite flower.
I actually have no idea!  I suppose at this time of year I love the daffodils that are springing up everywhere, but my favourite find this week was this little beauty in my own garden:
Pink flowers on green grass

5. What is your favourite Spring scarf/accessory?
My favourite scarf is actually a new one that my lovely other half treated me to from Topshop.  It's really light weight and I love the mix of muted colours to brighten up my outfits.
Scarf with muted bright colours

6. What Spring trends are you most excited about this year.
I'm really loving the bomber jackets that I'm seeing everywhere, especially those with Oriental or floral inspired prints.  I will have to pick one up soon!

7. Favourite Spring candle?
At the moment I'm still loving this natural soy wax candle scented with wild flowers - I posted about it here.
Munio Candela Soy Wax Candle with Wild Flowers

8. Favourite body spray/perfume for Spring?
I actually haven’t changed my perfumes for spring, I’m still wearing my favourites, alternating between Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb and Liz Earle Botanical Essences No.15.
Liz Earle Botanical Essences No.15 and Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb

9. What is Spring like where you live?
It’s very mixed here in York.  We've had a few sunny days, but quite a few cold ones too, today we've even had hailstone!  Roll on summer is all I can say...

10. What's your favourite thing about Spring?
Definitely the change in the weather, I can’t get enough of those days that are beautifully fresh and bright.

11. Are you a Spring cleaner?
I have my moments, but honestly not really.  I have been organising my beauty stash recently though, which has meant I’ve had to clean a little bit.

12. Any plans for a Spring break or upcoming vacation?
Not right now unfortunately.  I do have some time off at the beginning of summer however so I’m hoping to maybe have a few days away then.

Well that's it for my Spring Tag post, I hope you've enjoyed it.  If you've done the spring tag I'd love to read about it, leave me your link in the comments below.

Sharon x 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

What I've Used Up - April 2013

Here it is people, my first ever empties post!  I haven't used up a lot of products this month and it's mainly been a skincare affair, but anyway I hope you enjoy what you read... 
A picture of empty skincare products.
Bioderma Créaline H20 Solution Micellaire 
I don’t think there’s anyone left in the beauty blogosphere that hasn’t heard of Bioderma.  This is the first and only micellar solution I’ve ever tried, and while I was a bit of a sceptic about how good it might be at first, I soon decided I loved it.  I use it every night as the first stage in removing my makeup, and a bottle this size usually lasts me about three to four months.  I’ve already repurchased but am still thinking about other micellar waters I might like to try.
I currently buy my Bioderma from ebay for about £12 for a 500ml bottle, but know that it is launching for sale in the UK very soon. 

Lush Eau Roma Toner Water 
This is my favourite everyday toner, and I always have at least one bottle on the go.  Used after my cleanser it really makes my skin feel refreshed and comfortable, I also think it helps to carry my moisturiser everywhere it needs to be.  The base of rose is great as its really gentle and helps to reduce redness, I also love that this it has a spray so I can give my face a quick spritz throughout the day when I need it.
Lush Eau Roma Toner Water is currently £7.25 for 250g and you can find it here. 

Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream 
This was a magazine freebie late last year.  It was really nice to use, hydrating but not too heavy; it lasted a good while and made a good base for undereye makeup.  I haven’t repurchased yet, but it’s definitely on my list to test out more thoroughly in the very near future (as are quite a lot of the Balance Me products actually).
Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream is currently £20 for 15ml and you can find it here. 

Liz Earle Smoothing Line Serum 
I've used this serum for quite a few years now (for my eyes), and while I like the light texture and gentle smoothing effect, lately I’ve been feeling like I need something with a little more oomph (hence the current addiction to eye creams I have).  I still think it's a great product, but I don't think it's the only night treatment I can use for my eyes anymore.
Liz Earle Smoothing Line Serum is currently £14.75 for a 10ml pump and you can find it here. 

Origins Make A Difference Skin Rejuvenating Treatment 
This was a very nice moisturiser but perhaps not 100% right for my skin, at least not in colder months.  Bought as a night cream, it did feel hydrating but sunk in so quickly I felt like I needed to put something else on my skin quite soon afterwards.  It would probably be great for more combination skin, and while I wouldn’t buy this myself again I will definitely try something else from the same range.
I think the name of this moisturiser has changed slightly since I bought it, but you can find the Origins Make A Difference range here. 

Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser 
This has been my staple day cream for a number of years now, it’s always cared for my skin really well and is great for wearing under makeup.  While I still like to use it and will probably always have a pot on hand, my skin has been going through a very ‘thirsty’ stage in recent months and perhaps needs more heavy-hitting thirst quenching and anti-ageing ingredients.
Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser is currently £19.25 for 50ml and you can find it here.

Well that's it folks, my first ever empties post come to an end, I hope you liked what you read. 

What products have you been using up recently?  I'd love to read your comments below.

Sharon x

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Spring Beauty Haul

So here it is, the haul I hinted at in my last spending ban update (here) or as I like to call it 'The Haul of Shame'!  Now as I mentioned in that update March got a little out of hand for me, I didn't buy all of these thing at once however (well most of the Kiehl's things were bought in one go) it was a more of a slow spend over a period of time.  Also not all of this haul was bought with cash, there were some vouchers involved too.

Anyway, without further ado, here is what I bought in the month of the March...

A picture of Kiehl's and Neal's Yard Remedies skincare
Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream - A staple product from Kiehl's, this moisturiser claims to offer up to 24 hours of moisture and helps reduce water loss in the skin.  I can't attest to that at the moment, but I can say it's a nice product to use so far and makes my skin feel very comfortable (it does have a bit of a weird smell though).
Neal's Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm - I actually haven't tried this beauty balm yet, but I'm very excited to.  It's won a multitude of awards (including one from the Green Beauty Bible, one of my favourite books) and is a real multi-tasker; it can be used as a skin-nourishing balm, a gentle exfoliator or a lovely rich cleanser.  Combine all three uses and you have yourself a facial too!
Kiehl's Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream - I was so excited to try this when it came out, and I really like using it so far.  With spf50 and ingredients that are reported to improve the appearance of skin over longer-term use, I'm looking forward to seeing how this works for me.

A picture of Kiehl's skincare
Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate - So many other bloggers have raved about the product I couldn't wait to try it out.  Filled with skin-loving oils and fatty acids it claims to give younger looking skin overnight.  Here's hoping!
Kiehl's Acai Damage-Reparing Serum - This serum is full of lovely antioxidants and used under a daily moisturiser can help improve the tone and texture of skin.  I've been using it almost every day since I bought it and am loving it so far.
Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye -A perfect partner to the Midnight Recovery Concentrate, I've been using this eye cream at night for a number of weeks now and it's lovely to use.  Already it seems to make my eyes look just that little bit brighter, I can't wait to see what it does long term.

A picture of Nars and Illamasqua makeup
Nars Sheer Glow Foundation in Punjab - This is my go-to everyday foundation, it has fantastic medium coverage and makes my skin look flawless.  I was wearing a lighter shade over the winter that's a little too pale now, so bought the next shade darker to take me through to the Summer.
Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard - A new release from Nars, this has quickly become my favourite under eye concealer.  It's very highly pigmented so a little goes a long way, and it doesn't crease or dry out under my eyes.  I'll be doing a review of this very soon.
Illamasqua Lipstick in Sangers - I got this little beauty in the Illamasqua sale, and I absolutely adore it.  It's the perfect blood red lipstick and like most Illamasqua lippies it's very comfortable to wear.

A picture of Stila and Maybelline Eyeshadows and Essie Nail Polish
Stila Smudge Pot in Kitten - This is my favourite shade of eyeshadow in 'In the Light Palette', and whilst I find the texture a little dry in the smudge pot version, I still really like it.
Maybelline Colour Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Shadow in Permanent Taupe - I've heard so many people talk about these that I really wanted to try one.  They don't have a massive range of shades and this is the only one I was attracted too.  Hopefully I'll get on with it!
Essie Nail Polish in Smokin' Hot - I'm a big fan of Essie nail polishes, and this lovely purple-gray is no exception to that.  I know it's a bit of a wintery shade, but I think it looks great on my nails when I'm at work.

Well that's it for that haul folks.  I know it was an epic one so I'll be impressed if many people got to the end of it!  As you can probably tell skincare has been one of my main obsessions over the last few months and I imagine that won't change as we (hopefully) move into warmer weather.  I doubt I'll have a haul of this size again any time soon though, I think I'm pretty well set up for a good while.

What have you been buying over the last couple of months?  Do you tend to go as overboard as I do on occasion?

Sharon x

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Time to Get Fit and Healthy

A picture of Nike Trainers, Zumba and hand weights
Another day, and another post starting with a pair of shoes!  This pair isn't half as exciting to me as those in my previous post but they are here for a very good reason.  Oh yes, it's health and fitness time again...

The last time I posted anything about my health and fitness regime (or lack thereof) was back in January.  Although I had the best intentions when I wrote my new year post (you can read it here if you're interested) I've slowly reverted to old habits and I'm probably back where I was a year ago, feeling overweight (I'm somehow reached a size 16, gulp!) and generally a bit unhealthy.

I'm still determined to change the way I feel now, but instead of planning for some start date that never quite comes, I'm just going to start right now!

My New Exercise Routine
Although I joined a new gym a month ago I've only been a handful of times, but that's going to change!  From right now, I'm going to go a minimum of 3 times a week and follow the plan I was given on my induction.  It hurts like hell, but my body will be better for it.  When I have the time, I'll also try and work in at least 1 Zumba workout per week.

My New Healthy Eating Plan
When it comes to healthy eating, I really don't have anything major planned.  No counting calories or points, I'm simply going to concentrate on eating good clean food, cutting out processed snacks and eating smaller portions.  My other half and I already cook everything from scratch at home so this one shouldn't be too difficult for me.  Famous last words?  I hope not!

The Goal
My overall goal is to be a bit slimmer and lot healthier by the time summer rolls around.  This time around though I've decided not to get obsessed with weighing myself (in fact I'm going to stay away from scales altogether for at least 2 months if I can manage it) instead I'm going to measure myself on a regular basis.  I figure I'll be able to see more change in my body by measuring my arms, waist, legs etc once a month than I would if I was obsessing over the numbers on my scales

So anyway, that's my plan to kickstart my health and fitness.  I'm planning on regular update posts to help measure my success, so until the next update.

Do you have a health and fitness regime planned?  I'd love to hear from you if you're starting out, and I'd love to see some links if you've posted about the subject.

Sharon x

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Jeffrey Campbell Rodman Spike

A picture of the Jeffrey Campbell Rodman Spike
When I first spotted the Jeffrey Campbell Rodman Spike trainers online last year it was a true case of love at first sight.  I spent a good couple of weeks trying to find them in the UK or EU but it seemed they were only available in the US and I thought I'd never get my hands on a pair.

Fast forward to February this year, I was on a late night walk in York with my other half and spotted these beauties in the window of the Coggles Boutique in Low Petergate.  The shop wasn't open unfortunately for me, but the next time I had a chance I was in there to have a closer look, and it was only a little while later that they became mine.

A picture of the Jeffrey Campbell Rodman Spike
I really love the look of the Jeffrey Campbell Rodman Spike trainers.  They have a mixture of textures including a snakeskin effect and patent leather and of course that eye-catching mixture of spikes and studs on the back.  The concealed wedge is 4 inches with a 1 inch platform, so they make me very tall, but feel very stable to walk in.  The stability is helped by the fact that they're a laced hi-top with a really long tongue, so your feet and ankles feel very supported and secure.  As far as high-heels go they're also pretty comfortable to wear, there's no rubbing or pinching and only a little soreness on the ball of the foot after a while.

These are actually (and by far) the most expensive fashion item I have ever gotten (and I wouldn't even have them if it wasn't for a super generous fiancé) but they're something I know I will get masses of wear out of and they already go with most of my wardrobe.  A lot of Jeffrey Campbell shoes really aren't my style, but these really appeal to the trainer loving girl in me, and give her a little bit of edge.

If you're interested in finding out more about the Jeffrey Campbell Rodman Spike trainers, you can find them here.

What do you think of the Jeffrey Campbell Rodman Spike shoes? Are they something you'd wear?

Sharon x

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Book Review - Burlesque and The Art of the Teese by Dita Von Teese

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted my last book review (you can find it here), so I thought that for today's post it would be nice to delve into my extensive book collection again, and share a little something I think, or hope, you'll enjoy.

The book I've chosen to talk about this time around is Burlesque and the Art of the Teese / Fetish and the Art of the Teese by Dita Von Teese.  I make no secret of the fact that I have a huge girl crush on Dita Von Teese, and so when my fiancé spotted this lovely book on Amazon he placed an order for me.
A picture of the book Burlesque and the Art of the Teese on a white background
Burlesque and the Art of the Teese is easily my favourite 'coffee table' book, although maybe not one to have around when children or the elderly are visiting!  Visually it is so stunning that quite often when I catch it in my line of sight I can't help but pick it up and have a quick flick through.  This always turns into a longer flick through, as each photograph of Dita Von Teese in various ensembles (some smaller than others) is more beautiful than the last.

There's also quite a lot of substance to go along with all of that style; the book introduces us to the fabulous Dita, including vital stats if you're interested, and then guides us through a little history of titillation and burlesque, all the way from the Victorian era.  For us beauty obsessives there are also little snippets of makeup and beauty tips throughout to help achieve a little bit of that vintage glamour that Dita does so fabulously.

The second side of this book, Fetish and the Art of the Teese, is a little bit more risque, giving us a glimpse of the world of fetishes including corsets, the highest of high heels, and even foot fetishes (eek on that one!).  The photography is equally as stunning as in the first side of the book and I do enjoy looking through it, but I have to admit the Burlesque side is always my favourite.

If you love Dita Von Teese or are interested in Burlesque in general then I'd say this beauty is worth a purchase.

Comment below if you have a favourite beauty/lifestyle book like this?  Or let me know who your girl crush is :-)

Sharon x 

Saturday, 6 April 2013

100 Day Spending Ban: Update #4

Back when I did my last spending ban update at the beginning of March (here) I had such good intentions.  At just over halfway through I'd done really well for duration of the ban so far and was pretty sure that I wouldn't go on any crazy sprees like I used to.  Well it didn't quite go down like that for me for the remainder of March; here's what actually happened...

Now I didn't go completely mad all in one go (well most of the Kiehl's things were bought in one trip), rather this was an accumulation over the last few weeks, some things bought with money and some with vouchers.  Part of me has felt like a bit of a failure for not following through with the spending ban in March, but the other (and sometimes larger) part just thinks that I'm a grown-up, I work very hard for my money, and this month I've enjoyed treating myself to a few things.

Anyway what's done is done as they say (and I'll post a haul on what exactly was done very soon) and now I really want to concentrate on continuing the ban until the end, on 25th April.  I've re-read my rules (in my original post, here) so right at this moment I'm feeling pretty motivated to carry on.  Wish me luck?

Are any of you still doing the spending ban?  How is it going for you?

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Kiehl's Event at Filmore and Union

Two of my absolute favourite things in life are good skincare and good food, so imagine my delight when I realised my local Kiehl's shop (only recently discovered by me) was having an event at my favourite restaurant in York, Filmore & Union.  It was held last Tuesday evening, and of course I had to go along!

A picture of the Kiehl's skincare display at Filmore and Union in York
I wouldn't ordinarily pay for tickets to go to an event like this (tickets were £16.50 each), but my fiancé, Gaz, and I have both been intrigued by Kiehl's skincare in recent weeks and honestly neither of us would turn down an opportunity to have some delicious food from Filmore & Union.  This little deli/cafe and restaurant, tucked away on Low Petergate, specialises in fresh and healthy food, which they cook very simply and present beautifully.  I'm completely addicted to their breakfast menu and would definitely suggest checking them out, here.

A picture of Kiehl's skincare on a wooden table
On arrival at the already buzzing venue on the evening we were given a glass of prosecco (for him) and fruit juice (for me) and greeted by the staff from both Kiehl's and the restaurant venue.  Taking in my surroundings I was really struck by how well the display and products from Kiehl's worked in the setting, it was definitely a perfect match.

A photo of Kiehl's skincare on a wooden table
Kicking off the evening, Robert, the Store Manager at Kiehl's in York, gave us some background on the Kiehl's brand.  Originating as a traditional apothecary in New York's East Village over 150 years ago, Kiehl's now specialises in combining 'old-world' herbal and medicinal knowledge with cutting edge advancements in science to create uniquely effective natural skincare and haircare.  Interesting fact, Kiehl's was the first brand to list all of their ingredients on product packaging.

Robert and his team each talked us through some of the amazing products from Kiehl's; I really could go on for quite a few hundred (or thousand) words, but I'll simply say that the real stand-outs for me included the Acai Damage Repairing Serum, chock-full of antioxidant goodness, the Midnight Recovery Concentrate, with lots of essential fatty acids and essential oils to soothe the skin, and finally the Powerful Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate, containing an unprecedented amount of pure vitamin C (10.5% to be exact) which helps to reduce the appearance of ageing. 

A picture of the Kiehl's skincare range on a wooden table
After hearing about all of these wonderful products, we got to have some of the delicious salads and canapes prepared by Filmore & Union (more than worth the price of the ticket), and very importantly for us beauty addicts we got to play with all of the products on display.  As part of the evening we got 10% off any products purchased, so Gaz and I decided to take full advantage and between us bought five products, including the Midnight Recovery Concentrate and Acai Damage Reparing Serum mentioned above.  I could easily have bought more but unfortunately there are rent and bills to consider too!

A picture of salads and canapes at Filmore & Union in York
A picture of lovely salads and canapes at Filmore & Union in York
All in all I had a wonderful time at this event with Kiehl's, it's always good to get to know a slightly unfamiliar brand in this way; I'm very much enjoying testing out the products I bought and will be sharing them all with you very soon in a collective haul and of course in future reviews.

If you'd like to read more about Kiehl's, or check out any of their products, their website is here.

Have you tried any Kiehl's products before?  What are your favourites from the brand?
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