Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Beauty | Eye of Horus Scarab Sapphire Goddess Pencil

"Awaken the goddess within!"  If ever a strapline on a beauty item was going to make me desperately want to buy a product it would be this one.  It almost makes me feel that a simple slick of this eyeliner could transform me from an ordinary creature into something divine.  If only beauty products could really do such things...
Eye of Horus have been creating some really covetable pencils in recent months so I was incredibly excited to try their latest offering, the Scarab Sapphire Goddess Pencil*.  It's not often an eye pencil will be so regularly used in my makeup stash (I'm usually more of a gel liner girl) but this one has been making regular appearances in my most used drawer for weeks now.  Let me tell you why...
Eye of Horus Scarab Sapphire Goddess Pencil

The Packaging?
At £17.00 for a pencil Eye of Horus is definitely a premium brand so their packaging should stand up well to other high end favourites of mine, including my beloved Nars.  I can't say I'm disappointed with this brand on that front, both the glossy black box and satiny black pencil carry mirrored gold lettering alongside the iconic Eye of Horus emblem, it could be gaudy but it's just enough gold and is very chic.

The emblem is really quite a clever symbol to use too, automatically making me think of Ancient Egypt, Cleopatra, and the dramatic eye makeup she is always wearing in her various depictions (definitely something I'd want to emulate).  The thing I like most about the packaging of this product is that it's double ended; one side has the colour and the other end has a handy foam smudging tool.

Eye of Horus Scarab Sapphire Goddess Pencil

The Formula and Colour
Of course a good product doesn't end with the packaging, it's got to work above all else.  Thankfully this pencil really does and it is the definition of creamy!  It glides onto the lid allowing me to get a nice precise line, but is soft enough that it can smudged out for a smokier look.

Once the product sets however, it's not going to move without the help of a makeup remover; just what I look for in a good eyeliner.  I completely adore the colour too, it's a beautiful indigo blue which looks pretty great (even if I do say so myself) with my light brown/hazel eyes.

Eye of Horus Scarab Sapphire Goddess Pencil

Would I Purchase?
Absolutely I would.  I've already got my eye on the Bronze Amulet Goddess Pencil among many other things.

Eye of Horus Scarab Sapphire Goddess Pencil

More information on Eye of Horus is available here, their products are available to buy in the UK here.

Have you tried anything from the Eye of Horus range?  What is your favourite type of eyeliner?

Sharon x

*Pencil provided for review purposes, thoughts and opinions 100% my own.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Beauty | Illamasqua Blushers in Rude & Hussy

So here we go, two days into December and I'm publishing another blog post already.  It's not a huge deal to most people I know, but I've been so busy recently I've barely been able to post at all, so it's a bit of a new thing for me.  I'm not going to jinx myself by making any grand pronouncement about posting every day or anything, but I'm going to try and keep it more regular from now on.

Illamasqua Blusher Rude and Hussy

Anyway, it seems like an age since I reviewed a makeup product on here so for today's post I wanted to bring you two of my absolute favourite blushers of the last year, Rude and Hussy from Illamasqua.  I picked up these beauties in one of Illamasqua's sales last year and have pretty much loved them ever since.  I don't know what it is about this brand, I haven't tried a lot from their range, but have absolutely adored everything I have been able to try.

My first love out of these two has to be the Cream Blusher in the shade Rude.  It looks almost scarily orange in the pan but on my light olive skin skin, it is the perfect peachy pink/coral.  I don't have a great deal of experience with cream blushers, but I suspect the formula which Illamasqua have come up with is a very good one.  It's incredibly soft, with a rich pigment but perfectly balanced with just enough colour.

Illamasqua Blusher Rude

The blusher applies smoothly using either a stippling brush or a ring finger (my preferred method) blends easily, and lasts really well on the skin, giving really pretty colour and a hint of glow. As you can probably imagine, I got a lot of use out of this blusher during the summer paired with a coral lip, even now I still use it on those days where I'm wearing minimal makeup.

A close second in my Illamasqua blusher affections is the rather wonderfully named Hussy, a Powder Blusher.  I was equal parts excited and apprehensive for this blusher to arrive with my order, it's so far removed from the shades I'd normally go for.  I don't regret buying it for a second though, the candy pink/watermelon shade is the perfect pick-me-up for tired looking skin and can't help but bring a bit of a cheer to your day.

Illamasqua Blusher Hussy

In terms of formula, Hussy is equally as brilliant as Rude, it's a matte shade with a powder that is buttery soft and silky smooth to apply.  The pigment here is not for the fainthearted either, a light hand is a necessity, I find that the Real Techniques blush brush works perfectly in this case.

Now I've had the opportunity to sample these two, I've got my eye on plenty more Illamasqua Blushers for the future, watch this space for more reviews!

Illamasqua Blusher Rude and Hussy - swatches

What are your favourite blushers?  Have you tried any from Illamasqua?  I'd love to hear from you.

Sharon x

Monday, 1 December 2014

Restaurant Review | Breakfast at Bill's, York

One of the very best things about living in York at the moment is that there are always new and exciting shops and restaurants cropping up all over the place.  One fairly recent addition to the scene was Bill's restaurant on Coney Street, right in the centre of York.

Bill's Restaurant, Coney Street, York

Bill's started out in Lewes, East Sussex less than 15 years ago and since then has grown to have nearly 30 restaurants throughout the UK, obviously with the York as the latest offering.  Now I'll be straight up here and let you into a little secret; Bill's menu for lunch and dinner is really not at all up my alley, I don't find anything on there which makes me say 'wow'; it pretty much just leaves me cold.  Their breakfast and brunch options, on the other hand, are another story entirely.

Bill's Restaurant, Coney Street, York

The sheer number of menu items is what attracts me first of all; from the full English to eggs benedict, granola and everything in between, there's easily an option for almost every taste.  It's a fair bet that that Gaz will always go for anything that includes sausages, bacon or a combination of the two, but after much sampling of Bill's breakfast menu, I've got to say my favourite is the vegetarian breakfast paired with an iced tea.

Bill's Restaurant, Coney Street, York

The breakfast includes 2 poached eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms, on lovely crunchy sourdough toast that has been generously smothered with hummus on one slice and guacamole on another.  The plate is finished off with a generous swirl of sweet chilli sauce and a little basil.  Everything is really fresh and always very well cooked, and although it looks like a small plate it's surprisingly filling, particularly washed down with the iced tea, usually packed with fresh peach and mint.  Price wise it's not too bad at all either, the basic version of the breakfast is £7.95, but if you're extra hungry you can add on baked beans or crispy potatoes for £1.00 and £1.25 respectively.

Bill's Restaurant, Coney Street, York

Apart from the food, the other thing I really enjoy about Bill's is the decor, it's this really interesting mix of the industrial and the glamorous, pairing loads of metal and wood with leather chairs and chandeliers dotted throughout (and don't forget that giant lit-up Bills sign in the window).  Even though it's a large restaurant, having a few head height (when you're sitting down at least) dividers throughout the place gives it a more intimate feel, particularly when part of Bill's is a little shop/deli type area.

Bill's Restaurant, Coney Street, York

Aside from the lunch and dinner menus not appealing to me I do have one other negative thing to say about Bill's in York, and it unfortunately relates to the staff.  For the most part they have been friendly and helpful, just as you'd expect in any restaurant, but there have been two occasions (once at lunch and once at breakfast) where I've been unfortunate enough to get served by some singularly unhelpful and pretty darn sullen individuals.  Don't get me wrong, I can understand people having a bad day but maybe some people just shouldn't be in the service industry.  Anyway, it hasn't been enough to put me off the place thus far, but who knows for future visits.

If you fancy paying a visit to any of Bill's restaurants, or if you want to check out the menu, you can find them here.

Have you been to one of the Bill's restaurants around the country?  How did you find the food and the staff?

Sharon x

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Beauty | Exfolia Microexfoliation Cloth Review

I've long been an exponent of using cloths to exfoliate my face (muslin cloths and flannels, anyone?) so I was genuinely intrigued to try the Exfolia Microexfoliation Cloth* when I was contacted about it.  This little reusable microfibre cloth sounded a little different to my usual favourite muslins, claiming that it could, amongst other things, smooth & soften the skin, combat the appearance of fine lines and deep clean pores.  You can imagine how much I wanted to get my mitts on one?
Exfolia Microexfoliation Cloth

When the Exfolia Microexfoliation Cloth arrived, it was honestly a tad surprising; this looked just like the cloths that I use to clean my glasses, or to wipe down the screen on my Macbook.  How was this going to exfoliate my face at all?  On closer inspection the cloth is a little different though; running your fingers across the surface you can feel a very slight texture, not exactly rough, but not completely smooth either.  I was fascinated enough to use the Exfolia in my shower that evening.

After reading the instructions carefully (does anyone else do this obsessively with a new product?) I decided to try in the first instance 'The 1 Minute Surprise' that the makers of the cloth recommend.  Basically this involved using the cloth with my favourite cleanser, and washing one side of my face with 9/10 gentle strokes, then washing the other side as I normally would.  I won't overstate things and say a miracle happened in that first test, but after patting dry my face I thought there was definitely some smoothing effect on the 'Exfolia' side.

Exfolia Microexfoliation Cloth

As the instructions suggest only using the cloth 2-3 times a week I left it a few days until my next try, again I used it in the shower, after I had removed my makeup, and with my favourite cream cleanser.  This time I was slightly more vigorous with the 'strokes' of the cloth and boy did I feel the exfoliation then!  There wasn't any damage done, but I could see how if I'd had sensitive skin it would have been too much.  Anyway, my skin was left feeling decidedly smoother after this go, but on further use I went a bit more gently.  In addition to using the cloth for my face, I've tried it out the Exfolia on my body too, more specifically on my arms.  I suffer from the dreaded keratosis pilaris (little goose bumps that never go away) on my upper arms and have found that whilst there was no great 'ta-da' moment where everything was fixed, the texture of the skin there has absolutely been improved.

Overall I'd say there has been some definite improvement in the texture of my skin from using the Exfolia cloth, I really do feel like I'm getting a deep clean and whilst I haven't been using it for long enough to really assess it's effects on fine lines (not that I have too many mind!) I'm hopeful of seeing results.  I'll get plenty more use out of this one cloth too, according to the instructions it can be used 60 to 80 times, as long as you keep it clean and cared for (I've been washing mine with antibacterial hand soap).

The Exfolia Microexfoliation Cloth is suitable for all skin types (just be slightly gentle with sensitive skin), it is £10.35 and can be found here.

What are your favourite methods of exfoliation?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

Sharon x 

*Product provided for review.  Rambling and opinions 100% my own.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Beauty | Favourite Autumn Winter Lipsticks & Giveaway

If you saw my makeup collection and storage video (you can see it here if you fancy a watch) you'll know that I've got more than a few lipsticks, so picking favourites is a bit of a challenge!

Favourite Autumn Winter Lipsticks & Giveaway

I powered through however and have picked out what I think is a fab range of colours for the the coming weeks and months.  You can hear all about my picks for Autumn & Winter in the video below and find links to all of the products mentioned a bit further down the page too.

Favourite Autumn Winter Lipsticks & Giveaway
L-R: Grand Cru, Prune in Fire, Hyde Park, Diva, Dark Side, Black Cherry, Bewitch Me

Lipsticks Mentioned...
Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Grand Cru
Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte Shine in Prune in Fire (sorry this one looks like it's no longer available)
Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Hyde Park
MAC Cosmetics Lipstick in Diva
MAC Cosmetics Lipstick in Dark Side
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Black Cherry
Sephora Rouge Lipstick in Bewitch Me (sorry looks like this one is no longer available too)

Now onto the giveaway portion of the post.  As I mentioned in my video, the content I've been putting on YouTube has been really well received, both on that platform and on Twitter.  I've been really touched by all of the support I've received so wanted to celebrate with a little giveaway of a Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Grand Cru.

If you decide to enter, good luck!

Sharon x

Please read the rules before entering...
  1. This giveaway is being run on Rafflecopter, and will be open from Sunday 12th October to Sunday 26th October 2014.
  2. To enter, you must subscribe to my channel on YouTube, follow my Blog on Bloglovin' and follow me on Twitter.
  3. Sorry, this giveaway is open to UK residents only, and you must be over 18 years old or have your parent/guardian's/the homeowner's permission to give me your addres
  4. All entries will be checked and verified and any false entries will be removed
  5. The prizes cannot be exchanged, swapped or refunded in any way
  6. The winner will be randomly selected via Rafflecopter and will be notified via email.  If the winner does not respond to the notification email within 2 weeks of initial contact another winner will be selected, again via Rafflecopter.
  7. The winner will also be announced on my Twitter account.
  8. I cannot accept any responsibility for the item becoming lost or damaged in the post, responsibility will be with the chosen mail service. I will send the item via Royal Mail.
  9. Finally - good luck!
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Beauty | Old Wives Tail Organic Clove & Jojoba Oil Treatment*

Hello beautiful people!  I don't know about you, but I feel as a beauty blogger I kind of fail when it comes to hair care.  I've got pots and potions galore for my face and body, but in the hair department I'm seriously lacking, I mean I've literally got my shampoo and conditioner and then one leave-in conditioner.  Obviously this is a situation I felt needed to be remedied.

Imagine my delight then when the lovely Lily from Old Wives Tail got in touch to see if I was interested in reviewing one of their organic hair treatments (they have a good variety for all different hair types).  Being a bit of a hair mask/treatment newbie I relied on Lily's advice about which product would be best for me, and after sending her a description of my barnet and it's various woes (my hair is naturally curly/wavy, colour treated, and although there's masses of it, it's quite fine in texture) she said the Clove & Jojoba Oil Treatment would suit me best.

Old Wives Tail Organic Clove & Jojoba Oil Treatment

A few days later a very well wrapped parcel arrived containing a 100ml pot of said treatment.  Scent is immensely important to me in my beauty products so the first thing I did was whip off that lid and give it a good old sniff.  I was pleasantly surprised, I'd expected the usual strong medicinal clove smell but what I got instead was something still pungently clove-y, but also somehow sweet.

Next came the testing.  Delving into the little plastic tub was in itself a bit of an experience; I'd kind of expected a thick conditioner type texture but was met instead with something considerably thicker, and more buttery, almost more like one of the luxurious lip balms I use.  Also unexpected was how little I need to use of this, you can see from the picture in this post that my hair is pretty darn long, so I thought I would have to at least half of this little tub.  I needn't have feared though, scooping out an amount roughly about the size of an olive was enough to cover a good proportion of my hair.  I also worried about how this super thick texture would go into my curly tangly hair, but again I had no problems, the treatment quickly melted with heat of my hands into luxurious scented oil that was easy to spread from root to tip and to massage into my scalp.  From there it was a pretty pleasing experience to wrap my hair in a towel and enjoy the spicy aroma that wafted around me.

So what about the results?  Well let me tell you, it took a little bit of work to wash out this oil treatment, but I was left with lovely soft shiny hair which felt very manageable and easy to style; used a second and third time (with at least a week break in between each use) the treatment gave me similar results too, I only wish I'd taken before and after photos instead of just after.  I'm not surprised by the results either, considering the ingredients in this little pot.  Lovely thick jojoba oil is packed full of B and E vitamins and is intensely moisturising and is helped along in this with shea butter and olive oil.  Clove oil is very well known for it's stimulating effect on the scalp and helping to promote hair growth and whilst after three uses I can't really comment on seeing fuller hair and faster growth, I've got no doubt I'll see results similar to the thousands of people who use clove oil for this very purpose.  I'll still have plenty of opportunity to keep using the Old Wives Tail treatment too, three uses hasn't made too much of a dent in it at all. 

Now normally I'd end a review here telling you how much the product is and where you can get your hands on it, but I've got to take a moment here to wax lyrical a little about Old Wives Tail as a company, and why I like them so.  First off, read the story here about how the company came about, it's so evocative and if it doesn't bring a smile to your face then I don't know what will.  Second of all I find the ethics of this company really admirable, they don't pack their treatments full of nasty fake ingredients, they completely abhor animal testing of any kind and have managed to make effective products that are vegan and completely cruelty free.  See?  Lovely!

So if you do want to get your hands on this oil, it's £13.99 for 100ml and can be found here.

Have you tried anything from Old Wives Tail?  What are your favourite hair treatments?

Sharon x
*Product sent for review purposes. Opinions 100% my own.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Beauty | Sweet Cecily’s Cocktail Flavoured Lip Balms*

I think it’s safe to say that we all know now how obsessed I am with lipsticks.  The obsession with lip products doesn’t stop there though, rather it extends to cover all aspects of lip beautification, I mean really, what good is a stunning lipstick without well prepped lips underneath? Not a good look is what!

As you can probably imagination, I have a whole raft of products with which I keep my lips cared for and these days it takes something really special to join the fold.  These lovely little cocktail flavoured lip balms from Sweet Cecily’s just might do that though.

First of all can we talk about the cuter than cute packaging?  From the way they arrived all wrapped up in brown paper with a pretty little ribbon, to the little individual tins, scent specific labels and nicely turned out typography, I love it all.

The product inside the packaging is right up my alley too!  So each of the Sweet Cecily’s lip balms I was sent are cocktail flavours and I don’t know if the team there just guessed, but they managed to pick out some of my favourites.  Top of the list for me is the Mojito flavour, it has a scent of fresh lime that is somehow right on the money, deliciously zesty but not overpowering.  The Pina Colada flavour is sweet and fruity as you would expect, but not at all sickly.  The final flavour is Espresso Martini, this is a brand new addition to the Sweet Cecily range and packs a good caffeine-scented punch, just like you’d expect of a real espresso martini (The one I got is in slightly different packaging as it was a sneak peak).

Of course, these lip balms wouldn’t make it into my favourites on packaging and scents alone, they’ve got to be a good product too, and let me tell you the Sweet Cecily’s lip balms don’t disappoint.  The texture to me is very reminiscent of some of my other favourite balms in that they feel almost slightly grainy when you first apply them, and then melt with your body temperature to a lovely smooth balm.  The moisturisation is great too, not too heavy but hydrating and long lasting enough that I can get away with application just a couple of times a day.  Almost unheard of for me, I’m a real serial re-applier!  This is probably down to the fab ingredients these little tins contain, there's no chemical nasties to be found here, just good, natural and more importantly, nourishing ingedients.

Sweet Cecily’s Cocktail Flavoured Lip Balms
I think the three lips balms I was sent will last me a good long while but I would without a doubt purchase some when I do run out.  Looking at the Sweet Cecily’s website there are some fabulous flavours to choose from too.

You can find the Sweet Cecily’s Lip Balms here, prices start from £2.95.

Have you tried anything from Sweet Cecily’s?  What are your favourite lip balms?

Sharon x

*Products sent for review purposes. Opinions 100% my own.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Beauty | September 2014 Favourites

Hello beautiful people!  How is everyone?  I feel like it's been forever since I posted anything on my dear old blog, might be because it has been forever.  Oops, let's move on...

I'm going to do the cliched thing here and say I can't believe it's the end of September already, and it's true, I can't, although more like I can't believe it's the end of the summer.  Sad times!

Anyway, I don't know whether it's the changing of the seasons or what, but I decided to try something a bit different for my favourites this month and did it on YouTube!  Uploading to YouTube has been a bit of a goal of mine for a couple of years now so I'm glad I finally took the plunge.  I hope you'll give it a watch, and bear with me on the complete lack of editing, good lighting etc.

Enjoyed the video?  I do hope so!  Leave me a comment below or on the video with your thoughts, I'd love to hear what you all think.

Sharon x

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Late Summer Homeware Haul

You may have noticed from my last post (click here if you fancy a read), but I've been feeling the need to splurge more than a little recently, and I don't know if it's because I've recently got married and want to nest, but I've been wanting to buy lots of bits and pieces for the home.  I've been hitting up TK Maxx and John Lewis most for my homeware buying needs, check out what I've been getting...

Wooden Wick Scented Candles (£6.99 each, TK Maxx) - I know summer isn't actually over yet, but since it's been getting a bit darker and a good deal cooler, I'm completely in a candle mood.  These two candles are deliciously scented and even better they've got a wooden wick that crackles away merrily like a fire when you light them.  I don't want them to ever run out.

Star Basket (£6.99, TK Maxx) - My kitchen table has become a bit of a dumping ground recently.  Literally, whenever we come into the house keys, wallets, post and all manner of other random things get dumped there until it feels like it's overflowing.  This basket is my attempt to ensure the flotsam and jetsam doesn't get too out of hand, it's small enough to not take up the entire table, but big enough to be a bit of a catch all for the detritus.  Here's hoping it works!

Sea Grass Place Mats (£1, John Lewis) - This is my attempt at brightening up my kitchen, I love the bright colour and the cotton edging on these.  Hopefully they'll last well, but whether they do or not they were a bargainous price!

Oriental Patterned Bowls (£14.99, TK Maxx) - Just how pretty are these bowls?  I've been eyeing a similar style in Waitrose but didn't want to pay £4 or £5 a bowl; I was helpless to resist when I saw these ones in TK Maxx though, I love the mismatched patterns and finish; so pretty.

H20 Embossed Glasses - I really like the style of recycled glasses and the embossed, typographic design on these really caught my attention, I've got a bit of a thing for anything with this design.  They'll get plenty of use in my kitchen anyway.

Do you get in the mood to buy homewares at times like I do?  What are your favourite shops?

Sharon x

Monday, 25 August 2014

Late Summer Beauty Haul

So I may have felt the need for a bit of a splurge recently.  It's been a while since I've really bought much in the way of luxury makeup or skincare so when the opportunity arose to do a little spending, I kind of went crazy.  Read on to find out what I got my mitts on...
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette (here) - I've had my eye on this beauty of a palette since it first came out as a limited edition last year, so it felt like it was about time I treated myself to it.  I know the Ambient Lighting Powders have been incredibly hyped up in the blogging world but from what I've seen so far it's with very good reason.  I can't wait to start making use of this palette in my everyday routine.

Lipstick Queen Endless Summer Lipstick in Aloha
Lipstick Queen Endless Summer Lipstick in Aloha (here) - This is such a beautiful sheer cherry red lipstick, I couldn't resist when I first saw it and I haven't been disappointed so far.  I'm looking forward to trying more from the Lipstick Queen range.

Rodial Super Acids X-Treme Pore Shrink Pads
Rodial Super Acids X-Treme Pore Shrink Pads (here) - Rodial isn't a skincare brand I've tried before, but there's just something about the range that has been drawing me in recently.  It's definitely early days yet, but if these deep cleansing pads are anything to go by I'm excited to try more from this brand.

Trilogy Hydrating Mist Toner, Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil & Trilogy Eye Contour Cream
Trilogy Hydrating Mist Toner (here) - I love this toner, especially in summer; there's nothing quite like a quick spritz on the face to cool down my skin.  I couldn't resist picking up another bottle, especially as with two Trilogy purchases I got a free gift.
Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil (here) - it's been two years since I reviewed this lovely oil (see that review here), and I still use it every day.  I can't bear to run out so whenever I see an offer and I know I'm running low, I'll always pick up an extra bottle.
Trilogy Eye Contour Cream (here) - I was so pleased to get this eye cream as a GWP, it's not one I've tried before but has been on my wishlist for a long while.  I'll enjoy giving it a whirl.

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic, Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser, Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator
Liz Earle August Skincare Essentials (here) - You can't deny that these skincare essentials offers from Liz Earle are an absolute bargain.  I've been running out of a lot of my skincare recently so this gave me an opportunity to stock up on some staples without spending a fortune.  You save a pretty impressive amount buying these items all together too.

Good Things Manuka Honey Creamy Cleanser and Good Things Manuka Honey Daily Moisturiser
Good Things Manuka Honey Creamy Cleanser (here) - This range is completely new to me, but I've heard very good things about this cleanser from a few bloggers.  It was under a fiver too.  Bargain!
Good Things Manuka Honey Daily Moisturiser (here) - I mainly picked this up because it intrigued me, and I really can't resist a bargain.  Here's hoping it's as good as people say the cleanser from the range is.

As well as beauty products, my hubby and I have been buying a few things for the house too, but I think they may be best shown in a separate haul, to follow very soon.

In the meantime, leave me a comment and let me know what beauty products you've been buying and loving this summer.

Sharon x

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Film Review | Guardians of the Galaxy at City Screen Picturehouse, York

It was with giddy anticipation that I sat down at City Screen in York on Friday night to watch this latest offering from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Despite my incessant tweeting whenever a new Marvel Studios film hits the big screen, you might not know that I'm generally a huge fan of these films and their comic book origins (albeit to a slightly lesser degree on the comic side of things).

Guardians of the Galaxy is definitely one of the more obscure would-be-hero teams in this particular film universe, so I wasn't entirely sure where this story would go, but I have learned to trust in Marvel Studios.  With the exception of one or two releases that were slightly wide of the mark (Iron Man 3 anyone?) I have never left the cinema feeling in any way disappointed with the experience.

Guardians of the Galaxy
Image Source
Without giving away any major spoilers let me tell you a little bit about the film.  Our leading man for this fantastic space opera is Peter Quill, who really wants to be known as Star-Lord (played to rakish perfection by the Chris Pratt).  We first meet the man trying to steal a mysterious orb from an abandoned planet and thereafter being set on a collision course, not only with several villainous types determined to have said orb for their own nefarious planet destroying purposes, but also his soon-to-be friends and somewhat mismatched team, the Guardians of the Galaxy.

First up is Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana), the rather seductive green-skinned assassin, trying to do the right thing in the face of her powerful and evil adoptive father Thanos.  Next up are Groot, the humanoid tree creature (voiced by Vin Diesel) and Rocket, the genetically altered raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), the bounty hunters who are in it for the money (at least at first).  Last but not least is Drax the Destroyer, the muscle bound alien intent on revenge for the death of this family.  This band of criminals and misfits are thrown together by fate and set out to try to achieve what seems like an impossible task, saving an entire planet and probably universe from main villain Ronan (the delightfully dark Lee Pace).


Stacked up like this there's no way this film should work, but oh it really does and so well too.  This film has everything I want from a cinema experience and more; from Peter's back story where your heart absolutely breaks to the laugh out loud moments in Groot's joyful destruction of any obstacle in his path and Drax's completely literal interpretation of anything said to him.  Not forgetting the pure childlike awe you experience at the magnificent alien landscapes presented to you, or the spectacle of the immense and absolutely epic spaceship battles and action scenes.

Guardians of the Galaxy has so much heart in each of it's lead characters too, but most often witnessed in the enterprising and foul-mouthed Rocket and his unexpectedly loveable and warm companion Groot.  How Vin Diesel managed to convey so much with just three words (all Groot says is "I am Groot") I really don't know!  Almost another character is the film's incredibly well chosen 70s and 80s soundtrack, blending seamlessly into every scene but making it just that little bit more memorable too.

Image Source
Seeing how the Guardians are fitting into the wider universe already occupied by superheros including The Avengers is just brilliant for Marvel fans and honestly I left the cinema at the end of this film feeling thoroughly entertained and almost elated.  Seriously, you should just go and see it!  I know I'll definitely be seeing it again soon.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is out now in 3D and 2D at City Screen, find the listings here.  You can also find City Screen on Twitter.

Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy?  What's been your favourite film so far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?  If you fancy a natter about all things geeky, come and find me on Twitter.

Sharon x

*Tickets provided free of charge, all geeky gushing is my own.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Summer Essentials Part 1: Sun Protection & Accessories

Got a summer holiday coming up, or just spending lots of time down at the beach or the park during this surprisingly fabulous British summer? Well then read on dear friends as I bring you part one of my essential kit for surviving the (hopefully) long hot summer looking cool, calm and collected!

Whether I'm living it up in the Costa del Sol (like I was a few weeks ago, sob!), chilling out in York's beautiful museum gardens or shopping away the summer, there are a few accessories I need for that relaxed warm weather vibe:
summer hat, flip flops, bracelet and sunglasses
A hat - A hat is a must for those times when you need to be out and about but want to keep the sun off your face. this one cost me €2 from a market in Fuengirola and when I haven't been at work I've been wearing it constantly. If you'd like one of your very own, I've seen some similar styles in New Look and Primark this summer. I'm sure they'll be a bargain too!
Flip flops - Who can be bothered with shoes when the weather is heating up? Certainly not me; flip flops have been a part of almost every outfit I've worn since the beginning of July and that's not likely to change until at least the end of August. These flip flops were one of a two pack from New Look, and I believe they were under £10.
Sunglasses - This one goes without saying does it not? You've got to protect those peppers from the sun as much as any other part of your body. With the sheer number of styles available in sunglasses, and at every budget too, the accessorising opportunities are endless! Personally I love an aviator style the best, this pair are by Storm and were around £12 from TK Maxx.
Braided bracelet - The obligatory leatherette bracelet, it can be either braided or beaded, it doesn't really matter - what does matter is that it's a vital part of the British holidaymakers experience and once bought should be worn with pride until it fades away - rather like that fabulous tan you've acquired. This year I bought three (including the one pictured), all for about €2 or €3 each and will be rocking them for many weeks to come!

No self respecting beauty blogger can go through the summer without liberally dousing themselves in their chosen SPFss for face and body and I'm no different. We all have our favourite products, those that work like a treat for us, these are mine:
 Clinique Super City Block SPF40, Hawaiian Tropic Protective Sun Spray Lotion SPF15, Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Lip Balm SPF20, Lancaster Tan Maximiser
Clinique Super City Block SPF40 (£18 from Boots) - I haven't been without this marvellous SPF from Clinique all summer long. It's been excellent worn on its own (it's so lightweight but I haven't burned in the sun once) and has worked so well under makeup that I wore it on my wedding day earlier this month. It offers protection from UVA and UVB rays too, perfect!
Hawaiian Tropic Protective Sun Spray Lotion SPF15 (£13 from Boots) - In all honestly the skin on my body never feels like it needs too much sun protection, with the exception of my shoulders I never get red or burn, that being said I like to protect myself anyway, and this is the product I like to do it with. It just smells like summer in a bottle, deliciously coconut-y and fresh - as a bonus it applies quickly and easily and and a bottle this size can easily last me for a two week holiday.
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Lip Balm SPF20 (£2.80 from Boots) - It seems to me that most people forget about protecting their lips from the sun when they're in a hot country - certainly not me, I need a lip balm with an SPF to make sure my lips stay soft and flake free. Ordinarily I'd go for something tinted but not being able to find one I liked this year, I turned back to this fail safe option.
Lancaster Tan Maximiser (around £22 from Selfridges) - After all the sun you've no doubt been getting you need to make sure to take care of that skin afterwards. a good after sun is key to keeping the dreaded peeling at bay. My favourite after sun this year has been this one by Lancaster, which I bought on the plane on the way over to Spain. It hasn't disappointed one bit, has kept my skin looking soft and well hydrated and really feels like it's helping to extend my tan. Of course this is exactly what you look for in an after sun.

That's it for part one of my summer essentials, part two will be coming up in the next couple of days and will feature some of my favourite summer skincare, makeup and the only fragrance I've worn this summer.

In the meantime let me know what you've been loving this summer, I'd love it if you left me links any posts you have.

Sharon x

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Spain Haul: Kiko, Sephora & Wet n Wild

Did you miss me?  Did ya?!  In case you didn't know, I've been in the Costa del Sol in Spain for two weeks in July having some much needed R&R.  Apart from the small matter of getting married in Gibraltar in between sunning myself liberally (a post on the wedding will be coming as soon as I get all my photos) I of course did a bit of beauty shopping too.

I was delighted in the first couple of days in Fuengirola to find a Kiko Makeup store, and shortly thereafter found some other great beauty shopping too, namely Sephora and a beauty only TK Maxx type shop called Primor.  Read on to find out what I got (where items are available to purchase or for delivery to the UK I will link them)...

Sephora Rouge Cream Lipstick in Bewitch Me and The Red, Wet n Wild Mega Last Lip Colour in Coraline
Sephora Rouge Cream Lipstick in Bewitch Me (here) - Seriously, how glorious is this deep purple?  It's actually far more purple than it looks in this bright sunny photo, it's definitely not one for the faint of heart but I'll be rocking this a lot I'm certain.  The formula of these lipsticks is ridiculously creamy, and incredibly pigmented making them so easy to wear.
Sephora Rouge Cream Lipstick in The Red (here) - This is one of those classic bright reds, one I could imagine a screen siren like Marilyn Monroe et al wearing.  Oddly I don't have a colour too much like this in my rather extensive lipstick collection so it was a no brainer to grab it.
Wet 'n' Wild Mega Last Lip Colour in Cora-line (here) - I do love a good coral at this time of year.  To me this one leans more towards the red/pink end of coral, and again I don't have anything too much like it in my current collection of lipsticks.

Sephora Jumbo Liner 12HR Wear Waterproof in 04 Taupe, Wet n Wild Comfort Zone Palette
Sephora Jumbo Liner 12HR Wear Waterproof in 04 Taupe (here) - I don't know what it is about anything, bronze or taupe-y but if I see it I'll buy it, and this jumbo eye pencil is a case in a point.  Did I need it?  No.  Did I lust after it the moment I saw it?  Absolutely!
Wet 'n' Wild Comfort Zone Palette (here - although I think this is way too expensive) - I remember these palettes from Wet 'n' Wild being a huge deal on blogs a few years ago, so obviously I had to try one when I saw it.  And just look at those lovely neutral shades, so easy to wear on a daily basis.

Kiko Rock Attraction Blush in 05 Sound Coral, Kiko Velvet Stick Blusher in 01 Charming Peach, Kiko Loud Night Bronzer in 02 Silky Mat Tan, Kiko Glow Lips & Cheeks in 102 Wave Hibiscus
Kiko Rock Attraction Blush in 05 Sound Coral - although this blusher is a great neutral colour it's got a good hit of shimmer in there so I'd probably only wear it in the summer, I don't mind too much though as this blusher, like each of the ones I got from Kiko was less than 5 Euros.
Kiko Velvet Stick Blusher in 01 Charming Peach - Now I wouldn't normally look at this blush as it's a rather scary shade of orange, but I saw a girl with similar colouring to me swatch it in the Kiko store and it looked beautiful, really sheer and subtle, perfect for the warmer months!
Kiko Loud Night Bronzer in 02 Silky Mat Tan - I didn't expect to find a bronzer at such a bargain price, that I really enjoy using.  The pink splashes you can see running across it are actually shimmery colour so the bronzer can be used one of two ways, either swirling it all together or just picking out the bronzer from inbetween the pink.  Either way I love it!
Kiko Glow Lips & Cheeks in 102 Wave Hibiscus - Considering the price I am so impressed with the creamy, non-sticky formula of this multi-tasking product.  The shade I chose is a lovely pink, that just makes you look that little bit fresher, again it's perfect for a summery/light makeup look.

That's it for my haul of beauty products from Spain.  What have you been buying recently?  Let me know or leave me links in the comments below.

Sharon x

Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Yorkshire Grand Depart and Win a Trip to Paris!

Don't you just love how Yorkshire totally gets into the spirit of a sporting event?  We generally get completely behind anything going on in our fair region but right now we've got an event better excuse to get into the festivities than ever as the Tour de France Grand Depart sets off from Yorkshire this very weekend.

York is a fantastic example of how Yorkshire as a whole revels in the national (and even international) spotlight shining our way, you can barely walk a few feet without seeing some celebratory bunting or yellow bike decals, it's really like everyone can't wait for the Tour de France to come our way!

The Competition and How to Enter
Yorkshire Building Society are getting into the action of celebrating the Grand Depart too and are currently running a fantastic competition to win a trip to Paris!  One lucky soul will get a pair of tickets for hospitality at the Tour de France finish, aka the Grand Arrivée, on the Champs-Elyssées in Paris on Sunday 27th July.

The competition includes travel and accommodation too and it couldn't be simpler to enter.  All you've got to do to enter is post a Tour de France related picture to your Twitter or Instagram and tag it with #tdfybs - for more details on the competition and to see the entries, click here.

I'm certainly entering, are you?

Sharon x

*Sponsored post
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