Sunday, 10 May 2015

'Gine the aubergine: crochet pattern

aubergine eggplant crochet pattern
my first try at crochet amigurumi blog

'Gine is my first ever attempt at crochet. So what did I decide to make for my first project? An aubergine... oh yeah I did.

Josh and I decided not to get each other birthday presents this year, because we had only just returned from travelling on my birthday and we were a little short of both money and time. To make it fair, we said we'd do the same for Josh's birthday this year too. As happy as we both were with cards, friends, family and fun evenings - I still wanted to give something to Josh on his birthday. Instead of buying a present, I decided to make him something. So the obvious choice was his favourite vegetable (and emoji) - the aubergine!

I've wanted to learn how to crochet for ages, so this was the perfect starter project. I found the free aubergine crochet pattern here (via the wonderful platform that is Pinterest). I really enjoyed learning something new and creating this little cutie, so I've already started working on a few more crochet projects. The pattern was easy to follow and quick to create - it's so cool to see something developing right before your eyes.

Have you ever tried crochet? What was your first project? I'd love to find any amazing crochet/craft blogs or patterns, so please leave me your favourites in the comments!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Barry M - Daylight Curing Nail Paints

Barry M Sunset Daylight Curing Nail Varnish review
Barry M Sunset Daylight curing nail polish swatches

I recently won these Barry M Sunset Nail Paints in a competition on Twitter, it was such a lovely surprise to hear I'd won in the middle of a normal working day. I've had Shellac manicures before, so hearing that these polishes should look and last the same as salon polishes cured with a UV light intrigued me. Seeing as I'd been lucky enough to receive the full set, I thought I'd put them to the test and see if they're any replacement for expensive gel manicures.

Barry M recommend applying two thin layers of colour followed by a layer of the daylight curing topcoat. I followed instructions, but found that the two thin layers did not leave my nails as opaque as I would like, so added a third layer to create a more solid shade. I found that the layers dried really quickly, which is great for me, as I'm pretty impatient when painting my nails.

I love the vibrant colours in the range. For my first mani I chose Peach for the Stars, the bright coral pink shade, second from left in the top photo. It's a beautiful shade and leaves a really high shine, much like a Gelish or Shellac salon manicure, as well as a super smooth finish.

I've heard a couple of comments about chipping with these polishes. I found that they lasted well for a couple of days - even doing the washing up - but then started to chip around the edges following that. So they're not quite as long lasting as they may claim, or as long as a salon manicure, but for a five pound polish - they're not too bad. I love the super smooth, shiny finish they give - and if that chips after a couple of days, then that's okay with me. 

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Brush off April showers: top tips for frizz free hair

How to keep hair frizz free
All products: Just My Look*

We're halfway through April and, so far, we've remained relatively unscathed when it comes to April showers. Apologies, if I have now jinxed the nice weather and we're cursed with thunderstorms for the rest of the month... umm, oops. I'm not taking any chances, so I've prepared myself with armfuls of products to keep hair frizz free during the supposed rainy season.

The super-duo that is the Tigi Catwalk Oatmeal and Honey shampoo and conditioner is first on my list of key products. This huge double pack is great value for a start, not only that but it smells amazing too. I may have almost licked the shampoo in the shower, but managed to resist. Just. It's a seriously moisturising set, making even my super heat damaged hair silky smooth to the touch. Beginning with these products is a great starting point to beating the frizz.

In my opinion, a hugely important step in minimising fly away hair is reducing damage and preventing split ends. I've used Tangle Teezer brushes for a few years now and I really do think they're a brilliant product. Running one of these through your hair after a shower is, not only, pain free but reduces breakage too. 

Once the knots are smoothed out, I run a dollop of Tigi's Bed Head Control Freak Serum through the mid-lengths and ends. You can't really see from my photo, but the serum itself is a shimmery green product... I love it. But don't worry, you're not left with a headful of glitter, it's very subtle in the bottle and doesn't transfer to hair at all. Applying this before blowdrying and styling my hair has been a lifesaver recently. It ensures that my naturally curly hair stays straight all day, even if it comes into contact with damp weather.

Finally, I seal everything in with a spray of Tigi's Spoil Me Defrizzer which, pretty much, does what it says on the tin... quite literally. By the time this goes on to my hair, it's already dry, styled and straight... I just want to make sure it stays that way. This product prevents static while conditioning the ends of the hair to ensure that any damaged, split ends stay slightly weighed down and don't become flyaway. It's a versatile product, that could also be used on curly hair to define waves and reduce frizz. 

A combination of these wonder-products has resulted in my hair remaining super soft and smooth all day long, even if I do get caught in the occasional drizzle. What are your top tips for silky smooth hair?

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Ultra Brow - the ultimate eyebrow palette by Makeup Revolution

Ultra Brow Makeup Revolution review
Makeup revolution ultra brow kit swatches
makeup revolution fair eyebrow palette swatches review
Ultra Brow - Makeup Revolution (Fair-Medium)*
Swatches as product appears in palette

I don't fill my eyebrows in - but purely because I hadn't yet found a product that doesn't look unnatural on my fair eyebrows. Despite my hair being a mid-auburn/brown, my eyebrows are light and more suited to someone with much fairer hair. Most people manage to do it perfectly, despite having lighter eyebrows, but for some reason I always turn out looking like a pantomime Dame. Even Benefit's fairest Browzings kit hasn't worked out for me and, usually, Benefit can do no wrong in my books.

Makeup Revolution have bought out another amazing product, possibly solving my eyebrow issues! Ultra Brow contains one fair eyebrow pencil, four powders in varying shades, two tinted waxes, an arch enhancing cream, highlighter, tweezers and brush applicators. They've pretty much covered all bases with this nifty little kit. 

I'm so impressed with the powder shades which, as you can see from my freckled arm, range from a lightest of light, barely there blond shade to a light-mid brown - perfect for any lighter complexions and hair colours. The brown wax is a little darker and I'll be using this sparingly, but the lighter wax could easily be applied over the top of a powder to set the product. The arch enhancing cream (long, thin product in top right of palette) is genius, neatening up your arch after you've finished splashing coloured powder over your brows - it's the perfect end to your eyebrow routine. 

Yet again, I'm really impressed with Makeup Revolution's newest release. I'd definitely recommend checking it out if, like me, you've so far struggled to find your perfect brow shade - look no more! Based on the range of colours in the fair-medium palette, I'm sure that the medium-dark and dark-black palettes are just as impressive.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Lifestyle: a new job

I'm always curious about people's real lives, outside of blogging, so I thought I'd write a little update on my new job role... 

As you may well know, I returned from travelling in December 2014 and Josh and I moved back to Cheltenham after Christmas. Josh picked up with his work as an event logistics manager straight away and I promptly started looking for a new marketing job. I was incredibly lucky, as after only 2 weeks of searching, I spotted, applied for and was offered my ideal job!

For the last couple of months, I've been settling into my new role as Social Media and Marketing Executive at Whittard of Chelsea - specialists in loose tea, coffee and luxurious hot chocolate. I'm really enjoying working with the team at Head Office. It's different, in some ways, from my fashion PR and marketing background but it's a great brand to work for, with amazing products and there are some very exciting plans in the pipeline!

If you love excellent tea, coffee or hot chocolate as much as me, then you can find Whittard of Chelsea's social media accounts here: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram

Working with the products every day, means that I've developed a wish list as long as my arm! I've collated a few of my favourite products below, including the lovely White Rabbit mug that I have my morning tea in, plus a couple of my favourite drinks and other tableware...

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Black and Grey with Michael Kors

Lately, I've been opting for simple outfits like this printed jersey top and classic black skinny jeans [both H&M]. Not the most adventurous of style, but I'm enjoying monotone basics paired with a structured handbag, classy purse and a pair of heeled ankle boots. 

This Michael Kors purse has made it really easy to achieve that classic look with textured black leather and gold hardware. It's a really well made product and will definitely remain a classic for a long time. At the moment, I'm more drawn to buying slightly more expensive, but better quality products, that will last the test of time and continue to be stylish. Inside the purse are a couple of card slots, a section for notes, a zipped coin compartment and a space to hold a smart phone meaning that this purse can double-up as a small clutch for a night out. The wrist strap makes it slightly harder to leave it lying around in bars [as I am prone to], if you do choose to use it for this purpose! 

This is the first string in my Michael Kors bow, but I'm sure there'll be more added in future. I've had my eye on a couple of handbags for a long time and might well take the plunge. 

Sunday, 15 March 2015

New home, new homeware: Flamingo Gifts

Flamingo Gifts: Unique Gift Ideas*

After returning from travelling, Josh and I have settled back down into a new home, new job (for me) and resumed our usual UK lifestyle. For me [and probably for most of you too], a new home means lots of beautiful new homewares to make it feel mine. Cue Flamingo Gifts, a website jam packed full of cute bits and bobs to add a quirky touch to your home.

You may or may not know, but I have a slight soft spot for birds - had you noticed from the pieces in this post?! I even have a watercolour bird illustration tattooed on my back... so I really couldn't resist the lovely birdy gifts on the website. The Qualy Sparrow Serving Spoon Set is adorable - why not make boring kitchen equipment into something cute and quirky?! This is going to proudly live on my kitchen worktop, making me smile with every use. Following on with the bird theme, are the Qualy Duo Sparrow Keyrings. The little bird house can be mounted on the wall, giving you a his-and-hers key holder with the birds easily slotting in and out of the house whenever you need to use your keys. The sparrow keyrings also double up as whistles, because y'know, you never know when you might need a whistle! This would make a cute engagement present for a couple, ever-so-slightly verging on cheesy, but I love it!

The final additions to our new home are the beautiful, bright, geometric designs of the Abode Espresso Set. The cute animal designs against the white backgrounds can be mixed and matched, or paired up in their respective colours. Another great quality set that would make a wonderful gift, plus I love how they look reflected in my super shiny dining table.

Homeware has become the type of shopping I enjoy the most at the moment, there's so much good stuff out there! Are you like me and a sucker for cute, quirky but easy pieces to brighten up your home?