Thursday, 31 July 2014

Outfit: summer summer summer time

Dress: H&M // Sandals: Primark (last year)

Summertime has well and truly hit the UK recently. I haven't had to worry about which jacket goes with an outfit, or whether I'm going to be warm enough once I'm out and about, it's just been pure summer dresses, playsuits, shorts and camis. 

This dress has been one of my go to summer dresses. The smock style is so easy to throw on and, paired with some sandals, it's the perfect daytime outfit. I love dresses with patterns as it makes it seem like your outfit is much dressier than it actually is - it makes it seem like you've made a bit more effort, y'know? [Blog writing at it's finest right there]. The only problem is that this particular dress creases very easily - not ideal when you're living out of a bag for the majority of the time!  

My blog has become more lifestyle based at the moment, but I realised I'm not really talking too much about what I actually do on a day to day basis. At the moment we're moving around from festival to festival every weekend, managing Headphone Disco events as we have been for the whole summer. So it's pretty manic, but I get to see loads of different sites, bands and DJs every weekend which is pretty cool. Once the summer festival season is over, we'll be moving on to freshers events, touring around the UK's student's union venues again managing Headphone Disco shows. In between festivals and shows, we're visiting family and friends in various parts of the country - this outfit was worn for a day trip to Skegness with Josh's parents who live up in Lincolnshire!

How have you been spending the warm summer days and what have you been wearing?

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Exploring Brighton: Beach & Pier

My last post explored Brighton's Laines and vintage shops, saving my beach and pier photos for a separate post. I got pretty snap happy when we were there, the cute shops and lovely weather were just too much for me! 

We finished shopping and had lunch in the safety of the town [away from the seagulls] then headed towards the bright colours of the beach and pier. First stop was the beach where the beautiful vintage style carousel lives, we sat here on the pebbles and admired the view and the surprisingly clear blue sea. I always think the UK's waters are grimy and uninviting, but Brighton's sea was so blue! Along the seafront we also saw a giant piece of art, made up of small holes punched into a metal to create various couples and pairs. It's the perfect piece of work for Brighton and holds a lovely message.

We headed across the pebbles to take part in some good old fashioned, tacky fun on the pier! I loved walking along the wooden boards and seeing the bright blue sea underneath [even though in my photo it looks green]. We spent plenty of time [and money] on the 2p pusher games, I thrashed Josh at air hockey and we bet on little plastic horses in the races. We wandered back along the pier and looked at all the tacky rides, games, attractions and souvenirs. We even saw a tiny plane pulling a banner message through the sky - what a perfect setting! All in all, it was the perfect summer's day spent by the seaside - I loved my first trip to Brighton and I'll definitely be going back one day.

What should I do there next time?

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Exploring Brighton: The Laines

Brighton Laines
Brighton Laines
Vintage in Brighton
Vintage shopping brighton

A couple of weeks ago, we stopped off for a day trip in Brighton on our way back from a nearby music festival. We started the day off right, with an amazing breakfast at Bill's - click to read my review and see drool-worthy pancakes and veggie delights!

With full bellies we began to explore the town. It was my first trip to Brighton, but as a native Southamptoner, Josh had been a couple of times before for family days out. He had explored The Laines before and knew I'd love them, so we headed straight there. Brighton's Laines are a complete maze - tiny interlinked pedestrian streets crammed full of interesting vintage, junk and jewellery shops among others.  The Laines take you back to a time before cars, there's no way they could fit through the narrow streets and the summery bunting only adds to the feel of that era. 

After popping into numerous vintage and gift shops, buying a few gifts for upcoming birthdays, browsing the record collections and admiring jewellery from a distance through the glass - we found our way to the ChoccyWoccyDooDah shop [with the help of google maps]. Having watched the TV programme and seeing some of the crazy creations they make, I had to pop in and take a look in real life. Downstairs is full of displays of their cakes and smaller wrapped goodies you can buy to take home, like thick slabs of chocolate studded with fruit, nuts, sweets and other tasty treats. Upstairs, is the cafe! Unfortunately we had just eaten lunch so we were pretty full already, but we've heard you have to stop by for a hot chocolate - ChoccyWoccyDooDah style! 

When we eventually found our way out of the maze of Laines, we wondered around the more normal streets and stumbled across loads of street art. I love street art and graffiti - I'd rather see the bright colourful art than drab, grey building backs any day! Our street art tour gradually led us towards the bright lights and noisy gulls of Brighton beach and pier... more to follow on that in the next post!

Have you been to Brighton? What do you recommend visiting on a day out there?

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Beautiful makeup needs beautiful storage

clear makeup storage
clear makeup organiser
acrylic makeup storage
how to store makeup

Does this mean I'm a real beauty blogger now? I finally have some clear acrylic storage! I just need the white dressing table, beautiful bedroom and I'm away. I have serious envy for the homes of some bloggers - so neat and perfect!

I decided I need to improve the storage of my makeup and beauty products, so this is the first step in the long and treacherous journey. At the moment my collection is stashed in tins and old beauty boxes shoved into drawers. I forget I own a lot of products, so often have to have a rummage around to rediscover some old favourites. This set of drawers is the perfect tool to keep my makeup easy to see and find - functional yet still looking good on my dressing table. It has three clear drawers, the perfect size to fit your current favourite lip products, palettes and skincare that you're reaching for frequently. The set of drawers also has little clear rubber feet, so even when you're moving the drawers in and out in a rush, it doesn't move anywhere.

I'm going to be picking up some more of these drawers soon, stacking a couple on top of each other would work perfectly and really save space! These are really encouraging me to mix up my everyday makeup routine, by allowing me to actually see the products I own, rather than always reaching for the ones on the top of my makeup bag day after day.

How do you store your makeup? Do you have any amazing space saving solutions that would still fit in on the perfect beauty blogger's dresser?

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Homemade Iced Vanilla Lattes

Iced coffees served up in cute jam jars have been floating around the blogging world for a while now, but after seeing Katy's incredible Caramel Frappes last week I decided to have a go at a simplified version myself. And yes, I am possibly the messiest latte maker in the world...

This is so easy to make, I didn't use a blender as Katy did, or really measure anything out, it's just all done to taste. So, you will need:

- Espresso coffee (using espresso granules or shot of espresso from a machine)
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Ice cubes
- Milk
- A jam jar and straw to serve

Add your coffee granules (1 teaspoon, or shot of espresso) and sugar to your jar. Mix with enough boiling water to dissolve (omit if using shot of espresso), then leave to cool. Add your vanilla essence to taste, and when completely cooled (it doesn't take long) add plenty of ice. Top up with milk, give it a stir, pop in your straw and you're good to go!  

How easy is that?! These are definitely going to become regular Sunday morning drinks for me, tasting just as good as a coffee house iced latte - they're going to save me some pennies too. I only had vanilla essence on hand when making these, but I'm going to buy some coffee syrup or tasty ice cream topping sauce to make more indulgent versions. The essence did work well, but definitely needed the sugar to add the sweetness I love. 

Have you tried making your own iced coffees at home? Which flavours should I try?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

A summery coral look using TheBalm FratBoy blush

TheBalm Fratboy swatch
The Balm Frat Boy review
FratBoy Blusher review swatch

This is a super simple makeup look I've been turning to recently, for the warm summery days. Using the Mii Illuminating Face Base creates a soft, slightly dewy, finish - allowing my freckles to show through. I'm usually a matte finish girl and never thought 'dewy' was for me but this product has changed my mind. It provides coverage, isn't oily or slippy but it's definitely got that barely there feel. 

I set that with a translucent powder then apply theBalm's FratBoy blush on top. I bought this in the US after hearing so many good things through blogs, it's already become a favourite everyday blush. A lovely coral pink that can be built up to create as strong a colour as you'd like. For my eyes, I'm going for my Kiko Supercolour eyeliner to create a basic cat eye and then finishing with a touch of Benefit's Bad Gal mascara. To compliment the blush, I'm using a Rimmel Moisture Renew lipstick in 705 'Let's Get Naked' for a nude verging on coral colour. 

What are your go-to summer makeup colours and which products do you reach for the most?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Lifestyle: Boston Tea Party - Cheltenham

Boston Tea Party Cheltenham
Boston Tea Party Cheltenham review
UK Lifestyle blog
UK life blog

I wanted to love Boston Tea Party in Cheltenham so much, but it just didn't happen. I'd walked past the window a couple of times and looked in longingly, the interior design is perfect and I had heard good things about the food.

Josh and I visited one morning when we were in Cheltenham, popping in for coffees and breakfast. Overall, we mostly enjoyed the experience that time, the coffees were lovely - each latte was topped with a coffee art leaf and it was a quiet, chilled out place to spend some time. However the food didn't quite stand up to our expectations, it wasn't awful - it was just okay. I went for the Eggs Royale [Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon instead of ham] and Josh went for Eggs Florentine [spinach instead of ham]. We may have been spoilt in Boston when we had the best eggy brunch ever, but these two were just nothing alike.

I was still undecided on my thoughts, so we decided to give it another go with a couple of friends one weekend. Although, this time we were slightly disappointed again. I'm not going to write a full negative review as they don't deserve that, but the food was very slow [taking around an hour] and completely underwhelming when it arrived. I don't think I'll be eating there again, I'll sticking to coffee on the quiet weekday mornings and taking in the fun decor.

I wanted it to be a local version of Bill's in Brighton, but unfortunately it was not to be. The search continues!

Monday, 14 July 2014

The Body Shop: Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil & Eye Cream

The Body Shop Vitamin E Serum in Oil
The Body Shop Vitamin E Eye Cream

Enter, possibly, my all time favourite skincare products. This might sound like a bold claim, but these products - the serum in particular - have done wonders for my skin. I've given these products a long testing time and used them almost every day for a month. 

The Body Shop's Vitamin E range has been around since the '70s - it's said to protect against pollution and premature ageing. I used to have one of the Vitamin E lip balms years ago and it was my favourite because of the amazing smell! These products have the same wonderful smell and I can already see why the range has stood the test of time. 

The serum-in-oil is my favourite of the two products. A couple of drops from the pipette is enough to generously cover my face, so this product isn't going to run out any time soon. Despite being an oil, it's a non-greasy and fast absorbing formula. I apply this overnight as suggested and when I wake up, my skin is seriously soft and smooth ready for the day's makeup to be applied. The mild eczema I get around my nose and chin is smooth, redness is reduced completely and there's no dryness. This is one of the main reasons I love this product, nothing usually works this well for me! I'm going to be taking this in my travelling wash bag in October, this is going to be a lifesaver for when it's too hot to wear makeup. I already know that I'm going to be repurchasing this product when it runs out, £12 a bottle is a bargain for something that works this well.

The eye cream also has a lovely texture - it's a silky smooth, fast absorbing product designed to reduce puffiness and minimise the appearance of fine lines. I also use this through the night and wake up with very soft, refreshed under-eyes. I don't have too many fine lines at the moment, thankfully, but this does seem to smooth out any small lines and bags well. It's a good accompaniment to the serum, if you're looking for a relatively purse friendly eye cream then I would recommend this for £11!

I've been so impressed with these two products that I'm definitely going to be checking out the other items in the Vitamin E range. I want to get my hands on the lip balm again, I remember it being so moisturising and I know I keep going on about it but... the smell <3. I've also got my eye on the toner and the face mist too, I've got high hopes. 
Have you tried this long-standing Body Shop range?

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Breakfast at Bill's, Brighton

Breakfast at Bill's Brighton
Breakfast in Brighton

Bill's Brighton
Where to eat breakfast in Brighton
Review of Bill's restaurant
On the way home from a weekend of work at Love Supreme festival, we stopped off in Brighton town centre for a day out (another post on that to follow) and breakfast at Bill's

The interior of the restaurant had an industrial feel, with bare wooden tabletops and chairs, tin tableware, exposed pipes, handwritten chalkboards and high skylights set into the ceiling. It's an instantly likeable place, not too quaint and cute but definitely instagrammable at the same time. The staff at Bill's were incredibly friendly and on the ball, we were shown to a little table for two, seated and had a chilled jug of water on the table in minutes. After a little while, our drinks order was taken and two perfect lattes appeared. Josh is a hard man to please with lattes, but this one went down well.

For food, I opted for the buttermilk blueberry pancakes with banana and strawberry while Josh went for the veggie breakfast with extra potato and beans. The restaurant was pretty busy, but both meals came out really quickly and were perfect. The pancakes were amazing, so tasty and the portion was plenty to fill me up for brekkie. Josh went as far as saying that it was the best veggie breakfast he's ever had... and he's had a lot, believe me. It consisted of crusty bread topped with humous and guacamole, with grilled tomatoes, mushrooms and two perfect poached eggs on top, finished with sweet chilli sauce and basil. Josh then ordered the extra hash brown style potatoes and beans on the side. Apparently, it even beat the amazing eggs florentine we had for brunch in Boston and that's saying something!

I would definitely recommend a visit to Bill's, there's a couple of restaurants dotted around the country so check if there's one near you! I was pleased to spot that there's one in Bristol, where Josh and I will be settling after Christmas this year, you'll probably find me in there testing out the lunch and dinner menu too. Have you eaten at Bill's?

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Paddling on Brighton beach with Ipanema

Ipanema Sandals* - Gisele Bundchen Ocean Sandal

What better place to test out my new Ipanema sandals than on Brighton's pebble beach? It's not quite the Brazilian beach of the company's namesake, but it's the closest we're going to get in the UK! 

I love these sandals at the moment, they're a bit more elegant than the other flip flops and sandals I own, adding a bit of glamour to a casual summer outfit. These were perfect to bridge the gap between exploring Brighton's Laines in the town centre and heading to the beach for paddling and soaking up the sun on the pebbles. 

The base of the sandals are sturdy, however the straps are much softer rubber - almost like a jelly shoe. There's no rubbing around the toe post or ankle strap which I was slightly worried about, as I've found this with other rubber flip flops and shoes in the past. The mosaic style embellishment down the centre is also made from the same rubber material, making these sandals super durable. Perfect for paddling, they won't be ruined by the salty sea water!

I'm going to be packing these when I next go travelling in October, I was definitely missing a pair of smarter sandals last time. Tatty, very worn flip flops just don't fit the bill when you want to head to a nicer restaurant or bar in the evenings - even in Thailand!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Makeup Revolution: Blush & Eyeshadow Palettes

makeup revolution baked eyeshadow review

Another amazing set of products from Makeup Revolution - the super cheap makeup brand renowned for their great quality, affordable dupes of our favourite high end products. They have palettes which are identical to the widely loved Urban Decay Naked palettes, liquid blushes to match those of Daniel Sandler, foil eyeshadows just like Stila, liquid velvet lipsticks similar to Lime Crime plus loads more - you can see why they've become a massive hit, incredibly quickly, in the beauty world. I've previously reviewed some other Makeup Revolution products here, including their individual bronzer, blush and lipstick, but this time I was sent a couple of their palettes to test out and review.  

First up is the 'Hot Spice' Blush & Contour palette, including 6 shades of blush plus two pearly mineralise highlights. I love the shades included in this set, with a couple of dusky pinks ranging all the way through a coral and peach. The colours are easy to pick up on a blusher brush, unlike some other cheaper blushers, and are intensely pigmented. When applied to the cheeks they're incredibly easy to blend, making contouring and adding colour a breeze. Most of the shades are matte or have a slight shimmer, however the coral colour in the bottom right is verging on glittery - which I personally am not too keen on. However, this is the only slightly negative point I have about the whole product and for £6 I am really not going to complain about that!

Now, on to the Girls on Film eyeshadow palette. This limited edition palette contains 18 matte and shimmer shades, ranging from neutral colours to various deeper shades suitable for a smokey eye. As with the blushers, these are so intensely pigmented eyeshadows. The product creates minimal fall out on application and they're super soft and easy to blend. I love the colours and some of the neutral shades have become my go-to products for daytime wear. They're standing up to long wear too, using a good primer these shadows will last you all day long! Again, this palette will set you back £6... 18 shadows of this quality for £6 is insane!

Finally, the 5 Baked Eyeshadows priced at £2.50. Makeup Revolution seems to be experts on their baked products, with their baked blusher and bronzer going down a storm in my makeup bag. These are no different, super soft and pigmented once again, these shadows are so easy to use and the combination of colours in each set provides the perfect smokey eye - you can't go wrong! The blue tones in this particular set are pushing my makeup boundaries again, however it's nice to have a variety of shades in your makeup collection so these will definitely be experimented with. There are 5 different colourways in total, the bronze and green sets have definitely caught my eye!