Sunday, 31 August 2014

Perricone MD - Chloro Plasma Mask

Perricone MD skincare face mask
Perricone MD chloro plasma mask

I recently won an amazing bundle of Perricone MD products in Sarah [Temporary Secretary]'s giveaway. It was the best competition I've ever won, not that I've won many at all - adding up to almost £300's worth of skincare products - it was so exciting when I saw Sarah's email letting me know! I'd tried out a few sample sized versions of Perricone MD products before, but this was a completely different experience, testing out the complete full size set.

The first product I've thoroughly tested, and the one I'm most excited to write about, is the Chloro Plasma Face Mask. This is a creamy face mask containing microcapsules filled with green-algae and watercress is designed to purify and detox the skin, while providing massive anti-ageing benefits too.  In the pot, it's a creamy product with a pale green colour. As you start to rub the product into the skin, the microcapsules burst, slowly transforming the product into a much brighter green colour. The microcapsules are surprisingly soft, they almost melt into the skin rather than burst. It's so much fun! I am easily amused but my Instagram seemed to like it too, I definitely felt like The Mask.

After leaving the mask on for 10 minutes and rinsing off with warm water, my skin feels smooth, hydrated and invigorated. It looks so even too, with loads of my usual redness and irritation gone! I've been following it up with the Perricone MD Photo Plasma Moisturiser, which I'll also be reviewing soon. I'd definitely recommend giving this mask a try, even if it's just for the novelty of the bursting microcapsules to reveal the colour, but I'm pretty sure it'll improve the look and feel of your skin too! Have you tried any Perricone MD products before? Which ones should I be trying out?

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Working a Festival Season - 2014

You're probably sick to death of hearing about festivals this summer, but bear with me. This post is not intended to be about festival fashion, bands reviews or anything else along those lines but an overview of my personal lifestyle this summer. Despite being a partial lifestyle blog, I don't really feel like I share enough about myself, how I make a living or what I regularly do with my spare time on here. So as we come to the end of festival season, I thought I'd change that. You're most likely to find out about snippets of my life through my Instagram, where I post snapshots of my everyday life and what I'm up to, so going forwards if you'd like to know more then feel free to follow me there. But for now, I'm going to give a little update through this post.

working festival season
I left my fashion digital marketing and PR job back in November 2013 to go off and spend some time snowboarding in the Swiss and French Alps, ventured off to Thailand for 2 months to relax before starting a summer packed with hard work but lots of fun too. Josh is Operations & Logistics Manager for Headphone Disco, a large silent disco company based here in the UK and over in America too. The summer is a really busy time for the company, with loads of festival bookings both here and in the US. I work for Josh as event manager on site, assisting with the logistics of setting up on site plus managing the staff and the shows themselves. It's hard work, but an amazing opportunity and I get to see some really cool festivals, plus everything that goes on backstage too! I've also been lucky enough to DJ to an 800 strong crowd at Boardmasters festival, which has to be one of my highlights of the summer. It's such a crazy feeling to be up on stage and hear all those people singing along and dancing to your set.

UK festivals
I've been lucky enough to attend 10 festivals in total this summer, including a couple as a customer instead of working. 10 festivals across the summer, mostly between mid-June and the end of August, is quite a lot to squeeze in so I've been a bit of a nomad, living in a tent from site to site. It's not the most glamorous of jobs, but the perks definitely outweigh the slightly less attractive elements!

UK lifestyle blog
My top working highlights of the summer 2014 festival season have been:
- AAA at Creamfields festival plus an Artist wristband meant we were able to bump into 2/3rds of Swedish House Mafia backstage, plus catch glimpses of Paul Van Dyk, Paul Oakenfold, Skream and watch my favourite dance act, Above & Beyond, play from the very same stage they were performing on
- DJing to 800 festival goers on the Sunday night of Boardmasters festival, as mentioned above
- Managing a 5,000 capacity tent at Creamfields for the World's biggest Headphone Disco!
- Getting to know and spending time with some amazing people, most of whom have worked for us over the past couple of months

If you're interested in seeing what the Creamfields Headphone Disco was like, take a look at the video below :)

I've had the best time over the last few months, travelling around the country with Josh and doing everything we've done couldn't have been much better [vom alert]. This might be the only chance in my life to cram this many festival in one summer, next year I might well be back in a full time, regular hours, job so might not have the time, holiday leave or ability to move around as freely as this year. I wanted to write this to give a little bit more of an insight into my personal life, my current job and the experiences I've had, for you guys to get to know me a little more - but I also wanted to document it for myself. Writing this will keep it documented online, remind me what I've achieved so far this year and the amazing opportunities, experiences and time I've had.

As for now, festival season 2014 is now over for us. We're heading to Southampton for Josh's sister's wedding this week where I'm a bridesmaid so that's exciting! They're having a festival themed wedding, so there's still really one festival to go but we'll be able to properly enjoy it and celebrate with family and friends! Following that, we'll be taking our Headphone Disco kit on a 3 week tour of the UK Student's Union venues and clubs, for fresher's week in September, then heading off for another winter of travel to South East Asia, NZ and Australia. After that, who knows.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Favourite Nail Polishes for Autumn

Barry M polishes [L-R]: MNP 3 - Caramel, 313 - Dusky Mauve, MNP 4 - Vanilla.

The weather has definitely taken a turn for the worse this weekend. So that's it now, in my mind I have given in to the fact that summer is over. It might sound negative but I'm slowly getting to grips with it and coming around to the idea that Autumn [and eventually Winter] is on the way. 

I'm not going to dwell on the obvious negatives, but focus on looking forward to wearing dark colours [like I don't all the time anyway], layering up and changing my wardrobe around. By the end of summer I'm usually starting to get a little bored of summer clothes and pastel colours anyway - so here's to matte nudes and deep purples in the nail varnish department!

It's a complete coincidence that all my current favourite shades are by Barry M, but I do own a lot of their nail varnishes - who can resist them when in Boots?! Which shades will you be heading for during the Autumn months?

Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Cornershop - a shop filled entirely with felt products!

The Cornershop - Bethnal Green
The Cornershop - Lucy Sparrow
Lifestyle blog - review of The Cornershop Bethnal Green
The Cornershop Kickstarter
Bethnal Green The Cornershop
UK lifestyle blog
lifestyle blog UK
Lifestyle blogger

While we were in London a last week, we took a trip to The Cornershop in Bethnal Green. Josh initially found out about this project through crowd-funding website, Kickstarter - he's a bit of a Kickstarter fan, having backed over 90 projects now - so of course he backed this one too. He tends to go for any quirky, fun projects so this one definitely fits the bill!

Lucy Sparrow is the artist behind The Cornershop, who wanted to create a "fluffy shopping experience" while playfully questioning the politics of consumerism. The shop is entirely filled with felt replicas of our favourite cornershop products - there's chocolate, sweets, papers, milk, tins of beans and soup and even the till is felt! It's interesting to look around, although it's a tiny shop and it was incredibly busy when we visited [on a Friday afternoon], you can also buy the products from the store and take them home/have them delivered once the store is closed at the end of August. In my eyes, the project questions the amount of money we spend on cool, fun yet useless items. I don't completely know how I feel about this, as I'm a sucker for pretty, shiny, decorative items that I don't really need but I know that the money could be better spent within my own life and in others' too. Maybe in future I'll be questioning whether I really need to spend my money on something I don't essentially need, who knows. We're risking this all getting a bit deep, so I'm going to stop there and think about it some more. 

What do you think the message is behind a shop full of felt products, or do you think it's just a fun display? Have you been to see the shop? It's open until the end of August so pop down if you're near the Shoreditch/Bethnal Green area!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Outfit: 'how long are those going to stay clean?!'

I love the monochrome/all-white/all-black outfits that are frequently seen on Pinterest, but I never thought it would be the type of look I'd attempt myself. However, when I saw these ripped, white jeans on Celeb Look all those images came flooding into my head and I had to have them. I haven't quite worn them in one of those beautiful, structured, smart, all white outfits yet - but maybe one day. I'll work on it. These jeans are the softest material, with a pretty high waist which I personally love, at £19.99 they're a bargain. I can't wait to style these in autumn outfits, with a chunky jumper tucked into the waistband. 

I popped on a cami top with the jeans, opting for a simple silver necklace from Pia Jewellery to match. This necklace is the most flexible chain ever, is that a weird term to describe a necklace? Well, it is - you barely notice you're wearing it, it's perfect. You could easily wear this necklace day in, day out and even sleep in it too if you wanted to. The clasp on the end of the chain is tiny, so I'm going to be threading some of my own small pendants on, to mix it up sometimes.

Have you bought into the monochrome trend? How would you style white jeans?

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Old Wives Tail - Melado Hair Growth Oil Treatment


I'm constantly urging my hair to grow longer and faster than it does. Then paying around £40 for a hair cut but asking them to barely cut anything off, which is always too much. So any product which claims to improve hair growth always catches my eye, whether it truly does or not! It's a tricky one to measure [literally], but any product which improves the condition, health and feel of my hair is a good'un in my books. 

Old Wives Tail have a lovely brand story - all treatments are the product of a homemade recipe passed down through the generations, originating in Portugal and ending up in the UK. The 'Old Wives' part of the brand name relates to the older generations of the family and the 'Tail' linking it all up with hair!

The Melado Oil Treatment is a product packed full of organic essential oils, designed to soften the hair and nourish right down into the hair follicle. The consistency of the product is like that of any of the oils we're familiar with, such as olive oil, so it's pretty runny. The directions state that the product should be massaged into damp hair - I just run my head under the shower slightly then towel dry until just damp. I then pour a small amount of oil into the palms of my hands and rub together before applying to my scalp - do this over the shower or sink! Once the scalp is covered, I use a wide tooth comb to distribute the oil through the lengths. Pop your hair up into a bun then just chill out for an hour, or use the time to write up a blog post like I did! Once the hour's up, wash your hair as normal then pop a little conditioner just on the ends - you really won't need much. I find that I need two shampoos to get all the treatment out of my hair and a thorough rinse too.

After my hair is dry, it feels so soft and nourished. The ends especially feel much smoother and less flyaway - I love the fact that a product with no chemicals or crazy-named ingredients can achieve this too. The smell of the essential oils, lavender in particular, fill the bathroom while you're using the product and lightly transfer to the hair when dry too - it smells lovely. I can't really comment just yet whether it's made my hair grow any faster - but it's keeping it looking, smelling and feeling in very good condition which are all positives for me! Do you think hair treatments make your hair grow any faster? Which products should I try out?

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Byron, Proper Hamburgers in Camden

Byron, Camden
Byron Burger
Where to eat in London
Burgers in London
UK Lifestyle blog
Lifestyle blog

Josh and I spent a lovely few days in London this week, visiting our ex-housemate who has just moved into a flat near Camden. A trip to London is usually a one day thing for us, so having a friend living there permanently now means that we could spend a few days doing some of the more normal, less touristy stuff and not have to cram loads into one short day. 

We were meeting up with some friends in a Camden bar later in the evening so we decided to get some food beforehand. We were crossing a road and Josh, my long-time vegetarian boyfriend went 'ooh, what about there?' - yes Josh, what a suggestion! Byron is one of those London food places that's been on my must-try list for ages - along with Patty & Bun, Meat Liquor and various other renowned burger joints. 

I customised the blue cheese burger and added extra bacon, opting for a medium-well cooked burger with skin-on fries. The waiter was really angling for me to try a medium or less cooked burger, but the half-vegetarian in me [I rarely eat meat, unless eating out as a treat] wasn't having any of it. Josh had the veggie burger - consisting of portobello mushroom, roasted red pepper, goats cheese, spinach, tomato, red onion and aioli plus these amazing courgette fries which were incredible. I definitely recommend trying those, I'm not usually a big courgette fan either! 

Overall it was a lovely place for dinner - the food was amazing, it was served really quickly by an attentive waiter plus the decor inside the restaurant is so cool. It's a clash of different, retro, 70s style wallpaper on every wall - plus a massive old-style telly hung up on the ceiling. You should try and stop there for lunch or dinner, if you're around Camden and looking for food!  

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Outfit: Denim Dungaree Dress

Floral Crop Top: H&M // Dungaree Dress: Select // Backpack: Primark // Sandals: Primark

Wearing a dungaree dress and a backpack did make me feel like I was on my way to primary school, but I couldn't resist putting this outfit together on a warm day last week. I picked up the dress in Select in Skegness for a bargain £12 and it's also available for that price on their website! The sizing was a little out though - I'm always a UK size 10 however only an 8 or 6 was available in the store, so I tried on the 8 hoping that I might squeeze in... and I did, with lots of room to spare. So I ended up buying the 6! Now I'm definitely not a size 6 so please take this into consideration if you buy online and down size slightly. 

I popped on this floral crop top underneath, which met the top of the skirt part of the dress perfectly, with only a little flash of ribs showing occasionally. I've been looking for a leather-look backpack for ages, so snapped this one up for £8 in Primark. I'm trying not to buy too many new clothes or accessories at the moment as we're off travelling again soon so I won't use them, but I couldn't resist this. It's the perfect size for my giant purse, phone, keys and other little handbag essentials - it's had so much use already!

I wore this out on a shopping trip around Southampton, picking up craft bits and bobs to decorate a giant wooden festival-style letter. You know when festivals spell out their name on the site with giant letters? Josh's sister is having LOVEFEST set up at her festival themed wedding and different people are decorating each letter. Josh and I went mad with glitter, fairy lights and tinsel on our letter E... obviously. I will hopefully be posting about the wedding when it happens in a couple of weeks - I'm a bridesmaid, so exciting!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

How to: Highlight & Brighten

Best highlighting makeup products
Bets highlighters and skin brighteners
How to contour and highlight

My last post was all about how to contour using makeup, including how to apply highlight. So for this post I thought I'd talk about some of my favourite highlight and brightening products. If you're going to contour your cheeks, I feel that it's essential to make sure the highlight is on point too. The two techniques work perfectly together, leaving you with a defined, glowing face. 

No one wants to end up with a glittery face after using makeup, so it's essential that your highlight is a super smooth product to leave a subtle shimmer. You want to compliment your contouring and the rest of your makeup, rather than make your cheek bones stand out for the wrong reasons. 

This is a bronze/gold highlight that I love using during the summer when I have a bit more of a tan. It's almost a gel consistency and I apply along the tops of my cheekbones using a Zoeva Angled Buffing Brush. You can read my full review and see it in action here

This is a liquid highlight from Benefit, which I dab along my cheekbones with the small brush applicator then blend well with fingers. It's a pearly pink colour which works best on my skin tone when it's not tanned, it's a really good highlight for paler girls I find. It leaves an amazing subtle sheen to the skin and a little goes a really long way.

Another pale pink highlight, but in powder form this time. This is a soft and blend-able powder highlight that is surprisingly good for such a cheap brand! You can read my full review and see swatches here

Not technically a highlight, but a brightening primer intended to be used all over the face. I personally prefer to use this primer in the places I want a bit of a glow and highlight... not everywhere, especially when contouring. I gently blend this product over the top of my cheekbones after applying foundation, but before powder, to create an under the skin type of sheen. 

This little kit contains both That Gal and High Beam, plus Dandelion blusher and a couple of sample size mascara and eyeliners. I'd definitely recommend getting your hands on this to test out these products. 

Sunday, 10 August 2014

How To: Contour & Define

how to contour cheeks
I heart makeup contour palette
How to contour using makeup

I've always used contouring on my cheeks, whether I realised it at the time or not. I've always been a fan of applying my blush high on my cheeks, right next to my ear, just under my cheekbone then lightly blending the colour further down my cheeks. This created a slight shadow under my cheekbone, allowing it to stand out... basically, contouring. 

It sometimes seems like a very professional technique, used by the celeb MUAs on people like Kim Kardashian before the red carpet. Which is true, but the basics aren't really that difficult in my opinion. It's a basic technique that anyone can do at home to define and shape your face every day, as long as you're using the right products and tools. 

Products and tools:
I've picked out a couple of products that I recommend using, however if you have something similar from a different brand then definitely try it out with that too! To start, take a matte bronzer that's just a few shades darker than your skin tone. It's best to start with a subtle colour and build up, rather than try to work with a bold shade from the start. I've loved using I Heart Makeup's 'I Heart Definition' palette in 'fair' - the sister brand of blogger favourites, Makeup Revolution. It contains a contouring powder, blusher and highlight - everything you need to create the perfect defined look. Previous to owning this palette I've using various matte finish bronzers, including this Makeup Revolution Baked Bronzer [not completely matte finish but it works well]. To apply, I like to use my Zoeva 110 Face Shape brush, which is the perfect small brush with compact bristles, for the contour shade. However any similar small, dense brush will work well. 

To contour:
Dab your brush into your contour shade and tap any excess off, then you need to create a subtle line down from under your cheekbone towards the corner of your mouth. The best way to see where this shadow should naturally sit is to suck your cheeks in like a fish, yep. Lightly follow the natural hollows of your face and apply your contour. If you're feeling more adventurous, you can contour and add depth to your temples and under your jaw line too.

Add blush:
After contouring the hollows of my cheeks, I add my blush. I use a larger blusher brush for this, like the Real Techniques blush brush. I've been using the blush included in the Definition palette as it matches the contour shade well, however any subtle shade that suits your skin tone well will work. It's best to not use too bright a blush shade when contouring, as it can end up looking really unnatural. This type of contouring is all about bringing out definition, enhancing the natural hollows of your face, so natural shades will work best. Apply blusher to the apples of your cheeks and slightly up towards your cheekbones. Make sure the blusher you apply is blended well into the contour shade, you don't want two separate stripes down your cheeks. 

As a final way to define your face, use a highlight. There are so many good highlights on the market at the moment, in various forms - I've got a separate post lined up to showcase some of my favourites. Highlight should be applied above your blusher, from just below your temple leading under your eye following the top of your cheekbone. As the name suggests, it should be used on the higher points of your face, such as the top of your cheekbones and the higher points of your forehead. Make sure you use a subtle shimmer rather than a glittery highlight, again subtlety is key here.

Once you're confident with shaping your cheeks you can start experimenting with slightly different shades and more dramatic contouring. You can also move on to the more face-changing forms of contouring, used to change the shape of noses or slim the face down, rather than just enhancing the natural shape of your face. But I'm quite happy to leave that to the professionals, just sticking to the basics of contouring for my own every day makeup. 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Iconemesis Fifi Lapin Teacup Case

I'm all for helping to support smaller brands and artists, so when I got an email about Iconemesis' IndieGoGo campaign I was only happy to help out. I have previously worked with the brand and know how good their products are. Last time I was asked to review this Gemma Correll unicorn phone case, which I sadly lost when I was in Thailand [along with my phone too], so I thought I'd go for a different style this time, choosing to feature the cute Fifi Lapin wearing a pretty unique teacup dress, to accessorise my phone. 

The case itself is made from a super strong, durable plastic. I've already tested it out and dropped my phone a few times for good measure [accidentally] and it's held up so far! I also left my phone at the train station and amused the lost property department by describing it as an iphone with a bunny wearing a teacup on the back... With most people having the same, or very similar, phones these days, it's nice to accessorise with a case to make yours stand out.  

Iconemesis have set up a crowd funding campaign in order to fund the new manufacturing process they want to undertake to grow their business. I imagine it's pretty hard to take the jump from being a small business to a large one, so crowd funding is a great way of increasing awareness as well as raising, well... funds. Click through, read their campaign and help out if you can!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

That weirdo with 5 feathers in her hair

install hair feathers at home
DIY hair feathers

What better time to get feathers in your hair than when you're working festival season?! I've seen a couple of these hair feather stands around the festivals this year and decided to get some put in at NASS a few weeks ago. They were done by Feather Tree and so easy to install, it took seconds! Please excuse the frizz in the photos, it's the humidity ;).

They take a tiny piece of hair and thread it [plus the feathers] through a small metal clamp. They then squeeze the clamp and secure the feathers to the hair. To remove, all you have to do is take normal household pliers and squeeze the clamp the opposite way to release. The feathers can be washed and styled the same as your normal hair, apparently if looked after well they can last up to six months! Mine have been in for about 3 weeks now and they're still the same as when they were put in, apart from a tiny kink has appeared in the photo above, probably created by my frizzy bedhead hair. 

You can buy the feathers to install yourself via ebay, I haven't bought any yet so can't recommend a seller but you can find them all here. I'm thinking of buying a few more to install myself. If I can't be a big ol' hippy in festival season then when can I?! :)

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Favourite Blog Posts: July

There've been a few posts like this around and about recently, but I don't think jumping on the bandwagon is a bad thing in the slightest. I've been included in a couple of blog love posts myself, so I want to pass on the feeling it gave me to others too. That might possibly be the cheesiest thing I've written on this blog [possibly not though] but it's true, I felt so pleased people liked my blog enough to share it on their own blogs it was crazy. So here's some posts that I have loved in June...

I would love to live next door to Katy. I'd just pop round, sit in her fort, play with Little R her cat [I'm not even a cat person] and ask her nicely to make me amazing smoothies and iced coffees - it would be the best. There was a recent post on Little Winter purely dedicated to fort building, you need to check it out! As well as forts, Katy's blog features the most Pinterest-worthy photos of her house, life and style - I'm sure you're already following her but if you're not, you should. Soppy declaration of fort-love, over.

How perfect for summer are these watermelon nails? I've loved Caroline's blog for ages and her nail art always makes me envious. I'd love the patience to be able to do some of the nail art she does, plus her whole nail varnish collection! Caroline also posts the loveliest outfits and has the best home/interior style too!

Tara takes the most gorgeous outfit photos, I need to pin her down [not literally] and ask her to give me some tips, outfit photos aren't my forte! Her style is lovely and always leaves me wanting clothes I never thought I would covet, she wears everything so well! I love the setting of this particular post, the grass and reeds make a beautiful backdrop and highlight the dress so well.

My beauty weakness is blusher, I am drawn to the blush section of any makeup counter like a moth to a flame. So, of course, I clicked through to Catherine's post as soon as I saw the title and the accompanying image. If you'd like to find the perfect summer blush for your skin tone then you need to read this post! Catherine also runs an online vintage business and often posts snippets of her own vintage-filled home on her Instagram, making me want to buy everything!

Last but not least, it's my real life friend and ex-work buddy, Kimmy! Kim moved out to Australia from the UK in January and was living in Melbourne but has just moved to Sydney. I love reading her blog posts about Oz and her new lifestyle, it's so weird to think she's on the other side of the world but we still talk so normally through Whatsapp. I'm going to be in Australia in December, so reading her posts gets me all excited about the things I'm going to see and do. I can't wait to catch up with Kim and Stew face to face! :) 

Hopefully you check these lovely blog posts out and enjoy them as much as I have. I'd love to know your favourite posts for this month too!