Monday, 22 May 2017

#365DaysOfHappiness - Why I Love Music And The Playlist Shuffle Tag*

I don't know why but there is something about birthday's that makes you want to shake everything up and start again. Birthday's used to be something to look forward to - a day full of cake and presents -. You didn't dread them you looked forward to getting older. I'm now officially in the last year of my 30's and whilst I don't necessarily view getting older as a bad thing, I have spent more than a few minutes lately contemplating where on earth the last 30 odd years have gone, and asking myself why haven't I done more with my life.

Instead of looking back though I'm intending to spend the last year of my 30's living my best life, doing things that make me happy, trying new things, and taking a few risks along the way. If you follow me on Instagram you'll know that last week I started the #365DaysOfHappiness project and I've made it my goal to post a picture of something that has made me happy every day in the run up to the big 4 0 next May.

Today's photograph reflects one of my major passions in life, music. I'm not talking about playing a musical instrument I'm talking about the simple pleasure of listening to a piece of music that you love. I was lucky enough to grow up in a household that loved music. My dad was a big country fan, with a record collection that matched that passion so I grew up listening to the likes of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Hank Williams, with the odd bit of Elvis, and Jimmy Nail thrown in for good measure. My mum on the other hand listened to a wide variety of stuff ranging from classical to show tunes, and even Gregorian chants. It's safe to say that my musical education was a varied one but I'm thankful for that, I can safely say that I can appreciate most types of music, in the early days I was a bit of a metal fan, one of the first gigs I went to was Guns 'N' Rose, Soundgarden, and Faith No More, before progressing on like so many other 90's kids to a bit of Brit Pop when I spent my time wearing Adidas Gazelles and watching the likes of Oasis, Blur, Pulp and Ocean Colour Scene.

Nowadays I'll pretty much listen to anything, I like something that's catchy or that I can sing along to and I appreciate DJ's and mixing as much as I do a full on bands that play proper instruments, I love it all. I literally listen to music every single day and it makes me happy in a way that few other things do, yes it can make me sad or melancholy on occasions but there is always an element of happiness in every emotion and that's the nature of the beast.

When it comes to listening to music I literally listen to it on every medium possible depending on where I am. I'm a big fan of digital radio, and I still watch music television, in an attempt to seem down with the kids or to reminisce about my own teenage years, you pick the channel you decide! Unlike a lot of people nowadays I still own a CD player, a turntable and several cassette players where I spend many hours pouring through my own and my parents prized collections, remembering songs, and remembering times gone by.

I do hanker for the past on the occasions but modern technology has really made a world of difference to the music fan, now you literally have every single song in the world at your finger tips, and available for your listening pleasure in seconds, via You Tube, a online listening service or via your smart phone. I don't spend as long on buses and public transport as I once did but one of my greatest pleasures now is sitting on a bus and in sticking in my earphones, and allowing the music to take me somewhere else, and of course who doesn't play music where there in the bath or the shower, I've pretended to be Adele, or Lana Del Ray more than once using my shampoo bottle as my microphone, come on, don't tell me that you haven't done the same ;) As far as technology has progressed that I still think the inbuilt speakers on smart phones sound a little tinny and don't real add to the listening experience, I've tried all the tricks to improve my in-shower and iPhone listening experience like putting my phone in a cup, a paper tube, a bowl and in the sink but I really do think that I need to invest in something like the Panasonic Speaker System, to improve my in-shower and round the house listening experience, it would certainly improve the sound quality but I don't think it could do much for my vocal abilities (can you believe I was actually in the school choir though - what were they thinking?)

So now that you know a little bit about my love of music and my listening habits I thought I'd share my eclectic musical tastes with you by doing this fun tag, The Playlist Shuffle Tag that somebody once tagged me in on Facebook x


The Playlist Shuffle Tag
-

"Sweet Disposition"

1. Put your iTunes/Foobar/Spotify/Whatever on shuffle. 
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer 
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS. 


IF SOMEONE SAYS 'ARE YOU OKAY' YOU SAY? 
Empire State Of Mind - Alicia Keys

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF? 
Joy To The World - David Bell, Huddersfield Choral Society 

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A GUY/GIRL? 
Lana Del Rey - Video Games

HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY? 
Telephone - Lady Gaga



WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE? 
Tired - Adele - (Ha Ha!)

WHAT'S YOUR MOTTO? 
Find Me - Kings Of Leon



WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU? 
Stay With Me - Sam Smith

WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU? 
Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN? 
Disappear - INXS



WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR FIRST KISS? 
Ho Hey - The Lumineers



WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND 
Linger - The Cranberries 



WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY? 
Story Of My Life - One Direction (freaky but this was genuinely the next song that I got)

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? 
(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman - Carole King

WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE? 
Need To Feel Love - Reflekt

WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING? 
Waterfall - The Stone Roses 



WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL? 
Wings - Birdy



WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST: 

 Let It Go - Idina Menzel

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR? 
Cold Little Heart  - Michael Kiwanuka



WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET? 
Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd

WHAT DO YOU WANT RIGHT NOW? 
 Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol



WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS? 
Someone Like You - Adele

WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS? 
Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap 




I'm not sure about the sense or reliability of some of the answers in determining my inner most thoughts but I hope this has given you just a sneaky peek into my musical world. I don't think there was anything too embarrassing there but believe me I do have a few things on there that do make me cringe a little bit when I hear them, Aqua anyone? Never mind it's all about the memories I guess, I do wish though that you could filter out Christmas albums though in the Summer, Joy To The World indeed haha x I'm going to tag anyone that wants to do this, so please give it a go, and share your random playlists with the world x If you do it, please link me up below I'd love to know what kind of music you listen to, and maybe I can discover a new favourite song or piece of music in the process x

*Sponsored Post 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipstick - Bosworth's Beauty

As I've mentioned on numerous occasions I firmly believe that you can find amazing make up and beauty products at all price points. When it comes to make I probably own a lot more than the average person, but I would say that about 75% of my collections is made up of drugstore and bargain buys.

I love getting more bang for my buck as the saying goes but every now and again I do like to splash out and treat myself to the occasional high end make up item. Over the years my financial situation has changed quite a bit and from buying high end beauty products every week, I now only splurge on high end beauty products every now and then, or I rely on birthday and Christmas presents to get that high end beauty hit.

I regularly make high end beauty wishlists though, and my list at the moment contains about a dozen products from one of the must have brands of the moment, Charlotte Tilbury. It's hard to believe that this make up artist led line has only been available since 2013. In such as short time, compared to a lot of other high end brands, Charlotte Tilbury really has gone on from strength to strength, producing lust worthy product, after lust worthy product.

My Charlotte Tilbury collection is tiny compared to some peoples but I always try to buy carefully and I try to buy products that I know that I'll love and that I'll use. Apart from the lipstick charms set that I've already reviewed (read my review here) I also own one of her Cheek To Chic colours, the Wonder Glow Primer and 3 full size lip colours. I'm going to review all of these products in due course, but I thought I'd start off by reviewing something that I think Charlotte Tilbury does incredibly well and that's lipstick.


There are an awful lot of lipsticks in the Charlotte Tilbury line but today I'm going to focus on a lipstick from her Hot Lips range. This is a range of 12 lipsticks that are named after, and are inspired by 12 inspirational, female celebrities, including Liv Tyler, Nicole Kidman and Kate Bosworth.


I have a few lipsticks from this range on my wishlist but the first one that I treated myself to, is the Kate Bosworth inspired, Bosworth's Beauty.


Everything about this lipstick just screams vintage glamour, from the vintage look, ridged metal tube embossed with the Charlotte Tilbury logo, to the 1950's style statement pink colour. Whilst this lipstick itself may be inspired by the 1950's and the glamorous Hollywood era, the ingredients and the technology means that this lipstick firmly belongs in the 21st Century,

With a modern luminous modern matte finish, these lipsticks are made from an award winning formulation that included orchid extract, and voluminsing 3D pigments, that even in a cream formulation like this one, deflect and reflect the light to create the illusion of fuller looking lips.

Each lipstick is also embossed with the Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips logo, and the lipstick itself also features a specially designed and exclusive, square, angled tip, which is designed to mimic a lip brush for perfect application every time.


I know products aren't all about the packaging or at least they shouldn't be, but it's hard not to get a little bit excited by the packaging of this lipstick. The weighty, metal tube reminds me a bit of my Grandma and the cosmetics that she used to use, it definitely has that vintage glamour feel, only with a slight modern twist thanks to the rose gold.


The packaging is beautiful and in my opinion so is the lipstick inside. Remove the well fitting lid, and your hit with three assaults on your senses, the vanilla and cocoa butter scent and taste, and the beautiful cool toned, bright pink colour.


This lipstick is very pigmented, but thanks to the ergonomically designed square tip it's actually really easy to apply within your lip line, and thanks the angled edges you can even use it to line your lips and accentuate your lip line.



Yes this is a matte lipstick, but if you're not a matte lipstick fan then don't worry. This is about as far a way from an old fashioned, dry crusty, matte lipstick as you could ever get. It has a smooth and silky texture, and it leaves a smooth matte but not flat or dry, finish. Thanks to the matte finish this lipstick wears incredibly well on me, in fact I can honestly say that this is one of the longest wearing lipsticks that I've worn in a very long time. If you have really dry lips then you might need a little bit of lip balm underneath or maybe on top, but in my experience it certainly didn't leave my lips feeling flaky or any drier.


I'm not going to lie this lipstick isn't cheap, the Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipsticks retail at £24 for a 3.5g bullet, but in my opinion it's well worth it. Yes the packaging is beautiful and it's one of those products that you will be proud to take out of your make up bag, but this lipstick is so much more than its packaging. The technology means that it applies and wears well and the colour is beautiful what more could you want. If you fancy picking up this lipstick you can purchase Charlotte Tilbury online from her official website, as well as from John Lewis, House Of Fraser, Selfridges, Feelunique, Harvey Nichols, Cult Beauty and in selected Fenwick stores including Newcastle Upon Tyne. Are you a Charlotte Tilbury fan? Let me know your recommendations x




Saturday, 6 May 2017

A Late April 2017 Primark Haul - Clothes, Jewellery And Beauty

Following on from Thursday's fashion post I thought I'd share a little Primark haul from last month with you. I'm not really feeling clothes shopping at the moment but I did manage to pick up a few basic, everyday clothing items, and some beauty and home bits.

We'll start off with the clothes, and as I said in my last post, I think we should really start breaking some of those fashion rules, and be proud and confident to wear what we like, when we like. For some many people wearing strips, and especially horizontal stripes when you're a bit bigger is a no, no but I love a stripe and luckily for me the shops at the moment are full of them and Primark is no exception.


Although we're heading towards the summer now and the warmer weather is hopefully around the corner, I've always got room in my drawers or my wardrobe for another long sleeve t-shirt. It looks black in the picture about but I think this one is actually a dark navy blue, with a thin, white stripe. I love long sleeve t-shirts in the colder months, and on cooler dats and I love to layer them up under jumper and cardigans, and on my trying new things day's I've even been known to throw the odd baggy vest on the top. They are a real wardrobe staple no matter how you wear them and this one was just £4.


I also bought another striped top on the day but take a tip from me and always make sure that the size of the top or the clothing item matches the size on the hanger. It's a tip that applies to most shops but particularly to Primark. I haven't been a size 8 for a long time now, and although I did try to try it on, I had to admit defeat before I'd even got it over my head, and return it. Never mind I did manage to repurchase the top in the correct size this week, so I have another Primark haul coming up on the blog next week.


Back to April's visit though, and the only other clothing item that I picked up was another t-shirt, and as soon as I saw this one, I knew I had to have it. It's just a plain over sized t-shirt with the words "I JUST CAN'T TODAY" printed on it in black and it was just £6. This is one of my fibro / CFS flare mottos, and it's one I use all too frequently so why not try and make a joke out of it. It's perfect for when I'm lacking energy or for when the judge and the jury on Twitter and Facebook are getting me down!


That was it for clothes but as per usual I also picked up a piece of jewellery. I'm really getting back into earrings again at the moment which sounds weird for someone with four piercings in each ear but sometimes you do get stuck in a rut. For years and years bar the odd holiday or special occasion change, I just had a small gold or silver hoop in each piercing, but since the start of the year, I've been trying to mix it up and wear different earrings in my first hole.


It can be a bit awkward wearing certain earrings when you have multiple ear piercings and small ears like me, so I tend to either go for different hoops, creoles, studs or for some of drop. These gold tone, crystal spray earrings are perfect, they are really delicate, they are really easy to wear and they were just £1.


I only bought one home item on this visit and it was a storage item. This pink tote / storage bag was just £3 and I think it will be ideal for storing make up, or skincare in either my bedroom, or the bathroom. They are made of a lightweight canvas style fabric, and there are lots of different designs and colours to choose from, This bright pink one has the words "Beauty Is My Business" printed on it in black.


When Primark first launched in the UK, their beauty selection was almost non existent, then as the brand grew, a lot fun and super cheap products started appearing on the shelves. Some of their early make up and beauty attempts were a little bit hit and miss (you can read about some of them here) but their current selection is a world away from those early days. You can now pick up brands like Nivea, Cocoa Brown, Creightons, Hask, and Carmex alongside a wide range of well priced make up, skin, hair and body care lines, and beauty tools sold under their own branding.


There are a couple of Primark's own brand beauty products that I love, their £1 cuticle oil, and the £1 facial wipes that I bought on this trip are now staples in my beauty routine, but I'm really fancying branching out and trying some of their newer make up releases.


This was one of their newer make up products that I fell in love with on site. This is the PS Pure Glow Highlighter in the shade Rose Prosecco.



What can I say about this apart from just look at it! It's beautiful in all senses of the word. Okay the plastic packaging is pretty basic but it's practical, and just look at what it's housing! This fabulous peachy, coral, rose gold, swirly highlighter is just so easy on the eye that it's untrue.


Swatch it and you greeted with pigmented shimmery, metallic loveliness, that you could wear as either a highlighter or as a fabulous blush depending on your skin tone. I did think that was a possibility that it was just an over spray and whilst it is a touch darker in colour there is still plenty of sheen and shimmer underneath.


For just £3 i think that this product is a real bargain, it's looks as beautiful in the pan as it does on the face. I'm not sure if it comes in any more shades but if you love a bit of rose gold, metallic or shimmer, then I would definitely recommend that you pick this up.

Some would argue that I've probably saved the best item till last, and as much as I love the other things that I picked up I think I'd have to agree with them. If you're a regular reader or watcher of my Primark haul's then you will probably already know that I'm a big fan of their make up brushes. I've got quite a few of their matte black brushes with the rose gold ferrules but this set that I picked up last month really takes my Primark make up brush love in to the next level.



Are these not the most Instagram worthy make up brushes that you've ever seen? They're going to be insta famous and they know it. From the small silver cosmetic bag with the words 'INSTA GIRL" printed on the front to the white, and grey marble designed handles, this brush set is social media ready!



For just £7 you get a silver zip fastening cosmetic bag and 5 good sized, make up brushes. You get a Powder Brush, a Stippling Brush, a Concealer Brush, an Eyeshadow Brush, and an Angled Eyebrow Brush.


These brushes don't just look good, the quality is superb as well, the hairs are super soft, and they look and feel as though they are synthetic. The handles are chunky and easy to hold, and been slightly smaller than a full size, and coming with a small make up bag their ideal for travel or when you are on the go. I have a bit of a make up brush addiction but these are a lovely addition to my collection and with the marble handles they're right on trend social media wise- what more could you want for less than a tenner ;)


As per usual with my Primark hauls, I've made a little video to accompany this post, so please have a watch below, or via this link, and if you like what you see, I would love it if you would subscribe to my You Tube channel for lots of exclusive content including hauls and beauty box unboxings x



If you've posted a Primark haul either on your blog or your You Tube channel I love to see it so link me up below x I'd also love to know if you have any Primark beauty or make up recommendation so let me know your favourites below and of course don't forget to subscribe to my blog via the links in the side bar, to stay up to date with all of my new posts, including another Primark haul which should be live next week x

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Breaking Fashion Rules And Accepting Yourself The Way You Are - OOTD

Like most people I have pretty much a love / hate relationship with Facebook, at times it irritates the hell out of me so I probably don't spend as much time on it as I used but it's still a valuable tool for helping me keep in touch with my friends and family, and every now and then, in between the memes and the cat videos, I do see the odd article that really makes me think.

I recently say something on Facebook, about a plus size, curvy lady who was posting pictures of her outfits online. Nothing unusual about that I hear you say, well no but in this case this women was told that she shouldn't wear a bikini because of her size, so to get back at the haters and prove that women can wear whatever the hell they want, she posted pictures of herself on social media breaking every plus size, fashion taboo out there and wearing everything from bikinis, to leggings and cropped tops,

My immediate reaction was that she was brave, but when I sat and thought about it, I came to the realisation that she's not brave at all, she's not doing anything scary she's just living her best life and accepting every inch of her beautiful and functional body for what it is. If she's happy in herself and with what she's wearing then good for her, what business is it of anybody else's what she wears and what she looks like!

The only opinion that matters when you look in the mirror should be your own, but thanks to the images of the perfect face and body that we faced with everyday, more and more people are suffering from a distorted view of themselves. Instead of looking at the positives when they look in the mirror, some people can only see their faults.

Whilst I would safely say that I'm more comfortable in my own skin now then I have been in a long time, some days I look in the mirror and I hate the girl that's staring back at me. I'm not even sure most of the time why I feel that way - I know my facial palsy can play a part but I also know that I've felt the same at times when I've been a size 8 and a size 20 so although my weight is playing a part at the moment it's not the only thing that causes me to feel so down on myself.


Quote Found On Facebook No Source Given

What can I do about it? well at the moment I'm focusing on self care, like I said in my last post I'm trying to find the positives in life, and I'm looking in the mirror everyday and trying to find something about myself that I like, today is a bad day so it's just my ears, hopefully tomorrow I'll be feeling more positive and it will be something larger and a bit more noticeable.

In what seems like a contradiction I'm also spending a bit of time on social media, I'm spending my time looking at a lot of plus sized fashion bloggers, and I've also been watching this fabulous BBC Three piece from one of my favourite, fellow North East bloggers Katie Meehan. All of these lovely ladies just ooze confidence and self belief and I'm hoping that a little bit of that might rub off on me.

As the saying goes if you can't beat them join and that's exactly what i intend to do. Despite my current curvier, silhouette I still love clothes and fashion as much as I ever did, and although you seem to see a lot of clothes that I buy you never seem to see me wearing them. From now on though that is going to change I can't guarantee it's going to be a weekly thing but I'm going to bring the outfit of the day posts back to LouLouLand. Even if I don't always like what I see in the mirror, I'm going to be getting myself out there and trying to accept myself for what I am.

I thought I'd start off with one of those breaking plus size, fashion rules posts. Apparently if your curvy horizontal stripes are a big no no. Guess what though? I love them and I always have, from when I was a child, to when I was a size 8 I've always loved wearing horizontal stripes, and even though it's supposedly a fashion no, no for curvy girls, I'm going to carry on wearing them regardless of what anyone else thinks.

I wore this outfit to the recent Intu Metrocentre Spring / Summer Fashion VIP Event and I loved it. The dress is made of a super soft, comfortable, stretchy jersey, and I love the way the up and down, shark bite hem swished around my legs. The weather on the night wasn't very spring like so I teamed it with tights and chunky ankle boots, but I also think that this dress would look great with bare legs and sandals or short white or black converse. I finished the look with a long line statement necklace, and a faux leather black biker style, bomber jacket also from Simply Be that isn't pictured.




What I Wore

Black Opaque Tights - Primark
Black Chunky Heel Chelsea Boots - Studio
Heart Charm Necklace - Ebay Seller - mandymax1971

Mummy Lou's photography skills are definitely improving, I just need to work out on my posing skills. I like the idea of shooting outside but you can tell I'm dealing with the elements it was windy, and thanks to the glare on my lenses I'm squinting slightly! So you've got a squinting grimace, and a resting bitch face. I'm never happy but the fact that I'm actually putting the pictures out there speaks volumes. I've got things to work but this is all about positivity and accepting myself the way I am, it's a work in progress and hopefully it will be one that I will share with you, with more outfit posts in the future x 

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Trimming My Stash - April 2017 Edition - Empties And Mini Reviews

After a bit of an iffy start to the year, over the last few weeks, I'm finally starting to feel as though I'm starting to turn the corner and leave some of the negativity that's clouded the first part of the year behind.

It's not to say that April's been all sweetness and light, it hasn't but maybe I'm starting to deals with life's hurdles a little bit better than what I have been doing. I'm feeling more comfortable in my own skin, and I'm feeling more positive about the blog and about life in general. May is my birthday month and I have lots to look forward to this month, so I'm going to grab the bull by the horns (I am a Taurus after all) and go for it, life is too short to worry about pointless things, life really is for living and that's what I intend to do from now on.

Before I start afresh though it's time to take one last look back at April, and take a look back at my April beauty empties. 

Soap & Glory Peaches And Clean 3 In 1 Deep Purifying Cleanser - 200ml
Benefit The Porefessional Instant Wipe Out Mask Dual Sided Pore Clarifying Mask x 1
OPI Avoplex Nail & Cuticle Replenishing Oil - 15ml
L'Occitane Cleansing And Soothing Shower Oil With Almond Oil - 250ml
RESEED R12 Tri Peptide Active Hair Serum For Women - 30ml
Total - 5 Items

So I managed to finish 5 beauty products in April, not the best total ever but I'm going to embrace the positive, 5 items are certainly better than 1 and I finished a few things that I thought would never end.

1Soap & Glory Peaches And Clean 3 In 1 Deep Purifying Cleanser - 200ml


I've got to be honest and say that Ive never actually bought a Soap & Glory skincare item on it's own. All of the Soap & Glory skincare products that I've tried have come from the Boots Soap & Glory Star Gifts. Buying a big gift set of products can be a bit hit or miss, but in this case I've been introduced to a gem. This is just a basic cream cleanser with a slightly weird - peach, menthol, mint smell. It's perfect on my oily skin and it's really easy to use, just massage a small amount over your face, then wipe away with either a damp flannel or muslin cloth or splash off with warm water, and all of your make up just wipes away, leaving your skin silky soft. I really like this cleanser and it's definitely something that I would consider repurchasing.

2. Benefit The Porefessional Instant Wipe Out Mask Dual Sided Pore Clarifying Mask x 1


This pore mask from Benefit Cosmetics is part of their ever expanding Porefessional range. It's basically a combination of a pore strip and sheet mask. All of the masks are packaged individually and to use them all you do is press the plastic bubble, to release the pore tightening liquid into the fabric like mask. Then you just open the packet and apply the damp mask, smooth side down to either your chin, your forehead or your nose, they you leave it for ten minutes before rubbing the remaining liquid all over your face with the rougher side of the mask. It smells slightly of menthol, and as you would expect it tingles ever so slightly on the skin. To be honest I haven't noticed any long term effects but I do have a few more of these masks to use up so I might notice a difference then but we'll see. What I can say though is after you've used the mask your skin certainly feels tighter and less oily. I definitely think that these masks would be great before an event or a party, or an occasion where you would want your make up to stay in place and for your skin to look more even and less oily. 

3. OPI Avoplex Nail & Cuticle Replenishing Oil - 15ml


My nails at the moment are really unpredictable, in the space of a week, they can go from long, hydrated and healthy, to dry, rough and broken. I'm persevering with the strengtheners and perhaps more importantly I'm trying to keep my hands and nails hydrated. OPI Avoplex is probably my favourite cuticle oil of all time, crammed full of avocado oil, it smells lovely, it absorbs quickly and it makes an immediate difference to the appearance of my nails. I love it and I will continue to buy it when I can justify it but at the moment I'm loving the Primark PS Cuticle Oil, which is nearly as good and retails at just £1 a bottle. Spend or save it's up to you, but they are both great products that can a real difference with just one use

4. L'Occitane Cleansing And Soothing Shower Oil With Almond Oil - 250ml


Be it summer or winter, this product really is an all year round skin saviour. If you have dry skin, or itchy skin, or even if you feel that the skin or your body just needs a little bit of love, then this is the product that you need. The shower oil concept is quite a new one and L'Occitane one of the genres innovators, the product feels oily on the skin but add water to it and it turns into a creamy, lightly foaming body cleanser. You can also add to the bath for pampering, and moisturising soak. Oh and if you think that almond means marzipan, it doesn't - I hate anything that smells or tastes of bitter almond, and I love this, instead of the bitter almond scent you might expect instead this smells of slightly of apple, and warm vanilla with just a hint of nuttiness. This product isn't cheap but a little goes a long way, and I guarantee that once you try it you will never want to be without it x I've recently repurchased this from QVC UK thanks to a special price, and an easy pay offer that made it a bit more affordable, so I would definitely recommend shopping around if you do decide that you want this in your life x You can read a review of this product here x

5. RESEED R12 Tri Peptide Active Hair Serum For Women - 30ml*


I was sent this product quite a while ago, as part of the full RESEED line which is specifically designed for women with thinning hair. This is the serum that you massaged into the hair to encourage hair growth. I've tried to eek this product for as long as possible because this is the one product in the range that really makes the difference. Unfortunately i do think that you need to use all of the products in the system together and consistently to see a real difference. You can read my review of the full system including this product here x

So they were my April empties x My aim as always for this month is to do better, and I hopefully want to try and finish at least one make up item in May x Are you doing something similar link me to your posts and channels below and of course if you have any questions on any of the items that I've mentioned in this post, then please leave me a comment x

*Sample 

Saturday, 29 April 2017

The Fragrance Shop Bank Holiday Flash Sale*

If you follow me on my blog or any of my other social media channels, you'll probably haven't learnt several things about me - no not the obvious things that I love food, or my cats, or that technology hates me, instead you'll probably have learnt that I love a bargain!

I love shopping at the best of times but if there's a chance of a free gift, or a discount believe me that I'm normally first in the queue. Shops must love me for that I guess and as my mam says they probably see you coming, but as long as you're staying within your own budget and not (cough) buying things that you don't need then it's a pretty savvy way to shop.

I've decided to start another little series on my blog - it doesn't have a name yet and I'm sure it ever will, but from now, every now and then, I'm either going to be sharing some of favourite bargain buys with you or I'm going to pointing you in of the direction of some of my favourite sales, free gifts and discounts.

It's a bank holiday weekend here in the UK, and I know for a lot of that one of your favourite bank holiday activities is to go shopping, well if you're after a new perfume or a fragrance for yourself or  for someone you love then it might be worth heading to the The Fragrance Shop.


If you go online, or you pop into any branch between 12pm and 2pm, until Monday then you can get 15% off everything, and that includes high end fragrances from Tom Ford, Chanel, and Dior! Better still if you're a fellow North Easterner then pop into the Intu Eldon Square store and you'll get some free samples with your purchase. A discount and some free samples? what more could you want! If your not lucky enough to live up north then you can find your nearest branch of The Fragrance Shop via their website.

That reminds me, I really must do an updated perfume collection video, I wear perfume every single day and it safe to say that I'm a bit of a fragrance addict, in fact I actually currently have a perfume wishlist! Should I succumb to temptation or should I hang on for a couple of weeks and see what the birthday fairies bring? Decisions, decisions! x I'm always looking for new fragrance recommendations so let me your favourites in the comments x

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Friday, 28 April 2017

Intu Metrocentre Fashion Live Spring / Summer 2017 VIP Event*

As an established blogger I'm lucky to get invited to the occasional blog event, I've worked hard to establish my blog over the years but even now invites and samples aren't something that I take for granted and I really do appreciate how lucky and how privileged I am.

When I first started blogging over 10 years ago, blogger events were few and far between, and up in the wilds of northern England, they were almost non existent. Thankfully over the years things have changed, and brands, companies and even individuals are now recognising the power of the blog and the influence and the power of real people.


Nowhere in the north east has embraced the power of the blogger more than Intu Metrocentre. and this week I was lucky enough to attend a VIP preview of this weekends, Spring / Summer 2017 Fashion Live Event.


All of the previous Fashion Live events have been themed and this one was no different, think tropical beach bar, come kitsch heaven and you're probably thinking along the right line. With contributions from various retailers including Wilko, and Primark, the team had created a truly tropical, and exotic setting, with light up palm trees, ball pools, pineapples, deckchairs, and flamingos! A lot of bloggers I know are slightly obsessed with Flamingos and at this event they were in their element. There were literally flamingos everywhere from the inflatable pool float, to the string lights, to the napkins, and even the pick n mix bags.
This season Intu Metrocentre have made a return to the traditional catwalk styles shows for their Fashion Live events and as much as I've really enjoyed their other events I really do enjoy the buzz that I get from witnessing a proper fashion show. Shooting a proper catwalk show though is hard especially when your camera skills, like me are shall we say, lacking something so we all had the opportunity to give ourselves a pre show energy boost, with some food and drinks. Everything had a slightly exotic feel with fruit kebabs, doughnuts made to look like pineapples, mini cupcakes, and a range of chilli bowls from the fabulous team at Barburrito. Drinks were on hand courtesy of TGI Fridays and we choose from some mini milkshakes, some mocktails and a cocktail or two. I was trying to be good and I only had a couple of fruit kebabs, so I couldn't resist trying one of TGI's signature cocktails, the Apple Passion - a mixture of blue curacao, passion fruit and apple juices, and black vodka, and I also had a mini Birthday Cake Shake which was incredible. Forget about the food I'm going to TGI Fridays to drink cocktails and shakes - they really were that good!

At 7pm at was time to take our place on the FROW and wait for the show to start. We were welcomed by our host for the evening, the lovely @Ladyannafoster from BBC Radio Newcastle, clad in Top Shop and New Look and whose hair had been freshly styled by SHOW Beauty in House Of Fraser, then it was cameras at the ready and the show began.


The fashion show showcased a wide variety of Spring and Summer looks, from stores throughout the centre including Top Shop, Burton, Karen Millen, Accessorize, New Look, Cath Kidston, Primark, Tessuti, Miss Selfridge, House Of Fraser and Coast. On show was everything from swimwear, to beach wear, and occasion wear. There were so many beautiful things on show, covering all of the major trends from prints and florals, to stripes, lace and colour blocking.


Top Shop 


Karen Millen


New Look Men



Cath Kidston

video

Tessuti


video

Miss Selfridge


Coast

As you can see there were some fabulous pieces on display, I literally fell in love with everything from Coast, and Karen Millen, I just wish I had a wedding or a special occasion to attend this summer. I also loved the prints at Cath Kidston and the navy blue jumpsuit at Karen Millen. There really was something for everyone and all occasions. 

So if you're up in the North East and you fancy your own FROW experience, then pop down to Intu Metrocentre this weekend, and head to Town Square. There will be four shows a day both tomorrow and on Sunday, so brave the bank holiday shoppers and pop in for a bit of fashion inspiration. You can find out more information and show times on the Intu Metrocentre website. If you are popping in this weekend don't forget to pick up one of the leaflets that are at the customer service points and dotted around the centre to grab yourself some bank holiday weekend discounts. This season Intu Metrocentre have also teamed with a fabulous North East based charity St Oswalds Hospice, so if you want to make some room in your wardrobe for all the new things that you want to buy then you can pick up a donation bag at all of the customer services desks. You can find out all about the fabulous work that St Oswalds do, and find your local branch via their website.



I just want to say thank you again to everyone at Intu Metrocentre for the opportunity to flamingle and for hosting such an amazing event, and I also want to think all of the companies and brands that contributed to the amazing show bags, that included amongst lots of other lovely things, a shampoo and conditioner from SHOW Beauty, beauty samples from Murad, L'Occitane and Urban Decay, a shoe care kit from Ecco, sweeties, candles from Primark and Skandinavisk and an amazing fabric Intu Flamingo bag x 

Is your wardrobe Spring and Summer ready yet? Has this post given you any ideas? Let me know in the comments x 

*Press / Blogger Event



Sunday, 23 April 2017

Glamorous Hair With SHOW Beauty And SHOW Beauty Lux Volume*

Time flies when you're having fun doesn't it and thanks to the bank holiday and the indulgences of Easter, it's hard to believe that's it been nearly two weeks now since I was invited down to the SHOW Beauty concession in House Of Fraser.


I love bargain beauty when it comes to haircare as much as the next person, and in my bathroom you'll see everything from bargain basement £1 shampoos, to pricier trichologist led brands and guess what? they all do the job they are designed for pretty well, they all leave you with clean and presentable hair but in a lot of cases they seem to lack that bit of pzazz.

Why should an everyday task like washing and styling your hair be boring and mundane, like so many other tasks in beauty we all want to be spoilt and pampered, and we want to experience just that little bit of luxury on a daily basis.


If that's what you're looking for then SHOW Beauty is the brand for you. Founded by the ever glamorous and stylish socialite Tamera Ecclestone, with designer lead fragrances, and exquisite packaging, SHOW beauty provides a range of haircare products that take the mundane to the magnificent.


Last week I was invited along to Intu Metrocentre to find out more about SHOW Beauty, their products and to celebrate the launch of their new Lux Volume range.  After being greeted with bubbly and canapes,  I  had a good chance to talk to some of the lovely ladies from SHOW about the new launches, and about exactly what makes SHOW so special.


Yes the products look amazing but packaging alone doesn't sell a product, and it's clear that the brand concentrates as much on its formulations as it does on it's designer packaging and fragrances. All of the products are formulated with highest calibre of ingredients, including the caviar and white truffle extracts that pop up in the new Lux Volume range.


The whole aim of the range is to care for and repair you hair whilst giving it that body, bounce and fullness, without weighing it down or leaving it heavy or sticky. The lovely people at SHOW kindly gifted us a full size shampoo and conditioner that retail at £30 each to try, so I will be reviewing both of these for you and another SHOW product that I own in due course


As well as offering a wide range of luxurious products that you can use to pamper yourself in your own bathroom, SHOW also offer a range of pampering styling options that are available in both their standalone salons, and in some of their department store concessions.


They offer a wide range of quick, styling options from a basic revitalising blow dry to up do's, curls and braids that are perfect for that special occasion be it a wedding, a party, a prom, or even for a date with that special someone.

All of the bloggers and journalists that attended last weeks event were lucky enough to receive a complimentary express styling session courtesy of the SHOW Beauty team. On the night I saw everything from top knots, to waves, up do's and curls, but seeing as my hair was looking a little bit windswept my stylist suggest some crown braids.


I really struggle when it comes to braiding my own hair so it was fabulous to see a real master (or mistress ;) at work. My stylist used SHOW's fabulous non chalky Dry Shampoo which contains tapioca and rice starch, and a host of amazing smelling botanical extracts including kiwi, mango, aloe, and ginger lily, to give my hair a bit of texture, before finishing off my beautiful braids with one of SHOW's most popular products their non sticky, weightless Finishing Spray which contains vitamin B, lychee, and wheat proteins.


Unfortunately I didn't actually take my own camera so all of these photos were taken on my mobile, thankfully though one of my fellow bloggers, the lovely Amy Rebair took this amazing photo of the back of my hair, which really shows the intricacy of the braids, and my multi coloured hair eek :)


I absolutely loved the style that the team created, and I'm going to be honest and say that it broke my heart to take it out. What surprised my though when I took the braids out though, apart from the amount of the volume that the style had given my hair, was how soft it felt, there was no stickiness or stiffness, which shows the quality of the products that the team used.

SHOW Beauty isn't just a haircare brand, you're buying into a lifestyle, and way of thinking. This brand is about real indulgence, whether you're having your own spa like, pampering experience in your own bathroom, or whether your treating yourself to blow dry to cheer yourself up after a rubbish day at work or spoiling yourself with a special up do for a day at the races, this brand is all about you, and making yourself feel special in one of the easiest ways possible, with a good hair day.

You can find out more about SHOW Beauty stockists, styling services, and products via their own website, and you can also find concessions with styling services in selected Harvey Nichols and House Of Fraser stores including Intu Metrocentre. If you aren't lucky enough to have a counter near you though you can also buy SHOW Beauty products online from various retailers including Selfridges, Harrods and lookfantastic.

Have you tried anything from SHOW Beauty before? Let me know your thoughts in the comments x

*Press / Blogger Event