Saturday, 22 October 2016

Another Home Haul - Candles, Lighting And More

Have you ever had one of those days where you just can't concentrate on anything, and where if someone asked you your name, you wouldn't be able to remember it? Well I think I'm having one of those weeks! Last night I started uploading a You Tube video only to notice this morning that I'd actually updated the wrong one! Argh bigger disasters at sea I suppose, so instead of getting a Primark haul, today your getting another collective home haul instead. Of course I hadn't edited any of the photos that I needed, so guess what I've spent all afternoon doing!

It's been a bit dull and rainy this afternoon though, so I've been chilling out with a few candles lit and working on my tappy lappy, as mum affectionately calls it. it therefore makes sense to start off this haul with a few (or a lot of) scented candles.

In the last home haul that I posted I showed you a lovely hamper of Yankee Candles from QVC that I'd picked up on auto delivery, well just before I'd finished that post my second Yankee Candle 39 Piece Seasonal Hamper arrived.

Again it came beautifully packaged in a sturdy canvas storage basket, and like before it contained, 12 of Yankee's famous votive / sampler candlers. You got two of each in the following autumnal fragrances, Autumn Nights, Sweet Apple, Ebony and Oak, Rhubarb Crumble, Honey Clementine and Cranberry Pear.

It also contained two green bucket style, glass votive holders, and two boxes of 12 tea lights, in the Autumn Night and Honey Clementine fragrances.

I've got to be honest and say that are a few fragrances in this drop, that just aren't me, I'm still going to burn them and try them though, and if I don't like them, I may hold a little Yankee Candle giveaway later in the year. Last time I looked this kit was actually still available on QVC UK all be it for a higher price than what I paid. I think there kits are a great way to try some new fragrances, and I'm in love with a couple of new discoveries, Cranberry Pear and Rhubarb Crumble. If you can't get your hands on this kit, most of these fragrances should be available from various other Yankee Candle retailers.

Although I love my Yankee Candles,  over the last few months I have been trying to try out a few different candle brands, and after buying my mum one of their Parma Violet fragranced candles for her birthday, I recently bought myself a candle from Flamingo Candles, in the fragrance Mango and Dragonfruit.

Believe me this smells as good as it sounds, sweet, tangy and mouthwateringly fruity. I love the sparkly acrylic flamingo on the jar and I'm in love with this candle. I got mine from the Littlewoods catalogue website but you can also buy Flamingo Candles from various retailers and of course from their own website.

Someone that I have tried candles from in the past is NEXT, I particularly love their Festive Spice fragranced candles and reed diffusers and I've also been pretty happy with the other fragrances that I've tried from them but for a change I decided to try out some of their other festive fragrances.

Beautifully packaged in triangle, tree like box,  tied with a ribbon, this set of 6 fragranced candles, which was just £12 would make a perfect gift.

The box contained 6 candles packaged in different coloured, mercury glass votives, which you could probably reuse. All of the fragrances have a festive feel, and include, Gingerbread, Figgy Pudding, Under The Mistletoe, Cream Liqueur, Mulled Wine and Roasted Chestnut.

Each candle burns for around 15 hours and whilst some of them don't smell quite as I expected, you get a really nice selection of fruity, warming, fresh and woody scents. All of the candles in this box are available in a larger size and I've already bought Mulled Wine in the full size. Many moons ago Yankee Candles produced a fragrance, also called Mulled Wine which I loved, and this is the closest fragrance that I've ever found to it. Please can we have this one in a reed diffuser too, NEXT, pretty please!

I do love a reed diffuser, they make a great substitute for conventional air fresheners, and get a good one and you can easily fragrance a whole room, or even a house without the need to too many chemicals or a naked flame. I do love NEXT's for ever day and for their festive scents, but again I always come to a Yankee and one of my favourite ever fragrances from them, is Lemon Lavender.

Yankee do a couple of different types of diffuser but I do love the traditional candle jar look of this one. I can easily get a couple of months out of one of these in my room, they key is to just keep turning the reeds to refresh the fragrance.

I think I'm going to leave this one in storage till after Christmas now though, as I'm currently in a very foodie, fruity and festive fragrance mood at the moment, hence this purchase of yet another candle!

Although I love Yankee and other brands for their quality and burn time, I couldn't resist this Poundworld purchase. This is a lovely fruity fragrance that is supposedly reminiscent of a Powdered Blueberry Krispy Kreme, have never personally smelled one i can't say but this certainly smells edible! These can't actually that bad for the price I've had a few under the Betty Crocker, Skittles and Chewits branding and they all provide a pleasant if intimate fragrance.

Ahh I do love a pound shop, and although it is still a tiny bit early, I've recently picked up a few things from Poundland's Christmas range.

Ho Ho Ho indeed, I couldn't resist this Santa mug, made of ceramic, it has a cute little slot underneath for your biscuit. There isn't a huge amount of space for drink but I think that this would be perfect for little people.

Over the years I've managed to accumulate quite a few festive character tea light holders from Poundland, and this little fella is my newest addition. I prefer to use these with battery operated tea lights, but obviously you can also use them with a real flame.

Open any interiors magazine and something that seems to be bigger than ever before is lighting. For many years, lighting was an essential but now it's become a trend and more often than not a design feature in the home. I love a bit of mood lighting and the next few pieces that I'm going to show you are about the light.

The first buy is again from Poundland's festive range, and it's another set of battery operated string lights. They have some lovely ones at the moment, and the majority of them to me could be used all round. My mum's already picked up a set of white wooden star lights but I loved this retro looking light bulb string.

I love my fairy lights but at the moment I'm also loving initial lights I already have one but this one that I picked up from Studio was just £9.99 and it was very different to the one that I already have

It's make of wood and it has a smaller, squatter shape than my other Primark metal L. Again it's battery operated and the LED lights are also quite small. As well as the entire alphabet they also have a variety of numbers too.

Something else that I got from Studio, was a Cinematic Lightbox. These are absolutely everywhere at the moment, and I've so many bloggers with them, that it was inevitable that I would jump on the bandwagon.

This one which is around an A4 size was £14.99 and contained 71 letter, number and punctuation tiles. You can get these cheaper but it's better to shop around a little bit. Some of of them are smaller, and some of them don't contain that many tiles. This one don't contain enough letter U's of all things so I had a little look on eBay and i managed to get myself another couple of sets of letters.

The next couple of things that I got from Studio were from my bedroom. First up something pretty boring - this rubber doorstop which was just 99p.

You can get doorstops pretty much anywhere, but I loved the flower detail on this one, my bedroom door has an annoying habit of slamming when any of the upstairs windows are opened so I'm hoping this quirky doorstep will keep it still.

Next up bedding, I didn't really need another duvet set but I loved the colours and the floral pattern on this one, which was just £11.99 for the double set and also from Studio.

Not the best picture I'm afraid but this is what it looks like on the bed. If you're not a Studio customer, B&M stores have the same set for a slightly pricier £14.99.

I love my bedroom pretties and when I saw this particular product on the H&M website, I added it straight to my basket.

I love my pineapples and I now have a display of all my pineapple candles, and trinket boxes on one of my new IKEA Helmer's. This large glass and gold tone glass jar was £7.99 and it also came in a few plain colours.

From sensible pretties, to fun and silly, and another few purchases from Tiger Stores. Like pineapples, Cacti have been everywhere this year, on cushions, clothing and even on the humble eraser.

This one was just £1 and it has major kitsch appeal, I don't think I'll ever use it, but I love a bit of quirky stationery, speaking of which..

I love my daisies and this quirky set just appealed. Again from Tiger, it's a plastic daisy case which contained a variety of mini stationery bits including a mini stapler and staples, mini scissors, a mini highlighter pen, a mini sellotape dispenser, and some mini sticky note page markers.

My final purchase in this haul and from Tiger, was a bit of silly one, a set of make your own paper flowers. I love my crafting and to be honest I haven't done enough of it lately. This kit makes a variety of layered paper flowers which you can then go on to use as card toppers or in scrap booking.

I know that was a pretty extensive and candle filled haul, and whilst it wasn't what I intended to post today I hope you enjoyed it or found it useful x You can watch the offending video below or via this link, so don't forget to have a watch and of course subscribe x

If you have any questions on any of my buys, or if you fancy linking me up to your own home and lifestyle video and post then leave me a comment below x

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Intu Metrocentre A/W 2016 Style Garden - #IntuFashion

Although I love the sunshine and the warmth of summer, I think that there is a part of me that secretly loves the darker nights, and the colder weather. Pretty dresses, and florals definitely have a place in my wardrobe but whether it's down to a lack of body confidence or just my personal taste, I just can't wait to start piling on the layers and dressing for the autumn and winter months.

Just because you're dressing for warmth and comfort though, it doesn't mean that you have to be boring, integrate a few on trend pieces into your wardrobe, and you can bring even your oldest jeans up to date in an instant, and face the autumn and winter with a bit more style in your step.

Fashion can be a minefield though, there are so many new trends and items out there that it is difficult to know where to start. This week though I got a bit of a helping hand and some pointers on what fashion and accessory will work for me and you, this autumn and winter season.

On Monday night I headed to one of my favourite place in the world (sad I know!) the Intu Metrocentre, to attend their Autumn / Winter Style Garden Blogger Event. I've attended a few of these events now and I've always enjoyed them and found them really informative, and this event was no different.

Situated in the main town square, outside of House Of Fraser, we were greeted with the same cube, that made it's debut way back in April. This time festooned in autumn leaves, the art installation like cube showcased a series of outfits, from some of the centre's major retailers.

Like last time the cube takes centre stage for this weekends fashion shows, but since this was a special blogger event, we were treated to an extended sitting room layout, featuring tables, throws, cushions and leather sofas from some of the Metrocentre's interior and gift retailers, HandPICKED, and Baytree Interiors, and beautiful vases of flowers from the centre's own florists, The Rebel Flower Company


As gorgeous as the home wear and the interiors pieces were though, this was a fashion event, and this beautiful scene was scatters with lots of beautiful fashion and accessory pieces, including these boots from Ecco.

There were also bags and accessories from Dorothy Perkins, Cath Kidston, Biba, and this gorgeous bag from Kate Spade.

and this full outfit from the iconic and fabulous Vivienne Wetstwood.

Once we'd had a little look round, and made ourselves comfortable it was time for the one of the highlights of the evening, as Intu Metrocentre's Style Adviser Michaela Dale, took to the stage.

Michaela had trawled the centre and chose some of her key pieces for the Autumn and Winter season. As i said before it's not necessarily about buying a whole new outfit, it's about picking a few pieces that will update your old favourites and bring them right up to date, and that's exactly what Michaela showed us how to do.

I was really please to see a wide variety of size, and budget options represented in the pieces that Michaela had chosen.  There were pieces from Primark, French Connection, Warehouse, Biba at House Of Fraser, and Cath Kidston, and like the dress below she also showcased a few pieces from Simply Be, including a blouse that I've now gone on to purchase.

Michaela had chosen pieces to represent the 5 key trends that she, and the style time have identified for Autumn and Winter 2016, the trends include the pretty self explanatory Animal Print, Midnight Sparkle, Purple Reign and Velvet Dreams and my personal favourite trend Heritage Checks, with it's textures, prints, and earthy colour palette.

We were then treated to a mini fashion show with two beautiful models, showing us how to put together some different looks and interpret the trends.

After a warm round of applause, Michaela and the models then past the baton on to some other speakers from some of House Of Frasers most prestigious brands, including luxury British leather goods brand, Aspinal Of London.

Despite only being founded in 2001, Aspinal of London, is very much viewed a heritage brand, their bags and leather goods, are seen on the arms of celebrities, royalty and pretty much anyone that recognises quality in it's highest form. All of the bags are quite classic, and some of them have an almost vintage look to them, but there is a lot more than meets the eye in most cases. A lot of the bags in the Aspinal range, can be used with something unique to them a tech charger which charges your phones and mobile devices on the go. They aren't just beautiful to look at, they're practical too. My favourite by far is the beautiful croc embossed tote / bowling bag that you can see in the foreground, the perfect size, it comes in a variety of finishes, and you can even get the straps and the bags embossed with your essentials. 

I hope Santa is listening to my rather loud hints but somehow I doubt it ;) It doesn't matter though because Aspinal were kind enough to gift all of the attending blogger with a little piece, which was just enough to make me personally want more.

Packaged in a beautiful bag and box, that just screamed quality, we were lucky enough to receive a beautiful small, black pebble leather zipped pouch, that you can also use as a coin purse.

With a chunky gold zip, and gold embossed branding, the quality is excellent, it's fully lined and it's beautiful. I think I'm going to be using it as a coin purse, and I'm really looking forward to using and pulling a little bit of luxury out of my bag.

Speaking of beauty and luxury we also had a talk from some of the lovely ladies from the House Of Fraser, Thomas Sabo concession. Whilst I was familiar with Thomas Sabo's charm bracelets and charm pieces, on Monday night the ladies introduced up to their Love Bridge / Love Coins range. This range is all about personalisation and customisation. They offer a variety of different chains, a choice of different metals, and a choice of pendants in different shapes and even a choice of pendants with crystal or diamond detailing.  Every one of the pendants in this range can also be engraved, free of charge, with a choice of around 50 different initials, and symbols.

The lovely people at Thomas Sabo were kind enough to give us a gorgeous goodie bag full of treats, including a make up bag, a beautiful velvet jewellery roll, and a sample of their Charm Club Forever fragrance.

If that wasn't enough we were also kindly gifted, a beautiful sterling silver bracelet, with a Love Coin, heart shaped pendant hanging from it.

This bracelet charm can be engraved at the House Of Fraser concession with an initial or symbol of our choice. I love the idea of this so much and for me it's happened at just the right time. Their are so many things to choose from I just need to pick a symbol, that means something to me or that reminds me of someone or something.

After Thomas Sabo we also had a couple of brief talks from some more of House Of Fraser's prestigious concessions including Tom Ford fragrance, and the watch department where we found a little bit more about the Michael Kors Access and the Fossil Q smart watches, which have the functionality of an Apple Watch but with a more stylish appearance.

Finally after the presentations we had a chance to talk to some of the experts, and we had a chance to enjoy some lovely cocktails, mocktails and canapes courtesy of Carluccio's which is one of the newest additions to the centre's must luxurious section, the Platinum Mall.

Then sadly it was time to leave all of the beautiful clothing, accessories and home wear behind and head home. We'd already been spoilt rotten from both Aspinal and Thomas Sabo, but we were also lucky enough to get another good bag which contained a copy of the new Intu Metrocentre magazine, a Yankee Candle from Candle Essence, shoe care products from Ecco, Tom Ford Fragrance samples, truffles and cookies from the lovely people at Carluccio's and a whole host of vouchers.

I really can't thank the team from Intu Metrocentre enough for hosting such an informative and enjoyable evening and of course I can't think Aspinal, Thomas Sabo, and the other brands involved for their time, their knowledge. and their generosity.

Alas this was a blogger only event but don't worry you can still pop down to Intu Metrocentre this weekend to watch some of the Style Garden fashion shows, and to find out a little bit more about the fashion brands and the trends that the centre has to offer, and if you're not luck enough to live up North like I do, then have a look and see what's going on at your local Intu shopping centre. If you have any questions please leave me a comment x Thanks for reading x 

*Blogger Event

Saturday, 15 October 2016

An Overdue Collective High End Beauty Haul And Reviews

What can say, apart from welcome to the most overdue haul in history. I think I bought the first item in this haul at the end of April, and ever since then most of these bits have sitting waiting for their moment in the spotlight, so all I can say is I'm sorry for the delay, but as the saying goes better late then never.

I'm going to start with the first thing that I bought nail polish. If you're a nail polish obsessive like me then you will know that the majority of high end, and professional nail polish brands, release limited edition collections several times a year, and earlier this year OPI released their New Orleans collection. Normally I just pick up the odd colour that shouts out to me from each collection but in this case I really couldn't decide which shades that I wanted so I bought them all.

Retailing at around £12.50 a bottle, buying the full collection would have been a bit excessive, thankfully though QVC were selling a limited edition boxed set of all 12 polishes in the 3.75ml mini size. As much as love looking at all of my full sized polished, I have to be honest and say that I do love a mini, you can buy more of them and lets face it how many full sized nail polishes have you actually finished!

In fitting with the city itself, the OPI New Orleans collection is full of bright, vibrant colours with a few classics thrown, think of all of the strands of beads at Mardi Gras and you're about there.  I love my purples and blues and this kit contains some real beauties including I Manicure For Beads, Rich Girls And Po Boys, and Show Us Your Tips. You've also got a bright green in I'm Sooo Swamped, a metallic taupe, in Take A Right On Bourbon, and a whole row of pink, peaches, and corals including the fabulously named She's A Bad Muffuletta!

Unfortunately this kit was a limited edition, so QVC don't seem to stock it any more, but if you have a little look online or check with your nearest OPI stockist, then you might still be able to buy some of these shades in the full size. Obviously I be posting some nails of the days in the weeks and months, so if there is any particular colour that you would like to see first then please let me know x

Over the last few months I've also picked up a few of my nail care essentials including a new bottle of Avoplex Cuticle Oil, and a new Leighton Denny Crystal Nail File. Both of these products are real staples in my nail care routine and if I can't find either of them I get a bit twitchy. I've also been trawling the discount beauty stall in Intu Metrocentre and I've recently picked up a couple of Nails Inc Limited Edition polishes including this pretty floral, Queensgate Gardens, that you can see below

I love my pretties and something that I couldn't resist when it I saw it on QVC in April, was this gorgeous highlighting palette from US brand Tarte.

From their Rainforest Of The Sea collection, the Skin Twinkle Lighting Palette is beautifully packaged and it contains 3 highlighting shades

On the left you have Sunlight, a gorgeous pale golden champagne shimmer. The middle shade is Filtered Light, which rather unusually is a matte shade, it's a sort of pale, creamy sand colour and finally on the right you have Moonlight, which is just a touch warmer is officially described as a rosy pearl.

All of these shades are silky soft and feel almost invisible on the skin.  Hopefully as you can see below even with with the matte shade Filtered Light the pigmentation is excellent.

Although Tarte are having a Today's Special Value day on QVCUK today, this palette doesn't seem to be in stock but I have been told that I might be back in the UK in the Spring, if you can't wait that long though then this palette is still available on the Sephora website and on Tarte's own website which also ships to the UK.

Whilst I still wish that Tarte was one of those brands that we could buy in a bricks and mortar store, I do like the fact that with QVC you always to get such a good deal on brands such as Tarte and Laura Geller. You normally get a bit of a price reduction or you get an extra thrown in. With this particular palette you also received the Rainforest Of The Sea Double Ended Highlighter Brush. In a beautiful metallic ombre design, this synthetic brush features a short, precision brush on one end and on the other end you have a fluffy angled brush. I have a few Tarte brushes in my collection now and they are all soft,  silky and strokeable. Again this particular brush is no longer on the QVC UK website but again it is available on both the Tarte and the Sephora website.

I love pretty things when it comes to make up but there is no point in apply pretty colours if you base isn't right. The last few products in this haul are all about creating that perfect canvas, through your make up base and through your skincare.

All of the product that I'm going to show you now, and all purchases that I was inspired to make after the Spring, Style Garden event and Intu Metrocentre earlier this year (You can read more about the event here). I going to go a bit out of sync though and I'm going to start with a foundation and probably the most expensive foundation that I've ever bought.

I own foundations at all different price points, and to me a higher price doesn't always mean a better product but in this case it is. At the Style Garden event I was lucky enough to have a mini Giorgio Armani Cosmetics makeover, and in an instant I fell in love with the foundation that the make up artist used on me. I debated and debated but eventually that little mink LouLou my alter convinced me to spend £42 of my birthday money on a bottle of foundation. It was a lot of money but I really do love the effect and the wear time on my often oil slick prone skin. This is the Giorgio Armani Designer Lift Foundation in Shade 5. If you would like to see a full review of this foundation then let me know, and I'd be happy to do one for you.

My visit to the intu Style Garden also led to another couple of purchases, and they are purchases that have since became real staples in my skincare routine. After the event I was lucky enough to go for a Kiehls facial and skincare analysis. I thoroughly enjoyed the facial and instead of introducing ever single product that they recommended at once I decided to try two product to tackle one of my problem areas, my pores.

The first product that I got is one that I've used religiously every week since I got it. The Kiehl's Rare Earth Pure Cleansing Masque which retails at around £21.50  for a 125ml tub.

I love a good clay mask, and this one which is crammed full Amazonian white clay, and soothing aloe vera, and oatmeal, leaves the skin feeling super clean, and really, really smooth, and refreshed, and it even seems to help clear up spots and blemishes. I apply it with a mask brush so a little goes a long way, that said I'm already half way down the pot!

After trying out a little sample I also decided to try the corresponding moisturiser, the Kiehl's Rare Earth Pore Minimising Lotion, which retails at around £26 for 75ml. This lightweight moisturising lotion acts and both a moisturiser and as a primer. Like the mask it's full of Amazonian White Clay, which helps to absorb excess oil, and to refine and smooth the skin. It's pretty lightweight and it's definitely not for you, if your skin is on the drier side, but since I'm combining it with night time facial oils, it's been a perfect addition to my spring and summer skincare regime. I love both of these products so much that the moisturiser has already featured in one of my beauty favourites videos.

As well as the products that I bought  I also got quite a few sample sachets to try, including the Midnight Recover Eye, Midnight Recovery Concentrate, Ultra Light Daily UV Defence Sunscreen SPF 50 PA +++, and 3 sachets of the Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate. Kiehl's are very generous with the sample so you might see some of those in a future sample Saturday post.

As per usual I've made a little You Tube so you listen to me prattle on about what I've bought so you can watch it below or via this link x

I still have so much to show you haul wise, the picture below might just give you a taster but all of my future haul post will be combined haul and review post so I can (cue horrible saying!) kill two birds with the one stone! I've got lots of Benefit goodies to show you, including some of their newest releases, I've also got some Jay Manuel products, some Kat Von D, some KIKO, some Charlotte Tilbury, some more OPI products and much, much more to show you over the next few months so make sure you're following for your beauty fix.

In the meantime if you have any questions or comments on anything on this haul, then please leave me a comment x Thanks for reading.