Thursday, 30 July 2015

A Huge, Collective Clothing, Shoes And Jewelley Haul

Hi all, I'm back with another haul post for you and this time it's a clothing, shoe and accessory haul x I've got quite a bit of stuff to show you so I'll cut out the rambling and get started.

First up shirts or blouses or whatever else you want to call them. They are my latest obsession and I'm particularly loving bright shirts that I can throw on over a pair of jeans. Last month I showed you a gorgeous sheer white shirt with neon floral print that I bought from Litttlewoods (see it here), well I loved the shirt so much that I went back on the site and found and ordered two very similar shirts.

The first shirt that I got is in a sheer white material but this time, it covered in a bright, floral, rose design. It also has a solid white collarr, and a solid white covered button placket. This is the shirt that I'm wearing in the accompanying video later on in this post and it was £35.

The next shirt that I got was also from the Definitions brand at Littlewoods (and Very). Again it's in a sheer white fabric but this time it's covered in a random pink and purple almost paint splash design that resembles flowers and birds if you let your mind wander a bit :) This one was £34.

I'm really loving these sheer shirts at the moment. Yes, you probably do need to wear a camisole or a vest underneath them but they look so cool and smart for the summer, just throw them on with pair of leggings or some skinny jeans, and some heels or some sandals and you're good to go.'

Sticking with the shirt theme I also got something slightly more sensible, I was looking through my wardrobe and to be honest something was missing - a good, classic white shirt, I've got a couple but they've definitely seen better days so I ordered a couple from Next. One of them was a bit too boring and went straight back, but this military style shirt was definitely more versatile. Made from a slightly stretchy, self stripe fabric, this shirt will work equally well with a smart black skirt like I wore it with today, as it would with a pair of jeans and some boots. This one was £28 which I think is great value for something that I'll get a lot of wear out of.

From something that's subtle and classic to two pieces that are bright, eye catching and in your face! Last month I also showed you a top that I'd purchased from QVC and more specifically from the Wearable Art By Bob Mackie line (take a little peek here to refresh your memory) I loved the psychedelic patterns and colour so much so that I had a little look in the clearance section on the website and I bought two more brightly coloured, and patterned pieces.

They always say that if you like something you should buy it in every colour, well I didn't quite buy it every colour but I did buy the same top in two different colours. With a geometric, almost Aztec and daisy print, I got this top in both a pink and lilac combination and in a fabulous almost periwinkle blue and green.

These tops are made of a gorgeous lightweight, almost slinky type fabric which feels lovely and cool against the skin. I paid less than £20 each for them which I think is pretty good for the quality of the product and for their originality and exclusivity.

Next up H&M and I couldn't resist a little sale and non sale order. The first item that I got was in the sale and it was the blush pink version of the navy blue skirt that I bought here x

Again it has an elasticated waist, and two front patch pockets. This was £12 in the sale reduced from £24.99 and it's still available online.

As well as the skirt I also got one full price clothing item x This short chiffon kimono comes from the Divided line and was only £7.99

It originally came in a variety of different designs but this geometric, Aztec design is the only one that's still available. I really like short boleros, shrugs and kimonos for covering the top of my arms when I'm wearing a vest or a camisole. This really is a multi coloured piece and I think it would work well with a variety of different colour camis.

Next up a scarf, and although I don't wear them anywhere near as much as I used to I'm still slightly obsessed with neck wear.

Alas this pretty navy blue floral scarf isn't online anymore, but it was just £2 so it's worth having a look in store if you fancy it.

My final H&M purchases were all jewellery pieces including this gorgeous, statement bracelet which was just £4 in the sale.

It's a basic silver tone clamp bangle with a beautiful, eye catching, opalescent and sparkly faux crystal design.

I also got some earrings including this mismatched four pack which was only £3.

This gold tone set contains a small stud, a small circle design, an ear cuff, and a little crystal star on a hoop.

I also got a full price set of 9 pairs of earrings. The set contains 3 crystal pairs, 3 faux pearl pairs, and some gold tone ball studs and gold tone knot pair, and they were just £3.99

Next up Avon, and over the past month I've picked up a couple of their bracelets including this one.

The picture isn't great but it's multiple strands of navy blue waxed cord, with a gold tone fastening, and attached to the cords are tiny gold tone and crystal flowers which move freely along the cords. The design reminds me a lot of some of the Folli Follie flower pieces, but this was a lot more purse friendly. Unfortunately I can't find this bracelet online or in the most recent brochure but it's worth keeping an eye out when a sale supplement pops through the door.

Something that is still available though is this Irlana Bracelet which is currently on special at £5. What these are, are oval natural gemstones attached to different coloured adjustable cords, with different coloured findings. There are 4 different stones to choose from but I went for the Cream Quartzite which represents Health - believe me I need all the help I can get! This semi precious stone comes on a black cord and features gold tone detailing

I love this bracelet and I can definitely see myself buying a few more colours, next on my wishlist is the Chalcedony which represents love -awww x

My final jewellery purchase comes from ebay and it's an inspirational quote necklace. It comes in a silver tone and features a circular double sided pendant. I'm not sure how well you can see it but one side is engraved / embossed with the words " Life The Life You Love"

and the other side features the words "Learn From Yesterday Live For Today Hope For Tomorrow"

I love quotes, and inspirational sayings and this necklace was only 99p including postage from this seller .

My name is Louise and I'm a shoe a holic, well I'm not as bad as I used to be but I still love my shoes, and despite getting rid of numerous pairs, I still probably have more than one person will ever need. That hasn't stopped me buying some more though and over the last few weeks I've picked two more pairs.

Yes more Mel's, My black rubber ballet pumps with huge bows on the toes are probably my most worn shoes of 2015, so I decided that another similar pair would be a worthwhile investment. Again in a black, bubblegum scented rubber, instead of a bow these ones have a cut out heart on the toes.

I paid £36 for these ones from Dorothy Perkins, which isn't cheap but for me they're well worth it. They are comfortable and based on my experience, they wear really well, and always look box fresh.

From some quirky but classic ballet pumps, to some fun and summery sandals from New Look, via ASOS,

I love anything sparkly, holographic and metallic and these strappy sandals fit the bill perfectly. They're quite simple and feature just two simple, fixed straps, but they are in the most gorgeous silvery, holographic faux leather. These sandals were just £.9.99 and whilst I'm not sure how much wear I'll get out of them this year, I couldn't resist their metallic prettiness.

If you want to see all of the items in this haul in more detail and you want to listen to me rambling on, then please have a little watch of the accompanying You Tube video below, if you're on a mobile device though you can also find the video here x

So that was my pretty epic, collective clothing, shoe and jewellery haul, If you have any questions, you know the drill - leave me a comment below and I'll get back to you x Thanks for reading  x

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

My Weight Loss Journey Featuring XLS Medical Max Strength* - Part 2

It's been a little while since I posted a weight loss update so I thought it was about I did a little post to let you know whats been going on.

I started my new weight loss programme with XLS Medical Max Strength, with a huge amount of enthusiasm and willpower and by the time I published my first post, which you can read here, I'd already lost 5lbs, fast forward over a month and a half later I'm only 8lbs down, so what happened?

Well the usual thing for me - illness. The chest and lung infection from hell, attacked my system for over 3 weeks, so dieting was pretty much out of the question, my immune system was shot and it needed all the help it could get. Throw in a family bereavement and another relative being in intensive care and to be honest I'm surprised that the scales are still showing an overall loss.

From this week though I'm back on it, I'm keeping an eye on my calorie intake, I'm keeping a food diary and or course I've started taking my XLS Max Strength supplements again.

I promised in my last post that I'd tell you a little bit more about the supplements and how they work, so here we go x I'm not going into too much detail but basically what XLS Medical Max Strength is, is weight loss aid that can help users reach their weight loss goals up to 4 times faster than diet and exercise alone.

How it does this is by the inclusion of a patented, gentle, organic plant based complex, Clavitanol, which reduces the break down and absorption of dietary carbohydrates, sugar and fat, which in turn leads to a reduced calorie intake. It also helps to stabilise blood glucose and insulin levels which helps to reduce food cravings.

This product has been rigorously tested, and the plant based ingredient is gentle on the system. Full instructions and contra indication information is supplied in every box and all you do is take two tablets, about half an hour before you eat your two main meals of the day, you even get a nifty little pillbox for when you're on the go. Unlike some weight loss supplements I've used in the past these don't seem to have any of the nasty side effects such as diarrhoea or nausea, in fact all I've noticed is a little bit of bloating.  

Although it sounds good these tablets aren't for everyone and for good reason. Supplements like this are for people that have a weight problem and really need to lose weight. For that reason you need to have a BMI of over 18.5 to take them. It's also only recommended for adults over the ages of 18 unless it's given under the supervision of a GP or a dietician, and it goes without saying that it isn't suitable for women who are pregnant or breast feeding. If you're diabetic its also recommended that you consult a health professional before use as the tablets can interfere with medication, but to be honest before you take any form of supplement or pill you should always consult with your GP even if you consider yourself fit and healthy.

So I'm back on it and with just over 2 months supply of tablets remaining, I'm going to give it my best shot x I I'm looking forward to receiving some support and encouragement from Jodie Reif who is a registered dietician and in house dietican for XLS Medical Max Strength, and of course from you guys x  I want to thank you all as per usual for your support. From next week, weekly weight losses (or gains!) will be appearing again every Monday on my Instagram and Twitter page so don't forget to follow me, and in a month I'll do another update post for you x You can find out more about XLS Medical Max Strength by visiting their website and if you have questions about my journey please let me know x 


Sunday, 26 July 2015

A Mini Home Haul And Lou On Beauty

Having spent most of the last week wandering around IKEA and building flat pack furniture you could say that I'm a little bit sick of houses and home renovations . After recent living room and bathroom changes, the house is still upside down and my plans for my own bedroom and my office space have been shoved right on the back burner. Their time will come though  and in the mean time instead of buying sensible things like more coat hangers, storage and paint, I will continue to buy pretty, if not necessarily practical things.

The bulk of this haul comes from H&M, and despite my need for prettiness and frippery, the first couple of things are pretty sensible, we'll always need bedding so I took advantage of the sale section on the website and ordered a few things.

A little while ago now I ordered a gorgeous lilac, grey botanical print duvet set (read about it here), I loved it and it's been on my bed almost constantly since I got it. In the sale section there were a few matching items so I decided to get them and build up my botanical print collection. The first thing that I got was a lovely, soft matching fleece blanket. It was £6 and although it's big enough to cover my double bed, it's quite warm so I think I'll be using it as a bed runner in the colder months.

As well as the fleece blanket I also got a couple extra pillowcases to match my duvet set, which were £3 each. Since I sleep with both a top and a bottom sheet, I don't change my duvet cover any where near as often as I change my sheets and pillowcases, so they were a good investment.

The next couple of H&M items were full price but I couldn't resist. It's a bit of thing at the moment to be a blogger and to be obsessed with pineapples, but I've loved pineapples for as long as I can remember. I love the taste and I love how they look, I had a soft toy pineapple when I was younger, and I was lucky enough to inherit my grandmas kitsch 1960's plastic, and glass pineapple ice bucket, so it's fair to say I've got history.

I bought the silver pineapple glass jar a little while ago (see it here) but when the gold version came back in stock I couldn't resist ordering it. The top and the bottom of the pineapple are slightly different shades of gold but it quite like it that. Unfortunately I can't find it online anymore but if it does come back into stock it was £7.99 and it actually a decent size so it's well worth the money.

Sticking with the pineapple theme my last H&M buy is also associated with this tasty tropical treat. This first appeared on the website quite a few months ago but it disappeared pretty much straight away and I thought I'd missed out. Thankfully it's now back in stock so I snapped it up as quickly as I could.

Quite a bit smaller than it's sparkly gold cousin, this white ceramic pineapple is actually a candle. With a removable lid, the bottom half of the pineapple contains a unscented candle. I'm not that bothered about the candle so I'm trying to think of a way to remove the wax without lighting it, so I an use it as a trinket box. This is £4.99 and it's currently available on the website.

My final purchase just for me was a cushion. Yes my cushion obsession strikes again and it's another blogger that's to blame. I'll let her off this time because I really do like it x Recently a lovely north east blogger Katie (follow her here if you haven't already) appeared on a local news programme, and in the background there was a fleeting glimpse of a cushion on her bed.

Loving cushions like I do, I tweeted her and asked her where it was from and the answer was Tesco. Needing it then and there I didn't want to take the risk of trailing up to my local Tesco Express so I had a look online and there it was, and it was in the sale for just £6. Unfortunately it's sold out online now but it's definitely worth having a look in a larger store if you're interested.

It's just a plain white cotton style cushion, with a black trim, a pink frame print and the words "Be Your Own Kind Of Beautiful" in black. The words are so poignant and so, so very true. Words can really hurt and I've been told all my life by idiots that I'm ugly because of my facial paralysis and whilst I'm never going to be conventionally beautiful (is anyone?), my imperfections make me who I am, in fact at one point I debated changing my blog name to Imperfect Beauty to reflect the real me.
At the risk of sounding big headed, I am beautiful inside and out, I'm a good person and so what if my face is a bit lop sided, and my tummy is a bit bigger than a supermodels, we should accept people, their flaws, and their quirks as a given.

Argh that got a bit heavy didn't it, never mind for a bit of light relief though you can watch this little video that I made to show you all of the items in this haul x Don't forget to subscribe to my You Tube channel if you haven't already x

There is one little item that I didn't feature in the video because it's something that me and Mummy Lou paid for together. I don't want to go into too much detail but we haven't had the best of times lately. I'm not really going to put too much on the blog if I can help it but be all means keep an eye on my twitter (I'm @LouLou699) if you want to keep up to date. We're both feeling a little fragile though and for us candles are a nice way to relax so we decided to treat ourselves to this Yankee Candle gift set.

The Cafe Culture collection from Yankee Candles contains some of the nicest fragrances that they've released in a long time. Whilst we both enjoy floral fragrances and I don't mind fresh scents on occasions, our real love is foodie fragrances. As the name would suggest Cafe Culture is all about the posh cafe experience. This embossed tin box contains 3 small jars that burn for around 25 - 40 hours each. The 3 fragrances are Cappuccino Truffle, which has a gorgeous creamy coffee and chocolate scent; Pain Au Raisin, a combination of buttered dough, cinnamon, and juicy brandy soaked raisins and finally Tarte Tatin, a combination of apple, sugar, spices, and buttery pastry. We got the set from this seller at Amazon and it was just £14.99 including postage x

Yummy we haven't burnt them yet but the smell when you open the tin is incredible. The intention was to buy the small jars, to help us decide which of the larger jars to buy, but at this rate I can see us buying all 3. I love my Yankee Candles and I'm really looking forward to seeing some more yummy scents in the upcoming Christmas collections.

So that was my mini home haul and a bit of an emotional outpouring all in one x Gotta love hormones haven't you ;) Thanks for reading, don't forget to watch the video and if you have any questions please let me know xx

Saturday, 25 July 2015

A Nude Eyeshadow Palette With A Twist - Smashbox Double Exposure Palette*

If you're as addicted to nude eyeshadow palettes as I am then you'll know that at some point you need to draw the line and say enough is enough! I have a drawer full of neutral eyeshadows from all price points and as much as I'd love to keep adding to my collection, even I know that I've got to stop somewhere.

It doesn't stop me wishing and wanting though, and I've currently got my eye on some of the palettes that I passed on including Urban Decay Naked 3 , the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette and the Smashbox Full Exposure palette.

I must admit that the Smashbox Full Exposure Palette was one that initially passed me by, but every time I go into Boots now I can't help looking at it and thinking how pretty it is. Full Exposure and now it's mini travel sized sibling, looks to be the perfect nude palette and features a combination of matte and shimmery shades in various neutral and smokey colours. For a neutral lover, and a Smashbox fan like me, it looks to be a must have.but I just can't justify it. If you're like me though and you're stowed off with neutral palettes but you fancy a little bit of a Smashbox splurge the Double Exposure palette might be right up your street..

The Smashbox Double Exposure Palette is very much Full Exposure's, braver little sister. Yes you have a few everyday neutral shades, but you also have a wider range of shades including silvers, blues and purples that take you from day to night, with the sweep of a brush.

Boxed and packaged in a magnetic fastening, plastic lined cardboard palette, Double Exposure contains 14 eyeshadows and a full sized double ended brush.

Unlike with some palettes this brush isn't an afterthought, it is identical in size and appearance to the standalone brushes in the Smashbox line. The brush is double ended and features a domed end, and an angled end for precise application.

The box also contains an exclusive #Shapematters insert which gives you instructions and a tutorial for a day look, a dramatic look and a defined look, for 6 different eye shapes.

Okay on to the shadows themselves, and as I say the palette contains 14 matte, satin and shimmer shades, ranging from browns, taupe's, and nudes, to lilacs, purples, mauve's and even a navy blue. The top row of shadows gives you a row of lighter shades, where as the second row gives you some more dramatic colours.

From left to right - Silver, Mauve, Peony, Blanc, Quartz, Flushed and Veiled.

and from left to right - Midnight, Temper, Haze, Noir, Copper, Fig and Espresso.

As you can see the pigmentation of all of theese shadows from the lightest to the darkest is excellent. There isn't a dud shadow in the palette they all blend really well and the staying powder is superb. There is a little bit of fallout on application but that's only to be expected when shadows feel as soft and silky as this.

Impressed so far? Well you've only seen half of it. Yes you get 14 eyeshadows in this palette, but what I haven't mentioned it that with the addition of water you can produce a further 14 shades! Yes that's right every shadow in this palette contains special coated pigments that transform the shades in one of 4 ways when they're used wet. Add a little bit of water or as I've been doing the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water (read my review here) and the shadows will either deepen, turn metallic, become more sparkly or the colours will become more vibrant. Not only that but the addition of water or liquid won't damage your palette, just wet your brush and use the shades straight from the palette without any fear that your shadows will harden or glaze over.

Hopefully from these swatches you can see just how the shadows transform when you add a little bit of liquid - it's almost like foiling or painting! Again on the top row from left to right - Silver, Mauve, Peony, Blanc, Quartz, Flushed, and Veiled.

and on the bottom row from left to right - Midnight, Temper, Haze, Noir, Copper, Fig and Espresso.

The liquid makes a big difference doesn't it? and it really adds to the versatility of this palette. It isn't cheap at around £37-38 but your really getting 28 highly pigmented, versatile, blendable and wearable shades, and a full sized, superb quality brush. I was kindly given this palette way back at the end of January and I've used it pretty much solidly since then. This is a picture of my palette taken about 2 weeks ago - it doesn't look anywhere near as pretty or pristine as it once did but it has been very well used.

If you want to branch out from the traditional nude palette without being too brave then this palette could be worth a try. The colours can take your from day to night, and you can be as subtle and neutral or as daring and dramatic as you like. Smashbox Double Exposure Palette retails between £37 and £37 and is available from various retail outlets including Boots, Sephora and from the Smashbox website. Have you tried any Smashbox eyeshadows? Let me know your thoughts below x