Sunday 26 November 2017

Nails Of The Day - Models Own - Pink Blush - Redone, Reshot And Improved

When it first happened I thought that the Photobucket changes in terms and conditions was one of the worst things that could happen to me as a blogger. I could no longer use the photos that I'd uploaded to the site in dozens of my posts, so I was left with the inconvenience of having to re shoot the posts that I could recreate and unfortunately the rest just had to be deleted. Now though I'm starting to see the whole experience as a positive - yes it's annoying and inconvenient, and obviously I've wasted my time on the posts that I've had to delete but what it has done is give me the opportunity to see just far I've come as a writer, a photographer and as a blogger.

Some of my early posts were terrible - badly written, often badly photographed and lacking in any form of fact or substance. The inconvenience has given me the chance to rewrite some of my posts and improve the quality of my blog as a whole, which has to be a good thing.

This is just one of the posts that has to be rewritten, re shot and rehashed - A nails of the day post should include several things, a description of the colour, a description of the formulation, and the application and information where possible on how well the polish wears -This post originally contained none of that so I thought it was just as easy to start it from scratch.

Models Own keep overhauling their polish collections, and they seem to keep disappearing for stores including both Superdrug and Boots, but thankfully they are still readily available both on their own website, and in their own, innovative bottle shops.

I've always liked their polishes and over the years I've picked up quite a few, and this one I think was one of my first.

Pink Blush is a hot, hot pink, not quite neon and a little bit brighter than the colour of strawberry Hubba Bubba. It's a bit brighter but you can see here but it isn't a cold pink, there is just a touch of warmth to it.

Whether or not it's down to it's age or not I don't know, but this polish was a little bit thick. Despite that though, the first coat was a little bit streaky, but two gave full coverage and a nice glossy finish.

Unusually for Models Own (in my experience at least) the wear time wasn't that great, I try not to use a top coat when I'm testing a polish, and without one my nails started to chip after about 3 days. When I used the Models Own Hypergel Top Coat alongside this polish though I did manage a full weeks wear without any problems, chipping or peeling.

Like so many of their early nail polishes, Pink Blush does appear to have been discontinued but in all honesty it's probably not the hardest colour to replicate. There is no denying that this is what you would term a happy colour, it isn't a colour that most people would probably reach for at this time of year, but if you need cheering up polishes in this shade are a good one to go for. If you've got a shade like this in your collection thought doesn't it just scream summer, it would look great with your summer sandals and a tan, and if you have a darker skin tone, hot pinks are a must have on the nails. It really is one of those shades that you need in your nail polish collection. Are you a fan of bright pink nails polishes?

Saturday 25 November 2017

Sample Saturday - Benefit They're Real Double The Lip - Nude Scandal

I may have already mentioned it a few times, both on here and on Instagram, but if you haven't already heard I'm having a bit of a clear out at the moment. I'm not big on new years resolutions but I do usually set myself a few goals, a few targets and a few things that I want to achieve, and this year one of my big aims was to get myself more organised and clear out some of the junk both in my house and in my mind!

Like most things I got waylaid, but now in the last month or so of the year, I'm actually getting down to it and clearing out some of that clutter. Whilst methodically going through each room and sorting out some of my stuff I realised that something was missing? What was missing? well magazines of course. I used to be a prolific magazine buyer, I used to buy at least 4 a month and I couldn't pop into the supermarket without picking up a coffee break read but now I can go for months without buying a glossy mag.

To be honest I'm not big on celebrity gossip and I'm not big on skimming though 100 pages of adverts in every £4 or so, issue. Don't get me wrong, print magazines still have their place but my love affair with the glossy definitely seems to be over. Looking back over the last 12 months or so, the only time I seem to have bought a magazine, is either when I've been stuck in somewhere boring like a hospital, or when there is a decent free gift.

I'm a sucker for a magazine freebie but now though I seem to be a little bit more selective over which ones that I pick up. I don't need and more hand cream, or eye liners, or mascaras so I'm starting to actually think about what I buy, after all it's only a decent offer if you actually want both the magazine and the product!

Recently though the UK addition of ELLE magazine, featured a free gift that I really wanted and that I'd been debating whether or not to buy for sometime.

I've talked about my love for Benefit Cosmetics on many occasions and the freebie in question was a  Benefit They're Real Double The Lip Beyond Sexy Lipstick & Liner In One in the shade Nude Scandal.

Way back in March I posted a review of four of the shades in the collection, and I have to say I really rate them. You can have a little read here to see why but I love the colours, the texture, the wear time, and the whole lipstick and liner in one concept. My favourite shades were both of the pink colours, Pink Thrills and Lusty Rose, but I really wanted to try the shade Nude Scandal, and this magazine freebie give me the perfect opportunity to try it out.

Alas it wasn't a full size lippy, but it was a decent 0.75g, half size, which gave me plenty opportunity to try it out and to include in an all be it, very rare, Sample Saturday post x 

Obviously I've already talked about what makes these lipsticks so special, but just to recap it's all down to the shape and the shades. The entire Benefit They're Real range is basically about making the best of yourself with just a tiny hint of fakery or should I say self improvement.

In a slim, metallic look tube these lipsticks have a unique teardrop shaped tip, the lipstick at the pointed tip of the teardrop is in a slightly darker shade, compared to the rest of the teardrop. This pointed tip gives you your liner look, so when you apply the lipstick with the point at the outer edge of your lips, your lining them and filling them in with the one product.It takes a little bit of getting used to, twisting the bullet around but once you get the hang of it, it's a lot quicker than using a separate lipstick and liner.

In some of the shades there looks to be quite a drastic difference between the lipstick and liner and shades but once you get them on the lips there is no harsh line and you certainly don't get that horrible dark liner, pale lips look, instead you just get slightly fuller, plumper looking lips.

Nude Scandal is a really wearable nude, it isn't too brown, and it certainly isn't one of those pale, deathly looking nudes. It's a very pink, nude which I think will suit a lot of different skin tones. I've worn it an awful lot since I got and it's definitely one of those go to colours that literally goes with any outfit or make up look.

These lipsticks aren't the most moisturising lipsticks that I've ever used but they certainly aren't drying, and the fab demi matte formula wears incredibly well.

My only issue with these lipsticks, when I first reviewed them was the slightly odd, TCP type taste and scent, but thankfully Nude Scandal doesn't taste like something I should be applying to a cut! Whether I got a bad batch or whether they've added some fragrance and flavouring I don't know, but this tube of Nude Scandal has a very subtle vanilla taste and scent.

Although I've managed a little clear out and I've recently giving Mummy Lou a huge bagful of lip products, I still have way too many for one set of lips, despite that though Nude Scandal is a recent addition that I'm happy to have. I really like these lipsticks and Nude Scandal is an excellent everyday colour, that's really easy to apply and wear. As I say this is the half, 0.75g size but the full 1.5g size, of Benefit They're Real Double The Lip Beyond Sexy Lipstick & Liner In One in Nude Scandal retails at around £16.50 from various retailers including Boots, John Lewis, Debenhams, and of course the Benefit website. Have you tried these lipsticks yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments and if you're a Benefit fan I've got a couple more reviews coming up for you in the next few days.

Monday 20 November 2017

Nails Of The Day - Nails Inc - Carriage Gotta Wait

Isn't it always the way your nails look beautiful, they're long and strong, and they're in great condition, and then when you have a whole batch of polishes to photograph, they all snap off! Thankfully before all of the breakage happened I managed to shoot some photos for a few different nails of the days. A couple of them are re shoots which I will be sharing with you in the next week or so but this one is something brand new and right on trend.

You know me, I love a special offer, and I also love nail polish, so when Nails Inc and QVC UK teamed up together earlier this year to produce a fabulously, priced Today's Special Value collection, I had to add it to my basket.

The set in question was the 6 piece I Believe In Unicorns collection, which contained five mystical and fairytale themed nail colours and a top coat, and this is one of the colours from the kit, Carriage Gotta Wait.

Fairy tales, unicorns, mermaids, and other mystical and fantasy creatures are right on trend at the moment, and something else that is right on trend is copper and rose gold.

Carriage Gotta Wait is a beautiful rose gold, copper foil. It has a beautifully smooth finish but it's crammed full of glitter and sparkle.

In their newish style chunky, square bottle, this polish isn't only easy to hold, but thanks to the wide brush, it's also super easy to paint. The coverage on this polish is excellent and you could easily get away with one coat, but I've gone with two here for a full on finish.

This is a truly beautiful colour that's right on trend, and with the metallic finish and the sparkle it's perfect for the party season. It deepens and flashes when you move your hands and it compliments the rose gold packaging on something that I will be reviewing in the next week or so, perfectly.

Being as crammed full of glitter as it is, it wears incredibly well, even without a top coat. As you might expect it is a bit of a pain to remove, the gloss and the polish breaks down to leave a stubborn rough glitter coat, that takes a little bit of effort to remove.  I've already worn this polish on 3 occasions though, because it is so easy to paint and because it looks so stunning on the nails. Who cares if it takes a few extra minutes to remove, if you want pretty princess, sparkly nails then this is the polish for you.

As I say this shade seems to be a QVC UK exclusive and seems to be only available as part of the I Believe In Unicorns collection, but the kit is still available on the QVC UK website, as is the accompanying auto delivery collection that I also got, Enchanted Elegance. If you're into all things mystical and magical, make sure that following my blog to keep up to date with all of my new posts. Providing my nails grow up a bit, I've got a few of Nails Inc's unicorn and mermaid themed products to review in the run up to Christmas, and if you like glitter and sparkle you definitely won't want to miss my reviews! Have you embraced the rose gold, or even the unicorn trend this season? Let me know in the comments x

Saturday 18 November 2017

A Very Late September / October Primark Haul - Clothes, Beauty, And Home

Where on earth does time go, it doesn't seem like two minutes since I was craving an Indian summer, and now? well the gritters are out and it's only 5 weeks until Christmas - Argh! This year has flown by but the last few months in particular seem to have passed by in a blur. Despite picking up the odd bit here and there I haven't managed a proper shopping trip in quite a while now. In fact the last time I went into Primark was either at the end of September or at the beginning of October! See, it's been so long I can't even remember when it was!

For me though it was a long time ago, and a good Primark trip is well overdue but before that happens (hopefully next week!) I think I better show you the bits that I picked up way back when, which have been living in a carrier bag for a few months now.

On several of my previous Primark trips, I'd picked up a couple of their crew neck t-shirts and for the price I was really impressed with both the fit and the length, so after a recent, major wardrobe clear out I decided to fill a few gaps in my wardrobe and pick up some more basic, stretch, long sleeve t-shirts.

The first one that I got was in a classic navy blue, and like the previous shirts that I'd picked up, it has a softly rounded, crew style neckline.

I couldn't find too many shirts in the crew neck style this time round so I decided to try a few tops in some their different neckline options. This gorgeous dark, forest green t-shirt comes with a deeper, scoop neck,

and this classic black t-shirt comes with quite a low cut v neckline.

For just £3.50 each I think that these t-shirts are excellent value. They all have a good stretch to them, and the length is excellent. I can't stand short tops, I'm not big on flashing the flesh and my wobbly bits, I'm long in the body and I wear a lot of jeggings and leggings, so long line tops are a must have for me, and despite not been marketed as long line, these tops definitely cover my muffin top. You can probably see if from the pictures but I do think that the black top is at least a couple of centimetres shorter and whilst it's fine, I might try and stick to the crew and scoop necked tops in the future for that bit of extra coverage.

To be honest I went into Primark all of those months ago purely with the aim of picking up some basic tops, and once I'd got them I wasn't too fussed about picking anything else up, so I didn't really examine every single clothes rail like a normally do, and the only other clothing item that I picked up was this Miffy sleep tee.

I do love a bit of Miffy and since I managed to get rid of a few sleepwear bits in my recent clothing clear out, I thought that I could justify adding this oversize sleep tee to my sleepwear wardrobe. It was just £5 which I think is pretty decent. The fabric feels nice against the skin, and it has a printed label inside rather than a tag. It's often the little things that sell something to me, and with my creepy crawly, medication and chronic illness, induced skin, the lack of fabric tags on nightwear is a godsend.

That was it for clothing, and seeing as I'm going through another ebay jewellery love in, nothing really appealed in the jewellery and accessories section so I headed to the ever expanding beauty section and bought something that I'd seen in a lot of both Instagram and blog posts.

Taking inspiration from Too Faced's Sweet Peach collection, Primark have recently introduced their own range of peach inspired make up, and being as obsessed with blusher, highlighter and cheek colours as I am, I couldn't resist picking up the Cheeky Peachy Blush & Highlight Palette.

The solid cardboard palette, comes with a magnetic fastening and contains three heart shaped cheek colours, Peach Twist, a golden, champagne highlighter, Peachin', a matte bright peach, coral blush and Sweet Peach, a light peachy, pink blush.

All of the colours are embossed with cute little faces, and like the Too Faced version they have a nice, sweet peachy, fruity scent. They don't just look good though, as you can hopefully see from my swatches, the pigmentation is pretty decent, and these cheek colours have a nice soft feel, and blend easily. For me this palette is well worth the £4 that I paid for it, I know I keep saying but Primark really have upped their beauty game this year and I hope that we can look forward to even more affordable beauty treats in 2018.

So that was it for beauty but I did pick up a couple of home things including yet another candle. I'm slightly obsessed with candles, and just about every month I seem to pick up some form of scented candle, and the latest addition to my extensive candle collection is this Jewelled Satin Scented Candle which was £2.

I'm not going to lie, I was drawn to this one because of the gorgeous, matte plum coloured mini Kilner style jar that it comes in! I love mini things and I'm quite excited to start filling it up with something, I don't know what yet but we'll see once I've finished burning the candle, maybe paper clips or earrings, who knows? Although it's pretty small, this warm fruity, floral scented candle has an estimated burn time of around 15 hours so I'll have a little while to wait yet to reuse the jar but I'm sure I'll enjoy the almost fine fragrance in the meantime.

The last thing that I got in this haul from long ago, was a Christmas item, and it's another reindeer. Reindeer's are everywhere this year and since I already have a couple of the Primark deer tea light holders (see my most recent addition here) I had to pick up this super cute, and stylish tree decoration.

In a right on trend, gorgeous coppery, rose gold, ceramic, this super sweet chubby reindeer bauble was just £1.50, but I have to say it looks a lot more expensive than that. If you like him, then I would recommend that you have a little watch of one of my latest You Tube videos. It's an exclusive home, home fragrance, Christmas, lifestyle and stationery haul, and it features some very affordable ceramic, chubby reindeer ornaments and tea light holders. You can watch it below of via this link.

So that was it, a small and very late Primark haul. I didn't buy a lot but I was pleased with everything that I bought which I guess is the object of the exercise. If you're interested I've also uploaded an accompanying video to my You Tube channel, so if you want to find out a bit more about the products and why I bought them, then check it out below, or via this link, and don't forget to subscribe to my You Tube channel while you're there, I upload a lot of hauls and unboxing and I'm definitely going to be mixing it up a bit in 2018 so make sure your subscribed so you don't miss a thing.

As I say I'm hoping to go into Newcastle next week, and whilst my major aim will be to do a bit of Christmas shopping, I am thoroughly intending to treat myself to a few bits. If you have any questions on my videos or on any of the items that I've bought then please leave me a comment and I will try and get back to you asap, and don't forget you can also contact me on Twitter, I'm @LouLou699 so make sure your following me if you aren't already x Thanks for reading and I'll see you sometime in the next few days with a long overdue nails of the day post x

Sunday 5 November 2017

A Reflective Foodie Friday On A Sunday - Cinder Toffee

Looking back over the years I don't tend to post on November 5th that often, normally when I do it's a tribute to my dad or more personal posts about grief and loss, but this year I decided to do something a little bit different.

Losing someone you love is hard but when it's on a day that people celebrate or that means something to everyone, then it's even harder. On November 5th 2002, I lost my dad very suddenly, and ever since then I've hated Bonfire Night was a passion, every single bang and sparkle of light, brings back memories that quite frankly I don't want to remember.

Life doesn't change for other people though , so I guess you just need to get on with it, and try and embrace it with the best of them. So I'm writing this post, attempting to calm down some very scared kitty cats, looking at the pretty lights outside of the window and trying to remember the happy times.

So many of my good memories of my dad, my grans, and my childhood concern food, and the 5th November is no different, from baked potatoes and beans, to parkin,  and to treacle toffee and cinder toffee, food like fragrance, is intrinsically linked to our feelings and memories.

My mam used to be a big sweet maker, every year she'd make trays of peppermint creams, fudge, coconut ice, rum truffles and cinder toffee for us to eat in the run up to, and at Christmas. When you look at recipes associated with Guy Fawkes night, Cinder Toffee is always somewhere on the list. Cinder Toffee is one of the most names associated with it, at least up north, but you might know it as Hokey Pokey, Puff Candy, or Sponge Candy, or as Honeycomb. Yes it's that brittle, yet chewy toffee, that's full of air bubble, that you'll find in your Crunchie bar.

It's easy enough to buy it on it's own or covered with chocolate but like so many things it's often hard to beat something that's homemade. It isn't the hardest thing to make but you do need to be a bit careful in more ways than one. There are a few different recipes out there but this is our go to.

Cinder Toffee

3 Heaped Tablespoons Of Golden Syrup Or Treacle 
7oz (200g) Caster Sugar
1 1/2oz (40g) Butter
2 Tablespoons Cold Water
1/2 Teaspoon Vinegar
1 Heaped Teaspoon Of Bicarbonate Of Soda

1. Well grease a loaf tin or line with non stick parchment paper  - Okay as you can see this isn't a loaf tin it's a small roasting tin, which on reflection wasn't the best tin to make this in as it ended up a bit thinner then it should have done. You needn't be too precise with size but it's better to make it in a smaller and deeper tin, than a larger shallower one like this one.

2. To make this recipe you really need a good quality heavy bottomed pan, the pan is going to get hot so you want something that's pretty substantial. I'm using a pressure cooker pan here.

Add your sugar, syrup, butter and cold water and heat gently until the sugar is melted, stirring all the time

3. When your sugar has melted, turn up the heat until it reaches a continuous rolling boil. If you have a sugar thermometer your mixture needs to reach 290˚ F or 143˚ C. If you don't have one though don't worry, get yourself a cup of cold water and keep testing the mixture by dripping blobs into the water. The mixture will go through several stages but eventually the mixture will become hard and brittle and snap when you drop it into the water.

4. Once it's reached that stage take the pan off the heat, and add the vinegar and the vinegar and the bicarb, and give it a good stir. It will expand slightly at this stage, and foam and change colour slightly. (Make sure that your bicarbonate of soda isn't too near the expiry date - the longer you have it the more it loses it potency - a new tub will give the best results)

5. Then pour it CAREFULLY in to your tin - Don't be tempted to touch the mix with your hands or taste it - it will be stupidly hot.

6. Then leave your tray in a cool dry place for a few hours until it's set solid. No matter how well you've greased your tin it will still be nigh on impossible to get it out of the tin. I suggest either hitting your cinder toffee with a hammer or careful drop the tray onto the floor to break up your toffee. You won''t get any neat squares with this rough shards are what you should be aiming for.

You can either eat it straight away or you can store it for a few days in a cool, dry airtight tin. It should be the perfect combo of brittle and chewy. You can either eat as is, or you can cover it chocolate, use it with a chocolate fondue, or you can crush it up and use for an ice cream topping, in butter cream or whipped cream in cakes, or in cookies or flapjacks.

This isn't the most dentist friendly treat so watch those crowns and fillings, and brush your teeth after you've gorge. I'm at the dentist this week so this probably wasn't the perfect thing to eat this weekend but I enjoyed it anyways, and sometimes a little bit of what you fancy does you good. What do you call cinder toffee? Let me know in the comments and I hope you have a safe and enjoyable Guy Fawkes night x 

Saturday 4 November 2017

Trimming my Stash - October 2017 Edition - Empties And Mini Reviews

In this world of flatlays and perfectly posed blog and Instagram pictures, props are everything and at the moment I'm loving using my brightly hued, autumnal toned fabric leaves. Here's the question though when does Autumn end and when does Winter begin. Hmm I can't decide so some of my up and coming pictures feature leaves, and some like the ones below don't. November is a tough one, whilst the weather is decidedly autumnal at the moment, winter is definitely on it's way - is it Autumn? is it Winter? I have no idea at the moment!

November is a funny month for me but I have to say it's started well (when I've been awake that is - my mum has nicknamed Sleeping Beauty this week). October was such a busy month for me, that I never seemed to get a lot of stuff done but already in November, I'm feeling motivated and enthusiastic that this will be the month when I sort my shit out.The pre Christmas declutter is in full swing, and I've already filled up 4 charity bags since Thursday! Go Me! When it comes to beauty decluttering though October wasn't the best of months

Primark PS Love Your Skin Oil Balancing Facial Cleansing Wipes x 25 Wipes
Primark PS Love Your Skin Oil Balancing Facial Cleansing Wipes x 25 Wipes
Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream - 30ml
AVON Senses Mystique Sensual & Romantic Shower Gel - 250ml
Yes To Carrots Nourishing Shampoo Normal To Dry Hair - 500ml

Total -5 Items 

Try as I might I only managed to finish 5 items last month and two of those came in the last two days of the month. Still 5 things are better than none and I did manage to finish a couple of bits that had taken root in my shower, so lets quit it with the negativity and focus on the products that I did manage to finish.

1. Primark PS Love Your Skin Oil Balancing Facial Cleansing Wipes x 25 Wipes
2. Primark PS Love Your Skin Oil Balancing Facial Cleansing Wipes x 25 Wipes

I'm not going to lie I have used these on my face a couple of times this month - I know, I know but when you need to leave the house at 7am after precisely no sleep, you need something quick and something that (whispers) you can do in the taxi! Okay now that confession is out of the way I can safely admit to using most of these wipes in the last week, for in between clean ups  after doing a ton of swatches. I've got a load of make up posts coming soon including some bargain basement buys, some Christmas gift ideas and maybe a little Christmas giveaway and it's all needed swatching - now I just need to edit the 300 or so photographs argh! #bloggerproblems 

3. Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream - 30ml

I'm not going to beat around the bush this product isn't cheap - this little pot of moisturiser retails at £50 but there are ways of getting it without spending quite so much - If you're an Elemis fan and you're in the UK, Next Sunday QVC UK will be featuring the big Elemis Christmas Today's Special Value, for £44.96 and postage you'll get a pot of this heavenly cream, a couple more full sized skincare products and around 3 full size body products. That doesn't make sense I hear you cry and you're right based on the RRP of this cream it doesn't but the buying power of QVC means that it's real and it will be happening so if you love this product the kit is well worth buying. Personally though I think it's worth buying whatever the price, I love the smell and the cream, gel texture is perfect for all skin types, it's moisturising without being thick or heavy, and it makes your skin feel like silk.

I love it and so does my Godmother who is 87 - it's brilliant and well worth trying!

4. AVON Senses Mystique Sensual & Romantic Shower Gel - 250ml

I've lost count of how many AVON shower gels that I've bought over the years - They are cheap as chips and a lot of times they actually smell a lot more expensive than what they actually are. This one is a case in point describe as sensual and romantic, it actually reminds me a little bit of a high end fragrance. If you like the original Michael Kors scent this this smells pretty similar. Typically though this particular product appears to have been discontinued but AVON do still seem to sell a Senses Mystique Shower Creme which I assume would have the same scent.

5. Yes To Carrots Nourishing Shampoo Normal To Dry Hair - 500ml*

This was one of the many Yes To products that I reviewed for My Pure - You can read my full review here x It was a winner for me I really liked it and I really enjoyed using it. It was SLS free and it was a nice, creamy gentle shampoo, and although I still can't describe the scent I really liked it. My shampoo mountain is going down very slowly but this is definitely one that I would consider repurchasing. 

So they were Octobers famous five, fingers crossed I can do better in November, and finish a few more items to boost my yearly total in the last couple of months of 2017. If you have any questions on any of the products that I've finished then leave me a comment below x Thanks for reading x