Friday, 22 August 2014

#BirchboxManithon for Coppafeel

This month Birchbox are supporting the charity Coppafeel, who are trying to stamp out the late detection of breast cancer by trying to make sure everyone knows the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and by encouraging women to check their breasts.

Image taken from the Birchbox website 

On Friday 29th August between 10am and 7:30pm the #BirchboxManithon will be taking place in London's Soho Square. There will be 20 manicure stations offering express manicures for a minimum donation of just £5, with all proceeds going to Coppafeel. The event will also be co-hosted by The Xtra Factor's Sarah-Jane Crawford. If you'd like to pop down to have a manicure you can book your space here.

If you won't be able to make it to London but you'd still like to contribute, renowned fashion illustrator Sally Faye Cotterill has designed a limited edition T-shirt that you can buy in the Birchbox e-shop for £12, with 100% of the profits also going to Coppafeel. If you'd like to grab one of these special T-shirts you can find them in the Birchbox e-shop here.

Birchbox very kindly sent me a T-shirt* and a gorgeous Models Own Hypergel nail varnish in Lilac Sheen* so I can create some nail art to celebrate the #BirchboxManithon as unfortunately I can't get to London to join in. I'm quite busy over the next week but I'll try my hardest to get something ready to post on the day of the Manithon.

If you'd like to sign up for a monthly, 6 month or 12 month subscription with Birchbox you can do so here

Will you be heading over to the #BirchboxManithon?

*PR sample


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

My Lord & Berry lipstick crayon collection

Recently I did a post on my very moderately sized MAC lipstick collection and it was a popular post with my readers.  Even though my Lord & Berry lipstick crayon collection is even smaller (I only have three) I thought I would do a collection post on them as well as I don't think these are recognised enough within the blogging community.

The correct name for these is Lord & Berry 20100 shining lipsticks but I tend to drop the 20100 (I'm not sure what this part means) and just refer to them as Lord & Berry lipstick crayons.  These are the sort of crayons that require sharpening but I really don't mind that. Although you do lose some product while sharpening I like that you can get a point back again to help with more precise application.

One of the best thing about these crayons is that they are so buttery soft. So soft in fact that you have to be careful replacing the clear plastic lids that they come with as you can catch the edge of the crayon quite easily and end up smooshing it all over the place. The buttery texture of course means that they melt onto your lips with ease, there's no dry formula and tugging on the lips here.  Another thing I really like is that they smell just like MAC lipsticks with a lovely vanilla fragrance to them.  These are comfortable to wear and I find they last pretty well, at least a good few hours, and two of them leave a stain behind so they appear to last even longer.

I love my little collection because although I haven't got a nude shade (as you're probably aware I don't do nude shades) I think I have the perfect range of shades.  Plum was the first one I bought and fell in love with and this is a lovely plum/berry shade that's perfect for autumn/winter.  The next shade I bought I personally think works all year round, although this may be the sort of shade some people save for special occasions or nights out.  Cherry is a lovely dark cherry red shade that looks a little more cherry than shows in the swatch. Although all three shades are highly pigmented this is the most pigmented of the bunch.  Bucking the trend the last shade in my collection doesn't have a name that reflects the colour of the crayon.  Lust is a lovely summery coral shade that isn't really the sort of shade I would usually pick for myself.  This was however a Miss Makeup Magpie enabled purchase after I saw it on Gemma's blog and just had to add it to my collection.  

Strangely the price of the Lord & Berry lipstick crayons varies quite a lot across different retailer, ranging from £8 up to I think £12. I think the price even varies across shades over on ASOS. However, I wouldn't hesitate in paying £12 for one of these as I think they are on par with MAC lipsticks and even at their highest price they're still £3.50 cheaper than the cheapest MAC lipsticks. I urge you to try one (if you haven't already) and discover how amazing they are for yourself.

Have you tried a Lord & Berry lipstick crayon?


Monday, 18 August 2014

A mini The Body Shop haul

I'm sure you may have noticed that I've become a bit of a fan of The Body Shop recently. I hadn't really bought anything from The Body Shop since I was a teenager when I used to buy products from the Fuzzy Peach range, a range that is long, long gone! I'm not sure which product was my first purchase after all those years, but whatever it was it obviously impressed me as I keep going back to try more. 

As I was quite early for the cocktail master-class that I blogged about in my last post I decided to nip into The Body Shop and managed to pick up a bit of a bargain. 

The Wild Argan Oil range is The Body Shop's newest range having only been released on, I think, the 13th August. I did take a look at this a few days before but was disappointed to find out that you can't actually use any offers on this range at the moment. I never pay full price for any product from The Body Shop (there's no point when they always have such great offers), but I decided I just had to try the Wild Argan Oil Miracle solid oil as soon as possible. When I did go to buy this I discovered that actually you can use your Love Your Body discount, so I did at least get 10% off this.  

I've had my eye on the Chocomania Eau de Toilette for quite a while now and I decided it was time to treat myself. When I got to the counter I discovered that as well as being able to use my Love Your Body discount on both items it was also my fourth in-store purchase meaning I was entitled to a £5 free gift. I'd also had my eye on their new mini sized hand creams so I decided to add a Coconut Hand cream. I thought these were £5 each but I them discovered that they're actually £3.50 and because there was some kind of buy one get one half price deal that included the EDT and hand cream I actually got it for just £1.75. So my free £5 got me this free but then also deducted £3.25 from the rest of my bill. So my purchases that should have cost me £20 were just £11.60. Reviews of each of these products will of course follow shortly.

Have you bought anything from The Body Shop recently?


Saturday, 16 August 2014

Bloggers make cocktails #MHBloggersHub

A few days ago I was invited along to Meadowhall in Sheffield to try my hand at a bit of Mixology, which is the art or skill of mixing cocktails (or mocktails for the under 18's and drivers). There was no flairing (the fancy throwing around bit) allowed though as, you know, inexperienced bloggers and glass bottles flying through the air would probably have been an accident waiting to happen!

Our cocktail master-class was held at the Palm Sugar Lounge bar in the food court and our Mixologist was Matt who had previously honed his skills in Sydney, Australia. 

First up was the Tom Yam Siam (the one with the chilli in) which uses the spices used in Tom Yam soup. This includes vodka, rum, lime juice, lemongrass and yes, red chilli. We were warned about this one before we even started the master-class and let me warm you too, if you're a fan of spicy things then you might love this, if not I'd say stay away from this one! The taste of the actual cocktail isn't too bad but once you've swallowed it the chilli then hits you in the back of the throat, and I only had a tiny sip as I was driving. There's no way I could drink a full one so I wasn't personally a fan!

Next up were some Mojito's including a raspberry flavoured one and another flavour that I can't remember now (I really must start taking notes).  A Mojito includes white rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water, mint and then obviously some raspberry's for the raspberry flavoured one.  I didn't try the Mojito's as I haven't been a fan of these in the past, I'm not keen on the bits of mint in it.

I didn't manage to get any photos of the Strawberry Daiquiri's as these were made over by the blender (in a round bar) so I couldn't actually see them being made.  I had a quick sip (very tasty) but obviously couldn't have anymore so Matt offered to make me a mocktail/smoothie type drink and I headed into the bar to give him a hand.  After mixing up a mango juice/paste type thing, lime juice, strawberrys and ice I had a smoothie that didn't actually have a name as Matt made it up on the spot so I christened this the Bloggers Hub Mocktail.

Matte then asked if we had any requests for anything we'd like to make and Bethanie asked to make a Frozen Margarita.  A Magarita includes Tequila, Triple sec (an orange flavoured liqueur), lime juice, sour mix (a mixer with sugar and lemon or lime juice) and is finished with a lime wedge and salt round the rim of the glass. This is the one with the lime wedged on the edge of the glass.  

Once we'd finished testing out our lack of mixology skills we made ourselves comfortable and waited to be treated to some amazing Thai food from ChaoBaby. While we were waiting for our lunch we given a little background information about the restaurant. The group is owned by Martin Stead and Kim Kaewkraikhot. Martin went to Bangkok, bought some street food from Kim and they fell in love. Kim came to the UK with Martin and in 2004 they opened their first restaurant, Chaophraya, in Leeds.  They then opened another restaurant in 2007 in Manchester and later another in Liverpool. In 2010 they launched ChaoBaby (a restaurant designed for shopping centres) and in 2011 a new Chaophraya was opened in Birmingham and the ChaoBaby was opened in Meadowhall. 

Just how amazing does this food look and I can assure you it tasted just as amazing. We sampled some chicken pad thai (hidden under an omelette), beef curry, egg fried and plain rice, mini spring rolls, mini fish in batter and chips.  If you're based near Sheffield (or any of the other locations mentioned) and fancy treating yourself I'd say get yourself over to ChaoBaby and the Palm Sugar lounge and indulge in some delicious Thai food and a cheeky cocktail or two.

Are you a cocktail and Thai food fan?

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Thursday, 14 August 2014

A NARS wishlist from a NARS virgin

I'm not normally a wishlist kind of post girl.  Don't get me wrong I read other people's, but I rarely post them myself.  I do of course have wishlists, I just normally tend to make these on Pinterest (if you'd like to follow me on Pinterest I'm just here) or mentally in my sieve like brain.  I only normally have wishlists on my blog if they're products from one particular brand that I've only tried one or two products from, or none at all.

I know many beauty fans are already NARSissist's (there's too many S's going on there!) but I have a little confession to make and that is that I have never tried a NARS product, nope, not a single one. 

The reason I'm posting this is that recently I've been daydreaming about NARS and I'd like the advice of my readers.  As some of you may know earlier this year I was awarded the PhD that I've been working on for four stressful, tiring, nearly breakdown inducing (seriously, at one point I was this close to a breakdown) years.  A PhD means you conduct a piece of research, on your own but with support, that is original and so should hopefully contribute some new knowledge to whatever area you're working in.  Now all of that is out the way and it's completed I will be publishing a book about what I found and I'm hoping to get a good publishing deal (fingers crossed) as although my area is very popular with many people, very few people actually study and research it (that's quite cryptic isn't it!).  Just in case you're curious, my area is Parapsychology (I'll leave you to go and Google that one).  

I think the reason I've never tried anything from NARS is the price, as it's definitely more on the high-end side, and at the moment I don't have a lot of spare cash.  There are several things I definitely need to do with any money I get from the deal, including paying back my parents for the money they lent me to buy a more reliable car and go and buy a new laptop so I can carry on blogging and actually write the book.  But also, depending on how much I get, I'm dreaming about a little (or maybe not so little) NARS haul, either from Space NK (although the one near me is quite small so this may not be possible) or more likely an online order.  It looks like this little haul may be around £200 worth (I did say probably not so little) so I may end up having to narrow it down to fewer products.

So what have I been dreaming about?  Well obviously to start with the Radiant Creamy Concealer.  Everybody raves about this and how it covers everything and as I have a lot to cover it's a no brainer really.  One product I've wanted to try for a while now is one of their foundations but I'm not sure if I'd go for Sheer Glow or Sheer Matte.  I'm not a fan of dewy foundations, I much prefer a matte finish, but a lot of people say that Sheer Glow isn't dewy, so I'm really confused about which one to go for.  I might nip into Space NK and see if I can get a little tester of each.  Which one do you think I might prefer?

Moving on from bases, although I'm not a huge eye shadow fan (only because I'm lacking in application skills) and don't wear it often their new Dual-Intensity eyeshadows have really caught my eye.  I'm thinking something neutral like Andromeda or Europe and then something more dramatic like Desdemona or Subra.  

Of course I'd have to finally try one of their iconic Blushes but I'm really not sure which one I'd go for.  All I know is that I wouldn't go with the one that Sleek's Rose Gold is a dupe for (Orgasm?) as I have that and haven't even tried it yet as I'm not sure about it.  Any recommendations?  I'd also love to try one of their new Matte Multiples and would probably go for Anguilla.  I've never tried a liquid illuminator before so I'd probably throw in their Illuminator in Copacabana for a little experimentation.  

I'm sure you're aware by now that lipstick is my thing and I'd love to try one of their lip pencils, but I can't decide between a Satin lip pencil, Velvet Gloss lip pencil or Velvet Matte lip pencil.  There are too many difficult decisions in life!  Which one would you recommend?  Obviously while I'm at it I might as well try one of their lipsticks and I'm quite liking the look of their Semi Matte lipstick in either Jungle Red or Red Lizard.

So there you have it, my top 'I want to try' products from NARS.  Is there anything else you would recommend?