Saturday, 12 April 2014

Shop the Jewellery Trend: Chunky Chains

From the catwalks to the highstreet, chunky chains have been trending for at least the last 5 years- it was only yesterday that I came across an article detailing how they'd be the 'next big thing' for A/W 09- and with S/S 14 already upon us the fashion is in no danger of dying down. Big metal links are currently in demand not only on the highstreet but in boutique fine jewellers, and I witnessed the sale of a solid gold chunky curb chain last week for an eye watering £4000. Not all of us (in fact probably not many of us) have the chance to drop that amount of cash on one item, and the pieces above have price tags that are a little bit more thrifty!There are so many ways to wear this trend- from necklaces and bracelets to even earrings in gold, silver, rose gold and gunmetal colours. Theres also the option to choose between smooth or textured links, and there's so many types of chain from curb to belcher to box to herringbone. New Look is particularly stocked up with metal chains at the moment, and a lot of styles are available in both silver and gold which means picking your favourite (or 3!) shouldn't be too difficult. 
If you're not sure how to style your new purchases, take a look at this Pinterest board for ideas on how to work them into your outfits. Knowing England I can guarantee that we'll be seeing bikinis and bling on the beaches as soon as the sun comes out!

1. Gold Textured Link Chain Bracelet £5.99 - New Look
2. Jules Smith Knight's Armor Chain Bib Necklace £32.33 - Neiman Marcus
3. Nakamol Draped Golden Multi-Rope Earrings £15.85 - Neiman Marcus
4. Open Filigree Hoop Earrings £44.95 - Love Jewellery
5. Bad Girl Cuff $13 - Princess P Jewelry
6. Premium Chain Stone Bracelet £15 - Topshop
7. Limited Mesh Chunky Chain Necklace £14.99 - New Look
8. Gold Layered Slinky Chain Necklace £7.99 - New Look
9. "Brooke-Lynn" Rose Gold Pave Chain Bracelet $78 - Princess P Jewelry
10. Miquella Atomic Necklace £199 - Cadenzza
11. Premium Multi Row Flower Necklace £22.50 - Topshop
12. Gold Square Chunky Chain Necklace £9.99 - New Look
13. Multi Crystals Decor Chain Earrings £5 - Rings and Tings

What do you think of the chunky chain jewellery trend, will you be rocking some metal this spring?

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Just Singles #3Dates3Mths - Challenge Two

Here it is- the long awaited second instalment of my 3 Dates 3 Months challenge with JustSingles! If you haven't read my first challenge post yet then view it here along with more info about JustSingles. I'm sorry for the lateness of this post, it was meant to go up last month, but my posting schedule went out the window a bit when I received some bad news about a friend and it's all been a bit up in the air since then. However the post is here (finally) to answer all your burning questions about my second challenge- how did it go? Did she get the guy? Or was she just a failure at life in a Missguided jumpsuit? All will be revealed...

For my second challenge I went to a fancy dress I Love The 80s party (both 80s and valentines themed). I scoured the internet for costume ideas and settled on a very low black jumpsuit and genuine 80s red asymmetrical belt combo (complete with frizzy hair, blue eyeshadow, hooker-esque pink contouring and blinding shimmery highlighter). A fancy dress party you say? Thats not a challenge is it, there's plenty of men at parties! Well yes to be fair it's not that hard to find a man at a party, but the difficult part is finding a man who A) you will actually want to see again once the tequila wears off, and B) doesn't look suspiciously like he'll try and hump your leg when you turn around to order a drink.
As soon as I walked in to the pub I found a man, well technically he found me, but I wished he hadn't. He was old enough to be my dad, maybe older (we're talking grandad material) and he asked lots of questions about costumes and the party. He was spinning some yarn about meeting Adam Ant once at a party in London in the 90s, and I was smiling and nodding politely while trying to ignore the fact that his friend had fallen asleep on the bar. Eventually I grabbed someone to act as a human barrier and I swiftly exited to the other side of the room as soon as my tequila and apple was served.

Trying not to choke on the tiny shards of ice in my drink (why do barmen do that??) I made my way through the crowd, making sure the safety pin was still keeping my dignity safely in check under the waist low V neck of the Missguided jumpsuit. I met up with some people I new, laughed at those dressed as white wedding brides and Madonna, and wondered if some of the people had bothered wearing a costume or if they actually do their hair and makeup like that normally.
The hour or so that followed was filled with tequila shots (salt, no lemon), John Terry shots (not as suspicious-looking as expected but ingredients unknown), and two shots of brandy because I was sure I really really liked it. Turned out I was wrong, I do not like brandy.
Toilet trips probably aren't what you'd expect in a tale about finding a date at a party, but when you've safety pinned up the only exit to your jumpsuit and you're wearing a tricky-when-drunk hold-me-in-a-bit belt, they turn into amazing feats of contortion and shivers, leaving you sat in a cold pub bathroom in literally just your underwear. I wandered back through the crowd smiling in everyone's faces and wondering who the hell had chosen the music, and it was then that I noticed a guy I was sure I knew but just couldn't place.

When I went over he introduced himself as Steve, and I asked him how he knew the birthday girl (it was also a birthday party, did I mention that?). As it turned out he lived with her. I told him I'd never seen him at her house but I was sure I'd seen him before. He said 'Ah..so that's why you were staring at me??'. I turned a vivid shade of tomato.
It was getting close to closing time- the oldies were wailing 'get me in a taxi!' and everyone else was moaning that it was still early for a Friday night, so we all decided to nip off to the birthday girl's house (also Stuart's house remember?) to carry on where we left off (minus Billy Jean and various other material girls that just wanted to have fun). Stuart poured me a wine glass of whiskey and orange squash (I'm very classy you know) and we carried on chatting about god knows what while perched on kitchen stools, me wondering when to pop the crucial question and secure a second meeting. There came to a lull in the conversation and I knew it was now or never, so I started off with a casual 'So...' in preparation to pounce. Just as I was taking a breath to start my next sentence, out Stuart came with 'well..I've got to be up early so I'm off to bed, night!' and he jumped up and strolled out of the kitchen.

Night? I thought. Night?? He said off to bed, not off to bed with me, not off to bed next to me, not even off to bed near me. Well, as you can imagine, my jumpsuit and I were very offended. Maybe I hadn't played with my hair enough? Maybe I should've made him walk behind me instead of in front  up the stairs and through the hall? Or maybe I'd just missed my chance.
In a flash he'd disappeared off to one of the six bedrooms and, as it was nearing 4am and people had been slowly trickling home, there wasn't much point in scouring the hangers-on for someone else to sink my claws into. As I phoned for a taxi I made a mental note to get Stuart's number off my friend, or at least look for him on Facebook- how many Stuarts can there be?
As it turns out, trying to ask people out is much harder than waiting for them to ask you. But it's even harder if you don't actually get to ask anything.

Despite the failure of challenges one and two (and thankfully before I've had chance to doubt myself), the third is already looking very promising! I won't give the game away but I've already weeded out the Josh-like weirdos and Stuart-like flakers and, although there won't be a clipboard or jumpsuit in sight, I'm already ready to pounce! Wish me luck.... (god knows I'll need it)!

This is a sponsored post in association with JustSingles

Friday, 28 March 2014

Skincare Routine- New Additions

I haven't updated my skincare routine since September and that's because on the whole I'm still using mainly the same products, but there have been a few new additions over the last few months and I thought it was about time they got a mention! A new product I've also been loving but haven't mentioned here is the Rhassoul Clay Powder that I wrote about recently, which is definitely worth a purchase if you're all blemished and oily-nosed like me (don't I sound a treat!).

Champneys Spa Accessories Muslin Cloths £5
I really thought that muslin cloths were muslin cloths until I bought these, but they're definitely the best quality out of all the brands I've tried. These are 2 ply and 100% cotton with one smooth side and one triangular embossed side for slightly firmer exfoliation. Against other cloths I've used, it's like comparing your to your net curtains - they're softer, thicker and more durable, plus they don't stain like mad after just a couple of uses. These cloths come in a pack of two and are a really generous size (literally about 4 times the size of my face) which I find makes cleanser removal quicker, and even though they're pricier than other face cloths you can really see why as soon as you take them out of the packet.

Origins Make A Difference+ Rejuvenating Treatment £34.99
This is probably the priciest skincare product I own but I've been using it regularly for 6 months and I have about a third left of the 50ml, so this gel moisturiser has really worked hard for my money. The gel consistency means I only need a small amount for my oily skin but it sinks in really quickly and leaves almost a matte finish with no greasy residue. This is one of those products where I can't quite put my finger on a particular ingredient or even a particular job it does but I just know it makes my skin look so much better- it's brilliant for blemishes and seems to completely move them past the dry stage without a flake in sight, it smooths and softens any dehydrated areas while freshening my complexion without making me oily, and it just generally makes my skin look so much healthier too. This treatment contains Rose of Jericho, Lycee and Watermelon, and is a must-try if you have blemished oily but dehydrated skin.
I've also been trying out the Super Spot Remover from Origins but despite glowing reviews from others I don't think I'm a massive fan, Witch Hazel Gel works just the same (if not better) for me and it's less than a third of the Origins £14 price tag.

Skin Doctors T Zone Control No More Pores Night Refiner* £23.95
I was sent the T Zone Control range to review and this night cream is definitely my favourite of the lot. This is almost like an overnight mask as it contains Salicylic, Glycolic and Lactic acid to help remove oil and dead skin cells that can block pores and make the complexion look dull. While I haven't seen a big reduction in size of my large pores, I have noticed that this product helps to clear marks left by blemishes, make the skin brighter and smooth it out by reducing congestion and little bumps.
The water based Night Refiner is much richer and more emolient than I would expect from a product for oily skin so only a small amount of the thick white cream is needed each night, and its a definite must to avoid active blemishes and sensitive areas as the acids in the cream can sting on open skin. Overnight masks (or 'sleeping masks') are popular in Asian countries but we don't seem to get so many in the UK, which is a shame because this product works so well for me and I find it more convenient and effective than one time acid masks or home peels. To me both the packaging and the scents of the T Zone Control range suggest that it's aimed at a unisex market, so this would also make a brilliant gift for an oily skinned boyfriend or husband to add to their skincare routine.

Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Cleanser £5.30
I tend to have more than one cleanser on the go as I wash my face first thing in the morning then double cleanse at night, and this has been such a welcome affordable addition to my routine. First sent as a PR sample and then repurchased, you can tell I really like this gel as there's barely anything left in the bottle! It has a tangy uplifting scent and foams like a traditional wash to remove dirt, grime and oil.
This product contains 2% Glycolic Acid which really helps to smooth out the skin texture, clear blemishes and fade dark marks, and I can really tell the difference in my skin if I take a break from using this to try something else. It doesn't tingle or sting but does its job quite inconspicuously (and does more than I would actually expect from a cleanser). I'm also on my second bottle of the Nip+Fab Pigmentation Fix Skin Stone Corrector Serum (£15.99), which sinks in so easily and helps to fade blemish scars and dark marks. For a generally affordable brand Nip+Fab have some helpful skin 'fixes' that I now wouldn't be without in my routine!

Have you added any new products into your skincare routine recently?

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Traditional Beauty Products from Salèya- Rhassoul Clay Powder and Powder Kohl Eyeliner

If you like things a little bit different when it comes to beauty products, then Salèya might be a good place for you to check out- inspired by her North African routes, Salèya creates traditional and 100% natural products of spa quality for both salons and consumers. The products are based on 'rituals of the hammam' and many have been in practise for hundreds of years, with twists on product ideas that are familiar to us, and concepts that might be new to us such as this Shaving Styptic. The ingredients are sourced from North African countries and produced in France, but are dispatched from the UK with reasonable charges and next day delivery available.
I was sent four products to test out, and I've divided them into two posts;
 there's overlap in some of these traditional products as many can be used on the face, body and hair too, but the Rhassoul Clay and Powder Kohl Eyeliner are the two that I've mainly been using on my face (as you might expect from an eyeliner!).

I'm a big fan of clay masks and the Organic Rhassoul Clay Powder (£8.99) really intrigued me, and with good reason- this clay can be used on the face, body, hair, and alsoeven as a mild body deodorant. For the face, the scentless 100% natural mineral clay powder is mixed with water for oily skin, or water and Argan Oil for dry skin, and used as either a wash or left to set as a mask. One of the reasons I really like this product is that because the mask created is thin in texture it dries so quickly, and you don't have to wait around for ages for it to set on the face. I find if I use this product for a few minutes in the evening then any threatening blemishes are brought to the surface by the next morning, which is great for someone with skin as blemish-prone as mine. As it imparts minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium as well as removing oil and impurities, the clay leaves skin really soft and smooth, and I haven't had any problems with it drying it out my skin no matter how long I've left it on for. I've also been dusting the clay dry on my skin to absorb excess oil on no makeup days as it can tend to get too shiny if I don't give it any attention and used in this way it feels silky and not 
at all gritty.
Used in the hair, the clay adds volume and texture, and on the body it cleanses oils and smooths the skin which I find especially useful for my neck and shoulders. I've also tried adding the clay to cream and liquid facial cleansers if I feel they need a bit of oomph which definitely makes them more effective and adds a little bit of an exfoliating texture. My only gripe about this product is about the packaging, and it isn't really much of a problem, but because the label on the pot lid is paper rather than plastic the ink started to run once it had one drop of water on it. This obviously doesn't affect the product inside, but it's the reason I haven't shown the product labelling in the photos above. 
I've been using this pot a few times a week for the last couple of months and I haven't even used a quarter of it so at £8.99 for 100g this will make a really long lasting product. It's really a must have for oily skin.

The Traditional Kohl Eyeliner (£15) is one of the most interesting beauty products I've ever seen and it isn't easy to tell what it is until you take off the top of the hand carved wooden bottle. Traditional Kohl has been used in the Middle East and North Africa for hundreds of years and is made from ground natural minerals, which give it a shiny glint in the bottle but make it matte black on the eyes. I've never seen eyeliner applied with a stick before, but it's surprisingly easy- the stick is soaked in olive oil overnight before the first use and is then dipped into the powder before being run sideways on the inner rims of the eyes. This doesn't hurt at all (like I worried it might) and I find it much quicker than a pencil trying to get in there at the lashline. Despite the excess initially collecting in the inner corners, once this is wiped away the kohl lasts hours on the waterline and tightline.
When used outside the eyes you'll need a soft brush on hand to wipe away the fall out as it's a loose powder, but it lasts even longer on the skin (you can view a really helpful video tutorial by Salèya herself showing these methods here). 
This makes such a brilliant addition to any makeup collection (especially if you find lining inside the eye difficult) and would also make a really amazingly unusual gift for any beauty lover friends!

I would really recommend having a look not just at the above products but also at the Salèya range as a whole as there's such a interesting collection of traditional products, and they would make the best gifts (don't forget Mother's Day is coming up!).
In my next post I'll be talking about the two products I've been using on my body and hair, including organic Black Olive Soap!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Reduce Hair Removal Woes with RazorPit and Epicare

Hair removal is one of those things that you either love or loathe- for those who love it their skin reacts well to having hairs yanked out or sliced off and aftercare can be kept to a minimum, but those who loathe it can be left with irritation, rashes, ingrown hairs and the bitter taste of razor-resentment. Despite being a loather I still want to look and feel like a smooth shiny slippery seal (ok maybe not so slippery) and I wanted to share with you a couple of products in my hair removal arsenal which make the task that much easier to bare.

RazorPit Bump Foam* is quite simply a shaving foam that 'prevents razor bumps'. Presented in a unisex bottle with colours that slightly remind me of hospitals, it dispenses out as more of an airy lather than the whipped-cream-style shaving foam that might've entered your mind. This product can be used all over the body and it's main irritation fighting ingredients are antiseptics, notably Alcohol and Chlorhexidine. I have to admit I was quite sceptical when trying this, but from the first use I noticed changes for the better, especially on my legs. Where there used to be red bumps, itchiness and ingrown hair I just had smooth irritation-free skin, and it works equally as well under the arms although a little bit less so on the lady area. I think with coarser hair there comes the potential for irritation from the act of shaving as well as from trapped bacteria, but even though I still get a bit irritated I'm pleased to report that since starting the Bump Foam I haven't had one ingrown hair around the bikini line.
The antiseptic ingredients in the foam also keep your razor blades free from bacteria so you're not transferring it to your skin, which is something I'd never thought about and I find I can get a greater amount of comfortable shaves from one blade than I could before. Despite the alcohol content of the product I've had very minimal dryness and only on my legs, which has been nothing a couple of drops of body oil couldn't sort out in a flash. While the Bump Foam doesn't make hair removal any less of a physical chore, it definitely makes shaving and the after effects much more comfortable and bearable, plus one bottle will last you ages!
The RazorPit Bump Foam is available from Look Fantastic for £11.95.

Moving away from the body to the face, longer or thicker than normal hair can be embarrassing and a pain to remove. I would describe mine as half way between peach fuzz and wild wolf woman, and I've tried everything from creams to wax, all of which leave me sore and spotty. You might have seen me talk about the Epicare* wand before, but it definitely deserves another mention for being an ingenious product and budget friendly too. This is essentially a spring with calculated tensions and coils that mean when its bent into a U shape and rolled against the skin it pulls out all unwomanly hairs and leaves you with a lovely soft smooth face. It does hurt but its much less than waxing, and you get used to the feeling pretty quickly. It's also really easy as the only preparation you need is to have clean skin and a mirror handy, I use my Epicare while I'm watching TV and it doesn't take long to do my cheeks and chin as it doesn't really require much skill or concentration once you get the hang of it.
The wands are available in 8 colours, and theres a choice of 2 colours for the Epipouch, I went for pink and blue as I think beauty products could always use a bit of jazzing up and the pouch helps to protect the Epicare from dust or damage (and curious feline friends!). I find that as long as I keep the spring clean it doesn't cause me much in the way of irritation at all except a bit of redness which subsides within about 20 minutes. This easy threading/epilating device needs to be replaced about once a year, which definitely makes it the most cost effective way I've found to remove unwanted facial hair.
The Epicare is available online for £10.95 with the Epipouch costing £3.95