Monday, 28 October 2013

Wicked: The Musical

On Saturday, my parents and I went along to see Wicked at Manchester Palace Theatre for my mum's birthday. I read the novels around 5 years ago now and adored them so much I've been going on and on about seeing the musical. So much so my family gave in. We were originally planning on seeing it in London for my birthday, but with my 21st and graduation being so close together, and then finding out it was coming up to Manchester, it seemed pretty pointless.

Anyway back to the musical. Go and see it. Review done. I kid, but it pretty much is that simple. My Dad's not a massive musical fan but he was obsessed with it. For those of you who have no idea what Wicked about, its basically the life story of the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz, and you get to see everything from her point of view. Its so cleverly done, and linked in perfectly with the Wizard of Oz! The settings are simply amazing, like something out of a film, and the singing is unbelievable. Defying Gravity made me cry, which is turning into a bit of a habit for me at musicals. I'm an emotional wreck. The script was perfect. It was the perfect balance of funny, and serious and 2 hours whizzed by. When I say funny too, I don't mean that corny funniness you often get, this wasn't force, it was dry and witty, making you pay the musical full attention. If you have young children that get spooked quite easily, some parts may freak them out. The flying monkeys look like extras from Lord of the Rings, no fluffy little lemurs here. But its not overly scary, more PG level. 

The entire story line made me really think how you just accept what the majority believe to be right, because after all that many people can't be wrong. It really re-enforced my belief that there's 3 version of the truth; theirs, yours and somewhere in the middle, what actually happened. 

Apologies for the ramblings of the review but if your looking for something to do for a group with different interests, this may be the perfect middle ground. I'm now on the search for people who haven't seen it/want to see it again. I've downloaded the soundtrack already and am happily singing along. I can safely say I've caught the Wicked bug and have a feeling this musical will become a Modern Classic, 


Fancy winning £20 to spend guilt-free on Enter my giveaway!

Friday, 25 October 2013

& Other Stories Nail Colour in Damask Rose

Damask Rose - £5
When I popped down to London in early June, I made a beeline for & Other Stories to see if its beauty products lived up to the blogger hype surrounding the store. You can order the full beauty range from the website but shipping is quite pricey and if I'm not familiar with a brand, I like to buy in person so I can judge the quality and reliability of the shade representation on the internet. In addition to other items, I picked up one of their bottles of nail varnish in Damask Rose.

I really like the packaging. The chunky glass bottle white a white top fits in really well with the stores branding and is quite distinctive when its placed in my varnish collection. I absolutely adore the brush. It's possibly the best brush I have ever used, and is perfect if like me your a bit clumsy,  find painting your nails neatly a bit of a chore and don't want to faf around. Its a lovely flat, finish brush and helps you get the perfect finish every time. The shade is beautiful, a warm shimmering copper. I think the image on the internet is a bit pinker than it is actually, but its definitely akin to rose gold. The quality of the polish is amazing. After one coat it was pretty much opaque, and I only applied another just to satisfy my perfectionist ways. Wear wise its around the 5 day mark which I think everyone would be pretty satisfied with for a £5 price tag. Although the shade selection is a bit limited, they are all such lovely wearable choices, and it did take me a while to decide on one.

I am so so impressed with & Other Stories beauty products so far. They have definitely earned the blogger hype. I just hope they open another store, hopefully up north so I can indulge a bit more!

Have you tried anything from the brand?


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Bathroom Tour

As you've all probably tolerated my rants about having builders in my house all summer, I thought I'd show you some of what we had done. This is my bathroom, as my parents have an ensuite so its been left to me to add the finishing touches to it. 

Its such an awkward room to take photos of. Every time you move somewhere you bang into something! Speaking of which, see that sink? I gave myself concussion organising my shelves. Please, someone give me sympathy, no one else has yet. 

The bath is so ridiculously deep and long. I have no idea how, because its gone in the exact same place the old one was, and its not like we've moved any walls. Its got this amazing shower head (yes I did just say a shower head was amazing) and its ideal for lazy Sunday soaks. I always think lush products are such a work of art and should be on display. To keep my lush bath bombs and bubble bars neat and protected, I've popped them in this jar. I think its perfect for adding a pop of colour to otherwise simple room. 

I'm completely in love with this mirror. Its got a sensor on the side where you just wave your hands and it switches on. The circle in the bottom corner is a magnified area which is perfect for putting my contacts in and doing eye make-up. Whoever designed this, clearly knew a beauty junkie. Next to my mirror is this storage (No. 6) which I use for my daily makeup. Its so handy as it holds my make-up brushes, my hair brush and comb, some cotton pads, and cotton balls and all my products. I'd actually really recommend this if you only have 5 minutes to do your make-up in the morning like I do. It makes life so much easier. Oh and that stone thing? Its an air freshener.

I honestly love my tiles. The feature walls looks so beautiful against the wood. The other tiles are marbled and it just flows so seamlessly. I think my bird toothbrush holder and soap dish fit in perfect. As soon as I saw them I knew I had to have them! For anyone wondering, the little white bottle holds my contacts I'm using at the moment. 

So that's my bathroom. I hope this is redeemed for my Moaning Myrtle tweets and you all enjoyed having a good old nosy.



Monday, 21 October 2013

Lime Crime Velvetines in Red Velvet & Suedeberry

Lime Crimes' The Velvetines were one of the most raved about, but elusive products around when I started blogging. A matte lip lacquer, released well before the likes of Rimmel Apocolips, they have cult status. I managed to finally track them down this summer, and I have to say, your going to all have to buy a hat because its love.

Firstly on my hand front. I would like to point out I am not a corpse, I was actually just very cold when this was taken. Our heating decided to stop working. 

Back to the products, the packaging is absolutely divine. I will even go as far as to say this is my favorite packaging of any product I have ever had the privilege to own. It just gets you excited to open up and play with your new toy! The actual product packaging is equally as stunning. Beautiful caps topping a frost glass bottle, I really think other make-up brands should take note. These are definitely products you are proud to slip out of your bag and show-off.

The Velvetines range currently only has two shades but I'd love it if they added a deeper, berry-toned red and a plum shade too! Red Velvet is a classic red, perhaps a touch deeper than MAC's Ruby Woo, but universally complementary nevertheless. Sudeberry is more of a coral shade, perhaps more appropriate for the spring/summer season. I think what strikes me is how much these two shades would suit most skin tones. If you were only going to have two shades of lip product, I'd pick these. 

As you can see from the swatches, the pigmentation is unreal, that was from one swipe, after I took a lot of product off. The colour is completely matte when it has dried. I will say that it does take a while to dry fully, and if you do try and do anything involving your mouth when its wet, it will get everywhere, mainly your teeth. It also bleeds like mad. You need a liner or its going to feather. While were on negatives its also really hard to get a clean line with the doe foot applicator, so your best bet is with a lip brush. Oh and smoother (a mere coating will not do) your lips in lip balm before application. It clings to dry patches like a Kola to a tree. But by jove its amazing. 

Wearing only this (makeup wise people) you will feel completely done, but for all day. You will not need to re-apply once you've faffed around. I wore Red Velvet to University one day. I applied it at 7.15 a.m. it was still on just as vibrant 12 hours later, after eating and drinking. Rather than a matte lipstick, this almost stains your lips. Its the mother of all long-lasting lip products, you don't get better than the original. 

You can get each one for £11.50 from here.

I've definitely caught the Lime Crime bug, and would love to try some other products, so let me know any product and shades I should have a look at! 

Friday, 18 October 2013

A/W Yankee Candle Scents

For my 21st Birthday my mum and dad got me an electric Yankee Candle burner and a whole box full of melts. Luckily I live near an outlet shop because I've become completely addicted. Here are just a few of the A/W appropriate scents I am currently loving.

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I never knew Yankee Candle did Halloween scents! Candy Corn is somewhere in the sweet, spicy border. Its not sugary sweet, and has a kick to it so perfect if sickly isn't your thing. Clearly, it is my thing though as Red Velvet and Salted Caramel are my two all time favorite. Salted Caramel is quite a heavy scent, and smells exactly like the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate from Starbucks! Red Velvet smells heavily of batter , icing and red food dye (if thats possible), its perfect if you want to pretend you have a plate of cupcakes, but beware, it will make you crave them!

If you like vanilla scents, Vanilla Chai is the perfect A/W alternative, a little bit more spicy and oriental. Spiced orange may be one of my favorite amongst the Christmas range. If your a fan of citrus scents, but find them too summery this is the one for you. Its also not as spicy as ones like Vanilla Chai, so perfect if you find those a bit too heavy. Home Sweet Home is mainly cinnamon, with vanilla base notes, and gives the perfect atmosphere for cosy nights in.

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If so far the idea of heavy, spiced scents don't appeal, these might. The difference between Christmas Cupcake, and Christmas Cookie is pretty slim if I'm honest. The only one I can detect is Christmas Cookie is a bit more gingerbread like, while Christmas Cookie is more doughy. If your just after a fresh scent though you won't be able to go wrong with Winter Wonderland, which like the image indicates, is fresh, clean and yet maintains a winter atmosphere!

Lastly, these three are being saved for the Christmas fortnight. Whilst Christmas Tree, is the exact smell of pine trees, Red Apple Wreath is a nice combination of pine trees and spice with a touch of sweetness, giving it more depth. Christmas Eve however is magic in a melt. It embodies all the scents you remember as a child, sweets, gingerbread, pine needles, the lot! Somehow it isn't too much though, and will be ideal to get into the holiday spirit.

Before I end this post I just want to say a few words about the Electric Burner. I'd personally really recommend it, especially if you have small children, pets or just hate open flames like me! I love that mine has a removable dish too, making it so simple to clean and change the melt. The base doesn't get overly hot, and fits in great with most decors.

What are your favorite A/W Scents?



Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Introducing Oliver...

I've only just realised I've never properly featured my dog on TCW! Well better later than never, say hello Oliver.

Oliver is my 11 year old Beddlington Terrier/ Bichon Frise bitser, as in a bit of this and a bit of that. The 'm' word is banned in our house, he has feelings after all. I've had him since he was 6 weeks old when I was 10 and honestly could not imagine not having him. I may admit that there were a few skype calls when I lived away at Uni ...

We got him ridiculously young because the lady who was selling him, and the rest of the litter, was moving to Ibiza the next day. He was so young in fact he wouldn't eat anything. It got really scary at one point, but weirdly he started accepting Kellog's Frosties drenched in milk for a couple of weeks, and now he wont stop eating. 

We got kicked out of puppy training classes. Apparently he was a bad influence on all the other dogs. It was held at an equestrian school and he just wanted to sit and dig holes in the sand, and not learn how to stay put.

He has two favorite toys that he recognises by name. A yellow plastic bone, called boney (original) that he's had since we got him, and I'm terrified one day he will loose it and become distraught. He suffers from indigestion really badly, and he will start whimpering and run and get boney. His other favorite toy (lets not kid ourselves, he has as many toys as I have bags) is called monkey, and happens to be, a stuffed toy monkey. If you sing baby monkey he runs and finds it. Seriously.

He's partially blind, with a scarred retina so you have to be careful about moving things. He runs into the conservatory door a lot and bangs himself on corners. He once actually gave himself a black eye, although it was quite hard to tell ...

Oh, and last week he was Pet of the Week in the Leigh Reporter (the local paper). He's now refused to get out of bed for anything less than a dentastick. Diva

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Monday, 14 October 2013

Micealler Water: Bioderma or Loreal?

Since I started TCW there seems to have been major hype around micealler water. Until spring this year, it was pretty much an insider secret reserved for beauty junkies, MUA's and models. The only one I'd really heard about before March/April was Bioderma. However, like most things, drug store brands have jumped aboard and now this seems the only way to remove make-up. So naturally, you start to wonder whether to use, what I consider to be, the original, or save the pennies and go with the drug store. To help you out I'm comparing Loreal Skin Perfection 3 in 1 Micealler Soution with Bioderma Sensibio H20.

To make things fair, I applied exactly the same make-up and had two days between using each product to test my skins reaction..

Like most dupes, the packaging is pretty similar. Whilst other types of Bioderma have different colours, its interesting that both these brands have used pink and white for sensitive skin. Like most people, I like a good clear bottle too. It sounds so obvious but I like to see how much product I've got left, and some brands just don't appreciate this. 

Regarding the actually top, I hands down prefer Bioderma. I feel like I've cheated slightly saying that as my Bioderma is the limited edition with a pump so I just have to press down to have some transfer to a cotton pad, but still, nothing stopped Loreal from doing the same. For anyone wondering, Loreal is just your normal pour top which can cause a lot of wastage if you don't concentrate. 

I used to roll my eyes at people who said Bioderma is like removing your face with magic water. Key words being used to. Oh my does this pack a punch. Two pushes on the pump (I actually think that may have been excessive use too!) and roughly 20 seconds later I was make-up free. I kid you not, I literally swished a tiny cotton pad around my face for that amount of time and my skin was singing, waterproof mascara included. I will hold my hands up and admit when it comes to taking off make-up I'm a sloth. My stock of face wipes will confirm this. Yes I'm aware their bad for your skin, but at the same time, when I've done a 12 hour day, the last thing I want is to be using different potions to remove different types of make-up. Bioderma does it all, and I actually think its quicker, and obviously better, than face wipes. 

Loreal worked in a similar manner. I did find however that I had to use more product, and tug a little bit more at my mascara. Unlike Bioderma which seemed to make my make-up almost disappear effortlessly, this required more work. My mascara went below my eyes, and it took more time overall to remove every trace. I also thing Loreal may have broke me out, not dramatically and nothing a good medium coverage foundation and a bit of concealer wont hide, but I've noticed one or two blemishes appear. I started using Loreal when I just got a pretty bad cold, so my breakout may be due to that, and I'm going to test it further to judge. What I will say is, being the cheaper option, I didn't experience any tightness and the results were similar to Bioderma, just it took slightly longer

Clearly Loreal is much easy to get your paws on in the UK. This week I've seen it in every drug store or super market I've been in, making repurchasing easy. 

Whilst Bioderma has become more accessible to the UK since May, its a bit tricky. Living in Manchester, the only way of getting hold of it as far as I'm aware is over the internet. I know Birchbox are selling it for a limited time (?), I used John Bell but Escentual are just as good and happen to have 1/3 off French skin care in October & free delivery on order over £30 at the moment. This limited supply means you either stock up to make the most of free delivery, or beg anyone going to France to get you a supply. 

Bioderma is on average £10 for 250ml whilst Loreal is £4.99 for 200ml (from Boots), making Bioderma  nearly double the price.

This is such a toughy, but I think I may try Loreal out a little bit longer. Because my skin hasn't erupted, I'm pretty tempted to say its just being ill and if that's right, I'll be stick with Loreal. If I do, I'm just going to decant Loreal into my Bioderma empty, so I can take full advantage of the pump. Bioderma is definitely my holy grail product, and the hype is justified but the price and the availability is making me think twice. If it turns out Loreal is the culprit of my skin issues, I will happily sign up to the Bioderma Appreciation Society guilt-free, knowing I'm looking after my skin. I'm really curious to see how long a bottle of each lasts and see if there is any balancing out, so I'll keep you posted on that, but overall I'd suggest trying Loreal before parting with your cash.


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

What's In My Bag || Law School

Like most bloggers I'm nosy. I will always without fail read room tours, WIMB posts etc. Surprisingly though, I've never actually done anything like that on TCW. Well that's all about to change.

So this is what I usually carry on my commute to University with me. I carry two bags with me, a handbag and one for files.

My bag for University is from H & M and I seriously love the shape. It kind of reminds me of Micheal Kors, but with a more purse-friendly price tag. Its so soft, and comes with a body strap too! What I really like about it is that it has a zip and its waterproof so its very practical. Apart from that everything's pretty standard. I got my purse from a small boutique near Keele University, and somehow my mum managed to track down a matching make-up bag for my 20th Birthday last year. My make-up bag acts an emergency kit with everything from a mirror to plasters and hand cream in there. I have a Kindle, but I carry my Sony E-reader for Uni. Its around 7 years old now, but I have all my university textbooks on it so I don't have to carry some amazingly heavy law books on the tram into Manchester City Center.

My bag that I use for files is currently the one that came with my Space NK GWP, and is just a foldaway nylon tote. I've had these two files for years, but think I got them from WH Smiths. I love pretty files, I just think they look nice on my shelf and encourage me to actually pull them out. I don't think you'll be able to get that particular floral design, but there will be something similar.

As you can see, I really try to limit what I carry because I hate heavy bags (bad for you and your bag). What do you carry everyday with you?


Monday, 7 October 2013

Essie 'For The Twill of It'

For The Twill Of It - £8.50
As soon as a saw the press release for the AW collection back in summer I knew I would be buying this polish. Essie 'For The Twill of It' (Number 843) is essentially a deep berry purple with an iridescent green shot through it. A bit like petrol, the shade varies from different angles and is stunning when the light catches it in transition. Essie polishes are some of my favorite, the formula is extremely easy to work with, streak-free and shiny even without a top coat. It also lasts around the 4-5 day mark and you only need 2-3 coats. Talking of coats, this is one of those rare polishes that you only need 1 coat for for a fully opaque finish! I'm completely obsessed with this and honestly can't stop looking at it in the bottle, only in person will you be able to appreciate what a gorgeous shade this is. 

If you fancy picking this up, I'd do it sharpish because I think its going to be pretty popular this season! I got mine from Beauty Bay.

What do you think?


Friday, 4 October 2013

Space N.K. Haul & GWP

I promise I don't normally do this much high end shopping this close together, its just I've been working all summer and not had any time to shop, yet developed an ever growing shopping list. As soon as these wonderful GWP were announced, well it seemed like fate if I'm honest. Either way, I won't get used to these big parcels arriving, and the haul posts won't be as frequent. 

Anyway purchase-justification over with, lets get down to the nitty-gritty; what I got. Now, £50 for a face mask is never something I thought I would be willing to spend. BUT, having tried Glam Glow at the North Meet Up I was literally amazed, so much so that I parted with my hard earned cash and got the biggest size. I plan on keeping this for special occasions and nights out to really make my skin glow. Next up is the Aromatheraphy Associates Miniature Bath Oil Collection. Some of you may know that I've just had my bathroom re-done and had a lovely huge new bath put in. I thought I'd treat myself to this introductory set (which works out roughly the same price as a lush bath bomb per bath) so I can really take full advantage of it. Stila as a brand is one I've always looked at and loved the sound of but never actually got anything from. Well that's all changed now as I got a Lip and Cheek Stain in Pomegranate, a Smudge Pot in Gray and a Convertible Colour Trio in Warm. I've heard some amazing things about all these products so I'm really excited to try them out and see how they work for me. Last but not least is one of my most wished after products, the Lipstick Queen Invisible Lip Liner. As the name suggests, this is invisible, so you don't have to worry about shade matching! Like all Space NK orders, they threw in two samples, this time it was the Jump Start body wash and lotion and the ReVive Glycolic Renew Peel!

Now for what was in the GWP. In a lovely Space NK nylon Shopper I got: Diptique Tubereuse Mini Candle; This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray (review); Rococo Nail Apparel Nail Varnish; Wei Gingko Leaf Repairing Decolletage Treatment Pad; Sarah Chapman Skinesis Chin and Jaw Lift; Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector; Laura Mercier Foundation primer; Malin + Goetz Vitiman E Face Moisturizer; Algenist Firming & Lifting Cream; Eve Lom Moisturiser; African Botanics Marula Oil; Nude Pro Genius Treatment Oil; Phyto Phytobaume Hydration Express Conditioner; Caudalie Vinoperfect; Nuze Nuxellence Jeunesse; Rodial bee Venom Moisturiser; ReVive Iniensite; Beautannia Brighton Body Lotion; Chantecalle Luminous Gloss in Fig; Zelens 3T Complex and REN Neroli and Grapefruit Body Cream.

I think its safe to say I won't be shopping for quite a while so I can work my way through this lot!

Is there anything that you would like to see a more detailed review of? Let me know.


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

How To... Shop Vintage

Vintage? You mean other peoples cast-offs, marked up by 100%? We'll kind of.  I've been a lover of vintage since I was around 12. While I love combing the high street, there's something quite romantic about vintage pieces and the stories they could tell (if they could talk, I'm not that delusional. Yet.). Fashion's circular after all, and sometimes the old ones are the best. But not all the time. As a seasoned vintage shopper, lately I've noticed a lot of poor quality and frankly rubbish pieces being advertised as 'vintage' with a whopping inflated price tag to go with it! To make sure you don't fall in to the trap of buying something because its vintage, (and so must be cool) I've shared some of my top tips.

  1.  Armpits first ladies. Sorry to be the one to tell you this, but people sweat. Nowadays, we have amazingly scientific ways of dealing with said sweat, before and after, but back in the olden' days they probably just about had the basics. Add that on top of how many times the items been worn, (you may not be the first modern day owner), and the old pit area gets a fair share of wear and tear. Now most flaws in vintage clothing you can fix, broken zippers, missing buttons and what not, but stained or holey pits? I'd pass ...
  2. This brings me nicely onto Cost/Benefit Analysis. Oh yes, think you business studies days were left in that GCSE class room? Think again. Like I said before, you can fix a lot of flaws, bring the piece into modern trends and give it a general face lift but you can't work miracles. If something that's only worth around £10, ends up costing you £30 to have re-fitted, a new zipper and the like, and your only going to wear it once, back away. That's not to say, if your in love don't get it, but just try and weigh it up in your head the amount of work that needs doing, and if you could get a cheaper alternative on the high street.
  3. Ignore labels. I'm talking every kind of label going, size, 'designer', price. Sizing changes year on year. Remember hearing that Marilyn Monroe was a size 12? Well yeah, she was certainly bigger than Alexa Chung but sizes were smaller back then. Just like your size varies from shop to shop, it will from era to era. Try on (if you at a fair, ask if you can either use a covered corner or nip to the loo's) or judge from sight. Just like a modern day market, designers can be faked. I've been bored with enough Antiques Roadshows to know that it was happening as often way back when as it is now. Yes there are stories that people have stumbled upon gold mines like couture pieces for a fiver (these are mostly found in charity shops and not vintage shops), but any vintage seller worth their weight in gold will know how to authenticate and will sell it at eye watering prices with evidence! I think that last bit is the most important. If your not sure, ask for proof from the seller, or do a quick google on your phone. Easy peasy.
  4. Get chummy. If your searching for something particular (say a specific jewelry designer, wedding dress, prom dress) at a fair but end up feeling like you'll never find your treasure, fear not! Find a couple of stalls/shops that sell a similar type of item you after and have a quiet word with the owner to see if they have ever come across the thing you after. If yes, maybe leave your contact details with them in case they find something they think you'd be interested in. Sellers are running a business, and they want your custom at the end of the day. If on their travels they can find something you'd be interested in and you'll part with your cash with them, their not going to say no (mutually beneficial and all that).
  5.  Lastly, I'm going to share something with you that has kept my bank balance very happy over the years. "Would I buy this from New Look?". Why New Look? Because New Look is is usually middle of the road price wise, with Topshop often getting a bit pricey. So as the phrase suggests, when deciding if your going to buy something, hold it up and extract the word vintage from your head. Look at the piece objectively, as if it were brand new and in a high street shop. Is it your style? Will you wear it? Will it go with your existing clothes/decor etc? What about the price? I often get drawn into items because of their history and not the practical aspect. This kind of helps bring me back down to Earth, and so far, has proved rather well at keeping me in line with a budget. 
So those are my 5 top tips for vintage shopping. I hope this will help some of the newbies, and encourage you to start searching vintage fairs and shops! Have a quick google about vintage sellers in your area, and you'll be surprised at how many their actually are.

Have you got any top tips? Let me know!

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