Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Twas the Night Before Christmas: Blogger Edition.



I'm sure none of you need reminding that it's Christmas Eve. I am like a child at Christmas and it genuinely is the most wonderful time of the year for me. It's glittery and cheesy, and just how I like it. This is the first year I have a proper job, and I'm working today. In fact, I will be rushing around the house getting ready right about now. I'm sure though I'm not the only one who's busy today and sometimes Christmas can get a bit full on. So, with all that being said, I thought I'd do a bit of a fun post for you today. I've taken the very well know poem by Clement Clarke Moore and put a bit of a Blogger spin on it. I've marked the words I've added in red. Merry Christmas everyone!

Twas the night before Christmas, when all though the house
Not a laptop was stirring, not even a (computer) mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The bloggers were nestled all snug in their bed.
While visions of nail varnish danced in their heads.
And mama in her rollers, and I in my cap,
had just settled out brains for a long winter's nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the day bed to see what was the matter,
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of instagram filters to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight pouting reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a tweet it must be St Nick.
More rapid than a snapchat his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

Now Kendall! now, Karlie! now, Cara and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the catwalk the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of make-up, and St Nicholas too.

And then, with some background music, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I dew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in Topman, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of make-up he had flung on his back.
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was lined like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a cig he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laugh, like a bowlful of shower jelly!

He was curvy and plump, a right sassy old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Son gave me to know that I had noting to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And holding his phone infront of his nose,
And taking a selfie, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his followers gave a whistle.
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard he uploaded later than planned,
"Happy Christmas to all and may your blogs all expand!"


xoxo
J
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Monday, 22 December 2014

Shrek: The Musical



On Saturday night I dragged myself away from the fire and went into town with the family to see Shrek: The Musical at the Palace Theatre in Manchester. As a massive fan of the films, when I heard the musical was coming to Manchester I knew I had to go and see it despite the extortionate ticket prices. It certainly didn't disappoint.

Both theare lovers and film fans alike with enjoy this family friendly musical. Sticking exceptionally close to the first Shrek film some of the most iconic lines are included in the script, but are accompanied by original songs to really bring the story to life. The humour is just perfect, with jokes that everyone will find amusing. I was completely impressed by how they have adapted the film to the stage and nothing has been lost, not even the rickety bridge to the castle! All the costumes were amazing and I can only imagine how long it took to be made up as Shrek, but the true star of the show for me was a little unexpected. Every time Lord Farquaad was on stage, the audience burst into laughter, myself included. The poor actor who plays him is on his knees for nearly the entire performance! There is one very small plot twist which isn't in the film which helps tie everything together but die hard fans wouldn't be upset. It fit's in perfectly, so much so it makes you wonder why it wasn't present in the actual film!

If you enjoyed the film and have the chance to go, I'd definitely recommend you grab a ticket.

Have you seen any shows lately?
xoxo
J
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Friday, 19 December 2014

The Greedy Book



Ever wanted to make a wedding list, but aren't having a wedding? Tired of faking happiness when being given yet another pair of socks? Did you find it hard to decide what to buy everyone for Christmas? Better go on over to The Greedy Book and create an account for free.


The Greedy Book is the creation of sisters Millie and Charlie who's sister-in-law kept a 'Greedy Book' to keep track of everyone's loves, dream gifts and favorite trends in an attempt to take the hassle out of buying presents. A bit like Pinterest, you simply add gifts you would love to receive to your own personal online 'Greedy Book', and then share your book with family and friends. No more having to strategically leave web pages up, or circle items in magazines, you can take the hassle out of shopping for your friends and family, whilst ensuring you get something that you really want.

The site itself is so easy to use and addictive. It's packed with loads of handy features including adding a button to your search bar so you can add things as you browse the web!  Never again struggle to buy for the person with everything, you can now get it right every time. Ideal for birthdays, weddings, Christmas and house warmings, the Greedy Book let's you be as greedy as you dare.

What would your dream gift be?
xoxo
J
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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Black Friday Haul

Beats Studio Headphones

Sony Alpha 5100

GHD Air Hairdryer
Foreo Luna

Indeed Labs
Watching the evening news on Black Friday made me thankful I stayed at home. Over from America, Black Friday has recently drifted to the UK and people have gone a little bit crazy over it. Anyway, before I go into detail over my rather large haul, I just want to add a very quick disclaimer. I saved up for about 10 months to get bits I've wanted and needed. I work full-time and spend my wage how I want. This is by no means a "bragging" post as chances are I won't be buying much for the foreseeable future. Haul posts are always popular and this one was requested by quite a few people. If your not a fan, here's your warning to click off.

I have been looking at Beats by Dr Dre headphones since they first came out, but the price tag has always put me off. After umming and ahhing for the longest time I finally decided to buy a pair as I always have my headphones in. I got a pair of the noise-cancelling Beats Studio headphones and I have to say I absolutely adore them. I love that their foldable and come in a case too, great for travelling. 

Next up is my new toy, the Sony Alpha 510. If you follow me on twitter you'll know that I've been looking at new cameras for quite some time. After reading lots of reviews I had settled on the Sony Alpha 500. However, when I went onto Amazon on Black Friday they were offering 50% off the newer model making it the same price as the 500. The only reason I had ignored the 510 is because of it's price. It was clearly meant to be. To top it off, 32GB memory cards were reduced to £15. I snapped two up because I know I'm going to need that space once I set off on my travels next year.

I have a beauty blogger confession to make. The only hairdryer I've ever owned cost £10. It does the job, but only has one setting and leaves my hair less than perfect. I've wanted to upgrade for the longest time, and really should have done it sooner but never got round to it. The GHD Air is now my new baby and transforms my hair from drowned rat to big blow dry in under 10 minutes. You can't argue with that. 

The Foreo Luna also made it's way into my shopping bag, I'm not sure if it's normal to say this, but I really enjoy cleansing my skin. Up until now, I've never used a cleansing tool alongside a cleanser even though I've read plenty of rave reviews about Clarisonic and the like. Anyway my skin's really been playing up lately and that's pushed me into finally getting the Foreo Luna. It's supposed to be a lot more hygienic and less abrasive than a Clarisonic, plus you don't need to buy any extra heads! I'll report back about how I get on.

The last few bits were complete impulse buys and not planned at all. Boot's reduced Indded Lab's Hydraluron and Retinol Reface by 50%. I am very impressed that I have resisted trying Hydraluron for so long considering the hype around it, but I just had to cave when it was half price. Retional Reface sounds great for making your skin smoother so naturally it just so happened to fall into my basket. Oops. Boot's also threw in a sample of Liquid Gold!

I know a lot of people were pretty anti-Black Friday after the complete mayhem it caused but without it I would not have been able to afford everything I wanted. 

Did you manage to grab anything?
xoxo
J
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Monday, 15 December 2014

Origins Superstar Minis

Origins Samples
Origins Superstar Minis - £35


I'm rather proud in saying that all my Christmas shopping was done before December even rolled in. I'm usually that person running around a department shop on December 23rd, or even 24th, grabbing anything and everything for presents. Despite all our best intentions, sometimes you just don't get round to picking up someones present until the last minute. In times like this you can always rely on gift sets. 

Out of all the gift sets available, this one caught my eye. Containing some of Origins best-selling products, the set is perfect for skin care novices to brand enthusiasts alike. All products are free from parabens, synthetic fragrance and other nasties, and aren't tested on animals making it suitable for anyone.The set includes:
  • A lovely tote bag.
  • High-Potency Night-A-Mins Night Cream
  • GinZing Moisturiser
  • Checks and Balances Face Wash
  • GinZing Eye Cream
  • Modern Friction Scrub
  • Clear Improvements Face Mask
  • Make a Difference Hand Cream
I couldn't resist treating myself to a pre-Christmas present. Well, it is a time for giving ...

What's your favorite product from Origins?
xoxo
J
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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Ladbrokes Blogger Secret Santa




Last Tuesday I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Ladbrokes Blogger Secret Santa event in Manchester at Revolution Deansgate Locks. We were all informed two weeks before who we would be buying a present for. The aim was to choose something within the budget of £10 that would suit the person based their blog.

The night came and the wine flowed. Over platters of pizza and other delicious party food we all caught up with each other. After taking a couple of #SantaSelfies with seasonal props we placed our Christmas wishes on the Christmas tree. Of course mine was for anything Mulberry. A girl can wish after all.

Now on to the exciting part the presents. I wish I could reveal who I bought for because I'd love to find out if they liked their present. I definitely had my eye on it. I was treated to three amazing bubble bars from Lush by my Secret Santa; Snow Angel, Pop In The Bath and Holly Golightly. Whoever bought for me got me the perfect present and I would love to say a massive massive thank you to them, as well as to to Branded3 and Ladbrokes for inviting me to the event.

Have you tried these Lush products? What's the best present you've gotten in Secret Santa?
xoxo
J
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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

LUSH Snowman Shower Jelly

Lush Snowman Shower Jelly

 Lush Snowman Shower Jelly
Shower Jelly - £3.50




Want to know a fun fact? I hate the Snowman, the film. Please don't unsubscribe or stop reading this, I do have my reasons. I just find the music so sad and dramatic for something that is essentially a children's Christmas film. I also got a bit upset when the Snowman melted. Children's films should always have happy endings, especially at Christmas. I will redeem myself though and say I love anything with snowmen (or women, or dogs) one them, so when I saw this Limited Edition shower jelly in the Lush Christmas collection, I had to grab a pot to try.

When I first got the pot I was initially a little confused and thought I must have misread that the jelly was in the shape of a snowman, as it looked very flat in the tub. However, after you unfold the while amount of the jelly, just smaller than my hand, you can clearly see the snowman shape, complete with scarf, hat and nose. I think Lush get it right 99.9% of the time with fragrances, and this definitely falls into that majority. Sweetly smelling of blackcurrant, but not so strongly that it makes you crave Ribena, the fragrance puts a smile on your face even when your mood is less than festive. Despite all this, I was left feeling disappointed with this product. The product itself is hard to use. Unlike normal Shower Jelly (of which I am a fan), this was quite hard to rip a piece of, but the use the whole snowman was incredibly slippery and altogether frustrating. Eventually the poor snowman even split in half! Once I managed to keep the snowman firmly in my grasp, I noticed the lather just wasn't up to par and none of the glitter I was promised was visible. If this product was for scent alone, it would be a complete winner, but it definitely under-delivered on its promises. I think I'll be sticking to the Christmas Shower Gels from now on. Maybe I'm just destined not to like snowmen.

Have you tried this Lush product? What are your feelings towards Snowmen?
xoxo
J
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Monday, 8 December 2014

Manchester Christmas Market






I love Christmas, and nothing get's me more in the festive spirit than a Christmas market. Luckily I happen to live near Manchester which has a huge annual European market. Starting in 1999, I've literally grown up with the market, and it wouldn't feel Christmas without a walk round all the stalls.

Over 300 stills spread across nine sites, with traders from Transylvania to Spain, Lapland to UK are all housed in hand-crafted wooden chalets. Selling everything from sweets, beauty products, crafts, produce such as olives and food to go, it's the perfect day out. The 9 sites are close together but still scattered around the high street, helping to make Christmas shopping that little bit more special. The combination of the fairy lights, the Christmas music and of course the scents of the food and drink create this magical atmosphere which could never be re-created. It's like your in one of those Christmas villages in a snow globe. Oh, and the best bit? It's free.

If you're looking for the perfect festive day out or still need a few Christmas presents I can't recommend it enough. The Market is here until 21st December. The European Christmas Market in Albert Square is open 10 am to 9 pm daily whilst Market Street, Cathedral Gardens, Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street, King Street, St. Ann's Square and Brazennose Street are all open 10 am to 8 pm daily.

What's your favorite thing about Christmas markets?
xoxo
J
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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Links of London Effervescence Bracelet



A couple of months ago I hit the jackpot and won a £400 gift card to spend at Links of London. I couldn't believe my luck, especially as at the time I was in a bit of a downer and need something to snap me out of it. Well I definitely perked up after that. I didn't want to just blow the money on something and regret it (unlikely) so I sat and pondered the Links website for absolutely ages to get an idea of what I wanted. Unfortunately I am incredible indecisive, especially when no choice is a bad one and the decision took me a while.

A few weeks ago I finally made my way down to the Manchester store to have a look at everything in person. I must have looked like a kid in a sweet shop as I bounced round from cabinet to cabinet, ooohh and ahhing as I went. As soon as I locked eyes on the Effervescence Collection I knew I'd get something from it, and when I saw this bracelet I knew it was the one. Pearls have always been my thing, and having it combined with the "bubbles", it was very me, and very perfect. 

Sadly I can't share the link for the bracelet from the Links website as it's currently not one it (sold out on Black Friday perhaps?). I also picked up some earrings for my mum's Christmas present and a free pendant which is currently being engraved as this goes live. Excitingly I still have some money left which I'm trying to save for January when I feel a little flat after the festive season has died down. I wonder how long it will take me to choose something this time? 

xoxo
J
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Monday, 1 December 2014

The Library of Fragrance: Marshmallow

The Library of Fragrance Marshmallow Perfume
Fragrance(*) - £15.99



When I heard about the Library of Fragrance I was instantly intrigued. Whilst there isn't a day that I don't wear perfume, I can't say I've ever come across a brand which includes scents such as Grass, Sunshine and Gin & Tonic in its collection. One of the latest imports from over the pond, The Library of Fragrance includes unisex scents inspired by everyday life which are both recognisable and wearable. By isolating individual scents such as that of a Thunderstorm or Baby Powder, each fragrance enables you to truly appreciate the scents that surround us. Each singluar scent can be worn alone as a familiar fragrance or layered with other scents from the Library to create a more complex, personalised fragrance. The options and combinations are completely personal, and can help you create a bespoke scent!

I was extremely fortunate to get to try marshmallow and I certainly wasn't disappointed. The bottle is simple and clean in design, letting the fragrance be the true attraction. For me, marshmallows remind of cosy autumn nights at home with a big mug of hot chocolate. It's a sweet and comforting scent which instantly makes me happy. Despite being a fan of sweet scents, I was a little nervous about trying Marshmallow out in case it was too sickly. I love marshmallows as much as the next person, but being surrounded by the scent all day may be a little too much. When I spritzed it though, I fell in love. The fragrance is exactly like Marshamllows, as sugary and light as if you had a jar of Fluff in front of you. Specific enough to make you smile, but subtle enough not to make you feel sickly sweet, it strikes the perfect balance. Constantly catching myself smelling my pulse points, it managed to lift my mood up even if it was pitch black and freezing outside. It's completely different to anything else on the high street at the moment and  I think may have just found something new to collect ...

The Library of Fragrance is currently included in a special offer at Boots where you can get 2 selected fragrances for £25!

If you could make any one scent into a fragrance, what would it be?
xoxo
J
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Sunday, 30 November 2014

November



Autumn has finally hit the UK. It's suddenly got chilly and the leaves have finally fallen. Despite all this it's still be pretty mild, and I'm crossed everything possible that it stays that way. This month has been so hectic at work. I feel like I've had double the usual amount to do, mainly because I've been using some of my holidays and having a few days off. Those days off were used very well though as I had all my Christmas shopping done by the middle of November. I actually got it done in one day. Tall about being productive?! In between the hustle and bustle I've been really reflective about the past year. I know it's not the new year yet, but there's something about the build up to the festive season that makes me start to think about all the nice things I've been fortunate to experience and the lessons I've learnt. Believe it or not I'm already starting to think of new years resolutions. For once I really am ahead of myself!

Things I've learnt this month:
  1. When you have a lot on your plate, all you need to do is focus on what you need to do right this minute.
  2. Be brave in trying new things. When I heard of the Starbucks Christmas Honey & Almond Hot Chocolate I thought I was going to hate it, but it's heavenly. Go grab a cup now!
  3. No matter how old I am, I will never be able to watch anything remotely scary. Remember Me on ITV has proved this to be fact.
  4. Nothing worthwhile is easy. 

How was your month?
xoxo


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Monday, 24 November 2014

OPI Gold & White Gold Top Coats

OPI 18K White Gold Top Coat

 OPI 18K White Gold Top Coat Swatches
 OPI 18K White Gold Top Coat Swatches
OPI 18K Gold Top Coat Swatches
OPI Man With a Golden Gun 18K Gold Top Coat
OPI Mariah Carey Pure 18K White Gold Top Coat


Does anyone else have those occasions where jewelry alone isn't enough? Where either a statement piece isn't suitable with your outfit or the occasion or you just fancy something different. When I need to feel my most glamorous I always turn to beauty products to add the finishing touches. Possibly two of the most divaist (word? let's make it one) are my 18K top coats. Yes you read that right. Gold. For your nails.

Both top coats have pieces of gold suspended in a clear varnish. I've swatched both on their own, and then over a Black Barry M varnish. The best technique I've found to apply the top coats is to place the brush on your nail and press the shavings on rather than to brush the nail using a sweeping motion. It does mean that it takes a little longer, but at least you have greater control over the placement of your Gold, allowing you to use as little or as much as you want. No matter how long you take though, the effect will be irregular, but I really like the look it creates. Almost like a bling version of the speckled egg look, it's perfect for the festive season.

The one the left we have Man with a Golden Gun which was released as part of the OPI Skyfall collection, and the one of the right is the White Gold Top Coat, released as part of a Mariah Carey Collection. Apart from the obvious difference between the colour of the Gold shavings, there are a couple of things which seperate the two apart. I find the White Gold top coat is easier to apply with the shavings tending to be larger, however the clear varnish is slightly cloudy compared to the Man With a Gold Gun. Both dry super shiny but slightly textured as you can feel the shavings if you touch your nails. 

Each polish comes in a great presentation box so would make an ideal gift for a nail lover or a glamorous friend. 

What products do you use to give the finishing touch?
xoxo
J

P.S. I've been nominated for an award! If you have a spare minute I'd be very grateful for your vote click here click here.
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Monday, 17 November 2014

Post-Student Blues


























I've always been a student. I went straight from A-Levels to my Law degree, and then from my degree to my LPC.  I've never had a break from education. Until now that is, For the first time in my life I've not had to spend my free time doing homework or prep work and September didn't mean brand new stationary.  Up to now I've been so busy getting to grips with my new job I've had no time to give my former life a thought. However now I'm starting to find my feet, I've been inflicted with a condition nobody warned me about; the post-student blues.

Just this week ASOS had a special student discount on, and it made my think about my past life as a student. That's how I think of it you see, my not so distant past life. Risking sounding cheesey, but my student days seem to go in the blink of an eye, so quick in fact it's almost as if I went to bed one night worrying about an exam only to wake up the next morning in my own office. The times of being able to decide to go out at 10.30pm on a weekday have long gone, as have all-nighters, the student union, super noodles, snakebite and even worse, fancy dress has becoming limited to the odd birthday and Halloween. No, if I now want to go out it has to be planned well in advanced so as not to conflict with any of my equally grown up friends hectic schedules. Of course there was more to being a student that going out, dancing to 90's pop music and making new best friends in the loo's. Nobody warned me I'd actually miss all the first day back excitement, the afternoons spent in bed reading and dare I say it, the lectures! I think those are the two things I miss the most about being a student; time and freedom

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that I love my life right now. The reason I've been in education for so long is so I can do the job I'm doing now. Because I have a full-time job I can afford to treat myself to the odd high end buy and travel round California next year. However, there was something lovely about having the freedom to give a wrong answer in a tutorial or having the option to have a lie in in the morning and just staying up later to work. As very deep and thoughtful as it sounds, the worlds your oyster when your a student.  You have the ability to grab every opportunity, because you have the time to re-arrange your commitments. Now I work full-time, my evenings seem to be filled with sleepy rituals and my weekends are sacred, crammed to the brim with things I was too busy to do in the week. Everything is planned, because if it's not organised, chances are it won't get done, it will conflict with something, somewhere wont be open or have an appointment or I may even be too tired. The idea of being spontaneous has become an urban myth. 

I will hold my hands up and say that I probably actually do have more free time now than when I was a student. I don't usually bring the office home and I definitely don't spend all weekend doing prep for the next week. However, what time I do have is regimented and that can take away some of the fun and excitement of it. It can feel like you're part of a never ending routine and unless something can slot in perfectly, it's a no go. Whilst it may seem obvious that you life gets more structured, nobody actually prepares you for the transition from student into the real world. Needless to say, it takes a little bit of getting used to.

What do you miss the most about being a student? Or if you are a student, what do you hate the most?
xoxo
J

P.S. I've been nominated for an award! If you have a spare minute I'd be very grateful for your vote click here.
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Thursday, 13 November 2014

Sick Day Essentials



I've felt a bit sick for the last two weeks now, and it's finally fully come out in full force. Hopefully this means that it will get out of my system now, but with my immune system, who knows?! When I've not been sleeping it off, I've felt pretty darn ughh (technical term) and like any self-respecting blogger relied on my stash on trusted favorites to get my through the hardest times. 

Let's start practically, if your ill you want to get rid of the most iirritatingand uncomfortable symptoms as soon as possible. If you have a headache or migraine can't recommend 4head enough. It's like those cool strips you stick to your forehead, but without the social humiliation. It's a clear balm that you simply swipe across your forehead for cooling relief.  For the sniffles, you simply cannot beat H. Gillerman Organics Pure Breathing Sinus Remedy. Although pricey, it lasts forever and is worth it's weight in gold. The speed it works and the releif it gives is second to none, definitely a "just in case" must have. 

Once you've managed to get on top of the symptoms, you undoubtedly want to make yourself feel more human. Obviously the first step is prevention of getting worse and that's where Soap & Glory's Hand Maid comes in. Beautifully scented anti-bacteria hand wash, this will rid you any germs that are left lingering on your hand. I'd also recommend using an intensive lip balm. When I'm run down, my lips seem to dry out rapidly so I always keep Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips around. As the name suggests, this product was originally designed for soothing sore nipples after breastfeeding, but has become popular as an intensive lip balm. Spritzing my face with a spray such as Caudalie Beauty Elixir helps me feel fresh and more awake, but if your having trouble getting your beauty sleep, the best product for you is This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray. The soft lavender scent relaxes you, letting you get a peaceful rest so you will hopefully wake up feeling a bit more like yourself.

Have you got any sick day essentials?
xoxo
J

P.S. I've been nominated for an award! If you have a spare minute I'd be very grateful for your vote click here.
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Monday, 10 November 2014

UK Blog Awards



Blog awards seem to be multiplying by the second. From style to general awards they aim to recognize people who put in the work on their blog. My opinion of them is completely on the fence. I can see how awards may turn into a statistics race and encourage comparison, which let's face it, is a bloggers worst enemy. On the other hand, I think it's great that a bloggers work is celebrated. 

Since starting thecrownwings I've never actually entered any awards because quite frankly, I just didn't have the confidence. Now, sat in my PJ's (my little pony fyi), ill and feeling sorry for myself on a cold dark autumn night, I am announcing I've entered the UK Blog Awards. I still don't have the confidence, but I care a hell of a lot less than before. My inner blogger gremlins are questioning why I'm doing this but . Que cheesy, chiche rom-com music, I'm definitely reminded of that very pinterest quote "What if I fall? Oh darling, what if you fly?" by Erin Hanson. Since I started my recovery from anxiety at Easter and even more so since August when I started to feel in control of it (click here to read my story), I've made a determined effort to grab every single opportunity going. I'm travelling to USA for 12 days next year, on my own. I'm trying new hobbies. I'm doing things without worrying about other peoples opinions. This isn't just a step out of my comfort zone, it's a completely different continent. Maybe this will bring more opportunities for me to say yes to.

I'd be lying more than a politician if I said I wouldn't want to win. Of course I would. However, I don't intend to beg for votes or pester you all constantly. What I will say is that, if you would like to  take 2 seconds to vote for me, and I really hope you would, you can click here. All you need to do is enter your name and e-mail in the form by 1st December. If you do click, I am very very thankful. If you don't, I'm grateful for you to just simply read this. 

What things have you done outside your comfort zone?
xoxo
J
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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Autumn Nail Varnish with Barry M

Barry M Gelly Nail Paint Autumn Fall
Barry M Gelly Nail Paint Autumn Fall
Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint - £3.99 each
Left - Right
Mustard, Paprika, Chilli, Cocoa


Remember Remember the 5th November. Gunpowder, Treason and plot. I see no reason, why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot. Here in England the 5th November marks Bonfire Night, the night where Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament by planting Gunpowder underneath. To mark the event big bonfires are built, where stuffed dolls, called Guys are placed on and huge firework displays take place up and down the country. For me, Bonfire Night truly marks the Autumn/Winter months; the darker nights, scarves and gloves. 

Whilst Summer might be all about bronzed faces and limbs, these shades move down to your nails in Autumn with earthy tones always being appropriate. Despite being a girly girl to the highest degree, I can't help but fall in love (no pun intended) with the warm rich tones. Whilst I popped into Boots the other week the Barry M stand caught my eye and I just had to snap up these 4 shades. Part of their Gelly Hi-Shine range they are such vibrant shades, and although on the darker side of the scale, not at all dull! All the above swatches are after two coats and without any top coat. The paint is highly pigmented and the consistency is great making it apply so smoothly and fuss free. As with all the other shades in this range, I find the varnish to last around 6-7 days with no chips which is amazing for such a budget buy. Boots always have some sort of offer on Barry M so I would add these to your shopping list for your next trip.

What do you love the most about Autumn?
xoxo
J
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Monday, 3 November 2014

Let's Go Lashes Review & Offer

Lets Go Lashes





Lets Go Lashes
Lets Go Lashes
Lets Go Lashes
Let's Go Lashes (*) - £6.50
Whenever people mention the party season, I always think about makeup. And if there is one thing I think we can all agree on it's that there is never enough time over Christmas to get your makeup exactly how you imagined it to be. Be it smudge eyeliner or faking mascara, I've had fair share of disasters when I've been under pressure. It was only when I was at University I decided to try false eyelashes to help streamline the process when I was pushed for time. Since then I've tried a couple of different styles and brands so I was very excited to be sent a pair of Let's Go Lashes by Nouveau Lashes a try.

Split into 4 ranges, Tease, Flirt, Heartbreaker and Temptress, Let's Go Lashes cater for everyone from those trying strip lashes for the first time to experienced appliers. With 40 designs in a variety of thickness, lengths and colour, everyone will find their perfect pair. Strip lashes are my absolute go-to style as they are so simple to apply, and Let's Go Lashes are the most fuss-free I've tried. Simply apply a small amount of the glue (included inside) along the base of the lash, wait 20 seconds for it to go slightly tacky and then place as close to your lash line as possible. No mess and no piles of products for you to tidy away. After trying Style 4 from the Temptress range I was completely amazed by how much a pair of these false eyelashes can transform your look. The above pictures were taken without any make-up. No mascara, tints or even curlers were used, and yet I still felt glamorous and ready for a night out. I kid you not, I did my make-up in under 10 minutes. Falsies and a swipe of red lipstick and I was good to go. 

I would recommend these in an instant if you simply haven't got the time or don't want to spend it infront of the mirror rather than enjoying yourself this festive season. I'm definitely stocking up on these for those nights I'll be going straight from office to bar. Thankfully the very lovely people over at Let's Go Lashes have given me a discount code to make sure you have one less thing to worry about. Normally priced at £6.50, this exclusive offer allows you to purchase three pairs of Let's Go Lashes strip lashes for £9. Just follow this link to shop, http://shop.nouveaubeautygroup.com/brands/lets-go/ , select three pair and use the special code LG3FOR9 at the checkout! Now you just have to decide which pairs to choose ..


XOXO
J
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Friday, 31 October 2014

October


I'm not sure what it is about October, but each year I find it filled with a month of facing demons. Whilst it now seems like this has been brewing for a long time, I've come to the realization that I have this thing where I never feel I've actually accomplished anything, as if what I've done is not good enough. From work, to blogging to even my make-up, I'm often left thinking hmm, it's ok, it will do. Not yes, I've done something amazing here. The sad truth is too, I think the vast majority of people experience this in their own way. This month I've really noticed the effects of this, and how it makes every day appear to be a bit blah unless you have something unusual planned. So my plan to combat this? Be more reflective. Appreciate the starting point, the period of time that's passed, all the lesson's learnt and remember that just because I've not achieved the same thing someone else has, doesn't mean my achievement is any less. Someone going down a different route to me doesn't mean my route is wrong. 

So what else happened this month? Apart from spending 4 hours in car just to go through Blackpool Illuminations (essential a stretch of a couple miles of the same fairy lights that are hung every year), I've been recovered from the flu, which if I'm being honest completely knocked me for 6. 

Things I've learnt this month:
  1. People say the British like to queue. It's a vicious rumor. 4 hours to sit and look at colored light bulbs is enough to make you hysterical.
  2. I own far too many books. I have piles and piles of books I want to read but haven't had a chance to because I've been so busy. Now is the chance.
  3. Sometimes people do change. A tricky one but often true.
  4. Ed Sheeran is my idea of the perfect man. He can sing. He can dance. He's ginger. Need I say more.
  5. When you know work is one degree warmer than LA (OK so LA at 9am), you know your counting down the days to your USA trip a bit too much.


XOXO
J
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Monday, 27 October 2014

First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay

FAB Cleanser, First Aid Beauty, Red Clay
Cleanser - £14.40


As sad as it sounds, I love cleansing my skin. When your tired and feeling a bit blah the feeling of super clean skin really peps my mood up. For the last year I've been bordering on obsessed with skincare and have tried to learn as much as I can about different types of products and ingredients. By now I think I'm pretty clued up on what I like and what suits my skin, and First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay is the best one I have found so far. I've not seen this cleanser mentioned on many blogs so I thought it was about right it got it's moment in the spotlight.

The actual product is a red glittery gel which is incredibly cooling on the skin. Suitable for oily, combination and problem prone skin types, it's perfect to unclog pores and purify sensitive skin. Containing a concoction of minerals, antioxidants and botanical extracts, it draws out the skin's toxins, helps to reduce outbreaks and reduce sebum production. With no noticeable fragrance, the gel lathers up well so only a small amount is necessary to remove traces of make-up and dirt from your skin. After just a couple of days my pores were noticeably smaller and my skin was magically blemish free and radiant. The best bit? That effect wasn't short term. It was long-lasting and just got better and better the longer the product was used. Gentle enough to use as your only cleanser but providing noticeable effects, this is one product you should make space for.

Have you found a perfect cleanser?
xoxo
J
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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Things I'm Trying to Save For

Timeless Classic Fashion Iconic



I'm not aloud to shop. I've said it countless times before but I honestly can't. I need a car. I need to save up for Greece in May. I need to save up for London in August. I need to save up for America in September. The list of next year's expenses is endless. No more silly spending. Obviously I'm going to shop between now and September, but I don't want to impulse buy things I will wear twice and then let them collect dust in my wardrobe. And because I've told myself I can't shop, all I can think about is shopping.

Ever since I was really little I and I first went to a big department store I decided I wanted to get some investment pieces in my wardrobe. Flash forward to now and I have the makings of a nice little collection. Quite a few vintage pieces, a Mulberry bag, a few Radley pieces and some lovely jewelry. But there are some pieces I really want to save for. Apart from my Chanel 2.55 Flap bag which I have sworn I will get when I finally qualify as a solicitor, I am desperate to get my hands on a Chanel Tweed Jacket.  As I spend every week day in smart clothes at work, I think I'd get a lot of wear from it too! A Burberry Trench Coat is also on my list. On my first trip to London we walked past Burberry and I was absolutely transfixed by the window displayed. Living in Manchester, not only is a Trench Coat practical, it's never going to go out of fashion! A Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress and an Alexander McQueen Scarf are modern classics and would be wardrobe essentials throughout my life. Lastly, I'd love a pair of red soles, and by that I mean some Louboutins. Although super glamorous, I don't want a pair of ridiculously high heels. Instead I'd choose a more sensible heel or some ankle boots so they have slightly less of a chance of ending up in the air. With a wishlist like that, I think I better start saving now!

What are fashion items are you trying to save for?
xoxo
J
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Monday, 20 October 2014

St. Grape Aqua Bliss Bath Scrub

St. Grape Aqua Bliss Bath Scrub - £12


If there's one product I am very specific about, it's body scrub. I've tried a lot and I know what I like. I like quite an abrasive scrub that you can visibly see the difference after you've used it. Of course it needs to smell nice too and it wasn't too expense. Not really much to ask for?! 

I mentioned this scrub in my last empties post but wanted to do a full review on it to truly do it justice. Enriched with 4 kinds of pure Essential Oil extracts the natural high quality mineral sea salt scrub has been created to rejuvenate, refresh and heal the body whilst at the same time provided a calming and relaxing sensation. On top of that, it hasn't got any nastiness in it as it's Sulfate Free, Petrochemical Free, Silicone Free, Paraben free, with no artificial colours and it hasn't been tested on animals. On paper, this ticks all the boxes, for everyone. However, in reality I was left a little disappointed. The fragrance is a somewhat powdery floral scent which, whilst pleasant enough, doesn't specially appeal to me. The product itself is very smooth and I did think it wouldn't exfoliate as much I'd like. This was completely wrong and it really does work very well without being too abrasive or harsh. My skin also felt conditioned after using this, more hydrated and pores looked reduced. Using three time a week, the jar surpassed a month's use too.

Despite the positives out weighting the negatives, I was still left a little flat. Apart from the scent, I couldn't find a single flaw yet I just didn't enjoy using this scrub as much as others. The expectation for this scrub to do everything it promised was so high I think I was bound to feel a bit underwhelmed. Without a scent which appealed to me I don't think I could ever experience the calming and relaxing sensation. Clearly fragrances are down to personal preference, but setting such high standards has made this product good instead of great. Ultimately I think this is a case of a good product trying to achieve too much. If it was advertised purely as a rejuvenating and healing body scrub it would get top marks. Sadly it's not and for me it just didn't deliver. 

What good products have you been underwhelmed by?
xoxo
J
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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The Recycling Bin #6



I am genuinely trying my hardest to use up products as they seem to be multiplying every time I turn away, and I quite frankly, don't have the space for them. That being said, I do try and make the most out of what I've got, meaning I use up products a little bit slower than the average blogger. But let's celebrate these empties! Yes that is a Ponche shower gel bottle from last year's Lush collection. Let's not judge people, I'm a shower gel hoarder. Last Christmas I seemed to amass a vast quantity of all sorts of beautiful shower gels. This one seemed to be left to last, but oh my was it a nice one. Very autumy and a bit akin to Yankee Candles Spiced Orange, but with a hint of tequilla. I think I'm most depressed about saying good by to Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Fragrance(*) . It was my Summer scent and saying goodbye to it really does mean the start of cold, dark nights. At least it's Halloween and Bonfire Night soon! I have a detailed review of St. Grape Aqua Bliss coming soon, but what I will say is it's not my perfect scrub. Lastly, I'm making a determined effort to moisturise more and I've finished the Dead Sea Spa Magik Silky Smooth Body Lotion and Whish Body Butter. Whilst both were lovely to use, I wouldn't rave about them. To me, there just standard lotions. 



On to skincare and I think I'm really starting to understand what I like and what I don't like. Sadly all of these products I loved. The Sanctuary 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask is one of my all-time favorite masks. It's such a luxurious product and really helps to decongest your skin. It's great for this time of year too as it's warming! I fell head over heels for Murad Skincare, especially their Pomegrante Range. My favorite products are the Energizing Pomegrante Cleanser and the Pomegrante Exfoliating Mask. Both help to make your skin glow and smell so fruity. Lastly, a cleanser I truly love, the First Aid Deep Cleanser with Red Clay. I've never tried a cleanser that has been so gentle yet so effective in maintain blemish free skin. It won't be too long before I have to buy the full size.

Have you tried any of these products?
xoxo
J
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Monday, 13 October 2014

Blog Life Crisis



It's taken me a month to come to the conclusion. I've pondered over the symptoms for hours; lack of engagement, reluctance to log-in, avoidance of checking feeds. It's all lead me to one thing. I'm having a blog life crisis.

I'm doing everything I should be doing, but for some reason I'm just not happy. I have my dream layout, I'm posting regular and I'm keeping up-to-date with the blogger world but something's missing. My spark has gone. In a moment of flu-induced pitty I even blurted "what's the point?"! Before I continue, I would like to clearly state, in bold, that this is not a I'm giving up blogging post. It's more of I've lost my direction and purpose kind of post. For one reason of another I just feel The Crown Wings has become stuck in a rut and I think now's the time to stop and reflect on how to move forward. 

Never one to mope around for too long (praying my Mum doesn't read this), I've come up with an action plan to get my blogging buzz back. And because I'm an obsessive list maker, I've made it into a list.

  1. Read someone of my favorite blogs and make a list (of course) of the reasons I keep coming back for more. Whether it be the selection of posts, the photography, work out what makes me want to scroll down, and then scroll a little bit more.
  2. Apply said list to The Crown Wings. OK, so Rome wasn't built in a day and change won't happen over night, but everything needs to start somewhere. I've re-jigged my blog plan to include a wider variety of topics and I'm going to work on how they are presented.
  3. Stay true to me. If I don't want to blog about something or present it in a certain way, I won't/ If it feel's like a chore, it's going to show. Stay original, individual and make the Crown Wings a true reflection of me.
  4. Get more involved in the blogger community and the twitter chats. Talking to other bloggers and hopefully building links will help me feel part of something again.
  5. Have fun. Blogging isn't my career, it's a hobby. Hobbies are supposed to be fun and not stressful. I need to stop focusing on statistics and more on what matters, doing something that I' happy with.

So there's my master plan for getting some mojo back into my blog. Have you got any tips?
xoxo
J
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Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation

Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation
Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation in Nude (*) - £8.99


The struggle with foundation is real. I should know, I battle with it on a daily basis. Thank's to my Dad I have the curse of his Irish genes and deceivingly pale skin. Shades can go one of two ways for me, orange or ghostly. Neither look is something I want to achieve. The other problem is down to my skin, it fluctuates from oily to dry over night relegating my foundation choice the day before into the bottomless draws of my IKEA Alex. However, this Summer I stumbled upon this little bottle of amazingness. Yes I did just say amazingness, but this foundation deserves it.

I'm actually rather surprised I took a chance on this foundation in the first place. Foundation without a pump is something I have avoided at all costs and always buy the additional pump. I know how clumsy I am, I do not need to be reminded with suspect stains on everything I own. Well I was right in that prediction, there have my the odd rushed morning when I've had to make an unplanned outfit change after I decided to pour the bottle slightly too close to me, slightly too far away from my foundation brush. However, if you are significantly more coordinated than me, and that 99.9% of the World's population, you will have no problems whatsoever. 

The foundation blends like a dream. It's towards the start of the medium coverage range, so you will need some concealer if your skin has blemishes. Saying that, this has covered up more angry red spots that I care to tell you. It genuinely does give you your skin but better. It will cover imperfections but allow your natural features (aka freckles) to show through. People don't think I'm wearing foundation when I have this on, and that is a look I always want. If you have combination skin this will be perfect for you. I find that it adapts to my ever changing skin and doesn't look shinny on my oily days or patchy if it's decided to be dry. It's just a great suits-everyone foundation that will last you all day without slipping.  I urge you to look past the lack of a pump flaw and give this foundation a chance, it deserves a place in your collection.

xoxo
J
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Monday, 6 October 2014

Made By Me || Jewellery








Confession Alert: I'm a secret crafter. Well, I say I am, I used to be. I used to be really into card making, calligraphy and so on and even did some for a friends wedding. However since I went to University way back in 2010 I just kind of stopped and forgot how much I enjoyed doing it. Whether it was down to being busy with my new life I don't know, what I do know is that it wasn't something I made time for anymore.

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to start making things again and turned my hand back to my favorite craft of all, jewellery. I forgot how much I love making jewellery, from curling the head pins for earrings to making simple jump ring chains. When I design something then find the right materials and then make it, I get so absorbed and forget about everything else. It's my little world full of shinny things. It definitely appeals to my magpie tendencies. Although I'm a little rusty now, I can still control my pliers. After this weekend I've decided to take jewellery making back up again along with a whole bunch of crafts I forgot I could make. Watch this space ...

xoxo
J
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