Wednesday, 30 April 2014


I think I say this every month, but this month has really been a bit crazy. I've tried to stay on top of my schedule as much as possible, but I will admit it has been hard going. From now on though I should be good and have got a routine down, so normal blogging will resume I promise. Thanks for sticking with me.

The reason for the craziness is something I still can't believe. If you can remember, I mentioned in my March post that I had been going to a lot of interviews, and even had one on St. Patrick's Day. I joked to my parents that it would be funny if I got that job, seeing as my surname is Riley. Clearly the luck of the Irish was with me because on April 8th, I was offered a training contract to become a solicitor. Unless you know someone or have experienced law yourself, you wont realize how difficult getting a training contract is. There like gold dust. Not only have I got a training contract, but I was asked to start working for the firm two days later on the 10th! I'm part-time until the end of June, and then its full steam ahead. I've definitely landed on my feet. Everyone at the firm is so lovely, and even though I'm only there two days a week, I already feel at home. 

As you can guess, I was not expecting to start working, and the job offer completely took me by surprise, making me drop everything, and prioritise that. So although I planned to spend one of my two weeks of Easter break blogging, that quickly changed, and my schedule has been thrown into chaos. I'm finally on top of it now, so as I said at the start, normal blogging will now resume. I would just like to thank everyone for all there lovely tweets. I've received some amazingly sweet messages from followers congratulating me and checking up on how I'm doing. It's really touching to think other people are as happy for me, as my family are. The blogging community is incredibly supportive, and is something that I hope to be apart of for a lot longer. 

Miss World speech over, here's some of the things I've been loving this month:
  1. I never thought I'd say it, but I have a thing for white chunky heels. I used to look the other way when I saw them and never thought they would fit into my style, then came along Lily Melrose, and I fell in love with the Office Destroyers
  2. Every year I turn my nose up at Big Brother, wondering why people want to watch other people sleep. Every Friday night I now find myself sat watching other people watching television on Gogglebox. What a strange creature I am.
  3. New Look. New Look has always been my favorite high street store, but in the last month I have been addicted to their releases. I was supposed to stop shopping. And then I saw some things in New Look and well, it all just went to pot. 
  4. Always one to sing other bloggers praises, I've discovered a new-to-me fashion blog that I think you should all check out. Charlotte Fisher has enviable OOTD photography and such an amazing sense of style. Definitely click worthy.
  5. My skin has been really suffering lately and eering on the side of oily for the first time in a good 6 years. One brand that I have been depending on is Face B4, and it has worked like a charm. The after-cleansing serum smells a bit funky, but combined with the foam cleanser, it's a dream team for clearer skin. 

Monday, 28 April 2014

No More Nail Smudges

Nail Shields - £1.99

I own far too many nail varnishes but shockingly hardly ever have my nails painted. The reason Because every time I paint them, without fail, I smudge one. It's possibly the most frustrating thing in the world, and I envy anyone who can do it effortlessly. Whilst waiting many an hour on Youtube, I came across Bunny from Grav3yardgirl talk about Nails On The Go, and was amazed that they actually worked! However, my bubble was soon burst when I discovered this is a USA-only product. Never one to give up, I started to search Amazon with random key words, hoping to try find a version. And what do you know, my nail prayers were answered.

For £1.99 (I love free P&P), you get 10 nail clips. Possibly the cheapest holy grail in history. The packaging is extremely misleading. It doesn't contain hair products, so no need to panic over a wrong order. Like I did. Forget about the packaging. It's what's on the inside that matters. If you haven't fathomed what these contraptions are yet, they are your new best friend. You simply paint your nails as normal and clip them onto you finger, with the shield protecting you nail. You can now use your hands while your painting your nails. When you want to apply another coat, simply flip the shield up (with it still attached to your finger) and paint away. Just think of the extra time you have now you can use your hands. I will admit I did feel like I was 6 again and dressing up as a witch with those plastic Halloween fingers, but if they work, and they definitely do, who cares?! They didn't pinch and weren't uncomfortable, and made waiting for my nails to dry possible. Something I never thought I'd say. They're basically bubbles for your nails. 

Now that I've let you all into my new secret weapon, are you going to invest?
Let me know how you speed up nail drying time, that's my next mission.


Friday, 25 April 2014

101 in 1001

I've always wanted to make a bucket list, but making a list for the rest of your life is a bit of a strange concept for me. I mean, things change so fast, how do you know what position you will be in? The idea of 101 in 1001 is kind of similar to a bucket list, but is limited to 1001 days. A lot easier to achieve. 

Start date: 25th April 2014
End date: 20th January 2017
  1. Reach 500 followers  28/02/2015
  2. Try herbal tea for two weeks.
  3. Complete my LPC       29/07/2014 - Graduated with Commendation.                    
  4. Reach 1000 followers
  5. Only drink water for two weeks
  6. Learn to walk in high heels. And be comfortable doing so.
  7. Go to a festival                         
  8. Start doing Youtube
  9. Go to the zoo
  10. Move out                          
  11. Learn how to edit photos December-January 2015
  12. Visit Edinburgh 
  13. Try Yoga
  14. Watch 15 classic films                 
  15. Learn how to edit videos  
  16. Get a car 30/12/2014
  17. Have a weekend in the Lake District
  18. Make millionaires shortbread
  19. Research my family history             
  20. Learn basic HTML
  21. Sort through old pictures and put them into albums 04/02/2015
  22. Have a weekend in London
  23. Make my own Lasagna
  24. Learn basic SEO  December 2014
  25. Ride a Segway
  26. Go to 10 blogger events
    (1) #nwbrev
    (2) #tweet4atable
  27. Go to a spa
  28. Stop biting my nails
  29. Read 25 books
    (1) The Lincoln Lawyer
    (2) The Captain's Daughter
    (3) Star Island
    (4) Starter for Ten
    (5) Rebels: City of Indra
    (6) From Notting Hill With Love ... Actually
    (7) Get Rich Blogging
  30. Watch every Olympic Sport at Rio 2016 on television
  31. Learn how to ride a bike
  32. Do a blogger swap
  33. Raise £100 for charity
  34. Have a film marathon
  35. Buy a Vivienne Westwood Orb Necklace 28/04/2014 - on my first pay day
  36. Go to Brighton
  37. Go to the Races
  38. Learn to sew
  39. De-clutter my room.
  40. Run 5K
  41. Go a week without drinking Coca Cola
  42. Go fruit picking
  43. Learn how to do winged eyeliner
  44. Have Afternoon Tea
  45. Go to 4 Museums
  46. Consistently post outfit posts
  47. Dress up in fancy dress
  48. Learn how to change a light bulb and a fuse
  49. Decorate my room
  50. Perfect applying false eyelashes
  51. Connect and maintain friendships with 5 other bloggers
  52. Have a technology free weekend.
  53. Start playing hockey again.
  54. Go abroad
  55. Learn to paint my nails without smudging them
  56. Buy a Chanel 2.55 bag
  57. Go out on New Years Eve
  58. Learn to knit
  59. Bake a cheesecake
  60. Go to a Fashion Week/ Fashion Weekend
  61. Run 10K
  62. Learn a magic trick
  63. Develop a credit rating
  64. Hold 2 giveaways on the blog
    (1) 2 year Blogiversary
  65. Go to an Aquarium 
  66. Go for a picnic
  67. Go to a Bonfire & Fireworks display
  68. Spend nothing for a month
  69. Go to 2 Christmas Markets
  70. Watch every episode of One Tree Hill
  71. Go to the Maxifuel Super 6's event
  72. Go vintage shopping
  73. Bake a red velvet cake
  74. Save £1000
  75. Try Pilates 
  76. Understand the rules of Rugby, Cricket & Football
  77. Treat my mum and dad to something nice, just to say thank you.
  78. Re-read all of the Harry Potter books
  79. Have a BBQ
  80. Stop biting my nails
  81. Write 20 draft posts for emergencies
  82. Donate some food to a food bank
  83. Make a gingerbread house from scratch
  84. Complete the 365 Photo Challenge
  85. Go to the theatre 5 times
    (1) Shrek The Musical
  86. Write 3 guest posts
  87. Get tickets to the European Hockey Championships in London 2015 Bought tickets on 26/08/2014
  88. Make bread
  89. Try a juice cleanse
  90. Have a board game competition.
  91. Reach my goal weight
  92. Sit in the audience of a recording television show
  93. See a live comedy show
  94. Watch a different sport every day on Television from the Commonwealth Games
  95. Try 5 new restaurants
    (1) Nandos - 01/05/2014
    (2) Carluccios - 02/12/2014
  96. Give up shopping for lent. And do it.
  97. Complete 4 craft projects.
  98. Try a spin class
  99. Buy a Mac Book
  100. Go to the cinema 10 times
    (1) Gone Girl
  101. Have a 4th July party (for my birthday)
If you've done this challenge let me know. I'd love to see what you are trying to do.


Monday, 21 April 2014

Boscia Konjac Cleansing Sponge with Bamboo Charcoal

Boscia Sponge - $18

Lately my combination skin has been a bit oily and blemish prone so I've tried to look at my skincare regime and alter it. One product I've looked at countless times, only to back out at the last minute are Konjac sponge's. In an attempt to keep my blemishes at bay I decided to this Boscia one from Sephora.

Made from 100% Asian Konjac Root and infused with Black Bamboo Charcoal, the sponge aims to both cleanse and exfoliate, so gentle it is suitable even if you have super sensitive skin! Charcoal is having a bit of a moment in the beauty industry, and is said to help fight acne and even absorb thousands of times it's own mass many harmful substances. Stating that regular use can help draw out impurities and remove blemish-causing bacteria, this seemed like it was the answer to my prayers, and I have to admit, it has made a difference.

In order to use the sponge, you simple rinse it in warm water before applying your chosen cleanser and using it to massage your skin in a circular motion, before rinsing cleaning and hanging it to dry before the next use. Replacing my muslin cloths, I've notice a massive difference in my pore size and the frequency of blemishes. Although I've had one or two blemishes, these have been minute, and I think might be down to just been a little under the weather. My skin has gradually gotten it's glow back, and I definitely feel comfortable in going days with minimal, if any, base makeup on.

I am absolutely obsessed with this, and will definitely be replacing mine in 2-3 months. If you're not planning on making a big Sephora order and don't want to face the shipping charge, Cult Beauty are selling one here, along with other Konjac sponges infused with different things to focus on specific concerns, although I'm not sure if they are from Boscia.

Have you tried a Konjac sponge? What do you think?

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Confidence vs. Cocky


I don't think there has ever been a better time in my life than right now to discuss the very narrow, and often blurred, line between being confident and being arrogant. Being English, I've been brought up to believe that you shouldn't talk about you're positive attributes and achievements, and to do so can be rude and arrogant. However, in the last year I've come to realise that this has been a hindrance to my life.

If you follow me on twitter, you'll know that I've been going for quite a lot of job interviews lately. Some of these interviews have been group ones, with team tasks, and some just a normal panel interview. Last year I noticed that my friends who were from a different country were progressing a lot faster and more successfully than I, despite me having higher academic grades. The only difference I noticed was that they were so much forward with their confidence in their ability than me.

It made sense that an employer would want someone who will attempt challenging work rather than someone who doubts there ability at every level. After all, if you don't believe in yourself, nobody else will. Employers only get to base there opinion of you over a short period of time, therefore all they have to go on is what you do and say. If you say nothing, but are silent confident, that confidence may go unnoticed.

For the last year and a half I've put my theory to the test and the results have been pretty much unanimous. Since I've visibly believed in myself (opposed to just thinking it), the number of opportunities I've had in all aspects of my life is incredible. I am now doing my dream job, excelling at university and infinitely happier in myself. All because I turned my back on that traditional value of being confident. 

I will admit that there is a line between confident and cocky and is hopefully one I've never crossed. There's having conviction in your ability and then there's having an inflated view of yourself. However, the negative attitude surrounding someone who is positive about their characteristics and achievements confuses me. If you've worked hard and developed skills and qualifications making you suitable for a role, why are you hiding it like it's something to be ashamed of? Surely you should be shouting it from the rooftops and be proud, not embarrassed?

It's a controversial one, but I for one am glad I turned my back on that traditional value, I'm certainly a lot more positive about everything now. Like I said, without believing in my ability I wouldn't have been as driven at interviews. Funnily enough, my employer stated that it was my drive that made me stand out and got me the job. Aside from that, having confidence has made me happier in general. I'll try new things not worrying about making mistakes, but if I do, I'll shrug off then off and learn from them. I belief that I am good enough. If most people want to believe this, why do people have a negative attitude to those who do?

What do you think?

Monday, 14 April 2014

Koren Zander Pro Brush Soap in Lemon

Brush Soap - £8.50

One thing that all makeup addicts agree on is the effort needed to clean your brushes. I'm all for looking after my brushes but cleaning them does seem to be a bit of chore, even if it's only once a fortnight. Anything that can make it a little easier and quicker whilst still conditioning my brushes is going to be a winner for me. As for whether this soap ticks all those boxes? It depends on what make up products you use.

Contained in a little plastic case, the brush soap has two sides, a smooth side with a motif on, and a rough side. As the simple instructions on the lid state, you simply wet your brush, swipe it over the smooth side to apply some soap, and use the rough side to get rid of any product build-up. It's available in a variety of scents, or unscented if you prefer. I can only vouch for the lemon one, but whilst the scent is noticeable, it isn't overpowering. The scent lingers on your brushes ever so slightly once dry, but this didn't irritate my skin at all.

In practice though I found the soap didn't quite cut it for all my brushes. Whilst it was easy to use and great to store, it didn't remove all products. It worked amazing on those brushes with build up from powder based products, but struggled to remove all  of the residue from my liquid based ones. In particular, my liquid foundation (Rimmel Wake Me Up) proved to be too much for it regardless of how many times I swiped and used the rough side. I'm actually pretty gutted. This product is definitely value for money, and if you use a powder based foundation, this could make cleaning your brushes cheaper and quicker. For me, as my base is usually liquid based, it's a bit of a hassle using two different brush soaps for different brushes. 

How do you clean your brushes?

Friday, 11 April 2014

Sephora + Pantone Universe: Radiant Rush Matte Lipstick

Lipstick - $18

When placing another Sephora order earlier this month, the first thing I wanted to get hold of was the lipstick from the Sephora and Pantone Collaboration. Ever since Radiant Orchid was announced as the Pantone Colour of the Year 2014, I began searching for products that fit the bill. Although I tried and found some great alternatives, I found myself still eyeing up the Sephora version. And with good reason. 

This is the best packaging I've seen this year. My favorite colour is pink so it was always going to be a winner, but even so, the ombre is beautiful. From it's outer-packing you can just tell it's going to be special and it simply screams to be displayed. The shade itself is a beautiful pink/purple hybrid with blue under tones. I say a hybrid because it's neither one or the other; ask more than one person and you're going to get a variety of answers. Pink usually doesn't flatter me, but this does and I've received a lot of complements on my lip colour when wearing it. It's bright as the swatch suggests, but not so vibrant that only the most confident can pull it off. In fact, it has that magical ability, as lipsticks generally have, of giving you more confidence when you wear it. A bit confusingly this is actually a satin finish lipstick, despite the name indicating that it is a matte. The formula is creamy and applies effortlessly. It did take two swipes to get a vivid colour on me, but that may be as my lips are quite darkly pigmented. It does tend to cling slightly to dry patches so exfoliation and an application of balm beforehand is advised. However, once on, it is virtually undetectable and doesn't dry out your lips at all.  It has a lasting power of 4-5 hours before it needs touching up, but leaves a lovely stain if you haven't got the time. From the packaging to the formula, I'm in love and keen to try more Sephora lipsticks! This may prove to be once of my most used lipsticks this summer.

I have another post coming up all about the cheek palette from this collection too, so look out for that!


Monday, 7 April 2014

Diptyque Beauty

Shampoo (*)
Body Lotion (*)

Not content with producing some of the most coveted candles around, French brand Diptyque have set their sights on conquering the beauty world too. Combining their ability to create luxury fragrances for your room, the transition was only ever going to be a success.

Weirdly, the only link I can find to the shampoo is a version made for their hotelier collection, and doesn't seem to be available to buy at Space N.K. or John Lewis. Nevertheless, it still might give you an indication to the standard of their line. Suitable for all hair types, the shampoo has a fresh scent which is faintly citrusy and extremely light. A little goes a long way and the lather is great. Other than my hair being very soft, the results were pretty much the same as any shampoo from the high street. Nothing to rave about, so no tears over it's availability.

However, something I would recommend have a look out for is the Fresh Lotion. I'm really making a determined effort to use body lotion or body butter every day and this has made it very very easy. Incorporating sunflower, avocado and macadamia nut oil as well as shea butter, the lotion provides maximum hydration with an orange blossom fragrance. A little pricey but definitely worth it. Never before have I received so many complements about a fragrance, and especially when that fragrance is in fact my body butter and not a perfume. Once a tiny bit of lotion is applied, it sinks in so fast, and yet the scent lasts all day.

After trying out these two products, I think the safest items from their line would be their lotions where the brand excel in giving their products the same high quality scents as their candles and perfumes. 

Have you tried Diptyque before? Are you tempted to pick something up?

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Run Blogger Run: Running Outside


Firstly I want to apologize for this update is a bit late, I'm left typing one handed which is slowing me down a lot. As I mentioned in my March post, I'd injured my wrist. I now know I'd actually dislocated it, popped it back in myself without realizing until the pain set in, and trapped a nerve. Clearly if something has a 0.01% of happening, I will do it. Thankfully its my left wrist and I'm right-handed. 

Today I'm going to talk about the first big hurdle I've overcome, running outside. Some people may be a bit confused by this being a hurdle, but I have a feeling quite a lot of you will agree that gasping for air in public is not a comfortable thought. The reason for this is probably the same as why a lot of people are nervous about going to a gym for the first time; the fear of everyone watching you. After my first visit to the gym when I was 17, I got over it there, but somehow running is different. Mainly because I've never been a 'runner' I'm self-conscious. The first time I ventured out I almost had 'first day at school' nerves. I knew I was going to resemble a chain-smoking snail as I puffed along I didn't really want everyone in the local area to be witness to it. I decided to stick to a relatively quite trail near my house. I've now ran along it quite a few times, and while I'm still not comfortable to run along the main road, I'm certainly more confident. 

Gradually I'm coming to the same conclusion that I reached when I went to the gym, everyone's too busy focusing on themselves to think about you too. My stamina improving has probably helped ease my nerves, rather than sit at home thinking about starting running but letting my anxiety win, I've taken the first steps. Even Mo Farrah had to start somewhere. Although my starting point and goal may be radically different to his, I've made a positive start. Whilst my fitness has increased, I've notice my confidence outside of running have improved too. Some thing's I used to think about avoiding through worrying about what other's think, I won't, and that can only be a good thing.


Thursday, 3 April 2014

St. Tropez Luxe Dry Oil

Luxe Dry Oil (*) - £25

As a St. Tropez Beauty Panelist, I am lucky enough to get to try the latest tanning products. Said to be their most luxurious tan yet, the Luxe Dry Oil combines intense hydration and a luminous glow. Inspired by Brazil, this definitely lived up to all of the tan's claims.

Always swayed by packaging, this product is definitely appeals to me. The gold top and the frosted glass bottle feel extremely glamorous and decadent, which will never be a bad thing. Another thing that makes this product feel more luxurious and actually shocked me was the scent. I really like it. The oil is fragranced with essential oils and this has definitely made this tan the best smelling tan I have ever smelt. I think this even smells better than some body products I've used, quite fruity. Biscuit smell be-gone.

There's a small plug in the top which you have to remove whilst using and replace after you've finished, similar to some oil cleansers I've tried. I applied the dry oil using a mitt, and did find getting a good amount of product out a little tricky, but this isn't always a bad thing, you won't have any accidental spillages. The best way I found was slow and quite forceful shaking up and down. You do need to be quite careful though as it is an oil, and can run off your mitt. Saying all this, once I'd got familiar with it, it was so easy to use.

The dry oil itself rubs in effortlessly and is exactly like a normal body oil. It's streak-free, non-greasy and St. Tropez recommends waiting until it's touch dry, which was around 3 minutes for me.  Not long at all! One thing that has really stood out for me is how moisturizing it is. A lot of tans, particular cheaper ones, leave your skin dry and cling to any areas that are dehydrated. If your an experienced self-tanner you will know that moisturizing is a key step in both prep and tan aftercare in order to prolong your efforts. Not only did the dry oil not cling to any area of my dry skin, but it also felt silky smooth and soft. My legs has the most amazing sheen and really did have a glow.

Using 100% natural Tanning agent the tan is suitable for any skin tone and you don't need a lot of product for one application. I would recommend doing a couple of coats over a period of time because it's quiet deceiving. I didn't think it gave me much of a glow when I was applying it, but after 4 hours, I was pleasantly surprised at how sun kissed I'd become. It's not advertised as a gradual or slow-developing tan, but it definitely deepened for me. The picture above shows an intentional comparison for an idea on what one coat looks like.. I'm relatively fair (NW13) and I found this to be the perfect match for a natural golden look. If you are aftr something a bit deeper, maybe pair the dry oil with the Gradual Tan Mousse or give yourself enough time to do a couple of layers of the dry oil. 

As for the long lasting claim, it will depend on your after-care. I'm so-so when it comes to moisturizing and my tan has lasted me 5-6 days. For one coat and sporadic moisturizing that's amazing. Ironically the reason I didn't moisturize as much is because of how moisturizing the tan is! I'm sure if you did stick to a daily moisturizing regime your tan would easily last over a week, ideal for holidays and mini breaks! 

I think the conclusion on this product is pretty much self-explanatory. I absolutely loved it. If you want a golden goddess look (and who doesn't) that will last your holiday, but without any tell tale signs that you've been using fake-tan, this is the one to go for. What's different from other tans is that this genuinely gives you a glow opposed to just a bit of tan. I've never used a tanning dry oil, but the sheen this gave me really made my skin look silky smooth and flawless. Whilst a little pricey, you use so little oil per application, and one application lasts so long, its great value for money.  

Have you used a tanning dry oil before?

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

MAC Peachykeen Blush

 photo 62dc0dbb-02c9-4c95-b30a-ab6cda19db02.jpg
Peachykeen - £18

Although I am a bit of a MAC addict, I haven't actually tried one of their blush offerings until now. Being fond of a peach or coral cheek, I opted for this, the sheertone Peachykeen. Described as a baby peach, its the perfect Spring/Summer blush.

As you can see in the swatch, there is a slight golden shimmer to it but not as much as NARS Orgasm, and certainly wont make you look like a glitter ball. Pigmentation wise, it must be remembered that this is a sheertone blush and if you want a more visible look, you'll need to build it up. On the pro side, this means its great for those of you new to blush or have to apply make up in a hurry as it would take a great deal of layering for the clown look to be achieved. Because of its neutral undertones this would suit every skin tone, but I would especially recommend it to those of you with a fairer complexion to give a natural healthy flush. The wear time is pretty good, around the 5-6 hour mark making it great for summer days in the park. This has definitely become a staple in my makeup collection and is great for a natural pop of colour.

Have you tried any MAC blushs? Any recommendations?
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