Wednesday, 29 February 2012

When Uniqlo met Laura Ashley

Uniqlo are a brand known for their simple basics, e.g. their t-shirts and their Heatech range of clothing which I always see fantastic reviews of. Therefore, their new collaboration with Laura Ashley, a classic British brand who are synonymous with heritage prints, might not have been the most obvious one. However, with prints being a major trend this season, the collection , which uses prints from the Laura Ashley archive, is perfectly timed. With pieces starting at just £9.90, this is the perfect way to work some print into your wardrobe.

Uniqlo and Laura Ashley will be making a donation from the sales of the collection, to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN agency providing protection and support to refugees across the globe.

Here are some of my favourite pieces from the collection:

Stole, £9.90 - Perfect for throwing over a plain outfit, to add a bit of print

T-shirt, £14.90

Tunic, £19.90 - This would look great layered under a blazer or cardigan for work. Perfect for introducing some print to your workwear.

T-shirt, £14.90

Monday, 27 February 2012

ghd Style & Protect gift set

Despite always having the best intentions, haircare tends to be an area of my beauty routine that tends to stay the same. I never really do much beyond straightening it. Therefore, the host of haircare products that I have in my cupboards remain unused. However I think I might have found a product that will be in regular use from now on. I was sent the ghd 'Style & Protect' gift set to review. The set contains a paddle brush; 'Straight & Smooth' spray; sectioning clips, and 'Final Shine' spray. I sometimes find that many brands will combine products into a set, without much thought put into the combination of products. However this set, gives you everything that you need to create a lovely straight style, from start to finish.

Now I know that this isn't a fragrance review, but the first thing that I noticed about this product, was the scent as I sprayed it on my hair. Some hair products can have a really strong chemical smell, so I was pleasantly surprised with this. It has a really nice fragrance, which although it might not be essential in a hair product definitely doesn't hurt if you are going to be wearing the product on your hair all day.

In order to create the desired effect, you spray the product 4-6 times onto damp hair before blowdrying. It can also be used on dry hair before using your styling tool. The 'Straight & Smooth' spray did exactly what it says on the can, with the added bonus of protecting my hair from the heat of the hairdryer.  My slightly wavy hair was left straight, and with no frizz. It also felt really soft, and I didn't feel like I had any product on my hair. The spray comes in two varieties, one for normal/fine hair and another for thick/coarse hair.

The large paddle brush, was great for helping to dry my fringe straight, which it doesn't normally do of its own accord.

The 'Final Shine' spray instantly gave my hair a lovely glossy finish which just helped to give my hair a more polished look. As someone who doesn't tend to spend a lot of time on my hair, any product that gives such a quick-fix result is a winner for me! Some shine sprays I have used have felt slightly heavy, but this didn't feel as if I had product on my hair.

You can buy the products individually, but if you buy the set, which retails for £39.00, you make a saving of nearly £4.00 - with the sectioning clips thrown in for free! So if you know you are going to use all of the products, it definitely makes sense to buy the set. You can purchase the set from

Fine Print: I was sent this product by ghd for review purposes.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Diamonds and (welsh)cakes are a girl's best friend

When a press release entitled 'World's Most Expensive Welsh Cake Goes on Display' popped into my inbox, my curiosity got the better of me, and I couldn't resist opening it.

And what of this pricey pastry I hear you cry? Well, local jeweller, 'Clive Ranger' are raffling the world's most expensive welshcake in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care. Before you get visions of a solid gold Welshcake, I will fill you in on the cake in question. The welshcake itself is the real deal, but it is decorated with cubic zirconia. And if that wasn't glitzy enough for you, it is toppped with a pure 18ct Welsh gold and .71 carat certificated diamond solitaire ring worth £6,250. Not too shabby as cake toppers go!

The giant Welshcake (baked by new start-up Mary Margaret Mix) went on display this week in the Cardiff store (on the corner of High Street and Castle Arcade). If you want to be in with a chance of getting that ring off the welshcake and onto your finger, then you will need to pick up a raffle ticket instore on 1st March, in exchange for a suggested donation of £2 to the charity. And as well as entering you into the prize draw, the donation will also get you a tasty welshcake. So you can't lose either way.

Everyone entered into the draw will be invited back to an instore drinks reception later that day, with the winner being drawn at 5.45pm. 

All money raised will help Marie Curie Nurses care for people with terminal cancer and other illnesses at home or in the Marie Curie Hospice, Penarth. Having had family members and friends who have accessed the services at the hospice, I will definitely be supporting this fantastic cause.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Dermalogica facial at Liberty

I recently visited the new Dermalogica spa at Liberty in London. I was lucky enough to win the treatment via a RT giveaway on Twitter, way back in the Autumn. However, for various reasons I was unable to get up to London before Christmas, so had to wait until January to claim my prize. It was quite lucky that I did, as the longer wait meant that by the time I paid the lovely Dermalogica ladies a visit, Dermalogica had got its own permanent space in the Liberty treatment rooms.

My 'Face Map'

I got to Liberty slightly early, so had a wander around the store. I haven't been there for years, so couldn't wait to take a look at all the designer loveliness inside. What I love about the store, is that in addition to stocking major designer labels, it also stocks pieces from smaller designers. Liberty manages to stay true to its heritage and design roots, whilst still remaining fashion forward.

I managed to resist making any major purchases, and restricted myself to some quirky cards from the Stationery Hall, and a top by 'Whyred', which was in the Sale section for £38 (60% off).

Typically, the day before the event, I saw a few tweets by someone who had had a bad reaction to their Dermalogica facial, which made me slightly nervous, but then I reasoned that different people can react to the same range in very different ways.

My beauty therapist was called Jadine, and she made sure that she took the time to ascertain exactly what my skin needs were before starting the treatment. A key part of a Dermalogica facial is the 'Face Mapping' process, where the different areas of the face are analysed (see the diagram above). My 'face mapping' showed that despite having oily/combination skin, areas of my skin were still slightly dehydrated, and that I had areas with breakouts.

The Dermalogica Treatment Room

The treatment room was a really relaxing space, all decked out in white. However, it managed to avoid looking too clinical. I was so relaxed that I nearly fell asleep during my treatment. Although that might have had something to do with my very early start from Cardiff that morning!

My treatment involved thorough cleansing; exfoliation; the application of a face mask, moisturiser and treatment boosters. The facial also involved some extraction where needed, which ensured that my skin was looking its best. In the past I have had a few facials that seemed to involve applying lots of lovely lotions and potions to my face to give it that 'glow', but that perhaps weren't the most effective at really dealing with the needs of my skin.

After my treatment I was given samples of the products used on my skin so that I could try them for a few days to see if I liked them. I was going straight to meet with a friend afterwards, so Jadine applied Dermalogica's treatment foundation. I hadn't heard of the product before, but I really liked how it felt on my skin and the coverage it gave. She also gave me some samples of that to try.

I really enjoyed my treatment and definitely felt that my skin looked better. I forgot to take my camera up to London, so didn't get any good pictures of my skin to be able to show you the results. If I lived up in London then I would definitely consider booking another treatment there. 

Sunday, 19 February 2012

NewGen 10 T-Shirts at 'TopShop'

While I was logged onto the 'TopShop' website on Friday in my pursuit of getting my hands on a piece of 'Mary Katrantzou for Topshop', I couldn't help but check out the NewGen range of t-shirts. 'TopShop's NewGen initiative has been supporting up and coming design talent for the last ten years. Alumni of the scheme include Jonathan Saunders, Mary Katrantzou and Christopher Kane to name just a few. To celebrate this anniversary, 'Topshop' has got 20 previous recipients of NewGen support to design a t-shirt. The results showcase the varied range of design talent that have received support over the past decade. The t-shirts are retailing for £30, and there are sweatshirts available in some of the designs for £40. £7 from each sale goes to Centrepoint, a charity helping young homeless people. Here are my favourite designs.

Christopher Kane

Marios Schwab

Mary Katrantzou

Jonathan Saunders

Gareth Pugh


Holly Fulton

Friday, 17 February 2012

Mary Katrantzou for Topshop

If you have even the slightest interest in fashion, then I am sure that you haven't missed the hype surrounding the 'Mary Katrantzou for Topshop' collaboration. Ever since a picture of the dress below was leaked on Twitter at a Press Day, this has been one of the most hotly anticipated high-street collaborations ever seen.

I love Mary's work - the combination of intricate prints, vibrant colours and sculptural shapes. I recently gave a presentation on her work on a training course I attended. Getting to talk about her work for three days turned the course into a pure pleasure!

I logged on at 7.45am this morning (75 minutes before the advertised launch time), to find that a large number of the items had already sold out! Not surprisingly, the dress pictured above had already been snapped up, even with its price tag of £350. When you think that dresses from Mary's mainline collection can retail for £8,500, then I guess some people might consider it a positive bargain! The fact that the collection started at £40 offered a much more accessible price-point for those people who love Mary's work.

I had had my eye on the silk blouse, but sadly that was sold out too. However, I did manage to get my hands on one piece from the collection - this carnation print t-shirt. I think that this will be really versatile, as I can wear it under a blazer for a dash of colour and print, or can mix it with some other prints and bright separates if I feel like it.

I will blog about the item when it is delivered next week. I can't wait! One of the perks of ordering online today, is that I will also receive a free Mary Katrantzou print canvas bag. A free Mary Katrantzou piece?!!! What is not love about that?!

What are your thoughts on the collaboration? Did you manage to get your hands on a piece from the collection?

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Free Leighton Denny polish with Red magazine

Just a quick post to let you know about one of this month's beauty freebies. If you buy 'Red' magazine in a branch of Marks & Spencer or a WHSmith in a railway station, you get a free Leighton Denny nail polish worth £11.00. There are three shades to choose from: 'Whatever' ( a lilac colour ); 'Vamp' (a dark Rouge Noir-ish shade), and 'Crushed Grape' (a grape purple, which makes me think of Chanel 'April', even though that is more of a red shade). When I was instore, they only had the 'Whatever' shade, which was actually the perfect choice for me since I have been wanting to try more pastel shades.

I really liked this polish. The two coats applied really smoothly, and gave great coverage. I tried a pale lilac colour the other day, but didn't like it, as it had a coldness to it. I like that this polish had a bit of depth and warmth to it. I am definitely considering picking up another copy of 'Red' in order to get another bottle of this polish.

Have you managed to get your hands on one of these polishes? What did you think?

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Marshmallow Blends: Amaretto Sugar Scrub Cubes

Today's post is about the latest venture of the lovely (and gorgeous!) beauty blogger Nicoletta, from Nicoletta's Beauty Space. Nicoletta has been involved in the beauty world for a long time, from working in a salon, to blogging. And she has now taken this one step further, by setting up her own beauty brand: Marshmallow Blends, which offers a range of food-inspired beauty treats, from lemon sherbet body butter, to bakewell tart massage candles.

Nicoletta's blog was one of the first that I followed, so I was really pleased when I won a competition on her blog to win a product of my choice. Farrah over at Makeup It Girl had recommended the Amaretto Sugar Scrub Cubes, so I opted for those.

The cubes come packaged in a little tin wrapped with a ribbon. The brown sugar cubes smell lovely.

The cubes, which contain shea butter and almond oil, are really easy to use. You just squidge (is that a technical term?) them together with a bit of water, and they break down to create a scrub, which is just the right texture - not too soft as to be ineffective, and not too abrasive to irritate the skin. After using the cubes, my skin felt really smooth.

I think that these would make a great gift, and they are a bargain at £5.99.

If you want to check out Nicoletta's other products, then you can find them at

Thursday, 9 February 2012

S/S 2012 Jewellery Edit: My Wardrobe

I don't know about you, but one of my favourite ways of changing a familiar outfit is by updating the accessories that I wear with it. I tend to favour either a statement necklace or a chunky ring. I find that I always get comments about my accessories. But a girl can never have too many accessories, so I have been trawling my favourite sites for some statement pieces. Here is my selection from one of my favourite web-sites, My-Wardrobe. You can't have failed to miss that it is Valentine's Day coming up, but if you don't buy into all that hooha, then why not treat yourself? As my friend Sam said: "Treat yourself. You love yourself don't you?" Wise words from a lovely lady!

Anton Heunis - Double Chain Drop Necklace
Anton Heunis Crystal Brooch Detail Chain Necklace
Anton Heunis Square Crystal Cluster Ring
Estelle Deve Gold Ausonia Molten Nugget Ring
Marc by Marc Jacobs Smoked Topaz Pave Heart Ring
Aamaya by Priyanka Jade Quartz and Topaz Rose Ring

My-Wardrobe have also got some lovely pieces in their sale:

Dannijo Paula Ring
Alexis Bittar Leger Gunmetal Clustered Spring Ring
Mawi Hematite Leaf Motif and Crystal Gemstone Ring

When it comes to accessories, do you go for the "less is more" subtle look? Or are you more of a "pile as many as possible on" person?

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Stylistpick: Only £9.95 for your first purchase

Just a quick post to let you know about a great offer on Groupon today. They are currently offering a voucher for £9.95, which is valid for your first purchase on Stylistpick. If you haven't heard of Stylistpick, it is a website which offers a range of shoes and accessories, personally selected by top fashion stylists. You answer a series of questions which identify your style personality, and the answers are used to tailor the selection just for you. By purchasing the voucher, you can potentially save up to 67%. Every month, you are sent an email with the latest suggestions for you.

Here are some of the items currently on the website, all retailing for £39.95:  

If you fancy trying the service out, then get over to Groupon now, as the offer ends tonight at midnight.

Pastel Perfection: No 7 'Pinky Pure' & LILIFI Purple Clutch Purse

Despite the Winter weather we have had over the last week, I am focusing on the fashion business in hand: Spring/Summer 2012's penchant for pastels. Most of the clothes in my closet, tend to be either monochrome, or strong colours such  as blue and red. I don't really tend to buy many pastel items. And that seems to translate into my beauty purchases too.

However, what became clear from the Spring/Summer 2012 Collections, is that pastels are definitely having a moment. From the pastel perfection of Louis Vuitton, to the style sweet-shop that is Mulberry's Spring/Summer campaign, pastels were everywhere. So, I decided that it was time I introduced some pastels into my closet and my beauty look.

Louis Vuitton S/S 2012
Mulberry S/S 2012

First up, was this gorgeous clutch purse from LILIFI. In addition to looking rather lovely, it is also really practical, as there are enough compartments to hold all your cards, cash, passport and phone.

When it came to beauty, I opted for a pastel pink nail polish (No 7 'Pinky Pure'), as opposed to my usual stronger colours. I did wonder whether this might be a bit too girlie for me. However, I really liked the colour once it was on. The polish applied really smoothly, and two coats gave full coverage.

The next step on my road to pastel perfection? To introduce more pastel shades into my closet. Watch this space!

So will you be trying out pastel shades this season? Or will you be wearing brighter colours?

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Springtime in Chanel: Le Vernis in 'April'

Our weather may be having a Winter flashback, but I am definitely all about Spring/Summer. And in particular, 'April', 'May' and 'June', otherwise known as this season's Limited Edition nail polish shades from Chanel.

The shades are part of the Chanel Spring/Summer 2012 collection. I am always keen to try the latest Chanel releases, and loved the look of all three shades when I first saw pictures on Lisa Eldridge's blog. 'April' is a berry/port shade; 'May' is the perfect pink for Spring - reminiscent of sugared almonds and carnations, whilst 'June' is a shade of apricot. After much deliberation I settled on 'April'.

The creme finish of 'April' applied really smoothly, and I was really impressed with the high-gloss finish that it has. I wear a lot of dark red nail polishes, and I think this is the perfect way of taking that look through into Spring/Summer. It is a red with a berry-ish tone, which isn't too dark against Summer brights and pastels.

Have you tried any of the latest 'Chanel' shades? If yes, which one is your favourite?

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Blog Sale: Becca; Nails Inc; Shu Uemura; Clinique and more!

I am having a blog sale to make way for some Spring/Summer purchases. I didn't want to clutter up the blog home page, so I have added the sale to my blog as a separate tab along the top of the blog. There are lots of beauty bargains to be had, from Shu Uemura to Nails Inc and more. If you have any questions, let me know.


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