Sunday, 30 September 2012

ChloBo After Dark

I mentioned ChloBo in a couple of my previous posts (here and here) as well as telling you briefly that their latest collection is After Dark. This is my favourite collection from ChloBo yet; I love the current metallic trend of this season and After Dark reflects this using semi precious stones Pyrite and Haematite. Both these stones are dark intense black and bronze metallics and there's something about them that just makes me think of Winter sparkles and Christmas. I'll be wearing them non-stop this Winter but I'm sure they will complement my sterling silver stack consisting of Dreamlands (a previous collection from ChloBo) and Iconic bracelets.

Chloe was inspired to name and create the After Dark collection after a visit to Istanbul. Chloe says "By day the old town is teaming with tradesmen and traffic and the pavements are hot and dusty. As the city's lights switch on at dusk, the place becomes a twinkling kingdom and the glitz and glam come out to play." This amazing city sounds beautiful and Chloe has translated this beauty into her designs in a way that only Chloe could. The collection is a plethora of Pyrite and Haematite with contrasting Cubic Zirconia charms and she has even introduced some delicate fine chains, a cute new design for ChloBo.

I have the Pyrite Inset Sparkle Cross and Pyrite Sparkle Hamsa Hand and I absolutely love them, although I have got my eye on the Haematite Inset Peace Necklace which is stunning. Do you have any favourites from the ChloBo After Dark collection?

 ChloBo Pyrite Inset Sparkle Cross and Pyrite Sparkle Hamsa Hand

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Review: Maybelline Master Smoky

Master Smoky shadow pencil in Smoky Black/Smoky Chocolate & Maybelline Colossal Volum' Express Smoky Eyes Mascara
My first ever mascara was Maybelline Great Lash which I adored at the time, but since discovering that there is makeup beyond Maybelline, I've tended to neglect the brand, sometimes trying out the odd mascara which usually impresses me but I never follow through and give it any more attention. Recently I've seen the pairing of Maybelline Master Smoky shadow pencils and the Colossal Volum' Express Smoky Eyes Mascara everywhere and decided I had to give in and to see what all the hype was about.

I was really impressed with the mascara. I'm not sure I noticed the 'matte kohl look' it claims to provide but wasn't bothered by that. The mascara lengthens and darkens my lashes dramatically but I was disappointed with it's application. Although it does catch all the lashes well, including the bottom lashes, I find it started to go clumpy on a second application. I prefer my mascara's to be buildable so will have to consider whether I mind sacrificing that for the length and strong black it offers.

In all the campaigns I've noticed the shadow pencils have been used to create really dramatic dark eyes, and while I will try that for an evening look, I first used it solely on my top lash line to see the effect for a daytime makeup look. I was pleased with the result; the pencil glides on smoothly creating an intense saturated and pigmented line, and when smudged out with the smudge sponge on the opposite end, it does blur the harsh line creating a smoky effect. The only draw back for me is that the smudge sponge can tug at the eyelid if you're not gentle, but if you aren't firm enough the pencil doesn't smudge well...dilemma? For a subtle daytime look, I only used a small amount, but I'll be interested to see how it looks with more product used (I'll keep you posted!) I bought the pencil in both brown and black and personally think that brown will work best for everyday looks, and the black for strong dark evening eyes. For me the shadow pencils work best to simple enhance the mascara, in place of a typical eyeliner.

One coat of Maybelline Colossal Volum' Express Smoky Eyes Mascara with a little smudge of Master Smoky shadow pencil in Smoky Black
Maybelline Master Smoky shadow pencils and Colossal Volum' Express Smoky Eyes Mascara are available at Boots, Superdrug and other drugstores. Tell me if you have a different experience with either of them!

The Dressing Room

The Dressing Room is a local boutique in St. Albans, and while I'm sorry this post seems directed at UK readers, they do have a fabulous website to check out here! (10% off your first order!)

Every time I'm in St. Albans I always visit The Dressing Room. Without fail. Everything from their window displays to their presentation of stock and friendly, inviting staff is amazing. The modern interior is beautiful with a big shop floor and plenty of space to peruse the gorgeous rails of hand picked brands, ranging from Current/Elliot denim to Butter by Nadia evening dresses. Their changing rooms are also just as beautifully designed, with personal stylists to hand if you require so. I can guarantee that if you visit The Dressing Room you will find it near impossible to leave without being satisfied and buying something you really love.

One of the main reasons I pop in there is to feed my ChloBo addiction (more about ChloBo in my post here) and they have such a great range of the brand there, beautifully displayed, often even having Dressing Room exclusive bracelets - one of which my mum snapped up (she is also obsessed with ChloBo...must be hereditary?!). They also have seasonal events where you get a special discount, Dressing Room exclusives, goodie bags and cocktails provided by Mokoko (which are delicious by the way) - a fantastic way to relax and see what the latest trends are.

Deryane Tadd is the owner of the award-winning boutique and if she's not out discovering new and exciting brands to stock in The Dressing Room, she is usually on the shop floor and every time I've met her she's been lovely. All her staff are also just as friendly and make sure your shopping experience is enjoyable; I often end up chatting away about the latest brands or what I love in the shop. Pop in if you're ever in Herfordshire; St. Albans is a charming little town with plenty of other great shops and restaurants on offer, as well as quaint little pubs and bars in the evening and market days twice a week. The Dressing Room is easy to spot with it's cute topiary pots either side of the stunning window displays! Keep your eyes peeled and say hello to Deryane if you see her, if the greeting and service I always get is anything to go by, I can guarantee you'll be one happy shopper! 

Friday, 28 September 2012

Boho ChloBo

You should probably know that I considered not writing this post because ChloBo is a brand I have bought since it started a couple of years ago and have grown to love, keeping it my little secret. I was dubious to sharing the secret to where I get all my gorgeous bracelets that I stack up my arm on a regular basis. Every day I'm asked where I get them and how lovely they are, so I thought it was only fair I stop being selfish(!) and share it so you can get your hands on some yourself!

ChloBo is a jewellery brand created by Chloe Moss after falling in love with the island of Bali when she was travelling the globe. After meeting a woman making handcrafted silver bracelets on the beach, Chloe was inspired and sourced a silversmith upon return to the UK. Since then it has all been history. ChloBo is ever expanding and is now stocked in many boutiques up and down the country as well as a few abroad, with a beautiful website where you can also order some gorgeous ChloBo treats. All the jewellery is sterling silver and semi precious stones and pearls so the prices vary but they are worth every penny in my opinion -  I've never had more compliments on any other jewellery I've worn! The idea is to 'stack 'em up' and wear a wrist full of different ChloBo designs, but the bracelets look equally as charming worn alone or just a few. With an ever growing celebrity fan base including Cheryl Cole, Coleen Rooney and Peter Andre, and features in major magazines including VOGUE, ChloBo has a bright future ahead so keep your eyes peeled for more stunning designs!

I've been lucky enough to meet the gorgeous Chloe a few times because she makes an effort to attend events at the boutiques that sell her stock and I can honestly say she's such a lovely woman. She assures me that there's much more to come from ChloBo - their latest collection being After Dark - so possibly an idea for your Christmas lists? I think so!

If you spot any bracelets in my stack that you really love, don't be afraid to ask me which one it is -  I'll be happy to send you a link to the exact bracelet!

Friday Favourite: Body Shop Peach Body Butter

This skincare treat needs no introduction but for those of you who aren't familiar with The Body Shop's infamous body butters, they are award winning gorgeous rich moisturisers for the body in a range of delicious smells. The different smells have their own collection of lighter body lotions, shower gels and body scrubs. The latest collection on offer is Vineyard Peach and I assure you now, it is heavenly. Containing wild peach extract and Mediterranean peach kernel oil, I assumed it would be very Summery because of the fruity fresh scent but it is so mouth-watering that I would happily wear it all year round. I normally opt for the body lotions in the Summer as I tend to find them lighter in the warmer months, but in the Winter I prefer to indulge in the richer body butters which provide more moisture. Hurry over to the Body Shop now to take advantage of their buy more save more offer!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Bare Minerals vs. Laura Mercier

My current foundation favourite at the moment is Laura Mercier Mineral Powder. I have combination/oily skin and I need coverage mostly for acne scarring now, but still get a few blemishes and active breakouts. Having previously sworn by Bare Minerals, I have now discovered other mineral foundations on the market and think these two are the best I've tried.

Since using mineral foundation, my skin has improved dramatically. I used to have a constant battle with breakouts and there was rarely a day where I didn't have at least one, but it's the opposite now and I only have the odd one or two now and again. This is because these powders don't clog up and sit in your pores like normal foundations do, and instead are good for your skin because of the minerals themselves, especially the Zinc, known to help skin fight acne. Not only has my blemish-prone skin improved, but so has my skin tone. It is less irritated and red and instead much more even.

I was sceptical when I first experimented with mineral foundation, not believing it could provide enough coverage for me because it's really just a powder...but these foundations are so buildable and buff into the skin beautifully with the complementing brushes so you can have a light coverage or if you need more, simply buff more into the skin. I also thought they would look really matte on the skin, but they still give a slight dewy glow leaving your skin looking healthy and fresh. They also both have SPF 15..what more could you want?!

When it comes to choosing between these two (please bare in mind these are just my personal favourites, there are others on the market) I prefer Laura Mercier. For me, I find it is a better colour match for my skin (I am 03 Real Sand) and you get a lot more product for your money. I also find the Laura Mercier brush is a lot less coarse than the Bare Minerals ones (although the Bare Minerals concealer brush is fantastic for targeting blemishes for a little more coverage).

However, the Bare Minerals does still stand it's ground. If you buy the Get Started Kit you get three brushes, two shades of foundation, a bronzer and a mineral veil (which claims to give a flawless finish) which is fantastic but again, I'm not keen on the colours for my skin tone and find their brushes too harsh since discovering Laura Mercier. Bare Minerals do offer a great range of colours though, including eyeshadows, blushes and even their new solid minerals in the READY range so it's worth experimenting with different brands and seeing which minerals work best for you! Let me know what mineral foundation you prefer...I'd love some new recommendations!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

CHANEL Loveliness

So here's what was hidden inside the beautiful Chanel packaging in my last post. The nail polish in Infidèle is a gorgeous plumy pink, a perfect transition shade from Summer to Autumn and Winter. I'm not a massive fan of Chanel polishes for their lasting power, as they are known to chip more than others but I just can't resist all their stunning shades and glossy finishes. This shade is part of Chanel's limited edition collection 'Les Twin-Sets de Chanel' created exclusively for Fashion's Night Out. Chanel's latest limited edition offers three new shades - Infidèle, Délicatesse and Provocation - each with a coordinating shade of Rouge Allure Velvet lipstick. I wasn't as impressed with this collection as I thought I might have been but think I'll wear this shade frequently throughout the bleaker cold months.

And here is the lipgloss: Chanel Lèvres Scintillantes Glossimer in #119 Wild Rose. I'm not really a lipgloss kind of girl, and rarely stray from my lip balms and lipsticks, with the exclusion of my beloved Clarins Lip Perfecter but I thought I'd dive into the world of lip glosses while I was there. I was looking for a 'my lips but better' shade, although cliché, because I wanted one I could wear subtly every day. Wild Rose was picked out for me and so far I am really enjoying it. The colour is a gorgeous subtle pink with a slight iridescent finish and it lasts a good few hours before I have to reapply, so long as I don't eat or drink! The formulation is great with a creamy, non-sticky consistency. I even got a couple of free sample lip glosses in a very scary bright pink...more on that when I find the courage to try it! So far my experience with lip glosses has been good! Hoorah!

Next on my Chanel list: Eyeshadow due in Misty Soft 

CHANEL at Covent Garden

Chanel opened it's first stand alone makeup store in Covent Garden back in July and I hopped on a train straight there as soon as I heard. Since then I've popped in whenever I've been in the area, if only to admire the beautiful displays of makeup inside. Unfortunately it's only a pop-up store and is closing on December 30th...still plenty of time to get some goodies before Christmas!

The store stocks all the Chanel perfumes, skincare & makeup. Downstairs is the first ever UK Chanel nail bar where anyone can have a shape and polish, with £20 redeemable against purchase. Effectively you're getting a free shape and polish when you buy a nail polish!

My habit of perusing the loveliness within the store didn't end when I passed the other day, and I ended up leaving with a nail polish and lip gloss (oops..!). The service in there is amazing, all my questions were answered and they even wrapped up the polish in Chanel wrapping paper before putting each item into very cute little bags. I literally gasped when I got given a tiny black embossed one...adorable! (I'm definitely going to have to go back and get something for my step-mum who also loves makeup and cute bags!) More on the treats inside in my next post.

Monday, 24 September 2012

What's in my bag?

One of my favourite blog posts to read are the infamous 'What's in my bag?' ones. I'm not sure whether it's purely because I'm a nosey so-and-so or whether it's because I love knowing what other people lug around with them on a daily basis..usually because it prompts me to go and buy something I've spotted that I like! So here's the low down on my own bag...

My current 'go-to' bag of choice is the Sam Edelman Hugo Messenger which I got a while ago and recently rediscovered. It's a perfect everyday bag; big enough to fit all my necessities in but small enough to not give me backache (a regular occurrence due to my typical obsession with massive bags). It also goes with most outfits because of the neutral tan colour, and I adore it's soft leather and the detail of the hardware.

What's inside:

- Sample size Marc Jacobs Dot perfume (my current favourite and it's down to its last few drops..sob!)
- Cristian Lacroix notebook for lists and notes Link!
- Sharpie for jotting down the aforementioned notes (currently on the look out for a prettier pen!)
- EOS Sweet Mint lip balm
- Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15 in 03 Real Sand Link!
- Laura Mercier Blending brush Link!
- RayBans Link! (they should definitely be swapped for an umbrella now it's autumn...)
- Blistex Raspberry Lemonade lip balm Link!
- iPhone 4s with Incase Birds Nest case Link!
- L'Occitaine Rose des Champs hand cream Link!
- Sam Edelman Purse
- Apple headphones
- Juicy Lucy Mermaid Mints (picked up on a whim in Topshop)
- Vaseline Pink Bubbly limited edition exclusive to Selfridges Link!
- Clarins Natural Lip Perfector in 02 Apricot Shimmer Link! (would not go anywhere without it!)
- Models Own nail polish in 'Red n Black' (currently wearing on my nails- for touch ups) Link!
- Kleenex pocket size tissues Link!
- ShopStyle promotional compact mirror from LFWend (see post on my experience here)
- Neglected rings (pearl & peace from ChloBo here & silver from local boutique)
- Keys (with NBS blood donor key ring, Cath Kidston key fob similar here & Tinc headphone splitter Link!)
- Kurt Geiger Oyster card holder Link!
- Promotional Compeed blister plaster also from LFWend
- Korres Jasmine lip butter (ah-may-zing!) Link!

So after having shown you a peek inside my bag, I've learnt one thing: I carry far too many lip balms around (four?!)

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Review: L'Oréal EverPure

My bathroom is constantly cluttered with half-emtpy bottles of products, and the main culprits are always shampoos and conditioners. I'm drawn in to new products when they arrive on the market, especially as they normally arrive with a 3 for 2 deal in Boots and Superdrug but unfortunately this results in an unnecessary amount of neglected products that have been replaced by the latest new purchase.

However, this didn't stop me when I spotted the L'Oréal Paris Hair Expertise EverPure range, which boasted to be a colour care system with no sulphates. I'm aware that sulphates are known for stripping the hair of it's natural oils as well as colour, leaving it dull, lifeless and faded. I have coloured hair myself, brightening up my darker blonde with brighter ashy highlights, and I often find my hair looking very damaged and neglected. There is nothing worse than brassy straw hair, and while this range doesn't combat the 'brassy blonde' problem, it does help with the dryness.

I chose the 'Colour Care & Moisture' but there different variants available including one that claims to help with volume. Since using the range I have noticed a clear difference and my hair feels so much softer and smoother to the touch. I'm not completely convinced by the shampoo as I have used previous shampoos that have left my hair feeling a lot cleaner, but the conditioners for me are fantastic, especially the 'Reinforcing Intensive Mask' which provides instant results; even when my hair is still wet it is noticeably smoother to the touch (as crazy as that sounds).

The star of the show me for me though has got to be the Shine Serum which much like any other serum is meant to leave the hair feeling silky smooth and in better condition, targeting dry and split ends. This does exactly that. After my experience with the conditioner I didn't expect it to get much better but after applying this I was left with incredibly soft hair which resulted in me constantly playing with it throughout the day.

The smell is distinctively menthol, with the mint making it smell almost like toothpaste? I can't say I love it, but it's easy to overlook. This range will definitely not fall into the neglected and forgotten about pile of shampoos and conditioners and I'll undoubtedly end up repurchasing.

L'Oréal EverPure is available at Boots and Superdrug at £5.99/£6.99 depending on each specific product.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Autumnal Lunch

Currently all my friends are moving away from London for University and I'm having to say my reluctant goodbyes (cue the violins!). I met one of my closest friends Sasha today to do just that (as well as for a long overdue catch up and good food). Here's what I wore for my casual lunch date.

Top: Twenty8Twelve, not available online (sorry!)
Leather jacket: NewLook Link!
Jeans: AllSaints, old season (similar here)
I confess to having no self-restraint or patience which today resulted in me wearing my Twenty8Twelve tee that I bought yesterday, I just couldn't wait! I paired it with a pair of dark blue skinny jeans and my black leather jacket, just as predicted in my last post! On my feet I wore my beloved Kurt Geiger ankle boots that I practically live in every'll notice they're looking a little 'well-loved'! 

Boots: KG by Kurt Geiger, last season (similar here and here)
Due to the sudden drop in temperatures here in the UK (Winter is fast approaching brrrr!) I had to throw on a scarf to stop me shivering. This one's from New Look.

Scarf: NewLook Link!
Meet Sasha. My absolutely wonderful friend of over 7 years who I adore, mainly because she provides photos like this.  

London Fashion Weekend Mini-Haul

As promised, here is my follow up post on the few items I snapped up at London Fashion Weekend this season. I could have spent hours browsing through all the gorgeous rails of clothes and accessories. Equally so, I could have easily spent half my life savings on all the things I had my eye on. This time I did restrain myself and narrowed it down to a few pieces that I just couldn't resist.

Three of the five items I purchased were jewellery. I am a bit of a self-confessed jewellery fiend and am known for having stacks of bracelets up my arm on a daily basis. However I never stray from anything sterling silver. Personally I would rather spend a little more money on a piece of jewellery if it means I can wear it daily without it tarnishing (or turning my fingers green!), so naturally when I spotted the Wishlist London stand (see their website hereI was in my absolute element.

All their designs "offer spiritual meaning and protection" using symbols like Evil Eye, Hamsa Hand and the Peace sign. While I don't worry about the spiritual meaning in things, I am drawn to ethnic feeling jewellery and so when I spotted the Hamsa Hand necklace I found it difficult to walk away!

I think it looks so simple and delicate when paired with a casual outfit and the tiny White Cubic Zirconium stones catch the light without making it look too sparkly..avoiding the cheap look in my eyes. I absolutely love this piece.

The next two I spotted on a hand of one of the assistants who was helping me at the stand. She was wearing a double finger ring and a chain ring. The combination of the two worn together looked great but I think each individual piece could look stunning when worn alone. Alongside sterling silver, Moonstone is something I love in jewellery so the chain ring was perfect for me. I love the bohemian feel that the chain ring gives while still staying really delicate and simple.

Note: I'm wearing Essie's Bahama Mama on my nails Link!

I recommend checking out Wishlist London if you're going to LDWend yourself, there are also gold options available as well as cute little bracelets with bright coloured thread and charms. I was told their website is currently being redesigned and updated at the moment so don't worry if you can't get to the event, all their beautiful stock will be online soon! And what's more, with every piece sold, Wishlist London donates a percentage of the profit to War Child to protect children living in some of the World's most dangerous war zones. What more could you want?! A beautiful piece of jewellery and a worthwhile cause! (It's a no-brainer for me!)

My last two items were both from Twenty8Twelve, a brand linked to Sienna Miller (here's their website) and I have always lusted over it because of it's beautiful tailoring and gorgeous printed fabrics but the price tag was always an issue! Luckily this was not the case at LFWend with all the prices slashed. I managed to find two hidden beauties amongst the rails of endless clothes. One a relatively plain everyday grey cotton t-shirt which I plan to pair with jeans, boots and a leather jacket in the Winter, and the the other a cute little silk skirt in a beautiful print which I can wear on nights out or for dinner dates etc. I can't wait to style these pieces (OOTD's to follow, keep your eyes peeled!)

Thursday, 20 September 2012

London Fashion Weekend A/W12

While I could write my first post babbling on about how excited I am to start a blog, I decided I'd scrap that typical idea and jump straight in.

My first post; my first experience at London Fashion Weekend during Autumn/Winter. A few years ago I sauntered down to Somerset House for LFWend during Spring/Summer, feeling chuffed with myself for going to the event, before realising it really wasn't very exclusive at all (forgive me, I was young). If I'm honest, I didn't really think much of it at the time, but as the years have passed and I've grown older, my appreciation of fashion in general has deepened and so I got rather excited to hop on a train to Temple and see what all the brands had to offer this season.

I had a great time browsing all the brands featuring there while catching up with a friend who joined me, and managed to pick up a few treats for myself, much to my bank account's despair! I'll do a follow up post with a mini-haul with what I purchased, but I thought I could dedicate this post to what I wore.

I decided to keep it casual with a pair of AllSaints skinny jeans and a new jumper I got from Topshop earlier this week. Normally a girl who sticks to girly chiffon tops and dresses, I decided to get this jumper in a moment of madness to inject a little more edginess to my wardrobe and I have to say, I'm enjoying it so far. Another new addition are the shoes: black wedges with a twist. I bought these babies from ALDO last week and couldn't wait to wear them out. Along with the jumper I think they just add something to the outfit to dress it up a little (it is LFW after all!)

Here are a few photos from the evening. Thanks for reading through my first post! 

Jumper: Topshop Link!
Jeans: AllSaints, last season (similar here)
Shoes: ALDO Link!
Bag: Topshop Link!
Shoes: ALDO Link!
We found it hard to resist these Blueberry Whoopie Pies from Molly Bakes
My purchases...more on them soon...

Bye LFWend: Somerset House looking beautiful