I don’t have a lot to say this week really, as I was away for work in Birmingham for a few days, which annoyingly meant I missed out on some really cool events!  That’s adult life though, I guess…

Yes, another tattoo…

Yeah, I know, I’ve had a few recently! I tend to do that – go for ages without getting any, then a load in one go. There were the Friday 13th ones, and the rose on my calf (that still isn’t healing well) – and this one is a Disney inspired rose and snow globe by Paula Castle at Nevermore Tattoo in Daventry.

This is my second tattoo by Paula, and I love it so much, it turned out even nicer than I imagined it! It’s on the back of my thigh, and fits really nicely just below the bottom of my koi side piece. I want to fill that thigh up with random thngs I love, and I’m already in talks with Paula about another addition early next year.

Paula is one of my favourite tattooists – she’s so talented and her ideas are so fresh and original. If you want someone who will think outside the box, she’s perfect. And being outside London her rates are really reasonable. She’s also a lovely, lovely person.

tattoo

La Roche Posay Christmas Party

La Roche Posay are a brand who looks after their bloggers – they have gatherings throughout the year and they’re always so fun. This one was held in the basement bar of Carousel in Mayfair – I’m a big fan of this venue and they host some awesome pop ups.

lrpballoons

Not only was it a lovely party with great canapes and free flowing cocktails, it was also the launch of a couple of new La Roche Posay products – the Effaclar BB Blur and the Hydraphase Intense Serum, both of which we were kindly gifted, along with one of my favourites of their products, Serozinc.

lrp

La Roche Posay has been a favourite of mine for a long time, their products are one of few that actually seem to keep my skin at bay. And I’m a big fan of BB creams, as I tend to favour a natural look, so I’m excited to give Effaclar BB Blur a go! I went for shade fair/light but it’s also available in light/medium.

lrptrees

Big Blogging Christmas Party

On Saturday I attended this event arranged by Souers De Luxe at Finch’s in Moorgate with Luisa Christie (Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat), Lauren (Saharasplash), Chan (Like Cupcake Chan) and Lily.

Loads of brands had stands, including Lash Perfect who I’m a big fan of (thanks for the lashes!), Blogosphere magazine, and Miglio Jewellery (who gifted us some lovely earrings) amongst others. There was also a pretty decent goody bag.

blogosphere magazine

I was also gifted this super cute illustration of me on a keyring from Aloha Lola Cards!

lolacards

So that’s it for this week, but I have a way more exciting week coming up next…

L xx

All photos my own.

Since I’m sure everyone is sick of hearing about my holidays, I’ll interrupt the travel posts with a little rant about Birchbox. Now, you’ll see from my blog that I rarely post anything negative. I’m a very positive person, and prefer to tell you about things I do and things I love. But for two months in a row now I’ve been annoyed with Birchbox.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with beauty subscription boxes in general if I’m honest. My first subscription, a good couple of years ago now, was with GlossyBox. I remember at the time (this was before I’d even considered blogging myself), there was a vast difference between the contents of the GlossyBoxes that bloggers and a select few received, and the contents the majority got. I was always one of the unlucky ones, and I think it was one month in which some received Clarins and the other Weleda (or along those lines), that I decided I’d pack it in. Not that there’s anything wrong with Weleda, but the difference in value between the two variations of that box was ridiculous.

I would like to point out though that I did trial GlossyBox again recently and things seemed to have evened out – they’ve also produced some fantastic collaboration boxes, such as the one with Harvey Nichols, and there’s a NARS one coming up which will be a must get. On that note, I strongly recommend you register you interest for it here. Pssst… if you do, it’d be nice if you use my referral code here so I can earn free boxes.

Seriously, look at this awesome box…

gboxhn

So anyway, I subscribed to BirchBox. My thoughts on the Birchboxes I’ve received have been mixed, some months I’ve been tempted to cancel, but have just been too lazy to. Now is most definitely the time.

For October I received the Back To Basics box which was, quite frankly, the dullest beauty box I have ever received. Boring contents, boring packaging, just boring. Although, it did what it said on the tin – it contained basics. But it wasn’t until I saw on social media people raving about the contents of their Birchboxes that I realised there had been two boxes available in October – some people received the Basics box, and some received a much more exciting collaboration box with Stylist. I just put it down to bad luck, until I saw comments from others on the Birchbox Facebook page. Apparently, subscribers were able to select between the Basics box and the Stylist box. News to me, and I clearly wasn’t the only one. Now I’m normally really on top of things like this, so it seemed odd to me that I’d miss an email, but whatever.

birchboxskinnydip

Image from www.birchbox.co.uk

But last week, I saw a blogger friend (you can see her thoughts on the SkinnyDip x BirchBox here) post about the November Birchbox, a collaboration with a brand I love, SkinnyDip (remember their awesome Simpsons range?). In addition to the beauty box, there was apparently an option to add a SkinnyDip phone case (which I actually would like) for £4 (a great deal, since SkinnyDip phone cases are usually £12 plus). Unable to see how to add this to my order, I emailed Birchbox enquiring, and also pointing out my disappointment with the October box.

Now, I’ll be honest, I’m used to companies providing pretty good customer service. So I was expecting a response along the lines of, ‘sure, we’ll add it to your order’. Pretty much what you’d expect right? I wasn’t asking for anything for free, but just to be able to purchase something at the price others were able to purchase it for. I also made sure I had contacted them before my box was dispatched so the addition could easily be made.

But the response I received was ‘we apologise that on this occasion you have missed out – we hope you will still be able to enjoy your Birchbox!’. It was a little more elaborate than that – it detailed that I should look at their social media, and if I were subscribed to the newsletter I would have known about it with instructions as to how to subscribe. Now, especially as I have received emails from Birchbox previously, I wasn’t aware that I wasn’t down to receive the newsletter – with every other shop I’ve purchased from I’ve been automatically updated, or asked if I want to be. Whether my settings have somehow changed, I don’t know – if they have been they weren’t changed by me. But that’s not the point, really. If an email is advising an already subscribing customer that they need to make a selection, that email should go out to EVERY SINGLE SUBSCRIBER regardless of whether they have opted to receive the newsletter. Edited to add that this morning (the day after this was posted) I actually received a random promotional email from Birchbox…

Besides, I hadn’t actually missed the information this time, I just couldn’t work out how as an existing subscriber to add it to my order. This was never explained to me. I presume it was in the email I wasn’t sent.

bboxskinnydip

Moving on, I received my Birchbox today. I received the box on the right in the above promotional picture. Of the products pictured I received a sample of Notting Hill Femme from English Laundry (not the usual kind of scent I go for, but still rather nice), a Lord & Berry pencil in ‘Silhouette’ (I’m a fan of white eyeliner so this will get used – edited to add this in fact a clear lipliner), and a small Trilogy Make Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm (not tried a cleanser like this before). In substitution of the Living Proof, Ren and Cowshed products pictured in the promotional images I got Beauty Protector Beauty Cream Hand & Body Moisturiser (I never use this kind of product), Delarom Acquacomfort Cream (no opinion on this product) and So Susan Featherlash mascara (generic beauty box filler but mascara is always handy). It’s a shame, I’d have liked to try Living Proof and Cowshed products. But it’s ok, I understand by now that not everyone receives the same contents and I’m not complaining.

But do you know what I was looking forward to receiving? The SkinnyDip shell bag. It appears that the shell bag actually doesn’t come with the box (correct me if I’m wrong?), in which case I find the above promotional picture which appears on the Birchbox site pretty misleading. And it also begs the question as to how, aside from the shell print on the box itself, this is really much of a collaboration with SkinnyDip? Previous Birchbox collaborations (such as that with Sophia Webster, which contained a cute purse) have had items inside which are relevant, so it isn’t unrealistic to have expected a SkinnyDip item inside. Or was that collaborative item the phone case which I was unable to purchase? Or maybe the discount code they provided (£10 off a £24 spend)?

I actually loved the little purse from the aforementioned box…

bboxpurse

As I said at the start of this post, I’m not usually one to complain. And from looking at the Birchbox Facebook page, and the reviews for the October box, I am by no means the only one feeling this way. I really am disappointed with the customer service I have received from Birchbox, and I think they need to review their treatment of their existing subscribers.

And so, that’s me done with Birchbox. I’m now waiting on the rather high priced but highly raved about Cohorted box, so we’ll see how that one goes! I’ve also splurged on the Pusheen box which I’m really excited for!

I’d love to hear of any subscription box recommendations, not necessarily beauty! Link me to your reviews, or just comment with ones you like or dislike.

L xx

All photos my own unless stated otherwise.

On Sunday I attended the annual Olympia Beauty event at Kensington Olympia with my usual blogging crew – Luisa of Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat and Lauren of Saharasplash, with the addition of our adorable Aussie friend Sophie. We also had the pleasure of bumping into the lovely Caz of Style Lingua and Serene of I Am Serene L.

bba

This is the first time I’ve attended Olympia Beauty – it’s basically a look at upcoming beauty launches and trends from beauty brands, most of who also have products on sale, some with show discounts. There are also discounted treatments on offer – from gel manicures to teeth whitening to eyelash extensions.

It seemed that a lot of the stands were focused on gel nails, which don’t really pique my interest, and there is also a lot that is only for professionals, but there is plenty to browse and buy for your average person too. I was really excited to see some brands which I haven’t had the chance to check out in person before, in particular Inglot, NYX and Kryolan.

Anyone can attend Olympia Beauty, I believe entry is around £20, however if you work in the industry or are a blogger or similar you can apply to enter for free. If you’re into your beauty products I’d highly recommend it!

I’m not going to write too much about the event, there’s really only so much you can say about a show like this. So instead I’ll share my haul with you, everyone loves a good haul post!

So here goes, these are my purchases from the event…

olympiahaul

CandyLipz Model A Xtreme Lip Shaper Set (RRP £44.99) – Bit of a controversial one this. I first came across the CandyLipz plumpers earlier this year, before they were available in the UK. I really wanted one but shipping costs from the US were extortionate. Shortly after, a load of YouTube videos were circulated showing horrendous bruising around the lips when people used them (and similar products, but mostly makeshift homeware instead). It didn’t put me off – some research revealed that this could be minimised using a mouth cushion, but some bruising was normal during a 10 day ‘conditioning period’ and would not happen every time the product was used.

So when the UK CandyLipz stand caught my eye, with a special show discount, I had to give one a go! And I was surprised to see Luisa Zissman (from The Apprentice and Celebrity Big Brother) at the stand. Luisa is the UK Ambassador for CandyLipz – it is she who decided she wanted to bring the product to the UK market as she loves it. I’m a big fan of Luisa (as a fellow girly girl in a male dominated work environment I loved her on The Apprentice) and in person she was an absolute delight – so if CandyLipz is good enough for her, I’ll certainly give it a go! Besides, I’d rather try this before jumping straight in with lip fillers (which I had also been considering).

I’d been a bit uncertain as to which of the sets I should go for – there’s the Apple for small to medium lip widths, and the Liquorice for wider lips and large teeth arches. I was happy to be told that the Apple was the one for me, as it’s so cute!

I will no doubt be reporting back on my CandyLipz experience.

candylipz

Crown BK8 Deluxe Fan Brush (RRP £6.99) – On my wishlist forever has been the NARS Ita Kabuki Brush for contouring the hollows of my cheeks. But since I can’t see myself spending £43 on a brush anytime soon, I’ve been looking for a fan brush to use for the same purpose, and this one seemed perfect. I hadn’t realised at the time of purchase that it was made of natural badger hair – I personally prefer synthetic brushes.

Crown SS005 Deluxe Mini Lash Fan Brush (RRP £2.49) – This brush was a bit of an afterthought after I grabbed the other fan brush – I thought it might be good for contouring the sides of my nose. Looks like it’s actually for sweeping away loose pigments that fall under the eyes while you do your eye make up. Oh well, still going to try the contouring with it.

brushes

Dr Paw Paw Tinted Ultimate Red Balm (RRP £6.95) – I’ve seen beauty bloggers rave about Dr Paw Paw lately, so I had to try one! I actually thought I’d go for the Tinted Peach balm, as peachy pinks and corals are my go to shades, but when I tried them on I absolutely loved the red for the just bitten look it gave my lips. I’m really fussy with lip balms, I hate anything that feels greasy or heavy on my lips, but I really like the feel of Dr Paw Paw, and it left my lips lovely and soft. Not just for lips, it’s a multi purpose balm, with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

drpawpaw

Inglot Body Sparkles in ‘Silver 66’ (RRP £13) – You know how obsessed I am with my number one girl crush Samantha Ravndahl of Batalash? Well this product has been on my wishlist since watching one of her tutorials for a ‘grunge look’ (which you can watch here if you’re interested). This is such a stunning true silver, so sparkly. I love silver for eyes, I really find it makes my blue eyes pop. Luisa also really loved this product when we tried it at the Inglot stand.

inglot2

Inglot AMC Lip Gloss in ‘544’ (RRP £13) – An impulse Inglot purchase from their little range of duochromatic glosses. The whole range was dreamy, but I went for the reddish pink ‘544’ because it was the most pigmented and wearable without needing to layer over another product. Sophie loved them too, and bought 3 of the ones I didn’t! Sadly you can’t tell in the picture how duochrome it is.

inglot

LA Girl Matte Flat Finish Pigment Gloss in ‘Dreamy’ (RRP £5.99) – For everyday wear I love LA Girl Cosmetics, as they’re so well priced with good basics. ‘Dreamy’ is my go to colour for if I’m just off to work or want something super casual, it’s just a warm neutral and is a great alternative to all the cool toned neutrals that are everywhere at the moment. The formula on these is great, it’s a lovely matte finish and isn’t at all sticky with decent wear time, and is really well priced in comparison with their competitors.

I found this at the Beauty B Cosmetics stand – I wanted to give them a mention because I hadn’t come across them before, and with an impressive list of brands including LA Splash and Melt Cosmetics, they’re definitely a good find!

dreamy

Melody-Claire Elegant Depilation Hair Removal System (RRP £19.99) – Not sure about this purchase just yet, but at only £10 at the show I thought it couldn’t hurt to try it, since I hate shaving and waxing. It’s basically a handheld micro crystal pad that you rub on your skin in circular motions to remove hair and exfoliate the skin. From online reviews it seems this might be a hit or miss product, so we’ll have to see how I get on!

NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray (RRP £8) – I have such a problem with shine on my face, and this seemed to work pretty well when I tried it at the counter, so I had to pick one up!

pencils

NYX Wonder Pencil in ‘Light’ (RRP £4.50) – As I travel so much I love a good multi purpose product, so it didn’t take much to sell me on a pencil that could be used as a concealer AND lipliner AND eye brightener!

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in ‘Milk’ (RRP £5) – This is a back up purchase of one of my favourite make up items of all time. It’s just a chunky white eyeliner, but it’s perfect for my waterline, or for my lid on it’s own or as a base to make other colours pop. I love it and keep repurchasing it. Shout out to Heidi Cupcake on YouTube who inspired me to buy this product for the first time a couple of years ago!

NYX A Push-Up Bra For Your Eyebrow (RRP £9.50) – I chucked this one in my basket at the last minute. I’m only just learning how to eyebrow, so I’ve been buying a lot of eyebrow pencils/gels etc trying to find the perfect one for me! I thought this dual ended pencil (brow pencil one end, highlighter the other) would be perfect to carry around with me.

contour

NYX Highlight & Contour Pro Palette – This product isn’t even on the UK site yet. I don’t know how much it’ll be in the UK – I paid £16.20 at the show, and the US price is $25. I’ve heard so many good things about it, and it’s been said it’s a good alternative for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit (I’m not sure about this, the NYX has 8 shades in the palette whereas the ABH has 6, but the ABH comes in different shade combinations for different skintones and NYX just has the one palette). Whatever, it was less than half the price of the ABH (RP £39) and I’m just excited to try it.

The Balm Balm Jovi Rockstar Palette (RRP £37.50) – Another find on the Beauty B Cosmetics stand, The Balm Jovi palette has been on my wishlist FOREVER. I won’t say too much about it now, as it’s worthy of it’s own post, but it’s safe to say it did not disappoint.

balmjovi

On at the same time as Olympia Beauty were the Beauty Blogger Awards and Workshops in a neighbouring room, where not only were they presenting the awards, but they had workshops from brands and bloggers, and stands from brands showcasing their products including NYX, Magnitone and HiBrow.

bba

I was lucky enough to pick up a load of free goodies from NYX and HiBrow among others. A few of the products I was really excited about getting were;

Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish (not sure of RRP, cheapest I’ve found it in the UK is £36.90) – I adore exfoliation, and I’ve bought so many over the years searching for my grail (which I’m yet to find!) so I’m always over the moon to find something like this in a goodie bag!

bbanyx

NYX Wonder Stick in ‘Light/Medium’ (RRP £10) – Another awesome NYX contouring product that isn’t on their UK site (but you can pick it up at Selfridges). It’s a really handy dual ended stick for concealing, highlighting and contouring. I tried it at the counter and loved it – you can actually watch Lauren playing around with it here if you like (check out me looking like a dork in the mirror while I hold the camera, haha!). I was super excited to receive this as a freebie as it was top of my NYX wishlist!

nyxwonder

NYX Eye/Eyebrow Pencil in’Gray’ (RRP £2.50) – Nothing exciting, just a gray pencil. But I love a gray liner for an everyday work look so this will come in really handy!

NYX HD Studio Photogenic Finishing Powder (RRP £9.50) – I have a love hate relationship with face powder. Most make me look chalky or orange, but I adore my MAC Prep & Prime Transparent Finishing Powder, and this looks exactly like it in the pot. At £11 cheaper, I’m hoping the NYX will be a decent alternative.

NYX Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator in ‘Gleam’ (RRP £7) – I’m obsessed with highlighters, and normally go for champagne shades, so the peachy colour of ‘Gleam’ is a little bit different for me. I think it’s going to lovely on the cheekbones.

I’m surprised if you’ll have persevered to the end of this long haul post – if you have, I hope you’ve enjoyed it! I’d love to hear what anyone else came home with from the show.

L xx

All photos my own.

 

Yesterday I visited Cocktail Cosmetics in Sutton Coldfield for the first time. I think it’s safe to say I’ll be returning! The purpose of my visit was to pick up some of the Jeffree Star liquid lipsticks – but instead I left with ones from LA Splash!

By now, everyone will have see the range of Smitten Lip Tint Mousses with Harry Potter inspired names – they’ve even been on Buzzfeed. There’s been a little controversy over the names – some argue that the colour selection doesn’t reflect the name accurately, but they’re only cosmetics, why take it so seriously? Someone has however taken the naming quite seriously, as LA Splash have been made to change the names of some of the products.

lasplash

Obviously, as a Harry Potter fan (and proud Slytherin!) I was keen to check out the range, but I wasn’t expecting to love them quite so much. I wanted pretty every single one of the LA Splash lip products I swatched, not just the Harry Potter ones. Not only were the colours basically perfect (just the right greigey nude, or just the right deep burgundy – they’re all spot on!), but the formula is the best I’ve come across in a matte liquid lipstick. I usually find products like these very drying – not the LA Splash ones! Even swatched on your hand you can really feel a difference from other formulas – they’re so creamy and moisturising, I love them. But as they’re waterproof and smudgeproof they’re a nightmare to remove!

I had to limit myself to four choices – so I went with Ginny, Nymph-Adora, Hermione and Raven Claw. All very pretty, wearable shades (which is what my lip product collection is actually lacking!) and good staples. I’ll definitely be going back for more though!

In the UK, LA Splash Smitten Lip Tint Mousses are available from Cocktail Cosmetics priced at £10.95 each. I think they’re very reasonably priced, and cheaper than their main competitors.

I’d love to hear what others think of LA Splash. Any colour recommendations? I already feel I need Ghoulish, Love Good and Bellatrix in my life!

L xx

All photos my own.

Last night I attended my first ever Cosmo Fash Fest. If you aren’t aware of it, it’s five fashion events held across five consecutive days at five different venues in London.

Fash Fest opened with The Lingerie Show on Monday 14th September, held at One Marylebone – a gorgeous Grade 1 Listed building refurbished to the original design of Sir John Soane.

cosmofash

Obviously the main attraction of the night was the catwalk show (I was lucky enough to be seated in the front row, but at too awkward an angle to get any good photos!) featuring lingerie from brands including Ted Baker, Freya, Ultimo, Next, Figleaves, H&M, George and Evans.

One thing I liked about the show was the selection of models. Most were tall and lean, but there were a couple of gorgeously curvy ladies.

cosmofash2

I’d never really paid much attention to the brands on show (I’m an Ann Summers girl, or Agent Provocateur if I’m out to impress) but I’m now lusting after lingerie sets by Ted Baker (gorgeous lace with gold accents) and Ultimo (sexy black lace with wet look trims) after seeing them on the catwalk.

cosmomodel

Before the catwalk show started we were treated to a performance by Rae Morris. As well as her hit song ‘Love Again’, Rae performed ‘Don’t Go’, a song she dedicated to breast cancer awareness organisation CoppaFeel. Now, CoppaFeel deserves a post all of their own, so I won’t mention them too much now, but I was very moved by the video accompanying ‘Don’t Go’, and a pre-performance talk given by Kris Hallenga – a breast cancer survivor and founder of CoppaFeel.

cosmocoppa

CoppaFeel had their own photobooth style area on the first floor of the venue, where several brands had stands, as well as there being a bar and various treatments on offer. Oh and delicious canapes.

The Freya stand was possibly the busiest, as not only were they holding bra fittings (you guessed it, I’ve been wearing the wrong size!), they were holding a prize draw and giving away goodie bags with beautiful knickers inside. I received a lacy pair in the most gorgeous green.

cosmobag2

Other notable stands were those from Ted Baker (who actually had very little lingerie on show but who were giving out goodie bags with Ted Baker eau de toilette inside) and Tutti Rouge.

cosmotedbaker

Tutti Rouge aren’t a brand I’d ever heard of. And having previously thought I was a C cup, I would have walked straight past if I hadn’t just had my Freya bra fitting! Not only was their stand eye catching, with a beautiful ‘can can’ (I think!?) dancer dishing out pick & mix, but they were holding a competition to guess how many knickers were in a vase.

cosmo tutti2

The lingerie itself was absolutely beautiful, really feminine and colourful. I’m definitely going to be purchasing the pastel yellow and pink Tallulah Sunshine set (bra £35 and Brazilian style briefs £16)! Tutti Rouge lingerie ranges in size from 38-38 DD-HH. Definitely my discovery of the night!

cosmotutti

cosmotutti3

I obviously had to have one of the manicures on offer from Barry M, using their Sunset Daylight Curing range of polishes and top coat. I wasn’t aware of the range before the event, and was interested to hear from my nail technician that the polishes and top coat are a special formulation to mimic the effect of gel polish, but they don’t need a UV lamp or special remover. I went for a beautiful greige with a hint of purple called ‘Dark Side of the Shroom’.

I also had a little bit of contour applied by a Barry M make up artist, and my hair curled by Kate of Ruby Rouge Make Up, who was working the hair bar using Lee Stafford products.

Tickets to The Lingerie Show were priced at £35 which included a lovely goodie bag. Each goodie bag had a random pair of knickers. I got some high leg briefs in size 14 from George. Since I’m a size 8 and don’t wear briefs, they’re going to a friend!

cosmobag

Each ticketholder received two free Zubrowska bison grass vodka cocktails and a glass of Gancia prosecco. Further cocktails were available at £5 each.

cosmodrinks

I had such a lovely evening and will definitely attend another Fash Fest in the future! If my diary wasn’t already crammed I’d have gone to them all this week – I’m actually hoping to fit another in, perhaps the Wrap Party on Friday 19th September.

Even if you can’t make it to any of the Fash Fest events, you can still participate in their Online Discount Shopping Day on Friday. Cosmopolitan will be offering one day only exclusive discounts on fashion and beauty brands – so make sure you check out the website on the day for all the info!

L xx

All photos my own.

On Monday I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend the Bloggers Love Fashion Week, organised by The Bloggers Hangout (formerly known as Bloggers Love, hence the name of the event!) with some of my favourite blogger friends; Lauren of Saharasplash, Luisa-Christie of Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat, Sadie of Life and Rags and Tessa of Holly Sparkle, as well as my beautiful plus one, SJ.

Photo credit: Lauren Attwood

Photo credit: Lauren Attwood

Now I’d love to have done a detailed, picture heavy post about the day, but I was mugged on my way home and lost all my photos! So my content is limited to images I had already uploaded to social media, and instead I’ll focus on my favourites of the brands I saw on the day. The event was all about discovering and getting to know the brands after all!

Before I start, I will say a little bit about the event for anyone who may be curious. This time it was held at OXO2, a lovely South of the River event space with a beautiful view of the Thames. Seriously, look at this gorgeous sunset that we were treated to!

view

Photo credit: Luisa-Christie Walton-Stoev

There were two sessions; 12-3 and 6-9, across which brands showcased their products, with some giving out samples (or in some cases full sized products!) and other goodies. It’s a chance, as a blogger, to discover some brands you may not have previously been aware of, and to network with the brands and other bloggers. There were also beauty treatments, catwalk shows and cocktails from Crush Cocktail Bars. It was great fun, and I’d definitely recommend attending future events if you can.

There was a dress code – all black everything! Despite black really being my thing, I still typically couldn’t pick an outfit and ended up throwing something together at the last minute! I went for my Unif x Urban Outfitters Congregation dress, Black Milk Clothing Dem Lines hosiery and Unif Hellraiser shoes with my trusty Vivienne Westwood Frilly Snake heart bag and Helter Skelter Metalheads Lie With Me necklace. I felt like a baby witch!

An Instagram pic obscuring my outfit with my favourite Motel Rocks dress from their selection is the closest I can get to showing you what I wore! But I think you get the idea.

blogmotel

True Brit London

The first stand I saw was the manicure table for True Brit London, where I had a lovely manicure (on my terrible short nails!) in a beautiful periwinkle blue shade called Georgie Boy. Definitely one I’ll be purchasing, especially as it hasn’t chipped yet, four days later! If you knew how awful I am for chipping polish, you’d find this pretty impressive!

As well as offering free manicures, True Brit had a stand in the gifting lounge, where I was lucky enough to pick up polishes in my three favourite shades; Shoreditch, Chelsea and Racing Green. The polish bottles are beautifully understated and classy – they definitely look like an expensive product. And I love the names of the polishes, it all sticks with the British theme without being tacky.

I’ll definitely be purchasing from True Brit soon – top of my wishlist (as well as Georgie Boy!) are To The Manor Born and Country Tweed. And I really want to invest in their Caviar Base Coat.

Priced at £12.50 per polish, they aren’t cheap but the quality is high and the colours are beautiful. Personally I prefer to have a few stand out polishes than a load of cheap ones, so this really is a brand for me! A little note on the formula – they’re 6-free and contain Vitamin E, elderflower and rose extract.

Their website is worth a browse even if you don’t plan on purchasing – they have a fab social section and blog all of their own!

My True Brit polishes are taking pride of place on my bookshelf currently, as well as my Maison Ves candle (more on that in a moment!).

blogtruebrit

Maison Ves

Now, I’m fussy with candles. So for me to be posting about candles really says something! Maison Ves is a luxury scented candle brand, elegant in design and luxuriously packaged, fragranced with bespoke oils such as Black Fig, Tuberose, Cinnamon and Orange. I’d consider them in the same ballpark as a brand like Diptyque, or Jo Malone.

What makes Maison Ves a little bit different is their gift appeal. If you look closely at the labels, you can see cheeky hashtags relevant to each occasion. The lemongrass and verbena scented Engagement Candle (£78), for example, features hashtags such as #GAMEOVER and #LASTDAYSOFFREEDOM.

Bloggers were kindly gifted bespoke candles for the occasion, scented with vanilla and coconut (my favourites!) with the hashtags #BLOGGERSRULE #SAYITWITHHASHTAGS and #MAISONVES. Thank you Dee!

blogmaison

Little Ondine

Remember I mentioned how awful I am for chipped polish? I have a terrible habit of not bothering to remove it and just picking it off – all very bad for my nails. So I was interested in checking out Little Ondine.  Remember that peel off nail polish you had as a kid? That was a bit rubbish? Well Little Ondine is a grown up, functional version of that!

I haven’t tried the product yet (I’m not ruining my True Brit manicure!) but I was kindly given a polish to try in shade Back To Black so if I like it, no doubt you’ll see a post about it soon!

Little Ondine polishes are priced from £8.40 to £11, and you can also buy ‘Twin’ mini bottles at £13 for the pair. The polishes are free from any harmful ingredients, according to the packaging.

They have some beautiful holographic shades coming out soon, so keep an eye out!

ondine

Nadia Minkoff

Nadia Minkoff wasn’t a new discovery for me, I’d been lusting after the Cut Glass Skull earrings (£49.50) for ages. But having previously had my ears stretched to 12mm, stud style earrings aren’t ideal for me. I did have a lovely chat with Nadia at the event though, and I’m hoping to get a customised pair made to make them wearable for me. Fingers crossed!

The skull range is absolute perfection in my opinion, and it fits my personal style perfectly – a grown up, more polished version of an emo kid! Winter 2015 has brought similar crystal skulls to the range. I want all the pieces in every colour!

Nadia also offers more classic styles, as well as beautiful bags.

Nadia was very generous at the event, gifting bloggers beautiful drop earrings and cute, quirky necklaces. Thank you Nadia!

nadia

Halo Hair Extensions

I’ve been wanting to try extensions for a while now, and Halo are a company that I had looked at for their innovative design. So when I saw them in the gifting lounge I was very excited, and was overjoyed to be able to take away with me my very own 16″ Halo in shade Light Blonde (RRP £99.99).

If you aren’t familiar with the Halo, it’s an easy to apply set of 100% Indian Remy human hair extensions attached to an invisible wire, headband style. You simply pop it on the crown of your head, cover the wire and join by arranging your natural hair on top and that’s it! After seeing them in real life I was so impressed, and my long hair made me feel like a princess!

Since I tone my hair, I have to do the same with my Halo before putting it to proper use, so expect a proper post on it very soon!

Here’s a very blurry selfie of myself and SJ from the night in Halo hair. Please bear in mind my extensions aren’t yet an exact match colourwise!

blogsj

Gallardo & Blaine Designs

I am so glad that I had the opportunity to view Gallardo & Blaine hand crafted pieces in real life, as they are so much more beautiful than they appear online! The jewellery is handmade in the UK, using a mixture of silver and gold plate, and stones handpicked by Madelaine Gallardo from her travels.

I was particularly captivated by the rings. On my hand you can see (left to right) a Heartbeat Ring (from £32 dependent on stone), a Whirlpool Ring (from £85 dependent on stone – mine is Mystic Topaz) and a Tempest Ring (from £56 dependent on stone).

Gallardo & Blaine very kindly gifted jewellery to bloggers, for which I am very grateful! Now I’m seriously lusting after the £230 Whirlpool Ring in Opal!

bloggallardo

As you can tell, a lot of the brands were very generous, and I picked up a lot of items which I will be trying out. I’ll be sure to post about the things I love! What I enjoyed most about the event though wasn’t the gifting, it was the opportunity to meet and network with other bloggers.

bloggers2

Photo credit: Sadie Jones

I’d love to hear from other bloggers who attended. If anyone posted about the event please feel free to link it in the comments, as I’d love to have a read!

L xx

All photos my own unless otherwise credited.

I’ve recently developed a massive girl crush on Samantha of Batalash and have been watching her YouTube videos pretty much non stop! So of course, I had to purchase their eyeshadow palette collaboration with Saucebox.

batalash

I’ll be honest, if this palette hadn’t been curated by Batalash, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second look. It seemed to be a mix of colours I already own similar of or, to someone who wears pretty neutral shades most of the time, colours that are a little on the adventurous side! But it’s good to step out of your comfort zone, right?

So I took the plunge and bought the palette direct from Saucebox for $60. It’s currently out of stock on the site, but is available elsewhere (other UK people, it’s just been restocked on Cocktail Cosmetics, priced at £39.95).

This is the first product I’ve tried from Saucebox. Before I talk about the palette itself, a little about the brand – a Mother/Daughter company started in 2010, Saucebox is a cruelty free company. Neither they, nor their manufacturers or third party raw material supplier, participate in animal testing. Their products however are not vegan.

batalashingredients

I also want to mention how quick the international shipping from Saucebox was – my purchase arrived in less than a week! It was carefully packaged and arrived intact – always a concern with eyeshadows and mirrors. I found the $15 international shipping cost to be very reasonable.

Onto the palette itself – it’s a sturdy cardboard palette with a large mirror inside the lid, and contains eight eyeshadows (four neutral mattes and four more colourful pearl finishes). It’s cute packaging, quite similar to Sugarpill (and the same size so you can easily pop the shadows out and mix and match).

batalashcloseup

The mattes;

Vanilla – Off white, perfect as a base shadow or for highlighting.

Winter Brown – A light olive, great as a transition shade. I’ve seen some people say this one’s also good for contouring, but I’m yet to try that!

Cinnamon – A dark brick red. Very Samantha. And not a shade I would have tried until I started watching the YouTube videos!

Lace Noir – Matte black. This is so creamy and blendable, just perfect. Very pigmented.

The pearls;

Enigma – A coppery orange. A little scary in the pan, but this looks so good on, it especially makes blue eyes pop! Try it on a black base, it pulls out some beautiful darker orangey flecks.

Electro – A yellowy lime chartreuse. Super scary in the pan, haha! It’s surprisingly good as a highlight. It appears greener in real life than when photographed.

Popper – A deep aqua blue. I’m always drawn to colours like this – it’s just so beautiful. It needs a bit of building up as it’s sheerer than the other shadows in the palette, but it’s not too much of a problem. Another one that looks beautiful on a black base.

Nova – A plummy burgundy. Really pigmented and creamy. I think I’d prefer Nova to be a bit more of a true purple, but that’s just if I’m being picky.

batalashswatch

I really love this palette. I’m surprised how wearable the brighter shades actually are, and how well all of the shadows actually go together – you can pretty much combine any of them to create so many different looks. It’s so versatile. The intention with the colour selection was for the palette to contain all the shadows you’d need if you wanted to just take one palette away with you. I think that’s been achieved!

At $60/£39.95 this isn’t a cheap palette. But I’m so impressed with the quality, and the size of the pans is generous, way bigger than most palettes at 4g per shadow!

Now, I’m no make up artist, so I won’t try to create any looks using this palette myself, but I will point you in the direction of the pro’s – the beautiful Samantha herself and one of her video tutorials;

I hope you’ve enjoyed my first beauty post, I’d love any feedback!

L xx

All photos my own.