31 December 2016


Beauty products i've been loving in the month of December...

Hair: Oils have been one of the saviours of my hair in recent times and I have been absolutely loving the Garnier 'Ultimate Blends - The Sleek Perfecter Oil' as I mentioned in my bedside beauty post it is the last product I apply before bed to the very ends of my hair and I wake up to gorgeous, supple, soft and lush hair. Blended with coconut oil, the formula protects against damage from up to 230 degree heat as well as keeping frizz under control and can be used on wet or dry hair - the perfect multi usage oil.

Body: I recently spoke about my fake tanning routine and my long lasting love for the Dove Gradual Tanning Moisturiser. I apply the formula every 3 days or so to maintain supple skin as well as keeping up a healthy glow throughout the colder months.

Skin: I'm all for budget beauty, especially when it works. I decided to give the Garnier Moisture Matte + - daily oil free moisturiser a whirl having seen it on offer in Superdrug...I think it was around £2! I use this moisturiser which is produced with green tea extract, an anti-oxidant to help keep the skin nice and clear on a morning before applying my foundation and it keeps me shine free all day long as well as on the whole, blemish free...which is always a bonus. 

Eyes: I have been really enjoying palette shadows again this month and the L'Oreal 'palette nude rose' is no exception. Filled with 12 buttery, purple toned shadows this is my everyday go-to collection of eye colours.

Nails: Of-course the festive season wouldn't be complete without a festive nail shade! I have been loving 'Ruby Night Sky' from the Nails Inc, Alice + Olivia collection - a gorgeous festive brown toned red like looks gorgeous when teamed with the crushed velvet and metallic tones of Xmas parddy dressing.

Lifestyle: Aside from the Christmas festivities which go without saying, December has been pretty awesome as I met my literary hero and beauty boffin Sali Hughes at her beauty surgery / Pretty Iconic book signing in Waterstones. Sali was just as imagined 'in real life' she's witty, sharp and warm #girlcrush. She even told me she loved my outfit and signed my copy of the book with the words 'see you at the dinner party' alluding to an invitation I gave her in this article.

This month I also took a trip to the German capital of Berlin which was bloody amazing. You can read my rather heavy travel guide here. As well as visiting the iconic Manchester Cat Cafe whereby I drank my tea in the company of a few seriously gorgeous purry, extra furry felines! What more could a crazy cat lady like myself want?

Playlist for December on Spotify: Of-course, this month a few Christmas songs have made it on to the list such as my favourites 'Last Christmas' by Wham (RIP George Michael!) and 'Christmas Wrapping' by The Waitresses. However a stand out song this month has to be 'Only love can break your heart' by St Etienne, I heard it on Lauren Laverne's 6music show and absolutely loved it. You can find the last playlist of 2016 over in the right sidebar.

Best blog posts of 2016: Get the Debbie Harry / Blondie look  |  3 ways to recognise you're in a bad relationship | How to live in a studio flat | Berlin - A city guide

Wishing you all a very happy new year! Here is to a seriously sassy 2017


23 December 2016


Back in the day, we're talking sometime circa 2010 when this very blog found its own space on the internet, I was a fake tan-aholic. I was seriously orange or a strange shade of khaki green pretty much all the time. It drove my Dad insane as he regularly bleached the white bathroom tiles which had been stained a horrible shade of terracotta. Even a doctor who was looking at my wrist for possible carpel tunnel syndrome asked me if I had some kind of skin complaint as she carried out a nerve conduction test. 

Back then, it was all about being an orange as possible and since then my dabblings with fake tan have levelled considerably. I am now a take it or leave it kind of gal but recently as parddy season has begun I have found myself reaching for the bottle more and more.

Every three days or so I will apply the Dove 'Summer Revived' gradual tanning moisturiser an old favourite for sure, that has been repackaged (and possibly re formulated) whereby you actually get less product for a more expensive price tag! Anyway, grievances aside it's pretty darn good for giving you a glow without the fuss of rinsing off tan. The biscuity aroma is still lurking as the formula develops but you are good to go if you want to, straight after a applying the formula. 

When I want a deeper tan I will use the iconic St Moriz 'Instant Self Tanning Lotion' which I apply using an expert bronzing mitten from 'Bronzie' - not only does this help me to achieve an even, all over tan but it also makes tanning my back super easy. 

Every three days or so I will apply the Dove 'Summer Revived' gradual tanning moisturiser an old favourite for sure, that has been repackaged (and possibly re formulated) whereby you actually get less product for a more expensive price tag! Anyway, grievances aside it's pretty darn good for giving you a glow without the fuss of rinsing off tan. The biscuity aroma is still lurking as the formula develops but you are good to go if you want to, straight after a applying the formula. 

When I want a deeper tan for an occasion or if i'm feeling thoroughly down with my appearance I will exfoliate my skin using a salt scrub from The Sanctuary SPA at Boots before using the iconic St Moriz 'Instant Self Tanning Lotion' which I apply using an expert bronzing mitten from 'Bronzie' - not only does this help me to achieve an even, all over tan but it also makes tanning my back super easy...Perfect for when you don't have somebody else to give you a hand.

What are your favourite fake tanning products?


20 December 2016


You know when you go somewhere completely new and feel right at home? Yep, that happened last week in the gritty metropolis that is Berlin. I have been lucky enough to travel to some pretty interesting locations in my life but I gotta give it to Berlin, what a charmer.

It's grey, it's seriously cold (I am writing this in December) the architecture is harsh and there's a very different vibe when you find yourself off the beaten tourist tracks and into the deep depths of graffiti laced Kreuzberg, or tracing the site of the Berlin Wall on Bernauer Strasse, famous for the successful and sadly, un-successful escapes from apartment blocks in the eastern parts of the city during the 28 year conflict.

This won't be an all singing, all dancing glitzy city guide, but it will give a nod to my recommendations as well as share a few bits and pieces I bought whilst I was exploring Berlin for 4 days last week. I think I felt most at home in Berlin because it is a heavily creative city underpinned by history as well as art and design culture. Grab a brew, this is a long one!

Where I stayed in Berlin...

-Photos taken from airbnb listing, my camera could not do the studio justice in the same way

Prior to my trip, the Airbnb concept was something of an enigma to me and I seriously wanted to give it a go, the idea of staying in a locals gaff appealed and so the search began. I ended up staying in a seriously Instagram/Pinterest-worthy studio apartment in Mitte owned by a sassy lady named Barbara who greeted me working a PVC baker boy cap tilted over long blonde hair and eyes rimmed with heavy kohl liner, reminding me almost immediately of Anita Pallenberg.

If you're visiting Berlin I highly recommend Barbara's apartment, the airbnb reviews will speak for themselves but it was spotless, comfortable and homely (The gorgeous bath was a delight after a cold day exploring the city on foot) - not to mention in a fabulous location just a 3 stops on the tram to the main hub of Alexanderplatz where you can get anywhere in the city or even Eastern Germany by S-bahn, U-bahn, tram or bus. 

What I did in Berlin...

I'd be lying if I said that zero planning or preparation was put in before the trip, I swotted up on recommendations, read blogs and watched travel vlogs from the likes of Megan Ellaby, Tanya Burr + Lizzy Hadfield. The rest I left to chance in the hope of stumbling across somewhere awesome to eat or see. 

I also bought a CITIX60 guide to the city curated by 60 local creatives, this has now become a travel memoir / scrapbook filled with ticket stubs, postcards, photos and other bits and pieces acquired on the trip. So with all of that material a hefty Wunderlist was created and it was pretty satisfying ticking 80% of the attractions off in just a few days.

Travel can be confusing in Berlin when you're new to Germany and at first it wasn't super clear how it worked, language barriers and all! My year 7-10 German skills were flawed. We travelled around the city with a 28 euro 'Welcome Card' which was activated for travel on U-bahn, S-bahn, bus and trams for 72 hours within zones A, B and C. Turns out you buy a travel ticket, validate it on the transport you're using and away you go. The rest is history as the city runs on an honour system. This Vice blog post explains really well how ticket policing works in Berlin, but if I were to go again, I wouldn't have wasted my money on a ticket! All in the name of schwarzfahren!

Because of the rich history of Berlin due to World War 2, Hitler's rein, the German Democratic Republic and so on therefore there are a number of brilliant museums / sites to visit whilst in the city and I will share 3 MUST-SEE places below. I also visited the iconic Bauhaus museum, the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe which I recommend..But if there's 3 to choose it would be:

Topography of Terror: This was my favourite museum and where I learned the most during my trip.  Located on the site of the headquarters of the Gestapo and the SS part of the Nazi repression regime from 1933 through to 1945, the documentation centre focuses on the SS and the police in the 'Third Reich' and the crimes they so violently perpetrated through Europe and there are some seriously harrowing stories shared. I recommend going here when you have a few hours to spare as there is just so much material to absorb.

Jewish Museum: Whilst it isn't heavy on reading content, the Jewish Museum is atmospheric and disturbingly moving. I don't want to say too much, as visiting yourself with no fore-information will provide you with the most moving visit. But I recommend seeing the corridor of pillars in the 'Garden of Exile' which make you feel uncomfortable as they lean, tall and mighty whilst you stand on sloping, uneven cobbled ground.

There is also the Holocaust tower which is very disturbing and is essentially a gigantic concrete void with windowless walls and just a tiny slit of light that lets in light and sound from the street. You can hear the outside world in a vague way but the tower induces a seriously intimidating feeling of isolation, coldness and emptiness that is enough to send a shiver down your spine.

Berlin Wall Memorial: Commemorating the division of Berlin by the Berlin Wall and the number of deaths that occurred there the memorial houses a 60-metre section of the graffiti-laden concrete border as well as an information centre housing a tower to look over the divide between West and East Berlin. I have to say, the atmosphere around there is what I can only describe as, strange.

Photoautomat: One of the things that really excited me about Berlin was the hundreds of little photo boots dotted around the city, for 2 euros you get a trip of 4, analogue black and white photobooth images which are seriously charming. If you're looking for a booth, check out the map here but the best part is 'stumbling' upon them and taking a few snaps.

What I ate and drank in Berlin...

One of the main attractions of visiting Berlin near Christmas is of-course the German markets! We've all seen them in major cities around the UK but nothing brings them to life quite like seeing them in Germany. We visited the main 'Gendarmenmarkt' just off Friedrichstadt it was 1 euro to enter and we ended up indulging in the delight of a quaint steakhouse housed in a wooden cabin for dinner. Mulled wine or cider is a must and you get a cool frosted beer glass to enjoy it in.

A cocktail (or two) was also enjoyed at the Monkey Bar positioned right at the top of the Bikini hotel and shopping centre. It offers lovely views of the city and also the zoo! I visited at night time but I reckon in the day the views of the animals will add to the experience. The jungle fizz is recommended!

Another honourable mention is Curry36, supposedly the best Currywurst in Berlin and the locals aint wrong. The little roadside shack serves traditional currywurst with fries which you can enjoy with a beer or soft drink around a little table outside. It was here that we met a lovely local lady who taught me about her native Basque culture as well as her recommendations on site seeing in the city.

If you're looking for the best brunch in Berlin you NEED to visit Spreegolds just around the corner from Alexanderplatz. Their menu is an Instagram foodies dream serving the best smashed avocado on toast i've ever eaten as well as seriously delicious shakshuka bowls, acai bowls and vanilla lattes.

Shopping in Berlin...

Oh where to begin with this section! Shopping in Berlin is insanely good, especially if you love arty homeware and dare I say 'hipster' clothing. Everything is very current to the millennial taste, Think scandi-chic with clean lines and the efficiency of German design. My recommendations to shop are Weekday, Schee, Who killed Bambi? and the Voo store. I barely scratched the surface to shop as much as i'd like in the 4 days however, here are a few things I bought from the above shops and the German markets.

Photos from the disposable cameras...

Each of us took a disposable camera on the trip so that we could more organically capture places, people and moments from a different perspective without thinking: "Is this Instagram-able?" "This shot is taking room on my camera roll" etc etc. Granted, not all of them came out as is usually the way with disposable cameras but here are few in their grainy charm - Very Berlin.

Have you ever visited Berlin?


16 December 2016


Looking slightly different and unusual up there I know, but I wanted to show you what the Shills 'Deep Cleansing Purifying Mask' looked like on - pretty sea monster-esc right? I had seen black peel off masks doing the rounds on social media for a while now and I have to say I was pretty intrigued and made a mental note that peeling a mask off your skin looked SO satisfying...Did anyone else used to love peeling PVA glue off their fingers at school? 

The 'black purifying mask' is a deep cleansing product suitable for skin with acne that removes dulling surface cells to increase the skins vitality, and you can find it on Amazon for around £7.95. The formula feels like a thick gooey paste as you smooth it onto your face...Seriously satisfying. 

Shills recommend that you layer a good thick amount on your face in order for it to peel off more effectively and in the picture above I had quickly run to grab my camera as I applied the first layer so it is a little thinner than the final result. I applied my mask whilst having a lovely bubble bath and left the formula on for around 25 minutes. 

The mask tightens considerably as it dries but it is not super uncomfortable, once this happens you know it's time to start peeling it off. I have read online a few reviews that say the mask is quite uncomfortable as it tightens as it also removes hairs from the face...bye bye peach fuzz, but this wasn't the case for me...What it did do though is extract those pesky blackheads which I could actually see...Very gross, yet VERY satisfying. 

I have to admit my mask didn't peel away uniformly and I ended up giving a few parts a little scrub to remove the remainder of the product. My skin did however feel nourished and looked super glowy once I had removed the mask.

If you have seriously sensitive skin I don't think this would be the best choice of mask for you and I would recommend only using it every 2 weeks or so, or if your skin is looking particularly dull or is prone to black heads. But for me, it's definitely not a gimmick and gets the job done!

Have you ever tried the Shills Black Purifying Mask?


13 December 2016


With Christmas parddy season in full swing I thought I would share with you a few of my favourite outfits to work whether you're on a night out with the girls or headed to the office Christmas party. I have particularly been loving the velvet, lurex and metallic trends so apologies in advance you will be seeing a lot of that. AW is always the best time for styling so it's just as well that it's time to get your party on too.
Musing over metallics...

I wore the bronze metallic dress above to a wedding I attended in October and ever since I have enjoyed layering the bargain-ous Primark piece over different tee's, shirt and crop tops. I am currently loving the metallic colour clash by teaming the slinky dress with a gunmetal grey, lurex shirt (also from Primark). I guess I am 100% maximalism as opposed to minimalism, but what's new there?

My metallic love doesn't stop at clothes either, I am also loving metallic shoes whether that's those iconic pairs of silver disco boots from Topshop or a pair of chunky wedge heels from H+M. Of-course for a more paired down addition to the magpie outfit, my 'Melissa heels' by Vivienne Westwood.

"You know, jeans and a nice top..."

The famous last words of anybody going on a night out in the middle of Winter. This is actually the outfit I work to my own office Christmas party and I liked the way I could transition it from a morning in the office to an evening of cocktails. My sparkly jeans are a pair of sequin 'Joni' jeans from Topshop that i've had for years and the cami with frill sleeves and rose applique is from Primark. It is super flattering and look especially festive when pair with 'Russian Red' lippy from MAC. I wore the look with those chunky gold heels pictures above and I must admit i felt very 80s and super sassin'. 

It's all in the details...

Whenever I dress up for a party, I like to exaggerate my everyday style by adding in extra details. Whether that is layering my TDS bomber jacket over a cocktail dress, clashing prints and miss-matching prints. I also like to go all out with a vibrant clutch bag, you can see a few of my favourites above, it all depends on the party.

What are you wearing for party season?


9 December 2016


For some time now I have been really diggin' pink and purple shades on my eyelids. Whether that's the antique blush shade of 'Mythology' by MAC or a lush deep-grape shade applied with a pencil brush under my lower lash-line. Pinks and purple on my eyes? Once a bit of a no go...now a total winner.

I have recently been creating all of my eye make-up looks using just one palette from L'oreal Paris. The 'La Palette nude' in the Rose shade houses 10 beautiful shades of pink and rose in a number of different finishes including matte, lustre and shimmer and I have to say it is my absolute hero product at the moment. 

The buttery powders apply really evenly with plenty of pigment and stick around pretty much all day when a primer is applied. Priced at just under £15 this palette contains every shade you need to create a nude everyday look or more statement evening eye look. I particularly like using the matte lilac/pink shade all over the lids with the darkest purple shade under the lash line and through the crease, with the lightest highlight shade perfect for adding interest to the inner portion of the eyelid.

Have you ever tried the L'oreal Paris eyeshadows?


6 December 2016


With the festive season and the madness of Christmas shopping in full swing, I thought it was about time to introduce you all to a few beauty goodies that would make perfect stocking fillers for a total beauty lover...Or for those that appreciate some seriously sassy packaging. 

The gift of scent...

Perfume makes a wonderful gift, especially for those like me with a penchant for scent! Accessorize have recently launched their latest perfume offering just in time for Christmas albeit with very summery branding! Available for £19 for a generous 75ml online or in-store 'Lovelily' is a sweet and vibrant scent with notes of raspberry, orange, jasmine, and vanilla. 

This is a fun and girly scent which is perfect for daytime and will be especially lovely to wear as a light fragrance throughout spring and summer. The bottle is pretty darn gorgeous too, featuring a cute pink and yellow flower situated in the lid which looks gorgeous on a perfume shelf or dressing table.

Cute and kitsch beauty sets...

This year The Vintage Cosmetics Company also have some seriously gorgeous stocking fillers available this Christmas. The British brand offers a range of beauty accessories that all have the glamour and charm of the 1950s and everything vintage. 

First up it's the Luxury Beauty Cracker which I think would make a seriously lovely Secret Santa gift or as a present to open on Christmas Eve. The £9.95 cracker includes 3 little gifts such as full size tweezers (Which I can confirm are as sharp and as effective as my Tweezerman pair). There is also a duo pencil sharpener, perfect for chunkier eye pencils as well as regular sized products and a mini emery board for your handbag or on your desk, other little items such as a beauty tip and a paper crown are also included.

I think my favourite product from The Vintage Cosmetics Company's Christmas range is the 'Girls Night Tin' - Priced at £27.50 this is the perfect gift for your bestie or for someone who loves a pamper night. The set includes a super sweet towelled dolly-bow headband which is perfect for keeping your hair away from your face whilst you soak in a gorgeous bubble bath. There is also a pair of the legendary tweezers as well as a pair of floral scissors, a fantail brush which I have been using for highlighter a nail buffer and toe separators for a perfect pedicure. The heart shaped tin is also pretty lovely too which you can use to store your beauty tools or even as a biscuit tin.

Natural beauty...

Finally, I wanted to talk about a fair trade, cruelty-free vegan beauty brand named 'Fair Squared' an alternative trade organisation who create wonderful, natural beauty products using olives from Palestine, almond and apricot kernel oil from Pakistan, green tea from India, desiccated coconut from Thailand, argan oil from Morocco and coconut oil from India. 

I have a few samples above that I have been trying out but the full sized products are 250ml from between £8.95 to - £12.50. My stand out products include the green tea body lotion, it is revitalising and nourishing all thanks to the green tea ingredient which has been used in Chinese healing medicine for centuries. I also love the Olive liquid soap which is laced with olive oil known for its antioxidant properties and benefits in helping prevent premature ageing.

Which beauty gifts do you like the look of?

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