Friday, 30 December 2011

Christmas 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I'm aware I haven't posted anything in a while so I thought I would just share a few pictures of my Christmas with you guys...

My entry for a charity bake off!

Homemade mincemeat - I "accidently" put too much brandy in but it made the mince pies taste good!

My tree on Christmas morning with our presents ready to go!
Some of my lovely presents, the printed purple in the background is a beautiful scarf my lovely boyfriend gave to me :-)

And finally a quick sneak peak at my sale shopping ... haul post coming soon!

 Hope you all had a lovely christmas and are looking forward to New Year. My boyfriend and I are going to a friend's house to celebrate. What are you doing for New Year?

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2012 everyone! Xx

Saturday, 10 December 2011

My Christmassy Day

Quite a picture heavy post today. Last Sunday we had our Christmassy Day and I thought I would share some photos with you.

This is the day, normally in the first weekend of December where we go out and buy our Christmas tree, decorate the flat, cook christmassy treats that need to sit for a few weeks, curl up on the sofa, eat mince pies and write our Christmas cards next to our new tree! It really is the best day ever, so festive and really gets me in the Christmassy spirit.

Lots of Christmassy food ingredients... perhaps I will post some of my recipes

The one month of the year my Boyfriend can't moan about fairy lights! So pretty!

My Harrods Christmas Decorations - if you get the chance you should visit the Harrods Christmas Department its amazing!

I love my Christmas Snowglobe from Harrods, it sits pride of place on my coffee table at Christmas

Ta-dah! Our tree! This year we bought a tree from a Christmas Tree Farm near us. We paid £20 for this 4ft tree, no more than we paid last year at the garden centre, but this tree is sooo much nicer! A lovely dark green colour!

And to top it all off ... a butterfly of course!

I bought our cards at Next this year, some gorgeous options and with 3 for 2 on cards & wrapping paper quite good value!



 How do you prepare for Christmas? What is your favourite thing about the festive season?

Hope you're all having a good weekend and enjoying pre-Christmas fun! Xx

Friday, 2 December 2011

My new boots

I have been searching for a pair of knee high black boots for years. And I actually mean years, probably about ten! I am however, blessed with a good pair of sturdy, walkers legs which includes some quite large calves. I used to claim it was my fabulous calf muscles following years living at the top of a hill but not sure that excuse counts anymore.

If like me, you have some gorgeous chunky calves, you will have also experienced the agony of finding that gorgeous pair of boots, try them on and not be able to pull them above your ankle or get the zip to budge any higher.

I am aware you can buy boots for wider legs online but I'm never too keen on buying shoes online as I relish in the experience of trying on and buying a gorgeous pair of shoes. Yes I'm a shoe girl :-)

Anyhoo, I noticed the other day that Next have a range of boots that are suitable for us wider leg girlies and they look fab. They have black and brown boots ranging from £45 to £90 ish.

I bought the following pair for £45 and I'm mighty glad I did...I Love them!

They have an elasticated band down the back, but I don't find it to be too obvious. They don't have a zip so they are easy to slip on. I have bought them in a size six, which is my usual size, whereas sometimes I have to buy a larger size to fit even ankle boots over my lower leg.

I have worn them over tights with a dress for work and with a denim skirt. I've also worn them over some straight leg jeans proving there is definitely some room in them ...need some proper skinny jeans to wear with them now.

Finally they are super comfortable, no rubbing at all even though I walked to work in them on their first outing. And for the price they are an absolute bargain!


I'm so happy to have found a pair of black boots to fit that look good, feel comfortable and they have ended my 10 year search!

What is your one fashion desire - which item have you been searching for, for years?

Hope you are all well! Xx

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Bicester Village Haul

Last weekend my mum and I went for a girls day out up to Bicester village. We used the train from Marlybone Station and bought a ticket which includes a bus from the station to the village, costing about £30. This is quite steep really but thats train tickets in Britain for you! Luckily I have a young persons rail card so I get 1/3 off.
There is something about high end carrier bags...


I bought a few bits and pieces, not a lot this time, sadly but I thought I would still share my little finds with you. I would also note for anyone planning a wedding in the near future ... Jimmy Choo sell their wedding shoes for about £90 (down from £300- £400). Unfortunately their normal shoes are not nearly as discounted but if you are getting married I would definitely make the trip!

In LK Bennett I picked up a lovely purse. I have been looking for a new purse for ages because I wanted one with a lot more credit card pockets. I did see a couple in other shops but I fell in love with this the moment I saw it! The burgundy red is absolutely gorgeous, it has 16 credit card slots, a zipped coin section and plenty of places to put cash. It cost £60 down from £95.

Unfortunately, I picked up the purse in the best condition but the assistant couldn't get the security tag off so she picked up another one. I didn't notice until I got home that it had a black marker pen mark on the back that I can't get off :-( but its just too far to go to exchange it.


I was a bit dispointed with the CCO, as the stock didn't seem to have changed much since the last time I was there. I also find this store quite annoying to shop in as its quite small but obviously very popular so hard to get to the shelves. I did pick up the "Cutie" quad from the Quite Cute collection earlier this year.

I then picked up a couple of christmas presents in Crabtree and Evelyn for my brother's girlfriend and friend. They are great little sets and didn't cost the earth.
The pink bag cost £7.50(originally £15) & the tin £10 (£15).
I kow it sounds weird but I am in love with the Crabtree and Evelyn Bag because the inside print is so gorgeous!! So gorgeous in fact I felt it deserved its own photo:
I know its weird to discuss a carrier bag but I've always been a bag girl, do you like a good designer carrier bag?


So that was it really, my Mum managed to pick up a few gifts from Cath Kidson including some adorable little denim jackets for my baby cousins.

So not the most successful shopping trip but I did have a lovely day. Its always nice to have a girly day out with your mum. We went for lunch at Carluccio's Caffe which was very scrummy.

Do you have girly days out with your mum? I'd love to hear about your best girls days out.

Hope everyone is having a lovely day. Xx

Sunday, 20 November 2011

My No1 Beauty Item: Dove Beauty Cream Bars

I was simply washing my face the other morning when it occurred to me how often I come back to using this one product for my facial wash. Its not some expensive massively coveted facial wash or even a designated facial wash to be honest. It is a Dove Beauty Cream Bar, or Dove soap.


http://www.dove.co.uk/products/bar-bodywash/cream-bar/beauty-cream-bar.html

I know this may seem a bit odd, but I have noticed that whatever new or expensive face washes I use, I have never found one that is as good on my skin as a Dove bar. I always end up coming back to this soap and whenever I do I notice a massive difference in my skin within days.

I first started using this soap as my face wash when I was a student, I was low on cash and couldn't afford to buy my normal face wash so I figured I would use the soap in my soap dish, which was a Dove cream bar. It was fantastic!


This little bar of soap cleanses my skin perfectly and clears up any spots I might have in a couple of days. I always find my skin is clearest when I am using this product. It leaves my skin feeling very clean but also suitably moisturised. I still use a moisturiser as part of my daily routine but occasionally I feel the need to skip this step for the day as my skin seems perfectly fine without it.

I don't tend to use this to remove make up, as I always use a make up wipe before I do anything else but I assume it would get off simple day time make up. I guess it might not be great for removing heavy eye make up but I would always use a eye make up remover for this anyway. 

Looking on the Dove website, they seem to have developed some additions to this original soap including an gentle exfoliating bar, I might do some looking into this. I am also considering looking into some of the shower gel type products.

If you are always on the hunt for a new and effective face wash I would definitely give this a go! Its worth trying just for the price. The last time I bought some, I managed to buy 6 bars for £2 in Asda.

A bar on average will last probably a couple of months and that's with my boyfriend using it for his face too. That's another advantage I suppose, more room in the bathroom, as its not fragranced or anything specific or special its fine for both of you to use.

Whats your No1 go to beauty product? Leave a comment below, I'd love to know some of your beauty secrets!

Hope you have an enjoyable Sunday, sitting in the sunshine. Xx

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Mac Glitter and Ice

As you may all be aware the Mac Holiday collection is now available in the UK, so off I popped to my local Mac counter on Sunday.
Loving the new Mac bags

I had two planned items on my shopping list and intended to check out the rest of the collection while I was there. Unfortunately, I wasn't enthused by much else in the collection.

As I mentioned in my October favourites, I am really loving my Mac Paint Pots at the moment, so I decided to purchase some more. There are three in the holiday collection: Let's Skate, For Effect and Morning Frost. 

I picked up the Let's Skate and Morning Frost. The For Effect paint pot is a darker greyish colour and I wasn't convinced I would wear it all that often.

Morning Frost ... and Let's Skate

 You can hopefully see from the picture that they are both fairly glittery, but to be honest that is to be expected of a holiday collection and for that matter a collection called Glitter and Ice (kind of a does what it says on the tin product!) Just in case you can't see all the glitter, this picture probably shows it better...
Glittery Swatches :-)

Morning Frost is a gorgeous metallic taupe colour with I would say a hint of champagne. Its a really beautiful colour that is suitable for the day and could easily be used for the evening with some heavier eyeliner and mascara.The metallic sheen is perfect for this season and the glitter adds a Christmas sparkle. There is less glitter in this one making it absolutely suitable for the office.

Let's Skate is a pretty baby/frosty pink colour with lots of glitter. Perhaps not an option for work but absolutely wonderful for evenings or to make you're eyes pop on a weekend day. I would say this colour could be worn with not a lot more eye make up as the colour can really stand on its own.

I would recommend both of these as two beautiful colours to add or even start your Mac Paint Pot collection. I wouldn't rule out For Effect either, it just didn't suit my skin tone. I would say though, that these were both sold out on the Debenhams website so I would skip along to Mac as soon as you can if you fancy these.

Hope you're all keeping well. Did you get anything from the collection or any other Christmas collection, I would love to hear your recommendations!?
X x

Sunday, 6 November 2011

October Favourites

I know this is actually 6 days late but I decided to do my first monthly favourites post. I thought this would be difficult to think of what to include, but when I sat down and thought about it there were some very obvious things to include. I've got a bit of a mixture of beauty, food and fashion.

First up make up, I have 3 items that I have been wearing basically everyday this month. I've been a bit lazy this month and done my make up on the train a lot! These are fantastic products for on the go make up-ing...

Mac Paint Pots...
I have two of these in my collection and have been using them to add a quick wash of colour to my eyes in the morning. They are so easy to apply, give lasting colour all day and just add a bit of colour to simple work make up. I currently have Bare Study, which I find gives a great pop to the eye, making you look a lot more awake than you actually are. I also have Vintage Selection from the Cham Pale collection last Christmas which is a gorgeous purple colour. I have this afternoon also acquired a couple from the new Christmas Glitter and Ice collection.

Benefit Porefessional...
I have used Porefessional everyday since I bought this. Its fantastic at smoothing the appearance of pores and makes my skin so soft. I use it as a base for my Mac Minerlize Skinfinish Natural and it gives a great even finish to the skin.







17 Sheer Moisture Lipstick in Antique Lace...
I picked this up as an impulse buy in the Boots 3 for 2 deal a while back and I am glad I did. Its an amazing colour, really moisturising and sheer enough to make it suitable for work, but not too sheer at the same time. Am pleased as punch with this purchase and would definitely buy some more in this range.

Nivea Soft Moisturiser...
I have been using this moisturiser for years now. I have been using this loads this month for my hands as they start to get dry during the cold weather. As the weather gets colder I will start using it on my face too. Its an excellent formula, not too thick, absorbs in the skin easily, neutral smell and brilliantly moisturising. Even better its only about £2 per tube.





Pussybow Blouse from Tesco...
I picked this little blouse up when doing my food shopping the other day. Its blue with white polka dots. Its completely sheer, so requires a top underneath but I love the shape and neckline. I've put this in with my favourites because I've worn it so much. It works well with suit trousers or pencil skirts for work or with jeans and a cardigan. As an added bonus this top was only £8!!

Zumba...
I started a Zumba classes the first week of October. Its a great workout and good fun. I did a lot of dance classes when I was younger so I really enjoy going to these classes and doing a bit of dance while exercising.

Oats so Simple Instant Porridge...
Sorry guys I forgot to take a picture of this one, but I have been buying the instant sachets of Oats so Simple for breakfast. I take them to work and make it up with boiling water, making them only 134 calories each! They taste yummy too, especially the apple and blueberry. The only one I wasn't sure about was the plain porridge which I find requires some sugar.

Thats all for this month folks, what were your favourite things for October?
Hope everyone has had a nice relaxing sunday! X x

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Seasons changing....

For those of you living in England its that time of year again, time to dig out the winter coat...hats, gloves scarves and even thermals if you are so inclined (I personally am not but I do tend to embrace layering at this time of year).

The recent cold weather has prompted me to change over my wardrobes. I like to have lots of room in my wardrobe so I keep my winter clothes in storage during the summer and  vice versa. Its also a good opportunity to have a clear out and I have a couple of bags to take to the charity shop.

So I've gone from a fairly colourfull wardrobe with lots of sandals .....
To a rather dull looking wardrobe full of jumpers and boots....

Fortunately not only is wardrobe sorting good for a clear out, its also good for spotting where the gaps are in your wardrobe...prompting the need for a shopping trip of course. So here are just a few of the winter items I have spotted while doing some online window shopping (some are more of a fantasy, budget wise!)
Absolutely gorgeous Mulberry boots but a little out of my price range LINK
ASOS jumper - looks so cute and cumfy LINK
Amy Winehouse by Fred Perry - I love this entire outfit LINK
Lovely colour called Red Rust is meant to be in this winter. LINK
I think this has such a feminine shape but the buttons create a bit of an edge LINK

Have you found any gorgeous winter finds? Any favourite winter items?
Hope everyone is having a lovely sunday and keeping cosy and warm. Xx

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Can anybody else hear sleigh bells...?

A short happy post today! I'm sure most people will think I'm crazy but I am so excited about Christmas today! The Boots christmas shop opened today on their website, yes it is a sad commercialised world but those little green 3 for 2 symbols have come to be a recognised sign of Christmas. So yes it is freakishly early but I am now officially counting down to Christmas!!! So excited!!! :-)

So for all of you Christmas lovers like me I thought I would indulge a little and tell you my ten favourite things about Christmas....

  • Christmas Tree Shopping - I love shopping for our Christmas tree for our home
  • Harrods Christmas department - my Mum & I go every year to buy a few tree decorations
  • Stocking fillers - I like to find lots of little surprises to fill stockings
  • Present wrapping - I turn this into an art form to make sure my presents look lovely under the tree
  • Christmas Dinner - so so much food, its the only day of the year you don't feel guilty for eating so much
  • Mince Pies - so yummy heated up with cream
  • Present buying - I love planning what to get everyone & making sure its something they will love
  • Christmas songs - the classics can make a drive home in the cold so magical
  • Cosy evenings in - nothing like snuggling up by the tree on a cold winter's evening
  • Family - I have always grown up with family Christmas's and I love the big get togethers

So thats my list in no particular order. What are your favourite things about Christmas? What are you looking forward to the most this year? If you'd like to do your top ten things about Christmas I'd love to read them.

Hope you're having a good day. Xx

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Benefit Make Up Purchases

I recently picked up a couple of items from the Benefit counter that I have decided to share with you...

I went to the counter at the Debenhams on Oxford Street after to work the other day. I didn't really get any customer service which I was a bit disappointed about but luckily I knew what I was planning to get. Do you ever find that with make up counters?



Anyhoo, firstly I have wanted to pick up a primer for a while now and have decided to try out the "Porefessional". This makes my skin so smooth to touch its amazing, I love it. I wouldn't say it is a miracle cream but I have noticed a difference in the appearance of my daily make up. I wear Mac Mineralized Skin Finish natural on my face. I feel like I have quite large pores, particularly to the side of nose and I do think this primer makes a slight difference.

Second up, I needed to repurchase my "Boing" concealer as I hit pan a few weeks ago. However, I decided to spend £10 more and get the "Confessions of a Concealaholic". I figured as this set contains Boing, it would be worth spending the extra tenner to have the chance to try out these extra products.

The set comes with:
Boing Concealer in shades 1 and 2
I have used shade one for a few months now and as I said I was intending to repurchase, which correctly suggests that I do like this product. I have been using on both my dark circles and my chin (I have some acne scarring here), however, since I bought this set I have just been using it on my chin. I find this has good coverage and last a credible amount of time. Its easy to use, either with the small brush provided or by patting on with your fingers. My only quibble here is that I doubt I will ever use the shade 2 because I'm so pale.




Erase Paste in Shade 2
I was excited to try this. I have been using it under my eyes and although its probably not the best match for my skin colour, it is doing a very good job at covering my very dark circles! The only tip I would give is, if you are starting to get a line or two under your eye (yes I am - and at 24 its so depressing!), don't use too much! It has quite a thick consistency and just accentuates any lines!

Lemon Aid Eye Primer
I am a devout user of urban decay primer potion. That said I love this, it kept my eyeshadow in place all day, smells gorgeous and might just be tempting me in its direction!


Eye Bright Highlight
I have this product already, for those of you in the UK it came free in pencil form in Glamour magazine a couple of years ago. I use it occasionally in the inner corner of my eye, particularly when I need to look wide awake (perfect for early morning meetings!). Its handy having it in this set, but I think I prefer to apply using the pencil because I think you get a thicker, more noticeable application (or perhaps I just need to go to bed earlier before meetings!).

That Gal Primer
I wasn't so bothered about this product as I had also purchased a primer. However, where as the Porefessional is designed to reduce the appearance of pores, this is designed to give you a gorgeous glow to the skin. Again I wouldn't say this is a miracle cream but I did notice a difference in my skin when I used it. I felt like I had a dewy glow to my face, without looking shiny!



That's it for now folks. I did get some more make up from Boots but I didn't want to make this post too long (think I failed though!). I will do another post this week with all the make up I bought at Boots.

Hope you are all keep well! And I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to my first two followers ... its so exciting to know that someone is reading my general chit chat! Have a wonderful day! X x

Sunday, 11 September 2011

What's in my bag...

I was sitting wondering what post to write this weekend when I read Laura's what's in my bag post over on buy now, blog later. So in response to her post here is my what's in my bag.... Not quite everything I didn't think you would want to see all my loose change and receipts, plus 5 points for those who spot the obvious missing item ...


 The Bag - From Zara in April. I love this bag it looks so much more expensive than it actually was (£40), its nice and roomy, too pockets and credit card slots inside! Also has a long strap which I tend to keep inside the bag.

Purse - From H&M a few years ago (2008 I think!) I love this purse because its so big and has 12 card slots - still not enough but more than my other purses!

Make Up Bag - Yes I admit it, I have been known to be that girl on the train doing her make up in the morning (my excuse being I live in England and sometimes the weather makes it too depressing to get out of bed on time!) I bought this bag at Primark - cheap, practical & easy to keep clean.

Filofax - Despite being young and loving my phone & google calendar etc. I still like to write everything down and I like to write lists and lists and more lists, so this simple but stylish Filofax contains it all!

Umbrella - I live in England - enough said!

Marc Jacobs Daisy Perfume - I love the fresh scents of this perfume and this tends to be my go to scent at the moment. Will definitely be repurchasing when its all out.

A selection of pens - boring but necessary for all my list making :-)

Burts Bees Lip Balm - amazingly moisturising, I prefer the original because it has that tingly feeling. This one has acai berries in it.

Comb - for dealing with my windswept tresses.

Tre-semme Ultimate Hold hairspray - for holding down those pesky little flyaways!

Impulse Romantic Spark body spray - a relatively light fragrance for Impulse.

Hand Food - fantastic hand cream, suitably moisturising, not sticky and the smell is Ha-mazing!

Tissues - for when I have the sniffles!

Season ticket & Oyster Card - not forgotten to take these to work yet but I'm sure one day I will.

Unlimited magazine - I went to the cinema to see Friends with Benefits (would recommend btw!) and picked up this magazine.

Debenhams Beauty Club Card - I didn't have one of these yet, so I picked one up while I was at the Benefit Counter on Friday.

Phone - that's rights, 5 points if you guessed it, my phone isn't included because I used it to take the photo!

So that's it folks! Hope you are having a suitably lazy sunday! Enjoy your weekend! Xx

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Reebok Easy Tone Trainers

You might have seen in my weight loss post that I bought a pair of Reebok Easy Tone trainers. I thought I would do a quick review. 

I bought some black simple Reebok Easy Tone trainers. I wanted a good comfortable pair of trainers to wear to and from work. I have just changed jobs and now commute by train which involves a bit of walking. I wanted a simple black pair that would look subtle with my office work wear. The inside of the trainers is a gorgeous dark purple which fulfils my craving for all things purple hehe!  

As I am now walking a couple of miles a day I thought it would be worth getting a pair of Easy Tone or Sketchers Shape Ups trainers to see if they do anything. I can’t say I chose Reebok over Sketchers for any particular reason other than I saw these in a shop and they were a good price.

I picked this pair up at an outlet shopping centre, so they were at a reduced price of £37. I found the same trainers on www.jdsports.co.uk. They are sold for £75 on their website, although some styles are currently in the sale for £50. 

I have picked up the Reebok Reenew design of trainers. TheReebok website says:

“A better butt and legs with every step. Built specifically for walking and everyday activities, the EasyTone Reenew is designed to work your key leg and butt muscles with every step.”

I have worn these trainers several times since I bought them only a few days ago. They are incredibly comfortable and not at all weird to walk in. My only comment about the fit is that the back of the shoe fits quite low down on the back of the ankle.

 I gave these shoes a thorough test on their first outing with a three mile walk in the Scottish highlands. This walk involved some small inclines, some steep inclines, some steep downhill slopes, forest paths, stone paths and some paved areas. I had no problems at all; they were very comfortable and provided sufficient support. There was no rubbing on my ankles even after an hour and half of walking.

I thought the Easy Tone design would take some getting used to in terms of walking and that it would require a stable balance but not at all. They are easy to walk in and if anything actually improve my walking. My boyfriend jokes about my heavy footing when I walk. These shoes force me to walk from heel to toe because of the shape which I’m sure is a lot better for my legs and back. 

These are just my initial thoughts and I’ve only had a few days so I can’t really comment on their ability to tone your derrière.  I am thinking that I will keep some notes on these trainers over the next few months and then do a longer term review in six months or so. I will also measure my hips and thighs now and give you an update in six months.  I am planning to incorporate these trainers into my longer term exercise and weight loss plans so if I manage to lose any weight it won’t just be down to the trainers but at least it will be an indication. If you want to see my blog post on longer term weight loss goals click here. 

I hope you found this useful. Whilst I can’t yet comment on the Easy Tone technology I would recommend these trainers as a comfortable shoe with a decent but subtle design.

Update
I actually wrote this post a few weeks ago but didn't get round to posting it, so I can now update after wearing them to and from work for a couple of weeks. They have continued to be incredibly comfy. The only niggle is still that they sit low down on the back of the ankle. I can't say if they've toned because I haven't really thought about it but I will say I can definitely feel something working in my thighs and butt, especially after a long walk.

Also since I bought these I find that I am keen to go walking more, maybe because the shoes are a novelty or because after two years of commuting by motorway I enjoy the walk but I am certainly making use of them. Last week I chose to walk an hour to the 3rd train station down the line rather than get  on at my normal stop and another day I decided not to get the bus home from the station but instead walked which took about 40min. 

Has anyone else ever tried these or any other brand of toning trainers? If you have got any hints or tips or other suggestions of what works best please leave a comment below I’d be really interested to know other people’s experiences with these types of trainers.

Hope you’re having a good day! X x

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Weight Loss - New Attempt (lets hope its the last)

A slightly different post today... This is a short post about my fresh start in my attempt to lose some weight.

After being a very skinny child thanks to lots and lots of dance classes, I have struggled with my weight since I was about 16. My weight has been up and down, thanks to life style and health issues but I will not bore you with the details. Instead I am going to re-start the painstaking journey of losing weight yet again but this time I'm going to take you along with me (if your interested that is - if not go make a cup of tea hehe!)
I'm not going to cut out chocolate all together - I am a woman after all... but these small size treats are a good option.


So the new plan....

I am going to take this one step at a time, or more precisely two weeks at a time. At the beginning of each fortnight I am going to do three things:

  1. Weigh myself - I use the Wii Fit to do this and am only going to do this once a fortnight so I don't have the constant dread of weigh in day
  2. Plan some scrumptious meals for the next two weeks trying to include lots of variety
  3. Decide what exercise to do for that fortnight - I am going to change this every two weeks so that I don't get bored and the exercise continues being effective
My new trainers - this fortnight my exercise plan is a 1hr walk 4 times per week.
So thats the plan! We'll see how it goes.... I will write on here again in two weeks to let you all know!

Meanwhile if you've got any hints or tips I'd love to hear them. Or if you'd like to join in let me know I'd love to hear from others ...

Hope everyone is happy and healthy!

Xx

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Bicester Shopping Village - discount designer shopping!


A couple of weeks ago I went on a weekend away with my partner’s family. I know – a holiday with the “in-laws” doesn’t sound much fun does it but there was an exciting part to this holiday…. I got to go to Bicester Village!! 

For those of you who don’t know, Bicester Village is a designer outlet shopping village in Oxford. I heard about it a couple of years ago and I have wanted to go ever since. Just to whet your appetite ladies shops include Jimmy Choo, Prada, Matthew Williamson, D&G, Cath Kidson and Diane von Furstenberg to name just a few. It is AMAZING!  There is also a CCO, to those in America this may not seem a massive deal but in the UK there are only 6 (I think!)

All the stores have large reductions on items. However, I would warn you here, don’t expect to go and pick up some Jimmy Choos for a bargain basement price, the reduced price is still in proportion to the retail price. There are some amazing bargains to be had but you will still need a lot of dollar to do a large shopping spree. For example there were some bags in Mulberry that would normally be sold for about £500 and they were being sold at about £250. I would personally recommend this as a place to go to buy an outfit for a special occasion or perhaps one or two special purchases.

Having said that, there are some higher end high street stores at Bicester to enjoy as well. I only had an hour at Bicester Village so focused my purchases in these stores. Before I went I had checked out all the stores available online and planned my shopping. Does anyone else do this when they’re excited about a shopping trip? For this I would say there website is very good and contains useful information. 

Cath Kidson:
A while ago, I had seen a laptop case on their website but for some reason hadn’t got round to ordering it. Luckily for me they had it in the store! I got a large laptop case and paid £18. I can’t find this exact one on the website anymore but large laptop cases are currently £28. I have the Dell Inspiron 1564 and this just fits in the case. It’s a bit tight but it does fit. I just love the bright colours and the flower pattern on it!
I also picked up a book bag to carry my laptop and cables around with me. I paid £12 for this and they normally retail for £18. I love it, it’s super steardy, good quality and makes a very cute laptop bag :-) 


French Connection
There were some excellent bargains to be had in French Connection. Unfortunately, none of the clothes had the original prices on them but knowing FC prices there were definitely some good savings. My boyfriend picked up a black mac style coat for just £70. It is such good quality and looks really good. I would guess that it would be about £120 in stores. Unfortunately we were running out of time, but there was a lot more I could have bought in this store I’m sure. I did manage to pick up this gorgeous blue scarf for £10. Unfortunately my camera isn’t really picking up the colour but it is beautiful.

The Cosmetics Company Store
This is one of the stores I was most excited about visiting. I watch lots of girls on you tube that are from the US and often see hauls from the CCO. Mrs The Doll has some brilliant hauls and always manages to get some great stuff from CCOs. 

The Cosmetics Company Store houses cosmetics brands under the Estee Lauder umbrella. These include Estee Lauder (obviously), MAC, Bobbi Brown and Clinique plus a few more. There were some amazing savings to be had here for example the Bobbi Brown eye cream for just £21rather than £28 in stores. There were a few foundations and powders but in limited shades. There were a few options at MAC but only in NC20 or NW20. Unfortunately, I am NC15 so there wasn’t anything available for me. 

I did pick up a couple of bits. A blusher from MAC for just £12 and a brush set from Presciptives. I don’t think I’ve seen this brand before but so far I’m quite impressed with the quality of the brushes. I paid £42 for the brush set which includes a duo fibre bronzing brush, a foundation brush, a travel powder brush with lid and a duel ended eye brush. I will do a full review of these brushes at some point.

So all in all I was really impressed with Bicester Village and I would definitely recommend a visit. I’m certainly going back again in the next few months and will hopefully have a bit more time to explore all the shops – think I better start saving!! 

It’s fairly easy to get to, not far from the Motorway and there is a shuttle bus service from the station straight to the village. I think there are also bus services which run from London and Birmingham.  I would especially consider a visit if you are visiting from outside the European Union because you can claim the tax back on your purchases making it even more of a bargain shopping spree!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Personal Shopper - Debenhams, London

This week I started a new job and for that I had decided I needed a new work wardrobe, obviously Hehe! Actually my old office was a lot more casual compared to my new office so I did have a decent excuse. :-)

Anyhoo, I decided to book a personal shopper appointment to shop for my new work wardrobe. I've used this service at Debenhams on Oxford Street before so decided to go back there. For those of you who don't live in the UK, Debenhams is a large department store. The store in London houses Debenhams own ranges, Designers at Debenhams range and lots of other high street retailers such as Warehouse, Miss Selfridge, Oasis etc. You can find a list of brands at the Oxford St store here.

So today I thought I would give a quick overview and review of the personal shopper service at Debenhams.

Booking
I was pleased to find that you are now able to book appointments online. Its really easy to do, they ask you to select a time on the date of your choice and you can choose the length of your appointment from 60, 90 and 120min. There is also a question on what type of appointment you are looking for ranging from general wardrobe update, to business wear to bridal. There are a few other questions and there is the option to add a short msg if you'd like to leave a note for your shopper.

The system was very easy and quick to use and I was impressed with the simplicity. They send you a text msg to confirm your booking which I thought was helpful and indicated a good level of service.

You can book an appointment here.

The Personal Shopper Rooms
The personal shopper area is off one of the main floors. When you come to the top of the escalator on floor 3 (I think) the corridor is right in front of you with a sign above, so it is easy to find.

When you go in, it seems very friendly and homey, especially in comparison to the clinical corridor you have just walked down. There is a desk and 3 shopper rooms.

Sorry about the poor pictures!
The rooms have two parts, an area with comfy chairs and a stack of magazines on the table this is closed off from the main area by a curtain. Then through another curtain is the changing area, this is huge-there are two mirrored walls, one with mirrors that pull round so that you can see your behind! I had no problems with the lighting at all.

The separate seating area meant that if you bought someone with you, (I took my mum!) they have somewhere to sit and give you their opinions!


The Shopper Experience
When you arrive you are offered a drink of tea, coffee or water I think were the options. Then your shopper will sit down and go through your requirements and your sizes. I had the same shopper as last time, I don't know if this is on purpose but I thought it was a nice touch (they ask when you book if you have been before).

He then went out to the shop floor and bought back some clothes to try on. Last time I went he came back with a whole rack. This time he seemed to be serving two customers so he was just going to different parts of the store and bringing us both back a pile at a time. I don't have a problem with this,  but I think I preferred the previous approach. Also there were 3 shoppers working there, so I wasn't sure why we hadn't been allocated our own shopper?!

They occasionally check that everything is going ok, much in the same way that a waiter checks that your meal is ok! I had to ask for some alternative sizes (will come to that in a min) a few times but they would sort this straight away.

The Clothes
I had asked for smart/casual business dress leaning more towards the business side. In general this is what I was provided with, but with the added bonus of some items in keeping with current fashion thrown in. I was generally pleased with what I had been given in terms of style and there was a variety of clothes to chose from. There were lots of different styles of dresses and tops in a variety of colours. 

There were a few pieces that seemed a bit odd for example a silky dress that I would wear to dinner or a party. There were also a few tops that were slightly too vibrant and multicoloured for business wear in my opinion.

As I hinted at I did have a few issues with sizes. I am most definitely a pear shape - I am a size 10/12 on top and a 14 (sometimes 16) on the bottom. I can wear dresses with lose skirts but I can't wear tight fitted pencil skirt dresses - they either fit on the bottom & swamp me on top or fit on top and won't go over my thighs on the bottom. Given my sizings I thought this would be obvious, especially to a personal shopper but I was bought a few such dresses in sizes 10 and 12 which I couldn't even get over my bum.

I also found that Warehouse trousers fitted small and I therefore needed a 16 (even these were tight). I explained this to the woman but she somehow took this as I needed all 16s, although I had explained I was a 14 in every other brand.

Perks!
Debenhams also has a huge beauty department to ponder round. My Mum & I decided to go for dinner and see a show to really make it a girly day. (Btw I would thoroughly recommend Legally Blonde musical :-))

Freebies - at the end of the appointment you will also be given some fantastic sample freebies. This time I received a fantastic box of Clinique goodies including moisturiser, cleansers and make up.

So all in all, although there were a couple of issues with sizing I still had a great experience. I came away with a great new work wardrobe. As I said even if you're not after an entire wardrobe it is a lovely relaxing way of shopping and worth it for the freebies hehe!

I would like to show all the clothes that I bought, but am trying to work out the best way to do this. I am contemplating being brave and making my first you tube video??! If not I will try and take some good pictures and put them on here soon.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful day. X x

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Make Up Gone Wrong

Hello there! I thought I would share my embarrassing story from today.

It has for once been very lovely and very warm here in England today (yay!). I had a few errands to run, a contact lense check and then some shopping to do. This all sounds fine!

Only I was standing in TK Maxx buying some items, but I felt that the check out assistant was staring at me weirdly & as soon as I walked away she whispered something to her colleague. It wasn't until I got back to the car that I realised my eye liner and mascara had run & I had a lovely dark black line in my crease on both eyes! It looked like I had drawn an extra pair of eyebrows on my eyelids!!

 I was so embarrassed and I spent the rest of the day rubbing my eye lids and trying (but failing) to subtly look at myself in shop mirrors and windows. Lesson learned don't go for winged eye liner and volume mascara on a very hot day or on a day when a man is going to squirt lots of saline solution in your eye!!

I'd love to know if anyone else has had any similar embarrassing make up mishaps?

Hope everyone had a lovely day! Xxx

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Mini Summer Haul

Hello there! I have done the odd bit of shopping recently just a few bits and pieces. I didn't go on a big shopping trip these are just a few bits I've picked up when I've been wondering around the shops at lunchtime. Does anyone else have this major problem - my office is in a town centre with really good shops which tends to be a nightmare for my bank balance! It seems slightly pointless to work all day and spend your wages at lunchtime hehe!

Anyways this is a few bits I've picked up over about six weeks so hopefully they will still be in the shops and even better you might even find them in the sales! Woohoo! (Sales also a nightmare for the balance!)

Sorry rubbish picture!
So first up I took a quick trip to Dorothy Perkins. I picked up these stone coloured chinos which are cropped just above the ankle. I must say I LOVE these trousers - it is soooo nice to find some trousers to wear that are not jeans! I'm definitely not the skinniest of girls and I also have very pale legs so sometimes during the summer I feel the need to cover my legs with more than leggings. These certainly do the job, they are a lovely light colour to wear in summer and aren't as hot as jeans to wear during the hotter days (when they do occur in Britain).

I also picked up a green boob-tube top which is a gorgeous colour, I would really like the one in dark blue but they never seem to have my size when I go in there.

Next up I grabbed a few pieces from New Look. I haven't shopped in there for a couple of years now, I felt like they went a bit downhill for a while but they seem to have rejuvinated themselves in the last 6 months or so.
I got a couple of tops one bright peachy pink seen in the picture below and a yellow top with capped sleeves. Sorry I can't find these on the website and the yellow top is in the wash at the moment. I also managed to get a Pocket T Shirt Dress in a stone colour - this was the reason I went into New Look. Louise of Sprinkle of Glitter showed this dress in a You Tube video and I really liked it so I went on the hunt for it.




I managed to grab a few accessories to add to the mix. I really like the leather wrist tie and it was a bargain in the accessorize sale at half price, down to £5. I also like the little brown string bracelet with the butterfly on with matching earings, which came from Boots. I'm really like this style of brown, festival chic style accessories to wear on the wrist, I feel like it is a very summery look but not as obvious as flower print styles.

Leather Bracelet - Accessorize £5 (reduced from £10)  Green Earings Set - Boots £3.25 (from £6.50)  Gold Bow Necklace - New Look  Brown Braclet & Butterfly Earrings - Boots 


Last but not least I picked up this bag, also in the Accessorize sale, a bonus at only £16 (half price). I'm starting a new job on Monday so decided I of course needed a new bag! I love the star print inside and there are two pockets on the front which is really useful. I'm going to be commuting by train for my new job so I needed a bag that was big enough to carry a book and my shoes, so I can wear trainers to walk to work. But I also wanted a bag that didn't look silly when there wasn't much in it if that makes sense. I also love the colour and like that I can wear it on my shoulder or across the body.















I hope this post wan't too long - just a few bits and pieces! Will try not to leave it so long this time - its like starting a diary ... when I was a teenager I used to start a diary every new year, saying I would write in it every day. I normally lasted until about the 3rd Jan - anybody else ever have that problem?

Anyhoo, last day at my current job tomorrow which I'm quite sad about really! I do get to go shopping for a new work wardrobe this weekend tho which I will share with you.

Hope you're all having a beautiful day! X x
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