Saturday, 31 March 2012

Giveaway Winner!!

Hi everyone!

I know some of you have been waiting for this post, I wanted to make sure the winner got back to me before I posted about it so sorry for the delay.

After counting up the valid entries, I did get one after the closing time, there were 53 entries, and gave me this result:

Number 4 was laboscy

I shall be popping her items in the post this week, and I know they are going to a good home :)
If you want to giver her blog a read I am sure she would be grateful, and she has some fabulous reviews on there, definitely worth a read.

Thanks to everyone who entered, and everyone who is reading the blog and watching the videos and I hope you continue to do so. I hope to do more giveaways in future, maybe to mark some more milestones, they are really very fun to do!

:) xo

Monday, 26 March 2012

FO: A (not so) Quick Ripley for Me

Unfortunately I left this to languish in my knitting basket for months and months, and so it didn't get a huge amount of use over the winter. It is fab for keeping my ears warm though!


Pattern Name: Ripley by Ysolda Teague
Yarn Used: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran
Needle Size: Can't remember :(
Problems: I left this in the basket with just the join on the crochet band left to finish, but forgot how to join it together! So it is a little rough I think, still wearable though.
Modifications: Knit to pattern.
Skills Learnt: That even when i intend something to be a quick little knit, it can take over a year to finish.
Knit Again?: This is the second time I have knit this pattern, and I do love it so who knows, maybe I will do it in a different colour for myself.
Score: 6/10

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Like Butta!

I got my mitts on some Revlon Lip Butter's yesterday, they were just sitting there in my tiny little Boots store (it's the one near where I work, and when I say tiny I mean tiny!) Obviously I tweeted straight away, and then applied one of the shades as I walked to work, I was that excited.

As you do when you buy something new and you have a blog, some photograph taking and swatching was in order, so here they are, I purchased some of the brightest shades, and all shades without shimmer. I've never been a huge fan of shimmer, so that was just a personal preference, and I went for bright shades as I was able to swatch them at different opacities on my hand so they seemed the most versatile. I am seriously looking forward to giving these a go this summer!


From left to right these are Tutti Frutti, Candy Apple and Sweet Tart, and these swatches are with 1-2 swipes. The colour shows up nicely and the texture is lovely and smooth as expected.


Again top to bottom these are in the same order, and these are a medium opacity swatch I would say. I could definitely build them up some more if I wanted, but this is probably how I would wear them.

You might just be able to make out that these do catch a little on any flakiness, and I wouldn't say that they could take the place of a lip balm, or my Korres Lip Butter, they simply aren't moisturising enough. For what is sold as a lip butter I think of them more as a glossy sheer lipstick, and would definitely put a balm underneath for everyday wear.

I haven't had a chance to properly test these out for wear, but I suspect they will need quite a bit of reapplying during the day. I am no stranger to this however, and the price isn't so steep that it would ever really annoy me.

(currently they are in the 3 for 2, and if you're lucky like me you might get a £2 off Revlon voucher with your advantage card leaflet this month)

I hope that Boots eventually carry more of the shades of these, my local store had 8 shades, though online there are more, and I know in America that there are many more. I know I would like to try a few more of them out. What about you? Have you tried any yet?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

February Empties

This post is really late, I apologise, I have been a busy bee. If you follow me on twitter you might have seen the picture of a birthday cake I made for my boyfriend last week, in the shape of a particular car. I'd never made a proper shaped cake with fondant and things before and it was rather difficult but he loved it so I feel all proud :)

Anyway, you may have noticed I also haven't posted a february favourites video so far this month, and that's because I am not going to do one, there simply hasn't been anything stand out shout about favourite for me in february, and I'd rather not fib and make it up, so I decided just to do an empties post this month instead!


Only three items, AGAIN! I don't know how some people manage to use so much stuff up, because it takes me ages, but I have already used a few for March so I'm looking forward to that post.

Vichy Calming Cleansing Micellar Solution
£11 from Boots

I've mentioned before that I prefer the La Roche Posay Micellar solution, and I still stand by that, in fact I recently took advantage of the Boots 3 for 2 offer and bought 4 bottles, but if you can't get your mitts on that one, the Vichy option is a fairly good alternative. For me it doesn't feel as clean, as if it is lifting the dirt from my skin as efficiently, and it feels as if I need to use more product to get the same level of cleansing as the La Roche Posay, but it is a little bit gentler on my eye area.

Dermalogica Renewal Lip Complex
£22.50 for 1.75ml (1ml Sample shown)

I received this sample in my Glossybox, way back, and wasn't sure what to think of it as I knew the full size was so expensive. It is a lovely lip balm, and smells nicely fruity, a berry scent I think, but it is aimed at being anti-aging, and I think unless you can afford to happily shell out a ridiculous amount for a lipbalm it really isn't worth it. My Nivea SOS lipbalm has the same levels of hydration for a fraction of the price.

Lee Stafford Treatment for Hair
£7.99 from Boots

I've mentioned this countless times before in my videos, as it is a repeated favourite of mine, and a constant repurchase. I use this treatment, which is meant to help your hair reach its maximum length, as a root booster and moisturising treatment once a week. I usually slap this on the roots, and a deep moisturiser to the ends of my hair after shampooing. I then clip my hair up for a while and then wash out and follow with conditioner. It leaves my roots feeling soft and nourished, though a little weighed down, which is why I have stopped using it every time I wash my hair. 
You can usually get this with some money knocked off or on a 3 for 2 offer, so is worth trying out if you haven't before.

Have you tried any of these products before? Would you try them again?
:) xo 

Monday, 19 March 2012

FO: Marian Chunky Cowl

Some actual knitting content!
You can expect to see a few of these over the next few weeks as I have finally taken pictures for all my finished objects, I was holding out for pictures with me wearing them, but for now these will have to do I'm afraid. Maybe when I have an available photographer I will add some more :)


FO Report:
Name: Marian by Jane Richmond
Yarn: Rowan Big Wool in 42
Needle Size: 15mm circulars
Problems: I didn't really have any, though the cast off was a little tight.
Modifications: I doubled the size by using two skeins of yarn, and I didn't knit the twist into the pattern.
Skills Learnt: None
Knit Again?: I really like this, and it has been my go to scarf for the cold winter, so I would probably knit again in a grey colourway.
Score: 8/10, practical and simple!

NOTD: Topshop Hidden Treasure

I feel like I haven't done of these for a while! I was avoiding wearing nail polish because my nails had taken a battering, but I am getting back into it now.


I first saw this polish on Fleur De Force's blog, a post featuring petrol polish dupes and comparing them to Chanel Peridot, but coming in at just £6 (and then minus a cheeky student discount) this was the obvious choice for a bargain dupe.
The next time I was in my local Toppers I grabbed a bottle, and had a full blown chat with the staff about it being a dupe, enlightening them as to why they had had a sudden increase in sales of the shade.

This is the first Topshop nail polish I have used, though not the first piece of Topshop makeup, and while I have found the rest of the range to be somewhat hit and miss, this polish hasn't disappointed! I applied it 4 days ago and there is barely any wear to the finish, for my nails this is a miracle, it isn't unusual for my polish to chip within a day.

The formula is a nice consistency, not too thick but not too watery, meaning you get full opaque coverage in two coats, and you don't have to be really careful to get those coats even. The only thing I would change would be to reverse the duochorome, I prefer the deeper blue green as opposed to the yellow green, and the yellow green is the shade that catches the light and is therefore dominant. Obviously this isn't possible, but it is something I often wish for with duochrome polishes.

I would definitely recommend you give Topshop polishes a try if you haven't before, I will giving them more consideration myself in future.

:) xo

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Stila Good

Oh I'm so funny! Do you get it? Stila Good, Still Good?
I know, I'm terrible.

Anyway, so I have been wanting to post about these since I got them for Christmas last year, but I am always a little wary of posting things received as gifts and didn't want to just start shouting about how I had received them, so a review was the best way to talk about them.

As I am sure you all know, a few years ago Stila was a readily available brand in the UK, not as easy to get hold of as it is now (as far as I can remember) but it was available. And then they did a Sephora and went away (Yes we used to have Sephora's too, those should take a leaf out of Stila's book and come the hell back!!) Last year Stila relaunched in the UK in Boots stores, usually the slightly larger ones with a few counters, and in my local stores took the place of Urban Decay, which never seemed to be stocked so to me I was happy for the exchange.


Before Christmas I went shopping with my Mum and spotted the Stila counter and decided to do a bit of swatching, I knew I wanted Kitten after hearing so much about it being Mac All That Glitters but better, as that particular shade tends to make me look tired. Personally, I think Kitten is nothing like All That Glitters, it has none of the awful peachy tone which makes me look so unrested, and is instead a gorgeous champagne gold which I love to wear over Mac Bare Study Paint Pot to keep me looking bright and awake. I suspect after I have finished that Paint Pot I will be picking up the Kitten Smudge pot and possibly the grey one too (stay tuned for more about my love affair with grey). As you can see in the picture above, there is a bit of fall out with this product, which irritates my OCD self a bit, but when on the lid I don't find it falling all over my cheeks and making me look like a glitter ball.

The Convertible Colour in Lillium was not so much of a certain purchase. I love cream blush, it is my absolute favourite form of blush and has been for almost a year now, but I wasn't sure I would use this on the lips as it is a bit of a weird shade. I have since gathered that it is actually somewhat of a cult product, but at the time I had no idea and eventually chose this shade after swatching all the other convertible colours several times and debating for enough time to annoy my mum. I decided to go for this one because it was the most natural, and most likely to fill a gap in my cream blush collection and so far I love it.

No I haven't worn it on the lips yet, and I doubt I will as I fear it will be drying, but I absolutely love it as a quick blush which I can grab, apply and go. It doesn't dry down to a powder finish, which I am grateful for as I am finding my favourite type of cream blush is one which stays cream. Because of this it gives me a beautiful fresh sheen which I think helps me stay looking youthful and pretty without being oily, despite my combination skin. The formula is slightly sticky, in comparison to say Illamasqua cream blushers, so isn't quite so smooth to apply, but due to that it also stays on the skin well and a quick dab to blend is sufficient to keep the shade even.

Stila products are available at larger Boots stores and online and Feel Unique and HQ Hair with free delivery, and are sort of in a medium/high price range. The Convertible Colour is £16, the eyeshadow around £13 which I think is a reasonably good price for the quality of the product.

Have you ever tried Stila before?


Tuesday, 6 March 2012

On Second-hand Books


I want to talk about something which can be quite controversial for a librarian to discuss, and something which I think is really important nowadays, and that is the purchase and use of "pre-loved" books.

A few years ago I was working for a well known high street bookstore, and as such I had a nice discount to take advantage of, that discount is really the main reason for that bookcase full of books in my to be read post.
If you have a look at that picture you will notice that the majority of those titles are new, with only a couple of older, more used books in there. I pulled some of the older copies out to take the picture above to show a range of used books, but I really don't have that many. Whilst at the bookstore I became somewhat addicted to purchasing the books that I saw on the shelves and liked the look of, and because they came with a chunk off the price I didn't really worry too much.

I was used to nice shiny new books, I loved the smell and the feel of a new book, the satisfaction of seeing a book go from being absolutely pristine to having a couple of cracks on the spine after the first read, to having scuffed corners and enough lines for the spine to resemble a tube map after being extremely well loved. There was just something about a shiny new book. Since university I have been making an effort to shift this bad habit, as I have found myself taking advantage of cheap offers on paperbacks, but I still feel the excitement when I hold a brand spanking new book now, even though I am much more open to the pre-loved book.

So, I then decided that I wanted to be a librarian, and it hit me, I liked new books, not old ones, I liked to own books so that when I wanted to re-read them I could just reach onto my shelf. Now don't get me wrong, I have always and will always be an avid library user, but if I knew I would like something, or I had a strong feeling I would, I would always buy it instead of borrowing it. I often bought the first book in a series and then borrowed the rest, or borrowed a book and then bought it when I was sure it was a firm favourite.

Obviously this isn't the ideal minset for a librarian so I started to think about why I felt that way and have concluded that it is mainly due to the way the world currently treats books. They are widely available to purchase at rock bottom prices, you can often grab them with all your other shopping at the local supermarket, even my village Co-op carries the best sellers. Our society is geared toward the easy purchase of books, so where previously someone would go to the library to borrow a book because if you were going to buy it you would have to pay £8, now people only have to pay £3, or as I did the other day, buy 2 books for £3. This to me is really quite shocking, especially as it has happened in such a short amount of time, in my lifetime in fact. Books have in a way been downgraded from something which was a luxury to purchase, and a privilege to loan, to something which is so easy to get your hands on that they aren't as desirable any more. No-one has to wait for a book, so the idea of waiting for a book to come through on order at the library, or checking your local charity shop to see if someone has donated one is alien.

When you think about the items that children and teenagers currently covet the most, the majority of those items cost huge amounts of money, they have to have the latest item that can impress their friends, and they do that by flashing off their apparent riches with the most expensive trainers and games consoles. Gone are the days when a book could be something to look forward to and anticipate, to put on a christmas or birthday list and borrow in the mean time. They are the same as buying a bottle of pop and some sweets, so they appear to be less important to the youth of today.

I am not entirely sure when this happened, but it does make me sad.

Anyway, to get back onto second-hand books, after realising that I too was buying into this frivolous way of treating books I thought about how people used to get around the steep prices when they wanted to own a certain title. Obviously they used to buy second-hand. I didn't want to keep purchasing brand new books when there were plenty of titles out there pre-loved and just waiting for a new home. For new titles I will happily be put on a waiting list at the library, it isn't like I don't have plenty of other things to read, and I do still buy new books, but where possible I am trying to buy used, and am even making an effort to replace my new or nearly new paperbacks with second hand books in order to donate the nice new copies to the library. In particular I am doing this for my classics, as I can get some truly wonderful editions with beautiful covers, all of which far surpass the horrible Penguin Classics which dominated my university days.

I buy from specialist second-hand bookshops (Oxfam Bookshops are especially good) library sales (that well loved Margaret Mitchell up there is ex-library stock) and charity shops ('Quick let's get out of here' is a book I have been searching for, for well over 5 years now, as I remember it from my childhood, and it was sitting in a local charity shop just waiting for me) and even ebay, and I will continue to for the future.

One thing to note though is that I am quite particular about the copies I will buy. The hardbacks have to have a decent binding or at least be repairable, though I don't mind writing or doodling inside (in fact I have a lovely copy of Heidi which a child has previously used when playing teacher, the notes and ticks are really quite adorable!) and for paperbacks I don't buy if the book is particularly scruffy, as I want to still be able to add some age to it myself.

They might not look as spectacular to photograph for this blog, but I think that the way a book has been treated is a testament to its value, and so I hope you don't mind that I will be reviewing library books and scruffy looking second-hand items. Hey, maybe this will even change a few attitudes towards pre-loved books also.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Korres Blimey!!

Korres Lip Butters in Guava and Quince, and the
Watermelon Tinted Moisturiser swatched (left) and blended (right).

Before I received the January Carmine box I had been curious about Korres, but I had never tried any of their products. Then I spotted the discount voucher in the box and thought, why not!? I had been recommended the Watermelon Lightweight Tinted Moisturiser several months before by a friend but at the time I heard it was to be discontinued and resigned myself to never trying it myself.

After spotting the voucher I popped onto the House of Fraser site, had a little browse and lo and behold, there it was. I promptly popped the lightest shade 'Light Sand' in my cart, and added the Quince Lip Butter to bump me over the spending limit.

When I received the items I was very excited, Korres products are just impossible for me to swatch so I was a little disappointed the tinted moisturiser was a bit dark, but I know in the summer the shade will be perfectly fine (I have a little bit of MAC left and a whole tube of Laura Mercier for when I am paler) so I will have to review that at a later date when I can wear it regularly, but as an oil free formula I am sure it will be wonderful.
The real excitement was for the lip butter though, I am a lip balm junkie, and will have to do a collection video soon as I have about 25, and these lip butters are so popular in the blogging world that I was just praying they didn't disappoint. They really didn't! The Quince Lip Butter is oh so soft and has strong pigmentation much like the Sleek Pout Polishes, but with a light fruity scent which doesn't give me a headache.

After having so much success with the Quince lip butter, I knew I wanted more so when I spotted them in Waitrose last weekend I snapped up the Guava version, an untinted shade, so much more suitable for every day use, the Guava lip butter has another light fruity scent which is just delicious. The formulation is composed of both Shea Butter and Rice Wax which are supposed to provide deep hydration and so I would definitely recommend them as a slightly luxurious lip balm, especially if you are prone to particularly dry lips. I have tried other lip butters, in particular the ones from the Body Shop, but I would definitely choose these over their offerings, Korres just does the job so much better!

Korres is available from House of Fraser and the Tinted Moisturiser is priced at £19, the Lip Butters at £6 each.

Do you use any Korres products?

xo :)

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Tag: Book Lover

I spotted this tag on a couple of beauty blogs recently, and couldn't really not answer it myself could I?!

I decided to make it a bit more universal, as subscribers to my YouTube channel have mentioned they like me mentioning books too, so I decided to film it, but you can always just answer in blog format, or pop your responses in the comments. I would love to know what other people love!

1. Imagine you sit in front of a fireplace. you read and beside you is a cup with something hot in it. What would that be in your case: tea, coffee, or hot chocolate?

2. If the author gave you the chance to rewrite or change the fate of a book character, who would you choose?
Hedwig, or Henry in The Time Travellers Wife

3. Did your parents read stories to you when you were little? If yes are there any special ones you remember the most?
The Christopher Robin Story Book

4. What do you like more, the smell of old antiquarian books or the smell of new fresh ones you just bought?
New books

5. You get the opportunity to choose between two secret talents: either to be able to make things come to life through reading them, or the gift to read yourself into a book. Which would you choose?
Read myself into a book

6. Do you have a favourite children's book or a favourite fairy tale?
Anything Enid Blyton

7. Someone would talk to your friends and ask them to compare you to a book character. With who do you think they would compare you?
I actually asked, and was told Cassandra Mortmain from I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

8. Tell me the name of a writer you would like to have as a friend.
J.K. Rowling

9. You can hide in a written down world for only one night, into which world do you escape?

10. Something terrible happens: you have to flee to an unknown place and all you can take with you are three books of all the ones you own. Which three do you put into your bag?
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K.Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee


I posted my giveaway video yesterday for anyone who hasn't seen it.
I am giving away an EOS lipbalm in Strawberry Sorbet and a Katy Perry for OPI Teenage Dream Nail Polish :)

To enter: 
Leave a comment on the video telling me what your favourite thing about 2012 so far is.

This is open internationally
You must be a subscriber to my YouTube Channel
One entry per person
You must be of the age of majority in your domain or have your parents/guardians permission to provide your address if you win.
You must leave a comment on the video as indicated above.
The giveaway will close on March 15th 2012 at Midnight GMT and the winner will be chosen at random and notified via youtube message and will be announced on Twitter and my blog.

Good Luck!!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

World Book Day

Happy World Book day everyone!
I almost let the day slip by this year and then thought I should probably post about it, so I decided to do a little dedication to my favourite books of all time (so far!)

In no particular order:

Images taken from Google Images

There are many many more and I am sure I am forgetting some, but when I am asked I usually give either To Kill a Mockingbird or Nineteen Eighty-Four as my absolute favourite.

Also thought I would quickly mention World Book Night which is on the 23rd of April (Shakespeare's birth and death day) and which I am taking part in as a giver! I will be giving out 24 copies of Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett in my local area which I hope will leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy :)

What's your absolute favourite book?