Saturday, 30 November 2013

NOTD - Nail of the day - Gradient in Gold and purple using MUA and Nails Inc

This nail look has been published in a post before but it was right at the bottom and it wasn't the main feature which I think is a shame as I'm really happy with the way that it turned out. 

I made this look when I was creating a look for an MUA competition - I wanted to make a look based on the colours of tarnished gold and purple and I had an image of a nail gradient that I wanted to create with those shades. Of course I'd never done a gradient before but I wasn't going to let that stop me! 

Considering this was the result of my first ever attempt at a gradient I was quite pleased with it and I absolutely love the colour combination. I just kept looking at my nails until I changed them a few days later. 

The shades I used were 'Uptown Glamour' by Nails Inc which was the freebie with Glamour mag and one of the £1 polishes by MUA in the shade 'Deepest Purple' - I love how the warmth in the gold made the purple a more plum colour which is exactly what I was hoping would happen and is why I didn't go for a plummier shade in the first place. 

Friday, 29 November 2013

Saving money and sharing my childhood with my son this Christmas - My old books

I was absolutely thrilled when my Mum brought some of my old toys and books from the loft, recently. We lost a lot of them when we had them stored at one of our older houses as it turned out the place they were stored was getting damp - But, thankfully, there was still a good deal that were saved! 
I was taught to keep my things really nice when I was younger and, being the well behaved child that I was, I did. As such a lot of the books are in perfect condition which I'm so happy about - He's going to get so much use out of them. 

The same goes for the toys, there's things we've got that had small parts but they're all still there - He's going to have some great new toys and have no idea that they aren't brand new other than some not too good packaging. Also, some of them are going to be passed on to my sister for my nephew; I am just So pleased these things are going to get a second life with new children!

I've not taken pictures of the toys yet but I've got some of the books - He's not getting all of them for Christmas he's had some already, some will be Christmas, some Birthday and some just whenever I feel like adding some more to his collection. Just think how much money I'm saving by having these for him - I am so glad that my mum managed to save as much of them as she did - I loved books so it's fantastic to see them again (shame that lots were lost, though) and to know that my boy can get joy out of them now too.

Definitely worth asking your parents if there's anything left of yours in their attic, you never know what treasure troves might await! 

Any childhood memories coming back to you? 

Loved these so much

There's also about ten Topsy and Tim books which I forgot to photo - They're amongst what he's getting for Christmas as he has enjoyed watching the new show of that a couple of times on Cbeebies! 

Thursday, 28 November 2013

When I try to get a Christmas photo of Ethan...

I've realised, recently, that I don't take anywhere near as many photos of Ethan as I used to, which is really sad, especially as I have a nice camera now. But, when I came to try and take a Christmas photo, with him, it reminded me why it doesn't happen often. Thought I'd show you some photos of what happened... 

Well... I'm glad he finds himself so funny... The crazy wide eyed faces were his way of being utterly hilarious... which is evident in all of the following shots where he's laughing, hysterically at himself.

Needless to say, as much as I'll treasure these shots, they're not quite what I was looking for to put in my grand parents' Christmas cards!

AND don't forget my giveaway for the gorgeous 'Nude 'tude' palette by The Balm - HERE

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

A 30% off and free p+p ELF haul

 This was quite a while ago, now, but everything's been a bit crazy recently so this post has been put off and off for various reasons but I still wanted to let you know which bits I've picked up and you may see in future posts (Let me know if you're particularly interested in any of them as I can look at them sooner)

I bought one of their fan brushes from their super cheap range - When I get fallout I get really impatient and rub it off and often end up rubbing it in to my face so I thought this might be worth a try to prevent it. This was £1.50 before the 30% off.

Again, from the super cheap brush range, I got this lip brush because I only have one lip brush and I have a number of products that I use brushes with so I thought that a second one would be a really good idea. This, too, was £1.50 before the discount.

The powder brush from the studio range (I think?) was, finally, in stock when I was making my order. This is one of those brushes that bloggers and vloggers are always mentioning but is always out of stock. I don't Really need a powder brush but I was intrigued so I picked it up whilst the offer was on. This was £3.75 without the discount.

I've never tried anything from their mineral range so I thought I'd go for their Mineral foundation which I got in the shade 'fair' - Before the discount was applied this was £5 (Please don't ask me about this any time soon as I seem to have lost it... though as it's the most expensive thing from my order I'll hopefully find it again soon!)

Sticking with the idea of trying out their mineral range I picked up one of their Mineral lip tints in the shade 'Berry'. Before discount this was £3.50.

It fits nicely with my current love of sheer lip products.

This was sort of a repurchase but also not. I've ordered the Daily brush cleaner before but, unfortunately, the bottle leaked so I wasn't able to use it much (the team were really good in sorting that out for me). The use that I did get out of it, though, was good and so I wanted to pick one up so that I can get some proper use out of it. These cost £3.75 before the 30% discount I got.

I've liked the look of the Studio blushes for a while so I bit the bullet and ordered one this time. After looking at swatches online I opted for the palest shade as they seem So pigmented that this was the safest option - The shade is called 'Headliner' - These blushes are £3.75.

You can see the flush that the blush gives, here, and that was with the tiniest drop of the product. 

I had a couple of pounds left to get to the total needed to get free p+p so I decided to pick up one of the Brightening eye colour quads. This one is in the shade Luxe - I've bought one of these before and for the very very reasonable price of £1.50, I liked it so I decided to pick up one with some nice, warmer shades.

Not the most crazy pigmentation but not half bad for something so inexpensive and some lovely, warm autumnal shades.

Lastly I picked up one of the Tone correcting concealers - My concealer obsession isn't over so I decided to try this one out. It cost £1.50 before discount and it's in the shade Ivory. It's a very teeny tube but, so far, the product seems quite nice (though the fruity smell is a little weird, though not unpleasant)

So, that's what I picked up. This came in at around £18 which is a pretty good bargain for what I got, and for free p+p too. I really like ELF products and look forward to trying these out. I'm sure you'll see some of them in future posts.

AND don't forget to enter my giveaway for The Balm's 'Nude 'tude' palette HERE

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Introducing my Advent Calendar blog swap with Fiona at 'The Beauty Fiend'

You may have seen, back a few months ago, that I did a blog swap with Fiona from 'The Beauty Fiend' after we were paired up by Kat at 'Tales of a Pale Face'. We had planned on thinking about another swap around Christmas but when Kat did a post about making your own beauty advent calendar from samples and things you don't use I decided to broach the idea to Fiona that we make each other an advent calendar as a swap idea. 

Soo, what we've done is we've collected up samples/duplicates/things we've not used and we've also had a budget of £25 which allows us to buy extras to fill the gap as it's not that easy to find 24 things! Once we got everything together we've wrapped them up and packaged them and we're going to send them off to each other to unwrap, one a day, in the lead up to Christmas - A home-made beauty advent calendar! But, also, a surprise as it's been done by someone else! 

I've had the best time deciding what to get for Fiona and I can't wait to find out what she thinks of the things I've got for her. I also had a great time deciding what order she should get things in. It was posted off yesterday, which is good as it's almost December! But here it is all wrapped up before I sealed up the box and packed it up!

Don't worry, if you see this, Fiona, this shouldn't give anything away - Only that it's all rather tightly packed in there! 

I've let Kat know that we're doing this as she may be thinking of organising a blog swap around the idea next xmas - The only thing that might be tricky is the weight of packages, I get the feeling the one I'm sending to Fiona is going to be a bit pricey - But if you're careful about the things you buy you can try to make things lighter. To be honest, I don't care how much it costs to send, I'm just crazily excited for Fiona to start opening it and for me to start opening mine too! 

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Sweater Weather Tag

I've always been a fan of the cooler months, and I've always loved snuggling up in warm clothes when it's chilly outside. As such, the 'Sweater Weather' tag seemed quite appropriate to me - No one's tagged me but I'm just going to do it because I want to (I'm not going to tag anyone, just do it if you want to, I love too many blogs to just pick a few!)

So here goes:

1. Favourite candle scent:

I've always liked candles but mostly for the way they look rather than the way they smell - It's bloggers and vloggers that have made me lust after gorgeous smelling candles. This year I have two, my massive 'Winter berry; one from TK Maxx and an amazing one called 'Fig Noir and Blackcurrant' from boots: 

2. Coffee, tea or hot chocolate?

Hot drinks are important to me all year round, not just when it's cold. I love love love tea, I enjoy coffee from time to time and I love a proper hot chocolate when the mood arises. But tea is my most consumed out of all of them, I drink it black, with sugar.

3. What's the best Autumn memory that you have? 

As I said above, I just enjoy Autumn and winter so I have lots of nice memories but one that I remember very well is Ethan, when walking him home from the park, refusing to walk any more and just deciding to sit in the Autumn leaves and thrash around like a loony.

(Going through all my pictures of him to find this one makes me realise I don't take enough pictures of him anymore, this must change) (Even if the reason is because he's a pain to photograph)

4. Which make-up trend to you prefer: Dark lips? or Winged liner? 

I love winged liner but I'm not very good at it and I love dark lips but I've just not been going for the bold look recently. This year, in the cooler months, I've been loving darker purple/berry shades but in balmier, glossier, more sheer formats such as:

Beauty UK 'Posh pout' in 'Sugar Plum Fairy' | Bourjois 'Color Boost' in 'Plum Russian' | Revlon 'Super Lustrous gloss' in 'Berry Alure'

5. Best Fragrance for Autumn?

I'm not sure what's on trend because, when it comes to scents, I just like what I like but this autumn I've been loving these two: 

Katy Perry's 'Killer Queen' | The Body Shop's Vanilla body mist

6. Favourite Thanksgiving food. 

We don't have thanksgiving over in the UK so not one I can answer - I'm loving food far too much at the moment, though, so probably for the best, haha

7. What is Autumn weather like where you live?

Well, as said above, I live in the UK so it tends to be quite dreary. But there are days when it's crisp and fresh and those are the days that I love.

8. Most worn sweater? 

This one:

My cream cable knit from Primark - Cost £12 and it's so warm and comfy, I wear it a Lot.

9. Must have nail polish this autumn? 

Models Own 'Amethyst' Velvet Goth polish | Barry M's 'Countess' from the Royal glitters collection

10. Football games or jumping in leaf piles?

I don't tend to do much of either but Ethan loves jumping in leaf piles (see above) so I'd definitely pick that.

11. Skinny Jeans or Leggings?

I'm quite new to both of them, a couple of years ago it was all baggy jeans and combats for me so both are a bit of a revelation. That's why I can't pick one over the other - The added strength of skinny jeans is nice but leggings are soo comfy and knitted ones soo warm!

12. Combat boots or Uggs?

I have some cheap primark boots that I love and some fake Ugg style boots from primark, too, though they're mainly used as slippers. I'm mostly still loving my trainers but boots are good for outfits where the trainers don't work.

13. Is pumpkin spice worth the hype?

I'm going to assume this is something from the US, sorry, I don't know.

14. Favourite Autumn tv show? 

The great british bake off - That was the only thing I watched during the Autumn I think. Now, during the winter, it's Masterchef.

15. What songs really get you in the Autumn spirit?

I don't have anything specific to Autumn but I've just been loving listening to all sorts from my i-pod when dropping off and picking up Ethan from nursery.

When it's icy/snowy and wintery, though, Nightwish always seem that little bit magical, always liked listening to them in that sort of weather. 


A lot of those were quite autumn orientated but I think a lot of them easily have similar answers to if you were talking about Winter so that works for me. Love to see if any of you do this tag, let me know if you do, I'd love to see your answers.

And don't forget to enter my giveaway for The Balms' gorgeous 'Nude tude' palette HERE

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Competition Entry to Mumsnet competition - 'We were going out to dinner'

Well another lovely blogger, who I'm quite fond of, over at Tiaras & Prozac entered this competition (link to it for more info HERE) a short while ago and when I saw the premise, I liked it. I wanted to give it a go but as my week got more and more stressful and time became less and less I didn't think I was going to get anything done. 

I've sat down, this evening, with no ideas in my head and written a good half of at least ten different pieces but each of them weren't right in some way or another. In all honesty, is this one right? Who knows, but I like it a lot better than the others! So, here's my entry:


We were going out to dinner but it felt like such a poor excuse for a first date, that’s what everyone does. I spent the whole day, yesterday, trying to think up better things we could do. We could have gone to the cinema? But I stopped that thought dead in its tracks, everyone knows that the cinema is the way to ensure no second date, you don’t even get a chance to talk so how on earth are you going to make a good impression? And believe me, I wanted to make an impression on this girl.

We could have gone to a pub but the chances are it would have been too loud or too quiet, too expensive or too cheap... or there would have been a pub quiz on which is great if you’re out with friends, not if you don’t want a girl to discover you know Nothing about geography before she has learned how much you Do know about literature, music, history and plenty of other things that actually sunk in over the years. (Honestly, no idea what it is with me and Geography!)
I dug deep and tried to think romantic – Maybe a walk in the park. In the movies they’d walk around a huge park filled with old trees and lush vegetation under a perfect starlit sky and then they’d sit on a bench all night talking about their hopes and dreams and learning about each other’s past. But we live in England, we’d have walked around a tiny park, in the rain whilst a drunk guy stumbled around in the bushes and intimidated us until we left.

Honestly. I was close to giving in and just taking her out for dinner, hoping that the cliché would work and that we’d bond over a starter and fall in love over dessert but then I was struck with a moment of genius – So, here we are, if you’re reading this, welcome to our date!

We both love books, you see, so I'm taking her to a book shop and we’re going to leave you, the unsuspecting reader, these notes. I'm going to make her pick her three favourite books and I’ll pick mine so, if you’re reading, this then you’re going to enjoy the book you've found it in or we think so, anyway. And if you've found this then, at least, she didn't hate my idea (unless you fished this out of a bin) – You might be wondering how our date went? Well, so am I, but that’s a whole other story that’s not been written just yet. 

Friday, 22 November 2013

My latest competition win - A 6 month subscription to Yes Nurse's Brand new gift service!

I had a really exciting competition win recently. In all honesty I hadn't actually realised I was entering a competition until I got a tweet to tell me that I'd won!

 I had voted for Yes Nurse in an award that they were up for and, also, tweeted to let others know that they could do the same - but I did that because I like their company and their product; I had no idea that there was a competition going on to do those very same things!

The post has become a bit of a review, which wasn't what I intended - I just really do like this hand cream and am so pleased to have won 6, whole, months worth!

I'm a big fan of nice surprises, though, so I was very very excited to find out I'd won and that I'd won a gift box with some of their hand cream in - That leads on to the second surprise of the whole thing; when my box arrived I discovered that it wasn't just a gift box, it was a 6 month subscription to their brand new gift box subscription service, took me by surprise, yet again. 

The third, and final, surprise was that I was the first person to ever open one of these boxes - Maybe not the biggest thing ever (to some people) but it felt a little bit special to discover that.

I think that there was a nice surprise for the team at Yes Nurse, too, when they discovered that I was a blogger and that I was looking to post about the box - sometimes things just work out in the most wonderful of ways.

The team over at Yes Nurse really are so nice, the e-mails that they have sent me have been just so nice and so friendly - They're So nice that when they found out I was a blogger they gave me a 10% off code for you lovely people if you get one of their gift subscriptions - The code is PETITMOI - Maybe you'd like a sub yourself or maybe it'd be a great present for someone who needs some extra TLC for their hands.

As you can see the packaging is just lovely, on these boxes  - I'm going to be keeping the box itself for storage of some sort! 

I'd recommend looking on the website, especially the Our Story section, to find out a little more about the brand and the people behind it but what I can tell you is that the hand cream is good, I Love it. It's doing wonders for my dry, eczema ridden hands - I do have other good hand creams, and I still love them, but this stuff is Very very good. It sinks in amazingly quickly and it has a soft, natural sort of smell to it.

The gift option that I was lucky enough to win was their 6 month option, as I said above, which means that I get sent my initial box along with a VIP Card - On that card is a number which I, then, enter into their site, with my details, to set up the following four deliveries.

Ok, so not everyone is going to be thrilled about the idea of a hand cream only subscription box but I'd really recommend trying this stuff out as it's pretty amazing - And if you do like it, the subscription sets are a very good way to save money and also make sure you don't run out.

A little added extra that came in my initial box was this little envelope with an emergency tea bag and a little block of chocolate - This little touch really made my smile; which is something I feel like the company enjoy doing. 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

My MUA only look (almost) for the MUA competition - Full face and nails

MUA have reached 100,000 followers and, so, are running a competition for one, lucky, fan to win the chance to go to MUA Towers in London and, also, to pick a shade of lipstick to be added to the range - A rather exciting prize, I'm sure you'll agree.

The way to enter is to do a look using MUA products - As simple (or as complicated) as that.
I'm not great at eye shadow - I have very little lid space so have only, recently, been really experimenting with what does and doesn't work. But I did have quite a fixed idea of what I wanted to put together for this look. 

There's a lot of typing so, if you don't want to read the 'how I did it' bits just scroll down for the photos and there's the nail look at the very end too.

As you can see, these are All MUA other than the blush/bronzer that I use for contouring. 

For nails I had to use a Nails Inc polish as well as the MUA one as I just didn't have an MUA or Fashionista polish in a shade at all like that.

Two things, I apologise about the light - It made everything look a little less bright but it was the Only chance I've had to photograph. Secondly sorry about the Transformers in the background - Ethan's current obsession.

I used the MUA matte primer followed by the Undress your skin foundation in the shade 'light' to create a medium coverage base - To add extra coverage under the eyes and in certain places of discolouration I used the Conceal and cover concealer - You might not realise quite how good this base is but if you'd seen my skin before I added it then you'd know!

For the brows I used my new Power Brow in 'Mid Brown' from the luxe range and I set it with the clear mascara from the £1 range as well as using the highlighter from the brow pencil to shape under the brow and add highlight to the centre of the nose and the cupids bow. 

I'll explain what I used for the eyes when I show a close up so, for the rest of the face I used the cream blush in 'Blossom' just lightly stippled onto the cheeks/cheekbone area - I didn't want to make it too dark, just wanted to add the slight definition and soft colour. I contoured with my Nyx blush in 'Taupe' and I highlighted with the bottom right shade in MUA's 'Shimmer kisses' bronzer as it added a golden glow.

On the lips, I didn't want to go too bold as I wanted it natural, with extra emphasis on the eyes, I used my finger to pat some of the pigment from the Power Pout in 'Crazy in Love' all over the lip, very very lightly. This gave them the gentle colour of a slightly pinker than natural lip. 

For the base of the eye look I used the MUA eye primer - Once that had settled a little I used the shade 'Tranquil' from the Undress me too palette all over the lid; I pushed it into the lid quite densely to give an opaque colour and a nice sheen. Once I'd done that I then added some of the shade 'Icon' from the 'Smokin palette' into the outer corner and then pulled some of it through the crease. What followed was plenty of blending!

As you can see, with my eyes open you can't see much of my lid but with this look you can see the fade of the colours of shadow.

I used the black liner pencil from the 'Smokin' palette' to tight line the top lash line, I didn't want to do full on liner, or even the water line, I just wanted to make the base of the lashes look fuller. For mascara I used the Mega Volume mascara - I know they might not look overly voluminous but that's because I, then, brushed through them with a clean spoolie - I didn't want a really thick lash look, I just wanted a bit of length and colour; I wanted the wispy look to work along side the shadow.

After everything was finished I set it all with the MUA Fixing spray.

And here are the nails I did to go with the look. As you might be able to tell I tried to carry on the tarnished gold with purple/plum fade. The plum on the eyes didn't really come out quite as purple as I'd hoped, but I think a lot of that is to do with my camera and certain shades of blue not being picked up (it looked a little more purple in real life)

I made this look by using a sort of gradient effect with a make-up sponge - I've never, ever done a gradient effect or done anything with a sponge on my nails, before, so I'm really quite pleased with the way it came out! I used the tarnished gold shade of Nails Inc polish that you see above and for the purple parts I used 'Deepest Purple' by MUA.