Monday, 30 April 2012

Desert Island Products - Hair

Okay, so I originally wrote this post at the weekend to schedule post, but instead blogger lost all the content and I can't remember what I wrote - it probably won't be half as good now either!! It's so annoying when that happens!!

Anyway, I decided to do a series of posts about my 'Desert Island Products' Okay that's a bit extreme but these are seriously products I wonder how I ever managed without before.

First up is Haircare!

Considering how short my hair is, I do use a lot of products. I have put my hair through a lot in the last two years, going from black to red to blonde. I've only been blonde a couple of months so my hair is still recovering, although I'm lucky that my hair is in generally good condition and seems to be able to put up with this level of abuse (not to mention the blow drying and straightening!!)


Cleaning
The shampoo I use is Tigi Bed Head Urban Antidotes Resurrection. This is a 'Level 3' strength shampoo which is designed for really weak and brittle hair (basically my abused mop!) It smells gorgeous and does exactly what it claims. It makes it much softer and manageable and less like straw. The two big pump bottles have lasted ages, and I paid about £20-£25 for the pair from my local salon in a twin pack. They have lasted well over a month, with over half the bottle still left, so squirt for squirt, work out good value as you don't need to use a lot.




This is a very recent discovery of mine, but if you have bleached blonde hair you need this in your bathroom! Fudge Clean Blonde Violet Shampoo is basically that - a purple shampoo. It takes away yellow and brassy tones from blonde and highlighted hair giving them a more ashy tone. I didn't even realise my hair was yellow until I used this. I could see the difference even when my hair was wet. I've recently had my roots done and had an ash toner on, so I can't fully show you the effects yet, but just for my lovely readers, I'll let my hair go slightly yellowy just so I can demonstrate how amazing this product is! This was about £15, again from my local salon. I'm not sure how long it lasts yet. The one word of caution I would have, is that it does dye your hands slightly if you use too much, and it doesn't lather very well, so its worth using a normal de-greasing shampoo first. It can also give your hair a slight purpley tinge if you over use it, so I'd recommend using every other day.

Moisture Boost


The more observant amongst you will be questioning the inclusion of the Elemis Oil here, but stick with me on this.  I first discovered Elemis Frangipani Monoi Body Oil after having a full body massage at a spa day for my birthday. Part of the massage included a head massage, which made my hair all oily - that is until I washed it! My hair was the softest it had been in a long time, and the oil smells absolutely gorgeous! Like marzipan! The oil solidifies so needs heating up. Put this on your hair for 15 minutes and then wash out and you'll will be impressed with the difference in your hair condition. This isn't a daily use product, and is more of a monthly treat. The oil can also be used on your skin, giving the same effect. It retails for around £25, which again is pricey, but I've had this bottle almost a year now, and you can see how much is still left.

If you haven't heard of Aussie haircare products by now you have clearly been living under a rock!! As well as smelling like bubblegum, the products are great for dry and damaged hair. Aussie Miracle Hair Insurance Leave in Conditioner is always on my "to pack" list when I go on holiday, along with the shampoo and conditioner, as its able to combat the hair sun sea and pool water regime your hair goes under on a daily basis whilst on holiday. Its recently become a more regular use product as part of my bid to look after my recently bleached hair. It retails for around £4.

Styling


I have quite fine hair and need all the help I can get with volumising. I use Tigi Bedhead Superstar Queen for a Day Thickening Spray (RRP £10)  on my roots whilst my hair is damp, which gives a root boots and added volume to my otherwise limp locks. Like most Bed Head products it has a nice smell - this one reminds me of candy floss.

I'm not particularly loyal to any hairspray brand, but I do like the Wella Silverkrin hairspray as its reasonably priced, and is widely available in most supermarkets, and the real selling point is that, unlike most hairsprays, it doesn't smell like fly spray. It doesn't have a distinctive smell, just one that isn't offensive and doesn't get up your nose like most, and gives the hold I need.


I honestly do not know what I did with my hair before I discovered Osis Dust It Mattifying Powder, no honestly I really don't! I have been championing this stuff amongst friends colleagues acquaintances and complete strangers for over a year now, since my hairdresser introduced me to it, and I haven't looked back. t has a similar effect to dry shampoo in that it soaks up the oil, but it gives hair a matt effect and loads and loads of volume!! Just a little dust at the roots is all it needs, and if our hair goes flat slightly in the day, just rub your fingers at the root again, and it almost re-ignites the powder. This little genius costs around £10, but I wouldn't go out on a big night without this in my hair!!

Vo5 Extreme Texturising Gum is a product I've used for many years, ever since my hair has been short. I use it to add definition in my hair, particularly in my fringe, and the short sides. My boyfriend also uses it, basically in the same way you would use gel. It costs about £3 per tin and for the amount I use, it lasts months. Its readily available - literally everywhere - and we have tins of the stuff in our house.



I have recently discovered two alternatives to Osis. The Schwarzkopf Got2b Mattifying Powder is by the same company as Osis, but doesn't have the lifting ability of the Osis.It is much cheaper, I picked this up in Home Bargains for about £3 in the men's haircare section, and is good for day to day use, as I don't want 'big' hair at work the way in which I do for a night out.

The Matrix Mega Dust is a salon brand, and although has a similar effect to the Osis, the bottle design is poor. Unlike the Osis, which has loads of little holes in the top, the Matrix only has one, which means sometimes you have to squeeze it to get the powder out, which results in it going everywhere. A general word of caution with the dusts is that it can have the effect that you have dandruff if you don't rub it into your hair or if you get it on your clothes.

So that's it, the first in my 'Desert Island' posts. I will also be featuring body and bath products as well as make up.

What do you think of this post? Are you interested in seeing the others in the series? What are your views on the products I have discussed.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Charity Shop Haul

I love a bargain as much as the next person and Charity shops are great for a bargain and a way of getting something often unique.
I don't profess to be an expert, but I will put some tips throughout this post but for further tips check out A Thrifty Mrs's blog - and as she says, if she can't save you money you can drink her gin!!

So on with the haul!! I've put prices where I can remember them - these aren't all from the same charity shop or from the same shopping trip.

This little skirt is an absolute gem!! On the rack it looked really outdated but when I pulled it out I realised it was a circle skirt - not a full circle, but a skater type skirt. Its quite thin but of a really soft fabric and really flowy. Its navy blue with white stars all over it. It has a zip at the back but the waist is also elasticated. This skirt was £1! It looks great with a tan skinny belt and thick tights - I'll be focusing this in an outfit post.

With charity shopping you need to be ore imaginative. Unlike a normal shop, items won't be with other matching things that make up part of the 'story' - this is a theme the main shops use.


The other bonus of charity shops is you can come across brands never heard of. This is by a brand called 'Mine.' I could tell by the label it was a fairly pricey brand but hadn't heard of it. I have since found other items in TX Maxx by the same label which even in there retail at £15! This linen top cost £4. It needs some repairing to one of the ruffles on the strap but its just a small stitch job. I'm saving this for my holidays to wear with white linen trousers.


These two tops were £1 each. The purple one is actually Primark and I normally begrudge buying Primark from a charity shop but I very nearly bought this in the last fortnight for £10 so for a current season item I made an exception. I'm still not 100% sure on the other one yet, but for £1 its not the end of the world.

This top is a next top. I saw loads of people wearing these last summer. I'm not sure of the oringinal RRP but I paid £3 for this one which I'm sure is much cheaper!

This floral top is by the label Purple, which is a concession brand usually found in New Look or Dorothy Perkins. I featured this top in this post. This was around £3


Both of these are from Topshop. The belt I added on to give it some shape for the picture. This needs a slight repair which I didn't realise at the time as the little cotton loop for a button at the back is missing. This was £3. The one below was £2



This is a top by French Connection, and was around £5. It comes with its own fabric belt.


This statement necklace was £1.50. It needs to be worn with a low wide necked top as it tends to over power the outfit and irritatingly turns around.


Both these dresses were £1. The sleeveless one is Roxy and the other is La Redoute. The Roxy one was labelled Large - ok, little big on the bust, and the other a 12 - slightly big but ok when gathered up with a belt as shown. I think I'm going to make some sort of strap to hold the Roxy one up slightly.


The more expensive items came from the 'high street' known charity shops and the cheaper ones from more local unknown charity's.

What do you think of my haul? Do you like charity shopping? Would you like more tips and style ups of pieces like this? Let me know.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

OOTD

Quick outfit of the day post from the other day


Sorry for the poor photo quality - not sure why that is! I'm working on my photography skills as I realise this helps with blogging.

I'm wearing a floral vest top from American Eagle that I bought online. American Eagle is quite an unknown brand in the UK as they haven't really got over here yet. They are much cheaper than Abercrombie and Hollister and I discovered AE when I went to New York a couple of years ago. I buy from them now once a year (usually around Christmas) and even with the exchange rate, packaging and tax, their clothes are still really cheap and well made. Their winter cardigans are great!

The bright blue jeans are from Bershka. They were about £20 - I bought them in Spain, but you can pick jeans up like this EVERYWHERE at present! These fit well though.

The black cardigan is good old Primark and the scarf from Tesco

I love my Scrabble necklace from Rock 'N' Rose jewellery a couple of years ago (I actually bought it the same time I went to New York!) They have some lovely cute reasonable jewellery - this was about £5.


Who doesn't love polka dots!!! These were a pair a dug out of my jewellery box, which I believe were from Claire's Accessories.


And finally shoes from - you guess it - good Old Primark yet again!!

Hope you enjoyed that quick posts and seeing some of the more rarer things in my wardrobe.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

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Homemade Bath Bombs Gift Idea

It was my Mum's birthday this week, and continuing with the theme I seem to have created so far everyone having something homemade, I decided to do the same. My Mum hasn't got a particularly sweet tooth so I decided not to bake something, and instead made some home made bath bombs for her.

There's various recipes on the internet, but a lot use citric acid which can be hard to find sometimes. Its worth remembering that you can convert any recipe using citric acid, by using half the amount of cream tartar. (E.g if the recipe calls for 2 tbsp of citric acid use only 1 tbsp of cream of tartar)

Here's the recipe:-
  • 4 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp of cream of tartar
  • 1 tbsp oil (I used olive, you could use almond coconut etc, but I had olive oil in my cupboard)
  • 1 -2 drops food colouring
  • 10 drops of essential oils (I used orange. Lavender is really good for this, but personally I don't like it)
  • Liquid Witch Hazel in a spray bottle
  • Moulds - you can buy specialist moulds, I used buncases and a silicon ice cube tray.
  • You can also add dried flowers too.

You can pick up the food colouring, bicarb and cream of tartar in the baking section of most large supermarkets, as with the olive oil (yes this is actual olive oil you cook with!) I picked up the essential oils in Holland and Barrett and the witch hazel from a local pharmacy, but I'm sure you'll be able to pick it up in Boots. The Spray bottle was one of those that come with the little travel kits for decanting things into.

This made one heart shaped bomb and one cupcake.

Its really important you keep everything dry!!

1: Mix the bicarb and the cream of tartar in a bowl together
2: Add the food colouring - if you look in the picture below at the ones that should be red, I added the oil first and it started to clump together so the food colouring didn't mix in properly. I learnt to put the food colouring in first when I did the blue ones - be careful this doesn't set the fizzing off though.
3: Stir in the oils, and the flowers if using.
4: Spray on your witch hazel and stir quickly until the mixture goes crumbly
5: Pack the mixture into the moulds, nice and tight and leave in an airing cupboard or somewhere dry overnight
They're now ready to use!

I forgot to take photos as I was making them, but here they are in the 'moulds'


The silicone ice cube trays make it easy to get the bombs out.


I wrapped them in the tissue paper I had left over from my from my friend's birthday gift, and used some ribbon I'd save off a bath girft set I received for Christmas.

 Pretty!


Lush use vintage scarfs as gift wrap for their products, which means the recipient gets two gifts in onr, so I thought this would be a nice way to package my bath bombs too! I picked up this scarf in the charity shop for 50p, and although its too small to wear it will look cute tied on a handbag.


There are a number of video's on Youtube that can demonstrate how to tie this better than I can, but it's not difficult. Using a scarf in this way is called a "knot wrap".

It should have been tied into a big bow, but the scarf was too small to do this. 


 I also got her a necklace. This was was from Tesco and was about £6, which I don't think is expensive when it's a gift, but by taking the label off, and putting it in a box with some tissue paper, it makes it look much more expensive. I also got a her a CD, but I'm sure you're not really interested in my Mum's taste in music!

Well, there you go, a homemade gift, and a way to amke something fairly cheap look much more expensive.

What do you think about homemade gifts? Do you think its just cheap, or more thoughtful?

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Boots Beauty & Accessories Haul

Don't worry, I haven't gone haul post mad, I've been meaning to put these on for a while now, but I may do some more as and when I go shopping again.
Apologies for the pictures, for some reason blogger insists they should be this way around, despite me turning them already.

So I went to Boots to pick up some new false nails. I mentioned the nailene gel nail kit in a previous post, and needed some more, as I had used all the sizes that fitted my nail and I'd had a breakage.
The boots I went to didn't have the nailene kit, but had a broadway one instead.
I also looked at the acrylic nails set and couldn't make up my mind so bought both.
The acrylics one looks quite complex, so I haven't done that yet, but the gel one is just a straightforward as the other, and I think in terms of sticking power slightly better. The problem with both of them is there isn't enough gel in them, so you couldn't go and buy some other falsies and use them stuff again as you would run out and they don't seem to sell it separately. I've got loads of activator though!


Broadway Gel Nail Kit - £13.49
Kiss Salon Acrylic Nails - £20.00

I went a bit mad in the polish section, when I realised all beauty products were on 3 for 2. I needed some white polish for attempting polka dots and the yellow seen on my leopard print nails wasn't very good so wanted some that looked thicker. As I've said (alot) I love coral and peach so got two shades of that, plus a pale strawberry colour that can be used as a base coat. They were a mixture of the Collection Brand (which used to be Collection 2000) and Rimmel. I've used the peachy Rimmel one at its gorgeous - goes on easy and dries quick and evenly.

The  Barry M Baby blue polish was a bit of a mistake. I'd seen it and liked the colour, but I thought I'd already got enough items, until I got to the till and the lady told me to get something else. I rushed and grabbed this but it wasn't until I got home I discovered it was a crackle polish. Not the end of the world but not what I had planned for. I think it will look nice on the white.


Boots isn't exactly where I would go for accessories, but I saw a stand as I walked in the door, and spotted the little coral studs. I've been looking for some as I wear so much coral at present, and they were half price, £1.50, down from £3.00. Then I just went craaaaaaazy and got the headband (£3.75 half price )and the bangle (£1.75 half price) too. I very nearly got the ring but stopped myself in time, as I only every wear two rings (my engagement ring and my grandmother's engagement ring) and don' like my hands looking over cluttered - although if you think I'm missing a trick here let me know!



Instead I spotted these vintage-inspired studs. Sorry the picture is blurry, I didn't notice until just now. I will update with a new one. Again these were half price (£2)


Whilst I was in Boots, I picked up some essential items, like some new files, a new buffer (already out the package because I've used it oops), nail brush, nail polish remover to fetch false nails off (I already have some acetone free remover) and Company magazine. I love Company's new look at the moment, and this one comes with an eyeliner mascara duo.

So that was when I slightly lost my mind in Boots and went a bit mad, but I think I came away with some good things there.
What do you think?



Primark Haul April 2012


I've seen people do haul's on youtube. I'm not a youtuber, but I thought I would share some of the things I've bought from Primark recently.

I didn't actually buy all these items in one trip, and they have come from 3 different Primarks near me. (I'm lucky to live in the East Midlands and really accessible to lots of places)

So on with the haul!


I picked up these two ruffley vests. One because I'm becoming slightly obsessed with anything peachy or coraly. Every since dying my hair blonde from red it has opened up a whole new world of pinkness to me!
Anyway I also bough a cream one. The peachy one looks nice under my H&M denim shirt too. These were both £3 and come in other colours too.


This batwing cardy was an a bargain! It looks black, and I thought it was too in the shop. It wasn't until I got home and put it next to a black vest (and checked the label!) I realised it as chocolate, which is probably a good things as I have far too many black cardy's anyway. This was £5 in the sale down from £10.


As well as pinks, I'm slightly obsessed with lace, I've gone rather girly all of a sudden! These were both £10. 




Spotty sleeveless sheer blouse £8


Another bargain jumper! I bought this jumper in beige with blue stripes for £10 when it was full price. It had £5 scribbles on the tag. It was in a 12, but I like it to be baggy. I got to the till and it was £2!!!! Bargain! I don't remember seeing this colour when I bought the blue otherwise I probably would have bought it then. And it actually isn't that baggy either.


This blazer was in the sale, £5 down from £10. It was on a size 10 hanger and it wasn't until I was in the queue I realised it was a size 8, but I figured, it was Ok if I couldn't button it up, and the little brooch was cute too. Anyway when I got it home it fits perfect! The chocolate cardigan further up was a size 10, so it just demonstrates Primark's inconsistency in sizing! Unlike me, always try on!!


Lacy insert t-shirt £10.


I also bought two pairs of flip flops for £6. I saw the blue and white striped bow flip flops on Zoella's Youtube Primark Haul and was determined to go find them afterwards. I ended up buying the floraly vintagey looking ones too.


I also randomly picked up these two scarf headbands for £3. I have short hair so I like hair accessories, as I can't do much else with it (I also look about 12 if I grow it, it suits me this way, it's ok I'm fine with it.........no really I am!)


 I have a slight confession to make in that I didn't end up paying for the cream floral one, as the man at the till didn't scan it. This wasn't intentionally thievery! I didn't realise until I got home, and to go back would hardly have been worth it for what it cost.

I also bought four basic vest tops, with the adjustable straps for £2 each, in black white cream and rose pink, but these are currently in the wash so can't show them to you. I must go back and get a navy one too. These little tops are great to wear under other things as they are really clingy and suck everything in!

Have you got any bargains from Primark lately? Do you love or loath haul posts?

Monday, 16 April 2012

Sunday Sweetness


Here's a Sunday Sweetness post with a twist - this isn't what I baked, but hopefully what a friend is going to bake!

This is going to be a birthday present (luckily she doesn't read my blog.....yet!) from me and another friend. We all went to New York a couple of years ago, and became slightly obsessed with M&M's, so when I saw this tutorial on Bakerella's website, I pinned it (good old pinterest!) as I knew it would make a great present for one of them.



The friend its going to, has recently moved out and into her first home. She has a gorgeous kitchen, and this blue mixing bowl will look perfect in it. However, she isn't well known for her cooking skills, so this is both slight mickey take/slight serious present!
We also got her one of those cute vintage signs for her kitchen about friendship - as she has always bought them us for so long, it's her turn now!

The jar is a Kilner jar, so she can save it and put things like pasta in it at a later stage.

I made the label myself, and the baking instructions are on the back. Bakerella's site has the recipe in US cup measurements, so I had to convert it first. I'll upload the converted version later this week.

So what do you think? Would you think this is a good present?

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Tea for One!

Just a quick little blog to share a charity shop purchase I made recently.

I bought  little teapot for one, which sits on top of a matching teacup for £1.50, and I didn't realise until I got it home, that it was from M&S - bargain!

I indulged myself with a pot of team and a homemade cupcake. I got about two cups out of it, but the downside was that I needed more milk, so now I'm on the hunt for a milk jug!

Anyway, just a quick little post - basically I'm avoiding work!

Much lobe xx

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