Friday 31 May 2013

NOTD Nails Inc - Totes Pink (InStyle magazine freebie)

Thanks to the tip from Beauty Lover's Note I managed to grab a copy of the June edition of InStyle magazine which included a full size (10ml RRP £11.00) Nails Inc polish. How blooming exciting. There are 3 colours to choose from, 'Totes Pink', 'It's Red Babez' and 'You're a Peach'. I only had the choice between the red and the pink so opted for the pink as I've got loads of red!

It's a very pretty candyfloss,marshmallow type pink but my words it's a bugger to apply, I realised when applying it why I avoid these pastel shades as they're a nightmare to look reasonable. It took 2 coats and a bit of fixing with varnish remover and cotton wool to make it look OK! It's a very pretty shade though, wish I could have tried the peach shade as well. 

Like I said earlier this comes free with the June edition of the InStyle magazine so if you want one I suggest getting your copy now as the July edition will be out on 6th June. 

You're welcome!

Hels X

A splendid Sauvignon - The Ned

One of my other major passions is wine, I love relaxing with a nice crisp, fresh white or full bodied red, I love trying wine that I've never tried before and decided that I'd feature the  wine on my blog. I'm not advocating drinking but what I'm doing is sharing a love with you all :-) 

Last week we took a trip to Majestic Wines and tried some very nice wines indeed! We were quite restrained and only bought 6 bottles which is pretty good for us! On Friday evening we cracked open this lush New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc called 'The Ned', a reasonable price of £9.99 or £7.99 if you bought 2 New Zealand wines. I'm huge fan of Babich  so am always going to compare these New Zealand white's and I have to say it is a very close rival!

The Ned's tasting notes are as follows: 'A nose of nettles and grass leads to generous gooseberry flavours with a smoky herbal twist on the palate. The stony terroir gives the wine a subtle gun flint minerality which delivers extra complexity.' I often find the description of wine quite funny but in this instance I defintley get the goosberry flavour, it's also very citrusy and light, a perfect accompaniment with a light chicken dish, or with a BBQ. It's  easily quaffable on a balmy summers evening. Gorgeous!

Hels X

Wednesday 29 May 2013

NOTD Max Factor Infinity - Disco Pink

How's this for a pop of colour on this dull and miserable day? A gorgeous bright, fuscia pink  from the Max Factor Infinity range. It's called Disco Pink (shade 704) and it's certainly cheered me up!

Not sure why the bottom left photo is blurry, apologies for that! One thing I love about Max Factor polishes is the quick drying time and salon shine it gives once the polish is dry. Fab!

Hels X

Helly's Top Tip: As with all bright, strong colours, use a decent base coat and a top coat for added shine and staying power. 

Happy 1st birthday little man!

This weekend we celebrated Alfie's 1st birthday! I can't quite believe where the time goes.  It was quite bittersweet really, on one hand you celebrate your child's milestone of reaching a whole year, but on the other hand you suddenly haven't got a baby anymore you have the beginnings of a toddler! Madness. 

I have to admit we spoilt him quite a lot, I always thought we wouldn't as he won't remember much (if anything!) but the presents we did get him will last him for quite some time, he was a very lucky boy! 

We bought him a mini 12V electric Audi car, it's actually brilliant, much bigger and faster than I was expecting. We purchased this particular model from Amazon and was the best price we found. It's very much a 'boy toy', he loves it!

He was also very lucky to receive a Smart Trike from my parents, there is a huge buzz that surrounds these on the baby/toddler scene. Again, this is something that will see him through from now until about 3 years or so as it changes depending on age. I have to say, they are great! You can purchase these from Amazon also. 

As well as these he got so many interactive toys, keepsakes and fab outfits from all our wonderful family and friends. The kindness overwhelmed me. Where I'm going to store them all I have no idea.

Lots and lots of pressies! 

Alfie's amazing birthday cake was made by Marsha, my best friends Mum. She is an incredible cake maker, she made my amazing wedding cake too. Whenever I need a cake I wouldn't go anywhere else but Marsha! I asked for a space themed cake and she did a fantastic job as always :-)

The lovely cupcakes were made by my friend Philippa who is just setting up her new cupcake business called 'Strawberry Rose Cupcakes', gorgeous aren't they!

After all the excitement it was just too much for Alfie! Not only was it a fantastic day for Alfie but it was so nice to see everyone and have some good food, drink and a fun time. Plus the sun came out which just made the day even better. 

Here's to another year with my beautiful boy, I wonder what the next 12 months will hold? Maybe I ought to start thinking about his next party haha!

Hels X

Thursday 23 May 2013

NOTD Ciaté Fade to Greige

I am loving this plummy shade by Ciaté, it's another of my mini 5ml paint pots (so cute!). This particular colour needs 2 coats for a full coverage and it has a great shine to it. 

Here is a nice large image so you can admire this gorgeous shade! This colour is called 'Fade to Greige 071' I love it :-) 

Hels X

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Shoe of the Day

Who doesn't love a wedge? They're versatile, add height, reasonably comfy, can be dressy, can be casual and the Duchess of Cambridge loves hers! 

Today's wedges are by a company called Heart & Sole (I'm not entirely sure where they can be purchased as I bought them in a Zulily flash sale). I think they're great and the best thing is that they were £12.99 instead of £29.99, bargain!

They are relatively similar to the Duchess' beloved L.K. Bennett wedges as you can see from the picture but they are a whole lot cheaper. The main difference is the Duchess' are patent where mine are canvas but other than that not a bad match.

Hels X

Monday 20 May 2013

BB Beautiful! L'oreal Nude Magique BB Cream - Review

I'm getting on the BB bandwagon!! It's taken me a while but I've finally hopped on and you are not getting me off. 

I've been reading about BB cream for quite some time now and never really gave thought as to what they are. In a nutshell BB Cream basically stands for beauty balm or blemish balm/base, it's supposed to be an all in one thingy me jig doing the job of a primer, a foundation and it will even out any imperfections while looking like you're barely wearing a foundation.Amazing!

I spent the best part of 40 minutes (no joke) in my local Superdrug trying to make the decision which BB cream to seems like every brand has their own version now so I was a bit clueless, couple this with the new CC cream (colour correcting/complexion correcting) and it is quite confusing! Anyway, I opted for L'oreal as I've used plenty of their products previously and not been disappointed. Firstly, I like the packaging of the L'oreal Nude Magique BB cream, I also like the idea of the smart pigment capsules which transform before your eyes (how exciting!).

In the above pictures you can see that the BB cream actually comes out as a pale,creamy colour and it's slightly gritty which are the smart pigment capsules. You can then see in the rest of the pictures how the smart capsules then develop into the colour, it's quite clever! I always use a foundation brush when I want a professional finish as I think it spreads the product more evenly and you are more in control of where you want the product to go. I found that the amount I put on the brush wasn't quite enough and I needed a touch more just for it to fully cover my face.

Now I apologise in advance for the horrible pictures of my face that I'll post but I wanted to show the before and after shots, I don't want to scare anyone off! Also the photos aren't great quality and the lighting is rubbish but they give an idea of the coverage.

The top left is me completely bare faced all I have used is a light covering of moisturiser to make sure I have a base to apply the BB cream. In the 2nd picture on the right I have applied the product, I think it did a great job of covering the blemishes and it definitely evens out my skin tone. In the bottom 2 pictures is the finished look. To complete my make up I used Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Concealer (shade Ivory) available from Superdrug for £6.99, Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick (shade Rose) available from Bobbi Brown for £32.00 and a slick of Lancome Juicy Tube (shade Fraise) available from Lancome for £16.00. I won't bore you with my eye makeup as it would take ages! If anyone wants to know leave me a comment and I'll fill you in :-) 

Here is a token picture of my beloved Shimmer brick compact just because I love it!

Overall I'm really impressed with the L'oreal BB cream which is widely available but you can buy it from Superdrug for £9.99 and it's on 3 for 2 at the moment). It gives a lovely coverage (although I wouldn't say it didn't look like I was wearing a foundation), it covers blemishes, evens out my skin tone and lasted really well throughout the day. If I was going out for the evening I would stick to an actual foundation purely for a fuller coverage, but for daytime wear this suits me perfectly and it does feel very light when worn. My next purchase is totally going to be the CC cream!! 

What are peoples opinions on BB creams? Any recommendations on other great brands?

Thanks for reading :-) 

Hels X

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Avon Liquid Freeze Quick Dry Nail Spray - Review

Flicking through my latest Avon brochure this product caught my eye. I'm incredibly impatient when I paint my nails and have to wait for them to dry so this 'Liquid Freeze Quick Dry Nail Spray' sounded right up my street.

As soon as it arrived I wanted to test it out so I thought what the hell if it's supposed to work as quick as they say it does I'll have no issues! I decided this would be a perfect time to test out my new Nails Inc polish in the shade Portabello that I received in the May GlossyBox (available here for £10.00 + p&p GlossyBox).

So, I quite happily painted my nails admiring the gorgeous neon coral shade, I did 2 coats and suddenly realised I wasn't really sure how I was supposed to use the Liquid Freeze. My assumption was to just spray over freshly painted nails and be good to go. I'm not so sure.................

Firstly, there is no definitive advice over how to use the product and how much should be used, I used 2 pumps per hand which seemed ample, but my word it's really oily! It has a very strange chemically smell about it too. I bet you're wondering about the overall results and whether my nails were completely dry after using it?

You can just make out the oil residue left after spraying over my nails

Well I don't think I left it quite long enough, I'd say 30-60 seconds is required to let the product actually work as when I touched my nail it was slightly tacky but after leaving it for a minute or so the polish had actually set hard! Ohhh this is quite good I thought UNTIL I decided to wash my hands to get rid of the oily residue, I cautiously used a towel to dry my hands and I smudged the polish. Disaster. How blooming annoying.

After assessing the damage it was nothing that couldn't be repaired but it did leave me a little bit disappointed. I think perhaps I was being a little ambitious by using a towel, I think this product works by making the polish touch dry but it still needs a fair few minutes to fully set. 

If I was to mark this product out of 5 if would get a 3 out of 5. The smell and the oily residue it leaves aren't particularly great but it is a pretty good quick fix for impatient people like me!

What I would like to know is how this works? Also the ingredients in it? No where on the bottle is there any English and I can't find anything online that seems to give any indication how it hardens the polish? If anyone has an idea I'd love to know!

I'm going to continue to test this out on various brands of nail polishes to see if there is any difference, it will be an ongoing test!



Note: You can buy the Liquid Freeze from the Avon online shop or via an Avon representative. Click here  f or more info Avon . RRP is £6.00 but it is on sale for £3.00 at the moment. 

Monday 13 May 2013

GlossyBox Review May 2013 - Happy Birthday GlossyBox!

I can't believe I'm writing the May GlossyBox review, time is flying! As always was looking forward to receiving my box, it's like Christmas opening the box and seeing what has been sent!

As it's the 2nd birthday of GlossyBox the box was to reflect a celebration of this! I'm loving the cute cupcake and makeup themed tissue paper and neon pink ribbon that the items are packaged in, so cute!

Instead of the usual black shredded paper we have bright orange instead which is great! First impressions of the items received were really good!

GlossyBox contents (L-R): 

1. Premae Harmony Balm (£26.50 for full size 30ml, received 10ml) This is a moisturising creme balm which can be used as a skin protector and a primer, It seems a nice item, no particular scent to it but it's nice on application. UPDATE: I used this the last couple of mornings and it does have quite a nice citrus scent, it's really quite thick to apply but makes my skin feel very moisturised afterwards, I would say a little goes a long way.

2. Caudalie Divine Oil (£4.05 for 15ml full size received)  This claims to be the ultimate elixir for your hair, body and face. It's light and hydrating and contains a blend of grape, hibiscus, argan and sesame oils. I really like this, I used it on my hair this morning and it made it feel lovely and soft. I'll definitely make use of it!

3. Givency Noir Couture Mascara (£22.50 for full size 8g, received a tester size) I'm always a little bit let down when we get sent a tester size, a little bit bigger would be much more appreciated! This mascara claims to be a 4 in 1 and is supposed to create volume, lengthen, curl and nourish your lashes. Overall it seems an OK item. UPDATE: I've used this now a couple of times, it gives a lovely coverage but the brush does make applying the mascara quite difficult and at times quite clumpy. I've used better. 

4. GlossyBox Mini Nail Files Great added extra, very useful I shall be popping these in my hand bag for sure! I love the way the outside packaging matches the tissue paper in the box and the nail files are neon pink to match the ribbon!

5. Nails Inc Polish - Portabello (£11.00 for full size 10ml, received 5ml in GlossyBox) Lush!! Love it, a fantastic, glossy neon coral shade, a perfect addition to my only issue is it's not full size but I will definitely be purchasing this once I've run out! More like this please GlossyBox! UPDATE: You can see the color below in the picture, it doesn't do it justice, it's an amazing sharp, zingy neon colour. Two coats are a must when using, it has quite a matt appearance when applied I think this is due to the neon effect, I love it.

6. Beautiful Movements Cosmetics Prime and Create Mixing Medium (£20.00 for full size 20g, received 2.5g) This is a band new product apparently and is from Kimberly Wyatt 's (former Pussy Cat Doll) range of beauty must haves. You can use it as a primer or mix with eye shadows  blusher etc to give various effects. I've never used anything like it before so I'm looking forward to experimenting.  UPDATE: I've experimented with this a couple of times now, I've tested it underneath foundation as a primer and it's pretty good, gives a nice matt coverage, I'm yet to try mixing it with any mineral makeup yet, I'm still intrigued by this product though.

Overall a very good box with a great mix of products that I look forward to trying. The only things that lets this months box down is the mascara but I'll use it regardless so it won't go to waste. Even better I used my GlossyDots to redeem this box so I basically got it for free!Awesome. 

Any opinions on this months box? Anyone get any different items?

Hels X

Friday 10 May 2013

Beautiful blonde, bye bye frizz!!

I've started to the transformation from mousy brown to blonde again. I get very bored of the same hair colour after a while and change it usually at least twice a year! After having Alfie I decided to home dye for a while to try and save some money but I've found that the colour didn't last as long as a salon colour and wanted to go back to my usual blonde. As I'd dyed my hair with a darker blonde shade I was aware that it would take a couple of attempts to get it back to the blonde shade I like. 

Here a couple of pictures with the blonde shade that I'm aiming for, it's the Holly Willoughby blonde that I want back! This is a picture from my wedding back in 2010, this is about as blonde as I'd been, my hairstyle is helped along by extensions!

This picture is from 2012 and I was Maid of Honour for my best friend. I was about 34 weeks pregnant, my hair (and my skin) were in such a good condition during pregnancy, it was so full and always shiny regardless of the blonde (which often dries my hair out to an inch of its life!).  Sadly, after pregnancy my skin and hair have both gone down the pan! That's why I've decided I need to start doing something about it. 

NOTE: Please excuse the state of my living room....this is what happens when you have children! Anyway, this is a recent picture of my hair colour, I used the shade 'Iced cappuccino' by L'oreal (casting creme gloss). As you can see the shade is pretty much as the dye suggests and I've been reasonably happy with it I've just missed my blonde! 

Anyway, I'm rambling on a bit now, the point of this post is how to maintain your hair after having it dyed blonde as the bleach can really strip the hair of moisture, cause it to break and need alot of TLC to ensure it looks at it best. I've always been one for using expensive hair products but recently I've been experimenting with high street brands (with the exception of Kerstase Ciment Thermique which is an essential hair repairer, plus it smells lush!).

Right.....what do I do.........

1. Shampoo & Condition  I do two good shampoos and follow with a conditioner leaving for at least a couple of minutes to really penetrate into the hair, I've been trying out the new Herbal Essences 'Bee Strong' shampoo & conditioner. It claims to give you stronger, silkier hair after just one wash and is made with honey and apricot extract. It smells lovely and a little goes a long way. I have to say, I do think my hair has become silkier and feels well conditioned even after just a couple of uses! After this I towel dry my hair and leave it to dry naturally for an hour or so before doing any styling. 

2. Heat Activated Reconstructing Milk (Kerastase) I know I bang on about this product but I cannot recommend it enough, it is a brilliant product for dry, damaged and colour treated hair. It's like a miracle cure, it costs around £16.00 but lasts for ages, I usually buy it from HQ Hair but most decent hair salons stock it. If you have bleached or damaged hair you must try this out!

3. Full Repair Deep Infusion (John Frieda)  I've just purchased this, I was after an Argan or Moroccan oil really but struggled to find anything like that on the high street so thought I'd try out this as it claims to protect against breakage from heat styling. You are advised to used it on damp hair which I do but I also add it to the ends of my hair after styling for added protection. You only need 1 pump although I found it really runny and needed a couple of pumps as my hair is quite thick. Overall it seems to be helping my hair and is a reasonable product.

4. Style it out! Usually I like to use TIGI Headrush as a shine spray and heat protector but decided to try the popular John Frieda Frizz-Ease 'Heat Defeat' styling spray, this is available widely and costs around £5.00 for more information you can click on John Frieda . You can use this in different ways depending on the style you want to achieve (e.g straight, curly, wavy etc instructions are on the back). I use it mostly before I use my GHD's, it suggests you spray immediately before straightening but I find it leaves your hair quite wet so would suggest leaving it to dry for 5 minutes before styling. Overall though I think it's a good product, it doesn't smell as good as Headrush but is half the price and my hair did feel protected after use.

Here are some pictures after (no before pictures though I'm afraid!) The pictures don't show up my blonde that much, I think it will take another session with my hair dresser to get to my desired shade again.

I've rambled on far too much in this post but hopefully it's been helpful!

Anyone else use any other good products?

Hels X

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Ultimate Outdoor Entertaining

So.....we saw a bit of sun this weekend!! This little bit of sun that we did see got me thinking about the ultimate outdoor entertaining space and how it can be achieved. I love entertaining   family and friends and even more so if we can sit outside on a warm evening and cook some grub on the BBQ while enjoying a cold glass of white wine.  I decided to do some research on pepping up the garden area and how to achieve a great space to entertain.

If I had a big enough garden I would love to install decking, I think it looks so smart and adds a nice separate area for dining whilst still being able to enjoy the garden as a whole. There are so many options when it comes to decking that I'd be spoiled for choice! For more information and inspiration check out Richard Burbidge they have a great selection. How nice is the contemporary glass system which you can see pictured below.

For those people who already have decking but it needs a bit of a spruce up and a clean it might be an idea to invest in some Paving and Decking Hero Power Cleaner available from Garden Health , this is a really simple way of cleaning your decking simply by adding to water and applying over a swept decking area or patio. Full instructions can be found on the Garden Health website.

So once you have your decking or similar sorted how about accessorising with some lovely solar lights, I chose some really pretty Butterfly lights at the weekend but you could go for some string lighting for added wow factor. How cute are these ones available from Amazon for £9.99. 

Pretty pink Butterfly lights.
While entertaining outside it's always nice to have a bit of music so these great wireless speakers are essential. There is lots of choice available from Electrical Discount and speakers to suit any budget. Al fresco dining just wouldn't be complete without a bit of music!

I also think it's good idea to purchase a garden heater if you plan on staying outside for a while just in case it gets a bit chilly. There is a lot to choose from but how about this one for £54.95 available from Amazon , this particular heater is free standing so can be moved about freely. 

Finally how about some of these fab body-moulding Fatboy beanbags, these can be used indoors, around the garden, on the decking or just generally for chilling out on! If anyone watched Big Brother you will recognise these. These can be purchased in several colours and are priced at £159.99 from Firebox , how cool! 

There are so many things that you can do to create a great entertaining space outside and I've really only scratched the surface! Has anyone else got any suggestions?

Hels X

* Please note that this is a sponsored post.