Tuesday, 9 September 2014

I've been featured in Groupon's Manchester City Guide - Style and Beauty

As a bit of a Groupon fan (currently getting a tattoo removed thanks to a Groupon deal and actually considering an..eeek...Groupon wedding!) I was pretty pleased to be featured in their Style and Beauty Manchester City Guide, written by Jess Hardiman:

You can read the full article, including more about other Manchester style and beauty bloggers here.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Elegant Touch House of Holland False Nails Vamps


I bought these on a total impulse buy when I spotted them - red, pointy and bling...right up my street!  They were really east to use and come with glue.  I found they lasted well and I thought they looked absolutely great on!

I actually might pop across to Boots.com* and pick up a back up set in case I want to wear them again - they're £8.99 so they're not cheap but they look amazing!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Caring for hair extensions

I haven’t had my hair extensions in for a while now, but I have turned my weft into clip ins so I can wear them on and off when I feel like it.  I loved the look of them but generally I prefer to tie my hair back for work which can be quite difficult with a weave in.

I do get asked from time to time if there are any special tricks for caring for your extensions and there are definitely a few must-do’s with hair extensions that will make your life easier:

  • Brush your hair carefully – watch your braid/joins at your scalp when you brush and deal with any tangles gently so you don’t cause any unnecessary pulling on your scalp
  • Use a shampoo and conditioner designed for hair extensions  - using the right products for your extensions will make it all easier to care for.  Make sure your daily hair care products are suitable for the type of extensions you have, for example if you have glue in extensions make sure your products are suitable with glue and won’t damage the bonds (like these).

  • Sleep with it tied up or plaited – I learned this the hard way!  Especially if you have long extensions, tying or plaiting it at bedtime will make it a lot easier to deal with in the morning.  Otherwise you run the risk of fighting with tangles and knots!
  • Use a hair oil – extensions don’t get natural oils through them like your own hair does so it’s important to use hair oil regularly to keep your extensions looking moisturised and to stop the ends from going ratty or drying out.  You can also use the oil as a treatment every so often.  Something like Pure Argan oil is great for extensions.

  • Make sure you go for regular hair appointments to get your weft tightened – it can be tempting to drag out the time between appointments to get your weft tightened/reapplied as your hair’s a bit longer and the weft gets more comfortable as time goes on but it really isn’t worth it.  It’ll tangle badly close to your scalp and will reduce the longevity of your extensions.

If you have any other questions about extensions feel free to leave them in the comments or email me at lucy@beautyandtheblogger.co.uk – I’m by no means an expert but I’ve tried a lot of extensions over the year so I can try to help!

*sponsored post

Monday, 25 August 2014

New items added to my blog sale!

I've added a few new things to my blog sale - it's all brand new bareMinerals compacts and blushes much cheaper than retail price.

Take a look at my blog sale page and the items that are currently available here.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Envy Big Hair Root Volumiser

I was sent this to review recently and have to say it's become an essential of mine on nights out where I want massive hair!  I spray it onto my roots when my hair is damp then blow dry with a large round brush to really create lift and volume through my hair.

The good thing about it is that it stays in place too, the lift doesn't just drop out really quickly like some other volumising products I've used.  I have to say it does feel like you've got product in your hair and you'll need to brush it out at the end of the night/the next day but I definitely didn't think my hair felt overloaded or horrible.

It's just a normal spray bottle so is really easy to use - and it smells like grapefruit which I personally really like, hate chemical-smelling hair products.  The packaging is nice and sleek too which is always a bonus on the old dressing table.

Envy Big Hair Root Volumiser is available here for £14.95, I think it's well worth it for the price and I'd totally buy it in future!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Live Color XXL Blonde Toner M01 Icy Platinum

Another day, another blonde toner that I've tried!  This time it was the Live Color XXL Blonde Toner in M01 Icy Platinum which as you can probably get is a cool, ashy toner for natural or bleach blonde hair.

It's ridiculously easy to use, you just shampoo your hair and apply the mousse toner throughout your hair evenly and leave for 5 minutes then wash out.  It should last 3 washes but I really do think mine lasts longer than that - you can vary just how ashy it leaves your hair too.  I find 10 minutes leaves my hair very ashy and grey (especially on top) whereas 5 less so, and probably the right sort of colour.  It smells pretty nice too!

There are no dodgy purple roots or yellow tones in my hair at all and I'm very pleased with the colour and how easy it is to use.  I actually first tried this on the way to a party on the spur of the moment (not a great time to try out new hair colour products) and luckily it turned out ok!

Here's how my hair turned out after 5 minutes with this toner on:

It's pretty reasonably priced too, around £5.  It says that one bottle will last 1 application on long hair.  I'd say my hair is pretty long - about at my bra strap - and it's lasted me 3 applications already and I've still got some left so realistically it's no more expensive than those individual toner sachets you can get.

I would definitely use this again for an ashy blonde look (though I'm officially booked in for a full head of highlights and lowlights at the start of September to go for a bit more of a natural look).  You can find out more information about this product here.

For more hair inspiration and the chance to upload your style pics and win prizes visit the Live Color Lookbook at http://lookbook.livecolor.co.uk - there are some absolutely amazing styles on there and some fantastic prizes to be won!


Saturday, 16 August 2014

Something a bit different - RHS Flower Show Tatton Park

Ok as someone who is - and I admit this 100% -just not that into gardening and knows very little about plants other than "that one looks nice" going along to the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park is probably a slightly odd choice for me!  I decided to go to get a bit of inspiration for my wedding flowers and to enjoy a sunny day out in Cheshire but I actually really enjoyed it!

Obviously it's full of plant, flower and gardening supply stalls (a lot of stuff gets sold off on the Sunday in the last hour apparently!) but as well as that there's all sorts going on from demos, to food and drink, furniture and a variety of garden displays developed by all sorts of different groups.  It was a lovely day out and I got lots of ideas for things I like, things I definitely don't and things I didn't even know existed!

There was a bit of a carnival theme going on too.  We just happened to be wandering around looking for a certain stall and we spotted all carnival dancers with huge butterfly wings dancing in a procession to moving, it was so great and well done to the dancers who made it look effortless when it definitely wasn't.

Here are some of my fave flowers that I spotted for the day, I'd quite like to incorporate these into my house or wedding somewhere:

And here are just a few of the fab garden displays that were on show at the event, the stories behind the displays were so good and it all fitted together really well.  There were quite a few displays that local schools had created too and they were so imaginative!

I have to say I really didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did - I'd recommend it as a day out, maybe with family or someone garden minded.  I'm actually thinking about going again next year already and taking some other family members with us!

You can find more information about the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park (including dates and tickets for next year) here - the show runs in a variety of other locations too.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

I'm talking weddings again...

Find my guest post on wedding make up and nails over at the Wedding Fair blog.

For more information about the Wedding Fair shows visit theweddingfairs.com/

Saturday, 2 August 2014

How I use Pinterest (and some of my top tips!)

I'm a massive fan of Pinterest and I'm actually a bit of an addict - I was an early adopter and I use it for practically everything.  It appeals to my list making tendencies, the fact I've got a memory like a sieve and that I tend to do a lot of online research for everything!

In case you're not sure what it is, in simplest terms Pinterest is an online scrapbook that you can organise and categorise images.  You can search and pin images from within Pinterest or from other websites.  The best thing for me is that it links back to the original site you found the image on so if you want to buy something later or find out where you found the image from it's so easy.  It's helped me so many times and has outlasted various technology fails.

Here's some of my tips for how I use my Pinterest account:
  • Organise your boards - I have a variety of different boards ranging from food to weddings to nails.  It's easier to keep track of your pins and for people to find and follow your boards if they're categorised and not too general.  Call them something that makes sense too so interested people can follow you.
  • Have a variety of boards - that way there's something everyone can relate to!
  • Pin regularly - a bit like other social media, what's at the top isn't there for long.  I usually pin daily out of habit and this seems to work to keep my followers up.
  • Fill in your profile - people are generally nosy and want to know more so why not oblige?  I have my blog link in there too so if people like what I'm about they can follow me on other social media too.
  • Easy ways to pin - I have the Android app on my phone so if I'm on the go I can pin easily and kill a few minutes.  I use Chrome as my web browser on my laptop too and have added a Pin It button to my toolbar so whatever website I'm on I can pin easily rather than having to copy and paste each time.
  • Descriptions and titles - if you're pinning it can be tempting (especially if you're adding a few images) it can be tempting to just type the minimum for each description to do it quickly but this means it's harder for people to search and find relevant pins.  A meaningful description helps with the search.
  • Use Pinterest to promote your blog - when I publish a new post I pin the images from the post to my relevant Pinterest boards and my Beauty and the Blogger board - with a meaningful description of course!  
  • Use other social media to promote your Pinterest - I use my blog and Twitter account to link to my boards just so people can find it easily.  I tend to ask people to tweet me their Pinterest links and include my link in there too so I'm not just spamming my own link again and again.
  • Follow other people's boards - it's easier to find things to repin and things you like if you follow some other boards too, they show up in your feed and it can be a good way of seeing stuff that you wouldn't necessarily see otherwise.  You can synchronise contacts from other social media, search for relevant boards or even check if a person or brand you like has a Pinterest account.
  • Utilise secret boards - a bit of mystery goes a long way sometimes!  I find secret boards really good for things like planning my actual wedding (I have a general wedding board that's public but my secret one is my actual wedding boards) and creating a portfolio of work I've had published
  • Pinterest widget - using a widget builder to create a visual link to your boards like the one below can be a more interesting way to promote your boards instead of just a text link.

Visit Lucy -'s profile on Pinterest.

Hope you found this useful!  If you have a Pinterest account leave a link in the comments below so people (including me!) can follow - you can find all of my boards here.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Rimmel London Lasting Finish 25hour Foundation in 200 Soft Beige

I'm always looking for an alternative to Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation* for everyday use as it's expensive and for me is a bit heavy to wear every day so I did a bit of research and decided to try this Rimmel Lasting Finish 25hour Foundation* - not that I'm going to wear foundation for over a day but you know, might as well try it!

I was pretty pleased with the range of colours and the fact that - unlike Double Wear - the bottle already comes with a pump dispenser so it's a lot neater and less wasteful.  At £7.99 a bottle it's about a third of the price of Double Wear so much more purse friendly for every day use!

The consistency feels a bit runny and ever so slightly oily to me.  You do need to be careful to blend well as I've found it streaks a bit during application, that's easily resolved though.  I find it sort of sits on the skin rather than soaking in and the finish isn't totally matte but it's still medium/high coverage - expect your face to be "whited out" in any flash photography - so covers a multitude of sins.  I prefer it to be more matte on my nose so I add a dusting of pressed powder a couple of times a day if I feel like I'm getting a bit shiny.

So does it last 25 hours?  Um, well I haven't worn it for quite that long but I have slept in it (tut tut) and it still looked pretty decent when I woke up!  I'd say it comfortably lasts about 8 or 9 hours, I don't think I'd want to go out after work without retouching it first but I'm not having to do it every couple of hours or anything.  Overall it's a decent enough every day foundation at a budget friendly price and I wouldn't hesitate to buy this again

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Jerome Russell Bblonde Platinum Blonde Colour Toner Review (and a bit about my experience with lightening my hair to platinum at home)

I'm bleaching my own hair to a light blonde/platinum colour at the minute and I've found that the toner I've been using (La Riche Directions White Toner) is "taking" too much at the roots - I'm ending up with a bit of a purple halo at the front and top of my hair!  I can't get away with not using a toner really as my hair can be a bit too warm/yellow when I bleach it.

I was sent this Jerome Russell Bblonde Platinum Blonde Colour Toner to review, excellent timing to give it a  go - I've heard of the brand before but as someone pretty new to the whole home dying thing I hadn't tried it until now.

There are a few more steps in my process to my normal toner (which is really just a "slap it on with a tinting brush and leave for 15 mins" type of affair) so in addition to about 90 mins to lighten, there's another 30 mins of toning on top.  Obviously read the instructions that come with the product rather than rely on mine but you need to patch test 48 hours in advance, use a clarifying shampoo, towel dry your hair, apply toner evenly then cover in plastic, blow dry for 5 mins then leave it on for a maximum of 30.  Not all as complicated as it sounds though,  honest.

The toner itself is a purple gel so doesn't drip or run.  It lathers up a bit too.  It was easy to apply and smells mildly chemically but nothing too strong.  As you can see from the pic below after I used the toner - not a hint of purple and a clean white finish.  Well worth taking the extra 30 mins to tone my hair.  I'm really pleased with the results of this and will definitely be buying this again - it's easy to use and totally does the trick on my hair to remove brassiness.  I've just had a bit of a Google and you can pick this up really reasonably so I'm going to stock up I think as it's meant to last 8 washes.

I've enjoyed my platinum blonde experience but it was only ever going to be temporary and in autumn I think I'm going to go back to the hairdressers for highlights/lowlights and a bit more of a natural blonde colour.  DIY bleaching to platinum's been ok, way cheaper than getting it done professionally and I can get it really light without a hairdresser saying "ooh well you can't in one go - it'll be 6-12 months of highlights".

However it's time consuming keeping up with roots, it's not pampering/relaxing/glamorous at all in the way getting your hair done is, my hair's been purple/grey/yellow a few times and to be honest the damage I'm probably doing to my hair worries me a bit - condition wise it feels fine, especially for bleached hair, but I don't really want to end up bald!  I use an intensive conditioner after each wash and keep up with coconut oil and serum.  I also wouldn't recommend a DIY job if you're really precious about your hair colour or you're likely to go into a meltdown if it goes wrong!

To keep yellow hair at bay I've also previously used Loreal Professionnel Serie Expert Silver Shampoo* (good all rounder, can be bought in huge bottles from hairdressing suppliers) and Fudge Clean Blonde Violet Toning Shampoo* (definitely keeps yellow tones out of my hair but can make it a bit too ashy/grey looking) to maintain platinum between washes, and I try to just wash my hair a few times a week now.

Just thought I'd add these photos in too, they're of a couple of previous toning disasters with other products - grey hair on the left and lilac roots on the right (excuse the silly face I was in shock a bit!) - let me make this clear the pics below aren't after using the Bblonde Platinum Toner but just goes to show what a difference the right toner can make as I've used exactly the same bleach and process in all of the pics on this review!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Xen Tan Moroccan Tan Medium 148ml Review

I ran out of my usual tan so I took the opportunity to try out a new one - Xen Tan Moroccan Tan*.  I've tried other Xen Tan products before and I'd probably say they're my favourite tanning brand.

My first thought was that the bottle was small - it isn't, it just doesn't have loads of excess packaging and you'll easily get 4 or so full body applications from the bottle.  I applied mine using a mitt and I have to say this is some of the easiest to apply tan I've ever used.  It must be the Argan oil in the formula but it totally just glides on smoothly with no pulling or patchiness.  It also doesn't smell like tan (though that does come later after it's developed) and has a sweet vanilla scent instead.

After applying I was worried.  My boyfriend was worried too.  It was really really really dark.  Like ridiculously dark.  Luckily it was just the guide colour and washed off the next day!  I slept with mine on but the good think about Xen Tan is that it only takes 3 hours to develop.

I was really pleased with the colour, it was a proper tan (i.e. not too light or subtle) without being orange or streaky.  It clung a bit at my heel and elbows but to be honest most tans do because these parts of my body are so dry. 4 days later the tan is still looking great.

I'd definitely use this again in future, it really suits me and I think it's a great product.  If you're thinking about trying it out it's definitely worth giving it a go - you can buy it here*.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Couch to 5k - how am I doing?

In the last few years I've put on a bit of er...should we say "happy weight" and it really does need to come off, especially since I'm going to be getting married at some point in the next few years.  I want to get a bit more toned as well which is where exercise is going to have to come in.

I'm not a natural exerciser and I never seem to get the bug with exercise that other people get which keeps them going to their weekly classes and going for a run every night.  It's also the reason that over the years I've probably wasted a ton of money on gym memberships that I've never used properly!  I start off with great intentions and sort of taper off.

So I need a method of exercising that doesn't involve a massive outlay of money...hence, I've decided to try running and got these great running shoes from jdsports.co.uk - they're Nike Free 5.0 TR Fit 4 Print in White/Purple and they're so much better than what I've been running in previously.

They're really, really light and flexible without compromising on the level of cushioning they give the soles of your feet on impact.  I can't explain how comfy and lightweight they are! I love the colour and pattern on these too, bright and colourful trainers are way better than something plain and boring.

They're really breathable and cool on the feet too which is important when you're running.  I'm not doing so great with my couch to 5k at the min, my fitness is actually better than I thought it's just my legs and muscles that can't keep up which I know will get better in time!  I think rather than couch to 5k, which gradually builds up your running/walking splits until you're running a full 5k in quite a rigid programme, I just need to get out and run a bit more and really push myself as much as possible.

Overall, I'd really recommend couch to 5k if you're a bit more disciplined than I am.  It's got me off the couch anyway which is a great step!  I would definitely recommend these trainers if you're looking for a great pair of shoes to run in, especially for a first pair - the Nike Free range do some that are even more natural feeling than these, it must be like bare feet!  These are totally lightweight, don't constrict my feet in any way but still absorb the shock from running on pavement etc.

I've gotten really into trainers now, there are so many nice ones on jdsports.co.uk - definitely worth checking out if you're looking for a new pair.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

GIVEAWAY - Win tickets to the National Wedding Show Autumn 2014! (NOW CLOSED)

I can't remember if I posted about this, I don't think I did because the last few months have been pretty hectic, but in February I got engaged to my amazing boyfriend of 5 years.  It was totally unexpected and he did it when we were away in Scotland, just the two of us.

I'm not the kind of girl who's had every aspect of the wedding planned in their head since they were 5 so to be honest I'm a bit overwhelmed by planning a wedding.  I'm using Pinterest to get plenty of inspiration (check out my Wedding board here), practically taking notes at every wedding we go to, constantly watching Don't Tell the Bride/Four Weddings/Say Yes To The Dress/I Found The Gown and later on in the year I plan to attend some wedding shows/events.

One of the events I'm going to be attending in October is The National Wedding Show at Manchester Central, it's the UK's biggest wedding show with over 150 exhibitors there showing everything from dresses to cakes to flowers to venues and honeymoons - they have thousands of dresses even have catwalk shows and changing rooms to try dresses on...eek!  Hopefully this will help me get some more ideas!

There are experts from a variety of high street brands there such as Essie, Moss Bros, John Lewis, Sandals, Thomas Cook, Debenhams, House of Fraser and Virgin Holidays.  There's also a Vintage Team Room and Champagne Bar where you can head to relax after a hard day's planning.

The shows are at the following venues (as I mentioned, I'll be going along to the Manchester one!):

London Earls Court - 26th-28th September
Birmingham NEC - 3rd-5th October
Manchester Central - 11-12th October

Standard tickets are £15 in advance or £18 on the door on the day, VIP tickets are £35 in advance or £40 on the day (with the VIP tickets you get a fast track entrance, reserved seating at the catwalk shows, unlimited access to the VIP lounge, complimentary champagne and a goody bag full of beauty products).

I've got 2 pairs of tickets to The National Wedding Show to offer to readers of Beauty and the Blogger so they can attend this fantastic wedding event absolutely free!

To enter, all you need to do is fill in the form below by 31st July 2014 - if you're chosen you'll win a free pair of tickets to the National Wedding Show at the venue of your choice:

For more information about the show or to buy tickets in advance visit www.nationalweddingshow.co.uk  or call the ticket hotline on 0844 874 0486.  You can also follow them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Ardell Demi Wispies False Eyelashes Color Impact in Plum (enhances brown, hazel and green eyes) - Review

To cut a long story short, Ardell Demi Wispies are one of my favourite lash styles and purple is one of my favourite colours so when I spotted these Color Impact lashes I had to try them!

The theory is that the colour purple will enhance brown, hazel and green eyes.  They also do other colours to enhance different eye colours but since my eyes are green I went for these ones.  I've heard the premise about using colours other than black to bring out specific eye colours with mascara but I've never really tried it.

The picture above shows the purple in the lashes quite well but it's actually a bit more subtle than that in normal light as I think the pics below show:

You can just see a little flash of purple when the light hits them which I think it better than full on purple lashes - I wore these on a normal night out, not fancy dress! I can't say I felt that the colour really enhanced my own eye colour but they were nice, easy to use lashes in a style that I like and the purple in them is definitely subtle enough that other's probably won't notice the colour - I think I'll be sticking with my black Demi Wispies in future, I wanted to put mascara on to blend my own lashes in a bit more but didn't want to take the colour out of them! 

I bought these from Ebay as I'm not sure if they're being sold in the UK (they might be, I'm not sure!) but you can find more out about the Color Impact range on the Ardell website

P.S. As you can see from these pics my hair is really light at the minute - it's the look I wanted as I've always hankered after white blonde hair but never got that light at the hairdressers.  I think I'll be ready for a colour change to something a bit more natural in the not too distant future though

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Believe in the weave - BW by Beauty Works 18" Mixed Blonde Weft Hair Extensions in 613/24

Last week I was invited to Pro Hair Live in Manchester by Beauty Works to get hair extensions fitted as part of the show as a demo to the hundreds of hairdressers who attended. I got a weave which involves creating a braid across the back of the head underneath the hair with braiding thread then sewing a weft of hair into the braid with a curved needle.

I've worn wefts before and find them easy to wear, they're relatively quick to fit, especially compared to something like micro rings or stick tips which take ages as little clumps of hair are attached.  My weave took about 45 minutes plus time for styling at the end - they were fitted by hair extension specialist Jason Meacher who did an absolutely fab job and was so knowledgeable about the whole process (bear in mind it was a trade show so loads of hairdressers were asking him questions).  People kept asking if my head was hurting during the braiding and it really wasn't - you can tell the braiding is tight but it isn't painful. I've had them in for a week now and there way less noticeable.  I'm not having any problems with covering the braids either.

I had BW by Beauty Works 18" Extensions in LA Blonde (613/24) put in, they're human hair - interestingly this is the I hair colour I thought I'd be when I looked at the website beforehand so hey at least I know my colour! I wanted more thickness rather than loads of length as I just wanted it to look like my hair but better so these extensions are only just a little bit longer than my own hair.  Years of bleaching and straightening have taken their toll on my hair which was really thick as a kid.

I'm really impressed with the quality of the hair, it's the same thickness all the way through and the ends are just as full as the roots, they look really natural and shedding so far is pretty minimal and I've had them in for a week now. They're 105g, just one pack and for me that's enough but if you were wanting them to add loads of length you might want a bit thicker.  The quality of the hair for the price is absolutely great and I'd happily buy these in future.  I've been umming and aahing about getting extensions and buying some online for ages but I've never been able to decide on where to get them from, now I know!

I actually got asked out on a date on my way home from the show, this never happens so I'm definitely putting it down to the power of the weave!  I had to decline though as don't think my fiance would be happy with me and my weave heading out on a date...

On a more serious note, hair extensions need a bit more TLC than your own hair.  As they don't get natural oils from your scalp they can look a bit dry which is when they start to tangle up too - I've been using Moroccan oil on mine near enough daily and coconut oil as a bit of a treat.  As I'm lazy I can't be bothered washing and drying my hair and extensions all the time so dry shampoo has become my friend and I've actually just washed my own hair on top in the past - I used to have a 24 inch weave put in years ago which was way more high maintenance than what I have in now.

Pro Hair Live was fab, I was a little early for my appointment so I had a good wander around the stalls and stages and saw some fantastic hairstyles and demos.  There was literally everything hair you could ever want for sale so if you like hair or you're looking for inspiration, I'd recommend it though it is a trade show.

There's a short video on Beauty Works Online's Facebook page of me getting my weave which I've embedded below but in case you're on a phone or something you can see it here.

Beauty Works do a massive range of hair extensions and accessories - some of the fishtail plaits and buns they have available look gorgeous and I definitely plan to try them out in future.  You can buy Beauty Works hair extensions here.  Celebs are often spotted rocking their Beauty Works hair - most recently Georgia May Foote from Corrie and Sam Faiers from Towie.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A gorgeous Mothers Day gift (and exclusive discount code!)


If you're like me and don't live around the corner from your Mum then delivered bouquets are always an absolute winner - they're easy/convenient to order and make a fantastic impact. I was sent these flowers to review from the Debenhams Flowers Mothers Day range (click here to see more of the range), my bouquet is the Mums Lily and Rose one which funnily enough contains scented oriental lilies, lilac memory lane roses, pink aqua roses and greenbell.  I love tropical flowers and roses (especially pink and lilac ones) so this is a really great choice for me.

My experiences with Debenhams Flowers have always been really good - quick delivery, well packaged and beautiful flowers that last.  These have been in my house for over a week (about 10 days) and only one of the flowers is starting to look a little bit wilted now which I think is pretty good going.  The lilies were all closed when these arrived but they've all opened now and I love them!  I think my Mum would prefer planted rather than cut flowers and luckily they do them too - I'm thinking about getting her something like this from the range.

If you want to say it with flowers this Mothers Day I have an exclusive 15% discount code to use on Debenhams Flowers, just enter the code MDBLOG15 at the checkout to receive 15% off any bouquet.  As I said my experiences with them have always been great so I would recommend.

I'm sure I've mentioned before that I have a real love of cut flowers and would have them fresh in my house all the time if my boyfriend didn't rein me in!  Just call me Elton John.

Happy Mothers Day to all the Mums out there!  Have you got anything special planned for your Mum this weekend?

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

L'Oreal Preference Les Blondissimes Extreme Platinum Review

After thinking about it for ages I finally decided to try going a lot lighter at home.  After shelling out over £100 on a full set of highlights I went to Superdrug on the way home and picked up a couple of box dyes with the vague notion that at some point in time I'd try and get my hair really light. My hair is sort of mousy mid brown but it hasn't been that colour - at least not naturally - for years and I was still trying to get back to blonde after experimenting with ombre last year.

I then decided (when my roots needed done) to try another local hairdressers to save money and had the worst hairdressing experience of my life - to cut a long story short I had to dry my own hair and I came away with gingery highlights at the roots.  Not what I wanted.

After 2 weeks of being annoyed with my hair and watching loads of YouTube videos doing plenty of research I decided to just go for it and use the L'Oreal Extreme Platinum kit* that I had bought when I had a Sunday spare.  As someone who has never dyed her own hair (my Mam dyed it for me once or twice when I was at school much to her behest) I was really nervous but I found this kit and instructions really easy to use.  It comes with dye, developer and purple conditioner to use after bleaching which I really liked.  I also watched this video which helped my technique a bit I think.

What did I think of the end result? Well it's certainly lighter! On the lengths of my hair (where the colour was already kind of light due to highlights/bleach) the colour has really lightened up to a pale blonde but my roots fairly pretty yellow where I just had orangey highlights and my natural colour.  My hair doesn't look or feel to damaged but I think it could do with a little trim on the ends to neaten it up.

I'm a big fan of ashy/white toned blonde hair so the colour is a tiny bit too warm for me so again I've been doing my research only this time I've been looking at toners and purple shampoos to get and maintain that ashy look (as purple counteracts warmer colours such as yellow).  I've bought Fudge Clean Blonde Shampoo* and La Riche Directions Toner in White so I'll let you know how I get on with those.

Would I use this kit again? Quite possibly yes but I'd be a bit more prepared with toners and things next time! It's relatively inexpensive, easy to use and does lighten but as with every home hair dye make sure your expectations are realistic.  They seem to be on offer quite a bit too, plus you get everything you need in the right quantities, packaging and instruction.  I really like the conditioner it comes with too, the fact it's purple is great for light hair.

Now that I feel a bit more confident about bleaching my hair and happier that it isn't going to fall out/turn orange/green (top tip: don't wear or use anything metal when dealing with bleach) I've continued my research and actually just bought myself some bleach powder and developer from Salon Services to give it a shot without an actual kit next time...eek.  I'll let you know how I get on!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

#NOTD Essie Ballet Slippers with Models Own Pink Paradise and Essie Matte About You Topcoat

Today's #NOTD is Essie Ballet Slippers (reviewed here) - it's a bit whiter than I'd like so I added Models Own Pink Paradise, a pink toned flakie polish (also reviewed here) to pink it up a bit.  I thought it was a bit too girly so I added Essie Matte About You, a matte topcoat to flatten it out.

It looks like icing paste now!  This was one of those polishes that I can't stop looking at on my nails!
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