Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Elegant Touch House of Holland Nails - Bloodthirsty

This was another House of Holland Nails impulse buy - as I've said before I love the look of long, pointy (or tapered) nails but I can never be bothered to keep up maintenance on them. I'll get them done once and then remove them...really don't know why.

So, when I want fancy hands, it's much easier (and cheaper) for me to pop some nails on myself. Behold, Bloodthirsty:

I don't really have much else to say other than love the packaging, love the nails, easy to apply, they last well and come with glue. My fave part is that the underside of the black nails have red glitter on them, kind of like the Loub nails that were everywhere a couple of years ago with a twist.

I had loads of comments on them, including the fact that they're very Halloween-y which I suppose they are (just around the corner remember....)

You can buy House of Holland nails from Boots.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Illamasqua Gel Sculpt in Silhouette - an easy way to contour!

I absolutely love wearing make up but it's quite rare I do a full face unless it's for a big night out or special occasion and because of this I don't feel like my make up skills are that great. I can throw a pair of false lashes on or do a nice straight eyeliner flick like a pro but stuff like a decent smoky eye or serious contouring just mystifies me - so annoying because I'd love to be able to do this stuff, even following YouTube tutorials and stuff it just ends up really meh on me. I need to practice more but I just don't have time to perfect it the way I'd want.

Step in Illamasqua Gel Sculpt in Silhouette. I'd noticed this recommended as an easy way to contour without needing a million different products. Gel Sculpt is a water based product.

It looks a little bit scary in the tube, a bit too dark and almost like a wine coloured lipstick (you can use it on lips or cheeks and some of the other colours would probably be pretty nice on eyes too) but it's actually really light, cooling product that goes on pretty sheer.

I used this on my cheekbones, nose and jawline then blended it with my foundation. I got so many compliments on my make up when I did this to the point where I actually want to do this every day! I watched this YouTube video by Jamie Genevieve which talks more about how to use gel sculpt.

I just need to master an easy smoky eye now...

You can buy Illamasqua Gel Sculpt here.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Godiva Speculoos Sablés Biscuits Review

In our house, the level of biscuit-eating is ridiculous. It's at the point where generally we just don't buy them as the speed at which we get through a packet is just embarrassing so yeah, if you come to our house we probably won't be able to offer you a biscuit with your tea, either because we've eaten them all or because we can't be trusted to buy any in the first place.

Anyway, excessive biscuit consumption aside, I was recently sent some Godiva Speculoos Sablés Biscuits to try.   Described as "Rich, buttery biscuits dipped in the finest Godiva milk chocolate, Sablés are the perfect treat with your cup of tea or coffee.  The Almond Speculoos biscuit combines a sprinkling of aromatic cinnamon with crunchy almonds, to create that sweet almond speculoos taste that is so loved in Belgium."

At first I couldn't remember what speculoos was (Ben & Jerry Cookie Core fans might know this) but as soon as I opened them I remember, it's kind of like a really mild ginger biscuits. I don't really like ginger biscuits so I was a bit like "damn" but I REALLY like these. The taste is really subtle and it all works well together, they're a decent size but I actually only got to eat one and a half as my husband polished them all off!

There's a little bit of nuttiness to and the chocolate on them adds an extra bit of richness/sweetness to it. They were ideal with a cup of tea. I really did enjoy this and I might actually buy some more to have in for Christmas as otherwise we would probably get through a packet a day.

You can buy them here.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Impulse beauty buys - Sleek Make Up Face Form Contouring & Blush Palette in Light and H&M Precision Eye Marker in Black

Both of these were two total impulse buys - I bought the palette solely because I wanted the darker pink colour as a blush colour (and it reminded me a bit of Nars blush). And I bought the eye liner because I've been using a normal liquid eyeliner but I actually prefer to use a pen type of liner, I find it much much easier.

I've actually fallen in love with the palette and would definitely recommend it/buy it again. It's really nice in terms of quality, especially for the price. I haven't really used the darkest shade but the two pinks are beautiful and look really great on the skin. Considering it cost a tenner for three shades I really think it looks way more expensive than it is.

The eyeliner is a decent one - nice firm nib, very wet, very black, lasts well without bleeding. Not much else I can say about it other than I'm happy with it and would definitely buy it again.

Links to buy:

Sleek Make Up Face Form Contouring & Blush Palette in Light

H&M Precision Eye Market in Black

Have you made any impulse buys lately that you'd recommend (y'know not that I need an excuse to spend any more money)?

Monday, 5 October 2015

TooFaced Born This Way Foundation Review

I've been looking for a new foundation as the one I've been wearing probably isn't quite the right colour now that we're getting into autumn/winter. I wanted something medium to full coverage as my skin is acting up a bit at the moment, long lasting and not drying. In winter I get a bit of dry skin around my nose and I want to make sure that my foundation works with this.

I did a bit of research and saw quite a few recommendations for the new TooFaced Born This Way Foundation for a full coverage foundation suitable for dry skin. The shade I got is Nude and it's the right colour for my winter skin once it's been warmed up a little with some bronzer.

It has a nozzle already on the bottle so it's much cleaner and hygenic than dipping into it. One pump of foundation is more than enough to cover my face.

The foundation itself is really nice to use - it blends well, feels cooling on my skin and covers everything I want it to without my face looking like a mask.  It's quite a dewy, natural finish especially for a full coverage foundation, it's not overly matte or flat. I find it lasts really well too - it still looks great at the end of the day and I just need to add a little bit of powder part way through the day to reduce any shine.

The first time I wore this I had a night out with some friends I haven't seen for a while and quite a few of them commented on how my skin/make up looked. One actually commented that I looked like I was glowing and raised her eyebrows. I was like...no. You know what I mean.

Overall I really, really like this foundation and it's definitely one that I'll repurchase in future. It makes me feel way more confident than what I was using previously and I'd totally recommend it for anyone looking for a new foundation.

Find out more at https://www.toofaced.com/bornthisway/ 

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Hair Heroes - Ojon Damage Reverse Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner

I think I got given them as a gift from my Mum who has so much hair the thought of using a thickening/volumising product made her panic a bit ha! I'd had them for a little while as I was being loyal to my Joico shampoo and conditioners while I tried to repair my hair.  I ended up taking these on holiday with me, simply because the bottles are a bit less bulky than other shampoos I had - I always mean to be prepared and decant into little bottles but I never actually do it. I didn't really think anything of taking these to be honest it was more about convenience than what they could do for my hair (sorry Ojon!)

I'm SO GLAD I actually ended up trying these, they've become my favourite shampoo and conditioner duo.  I've posted enough times about my damaged hair due to overprocessing last year, it's still much shorter on top but thankfully it's at a point where I can pretend it's just layered that way rather than having a mini fringe all around the top of my head (argh).

My hair priorities now are growth, thickness and making sure my hair stays healthy/doesn't get any more damaged. I've cut my blow drying and heat styling right down, reduced the amount I wash my hair (FYI: dry shampoo) and it's all about hair masks and oils.

Anyway, I digress. These are amazing - they both smell fresh and packaging's totally fine. The shampoo lathers well and the conditioner does its conditioning thing well. The conditioner is actually really thick and heavy (and bright green!) so you don't need to use a lot - it actually lasted the same amount of time as my shampoo bottle which is unheard of.

This made my hair look fuller, feel thicker and just look better without the need for loads of styling afterwards. And that's with swimming in the sea and sunbathing every day when I was on holiday.  

I actually had people commenting on how much thicker/better my hair was looking, even my husband said this and he isn't really the type to notice unless its something really obvious.  I actually brought the last little tiny bits of this that were left in the bottle home with me just to squeeze out a couple more washes with these as I loved them so much - again, unheard of, I usually just leave anything nearly-empty at the hotel when I'm away...not these!

I've hinted heavily for my birthday next month about these but if that fails I will definitely be repurchasing. You can buy Ojon here.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Leicester Warren Hall Wedding Review

I found that when I was looking at potential wedding venues and came across Leicester Warren Hall - the venue where we eventually ended up getting married - there isn't that much online about in in terms of reviews, couples experiences etc so I thought I'd put together something that might be helpful to others. I'd literally mention it to people who had lived/worked in Knutsford or in the local wedding industry for years and they'd be like... "um, no haven't heard of it?" eek.

As I couldn't find much information about it I had fairly low expectations (after visiting a few other more budget friendly venues and being a bit disappointed) which were blown out of the water when we arrived there in person and found a really cute little barn-style venue with an added bonus of a pretty unusual ceremony room that looked like a church inside.

As I've said the main room is barn style with exposed brick, wooden floors and heavy doors. It looks really cute inside. It's definitely one that you can dress up really well and perfect if you're having a rustic type wedding (apparently bunting works particularly well here!) and they're not really strict about how the room needs to look. Where it actually is in Knutsford is lovely too, down some pretty peaceful roads and with fields to most sides.

You can just have your wedding reception here if you'd prefer to get married in a church or at the local registry office. Which brings me onto the ceremony room.

We originally visited LWH as a reception venue only but when we went into the ceremony room I fell in love. It looks churchy without actually being a church and the seating is laid out in such a way that your guests are facing you which is a nice change from not being able to hear/see what's going on during a ceremony. It has wooden beans throughout, a checked floor and just feels very peaceful.  It obviously costs extra to hire this room but they fill it with candles and for us it was way more special than the registry office.

There's parking on site for guests, a well stocked bar that's reasonably priced (important), space for a DJ/band (the venue booked our DJ thankfully, he was great and listened to what we wanted and what our guests wanted), plenty of places to stay near by and Knutsford centre, which has a train station, is about 5-10 minutes away if people want to make a weekend of it or just wander into town at some point. It's near the motorway - but not too near - for any guests travelling in from further afield.

There's an outside area with grass, benches and trees that would be perfect for lawn games - a lot of our guests spent time outside as it was such nice weather and we got our group photos taken outside on the lawn. They have to shut at 12 midnight. I'd say the venue would comfortably hold about 100 guests - you could have more but it might be a squeeze, especially when the party gets going at night.

We dealt with Kate who runs the venue, she's really nice and well experienced in hospitality. On the day, her and her staff were absolutely amazing! Service was fab and they were all really friendly. Kate's really relaxed and calm about things which can be a godsend as a jittery bride but sometimes I found it better to pop up and see her to run through things rather than calling or emailing her, it felt a bit more productive that way. If you're a bridezilla this probably isn't quite the venue for you. Generally I found them all really accommodating and helpful (especially to co-ordinate suppliers), I think they're all genuinely nice people who want to put on the best event for you.

Food and drink
The options are really varied - they have in house chefs and you do need to use them, there isn't an option for outside catering (fine by us, less work). We had arrival drinks, a 3 course meal, drinks at the speeches and an evening buffet style bacon sandwich and chips type of affair which worked for us. I can't comment too much on the food, what I did have was lovely but I felt a bit too nervous and laced into my dress to eat properly and really enjoy it. The feedback from everyone else was great though! They do everything from afternoon tea to multi-course swanky stuff.  I found the food reasonably prices as well, no excessive cost per head.

There is no venue cost to use this venue! Yes, that's right to hire the main room costs nothing!!! You pay extra if you want the ceremony room and you obviously pay for food/drink etc. for your guests - this is really really unusual, some places we enquired at were £4k just for room hire before you even thought about feeding people, buying dresses or paying for a wedding cake etc. Crazy! The costs were really reasonable too, I didn't feel like it was "oh we heard it was a wedding so we added an extra zero to everything" that is way too common in the wedding industry.

If you've got any questions or you just want a chat about Leicester Warren Hall just drop me a line on Twitter or by email - best bet is to give them a call or pop in to actually see it in person, you'll be really pleasantly surprised.  Our guests all absolutely loved the venue which I was so pleased about - I didn't want to have the same wedding I'd seen 10 other people have too.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

How to save money on your wedding without compromising on style

I've said before I always envisaged myself getting hitched on the beach or in jeans in Vegas or something, just me and my husband. I always thought that the cost of weddings was ridiculous and was money that could be much better spent elsewhere - plus being the centre of attention isn't really either of our sort of thing. I blame Pinterest for the fact I ended up having an actual wedding day!

We were both determined that we would keep to a reasonable budget (a quarter of the average UK wedding), even though just that in itself seems like a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a day, and we managed to stick to it by making a few compromises without making the day look 'budget'. This meant we could spend more on the honeymoon - we spent more on the honeymoon than the wedding - and not start married life with a ton of debt. Sorry this is a LONG post!

I knew that a big hotel type of wedding probably wouldn't be for me in terms of style or numbers. I wanted something smaller and more intimate, in a barn type of setting but most that I could find in the area were way outside of our price range or not in the prettiest setting . Some of the prices were astounding but remember you can always haggle (try for extras thrown in rather than money off if you're not getting anywhere) and winter weddings/weddings in the week and even later weddings can work out cheaper.

We got married at Leicester Warren Hall in Knutsford, a venue which I could find very little about online, but fell in love with in person. It's in a lovely setting, barn-style and has a little ceremony room on site which is very Church-esque and kind of unusual. I'm planning a review on this shortly to help others who might be thinking of getting married there - I'll update with a link when this is live

I didn't want a big wedding but in total we had about 40 day guests and 80 evening guests - we could easily have had more even though neither of us has huge families but we prioritised spending the day with our nearest and dearest. For the venue we had, it was the right sort of amount I think.

Invitations and wedding stationery printing
All of this was done online using PaperShaker - absolute godsend!

Most of my decorations came from Ebay, online or from cheaper retailers. I had sequin tablecloths which I ordered from China (from here) for the same price as it would have cost to hire them, photobooth props from Ebay, candlestick holders from Matalan and photoframes from Poundland ha! I didn't do wedding favours either as they only end up in the bottom of someone's hadbag or kitchen drawer in my opinion, unless you give food, I got some little custom hearts printed from Ebay with our names and wedding date which a lot of people ended up taking home. I was really pleased about this as I'd thought about giving them as favours but didn't think anyone would want them!

Image from Ebay

I had real peony bouquets and buttonholes but my budget just wouldn't stretch to table arrangements etc - and I made the decision only to spend for the wedding on items where I could recoup the spend to some extent - so I made the decision to go for fake peonies in my wedding colours (from Ebay). You can find a centrepiece tutorial here.

Bridal party
I had two bridesmaids, Matt had a best man - no little flowergirls or ushers or extended, convoluted bridal parties. One of my friends had seven bridesmaids because she just couldn't choose and the thought of what she must have spent on our hair, dresses and jewellery alone makes me wince. Her wedding was fab though!

Living Social
My cake was from Vanilla Nova after buying a Living Social deal - the cake was absolutely amazing, we saved money but we didn't have to compromise on buying a bog standard cake from the high street that I've read some disappointed reviews about. We had strawberry, vanilla, lemon and chocolate orange tiers and actually managed to take some home. I had a few people text us after the wedding specifically to say how nice the cake was! Topper is a custom design from funkylaser.com.

Wedding Car
No wedding car for me - a few hundred pounds for a 20 minute journey (I got married and had the reception etc in the same place) was just not feasible so my bridesmaid's boyfriend drove us all up in his fancy car. It worked out better practically in the end anyway. And only the photographer saw us arrive as everyone was already inside.

My dress was from a wedding warehouse place (this one in Stockport). I spent about half what most people I know paid for their wedding dress and I was really really happy with the one I found, it was exactly what I wanted.   Ok so it's not as glamorous or pampering as getting fawned over in a traditional bridal shop and if they don't have your size that's it but that's where the money's saved. It needed no alterations but I couldn't wear heels with it (boo) so I just wore some Primark flip flops for comfort as you couldn't see them, so classy.

Calling in favours
Matt's a teacher so we had his colleague, who teaches photography, doing our wedding photos and we were so happy with the end results! He normally does arty stuff rather than weddings but he's now is thinking of branching out to do a bit more commercial photography. He even put together a selfie station for our guests which has produced some hilarious photos! Another person who really helped us out was a family friend who sewed my crystal belt to my dress.

I don't feel sentimental about anything I bought for my wedding - I'm a bit anti clutter so at the end of the day it's just stuff that had a purpose and now it doesn't.  I've Ebayed all my decorations and I plan on selling my dress as soon as it's back from the dry cleaners which loads of people are totally aghast at.  I'll keep a couple of bits in my memory box like an invitation, the tablecloth samples, Matt's speech etc. but realistically I won't wear my dress again and there's not much call for a sequin tablecloth in my daily life...

The only spend I'd change
The only thing that I felt like was a bit of a waste of money was the big fancy hotel we stayed in on our wedding night - we got there well after midnight and checked out at about 10:30am, most of which was spent asleep so it's not like we appreciated the room/made full use of all the swanky facilities etc. Matt didn't even get up for breakfast he was so hungover  tired. We could have stayed somewhere nice for half what we spent and had the same experience easily. But if you want a really fancy hotel...then go for it!

In the end...
I loved our wedding day, what we had was perfect for us, all of our guests really enjoyed it and I don't feel like that by making these little tweaks we lost anything in the process or that it felt bland/cheap, our friends and family all had a great time (as did we!). Plus our wedding and honeymoon has now been totally paid for in full, phew, so no debt hanging over us while we move into the next stage of life as Mr and Mrs.

My best advice to brides is to remember it's your wedding day, don't get too caught up in the hype or what other people think you should do.  You'll find a lot of people have a lot of opinions on what's right/what's an absolute wedding MUST, just let it wash over you and have the wedding you want. Oh, and it's ok to have a couple of meltdowns along the way, honest.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Appleyard Flowers Review - Strawberry Smoothie (and a 33% discount code for you!)

Another week, another bouquet - honestly I feel a bit like Elton John at the moment with the amount of flowers I've had in my house!  Today I'm reviewing the gorgeous Appleyard Flowers' Strawberry Smoothie bouquet - as you can see it's really pretty, pink and very girly.

The bouquet contains white hydrangea, sweet avalanche roses, kimsey germini and white alstromeria. I loved the roses in this, they looked absolutely perfect, like something out of a Disney film! It's a really pretty, delicate bouquet that I felt was really eyecatching. I didn't find it overly scented or anything either so if you're someone who loves the look of flowers but doesn't really like the smell this is probably a great option for you.

It was really well packaged for delivery and arrived when it was meant to (yay for efficiency!). The bouquet lasted about a week before some of the more delicate flowers in this bouquet started to go (roses) but most of the other stuff was still going strong at this point which is fab.  Probably by far the girliest flowers that I've had in my house! I think these would be perfect if you were looking to send flowers following the birth of a baby girl or if you just have a really girly, pink-loving friend.


Appleyard Flowers have kindly given me a discount code to share with you all for 33% off their bouquets, just type the following code in at checkout:


They do next day flowers and flower delivery Manchester too so perfect if you've left it a bit late or there's an event that you need a gift for that's totally slipped your mind!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Current GlossyBox Lip Favourites

I've written before about how I sometimes think I'm maybe a little too fussy f'sr beauty subscription boxes as I like to thoroughly research and choose my products carefully - I know, I know, I'm no fun!  However, what beauty boxes are fantastic for is introducing you to products you would never think of trying or you might not come across.

Step in my two current lip faves, both of which came in my last two Glossybox subscriptions:

The MeMeMe Lip Glide Velvet Lip Colour in Playful Peach is an absolute dream to use and I love the colour - it actually reminds me a little of the NARS lip pencils that are way more expensive. I've been using this a lot as I love that you can line your lips with it and use it to shade in without it looking harsh. It lasts well too! I'm definitely going to go and see what other colours this comes in, a nice matte pink and a winter berry colour would be perfect in this. This came in the August Glossybox.

The Lollipops Make Up Delicieuse Lip Balm has become a total every day fave, it's a fairly standard lip gloss in a squeezy tube but it smells/tastes beautiful - exactly like vanilla cupcakes with buttercream. It's gorgeous and I find myself applying it all day long. This was in July's Glossybox, which was French themed. Ooh la la!

For more info on GlossyBox and how to subscribe click here or follow them on Twitter!

Monday, 31 August 2015

Follow me on Instagram!

I've FINALLY got around to setting up Instagram properly and actually posting some photos (I know, I know, I'm behind the times!)

Follow me @lht1986

You can also follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, Bloglovin and Google+ to keep up to date with what's going on! Share your links in the comments below or drop me a line - I'm always looking for new people to follow too.

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Purifying Facial Mask

I've had this for ages but only just got round to trying it - still trying to stick to using up one product before I move onto the next, it doesn't always work but I'm trying!

I decided to use this on of those sticky, hot August days where I'd been rushing around and definitely needed some relaxation. I do not deal with heat well really! It was totally refreshing and cooling, way more than I expected it to be!

It contains green clay and almond oil but the mask itself is actually white and isn't actually like a traditional clay mask, it doesn't set hard but sits on your skin like a cream. It also contains cocoa butter (of course), shea butter and vitamin E. It isn't overly scented and I can't catch the famous sweet Palmer's cocoa butter smell, which some people might prefer. It feels really rich and moisturising while at the same time feels refreshing, cooling and almost a bit tingly. It was perfect for the day I used it on and I fell a little bit in love with it. 

As this mask didn't dry hard it was much easier to remove than a normal clay mask and came off easily just with water which is always a bonus - it means no ruined towels! My skin looked and felt really fresh and moisturised after using and I felt so refreshed. There's absolutely no tightness or dryness in my skin, it feels so soft.  I'll definitely be using this again (and again and again) - I wish I'd taken it on holiday, it would have been perfect!

Find out more on the Palmer's website.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

NYK1 Secrets Nailac Gel Polish - a new bottle shape and some new colours (Rock Royalty and Marina) added to my collection!

You know I love gel polish, whether I do them myself or get them done at a salon. At home I use NYK1 Secrets Gel Polish kit (read my review of the full kit here) and I now rarely wear 'normal' polish as I prefer just doing my nails once every few weeks. It's so weird how my beauty habits have changed, a few years ago I used to do my nails pretty much every day and love changing the colour every other day but now I just prefer to look groomed and for it to be convenient.

NYK1 got in touch with me about their summer colours and the fact they've designed a new, better bottle for all of their polishes - it's now in a square bottle with circular ergonomic application (basically you can pop the square top off for an easier grip for neater results).

They very kindly sent me two colours to review - Marina (a light blue polish that looks fab with a tan or darker skintones) and Rock Royalty (a deep purple that's probably a bit more wintery but I couldn't resist it).

So, did I like the new bottle? Much easier to use, easier to store and actually seems a bit easier to keep the bottles clean and in good condition. I definitely prefer it to the previous design. The top and base coats I'm using are still the old bottle so it's easy to see the difference. I found the new brush much easier to do larger areas like toes and thumbs too, a couple of strokes and it's done.

Here are my swatches (sorry for the gratuitous toe pics...eek!), each of these have 3 coats on plus top and base coat, and I find that this gives more than enough coverage on the nails. I've actually got it down to the point where I can do a full set of nails with this kit in 30 minutes tops - they're dry straight away and it's nice and easy to do neatly. It's probably quicker than using normal polish now that I'm pretty well practised and I'm good to go straight away.

My nails are still recovering from having acrylics on them for my wedding/honeymoon (oh, er and the fact I sat and picked them all off, oops) but with my gel polish on you can't tell they're damaged at all and it definitely protects them. They feel much stronger and less likely to snap with a covering of gel polish on.

To check out their range of gel nail polish - there are loads of different colours and glitters available - and other NYK1 Secrets products, visit www.nyk1.com. You can also follow them on Twitter @NYK1Secrets
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