Sunday, 23 March 2014

New In|Fashion Haul ft. Topshop and River Island

So as mentioned in my last post, my money has been burning a little bit of a hole in my pocket recently. A combination of having no boyfriend around and the fact that I threw all of my warmer clothes out before leaving for Sydney meant that I just HAD to invest in some new pieces. That's complete justification, right?!

Billabong Bikinis
Now having just mentioned warmer clothes, these two purchases quite obviously don't belong here. But, I thought they were just too pretty not to show off. These gorgeous sets are from Billabong and boy do those Aussies know how to make a good bikini! Having tried, and failed, for years to get away with cheapo purchases from Primark and H&M, I decided enough was enough and I should invest in some proper swimwear. And what can I say - I will never go back. I will definitely be trawling the surf shops of the UK to pick up some more further down the line.

I have been a huge fan of Topshop Leigh jeans for years - rave review here - but when a friend declared her love for the Jonis, I had to give them a shot. I was not disappointed. They are made of the same super soft, super stretchy fabric as the Leighs but come up a lot higher - which helps disguise the post-pizza food baby that is an all too common occurrence - and also seem to fit a lot skinnier on the lower leg. As with the Leighs, they are also really reasonable at around the £38 mark and are available in a vast array of colours and prints. I'll absolutely be investing in a few more pairs for Spring. Pineapple jeans anyone?!

I'm loving white tops at the moment and these two purchases are ideal for Spring when layers are a necessity. They are exactly the sort of items I love to wear for work - easy to throw on with jeans or skirts and a nice change from the dark colours I usually go for. It is starting to get slightly too warm for the thick jumper but this is the perfect neutral knit to throw in your suitcase to wear on holiday when the sun goes down.

Ralph Lauren Pyjamas
Lastly, as much as I hate to admit it, my onesie has been proving a little bit too warm recently and some new Spring PJs were in order. I'm normally a Primark kind of gal but as I'm now in the second half of my 20s (emits a little sob) I thought some grown up jammies were in order. I picked these from the Ralph Lauren Home outlet at Bicester Village so they were really reasonable at around £40 for the set. Not cheap, but not outrageous and they are SO comfortable that they were 100% worth it. Good job RL!

Are you also a fan of Topshop jeans? Do you splash a little extra cash on PJs & swimwear? Let me know! xx

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

New In|Boots Haul ft. Soap & Glory and Hydraluron

So it would appear that being 10,000 miles away from your boyfriend will result in two things:  

1. You will comfort eat everything in sight (mini eggs for breakfast anyone?)
2. You will spend every free moment shopping to distract yourself 

Point 1? Definitely not ideal. Point 2? Fantastic. (Especially as you will need to buy new skinnies as your old ones no longer fit, due to aforementioned Point 1)

Boots has therefore been luring me in over the last few weeks. And with the all too tempting 3 for 2 offers on, it would be rude to just walk out with 1 thing in hand. Right?!

Here's a few bits I've picked up recently:

Hydraluron Moisture Booster - £24.99

This is another beauty blogger favourite that up until now I've never had a chance to try out. Loved by the wonderful Caroline Hirons, this product claims to contain the worlds purest grade of hyaluronic acid which can attract 1,000 times its weight in water. As such, it promises to significantly increase your skin's hydration and ensure that any moisturiser you put on top will do its job ten fold.
I've been using this for around a week now so I don't feel I can do a proper review just yet but I have noticed that my skin does feel less tight during the day. My make up also seems to stay put for longer so it's looking good so far. I will be sure to post a full review in a few weeks.

Oilatum Natural Repair Face Cream - £7.65

I've been using this as my daily moisturiser now for around 3 years, even since Nic from Pixiwoo raved about it in one of her videos. I have very dry and dehydrated skin but a pea sized amount of this every morning ensures my skin stays supple and plumped up all day. It's also very reasonably priced and easily available in most high street chemists. I can't see myself straying from this any time soon.

No7 Beautiful Skin Melting Gel Cleanser for Normal / Dry Skin - £9.50

I did a review of this last year where I compared it to the Clarins equivalent. I still stand by everything I wrote back then and continue to use this as my normal cleanser. I love how it leaves my skin squeaky clean but without that horrible dried out feeling that some products can leave behind. Using this every morning and evening ensures my face is left thoroughly cleansed but radiant and soft at the same time.

MaxFactor 2000 Calorie Waterproof Mascara - £7.99

I absolutely hate buying mascara so when I find one that I love, I tend to stick with it. Enter: MaxFactor 2000 Calorie. This plumps up my lashes, adds length and gives them curl. It also doesn't flake, smudge or cost the earth. A complete winner in my eyes and one I would recommend to anyone.

Soap & Glory Clean On Me £6.00, Flake Away £8.00, Righteous Butter Lotion £10.00

I absolutely love the Soap & Glory brand and I always like to have a few of their products on the go at any one time. This classic trio with the original scent are favourites of mine and ensure that I'm left scubbed, buffed and moisturised to within an inch of my life. I am also completely in love with the new Righteous Butter Lotion - the same great body butter we have come to know and love but in a slighter thinner consistency and in a convenient pump activated bottle. So easy to apply in a rush, it sinks it much quicker than the original but leaves your skin just as soft and smooth. S&G - you have outdone yourselves!

What have you been buying recently? Have you got any favourites that you continue to buy religiously? Let me know! xxx

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Life|Sydney Snapshots

I've been back in the UK for 3 weeks now and already my 4 months in Sydney seem like a dream. The sunny beach days and balmy evenings are all rolled into one magical hazy image. I like to think all the memories will stay tucked in a little box at the back of my mind; ready to be opened when I have a quiet moment to look back.

Better still, I can dip into the vast amount of photos I took. Moments that will be frozen in time for ever. Snapshots that will bring the sounds and the smells rushing back. Here are a few of my favourites that I thought I would share with you.

Looking through these has actually made me a little bit emotional. I love the way photos can take you back to exactly how you were feeling at that very moment. I'm sure one day I will return. If only to re-live the heaven that was that molten chocolate fondant pudding....

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

NOTD|Essie Fiji

A little while ago, the blogosphere was alight with the buzz of an Essie polish named Fiji.

Before I had even seen swatches of the colour, I knew I had to have it. Not because of the blogger stamp of approval or the Essie gorgeousness guarantee; no, this was purely for the name.

Fiji is quite possibly my favourite place on Earth. In 2008, I spent a magical month there with my best friend. We almost wrote off a car driving around the mainland, put ourselves off rum for life after consuming far too much on a boat party and got the best tans of our lives sunbathing on the islands. It was the most incredible month of my life. And I knew having a polish named after the place that holds so many memories would make me smile every time I wore it.

I wasn't wrong.

Apart from the mental images this name conjures up, the colour of this polish is beautiful. A milky pink-toned nude which can be layered and built to your desired level. Personally, I prefer to lay down 3 coats to provide a true opaque light pink but 1 coat will leave you with a gorgeous delicate off-white finish.

I've got through about 3 bottles of this now and can't see myself stopping there. In classic Essie fashion, it applies smoothly and - with a good quality base and top coat - I can get a solid 4 days worth of wear out it. 

Fiji, you definitely did not disappoint. 

Now, all that I have to do is save up my pennies and return to the idyllic islands, with a little bottle of this in tow.

Well, maybe one day...

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Monthly Favourites|February

February was an odd month. 

It started off in the Southern Hemisphere in balmy Sydney with most days spent at the beach; it ended in frosty London, back at work and in a long distance relationship. Not quite what I had in mind but when does life ever go to plan hey? I got back to the UK around 2 weeks ago and feel like I haven't stopped since. Although, I've still had time to rediscover some fantastic old favourites and happily shop for some new ones. And who better to share them with than you lovely lot?! Here goes...

17 Beehive Lipstick is a product that was hugely hyped in Blogger World a few years ago now. It's a beautiful lipstick with a perfect 'my lips but better' hue and the formulation is creamy and just the right side of glossy. I repurchased it time and time again but then, as usual, my head was turned to other products and I forgot all about it. That was until last week. I spied it in Boots with its incredible new packaging - why has nobody thought of a mirror in the tube before?! - and have worn it every day since. The other bonus? It's an absolute steal at £4.79. Dreamy!

- The little red pot is a sample size of Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch, which was gifted from a friend. I haven't used a primer in ages but dug this out last week and it's love already. It does everything you want a primer to do - fills in fine lines and pores, creates a super smooth base for your foundation and then ensures it doesn't sink into your skin over the course of the day. You only need the tiniest amount so this pot will last a while but I think £26 for the large pot is totally worth it and I'll definitely be investing.

- When it comes to perfume, I'm a total creature of habit. So when my Mum sent me off to Australia with a bottle of Armani Diamonds I was a little wary. But it turns out she knows best - as always! - and it's a great scent that I get compliments on whenever I wear it. From now on, I vow to be more adventurous. Maybe...

- I'm also branching out with skincare as I'm unfortunately not getting any younger and really starting to notice it in my skin. I've been seriously impressed with all of the products I've tried from the Boots Botanics range but this Microdermabrasion Polish is definitely the winner. About once a week, I gently massage a pea sized amount of this all over my face, concentrating on any problem areas. It not only makes my skin feel amazing but I can see the difference instantly as well. I look forward to Sunday nights purely so I can use this - it's a true Holy Grail product.

- I'm not sure what else to say about KMS Tame Frizz Taming Creme other than - I bloody love it! It smells insanely good and actually does what it promises. Yes, it tames the frizz. And well, that's good enough for me! 

- Lastly, is something that has taken over my life so much that it deserves a mention. I'm back on the Tumblr wagon and it feels good. Pictures of incredible food, fashion to drool over and enough cute kittens to make anyone smile - an hour on this day a day, keeps the long-distance relationships blues away. For now anyway...

What have you loved this February? Are you on Tumblr? Let me know!

Happy March everyone xxxx

Saturday, 8 February 2014

2013|A Year in Photos - Part 1

So a second ago it was Christmas and New Year; now we are a week into February - how did that happen?! 2013 already seems like a distant memory but for me it really was an incredible year. Both personally and professionally I don't think I've ever felt happier; my relationships blossomed, I made some incredible new friends and got to travel to some beautiful destinations. Of course, it wasn't without its ups and downs and leaving the UK to move to Australia tested me in numerous ways but overall, it was an amazing year.

I've seen a few similar posts to these floating around and thought it was a great idea to document the past year and highlight some of my favourite moments. I hope one day, in years to come I'll stumble across these posts and all the memories will come rushing back. I don't write a traditional diary so this is the next best thing!

January started off with a bang in Edinburgh. I absolutely loved the city although I will admit the cold did get to me - I don't think I felt my toes for the whole 4 day trip. The rest of the month was like most Januarys - cold, wet and slow with limited funds left from Christmas! 
I did kick start a new health regime though; one which, although I did fall off the wagon a few many times, is still going strong. When I wasn't at work or in the gym, I lived in my onesie and lunched out with friends - an easy way to socialise on a budget!

February arrived and with it a new lease of life. I was promoted at work which was an amazing feeling and I also received a totally unexpected rebate from the tax man - cue a shopping trip and a new baby to hang off my arm! This was my biggest purchase of the year and one I still love to this day. I think it may have started a 'new year, new bag' tradition. I have an idea on what my 2014 bag will be but I'm not too sure just yet; it's a tough decision!

With my slightly larger pay cheque I also started to experience a lot more of London and fell deeper in love with the city. My friends and I discovered The Diner one rainy weekday night and it became a bit of an obsession - all of my cheat days were spent in this place! If you've never been, hot foot it to one of their locations (they have a few dotted around), order a BCC dog and a portion of sweet potato fries. You'll have to unbutton your skinnies but it will be so worth it.

Everyone in the UK knows that March is the month where you start praying for sunshine and warmth. The winter seems endless and all you want to do is walk to work without the need for 10 layers, a hat and a pair of gloves. 2013 was not much different but we kept ourselves busy with numerous selfies, an incredible night out at The O2 to see Girls Aloud and an amazing Alice In Wonderland party. I also jumped on the designer nail polish phone cover trend - I am a bonafide sheep.

April was a stand out month due to an amazing work trip to our company HQ in Austin. Everyone in the office had literally been counting down the days for months and when it finally rolled around, was one of the best 5 days of the year. We got to stay in The W which I pretty much jumped for joy over and had the opportunity to meet our international colleagues which was fantastic. We also went to IHOP for breakfast - need I say more?! 

After the gluttony in Austin, May saw a increase in the gym time and a new appreciation for the weights room. There was also plenty of time for fun and a girls weekend in Liverpool was another highlight of the year. We slapped on the fake tan and danced the night away - I definitely want to make time for more trips like this in 2014.

Finally June arrived and kick started a wonderful Summer. Mitch and I flew to Mykonos, an idyllic Greek island, to spend a week with my parents. It was probably the best holiday I have ever had - the crystal clear waters, pristine white houses and delicious local foods drew me in and I honestly think I left a little piece of my heart over there. Which means I'll just have to go back to retrieve it....

Up next - July to December....

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Life Update|A Londoner on loan to Sydney

As you can probably tell from a) the title of this post and b) my recent Instagram snaps, I recently bid the beautiful London a very tearful and emotional goodbye. The decision to leave was not an easy one but with a rather handsome and wonderful Aussie boyfriend, the move was inevitable and one that I knew I would never regret.

It has been 5 weeks since we arrived now and after a shaky month of wondering if we would ever find a nice apartment, stressing about finding a job and, perhaps most difficult, attempting to survive on picking up free Wi-Fi (hence the radio silence here!), I think we are finally settled. It definitely hasn't been easy and we both miss the UK a ridiculous amount but, with the plan to stay here for a year before returning, I am excited for the coming months.

I can't wait to share with you all my adventures and, most importantly, my Aussie hauls and beauty finds. But for now, a round up of the last few weeks...

1 The absolutely beautiful Michael Kors purse that my wonderful colleagues bought me for a leaving present. They know me so well - I absolutely love it and it goes perfectly with my bag. 2 A mountain of goodies from a beautiful family friend. I packed these with me for the 24 hour flight and boy did my skin thank me for it. I landed in Sydney with skin that looked a lot better than I felt! 3 I had a few days at home after I finished work to spend time with my family and was surprised with these beautiful flowers from one of my incredible friends from the office. Cue another huge sobbing session! 4 If they hadn't been generous enough already, 2 of my team mates surprised me another present - An Australian survival guide. Mountains of chocolate, lots of Aussie paraphernalia and this beautiful palette. It has traveled the miles with me and it's now an everyday stable.

1 A final weekend with my oldest best friends from school was finished off with brunch at The Breakfast Club. It was truly delicious and a perfect way to say a short-term goodbye. 2 After an incredible leaving party with work, we made it to Duck and Waffle for breakfast at 5am. It was perhaps the funniest, saddest and most surreal meal I have ever had; not to mention delicious. If you're ever in London and get the late night munchies, this is the place for you. I'm already looking forward to a reunion night out followed by a trip here next year. 3 A perfect last Sunday spent with my family and dearest friends. My beautiful 9 year old niece is my favourite person in the entire world and when she started to cry when saying goodbye, it completely broke my heart. Lots of Skype sessions are getting me through until I can see her for cuddles again! 4 A photobooth snap from the aforementioned leaving party with the aforementioned Aussie paraphernalia. I think it sums up the night perfectly....

1 I made it! A day trip to Manly polished off with a little pot of heaven. 3 More delicious food - this time it was heaven on a plate courtesy of Pancakes On The Rocks - an absolute must if you are ever in Sydney! Thankfully I have a gym in my new building as otherwise I might return to the UK a few stone heavier than when I left.. 4 One of my favourite days here so far. A perfect morning of watching the boys surfing at a deserted beach. It truly cemented the 'Aussie dream feeling', even after a 6am wake up call.

So, what's next? A 25th birthday, a sweet new job (literally) and a run in with Russell Crowe. Watch this space....