Thursday, 30 December 2010

Product Review: Benefit Silky-Finish Lipstick

 You might have noticed from my recent A-Z of Beauty post that I'm a true MAC girl but the other day I picked up a new lipstick and have only good things to say about it.  Surely every girl has a bit of Benefit in their make up box but this is a lippie that I haven't seen doing the rounds on beauty blogs.  As the blog title suggests, it's their Silky-Finish Lipstick in jing a ling and is the most creamy nourishing lipstick I've ever used.
This is a pearl lipstick, so whilst the shade doesn't seem all that different to my lips when I first apply it, when I take a step back from the mirror my lips seem more moisturised, glossy and have that gorgeous pearly sheen to them.  It's a definite "your lips but better" shade which even Ed says is nice....and he hates virtually all of my lippies!

At £13.00 it's slightly more expensive than MAC and as that's my first love I was dubious to branch out and try other brands of lipstick.  I'm not sure if it's just me, but I hate the tacky feeling and bizarre lipstick line that MAC can sometimes give me; I'm happy to say that's yet to happen with jing a ling.  The shades available are limited (only 12!) so MAC wins hands-down for variety.  Benefit's packaging (as always) is stylish and cute, and with a nice weighty feel to it which in my eyes suggest quality!  I'm not sure on staying power; I never pay that much notice to it, but haven't felt like I've been shafted in terms of how long this lasts.  It's got a similar span to my other lipsticks.

Would I buy again?  Yes, I'd repurchase jing a ling as it's set to become a daily favourite alongside Speed Dial.  It's perfect to keep in my handbag for a slick of subtle colour when needed.  There were other gorgeous shades displayed at the Benefit stand but unfortunately I wasn't impressed when I tested them.  I have however got my eye on my treat; a bright pink from this range.

Have you got any Benefit lipsticks/glosses?  Which shades would you recommend?


Edit: Upon reading this back I realise it sounds like a Benefit vs. MAC post.  This lipstick stands on it's own merits, I merely used MAC as a comparison as 90% of lipsticks in my collection are from there.  Seeing as most other bloggers also own MAC I thought that using it to compare would be easier to visualise this lipstick's qualities.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

I even put money in the bank account


Eeek.  Not the best picture in the world (I always think I look moody in pics so I attempted a smile.  FAIL), I haven't quite got used to the settings on the new camera and the flash looks waaaaay too bright here.  Not the most fashionable outfit either, but it does the job and gives me the chance to show you the (top of the) awesome knee highs Mum got me for Christmas.  They're so soft and snuggly and don't create the dreaded thigh-overspill.  I still haven't worked out whether they're for outdoor wear or just slipper-sock type things, but they're keeping me nice and toasty atm!  The jumper is one from my bigger days, but lately I've found it's the perfect size for throwing on over a body-con skirt - and after all, a nice black jumper will never go out of style.

More sale shopping today.  Me and Mum hit Marks & Spencer for underwear bargains; I picked up a bra and snakeskin effect square boxish bag.  Ridiculous description, I'd hoped to include a link but it's not listed on the M&S website.  I love the shape, unlike anything else I've got, so even though Ed bought me a new bag for Christmas I couldn't say no.  I came home and ordered this and this from asos, to follow these that I ordered last week.  And for the first time ever I've purchased a clothing item from eBay.  Well, I say clothing I actually mean shoes.  I love these ones from River Island but couldn't quite justify £45.  I don't know why, I know it's not that much for a pair of shoes.  Maybe it's just because I hate River Island for slapping their logo across their handbags (they're a shop - not a brand I'd proudly display off my arm) and for being ridiculously overpriced.  But that's just me.  I actually fell in love with this pair from Office, but again, £95 is not something I can happily stretch to right now.  I searched and searched online, so when I spotted these on eBay I couldn't say no.  It remains to be seen whether they'll be of good quality and true to the picture, but I've got my fingers and toes crossed.

I realised that on Sunday's Afterwords I got so carried away with rambling that I forgot to do my usual summary at the end.  So I'll include it here for you all:

Standout blogpost of the week: Charlotte 
There were so many gorgeous Christmassy posts in the past week that really helped me get in the festive mood, but Charlotte posted this on Boxing Day and fuelled my desire to get my hands on a fur headband.  All of the decent ones on asos have disappeared and I don't want to order one without trying it first because I know I'll look like a complete idiot with it on.  The ones I've seen and loved have all come from Primark, but neither of my local stores stock it.  I've set my Nan on the case in London though and hopefully she'll come up trumps.  For another look at how gorgeous and snuggly the headband is, have a look at Annabella's blog.

Unexpected discovery of the week: Bread and Dripping
Now I know some of you will recoil in horror when I say this, and I was once like you.  But Christmas Day 2010 and I have become a fan.  It's quite disgusting really but oh so yummy; seeing as Mum can't stop roasting beef I've had it everyday since Christmas.  Now hands up who I've disgusted?

Thought for next week: no more crisps!!
I'm sure I'm not the only one to have over-indulged over the festive season but the diet starts now!  I've put on 4lbs so will be getting back to healthier eating asap.  In my defence though, Mum told me there was no room in the freezer for my Weight Watchers meals.  I've cleared a drawer out now though, the ready meals are back!

Only 3 more days to go....what are you all up to for New Years Eve?  Only 9 more followers to go till I hit 200....please help me make it happen by the end of 2010!
- Jumper: Warehouse - Shorts: Vero Moda @ asos - Socks: M&S - Bracelet: Disney Couture -  Rings: asos and Disney Couture (courtesy of Ed) -

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Afterwords...v.VI


Did you all have a spectacular Christmas?  I certainly managed to eat far too much and had serious Snacking Remorse....but it's Christmas and that's allowed right?!  I received my fab new camera from my lovely Ed, so expect to see a big difference in the quality of pics from now on.  I've also just re-downloaded Picasa so cropping etc should be much easier which will help as well.  Now all I need is a nice new room with a good backdrop for shots - only a month to wait for that!  Did you all find everything you wanted waiting for you under the tree?  I did, and I'm considering doing a Christmas pressie post, but I'm not sure if it will fit in with the blog as I try to stay away from "haul" posts; would it be something you guys would be interested in as a one-off for Christmas?

Christmas Day was great; we stayed at home and my sister and her husband came over for the day and brought their dog, Murry.
He's our dog, Lucy's Dad and my favourite animal in the world.  We spent the day scoffing, playing Singstar + Dance (so much fun, I had a real giggle dancing to Backstreet's Back - it shows you the proper 90s dance routine!) and Buzz, then finished off with EastEnders and Come Fly With Me.  I've spent all day with "Martin Clunes, Martin Clunes" stuck in my head as a result!  We went to bed happy, exhausted and with seriously full tummies.

Today me and Mum hit the sales.  I didn't end up buying anything from the sale but I am on the lookout for a New Years Eve dress, so any suggestions in the comment box will be appreciated :) I got a new lippie from Benefit - my first ever and I'm very impressed so perhaps expect a review of that to come soon.  Besides that I just bought bits and bobs and some new pens for my new creative streak I'm hoping to nurture in the New Year....watch this space for more on that!

I've realised I've written rather a lot and not even mentioned the clothes I'm wearing in this picture.  The skirt was an H&M classic at £3.99 but is actually my second one.  The first I managed to put my finger straight through, literally whilst rearranging the seam.  And I'm not talking about popping the seam, I actually managed to poke my finger straight through the material of the skirt.  Needless to say that was returned and although I exchanged for the same size this one feels much more snug.  I'm not sure whether this is just a sizing discrepancy or whether it's down to the volume of crisps consumed yesterday, but I'm dieting in the New Year so hopefully it'll be more comfortable then!

Mammoth post!  Hopefully you're all still basking in the post-Christmas glow; have you had your fill of family visits or is there more to come?
- Skirt: H&M - Jumper: Topshop - Bracelet: Tiffany (courtesy of Mum) -  Ring: Accessorize -

Friday, 24 December 2010

the cold wind is blowing and the streets are getting dark


If you follow me on Twitter you might have spotted my tweets about hitting the shops early the other day. Normally I wait for the sales but I couldn’t resist. We got paid early again this year, which is great in theory but it means January is such a long month and since we’re moving out at the beginning of February I’m aiming to spend as little as possible in the sales so I have enough to buy home stuff. But I digress. I picked this top up in Zara; the distressed faux leather (at least I think that’s what it is) shoulder pads and pockets are such a cute touch. That said, I am a sufferer of small shoulders which means the wide neckline is a bit of a problem and keeps slipping down. Either that or it ends up looking a bit like a cowl neck when I pull it on properly. I teamed it with my burgundy shorts for an AW colour scheme and have now just spotted the striped version online and desperately want that as well!

Despite it being Christmas Eve I’ve found myself feeling really moody today. Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older but I’m beginning to think that the only thing I like about Christmas is the buying of gifts; Lord knows I’ve been exceptionally bored today! I did talk my sister into giving me a cheeky manicure though; she’s in her first year at college studying Beauty Therapy so it was nice to be pampered with the various oils and such! I might have ruined it by painting my nails myself while she’s at work though, so I might have to sweet talk her into tidying them up a bit later!

I’ll take this chance to wish you all a ridiculously Happy Christmas. It really is the most wonderful time of the year, and I feel so lucky to work with children where the magic of Christmas is kept well and truly alive. Wherever you are tomorrow, I hope you’re surrounded by those you love and that all of your Christmas wishes come true. And remember to eat, drink and be seriously merry.

See you after the big day,
- Tshirt: Zara - Shorts: asos - Nails: Models Own in 25 Carat Gold -  Ring: asos -

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

before this river becomes an ocean


So I finally got round to investing in a pair of faux leather shorts and they haven't really been off my legs ever since!  I'm now thinking I may need to add this pair from Topshop to my wardrobe as well; in fact we hit Topshop for the first time in ages yesterday and there were so many things I wanted to buy.  It's always nice to visit another store besides your local and see all the different things they have in stock there.  I picked up this maroon jumper using vouchers that Dad gave me for Christmas.  It's got a split back but the photo I asked Ed to take to show you that turned out awful, so you'll have to take my word for it that it's cute....and perhaps have a look at the Topshop website.  My only issue is the bright white tag that you can (quite obviously) spot in the photos.  My first idea was to chop it out, but knowing me I'll forget whether it can go through the tumble dryer/what heat to wash it at/whether to turn it inside out or not, so for now the tag stays!

Today we went to Frankie & Benny's for a friend's birthday.  She's got the most adorable 11 and 8 year old daughters and it's always such fun to go out for something to eat.  We normally do it every other Saturday or so, so it was nice to go out today and hit the shops again afterwards today.  I spotted this ring in Accessorize and her daughter persuaded me I needed it.  It was so cute, I couldn't say no and I've spent a worrying amount of time using it to amuse myself with impressions of the sneezing  panda!  I also managed to track down some Backcomb in a Bottle; it's been making quite a buzz in the blogger community so I thought I'd better give it a try.  Worked out at only £3.49 using a voucher Boots are giving out with every spend over £5 so whether it works or not, I still got a bargain!

I really can't wait for Christmas now.  It's my Stepdad's birthday tomorrow and then another friend's on Christmas Eve.  I know the anticipation is the best part, but at this time of year I just can't wait for the big day to arrive!  The tree is piled up with presents I've bought for people, and to be honest that's all I really think of for Christmas Day itself.  I love to give out the presents I've bought for everyone and I'm so excited to give Ed the one present which is still a surprise for him.  Right now it's hidden up in my sister's room rather than under the tree....I know he can't be trusted and the minute he's at home unattended he'll go looking through to find out what he's got!  I also can't wait to get my new camera.  Trying to get a decent picture lately is depressing, and as kind as it is of him to take the photos for me, Ed doesn't really care that much and would rather do them as quickly as possible whereas I'd easily waste a good hour or so trying to get a shot that I'm happy with.  Note the wonky necklace in this post - down to me and I'd have taken at least 10 more pics to get it perfect!  So I'll be glad when I can take higher quality pics, invest in a tripod and sort out a space to take decent shots in our new place.  I'll have to make sure there's a wall in the boudoir I'm planning which I can use as a backdrop for blog pics.  Out of interest, where do you guys take your photos?
- Jumper: Topshop - Shorts: Vero Moda @ asos - Necklace: House of Harlow 1960 -  Ring: Accessorize -

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Afterwords...v.V


Clockwise: Jumper, Leggings, Camera, Necklace, Blazer, Eyeshadows (Top-Bottom: Amber Lights, Girlie, Sumptuous Olive, Cranberry)

I love to see what other bloggers are currently lusting after - it always gives me ideas for things I might like - so I thought this week I'd include my own Christmas wishlist.  This is made up of some things I've asked for (and which are currently waiting for me under the tree!) and other things I wish I'd asked for.  Under my tree at the moment is the Fujifilm S1600.  I'm a photography amateur but it's something I've always wished I could do.  I'm thinking the world of blogging could be my entry point into photography, and it's plain to see that my current camera is not up to scratch so I can't wait to get my hands on this and start taking some decent pics.  It's not a top of the range camera, but I've read the reviews and it'll do for a beginner!  Mum's bought me a lovely dainty Tiffany bracelet for Christmas but whilst browsing the Tiffany website looking for it to include, I spotted the gold and onyx necklace.  I wish wish wish I had a spare £600 to buy it, but sadly think that will be just a dream.  Or perhaps it could be my New Years Resolution to not buy any jewellery all year round and then maybe I'll be able to afford it...

I mentioned on Friday that I had a 60s themed fancy dress party to go to...it was cancelled cos of the snow!!  We've been planning it for months so I was gutted when Mum had to call it off.  It's rescheduled for February though so at least my outfit won't go to waste.  I did manage to venture out today however - it's a bizarre microclimate where I live, you'd think we were in the Arctic.  Get out of my close though (down the perilous hill) and the roads are completely clear and normal.  Very strange.  I went out for dinner tonight with some friends from school; one of them is the first of my friends to have a baby, she's 14 months now and the cutest thing ever, so it was great to spend some time with them.

Standout blogpost of the week: A Twenty-Something
I fell in love with Kelly's gorgeous outfit here; she looks so 80s chic and the proportions of the jacket suit her figure perfectly.  Kelly's blog is a vintage treasure, full of bargains she's sourced and vintage outfits I wish I could pull off.....definitely go and have a look.

Unexpected discovery of the week: the doctors' surgery
Unlike my older sister I go out of my way to avoid the doctors'.  I mentioned on Friday that Mum finally forced me to go and see my GP and I'm so glad I did.  I've been there with complaints since the age of 16 which get brushed off and I honestly had lost all faith in them.  I've got a new doctor now though and I'm feeling so much better thanks to the antibiotics prescribed....I don't think I'll be avoiding the surgery again!  Seriously girls, there are so many nasty bugs going around at the moment; if you're feeling under the weather definitely go and hopefully you'll be feeling better in time for Christmas!

Thought for next week: don't make any plans!
Christmas is so near and we're meant to be visiting Ed's family in Norwich Thursday-Friday but I'm not holding my breath.  Norwich is a magical city all year round so I'm dying to see it on Christmas Eve but at the same time I don't want to go up there and get snowed in and miss Christmas.  Have any of you had plans scuppered by the weather?

Friday, 17 December 2010

and pause

Image taken from weheartit

This post comes with a massive apology.  Last Sunday I complained that I felt like a bad blogger for inconsistent posts, then this week I've failed to write even one!  In my defence I have been ill and finally visited the doctors on Wednesday.  I assumed I'd get the "Viral Infection" brush-off that so many people from work have had, but to my surprise I was prescribed antibiotics.  Mum was also shocked to learn I am to take not two, not four, but EIGHT of these a day.  So perhaps I was iller than I realised!

Once I started feeling better I debated catching up with the missing posts and thought about posting a late Reason To Smile, but in the end I decided I'd rather wait and stick to having these only on Monday.  Perhaps next week I'll do two?  Either way, good news is that I'm on the mend and you can expect normal blogging from next week.  Well, as normal as can be expected during the run-up to Christmas.  We're off to see Ed's family on Thursday until Christmas Eve so probably won't manage to post then, and although I'd probably have stuff to blog about on Christmas I'm not sure how geekish that would make me?!  I suppose I consider all of you guys as friends though - my Blogging Family! - so perhaps it wouldn't be that sad to want to talk to you guys on the Christmas day?  Hmmmm let me know your thoughts on this conundrum!

Speaking of the Blogging Family, I'm so chuffed to see that even though I've been missing all week a few more of you have decided to click "Follow".  Thanks girls, it really does brighten up my day :)

Tomorrow I'm going to a fancy dress party - 60's themed so I've sourced a pencil dress and I'm going as Audrey Hepburn.  Like most I used to be a complete Party Machine during my uni days, but I've slowed down recently and can't even remember the last time I was drunk!  I'm looking forward to putting on some slap and a pair of heels though, may even post my first ever photo with my face showing....depending on how it looks!

What are all your plans for the weekend?

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Afterwords...v.IV

 

I feel like I've been a terrible blogger this week.  I haven't even managed to take a photo for this post, instead I'm using one that Ed took the other week messing around with my camera.  Above is Gus.  In real life he's a lot more gorgeous than he appears in this post (he could win a beauty pageant) but he's the least photogenic thing I've ever encountered and ends up looking like a scruffy stray in every picture!  Speaking of gorgeous things, this is my fluffy jumper from Next.  I had to get it in a size 16 so that it was long enough but it's soooo soft and snuggly - a definite favourite purchase!

We've just got back from an early Christmas with Dad....finally I am the owner of a MAC 187, Vegas Volt and Pinch Me blush.  Christmas dinner at school on Tuesday as well - by the time Christmas actually comes I'll be well and truly sick of Christmas pud!  Have you all finished your shopping?  With less than 13 days left I'm glad to say I've finished and they're all wrapped up under the tree!  For once I did my shopping early this year and for once I'm so glad not to be shopping at the weekends.  I cannot stand Christmas crowds!

Standout blogpost of the week: Diaryofawannabedomesticgoddess
Ok so this isn't about a specific post but more about a blog in general and a plea for you to all have a look!  She's a fledgling blogger who celebrated her birthday this week so I'm sure some new followers to help her get started would be a much appreciated present - she's a crafty lady so keep your eyes peeled for snapshots of all sorts of trinkets and treasures...I'm lusting after this cute pin atm!  You can also follow her on twitter here

Unexpected discovery of the week: The fab final present I got for Ed
I'm not going to say what it is because I know he sometimes snoops on here (even though I HATE it!!) but the other day I had a brainwave and ordered something that I hope he's going to love.  Rather than keep buying him little £10-£20 gifts I'm happy to have bought him one last, fairly big thing and as it's the only present he hasn't figured out yet I'm hoping it'll stay a surprise until Christmas!

Thought for next week: Only 5 days to go!
School finishes on Friday 17th and I am so ready for it!  I've found myself getting more and more short-tempered as the weeks roll by, so I am well and truly in need of a Christmas break.  Should be heading up to Norwich the week after which I'm looking forward to....it's a magical city anyway so I'm sure at Christmas it'll be a million times better!

What will your thought for the week ahead be?

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Afterwords...v.III

It’s sod’s law that I didn’t manage to get around to taking a photo yesterday when I actually made an effort. I had every intention of trying again today but when it came to getting up and dressed I just didn’t feel inspired. I bunged on my new H&M bodycon skirt (think Barry M's Mushroom for the colour) with an oversized black jumper and black tights, but spent the day without a scrap of make up on my face and am waiting to wash my hair later in preparation for work tomorrow. Bad hair and no make up does not a pretty picture make.

So instead of an outfit pic I’m treating you to a photo of what I spent my morning doing. It’s one of the many you’ll no doubt see on the blogosphere during this month but hey, I’m proud of it!  Unfortunately though it was too tall to fit it all in the picture and Mum has yet to move the dining room table so I couldn't stand far enough back to get it all in! It’s a tradition in our house for my Stepdad to decorate the fake tree in the living room with a multitude of mismatching plastic tat and multicoloured lights flashy enough to induce an epileptic fit, whilst me and my sister pick a colour scheme and decorate a real tree in the dining room in a more tasteful manner. The theme has been cream and gold for many years so this time we threw red into the mix…and I really like it! Our collection of wooden decorations also adorn the tree; it’s a tradition at the school we all went to (and that I now work at) for every child to be given a wooden decoration at Christmas…they’re all dated, and some of them date back to 1986! They’re for sale at the school Christmas Fayre and Mum still buys us one every year - you can tell which present is the best one because it’s got the wooden badge attached to it!

Speaking of the Christmas Fayre, that’s what we go up to yesterday. I was on the aforementioned decoration stall and it was a lovely way to get into the festive spirit. There were also some nice little handmade jewellery stalls and I picked up a cute pair of fairy earrings for a friend’s daughter for only £2! After a spot of lunch me, Ed and my sister went to buy a Christmas tree and the red decs…it was a busy day actually!

Standout blogpost of the week: Daisybutter
So this isn’t so much a blogpost, more of the blog in general. Every couple of weeks I fall in love with Michelle’s lovely blog but then manage to forget to read it. I don’t know why, I’m extremely forgetful. However I spent a good half hour in bed this morning feasting on the beautiful photography, amazing collection of tights and regular OOTD posts. Michelle is a great blogger and Daisybutter is definitely one to follow.

Unexpected discovery of the week: Katy Perry’s album
Music-related again I’m afraid! I never actually got around to downloading Teenage Dream, but when I saw it was only a fiver on iTunes to complete the album I figured I had nothing to lose. I now cannot get the songs out of my head. It’s got a great 80s party feel to it, I dare you to listen to Hummingbird Heartbeat without bopping along.

Thought for next week: Take the time to put yourself in other people’s shoes every now and then
There’s an abstract thinking behind this that’s a bit too in-depth to write down here….not sure you’d all be interested in it either! I’m not a selfish person, or at least I try not to be and I do as far as I can put others first. What I mean by this thought is not to assume that just because a person doesn’t directly ask for your help doesn’t mean they don’t want it. Today I put myself in someone else’s shoes and made the decision to reach out and let them know I’m here for them as I hope they would be for me. I hope it was taken with the spirit intended and appreciated.