14 things I'm looking forward to in February

1. Having money again! Albeit briefly... 
2.  The #lblogger's Brunch in Guildford.
3.  Spending time with my niece, Ella.
4.  Buying a new pair of shoes.
5.  Celebrating our 4 year anniversary.
6.  Having a day trip to London with my bestie.
7.  Perhaps seeing some of my work down the gym begin to pay off?
8.  Half term.
9.  Possibly (probably) getting a new tattoo.
10.  The days getting warmer - please!
11.  The fact that it's only a 4 week month.
12.  Being able to wear lighter and brighter clothes.
13...ditto for nail varnish and lipstick.
14.  Celebrating my big sister's 30th.

And as for January... 1, 2, 4, 7 (showers instead of baths), 9, 12 and 14 all happened.  3 and 11 have rolled on to this month!


Pacifica Soy Candle in Island Vanilla

You may have noticed, but candles are really becoming my thang.  So when I was offered the chance to review one of the Pacifica range I jumped at the chance.

I chose the fragrance Island Vanilla because, well, I'm a vanilla fiend (although UberFacts did go someway towards putting me off!) and I say you can never have too many vanilla candles.  This one doesn't smell as sweet as my other offerings and is a welcome change with it's slightly cleaner and more grown up take on vanilla.

Besides the smell, this candle is a real statement on my desk or bookshelves with it's vibrant pink hue zinging (is that a word?) out against the all-white background.  It also burns with a really big, orange tipped flame.  Not sure if anyone else is bothered by this, but I hate lighting a candle only to find the flame is miniscule.

As far as I'm aware, I've never had a soy candle before, and I'm lead to believe they're much better than plain old wax.  Apparently they burn cleaner as well as slower and cooler.

All in all, I'm really impressed with this candle.  I've been having a nosy online and all of Pacifica's other offerings are just as beautifully packaged....I want to get my hands on the Mexican Cocoa and Mediterranean Fig ones next!  If you like the look of these, you can buy one from Himalaya-uk.com.


Diary of a Spendaholic 19

Boots - £20
After a week of spending absolutely nothing, I went nuts and not only broke one of my New Year's Resolutions and spent an obscene amount on moisturiser.  It smells amazing though and was on 3 for 2.  I'm sure I could have resisted if it weren't for the fact that I'm going out tomorrow which in my head made this purchase completely logical.

Topshop - £8
Primark - £8
Boots - £14.48
Boots - -£14.48
Night out - £30
You'll notice Boots is listed twice; I got instant buyers remorse and for the first time in my life I returned my purchase within 5 minutes.  The Toppers purchase was a top to wear out and the Primark money was spent on a belt for a possible outfit and a basic jumper-y top.  And on reflection, £30 is a bloody cheap night out.  Not hard when I don't drink.  That £30 was on petrol to get there (which will actually last me most of the week), £10 to get into the club and then £10 on taxi back to my car and a sneaky McDonald's on the way home.  I'm so cheap, I made do with one lemonade my friend bought me whilst we were there.  But my dwindling finances have scared the beejeezus out of me!

Boots - £5
I rushed out to spend my No.7 voucher and managed to find a really pink under eye concealer which I'm hoping will be good.  Oh, and 3 Creme Eggs. 

Total for the Week: £71 Considering a night out occurred this is a really good total.  I'm terrified of next month when I need to pay for council tax, contents insurance and tv licence.  February is the worst month ever!!


My tanning routine

For some reason, way back when when I wrote down my New Year's Resolutions, I didn't actually write down one that I really wanted to try with.  Firmly in my mind was the aim of maintaining a nice tan without going overboard and orange and without going horribly patchy.  In my 18-21 club-frequenting stage of life I was a tangerine dream, but I never actually mastered that healthy glow that looks good all year around.  Many said I couldn't do it (Rachael, I'm looking at you), but now January is drawing to a close I think it's time I patted myself on the back for achieving a month-long tan!  Now after a month, I in no way think I'm an expert, but I am pretty pleased with myself so I thought I'd share my new regime with you all.

My first step is to exfoliate.  Not rocket science, but I only ever used to do this when my tan was all patchy and way past its last legs in a desperate bid to remove it all.  I now exfoliate religiously the night before I tan and at the moment I'm using That Vanilla Moment body scrub by treaclemoon.  This stuff is really inexpensive (it helped that I had a box full of it from past Christmases under the bed), readily available at Tesco and as far as I'm aware doesn't have any oils in it so doesn't leave an oily residue which can affect the tan.  I'm loving the vanilla fragrance at this time of year, but I also have coconut and raspberry flavours which I'm looking forward to using in the Summer months.

The night after I've exfoliated I tan using St Moriz dark mousse with a tanning mitt.  I remember finding this stuff in Savers in Norwich years ago and really loving it.  I'm glad it's now much more widely available (I buy it in Tesco), but I don't appreciate the price hike.  That said, with all my tanning experience (tangerine dream, remember) this is without a doubt one of my favourites and the most foolproof one to use.  It's virtually streak-free for even the messiest tanner, but only if you get the mousse!  I used the lotion variety before Christmas and was the streakiest I've ever been.  My arm looked like a rasher of bacon.

For the next two nights I moisturise.  On the first night I use my Body Shop Chocomania Body Butter which smells immense.  It also tastes disgusting and manages to transfer easily onto my lips (no idea how, I'm not putting it on my mouth) if I don't remember to scrub my hands straight away after using it.  This stuff offers up to 48 hours of hydration and really leaves my skin feeling soft.  Despite the 48 hour promise, the next night I like to use My Coconut Island by treaclemoon which smells yummy and is much lighter in texture.

And on the next night, I start it all over again!  Like I said, before I used to tan intensely in preparation for an event or night out, only to have to go on a real detox to get rid of all the patchiness which was left because I didn't take care to maintain the tan.  With this method I have a healthy glow all the time with no dreaded tide marks!

How do you tan?


6 of the Best: River Island Bags

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
River Island seems to have had a real turnaround lately.  There was a time when I detested the place and wouldn't step inside, now it's my go-to shop.

Admittedly, I'm still not sold on the quality of their bags; I hate that stiff plasticky fabric, but the colours have sold it to me.  Can you tell I'm loving bright 'pops' of (garish) colour?  And I know the black isn't really in keeping with this, but I love the shape and, well, you can never have too many black bags right?


What I wore last week...3

Monday: Primark jeans, Topshop jumper, River Island coat, Next scarf, Office wedge trainers.
Tuesday: H&M leggings, Primark shirt, Pull & Bear cardigan, I can't remember the shoes!
Wednesday: Primark jeans, Zara jumper, Converse trainers.
Thursday: Primark jumper & jeans, Office wedge trainers.
Friday: Primark jumper & jeans, Office wedge trainers.
Saturday: H&M jumper, Primark jeans, Mary Jane Fashion coat, Topshop scarf, Office wedge trainers.
Sunday: Primark jeans, Zara jumper, Topshop scarf....Office wedge trainers (again!)

I ran out of light so the close ups are a bit sparse this week...


Diary of a Spendaholic 18

Primark -  -£7
Superdrug - £2.49
Costa - £3.30
House of Fraser - £2.50
Boots - £4.37
I went and returned a pair of the jeans I bought last week in Primark; they had that horrible Primark jeans smell that made me feel sick.  Then I spent some of that money on essentials.  And come to think of it, with the exception of Costa and House of Fraser, all of this has been spent on skincare essentials.  Oh, except for £1 in Superdrug on an MUA lipstick.  And the House of Fraser money was on more Yankee Candle Wax Tarts...they're my kryptonite!  
I'm counting down the days till payday.  There are some bits in Debenhams that I want to buy, and I was pleasantly surprised when walking around town today because there is absolutely nothing I want to buy, clothes-wise in the shops.  I spend an awful lot of time internet window shopping, so it's a good feeling knowing there are no clothes out there to tempt me!

Republic - £5
Topshop - £18
Lush! - £5.95 
I went into town with the sole intention of spending £12ish in Lush.  Instead, I spent half that amount and then a whole lot more in other shops.  The money in Republic went on bargainous jewellery (2 Urban Outfitters-esque wrist cuffs for £2(!) which would have been quadruple that in UO) and in Topshop I bought make up and a purse.  As I always say, "in my defence..." I needed a new purse because Dudley decided to eat mine.  This one was £15 in the sale, real leather and unlike any other purses I've really seen.  More of a mini clutch than a purse.  The make up really wasn't necessary, but I love Topshop blushes and this was £3 for a palette with two.  I don't feel bad at all.

Total for the week: £52.95 I shocked myself this week when I came to write this.  It may be because I've been neglecting to note everything down in my notepad, but I suddenly realised that until the weekend I hadn't spent a bean.  I then made up for it though.  But 90% of what I bought was necessary (boring) things so I guess it's not too bad.  Although my mooch around town today has left me desperate for some new shoes.  But I'm being good, so I've scratched the Debenhams bits off my wishlist....until mid-month when I'm extremely likely to end up buying those as well!

How's your spending looked this week?


Autograph Pure Colour Mono Eyeshadows

When I received M&S vouchers for Christmas I figured I'd spend them on something boring - bras.  I'm not being ungrateful when I say that, but I find bras for a fuller figure extremely boring.  Coupled with my narrow back, non-existent shoulders and the fact that I lost a bit of weight and am now slightly misshapen (it's what the bra-fitter lady told me.  Not a side-effect I expected, but she took one look at me and knew I used to be considerably larger), I find bra-shopping a chore and hate having to pay the earth for a bra because it uses more material yet still doesn't fit me properly.  But I digress.  Rant over!

So there I was, first bra I'd found in my size dumped in my basket (no way was I queuing for the changing rooms, I'd try it on at home and no doubt return it the next day) when I stumbled across the new beauty hall.  Tucked away somehow in the middle of the store, all bright and shiny with faux chandeliers like a beacon of hope and light in the extremely busy M&S, I thought the beauty hall was something only to be found in London stores.  But nope, here was my local stocked with the likes of Nuxe, Philip Kingsley and Murad.

So did I buy anything from any of these big brands with my voucher?  Well, no.  As usual the make up distracted me.  I dumped the bra and filled my basket with all the blushers and eye shadows that caught my eye.  Then I realised I'd gone way over budget and settled for these two instead.

My thinking behind picking up Burnished Copper (the darker, glittery one) and Brown Suede was that they will, of course, help me to look more like Cara Delvingne.  Urban Decay's Naked and Buck, as well as the few MAC matte browns I have just aren't dark enough but these are perfect.  And while I know Burnished Copper isn't completely matte, with a bit of blending the glitter isn't all that noticeable.

I've yet to play around with these shadows (I may upload the result....not that you'd know it's me and not Cara) but already the quality has really impressed me.  They're silky smooth to touch; the box describes them as "satin smooth" which is exactly right.  I'd say they're easily on par with Urban Decay shadows in terms of how smooth they are.

And the best bit?  These come in at just £6 each.  I'd always thought the Autograph range of make up was more expensive, but at £6 these are really reasonable and I'll definitely be picking up more.  Olive, Purple Rain and Taupe are next on my list.  FYI, Olive stayed in my basket all the way to the till but got put back in favour of the kindle case and socks I mentioned here.

Autograph Pure Colour Mono Eyeshadows are available in M&S, or online here.


Empties 04

Lee Stafford Treatment For Hair That Never Grows Past A Certain Length
I used this stuff religiously a few years ago and saw results in the condition of my hair.  I'd given up but recently decided I wanted to try and give my hair a boost and help it grow.  I turned down the option of buying them at Boots when they were on offer, remembering I had this pot at home.  Turns out I literally had one scoop left.
Would I repurchase?  Yes, but Boots has deals on Lee Stafford all the time so I'll wait until then.

Clinique Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturiser
I mentioned this in my Winter skincare post and really enjoyed using it.  It nourished my skin and left it feeling really moisturising without being too thick.  A bit pricey though.
Would I repurchase? I already have.  I took advantage of Debenhams 15% off so it was slightly less of a sting.

Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream
I received this sample when I bought the Hello Flawless foundation way back in June but only just got round to using it.  It was a nice moisturiser, but very rich.  I would only use this overnight - even with my dry skin - because it would be much too thick for daytime.  It moisturised my skin, but nothing special.
Would I repurchase? No.

Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation
Hands down my favourite drugstore foundation.  Possibly of all time.
Would I repurchase? Definitely.  I'm on my second bottle now.

Aussie Lusciously Light Aussome Volume Conditioner
This smelled typically Aussie and left my hair feeling soft.  I normally use the 3 Minute Miracle, but this was nice to use when trying to be quick in the shower.  I didn't necessarily notice any volumising results though.
Would I repurchase?  Yes.

Sainsburys Coconut Room Spray
Technically not a beauty-type empty, but one I thought I'd share with you nonetheless.  I'm obsessed with all things coconut-scented and this smelt lovely and coconutty.  Ed called this a waste of money when I bought it, but it was about a fiver and a quick spritz definitely freshens up the room.  And as for a waste of money...this thing lasted about 18 months, easily.
Would I repurchase? I'm using an Avon one at the moment but when that runs out I will.

Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula Daily Calming Facial Lotion
CONFESSION!  Looking back at my last post, I think this bottle was left over from that.  I definitely haven't got through two of them.  Unfortunately everything's been thrown away now, so I can't re-take this photo!
Would I repurchase? Yes.

Benefit The Porefessional
Another one left over from when I went nuts with the Glamour freebies.  This does disguise pores, but they're not much of a problem for me.
Would I repurchase? No.


What I wore last week...2

Monday: H&M leggings, H&M jumper, Topshop scarf, Label Lab blazer, Office wedge trainers.
Tuesday: Topshop jumper, Primark jeans, River Island coat, Primark scarf, asos boots.
Wednesday: Topshop leggings (with Primark super cosy tights underneath), jumper and necklace, River Island watch, Office wedge trainers.
Thursday: H&M jumper, Primark jeans, Mary Jane Fashion coat, Topshop scarf, H&M boots.
Friday: Sparkle & Fade jumper, Primark jeans, Topshop scarf, asos boots.
Saturday: F21 jumper, asos jeans, Topshop scarf, Mango blazer, Converse shoes.
Sunday: H&M jumper, Primark jeans, H&M necklace, River Island blazer (both not pictured), Office wedge trainers.

The close-ups:


Diary of a Spendaholic 17

Trying to take varying photos that were spending-related was becoming a tricky and tedious task.  2013 will be the year of random photos!
Ok so I'm back to it.  I allowed myself two weeks of guilt-free spending over Christmas and you know what?  I'm not even sorry.  Back to work this week so the spending will have to stop...for which I am very grateful!

I've become obsessed with midi-length skirts and have decided I need one.  Not sure I can pull it off though, so I'm reluctant to splash out too much on one.  I've been scouring the internet and think I'll go for an asos one once payday hits.

Primark - £36
Sainsbury's - £4
H&M - £5.98
Clintons - £1.75 
Costa - £3
I went in town with the intention of picking up a tube skirt that was midi length and ended up going a little overboard.  In the back of my mind I knew I needed new jeans so I ended up getting two pairs of Primark's super soft skinnies as well as the aforementioned skirt, a hoodie for Ed and a little present for my new niece(!!!)  The presents didn't stop, the spending in Clintons and H&M was also on her so, I feel, totally justified.  The Costa however was unnecessary.  I was feeling sorry for myself and the shops weren't open.  It wasn't even worth it :(

Primark -  -£1
River Island - £12
Went to return the skirt bought yesterday in Primark and spotted another in River Island for a fiver more.  Still undecided whether I'm definitely keeping it, but I'll have a play around and see how it fits in with the rest of my wardrobe.  After buying it, I strutted confidently into Primark intended to head straight up the stairs to get a refund.  Then I saw some really nice loose knit tops.  The sort that hang nicely and would be £18+ in Topshop.  These were just £6 so I got one in exchange for the skirt.  Now I plan to go back and get more.

Total for the week: £61.73  After two weeks it hurts adding up totals again.  I don't think it's too bad though, because with the exception of the skirt this was all spent on presents (which I think I've clarified don't count!) or wardrobe staples that I did actually need.  I'll be better next week!


Yankee Candle Wax Tarts

You've seen this photo before, but for anyone nosy out there (like me), I thought you might like to see which wax tarts I opted for.  I've said it before but spending an extortionate amount of money on a candle is just not something I'll do, and at £20 for a big jar, Yankee Candles are on the expensive side.  £1.25 per wax tart is much more my price range.  I burn these in a cheap oil burner and they really do fill the whole house with their fragrance.

I got these from Debenhams and House of Fraser, where I spent a good amount of time sniffing them all to find my favourites.  In the end I went for Red Velvet, Sweet Strawberry, Honey & Spice (burning now....smells so good), Vanilla Lime and Warm Spice.  Sweet Strawberry and Vanilla Lime are really fresh scents so will be perfect for Spring/Summer.

Besides those, their Christmas tarts and some others were reduced down to 63p, so I picked up Christmas Cupcake, Sandalwood Vanilla and Sun & Sand.

On the back of these it says that they burn for up to 8 hours.  Not sure how they worked that out, because I just crumble a bit into the top of a burner so surely you could make it last as long as you want it to?  Either way, it does the same job as the big glass jars and whilst they may not last as long it's a lot more purse-friendly!

Are there any other scents you think I should check out?


The rose gold glittery manicure

Rose gold nails are something I've been after for quite some time. There is an abundance of gold polishes out there on the market, but rose gold surprisingly is not that readily available.  Anything that looks remotely rose gold-ish often turns out to be much more of a pink than anything else.  But, I have found a solution.  And perhaps most surprising is that I found this in Tesco.  And for under £5.

I started with a coat of OPI Nail Envy.  I love this stuff.  It's made my nails so much stronger and stopped them peeling and flaking.  Removing glitter nail varnish is a b****, so applying a base coat should (in theory) help ease this problem a little.  Next up I used Nails Inc Caramel which was one of their Diet Coke releases.  I was actually desperate to try this glitter and put it over a nude grey at first which also looked great, but I figured something more similar in tone would help to really achieve that rose gold look.  Next I applied 2 coats of the pièce de résistance...Molten Copper by Accessorize.  This is a really glittery polish that applies pretty much as glittery as it looks in the bottle.  Not like the ones you get that turn out to be 10% glitter, 90% clear polish.  As glitter polish has a tendancy to feel quite gritty, I finished with another coat of Nail Envy just to smooth down any rough edges.

And there we have it!  I have another rose gold nail varnish on its way to me in the post, but I'm liking this glittery alternative.  What do you think?  


What I wore last week....1

(God my mirror needs a good clean!  Believe it or not, I already cleaned it once!)
Tuesday: Primark jumper & jeans.
Wednesday: Topshop leggings, Sparkle & Fade jumper, Mango coat, H&M boots, Michael Kors bag.
Thursday: Primark shirt, Topshop skirt, Primark Super Cosy Tights, Zara leather jacket, H&M boots, Michael Kors bag.
Friday: Topshop leggings, Primark vest, H&M jumper, Mary Jane Fashion coat, KG by Kurt Geiger wedge trainers.
Saturday: Primark jumper & jeans....I was having a lazy day so I recycled my outfit!
Sunday: H&M leggings, Topshop jumper, River Island coat, Primark boots.

Now for the details:


Elizabeth Arden Bargains

More sale shopping! I spotted these beauties when on a recent shopping trip to Guildford with Lizzie.  Until now I've never bought anything from Elizabeth Arden, nor do I think I've ever managed to bag higher end make up in the sales. 

For starters I picked up this lipgloss in Sparkling Ruby 02.  We'd been looking in MAC and nothing had really wowed me enough to purchase.  Our first reaction when we spotted this was that it was very like MAC's Cranberry in a gloss.  I wouldn't say it's ruby like the name suggests, more of a burnt pinky red.  This does however translate more red on the lips.  I've yet to wear it out (too busy playing with all my other make up), but when I did try it on the lips it felt nice and thin and not too sticky.

Lizzie picked up a lovely pink blush, but as usual I was drawn to this more peachy shade - Peach Sorbet 07.  It's not dissimilar to other blushes I own; reminds me of Topshop's Head over Heels in a powder form and is reminiscent of their Whimsical lipstick, but a girl can never have too many peach blushes.  This is perfect for an almost contoured look, rather than an obvious pop of colour on the apples of the cheeks.

Now here comes the best bit.  The lipgloss and blusher were originally priced at £15 and £24 respectively, but I managed to get both of these for just £19.

Have you found any high end bargains recently?  What do you think of these two?