Thursday, 31 July 2014

Haul: Rare

I’ve been meaning to schedule this post for ages, which is why I’ve worn both items before actually getting round to posting this, so apologies. But I guess it also helps make an accurate account of what I actually bought. I love summer shopping – all those bright colours and prints, and finally an opportunity to get those bronzed legs on show.
Cream shift dress with pu detail front (link) // Nude floral printed co-ord top (link) // Nude floral printed co-ord shorts (link)
I’ve been after a co-ord for so long but I was always unable to find one I liked, or would suit me – so when I saw this in the sale, I couldn’t resist. I love the floral print, but also like the nude base colour, which offsets the brightness of the blues and pinks. I found the material really light and I wasn’t too hot wearing it. It’s perfect for wearing day or night – it can be a casual look with sandals for a day by the beach, or teamed with heels for an evening out. I’ll definitely be packing this for Portugal. In fact, I want another!
To qualify for free delivery, I had to spend another £20, so chose this cream shift dress with motif. I rarely wear white or cream as I’m forever dropping things down myself, but there’s no colour better in hot weather – plus it looks great with a killer tan! I loved the pattern of the front and when it arrived, was really pleased with the fit – it’s not too short, but just enough.  I wasn’t put off by the fact it was advertised as something someone from TOWIE wore, but I have to admit, I felt very Essex when I wore it! The material is soft and floaty and it’s such a cute, girly dress.
Have you bought anything from Rare recently?

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Haul: New Look

When New Look recently tweeted a photo advertising some (new) summer stock, my eyes immediately turned to the necklace. At this moment, I knew I had to have it, so after tweeting New Look asking for the product code, I was straight on the website! It was definitely an impulse buy, but I didn’t stop there.
I loved the whole outfit the model was wearing, so I ended up buying it all! It’s such a lovely outfit suited for summer and I believe you can never have too much floral in your wardrobe – it’s the print I love most this season. Apologies for the photo quality, I really struggled finding places to hang these items!

Mesh chunky chain necklace (link) // Floral print crop top (link) // Cream crepe wrap skort (link)
I’ve found the necklace perfect for all occasions: day or night, for work, or social occasions. It’s such a statement piece and instantly adds glam and attitude to any outfit. It’s probably my best buy in ages – it’s so versatile.
There’s not much to say about the top, other than it epitomises summer! It’s floaty, it’s fun, it’s colourful – I love it! Since I started my teatox, I’ve noticed my constant bloating has reduced and it’s given me the confidence to wear clothes like that. With some toning up continuing to drink the tea, I’ll definitely be buying more crop tops – it makes me so excited for my holiday in September!
I’ve finally bought a skort! I’ve been swaying towards one for ages, but was always put off because it brought back horrible childhood memories of skousers (did anyone else own a pair or two?!). I finally took the plunge and this crepe skort in cream is my summer love – I’m desperate for the pastel pink and mint alternatives as well. I couldn’t resist adding it to my basket and it will look great with a killer tan! I’m already deciding when to debut it...
Have you bought anything in New Look recently?

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

What’s in my makeup bag – July 2014

ClaireaBella makeup bag
Ted Baker cosmetics bag
REN Satin Perfection BB cream
Rimmel BB cream 9-in-1
Clarins Hydraquench tinted moisturiser
Maybelline Fit Me pressed powder
MUA Mosaic bronzer
Rimmel natural bronzer
Bourjois cream blush
Makeup Revolution eyes hadow palette
Natural Collection solo eye shadow
Soap & Glory Thick & Fast mascara
Teeez Desert Metals mascara
Too Faced Better than Sex mascara
Teeez Mysterious Crystal eyeliner
Boots sponges
FCUK bronzer brush
Lola kabuki brush
Ruby & Millie eye shadow brushes
These are just my everyday essentials and I have drawer full of samples, testers, half-used products and those I don’t like or use anymore. I really need to have a clear out and start again, but I never have the time.
During the summer, I always wear tinted moisturiser – in fact, I generally tone down my makeup. I’m yet to find a better tinted moisturiser than Clarins, even though it is a little on the pricy side (£30 for 50ml). REN is a perfect base to start my makeup and I just love the light formula of the moisturiser – it’s also the perfect shade. When I do wear foundation, I still to Maybelline’s Fit Me.
A lot of the products I’m currently using and love have come from Latest in Beauty boxes. As I’ve said before, REN BB cream is perfection in a tube and now my sample is running out, I’ll definitely be purchasing it. My current fave mascara is Desert Metals by Teeez. The wand and brush are a good size and you literally only need to do one sweeping motion to cover all lashes. The bottle is pretty unique too. I use it most days, but to mix it up, I also use Better than Sex by Too Faced, which has grown on me since my last post. I don’t think it’s quite worthy of the hype but it’s a good product! I’m also loving cream blush and even though there’s a powder version in my back-up bag, I’ve not used it since I’ve been using this Bourjous blush. I don’t think I’ll ever go back either – I’m a convert!
I rarely wear eyeliner but yet again Teeez have delivered! I wore this the other day to complete my evening look and now I can’t seem to get enough of it. My trusty Ruby & Millie eye makeup brushes have been part of my kit for years, I just can’t part with them! I really need to get a foundation brush and add to my collection. Could anyone recommend a decent brush cleaner as well?
What’s currently in your makeup bag?

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sunday Snapshots #32

Tuesday was mum’s birthday and with everyone having work the next day, we ended up just celebrating at home with a Pizza Express takeaway. We ordered dough balls, cheesy garlic bread, an American Hot and a Pollo ad Astra between the four of us. It was definitely my cheat day and as I’d had salad the last time, I completely destroyed four slices!
I’m loving sweet potato at the moment and although I normally eat it in homemade fries format, I had one baked – and it was SO much nicer than your average baked potato. I had it with a chicken breast (drizzled with an orange blossom and mustard glaze) and mixed salad leaves. I feel so much better when I’m eating clean.
On Friday I took the day off work to take mum out for lunch as a birthday treat. As my car was having its MOT and service, I was without Percy and so we went for a walk around the village to the pub. It was so nice to spend some time with mum as we’re always busy in the evenings and weekends – and it was lovely to be able to treat her as well. Lunch was very nice and I’ll be blogging about it soon.
In the evening, we went to Alec’s Restaurant at Navestock for a family meal. It was a big occasion, celebrating both my parents’ birthdays and brother’s graduation. I wore my new Rare dress with AX Paris white heels (hello Essex girl stereotype!) and it was such a fab evening. The food was absolutely incredible, but unfortunately it was far too nice for me to keep whipping my phone out to take pictures.
On Saturday, I finally got my hair coloured and cut. Because I was going out in the evening to celebrate a friend’s birthday, I asked Ben to blow dry it curly and it’s even kept today – I’m hoping it will be the same tomorrow for work too. I love going blonde in the summer, although the sun always bleaches my hair. I always love Ben’s cuts and am so pleased with my new look.
Vain I know, but I loved my outfit today. It was so summery and just unlike me! As soon as I finish my first course of Your Tea, I’ll definitely be buying more and then wear crop tops more often – that stuff works wonders: it’s given me so much confidence and really helped my constant food baby look. I hadn’t worn my white jeans (Next) for ages either. I went to say good luck to some of Jake’s friends who are cycling from Ipswich to Berlin to raise money for St. Elizabeth hospice (you can find out more here).
Did you have a good weekend?

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Graze: 31.03.14

In this box, I got:
  • Toffee apple
  • Twist of black pepper popcorn
  • Brooklyn bites
  • Apple & cinnamon flapjack
With only one in new snack in this box, I was lucky to also receive three products I had previously loved – the popcorn and flapjack collections are just fab!
Toffee apple has always been one of my favourite snacks and the best thing about it, is its simplicity. There’s no messing around with flavours and combinations, it’s exactly what it says. This take on an autumn classic is nowhere near as sweet or sickly. The dipping sauce is divine and I love the varying sizes of dried apple – although it does end up being a messy punnet.
I used to love the black pepper popcorn but have since downgraded it to a like as I was getting it too often! I always cannot believe the amount of corn produced by the little sachet, there’s always a generous bowl full. It only takes about two minutes in the microwave and tastes so much better while it’s still warm and fresh. The pepper isn’t too overwhelming or hot either. I just wish Graze added to their popcorn range, especially as there are so many brands on the market now – I’d love a barbecue or paprika flavour, as well as salt and vinegar.
The apple & cinnamon flapjack is another of my favourites – I just love the mix of spicy and sweet flavours and soft and chewy textures. The Graze flapjacks are incredibly moreish and very deceiving – although they’re cut into three bitesize pieces, it physically isn’t possibly to not eat all three in one go! But there isn’t that same guilt, like when you eat a giant cream bun or slice of cheesecake! The apple & cinnamon is my favourite flavour from the flapjack range, I just wish I received it more often.
Brooklyn bites were new nibble to try, but I’m yet to make my mind up about it. The punnet consists of poppyseed pretzels, cheese cashews and pumpkin seeds and while I like each element individually (hi, chocolate pretzels dipper!), I really don’t know if I like the three combined in this box. It’s quite a dry mix so I’ve decided to leave it as a ‘try’ rating to come to a decision.
Follow this link to receive three complimentary boxes – remember you can pick any snacks you like and can also cancel at any time. There are so many new treats to try – and you can even search by ingredients you like!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

OOTD: Tricia’s birthday

I absolutely loved the outfit I wore for Jake’s mum’s birthday lunch and there’s nothing better than showing off new clothes for the first time. As it was Sunday lunch on the docks and there was no specific dress code, I kept this look simple – I didn’t wanna go all out and be totally overdressed but at the same time, I wanted to be the best dressed (ha). Sometimes simple is best and there’s no better way than jazzing up a boring outfit, than with accessories.
Dress: Boohoo (link) // Necklace: New Look (link)
I really love Boohoo for cheap basic items and last summer, most of my maxi dresses were from there. At £8-10 per dress, there’s no excuse not to stock up on every colour! I’m also really loving midi length skirts at the moment – the last couple of times I’ve worn maxis, I’ve been far too hot. While I probably wouldn’t wear this to work, midi skirts are perfect. You can always break up the block colour with a chunky waist belt, but I kept it simple.
Now for the added glam: as soon as New Look tweeted an outfit with this necklace, I knew I had to have it. I asked them for the product code and bought it immediately, as well as a couple of other bits (expect a post soon-ish). Although it felt very heavy and clinky in the parcel, it doesn’t feel weighty around my neck. It’s such a statement piece and the first time I wore it, I teamed it up with a plain cream H&M dress for work – it complemented the colour so well.
What were you wearing at the weekend?

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Restaurant review: The Last Anchor

Where I ate:
The Last Anchor, Haven Marina, Ipswich
Last Sunday was Jake’s mum’s birthday and to celebrate, he treated us all to lunch at The Last Anchor. I’d been really looking forward to it all week, as we had been there before and the meal last time was very good (also on a Sunday).
Situated on the docks, it definitely has a maritime vibe and on a sunny day, you could quite honestly be eating on the French Riviera or Med! The restaurant is light and airy and with the French doors open, was a lovely breeze – we sat inside. Since our last visit, there’s also seating outside which would have been lovely, but for the rain and stormy weather. The views are just perfect and make the dining experience all the more relaxing.
As much as I’d have loved to raise a glass to celebrate, I was driving home after, so had to stick to sparkling water. We all ordered from the Sunday menu – priced at £12.95 for two courses, or £16.95 for three.
What I ate:
Roast leg of lamb with redcurrant and mint jus, followed by lemon posset
The last time we ate at The Last Anchor, I totally lucked out the fish and chips and was almost tempted to have it again – but it was Sunday and everyone was ordering roasts, I had to follow suit. I have to say the fish and chips was probably the nicest I’d had (outside of Whitby!), so thoroughly recommended. Mum cooked roast beef the weekend before, so I went for the lamb, which was cooked to perfection: still pink in the middle, with minimal fat. It was served with roast potatoes and a giant Yorkshire, while we shared two portions of vegetables between us. This worked out well as we could help ourselves and I didn’t take too much – although we could have maybe done with a larger selection.
I didn’t feel overly full afterwards, meaning I could manage a dessert without stuffing my face and feeling sluggish. After much deliberation (there were four options to choose from), I chose the lemon posset. It arrived in a large terracotta pot, topped with blueberry jam, some mini blueberry meringues and a lemon shortbread biscuit, which looked fresh from the oven. It was quite rich and there was an awful lot of it, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. I honestly thought I was going to burst driving home down the A12!
The only thing to let it down slightly was the service, which was slow in parts. The restaurant was pretty full with a couple of larger parties, so it was understandable and it wasn’t really a problem. It was a lovely afternoon and so nice to spend some time with his family, as normally we do our own thing!
I’m desperate to have brunch at The Last Anchor, which is what I said in my last post – why hasn’t this happened!? Ha... hopefully I’ll get to go while the weather is nice!

Monday, 21 July 2014

OOTD: Dad’s birthday

A fortnight ago, I booked the day off work to spend the day with dad for his birthday. I had planned to take him out for lunch and he chose to go to The Viper, a country pub near Ingatestone in Mill Green. As it was during the day and only to the pub, where we sat outside, I settled on this casj look.
Top: Pull & Bear // Cardigan: Next // Leggings: New Look
As you can see, I’ve totally gone for comfort here and completed the look with my leopard print pumps from Sainsburys. And of course , I took my Ted Baker bag with me – that beauty goes everywhere.
I had never heard of Pull & Bear until my brother started shopping there. I bought this top in their Madrid store when I was on holiday a couple of years ago – and it was a complete bargain at 1.99€ in the sale. Even though it’s an xxsmall, it comes up quite big, so there’s that over-size feel which I love – particularly after eating so much food! I rarely wear browns so this made a nice change and the material is so soft and light, there’s nothing to dislike about it. The pocket detailing is cute too.
You can’t really go wrong with New Look jeggings and I bought these quite recently, although I was after a really light acid wash pair. These have retained their stretchiness which is great – I find after a few washes the elasticity usually goes and they become a struggle to put on.
The cardigan was much-needed as it was quite blustery and overcast when we sat outside for lunch – I’m so glad I bought it with me.
What are your favourite casj looks?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Latest in Beauty: The Dream Box

In my last post, I mentioned how I was the very lucky winner of Olivia (Beauty from the Fjord)’s blog giveaway winner and I finally managed to get my hands on a Latest in Beauty Dream Box. Well I’ve finally managed to try out the majority of the products and all in all, I’m very pleased!
Kneipp Herbal Baths
My 100ml bottle came in a vibrant orange colour and mandarin scent. You only need a capful per bath and each bottle contains enough liquid for 10 soaks. The bath water changed an uplifting colour and as I relaxed, I could really feel the stress-relief working. After 20 minutes I felt so much better – and smelt good too. You don’t need to moisturise after either, as the soak is quite oily.
Roger & Gallet Gingembre Rouge
Okay, I may have found a new scent that I love – and this was summer in a spritz! It sort of reminds me of Escada’s summer range of fragrances: fruity, sweet and summery. Gingembre Rouge contains notes of candied ginger, mandarin and pomegranate making it fun and flirty. I need to buy the full-size asap!
Benefit It’s Potent eye cream
The perfect size for travel, fragrance-free and it doesn’t irritate the eye area. Its light formula works wonders – I’ve been using it less than a week and I’m already in love. I just know this will be my go-to product with long summer nights and a little goes a long way so I can see this product lasting months.
Elemis Treat Your Feet foot cream
It’s getting to that stage where feet need to be constantly pedi-perfect, which is where this beaut of a product comes in. I won’t lie, I absolute despise feet; they’re vile. I use this after a foot spa for super-soft feet, or even better, apply a thin layer and whack on a pair of bed socks. The lemon and eucalyptus is not only cooling, but smells delicious too!
Janjira handwash
With two varieties to choose from, I received the argan oil hand wash. It smelt fresh with hints of citrus and lavender. While it left my hands silky smooth, unless used alongside a moisturiser, beware as your hands could end up also feeling super-dry. I’m hoping this product will grow on me.
Essie polish
Well who doesn’t love an Essie polish? I love that application is always so easy, thanks to the wide brush: one gliding movement and two coats later and I have perfect nails. I got the shade Style Hunter, which is a hot pink and totally me. I can’t wait to rock it.
Lola kabuki brush
Now I’ve added this brush to my collection, I won’t be using any other. It’s such a good size for applying powder, bronzer and blush. It diffuses product so well and is soft on skin, you can barely feel the bristles. I’ve found this to be a real game changer.
Bourjois cream blush
I have never used a cream blush before, but now I have, I won’t be looking back. I love how it adds a natural sunny glow to my cheekbones and the formula is so light and almost mousse like – it turns into a powder once on skin. Mine came in shade 3 (Rose Tender) and is well-suited to my complexion.
Too Faced Better than Sex mascara
I was expecting big things from this mascara – everyone’s talking about it and the packaging is full of stats and percentages, talking up its plus points. Yes, the hour-glass brush is perfect for coating all lashes but I didn’t find mine to be any longer, thicker or blacker than usual. The wand itself is quite heavy too. Better than sex? I wouldn’t say it was the best mascara in my collection!
Ren Satin Perfection bb cream
This, on the other hand, is perfection on a tube. I’ve been trying out a number of brands of bb cream recently and this most definitely tops the list. Its non-oily formula provides light coverage, ensuring my makeup is flawless – I love it!
Charlotte Tilbury lipstick kisses
I need a full-size Charlotte Tilbury and fast! I received the shade So Marilyn, which is a bright red. At first it was a little garish, but it soon softened. The thing I liked most about the lipstick was its longevity – even after hot and cold drinks and snacking at work, it stayed put. I did re-apply it after lunch but even then, it lasted all afternoon. I love how you literally had to kiss the tab in this tester.
I’m yet to try the following products:
  • Bee Good honey & wild mint cleansing water
  • La Roche Posay thermal spring water spray
  • L’Occitane immortelle divine lotion
  • Makeup Revolution awesome eye shadow & eyebrow palette
I have so many cleansers in my collection and I’m currently loving Clarins, which I’m using everyday (keep your eyes peeled for a full review soon). I can’t wait to open the Makeup Revolution palette and although I normally stick to a dark or neutral eye for work, I know the brighter shades will come in handy for evenings out, when I’m feeling more glam – or even after a pop of colour. The spring water spray will come in handy after too many hours in the garden, or I may even hold onto it for holiday. And you just can’t beat some L’Occitane goodies! I look forward to finally adding this lotion to my daily routine.
Which products from The Dream Box did you love?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Pub review: The Viper

Where I ate:
The Viper, Mill Green, Ingatestone
Last Wednesday was my dad’s birthday as he works from home, I booked the day off work to take him out for lunch. He chose to go The Viper – one of his favourite pubs – in Mill Green. Set in scenic woodland, it really is a traditional country pub and it’s the only pub in the UK with that name. With a reasonably-sized beer garden, it attracts cyclists and ramblers, while in the winter, log fires burn in the cosy interior. It even has that traditional pub smell. If you’re wanting proper pub grub and a real ale, there really is nowhere better.
What I ate:
Cheese & ham ploughman’s
I knew what I was going to order in the morning – for some reason I really craved a ploughman’s lunch. I’d never had one before, but recently, I’ve loved meats and salad with pickles. The concept is totally up my street.
The Viper have a fairly extensive lunchtime menu, with sandwiches, baguettes, ploughman’s and jacket potato compiling the menu. I was initially tempted by the pate, but ended up opting for the cheese and ham – which was a very good decision! It was a proper pub lunch: three hunks of French bread, a large salad with coleslaw and pickles, a chunk of mature cheddar and a couple of slices of (real) ham with some pickle. The plate was piled high, as you can see and £5.95 was more than reasonable. Surprisingly, I managed to eat it all – and even helped dad finish his sandwich (he chose turkey, stuffing and cranberry on granary bread – doorstep style!).
It was rather blustery outside, although when the sun was out, it was lovely. Because of that, we were the only ones sitting outside in the beer garden – the inside was pretty full considering it was a Wednesday lunchtime. The interior is cosy though, perfect for winter. There’s a real country vibe about the place, with groups of old men having a sociable drink.
I have to say, The Viper is probably one of my favourite pubs in Essex!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Graze: 17.03.14

In this box, I got:
  • Brilliant banana bread with an afternoon infusion
  • Bonnie wee oatcakes
  • Copacabana
  • Garden of England
I was excited about this box – two new snacks and two I had previously loved.
I LOVE banana bread, which is weird as I never used to like bananas – unless they were made into banana bread. Graze use dates and hazelnuts to make this recipe a little more substantial, but it’s still just as good as I remember, if not better. Of course, being healthy, the portion size is so small – I end up demolishing it in one bite. The afternoon infusion is also a great blend and goes so well with the cake – I always have mine without milk.
I also LOVE Garden of England, not least because it’s so aesthetically pleasing with its range of colours. The punnet is made up sweet squidgy strawberries, soft apple and sharp blackcurrants – it is so English and so summery. It’s only 73kcal and should be one of your five-a-day. I love snacking on dried fruit as the naturally occurring sugars stop me craving sweets.
I couldn’t make my mind up about the Bonnie wee oatcakes punnet, with caramelised onion marmalade. When I first starting Grazing, I immediately binned all the bread and dipper products, but have since wanted to try them all. The oatbakes are quite dry without the chutney, while the actual cheese and chive flavour is fairly subtle. I think I need to TRY them again to come to a decision.

At nearly 250kcal, Copacabana is one of those snacks you can heavily rely on after a bad day. It’s like eating the entire bar of whole nut, without feeling the guilt afterwards. With two varieties of chocolate in the punnet, snacking never tasted so good. LIKE