Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Gift of Great Skin: Vichy Gift Hampers This Christmas

Recently I popped into Gordon's Chemist on a mission, as the Gordon's Blogger of the Month I've been trying to investigate the key things in store that would be great for Christmas. My mission was to find out about the skincare bundles offered in store. When I was younger I used to work in Gordon's as a Saturday girl on the Clarins and perfume counter so I know how many gift sets we used to make up in the run up to Christmas.

As I walked around I instantly saw this one, a large Vichy bundle worth over £55 which was for sale in store for £32. The Vichy set contains micellar water, full size, a full size pot of Idealia cream, a small pot of Idealia cream and a small tester size of Idealia life serum. Also included is the spray thermal water from Vichy, and a cleanser. It's a huge bundle which is unbelievably good value especially considering how good Vichy is.

My Idealia cream went missing last year, I discovered my mum had swiped it to try. She's been using it now for over a year and I've seen a remarkable difference in her skin. She is a woman in her 60s, I'm sure she won't mind me saying that and I've noticed a marked difference in the texture of her skin but also appearance of lines and wrinkles. She has smoothed out most of the lines around her eyes with it and the texture on her cheeks is markedly different.

Sometimes it's hard to fully assess anti ageing creams if you don't have as many signs of ageing but she has been totally converted to it, and I've been buying it for her now since she finished her first pot. The Vichy hamper is a fabulous offer, but it's also great for those of you who want glowing skin as the Idealia range is beautiful. You can buy this as a present for yourself and for sisters, mums and grans. Gorgeous set, and absolute bargain. Find it in Gordon's Chemists.

Much Love

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Hairlicious: My Daily Hair Saviours

Any girl who wears her hair long will probably tell you that if it isn't thrown up then we need some serious fire power in the way of daily styling products. Since mine has been growing and I've been wearing it curly I've run into some styling hassles. On a day with any kind of moisture at all it'll frizz and be a general pain, as the week wears on oilier roots but dry ends and of course the wind blasting the living daylights out of my curls. Living in Ireland is not easy on the hair.

Thankfully I've discovered some firm favourites which totally save the day. As this month's Gordon's Chemist Blogger in Residence I took the opportunity to grab some of my favourite styling products and show you all what I cannot live without.

1. Batiste Dry Shampoo- XXL Volume
Do I really need to tell you about this? Well you all know the dry shampoo element, but this has the extra wham of added volumising so you can get volume and a shampoo in one fell swoop. When I see people complaining about dry shampoo it's usually because of the white powder residue it can leave. That is usually if you don't rub it in and then brush it through. That's my main tip for dealing with dry shampoo, always brush it through. My other dry shampoo tip is put it on before you go to bed at night and it will work into your hair and give it volume and lift for the morning. Works a treat.

2. Got 2 Be- Rise n' Shine
I'm not really a big hair spray user but this one has wormed its way into my heart. It adds shine and volume and isn't heavy and crunchy. It's strong enough to keep the curls in place without making them wet looking. If you use it lightly you'll get a nice shine with hold.

3. Got 2 Be- Oil-licious Dry Oil Mist
We actually need to talk about how amazing this is, this can lives in my bag every day and I adore it. You must all buy this if you have dry, coarse, or dull hair. I use it when I brush my hair in the morning and it's a little frizzy and undefined. I spray this on and it is totally weightless it takes away all frizz and adds a lovely shine and smoothness. It is definitely a finishing product for every day upkeep with your hair but I completely adore it. There have been times where I can't put pump oil onto my hair as it leaves the hair greasy unless you want to blow dry it through but this is totally perfect for dry hair. I have started stockpiling. 

Three fabulous hair saviours which keep my hair happy. They are all available at Gordon's Chemists now, give them a try and let me know how you get on!

Much Love

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Back With A Bang: The Lady Boys Of Bangkok

I was invited to see the Lady Boys of Bangkok show last week. I have had so many friends who have been and said it was brilliant fun, so how could I really say no? I took my friend Paula and we couldn't wait to see what the show had in store. 

We bought wine and sat back to enjoy ourselves. Now let me tell you right now the stars had some of the best figures I have ever seen and were absolutely stunning. I was totally jealous!

It was such a fun show, there were people up dancing and singing, audience members laughing and waving their arms along with the music. The stars were so professional and fun, they just seemed to be having a great time as well. I remember at one point texting my mum and telling her she HAD to come and see it because it was just so much fun.

It was totally tongue in cheek and a brilliant night out, I had no idea what to expect but it totally surpassed what I thought and it was so entertaining I was booking tickets to see it again by the end of the evening!

I absolutely had a great time and it is a wonderful fun show to go and see. Really riotous and great for those who are ready to party. I'd recommend it for a big girls night out, or even a birthday or just a fun way to brighten your evening.


Much Love

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Skincare and Sparkle: The Body Shop Belfast Gets Christmassy

I was invited to The Body Shop last week to see their Christmas goodies. They are always known for Christmas lushness, for me I always associate The Body Shop with their lip balms they were the staple of my teenage years, blazer pocket at least two pots at any time on the go. Nowadays I still have far too many lip products but I've only really used The Body Shop's skin tools or their body butters and hand creams. It was interesting though as I was completely unaware of the skincare and make up lines in store and the fact that some of those products are enormous best sellers.

The Vitamin E cream is still the flying-off-the-shelves best seller but hot on its heels is the Nutriganics range which is plant based and packs quite the punch if the studies are anything to go by. 
The best part of it is, that if you have no idea what you should be doing with your skin then you can book in at The Body Shop and their skincare expert will do a skin analysis, talk you through the range, give you some recommendations AND a facial. Gorgeous right?

The make up range was a total surprise to me, their BB cream is one of the best selling pieces in store. The All In One BB Cream is a lovely piece, I have the 00 shade and it's really dewy and light and gives that natural look as it blends straight into your skintone. For those who like more coverage you can built it up but do remember it's only a BB cream, just a rather lovely light one. 

I also had to buy the Baked To Last bronzer and blush which are HUGE. They're baked, shimmery, solid and I think will probably last forever. There's a lot of pigment in them, they're very rich in tones and a little goes a long way. I also bought the Lip and Cheek Doll Special Edition which is an adorable bottle in the shape of a doll head. It's similar to Benetint in that it works on your lips and cheeks, but it is highly pigmented. I mix mine in with my Strobe Cream and make a shimmery blush with it.

The Glazed Apple Sparkler, had to be my absolute favourite part of the collection. It's scented with the glazed apple fragrance and is a dust of sparkles, you can spray it on your body or your hair for a beautiful shine, I have mine upstairs and it is so pretty. It's really easy to go mad with it though, I've had it all over my hair and shoulders, brows and skin. There's a point where you have to step back from the sparkles. 

In all I was really surprised at the depth of the ranges The Body Shop has now, I'd highly encourage you all to check out the Sparklers for Christmas and of course that brilliant BB Cream!

Much Love 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Interiors Bliss: Atelier Opens In Belfast

You all know how much I love interiors, especially as we are still decorating our house. When I heard that Atelier was opening in Belfast I was there in a heart beat. The bespoke design house, they collect pieces from all over and create ideal rooms. 

I'm more than a little obsessed with vintage and especially mid century interiors (hello any readers of this blog will know that well) so you can imagine my glee that there's a floor dedicated to mid century design.

The installation featured live models and various show rooms along with products and a variety of pieces which could be purchased.

Gorgeous retro florals and a cushion cover that I absolutely must have. I loved the update on angelic style. That chair, so much love for the shape and design, I would have two or three in my house if I could, I'm already working out when I can go back!

The neat freak in me loved the visual order of the tea towels ordered in colour waves.

There were so many beautiful pieces which I could happily have put in my house. From sideboards to ceramics and custom wallpapers and soft furnishings There's a fabulous vintage section with key pieces brought in from France. The townhouse has been transformed into stylish showrooms and an office for custom design. It is located just round the corner from City Hall so pop in if you get the chance there's a lot of inspiration to be had! 

Much Love

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Vintage Dreams: Bedroom Decorating

We've finally got to the point where we are starting to decorate our bedroom. I've grabbed my trusty atomic 1950s colour chart. In our living room we have dark greens, red and a cluster of browns turquoises and all sorts of random things. It occurred to me when I bought my flamingo wallpaper that the colours were going to be dusty pink and grey but also a little yellow, mixing many of the different atomic colours in accents.

I've taken inspiration from this picture with the accents and the atomic retro style of the bed with the plush buttoning.  I always think grey is a really forgiving colour and although a lot of people think it isn't right for a bedroom I think it's a really classy restful colour. 

I think something like a retro styled record player or key cushion patterns is a good way to throw colour into a very neutral base. Bedrooms though have to be restful places, they need to be plush and full of texture and pattern and comfortable. You want a really peaceful surround, for example I'm an advocate of no televisions in the bedroom, now obviously if you share a house with a load of other people a television in your bedroom is the only way to keep you sane but if you have your own living room etc get that tv out of your bedroom.

I've had to start limiting the amount of books I have in my bedroom also just because I find myself reading way past the time that I know I should be asleep and then I'm usually exhausted in the morning. It all adds up to making the call for a restful night's sleep.

 I've compiled my top ways to make your bedroom the restful place of your dreams:
1. Ban the tv from your bedroom, unless you don't have one elsewhere.
2. Storage. Don't go mad, but make sure you have enough to get rid of the clutter.
3.Texture. I love furry throws, woollen blankets, soft rugs, anything that speaks to your senses.
4. It might seem obvious, but make sure your bed is comfortable, if you need to change your mattress do it. An investment in your sleep is an investment in your life.
5. Lamps. Before bedtime turn on your lamps so you can get into that dimmer light and prepare your body for sleep, should it be reading or listening to an audiobook.
6. Push the mute button on your d├ęcor. It might look amazing in an interiors magazine but really bright colours and loud patterns could disrupt your sleep horribly.

Enjoy decorating your bedroom,
Much Love

Vintage London: Inanity Hits The Big Smoke

Obligatory lift selfie, Liberty and Choccywockyunicorn

A couple of weeks ago I hit London with the husband, he was working and I was in meetings but consequently it did mean that I got to do whatever I wanted. Not that I don't enjoy spending time with my Mr but let me tell you there is only so much time Mr Inanity can watch me mull over two toners without wanting to throw himself in front of traffic. So off I went on no-one's mission but my own!

We stayed at the Mandeville Hotel in Marylebone, for those of you who don't know London very well, it's right behind Oxford Street which was very handy. The thing about the Mandeville that I liked was how decidedly quirky it was, it really rocked the vintage vibe with a little undercut of cool.  I was lucky enough to take tea there, The Reform Social and Grill does an afternoon tea and a gentleman's tea, many of you will be delighted to hear that you can get freeflowing bubbles with your tea so you can have a little cake and fizz. 

The Reform Social and Grill

The decor in the Mandeville was fabulously irreverent, something I always like in my hotels. My plan for the break in London was simple. I was going to relax, I was going to hit all the places I've wanted to go and enjoy the vintage things I love about the city. So after my vintage tea I headed to Liberty to enjoy the thoroughly vintage and see if they had their Christmas shop open yet. I did a little meander around the store, made a quick detour to PIXI for their glow tonic (mandatory).

Mandeville Hotel

It was then a sharp turn up to Choccywockydooda, where I pretty much just stared at the chocolate and salivated. I OF COURSE bought some little chocolate discs for myself and Mr Inanity, and as a tribute to my self control they made it back to the hotel! The late afternoon was spent pounding the streets of Soho and then settling into a coffee shop for a flat white and a read of my new book The Miniaturist. Is there anything better than reading in a comfy coffee shop watching the world go by?

Chockywockydooda and their unbelievable creations

 The next day I grabbed my bag and hopped on the Northern Line, weekends mean Camden town. So off I went and let me tell you girls, the mecca of Hellbunny dresses I found was incredible, including pieces which can no longer be found online. There are so many fabulous vintage boutiques in Camden, I hit a few of the vintage shops hard, and left with a few key pieces including these incredible red cat eye sunglasses which I just adore. I wear these constantly!

Camden town, Cheshire Cheese, and cat-eye sunglasses
 I took a little meander out of Camden and up by Chalk Farm to Primrose Hill, I really wanted another good coffee and the time to read more of my book. So I sat outside and enjoyed the sunshine and relaxed.

The underground, Primrose Hill, Reform Social and Grill cocktails

 Sunday was a little jaunt and a brunch in St Christophers Square, located sneakily behind Oxford Street. I popped into Beyond Retro as any good vintage fan has to. They have some really lovely pieces, I highly recommend checking out some of their prom dresses, I fell in love with one of them but honestly couldn't justify buying another dress!

Beyond Retro

So that was my very vintage inspired weekend in London, it's lovely to take off by yourself and do whatever takes your fancy, especially with such an enormous city at your disposal.

What would you guys do if you had the whole city at your feet?

Much Love

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Karma Collective: We Make Our Own Karma Bracelets

Recently I got an invitation I couldn't say no to. The lovely girls from Karma Jewellery in Belfast wanted to know if we would like to come down and create our own Karma bracelets. Karma for those who don't know are a jewellery company based in Belfast who hand craft beautiful bracelets full of meaning. They're known for their distinctive little tags that say 'made in Belfast' and their range of beautiful customisable colours and coins.

I took the opportunity to put in my hair rat and create a little sneaky Bettie P fringe.

At Karma their whole ethos is to inspire the wearer, with symbols that speak to the individual. Their bracelets are all hand made and each bracelet raises money for good deeds to be done through Karma's ongoing charity donations. So the beautiful bracelet you're wearing on your wrist is making you happy, supporting local business and helping great causes. 

Do you need a better excuse to shop?

All the Belfast bloggers were unbelievably excited and we all gathered to hear how we could craft our own Karma bracelet.

The tools of the trade, and a plethora of beautiful beads later and we had the opportunity to make stunning bracelets. Their bracelet wire is a very special thing indeed which took a lot of research and time for the company. It fits everyone, my fat wrist and I can attest to that.

The girls from Karma were so kind that they even gifted me with the most lovely personalised bracelet with a D on it. Isn't that lovely? They have such an expansive range that I can't help but now want to collect loads of them. 
I have to say I was chatting to the girls and they have a whole little vintage style range and I absolutely ADORE the Shakespeare coin that says 'To Be Or Not To Be' on it.

I had to say that I adored my bracelets once I made them. They go very well with my pug mittens, they also add a bit of very welcome sparkle. 

The bracelets that Karma make can be worn alone or stacked, they look absolutely stunning when stacked up on top of each other, the contrast of sparkles, beads and coins looks really stylish.

At this point when I got a chance to make my own I went for a blue and green bracelet with silver disco balls. I have to say there was far too much choice in what to make. I also made a silver disco ball bracelet with silver balls and one with gold beads.

I've never made jewellery before so I hadn't really got any expectations of what it would be like, but it was so relaxing. The bracelets aren't too fiddly and thankfully the girls from Karma were all there to help us finish them off. We sat and chatted, we munched on snacks and threaded beads onto our bracelets, after such a busy day it was so lovely. There's something very soothing about the process.

Some of the fabulous collections from Karma, there's a bracelet for every taste. I normally know beaded bracelets as being on elastics but having them on bangles and wires and moving around your wrist is a whole different level of durability. The coins are stunning and the combinations are pretty much endless. 

I'm hoping the girls from Karma will start doing the occasional workshop, maybe for summer, spring Christmas etc as I would be signed up in a second, it is such fun to make them. I think I'm going to have to start buying more, because I really want to start stacking them up.

You can buy the bracelets online from their website Karma Jewellery or from Argento. They do a lot of good work for charity, donating many of their bracelet sales to charities all over Ireland.

Check out some of their gorgeous designs

Much Love and Sparkles

Friday, 24 October 2014

Hellbunny Hearting: Where I Attempt To Buy Everything From Hellbunny

Pained face from too much camera smiling!

I love Hellbunny. I do. I have so many Hellbunny dresses it isn't even workable anymore. The thing that vexes me a little about the whole Hellbunny dress love is that I'm tall and my chest is a little longer so the bits that should sit under my bust never do. Dear Hellbunny please make a tall range, I will buy everything you make.

This though is my favourite dress of theirs, I actually bought it from French For Cupcake as she was selling it and I just love it. It doesn't seem to exist any longer though, if any of you do find one at the back of your cupboard let me know. I have it in different colours but it never really looks the same as this one.

I got a lot of emails after my Dr Martens post about the dress, so here's what you need to know. This is a Hellbunny Madden Dress, theres black spot ones which are hard to find and white spot ones, which are a bit too summery.

They have this shape over a few of their dresses, they've recently brought out more colours of my beloved birdy dress. I'd be lying if I said I didn't plan to buy at least two of the colourways.

So that's all you need to know about that, such love for Hellbunny, please make a tall range so I don't have to have a weird boobie thing happening forever....

Much Love

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Birdy Baby: More Vintage Dress Shopping

I bought this dress when I was sitting at my desk. Lindy Bop like to send me tantalising emails with all their new ranges, new styles, and prints enclosed. It usually results in me buying something, painfully I always buy something and then I hide the dress when it arrives to make myself feel less guilty about the fact I've bought it.

Tell me I'm not the only person who is completely at the mercy of shopping emails! 
This dress caught my eye as I have the skirt in the same print, little birds against a blue background. It's the Ophelia dress, on a side note I actually tried on the Ophelia dress in white as a second dress for my wedding but the fit was completely different to how it is now. 

The dress nips in at the waist, has a ruched contrast bust detailing and a crumb catcher. I paired it with a Hellbunny petticoat and a pug. Fit wise, it is snug but I actually would say it's actually true to size. There isn't very much give so if you're in doubt I would say size up especially if you want a little extra room. 

The best thing about this dress? POCKETS! Seriously can we have more pockets in dresses, it is the best thing ever!

How about you guys, what is your favourite reproduction vintage store?

Much Love 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Flex Yourself: Replay's Hyperflex Giving That 1950's Denim Look

The new range Hyperflex arrived at Replay jeans. The well known denim purveyor is currently boasting that these are the most flexible, moveable denim around, so of course I needed to try that out. 
They're very stretchy and flexible, they seem to be a low rise more hipster-esque denim look, there's also plenty of room to turn them up at the bottom so you can wear them with boots and straw hats and beards. I jest of course. But the guys that I have seen wearing them have worn them with boots which looks fabulous.

For the ladies, wear them with boots if you want, wear them with Dr Martens to get that lovely punk feel, or my favourite roll them up and wear them with 1950s creepers, great look. 
Fit is a low slung skinny jean, if you live in your skinnies these may be good for you as with the stretch you can perhaps size down and get a very close fit.

My main complaint with these is the restricted sizing on the female range, I ended up ordering these for Himself as the ladies just wouldn't fit over my rump. A broader size spectrum I think would go down really well!

So guys flexible jeans, you know where to go!

Much Love

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Autumn Favourites : What I'm Using In The New Season

With the season changing it also means a bit of a shake up in my favourite make up and skincare. I've grabbed some of the pieces I'm using a lot at the moment to talk you through my favourite things.

La Roche-Posay Physiological Cleansing Milk
Designed for dry to very dry skin, a real bonus with heat going on and skin drying out. I like this for a very light make up remover, it won't take off your eye make up but you just swipe it over your face with a pad. 

Bourjois Healthy Mix Gel
Although I've tried countless times to find a foundation range I like better than Bourjois, I just haven't managed it. They're dewy, light and buildable. I think Bourjois are an unbelievably underestimated brand, I have to say they're one of my absolute favourites. I bought my 10 Hour Sleep Effect foundation in bulk when they said they were discontinuing it. 

BDB Billion Dollar Brows
Quite simply it's mascara for your brows, adds colour and hold in one sweep, really handy if you're short on time and need a tint!

Bottega Veneta
My absolute favourite perfume, leather, spice. It smells like a library on a warm day. It is my absolute dream of a scent.

CND Vinylux Topcoat
This is a 7 day topcoat that you can put on top of any polish to increase the life of your polish. It's really hard wearing especially if you're keen on a polish that happens to chip. I use it for pedicures a lot, it's totally perfect for the nails and toes.

Dr Paw Paw Tinted Ultimate Red Balm
Dr Paw Paw has released a tinted balm, hurrah! This is a lovely red that is really bright, it can be used on lips and cheeks, fabulous product which lives in my bag for when I need to freshen up my face or do a quick dewy rosy cheeked look in a hurry. Great little product, also very little goes a long way, you only use the tiniest bit.

MAC Strobe Cream
This one was recommended to me by Bex from Bexberry, along with L'Oreal Lumi Magique. I actually bought both and have finished the L'Oreal. The Lumi Magique is more illuminated with pigment but the MAC Strobe Cream has a real hydrating quality that leaves your skin lovely and soft. One thing I will say is the packaging with the pump dispenser for the L'Oreal is much better than MAC's very rigid tube. Even though I'm barely half way down it, it's tough to squeeze the product out. Sort it out MAC, great product otherwise, though if you're on a budget the Lumi Magique is every bit as good.

Neostrata Illuminating Serum
So the fact is if the word illuminate, glow, dewy or brighten is on a product at all I will buy it. I love anything that gives that lovely fresh look. This little serum from Neostrata is packed with vitamin C and plant extracts to brighten up your complexion. I've been using it at night and in the morning and I find my skin has been clearer any redness has cleared up. I'd been struggling with inflammation on my cheeks for months but since I scaled back on a lot of my products and started using this regularly my cheeks have totally cleared. I'm a really big fan. For my normal to dry skin too heavy a moisturiser can break me out, serums seem to be potent but much lighter. I love this one!

\NYC A Kiss On The Hudson Quad
I love these little tonal quads from NYC, they're great value and all four shades build up to give you a complete eye look from a highlight, block colour, corner crease etc. This one has a fabulous burgundy, peach tones, taupe and a skin highlight. You can do a really fast eye with this and they're only £2.99. Bargain.

NYC Peacock Nail Polish
Love this very fabulous teal like blue green. It's currently on my toes lavished in the vinylux to keep it perfect. A really unusual colour and like all jewel tones is amazing for autumn.

That's all from me folks, I hope you'll tell me what products you're using in the new season and let me know if you try any of these!

Much Love


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