26 February 2014

Fashion | LOUUN Halo Ring

I first discovered LOUUN on Instagram when one of my friends kept liking their pictures and one day, the Halo ring popped up on my news feed and I knew as soon as I saw it that I had to have it. It's simple yet striking and fantastically cheap.

With a high quality rhinestone on a simple silver plated band, the Halo ring manages to attract attention whilst still being understated. 

LOUUN was founded by former graphic designer Annie P and is based in Los Angeles however they do offer worldwide shipping for really reasonable rates. I ordered my Halo ring before I went to Australia and it was waiting for me when I got home a few weeks later so I'm not entirely sure on the shipping time but it sounds about average for an item coming from the US.

Nails - Covergirl 'Wine Stain'

I've worn mine every day since I opened it and I've received so many comments and compliments about it, when it catches the light is really is beautiful. For $22.90 it's a beautiful piece of costume jewellery that can be worn day or night and really makes an impact!

LOUUN make a wide range of different items from necklaces to anklets and everything in between. If you're looking for a piece of dainty jewellery, look no further!

Have you heard of LOUUN? What's your favourite item on their website?

Vicky x


24 February 2014

Beauty | Covergirl Wine Stain - a Chanel dupe?

Whilst I'll follow seasonal beauty trends to an extent, I'm not one to let the season dictate the nail polish shades I wear. I love pastel shades in winter and deep, dark shades in summer so when I spotted the Covergirl Outlast Nail Polish in Wine Stain whilst I was in Australia, I knew that I had to have it.


I really love dark colours for short nails so when I cut mine down when I came back from Australia there was only one polish I wanted to reach for. The polish is just the right consistency as it's neither too thick nor too thin and two layers are enough for perfect opacity. 

The colour is a rich red black and the closest dupe to the cult Chanel Rouge Noir as I've ever been able to find and at more than a fraction of the price too! 

Designed to combine a base coat, high-gloss colour and chip-resistant top coat, Covergirl have in essence turned a lengthy process in to a five minute wonder with only drying time required! The polish dries to a glossy finish as promised and it is quite resilient when it comes to chipping. I spend up to nine hours a day typing (sometimes longer if I blog after work) so my nails are prone to chipping but I've had five days wear out of this polish with not one single chip which is impressive beyond belief for me.

I'm so impressed with this product, the only downside for me is that I didn't pick up more shades!

Covergirl Outlast Nail Polish - $6.95 AUD from 11ml.

Vicky x


19 February 2014

Beauty | Cymex Lip Protector

I picked the Cymex Lip Protector up in my local chemist the day after I returned from Australia. After 17 hours on a plane and the drastic change in temperature, I wanted something that wouldn't only provide hydration but also protection from the cold.

Similar to my beloved Nivea SOS lip cream, the Cymex Lip Protector is a thick cream containing SPF 15, designed to protect your lips against wind, sun and cold which in turn helps to keep cold sores at bay by limiting the  weather from acting as a trigger.

The applicator ensures you never use more than necessary and also means you can easily decant the product and apply from the back of your hand rather than directly from the tube. 

You can use the Lip Protector as often as necessary and I've noticed the longer I use it the less frequently I need to apply it. As I said, it's a thick cream but it doesn't sit on the lips or create a film, instead in sinks in quickly provided protection and hydration quickly. 

I've tried, tested and loved many lip balms and creams but this product has taken pride of place in my handbag lately and it's been an absolute Godsend in this cold weather. I'm not sure how effective it is at preventing cold sores as I don't get them frequently but it definitely protects my lips from the weather better than anything I've tried before.

As I say, I picked mine up at my local chemist and when I checked the Cymex website, it redirected me to Boots where the page was missing but if you can get your hands on this, do! I cannot recommend it enough.

What is your winter lip saviour? 

Vicky x 

17 February 2014

Lifestyle | My 10K Story: Nike Free Run 5.0

If you read my post last week, you'll know that I've signed up for a 10k run later this year. After signing up the first thing I did was start researching running shoes. Having never run properly before, or bought shoes specifically for running, I had no idea where to start!

I spent hours looking at different running shoes from a variety of brands and I made a list of the pros and cons of each model to help me focus on facts and not aesthetics. I then researched each brand and each shoe, reading expert opinion as well as the opinion of people who do actually go out and run wearing these shoes which I found very helpful in deciphering all of the exercise and running jargon.

Eventually I settled on the Nike Free Run 5.0 which I thankfully picked up from the junior section! Designed to imitate the feel of running barefoot (which doesn't sound fun or comfortable at all!), the shoes are designed with ultimate flexibility to allow your foot to move freely and naturally whilst providing the necessary support which is exactly what I was looking for. The cushioned insole is super comfortable and the shoes themselves feel weightless when on which is where I think the barefoot concept comes in.

So far, so good! They're super comfortable, they provide the right level of support for me and they're bright pink which of course, is an added bonus but makes me happy nonetheless. 

Vicky x


14 February 2014

Review: Garnier Ultimate Beauty Oil Nourishing Scrub & Lotion

I was on my way to Manchester a few weeks ago for the weekend when I realised I hadn't packed a moisturiser. As you'll know, I hate moisturising with a passion so when I headed in to Boots and saw my beloved Vaseline Spray n Go was out of stock I was not a happy bunny but given my recently return from Australia, I didn't want to be a flaky bunny either so I had a quick browse of the body lotions when I spotted the new Garnier Ultimate Beauty Oil range.

Designed to provide intense nourishment and a radiant finish to the skin, both the nourishing scrub and the moisturiser are infused with four beautifying oils: Argan, Macadamia, Almond and Rose to not only provide moisture and encourage the skin to lock in its own moisture, but also to help improve the appearance of the skin.

I may have gone into Boots looking for a moisturiser but once I saw this scrub I couldn't resist picking it up. I absolutely love exfoliating and I'm always looking for something new to try and I have to say, this scrub is a definite winner for me. 

Enriched with cupuacu seeds, this is a gentle scrub but still one that you can feel working. The four oils help the scrub slip over the skin whilst the seeds gently remove any dead skin. There's nothing abrasive about this scrub so if you like something that's gentle but effective, I'd recommend trying this. Simply apply to wet skin, massage in circular motions and rinse off.

As it contains oils this isn's a scrub you'd use before fake tanning and you'd probably also want to stay away from it when you have tan on to prevent the oils from breaking the tan down but this is a great scrub to use in the winter and with it's divine scent, it's perfect to take on holiday too.

It was always going to be harder for the body lotion to win me over than the scrub, simply because I find applying body lotion such a chore but after using and loving the scrub I had high hopes for this lotion and I'm pleased to say that it didn't disappoint.

The pump bottle is my favourite style as it's easy to dispense just the right amount of product and it saves the bottle from slipping out of your hands when they're covered in moisturiser as so often happens with traditional bottles.

The lotion itself is just the right consistency, not a thick cream but not a watery lotion, it's creamy and nourishing without being heavy on the skin or greasy in any way. I found applying this lotion quick and easy and my skin felt incredibly smooth afterwards. 

Both products have become staples on my bathroom shelf and I'll definitely be repurchasing them when they run out. Sometimes the best products are the ones you'd never have normally considered buying!

Have you tried this range? 

Vicky x


12 February 2014

Lifestyle: So, I've Signed Up For a 10K...

That's right, despite an aversion to flat shoes and any form of actual exercise, I have signed up to run 10k for charity.

Why I hear you ask. Why would somebody who last attempted any form of running during a school PE class in 2005 sign up for a 10k run? If I'm completely, utterly and brutally honest with you, I'm not sure myself. I'm running to raise money for Help for Heroes, a charity that I have supported for many years and one that is close to my heart. Close enough to run 10k for? Apparently so. 

This all started just over a week ago when I saw the link to the Great London 10k appear on the H4H twitter feed, I clicked it out of curiosity and thought - do you know what, I think I'd quite like to give that a go, so I saved the page and thought no more of it that day. The next day I went to work and said to my colleagues that I'd considered signing up for it - "how hard can it be?" I said. "It's only just over 6 miles!" I said. "If I can't run it, I'll walk it!"

Moments later I'd logged on to the website and that was it: I was signed up to take part in the Great London 10k for Help for Heroes. After signing up I sent messages to a few close friends to tell them what I'd done, I'd once read that the best way to truly commit to something was to tell people about it, that way you're less inclined to back out. Moments later my friend Steve replied, I had expected him to find it absolutely hilarious, we'd worked together for nearly 4 years and never once had I expressed interest in anything like this - instead he offered to sign up with me! After that our mutual friend David also signed up so we're going to run it together!

So there we have it, on a whim I'd signed myself up for a 10k run and roped in two friends. Not bad going for a Monday afternoon! Whilst my decision making may have been flimsy to say the least, I'm fully committed to this 10k and giving it 100%. Physical challenges have never been my thing, I'm not physically gifted, despite being a pretty good gymnast as a child, it's never been my forte and I know that so I'm prepared to work extra hard to make sure I do my charity proud.

Have you ever taken part in a 10k run? Do you have any tips for me if so? Or even some playlist suggestions to motivate me when I'm running.

Vicky x


10 February 2014

Beauty | Sweet Heart & Electric Avenue NOTD

A glittery accent nail is my favourite way of jazzing up a subtle nail look. My motto is that things should be kept classy with just the right amount of sparkle thrown in so for me, this is one of my go-to combinations for a quick but effective look.

The pink is Sweet Heart by OPI, a gorgeous soft pink. The only downside is it's very sheer, the above picture shows three coats. It's a lot of effort, especially to create an evenly opaque colour but its so worth it as it's such a classy shade. It looks great on long or short nails and works with any outfit.

The glitter is Electric Avenue from Nails Inc. If you've read my post on it here then you'll know I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love the look of it but I hate the quality. Even in that picture you can see where the polish has shrunk at the tips and bunched itself together. On the plus side, when I apply it over false nails as I have above it doesn't chip quite as easily - every cloud!

What are you current favourite nail polish combinations?

Vicky x


9 February 2014

Fashion | The Zara Coat

If there's one thing I really truly love buying it's a coat and despite picking up two so far this winter I couldn't resist adding a third to my collection. What started as an innocent browse in Zara (FYI there's no such thing, every trip to Zara is laced with the intent to buy something, usually many things) ended with me finding the perfect coat. Well, the perfect coat at this moment in time anyway - no doubt I'll find another perfect coat in September, and October and so on!

When I spotted this coat across the overflowing sale racks I knew I had to have it. Of course, it wasn't on sale, that would be too much good Zara fortune for one week (I later picked up the most incredible sale shoes at an obscenely low price - look out for them next week!) but I wasn't deterred. It's London. It's winter. A coat is a necessity, not a luxury.

If ever a coat looked as though it had been made with me in mind, then this is that coat. Black, belted and with a little ruffled skirt-like hem it's as though the coat Gods had come together to create my ideal coat. Classy enough to be worn at night, classic enough to be worn during the day. Believe it or not, despite my vast and varied collection of coats, I actually didn't own a single black coat until this one and believe me, I've searched high and low for one!

The material is a cotton, polyester and wool blend which means that whilst it will attract stray fibres from your scarf, it won't attract every last molecule floating around in the atmosphere with the sole intention of making you look like a human lint roller. It's just the right thickness, heavy enough to serve its purpose; light enough to layer without feeling suffocated. 

You can find the coat here on the Zara website.

What are your favourite winter clothing items?

Vicky x

3 February 2014

Beauty | Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

Before Christmas I was in the middle of one of my regular trips to Space NK when the makeup magpie inside of me was drawn to the Hourglass stand and more specifically, the Ambient Lighting Palette.

The Ambient Lighting Powders from Hourglass have turned into quite the cult product and I've yet to meet or speak to a makeup artist who has tried them and doesn't love them. Despite this I hadn't tried any of them so I thought the Ambient Lighting Palette would be the perfect introduction to the powders.

Comprising three shades (from left to right): Dim Light, the limited edition Incandescent Light and Radiant Light, the powders are universal so suitable for all skin tones.

Designed to mimic the effects of the lighting they are named after, each powder is exceptionally finely milled and is a product of the latest and greatest advances in makeup technology: with photoluminescent technology and a unique ability to create a wonderfully smooth and even appearance to the skin, this palette is like Photoshop in almost traceless powder form.

Soft-focus particles provide a distinct nod to more mature skins whilst also capturing a younger market with the promise of creating an even complexion. The texture of the powder is perfect for mature skin as, it is as I said, incredibly finely milled and doesn't sit in any lines (fine or otherwise), nor does it create a powdery or cakey finish.

I used a tapered brush to apply a light dusting of Dim Light over my face before a night out, whilst I was expecting a beautiful finish I hadn't placed too much faith in the other claims but boy was I about to be surprised. The powder glided on to my skin with ease and the soft-focus particles and photoluminescent technology certainly got to work as my skin looked flawless after I'd finished applying the powder. 

It might be an iPhone picture but for me, you can still see the effects of how well the powder works here.

I've taken to using the palette during the day and at night (although I don't use it every day as I don't want to run out!) and I am delighted with the finish it provides. For me, it's quite a groundbreaking discovery; one of those products that once you try you know you just wouldn't ever want to be without.

Sadly the palette was Limited Edition and is sold out on the Space NK website but I will certainly be picking up one of the single powders, despite the hefty price tag!

Did you pick up the Ambient Lighting Palette? What do you think?

Vicky x
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