27 Feb 2015

FAVOURITES: February 2015

I've had so many things that I've loved this month it was a struggle to narrow it all down! I've had a decent amount of time to myself for a change so I've been indulging in a bit of me-time (aka Netflix time) and some pampering so I think this month's favourites definitely reflect that.

The big favourite for me this month has been Community which I finally started watching after it was added to Netflix. I'm not even ashamed to say that I finished all of the current series in under ten days and am waiting not so patiently for the next series to start on the 17th of March. It's funny in so many different ways, spanning across pretty much every genre (seriously) and jam packed with pop culture references. I've been recommending this to anyone and everyone! I enjoyed it so much more than I would have expected - including the "gas leak" year - and keep giggling to myself at some of the scenes. Six seasons and a movie? Yes please!

Something else that has been getting a fair bit of love from me is the almond hand and nail cream from The Body Shop, I keep a big tube of this on my bedside table to use day and night. Not only does it smell delicious but it works. My hands are no longer disgustingly cracked and painful, plus my nails are getting stronger by the day. Amazing.

I've been reaching for the kettle a fair bit too, what with the cold weather, so in an attempt to cut down on my sugar consumption I've been opting for fruit teas instead of my usual morning brew. One that I've been loving this month is the Raspberry Burst from Clipper that I picked up in Tesco a few weeks ago. It's not the cheapest in terms of bags per box but it's full of berry deliciousness that I can't get enough of!

My rose gold obsession is continuing and lately this statement necklace from House of Fraser* has been adorning my neck quite a few times. Despite my love for rose gold I only have quite dainty pieces so it makes a nice change to my typical choice. It's a beautiful addition to any outfit and I'm sure I'll be wearing it on numerous occasions.

At Christmas my boyfriend's sister gave me a bottle of Zara's Gold perfume and I've been totally blown away by just how beautiful it is. With hints of caramel, strawberry and vanilla you'd expect it to be sickeningly sweet but the slight musky tone makes it so luxurious and it's fast become one of my favourite scents. I think I'm going to buy one of the bigger bottles in the future, but for now this miniature one is ideal for keeping in my handbag.

Finally, the hair oil of dreams. The Frizz Ease Dream Curls Enhancing Oil* was sent to me as a thank you for hosting my recent giveaway with John Frieda and as I was already a big fan of their Frizz Ease range I had some very high expectations of this product. Luckily, they were met. This oil is so lightweight yet incredibly moisturising and does a fantastic job of taming my frizz and defining my curls without the need for excessive styling. I'm quickly making my way through the tube and will definitely be purchasing again and again! I can't recommend the Frizz Ease range enough as it works some serious wonders for my hair and has done for many years now.

What have you been loving this month?

25 Feb 2015

BOOKS: What I Read in February

That time already?! These years get quicker and quicker as I get older. It's weird because it doesn't quite feel like the end of the month yet, February being a shorty and all, so it's difficult for my little brain to comprehend the fact that it's March in mere days. I'm in London till the weekend so it's going to totally fly by as well! If you fancy keeping up with my London adventures head over to my Instagram where I'll be snapping away. Anyway, on to the books!

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
I absolutely love Rainbow Rowell's work so I was over the moon when I remembered that I had never got round to reading Landline after it was released. More like Attachments than Eleanor & Park or Fangirl, Landline follows Georgie and her close-to-failing marriage through a world of magical mystery telephones. Whilst on one hand I found this a bit far fetched, it was an easy read and I did enjoy it. I got pretty fed up of Georgie towards the end though, she needed to get her shit together.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
This was a little bit of a random choice for me but I fancied something a bit inspirational and self-help-y. The Happiness Project explores the concept of happiness and theories behind it, which are put in to practice by Gretchen Rubin throughout the course of a year. On the whole I enjoyed it, but it was quite personal to her at times and nothing all that groundbreaking. It did make me reconsider my attitude towards some silly things, like saving a perfume for that "special occasion" - I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, so I may as well use that perfume now! Okay, slightly odd I know. It's uplifting and has some good points but it was far from life changing.

The Glam Guide by Fleur De Force
I read Zoella's book back when it first came out and wasn't overly thrilled with it, but with Fleur bringing out a book of how-to's, advice and general tips & tricks I was willing to give the YouTuber book bandwagon another shot. Fleur is one of the YouTube phenomenons that I find a bit more appealing, she seems considerably more grounded and mature than some others and that shows in her book. I managed to read it in about an hour and it reminded me a lot of Lauren Conrad & Whitney Port's "guides to life" that they released a while back. I really enjoyed it and did get a good few make up tips from it, worth a read if you're interested in that kind of thing but don't expect anything you wouldn't see in one of her videos. On a side note, this book is absolutely beautifully illustrated and has some very cute pictures of her various pets.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
This has been on my "to read" list for a while (as per usual, Hayley's fault) and whilst I was in bed ill over the weekend I rattled my way through it. I wasn't sure what to expect from this book as I didn't want to look up too much of the story beforehand - which I would recommend you do also - but I was enthralled in Vera's life after the death of her now ex-best friend Charlie. The circumstances are suspicious, there's a juicy mystery and a pagoda chips in every so often. I really enjoyed this book and the writing style so I'm going to hunt out a few more books by A.S. King to read.

The Death Cure by James Dashner
The Death Cure is the final book in The Maze Runner trilogy, which is a trilogy I've not been loving if I'm honest. This book was probably my favourite of the three as it was fast paced and very dramatic, plus it tied up some loose ends for me. I adore dystopian fiction so I had really high expectations for this trilogy but they fell pretty short of the mark. It has your typical elements of the currently ever-so-popular dystopian genre such as the conflicted-but-heroic main character, the now unrecognisable America that has been ravaged by some disaster and a somewhat faceless corporation that doesn't appear to be all that trustworthy. Whilst it had a lot of potential, I feel like the series as a whole was poorly written and full of over exaggerated clich├ęs. I can see why it's popular but it wasn't quite perfect for me. It reminded me a lot of this hilarious Twitter account.

Have you read any stand out books this month? I'd love your recommendations! You can keep up with what I'm reading on Goodreads here.

24 Feb 2015

BEAUTY: TIGI Catwalk Haute Iron Spray

Haute Iron heat protection spray - Catwalk by TIGI
via Hairtrade*

As someone with coloured hair who likes to "tame" it a fair bit heat protection is something that I look for in a lot of products, however it's been a long time that I've used a dedicated heat protection spray. Oops. I just figured I was putting so much in my hair already that I didn't want to weigh it down anymore! However now that I've found this beautifully lightweight formula from TIGI I don't think I can really use that excuse any more...

This spray claims to offer heat protection up to 232 degrees celsius which is oddly specific, however my curling wand operates at 210 when used at full heat, I tend to use it at medium, so this definitely covers my bases. It also states that it will improve the strength of your hair and seal the cuticles, leaving it strong and shiny. My hair has been noticeably shinier when styled after using this and feels considerably softer too but I have fairly weak hair and haven't noticed much in the way of strength after two weeks use.

The packaging itself is a tall sleek bottle with an aerosol nozzle, making it ideal for providing a light, even spread of the product. I had expected a spritz style spray over an aerosol however after getting used to it I definitely prefer the ease of use given by the aerosol nozzle. The product smells absolutely beautiful, like the typical sweet scent of a hairdresser's salon, but it doesn't linger too long in the hair. It sounds silly, but this is ideal for me as I've grown to hate the smell of product in my hair and I 100% blame excessive use of VO5 when I was at high school and straightened my hair every day for that. 

When I use this I like to be quite generous with the ends of my hair as that's where most heat is applied and I'm a bit more stingy with my roots. I feel like an excess of this at the roots may make my hair greasy as opposed to shiny, but I still need that little splash of heat protection. Since starting to use this I've noticed a real difference in the condition of my hair, it's more manageable when styling, shinier and just that little bit softer - ideal for someone with typically dry, coarse curls. 

On Hairtrade, a large 200ml bottle of this retails for £15.50 however at the moment it's down to a bargain £7.48. This may seem a bit pricey when compared to many drug store brands however compared to heat protectors I've tried in the past I'd say it's 100% worth it and you should get it while you can!

23 Feb 2015

FOOD: Jamie's Italian, Aberdeen

Personally, I find the food scene in Aberdeen a bit lacking in numbers when compared to my beloved Glasgow, but it does have some really great places to visit that provide delicious food in a fantastic setting. I was recently invited to visit Jamie's Italian on Union Street and having never visited a branch before it's safe to say I was excited to try it out for myself.

The restaurant itself is situated in what was previously an iconic Aberdonian department store, Esslemont & Macintosh, and is spread across two floors. With a combination of large cosy booths and secluded tables it's the perfect place to enjoy some quality food whilst watching the hustle & bustle of the main street through the massive windows.

I visited with my flatmate, Eilidh, on Wednesday evening last week and was pleasantly surprised to see how busy the restaurant was. Throughout our visit there was a steady flow of customers which created a brilliant, warm atmosphere. The staff were both friendly and knowledgeable, making sure to check that everything was running smoothly and we were enjoying our meal. I've visited places before where awful service has really let down great food but this was not the case at Jamie's Italian.

The menu offers a large variety of food with many coming in both small plate and classic sizes, meaning that you can order a variety of different dishes to try out. Alongside traditional pasta dishes there are some fantastic twists on the typical dishes you'd expect to find, such as crab bruschetta which sounded delicious.

To start, Eilidh opted for the Ricotta Bruschetta - a typical style dish with creamy Colwick cheese, balsamic roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh basil on a slice of beautifully toasted bread. The Italian Nachos had caught my eye as soon as I first read the menu so I couldn't resist giving them a go. It was quite an interesting dish, made up of fried ravioli stuffed with three cheeses served with a generous serving of a delicious arrabiata sauce. I love anything cheesy, so this was an ideal choice for me! It was as mouthwatering as it sounds and I'll definitely be back for more.

As a main course Eilidh chose to have the Rigatoni Pomodoro - a pasta dish with a sweet tomato sauce, mascarpone, mozzarella, breadcrumbs, garlic & basil. The portion was absolutely massive, to the point that it was difficult to finish, but was fantastic nonetheless. I - unusually for me - decided against pasta and instead ordered the Turkey Milanese. This was a large slice of turkey stuffed with fontal cheese and prosciutto in breadcrumbs, served with a fried egg and wild truffle. I'd never tried truffle before and wasn't overly keen on the texture, but the rest of the dish was delicious and cooked to perfection. At first I was worried it was going to be a bit plain but the seasoning worked wonders alongside the flavours of the meats and cheese so I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can imagine something like this would also work brilliantly alongside a tomato pasta, so it may be worthwhile considering something like the Rigatoni Pomodoro in the smaller size as a side dish.

We couldn't resist a serving of polenta chips on the side and they certainly lived up to expectations. I find that some places don't quite cook polenta chips to the best standard but that was definitely not the case at Jamie's. They were chunky cut with a golden crisp on the outside, with a beautifully fluffy centre. Amazing!

Now, I always struggle to resist ordering dessert when I'm out for dinner - so how could I turn down something called an Epic Brownie? I just had to find out if it deserved the title... In short: it did. This warm, fudgy brownie was possibly one of the best I've had in a restaurant for a very long time! At first I thought it looked like a very small portion, but it was so deliciously rich that I couldn't possibly have eaten more. So good.

You can find Jamie's Italian at 38 Union Street in Aberdeen or in various locations across the country.

This meal was complementary and provided for review purposes.
This does not impact my views in any way, it's 100% honest.
Read my full disclaimer here.

21 Feb 2015

Meet My February Large Advertiser

Hello guys! I hope you're having a lovely weekend. I just wanted to take a minute to introduce the lovely Stephanie who has taken the large advertising package and will be hanging out in my sidebar for the next three months! If you want to find out more about advertising on Colours & Carousels then you can check out the packages here.

"My name is Stephanie, I'm 23 and I'm based in Hertfordshire. I run 'Hope, Freedom, Love' which is a beauty and lifestyle blog. 'Hope, Freedom, Love' is three years old and it's the best hobby I could wish for. If you like daily content then I'm the blog for you, as I post every single day at 7am! I write about everything that interests me; from new makeup releases, hauls and reviews, to recipes, life updates and fun things to do! I love meeting and chatting to fellow bloggers and readers, so please come by and visit!"

Don't forget to enter my John Frieda giveaway, you've only got a few days left!

20 Feb 2015

SHOPPING: London Wishlist

Since retiring my weekly wishlist style Tuesday Ten posts at the beginning of the month I've accumulated a fair few additions to my shopping list. At the moment I'm saving all of my pennies for my trip to London next week as my urge to hit the department stores and Oxford Street grows by the day. In order to make the most of the few purchases I'll be able to afford I'm aiming to only really buy things that are much easier to get in London itself, particularly make-up as I like to be able to see it in the flesh before committing to a purchase.

When I was in London two years ago I was actually in Selfridges on the day that the Charlotte Tilbury collection launched but it was so mobbed I couldn't get near the stand. I have a few bits on my wishlist from Charlotte Tilbury, in particular the Fallen Angel eyeshadow palette and the Lip Cheat pencil in Pillow Talk, so hopefully I'll still want them as much after trying them at the counter. Also from Selfridges I love this Escape The Ordinary journal by Kate Spade, I'm currently Kate Spade obsessed and I think this is such a cute little notebook. I'll never have enough notebooks!

I've heard so many good things about Kiko so I'll hopefully get a chance to pick something up whilst I'm there. At the moment I have my eye on their Invisible Powder but I'm also considering their foundation too. My final beauty type item on the list is a nail polish from And Other Stories who seem to have a beautiful range of shades. The one at the top of my list is Passementerie Blush which looks like a bold coral.

I would absolutely love some MUJI storage for my make up, but I don't think it'll fit in my suitcase... However after seeing their candles on Bethan's blog a while ago I found this delicious sounding Berry Tart fragrance that I might just manage to squeeze in. On the subject of make up storage I am in love with Liberty prints, so this wash bag would be a very welcome purchase! Plus I love the Liberty carrier bags (I like nice carrier bags) so that would be an added bonus.

Finally I've wanted to make a purchase from Monki for a really long time now but I was always a bit apprehensive in terms of their sizing so I'm going to grab the opportunity to try before I buy and head to their store. I love this beautiful mint coat which would be perfect for spring layering and I think these sunglasses are gorgeous too.

Whilst I'm in London I also want to visit Victoria's Secret to get myself some new PJs, Harrods to pretend I'm fancy and the photobooth in the Oxford Street Topshop. Any other entertainment, shopping, food & drink recommendations would be fantastic!


19 Feb 2015

LIFE: Living life through a filtered lens

In a culture that is dominated by the number of likes you receive on a photo and how many people follow your 140 character life updates I would say it's pretty understandable that some people misconceive bloggers as people who are living the "perfect" life. Gone are the days of film photography and now we have the ability to snap away to our hearts desire, selecting only the best shot to share. With a plethora of editing options at our finger tips it's so easy to brighten up your life that little bit more, make that grass seem that little bit greener and your skin that little bit clearer.

More often than not the carefully selected snapshots shared with you are not entirely indicative of what goes on behind the screen and so the advent of "Instagram Envy" seems like an increasingly worrying concept. This constant battle to appear perfectly Pinterest worthy can be exhausting and so is something that I am trying to avoid. Yes, I do enjoy a certain visual aesthetic when it comes to some photos and that's clear in a lot of the accounts that I follow however not everything in life comes with perfect lighting and a brilliant white background.

I spend a typical day lounging about in my pyjamas watching Netflix, not tidying my room and leaving my dishes to "soak" before washing them. I tidy one corner of my room to take blog photos in and I dress my food up for photos. I am the annoying friend who wants to Instagram their cocktail/dinner/dessert before starting it and I don't always have a full face of make up on. I have good days and bad days and some in between, my hair isn't always quite perfect and a lot of the time my dinner is just an oven pizza. Just because I don't share these things doesn't mean they don't happen. There is more to life than what you see on the screen.

I'm not entirely sure where I wanted to go with this post, but I feel like my main point that I'm trying to make is that nobody is perfect. Everyone is different in their own ways, their individual skills and unique tastes. Just because someone posts a multitude of pretty posed photographs on a social media profile doesn't mean that their life is all rainbows and roses and I feel like that is something that should be respected. Don't beat yourself up about not having the most popular "theme" or feed, just let yourself shine through and people should respect you for that.

As someone who used to be obsessed with finding the perfect Instagram shot I struggle to let myself post a photo that I deem not quite good enough, so in order to snap myself out of it - as it's only an app after all - I decided to take part in the increasingly popular #100happydays on my Instagram. More often than not my photos are of my less than exciting meals or maybe what I'm watching on Netflix whilst snuggled up in bed but I've been enjoying the challenge as not only is it encouraging me to get over my love of flat lays but also find the happiness in what seems to be an unhappy day.

You can follow me on Instagram here.


18 Feb 2015

RECIPE: 5 Easy Smoothie Ideas

When I moved in to this flat back in September one of the first things I bought was a blender from Asda, fully armed with the intention to drink smoothies with my breakfast every single day. I bought my blender in the sale for £10 and I can't find it on the website anymore, but it's just the black version of this one. Unsurprisingly this didn't last all that long but right now I am really enjoying a good ol' smoothie so I thought I'd share a few of my favourite concoctions!

1. Spinach, mango, pineapple, coconut milk, aloe vera & orange juice - this is the green smoothie pictured above and is my current go-to in the morning! I use the Koko coconut milk from my January Degustabox which helps to create a yummy tropical treat.

2. Spinach, chia seeds, apple juice, raspberries, blueberries & soya milk - when making this I use frozen fruit which makes this lovely and chilled. I can imagine this would be great in the summer! I use spinach as the main vegetable base in the majority of my smoothies as it adds all the nutrients without having a massive impact on the taste.

3. Banana, pineapple, coconut milk, greek yoghurt & honey - I rarely have yoghurt in the fridge but when I do I make sure to include it in my smoothies as they make them taste that little bit creamier and a bit more of an indulgence. I love tropical & citrus fruits so pineapple is a favourite of mine!

4. Mango, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, orange juice, kale & soya milk - this is a lovely berry blast with a fair amount of nutrients. This is really nice made either with frozen fruit or fresh. What I love about this is how much you can alter the flavour by adding more of your favourite berry, personally I love raspberries the most so add plenty of them for a kick of tartness.

5. Raspberry, melon, orange juice, greek yoghurt - another smoothie with raspberries... yup! In this one the flavours all complement each other really well and I find the addition of yoghurt makes this more of a treat for me.

Whilst I love a good smoothie another thing I use my blender for a lot is to make Oreo milkshakes. I figured I'd be a bit sneaky and share the really easy way I make them! Obviously they're not brimming with nutrients but hey, they taste good. Basically, all you need to do is mash up some Oreo biscuits and mix them in a blender with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream and a decent splash of milk. You can thank me later.

Do you have any favourite smoothie recipes? Please share them in the comments!


17 Feb 2015

OUTFIT: Let me take you past our satellites

Skirt - ASOS via eBay
Necklace - House of Fraser* (similar here)
Shoes - New Look

In all honesty I never thought I would wear this skirt as it was kind of an accidental purchase. Originally I had intended to use it for my Halloween costume but it was the totally wrong colour so I had meant to return it but forgot... story of my life. When I found it one day whilst tidying my room I realise it would go with this top from a local Glasgow brand, Abandon Ship Apparel, that I got for Christmas pretty well! It's a little bit too big but that's nothing a safety pin can't fix. I've really been enjoying wearing this top as it works well with a lot of my wardrobe whilst adding a much needed pop of colour, much like this beautiful necklace from House of Fraser. I actually wore it out for dinner on Valentine's Day with my black leather skirt and I loved the combination so much that it might end up coming to London with me!

Speaking of London, I am so excited. I just wish next week would hurry up! Things are starting to get a little bit busy in the run up what with getting blog posts sorted and just generally organising myself but luckily I have a weekend off work afterwards which should help me to recover. After a busy weekend last week I'm desperate for a quiet weekend! This week I have a night out for a friends birthday, as well as a dinner and my usual university bits and bobs. 

See, thinking about it I've not actually been overly busy despite feeling like I've had a non-stop couple of weeks... However I have been blasting my way through Community which I managed to finish in just under two weeks. I'm seriously in love with it! I need my six seasons and a movie desperately... Bring on March 17th. I'm not sure what I should watch next though, any suggestions?


16 Feb 2015

MUSIC: Motivational Music for Monday Mornings

Although I tend to dread Tuesdays more than Mondays - and I'm not entirely sure why - I still get the occasional case of the Monday Morning blues and find myself desperate to spend the day snuggled under my duvet instead of going out to face the world.

Despite not having any classes before 12pm this semester I like to make the most of my mornings by getting up a fair bit earlier than I have to, I find that doing this puts me in a much better frame of mind for the rest of the day and it gives me that little bit longer to work through my to do list. Gone are the days where I didn't surface from my bed until late afternooon after playing The Sims until the early hours. I hate to admit it, but I think I might be becoming a morning person.

When getting ready to head out in to the outside world I find that having a decent playlist can really help to lift my mood, so I thought I'd share a few of the songs that help me prepare to kick the week's ass.

Roar - Katy Perry
Something Good Can Work - Two Door Cinema Club
Fancy - Iggy Azalea 
Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles 
Work Bitch - Britney Spears 
Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars 
Best Day Of My Life - American Authors
We Got The World - Icona Pop
Beautiful Day - U2 
I Got You (I Feel Good) - James Brown
Don't Stop Till You Get Enough - Michael Jackson

What songs help perk you up on a Monday morning?



13 Feb 2015

LIFE: Little things to make a bad day better

Run a bath and soak the stress away in a sea of bubbles
Light your favourite candle, even if it is that stupidly expensive one.
Listen to your favourite song and sing your heart out, no matter how bad you think your voice is
Dance in the kitchen and don't even think about who might see
Have a hot drink, ideally with lots of marshmallows & cream
Read your favourite book no matter how many times you've already done so
Watch cute animal videos, cute cats make the world go round
Make a nest of pillows and spend the day in it
Put on your most loved pyjamas that are usually reserved for Sunday TV on the couch sessions
Go to bed early, tomorrow is a new day
Have a wander and soak in some fresh air
Indulge in some trash tv - sometimes an episode or seven of the Kardashians can have healing powers
Write a letter to yourself, a friend, or someone that's not quite so loved anymore. Then rip it up.
Phone a friend even if it's just to say hi, ask how their day is going or tell them that you love them
Watch the world through your window
Eat something delicious, cheese is highly recommended
Treat yourself, that new lipstick will look so damn good
Have a nap... or sleep. Either works.
Cut yourself some slack, no one can be perfect all of the time. You are you, and you are important.

How do you like to cheer yourself up on a bad day?


Fancy winning a haircare bundle from John Frieda? 
Check out my latest giveaway here.

12 Feb 2015

Meet My February Advertisers

Why hello! I thought it would be a good idea to introduce you all to the lovely lot who are over in my sidebar this month. I'm very grateful for them choosing to advertise with me as it's the first month I've properly given it a go! I currently have a couple of spaces left if anyone is interested, there are more details here.

Hi all! I'm Jasmin and I blog over at jasmincharlotte.com - I am a kiwi living in London with a confused accent and a diet coke addiction. I can't keep my feet in the same country for long, could likely eat my body weight in cheese and am always looking for ways to make me and others happier! I blog all about lifestyle, including food, travel, London adventures, technology and occasionally beauty. Come and say hi! JC xx

Hellooo I'm Annalouise-m and I'm pretty much a lifestyle blog. However I also include a number of beauty posts, as who doesn't love beauty right?! I have a chocolate Labrador who I include a photo of in every post and has has been the star of a few of my posts now. So if you have a bit of time or you want something to read then head over to http://annalouise-m.blogspot.co.uk/ and if you also love lots of pictures of a cute dogs then I have plenty of a gorgeous Labrador :)

My small advertiser this month is Eilidh from Velvet Winter,

Be sure to check out all of their fabulous blogs! Well worth a follow. If you fancy advertising with me in the future (or even this month, I have 1 large & 2 small spots left!) then you can find out a few more details here.

Fancy winning a haircare bundle from John Frieda? 
Check out my latest giveaway here.

11 Feb 2015

BEAUTY: John Frieda Frizz Ease Giveaway

john frieda frizz ease giveaway

One haircare brand that has featured in my arsenal for many, many years now is John Frieda and their Frizz Ease range is a particular favourite of mine. Having struggled with insanely frizzy hair for as long as I can remember this range has been an absolute saviour for me and is one I turn to again and again to help define my curls and tame the frizz.

Now, bearing that in mind, I'm pretty excited to be able to say that John Frieda have very kindly given me the chance to giveaway a couple of items from the set to you lovely lot! Just before Christmas I hit an insane milestone of 1000 followers and I'd been meaning to celebrate with a giveaway ever since so this is perfect timing.

The prize you'll be in with a chance of winning consists of the following:
Frizz Ease Smooth Start Shampoo - Nourishing shampoo that replenishes the hair's lost moisture to restore your hair's natural frizz defence.
Frizz Ease Smooth Start Conditioner - Much like the shampoo this nourishes hair and ensures it's left silky, smooth and manageable.
Frizz Ease 3 Day Straight Styling Spray - transforms frizzy, curly hair in to a long-lasting smooth style whilst keeping it glossy, smooth and full of body.

In order to be in with the chance of winning this fantastic bundle follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below. This is open to UK residents only and will end on February 25th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

10 Feb 2015

OUTFIT: Caught in the eye of a hurricane

Top - Primark
Skirt - Blue Vanilla*
Belt - Matalan
Boots - New Look

Sometimes I plan these outfits in my head that just don't translate quite as I had imagined in person, but this outfit was definitely not one of them. The second this gorgeous skirt from Blue Vanilla popped through my door I was getting changed in to it and fell in love with this combination pretty much instantly. The print is similar to one that I've spotted floating around Topshop a fair amount recently so I think it's an absolute steal at £12! I bought the top on a bit of a whim as I liked that it had a high neckline without being overly polo neck-y (technical term) which I don't think I suit. I've been wearing this top nearly constantly since I bought it a couple of weeks ago and I think I should really go and buy the other colours too!

I've been figuring out some pretty important stuff lately so right now I'm feeling seriously relieved. A decision had been playing on my mind for quite a long time and now it's all over and done with. One of my resolutions this year was to be a bit happier and I think this will make a massive impact on my happiness. I'm not entirely sure if I'm 100% ready to share the ins & outs right now but possibly in the future! It might be kind of annoying of me to lure you in like that but I just can't escape this massive feeling of relief, a serious cloud has been lifted.

In other exciting news there will be a little giveaway going live on here tomorrow! It's just a small thank you for those of you who take the time to read my rambles and one of my favourite brands have very generously donated a great bundle for one lucky person to win. Keep your eyes peeled...


9 Feb 2015

FOOD: January Degustabox

Nowadays the arrival of my Degustabox* is pretty much the highlight of my month. Food delivered to my door? Yes please! I think that this month's box has been the best yet and I've been absolutely loving trying it all. Surprisingly there was only one product that I wasn't too keen on this month with the rest being pretty impressive.

The Little Miracles drinks have been in a box before and I loved them then, so I was quite happy to see them appear again this month! These are tea based drinks which tick a lot of boxes for me. The White Tea, Ginseng & Cherry flavour was in a previous box and is one I purchase quite regularly but I hadn't tried the Black Tea, Ginseng & Peach which is a new favourite. It tastes just like peach ice tea and is seriously delicious.

At first I wasn't too impressed to see these crispbreads from Finn Crisp but they've actually been pleasantly surprising. They make a nice alternative to bread for lunch and are pretty nice dipped in to soup! I'm not sure if I'd go for them again as I am such a bread lover but it was a pleasant change.

This month's box was intended as a "healthy" box so I'm slightly ashamed to say that the first thing I thought of when I saw the coconut milk from Koko was making Pina Coladas... I've been using both the coconut milk & aloe vera drink for my morning smoothies and they make a great addition. Plus I guess they're pretty healthy too! The coconut milk is apparently good for making pancakes too,

I think these noodles from Kabuto were possibly the best thing in the box for me. My mum had mentioned that these were pretty good so I had high hopes from the start. As soon as I took this photo I had the kettle on ready to scoff them for my lunch. These were absolutely bursting with flavour and made a delicious lunch - so much so that I've purchased a couple of these to take in to university for my lunch.

Another highlight for me was the inclusion of these little porridge pots from Mornflake. They're so easy to make and really creamy despite being made with water. If I have an early morning (which luckily I don't have too many of this semester) these are ideal for a filling breakfast with minimal effort.

As I mentioned before there was only really one disappointing product this month and that was the piccalilli from Haywards. Personally I think that mustard tastes like bleach so anything that has mustard in is an absolute no go for me! I was quite impressed to see a cake mix that's free from sugar, gluten & wheat included as it's always nice to have an alternative when baking for people with intolerances.

The lemon green tea from Clipper was a little extra gift this month and has joined quite a vast collection of teas in my cupboard. I don't find this to be overly lemon-y so I end up adding a bit extra lemon juice however it's still bearable! I'm yet to jump on the whole green tea obsession but I don't mind it from time to time.

Finally the berry cider from Magners was a very welcome addition. Fruity & refreshing, yet not too fizzy for me which is a big bonus. It's the kind of drink I wouldn't mind having with my dinner after work on a Saturday night - which is a bit of a rarity for me! The rice bran oil by Alfa One is fantastic too as I like that it's a simple substitution to make when cooking but it still makes a substantial difference to my health.

So there we go, another great month from Degustabox! I'm seriously impressed with this one, it's introduced me to some great brands such as Kabuto. If you fancy giving Degustabox a go for yourself you can get £3 off with the code "B6HF1" on the website.


6 Feb 2015

BEAUTY: New in for February

Every so often I start to get a bit bored of my make up staples so I like to add a few new things to the rotation, but for a while I was a tad reluctant to spend more money on make up. Towards the end of January I had a few extra pennies in my bank account - and an ASOS voucher to spend - so off to the counters I popped.

L'Oreal True Match Foundation in Rose Ivory - £9.99 from Boots
I've been looking for a new foundation for a while and was quite close to splashing out on one of the ever so popular Nars offerings, but after seeing this foundation mentioned in a few chats I decided to give it a whirl as it was a fair bit friendlier on my purse. I picked up the lightest shade I could find at the time however I think they possibly have one lighter which may suit me better. I'm definitely at my palest right now and as my skin begins to get a bit more sun I think this shade will be perfect. The massive upside to this foundation is how easy it is to blend, leaving a pretty flawless finish that isn't overly matte but still minimises shine. The coverage is on the lighter side of full, but I find it fuller than the likes of Rimmel's Match Perfect which I had been using before. So far I'm impressed!

L'Oreal Lumi Magique Primer - £9.99 from Boots
At the moment Boots are offering 2 for £12 on selected L'Oreal products, so I figured I'd pick up something else that I've seen doing the rounds on a fair few blogs lately. I've never tried an illuminating primer before so the Lumi Magique primer is pretty new to me. So far I'm not quite sure about how well this works for me as a primer, I'll need to do a bit of testing in comparison to my previous favourites, but it does make a lovely subtle highlighter that's perfect for daily wear. I'll post a full review on this one in the future!

Rimmel Lasting Finish Primer - £6.99 from Boots
As per usual I was just about to head to the tills in Boots when I spotted a little stand with some pretty decent offers on Rimmel products. One that caught my eye in particular was yet another primer, reduced to £3.99 from £6.99. After trying out the tester it seemed like it would be decent enough so I popped it in to my basket! I've used this a couple of times now and I'm liking it so far, it seems reasonably heavy duty and managed to last a full day in roasting lecture theatres, but again will keep on using it and post a full review after a while.

NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in Mexican Rose - £17.50 from ASOS
After the somewhat chaotic Access All ASOS Secret Santa I was given a voucher to spend as I never actually received a gift. Despite being a bit peeved off at having to spend more of my own money I eventually treated myself to something from NARS - that something being one of their Velvet Gloss lip pencils. I chose the shade "Mexican Rose" which is a really pretty pinky red, depending on the lighting. I had expected it to be a bit more pink so was taken aback by the boldness of the shade but it's a nice change for me! This pencil is so easy to apply and glides on like a dream, with excellent staying power too. It's been a great step towards rocking a bolder lip!

Have you treated yourself to any great beauty buys lately? I'm always on the look out for new additions to my ever growing wish list...


5 Feb 2015

OUTFIT: A thousand miles from comfort

how to style a fur gilet

scottish fashion blog

rose gold statement necklace
Dress - French Connection via Vinted*
Gilet - Miss Selfridge
Necklace - Mint Velvet via House of Fraser* (out of stock)

Let's ignore the fact that I intended to post outfits a lot more regularly this year and that this is only the first I've posted so far... agreed? 

Moving on.

At the end of the month I'm heading to London for Fashion Weekend so I'm trying to up my game when it comes to outfits. I need to step out of my comfort zone and really figure out what actually suits me and what just does not work. This lovely dress from Vinted has been a big part of this little goal I've set myself as it's a bit different from my usual choice but not so totally out there that I'm scared to wear it. Paired with this stunning rose gold statement necklace (still not over rose gold) from House of Fraser and my fur gilet that was a Christmas present I think it makes a pretty cute outfit that would be nice for a family lunch or tea! Plus I think I could totally rock it with my denim jacket and smaller ankle boots too, or dress it up with a pair of killer heels and a blazer. Versatility is key! I hate to admit it but this dress makes me feel kind of like a grown up, which is a weird feeling for someone with a baby face who stands at a very intimidating 5 foot 

My second semester of the year started this week so it's been a bit weird trying to settle in to university life once again, despite my full timetable not kicking in until next week. My timetable isn't all that different to last year but, luckily, I don't have any 9am starts at all. Massive win. Aside from university I have been totally binge watching Nurse Jackie on Netflix and I'm just about to start watching Community - time well spent I'd say.

How is your week going - anything exciting?


4 Feb 2015

BEAUTY: Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick in Raplumzel by Soap & Glory

Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick in shade "Raplumzel" - £8 from Soap & Glory

Lately I've not been able to get enough of lip crayons and my current favourite is the popular offering from Soap & Glory, the Sexy Mother Pucker gloss sticks. Having received one of the lip lacquers for Christmas I had high hopes for the lip crayon and luckily I was not disappointed!

The main appeal of lip crayons for me is the sheer ease of application and this is the perfect example. In just one easy swipe you get a wash of colour that lasts for hours with minimal need for top ups. The colour itself is considerably less opaque than it appears in the bullet which is great for someone like me who isn't quite up for a high maintenance super bold lip just yet. 

The formula itself is very moisturising and has a glossy finish without the annoying stickiness of a typical lipgloss. If anything, these apply much like a lip balm, with little transferring and an even fade throughout the day. These don't drag at all and the sheer colour is somewhat buildable if you'd rather a slightly more pigmented result. Much like the lip lacquers these have a lovely vanilla scent that's not all too distant from that of the Mac lipsticks. 

Considering how easy this lip crayon is to use it's ideal to pop in to my bag for touch ups throughout the day, which is something I've certainly been doing lately! It's pretty fair to say that this is just another excellent product to add to my ever growing list of much loved offerings from Soap & Glory's cosmetics range.

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