A whole lot of new beauty treats

28 Feb

There really is nothing nicer than new beauty products is there? I’ve had a bit of a influx of them this week – lucky me! – so I thought I’d share my new additions…

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First up, I’m so excited about the Jo Malone perfume. It’s called Osmanthus Blossom and smells so pretty, fresh and floral. I was given this as a gift and I love it. I’ve decided to take it to my new job on Monday and have it as my ‘work perfume’. With a bottle that pretty, it deserves to sit out on a desk where people see it, rather than hiding on my dressing table at home.

I’ve been going a bit mad for skin treatments, too – there are four in the picture! I read about the Vichy Normaderm range and decided I needed to try it, so I have versions for day and night. So far I’m liking them a lot – I do think they’re really useful for controlling breakouts and have made my skin feel more balanced. I’ve also been given a Kiehl’s pore refining treatment (always a fan of anything that claims to tighten my pores!) and an Avene hydrating serum, which will be nice for those dehydrated days. I haven’t tried these two yet, but I’ll let you know my verdict when I do.

The quest for the perfect foundation continues, and I decided to go back to Clinique, which I first used about 10 years ago. I’d read that the Superbalanced foundation was good for combination skin, which is useful for me, as I tend to end up with dry cheeks and a shiny forehead, and that it’s good at hiding pores (back to those pores again). The lovely lady on the Clinique counter in Westfield Stratford tested a few colours on me and, as I predicted, the lightest one in the range (Alabaster) was the right colour for me. Sometimes I find even the lightest foundations are too orange on my skin, so I’m pleased this colour seems to be the perfect match, and I really like the finish. I added a loose powder to my basket too, and I really like the combination of these products together. I used to be much more of a pressed powder girl, but now I prefer the lighter result I get from loose powder. It seems to end up looking less cloggy and my face doesn’t feel weighed down by make-up. And I was very happy to be given this new contour set also from Clinique. I’ve just been using it like a bronzer, swirling all three shades together, but I think you can also use the colours separately to do a proper contour look.

The blue products to the right of the picture are my new cleansing duo. I used every last drop of my previous Bliss cleanser – Clog Dissolving Cleansing Milk, and I’d definitely buy it again. But, for now, I was given this new Magic Makeup Melt, also by Bliss, so I thought it was worth giving it a try as I know I like the brand. It starts off as a gel, which you massage into your face until it turns to an oil. It smells lovely, and makes my face feel really clean. I’ve only used it twice, so I haven’t fully formed a verdict, but I will asap. I bought the La Roche-Posay micro-exfoliator as a replacement for my Clinique clarifying lotion, simply because it was a cheaper alternative that sounded like it’d do the same job. I can confirm it seems to be equally effective, so a good budget swap, though you get slightly less of a ‘zingy’ clean feeling than with the Clinique. I have no complaints though, it finishes off my cleansing routine nicely and lifts off any remaining dirt.

Finally, a couple of little indulgences I was given as presents – Darphin face cream and Sanctuary body scrub. I haven’t used them yet, but how pretty is the Darphin packaging? I’m a sucker for anything in a glass jar – it just feels like quality, doesn’t it. It’s one of those moisturisers you want to have on display. I’ll report back when I’ve tried it.

So there you have it – a whole lot of beauty booty!

Bethan x

Pretty blouses from Zara

25 Feb 0881359600_6_1_1

Following on from my last post about shops that deliver on particular items, I’ve noticed that Zara’s ss15 collection is full of brilliant blouses. I’d decided that, while I have plenty of sweaters and shirts, I really needed to add a few pretty tops to my collection. Perfect for those days when you just want to wear jeans, but feel like they need dressing up a bit. Jeans + blouse + heels = simple style I love. These blouses are all in Zara now, and all priced under £40. Only question is, how do I choose which ones to buy?

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Bethan x

The best shops for basics

21 Feb cn9162867

We all have particular clothes shops we turn to for certain things. If you’re looking for new T-shirts and jumpers, there might be one place you go to for those. Need amazing leather boots? You probably have a place in mind. So I thought I’d share some of my ever-faithfuls…

For work trousers, I go to Reiss. They’re great for well-cut basics in classic colours like black and navy, as well as printed styles and pastels for the summer. I bought my first pair of navy Reiss trousers a couple of seasons ago. I’ve got a lot of clothes in my wardrobe (probably not a shocking revelation!), but I find myself wearing these at least once a week because they’re comfortable, look smart, and go with everything. My most recent addition was this Londra style in the sale for £49…

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Trousers, Reiss

So while you might consider Reiss at the more expensive end of the high-street scale, when it comes to the sales, you can get some real bargain basics that will actually last.

Next up, T-shirts. For me, you can’t beat Gap’s cotton-mix crew-neck T-shirts. They come in a range of colours, wash really well, don’t cling, and are a good length. And under £10! They’re the kind of things you’ll wear all summer, then under jumpers all winter, then you can replace them with a fresh batch the following summer for very little expense. Unbeatable.

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T-shirt, £9.95, Gap

For jeans, my favourite brand is MiH Jeans. Yes, a full-price pair will set you back over £150, but there’s no way you need to pay that (unless you want to). There are lots of styles on The Outnet right now. I’m quite taken with this Phoebe style…

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Jeans, £64, MiH at The Outnet

Under half price – bargain! But my top tip is to look for MiH Jeans on eBay. That’s where I bought both of my pairs, the Paris cropped skinny style and the Marrakesh flares (VERY ss15!). They were in perfect condition, and I got them for about £30 a pair – about a fifth of the full cost. What I love about these jeans is how comfy they are. The denim is so soft they can feel like leggings and the variety of styles, colours and materials means there’s something for everyone.

Believe it or not, my favourite shop for leather shoes and boots is Clarks. Not something I’d have believed a couple of years ago, but Clarks have seriously upped their game trend-wise. Special mention goes to their boots. Recent purchases have included tan knee-highs, purple suede desert boots and navy Orla Kiely flats…

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The best thing about them, apart from the quality, is the fact I know I’ll keep these shoes for years. Oh, and the comfort factor – something Clarks can always be relied upon for.

And finally, for jewellery, I could splash out on the entire Z for Accessorize collection. I already have several rings and necklaces, but currently on my wish list are this layered necklace and chain ring…

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Necklace, £25, and ring, £15, Z for Accessorize

So there you have it, my five faithful brands that never let me down. What are yours?

Bethan x

Outerwear obsession

18 Feb

While the past few weeks have mostly been about shoe purchases (see previous post), I’ve also added to my outerwear collection. As I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, I’ve had a bit of a thing for suede recently, so I decided to get a suede biker jacket for spring.

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This one was only £45 from Mango (in the sale), which is a bargain for real suede. It’s really lovely, and the nice thing is, being such a classic colour and shape, I hope I’ll wear it for years, and it’ll just get softer over time. It’s not been warm enough to wear it yet (still thick winter coat, scarf and gloves weather) but I’ll be bringing it out soon.

I’m starting a new job in two weeks and, while I love my fur-lined parka from Oasis, which I’ve been wearing all winter, I was feeling like I needed something smarter to make a good first impression. Hence the purchase of this…

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It’s a gorgeous mint-green wool number from Reiss, well over half price in the sale. It’s very fitted and smart, and I think it’s the perfect investment piece.

And lastly, I’d seen this H&M printed coat in a few magazines, but it hadn’t popped up on the website or in shops yet…

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So when I spotted it in a store last weekend, I bought it immediately. It’s such a pretty spring print and will be great for when it’s a bit warmer but not quite T-shirt weather.

And there you have it. If only it’d just warm up a few degrees so I could ditch the arctic outerwear and switch to these. I’ll keep praying.

Bethan x

I’ve been buying shoes again…

15 Feb IMG_1128

It’s been a very fruitful couple of weeks in the shoe department for me. (I say fruitful, what I really mean is: naughty me, look at all these shoes I’ve bought, how ever shall I justify them?). Anyway, I’m happy to say I got bargains of some sort on all of them, and they’re brightening up my shoe collection a treat. So I’m going to share them with you…

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First up were these silver T-bar dancing shoes from Topshop, down to just £15 in the sale. I couldn’t resist them, and the heel isn’t massive, so they’re comfy to wear. But mostly, they’re just really cute! On the same day, I caved in and bought these…

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They’re by Orla Keily for Clarks, again half price in the sale. I’ve been loving the Orla for Clarks collections, but they’re quite expensive at over £100 for most styles, and they’ve been selling out really quickly, so I thought I’d missed the boat. But I spotted this one pair – in my size! – and decided it had to be fate. They’re sooo comfy, really eye catching, and I love them.

Next came these…

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A rather naughty extravagence from the Reiss sale. They’re completely impractical of course, being both made of satin (not great in most weather types) and really high. But they were too beautiful to resist. I’ve been lusting over them on the Reiss website for ages, so I decided to just go for it. These will definitely be shoes for short distances, but I didn’t own any amazing heels previously. That just had to be rectified!

A couple of days after those, I took delivery of these…

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Bargain black lace-ups from Office. I had a very similar pair previously from Dorothy Perkins, which I pretty much wore to death. The soles were coming apart and they were no longer waterproof, so I really needed a replacement. Then I spotted this version on the Office website, in the sale for under £30 (and they’re leather, bonus!). No brainer.

The next knock at the door came with…

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This brand new pair of leather Whistles sandals, bought on eBay for just £30. Total barg, and great shoes for summer, no?

The penultimate pair in my shoe confessional are these Nike hi-tops…

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I blame this purchase on the boyfriend. I’m not often found in sports shops, but last weekend, he dragged me into one and I spotted these, in the sale for £30. I’d been thinking of getting some Nike hi-tops a few months earlier (after seeing a great street-style pic of a girl wearing a pair with a pleated midi – good look, must try this now), but then Christmas came around and I had to spend money on presents for people besides myself! Spotting these on sale though meant it must be fate, and I ran to the till with the shoe box in my hands.

And finally…

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My most recent (and last, has to be the last) eBay purchase was these amazing blue wedges from Reiss, worn only once and with not a mark on them, for £14.99. Bloomin brilliant! They’re also sky-high, but when you’ve got shoes this pretty, who cares about foot-ball pain?

That’s seven pairs of shoes in the last month or so. Someone stop me!

(Who am I kidding?)

Bethan x

Blush crush

7 Feb

I’ve got a bit of a winter colour crush – that’s right, it’s blush pink. I just think it’s such a pretty shade, and while the weather insists on staying cold and miserable, it’s the perfect thing to cheer up my outfits. And it’ll still work in spring. Bonus! Here are my top five blush pieces…

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Trousers, £110, Reiss at Asos

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Bag, £59.50, Banana Republic

 

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Skirt, £125, Coast at House of Fraser

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Shoes, £62, Topshop

And for my naughty little designer indulgence…

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Coat, £464.27, Tibi at shopbop.com

Are you loving blush?

Bethan x

New skincare regime: reviews

3 Feb

I’ve been following my new skincare regime for about a month now, so I thought it was about time to update you with the results. First up is the cleanser: Bliss Clog Dissolving Cleansing Milk and Clinique Sonic System Cleansing Brush.

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I’m really enjoying using these. The cleanser seems to agree with my skin. I can’t exactly say it’s made it totally clear, but it feels really clean and I seem to be having fewer breakouts. The creamy texture feels nice and moisturising and using it with the cleansing brush adds exfoliation. I also like the fruity smell. The only downside is that I can’t use it on my eyes as it makes them sting, so I’m having to use a separate eye-make-up remover. I’m using a micellar water at the moment, but I used to use The Body Shop’s Camomile Gentle Eye Make-Up Remover, which I loved, so I think I’m going to go back to that. It never irritated my sensitive eyes, so it’s a winner!

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The cleansing brush has two parts: green and white. The green bristles are firmer, so are meant for the T-zone, white the softer white bristles are gentler on the cheeks. I really like this, it feels like it’s really doing its job.

Next up is Clinique Clarifying Lotion. I’m not having any trouble from this, my skin seems to love the deep-cleanse it delivers, it removes any last traces of make-up and, well, it’s just a great product. Buy it!

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As for No 7’s Beautiful Skin Pore Minimising Serum, well, it’s great value and it makes my skin feel nice and soft, but it’s not really doing anything about my pores.

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I realise there aren’t many products that are capable of shrinking pores, but I think there might be something out there with more active ingredients that I can feel/see working a bit more. This is going to be one of those situations where I need to invest a bit more money in a great product. This is on my wish list…

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It’s Estee Lauder’s Idealist Pore Minimising Skin Refresher. It’s over £40, so it’s definitely an investment, but perhaps as a payday treat?!

I’m using Olay Essentials Complete Care (with SPF 15) as my day moisturiser. I love it – the old classic brands are sometimes the best! It has that lovely fresh, traditional moisturiser smell, it’s not greasy and it makes my skin feel comfortable. My make-up doesn’t slide off after I use it, and it’s a bargain. All boxes ticked!

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At night, I’ve been trying Philosophy Time in a Bottle eye cream, but I’m not sure it’s doing it for me. Others have said they can see an immediate effect, but I can’t, and I’ve even had a couple of white spots around that area. I think my eyes need something even lighter as they’re super-sensitive and can’t take muchmmoisturisation in that area. Maybe this?

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Vichy Aqualia Thermal Eye Roll-on is not a budget buster at only £12, so that’s good, and it claims to hydrate and tackle dark circles, which might be all my eyes need. I’m not sure I’m ready for intensive lifting creams yet.

So there you have it, I’m on my way to finding the right skincare regime for me. Next up, the search for the perfect foundation! Stay tuned!

Bethan x

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