Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Midweek treat: 125 weekends in Europe

The New York Times: 36 hours, 125 weekends in Europe, £16.49, Amazon
What I wouldn't give to jump on a plane and fly away right now. Stressed is not the word. As we speak, I'm sipping my second glass of Babycham (delish) and wondering where my 5am start went.

This quirky book from the New York Times is my my literary saviour at the moment. Although I'm still waiting on a little trip to Morocco early next year, delving into 36 hours: 125 weekends in Europe is providing just the right amount of adventure inspiration to make things all right again.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Bargain of the week: Emma Bridgewater style oil burner for 99p

Heart pattern oil burner, 99p, B&M Bargains
There's nothing quite like  candlelight on a frosty evening. I'm a little obsessed with candles as it is, but there's something about November nights that is so suited to curling up with cosy blankets, a hot drink and soft lighting.

I picked up this pretty little oil burner in B&M Bargains a few weeks ago. Although it's not actually Emma Bridgewater, it's a close lookalike for her heart patterned pottery, and at just 99p I could hardly leave it there. Pick one up to warm up your winter nights, or - dare I say it - for a cheap and chic stocking filler.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Midweek treat: M&S Hi Heel Hosiery

Hi Heel Hosiery cushioned 10 denier spotted tights, £9.50, Marks and Spencer

Every time I wear heels I have to stuff them full of those little gel stickies. Seriously, I cannot cope with even the slightest toe twinge. Even if you can walk in six inch stilettos, there comes a time of the day (or night) when you're bound to start aching. But those clever little designers at M&S have a very stylish solution for us.

Now that the party season is starting to come around (yes, it is - don't be a Grinch, my work do is next week!), these tights from Marks and Sparks are going to be an absolute lifesaver. Each leg has a little pad built into it to cushion the ball of your foot. And they have a special toe design to keep the padding in place while you strut your stuff. Coupled with the fact that it is near impossible to ladder Marks and Spencer tights (I mean you'd have to take a pair of scissors to them), these are a more than a midweek treat, they are a seasonal must-have.

Hi Heel Hosiery tights are between £6 and £12, come in a range of patterns and colours, and are available in 10, 40 and 100 denier.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Tried & tested: Dr Brandt microdermabrasion skin exfoliant

Dr Brandt microdermabrasion exfoliant (Birchbox sample size)
This chill is doing a number on my skin. I have quite wide pores anyway and have to exfoliate regularly, but lately my face has been dry and flaky, and no amount of moisturiser has sorted it out.

I had this little sample of Dr Brandt's microdermabrasion exfoliant a month or so ago in my Birchbox and didn't really think anything of it. I've been using Neutrogena's visibly clear pink grapefruit scrub for ages and that always seems to do the trick.

So it was on a bit of a whim that I ended up trying this and I have to say I am *so* impressed. The solution is light with very fine grains and you only need the smallest bit to cover your face. I've used it once a week for three weeks in a row now and have seen a definite improvement. My pores are much clearer than usual and my skin is in a lot better condition with more colour than I'd expect for this time of year!

If you're looking for a little skin pick me up right now, Dr Brandt is definitely one to consider. The only downside really is the price: £67 for a small tube is a pretty big expense. But if you are at the end of your tether, I highly recommend at least tracking down a sample size.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Bargain of the week: Meadham Kirchhoff for Amazon

Meadham Kirchhoff for Amazon scarves, £75 each
At £75 a pop you might be wondering why this is classed under Bargain of the week, but trust me girls, these are worth the investment.

When Meadham Kirchhoff teamed up with Amazon for an exclusive line of sweaters last year, they sold out pretty much instantly. And although the design duo are working with Topshop on another collaboration, to be launched at the end of this month, we all know that'll be harder to get your hands on than fairy dust - so this is the perfect high street/high fashion compromise.

Each of these pretty scarves has all the fun whimsicality of a Meadham fashion week show but more sophisticated. Less frills and fluffiness, more high fashion, pretty patterns and soft silk.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Win a £1000 Firetrap wardrobe

If you haven't heard of it before, Firetrap is a premium men’s and women’s clothing and accessories brand featuring urban undertones and gritty British styling. The edgy collections build on the brand’s denim foundations and is celebrated by artists, musicians and trend-leaders.

To celebrate the launch of Firetrap's Lost London campaign, they are giving you the chance to win £1000 worth of Firetrap clothes. All you have to do is tweet @FiretrapOnline a picture of your favourite Lost London location using the hashtag #LostLondon. Or you can nominate a friend to win the goodies - just tweet your picture and tag in the friend you think should win.

The competition ends in December but until then you can get 10% off Firetrap at USC just by watching this video - good luck!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Beanie and gone

I just don't get the beanie thing. Speaking as someone who can remember the 90s - and all of its fashion delights - pretty well, I can't quite understand why this particular accessory would re-emerge. But I'm pretty sure it's all down to this little lady.

Image (c)
2013 has been the year of Cara Delevingne. Everything she's worn/done/seen/eaten the fash pack have wanted to experience too. And sadly that list includes wearing knitted head gear. Maybe it's my age but I just can't see the attraction in going out in a tracksuit with a big pom pom on top of your head even if it is all branded Abercrombie or Jack Wills.

What do you think? Am I just showing my age or are you a beanie hater too?

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Midweek treat: Laura Mercier hand cream

Laura Mercier hand creme sampler collection, £20, John Lewis
I am obsessed with Laura Mercier at the moment. I had never tried anything from the brand until I was given a few samples by the lovely guys at the John Lewis PR event a few weeks back (ahem, not that I'm bragging...), and then another arrived in last month's Birchbox

Everything is great but the one thing that has really stood out for me is the almond coconut milk hand cream. My first reaction when I tried it was to text one of my besties squealing (side bar: can you squeal via text?) that it smelt so good I wanted to lick it off my hands. Seriously. *That* good.

It's a brilliant moisturiser too, and, what with the dropping temperatures, a pretty good investment to boot. It absorbs really quickly and you only need the smallest bit to keep your fingers in tip-top shape. I usually go through hand cream like nobody's business but one application of this was enough to last me all day.

Each tube is £13 but for £20 you could treat yourself to an early Christmas present and try all four flavours (almond coconut milk, crème brulée, crème de pistache and fresh fig). Yum.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Tales from the menswear department

Reason t-shirt with Dion print, £35; Reclaimed vintage t-shirt, £20, ASOS
What's going on ASOS? Why are these awesome t-shirts in the menswear section? A Mean Girls quote and a take on Céline's iconic top? Come on guys, buck your ideas up, us girls want a piece of the action - and I really want to stop talking in rhetorical questions.

Jokes aside, how cute would these tees look under a cosy jacket with some coloured jeans? Snap them up quick though, both are already low in stock.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Bargain of the week: Mulberry Lily lookalike at Mango

A few weeks ago I discovered the Mulberry Lily. I know, I know, where have I been! Well you can thank my lovely beauty blogging friend Rachel for the tip - after obsessively looking up Mulberry lookalikes using her eBay tip, I just had to find myself a Lily replica.
Mango patent bag, £29.99, ASOS; Lily in soft grain leather, £750, Mulberry
Admittedly Mulberry don't do a patent version of their bag but the similar shape, buckle and strap (and lack of logo I suppose!) means that only the most eagle-eyed will spot this as a bargain copy.
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