Monday, 15 December 2014

What I Wore #116

Jumper - Primark (similar here) / jeans - Dorothy Perkins / boots - H&M (similar here) / 
coat - Next (old, but similar here) / snood- H&M / headband - Accessorize

How exactly are we halfway through December already? I cannot quite grasp how quickly this year has rushed by - the new year is rapidly approaching and I'm just not ready! It's been a bit tricky getting myself in the Christmas mood this year, the festive season has crept up on me without adequate preparation. It doesn't help that we decided to forgo a tree this year, partly to save money and partly because we aren't going to be in the flat for Christmas so felt it wouldn't be appreciated. In order to combat the growing stress at work and to get myself feeling really festive, I felt a day out in London was in order!

I gathered up my companions and off we trundled to Covent Garden in search of bright lights and Christmas trees. Some gift shopping took place... And I may have treated myself to this adorably fluffy faux fur headband! I'm going skiing with my family over the festive period and thought this would keep my ears nice and toasty (when I'm not wearing my helmet of course - safety first, people!). Teamed with my red coat and over knee boots I did feel a bit like I was channelling Santa Claus style... But it only added to our general festive mood.

Covent Garden is one of my favourite places in London, but if you are irritable and of an impatient nature it's also one of the worst. I can usually manage around half an hour of browsing before I need to dash down a quiet side street and take a moment to breathe, away from the hordes of shoppers and tourists. What a perfect opportunity for blog photos, taken by my lovely cousin Naomi! We milled about by the river for some time, enjoying the sunshine, until we got too chilled (and hungry) and darted into a nearby Byron burger bar for some sustenance. Delish!

Only ten days to go now... what are you doing to feel festive? I'm planning an evening of wrapping presents and watching Michael Bublé's Christmas Special!

Love Dani


Thursday, 11 December 2014

Snapshot: Canterbury Christmas

Hello lovelies,

Not my usual outfit post today I'm afraid... Although I have been dressing with the best of intentions, it's just too cold for me to throw off my coat and pose for outfit photos without risking frostbite. Instead I thought I would share some of my snaps from a recent visit to Canterbury (with a sneaky shot of me adjusting the settings on my friend's camera!).

I love Canterbury at Christmas. The cobblestone medieval charm is magnified in the run up to the festive season, with trees draped in lights and storefronts glowing in the early dusk. One of my favourite memories of Canterbury was rushing around the high street one December, picking up the last remaining gifts on my list. My priority was to source a gypsy tart for my mum's birthday, and eventually stumbled across one of the tiny bakeries down the Westgate end of the town. I paid for the cake, they wrapped it up in a little parcel for me, and as I stepped out the shop it began to snow.

Meandering back down the cobbled high street, with the smell of roast chestnuts filling the air, paper parcels clasped in my gloved hands, I felt as though I'd walked into a Charles Dickens story! Simply beautiful.

Tiny Tim's tea room, pictured at the top, perfectly represents the olde world charm of Canterbury at Christmas - doesn't it look like a little Christmas card?

Where is your favourite place to visit at Christmas? Another of my favourites is the Christmas market at home in Luxembourg - my sister has just done a post on it and I can't stop craving potato cakes and churros!

Love Dani

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Christmas Beauty Inspiration

1 - 2 - 3
4 - 5 - 6
7 - 8 - 9

I have to be completely honest here. The whole point of this post, the whole driving force behind its creation, is that I found a bunch of pretty photos on Pinterest, and liked them enough to write about them. But it's December. It is officially that time of year when it's perfectly acceptable to slather yourself in glitter and sequins, and, should the mood strike you, write about how you wish to slather yourself in glitter and sequins. So here we are.

If I were some utter glamourpuss with a a social calendar groaning under the weight of engagements and parties to attend, then I would at some point be rocking this first look. And the second look. The more sequins, the better! Liberally apply some sort of glue to your face and just dip your entire head in sequins! Alas, the sort of parties I attend will for the majority be frequented by people who will doubt my professional integrity, should I rock up with sequins on my cheeks. So I'll restrict the glitter to my eyes, where any sparkle will for the most part be cleverly concealed by my fringe.

Saying that, I do love this tutorial by Bloomin Rouge, I'm definitely going to try and recreate it for our office Christmas party! The gold liner is subtle but super effective, and looks great paired with a statement red lip. I do need a gold liner from somewhere, let me know if you have any recommendations! I may cave and purchase the Maybelline Colour Tattoo gold pot if all else fails.

Another one of my favourite looks this time of year is the burgundy shadow with a deep berry lip - perfect when paired with a big snuggly cream jumper and windswept curls. My favourite product for this look is the Chanel Illusion d'Ombre cream shadow in Ebloui - I reviewed it some time ago but it's still going strong. My sister Minnie actually posted a similar look recently with smoky browns and a deep red lip, I love it! This will probably be my look for Christmas Day as it makes a change from my usual liner and bright lip - not that there is anything wrong with that of course, just look how fabulously Mila Kunis rocks that cat eye!

What's inspiring you at the moment? Or have you done any Christmas party make up looks? Link below if you have!

Love Dani

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Review: The Body Shop Ultimate Tea Tree Cleansing Kit

One of my biggest frustrations in life is my skin. I dream of having blemish-free skin. That's all - it doesn't have to be radiant or even-toned, just clear. I think the last time I had clear skin was 2008, for about a week when we went skiing in the French Alps. That, right there, is a testament to how long I have been struggling with my skin. It eased off a little bit two years ago after the introduction of Vichy to my skincare routine, but soon developed resistance and has been absolutely out of control ever since.

I've tried increasing my water intake, changing my diet, reducing dairy, stripping back the products I use, going foundation-free... all without success. At the end of November I found myself wandering into the Body Shop in search of tea tree lotion, but my eye was soon drawn by the promises of clearer skin in 3 days, as assured by the tagline on this Tea Tree kit.

The kit contains:
Tea Tree Skin Clearing Lotion (RRP £9.00)
Tea Tree Skin Clearing Toner (RRP £5.00)
Tea Tree Skin Clearing Foaming Cleanser (RRP £5.00)
Tea Tree Squeaky Clean Scrub (RRP £6.50)
Tea Tree Blemish Fade Night Lotion (RRP £9.00)

With a saving over £10, I found this was pretty good value for money. I also like having matching products in my bathroom, so if you're slightly concerned with things being the same then you too will appreciate this. I'm no stranger to tea tree so the smell doesn't put me off, but if you're sensitive to scent and don't like smelling like a plant, then it's probably not for you. The big pull for me was the idea of having a whole skincare routine in a bag for £23 - it's rare for me to use products from the same line or brand as I'm usually mixing and matching my skincare, but I thought it was worth a try!

I decided the only way to properly test this out was to use no other skincare product for the duration of the trial period, although I did continue to apply primer and make up as usual. I began the test on Sunday 30th November, so according to the claims on the kit, my skin should be seeing results by Wednesday 3rd December.

In the mornings, I used the foam cleanser in the shower, followed by a sweep of the toner, then the moisturising lotion. In the evenings I used the foaming cleanser (with a dab of oil on my eyes as I didn't find the foam properly removed my mascara), followed by the toner, the blemish fade lotion, and some nights I also dabbed a bit of moisturiser on as I found my skin felt a bit drier than usual. I used the face scrub a couple of times a week as my skin doesn't like too much exfoliation - however, the scrub is certainly gentle enough to use daily on non-sensitive skin and I actually found it to be the gentlest product of the bunch.

Was my skin clearer after 3 days? Not quite, although I noticed some fading on older spots. I did get a few new ones throughout, but they seem to dry out pretty quickly and didn't cause me as much grief as they usually do. I experienced a little stinging after applying the toner and both lotions, although it soon faded and didn't leave me with any redness. If you have hyper-sensitive skin then I would probably recommend seeking advice before using these items.

My favourites are the toner and the night lotion, as I feel like they could be really beneficial to my skin - the toner is a lot gentler than I imagined. I also like the scrub a lot because it's not as abrasive as I was expecting it to be, and does leave my skin feeling nice and soft. I can take or leave the cleanser as I'm a fan of gel cleansers over foaming ones, and the daily moisturiser is nice but perhaps not as deeply moisturising as I would like for winter skin. I can see it working a treat over the summer months though!

Overall I would say my feelings are fairly positive towards the products, although the 3 day claim is a bit over-enthusiastic! I'm definitely going to keep using the routine and see if there are any substantial improvements - if so then I will update this post. I would recommend the products but definitely take the 3 day claim with a pinch of salt! Nothing works overnight of course but I'm hoping in the long run my skin will start to behave.

Have you tried the Body Shop's tea tree skincare? Did it work for you? Please let me know in the comments!

Love Dani

Sunday, 30 November 2014

November Favourites

I'm not especially good at posting regularly about my favourite things. I think I started doing a series of monthly favourites way back when, and managed to complete about two. There are just too many beautiful things out there clamouring for my attention! However, this month I've noted a number of things that have impressed me, so thought it only apt to write a little favourites post in the dying hours of November. How well-planned!

In terms of make up I haven't bought an awful lot recently, so this month I've been shopping the stash! When rifling through my lipstick tray I picked out this Elizabeth Arden lipstick in Rose Aurora - it's actually a limited edition shade I received as a birthday present from my in-laws a couple of years ago. I've never tried anything else from Elizabeth Arden make-up so can't really comment too much but I've really been enjoying this lipstick. It's a subtle shimmery tint with a hint of brown, not quite nude, but perfect for daily wear. It also has all sorts of lovely conditioning anti-ageing properties, definitely needed in this cold snap!

I remember when I first received this Benefit Easiest Nudes eye palette I used it all the time and really loved it. Evidently my fickle self then discarded it for newer products (methinks the Naked 3 may have been to blame), so this is another recent re-discovery. Actually have no idea why I ever stopped using this. It's perfect for everyday wear and the dark brown shade has been absolutely amazing at filling in my brows, too. I've been continuing my penchant for smoky brown eyes with this, finished off with a slick of liner.

Something slightly different now... I fell in love with the limited edition Anthropologie gold initial mugs a while ago but resigned myself to never owning one as the D was always sold out online. Last week, however, a quick jaunt to Selfridges for something entirely different resulted in me grabbing the last D mug on the display and quickfooting it to the till with a voucher in hand. Totally self-indulgent, but I'm so happy with it!

Continuing the metallic theme... I have been looking for reasonably priced cake stands for a while now as part of my wedding-decor-sourcing initiative (I really need a good abbreviation for this). I almost dropped £10 on one in H&M the other day, but I'm so glad I talked myself out of it because I consequently went on to spot these delightful copper cake stands in Tiger for £4. Tiger is my new favourite store. I'm addicted. I bought two.

Finally, to round things off, I must harken back to my obsession with all things tartan... I very nearly spent £20 on a massive, woolly Accessorize scarf, but in my usual fashion I talked myself out of spending the money, before promptly rewarding myself for my thriftiness by dropping £6 on this Primark scarf. Well. I say scarf. It's more like a blanket.
I can't actually wrap it around my neck without feeling like I'm in a neck brace, but it's so cosy and soft I can forgive it for being unnecessarily huge. I'm sure it will come in handy when the usual snow threats begin.

What have your favourites been this month? Link below if you've done a post! I'm starting to assemble my list for best of 2014!

Love Dani

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Winter Wishlist

Everyone loves a wishlist, am I right? I do too. Although I must say, after listing a certain number of items, I inevitably reach the stage where I either purchase something on the list out of sheer desperation (there was a tartan scarf on the first draft of this post, but then, er, I bought it) or end up sinking into a penniless pit of despair, lamenting my lack of riches and questioning all of my life's decisions.

But it is nearly Christmas now - well, near enough that I can justify any wishlist as absolutely necessary in order to pass on to family and friends in the hope that someone will take pity on my peasant-like self and purchase something on the list for me. That's not to say I don't love surprises, of course. But I like lists. Here's mine!

Chloe Eau de Parfum - I'm drawn to heavy, lingering floral scents as soon as the days start getting shorter. Although Coco Mademoiselle is usually my perfume of choice, I spritzed this Chloe scent on a whim whilst meandering through Debenhams the other week and absolutely adored it. Must make it mine soon, before the Boots security people start recognising me and blocking my path to the perfume section. Erm, I mean, it's not like I go to spray it daily or anything. I swear.

Brown leather(look) satchel - It's probably time to retire my Next satchel (bought in 2010!), I'm just yet to find one that matches up. I feel my one looks more expensive than it was but others I've bought since just look cheap (they were). But alas the straps are fraying and the buckles falling off and it's just looking rather unhappy at the moment. I tried to buy a duplicate on ebay the other day but I was pipped to the post by some other thrifty shopper wanting a £5 satchel, can you imagine? I just haven't quite found the one - that is, the one that is not a Mulberry Alexa/worth a small fortune. Come on High Street, you're letting me down. I've found a couple of options though, these ones from River Island and Accessorize could be possibilities...

Purse - I don't carry a purse. I know right? Instead it's a little old cardholder that I stuff train tickets, cards and the odd bit of cash into. Simple and fits into all bags. However, I feel I should really do the responsible thing and graduate to an actual purse these days - this little Accessorize offering should do the trick.

Jumper dresses - I went through a two year phase of living in sweater dresses at uni and have somehow managed to misplace ALL of them after multiple house moves. Time to replenish the stocks! Thankfully, they seem to be everywhere these days so I shouldn't struggle to find some I want. I think these will work well with my over knee boots and ankle boots alike. Both of these are from H&M.

Zoeva rose gold brush set - do I even need to justify this? I do? Okay... it's rose gold. It had me at rose gold. I need to rub them all over my face.

Of course this is by no means an extensive list - I have a whole Pinterest board devoted to the things I'm coveting! But these are the ones I can't get out of my head at the moment - Santa, are you listening...?

What's on your wishlist at the moment?

Love Dani

Monday, 10 November 2014

What I Wore #115

 coat - H&M / skirt - ASOS (similar here) / top - H&M
scarf - Boohoo / bag - Next (similar here) / brogues - New Look 
necklace - Accessorize (similar here)

Hi my loves,

Well I think it's safe to say autumn has well and truly arrived this week! Frosty mornings, Starbucks red cups and lots of woolly knits - curled up editing these photos with my M&S Winter candles burning happily on the window sill, it's hard to suppress my burgeoning excitement for you-know-what (clue - it starts with C and ends with Hristmas!).

Cold weather always seems to beckon my preppy side and thankfully the high street is complying with my urge to look like a 12-year-old with an abundance of tartan, plaid and whimsical jewellery! Admittedly most of my outfit is made up of pieces I already own, partly because I'm practically penniless and also because I now own enough clothing to wear a different outfit every day (a fact made painfully obvious to me some time ago when a colleague asked if I ever wore an outfit twice - it's time to admit I have a problem...).

In fact, the only new purchase is the scarf - I don't often buy from Boohoo but I was on the hunt for a nice tartan scarf in warm colours and could only find red and blue ones in shops! This was only a tenner and it's lovely and warm, it's also fairly big so perfect for those chilly mornings. I quite like the contrast of the purple and muted mustard shades against my green coat.
The rest of the outfit has all appeared on the blog in some guise before - I've actually managed to track all the previous posts down, thus proving the usefulness of my blog as an outfit archive. The coat and top (dress) are both H&M sale finds, the skirt is ASOS (purchased after seeing it on fellow blogger Maria, no less!)  and the necklace was a gift during my uni days, after dropping so many hints I ended up receiving it from two people. Oops. The satchel is an old, old favourite, practically falling apart at the seams, but I love it too much to let it go. Story of my life!

Now it's back to work rather than the school the outfit seems to suggest, but I feel curiously motivated now I have gingerbread lattes to see me through the haze of a Monday morning! Hope you all have a good week!

Much love,
Dani xoxo