Monday, 22 September 2014

Helloooo everyone!

I love painting my nails. It's as simple as that. I am constantly being lured in by new season hues and shades I don't yet have in my collection and simply must buy, but what's a nice polish without nails in good condition?

Growing my nails out to the length of Lana Del Rey's is the monthly goal, and I am proud to say I can grow long nails quite quickly which makes my hands look a little bit sleeker. But for many years I've had a problem with split and peeling talons, bending and becoming week through daily chores and working in certain environments - big no no in my books!

Thankfully they are much well cared for now with a little help from the Scholl Nail Beauty Set*, which keeps my paws filed, polished and free of any ridges with every new colour I apply.

With the set, you have an array of attachments to use with the Manicure Pen including four shaping discs, a filing cone, cuticle lifter and a polishing cone. I won't lie but I was very excited to use the cuticle lifter and thin rounded stone for smoothing the nail surface as that's where my nail problem usually lies.

For the full experience, I removed all trace of nail varnish and used each specific tool to get my nails in top condition for growth and a new shade. For shaping, I used the Small Fine Shaping Disc which is designed for the thinner and more delicate nails. Now, using a tool to shape is a great lazy treat but you have to be so careful - one nail ended up being filed significantly on one side, leading to a deadly weapon for poking people with, so I'd suggest using the filing tools for smoothing edges and thicker nails on your feet but the effect is very smooth nails without any jagged un-even surfaces. Pretty good result!

I love pushing back my cuticles to gain a bit of extra length, and also to nourish them with some lovely oils and creams so the Cuticle Lifter was right up my street. The vibrations are great to gently push back the skin, but if you have tougher skin you can use the Hand-Held Cuticle Stick to make sure everything is nicely pushed back.

Then to get rid of snags and prepare the area around my nails, I used the Thin Rounded Stone tool to remove dead skin, rough patches and to smooth the surface of the nail. It may seem quite stripping but it buffs away at the top layer to even out the layers, leaving you with soft sleek nails, and by finishing off with the Cleaning Brush and Polishing Cone you get a smooth buffed nail to soak up all the nutrients from your oils and creams before applying polish.

My nails before!

The last thing I was interested in trying was of course, the Nail Dryer. Whilst you can use the Manicure Pen cordless, you have to plug in the main case for the dryer to work properly. In this particular scenario I had a thick layering of polish on due to a white undercoat, so it took a long time to try still with the added air from the dryer. I will admit it felt a bit gimmicky however with less layers I'm guessing the nails dry quicker and stop them from being smudged as easily; perfect for a pamper evening with the girls or if you have time to spare, otherwise just let them dry as you type!

All in all, this a great fun kit to have for giving your nails that extra bit of TLC. I'll be taking this round to my sister's to pamper her nails, and giving my mum a treat with it too. I do think there are some attachments that you have better tools for - a cuticle stick might push the edges back more but the lifter here is gentle, plus a nail file might be easier to keep an eye on unlike the shaping discs.... but nonetheless, whip this out on a girls night and you'll have preened nails ready to showcase a new shade. Now, where's my polish collection?....

Have you tried the Scholl Nail Beauty Set? What are your favourite nail products?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

* This post contains a gifted item. The views expressed in this article do no reflect those of the company nor were they influenced by them. All views at 100% my own. The Nail Beauty Set is available from ASDA and Boots.

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Friday, 19 September 2014

Helloooo everyone!

I always feel like I have to make a huge effort with fashion - wearing cool pieces, thinking about colour coordination, does this top go with that skirt; le sigh.

Sometimes, simple is best. My striped top is the most reached for item in my wardrobe because it's so comfortable, goes with everything and is a lovely dark navy instead of black stripe. I've found that H&M is awesome for basics - the quality is amazing and I'm constantly choosing them over other brands to wear daily, plus can we discuss how affordable they are?! Much better than Primarni.

Top - H&M (similar here) | Jeans - M&Co* | Trainers - Office | Sunglasses - Magazine freebie woop!

Even though I love trousers, I've really never been a fan of jeans; in the past they've just not fit in the right places, have been an odd colour, made me look bulky...I could go on and on. I've always wanted to be someone who could throw on a pair for casual cool, and thankfully now I can in this amazingly comfy pair. These M&Co Midwash Slim Fit Jeans* just slide on and sit so comfortably on my hips, thighs and my waist, the colour is a nice dark blue which is great for day or night, and paired with my Breton top I feel just a little bit Parisian.

This look will definitely be seeing me through the autumn; I'm already planning on how to pair these jeans with my over-the-knee boots and winter coat - I just need a slight temperature drop please? But I digress, because whatever the weather, you simply cannot fail with a casual striped top and a good ol'pair of jeans.

What is you favourite brand/pair of jeans? Are you ready for some autumn weather? Have you shopped with M&Co before?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Helloooo everyone!

I love a good comfort food, and I also love to find new veg that I haven't tried cooking with yet, so when I was researching my #AUTUMNAPPROACHES food post I found this delicious idea for a mash potato alternative.

Now, celeriac isn't one of the most appealing looking vegetables in the world, but it has a wonderful consistency which makes a great mash and is easily flavoured to any taste. Part of the celery family, it's low in calories (42 calories per 100g), contains Vitamins K, B and C, plus phosphorus for cell metabolism; all in all, a pretty showstopping healthy vegetable.

It's pretty easy to make Celeriac mash, but I'm going to give you the low down on my creation, combining it with parsnip for flavour and extra body for mealtimes. Prepare to be wowed at this very healthy alternative.

1 Large Celery Root | 1 Parsnip - well how easy is that?!

1. Prepare your water for boiling and wash the veg. Chop the root and top of the celeriac off (you won't have a large chunk left so don't worry!) and peel. Repeat with the parsnip.

2. Core the parsnip by cutting into quarters and slicing down - this removes the tougher area and is easier to boil. Slice the celeriac and parsnip into small chunks and pop in a pan to boil for 20-25 minutes until soft.

3. Drain and transfer the veg into a bowl for mashing; add in milk, butter or coconut oil for a more creamy consistency if desired. Mash until it looks like potato or fluffy. Serve with your main meal!

How easy peasy was that?! And it's great with peas and sausages I'll have you know. The flavour and texture is so much lighter than potato, getting rid of that starchy taste in your mouth after eating and also cutting down on the calories - fab if you're trying to eat cleaner and still enjoy your comfort food.

Have you ever tried Celeriac mash before? What is your favourite way to cook seasonal veg? And what is the best comfort food?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Helloooo everyone!

As you know from last week I went to the amazing #BloggersFestival, organised by Scarlett London with the help of Search Laboratory and Want Her Dress. Of course with meeting loads of brands, you get to be kindly gifted with a few goodies - and some prizes if you're lucky - to get to know products better and broaden your beauty/fashion horizons.

Lugging home two pretty full bags, I thought it would be necessary to share with you all the kindly gifted treats from this wonderful event (and I also really needed to unpack all the bags out my room!)

Now I was very lucky to win the Crosley Keepsake Turntable and four records thanks to Urban Outfitters, and so far it's been a great piece to play with - there were some issues with the turntable platter, but thanks to some tutorials I got it fixed; more on that another time though. I have two favourite records so far: Awake by Tycho and World Psychedelic Classics 3: Love's a Real Thing - definitely felt like I was abroad with this record!

I also won the Murad Prize which contained their Refreshing Cleanser, Blackhead and Pore Clearing Duo and Balancing Moisturiser with Broad Spectrum SPF15 PA++. I am so excited to trial these as I love a good, deep cleaning mask and anything that keeps oil and spots at bay.

The lovely girls at Search Laboratory provided a great goody bag with a link to their SEO advice and some little sugary treats - including my fave childhood lollipops! I also picked up a pen or two because you always need pens, and I'm always leaving them around the house for notes and lists galore.

In our main event bag from Scarlett, we were kindly treated to an Anti-Ageing Facial Oil and Hydrating Firming Serum from Green People - which is full of loads of natural ingredients including Chamomile, Seaweed, Avocado and Rosehip, a Triple Core Lipstick in Dazzling Plum from THE ONE by Oriflame which is yet to be released, a Celluence Phase Two Concentrated Body Cream, and a small bottle of Blue Nun White Wine - just for when the weekend arrives ;)

From the stands, Quiz Clothing provided a bag containing a preview of their new collection, a pretty dress biscuit, pen and 10% off any purchases through the app, whilst Lee Stafford gave us the My Big Fat Silky Smoother Brush with Extra Oomfness to make our blow-dries even bigger - anything that gives me some body is good in my books!

From, we received a lovely canvas bag with a £10 Gift Voucher, a bracelet or necklace, and a copy of the Very magazine with OK! - so generous and their new season partywear and SS15 planned collection just looks insane. Some of my favourite pieces came from Minimum Fashion and ECCO, with a gorgeous small leather pouch purse from ECCO and a brand slogan tank from Minimum inside each blogger bag for us to enjoy, whilst Want Her Dress and Izabelle Hammon shared their products including a detailed size guide for dressing to your shape and nails wraps to experiment with, and Bee Good supplied each blogger with a nourishing and natural Honey and Vanilla Lip Balm which I absolutely love love love! I need to stock up on more pronto.

The amount of treats and goodies each brand put forward is amazing; all are of course worth a bit of dolla so it was lovely that everyone who attended was able to sample them for free. As for the prizes I won, I have to thank Scarlett and Urban Outtfitter's teams for picking me out the hat for that - totally made my day!

I seriously cannot wait to attend more blog events, and to hopefully meet up with more lovely bloggers in the future.

Are you a fan of any of these brands? What blog events have you been to? Are you a record player enthusiast?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

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Monday, 15 September 2014

Helloooo everyone!

For my last part of #AUTUMNAPPROACHES I wanted to experiment with some of most popular AW14 trends from the catwalk and show you how easy they are to wear day-to-day. The main looks that cropped up again and again included flawless porcelain skin, 60's doll eyes, big brows, metallic effect, smudged under-eye liner and, of course, lots of blue.

A lot of these looks work well together so I have done a little mash-up for three ways to wear some of the main trends, and they'll suit any type of beauty addict -  be it those who like to wear less products or those who love to experiment more.

Fresh Porcelain Skin, Doll Eyes + Big Brows
For a fresh-faced, easy look to rock, this is the way to go for AW14. By laying off the blush and bronzer, you create a very soft and subtle appearance to the face which is easy to wear all day long. A light base is best here, although you can just use a light hand on a full coverage foundation, but leave the eyes bare besides lashing of mascara at the outer corners for a fluttery look and the well-filled powder eyebrows, so all you'll need is just slick on a nude balm for a cool look that will emphasis you're natural beauty.

Metallics + Glowing Skin
Summer skin is technically here to stay, but it's just got a bit more sparkly. The catwalks were teamed with heavily metallic lids and lips with great contouring and highlight for a more defined natural look that would catch anyone's eye. It's also been a big season for bold eyes, and the under-eye liner is no stranger to this; a modern grungy edge which adds depth and shadow to any eye-shade in a flattering way. To pull this off in a wearable fashion, stick to neutral/gold shadows on the lids with a deep shimmer in the crease. Highlight and contour is important so make sure you work those cheekbones, and finish off with a nude but shimmery lipstick for a glowing touch - Topshop and Sleek have a fabulous range of metallic based lipsticks this season, so make sure you check these out! For the smudged under-eye, I suggest a deep natural colour in a powder finish - if you're feeling brave, rock your kohl liner underneath for the evenings, otherwise a dark brown will add a nice emphasis to your eyes whilst not making you look too panda-eyed.

Products used: As before, with additional use of Naked 1 - Virgin, Half-Baked, Smog and Darkhorse; Sleek I-Divine Au Naturel - Taupe; Rimmel Match Perfection Creamy Powder in 103 True Ivory, MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural in Medium/Dark, Sleek Face Form Contouring and Blush Palette Highlighter in Fair, Sleek True Colour Lipstick Sheen in Liqueur 775.

Bright Blue Eyes
Best til last if you ask me. This bold look is, yes, more night-time appropriate, but with the right texture and shades you can easily wear this during the day. For those less daring, some blue liner will add a pop to your peepers, but for a more blue-ming marvellous vibe you just need to hit up those palettes. If you have ever kept behind some of your old bright make-up for yesteryear it's time to get it out again; I have an old palette from M&S which I used for this look, but from Rimmel to MAC you'll find a blue shade for you. For a successful look, take the classic smokey eye trick and start from light blue and blending into a mid-dark blue. To make the shades brighter, primer and use a white eyeliner pencil as a base for the pigments to cling onto, and blend blend blend. A slick of liner, nude lip, and you're good to go!

Products Used: As before, but using an M&S Eyeshadow Palette on the eyes (similar here), and MAC Myth on the lips.

As well as these major trends, autumn is also all about the dark reds and purples, deep nail colours and lots of gold tones to make you sparkle right into the winter months. You can read more about my transitional make-up and beauty in these posts here and here, and I hope this series has given you lots of inspiration for how to make your skin and beauty shine into the new year - it's only September, but Christmas is coming ever so swiftly!

What are your favourite AW14 Beauty trends? Will you be rocking ant of these looks?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

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