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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Topshop First & Mini Review

These are by no means new products, well...one is fairly new, but for me they are a first! Topshop have been selling their make up range for nearly two years now, and when I think, how many times I have been in the store since then I am actually surprised I haven't picked something up sooner. I am always intrigued when clothing stores bring out a range of beauty products. You have to wonder if they will come up to scratch and be able to compete with other high street brand such as Maybelline and Rimmel, but I think Topshop have done pretty well.


So, this is what I picked up, just three little things to start. I have to say I have mixed reviews about them, one good, one bad and one ugly ok.


Lets start with the good! The first is a nail polish in "Celestial", it is such a pretty pale blue shade. As soon as I spotted it I knew I wanted to get it. It would just be so perfect for Spring and most of the blues I have are darker so this is a nice addition. I am so happy with the quality of this polish, it lasted four days before it chipped on me and with my nails that is excellent. It also applies very well. It is such a creamy colour and doesn't go on streaky at all, I would say you could even get away with one coat!


Next is an "Ok" product for me, I was a little disappointed if I am being honest. I knew I wanted to get this before I got to the shop because I had seen them so many times but I don't love it as much as I wanted to. It is a "Lip Crayon" in the shade "Powder Room". I love the colour! It is a very pretty light pink, I wouldn't say baby pink but it is a light but at the same time it is quite bright. It goes on really well, it doesn't feel drying on the lips, I just have one problem with it...it is very matte! Now this is just a personal preference and not a mark against the product its self, I just like a bit of a shine on the lips. To fix this I have been topping it with a gloss so I am still happy with my purchase, again another thing I think will be great for Spring.


Last is the product I have to call "BAD", and I do feel a little sad when I say that because I wanted to love this. The morning before I went to the shops I noticed the new "Peel Off" nail polish on the Topshop website so I knew if it was in store I was going to get it. I love love love grey-ish neutral shades of nail polish, they suit my skin tone and they just look perfect with any outfit so when I found the colour "Straight Laced" I fell for it. It is a beautiful pale grey neutral shade and I think the name is wonderful. Unfortunately the colour is all I like about this polish. First of all the formula is rubbish quite frankly! On the Topshop website it suggests to apply two thin coats of the polish, which I did. It streaks sooo badly! After two coats it looks just as bad as it does with one so I applied a third which did very little to help. After it had dried it still looked very uneven but I left it on to see how it fared, after doing the washing up that evening it started to peel up at the edges. I guess this was due to the heat from the water. The next day nearly every nail had started to peel around the edges so I decided to just take them off. I have come to the conclusion that this is very bad for your nails, it seemed to cause what looked like peeling on the top of my nail. I was very sad about this because I really don't need anything to make my nails worse than they already are.

Apart from that I am pleased and looking forward to trying more things in future, do you have any favourites from Topshop??


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Friday, 22 February 2013

Currently I am...

Thinking
About holidays. We haven't been away anywhere for nearly two years now and I think it's time we went on a little vacation! Maybe some time this year but it would be nice to get away from everything, there are just so many places to choose from! Any suggestions??

Drinking
Water. Not the most exciting thing in the world but it is good for you and your skin. I always drink plenty of water during Summer but in Winter I seem to forget but I am trying really hard to remember this year.

Wishing
For Spring. I love Winter, and everything that comes with it but around this time of year when the shops are full of Spring colour its hard to not be excited about it!

Admiring
My vase of roses. My fiance surprised me with them over a week ago and they still look so beautiful. Flowers do so much for a room!

Wondering
What to have for dinner! I have no idea what to make, I hate nights like this when everything you think of, you don't want. But at the same time you can't think of what you do want...annoying!

Loving
An old MUA blush. I bought it last year some time and I kind of forgot about it until today. It is such a pretty light pink colour and looks really sweet on.

Image via weheartit

Happy Friday :)
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Monday, 18 February 2013

"Printspiration"


After emerging from an indoor car park on Sunday afternoon having been in there from 7am, we opened the doors to walk out into what felt just like a warm Spring day. I should say that we were at a carboot sale, we were not stuck in the car park! There wasn't a cloud in the sky and while there was still that bit of Winter chill in the air it couldn't have been further away from how the weather has been recently. Everyone around us was wearing warm Winter clothes, and quite rightly as it is obviously not shorts and t-shirt season yet. I had on dark blue jeggings and a black and white stripe jumper. This is an outfit that I have loved over the past few months but suddenly, walking about in the bright sunshine I felt so dull! All I could think about was colour. It has really inspired me to start looking at bright bold colourful prints and to be more adventurous about adding bright items to my wardrobe. There is something wonderful about a bright happy pattern or design that can help make you feel even more summery, and when the weather is still quite cold make you excited about the coming warm weather. I have a few bold items but they are far outweighed by the amount dark blacks and greys. I am going to make an effort to change that and have more of a balance. After all...Spring wouldn't be Spring without colour :)
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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Valentines - Handmade Gifts

We really wanted to make some gifts to give each other this Valentines day instead of buying something, and some small gifts to give out to friends and family, such as the tea bags I made here. Because we are both very busy this Valentines Day we made the most of the weekend and had a pre-Valentines, Valentines Day which was lovely.


I knew that I wanted to make cookies and I had a thought to also make cookie pops because I had some left over lolly sticks, and I found this amazing recipe. The jar of cookies was from me to my fiance and the cookie pops we are planning to give out with the tea bags because what goes better with tea than cookies...right? I have tried a few sugar cookie recipes in the past and this is my favourite so far, I will definitely be using it again. I have to say I was a little worried about putting the plastic sticks in the oven but everything I found online told me it would be fine and it turned out that it was. 


My gift was this yummy jar of brownies. I am very choosy when it comes to brownies...they have to be gooey not cakey and the ones that fiance makes are perfect! He found the recipe online a few years ago and changed it a little to make them just right and try as I might I just cannot find it to show you. If anyone is interested I will find his written recipe and type it up for you. They really are the best I have ever tasted and I am not just saying that...honest!


With gifts you give cards, and because we were having a relaxing weekend and had the time we thought we would make our own. I love how they turned out and I don't think that I would like any store bought cards as much as I do these. We used left over paper and ribbon we had around the house and it was a lot of fun to do.

Are you making anything for anyone this Valentines day?

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Sunday, 10 February 2013

Valentines Breakfast

I first tried this meal maybe around two years ago. My best friend had been away to Australia and while most people bring back souvineres, she brought back the idea for this recipe. She said she had been eating it most days for the two weeks they were gone and she loved it. So for a "catch up" brunch she made it for us and since that day it has become a favourite of mine...especially for breakfast. I love every part of it from the comforting banana bread to the always luxurious feeling raspberries and mascarpone and the whole thing goes so well together. It is my perfect Valentines breakfast!

You will need :


- thick slices of banana bread
- fresh raspberries, but you could use frozen ones that have been thawed
- butter
- honey
- mascarpone
- icing sugar
- 2 beaten eggs
- frying pan


Start by melting some butter in a frying pan on a medium heat, you can use oil if you like or low cal spray but this is a special breakfast and I think the butter just gives something extra to the taste.


While the pan is heating up and the butter is melting soak the banana bread in the beaten eggs. Leaving it for around 30 seconds on each side so it can soak up a little. If your bread is really fresh you might not want to leave it as long, ours was a few days old. Once your bread is soaked to your liking pop it in the pan to start browning. I like the bread to be quite brown and crispy so once you are happy with it just flip it over and cook the other side.


While the bread is cooking add a little icing sugar to your mascarpone to sweeten it. If you don't want the extra sweetness of course you don't need to do this. Then take your raspberries and start to crush them up. I don't add any extra sugar to them because I like the contrast of the tart berries with the sweet cream but if you like them sweet then just add a teaspoon of icing sugar.


When the bread is ready just plate it up and add your mascarpone and crushed raspberries. I like to then drizzle it with honey and dust the bread with icing sugar...that is really just so it looks pretty.

This is such an amazing breakfast and if I didn't know better I would eat it far more often than I do, I hope it gives you some inspiration for Valentines day :)
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Friday, 8 February 2013

DIY - Valentines Day Tea Bags


I love to give out little home made gifts, I love the personal touch and the fact that you know a lot of thought and effort has gone in to them. Holidays are great for this, they give you such wonderful opportunity to get crafty and be really creative for instance...what other month of the year can you make everything pink and red and get away with covering your entire house in love hearts??? I knew I wanted something small but thoughtful to give out this Valentines day and being the HUGE tea lovers that we are in this house I thought, tea bags! They are really easy to make and I will tell you how below. What better way to remind people you love them :)

You will need:

- coffee filter paper
- a needle and thread you like
- scissors
- a pen
- pva glue
- coloured card
- tea leafs, any you like :)


Start by cutting out a shape you like from the coffee filter paper. If your paper isn't folded together as mine was then I would do this, it makes things much easier. Also if you have a folded edge it is one less that you have to sew up.


Once you have your shape, start sewing. Keep going all the way round until you have a gap left that is big enough for you to get a teaspoon in.


Take a teaspoon of your chosen tea. I used a new Twinings one I picked up today, Pomegranate and Raspberry, partly because it sounded really yummy and partly because I thought it would be a good colour for Valentines tea. You can use any tea you like but remember that it has to be tea leafs, tea that is in powder form will more than likely fall out the sides of the teabag.


Once your tea is in just sew up the rest of the tea bag and tie a little knot to make sure it wont come undone. Then attach a long piece of string to any part of the bag you like, I chose to do it at the top of the love heart.


Now you can cut out any shapes you like from any card or paper that you like to make the part that stays outside the teacup. To make sure the string is secure on the card, once you have applied the glue it is a good idea to add another little piece of card over the top...it also stops it being as messy.


And there is your finished Valentines Day teabag :)

If you want to go that little bit further, then you can also make a package to put it in.


I did this by making a template from coffee filters and drawing round it on to white card. If you are feeling a little more confident you can just draw it straight onto the card you want to use. I found that this shape worked best for me and to make sure the teabag would fit, I sketched the first square of the template around the teabag, making sure there would be room.


When you have cut out your template, make very light scores across lines where the folds will be, this makes things much easier when trying to get the card to fold straight! Add a little glue the the small flaps and bring up the bottom square. Hold them in place for a minute just to make sure that they have stuck and that is it! You can decorate it how ever you choose, I  kept mine simple and wrote a simple message then added a tiny love heart.


I am so pleased with how they turned out, and they are surprisingly simple to do. I will be doing some more Valentines related posts over the next few days so if you would like to see them then please feel free to pop back, I love it when you do :)

If you give these a go or make something similar please let me know, I would love to see!
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It's Ok Thursday Link Up

I discovered this link up through Beauty and Babbling's blog and thought I would join in  :)

It's ok...

...that we slept in this morning and watched TV on the laptop when we really should have been getting up.

...that I have had more than one slice of banana bread today!

...that I haven't done nearly as much house work as I should have.

...that I have been far to busy this week to do any exercise.

...that it is way passed midnight and I am still not in bed.

...that I have been trying to save money and I can't stop thinking about things I want to buy!

...that I have been meaning to back up my iphone for around two weeks now and I still haven't!

...that I don't want Winter to end because I love wearing cosy clothes and I will miss my big fluffy parka :(


Its Ok Thursdays

What are you Ok with just now??

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Thursday, 7 February 2013

Elemis Papaya Enzyme "Peel"

It is always wonderful when you come across a product that you feel really works for you and your skin! I last mentioned this Elemis Peel in my December Favourites  and since then, I have come to love it even more.


Elemis is a brand I am quite new too. I have heard many things about them but this is the first product I have tried for myself and let me tell you...if this is anything to go by, I am a fan!

This particular mask is an "enzyme exfoliator", something else I am new too. It has no abrasive material as manual exfoliators do so you don't have to worry that you could be scratching or damaging your skin. Instead enzyme exfoliators work by accelerating the process of skin cell replacement, they do this by speeding up the chemical reactions needed to bring new, plump cells to the surface and help get rid of old ones.


While doing some research about enzyme exfoliators or peels, I came across a few interesting facts. They can accomplish the same results much faster than manual exfoliators which is much better for your skin. They help reduce the appearance of age spots, fine lines and stretch marks and what really interested me, they help diminish scars and marks left behind from acne. Also, because you wear them as you would a face mask they help to cleanse pores better, and doing so improve skin tone. This helps with any discolouration you may have and I found, in this mask it helps reduce the redness I get.

I have quite sensitive skin, it can become dry or irritated really rather easily so I am more than happy to say that I had no nasty effects from this mask. I call it a mask because you apply it to your face and after 10-15 minutes you wash it off with warm water. Instead of peeling it off, which is the impression I got from reading the name. When using some face masks I find that they can feel uncomfortable but this is lovely to use. It is cool and feels very calming when you apply, and the smell is really very nice. After taking the mask off I can honestly say I can see a difference in my skin. It looks much brighter and the redness I can get in my cheeks always seems to be much less.

It is the most expensive face mask I have ever bought at £29.50 and I was worried it would maybe not be worth the money, but after using it for nearly two months now I can say that it is worth very penny. I use it around once a week and you really don't need to apply a lot of product so I can see this lasting me quite a while. When I do eventually run out though, I will most definitely be buying more :)


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Monday, 4 February 2013

Some Favourites from January - Spending Diet Issue!

I know I am a couple of days late with this post, but to say that I had a busy weekend would be a bit of an understatement! I feel like I am always telling you I am making cakes but again, that is what I was doing all weekend! The reason...? I had two friends ask if I would make them cupcakes and cake pops, both for the weekend. I managed it, but not being a baker it did take me a long time but they turned out well.

If you read my last post you will know that I had placed my self on a "spending diet" throughout January. If you are new here, then "hello, welcome" and let me explain. After having spent a lot of money over Christmas it seemed like a good idea to not spend money on items that I didn't really need. It has turned out to be quite a good thing to do and I have saved a little extra money.

Because I haven't bought any new products this month I am going to do a slightly different monthly favourites. I have taken the past few weeks as a chance to try out a lot of the samples I have gathered, when I looked I really had quite a few so I have picked my favourites to share with you.

Make Up & Skincare


Only one make up product this month because I have really been using the same products as last month. This little jar of powder came in a Glossy box, I think last month but I could be wrong. It is Dewy Perfection Finishing Powder from BM Beauty. It claims to do many things such as, brighten your complexion, reduce the appearance of fine lines, help make up last longer and more. I have used it as a highlight on my cheek bones and it works really well and dusted lightly all over my face and I can say it does give a dewy bright appearance. I am very pleased with this product and it is something I would consider buying. The website also suggests for it to be used all over you face before you apply foundation. I haven't yet tried it this way because honestly, the thought of applying powder before foundation doesn't sit well with me. Especially as my skin can get a little dry.

I have three skincare products that I have really rather liked, two have a lot to do with the smell! First is a mango body butter from Alison Claire and one of the lovely things about it is that it is all natural, which is always a good thing. I have two reasons for starting to use this product, first because its very cold outside so I have been trying to use body moisturiser regularly and second, it smells sooo good! It smells just like something I used to eat when I was much younger but for the life of me I can't think what! It is also quite a good body butter, though I have to say I don't like it as much as the Bodyshop body butters. It does sink in to the skin very well without being greasy and leaves skin feeling very soft. The second yummy smelling product is Idealia Vichy Moisturiser, it smells just like fresh raspberries...of which I am a big fan! The sample I have is for normal to combination skin and while I do like it, I feel my skin would benefit more from the one for dry skin. I love applying it, and it feels wonderful, I just don't think it is giving my skin enough hydration. Last is Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. I realise this is by no means a new or exciting product but I have just recently started using it. I once tried it years ago when there was quite a lot of hype around the so called "wonder product" and didn't like it, I just didn't see any difference it made to my face. However, I have had to samples of this lying around that I have been given as part of free gift offers when buying other products so I thought "why not?" I still don't think it does all that it claims to do but I do find that it give me a brighter complexion on days when my skin feels a little dull. I'm unsure if I would ever actually buy this product but I am quite enjoying my samples :)

Fashion



With the weather being so cold lately it will probably come as no surprise that my favourite fashion items this past month are gloves! Two pairs, the black and grey that I bought around Christmas time in the sale from Asos are thick and really warm, and the other were a gift from my fiance's parents for Christmas. They are so pretty and I have been wearing them as much as possible. Both I believe are now sold out so I can't find a link to add for them.

Organisation 


With a new year comes a new diary and this is mine. I absolutely love it and I was so excited waiting for it to be delivered. I have always been fascinated by Paris, the fashion, the history, the architecture, the food...I could go on. It is somewhere I have always wanted to visit and if I ever get the chance I will but for now I will settle with looking at it in other forms, like books! I got this from Amazon at the very start of January and I am so pleased with it.

Other Things

I have two other things that I have been loving this past month and they are Instagram and Pinterest. I have become a woman obsessed and if I have a spare minute that is probably what I am doing.

If you would like to follow me on Instagram you can by searching my name - missshelleyharper
Or you can have a look at my profile here - http://instagram.com/missshelleyharper

Happy Monday everyone :)

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