Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Feeling the Love

When I first started my blog, I never thought I would get the response I have done.  Ive passed the 50 followers mark now and I have some truly lovely regular readers.  I love it when people comment on my posts, regardless of whether they agree or not with what I am saying, I love that people are taking the time out to read my thoughts, look at my pictures and leave a little note as to what they're thinking.  I read each and every one and a couple of times a week I sit down and reply to everyone.  I'm really grateful for all the recognition I have received from companies like Models Own and Me Me Me who have acknowledged my wall posts on Facebook or tweeted about me and retweeted links to my posts when I've reviewed their products.  In my short time blogging, I have also been featured in the Models Own weekly blog wrap which I was just absolutely over the moon about.  It feels great to know that people value my opinion and take it on board.  If I have gone out and bought something with my own money, I will always give you my honest opinion, otherwise, whats the point?!

I know there will always be much better bloggers than me out there and people with thousands more followers who read their posts, but I just wanted to let you all know, however many of you there are, that I am really really grateful for all of your support and friendship.  I heard a saying the other day that 'Facebook is for friends that are now strangers.  Twitter is for strangers that should be your friends'. This is so unbelievably true.  Thank you everyone for your friendship =]

Last week a lovely blogger called Lorin tweeted me to say that she featured me on her blog, Toxic Constellation, in a post about the top 10 blogs that shes reading at the moment. She wrote some lovely things about me and linked to my blog which was nice.  Here's what she wrote:

"What Laura Loves Blog

What i adore about Laura's blog is that she does blog about her life. If you take a look now, you'll see posts on a concert, make up and tea! I love the diversity of the posts, and every one has me hanging on to each and every word. Also, she's gorgeous!"

Thank you Lorin!  I think shes making it a weekly thing too which is great because she gives some fab recommendations.  Its a really good idea to write about the blogs that you're loving at the moment, I think I may share some of the blogs that I enjoy too at some point.

Which blogs are you enjoying reading at the moment?

Monday, 29 November 2010

Goodbye Touche Eclat, HELLO George at Asda!

For me, it is very rare to find a product that really makes you sit up and go 'wow'.  The kind of make up product that makes your slightly vain and self indulgent self say 'i cant live without this'.  Well, I have found such a product.
When I Hide I'm Always Found
Under Eye Concealer by George at Asda in 01 Light
I'm a big fan of YSL Touche Eclat and have been since it was first launched.  I can actually remember when it first came out and everyone raved about it.  I was at the YSL counter in Debenhams buying a blusher and the sales assistant forced it upon me (don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, I was over the moon with it, I just felt a bit pressured into buying it!).  At the time, I was a teenager with, dare I say it, great, spot free, healthy looking skin and such a product wouldn't necessarily be of a ground breaking benefit to me- i didn't have bags under my eyes that needed lightening, dark patches, etc and I could get away without using it if I wanted to.  Even then though, if i used Touche Eclat then I would see a difference in even my good skin.  As time has passed and I've sat up through the night to meet countless deadlines, I have relied upon my Touche Eclat more and more.  At the time I had bought it, it was a wonder product that you couldn't get anywhere else.  It was the first complexion highlighter of its kind and one which many companies have copied since.  Now there are hundreds on the market.  I usually buy my Touche Eclat at the airport when I travel abroad because I can get it a little cheaper than the usual retail price of £24.  I ran out last week and since I am going on holiday in a couple of weeks, I thought I would buy a cheaper alternative until I can get to the airport and buy myself a duty free one.  I'm so glad I decided to do this as now I have found a better product at a fraction of the price and that's the Under Eye Concealer by George at Asda for only £3.
The under eye concealer comes in a pen like form which is strikingly similar to the YSL Touche Eclat offering.  The packaging is gorgeous, right down to the box that it comes in.  It looks much more expensive that it actually is.  The wand, or pen, is a gorgeous pewter colour.

The pen like wand fits really well in my hand and it isn't too thin so I can get a grip of it well which is great as I don't have a very steady hand.  The wand has a little brush on the end and you just press the button on the bottom to pump up the product.  The bush is just the right size and so soft.  Even after I've used it and it has dried overnight, it is still soft the next day when I go to use it.  It really is very well made and of high quality, especially for such a low price.

Colour wise, these two are quite different from one another.  The under eye concealer is more cream coloured with slight pinky tones and yellow tones which are great for highlighting and reducing redness on the face.  In comparison, Touche Eclat is much more pink and salmon coloured.  The under eye concealer is much better match for my skin tone and I would think, many other peoples skin too.  Texture wise, the George offering is much better too as it glides on and blends well as it is smooth and creamy.  For me, Touche Eclat is a little chalky.  Ive swatched both below.
When I usually apply Touche Eclat, or similar products, I usually put it under my eyes, occasionally on top of the eyelid, down the sides of my nose and lips and any other areas that get a little dark. However when I applied the under eye concealer I noticed just how great it was at concealing, mattifying the skin and evening it out.  I put a little on my cheeks where I have big open pores, where I usually use the pore minimiser by Clinique, and it worked a treat.  I actually couldn't believe how great it made my skin look, literally like a baby's skin.  It brightened up all of the areas of my face that I usually apply it and more! It also made my skin smooth and just gorgeous looking.  Ive applied under eye concealer to one side of my face and left the other side bare for comparison.  I applied it on my lid and below my eye, on my cheeks where I have open pores, down the side of my nose, and the corner of my lips.
The Under Eye Concealer by George is great at reducing any redness  in the face too.  Look at the difference it made to my skin, especially around my eyes.
I then applied the under eye concealer to one side of my face and the Touche Eclat to the other to try to give you a comparison between the two.
The Under Eye Concealer clearly does a much better job of illuminating and highlighting the areas of my face where I have chosen to use it, making it look more radiant, especially after I've put the rest of my make up on.  I also think that it is a fantastic way of minimising my pores which is something that the Touche Eclat doesn't do, obviously it isnt the function of it to do this but I think thats why I like the Under Eye Concealer more- because it 'difuses light and conceals imperfections' which is exactly what it says on the wand!

All round, 10/10 wonder product!  My new Holy Grail!

What are your wonder products?
Now that I am never going back to my Touche Eclat, I'm going to be saving myself £21...
what do you suggest I spend my saving on?

Saturday, 27 November 2010

There's No Business Like Snow Business!

Thought I would update you all on the snow situation...
Before I went to bed, last night, we had 7 inches!  We had just had a massive downfall of snow.  Michael and I had been to Asda to get some milk, butter, general nibbles, etc because the snow was getting worse and we thought we wouldn't be able to get out for a few days and on our way back the snow was coming down SO heavily.  It was like a blizzard- I've never had to drive at 25mph on a motorway before!

I know I sound as though I'm making a big deal out of having snow in November but it is quite unusual for where I live.  With the exception of last year, we never have really big snow like this.  I live next to the sea in North East England so its always hard for snow to lie here and when we get snow its never usually this thick, again with the exception of last year, and it doesn't hang around for this long.

This morning I've woken up to 9 inches of snow and its still snowing even now. I cannot believe it!  Michael is off work too so we've had a long lie in and then enjoyed some sausage and bacon sarnies. Yum, perfect for a day like today.  Ive taken a couple of piccies of the snow this morning for you all too.
Apparently the snow is here to stay for 2 weeks- great! Not.  Perhaps tomorrow ill be writing about being completely snowed in!  Still, at least I'm warm.  We've had the heating on all day for the past 2 days.  Clearly, my dad is going to thoroughly enjoy receiving the heating bill this quarter!

I know I sound like I'm moaning, but I'm still poorly.  Just had some Pepto Bismol.  God its awful.  Its like drinking chalk. Eurgh.  But on a happier note, my mum and I have just booked up to go to see Calendar Girls at the Empire theatre in March. So excited, i love the film and have heard great things about the stage show!

Is there much snow where you live?
Have you got any ideas for something we can do while we're stuck indoors? We've already made it through 3 Christmas films and all of our Virgin plus one recorded programmes!

Friday, 26 November 2010

NOTD: Passionate by MeMeMe

Today I'm wearing Passionate from the new Classic Nail Gloss collection at MEMEME Cosmetics.  Mememe are a boutique brand with gorgeous packaging and some raved about products that I've been dying to try.  They recently held a competition where you had to tag yourself in a photo of your favourite coloured nail gloss on Facebook and I actually won the nail gloss that I tagged myself in!  They have loads of gorgeous colours on their website which are all priced at £4.50 which isn't bad for the amount you get and the quality of the nail gloss... plus they're on 3 for 2 at the moment!

When I received the nail gloss I was over the moon but I did notice that the colour looked a little different to how it did on the photos on the website.  It is definitely the correct nail gloss, it just looks a lot darker and differently toned.  This wasn't a problem for me though because it gave me an opportunity to try a colour I wouldn't usually buy in store.

This is the nail gloss on the website:
I thought Passionate looked like a pinky red but its actually more of a dark red.  Sometimes I look at it in the bottle and I can see the pink elements that I saw on the website but mostly its a dark red colour.  Its quite hard to photograph to get the true colour but I've given it a go!

When I received the nail gloss it came in a little jiffy bag with a cute little note. Thank you Me Me Me.
Calling this a Nail Gloss rather than a nail polish/varnish/paint is great because it really is glossy.  It doesn't need a top coat at all, if you usually just use a top coat to gloss up your nail polish.
Application of Passionate is smooth and it has a thick consistency which means that you only need to use one coat.  I always do two anyway, just to make sure I haven't missed out any edges.  The nail gloss takes a little while to dry but that's probably because it is quite thick.  The colour is gorgeous. Very autumnal and looks different in different lights, it changes from being quite a dark red to being a wine red to being a brown red.  Very pretty and on trend.  I don't often sport dark coloured nails so this gorgeous colour is a welcome addition to my nail collection.

There is mainly only one thing that I don't like about the new nail gloss collection and that is the size of the brush that comes with the nail gloss.  I had read about the 'New Maxi Brush' and had high hopes for it as I thought it would be like the Xpress Brush by Rimmel which I cannot rave about enough.  Sadly I was wrong.  The brush is just far too big.  It really takes some getting used to and I must admit it does put me off buying the nail gloss collection despite there being some gorgeous colours on offer.  Hopefully you'll be able to see what I mean below.
I'm assuming the whole point in the maxi brush is to make application faster and although it does make it faster to apply the nail gloss, it ends up taking twice as long as it normally does to apply nail polish because of the clean up around the nail afterwards.  I have a really big nail plate and this brush makes for a quite a sloppy application so lord knows what its like for the majority of people who have smaller nail plates than me!  I'm sure ill be able to get used to it though and I think if you really like the colour of something, then you will try your best to work with it regardless.  Its not something a cotton wool bud and a bit of nail polish remover cant fix!

It hasn't put me off buying from MeMeMe as I really like the look of their 'Blush Me' blush box collection.  They come in little boxes that are extremely similar to the Benefit boxes and the colours look beautiful- all the shades that I love and look for in a blusher.

Have you tried anything from MeMeMe Cosmetics?
What are your thoughts on the maxi brush?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Exciting Times... Covered in Snow

Its snowing in North East England in November- IN NOVEMBER.  This is bloody ridiculous.  It is far too early to be this cold.  I am beyond freezing.  Yesterday morning i woke up to a thin layer of snow, there was a little bit more lying last night and we took our bichon frise puppy, Daisy May, out in the snow for the first time...

Then last night I went to bed thinking all was right with the world and id wake up today to a snow free city but instead, i woke up to this:
I'd like to say that the snow melted through the day but unfortunately this hasn't been the case and we're now stuck with loads more snow and the roads have iced up.  It looks gorgeous for a winters day but its only November and I did have an interview for a job today so this really wasn't the best weather to be walking around in a suit in!  Michael and I are having a duvet day tomorrow as we've gone food shopping today and stocked up on the kitchen essentials and some goodies to munch on.  So we're going to watch a few films with some nibbles and the heating on!

These are exciting times for little ol' me....

I went for a job this morning at a very well known company and I got the job!! I was so nervous as everyone else who was being interviewed was so much older than me and the interview process took what seemed like forever.  I was there from 8am until 2pm but it was all worth it in the end and great to see a company who really takes pride in choosing their employees and properly screens them, rather than just employing any Tom, Dick or Harry like some places do.  I couldn't keep the smile from my face when I walked out of the building.  Ive really wanted to work for them for a long time, its a great job with lots of opportunity to progress and they're a fab company to work for.  I don't start until January so at least it means ill have Christmas off work... even if that means not having many pennies to spend.  I literally jumped at the chance of the new job but when I came back down to earth I realised id made a little mistake...

Its Michael's birthday in February and since he'll be 25 I wanted to take him on holiday so I've been putting a little aside every month to take him away for a week to celebrate his birthday.  In 2011, we're not planning on going away until winter time at the end of the year so I knew that he would not be expecting a holiday in February.  The idea was that I would tell him id booked a local restaurant for his birthday, then tell him that they had cancelled and that instead I had booked him a table at El Molino Blanco (very snazzy restaurant in Tenerife that Michael LOVES) instead so he would be like EH? BUT THAT'S IN TENERIFE!  Gosh I'm giving away all my secrets here!  So yeah, anyway, that idea went down the pan when I realised I would be away when the training for the job was taking place and as such I wouldn't be able to do both.  As the job is going to be a great benefit to us in the long run, I called the travel agent to see if there was anything I could do about the holiday.  There was, if i paid a little extra.  Needless to say we are no longer going on holiday in February but in less than TWO WEEKS TIME. Oh em gee am I excited or what?!?!  I think my dad is going to enjoy having the house to himself while we're away as well!  Ive still surprised Michael with the holiday--- I wrote it in our wall calendar and casually asked him to check the dates of something for me.  He's over the moon.

After the year I've had, I'm hoping today is the start of things to come!!

I hope everything is going well with all of you.  Ive got lots of posts in the pipeline- rates and slates that kind of thing, including a great dupe for YSL Touche Eclat- i never thought id see the day.

Oh and ive noticed that ive got a couple of new followers since I last posted- THANK YOU so much.  It really means a lot to me that you would take the time to read my blog.  Please tell me if there are any posts you'd like to see more or less of.  I dont want to end up boring you all to tears...!

What have you been up to? Tell me your news =]

Monday, 22 November 2010

Laura's Saturday Tea Cup

My tea of choice this Saturday is Strawberry and Mango from the Fresh and Fruity range at Twinings.  As cheesy as it sounds, this tea is pretty close to my heart as its the tea I drank the morning after Michael proposed to me.  We stayed in a gorgeous country house and the next day we enjoyed a lovely breakfast with lots of flavoured tea to choose from and this was the flavour I picked.  I even took a bag home with me and i've been buying it ever since.
This is the ultimate summer drink but I enjoy it all year round.  It is gorgeous- refreshing and full of flavour.  Like all fruit teas, it is best enjoyed without milk and after the bag has brewed for about 3 minutes.  Today I was in the mood for something sweet so I added a little sugar to my cup and it was gorgeous!  I usually have it without sugar but ill definitely try this fruity tea with a little sugar in in the future.  I love the colour that this tea goes as well, if you put a bit on a spoon then it looks a bit like when you pour hot water on jelly cubes.

You can buy Twinings fruity teas from all major supermarkets and from Twinings.co.uk where you can also order two teas to try for free!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Diana Vickers Gig

Oh yes, The VICKERS!


Last Saturday night, Michael and I went to see Diana Vickers at the O2 Academy in Newcastle.  She was fantastic.  We had such a great night and I thought I would share some photos from the night with you.  We were supposed to go for a few drinks first but true to form, I was late getting ready so we arrived just in time for the support act Spark.  Personally, I'm not a fan but I think it is more to do with my taste in music than her actual talent as she has a great voice.
Diana was awesome- a far cry from her X Factor days.  Seeing her live really made me see how far she has come along since the X Factor and shes developed into a really original artist.  She worked the stage really well and sounded fantastic as she belted out her hits from her album.  My favourite songs of the night were Four Leaf Clover and the quirky Jumping Into Rivers but there wasn't a bad song so it was really hard to pick a favourite! She even played the trumpet which I didn't know she could do.  It was also lovely to hear her cover Just Say Yes by Snow Patrol.
Not only did she sound good, but Diana looked gorgeous too in a short patterned dress and she had her straight which I wasn't expecting as I'm used to seeing her in the press with wavy, messed up preppy/boho hair.  Even though she was on the biggest TV show in the UK and has claimed the number 1 spot, I don't think it has gone to her head.  She was lovely and talked away to the crowd in between songs.  She really just seemed like a normal girl with a big talent.

Have you seen Diana Vickers live?
Is there any gigs coming up that you're looking forward to?

Graze.com

Its official, I've joined the Graze craze!
Graze is a brilliant way to stop you from snacking on unhealthy foods.  They deliver hand picked goodness straight to your door- the foods you want, when you want!  I love getting post but sadly its usually bills that I receive so to get a Graze box in the post each week is lovely!

This is the first box i have received from Graze.  You just go to their website http://www.graze.com/ and sign up, it literally takes a minute.  From there, you are able to choose the days you want your boxes to be sent on and how often.  You are then able to select foods you love, like and don't like from LOADS of yummy food like flapjacks, olives, deli topped focaccia bread, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, some even have chocolate in them.  What I did was I just selected 'bin' for all of the foods that I definitely don't like, like olives and coconut so that Graze don't send me these foods in future.  Then every time i get a box I am going to rate the food in the box to say whether I like it, don't like it or love it.

There are two different kinds of boxes that you can receive- the nutritional box which contains only the healthiest of foods and the nibble box which gives you the most variety possible.  There are over 100 nibbles to choose from!  The Graze team select your nibbles from the foods you've said you like so that your box is nutritionally balanced and every week is a surprise.

I selected my box to be sent every Friday and sure enough, it arrived with the post on Friday morning.  I immediately opened it and started snacking. I was sooo impressed.

Graze are big on using good materials; their boxes are made from sustainable forests, they are biodegradable and 100% recyclable.  The look great too, especially on the inside where they have an image printed on the both the lid and the bottom of the box.  Inside the box there are four compartments with your goodies inside.

All of the Graze nibbles are full of natural, wholesome goodness. My first box contained:
Oven Roasted Cashews
Simply gorgeous, crunchy cashews, lightly salted. Delicious.
Strawberries and Cream
Strawberries, white chocolate drops and green raisins. Yummy.
Honeycomb Flapjack
AMAZING.  Rolled oats, honeycomb and milk chocolate. The nicest flapjack I've ever tasted. It really is absolutely delicious- a MUST try.
Milkshake Mix
Banana coins, strawberries and giant white chocolate buttons. Mmmmmmm lovely.

Ive rated all of these on the Graze website as being 'love' foods so hopefully ill receive them again soon!

My favourite thing about Graze is how personalised it is.  You really get the feeling that they're doing a service just for you, from the foods picked and balanced just for you, to the emails you receive to say that your box is on its way, they really show that they care.  Especially with the personalised booklet you receive inside the box that tells you all the nutritional information specific to your nibbles.  It also tells you the use by dates for the nibbles which is great because you don't have to eat them all at once.  I think over the next few weeks I may put some aside to nibble at while I'm watching Christmas films!


Price wise, they are £3.49 per box however I used a code to get my first box free and my second box half price.  I have a code to pass onto you all as well so that you get your first box free, its: 92VQLMP3.  I really think that they are worth the money if you haven't got time to go out and select your own food like this.I must admit I came across the website AGES ago but I didn't read the information properly so I didn't sign up because I thought I was signing up to a contract.  How wrong was I and I really regret it now.  You only pay for the boxes you receive and you can stop it at anytime so it really is worth giving it a go.  You can even tell them when you're away on holiday so you can miss a week or two.  I have noticed that they have changed their boxes slightly with regards to the layout and content since I first found their site but it is a complete improvement.  All I can say is don't miss out, they really are worth a go.  As I said, Ive chosen to have my boxes sent out weekly but some weeks I may not be able to afford to have my box sent to me or I may not be using all of the nibbles so quickly as they have a long use by date, so I can always change it to once a fortnight, etc.  Its so versatile. You really need to try a box!!



If you would like to try Graze for free then use this code: 92VQLMP3
Have you tried a Graze box before?
What are your favourite nibbles?
Are you going to order a box?

Friday, 19 November 2010

Unique Storage Idea

I have been looking for a hygienic, stylish and organised way to store my bits and bobs like cotton wool pads and cotton buds.  I was looking around in B&M Bargains and found these jars.  They were in the kitchen section so I'm assuming they're supposed to be tea, coffee and sugar jars but this isn't written on them and they are perfect for what I want to use them for.
They are available in pink, orange and blue and were £1.49 each or 3 for £4.  What a bargain and such great quality too!  They're made of glass, with a lid that screws off and they have this pink hard plastic around them.  I love the little window that they have too so I can see what I've got in each jar.  At the moment im keeping cotton wool pads and buds in mine.
How do you store all of your beauty essentials?

Laura's Saturday Tea Cup


If you're a regular reader of my blog then you'll know I've been staying at my cousins since last weekend and I didn't have my camera with me to upload the piccies for my Saturday Tea Cup post so I'm sorry that this is a little late but as they say, good things come to those who wait!

My tea of choice this week is Pure Peppermint from the Revive and Revitalise range at Twinings.  I tried a sample of this tea about a month ago and immediately went out and bought a big box of 80 bags. It really is THAT delicious.  Great practical and fab looking packaging, by the way Twinings- very quintessentially English!
I never thought I would enjoy Peppermint tea but it truly is a taste that has to be tried.  This has fast become my favourite tea and one which I enjoy quite regularly now, particularly with all of this freezing cold weather that we have been having.  Pure Peppermint tea is best enjoyed after around 3 minutes of brewing and most certainly without milk (I tried adding milk once out of interest and it was vile!).  The tea is medium in colour with a slight green tinge.  It has a cooling peppermint taste that lingers in the mouth without leaving any bitter after taste on the pallet.  I find it really refreshing- it certainly lives up to the 'Revive and Revitalise' range as I've found that it I drink it when I'm feeling sleepy, I feel more alert afterwards which is unusual since it doesn't contain any caffeine.
Peppermint has so many great properties; it has been known to aid digestion so if you suffer from IBS and alike, then drinking Peppermint tea could really help you.  This makes it great as an after dinner drink too to aid the digestion of your meal.  Also, since this tea is best enjoyed without milk, it is perfect for people who are following diet plans like Slimming World where they are limited to the amount of milk they can drink a day, so if they run out of milk from their daily allowance, they can still enjoy a cup of milk-free tea, or if they want to save their syns or healthy extras for things other than milk, then this tea is a great option.

You can buy this tea in all the major supermarkets and on the Twinings website here, where you can also send away for two tea bag samples like I did.  It really is a great way to discover a tea you haven't tried before.

Oh and I thought it would be cute to note that the cup I drank my tea out of is one which my fiance had made for me in Asda with a photo of our Bichon Frise puppy Daisy May on... SO cute!!
Have you been enjoying any particularly nice drinks this week?
I was in Costa at the weekend and they had some gorgeous sounding Christmas drinks on the board.  I must make some effort to try them!
What is your favourite Tea?