Friday, 31 January 2014

The Friday Night Valentines Day Rush

It was only when filling in my new diary that I suddenly realised that Valentines Day is on a Friday this year.  I wish it could be on a Saturday or Sunday every year but the reality is that, more often than not, Valentines Day falls on a weekday when the majority of us are at work during the day.  If you're finishing work at 5.30pm and have a dinner date at 7, you're left with very little time to get ready by the time you get home so today I wanted to share with you some products that are great for helping you to look your best in a hurry.

There are five parts to my Valentines Night rush to get ready and that's Tan, Make Up, Hair, Outfit and Nails.  Lets see how you can look Valentines night ready in one hour flat.

18:00-18:15 Time to Tan

Nair Brazilian Spa Clay and Soap and Glory Sugar Crush
I'll start with the Tan as that's the first thing that I apply as soon as I get home.  The day before an event that I know I'll be rushing to get ready for, I make sure that I use my hair removal cream (Nair Brazilian Spa Clay Shower Power Cream) and exfoliate my body using my favourite body scrub, Soap and Glory's Sugar Crush.  This means that my skin is soft, smooth and hair free, ready for tan to be applied.

On nights when I am in a mad rush to get out, I opt for the Fake Bake Bronzer.  This is an instant tanning lotion with a wash off formula so if you need to be in work the next day and you don't want to be tanned then you can simply jump in the shower the next morning and the colour of the tan will come off effortlessly.  A lot of people are wary of instant tan but they've come a long way since Rimmel's Sun Shimmer days in the 2000s and Fake Bake have got instant tan down to a T.

Fake Bake Bronzer*
The Fake Bake Bronzer has a matte finish so it isn't going to look super sparkly or shimmery- if you're wanting a shimmer finish, perhaps for your legs then they do have a Shimmer versionSimply put on the latex gloves that come in the box with the tan- how handy of Fake Bake- pop on a tanning mitt and squeeze a dollop out of the tube before applying in upward motions on your body, just as you would apply a developing false tan.  I have a post all about how to apply fake tan if you need to swot up a little.

The guide colour is very strong, just as a normal false tan so there is no need to worry about streaking as unless you're applying this with the lights off, you aren't going to look streaky.  You don't need to worry about that tell tale fake tan scent either as this tan smells of vanilla and a light perfume, it's really nice.

The lotion applies effortlessly as it is very silky smooth and sinks into the skin straight away without feeling sticky- you have to be fast moving with this as it is very fast drying making it a great option for when you're in a rush to get out.

The colour that the tan leaves looks incredibly natural.  It isn't too dark but it is noticeably darker after use than before.  My skin looks sun kissed and naturally tanned after using this, just like I've been on holiday for a week.  You can pick this tan up from Feel Unique where it is cheaper than the usual retail price and you get free delivery making it £10.80 delivered- great value.

If you have a little more time to get ready then I would HIGHLY recommend the Fake Bake 60 Minute Self Tan (review here, buy herewhich is quite honestly, superb.

18:15-18:30 Time to Top Up My Make Up

I must admit that since I started working full time all of those years ago, I've become a dab hand at applying my make up quickly and making sure it lasts, as I hate having to top it up during the day.  On days where I know I'm going out on the night and that I wont have much time to get ready, I apply a long lasting make up base on the morning consisting of my Laura Mercier Silk Crème Foundation, Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer, Clarins Ever Matte Powder and the Sleek Face Form in Light for contour, highlight and blush.  This is a combination that I know wont slide off my super oily skin throughout the day.  I then add a slick of the Clinique High Impact Mascara and a slick of lip balm; I'm using the Blistex Intensive Moisture one at the moment.  I leave it at that for the daytime and head out to work.

When I get home and I'm in a mega rush to get ready, I simply don't have the time to take my make up off and reapply so I opt for adding to my existing make up look to make it more evening appropriate.  When I'm doing my tan for nights like this, I apply it in light upwards strokes up my neck and towards my face.  Once it is dry and I have moved on to my makeup, I lightly dust my full face with a light coating of the Clarins powder then I go back in with the contour shade from my Sleek palette, top up my contour and then pull the colour down my neck to ensure that the tan is blended into my face make up.

Then I take my natural daytime look to an evening one and the easiest way to do this is with some winged eyeliner, lashes and a bold red lip.

Cargo Swimmables Eye Pencil in Black Sea*
I start by taking one of the Cargo Swimmables Eye Pencils in Black Sea Black and line my water line before moving onto the lid where I wing the liner out.  These pencils are some of the best I've tried.  They are creamy in texture, strong in colour like a liquid and easy to apply like a pencil and the staying power is just ridiculous.  They are waterproof but more so than any other eye pencils I've used before as they last an absolute age and I have to use a dedicated eye make up remover to take it off.  These definitely get a thumbs up from me and you can get your own from Beauty Bay and Debenhams.

Then I apply a pair of my FAVOURITE lashes- the Kiss Haute Couture Natural Lightweight Lashes in Flirt (buy here).

Kiss Lashes in Flirt*
The Flirt style is my favourite because the fan out at the edges which give you a glamorous look and really open your eyes at the same time.  They're that light weight you literally forget you're wearing them and they are so easy to apply with the pink applicator that comes in the box.  I use these to apply all of my lashes as they're so handy- I can't believe other companies don't make them.  Kiss really are the best when it comes to lashes-  I used to be all about Eylure but for the last year it's been all about Kiss lashes for me.

Kiss are awesome at keeping in touch with their fans and are always running competitions over on their Twitter page.  You can check out their Pinterest for inspiration, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube too.

Collection Deluxe Lipstick in Prohibition*
To complete my evening make up look, I pop on a slick of Collection's DeLuxe Lipstick in Prohibition.  This is a gorgeous berry shade with deep red and plum tones in it.  This has been my go to lipstick to take my makeup look from day to night over the last few months as during the festive season there are always so many events and parties to attend after work so I know this one works really well and would be great for Valentines Day.

It feels quite slippy on the lips, much like a lip balm but with an intense colour.  A lipliner is essential with this, particularly if you're going to be sipping cocktails because it has great staying power but you want to be able to head out into the night feeling comfortable that it isn't going to bleed.  What I love about this lipstick is that it isn't drying or mattifying so it isn't going to settle into any cracks, dryness or lines on your lips so if you haven't had time to exfoliate your lips beforehand, you'll still be looking hot.

18:30-18:40 Time to Get My Weave On

Double Volume Instant Weave*
How you wear your hair really depends on what your own hair is like but regardless, I'd opt for something that is quick and easy.  Pull your hair up into a tight ponytail for a slicked back catwalk look, pop it into a bun ring for an on trend ballerina style or if you want to have long and luscious locks in an instant then pop in some hair extensions or a hair piece which are so quick and easy to transform your look.

The hair piece I'm trying out at the moment is the Double Volume Instant Weave from Wonderland Wigs.  It is made from synthetic hair although you would't know from looking at it.  I've always stayed clear of synthetic hair in the past, thinking that it would look really fake but this hair piece has completely changed my thoughts as it looks so natural, just like real hair.  It is already styled too so you literally just clip your hair up underneath, leaving out the very front second, fit the hair piece over your hair and the crown to the nape of the neck then flip the front section of your hair back over the top of it.  Super easy and no one will ever know.  I'm going to give it a few more goes before giving my final review but so far, I am really impressed.

18:40-18:50 Time to Get Dressed

When you know you're going to be in a rush to get ready for a night out, choose your outfit and lay your clothes out the night before so that you're not rushing around trying on every last item in your wardrobe when you're supposed to be heading out of the door.  This includes jewellery, shoes and the clutch you're going to be carrying- if possible take your door keys off your car keys keyring and pick out your ID, cash and bank cards out of your purse on your lunch break at work and leave them in a pouch in your bag so you can quickly grab them to transfer into your clutch, before adding your lippy and phone.  This will save you tonnes of time.  Don't forget to pop a mixed pack of Compeed Blister Patches in your clutch too, especially if you're going to be wearing heels as the last thing you want is for your feet to rub and cause a blister on the big night.  Then put on your outfit.  When everything is laid out ready, it literally takes minutes to get dressed.

For a Valentines night out, I'd suggest an LBD and some peep toe heels.  Dress to impress girls.

18:50- 18:55 Time to imPRESS

Holding hands, receiving roses or even a proposal are all regular occurrences for girls on Valentines Day so be prepared by having a gorgeous manicure.  imPress nails by Broadway Nails are great for this as they enable you to have pristine nails in only a couple of minutes flat.

imPRESS Nails*
Save yourself time by selecting the nails to fit your own the night before then when you're getting ready the next night, all you need to do is to run the prep pad over your nails (this is a bit like a dehydrator to prepare your natural nails to adhere to the false ones), peel off the backing of the nails and press them down firmly onto each nail, holding them still for a few seconds and voila, you're good to go.

There are over 24 different styles available from plain colour to leopard print and they all have a gorgeously glossy finish which will complete your look.  The two that I have here are Ecstatic Cling which is a bright pink and Payback which is an eye catching animal print.  There really is something for everyone.

They are available from Boots, Superdrug, Asda and Tesco in both a short length and a medium length.  If you want to find out more about imPRESS nails then you can join the nail revolution over on their Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and on their Twitter page using the hashtag #imPRESSmanicure

If you're going to be wearing peep toes or strappy sandals then you really need to look after your feet with Gehwol products over the next couple of weeks to ensure your feet are looking in shape.  As for toe nail colour, I generally wear gel polish on them so if you're then same then make sure you've had it done fairly recently so your piggies are looking preened and if you're more of a nail polish girl then I'd suggest painting them the night before.  That way you're not risking smudging them when you're in a rush to get ready on the night.  I'm going to have some Valentines nail polish suggestions coming up on my blog soon so check that out next week.

18:55-19:00 Time to Go

Jo Malone English Pear and Freesia Cologne
Take the last five minutes to give your outfit the once over.  Check to make sure everything is in place with no tags hanging out and make sure you don't have any lipstick on your teeth.  Give your pulse points a quick spritz of your favourite perfume (I'd recommend Jo Malone English Pear and Freesia for Valentines Day) and you're ready for the night ahead.

Have fun!

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Thursday, 23 January 2014

WhatLauraWore: One ASOS Dress Five Ways

ASOS recently set me the challenge of styling one of their gorgeous party dresses five different ways.  Always up for a challenge, I stepped up to the plate and this is what I came up with.
The dress that caught my eye was the ASOS Curve Smock Dress in Holographic Sequin*.  The full dress is made of gorgeous holographic sequins aside from the sheer back panel that has a keyhole button fastening.  The dress has a skater shape with a pleated skirt that is super feminine and girlie.
I put together five different looks wearing this dress as the main piece.  Here's what I came up with:
Look 1: Put Together Party Look
Smock Dress in Holographic Sequin from ASOS
Blue clutch by Aubrey Pemberley at ASOS
Providence Blue Peep Toe Heeled Shoes from New Look at ASOS
Bangles from New Look
Look 2: The Sequin Skirt Look

Jumper with Lips Elbow Patch from ASOS
Smock Dress in Holographic Sequin from ASOS (worn as a skirt)
Black clutch from J by Jasper Conran at Debenhams
Black Flats with Chain Detail from New Look
Jewel Statement Ring from Evans
Look 3: The Relaxed Night Out Look
Smock Dress in Holographic Sequin from ASOS
Black leggings from Simply Be
Peep Toe wedge shoe boots from New Look
Bag from Mulberry
Look 4: The Edgy Look
Smock Dress in Holographic Sequin from ASOS
Faux Leather Biker Jacket from New Look
Box Clutch from FCUK
Look 5: The Bling Look
Smock Dress in Holographic Sequin from ASOS
Silver jewel clutch from Fenwick
Silver nude diamante shoes from Nelly
Bangles from Red Herring at Debenhams
Silver twist earrings from Primark
Let me know what you think about the five outfits I have put together- how would you have styled this dress?
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Monday, 20 January 2014

WhatLauraWore: Silver Heels and a Kick Out Dress

One of my favourite places to shop has to be Simply Be.  They have an amazing range across all of their lines from dresses to shoes and a great range of brands that have collections with them too.  One of those brands is AX Paris who are probably the creators of most of my party dresses.
The AX Paris Curve dress that I'm wearing here is their Embellished Kick Out Dress.  It is quite similar to the Kick Out Lace Skater Dress that I featured here in that it has net underneath to make it flare out and it is ridiculously short.  What I love about this dress is the pleated skirt, sweetheart and sheer top and the embellished neckline- it is super feminine and girlie and a great alternative to a classic little black dress.
The jacket I'm wearing over the top is the Black and Stone Animal Jacquard Ponte Throw On Jacket from Yours Clothing.  This is a lightweight blazer style jacket that you can literally just throw on and you're good to go.  It is made to be worn open and looks great when over a black outfit like this one.
If you fancy a spot of shopping on Yours Clothing, then don't forget to enter my code at the check out if you're a new customer as you'll get £10 a minimum of a £20 spend.  My code is BLOGGER17.
The shoes I'm wearing are by Bespoke and they're the Peep Toe Platform Shoes.  You can get these from Simply Be too and they make them in an E width and EEE width.
What I like the most about them is how they mix the grey suede effect material with a metallic silver and a pop of bright pink around the sole.  They're a sling back, with a 4.5 inch heel and peep toe the front which is my favourite style of shoe as they show off a cute pedicure. For heels, these are pretty comfortable and will have you dancing into the wee small hours.
For my accessories I thought that pairing silver with this dress would be the best way to set the outfit off.  My earrings are the silver crystal hoops that I featured in this post here.  I've been wearing them a lot lately and love how much they sparkle.  I'm also wearing a white gold and diamond bangle, white gold and silver rings and I'm carrying a silver and diamante box clutch that I bought from Harry's World in Brentwood.  I did a bit of a TOWIE tour and had photos with some of the cast which you can read about here.
AX Paris Embellished Kick Out Dress from Simply Be
Bespoke Peep Toe Platform Shoes from Simply Be*
Black and Stone Animal Jacquard Ponte Throw On Jacket from Yours Clothing*
(enter BLOGGER17 at the checkout for £10 off a min. £20 spend, new customers only)
Mikey Silver Crystal Hoops from House of Fraser
Silver Diamante Clutch Bag from Harry's World
White Gold and Diamond Bangle from H Samuel
Ring from Pandora
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Sunday, 19 January 2014

Valentines Day Sultry Smoky Eye

With less than a month to go until Valentines Day, its time to start thinking about your outfit, hair and make up.  Whether you're lucky in love, single and ready to mingle or excited for a night out with your girls, Valentines is a time to show those you care about that you love them... and if you can do that looking cute, then why not?!
To get your makeup ideas off to a flying start, I thought I'd share the sultry smoky eye I've been wearing using the Collection Work The Colour Nude Eye Palette.  This is a classic look that you can change up by using different colours and varying the intensity.
Collection Work The Colour Nude Eye Palette*
The Nude Eye Palette comes with nine different shades, one of which is a creamy highlighter.  Whilst all of the colours can be used alone or in any combination you desire, they have been ordered so that you have a base shade, a lid shade and a crease colour which is perfect for those who are new to make up or who are a little intimidated by creating a smoky eye.
There are also handy instructions on the back that show you how to create a traditional smoky eye but today I'm going to show you the look I've been creating with this palette.
Start by applying the highlighter shade to the brow bone and inner corner of the eye and then lightly across the rest of the lid.  This can be used alone but I think it looks best when paired with the top left 1 shade as it really makes it pop.
Then apply the shade that's right in the middle of the palette across the lid, into the crease and up towards the brow bone before applying the dark, sparkly shade that's in the top right hand corner of the palette onto the outer third and into the crease - a MAC 217 brush works really well for this.
Then take a pencil brush (I use the MAC 219 and think its great) and work the darkest shade in the bottom right hand corner of the palette through the crease and down to the lash line in a V shape.  Then blend, blend, blend to make sure there are no harsh lines.
Tidy up around the lower lash line in case of any fall out although with this palette, I didn't find there to be any.  Then sweep some of the darkest colour along the lower lash line and some of the lights on the lash line on the inner corner to of the eye.  Add a slick of black eyeliner along the upper lash line, winged out if you like, and along the water line- the Estee Lauder Double Wear Eye Pencil in Onyx is my pencil liner of choice and the Collection Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner is my favourite liquid liner.  Finally, add lashings of your favourite mascara and you're ready to flutter those peepers.
I love this look as it's so easy to create and perfect for an evening out.

Sponge applicator aside, I think this is a great little palette to create a neutral smoky eye.  Nude eyeshadow shades were a huge trend in the 90s and they have been seen making a comeback to the catwalk for spring/summer '14 so this palette is a great way to update your look.
The eyeshadows have little to no fall out and the pigmentation is much stronger when applied than when they are swatched which is something I find with all Collection eyeshadows.
You can check out the full range of Collection makeup on their website and you can buy the range from Boots and Superdrug.
What make up look are you thinking of wearing this Valentines Day?

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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

WhatLauraWore: New Winter Coat

During the colder months, a winter coat is an essential item in most wardrobes but I often get far too hot wearing a big thick winter coat.  This year I've opted for a lightweight Hooded Parker Jacket from AX Paris.
Available in khaki and black, this coat is so easy to wear and looks great with so many casual outfits.  I've loved pairing it with jeans or leggings and t shirts or jumpers.  It has a hood with toggles so you can keep your hair dry in the rain and a drop back shape with pockets at the front.
Gold hard wear looks great against the khaki material and it is SO lightweight making it a great layering piece.
Size wise, I think AXP have got it spot on.  If you're wanting to wear a couple of layers underneath then I'd size up like I did but otherwise just stick with your usual size.  It has super long toggles to pull in the coat at the waist, if you so wish.  At first I thought the toggles were far too long but they help to create a great shape and they look cute tied up and shortened.
I've paired it with a fairly long black tshirt that has silver sparkles on it- you can see it much better in this post- and my denim look leggings.  These are a much better fit than jeans if you're shaped like I am, big tum, little bum, as they really mould to your shape and don't look as baggy around your bottom and legs.
Jewellery wise, I popped on this silver ear cuff with my princess cut studs which match the shape of my engagement ring perfectly.  The watch I'm wearing is the one from my Birthday post and the gorgeous scarf I have on is from Psyche.  Super soft with a gorgeous bird print, I haven't had this off so far this year!
My necklace is the Bee Happy silver plated necklace by a brand called Olia.  If you're a fan of The Londoner blog written by Rosie, I think you'll agree that this is similar to the bee necklace that she wears but at a fraction of the price.
Tan and khaki compliment each other brilliantly which gave me the perfect opportunity to pop on my tan ankle boots and hook my Mulberry into the crook of my arm.
Hooded Parker Jacket in khaki from AX Paris*
Black and silver Embellished Dip Back Top from the Scarlett and Jo Collection at Evans
Knitted Denim Effect Leggings from New Look
Mulberry Bayswater Bag in soft croc effect leather, biscuit colour
Wear Two Ways Boots in Tan from Fashion World
Bird Scarf from Psyche*
Spike Ear Cuff from Pysche*
Stud Earrings from Goldsmiths
Ring from Pandora
Kenneth Cole Ladies Skeleton Ceramic Automatic Watch from The Watch Shop

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Monday, 13 January 2014

Argan+ Indulge and Relax Foam Bath Review

Argan+ Argan Oil Indulge and Relax Foam Bath*
Whilst it hasn't snowed where I live YET, it has been exceptionally cold and when it gets chilly, I head to the tub.  There's just something about a nice hot bath that not only makes me feel ready for bed but it makes me feel super cosy and warm too.

My bath product of choice for the last month has been the Argan+ Indulge and Relax Foam Bath which is quite a new release, having only launched this winter but I've been using it since the beginning of December and thoroughly enjoyed it, in fact, I've nearly used all of it up (I'm dreading my gas bill coming through as we have a huge bath that takes A LOT of water to fill!).

This isn't the first product I've used from Argan+.  My favourite product of theirs is the Dry Body Oil as it smells incredible and makes my skin feel super lovely.  I posted a review here that I really recommend you check out if you're looking for a multi purpose oil that you can apply direct to your skin or into your bathtub for great results.

As with all of the Argan+ products, the foam bath is enriched with give precious oils, these being Moroccan Argan oil, Baobab oil, Kukui oil, Moringa oil and Sacha Inci, making it a really luxurious addition to my bathwater.  The five oils all have different properties but what they do have in common is that they all have nourishing and restorative elements that can benefit the skin.

I simply give the bottle a generous squeeze under the running hot tap of my bath and swirl it around before leaving the bath to continue filling up.  Once full, I jump in (well perhaps not jump), lie back and relax.

The bathwater smells incredible, although not as strong as when the Dry Body Oil is used in the bath so if you found that one too strong, this would be a more delicate option for you to try.  This is very much a bath foam and you aren't going to get lots of bubbles out of it like a bubble bath but that's not what its about.  This product is all about enriching your bathwater to make it a really nourishing treat for your skin and to make you feel calm and peaceful which it certainly does, especially when you light a couple of candles around the bath too.  I tend to opt for non scented candles so that I can smell the scent of the bathwater.

When I get out of the bath, I pat myself dry and I can really feel that my skin is more moisturised than when I first got into the bath.  There are lots of fatty acids in each of the five oils that this foam bath contains, with Baobab Oil being the most enriched with them, and they offer high levels of Vitamin A and F which really help to hydrate the skin, giving it that moisturised feeling.  As well as that, there's the Sacha Inci which is rich in Omega 3 and 6 which helps to lock in moisture on the skin, giving it a softness that really lasts which is perfect for winter days when you've been out in the cold.  Mr WLL and I went to a Christingle service at our church over Christmas and it was sooooo cold that when I got home I just had to jump in the bath to warm up.  I hate that dry, tight feeling that the cold gives my skin and having a bath with this foam really helped to turn that around!

Protecting your skin is really important during the winter time too as it is much easier and less timely to make your skin soft and moisturised in the first place than it is to pull it back around after it has taken a hit with the cold- as they always say, prevention is better than cure.  The Moringa Oil that is in this foam bath contains over 46 antioxidants that help to guard against premature ageing and the Argan Oil is rich in Vitamin A to help protect the skin's oil barrier so it helps to keep the moisture in rather than letting it out and therefore, it protects your skin.

The Kukui Seed Oil is a new one for me and an oil that I have only found in this line of products... unless I've had my eyes shut for the last three years I've been blogging.  It's a fab ingredient as it contains linoleic and liniolenic acids that stimulate skin cells to help reduce scarring and help to prevent stretch marks.  Unfortunately I have quite a lot of the latter and I don't want anymore thank you very much so I am all for a bit of Kukui Seed Oil!  In addition to the natural vitamins, fatty acids and omega oils that the Argan+ synergy boasts, it also has wheat protein in it to replenish the skin to leave it feeling soft and smooth.  I find that the softening properties of this bath foam are felt the most when I give my skin a good scrub first to slough away all of the dead skin cells.  The one that I'm using at the moment is from Victoria's Secret and it's in the fragrance Such A Flirt.

The Argan+ Indulge and Relax Bath Foam is available exclusively at Waitrose online here and from Feel Unique here.

What is your bath time indulgence this month?

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