31 May 2014

May Nail Polish Overview

Since the last couple of nail art projects I've been involved with have ended, I still feel that need to show you what I've had on my nails just so I can justify my ever-growing polish collections! 

Here's a little run-down of what has been making my finger tips colourful this month! 

Avon Nailwear Pro+ Honeydew Dazzle - This was my first outing for this polish, and I was drawn to the pretty springtime minty shade, with a smattering of shimmer running through the bottle. And I stand by the colour choice, its gorgeous. But it's a blinking nightmare as a polish - taking a good four coats before it was completely opaque, then chipping almost straight away. I did try to angle my pictures to hide the worst of the chipping, and tried hiding them under another layer before finally giving this up as a bad job - such a shame! 

Crabtree and Evelyn Eggplant Nail Lacquer - this is more my usual colour, I've often opted for dark shades over light ones and as a long-time purple lover, this one is right up my street! This provides plenty of good strong colour on the first coat, though a second is preferable just to even it all out. It applies well and gives a good smooth finish, and lasting three days or so with only minimal wear at the tips, but once it started chipping around day four it became really noticeable quickly because of the dark colour. Very keen on this one! 

Dark Blue nail polish

Oriflame The One Night Orchid - I received this polish in my goody bag from the Oriflame Event in Leeds and wasted no time trying it out. This one was my favourite to apply, mainly due to the great wide brush that held loads of product and made it easier to apply the polish smoothly and in one go. It's not a colour I would usually go for but the ease of application and shiny smooth finish would definitely mean I would be interested in trying other colours from the range. Unfortunataly the 'long-lasting' promises didn't really work out for me as it chipped a fair bit just the day after application but I'm blaming my fairly shady base coat for a large part of that and might have to give it another test now I've re-found my better one. 

pink nail polish

Tony Moly Nail Foundation - Finally for the merry moth of may we have one of the three polished I found a pack in my Tony Moly Memebox. I'm not really a nudes fan and I donated the other two polished in the trio to those more likely to appreciatete them, but I though I might as well at least try one of them out, just to see what it was like. The bottle isn't as highly styled as a lot of the other Tony Moly products seem to be, but its still quite sweet looking, with a good quality polish contained within - just not my thing colourwise, which is a shame! 

Nude korean nail polish swatch

And that's it from this moths round up, but I've picked up a few fabulous colours for next month - keep your eyes peeled if you want to see what! 

30 May 2014

Crabtree and Evelyn Event, Leeds

Crabtree and Evelyn are, as I'm sure I've mentioned here more than one, among my favourite brands as well as being my go-to company for hand cream - so when I heard rumours of a plan to come to Leeds I made sure I got a seat on that bandwagon very quickly!

leeds gift shopping

Despite my affection for the brand though, I've only ever been in this most local store once before (as I tend to do most of my shopping online anyway)! It's situated in the very fancy Victoria Quarter, in one of those teeny little shops that by their size and location tend to either be friendly and cosy or a little intimidating! Thankfully, having had this opportunity to get a bit more familiar with the store and staff I can't imagine being nervous about heading back there again! 

The idea behind the evening, and the current Crabtree and Evelyn campaign in online and in stores everywhere, is 'Handy Tips, Handed Down' - trying to discover those beauty secrets passed down between generations!

The idea is all the tips go down on a little leaf to be stuck on the tree as displayed in my fetching polaroid we were provided with on the night. If you get yourself down you your local Crabtree and Evelyn store with a beauty tip, you will receive a voucher for £5 off a £15 spend - bargain! If you don't have a local store you can always submit your tips online instead!

We were  also treated to nibbles which, as I'm sure know, always goes down well with me! I didn't really know that Crabtree and Evelyn did food, but the All-Butter Orange Biscuits hiding under that lid are the brands own and were completely delicious (I may have taken a small stack with me for the walk to the train station!)

Another thing Crabtree and Evelyn do that a lot of my fellow bloggers didn't realise, is the nail polishes! I already have several of these that I picked up in the sale after Christmas, and can vouch for their great quality but it wasn't 'til I got a good look at them in store I realised what a gorgeous range of colours they have! As much as I do love shopping online there's just  a few things that don't work as well as in person, and full colour appreciation is one of those things!

Crabtree and Evelyn Pink

I liked how the different members of staff were really championing their own favourite fragrance line, with one telling me how much the adored the Pear and Pink Magnolia, and another insisting La Source is the best one. They're both wrong of course, obviously the English Honey and Pear Blossom is the nicest, but I like how enthusiastic they all were! It shows a real investment in the brand and products that is always encouraging, as well as demonstrating how well the brand can appeal to a huge range of tastes.

They even do a men-specific range, including shaving products, that are just about the most handsomely packaged things I've ever seen!

West indian lime shaving
All too quickly it was time to leave, but the lovely guys at the store sent us all away with a little goody bag, containing one of their amazing hand creams (and I got Lavender, one I've not actually tried before!), and one of their nail polishes (mine was Sand/Beige Sable, a pretty shimmery nude), both of which I'm very much looking forward to trying out! 

blogger event leeds store Crabtree and evelyn

I think all that's left to say is a big thank you to Crabtree and Evelyn for coming to see us up in Leeds, and to everyone else that came out to the event! Don't forget to let them know your best beauty tips! (And if you have any for me, I'd love to hear them!)

29 May 2014

Tea at Ripley Castle

Ok, I'll put my hands up from the outset and admit to this being another one of those days when I'd dragged my poor kids out under the guise of 'a fun, educational family day out', when really I just wanted to visit a nice tearoom. Incidentally our visit to Ripley Castle was a fun and educational day out, but that's by-the-by - how was the tea room?!

cheese and pickle sandwich

I couldn't not get the afternoon tea of course, which came with one choice of sandwich, one choice of cake, scone with jam, cream and butter, with side salad - and a pot of tea of course! I'm still in a bit of a Wensleydale obsession since our recent visit to the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes, so that had to be my sandwich option, served with a delicious plum chutney.

ripley castle cafe

I made a bit of an error in making cake selection, in that I read the cake board completely wrong! For some reason I was sure I'd read something about a chocolate orange cake, which I'd made up my mind sounded perfect, but when I glanced at the board as the nice lady took my order I realised that it had said 'chocolate fudge cake' all along. In my panic I just blurted out the next thing down on the list, which was carrot cake. 

yorkshire cafes

Not that is turned out badly for me at all, as far as carrot cake goes this was very nice, moist and with plenty of that sweet cream cheese topping, just perhaps not what I would have chosen were I paying more attention. (It would probably have been one of those sizeable Bakewell tarts - I do like a good tart!)

The afternoon tea was £11.50, and came with plenty of good hot tea. Not the cheapest ever but far from the most expensive, and I was left highly satisfied but not so full I couldn't manage my long walk around the castle grounds. 

I did notice they had some lovely sounding ice creams available but we'd pre-agreed to get ice cream when we were done at the Ripley Ice Cream Shop we'd seen the sign for on our way in, so gave it a miss here for the time being. 

There's plenty of outside seating as well as tables inside the tea room. The nice weather on our visit meant a lot of people were sat outside so we didn't have any trouble finding a table inside, but it might have been a bit of a squeeze on a less sunny day. Unless of course less people would make the trip to Ripley Castle in less sunny weather! 

If you do find yourself at a loose end on a sunny day in Yorkshire, you could do a lot worse than a day out Ripley, where I'm sure you'd need to refresh yourself at some point with a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake! 

28 May 2014

Holiday Photos - Iceland

Don't worry, there's no horrible pictures of me in a bikini or anything, this was not a bikini kind of holiday, more of 'wrap up warm and take an extra scarf' kind of holiday, but last month I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days in my most favourite of places (outside Yorkshire of course!), Iceland.

This was my second ever visit. My first, in the winter, led to a very 'white' colour palette for all my photos. This springtime visit left a much brighter and bluer, though no less stunning, impression on my camera.

I know I talk too much so for a change I'll shut up and let you bathe in the glory and wonder of this amazing place!

icelandic coast

The Sun Voyager iceland

hallgrimskirkja reykjavik

colourful houses iceland

looking down on reykjavik

iceland golden circle waterfall

golden circle tour

amazing geographical feature iceland

golden circle tour

27 May 2014

Bluebird Tea Co - Enchanted Narnia and Love Potion

It seems like ago I put in my first order with Bluebird Tea Co, and since they arrived I've been enjoying them all very much and reviewing sporadically as you may have noticed. But I didn't realise until today that in my various taste testing I'd somehow managed to completely miss out one variety of tea! Imagine my surprise when I came to an unopened packet of Love Potion! Well, it didn't stay unopened for very long! 

tea with roses and hearts

Love Potion is a black Ceylon tea with chocolate, rose and candy hearts - it's like a Valentines gift in a brew. The candy hearts make an adorable visual addition, even if I don't think I could taste them in the finished drink, but the rose and chocolate flavours were definitely apparent. As with other chocolatey teas I've tried I did prefer this with milk (as I prefer my solid chocolate!) as it jut gives a more creamy and smooth flavour overall, though it's delicious either way. 

romantic tea

When I originally got my big tea order, I paired them all up in my head for review purposes. So far I've worked my way through a jungle-inspired pair of teas, a minty pair, a cakey pair and a sweetie pair and I initially matched the romantic rosy Love Potion with another rose-based tea, Enchanted Narnia. 

tea with rosebuds

Enchanted Narnia is one of the prettiest teas I've ever seen, with the beautiful little rosebuds even winning out over the candy hearts above for sheer aesthetic clout as far as I'm concerned. As well as the rosebuds, you'll also find cocoa shells, rose petals, lemongrass and raspberry leaves, for a really light, delicate but delicious cup of tea! 

bluebird tea co rose tea

This was the one that my brother pulled the weirdest face at, though he soon came round and ended up really enjoying this. The name evokes deliciously evil promises of Turkish Delight, and the tea does not disappoint in this respect - it's lovely stuff! 

You can find details of all the lovely tea varieties available from Bluebird Tea Co on their website here, and say hello to them on twitter here

26 May 2014

Memebox Global Box #10

I hadn't intended on posting this one but I seem to have (very happily) found myself involved in a bunch of discussions about Memebox recently. It seems a lot of people are very interested in the fabulous box offerings from this lot, but there are so many different kinds of boxes available it can be a bit of a minefield for the uninitiated so if I can help shed any light on the complicated situation I'll accept it as my civic duty (and it's an excuse to investigate my box contents a bit more closely!). My recent post on the brand-specific Tony Moly Superbox might give an impression of the kind of (and number/value of) products you might come across in the bigger, more specialised boxes but for comparison here's what I got in my latest 'normal' box from them, Memebox Global #10.

korean beauty products

Atopalm Moisurising Eye Repair Serum (RRP $49) - A paraben-free eye serum designed to hydrate and protect the skin around your eyes. Gentle, so it's great for sensitive skin, and it has a real nifty little twist up pump thing so you get just the right amount. Eye creams is one aspect on my skin care regime that I regularly ignore which is tragic as it's probably one of the ones I need the most! 

korean eye cream

Dewytree Ginseng Nutritious Black Mask (RRP $4) - sheet masks are a lot more common that there were not so long back, so this isn't unusual in itself, though I don't think I've ever seen a black one before! I have high faith in ginseng to do me a lot of good (after an enthusiastic sales pitch at a ginseng salesroom in Korea!), and this reckons to 'bring deep nourishment and relaxation to your exhausted skin' - sounds super.

korean ginseng face mask

Caolin Mool Pool Deep Cleansing (RRP £19) - I've found a lot of the Korean cleansing stuff to be amazing, and was the base for my love affair with Korean cosmetics. Saying that, I'm not sure I've tried anything like this before! The instructions say to spread the product on your dry face then roll it with your hands until it becomes too stiff to roll anymore, then wash it off with warm water. I'm sure there's a good reason for this which I will have to put to the test! It claims to remove even the most waterproof of make up, as well as being gentle enough to use on your eyes. 

weird korean face cleaner
Mise en Scene Curling Essence (RRP $14) - It's so rare to find a product in a beauty box for curly hair (it always seems to be 'volumising' products, something I have very little need for!). As well as helping define curls, this is enriched with argan oil and cedar wood oil for extra nutrition! 

korean hair care for curly hair

Hanskin Bio Origin Royal Ampoule BB (5ml sample, RRP $45 for 25ml) - BB creams of various brands, names and guises are common items in the Memeboxes - I'd have been surprised to have not received one here! This is the first one I've ever come across in this kind of packaging though. It looks gorgeous though I'm not really convinced of the practicalities of it over other types of container, but the cream itself seems really nice, with a light and silky finish.

korean skin stuff

Drww Multi-Action Smart Cream Gel (RRP $59) - being lazy, I always like a 'multi-action' product. This one claims to be a moisturising cream and an anti-aging essence that can also be used as a sleep mask. 

korean cream and essence

I've usually found one make up item (BB cream aside) in the Global Boxes, which I didn't in this one, but the emphasis on skin care is definitely typical of the Memeboxes. The value of the items individually far outweighs the cost of the box ($23 plus delivery) so they definitely work out well financially. They are definitely a great introduction to the world of Korean cosmetic goodies, and the fact that I can't seem to stop ordering them indicated my enthusiasm for them!

Whether it's one of these 'general' surprise boxes that suits you most, or something more specific depends on personal preference entirely but hope this has helped show what you might expect! You can explore all the box options here, happy browsing!

*Edited to include affiliate links x

25 May 2014

Sunday Soak - Neal's Yard Remedies Beauty Sleep Gift Set

I  always feel a bit weird buying myself 'gift sets'. Even when, like this Beauty Sleep Organic Spa Collection from Neal's Yard Remedies, they work out so much better value than buying products individually I still feel a bit cheeky, like I should be giving it to someone else rather than keeping it for myself! 

sleep aid gift set

This one I suppose in particular as I bought it a little while ago when the store had a big discount off all their gift sets for mothers day. And I could have given it to my mum, I could have - but I didn't. I'm a bad daughter and kept it all for myself! (In my defense she didn't do too badly out of my present wise, and mine are too little to buy mothers day presents for me ... sounds justified, right?)

beauty sleep kit

Anyway, the discount meant that the whole box came to not too far away from the price of the full size Beauty Sleep Concentrate inside, so everything else works out free, right? Either way, it was a heck of a bargain, and sleep is definitely something I'm keen on so this set sounded right up my street! 

I know a lot of people like to like candles while in the bath but I don't usually do this. I love scented candles and I love scented bath products but I always thought that using both would diminish the value of either, muddying the scents so you weren't really getting the bests of the products. But this argument loses weight when you have bath products and candles that, even if not having the same fragrance, compliment each other so well. So on this occasion I happily burned the Neal's Yard Remedies Calming Candle with rose and geranium essential oils for a natural calming scent, while soaking in the Aromatic Foaming Bath

NYR bath

The Foaming Bath, with lavender, marjoram and geranium essential oils, describes itself as providing 'a delightfully fragrant bath to bring a sense of wellbeing'. It sure did smell incredible, and lavender really works a number on me every time - it just makes me happy and calm and sleepy - someting I really needed this weekend! I didn't find it particularly 'foaming' - though this is likely to be attributed to me getting distracted and not adding it to the bath 'til it was just about running - not the best way to get loads of bubble, ooops! 

Neals yard body cream

The Beauty Sleep Body Butter might be my favourite thing in the box. I covered myself in this pretty much head to toe on getting out of the bath and it is absolutely gorgeous. This contains an 'aroma-therapeutic blend of essential oils to calm the mind and enhance a restful sleep'. I don't know what it smells of but it'd incredible and it feels so luxurious to use. I was only planning on applying this to my most dry areas but I couldn't resist rubbing it in everywhere as it just felt so nice on my skin. This morning I'm still feeling well hydrated.

night time skin care

Finally I got to the Beauty Sleep Concentrate. This works while you sleep to replenish and recharge your skin, and helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. As I only tried this for the first time last night I can't speak of the long terms results of using this, but it's a lovely light cream that absorbs quickly and instantly makes my skin feel moisturised as well as a bit pampered. 

My plan was to get out of the bath, Neal's Yard myself up and watch a film in bed. I didn't get close to the end of the film, if that tells you anything about the sleep-inducing powers of this magic box! It was a great value gift to myself and will definitely make for many relaxing baths and hours of good sleep in the future! 

At the minute, since Fathers Day is on it's way, you can get some good deals on the Men's gift range too - I might not buy one of these for myself but would make super presents for the various men in your life! 

24 May 2014

Best Play Ever - Awesome Stationary and a Giveaway!

I know I'm far from alone with my little stationary obsession. I know there's loads of you out there who hoard cute pens like others do lipsticks, and want more from your notebook selection than is available at your local WH Smiths. And this is where Best Play Ever come in.

Bradford based (a sure sign of quality) Best Play Ever specialise in a gorgeous selection of notebooks, stickers and posters inspired by the very best of pop culture. Unfortunately at my age I have little call for stickers and posters, but I'll never not need more notebooks!

Wes Anderson Grand Budapest Hotel stationary

As a big Wes Anderson fan, I'd had my eye on the notebooks inspired by his films for some time but never got round to placing the order until I spotted this lovely new trio, based on Anderson's latest fabulous release The Grand Budapest Hotel.

The notebooks are not only incredibly cool, but of a really lovely quality, with a choice of lined or unlined inner to suit note-takers and doodlers alike.

And the really good news? I have some awesome bits from the brand to give away! As stated, I have no real application for stickers at this stage in my life, which means that no matter how much I love the Rushmore 'I saved Latin...' sticker, I don't really have anywhere to put it so that along with all these other fabulous stickers can be yours!

best play ever stickers

And if that's not enough, I've also got a couple of the gorgeous notebooks to go along with them! The prize also includes the A5 Grand Budapest Hotel notebook (lined) and an unlined A6 Darjeeling Limited book for one of you lucky souls! Just enter via the Rafflecoptor thingie below for you chance to get your hands on these!

best play ever

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And in the meantime don't forget to check out Best Play Ever for all kinds of film, tv and music related awesome things!