Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Valentine's Day Gift Guide: For Her

Valentine's day is generally about spending time with a loved one - or your BFF for 'Galentine's day' right? Valentine's day shouldn't really be all about buying new things... but if you do want to pick something new up for a loved one then I've narrowed down a few options that I quite like. 

For someone that wants to pick something up for themselves at the same time. The Tangle Teezer His and Hers gift set* is the perfect option (they also have His and His and Her and Her options too!). It's practical, I mean I don't know any girls that don't love a Tangle Teezer once they've given it a go - and the idea is blooming cute too. Along similar lines... If you want to delve into their gift too - why not get something edible? Chocolate is always a safe bet and the Lindt Lindor Truffles* (both the original and the strawberry) are a perfect option. They taste blooming delicious and I don't think I've ever met anyone that doesn't like them. If you fancy going for something a little different from the usual however then I'd recommend the Crabtree & Evelyn All Butter Rose Biscuits. I was super sceptical about these - I mean I love a rose macaron just like the next person, but it in a biscuit? I just wasn't sure... But oh my god. These blew my mind. They taste unlike anything I've ever tried before. So so delicious - and you must try them or buy them as a treat for someone else. It's a biscuit game changer if you will... 

Onto some more beauty and I fell in love with Illamasqua's Valentine's campaign. They have created a collection of the most seductive pouts that will undoubtably lead to getting your lipstick smudged by the end of the night - and I think actually this is such incredible. It's not mushy or gushy it's just right. I got my hands on their lipstick in Maneater* and it's the most perfect matte red for doing just that. 

If you do however fancy being a little more on the gushy side, then Sabon's Hugs and Kisses Gift set* is just perfect. Filled with a beautiful lipgloss and hand cream inside a beautiful tin - it's just gorgeous. It doesn't break the bank and it's a luxury that's lovely to open. 

If you want something that also has gorgeous packaging - then I'd recommend Glossybox. Now I know I'm a little bias as I'm currently working there... but trust me - their packaging is just blooming beautiful. I'm a beauty junkie and am lucky enough to get my fair share of beauty treats and so when I get my hands on the box each month - it's the packaging that gets me the most excited. The unwrapping of the box etc. is the best part and I know that's the same for a lot of people too! But you know what? The products inside are great too. I pictured the February Beauty Soulmates box - which is now unfortunately sold out, but you could still gift someone special with a subscription so they get the excitement month on month on month... It is the gift that keeps on giving after all. 

Or finally, you could buy individual pieces of makeup... and this is the part I well and truly fell in love with. KIKO's BFF collection* is a beautiful Valentine's inspired collection. I'm talking beautiful pinks and reds all embossed with hearts - I mean even the lipstick is shaped as a heart! This blew my mind and got me far too excited. The collection is super budget friendly and you really need to try one or two of the products out. 

A few favourites from the world of Valentine's day gifting... but don't take this as sin. Maybe buy them a cute gift - but I think spending the time with them could be a whole lot more special. 

Lorna x

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Introducing: Yes To

Yes To is a brand I've always heard about but for some reason, as with many a brand, I just never got round to trying it until now... And I'm blooming glad I did. I always thought the brand was solely Yes To Carrots - but little did I know that there were other scents and types of products in the range - and this is what got me so excited about trying the ranges out. 

I got my hands on a few bits from the Yes To Coconuts range and the Yes To Blueberries ranges - one, because I blooming love a coconut scent and two because I love blueberries, why have I never had something made with blueberries before?! 

The idea behind the Yes To brand was to create a beautiful and super-natural beauty range made with fruits and vegetables - I love the idea of this, and they blooming well have done it and done it well at that. 

The Yes To Coconuts range is targeted at dry skin and as a gal with dry skin I can vouch that it works! The product I want to mention is the Yes To Coconuts Body Lotion Spray* - not only is the packaging super nifty, what's inside is just beautiful. It works incredibly, it's super easy to rub in and I just can't get enough. 

The Yes To Blueberries range isn't really targeted at my skin type as they are recommended for those with fine lines and wrinkles - but prevention is always better than a cure right?! My favourite product from this range, surprisingly is the Yes To Blueberries Cleansing Facial Wipes*. I got out of the habit of using wipes such a long time ago in favour of a cleansing water, as I found it worked so much better with my sometimes sensitive skin. Sometimes however you just need a quick fix for on the go - and that's what I use these wipes for. I always pop them in my bag for any on-the-go beauty touch ups or pre-Psycle sessions, as no one wants to go to the gym with makeup on. 

I'm hooked and I can't wait to try out the other products in some of the other ranges. The brand has such a great authenticity behind it (and after a quick read of their 'about us' section), I read that they're all people after my own heart... Fellow wine lovers. Let's celebrate my new found love of the brand with a glass or two. I mean, it's okay if I'm using these beautifully natural products on my skin right? 

Lorna x

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Falling In Love With KIKO

If you're a regular on the blogosphere then I'm sure you'll have heard everyone and their dog rave about KIKO... but I wanted to write this post just in case you hadn't.... And, I really needed to get it out somehow. 

I love luxe, expensive and beautiful beauty products just like the next gal. They generally work incredibly, they look lovely on your dressing table and they feel so exciting to own. The worst bit? Parting with the sometimes excessive amount of cash to get your hands on them... I'm always looking for products that work wonders but don't break the bank balance and there's one brand that ALWAYS pops up and blows my mind - and you will probably have an inkling by now that that is of course KIKO. 

I remember the first time I stepped into the KIKO store on Regents Street. I was a University student, still a beauty blogger and I'd heard so much about the brand that I couldn't wait to check it out. It was one of those things where I hadn't really planned to go, but I saw the big sign staring me right in the face across the road and it just pulled me in (a lot like Claire's Accessories used to around 10 years ago...)! I stepped inside, a little overwhelmed. I mean their stores are a little manic... They're always rammed with people trying to swatch the products and grab the bargains, but I think that just shows how incredible it must be if it's always that busy. There are rows and rows of products - I remember finding it so hard to decide what I even wanted. All I knew was that I wanted something... I was not going to come away empty handed. I think that time I just picked up a dark brown shimmer eyeshadow - but the next time I stepped inside, I picked up a little more. Restraint is not something I'm always good at, student budget or no student budget. 

Honestly, there's not anything I've ever tried from KIKO that I haven't liked - I know, big big words - but then I wouldn't be writing this post if I did. Their lip liners are one of my favourites, even the uber cheap ones. You can pick up a tonne of shades and it really isn't the end of the world if it doesn't suit you - the same can be said for the lipsticks... Eye shadows... Nail polishes... Perhaps I should have just said it could be said for the rest of the products in the store too!

KIKO are always coming out with new collections. Pictured above is the KIKO Midnight Siren Collection from November last year if I remember right. It's a beautiful collection and the packaging just blew my mind. I've not seen anything like it before. And each collection is always different, so if this packaging doesn't take your fancy, then just hold off and wait for another collection to come out or check the other one's there selling. There's always something. You must check out the Rebel Romantic collection if you're a fan of Charlotte Tilbury makeup.

They sell in store and online, so if you've not got a chance to head to a store (or don't fancy the craze to get the lip liner you're after) then their online store is definitely worth a browse... In fact, that's what I might just do now. 

What are your favourite KIKO products if you've given them a go or what products are you eyeing up? 

Lorna x

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Exercising in London: Psycle


I never thought I'd ever get into exercise. I just couldn't ever see it happening. I was always that girl at school that loathed P.E. and would do just about anything to get out of it. I remember the dread of the 1800 meters in the summer, anything cross country related or well... just about anything sport related. 

I'd heard a lot about Psycle* from other bloggers and one of my besties Gemma, and as much as there was that little niggling feeling of me wanting to try it, I just never really had the guts or the push to actually go and give it a go. That was until their PR's contacted me asking me if I fancied trying it... Truth was, I really did, but I just didn't know if I COULD do it. I mean, it had been years since I had done any form of exercise and that is just terrible. But I bit the bullet, and dragged my friend Dina along to their new swish Canary Wharf branch to give it a go. 

What is Psycle you're probably wondering? Well, it's spinning to cut a long story short. And trust me, all of the horror stories and 'OMG, WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT' stories are complete and utter bollocks (excuse my language, but it was necessary... this time), so don't stop reading there... Trust me, it's worth carrying on. I'm not going to lie, it was painful the first time - but whatever I'd have done would have been - I hadn't done ANY exercise since school. It was tough, but I got through it and it was so worthwhile. 

What makes Psycle different? I mean I can't really comment as this is the only spin class I've ever done, but as far as I'm aware, this is a little more fancy and a little more exciting than the norm. The lights go down, sometimes its pitch black and sometimes cool lights flash to the music that's blasting out, the instructors are super empowering and inspiring and the bikes are great. You get special shoes upon arrival that clip into the pedals and make it so much easier. Don't worry though, you're not trapped, it's super easy to clip out. The whole experience is done to the music so it's so easy to get into it and get into the rhythm. The hardest bit is generally to stay in time, but don't worry, if you're struggling, you won't be the only one there that is and you can take it as hard or as easy as you like. Add on extra when they say to add on, or don't. It's no secret that I didn't for a few classes... Then I built my way up to giving it a go. 

So as you can probably tell, my Psycle didn't just stop at that one class with Dina to try out the Canary Wharf branch. I have pretty much been regularly ever since to both Canary Wharf and Oxford Circus branches. I'm hooked and it still to this day blows my mind that I am. It's fun, and it makes me feel incredible and I've not felt like that for a long time. I get far too excited when I talk about it... and that's what makes me justify the spend. 

If you want to try giving exercise a go, or want to try a new form of exercise in London then I couldn't recommend Psycle enough. I will rave and rave and rave about it because it really is that great. And I've got a couple of my friends hooked too... So that really is saying something. 

Give it a go, go on... It'll be worth it. 

Lorna x

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Eating in London: The Crab Tavern

I could get used to this brunching malarkey. The Crab Tavern, Liverpool Street* invited us down to try out their 'Lovin' Feeling Brunch' and with my new found love of brunching, how could I say no? For £45 you get an unlimited bar for an hour and a half and a 3 course brunch (it's every Saturday and the perfect way to spend the day if you ask me). If you like to eat and drink, you need to go. 

Upon entry, we were greeted by a very empty bar/restaurant. I'm talking no-one in there apart from the staff, the DJ and us... I mean it was a bit awkward and spoiler, my only negative so I thought it was apt I get it out of the way at the beginning and rip it off like a plaster and get to the good bits. 

The tables are filled with party poppers, blow up things (I'm talking massive phones, bananas, that sort of thing...) and we were directed straight to the make-your-own Bloody Mary bar (but don't worry, it's only sort of make-your-own as the bar staff will help you!). We were sipping on our newly-made Bloody Mary's while perusing over the menu and feeling a little starry eyed over all of the unexpected additions... then a Pineapple filled cocktail was brought over. And it tasted incredible. I think it was some sort of Pina Colada, but trust me... It blew my mind and it was so fun. 

The Tavern Sharer Starter was brought over, and I was starving at this point so the enormous size was greatly welcomed. The platter is filled with Fried Black Pepper Squid, Tavern Pork Belly Ribs, Dressed Crab Ceasar Subs, Crab and Waffle, Jerk Fried Shrimp, Prawn Cocktail and Crispy White Bait. It is literally a seafood lovers dream - and I blooming loved it. It's a messy starter, so be ready to use your fingers but trust me it's oh so worth it. 

Onto mains, and I'm not going to lie, after demolishing the starter and drinking a lot of Bloody Mary and the Pineapple cocktail, I was a little bit full... but we went for the Hanger Steak and Chips and the  Fish and Chips (with a glass of wine) which our waiter informed us was todays special. They were great. The fish and chips may have been one of the best I've ever had... and that tartar sauce. Oh the tartar sauce. It. Was. Incredible. 

At this point, I thought I may pop but the Sundae Spectacular dessert was brought over along with a Dessert shot and it was the perfect finish to the meal. Nearly exploding aside, the deal for £45 is insanely good. I'm not sure if you can head there a little later to make sure that there's a few more people around because as far as I was aware, the 1.5 hour free bar started at 1pm, but I could be wrong so that'd be worth checking out as I can only imagine how much fun it is if the restaurant is filled with others enjoying their brunch, the free bar... and their party poppers, like we very much did. 

Lorna x

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Budget Brows

Budget/ High Street/ Drugstore Beauty Eyebrow Brow Pencils

Everything is about the brows. 'Brows on Fleek' or so they say... is a 2016 essential and with all of the talks on brows surrounding the infamous Anastasia Brow Wiz and Dip Pomade, both products that are hard and expensive to get hold of, and you also run the risk of getting the wrong shade. It becomes even more important to be able to pick up budget options, that are just as good, easily and on the high street. I've narrowed down a few of my favourites and the one's that I just had to mention. 

First up, Soap & Glory really know what they're doing on the brow front. The Soap & Glory Archery Brow Pencil is my go-to and what I use every day to create my brows, so really I could have just written an entire post about this beauty. Everyone coins this product a dupe for the Anastasia Brow Wiz, and I can see why. It feels so high end. One end features a retractable pencil with no need to sharpen and the other end features a brush to keep your brows in place.

If you're more of a brush and pot brow kinda gal, then Soap & Glory have the other option of their Soap & Glory Archery DIY Brow Bar*. I used to always use the HD Brows kit, so I really can appreciate how good this kit is. It has EVERYTHING you could need. A small brush to comb your brows into place, a clear wax to keep them in place, two shades of brow powder and a highlight to use along the brow bone. This is perfect for travelling, though do be careful as mine smashed on the way to me. I'm still using it even though it's crushed, I just can't bare throwing it away as I really do love it, but I may just have to part with the cash and get a new one... It really is worth it. 

The KIKO Shape and Shimmer Eyebrow and Highlighter Pencil* is such a nifty idea. Much like with the Soap & Glory DIY Brow Bar, this product features a brow bone highlight and a brow pencil. They are both retractable, easy to apply and super creamy. I love the texture of these and the packaging just doesn't feel like it comes from the high street. 

Onto possibly the most budget product of the post, and the one that actually surprised me the most. I'm going to say it, I really didn't think that I would like the Barry M Brow Wow Eyebrow Pencils* but I really really do. At £3.99, you really can't go wrong with these as a back up in your collection. These are great if you want to make sure your brows stay in place all day long as the pencil is super waxy and works as a filler and wax at the same time. I mix a couple of the shades to get the look I want and I think this makes my brows look more realistic when pencilled in. These are perfect if you're just getting into make up and want to try it out. 

I can't go out without my brows, I keep them super natural but these are the products that I use to help me get there and they're pocket friendly, so I really can't complain... I'm nearly out of my favourite Soap & Glory Archery Brow Pencil in Hot Chocolate so I'm thinking it's probably time to pick up another, and pick up a DIY Brow Bar that isn't smashed to smithereens... The things you do for your brows, eh. 

What are your favourite products to use on your brows? 

Lorna x

Monday, 25 January 2016

Eating in London: One Canada Square 'After Dark'

This is the perfect pre-night out dinner, or something for a bit of a treat. One Canada Square in Canary Wharf, London has their 'After Dark'* every Saturday evening after 6pm and for £45 you get an unlimited supply of wine, beer or Prosecco (for two hours) and two courses. I headed there one Saturday before heading out for the rest of the evening and it was the most incredible and luxurious start to the evening. 

The restaurant is all about the food, drink and service. The location is great too, it's close to the station so makes it super easy to head home afterwards, or out to somewhere else. Buuut, the food just made it for me. As we sat pondering over what to order, they brought out some warm bread and butter. It was so so tasty and got took the edge off my hangry vibes. 

They then brought over an Amuse Bouche, unfortunately it was very meaty, so I skipped out on this one but I heard the bon bon tasted incredible. Then to start, we both went for the Truffled Parsnip soup. It was honestly the best soup I've ever tried. I don't say that sort of thing often, but it was truly incredible. Served with a couple of cheese straws to accompany it, I felt like I didn't need to try another soup again. Can I have it again now please? 

For mains, I went for the Cornish Squid and Crab Linguine with Smoked Tomato, Chilli and Garlic and Joe went for the Chargrilled Bavette Steak, Roast Garlic Butter and Fries. Now not quite as incredible as the starter, but still a blooming great main. The linguine tasted incredible but I have to admit I was super full from what I'd eaten previously (and the wine which they kept topping up - no complaints there, at all!). The steak was good too, but Joe was suffering the same problem of feeling a tad full and so we both gave desserts a miss although they did sound incredible. If the rest of the meal was anything to go by, it would have been incredible. 

I'd completely recommend going here and taking up this offer. I've noticed the menu changes often so  you can go back again and try something else. Perfect for large groups before going out or just for a few of you. You can also head up to the mezzanine afterwards and have a cocktail where the DJ is playing. Super fun and I can't wait to go back. 

Lorna x