Friday, 28 September 2012

Wait, they sell that?!: Wallis

I have always held the view that Wallis is a shop which focuses on an older clientele. They sell a lot of formal dresses for office work and their day wear is often very frumpy. This view is confirmed when I hear my Nan talking about this new skirt she bought from there that cost her only £30 in the sale. Oh yeah, and they are incredibly expensive. I can't forget that.

Two Christmas' ago I was looking for a cape for my mum. She wanted a thick cape that was made out of wool (yet not kitted) so was warm. She works as a driver so coats aren't the most appropriate choice for outer wear. I remember going into Wallis back then and seeing a gorgeous camel coat and leaving it because my Mum didn't like it and it cost £80. It then went into the sale and I never bought it. Since then I haven't stepped into the store until now.

My sister has recently bought a new jumper from Wallis that she loves. It's thick and soft and it looks like she'll wear it all winter. Even better, it was in the Sale and only cost her £25. You might pay that for a jumper in Primark these days! Because of this, I gave in and looked on Wallis' website and this is what I found.

Now, does that Black coat look familiar to you? It is pretty similar to the coat I adore in Urban Outfitters. However at £85, it is £30 cheaper than the more 'hip' store who are, again, overpriced. It also looks a much better quality in the photo - that is a must! I still cannot comprehend spending £85 on a coat (especially considering that I paid a tenner for mine last year in Primark). However, if I somehow come into a big lump sum of money, I would definitely consider trying on that coat.

Secondly, there is the Stone Fur Collar Cocoon Coat which is only £69. I say only, but that is still a lot of money! It perhaps isn't as an appropriate colour, but again it has this huge fur collar that I love! I'm not too sure the cocoon shape will be flattering but I guess it is a case of trying the coat on. I haven't managed to find any coats in this style for less than £70 so if you are going to buy one, you might as well get a good quality item.

Now, I looked all over the website and only found one other item of clothing that I liked in the form of this Black V Back Maxi Dress. I like the high slash neck and the simplicity of the dress but I adore the back. The deep V is so unique and elegant. All it would need is a nice pair of black sandals, a chignon and some red lipstick. At £60 I would not buy this dress unless it looked spectacular on. I have no reason to own the dress but I can't help but admire the design.

Has that changed your view on Wallis? I think I would pop in if I passed one in town, but I would not make it a priority. Let me know! Rachael xoxo

Monday, 24 September 2012

Smashbox Weekend!

This weekend has been hectic to say the least (hence the use of 'Smashbox' in the title. It sounds quite hectic to me). On Friday I went to a Smashbox on Location event and following that I saw Joe Brooks live. After a bad morning (losing my railcard) it was actually a lovely day. The best bit was all the FREE PRODUCTS I recieved!

Fortunately, my zombie-like internet surfing came in useful when I saw advertising the Smashbox on Location event in London. I wasn't originally going to attend but I couldn't help myself when I found out that I was in London anyway. I love a happy accident. These items came in a lovely canvas bag which isn't pictured. I'll probably use it for the lab or something.

First is the Halo Highlighting Wand in Pearl. Only the first 750 who entered received this product and I was shocked when I was given one as soon as I got through the door. It does what it says on the box - it is a cream, shimmery highlighter. When I had my make-up done by one of the many make-up artists this is the product she focused on. I use it on my cheek bones, under my eyes, on my eye lids and sometimes on my nose. It blends in pretty well with my foundation (so much sometimes that I don't see it at all!) but does give a little bit of a fresher look without the use of blusher. This is definitely my favourite gift from the bag!

I am not a fan of primer. Of course Smashbox had to give me their Photo Finish Primer! I've tried so many that I have completely given up on using them. The tubes are always so small and the product never seems to go very far when I use it so I just get annoyed with them. However, this primer does seem to be a better consistency in comparison to other brands I have tried (such as Avon). I have yet to try it on my face (rather than my hand) but it does make the skin on my hand much softer!

I am thoroughly disappointed with this Full Exposure mascara. I was actually given two of these as they were in balloons on the way out. At first I refused to take one because I was about to go on the tube but when the model told me that mascara was in it I took two! The full size version of this mascara retails at $19 and I know I would never spend that on it and if I did I would never buy it again! The brush is fantastic and gives a good coverage with minimal clumping. However, the mascara has no staying power what-so-ever (much like Benefit's Bad Gal Lash).When I looked at the packaging and the brush I did notice that they looked oh-so-similar and they perform similarly too unfortunately. I cannot take away that it does give separated, full, long lashes on first application. However, an hour down the line, my lashes seem to have lost a lot of length. In my opinion high street mascaras, such as Maybelline's Falsies, have much more staying power than both expensive mascaras I have tried.

There could be reason for this - although when sell products to the general public this should not be an excuse. Smashbox originally was created for Hollywood and photoshoots. Therefore good results are needed and staying power isn't essential. High Street products are created for the every day worker/commuter/student to wear and it is expected to last all day. Simple. However, I won't be buying the mascara.

Please ignore my silly face. I accidentally took this photo and unfortunately it is the only photo I took that shows the colour well enough. This is Smashbox's Lip Enhancing Lipgloss in Tease. I opened the box and the colour in the tube is gorgeous! It is a deep purple lip gloss with more of a pink tint than blue. I would probably call it a berry. The brush is a proper lip brush rather than fabric applicator and from that alone I had huge expectations. However, I put the gloss on and it looked horrible! It kind of dripped down my face unless I put a really thin layer on. Also, the colour is very sheer. I can imagine you being able to layer the gloss to get a stronger purple but in my eyes you shouldn't have to layer a gloss. I also found it to be very sticky - not good. However, this could be down to personal preference. I am a big fan of lip stains/sticks. I cannot praise the Revlon Balm Stain's enough - they are my perfect product! I think because of this, I haven't appreciated this lip gloss as much as others. Reviews are raving about this product and I don't see the appeal. Maybe I will play around with it some more and it'll become a make-up bag staple. We'll see.

Overall, these are good products. However, with their high price tag they need to be! I am unsure if I would buy them at full price but as they were a free gift I am over the moon! I do love the Halo Highlighter wand but I am sure I could find something that works just as well for a much lower price. I guess this is the budget-savy student in me speaking here (although I am still desperate for a Chanel nail varnish!)

My Weekly Wishlist: 23rd September

ASOS Cat Ears Watch How cute is this watch?! I've recently broken the strap on my old watch (which was my Mum's)and then managed to leave it at home. The watch looks so simple from afar but the cat face and ears make it that little bit different. I can't imagine spending £20 on a watch but maybe I can put it on my birthday list?

Sparkle & Fade Oversized Fur Collar Coat When I went to see Two Door Cinema Club a couple of weeks ago I wasted some time by wandering around Westfield. I spotted this coat in Urban Outfitters and tried it on (not expecting it to fit) and it did. I want a cardigan coat exactly like this as my coat this year but I am not spending £115 on one. Unfortunately, I haven't seen one much cheaper. Come on your thing!

Joe Brooks - A Reason to Swim EPI have loved this EP since it was released and when I saw Joe Brooks at the Islington Academy on Friday I had no cash to get it. I can order it on Amazon as an MP3 but I want the physical copy! It kills me not having this on my iPhone!

Extra Long Jack Wills Scarf Okay, I already have this scarf but I didn't bring it expecting the weather to be lovely. Unfortunately it is freezing cold and rainy and I really want to have my scarf back.It must be 3 metres long at least. Whilst it was originally about £50 I got it for £30 in the sale. I will definitely be asking my mum to bring it up next time she comes up to see me!

Pink Paisley Print Leggings In general I just want some nice patterned leggings. It just happens that these look lovely on my friend who has them and they have gone down to £6 in the New Look sale. If I see them in the Norwich store I might have to pick the up.

Dora Designs Candy Sitting Cat Doorstop I've moved into halls this weekend and with my door shut I feel really unsocial. The doors are so heavy that bags/chairs won't keep it open so I think I might invest in a nice doorstop. This one is lovely but a tad expensive. I'll have a look in town for something similar rather than fork out for this one (although it is seriously cute).

Lastly is the washing up sponges. I completely forgot to buy some and I feel about guilty about using one of my flat mate's sponges so I must buy some next time I go shopping. I've put a sign on my wall to remind me and everything!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A weekend in Bristol! (Revlon Hazy Swatch)

This weekend I went to Bristol with my parents to get 'uni supplies'. Unfortunately, this literally did mean 'uni supplies' so I got very little in the way of clothing. We came back with so many towels and cans of dry shampoo and notepads that I do feel sorry for my parent's bank balances. However, I did manage to get a few good bits and pieces.

Firstly, I got a lot of nail varnishes.

Revlon Top Speed Fast Dry Nail Enamel: 607 Hazy*
NYC In a New York Minute: 228 Chelsea
NYC In a New York Minute: 272 Bowery Black
NYC In a New York Minute: 294 Lexington Yellow**
NYC In a New York Minute: 202 Grand Central Station**

I bought Chelsea and Bowery Black in Superdrug because they are perfect for autumn. They are meant to be quick dry and who knows how much time I'll have to paint my nails once uni starts. At £1.79 it's hard to say no!

However, I got the other three in a pound store. I've never had much luck when sifting through the branded make up in the shops near me but I managed to strike gold this weekend. I paid £1 for Hazy which is a quick drying mid-grey. It is very similar to NYC's Sidewalkers and I ran out of it ages ago. I couldn't help but pick it up! Tesco online are still selling it for £6.50 but I haven't had a chance to look for it in Superdrug. I suspect it was a discontinued colour.

(Revlon 607 Haze tipped with NYC 272 Bowery Black. Ignore the french tips. I did them quickly because I only have work tonight and my nails always chip)

It took a while to get used to the brush and consistency of the polish. It started to dry really quickly and on the first coat left brush marks. However, with a thicker second coat it has dried quite smoothly. It was quite easy to apply tidily too. I had very minimal clean up (that's good).

At even better value, I got both Lexington Yellow and Grand Central Station for £1! I have heard amazing things about the GCS top coat and Lexington Yellow is so bright. I'm not quite sure I'll be using it for a while considering it isn't an autumn colour but for the top coat alone it was good value. I don't mind paying £1 for two nail varnishes.

I did get some really cute bits including:

A Minnie Mouse bath scrunchie(?) I hear you ask? It is gorgeous! Well done Primark!

I've had my eye on this book for a while. At £4.50 it is expensive but it is one third plain (drawing structures), one third squared (for maths), and one third lined (for notes). It is perfect for chemistry if I do say so myself so my dad bought it for me. It's the closest I'll get to the two sided book from Typo and I can't wait to use it (oh dear).

I saw this dress on my first day when I popped into town to see where I wanted to go the day after. However, I couldn't believe this dress was only £15 and there were only 5-6 there which were mostly sizes 10 and 14. This one was there and I couldn't just leave it. I love the flocked top and it fits the baroque trend that's huge this winter. I wish I could wear it as a day dress but I might get a few funny looks. At least my halloween costume is sorted!

Bristol is a lovely city. The shopping is pretty good and Cabot Circus is amazing. I would go shopping there again but the shops seem to be smaller than they are here in Essex/London. I don't know if our shops are just abnormally large or that everywhere else shops just are smaller. Well, I guess I'll find out sooner or later!

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain LOVESICK vs. NYC Ultra Last Lipwear BLUE ROSE

(Left: NYC Ultra Long Wear in Blue Rose Right: Revlon: JBKBS Love Sick)

Here are the swatches for Revlon's Balm Stain in Lovesick and NYC's Long Wear lipstick in Blue Rose. After searching various Superdrug stores I finally found the NYC lipstick! I must have been to at least 5.

The main difference is that the Revlon balm stain looks sheer on my hand. However, when on your lips this sheerness disappears with a few layers of product. The Revlon stain is much more versatile because of this. You can have your lips barely pink, obnoxiously pink or even layer the balm over another lipstick.

Both are meant to moisturise and I'd say that the NYC lipstick doesn't moisturise for as long. However, Blue Rose is £1.49 whilst Lovesick is £7.99. To be honest, you could buy some Vaseline and put that on overnight so you have soft lips for the lipstick. You'll still have paid less than half the price for something that looks incredibly similar.

Blue Rose has a stronger blue undertone than Lovesick. The blue flecks are very visible giving it more of an evening look. I still do wear it during the day, but it is a very bold, bright pink that I am sure many would run screaming from when they saw it before 12pm.

I've been playing around with Blue Rose and I think it wore best when layered on top of Lovesick. As it is a cheap lipstick it can run a bit and I hate lipliners. However, with lovesick underneath, the stain acted as a lipliner and the lipstick didn't run at all. Therefore, I might continue to use Blue Rose on top of Lovesick to pro-long my precious Balm Stain's life. I doubt I'll have the money to replace an £8 lip stain but I can do without a coffee one day.

I think my advice would be to buy Blue Rose if you already have Lovesick or are interested in buying it and are unsure if you can pull off a bright pink. I personally love both lip products and would recommend either. The Revlon Balm Stain is more versatile and has a better consistency and isn't as much of a block colour either but it is on the expensive side (for a student) and if you wanted a new lip colour that is cheap and cheerful I'd go towards NYC any day.

My Weekly Wish list: 12th September

ASOS CURVE Swing Dress: This dress is seriously gorgeous. I can't decide if I want it in the black or the red and at £45 a pop I'm not sure I'd get either. The simplicity of this dress is lovely. On the model it looks like it drapes perfectly and I have fallen in love with the pleats on the back. I would wear this dress more than once, that is for sure.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick - Black Cherry: I have suddenly created an obsession with lipsticks/stains/glosses etc (probably due to how gorgeous the Revlon Balm Stains are). I have gone from having no lipsticks in my make up bag to having at least 5 in about a month. Now we are coming up to autumn winter I want a really deep vampy red. Unfortunately, unless I want to spend £25 on a Chanel lipstick I'm not going to get this. However, Revlon's Black Cherry looks like a good compromise. It's a dark burgundy with a pinky/purple undertone that is £7.49. I'd still not like to spend that much on a lipstick but I do have £3 on my beauty card. I think I might just get this soon.

Cream leopard fingerless glove: I've always called these 'glittens' but it seems Dorothy Perkins do not agree that it is an appropriate name. I saw these in Bristol and just loved how cute they were! However, I don't tend to get on too well with fingerless gloves. You get to see what colour nail varnish I'm wearing (very good) but my fingers get so cold and I have to go out and buy proper gloves/mittens. However, I love the appliqué on these and I do have a soft spot for pom poms.

MORRIS VINTAGE STYLE BOOTS: I saw these before I went to see Two Door Cinema Club and fell in love. They look so expensive and were quite comfy. I wish I had gotten them when I saw them because they have sold out everywhere now. One of my best friends also has these boots so I'm not really that happy with getting the same staple shoe but we're going off to uni so at least we won't be seen wearing them at the same time I guess. They are £40 and after shopping around, they seem to be the best value boot I've seen so far. I don't understand how a shop can charge £35 for a non-leather boot. Well, I might just have to keep looking for my winter boot.

Peach embellished maxi dress: I have been in love with this dress since March when the promo picture was first released. However, 6 months later and it is finally available to buy. I love the colour and the masses of sequins. I would definitely have matching (or clashing) chevrons on my nails. Sadly, I have no reason to buy a £150 dress so I doubt this dress will ever sit in my wardrobe. I can still hope right?

Kitty Velvet Cat Face Flats in Black: When I saw the Charlotte Olympia kitty flats I almost screamed. They are so perfect but I am not spending £400 on a pair of shoes right now. There are so many great copies on the internet such as these from Daisy Street Shoes who also offer 10% student discount and free delivery. I need a pump to replace my well worn Topshop Vectras, maybe this is the shoe?

Pieces Fane Faux Fur Collar: I have recently bought a new biker jacket (my last one is nowhere to be seen) and I think I want a fur collar to make it a bit more wintery. However, I do wear huge scarves and fur snoods so it would be a waste of money... I just love faux fur okay?

So that was the first instalment of my weekly wish lists. Is there anything there you'd love to get? Let me know!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Two Door Cinema Club @ O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire

Can I just start this by saying that Two Door Cinema Club were fantastic!

Well, I am now completely over waiting for hours on end outside venues so decided to turn up when doors opened. I've done my fair share of waiting around (at the age of 15-16) and after a while it gets boring and all your friend does is moan so I don't wait outside venues for very long anymore. Anyway, I waltzed in at 7 and joined the o2 priority queue - best thing ever.

I was utterly shocked at the fact that it was so empty when I arrived. I managed to get 2/3 row and as I said - i did not wait one second! It seemed like everyone had gone to seating and there could not be more than 50 of us in stalls standing. Of course, this changed.

First up was Theme Park who have a very similar style to TDCC. Their set was upbeat, full of catchy riffs and a strong beat. They definitely liked their guitars (4 if i remember correctly)and a good harmony. Either way, they had a definite style and their set was quite enjoyable.

The second support band were Citizens! and again they gave a rather impressive set. They reminded me quite a bit of The Drums although slightly less manic on stage. They also had upbeat, catchy riffs that you can easily dance to. The band definitely had some stage presence and tried to get the crowd dancing. Unfortunately, it seemed that the crowd were there for TDCC and TDCC only. However, I wouldn't complain if I saw these guys again. I'm am totally going to listen to their album.

Two Door Cinema Club did not disappoint on Thursday. I saw them at Reading in 2011 and had no clue who they were but loved them so bought their album for a fiver the day I got back. Unfortunately I missed them at Reading this year because they clashed with the Foo Fighters and I really couldn't miss that. For me, they are one of those bands that I just clicked with straight away. You just can't explain it.

The guys opened with "New Year" off of their new album and, for me, it is the best song on the new album. It was a good start. They sounded very slick the whole way through even with the new material. What I enjoyed most was that they had a good mix of new and old. There were more old songs but they are what the crowd like and know. I hate it when bands get a new album out and completely ignore their old material. Seriously, every time a band does that I just want to shout out 'Hey! The old album does exist you know? I don't know your new stuff so give it a rest already!'

Okay, so basically, they were good and slick and I loved it. If you are ever unsure about getting tickets to see them just do it. It'll be one of the best gigs you will go to and you will not regret it.

Well, I never do.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Nail Art: Sugar Coating

Well, my mum was doing some baking the other day and whilst she was doing so I came across a tub of white glitter sugar strands. I looked at them for a while and then thought "hey, why not put these on my nails!?". I've seen some tutorials online about people putting salt on their nails so why not sugar too? Texture seems to be a big trend for nails this year so I put it to the test.

It is dead simple to do and looks really lovely in my opinion. All I did was paint my nails in Barry M Strawberry Ice cream with my ring fingers in Barry M Matt White. The difficulty is with the ring finger. Unfortunately, my white is almost empty and what is left is really thick and horrible. However, this makes it very sticky. All I did was put on the first coat and once that was dry put on a really thick second coat. Once I'd put on this second coat, I put the sugar lumps on some paper and rolled my nail in it making sure it touched the edges and bottom of my nail. Take it away and voila! You have a sugar nail.

Make sure you put plenty of top coat on the sugar nail otherwise it is likely to fall off. But in my eyes, it looks fabulous! I love it!

Word of warning - you are using sugar! Even those who aren't doing Chemistry should know that sugar dissolves in water. When I washed my hands my sugar nail started to dissolve and fell away from my nail in a big lump. I only put 2 layers of top coat on and maybe if I'd put more on it would have lasted.

I've decided that for a night out these nails are fantastic! However, they have no longevity where water is concerned. For one night you can get away with some anti-bac in your bag but I'm not sure you could last any more than 2 days without putting water to your hands. It looks fantastic though and is super simple. You could re-do it every day and it would only take ten minutes or so. Maybe I should put faith in this technique...

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Review: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain - Lovesick

That is a bit of a mouthful isn't it?!

Well, I have seen various reviews online raving about these new balm stains and about a month ago I caved in and bought one myself. Luckily, they had an introductory price of £5.99 so I didn't have to fork out the whole £7.99. However, in my eyes, it is completely worth the £7.99 price tag.

I first saw this lip stain on the advert whilst browsing on tumblr. I love Emma Stone and fell in love with the lipstick in the picture (below) so did some serious searching to find out what she was wearing. Hence, I came across these balm stains

My first point, this balm stain is definitely a balm and a stain.When you first apply it, it is quite glossy and moist with plenty of shine. It also has a slight peppermint smell but that fades away quite quickly (it reminds me of the Philosophy Big Mouth but without the painful sting of the plumper). I cannot make this point enough: it does stain! The balm side of this lip stain can resist a meal and drink and usually lasts about 4 hours whilst i'm wearing it. After the balm is gone, the bright pink of the stain remains behind. At a glance, strangers would see a freshly applied gloss!

The stain lasts for ages. If I put it on at 10am, by 11pm when i go to sleep the stain will still be on my lips (although patchy). It definitely needs to be taken off over night unless you want to look like a clown in the morning. Also, the more times you re-apply, the harder it is to remove. I know that sounds obvious but i just thought I'd put that out there. You never know? I wore it the whole weekend at Reading and just kept layering. When I came home I had to scrub my lips down to get rid of the majority of the pink! (it was 5 days of constant wear)

As this is part balm, it can be applied quite sheerly. I usually put 2/3 layers of the balm to get the bright pink I love. It is super easy to vary the opaqueness of the colour from barely there to loud and obnoxious. Just keep layering up.

Many are comparing this to the Clinique Chubby Stick. I am a student and could never afford a £16 lip balm. However, having a look at swatches, there doesn't seem to be a colour remotely similar. The only comparison I can make is that the packaging is almost identical (how shallow?)

Overall, I absolutely love this balm stain! It lasts for ages, is a gorgeous colour and I get so many compliments on it (including from my managers at work. I expected to be told to take it off!) However, I am a tad worried about it running out. Like I said, I'm a student and at £7.99 a pop I doubt I will be able to afford another one once I've moved out and living in Norwich. However, I've been looking around online the NYC Ultra Last Lipstick in Blue Rose looks very similar. When I manage to get hold of it I'll show the swatches. It may not have the staying power of the Revlon stain but at £1.49 I know I'll be able to afford it!