Thursday, 15 August 2013

Liebster Award Nomination

 I accept!

To be completely clear, there will be no oscar-winner tears/speeches/champagne...However, to have a blog considered interesting enough to be nominated by someone who's writing I respect and follow avidly is reward enough, I think, for most newbie bloggers!

The rules will be posted at the end, if you're one of my nominees/looking for my questions...

So at this point I have to reveal all my secrets, and answer the questions passed on by Niamh/RebelRose.....


1)What is the first thing that pops into your head? Popping candy. It's fantastic.

2) Describe yourself in three words.
Quirky. Loving. Contracts (shouldn't be doing this at lunchtime in the office...!)
3)why did you start blogging?
Because I wanted to connect with people who loved the same things that I do, and share in a community of people with good tips, tricks and product advice. I kept blogging because I love writing, and have found this pretty addictive!
4) Do you agree with the leibster award in what it is trying to promote?
I'm old enough (just) to remember chain emails/letters, and although this runs along similar lines, I like the idea that this will connect similarly minded bloggers and give them a little boost from their friends/networks!
5) what do you like best about blogging?
The way you can find people who are as addicted to a product as you are, check out bad buys without wasting a penny and make new friends along the way.
6) What do you dislike about blogging?
It's tough to start out! It can be demoralizing if you're not getting many comments and lots of page views, but this will (hopefully) improve as the blog gets more established :)
7) Who are your fashion/beauty icons? They can be male or female.
I love Emma Stone and Amy Adams (as a fellow redheads) and I love Vivienne Westwood

8)What is the best thing you like most about the place where you are from/living?
Oxford is the original quirky. Full of kooky academics, and ridiculously bright young things, there are new (and old) looks everywhere and people are generally accepting/tolerant of most looks.

9) Do you fake tan?
Snicker. If it would work on my ghostly pallor, I would, but there is nothing which will look natural on my whiter-than-white. Porcelain just doesn't cover it! 
10) which do you prefer in a look-natural or glamorous?
I like a strong look, but wouldn't classify it glamorous. Maybe 'strong/natural'? I like features to really stand out on a face, whether this is by applying color or just darkening whatever is already there :)

11) Have you ever been caught doing something you shouldn't have? (Not necessarily breaking the law, but if it applies here to you then go on ahead.)

Oooh, what a question! I've never broken the law, but am constantly in fear of being caught with my hand in the biscuit tin... Does that count? I've also walked on the grass in a variety of places with 'do not walk on the grass signs..!'

So- on to the important bits!

My Nominees (and these are all people who write new(ish) blogs that I read regularly):

The Rules:
So once you have been nominated you will need to follow these rules, that is if you decided to accept the nomination.
You will need post a blog post with the following included:

1. Accepting the award
2. Answer the questions set by the blogger who nominated you
3. Nominate 5-11 other bloggers (try to avoid repeats) for the award
4. Set 5-11 questions of your own for your nominees to answer (one for each nominee!)
5. Please place the Liebster Badge on your post

Just remember when you nominate other bloggers you should post on their blog or send an email just to notify them that they have been nominated by you. The quickest way to explain what's what is to give them a link to the rules which can be the link to your blog post. You also need to list the nominees on your blog with links so others can gain access.

My questions to nominees are as follows:

1) Do you prefer a pink, red, nude or berry lip?
2) Why did you decide to call your blog by that particular name?
3) If you were marooned on an island with only your 5 favorite make-up items (no skincare!) what would they be?
4) What has surprised you about yourself most recently?
5) What one thing has really made you angry or happy in the past few months? 

Please do go and check out the gorgeous Rebel Rose's blog! (Thanks for the nomination, Niamh!)

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

This is not the chocolateyest cake in the world...this is just a #tribute

There comes a time in every blog to bake, and post pictures of the resulting cake. Today is this day!

I decided that today's post wouldn't be on the lovely benefit eyeshadow that I had planned, but instead, after a very important conversation with a friend, on the importance of taking time out for you. In Cosmopolitan this month, Alicia Keys puts it this way- 'On the airplane, they tell you to secure your own mask before anyone else's.'  

This makes an awful lot of sense to me.

In July and again this month, I've been feeling that I'm at maximum busy, and trying to get far too much done in what is clearly a ridiculously short time span- this week, I've hardly even had time to blog! And yet, when a friend asks 'Can you do me a favour...' I'm all about the 'yes, of course...!'

......Despite the fact that this may make me (a) frantic (b) late to do something else (c) double book myself (d) unable to live my usually organized and happy life as normal.

Why do I say always say yes, when I could suggest sometimes that I was really busy but happy to do it if nobody else could take it on/could do it the following week etc? If I did this, I'd have more time to secure my own mask, and excel at work, bake cakes for friends and take care of myself, which would then result in a happier, less stressed friend who had time to help out when it was really important.

I'm not going to follow this with a cliche about how as women we are busy focusing on our families, or our careers- we're all bright people here and everyone, male or female, has a life to focus on. However, I have been reminded this week of how important it is to take care of ourselves, and that taking time for make-up, hair styling, choosing clothes and/or baking a fantastic cake to share with friends is a really healthy (ok- you know what I mean!) way of taking care of yourself and remembering just how great you are at being you.

This week I'm going to follow Alicia's advice, and secure my own mask- literally. Next post, Face Masks!

I'd love to know some ways that you chill out and reward yourselves- is there a favourite bubble bath, face mask or eye cooler pack that you enjoy, or like me, do you paint nails in times of stress? Any tips welcome!


Emma xx

Monday, 5 August 2013

Top 10 Office Beauty Essentials

I have recently had a few people ask me what I do to stay professional/perky looking in the office, and so I thought I'd put together my own personal Top 10 from the items that live in my office drawer (in case of emergency!) and on my desk. This will be a general list, with an 'Emma loves' suggested option for each product, and come in no particular order as I recommend keeping all of these in a little bag tucked away in your desk drawer. Hope you enjoy, and let me know if you have any of your own suggestions/additions!

Emma's Top Ten Office Beauty Essentials

Hand Sanitizer (Emma loves: Soap and Glory Hand Gel for pretty packaging and gently formula). Important in the office to save you from office colds, germ-filled keyboards and coughing colleagues!

Mini-Deoderant (Emma loves: Dove Compressed Pomegranate Deoderant for compact effectiveness and lovely scent). Got a meeting with the boss about those figures/contracts that you worked on for weeks? Not sure what meeting agenda is? Nervous? No problem ;)

Facial Spritz (Emma loves: Anatomicals Facial Spray as you will know if you follow me on twitter! I'm slightly obsessed with this). Freshen up, re-fresh and boost your productivity!

Nail File (Emma loves: Models Own 4-way Nail Buffer for convenience & style) A four sided buffer allows you to file, polish & buff clean nails, or treat a pesky rough edge/break and get back to typing ASAP...

Tinted Lip Balm (Emma loves: Revlon Colourburst Lip Butter, a fave of many bbloggers at the moment, particularly in Wild Watermelon and Berry Smoothie). Take a moment, take stock and add a touch of brightness that will draw attention to what you're saying in a presentation or meeting.

Picture from:

Toothbrush & Toothpaste (Emma loves: Superdrug travel toothbrush and Arm&Hammer travel Brilliant Sparkle for their handy travel/makeup bag size). Having a toothbrush & toothpaste in your drawer for any meetings after lunch/a snack is reassuring- nobody wants to be told by a senior colleague that they have spinach in their teeth during a review!


Mascara (Emma loves: Jelly Pong Pony Fairy Lashes Mascara for its cute but compact design and quick application for  subtle but present coverage). As a paleface, if you get into the office in a hurry, you can do without everything except mascara and lip balm (although I prefer to have foundation and a swoosh of blush on too!)

Hand Cream
(Emma loves: The Body Shop's Absinthe Hand Butter which I have reviewed in an earlier post here and am still obsessed with). In many offices, hand cream seems to be the vice of choice, as in the application you massage hands cramped from typing and dry from hand washing with the cheap office bathroom soap.

Aromatic De-Stress balm (Emma loves: Deep Sleep Pillow Talk Duo as I wanted a pulse point balm with essential oils, and got a pillow spray as well!) When the going gets tough, the tough apply a relaxing lavender oil based balm to their wrists and get going tackling the work!

Lipstick (Emma loves: Chanel. All of them. But especially Chanel Rouge Allure in Pirate because it's perfect for taking control during the day or at night. You can't hide in this!) Bright but blend-able, this highly pigmented but hydrating formulation makes a powerful statement, and works to dress up any 'standard' black, grey or navy 'office' tones in a fun and confident style. I like this, as I feel it makes me confidently female in meetings with senior colleagues, and it works brilliantly to go from office to bar if you have evening plans...!
 Let me know what keeps you looking smart, confident and professional at work, or if you want more information on how I've gotten on with any of the above :)

Lots of love!

Emma xxx

Quick REVIEW: Absinthe Hand Butter by The Body Shop

And the prize for Summer's freshest smelling, richest feeling, non-sticky textured handcream goes to...

This prettily packaged hand butter by The Body Shop was a recent purchase in Westfield Shopping Centre, London. I love its clean, fresh smell (its not alcoholic smelling at all, I promise!) and buttery rich formula. The price is a little high at £11 (although currently discounted to a very reasonable £7.70), but worth the higher price as you only need a little and so I think it will last me a good few months at least. 

The Absinthe hand care range also has a convenient 'squirty' lotion formula (here) for those who prefer a squeezy tube, and a useful hand wash that I'm hoping will carry me through the late summer/early autumn colds safely! I haven't tried these yet, but am planning to in the near future, and will be sure to post an update when I do. If you've tried either of these, please let me know what you think or if you've reviewed them on your own blog.

SMALL DEALS NOTE/Disclaimer: I often seem to find that you can get decent deals/bargains on Body Shop products in store, or by signing up to the email alerts (nobody has bribed me to say this, I swear- I'm just a Body Shop fan!) I recently got a 40% off voucher by email and was really pleased with it :)

A brief moment for mad cute kitten to say hi...

Introducing my mad cat Leo, who would like to brighten your Monday with his 'under the duvet/attack the string' trick...


And remind you that it's important to wash your hands and face before you sleep :)

Happy Monday, everyone! 


Emma  xx

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

August Giveaway: A Rimmel Rainbow of Polishes

Hello, you gorgeous things! I've been so pleased with the kind welcome of the bblogger and twitter communities that I thought I'd host my first giveaway this month starting 1st August as a thank you to everyone.

The prize will be 7 shades of Rimmel Nail Polish, and will be open to UK Applicants only at this point. If you think that this should be open globally, comment and let me know- I'm relatively new and so still learning the ropes :)

I absolutely love Rimmel nail polishes, and hope that you'll let me know which shades you think should be included in the prize!

Goodluck, and thanks for entering!


Emma xx

REVIEW: Diorskin Nude BB Creme (shade- 01/Light)

A product that seems to have subtly fallen off the shelf a bit, promotion-wise, I like this light to medium strength cover up for summer weather- or moments when you'd like really like to pretend that you're bare-faced! I've been wearing this with little dresses for a summer 'simple' look, and had some lovely comments in reaction *blush*!

A little similar to my previously purchased Chanel's Vitalumiere Aqua, but with a nicely creamy base formula and slightly heavier coverage, this is a great alternative for those with slightly drier skin, who are looking for a more natural matte effect (like me!) and something you don't have to shake before applying...

Since purchase, I have used this as a daily basic, as it's light texture subtly smooths out my skin tone and blends over all sorts of mild imperfections- from shadows under the eyes and small scars, to the mark on your nose left from wearing glasses at work! Also great for evening out red or purple shadows, but you may need a dot of concealer (and a good night's sleep!) if they're really bad...

I do have dry skin, and so tend not to get too many blemishes, but this product layers nicely to minimize redness for these, and isn't oily, so shouldn't make the situation too much worse (although I strongly advocate treatment and not concealing wherever possible- the witchhazel products you can buy at your local shops are great for this).

Easily removed but with good coverage, I've recently returned from Ibiza, where I tested this for heat resistance. Good news! Even in 30C heat this didn't transfer, and you couldn't tell that I was wearing foundation even up close. It even stood up to a gentle sunset dip in the pool reasonably well, which surprised me, as I've had light coverage foundations and BB's vanish at the sight of water before, leaving me with my bikini and under-eye-bags on show!

Can you tell I'm wearing DiorSkin Nude?

01 is great for really pale skinned people like me, but the clever people at Dior have also come up with three shades in a ' Diorskin Tan' option to cover more skin types. With 6 shades widely available in the UK and abroad, you've a reasonable chance of finding something that will work well for you, I'd have thought. However, this does mean that you might want to check that the salesperson has given you the right box!

Let me know what you think/if you've tried this!


Emma xx

Gifts from Friends

 Gifts from Friends

A quick thank you to my lovely friend Sarah, for buying me the perfect present! The Tea Shed does delicious, properly blended teas that really taste real- none of this ground up leaves malarkey... :)

There was a pack of four cups which each hold 20 beautiful silk tea bags, and she cleverly requisitioned a cardboard tray from a friendly Starbucks employee to give them to me in- brownie points for creativity!

4am Tea is light, refreshing and low in caffeine, making it perfect for before bed or, as it says on the box, a sleepless night.

Proper Mint Tea is smooth but peppy- it'll wake you up, gently boost digestion if you've had a big meal, and leave you feeling in tip-top condition.

Berry Orange Tea is fruity, rich, and very warming in the rain! With bits of real orange, you feel like you're detoxing and getting your vitamin C hit in the snuggliest way possible.

Mr Grey's Tea is a bergamot sensation- relaxing, lightly spicy and warming with milk, or crisp, delicate and tangy with lemon, this works whatever mood I'm in!

Highly recommended to all tea lovers, and I'm eager to try some more soon! In fact, I might go put the kettle on now...


Emma xx

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Happy Pretty Sparkly!

Hi everyone!

I've noticed a few glum faces (including my own) around Twitter and our office today, and so I thought I'd quickly share something that has consistently cheered me up today, despite the fact that I've discovered my 'professional' dress is a little bit see through and that I'm a little hormonal (watch out, pesky lawyers!)...

I painted my nails to go to a (slightly damp) BBQ for my friend's birthday yesterday, and suddenly decided that gold glitter was a MUST. 

Now this was an impulsive and risky decision. I had 30 minutes to bake and decorate a Victoria Sponge cake (his favorite!) and do nails. Challenge Accepted...

I used Porchester Square by Nails Inc, and then Mavala's Diamond Glitter in Gold, with a top coat of Kensington Caviar by Nails Inc.

This has made me smile every time I go to type in the office today. It's a sign that, whatever the weather, however see through your clothing, and however many important meetings you have to go to in both of these conditions, knowing that you have pretty nails and that yesterday you made people really happy by managing to feed them a rather awesome birthday sponge cake genuinely makes it all worth while. #BeautyWin, I think.

Big hugs!

Emma xx

Monday, 29 July 2013

Perfect Storm

My post today is certainly current for anyone in the UK this week, as Thunderstorms are likely over the next week in most areas it seems. There is nothing worse than being caught in an unexpected downpour and knowing your makeup isn't waterproof, and nothing better than getting home, cleansing your face and sitting down with fluffy socks on and a cup of tea in hand to warm up. Mmm. Snuggly...

So I thought to myself- what basics would I recommend for warm storm weather? Well, I always like to look to countries where the monsoon season hits, and take some tips from them on handling warm, wet weather in style.

One of my good friends recommended opting for a matte finish primer in the morning, which will settle on your skin and provide a light but even base, noting that this was common practice in India where she used to live during Monsoon season. I'm chasing her down for product recommendations, and will keep you updated- share your own if you have them, please!

I am currently using Diorskin Nude BB Creme in 01/Light as a foundation, and will put a longer review up of this shortly, as it deserves separate attention! However I will say that it seems to be staying put nicely in this weather, and the light formula doesn't require too much blending with my real techniques brush to provide reasonable coverage- although it doesn't cover blemishes so much as even skin tone and conceal shadows/scars.

Also, using a light loose powder over this, like this Bare Minerals foundation powder (in 'fair' for me as I'm very light skinned!) will help avoid looking 'soggy' if you do get caught in a shower- and it won't matter if your face does get wet- top ups are easily applied...even quickly in the lift as you rush in on the way to your desk!

Waterproof mascara is a must have in this kind of weather- through teenage trial and error, my lovely friends and I learned that you cannot get rid of all of the 'smudge' effect without proper makeup remover, and that if this is not available, you may risk making the situation worse by trying to scrub at it. If you do get caught out and it's a real full on Panda disaster, I advocate using warm water or a dab of gentle hand cream on a tissue as emergency cleanser, and/or heading to Boots/Superdrug asap!

My favorite mascara of all time is Dior Show waterproof (below). This has been a staple for me, and fortunately comes in a variety of formulas to suit all needs, including a 'blackout' intense black, a curling 'iconic' and a volumizing 'extase'. With loads of waterproof options, despite being pricey, it's very much worth it's weight in to speak...

Lipbalm. Tinted, to be precise. In hot weather, lipstick can be too heavy, and lipgloss can feel uncomfortably sticky. I particularly like to use this one at the moment- Revlon's Berry Smoothie 'colorburst' lip butter. I've used this for a couple of weeks now, and it has a soft formulation that only needs a touch to brighten your lips, but stays in place reasonably well in sun, sea, sand and storm! It also comes in a handy little case, so will look cute in your make up bag!

Let me know if you have any tips/have written posts on similar topics, and I hope you all stay warm and dry over the next few weeks lovelies! 

Emma xx

Friday, 26 July 2013

Notes on Green tea (thanks, Asia...)

matcha tea (before water!)

Green Tea Soothes My Soul.

According to the folks at Twinings website, 'the British Journal of Nutrition has revealed that drinking more than three cups of green tea a day was found to protect against cell deterioration as we age. DNA tests showed the equivalent of five extra years on the tea drinkers' lives.'

Stop. Hold. The. Presses. You mean that people who drink a lot of Green tea might live five years longer? 

Seems like a fair trade...

So whether you prefer Matcha or Sencha, flavoured, plain or with honey, it seems like green tea is already a good idea. BUT WAIT! 

There's more. I know. Insane!

Other suggested benefits of Green Tea include:

  • A reduction in certain types of cancers (including breast, prostate, ovarian and endometrial).
  • Lower (bad) cholesterol levels and balance the ratio of good/bad cholesterol
  • Reduce body fat storage for a short time
  • Inhibits the abnormal formation of blood clots
  • Killing  bacteria that cause dental plaque
  • Mild Appetite reduction  
  • Detoxifying effects (whole body)

So why aren't we all drinking it? Well, it's hard to beat a cup of English Breakfast of a morning, but I've certainly felt healthier, with more energy, even clearer skin and bright eyes since I added cups at 10.30am and my day. 

Very recommended- try all sorts of brands/types, as they vary hugely, and sit back and watch the benefits!


Emma xx 

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Rimmel Salon Pro Nail Polish

Rimmel Salon Pro

My favourite thing about nail varnish is that it comes in an absolute rainbow of shades for every mood and skin type.The best thing about Rimmel nail varnishes is that they also come in every color in between the usual rainbow of shades, and are creamy, chip resistant and highly pigmented to boot. Result!

In this post, I'm looking especially at the Summer Orange and Rock n Roll red shades that I've recently bought:

These two shades are pretty vibrant, and perfect for summer fun or seduction, as appropriate ;) 

I decided to try the Summer Orange shade on my hands last night, and this was the result (with base coat & top coat courtesy of Nails inc's Kensington Caviar duo, shortly to be the topic of a post of their own).

I absolutely love how the colour pops against my skin, and I had so many compliments on it that I'm now looking for a dress in the same shade! It looked especially nice next to blue denim, but green, yellow and purple tops/dresses also really worked in a sort of harmonious yet mutually brightening way that I love. I'm also considering a bit of nail art for the next time I wear this- polka dots, tropical flowers or something else? I can't decide!

However I'm wearing the red tonight (ready for a weekend out with the girls!) and thought I'd add a pic of one generous coat of Rock n Roll, without top coat, so you could see how insanely glossy and deep the colour is! It dries a tad darker than the pic shows, and is a perfect young, sexy red.

Let me know what you think, and if I should put some nail art/jewels with these tomorrow before we head out on the town... Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

REVIEW: Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel with Marula Oil

Clarins Pure Melt 

Price: £19.50

RATING: ***** (5 Stars)

Recommended to me by a Clarins assistant in Boots (Cornmarket Street, Oxford) when I was searching for a gentle face wash that wouldn't strip my skin, I am very impressed with the product, despite its slightly hefty price tag.

This face wash comes out as a soft but sturdy gel texture onto the hand. It smells slightly aromatic in an 'I've just come from the Spa' way, and doesn't feel at all sticky to the touch, which is pleasant and reassuring for those concerned with sensitive skin. As you smooth it onto your face, this gel transforms into a soft, liquid light oil which can safely be rubbed over the face (and even eyes, if necessary and a good eye makeup remover isn't to hand) to remove make-up and dirt gently. Once you're finished enjoying the silky texture, you can splash water over your face to activate the oil and magically change it again- this time into a silky milk that rinses skin clean.

I found that the oils have improved brightness in my skin, and helped protected it from drying out in the mad air conditioning/extreme heat combination that we're currently experiencing in the UK.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Dry or sensitive skin, or duller skin in need of a boost.

RECOMMENDED WITH: Regular gentle exfoliation and a light water based day cream, or a rich night cream for a hydrating overnight treatment.