Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My 'Best Dressed' of the Oscars 2015

When award season comes around, I'm a sucker for scanning the column inches to see what my favourite celebs are donning on the red carpet. And what's bigger or better than the Oscars?

At the 87th Academy Awards on Sunday, there were plenty of glitzy get ups to drool over. Here are my top picks;

Jennifer Aniston
Jen An is renowned for making super stylish fashion choices at awards bashes and the Oscars was no different.

She rocked a fabulous sparkly naked Versace gown which was the perfect compliment to her golden tan. Note a subtle yet sexy side split too. 

Too marks Jen!

Picture: taken from huffpost.com

Rosamund Pike
People have been raving about Rosamunds style for a little while now, but this is the first outfit I've seen her in that I really felt had the wow factor.

She chose a bold red Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci gown and looked absolutely incredible. The dress was delicately cinched in at the waist with a bit of silky detail and the thigh split - while daring - just topped it all off. She went matchy matchy with red strappy shoes too and personally I think it worked.

Picture from huffpost.ca

Jennifer Lopez
JLo arrived in a beautiful gown by one of my favourite designers, Elie Saab. It was the perfect princess dress, following the naked trend complete with a large trend - which it might have taken some skull to avoid tripping over!

Lately, she's choosing a number of cleavage baring outfits and this one is no different. In this case, I think the low V cut seperates it from being just another Cinderella dress - and adds a sexy twist.

Picture: av-magazine.com


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Rimmel London: Lasting Finish Primer Review*

I'm usually a creature of habit when it comes to primer, having fallen hard for Benefit's 'POREfessional' and it subsequently becoming a makeup bag staple ever since. But, given that I was currently nearing the end of mine, this Rimmel primer landed through my letterbox just at the right time - and I was keen to expand my horizons and give something else a try!

Primers are something that I only really introduced into my makeup routine in the last couple of years, and after I did, I had myself wondering why I hadn't discovered them sooner. The idea of a primer is that it holds everything in place, providing the perfect base for your makeup. It's not something I use every day, but if I'm going out for the night and I want to be certain my game face will stay put, it's a bit of a saviour.

Rimmel makes some bold claims about their Lasting Finish Primer, which made me all the more excited to see how I felt it measured up. I squirted a small dollop out of the bottle, and was struck by the texture. Its a creamy formula with a pearly shine to it, which when I applied it to my skin, had an illuminating quality. It's not too thick, but I did initially find it a little bit oily. That said, it wasn't greasy, rubbed in easily and didn't make me look uber shiny (always a plus!). In fact, it felt quite moisturising.

One quality I really appreciate in a primer is it's ability to reduce the appearance of pores and other imperfections. When I used this one, sadly I found it didn't initially appear to do too much in that respect. If that was something I really wanted from my primer, this might not be my first choice to buy.

What I did appreciate however, was how long wearing the Rimmel primer is. The product blurb states that foundation wear will be extended by 8 hours when you apply this underneath, and I would definitely agree. I was really impressed that something which felt so lightweight, gave my makeup such fab staying power. By the time the evening came around, my morning makeup still looked completely intact.

I was really dazzled by the long wearing qualities. Where I have used primers, like POREfessional for example, the formula is quite matte to start with. I was surprised that something which was appeared so much more glossy - actually really kept everything in place.

The best thing about this product, is that it is a real bargain. One tube is £6.99, which, compared to prices of others on the market seems pretty reasonable to me. I was really pleasantly surprised by this, and I would definitely buy this in the future.

*This product was received for free as part of my involvement with a beauty review panel.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Couch to 5k - Week 2!

If you've been following my blog, you'll know I recently embarked on the NHS Choices Couch to 5k programme - in prep for the Blacklight Run in March. I'm not an experienced runner, so I thought that following a routine which enabled me to build up the time for which I'm running week on week would be perfect for me. 

In week one, the requirement was that, after a 5 minute brisk warm up walk, you run for a full 60 seconds, then walk for 90 seconds. You repeat this for 20 minutes, and follow it with a 5 minute cool down. I felt really good, and not as though I had been tested too much - so I was keen to get on to the next stage in week two!

In week two, after your warm up, you run for 90 minutes and then walk for two minutes - repeating this for 20 minutes, followed by cool down etc etc. Throughout the workout, the narrator also starts giving tips to improve your technique. For example, keeping your breathing in time with steps and ensuring you run with heel down first - to avoid injury.

While again, I was pleased to find that I didn't feel like I had been taxed too much, this week I had started to notice that I was getting into habits. The difficulty I actually found was following the new pieces of advice. After day two, my ankle started to ache a little - which propelled me to take more care in the placing of my feet in my next run.

I still have to work on my breathing. As stupid as it sounds, it can be quite difficult to adjust from normal breathing - to breathing for higher intensity exercise. That said, I'm really keen to get stuck in to week three at the weekend - and refine my technique. I'm loving the programme and my progress so far, and it's exciting to picture where I could be in the next few weeks!

Are you taking part in the Couch to 5k? Let me know how you're finding it! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Body Shop 'Drops of Youth' - Bouncy Sleep Mask

A couple of weeks ago on a girly shopping trip, I wandered into the Body Shop for a bit of a post payday browse. I'm a real fan of their products - having reviewed some of my favourites on here - and it's always fun to see what's new.

When I popped in on this occasion however, it was all a little bit on the unusual side. I appeared to have walked in on a staff mufti day in full swing - with a nightwear theme! Gone were the standard uniforms, and in their place, dressing gowns, pyjamas and big fluffy slippers! Immediately, I began to bonder whether my own boss could get on board with similar work attire (my bet is no!).

However, given a glance round the store, it soon became apparent that this was not so much a fashion choice but all part of the launch campaign for a new collection of products. This, my friends, is the 'Drops of Youth' range. Centred around anti-aging, the various products claim to keep skin looking youthful by targeting wrinkles.

While I don't feel like I am quite at the stage where I need to introduce anti-aging products into my general beauty routine (hoping anyway!), keeping my skin in good condition is really important to me - so I was still really intrigued by the collection. One of the sales assistant kindly handed me a sample of the Bouncy Sleep Mask, and I was keen to see what the hype was about.

The Bouncy Sleep Mask is designed to help restore your skin to it's natural best while you snooze. After a particularly restful nights sleep on Monday, by the time I got back from work on Tuesday I was in dire need of some R&R. And so I thought it was the perfect time to give the treatment a try. 

I followed my usual makeup removal routine, and set about checking the instructions. I got a little booklet with my sample, detailing the massage technique you should use to apply the mask. This includes 'Under the clouds' (rubbing the mask back and forth into the nose area) and 'Pitter Patter' (rubbing in semi circle shape around your face). I loved the massage routine. It's so easy to follow, and by the end I felt completely relaxed. 

The next morning (after a better sleep, finally!), I went to check out my visage. While there wasn't a huge visual difference, but my skin definitely felt softer - particularly some areas where I'd been suffering with a bit of dryness. Winter... Urgh!

I did really enjoy giving this a go, although I wish I'd had a little more product to work with - as the sample was single use. That said, I was impressed enough that I'd pick this up again. It definitely adds a little more to your routine when you're having a little facial massage at the end of the day - not something I normally do! 

Have you tried the Bouncy Sleep Mask? What did you think? 


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My new novel way to stop making exercise excuses!

When the New Year kicked off, I was feeling in definite need of some sort of detox. I purchased a blender, upped my fitness game and made healthier food choices.

I lost weight and felt better, but after a couple of weeks away from the gym due to personal injury and sickness, I became accustomed to my nights in front of the telly in my pyjamas. 

See the problem I have is not doing my fitness regime - it's keeping it consistent. I was looking for a challenge that I couldn't skip out on, so I thought I'd try the Couch to 5k.

Devised by NHS Choices, it has been specifically put together to help new runners to develop their race stamina - and ultimately run 5k in 30 minutes without stopping. 

While I used to go running as a teenager, and I often hop on the treadmill in the gym, I've failed to completely get on board with it. I'm the person who stops when their breath gets tight and wants to walk the rest of the way. That said, I decided that it was time that I fully embraced the benefits of the cardio exercise, and have running another bash - properly.

I downloaded the podcasts (only to later find there was an app - allowing you to listen to your own music while still receiving the instructions), and on Saturday off I went for my first run of week one. The routine consisted of a brisk 5 minute walk, and then alternating between 60 seconds running and 90 seconds walking - and it builds up each week. After my first run, I felt great. While a little hot and sweaty, I didn't feel exhausted and was keen for my next go. 

When Tuesday came around (you're supposed to give yourself a days rest at least) I was raring to go, and again felt great afterwards. So good in fact, I decided to sign up to my first ever 5k run.

The Blacklight Run is not that different to the well known Colour Run. However, the paint powder that is thrown at you in this instance shows up under UV lighting. As you run, you collect more paint at each point you pass, and all your colours show up in their Blacklight UV zones around the track. At the end you attend an After Party (included in the ticket price), which unsurprisingly involves more paint being thrown at you!

I thought it was a novel idea, so I set about recruiting friends to join in too. With just six weeks til the race and 8 weeks left of my Couch to 5k programme there was no time for slacking a just what I needed!

So last night, I completed day three of week one (screw the day break I was feeling determined!), and week two will commence on Thursday. Initially, after my first couple of runs I did wonder how I was going to fit three runs a week around my other commitments. However, with a colourful goal ahead of me, I now have no excuse.

While I'm in no doubts about how difficult if could be, I'm excited to get together with friends and get stuck into an activity which slightly healthier than our usual wining and dining!

So, wish me luck on my journey as I attempt to put a block on any exercise excuses I may come up with as I go for gold - or rainbow. You can keep up with my progress here! 


Friday, February 06, 2015

Benefit Cosmetics Rollerlash Review!

Now I know I'm not the first beauty blogger to write a review of the Rollerlash, but I wanted to give this a fair trial before I shared my thoughts.

As a big fan of Benefit Cosmetics, I was ecstatic that I'd been able to grab a sample of their newest mascara before it hit the shelves with Elle magazine. I really love Benefit's 'They're Real' and on that basis alone, I couldn't wait to try their latest product.

When I went to purchase my Elle copy, I was pleasantly surprised to find the sample was a very reasonable size. You're able to get a real taste for the product, as it isn't going to run out in a few days. 

I've been using my Rollerlash for over a week now, and on the whole I am really impressed. The brush is thin and curved, and allows you to guide it through your lashes and achieve full coverage - as well as getting those pesky corner lashes too!

I have super straight lashes, but found this added a little curl and with it, almost opened up my eyes a bit more. This also might have something to do with the fact it's super black, so it draws a little more attention to my peepers.

It does tend to be long lasting, although I've also found this to be a bit of a pain. I do struggle to take it off completely in the evenings - but maybe I'm being a bit enthusiastic with my number of coats. I also found it's not so easy to use on my bottom lashes. Coating from tip is hard, and the tiny little brush means I have to add a few coats.

On the whole though, I am impressed with Rollerlash. I'm not sure if it beats They're Real - but perhaps I need to do a little more testing. Regardless, it is another great addition to the Benefit range, and something I will no doubt pick up again.


Thursday, February 05, 2015

I don't do Valentines Day, but...

Valentines Day traditions are something The Boy and I have never particularly indulged in. We are both of the same mind in the sense that February 14th is a bit of an overmarketed Hallmark holiday - and we don't get too caught up on it. I do tend to receive a token bunch of flowers, and we might go out for dinner in the days afterwards - generally, we keep it simple. Trying out best to avoid the hype of that one day.

However, that's not to say I'm completely opposed to the occasion. In fact, as V Day approached this year, I got to thinking about what romantic gifts I might add if I had to write my dream list. 

So I decided to do exactly that! Here's my Valentines themed February wishlist;

 M•A•C Lipsticks

As soon as I picked up their Velvet Teddy lipstick, my mind was just been filling up with the next new things I should be picking up for this delightful company. As it happens, I've now puchased Brave, Pro Longwear Foundation and a lip liner in shade 'Soar'.
However, I am far from done collecting. Right now, I've got my eye on 'Blankety' which is a lovely light pinky nude shade. A perfect subtle daytime lip colout - my must have!
This retails at £15.50 on www.maccosmetics.co.uk.

Giorgio Armani - Si Perfume

I smelt this in the shops ages ago and fell completely in love with the scent. What I didn't fall for was the hefty price tag (£45-65). While I know you get what you pay for, and you do pay more for a top notch perfume, I still can't get past the fact that my favourite ever perfume only used to cost £12. Damn you Next for discontinuing!
Let's just say being gifted this little gem would put a huuuuuge smile on my face!
You can pick this up from www.theperfumeshop.com.

Lush - The Kiss Lip Scrub

The Christmas before last, I excitedly picked up the Santa Baby lip scrub. It's a great little product that you rub across lips to exfoliate - and then you get to lick off the excess (don't worry, they taste super sweet!).
This Valentines, they have brought out 'The Kiss'. Its a pink scrub which comes with sprinkles in the top. Its super girly and something I definitely need in my collection.
This retails at £5.50 on www.lush.co.uk.

Yankee Candle - 'Love is in the air' gift set

I'm a sucker for a scented candle, and this is the perfect little Valentines set. These are all really floral and while there are a number in here that I haven't smelt before, but they sound fab! With 9 little Yankee tarts to choose from, you can't go wrong.
This retails at £14.99 on www.yankecandle.co.uk.

Benefit Cosmetics - Puff Off

This may seem like it goes slightly against the Valentines Day theme - but actually you'd be wrong. This little gem helps to smooth out the skin under your eyes and reduce any puffiness, so they're in tip top shape when he's staring lovingly into your eyes over dinner...
This retails at £22.50 at www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk

OPI - Fifty Shades of Grey Collection
In preparation for the release of the much anticipated release of Fifty Shades of Grey in the cinema, OPI have created a new collection in homage to it. Unsurprisingly, the prominent shade he is - yep, you guessed it! - grey. However, while that may not sound super exciting, I personally think grey shades are timeless and the perfect base for creating funky nail art designs.
This retails at £19.95 on Amazon.

Photos are courtesy of  www.dupestop.com, www.theperfumeshop.com, www.lushusa.com, yankeecandle.co.uk, www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk, www.amazon.co.uk.


Tuesday, February 03, 2015

What I've learnt about blogging so far...

If you've been following my posts on www.amorellie.co.uk and various other social media, you'll probably know that I'm quite the 'shiny new blogger'. And if you do know this, you might have questions about what qualifies me to do a feature on the blogging world - sharing my existing knowledge and tips. 

Well, as a matter of fact that's completely understandable. However, my own opinion is that, as a newbie on the scene, I'm not complacent about the hard work I'll need to put in to make my blog a success. While I was driven by a passion to share my experiences, I definitely underestimated how difficult it would be to get my blog heard. 

That's why, in the absence of any kind of comprehensive beauty handbook, I thought I'd collate the tips and tricks if picked up so far to help you on your way;


Interaction is paramount 
It's highly unlikely that, in the vastness of cyber space, someone will just come across your little portion of the Internet. You need to get the word out there; draw attention to your posts using Intsagram, Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest.

Get involved with the blogging community

It took me a little while to realise just how great Twitter is for building relationships with other bloggers. While you can get recognised by using hashtags, and tweeting specific accounts who will publicise your tweets for you - there are also blogging chats. For beauty bloggers, there are Sunday and Monday chats - and sometimes other things throughout the week. Accounts like @blogsdoitbetter and @bbloggerschat are particularly good to follow. I often join the #HappySelves chat, as well as the #lbloggerschat. It's really great to talk to other people who share your passion, and I always get a buzz when someone I admire - who has an impressive following - starts following me.

Post regularly
I've generally found that when people have taken the time to follow your profile, they expect you to put new material on your blog on a regular basis - and quite rightly.  It's not always possible to post everyday, but I try to make sure I have new posts a few times a week. 

Scheduling is a fantastic tool
If you work full time like I do, it's not always possible to tweet and post all day. If I know I'm not going to get the opportunity to update my accounts, I will schedule posts to come up. This makes me feel super productive, and means I can still keep my followers up to date even when I'm super busy! Try Hootsuite.

Buy a domain name (optional extra)
While plenty of blogs are perfectly successful without having their own domain, (I'm talking '.blogspot.com', '.tumblr.com') I found that my page views increased dramatically when I bought the domain 'www.amorellie.co.uk'. It may just be luck, but I put it down to the fact my blog is slightly easier to find - and also, a bit more memorable. You can see whose looking at your accounts using 'analytics.twitter.com', and I've used the 'Followers+' app in order to check the reach of my Instagram posts.

Do you have any tips you would like to share? Please feel free to share what you think of mine!


Monday, February 02, 2015

My incredible ASOS buy!

Despite the fact that we've only just had Christmas, when payday came around this month, I already had a handful of new things I wanted to buy! Probably down to, not so much greed, but a spending habit...

Anyway, what I've really wanted for ages is a new pair of boots. In fact, I've probably been looking for the perfect pair since 2013 - when I left my job at a popular shoe shop and my re moaning store discounts were burning a hole in my pocket. Still, I couldn't find anything 'just right' (the remaining discounts were in fact spent on new job work shoes - fun fun).

Then I came across the Public Desire shoe section. The 'Nora' boot was everything I'd been looking for, so imagine my displeasure when I found it was out of stock. I messaged the company asking about new supplies - to no avail.

So I started trawling the internet for copies... And I found them on ASOS. The objects of my affection were a snazzy pair of 'Truffle Platform Nora Suedette Chelsea Boots'. Usually priced at £38, they'd been reduced to £25 and were in my size!

I excitedly added them to my shopping bag, decided I couldn't wait longer than 24 hours for them and chose Next Day Delivery. Well, when you've saved £13...

The ASOS delivery service is FANTASTIC, and despite not ordering them til gone 7, they were at my doorstep by 3pm the next day. And luckily for me (given they are to wear to a special occasion tonight!), they are a perfect fit.

So, the moral of this blog post is not to give up on that favourite fashion find. Just because one company is telling you they don't have your product, that's not to say somewhere else can provide you with the imitation. And if you're looking for a gorgeous pair of platform boots - you now know exactly where to go!