The Wraparound Maxi

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OOTD featuring a Shein wraparound maxi dress - 1

I mentioned a while ago that I received a few different items of clothing from Shein recently, and at last I've got around to blogging about the final piece - this wraparound, paisley print maxi dress.

I'll be really honest - when I first received this, I wasn't sure it was actually going to function as an item of clothing. There is so little to it, and other than the single wraparound string at the waist, it has no fastening at all. As you can imagine, weightless fabric plus flimsy fastening isn't the greatest combination, especially if there's a bit of a breeze blowing, as there was when I was taking these photos!

OOTD featuring a Shein wraparound maxi dress - 2

OOTD featuring a Shein wraparound maxi dress - 3

That said, I do think there is a place in my wardrobe for this. It is so pretty, and so light, that I think it would make a great beach dress. It would be the easiest thing in the world to roll this into nothing and pack it into a beach bag, then slip it over a bikini for lunch or whatever. I'd definitely wear it like that, but as a regular dress to go strolling through the city in - not so much. 

OOTD featuring a Shein wraparound maxi dress - 4

Dress* - Shein, Shoes (similar) - River Island

I do love the cut and print of this dress. Styled with tan shoes and red lips, it is really pretty, so I'm happy that I've thought of an alternative use for it. 

OOTD featuring a Shein wraparound maxi dress - 5

Have you ever bought something, or tried something on in store, that didn't quite work the way it was supposed to? And have you ever had to re-imagine an item of clothing because it was too pretty to abandon altogether?

Let me know!

Kate x

*Gifted item. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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The Body Shop Spa of the World Range

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The Body Shop Spa of the World Range - 1

Who doesn't love a good pamper session? For me, there's nothing nicer than sinking into a hot bath at the end of a long, hard day, and nothing relaxes me quite like it. When it comes to the products I use,  I have a lot of favourites. I adore a Lush bath bomb as much as the next blogger cliche girl, while my beloved Jo Malone bath oils are the ultimate in luxury and make any pamper night extra special. However, one brand I always come back to is The Body Shop, and when I'm feeling extra indulgent, (which I often do!) I really love their Spa of the World range.

The Body Shop Spa of the World Range - 2 - Egyptian Milk and Honey Bath

Contrary to what this might look like, I haven't been sponsored by The Body Shop to write this post, nor have I been sent any Spa of the World products by them. In fact, I was actually given this lovely gift set for Christmas by my mother-in-law (after she spotted it in my Christmas gift guide!) and having loved the range for a while, I thought it was high time I dedicated a post to it.

The gift set I received is still available and contains four products, all of which you can also buy separately. In addition to this, there are many other products in the range, some of which I've tried and others which I really want to! Still, I thought a brief introduction to these four would make a nice jumping off point for anyone looking to find out more about Spa of the World.

The Body Shop Spa of the World Range - 3 - Egyptian Milk and Honey Bath

Egyptian Milk and Honey Bath - This is a fine powder, which comes in a cute drawstring bag with a handy little scoop. As your bath is running, you add about four to five scoops of it to the water. It doesn't add bubbles, but does turn the bathwater a pleasant, milky white colour. The scent is gorgeous - warm, faintly sweet and very relaxing, As you lie back and breathe it in, you can feel the all the stresses of the day simply melting away. It really is so soothing, and leaves my skin feeling lovely and soft after my bath. If it was good enough for Cleopatra...

The Body Shop Spa of the World Range - 4 - African Ximenia Scrub

African Ximenia Scrub - If you like your scrubs gritty and vigorous, this might not be the product for you (try this one instead). However, if you have more sensitive skin and/or prefer a gentle, moisturising exfoliant, I suspect you will love this. It's velvety smooth to the touch - applying it feels more like you are being licked by kittens than sloughing away dead skin cells - yet the particles, while fine, are still effective. Every time I use this product, I step out of the shower feeling as though my skin has been nourished and moisturised as well as exfoliated. The fragrance is fresh and very delicate. All in all a beautiful product.

The Body Shop Spa of the World Range - 5 - Japanese Camellia Cream

Japanese Camellia Cream - This is also delicately scented, with a light, floral and very feminine fragrance. It looks as though it's going to be thick and heavy on the skin, but it's actually quite light in texture and absorbs easily, while still being rich enough to leave you feeling beautifully moisturised. Any fans of The Body Shop's iconic body butters are sure to love this, as it's a little like the premium version of one of those. Pricier, yes, but that little bit more luxurious too.

The Body Shop Spa of the World Range - 6 - French Lavender Massage Oil
 
French Lavender Massage Oil - I'm a lavender fiend, and absolutely love this ingredient in anything designed to help you relax as I find it so effective. You can use this oil for massage, as lavender is good for relieving physical tension as well as the emotional kind, but I usually just use a few drops on my chest and wrists so I can breathe it in as I drift off to sleep. I love the fact that this product smells beautifully of natural French lavender - there is nothing synthetic about this at all.

I would definitely recommend adding any of these products to your pamper routine! Have you tried anything from the Spa of the World range? If so, let me know your favourites, as I'd love to try some more!

Kate x
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Giveaway - Win a Triumph Bra

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Review and Giveaway of the Triumph Amourette 300 bra - 1

Another month, another giveaway, and this time I'm back in familiar territory - bras!

Those of you who've followed my blog for a while now will be aware of the #knowyoursize campaign, set up by Debenhams as a means of raising awareness about the importance of bra fittings. I think they're one of those things we all know we need to do, but often put off, because we feel like we don't have the time, or perhaps because we don't want to strip off to get measured. I also think that many of us don't realise how often we're supposed to do it - I for one was surprised to learn that the recommended interval for getting measured is every six months. However, Debenhams have really friendly and experienced staff, and the whole process of having a bra fitting in one of their lingerie departments is a lot quicker and easier than you might think. So, if  it's been a while since you last got measured, I'd recommend heading to your local Debenhams. You can read all about my own experience here if you like. 

If you find your size has changed, you will of course need to treat yourself to some new bras, and Debenhams is happy to help out by offering one of my lucky readers the chance to win this Triumph Amourette 300 Bra. Covered in lace, it's romantic, pretty and very feminine. I received mine a while back and have really been enjoying wearing it.

Review and Giveaway of the Triumph Amourette 300 bra - 2

The bra isn't padded, but feels very supportive thanks to the underwired cups. It's soft against the skin, yet the fabric feels sturdy with plenty of stretch in it, making it super comfortable to wear. As soon as I unboxed this bra, I could see and feel what good quality it was. I'm confident that it will hold up well to being worn and washed a multitude of times!

Review and Giveaway of the Triumph Amourette 300 bra - 3

Review and Giveaway of the Triumph Amourette 300 bra - 4

If you like the look of this bra and fancy winning your own, here are the terms and conditions.
  • The giveaway is UK only
  • The prize is for the Triumph Amourette 300 bra only
  • The bra is available in sizes 32-40 B-G, 42 D-E, 44 D-DD, 32-36 H-K, 38 H-J and 40 H and is worth £34 - prize is subject to availability
  • The prize is non-transferable, non-refundable and non-negotiable. No cash alternative is available
  • Debenhams Retail PLC will not be liable for any prizes which are lost, delayed or damaged in the post for reasons beyond their control.
So what are you waiting for?! Enter here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Are you a fan of lace bras?

Kate x
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The Military Jacket

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OOTD featuring a cropped military jacket from Shein - 1

Military style coats have long been a favourite of mine. Effortlessly stylish, they transcend seasonal trends and have the power to make even the sloppiest of outfits look smart and put together. Lately, I've spotted a few lighter jackets around with the same vibe, perfect for that transitional period between winter and spring. If we ever get there!

Mine is a cropped jacket from Shein - as I mentioned in my last fashion post, they were kind enough to send me a few pieces recently. I love all the gold piping detail on this, as well as the brass buttons. It definitely transforms a simple jeans and white t-shirt combo into a polished outfit. It's quite thin, so it's a bit too cold to wear this now, but I'm sure it will come in really useful once the weather warms up a bit.

OOTD featuring a cropped military jacket from Shein - 2

Jacket* - Shein, Jeans, Top (similar) - Topshop, Shoes (similar), Sunglasses - River Island, Belt (similar) - H&M

And because one of something never seems quite enough (I'm greedy when it comes to clothes!) I've also listed a few of my other favourites below.

OOTD featuring a cropped military jacket from Shein - 3

1. Missguided - This looks like such a good dupe for the fabulous Balmain blazer I've seen a lot of my favourite bloggers wearing. Might have to snap this one up!

2. Boohoo - I love the fact that this one is velvet, and looks as good buttoned up as it does open.

3. Zara - The subtle braiding on the collar and cuffs adds a luxurious touch to this cropped jacket.

4. River Island - A more casual take on the trend.

Which one is your favourite?

OOTD featuring a cropped military jacket from Shein - 4 
Kate x

 *Gifted item. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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Zoeva Rose Golden Luxury Set Vol. 2

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Zoeva Rose Golden Luxury Set Vol. 2 Review - 1
 
As February marches on, Christmas seems far behind us, but can you believe I've only just started using the beautiful makeup brushes I was lucky enough to find under the tree? The reason for the delay is mostly the blog - I wanted to photograph them before they got all covered with makeup, and I've only just got around to finding the time. Also, these are without question the prettiest brushes  I've ever owned, and I must admit that part of me couldn't bear to start using them.

You'll be happy to know I've got over that now.

Zoeva makeup brushes have been really popular for a while, and I'm sure lots of you know much more about them than I do. However, for those that don't, I thought I would offer my opinion on this particular set, which is the Rose Golden (what else?!) Luxury Set Vol. 2. I'm definitely no expert when it comes to makeup and particularly brushes, so I hope this will be helpful for others whose skills, like mine, fall in to the more basic category!

Zoeva Rose Golden Luxury Set Vol. 2 Review - 2

The set consists of 8 brushes and a beautiful makeup bag, which is a great size for travelling. I'd already unwrapped mine before taking photographs, but each brush is presented in protective wrapping and the whole set housed within an attractive box with rose gold lettering. All rather luxurious. It retails for £65, which isn't cheap, but considering the selection of brushes you get, as well as the quality, I think it's a good price.

On the back of the box (and on the website), there is a guide to the recommended use for each brush. Of course you don't have to follow this to the letter, but it's a handy nudge in the right direction if you're a bit clueless like me! All the brushes are either made with synthetic hair or a mixture of natural and synthetic - in which case, it will say "luxe" on the handle. The softer, fluffier brushes are the natural blend ones while those with denser, more tightly packed bristles are purely synthetic.

I've had time to experiment with all of them now, so here are my opinions.

Zoeva Rose Golden Luxury Set Vol. 2 Review - 3

104 Buffer - I've been using this to apply my foundation. It took me a little while to get used to, as I nearly always apply foundation with my fingers, but I love the flawless finish this gives and don't think I'll go back to my old ways now! It's a round brush, with bristles which are very densely packed but soft against the skin. I also have a Real Techniques buffing brush, but find this one easier to use as it's a little bit firmer.

Zoeva Rose Golden Luxury Set Vol. 2 Review - 4

109 Luxe Face Paint - A narrow brush for applying and blending bronzer. I think this would be a fantastic brush for anyone who enjoys contouring. It's a perfect shape for the area beneath the cheekbones and I think it would work like a dream with cream bronzers. Wasted on me, unfortunately, as I don't contour (#skullhead).

Zoeva Rose Golden Luxury Set Vol. 2 Review - 5

126 Luxe Cheek Finish - This is a soft, tapered, multi-purpose brush. According to Zoeva, you can use it to apply and blend bronzer, blusher and highlight. Personally, I prefer a larger brush for bronzer (I like an all over glow) and a smaller one for highlight, but this is really lovely to apply blusher with.

Zoeva Rose Golden Luxury Set Vol. 2 Review - 6

From left - Luxe Crease, Smoky Shader, Smudger

226 Smudger - Cute name for a makeup brush, don't you think?! And I have to say, I absolutely love my little Smudger! I didn't have anything similar in my collection, and this is an absolute dream for smoking out shadow under the eyes and along the lash line. Probably my favourite brush from the set.

228 Luxe Crease - I'm also very fond of this one. I have other crease brushes, including the Real Techniques Bold Metals one, but this has quickly become my new favourite for applying shadows in the crease. You can also blend out with this, but for that I still prefer my ancient Shu Uemura blending brush. I've had it years and I'm not sure I'll ever find anything to compare.

234 Luxe Smoky Shader - A flat eye shadow brush. I much prefer a fluffy brush to apply shadow to the lid - the Real Techniques one is brilliant - but this is great for outer corner work.

Zoeva Rose Golden Luxury Set Vol. 2 Review - 7

317 Wing Liner - Chances are that I won't use this brush often. I rarely wear liner, and when I do it's usually in the form of a felt tip liner (the Kat Von D Tattoo one is my current favourite). However, in the interests of research, I have tried this out with some black eye shadow and it worked beautifully. Considering that I have little experience lining my eyes this way and have an eye shape that makes it super difficult, I would say that this is a sign of an excellent brush.

322 Brow Line -  Another hit, great for using with gel type brow products. I used it with my trusty Benefit Brow Zings and it applied really well.

So there you have it! The set by no means provides every brush you'll ever need, but it's certainly a great selection and I'm really impressed with the quality. And of course, the fact that they're so beautifully Instagrammable doesn't hurt either!

Do you have any Zoeva brushes? What's your favourite makeup brush brand?

Kate x
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Protect Your Smile With Sensodyne Pronamel

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Protect your smile with Sensodyne Pronamel - 1

Like most people, I like my teeth to look white. When I'm shopping for toothpaste, I nearly always go for one that promises to whiten, as well as protect against cavities, gum disease and all those other horrible things. And, from time to time, I'll use whitening strips to give my smile a bit of a boost, especially if I feel that my teeth might be looking a little bit stained from drinking too much tea or coffee. Generally speaking, this serves me pretty well, and I've never yet felt the need for professional whitening treatments.

However, did you know that if your teeth are looking a bit yellow, it might not be because of staining at all, but because the outer layer of white enamel is actually wearing away, exposing the yellow dentine underneath? I didn't, and I must confess, it's a scary thought.

Protect your smile with Sensodyne Pronamel - 2

I found this out when I was invited to test the Sensodyne Pronamel range, which is specifically formulated to protect tooth enamel from erosion by the acids in everyday food and drink such as fruit, wine, fizzy drinks and salad dressings. I'd heard of Sensodyne, but thought they only made toothpaste for people with sensitive teeth. As that's not an issue I suffer with, I hadn't really paid much attention to the brand before. However, while I very rarely drink fizzy drinks, I consume plenty of salad dressings (and wine!) so when I heard about the Pronamel range, I was intrigued. After all, if I can do something to protect my teeth from the effects of acid wear, then I'm definitely up for giving it a try.

I was sent the Pronamel toothpaste, toothbrush and mouthwash, and I've been using them for a few weeks now.

Protect your smile with Sensodyne Pronamel - 3

The toothpaste* is much like any other to use, with a pleasant, minty taste. It's the number one dentist recommended toothpaste for acid wear, and is formulated to help minerals penetrate deep into the enamel to strengthen and re-harden it. In addition to this, it also provides protection against cavities, restores natural whiteness, freshens breath and maintains the health of your teeth and gums - so essentially it covers just about everything you could want in a toothpaste!

The toothbrush* features soft, micro-fine bristle ends which are gentle on tooth enamel. I've found it very comfortable to use, although it felt strange at first as I've been used to an electric toothbrush for so long now. I usually use soft heads for the electric toothbrush anyway, so I will probably go back to it once I've finished with the Pronamel one.

Protect your smile with Sensodyne Pronamel - 4

The mouthwash* finishes off your cleaning routine and gives you an extra hit of protection against both acid wear and tooth decay. It tastes like spearmint to me, even though it simply says fresh mint on the bottle. Either way, it's a pleasant flavour and doesn't burn your mouth too much, which is good because you're not supposed to rinse with water afterwards!

I've enjoyed using all three products and will definitely use the toothpaste and mouthwash again. Although I don't have a problem with acid wear right now, I think it's something that could easily develop over time, especially when there are acids in so many everyday - and perfectly healthy - foods, and after all, prevention is better than cure. My mouth feels fresh and clean after using Pronamel, and although this range doesn't place its main emphasis on whitening, my teeth are just as white as when I use brands that do. I would definitely recommend Sensodyne Pronamel to anyone, and especially those who consume a lot of acidic foods such as fruit, fruit juices and salad dressings.

Has anyone else tried this range?

Kate x

*Item sent to me for review. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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January Favourites

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January Favourites featuring Benefit, Miller Harris, Mac, Too Faced, L'Oreal and H&M - 1

It's monthly favourites time again! January has been pretty productive for me this year. Last year and the year before I was moving house, and everything else had to go on hold, so it has been really nice to be able to get on with things from the start this time around. In terms of my blog, I've felt a renewed sense of enthusiasm after feeling a little bit lost at the end of last year. In part, this has been due to having the opportunity to work with No7 this month - a brand I've loved for years - but also, I think, because I took some time off over Christmas to recharge my batteries and really think about what I'm trying to achieve with my little corner of the internet. Taking a break is something I'm often scared to do, but it can be invaluable in terms of putting things into perspective and generating new ideas, so I'm going to make a mental note to myself to do this a little more often! All in all, it's been a positive start to 2017. 

January Favourites featuring Benefit, Miller Harris, Mac, Too Faced, L'Oreal and H&M - 2

As well as getting started on those new year goals, January is often a time when a lot of people cut back on spending. That certainly seems to have been true for me this year, as pretty much all my favourites are rediscoveries of forgotten treasures from the bottom of my makeup drawer. I have to say, as much as I love acquiring shiny new things, there is a particular sense of satisfaction to be gained from shopping the stash, especially when you are reminded of how much you love something that has somehow slipped out of sight and out of mind.

Here's what I've been loving this month.

1. Benefit Rollerlash Mascara - My appreciation for this mascara has been something of a slow burner. When I first bought it, I was fixated on the claims about how well it curls lashes, and expected to be able to throw away my eyelash curlers once and for all. This wasn't the case for me, and I think it made me disappointed in the product to start off with. However, once I had fished my eyelash curlers back out of the bin and tried Rollerlash in partnership with them, I realised that it's actually really nice, especially for length. I usually go for volumising mascaras, but lately I've preferred the more delicate, fluttery effects of this one. 

January Favourites featuring Benefit, Miller Harris, Mac, Too Faced, L'Oreal and H&M - 3

2. Miller Harris Vetiver Insolent Perfume* - I'm sure I've mentioned this fagrance hundreds of times on the blog by now, but if you're unfamiliar with it, you can check out my full review here. This is a sophisticated and heavy fragrance, not for the faint-hearted, but I absolutely love it. I've had a few evenings out this month, and with the weather being so cold, I have enjoyed wearing this warm, earthy fragrance more than ever.

January Favourites featuring Benefit, Miller Harris, Mac, Too Faced, L'Oreal and H&M - 4

3. Mac Eye Shadow in Tempting - I'd forgotten I had this, so it was a treat to rediscover it in the depths of my makeup drawer! For my day to day eye makeup, I tend to use just one shade over the lid and blended into the crease, and bronze colours like this are perfect. Tempting is a lustre finish with a really beautiful shimmer to it. I think I have worn this just about every single day throughout the month of January.

January Favourites featuring Benefit, Miller Harris, Mac, Too Faced, L'Oreal and H&M - 5

4. Too Faced La Creme Color Drenched Lip Cream in Nude Beach worn with L'Oreal Infallible Mega Gloss in Protest Queen - I am obsessed with this lip combination. The Too Faced Color Drenched Lip Creams are probably the most comfortable lipsticks I have ever worn. They feel like a lip balm to apply, but they have a beautiful, creamy, sheeny pigmentation to them too. The shade Nude Beach is a gorgeous pinky nude which I seem to have been drawn to a lot this month. I think it has something to do with wanting spring to start right after Christmas! Protest Queen is one of L'Oreal's cream finish lipglosses from the Mega Gloss line, and over the top of Nude Beach it is just perfect. It's almost identical in colour and just intensifies the creaminess and, er, sheeniness. I've put the two together in the swatch above.

January Favourites featuring Benefit, Miller Harris, Mac, Too Faced, L'Oreal and H&M - 6

5. H&M Turtleneck (similar) - I have lived in this for pretty much the whole month. An absolute bargain, this is a fitted black turtleneck jumper with just the tiniest little design detail in the ribbing on the front. Perfect with jeans and a big fur-lined jacket during the day, and tucked into a leather pencil skirt for the evening. We've had some freezing weather in the last couple of weeks so it has been lovely to be all covered up in this. I can't find this exact jumper on the H&M website, but the one I've linked to is nearly identical and also a great price.

And that rounds up my first monthly favourites of 2017! How has January been for you, and what have you been loving this month?

Kate x

*Gifted item. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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