New Year's Eve Party Look - Beauty

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In my last post, I promised to write about the makeup I'm planning to wear on New Year's Eve. This includes what I'm putting on my legs - I do like a bit of a tan and something to disguise blemishes if I'm going bare-legged. My current favourite fake tan is by Cocoa Brown, and when I heard about their Lovely Legs Spray* I was intrigued. Instant, spray-on flawless legs? Yes please! In terms of my makeup, I've decided to go for a peachy nude lip, sparkly eyes and a generous dollop of highlight.

Cocoa Brown Lovely Legs spray

These are the main products I used. The palette is the Sleek i-Divine palette in Au Naturel, from which I used Taupe (back row, furthest right) and Moss (front row, second from left).

FOTD New Year's Eve Party Look




FOTN New Year's Eve Makeup




New Year's Eve Party Makeup


On my face:

Base - Revlon ColorStay foundation in Fresh Beige, Collection Lasting Perfection concealer in Fair, Rimmel Stay Matte powder in Peach Glow.

Eyebrows - Benefit Brow Zings Palette.

Eyes - Maybelline Color Tattoo eye shadow in On and On Bronze as a base, then Moss and Taupe from the Sleek i-Divine palette pressed over the top. I concentrated Moss (the darker shade) at the outer corners and Taupe at the inner corners, not that you can really tell in the photos. I used Collection's Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip liner on my upper lash line and a Lancôme kohl pencil to define my water line. My mascara is Lancôme Hypnose Star.

Bronzer/Blush/Highlight - Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess bronzer (lightly dusted all over for a warm glow), Mac Peaches blush, Benefit Watt's Up highlighter (top of cheekbones, under arch of brows, bridge of nose).

Lips - Rimmel Nude Delight.

Now for my legs. As I said, I like to give them a little TLC if I'm planning on showing them off, but with a regular fake tan, you need to be organised enough to remember to apply it the night (or morning) before you go out. I also like to add some leg makeup to cover a few pesky thread veins that I have. (If you're interested in what I use for that, I blogged about it here.) Now, all this takes up quite a lot of time, and as much as I would like to spend hours primping and preening myself for an evening out, it isn't always realistic, especially at this time of year, when there's a lot of family around who I would rather spend my time with. Cocoa Brown's Lovely Legs Spray is quick and easy to use and is designed, according to their website, for "ladies who feel they need some coverage on their legs to hide veins, stretch marks or any lumps or bumps". That would be me then!

The instructions are to spray the product onto a tanning mitt and then buff onto the skin. I have to say, when I first saw the colour of it, I thought I was going to hate it. It's practically neon orange! But I applied it anyway, and was pleased to see that it soon settled into a lovely warm bronze. It dried very quickly, and was a vast improvement on my pale, pre-tanned legs!

Cocoa Brown Lovely Legs spray


Before and after

You can see that the spray has smoothed out the appearance of my legs as well as giving me a nice tan. I did have to dab a little leg makeup over the most stubborn of my thread veins, but I certainly didn't feel the need to apply it all over as I would normally do. As a result, the whole process of prepping my legs for an evening out was much quicker than usual.

Whereas the regular tan from Cocoa Brown lasts quite a few days, Lovely Legs washes off with warm soapy water. In my opinion, it's perfect for the winter months. Most of the time we're in jeans or tights, so why bother with a full on fake tan? This is a great product to have on standby for those occasions when you want bare legs and need to get them looking their best in a hurry.

So my makeup for New Year's Eve is all prepared! Let me know what kind of look you'll be going for if you're out celebrating - I love finding out what other people are planning to do! Also, have you tried Cocoa Brown's Lovely Legs spray? If so, what do you think of it?

Kate x


*Gifted Product
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New Year's Eve Party Look - #OOTN

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Did you have a good Christmas? Mine has been hectic but very enjoyable. I've had trips into town with my sister for coffee and last minute shopping, restaurant outings and big family dinners. My husband and I spent the day itself with his family, at his sister's house in the Netherlands. Much fun and laughter was had by all, presents were exchanged and plenty of food was consumed. (And I do mean plenty of food!) But the festivities aren't quite over yet, because there's still New Year's Eve to look forward to. I love any excuse to dress up, and I always think that New Year's Eve is the perfect excuse, whether you're going out to a fancy event or even just celebrating at home with family. I'm not exactly sure what my plans are yet, but I know what I'll be wearing, so I thought I'd share it with you.

#OOTN New Year's Eve Party


 Dress - Warehouse (Similar style available in black and pink), Shoes - Zara, Bag - Mango, Ring - Accessorize

I actually first wore this dress a couple of months ago at my sister's engagement party. For that occasion, I styled it with black heels and a black clutch bag, but I felt it was versatile enough to re-spin it for New Year with touches of gold. Plus, I really enjoyed wearing it, so wanted to wear it again!
 
#OOTN New Year's Eve Warehouse DressThe dress is from Warehouse's Spotlight Collection, which I love for pretty and affordable occasion wear. This one is so feminine and easy to wear, and I reckon it would look just as good for a summer wedding as it does for a party. I love the pleated skirt and lace panelling, and the colour too, even though I'm not usually the biggest fan of blue.

I decided to pair it with my favourite nude sandals from Zara. These are pretty comfortable as heels go so they're great for a party where you might be dancing or standing around chatting for hours on end. The gold bag and ring I've added for a "seasonal twist" are ancient, but you could easily find similar pieces if you're interested in recreating the look.

Accessorize ring and Barry M Lychee Nail Polish


On my nails is Lychee by Barry M. I've been obsessed with this brand all year - especially the gelly hi-shine range. I thought about a glittery gold, but in the end preferred this more understated creamy shade.

Pleated Warehouse Dress, Mango Bag


So that's my New Year's party outfit sorted! I'll post about my makeup - a sparkly gold eye and nude lip - in the next couple of days, not to mention a great speedy tanning product that will come in very handy when I'm rushing to get ready on the big day. So stay tuned for that!

What are your New Year's Eve plans, and what are you going to wear?

Kate x
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Jo Malone Bath Oils

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Jo Malone is a brand that's very close to my heart. My first experience of it was when a friend of mine spritzed Red Roses cologne all over me just before I went on a first date. It was the loveliest perfume I'd ever come across. I fell in love with the romantic scent, the sophisticated packaging, everything about it. (The date went pretty well too - it was with my husband! I'm not sure how much the perfume had to do with it, but I'll always feel attached to it for that reason!)

Since then I've tried quite a few of the brand's other fragrances, either in perfume or candle form. Vintage Gardenia, Nectarine Blossom and Honey, Wild Fig and Cassis, Peony and Blush Suede... I love them all! Yet it's only very recently that I've tried any of the bath oils, and I honestly don't know what's taken me so long. At the moment, I'm obsessed with two: Amber and Lavender and Pomegranate Noir. At this time of year, with the weather getting colder and life getting busier as Christmas approaches, I'm appreciating a nice hot bath in the evenings more than ever, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. So what better time to talk about these two gorgeous products?

Jo Malone bath oils in Amber and Lavender and Pomegranate Noir
Amber and Lavender - This is the perfect scent for this time of year. I've always loved lavender - it's so comforting that you can almost feel your muscles unwinding as you breathe it in. Add to that exotic, musky amber and you end up with a warm and wonderful scent that fills the whole bathroom when you add a capful to your running bath water. It's opulent and luxurious, wrapping itself around you like a comforting blanket. Some might find it overpowering, but I love it.

Pomegranate Noir - This one is very different. It's much lighter, yet you still get an intense, fruity hit from it that reminds me (for some reason) of a freshly opened bag of sweets. Again, the scent is released as it hits the hot running water, although this one is, as I said, more subtle than Amber and Lavender. After the initial sweetness, there's a definite warmth to it, which adds an interesting depth to the fragrance and makes it equally perfect for the cooler months.

Both oils contain jojoba, avocado and almond oil which leave your skin feeling lovely and soft when you emerge from your bath. Best of all, the gorgeous scents linger on your skin for ages afterwards, which I love. There's nothing better than lying in bed, all relaxed from your bath and smelling amazing!

Have you tried Jo Malone's bath oils? Which is your favourite fragrance?

Kate x
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#OOTD - The Pink Coat

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It had to happen sometime... Winter has finally hit the UK with a vengeance and I for one am freezing! But despite the cooler weather, Kent was bathed in the most beautiful sunlight last Saturday, and once I was wrapped up nice and warm, it was a pleasure to be outside. There's something really lovely about a crisp and clear Winter's day, even if it's bitingly cold, and I'm really happy that Mike and I were able to capture it in these outfit shots. (Lucky Mike - if there's one thing he loves more than trailing around the shops with me on a Saturday afternoon, it's playing fashion photographer. ;-))

I've been wanting to do a daytime outfit post for ages. This one features the black Topshop jumper I first wrote about here, and the Zara handbag I showed you here. I've been wearing them with Topshop Jamie jeans in a mid-blue wash, black suede over the knee boots and a chunky gold necklace. At this time of year, outerwear and cosy accessories often take centre stage, and I've really being loving this pink coat from Zara. Because of the colour, I didn't think I'd get that much wear out of it, but actually it's surprisingly versatile and adds interest to a simple outfit. 

Zara pink coat #OOTD
Casual Winter Outfit #OOTD


Zara, Topshop, River Island, Oasis


Topshop Jumper #OOTD


Jumper, Jeans - Topshop, Coat (available in green), Bag, Boots - Zara, Scarf - River Island, Hat - Oasis, Necklace - H&M, Sunglasses - Chanel

This jumper is incredibly warm, and with a long-sleeved t-shirt underneath plus the coat and scarf I was quite happy to stand around in the cold having my picture taken. That's a good thing to know if you're a wimp about the cold like I am! I don't see this coat on the Zara website any more, though it may still be available in store. The green version is available online and is equally lovely - my sister has it so I can say this with authority! I also love the fact that the fur collar is detachable. While I'm loving it now, I reckon taking it off will give the coat a new lease of life come early March, when the weather's still cool but I'm getting impatient for Spring/Summer fashion.

What do you guys think of this outfit? If it's cold where you are, what have you been wrapping up in?

Kate x
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Five Minute Makeup #2 - No Brushes Required!

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Let's face it - it's makeup that takes up all the time in the mornings, isn't it? It certainly is for me. If I'm organised enough, I can pick out my clothes the night before, and if my hair's not cooperating I can run the straighteners through it and it's sorted in a flash. But making my face look acceptable enough to leave the house... for some reason it seems like more of a challenge to find a short cut for that! And, like everyone else, there are some days when I really need a short cut. So when I find one, I get excited about it, and when I get excited about something, I share it on the blog!

This look is super quick and easy to do and I've been really enjoying wearing it on those days when I have to be out of the door in no time at all. The stars of the show are these three lovely products.

Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Blusher, Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet, Maybelline Color Tattoo

Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Blusher in Pinker Belle, Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick in Nude-ist, Maybelline Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in On and On Bronze


The great thing is that all these products are cream-based, so you can just slap them on with your fingers, which I think is a great time saver. No faffing around with brushes here! The swatches from left to right in the photo above are Pinker Belle, On and On Bronze and Nude-ist. I love the rich, jewel-toned effect of the three products together. Perfect for this time of year!

As I mentioned before, I have already reviewed Soap and Glory's cream blush here on the blog and I still wear it regularly. It's a lovely product to have and much easier to top up on the go than powder blush. Equally, the other two products have become firm favourites with me over the last couple of months, so I feel it's only fitting to mention a few points about each one.

Maybelline Color Tattoo in On and On Bronze - I am quite possibly the last woman on the planet to buy one of these and now that I have, I can't get enough of it. One quick swipe across your eyelids and it looks like you've spent hours with a palette and blending brush. The shimmer of this particular shade is just gorgeous. I find a dab of my trusty Collection concealer underneath helps the colour to look slightly more intense and last for longer. If you are organised enough to have an actual eye shadow primer I imagine this would work just as well! I definitely want to get more Color Tattoos.

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Nude-ist - There are some products you're just always excited about using, even when the novelty of them should have worn off ages ago. That's definitely how I feel about this lipstick. It's like silk to apply and dries to the loveliest matte finish. Plus, it lasts practically untouched through a huge Sunday lunch - believe me, I have subjected it to some tough tests! The shade Nude-ist is just beautiful. I'm not sure if it is actually supposed to be a nude; it certainly isn't on me, but I don't mind at all. And needless to say, I want all the others. Why do I feel like I say that about every product in every blog post?!

Here's the finished look.

#fotd - Maybelline, Soap and Glory, Bourjois


#fotd - Maybelline, Soap and Glory, Bourjois

On my face:

Base - Revlon ColorStay foundation in Fresh Beige, Collection Lasting Perfection concealer in Fair, Rimmel Stay Matte powder in Peach Glow (OK, I lied - I used one brush for the powder!)

Eyebrows - Benefit Brow Zings Palette

Eyes - Maybelline Color Tattoo eye shadow in On and On Bronze, Lancôme Hypnose Star mascara

Blush - Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Blusher in Pinker Belle

Lips - Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lipstick in Nude-ist

What do you think of this look? Do you have any time saving tricks when it comes to makeup?

Kate x
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Estee Lauder - Evelyn Lauder and Elizabeth Hurley Dream Pink Collection for Breast Cancer Awareness

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I'm one of those people who never wins anything. At least, I was until about six weeks ago, when a package arrived out of the blue from the lovely people at ProductTesting.uk.com. Apparently, I had been selected at random from their list of beauty bloggers to win a free gift - and what a free gift it is! This Estee Lauder Dream Pink Collection consists of a Pure Color Lasting Shimmer lipstick, two Pure Color Nail Lacquers and a fold-over makeup bag, and is the result of a collaboration between Evelyn Lauder and Elizabeth Hurley in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.

Estee Lauder Dream Pink Collection

Estee Lauder Dream Pink Collection for Breast Cancer Awareness

Evelyn Lauder and Elizabeth Hurley Dream Pink Collection

The lipstick is full-sized; the nail polishes miniature (5 ml). All are beautifully packaged, and all, of course, are pink.

This nail polish is called Berry Hot. It's a beautiful shade of what I would call "Indian pink", deep and vibrant, with a delicate sprinkling of gold glitter running through it. It is beautiful - far more so than I've been able to capture in the photo below. Damn the UK Winter and its near-total absence of light!

Estee Lauder Nail Lacquer in Berry Hot

The second polish is called Blushing Lilac and it's probably my favourite item from the set. It's a gorgeous, glossy, pinky nude that just looks so flattering on. Like Berry Hot, there's the tiniest amount of fine gold glitter in this that adds the subtlest of sheens. Both polishes are nice and smooth to apply and take two coats to become opaque.

Estee Lauder Nail Lacquer in Blushing Lilac
Finally, this is the limited edition lipstick in Dream Pink. My apologies if this photo looks more like I'm trying to show you my eye makeup - lighting issues aside, it was "one of those days" and this is the only shot of the 40,000 I took in which I don't look like something from a horror movie. But you can still see how beautiful the lipstick is. It feels creamy and moisturising to apply and it lasts all day. The colour is nearly identical to the Berry Hot nail polish and I will definitely be rocking them together for maximum impact on a night out soon. I reckon the vibrant pink would really stand out at a Christmas party amid all the usual reds, berries and glitters. I also think it would look equally amazing in the Summer.
 
Estee Lauder Pure Color Lipstick in Dream Pink
If you like the look of this gift set, it retails at £28 - a bargain if you consider that you can pay up to £24 for an Estee Lauder lipstick alone. Add to that the fact that £10 of that goes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and I reckon this would make a fantastic Christmas present for any makeup lover.
 
What do you guys think?

Kate x
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The Great Foundation Challenge #3 - Vichy Dermablend

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Hi guys! Sorry I haven't been around much lately. It's the usual story - work and life getting in the way, etc etc. Still, I have managed to find some time and so I am back with another foundation challenge post. It's ages since I did one of these. If you remember, I embarked on a quest some time ago to find myself a good drugstore dupe for my favourite foundation, Estee Lauder Double Wear. So far I've tried L'Oreal Infallible, which I hated, and Revlon ColorStay, which I remain seriously impressed by and now wear on a regular basis. You can read the post on the L'Oreal base here and the Revlon one here. Today, I shall be talking about the latest edition to my steadily growing collection - Vichy Dermablend.

Vichy Dermablend Foundation


I've been keen to try this foundation for a while as I've heard a lot of good things about it. Vichy market it as a "camouflage foundation" and claim that it will cover all manner of flaws from an uneven complexion and dark circles to vitiligo and acne. My skin isn't terrible, but it isn't amazing either and one of the most important qualities I look for when choosing a base is high coverage. This one certainly sounded like it would fit the bill! It's also hypoallergenic, free from parabens and non-comedogenic - which basically means it won't irritate your skin or clog your pores. All this and SPF 35! Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, read on and find out!

Vichy Dermablend Camouflage Foundation


First off, let's talk packaging. It's not exactly stunning, is it? Not that this is ever something that would deter me from purchasing a product I know is good or have been recommended. It would just be nice if it was a bit prettier. That's all I'm saying.

Secondly, it's only available in five shades. To quote the girls from Made in Chelsea, that's not ideal. I went for the second palest shade (25), which isn't a fantastic match on me but is just about OK. It is definitely a better match than the above picture would suggest. For some reason the lighting is turning my hand into a red dragon's claw. Still, it gives you a good idea of the thickness of the product. Here it is on my face.

Vichy Dermablend Camouflage Foundation


I cannot fault the coverage of this foundation. It gives you flawless skin and it lasts all day. For me, these are the two things I want most of all from a base so for that reason, I do like Vichy Dermablend. However, limited colour range and uninspiring packaging aside, there is one major downside of this product - it just doesn't seem to set. Like, ever. Do not wrap your arms around your husband/boyfriend and bury your face in his chest while wearing Vichy Dermablend. The romantic moment will come to an abrupt end when he sees the mess it makes of his t-shirt. I have learnt this to my cost! Not only this, but it feels tacky on your skin the whole time you are wearing it, which isn't very comfortable.

So mixed feelings on this one! Has anyone else tried it? What did you think? What are your favourite drugstore foundations?

Kate x
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My Birthday Lunch at Read's, Faversham

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It has been a little while since I last posted. This is partly because I've been very busy doing fun stuff (and work!) and partly because I've had a real stinker of a cold. I spent a very exciting few days in London last week, helping my sister shop for a wedding dress. It was such a fun time and it brought back some lovely memories of shopping for mine. It was also quite intense. I'd forgotten how pressured the decision is - so many stunning dresses, and you can only pick one! Mum, Stephanie and I spent four days searching every corner of the city and we have narrowed it down to a handful of beautiful gowns in one store. Needless to say, we were shattered when the visit came to an end, but there was no time to rest as the day after we got back to Kent we all had to go out to lunch to celebrate my birthday. I know, I know, it's a tough life!

The next day, all this living the high life caught up with me and I came down with this evil cold. Do you ever go through phases where you manage to avoid getting sick for ages and ages, but then you finally catch something, and it's like getting six different bugs at once and it totally knocks you out? Well, that's what happened to me. I'm just about over it now, so I thought I'd share this lovely restaurant with you.




Isn't it fancy? It's called Read's and it's located in Faversham, near Canterbury, in Kent. Eight of us went for lunch last Saturday. And just in case you were wondering who that tiny figure on the doorstep is...

That's right. It's me. Here's a close-up with some pumpkins.

Jeans, Blazer - Topshop, Blouse - River Island, Shoes, Bag - Zara

The setting is a Georgian manor house and it really feels more like that than a restaurant. It's incredibly peaceful and relaxed, as though you have been invited to lunch at someone's beautiful family home. Even when the dining room was full, it still kept that intimate feel.

Inside, it looks like this.



The food is locally sourced. In fact, some of it is grown in the grounds of the restaurant and I am kicking myself that I didn't pop outside to take a look. I guess that's a good excuse to go back!

I went for three courses, starting with a ham hock and vegetable broth with a chestnut brioche.



The broth was beautiful. Generous chunks of tender, salty ham, crunchy vegetables and a piping hot clear soup. The only problem was, it was a meal in itself, and when there are eight of you all talking at once it can be difficult to do justice to such a dish. Before I knew it, everyone else had finished their starters and I had barely got going with mine. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed what I had. I can't say I was crazy about the brioche, but then I'm not a fan of them in general. It was the broth I wanted - the brioche just happened to come with it.

For my main course, I chose the filet of hake with mashed potato, spinach and broccoli. This was simply cooked and really delicious, particularly the fish. The white sauce it came in was lovely but deceptively rich, and I couldn't quite finish the dish in the end.



My favourite course was definitely dessert. I ordered a chocolate delice with peanut brittle, banana ice cream and slices of caramelised banana. The desserts aren't actually listed on the menu. Instead, the waiter tells you what's available. I have to be honest - he had me at the word "chocolate". I actually had no idea there was any banana in the dish until it was sitting in front of me. If I had, I probably wouldn't have ordered it, as it's not really a favourite of mine, but I'm so glad I did. The combination with the smooth chocolate and crunchy, caramel flavours was perfect and I finished every last scrap.



Once lunch was over, we were invited to have our coffee (or peppermint tea in my case) in the lounge. This was also where we had enjoyed pre-lunch drinks while studying the menu and was a lovely relaxing space with arm chairs, sofas and coffee tables.

It was a mild, sunny day, but I can imagine this room being really cosy in the winter with the fire lit.













I would definitely recommend Read's if you're in the Canterbury area. The food was great and the surroundings were even better. Definitely a lovely setting for a family celebration.

I''ve got some fashion and beauty posts coming up next week, so stay tuned!

Kate x
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The Men's Watch

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As much as I love the look of the large watches that seem to be so popular now, I've never really considered owning one myself. This is due to the fact that I have spindly chicken arms, and anything larger than those plastic watches you get for children tends to look ridiculous on me. However, I recently took the challenge to put together an outfit based around a men's watch, which I found on Invaluable.com - a huge treasure chest of an online auction site, in case you haven't heard of it.

For the purpose of this exercise, I've jumped into a fantasy world where I have regular sized arms and wrists, and can wear any watch I like. Let the fun begin!

The first step was to "shop" Invaluable.com for my men's watch. Let me tell you - a person could lose hours doing this. As I mentioned before, it's huge, and the choice of watches is absolutely enormous. There are all kinds of brands available and some serious bargains to be had if you know what you are looking for. However, since this was an exercise in creating a fantasy outfit, I went straight to Rolex. Go hard or go home, right? I picked out this little beauty. Isn't it a stunner? I have always loved the idea of a mixed metal watch, so that whatever jewellery you wear, it's always complemented. This one would fit the bill quite nicely, thank you!

Once I had the watch, I started building the rest of the outfit around it. This is what I came up with.
 
 
Hat, Jeans, Cape - Topshop, Blouse, Rings - H&M, Boots - Zara, Nars Audacious Lipstick in Charlotte, Watch - Invaluable.com
 
I pretty much live in Topshop Jamie jeans day to day, so a pair of these seemed like as good a place as any to start. I really love the rips on these. I haven't owned ripped denim for a long time, but so many people are rocking it now that I'm seriously tempted to jump on the bandwagon. The cape trend is something else I've been admiring a lot on other people lately, so I thought it would fun to throw one of them into the mix. After that, a simple white blouse felt like a no-brainer. With the fun element of the checked cape draped over your shoulders and this serious piece of wrist candy peeping out from your cuff, it's all you need. I also really like the idea of continuing the mixed metal theme through the delicate rings and the zips on the boots. Finally - is it too much to match a burgundy lipstick to a wide-brimmed burgundy hat? Possibly, but I fell in love with both of them, so in they went! Together with the boots, they add a bit of glamour, which is always a big plus in my book.
 
How do you guys feel about big watches?
 
Kate x
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#OOTN - Monochrome and Red Lips

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Today, I bring you a very simple Outfit of the Night - something I wore out to dinner a few weeks ago. I'd had this lovely draped white blouse from River Island hanging in my wardrobe for ages, and I couldn't wait to wear it any longer. I paired it with some black jeans and lace-up heels. I actually think that black leather trousers would work better than jeans, but since I don't currently own any of those, I had to make the best of what I had! (Yet another item to add to my never ending wish list.) You might recognise the heels. I featured them in my post about the Inside Out Beauty event, so if you want to see what they look like with a dress/playsuit then click here. I added a blazer and a clutch, both of which have racked up many years of devoted service to my wardrobe, and my look was pretty much complete.

#OOTN - Monochrome and Red Lips


River Island White BlouseBecause my outfit was quite plain, I opted to add some interest by curling my hair and slapping on a red lip. Red lips with a black and white outfit is one of my all-time favourite combinations. I chose Ruby Woo by Mac, which is my new love. My sister warned me before I bought it that it's like chalk to apply, and she was right, but the finished result is well worth the trouble in my opinion. I have several red lipsticks, but the matte finish of this one sets it apart from the rest of my collection. I love it!

Mac Ruby Woo
Incidentally, the theme of this photo taking session was hysterical laughter. My husband was making fun of my posing. I have included the following photos as proof of just how funny he was.
 
#OOTN - Monochrome and Red Lips
Still, we got there in the end!

For the finishing touches, I added some delicate jewellery and Barry M nail polish in Coconut.

Delicate Jewellery
Blouse - River Island, Jeans, Ring - Topshop, Blazer, Shoes, Clutch - Zara, Necklace - Bought from a jeweller in Santorini
 
This blouse is still available from River Island and comes in several colours including coral, purple, blue and black. Which colour would you go for, and how would you style it? I love pinching other people's outfit ideas!
 
Kate x
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The Autumn Tag

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I've been tagged by the lovely Hanh from Hanhabelle to do the Autumn Tag, and I'm very excited about it! I love doing tags and I love getting into the spirit of the changing seasons, so this is perfect! By the way, if you haven't checked out Hanh's blog yet, you definitely should. It's a lovely mix of beauty and lifestyle. So thank you Hanh for tagging me, and here goes!

The Autumn Tag


1. Ok we're talking coffees - what's your favourite seasonal drink from Starbucks or another coffee shop?
I'm not a massive fan of coffee. Very occasionally I might have a latte but I much prefer tea or hot chocolate. Starbucks' salted caramel hot chocolate is amazing. If I'm going for tea, I love trying all the different kinds. I had raspberry and ginseng tea at Café Nero recently, which was delicious. However, if I'm having a slice of cake (which is often, my friends, often) I love a traditional English breakfast tea with plenty of milk.

2. Accessories - what do you opt for: scarf, boots, gloves?
And the rest! I get cold very easily so I like to wrap up as warm as I can as soon as the temperature starts to drop. I'm really loving how popular fedoras and trilbies and wide brimmed hats are at the moment. I got a fedora last year (pictured above) and I love it, but unfortunately it's a bit big for me. I'd love to find one to fit my tiny little pin-head. The only downside of Autumn/Winter fashion for me is the expense. I always want to have a nice selection of coats, boots, scarves, hats, etc, but decent coats and boots are pretty pricey so realistically I'm not going to have dozens of them, which sucks because I always want MORE!

3. Music - what's your favourite music to listen to during Autumn?
My musical tastes don't really change with the seasons. In fact music isn't generally a huge part of my life, but every now and then I love me some Beyoncé, Adele, Katy Perry.... you get the general idea.

4. Perfume - what's your favourite scent for this time of year?
I'm a huge fan of Jo Malone perfumes and I reckon their Amber and Lavender would be perfect for this time of year. I currently have this as a bath oil and it's amazing - a really warm and unique scent. I've never really thought about switching up my perfume to suit the changing seasons before but it's a lovely idea. Plus, it's an excuse to buy more perfumes!

5. Candles - what scents will you be burning this season?
I tend to gravitate towards floral fragrances when it comes to scented candles, no matter what the time of year. Midnight Jasmine from Yankee Candle is one of my all time favourites.

6. What do you love most about Autumn?
Walking through the countryside on a sunny day when the leaves are changing colour is pretty special. I also love that "back to school" feeling - it's a time of settling back into routine with new energy after the summer and setting new goals. Also, lots of new dramas get going on TV at this time of year - I've been loving Legends on Sky 1. And it's my birthday in Autumn too!

7. Favourite makeup look?
Berry coloured lips and nails for sure, and pink toned blush.

8. What are you looking forward to most in Autumn?
Apart from my birthday, just the new season itself and changing things up a little. A change is as good as a rest, as they say!

I tag Jess from The Beauty Sanctuary, Karen from Style Sunrise and Sophie from Soinspo. And anyone else who feels like getting their Autumn Tag on! Let me know if you do it and I will read it for sure.

Kate x
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Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Blusher in Pinker Belle

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A little while ago I was invited to join ProductTesting.uk.com. They send out free makeup and beauty products to bloggers in exchange for a review, and... well, they had me at "free makeup". I signed up, and a few days later I received my product in the post. It turned out to be a cream blush by Soap and Glory - their Sexy Mother Blusher in Pinker Belle. I also got this cool poster. Look how happy I am!

Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Blusher in Pinker Belle from ProductTesting.uk.com

I haven't tried a huge amount from Soap and Glory, but what I have, I like. I've also never used a cream blush before, so I was quite excited to try the product out.

First off, I'm not a massive fan of the packaging. I feel like there's something slightly cheap and plasticky about it, but I can overlook that. What's important is what's inside! When you remove the lid, you see a nice thick dome of product that looks a pretty intense, bright pink. It also smells of coconut, which is a lovely bonus in my book.

Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Blusher in Pinker Belle
ProductTesting.uk.com
The blush looks a little scary when you first apply it - you look like one of those dolls with the perfectly round, little hot pink cheeks. But once you blend it in, you get a really subtle, warm glow, like this.
 
Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Blusher in Pinker Belle
I really like this blush. It's easy to apply and to carry around and gives a nice natural flush to the cheeks that lasts a good few hours. Pinker Belle, as I said, is a warm pink that would probably suit most skin tones. There's also a peach and a berry shade available and I might well give those a try.
 
If you're a beauty blogger and you're interested in ProductTesting.uk.com, it's easy to sign up for your own beauty product review here.
 
What are your thoughts on cream blush?
 
Kate x
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Sunday Brunch at the Town House Tea Rooms, Bawtry

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For pretty boring business reasons that I will spare you the details of, my husband and I are spending a lot of time in Yorkshire at the moment. I like Yorkshire. My Mum was born here, so even though I think of myself as being from "the South", I do feel a certain sense of belonging whenever I'm "up North". In any case, there's nothing like a change of scenery to blow the cobwebs away, and Mike and I have been enjoying exploring a few new places during our free time.

Last Sunday, we took a drive to Bawtry, a busy little town near Doncaster with quite a few cafes, restaurants and boutiques. We went to the Town House Tea Rooms, where we enjoyed a lazy brunch.

Sunday Brunch at the Town House Tea Rooms, Bawtry
This place is very opulent and traditional in its décor, with large tables and lots of space. The staff are cheerful and friendly and the atmosphere is relaxed, though busy at the same time. It's a popular spot. With Frank Sinatra crooning softly in the background and the sunlight warming our faces through the window, we felt very comfortable and could happily have sat there all day.

The Town House Tea Rooms, Bawtry


The Town House Tea Rooms, Bawtry


The Town House Tea Rooms, Bawtry


We both had a pot of tea, I had a pain au chocolat and Mike had a breakfast omelette with bacon, sausage, mushrooms and tomatoes, which I very annoyingly forgot to photograph. You can just about see it in the background here. My pastry was delicious - warm and crisp and filled with lovely gooey melted chocolate. I'm told the breakfast omelette was also lovely and it certainly looked very good. It came with some thick slices of toast and a generous serving of butter.

Tea and Pain au Chocolat


The decision to blog about this little outing was as spur-of-the-moment as the outing itself, so of course I wasn't wearing anything exciting or new. Never mind, here's the outfit anyway!

OOTD Sunday Brunch


Jeans (similar here) and Shirt (similar here) - Topshop, Jacket (similar here) - Warehouse, Trainers - Converse, Bag (kinda sorta similar-ish here) - Zara
 
Do you have a favourite weekend brunch spot? Bonus points to anyone who's visited the Town House!

Kate x
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