March Favourites

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I haven't done a favourites post before, but I always enjoy reading other people's so I thought I would give it a go this month. I've kept it quite brief, whittling it down to a handful of beauty and fashion favourites, plus a book I've been absolutely loving. Here goes!

Beauty Favourites

Clarins, Ark Skincare, Urban Decay

1. Clarins Extra Comfort Foundation

I did a whole post on this here so I won't go on about it too much, but I've really been enjoying this foundation. Oddly enough, every time I apply it I worry that it's not going to give me enough coverage, but when I catch my reflection when I'm out and about I can't help but be impressed by the finish of it. I wore it when I went to the hairdresser's the other day, and that's usually a place where I feel I look washed out no matter how much makeup I wear. Not with this. It gives the look of healthy, glowing skin more than any other foundation I've tried.

2. Ark Skincare Regenerating Skin Defence

Sometimes I wonder what all these creams, serums and oils we're persuaded to buy really do for us, but during my recent house move, I spent a good few weeks managing with little more than a cleanser and a day cream, and I can honestly say I noticed a difference in the quality of my skin when I reintroduced this serum into my routine. I think perhaps we expect miracles, when actually what these products give us is a subtle improvement that builds over time. Ark's Regenerating Skin Defence protects your complexion against the elements, calms redness and firms the skin, and I've loved rediscovering it this month. I blogged about it in greater detail here.

3. Ark Skincare Anti-Ageing Skin Protector SPF 30 Primer

You can find my review of this product together with the last one. It's such a lightweight primer that you hardly feel you are wearing anything, yet the silky finish it leaves on your skin helps makeup to glide on smoothly and last longer. One of my few criticisms of the Clarins Extra Comfort is that it doesn't last quite as long as I would like. Wearing this underneath really helps.

4. Urban Decay Anit-Aging Eyeshadow Primer Potion

I haven't had this that long, but it more than deserves its place among my favourite products of the month. I know everyone raves about it, but I had no idea it would make such a difference to my eye makeup! The colours look more vibrant, application is smoother with no creasing and it stays put for longer. All this, and it helps to minimise lines and wrinkles too. What took me so long?!

Fashion Favourites

H&M Dress and Topshop Shoes

Rings from Z for Accessorize


1. H&M Dress

I've been wanting to do an outfit post with this dress but haven't got around to it yet. It was inexpensive and has been so useful while the weather has been cool. I've worn it out in the evening a few times, with the shoes pictured here, big hair, red lips and a leather jacket. It's really easy to wear and a flattering fit and flare shape. You can check it out in a similar colourway here.

2. Topshop Shoes

I fell in love with these as soon as I saw them in Topshop a few weeks ago. I'd be lying if I told you I find them comfortable, but they do at least feel stable to walk in. With shoes as pretty as this, that's good enough for me! They were also only £50, which I think is a great price for Topshop heels. I'm seriously tempted to get the nude and gold version too.

3. Accessorize Rings

These delicate pieces from the Z for Accessorize range have hardly been off my fingers this month. I wrote about them in my last blog post. If you missed it, you can check it out here.

Book of the Month - Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

I studied history at university and the Tudor period was always my favourite. By the time I had finished my degree, I felt as though I never wanted to read historical fiction or see a period drama again, but the recent BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall rekindled my love of the past in a big way. I downloaded the book after watching the series and it's fantastic, beautifully written and full of political intrigue. Forget other novels you might have read that are set in the reign of Henry VIII - this is on another level. If you like English history and haven't read this yet, I highly recommend it.

So those were my favourite things this month! Any of yours on this list? And has anyone read Wolf Hall?

Kate x
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Z for Accessorize

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My obsession with dainty jewellery shows no sign of abating any time soon. This time, it's Z for Accessorize that's got me drooling at the window display every time I pass a store. And can you blame me? Just look!

Z for Accessorize
 
Z for Accessorize Jewellery

I've loved Accessorize ever since I was about fifteen. For pretty, affordable costume jewellery, stylish sunhats and embellished flip-flops, I still think it's pretty difficult to beat. However, this new range is in my opinion one of the best things they've ever done. A little more sophisticated and perhaps "grown-up" than their usual offerings, Z for Accessorize features gold-plated and sterling silver pieces with semi-precious stones such as turquoise, labradorite and mother of pearl. Everything is very dainty and looks a lot more high-end than it really is. It's designed to be piled on together, which you have to admit is a pretty clever marketing ploy - looks great on its own, looks even better if you buy something else as well! (Not that I need much encouragement, to be fair.) It's slightly more expensive than the standard range of Accessorize jewellery, but with prices ranging between £8 and £29 it's still pretty affordable. For my first purchase, I bought this triangle ring and this set of midi rings, which I've actually been wearing on my little finger. I love the way they look and I think it's fairly safe to say that my first purchase won't be my last!

Z for Accessorize Rings

Z for Accessorize Rings and Midi Rings

I've got quite tiny hands, so these delicate rings are perfect for me. I love the look of wearing many rings together, and often find costume jewellery too chunky for me to do this. No such problem with this range.

I could start telling you what else I've got my eye on, but it would take far too long! Perhaps a delicate gold necklace will be next.

Have you seen this range at Accessorize? Anyone bought anything?

Kate x
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The Lake

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I'm beginning to explore my new surroundings. Near my new home is this beautiful lake - the perfect place to take the air on a warm and sunny afternoon.

Of course when I went, it was freezing.

OOTD

The Lake

If truth be told, I tend to get a bit impatient around this time of year. Lighter evenings and blossoming trees seem to hold the promise of Spring, yet the temperatures are stuck in single figures. I am bored with all my heavy Winter jumpers, but when I put on something lighter and fresher, I freeze to death. First world problems, eh?

Ducks on the Lake

Despite the cold, I really enjoyed wearing this striped top and ripped jeans from River Island. No doubt I will get loads of wear out of this outfit once the weather improves. This is also my first pair of jeans with slashes across the knees. Very late on the bandwagon, I know, but I love them. I think they add a certain interest to an otherwise very plain outfit. As for the top, well, you can't go wrong with stripes, can you?

OOTD River Island

Jeans, top - River Island, jacket - Warehouse, bag - Zara, shoes - H&M, sunglasses - Chanel

OOTD River Island Striped Top

OOTD River Island Ripped Jeans

These H&M plimsolls are super comfortable. I can't find this particular style any more, but there are loads of cute alternatives here. Let's not even mention the trainer sock fail going on in this picture. Let's just skip right past it and look at a nice photo of some trees.

Trees

This is a really lovely spot. I can imagine coming here to walk quite a lot through the summer. It's totally man made, but I kind of love that. It reassures me to know that places like this get built, as well as just more shops, restaurants and houses all the time. I think the local wildlife agrees.

Ducks and Swans

Ducks and Swans

Local Wildlife

Who else is getting impatient for warmer weather, or has it already arrived where you are? And how do you like to style ripped jeans?

See you next time!

Casual OOTD

Kate x
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First Birthday Giveaway

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Kate Louise Blogs will be one year old on Sunday 22nd March. Now if that's not an excuse for a celebration, I don't know what is!

When I first started blogging I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. I still don't, really, but I have certainly learned a lot! In the past year I have been to a fancy event in London, met some really lovely fellow bloggers, worked hard at improving my writing and photography skills and, most importantly, received a much-needed boost to my self-confidence, all because of this blog. I can't imagine not doing it now!

But without all you lovely people reading this, none of that would have happened. I really do appreciate every visitor and every comment. Feeling that I'm creating something here that people actually enjoy means more to me than I can say, so I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all of you for reading this blog and for every lovely comment you have left over the past twelve months.

I've also decided to do a little giveaway to mark the occasion.

Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream Gift Set

Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream Gift Set Eau de Toilette

Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream Gift Set Giveaway

I have a Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream gift set to give away to one lucky winner. It contains a 50 ml bottle of Daisy Dream eau de toilette as well as a shower gel and body lotion. This fragrance proved to be very popular in the blogosphere when it first came out and it's not hard to see why. Beautiful packaging aside, it's a light, fresh, floral scent that's perfect for Spring. (Just to be 100% clear, I bought the gift set with my own money. This is not a sponsored post.)

I'm going to keep this simple. For a chance to win the Daisy Dream Gift Set, here's what you have to do:

  1. Make sure you're following me on Bloglovin, Twitter and Instagram.
  2. Leave me a comment to let me know you're following and would like to be entered into the draw.
And that's it! I'll enter all your names into a random name picker and announce the winner in a new blog post on 17th April. I will also get in touch with the winner via Twitter.

Once again, thank you all for your lovely support. Here's to the next twelve months!

Kate x
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The Bee's Knees... or Feet?

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First let me reassure you - there will be no photos of my feet in this blog post. Nobody needs to see that.

Right. Now we've got that cleared up, let's get on with it, shall we?

Obviously I blog about beauty products because I love them and have a healthy (or unhealthy!) interest in trying as many as I can in the eternal quest to look and feel as goddess-like as possible. However, there are certain products I tend to get into a rut with, and foot cream is one of them. For as long as I can remember I have used the Body Shop's Peppermint Foot Cream. Now don't get me wrong, that is a great product, and the main reason I have got into a rut with it is because it does such a good job. But every so often you wind up in a new town, out of foot cream and unsure of the whereabouts of the nearest Body Shop, and rather than go out hunting for it, you decide to see what's available at Boots.

That's how I found Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Cream, and I think it's even better than my trusty old Body Shop product.

Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Cream

Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Cream - Swatched

Foot cream is one of those things that I often can't be bothered with, but I really notice the difference in my skin between when I use it and when I don't. When I bought this, I hadn't used any for a while, and suffice it to say my feet were decidedly ungoddess-like.

The consistency of this product is more like a gel than a traditional cream. This makes it slightly less pleasant to apply, in my opinion, as it's quite thick and sticky, but once it's sunk in it has a pretty much instant softening effect. One application transformed my feet from scaly dragon claws to beautifully soft, which really impressed me.

If you're not crazy about the smell of coconut then this might not be for you. It's pretty strongly scented and it lingers all day. I love it, so this isn't an issue for me, but if you're thinking "ugh!" it's also available in peppermint.

There isn't much more to say about this, just to re-emphasise that it does what it says on the tin and then some!

Have you tried this? What's your favourite foot cream?

Kate x
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Vanilla Links pendant from Nude Jewellery

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Put the words "delicate" and "handmade" next to the word "jewellery" and you've pretty much got my undivided attention at the moment. I will always love statement necklaces and cocktail rings, but right now I cannot get enough of all the dainty little pieces that seem to be so popular. If they're handmade, so much the better. I love the thought of wearing something that's been individually crafted. Right now, my new Vanilla Links pendant from Nude Jewellery is my absolute favourite piece, and I've been wearing it pretty much day and night since I got it.

Nude Jewellery have a boutique in Mayfair in London as well as a vast online selection. (Very vast - it's one of those sites you can lose hours on). They pride themselves on stocking some of the finest contemporary jewellery by UK designers as well as jewellers from all over the world. They also claim to have a passion for unusual pieces and you can definitely see this when you browse the site. From the beautifully simple to the fabulously ornate, there are so many quirky designs that I just haven't seen anywhere else.

The packaging is delightfully different too. My necklace arrived carefully wrapped in tissue paper, inside a white cardboard box, inside this huge silky grey wrap. 

Nude Jewellery

The Vanilla Links pendant is handcrafted in silver by Nude's in-house London jewellery designers. It couldn't be simpler - two hammered rings on a fine chain. From the pendant itself down to the fastenings, the quality of the piece is obvious. It's quite a short necklace, so my favourite way to wear it is peeping through an open shirt collar, though it also works very nicely against a high-necked top or dress.

Nude Jewellery - Vanilla Links Pendant

Nude Jewellery - Vanilla Links Pendant

Nude Jewellery - Vanilla Links Pendant

I love the way the rings sometimes sit one inside the other, sometimes side by side. The hammered detail adds an interesting texture that make this piece a joy to both handle and wear. I'm not going to be taking this off any time soon!

Nude Jewellery - Vanilla Links Pendant

Nude Jewellery - Vanilla Links Pendant

Nude Jewellery

What's your favourite item of jewellery at the moment?

Kate x

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Clarins Extra Comfort Foundation

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If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll probably be aware that I like a full coverage foundation. Estee Lauder Double Wear has been my Holy Grail for a while now, and I'm always looking out for good drugstore alternatives. (So far, Revlon ColorStay comes out on top for me. You can read my review of it here.) However, there's another high end base that's been on my wishlist for a while - Clarins Extra Comfort. I felt like treating myself after moving house, so I picked it up a couple of weeks ago. It comes in a glass jar with a gold lid. Possibly not the most practical packaging, but isn't it pretty?

Clarins Extra Comfort Foundation

I've seen a couple of bloggers talk about this foundation, most notably Laura from Buy Now Blog Later (one of my all-time favourite blogs). If I hadn't, I might not have considered Clarins when looking for a foundation, as I tend to think of them primarily as a skincare brand. The power of the blogosphere, eh?!
 
Clarins Extra Comfort Foundation
 
Clarins Extra Comfort Foundation swatch
 
In fact, aside from the full coverage, what really intrigued me about this base is that it claims to be makeup and skincare in one. It contains nourishing Argan oil, as well as some rather more mystifying ingredients. Don't ask me what a plant-based micropatch is, but according to Clarins it boosts hydration and increases the suppleness of skin. Sounds good to me! It also contains a "global age-defying complex" designed to smooth fine lines and wrinkles. Even better! (Not that I have any, of course, cough, cough.)
 
The foundation feels beautiful to apply. It looks quite thick in the jar but doesn't feel that way at all. It feels like applying moisturiser, and has that pleasant, plant-based smell that I associate with Clarins skincare. It's targeted towards dehydrated skin, which makes it good for me at this time of year, when cold weather and central heating tend to dry my skin out. While I do love Double Wear, it can sometimes look a little patchy towards the end of the day when my skin is dry. I haven't had that issue with Extra Comfort, although I have to say that the longevity isn't quite as good as Double Wear.

The other main difference between the two is the finish. Extra Comfort is dewy and natural looking, whereas Double Wear is matte and quite flat. I never used to like dewy bases on me, but I've actually been loving it for a change. While I don't think anything will ever match the coverage of Double Wear for me, this one definitely doesn't disappoint on that score. Coverage is my number one priority when it comes to foundations, so this puts Extra Comfort firmly in my good books!

Here it is on my face.
 
Clarins Extra Comfort Foundation FOTD

I don't really know how useful face shots are when talking about foundations, but I've included this one because I think you can kinda sorta see the dewiness as the light hits me from the side. I'm not wearing a highlight and I've powdered over the base. My shade is 103 Ivory, which is the lightest they do.

So, to conclude, I really like this and can see myself wearing it a lot!

Have you tried Clarins Extra Comfort? What's your favourite high end foundation?

Kate x
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Redecorating

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Notice anything different?

I decided it was time to smarten things up around here, so I've installed a brand new template. I hope you like it! Layout and navigation-wise it hasn't changed much, but it looks more professional and a lot neater than before. Hopefully you'll find it more aesthetically pleasing too. I know I do!

New Blog Template from Pipdig

I bought the template from Pipdig, and would recommend them to anyone in the market for a blog refresh, especially those as technically-challenged as me. Not only do they have a great selection of beautiful, reasonably priced designs, they will also install one for you on request (in super quick time, in my experience) and there's the possibility of customising the existing templates as well.

All in all I'm thrilled with the new look and I'm hoping it's going to inspire me to create lots of new content to do it justice! Stay tuned!

Kate x
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