Saturday, 30 March 2013

March Empties

Hello folks!

It's been a little while (Like, y'know, a month...?) since I last wrote about the products I've used up, so I bring you an empties post today. It's one of the good things about a spending ban; you start to use up some of the products in your stash as well as weed out the products you liked and the ones you don't...


I love my little empties tin! So cute. And now for its contents...

Hair and Body:


Umberto Giannini Curl Friends Natural Curls Styling Spray (Travel size): This is my go-to scrunching spray when I want curly, messy, bed-heady hair. Smells lovely, and even the travel size lasts ages. I will be picking this up again imminently, my hair isn't the same without it!

Lush Snow Fairy Shower Gel (Discontinued) - Well discontinued for now, it'll be back at Christmas. I liked this at first, it reminded me of the pear drops that I'm so fond of. But like pear drops, after a while I start to find them to be so sweet that they become sickly and I can't have any more lest I vomit. Strong words, but as such I won't be buying this again when Christmas comes around.

Skincare


Body Shop Seaweed Clarifying Toner - I enjoy using this toner. I believe it's appeared in a few of my empties posts now. At the moment however, I've swapped it for a Dr Jart toner (to see if Dr Jart's pore refine range can do anything for my face), so for now I won't be repurchasing.

No.7 Pore Refining Serum - Another weapon from my arsenal that I've used up in the fight to kick my craterous skin into touch. I definitely didn't notice much difference in my skin whilst using this, so for that reason I won't be buying this again.

Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream (Travel Size) - This is a lovely moisturiser, but it's obviously for those with drier skin than I, as I found this sent my oily skin into shiny overload. Not good and not for me sadly!

Lush Cupcake Face Mask - I really enjoyed using this face mask, its divine scent made me crave chocolate every time I used it. I would buy this again, but only if I had run out of my current masks... and if I was near a Lush. Which is a rare occurence for me sadly. Sigh...

Make-up and Nails


MUA Nail Polish in Frozen Yoghurt - This technically isn't an empty. While I was on holiday in September, my clear top coat exploded in my make-up bag and went all over the cap of this. Gradually this has rendered this poor polish unopenable. I would buy this again though; it's only £1 and it's a lovely colour.

MUA Matte Perfect Primer - I am not a fan of this primer. At all. I've reviewed it here and that is all I'd like to say on this matter.

Estelle and Thild Raspberry Lip Balm - I loved this lovely balm of loveliness from the moment it popped out of my Selfridges Beauty Box. It soothed my ever-chapped lips and gave a delicious fruity favour to boot. However, it is a whopping £14 to buy and that's a wee bit too much to spend on a lip balm for me. So I shall wave a sad goodbye...

Well that is my beauty stash considerably lightened this month! What products have you used up this month? Anything that you're sad to say au revoir to?

Christina xo

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Procrastinating Beauty Blogger Tag

Hello again fabulous followers :)

Yesterday, the lovely Katie from Oh To Feel Pretty (Which she is! P.S. her latest Rainbow Eyes post is bloody amazing!
 
The Rules:
1. Thank the tagger and link them in the post. 
2. State that this tag was created by The Beau Bow (www.thebeaubow.blogspot.com).
3. Copy and paste the rules.
4. Tag some more beauty bloggers and link them to the post.
5. Title this The Procrastinating Beauty Blogger Post so bloggers know what the post is about.
6. Have fun! :)

1. Name a beauty regime that you rarely do.
Self tanning. I live in Scotland with red hair; if I get fake-tanning wrong then I risk looking like an Oompa Loompa. Eh... NAW!

2. Is washing your makeup brushes something you do regularly?
Usually once a week, unless I'm travelling a lot. Then less frequently (I know, yuck.)

3. How long will you last with chipped nail polish?
Hours. I can't stand it, I have to chip it off.

4. How long do you put off buying/replacing a beauty or nail polish product even if you need it (i.e. purchasing a new top coat, foundation etc)?
I can't wait long to replace anything at all. Usually if a product's about to run out then I start to look for a back-up or buy a replacement. I'm a bit OCD about making sure I'm well-stocked, lest the world should end and I don't have enough moisturiser, y'know?

5. What is your worst beauty habit?
Drinking alcohol probably. But I like my nice wines/gins/ciders way too much unfortunately...

6. Name something non-beauty related that you put off doing all the time?
House-work. I hate house-work. Sometimes it's all I do at work, so you can't really blame me for steering clear of it at home.

7. When going out somewhere, do you leave getting ready until the last minute or not?
Not really, I tend to get ready at a very leisurely pace. Shower, sit with a cuppa, make-up, sit with a cuppa, hair, sit with a cuppa, etc etc.

8. Can you commit to spending bans? 
I think so, I just need a little more discipline sometimes.

9. How organised is your makeup and nail collection?
Pfft it's haphazardly thrown either into a tower of drawers or into the vanity case I got for Christmas. Maybe when I move I will organise things a little more...

10. What is the longest amount of time you have gone without writing a blog post?
A week, maybe more? Sometimes I am genuinely too busy with work and trying to catch up with people.

As you will be aware if you are an avid reader of my blog, I am bone idle and never tag folk in these kind of posts. So if you want to do this tag, I tag you! Yaaay!

Christina xo

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

100 Day Spending Ban - Week 12

Hey spending ban fans!

We're on week 12 already, and there's only a week and a half until the 100 day spending ban ends (it SHOULD end around 10/11th April) for most. However, I've made the decision to EXTEND my ban until the end of May. I can hear many make-up fans screaming: "Noo! You mad-woman! Why would you torture yourself this way??!" Well let me explain:

Reason 1: I haven't been very good at this spending ban. I've splurged a few times on products that many would rightly argue were unneccessary, such as the time I bought 4 copies of Glamour to obtain all 4 Percy and Reed hair samples and buying the Marks & Spencer blusher when I was treating my mum for her birthday. To that end, I want to extend the ban so that I can become better at controlling my spending.




Reason 2: I've noticed that, this month in particular, I've had more money left at the end of the month to spend, which is obviously great. At the moment though, I'm trying to put as much of that spare cash as possible towards our move back to Glasgow (which will hopefully be soon!). My thinking is that by extending the ban, I'm giving myself a better chance to save more money for moving home.


Reason 3: This ban has really taught me to value the products I use and I've become less prone to buying unnecessary items when I have products at home I could use. I've also come to place more value on product quality than price. For example I'm more concerned with buying something of a high quality that works well for me rather than worrying about the price, particularly when it comes to skincare and bases. I'd rather spend a bit more on skincare that helps my skin than buy a million products that do nothing for me, since it becomes more cost effective in the long run. I'm hoping that by extending the ban for another 5/6 weeks that I will become better when I spend money in general and will learn more lessons such as this.

In general, extending the ban is a good thing; it's proved to be a great learning curve and it will benefit me in the long run.

P.S. This week has been a good spending ban week, no purchases made at all! Yaaay!

What do you guys think? If you're doing a ban, would you consider extending it?

Christina xo

Saturday, 23 March 2013

These are a few of my favourite things :)

Hello readers!

I felt compelled to share some of my favourite things with you today, I hope you don't mind! I'm not sure if this will become a regular series but I will definitely try to share some favourites more frequently.

Favourite TV shows: Ghost in the Shell.









 

I recently started watching more animes with my boyfriend Kris, and Ghost in the Shell is one of my favourites. It follows a team of top level police who specialise in solving cyber crimes in a futuristiccity in Japan. It's a little more complex that I'm making it sound, but to try and explain everything would take ages and my brain would hurt. Suffice to say it's brilliant, intriguing and I love watching it!

Favourite Beauty products: MUA Trio Eyeshadow in Innocence.


This is my favourite tool for creating a neutral but smokey eye. Each shade applies well, is incredibly pigmented and lasts very well, with or without primer.

Favourite Place: Bar Gumbo, Glasgow.





This is a new bar/eaterie that has opened up on Byres Road in Glasgow's West End (where I'm from!) and it's all about the soul. Soul food, soul music and drinks to soothe all souls! I visited here with my friend when I was at home recently and absolutely loved it. I particularly recommend having any of their burgers with extra pulled pork topping (nom nom) and to drink I'd try the Thai Orchard, so refreshing!

Favourite music: The Delays.


I've recently rediscovered the Delays, a brilliant band of lads from Southampton. Their dreamy electronics matched with their rock undercurrent is reminiscent of the La's and I love listening to the lead singer Greg Gilbert's voice :) Unsung is a particular favourite of mine, so enjoy!

So those were a few of my favourite things! What are you guys loving this week?

Christina xo

Friday, 22 March 2013

Tune into Autism - A gig for Music Therapy

Hello again!

As some of you may be aware (you will certainly know if you follow me on Twitter) I recently organised a gig with my friend Kirsty. Kirsty and I both work for Scottish Autism, so we decided to help raise money for their Music Therapy programs by staging a live music night.

Music can help people with autism in many ways; whether it's through listening or playing music it can help improve communication skills, provide a relaxing pursuit and can help with some of the sensory issues people with autism face. Having the chance to help more people take part is such activities was an honour for Kirsty and I. (If you'd like more information on how music therapy can help those with autism, Nordoff-Robbins also run similar programs and you can find out about the benefits here.)


Kirsty and I before the gig!


One of the posters I made! (You can tell I used to be a teacher :P)


Our first performer of the night, Chris Johnston. He's absolutely brilliant, so once he has some tracks laid down I will be sharing them with the world! :)


Chris on stage!


Next up we had Papa Hotel, a very talented bunch of lads from Perth who brought some rock 'n' roll to the proceedings. Definitely check them out if you like your music loud and full of attitude!


Last up we had Emerald Sunday, another fantastic band from Dundee who blew the roof off! Emerald Sunday have an album coming out on May 3rd - Forbidden Sun - which everyone should go and buy. Particularly if you're a fan of AC/DC, these guys absolutely love AC/DC!


As you can see, we managed to gather a pretty good crowd and everyone there said they had a fantastic night. We also had a cheeky wee raffle, as you can see below. Kirsty and Carolyne - Scottish Autism's fantastic fundraising manager, drew the tickets and I handed out the prizes (Everyone had their eyes on the booze for some reason...)






(P.S. All the photos were taken by my brilliant friend Scott Forrest - he did such a fantastic job of capturing a great night, so thank you Scott! And if you're in Scotland and want a photographer/videographer for your event, his business page is here.)

After all the bands had rocked out and all the raffle prizes were handed out, we managed to raise over £500 for Scottish Autism!! We were blown away that we managed to raise so much, so huge thank yous to everyone who came, who donated prizes and who made the night so fantastic. Kirsty and I still can't believe we pulled it off and everyone had fun. And you never know, we might do another... in a few years after we've recovered from this one!

Also if you fancy doing your bit, remember that April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day, so why not find out more about Autism and spread the word. Half of my job is about raising awareness, so why not ask me? You can also find many great charities and advocates on Twitter, such as the National Autistic Society, Autism Answered and more.

Thanks for reading, I just wanted to share something I'm proud of with all you lovely followers!

Christina xo

100 Day Spending Ban - Weeks 10 + 11

Hello again spending ban fans!

Sorry I haven't posted much lately, I just have not felt like writing. I know many people go through phases like this, but I still feel a little guilty! Anyway, back to my spending ban...

I've been pretty good for the past couple of weeks. Due to the vast amounts of snow I have had to invest in some sensible boots for getting to work, but that was necessary since my old boots were falling to bits (not fun when the snow hits...). However I did have one small slip-up...


While I was taking my Mum shopping for her birthday, I did pick up this little beauty in Marks and Spencers. To be fair, one wee £6 when I spent nearly £100 on my lovely Mum doesn't seem too bad!

Also, I won Rimmel's new Lash Accelerator Endless in a Twitter competition! Yaaaay!




It's so pretty! Will hopefully have a wee review up soon :)

Anyway,thanks for reading and for putting up with my lack of blogging mojo, hopefully I'll be a bit more active soon!

Christina xo

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

100 Day Spending Ban - Week 9

Hey spending ban fans! This week has been a bit... bleurgh in terms of not spending. Some purchases have been necessary, but I will admit that some probably were not necessary and were just me being impulsive!

So here's the lowdown on what I've bought this week:

2x Pairs of skinny jeans from New Look: these were genuinely a necessity. I only own 1 pair of jeans that I wear regularly and they began to wear out, so New Look came to the rescue with their newly released petite range (I should also mention it's extremely hard for me to find well-fitting jeans because I'm really fucking short!), and these were a bargain at £7.49 a pair :)






Next up, I've run out of pore serum and I'm nearly out of toner too. So I took advantage of Boots' 3 for 2 on skincare and invested in Dr Jart's Pore Refine Range, picking up the Toner, the Primer and getting the serum free. Now technically I'm supposed to try and spend less when replacing a product (Body shop toner = £7 and Boots Pore serum = £14, compared to Dr Jart+ Toner = £18 and serum = £13) but if you keep in mind I'm getting a free product the money balances out, especially as it was cheaper to order from Boots than it was to order from the Body Shop (at least that's what I'm telling myself... ). Added to that, it's not cheap getting skincare that can really help oily, pore-ridden skin like mine so I'd rather pay for something that works for my skin than just buy any old nonsense!

http://www.boots.com/wcsstore/cmsassets/Boots/Library/Icon/Homepage/Brand%20Treatments/Dr%20Jart/DrJart_PoreRefining_c1030/DrJart_PoreRefining_c1030.jpg 
Also this week, I will be organising and hosting a charity gig called Tune Into Autism to raise funds for Scottish Autism and their music therapy programmes. In keeping with the colours of Scottish Autism (pink and purple) I wanted a purple dress (key word being WANT and not NEED!) and I found this beauty on ASOS for £40 (also my first ASOS purchase, pretty impressed so far!)


And lastly, Glamour magazine and their freebies got the better of me:


Yup. Speaks for itself. There was no real motivation for this, other than I felt like I missed out last time Glamour gave away Percy and Reed hair-care so I collected all four samples. The shame the shame... 

Considering how badly I've done this week, I'm not adding to my wishlist. I don't deserve to! I'm considering extending the ban... we'll see.

Christina xo

Sunday, 3 March 2013

What I've been up to recently... Sunday 24th February

Hello everyone!

If you follow me on Twitter (my handle is ironic_sparkles if you want to come and say hello!), you'll know that life has been extremely busy for me lately. The majority of last week saw me travelling back and Forth (A Fife joke? Really?) between Glasgow and Kirkcaldy frequently, firstly for my grampa's funeral (which was sad but also hilarious - the May family know how to party, even at a wake) and then for the UK premiere of Joss Whedon's new film, an adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing plus the closing gala party of the Glasgow Film festival. Phew! Busy busy. I thought I'd share some bits from my weekend with you...


My nails for the premiere and gala. In keeping with the colourful logos for the Glasgow Film Festival I decided to go for some bright Models Own colours and glitters.


On Sunday afternoon before the film, I met up with two of my best friends, Claire and Vicky, and we went for some lunch and tea. This was our tea in a little place called the Cup and Saucer. If you find yourself craving some tea in Glasgow, I'd highly recommend trying here, yum yum!


Next up, Kris and I got moderately dressed up to meet our friends for dinner before the film, and we went to one of my favourite eateries in Glasgow, Cocktail and Burger. This is Kris trying not to be blinded by the flash on my phone, haha!


The cocktail menu. Yum yum... think I had a daiquiri in the end. They know how to make awesome cocktails, that much I know!

After we were fed and watered, we wandered along to the Glasgow Film Theatre to see Much Ado About Nothing. This was no ordinary screening, as I said it was the UK premiere of the film, but Joss Whedon came along! He was a true gentleman, patient and obliging, putting up with some of the incredibly geeky questions that were put to him.


Sorry for the picture quality; this was on my phone, zoomed in from about ten rows back! But as I said, he came across as a brilliant and down-to-earth guy and hopefully he comes back to Glasgow soon! The film itself was brilliant; Joss Whedon brought Shaksespeare's words to life on the screen, all the actors were great, but particular praise goes to Nathan Fillion as Dogberry and Alexis Denisof as Benedick (the scene where he overhears Claudio and Don Pedro is absolutely hilarious.)

After the film ended, we were invited to party on down at the CCA for the Glasgow Film Fest's Closing Gala, where we were treated to free drinks and great tunes for the remainder of the evening. I have to be honest: I didn't think much of the gala. The free drinks were handed out it crappy little white cups and it was way too crowded in some parts (White cups might sound pissy, but really, how much effort does it really take to get some plastic champagne flutes? :P) so my friends and I found a quiet corner in one of the bars in the CCA and just chilled out and dissected the film.

The next day, Kris had to head back early to go to work, but I decided to stay and try a new little diner in the West End called the New York Kitchen with my mum and my brother...



Brooklyn Lager is very nice by the way. The theme in the New York Kitchen (owned by the same people who own the two neighbouring establishments: Criterion and Velvet Elvis) is big, hearty American diner-style food. I'll put it to you this way, I almost rolled out of the door after devouring a plate of Southern Fried Chicken, fries and sweetcorn, delicious as it was. I loved it! I can't remember the name of the company that owns these three venues, but they're all fantastic. If you find yourself in the West End of Glasgow, check out these three beauties on Dumbarton Road, they're all great (I should know, I used to live around the corner!)

After a hellish week, I had so much fun last weekend and I really needed it. It reminded me how much I missed Glasgow and has renewed my determination to move back there, hopefully before the end of this summer. I'm not looking forward to having THAT conversation with my boss...

Christina xo

February Empties

I can't believe we're now in March; 2013 is just zooming by! I also seem to be zipping through my skincare at an alarming rate, so I've got an empties post for you guys today.






Clockwise from top left we have:

Superdrug Naturally Radiant Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser - I enjoy using this; it's light and refreshing and leaves my skin feeling smooth. I've already repurchased this :)

No.7 Beautiful Skin Day Cream for Normal/Oily Skin. This moisturiser was brilliant, it was thick and provided my skin with lots of moisture without making it greasy. I will definitely repurchase this once I've used up all my current moisturisers!

Rituals Zensation Shower Foam - I love Rituals Shower Foams; this one contained Rice Milk and Cherry Blossom, and it smelt divine, like the essence of cleanliness if that makes sense. If I'm feeling flush one day, I'll pop to Edinburgh/Glasgow and pick up a full size of this (after my spending ban is finished OBVIOUSLY!)

Oops, that little tube which sneakily flipped over in my tin was a sample of Lancome Genefique. If you're a regualr reader of my blog, you'll know how much I adore this but loathe the price tag. So I won't repeat myself, but suffice to say that by hook or by crook, I will own a full size bottle one day...

Body Shop Seaweed Pore-Cleansing Facial Exfoliator - This was a good scrub, but I prefer something that's grittier than this; I like to know when I'm scrubbing my face! To that end, I wouldn't repurchase this.

Lastly, we have every beauty blogger's favourite powder - Rimmel's Stay Matte Powder in 002 Rose Blossom (think this shade has been discontinued. Or I've remembered the name wrong, one of the two...) Don't get me wrong, I liked using this powder, it was great. The packaging though was completely useless. The crappy plastic lid that never stayed on properly fell off and broke, so I couldn't take this anywhere with me, for fear of the powder exploding all over my handbags. As a result, I rarely used this, and now I just want rid of it. It's a shame; I think if Rimmel improved the packaging and made it more secure, I would repurchase this time and again.

What have you used up this month? Like the sound of any of the above products?

Christina xo