MIA & Prague

Hey girls,

I've had a bit of a rough week so I've been off the radar. I have about 2 billion posts I want to write but I've been as sick as a dog the past few days and might be going to Prague tomorrow (If I'm well enough) until Tuesday, and then visiting Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas ship on Wednesday, so I'll hopefully get a proper post up next Thursday. I just wanted to let you know in case you've been checking back and getting annoyed by my lack of updates!

I'm just getting over the Mother of All Viruses - think Exorcist spliced with True Blood, and this morning I woke up with a busted neck and arm. Turns out I have a pinched nerve because I've been lying down in such funny positions the past few days. I tried to ease it with a hot water bottle and ended up with some sort of 1st degree burn on my shoulder - doh! Anyway, I got some heavy duty painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs from the doc and slapped on some deep heat so I'll hopefully be on the mend soon. All I've had since Tuesday is a small bowl of soup and a few crackers, so I better see something good when I get on the scales!

On my return I'll post some shots of and looks with Urban Decay's NAKED palette - although it seems like everyone and their uncle has already got it and posted about it! I managed to grab mine from House of Fraser last Thursday even though it's official release date was 23rd. 

So, health willing, I should be in Prague this weekend. I really do hope I can get away as it's the Notting Hill Carnival this weekend and I live in the thick of things. Although it's fun to party on the street in the daytime, it can get a bit hairy in the late evening when the gangs come out to frolic and last year I exited my flat the morning after to be greeted by a stinking pile of human poo poo in the doorway. Nice.

There are a few Sephora stores in Prague and I'm hoping Heathrow T5 has a Victoria's Secret concession to feed my addiction :)  Prague is a stunning city, I first visited it for my 21st birthday and this time I'm bringing mummykins.

Have a lovely bank lolly weekend everyone!

Hugs and kisses, Kat x


Beauty Discount Shopping Spree Up Norf!

I was in Blackpool and Manchester over the weekend with himself for our 2 year anniversary - oh the glamour! I didn't leave an inch of space in my suitcase as I had no intention of shopping. At all. Let's just say the case has now gone to the great luggage rack in the sky and I ended up 'acessorizing' my return journey with a glamourous Tesco bag, or two. Yes, the scabby, noisy plastic kind.

Can I just say I am IN LOVE with T J Hughes! Sadly the closest one to me is in Watford - hours away since I don't drive, dahling.  I've since discovered it sells online, but the P&P charges are a bit steep.  I also hit up Aldi in Manchester for their Lacura range.  Shopping outside of London is great because things don't sell out within a matter of seconds like they do in the Big Smoke.

I found some great boots, jewellery and
the satchel I've been hunting FOR AGES in Primani.  Post to come!

Okay first up, my T J Hughes finds.  Only one of these, the boxed contour powder, was impulse, the rest are all things I've wanted for a while.


This W7 'Double Act' boxed powder is a nearly-as-good-as dupe for Benefit's 10 - one of my wishlist items. It was sealed so I bought it on a wing and a prayer (only £2.99! - over £20 less than '10') and am pleasantly surprised! The pink highlight is great and the bronzer is quite good but not as pigmented as '10's.  The brush is much better - well softer - than Benefit box powder brushes.  The packaging is very similar but the design on the box isn't as cute as 10.  So far it's doing much better than Primark's rip off version.  I'll give this a good go and then decide whether the one swipe = cheekbones approach works before I splash out on the real thing!


This Escada perfume is the purchase I'm most over-joyed about.  A mini version featured in my May Favourites as I finished the bottle and was very sad that it was no longer for sale - it seems as though all Escada perfumes are released for a limited period only, and only the crappy ones hang around on sale in Debenhams and Beauty Base.  Can you imagine the state I was in when I saw 30mls of this Eau de Parfam for £10 in T J Hughes?! Load me up! (I got two - I would have got more but I have stacks of perfume and it goes off after a while anyway).  When I'd originally spotted it at Heathrow airport it was selling for £36, so a great bargain.  The scent is difficult to describe but to me it is a sweet but strong feminine '80s' scent - it reminds me of Saturday afternoons with my mum in Barkers on Kensington High Street sniffing our way around the perfume counters.  Ah, memories :) 

£6 for shampoo, £8 for conditioner

I've wanted to get this Bed Head Brunette Goddess shampoo and conditioner since I tried it at my friend Nat's house over two years ago.  
It also makes my hair beautifully soft.  Sadly the shampoo suffered a small spillage over my St. Moriz finds.  Okay, I know I'm a redhead, but the shampoo is a very light colour (the bottle is ginger! Ha!) and I think it will work for me well long term to add shine.  But the best bit of all is the smell - it's like a vanilla biscuit shower gel I used for a while.    I'll let you know how my hair reacts after a month or so.

£2.99 each or 2 for £5

I got my last batch of St. Moriz mousse from Amazon Marketplace, but T J Hughes had the Instant Self Tanning Mist and Shimmering Bronzing Body Souffle.  I'm saving the spray mist for when I got on holiday (I have cream carpets) and it will be interesting to see what the souffle does to boost my tan - I'm hoping that it will be moisturising as St. Moriz mousse is extremely drying to my skin.  Can't beat it for colour and streak-less-ness though.  It' s a staple of my monthly favourites throughout summer!

In Manchester I spotted Aldi, which sells the Lacura range - a great bargain beauty and skincare line.  I own most of the stuff, so I picked up a few recent additions to the range.  Sadly they only had a tester left of their lipstick in shade '108' which looks like my exact lip colour and would be perfect.  The shelf-stacking monkey I asked for help wouldn't even look out the back for me! I don't think he got the significance of this lipstick! I should have asked a woman!

Face masks (4) £2.99, lipgloss and eyeshadow £1.99 each

I haven't had a chance to try the face masks yet but I will take a couple on hols with me where I'll have more time for a pampering session.  They're supposed to work on blackheads.  I resisted the Lacura eyeshadows for ages as I have about 632, but I really liked the brown and they're excellently pigmented and soft.  The lipgloss also looked right up my street colourwise, and I was right.  The consistency and scent are also lovely.  I've been wearing it an hour so far and it hasn't budged.  Let me know if you want me to do an overview of Lacura products (the good: pressed powder, the bad: mascara, etc).  One very interesting Lacura skincare product I use occassionly is 'WrinkleStop' which contains SYN-AKE - apparently an artificial version of snake venom which is supposed to have a 'botox' effect on wrinkles overtime.  I plan to use it 30 days straight to see if I notice any difference to the fine lines around my eyes.

Eyeshadow packaging, sleek but this one's difficult to open

I love the mirror in the lid - take heed, MAC

Shade 807 - Amythyst

Shade 200 - Coral

And of course the best thing I got was my Hello Kitty, won by himself after only putting £1 in the grabby machine! Woo!  
Have you ever seen so much GLEE?

Where do you go for the best beauty bargains?


How I got (so) into Beauty

I suppose 54 posts into this blog is an odd stage to write about what inspired me to kick off this here blog, but here it is!

My obsession with beauty has an unusual origin. Until a couple of years ago I had a very practical attitude to make up and well, all beauty products. I was not what you would call 'obsessed' with them. But I was obsessed with finding the perfect product for a particular function. What kicked off my holy grail beauty quest was a frustration with buying in, like a sap, to the latest new shampoo or foundation and being let down. I was annoyed by wasting money on products that gathered dust in my bathroom cabinet after only a few uninspiring uses. I hardly ever finish products and when I do I get a very lame sense of achievement and satisfaction that I have discovered a product worth repurchasing. Back in my low-key beauty days on one particularly arduous District Line journey I whipped out my notebook and began listing the best/most functional shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser, sunblock, get the picture. Any beauty item you can think of, I listed my favourite version of it at that moment in time. I wanted to create the ultimate 'shopping list' to end all lists to prevent further money and time wastage trying products that on the whole, turned out to be duds. 

The irony is that I started the list as an attempt to simplify the aesthetic faffing which comes with being a woman; I wanted to have ONE great mascara, ONE fabulous foundation, ONE perfect hair serum, etc. in a streamlined kit. I wanted to declutter, start buying only products I KNEW would work, help me look my best, and that I would completely use up. And also save myself the indecision when facing a wall of hairspray in Boots - because I could always refer to my list!

Ah, what naivety! The major aid to the completion of the list - beauty blogs and youtube videos - was the undoing of my plan for discipline! The number one attraction of the internet beauty community was its, on the whole, honesty. My aforementioned 'sap-ness' and the let downs were mainly a result of buying into multi-million pound advertising and marketing campaigns. Now I know there's a lot of 'sponsored' product posts swilling around the beauty blog community, but having read reams and watched tonnes of real, honest product reviews bought with the scribe's/YTer's own cash, it's pretty easy to spot and immunise yourself against the sometimes-fantastical claims of 'incentivised' posts. Without the community there's no doubt I'd still be flailing around, trying crappy shampoo after crappy mascara. Since engaging with it, I've only bought a few disappointing items, despite quadrupling the volume of beauty paraphernalia I waste my salary on. I read beauty columns in magazines now in the same frame of mind as I do those obviously sponsored blog posts; if a company is laying down big bucks for advertising in the mag, how can a review of any of it's products in that same publication tell it like it is? Now it may be a perfectly worthy item, but I'm not gonna take the risk! (Well at least not before seeing what the blogs say).

On that District Line tube I didn't think of the items on my list as 'holy grail' - this term I picked up from the internet beauty community, but it conveys perfectly the type of products I'm searching for. I've discovered so many amazing products that have really made a difference to how I feel about myself (don't worry, I'm not going all Oprah on you!). One gross but nevertheless good example is the PedEgg. Years before it came to the UK I read about a similar product - the Microfile - on a beauty blog. You could only get in in the US, so when I was in California, I went on a hunt, didn't find it, but saw the PedEgg. I NEVER would have bought this without reading about what a revolution this type of product is to feet - and now mine are no longer my bodypart enemy #1 and I can wear high heels with much less pain. I never would have read about it in a magazine as it wasn't available in the UK at the time. I'm also always on the lookout for other fair/ginger skinned ladies as what suits them is normally a safe bet for me. I hope my recommendations can do the same and pass on the love. 

And so, a fully fledged obsession was born and I'm resigned to the fact that I will never achieve a perfect, finished holy-grail-list-to-end-all-lists (those products I first listed...yeah...BORED NOW!). I will always hunger to try new products. This is my cross and I shall bear (and blog about) it! No doubt it will only get heavier as my face et al heads south.

But hey, everyone has a vice, and I don't smoke or drink! (much).

Part of 'The list'! (by 'purple brush' I 
think I meant 'Falsh Lash Effect'!)


Summer Magazine Freebies

It's been a bumper summer for magazine freebies!  Tatler gave away mini Essie nail polishes, Glamour gave away Benefit eye brights, it sticks and BAD gals and then Lindsey Kelk's novel I heart New York.

Over the weekend I picked up In Style and chose the Lip & Cheek Stain from The Body Shop rather than the gloss.  Although it's great to get a freebie, I'm not into In Style magazine anymore and so only bought it for the product!  Sadly it's a dud.  It's not even as good as my Primark tint.  This one leaks sometimes so I had hoped it would be a handbag friendly version.  It showed up pretty pigmented when I swatched it for the photo below but having used it since, it's very watery and needs to be reapplied a few times to build up a decent colour.  It works better on cheeks though.  I wish I got the shiny lipgloss they're also giving away instead.

Cosmopolitan is giving away this dating advice book by Zoe Strimpel - for you The London Paper lovers, she was the lass who chronicled her dating exploits in the weekly LondonLove feature.  I've read a review on this book and had considered buying it (I really love cheesy dating books!) so I'm delighted to get it for free!

Cosmo also gave away these minis - they're going straight into my toiletry bad for my September Greek Odyssey!  Bottles of this size cost £1 each at Superdrug.  There's also a £1 off voucher if you want to buy the full size version of either.

A nice little haul all in all.  Maire Claire is also giving away a selection of cotton bags.  I'm passing on this one as I never use these types of free bags and already have about 84!

Has anyone read...

I enjoyed it but not sure if it's worth reading the Hollywood and Paris versions?



I haven't done one of these in a while.  Nothing ground-breaking, just my typical morning slap routine.  I do mix my products up a lot, but recently I've been using MAC Hang Loose and Light Flush MSF consistently.

I am not a morning person
Okay okay! Here's a smile!
The kit

I'll mention my least favourite products as I've covered most of the good ones before.  L'Oreal Telescopic Mascara has lots of fans, but it really is one of the worst mascaras I've tried.  It clumps, it straightens any curl I've achieved with my Shu's and it doesn't lengthen much.  
Looking at me head on, my lashes look positively stumpy!  Humph!  You should see what Maybellline Lash Stiletto can do for my lashes!  And you will, in a future review! 

L'Oreal not-so-Telescopic Mascara
Eyelashes? What Eyelashes?!

The other product that is a bit rubbish is the Body Shop Lip & Cheek stain.  It's no Benetint and it doesn't even come close to being as pigmented as Primark's tint!  I used it on my lips and had to apply about 3 coats to get a decent stain.  Then decided I didn't like it and went over it with my Maybelline Coloursensational lippy in Sweet Pink (132).  I also used it on my cheeks, where it fared better but I went over this with MAC Hang Loose.

I applied the Maybelline Mousse foundation with my Inglot duo fibre stippling brush, which I forgot to include in the photo.  It gives a lighter coverage than using your hands, but you do need to smooth out and blend away edges with your fingers or a make up sponge as the brush won't do all the work.

What's the best mascara you've tried?


What's So Great About Tuesdays? Stylist Magazine!

The Evening Standard is dull. There, I've said it. I miss The London Paper and, I forget what the other one was called but it was a damn sight better than ES!  My evening Commute of Doom on the Central Line got that bit worse when ES bought/killed off the other free papers, until I discovered Stylist Magazine, which comes out on a Tuesday...and is FREE!
I get mine outside Oxford Circus tube but they're not at every station and you do have to look a bit for it as it doesn't have (or need!) as many pushers as ES.  I'm not sure if it's even distributed outside London, like the Metro is in Manchester, but it should be!  I find more 'reading' in Stylist than in a lot of magazines I hand over good cash for.  I love it so much I miss it when I'm on leave/working from home/ill on a Tuesday!

Stylist is launching its own Skincare Awards and if you're a Facebook member you can cast your votes and be in with the chance of winning £500 worth of luxury products
Click here to go to the Stylist Facebook page.

Dawn Porter had a fabulous weekly column until recently, but my other favourite regular features are 'Elsewhere' - weird and wonderful tidbits from around the world - today I found out that a South Korean scientist has proven that capsaican (what makes peppers spicy) can aid slimming! One big fat hot curry order for me then!  Another great one is 'Work Life' where a career woman gives us a detailed nosey into her typical working day.  I love this one and although it makes me feel like an underachiever a lot of the time, my nosiness overrides this!  Before Christmas Alex Box, Creative Director of Illamasqua was featured.

Some of the most interesting articles I've read recently were in Stylist - for example, how to make sure you don't get 'demoted' if you take maternity leave, the male to female ratio of corporate board members and whether the government should legislate to increase the number of women in top positions, the inspirational back-story of Michelle Obama, how much time men and women really spend on housework, a female surgeon who gave it all up to become a novelist, I could go on!  Since this is a beauty blog, it's also worth mentioning that Stylist runs excellent beauty articles, and today's reminded me how much I want/need Estee Lauder's Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher!  Other notable mentions from today's edition include the article on 'The Secrets of Confident Entrepreneurs' and HELLO! A four page feature on Angelina Jolie! I love her. Long time.
If you live outside London see if you've got any mates who commut
into work who may be able to pick you up a copy, or you can always read it online here:

Do you read Stylist?


A Blog With Substance Award

The lovely Angel of passed this award onto me, like her, I'd seen this one a few times in the blogosphere and thought it one of the best!

I would like to pass this award on to a few blogs I love to read - not all are beauty related 
(sorry if you already have this award):

♥ Thank the blogger that gave you the award.
♥ Pass the award on to 10 other blogs you feel have substance.


My Birthday: FOTD, FOTN, OOTD & Haulage!

Okay so my birthday was two weeks ago, but I'm slowing down in my old ages, so it's taken me ages to get some snaps up!

In the daytime I went for a boat ride on the lagoon in Regent's Park and then for Dim Sum in Queensway.

Day Eyes
Day Face
Day Outfit

In the evening himself took me to see Love Never Dies at the Adelphi. It's the sequel to the Phantom of the Opera, I loved it. I wore the Eyelure Girl's Aloud Kimberly falsh lashes.

Theatre Eyes

I also had a yummy Mexican meal with my lovely chums. Poor Rach got caught out! There's always one!

And I took the day after my birthday off work and headed down to Brighton as it was a lovely day! I may have gone on a crazy gambling spree *shifty eyes*... I also forgot my SPF and got a little burned :(

My mum got me Bobbi Brown's makeup book - review of this also coming soon!

And the Irregular Choice Miaow Boots I've been wanting for ages! But guess what, they've come out with a grey colour now that I fear I like slight more than the black and gold, ah well!  I haven't worn them yet but plan to with my black skinny jeans, sadly they don't really work with skirts.

The cute soles are the best part!

And himself got me this beautiful white and black diamond pendant.  He went on a hunt for black diamonds after I dragged him to SATC 2 and bored him to death about how much I loved black diamonds!  He so sweet!

So after planning to not even recognise my 26th birthday I ended up having three days of celebration! Right, I'm doing nothing for my 27th. 30 is the big one! Eeeep.

I hope any other July girls had great days too!

Also, I haven't forgotten about doing my 100 follower thank-you giveaway! I actually got the goodies for it ages ago, and hit 100 on my birthday, which was fabulous! I'll get to photograph the prizes at the weekend when I am at home during the daytime - I prefer photos in natural light!  Hopefully I'll put it up over the weekend! 


Wizz Bang Wedges!

I went looking for boring old black espadrilles and spotted these beauties in Office.  Bronze is such a versatile and flattering colour, and I love the height these add without actually being a high heel and therefore making the balls of your feet feel like they're on fire after 20 minutes!  Your foot is on a slight gradient of about 1.5 inches which is more comfortable to walk in than a completely flat shoe.   Plus it makes your calves that
little bit sleeker.

Of course my size wasn't to be found anywhere (well, in the three branches I checked).  I'm normally a 6 but as they were too small I got the 7s even though they're a bit large.  Why can't more shoe shops introduce half sizes already?!  I tracked them down online but have to pay £3.50 P&P...and wait 2-7 days for them.  They come in black too.

They're going to go with everything!  And they're actually called 'Wizz Bang'! - an accurate description of the love at first sight they inspired in me!


July Favourites

Quite a random mix of favourite products in July - a few of them have featured in previous faves lists, but a favourite is called such for a reason!

These products are making repeat appearances.  St. Moriz self tanning mousse has revolutionised my summers and no matter how fat I'm feeling (or actually, am) a bit of tan makes all the difference.  The first time I applied it with my hands - a disaster - but the Boots tanning mitt protects your hands from looking freakish and helps avoid streaking.  I ordered my St. Moriz from Amazon Marketplace but you can also pick it up from Savers.

Given that I can't tan naturally my other summer beauty must have is a high SPF face sun block.  I've tried about 6 and the No7 one is my favourite for acting as a moisturiser and sinking in fast so I can get my slap on over it in a rush!

To make my pale face match my St. Moriz'd body I use MAC's Minieralized Skin Finish in Light Flush to give me a light bronzed glow.  Recently I've started using it to lightly contour too.

You can read more in depth thoughts on these products in my May and June Favourites posts.

My hair always get greasier faster in the hot weather, so Batiste dry shampoo freshens it up and I find it also adds volume.   Batiste is quite a 'vintage' brand which was relaunched a couple of years ago.  I've tried the 'Blush' and 'Tropical' versions and while both smell lovely, I have to work the white powder into my hair so much that the action only stimulates more grease production!  I have red hair and the Brunette version blends in perfectly.  I would say if you have dark brown hair however that it would be noticeable.  I'm on my 4th can of the stuff and I love the scent.  The only drawbacks are that it's almost always sold out in Boots and I get through a can very quickly.  However it saves me from washing and blow drying my hair every morning (I only have to do every other) which in turn limits the damage to my locks.

I'm also on about the 3rd  (unheard of) bottle of this L'Oreal Elvive Nourishing Fluid for hair.  It's like a white, watery hair serum with the most divine scent on earth.  There's also a shampoo, conditioner and hair mask of the 'Royal Jelly' scent.  Now I've had 'Royal Jelly' products from Marks and Spencers and they don't smell anywhere near as good as this fluid!  The best bit is that it doesn't weigh my hair down or make it lank like even the light version of Frizz-Eaze for thin hair does.  One pump smooths out any frizziness at the ends of my hair and I actually think its helped prevent further damage.  I have the leave-in 'day' version, so I assume there is also a 'night' version which will be a bit heavier.

I reviewed this a few weeks ago and although I normally flit between about six different cleansers I used this one consistently during July.  I wouldn't say the face wash itself is revolutionary, but I sure do like the little scrublet! I've tried it with other foaming face washes, such as Biore's and it works just as well.   You really get a more thorough clean than you would from just using your hands, and the scrublet is more hygienic than a face cloth.  However, I'd say its not a patch on the Clarisonic, which I hope will one day grace my favourites lists.  I'm just waiting for Space NK to have a very generous sale! I won't hold my breath.

And now for the fun part: make up favourites!

Since I grabbed MAC's Hang Loose Mineralize Blush from the In The Groove collection in mid July I have used it every single time I've applied make up - for any occasion - work, play, more play...The colour is unlike any blush I own and I love the fact that I'm applying a crazy lavender powder to my face yet it shows up as an iridescent baby pink.  
Click here for my post about it and close up snaps.

My new favourite foundation is Bourjois Healthy Mix in their lightest shade - 51.  I had my eye on this baby for ages and it's everything I hoped it would be.  For more of a review and to see how it looks on me
click here.

I always wear coral nail polish in the summer and for the past two years my toenails have been adorned with Rimmel PRO's Coral Romance.  It looks even better when I have my St. Moriz on.  
Click here to see what it looks like on my nails.

I take my Sleek Pout Polishes in Pink Cadillac (left) and Electro Peach (right) everywhere with me and have been wearing them constantly.  I was never a 'lip' person until I discovered (well, won) these babies and I've never had more compliments on my lip colour.  They are moisturising, nicely pigmented and long lasting.  I'm even warming to the flavour.  My boyfriend says they taste of coconut but I find them slightly bitter.   To see what they look like on my lips
click here.

Now, the Sleek Storm eye shadow palette.  I think almost everyone has this and agrees on its fabulousness.  I've  used this palette for a little over a year now and it's my all time favourite - even beating my UD Book of Shadows I & II.  It is unbelievably versatile and so I've taken it on every holiday I've been on - a major test of how much you love something!  I've hit pan on my favourite shadow - the pale creamy gold (top row, second from left) and my new love is the pale pink (top row, second from right).  There isn't one shadow I don't like or don't use.  I hope Sleek never discontinue this palette, but safe to say, I have a few back ups.  Let me know if you would like me to do an over-re-view of my Sleek palettes - I also have Original, Graphite, Bohemian, Sunset and Circus.  I'm mighty sad I missed out on the Safari one a couple of years back.

My non-make up favourite of July is Florence + The Machine's
Cosmic Love.  I've had Lungs for yonks and even heard it live at Lovebox last year, but it only struck a chord with me in early July (see what I did there?!).   I've had the song on repeat - no seriously - it's the only thing I've been listening to! The vid is also, in the words of Perez Hilton, amazeballs.

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