Thursday, 17 April 2014

Review | Twist Mojito Cocktail Box*

I do love a cheeky little drink every now and then especially a cocktail plus I also like subscription boxes (when they are good that is) so obviously I was going to be more than a little excited upon seeing the latest subscription box to hit the interweb. A cocktail subscription. I repeat A COCKTAIL SUBSCRIPTION BOX. GO GO GO *said in shouty police man voice before high speed chase commences*. You can thank me later for bringing this to your attention. 

Twist offer specific cocktail boxes each month for £24.99, you can either subscribe to the boxes or purchase a one off box every now and then when the fancy takes you. So far past boxes have included, Manhattens, Mojitos and Tequila. Each box comes with everything you need to make the perfect cocktail and enough of the ingredients to make 4 cocktails, not only that but if you fancy trying your hand at being a proper mixologist they even sell various cocktail making kits that include mixers, muddlers and shakers. 

So in my March Mojito Box (£24.99)* I got Mint Leaves, Ginger Ale, A Lime, Balsamic Vinegar, Monin Sugar Syrup, Grand Marnier and 2 bottles of White Rum, the idea being that you can make a Classic Mojito, A Ginger Mojito, A Strawberry Mojito and a Grand Mojito - some cocktails may require you to source a few extras, but nothing major or that you would find difficult to get your hands on. The box itself looks lovely and the little mini bottles are so cute and can be re-used, personally I think it is perfect to take along to a party or to give as a gift to someone - not to mention a great way to discover new cocktails and add new recipes to your mental library to impress folk. I know what people are getting from me for birthdays this year. 

What box are you looking forward to seeing?

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*PR Sample - Sent for consideration of an honest review. All words, images and views are my own

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Review | Avene Soothing Hydrating Serum*

Since the winter months I have been loving serums as part of my skincare routine, especially anything hydrating and soothing on my poor winter ravaged skin, but even now as the season has changed I can't get enough of them. Avene are a french brand that I hadn't really heard much of to be honest, except from reading reviews which all seemed to be great, but apart from that I hadn't seem them around. Avène is a French Skincare brand that has created a line of skincare for sensitive skin, and although I don't suffer from overly sensitive skin it is nice to give my skin a little break from my usual harsher products every now and then. I have been using the Avene Soothing Hydrating Serum* for a few weeks now, which is currently on offer at Escentual for £14.25 for 30ml (rrp £17.00)

The Avene Soothing Hydrating Serum contains a high concentration of Avene Thermal Spring Water, which is known for it's soothing properties, especially in cases of dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema . And we all need a little bit of soothing every now and again. The serum itself feels lovely on the skin; cool, fresh, lightweight, not sticky or gel like and it sinks in really easily, my skin just seems to drink it up. I have been using 2-3 pumps morning & night and have generally seen an improvement in my skin, although I had been using serums before this so it wasn't a drastic improvement; my skin seems a little calmer in terms of redness and also my mouisturiser is absorbed a lot quicker after using the Avene Soothing Hydrating Serum. I am rather happy with this serum and can't wait to try out more from the brand, I now have my eye on the Avene Clearance Cleansing Water & the Avene Clearance Soapless Gel Cleanser.

Also it is worth noting that Escentual have a French Pharmacy section that has lots of amazing brands such as Nuxe, Bioderma, La Roche Posay & Avene, so I can see this as being my new favourite place to shop. 

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*PR Sample sent for consideration of an honest review. All images, views & words are my own

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Lifestyle | Guest Posting for Tesco

A few of you may have noticed on Twitter a couple of weeks ago that I had some exciting news but that I couldn't share it just yet; well today I can... Brace yourselves ladies and gents, it’s a biggie (I feel like there should be a Sean Bean meme here, but there isn't; feel free to insert your own witty one).

Anyways Sean Bean aside let’s get back to the matter in hand, the lovely people over at Tesco Living let me write a post for them (yes I know I was thinking the same too, they have surely lost the plot). The post has gone up and it is all about getting your body ready for spring, brushing off the cobwebs and sorting out the pasty pins. You can find my post HERE and I would love you ALL to go have a little look see, pretty please with a cherry on top. I hope you all like it.

Pssstttt - don’t forget to give both Tesco Living and Beauty at Tesco a cheeky little follow on Twitter, they are lovely and all the Tesco tweets have me giggling.

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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Review | NARS Blush - Dolce Vita

I am a bit of a blusher novice, there I said it - go forth and judge me now :) I don't wear it everyday and I certainly don't have a giant stash of them, oh and my colour choices have always being quite muted and boring to be honest. Browsing the NARS site one day I was feeling brave and decided to try a NARS Blush in Dolce Vita. I was drawn to it as it reminds me of a vintage colour and is the perfect English Rose colour, plus it just looks so darn purdy. 

NARS Blush Dolce Vita (£21.50) comes in the classic matte black rubbery packaging with a giant NARS logo on the front, I don't know what it is about the NARS packaging but I just love it, it's nothing fancy by a long mile but yet it always stands out. The only downside to the packaging is that it attracts dirt and fingerprints like no ones business, which isn't good when my makeup bag seems to be a harbour for loose powder. 

The blush is a stunning dusty rose shade with a matte finish, although there is a slight sheen too it but not at all shimmery. This is extremely pigmented as I found out when I first applied it, I was a little heavy handed and ended up looking like Aunt Sally with bright rosy cheeks, you only need to swirl your brush lightly in the pan to pick up enough product. But saying that, if you do go a little over board it is so easy to blend, the formula is so soft very finely milled. It leaves a lovely rosy glow to your cheeks and the colour gives me images of a Pride and Prejudiced look (no, I don't know why either, as I hate that film).

As the colour is very pigmented you do not need to use a lot of product to get a good pay off, which is great as this little pot will last me forever and a day. Also as it lasts all day without having to reapply, this more than makes up for the £21.50 price tag. The only problem I can see with this is that the colour may accentuate people who have more redness in their cheeks, so if that's you then give it a go in store before purchasing. I love this blush and it has even made me wear blusher more often which is great, it must be working some kind of magic to achieve that.

What's your most loved NARS blusher? I need recommendations for more.

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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Lifestyle | Day Tripping - Leeds to Liverpool

 A few weekends ago I headed off to Liverpool for a fashion event (more on that in another post) and as I had never been to Liverpool before it was the perfect excuse to be a tourist for the day & bust out the camera. You may have seen on Instagram & Twitter that I was having a bit of a fan moment at The Cavern. As you can tell from my pictures I got a little snap happy. So here is more on my little adventure... 

Myself, Sammie & Kel met in a seedy car park early Sunday morning - well a McDonalds car park at 10:30am, but that doesn’t sound as exciting now does it? After a bit of a chat in the sun about the sun (typical Brits) we set off on the road for our Blogger Road Trip. Kel was behind the wheel & Sammie on music duty, I was sat in the back on Twitter. When we got to Liverpool we had a little kerfuffle trying to find the car park, then trying to get out of the car park - it had about a gazillion stairs - but we eventually made it out onto the streets & eventually made it to the Holy Ground that is The Cavern Club, even with my crap directions. Here we met Roxi who became our much needed tour guide. 

I have always wanted to visit The Cavern so I was absolutely over the moon & much to the annoyance of everyone walking past I was more than happy to stand at the wall taking pictures of the bricks all day. Instead we went inside for a cheeky drink, with me running around like a child on crack taking yet more pictures. It is seriously like a dream down there & I cannot wait to go back & have a proper knees up & watch some bands. 

After setting off for the show we decided to have a little wonder round the Docks, it is so pretty & I am seriously jealous of people having such amazingness on their doorsteps. After the show we went back to the docks for another wonder & to grab so food, it took us a while to pick somewhere to eat, we finally picked a Circus themed restaurant but was turned away as they were busy - they were bloody empty, I guess our northern accents put them off letting us dine. 

It was a great day, even if we did have a mini panic when we went back to the car park & the shutters were down. I cannot wait to go back to ‘pool and do some more exploring and maybe even a cheeky bit of shopping next time too - if you live in Liverpool keep your eye out for me, I will be the one being a major tourist and jumping around in excitement. 

Have you been on any city trips lately? Please tell me you were a tourist too so I don’t feel like an idiot (I don’t get out much)

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Sunday, 6 April 2014

Review | STEAMCREAM - Pink Diamond*

First up when I type STEAMCREAM I am not in a sudden fit of rage that is how it is, all in capitals. Just putting that out there. Now on to the matter at hand ladies and gents; a review of this pretty little pot of STEAMCREAM. 

STEAMCREAM is a brand I wasn’t familiar with before, which is strange considering it is the talk of the town and has even won awards (CEW UK Award for Best New Skincare), I guess I am a little behind the times. STEAMCREAM Pink Diamond (£12.95 75ml)* is a 3 in 1 lightweight emulsion for your skin, it can be used on your face, hands and body - I was a little skeptical of this claim - and claims to have better results that ordinary creams due to the process by which it is made. The cream is handmade (in the UK and also in Japan) with organic and vegan traceable ingredients, they also use a shot of steam to bind everything together. Yeah, me neither; apparently it’s some kind of molecular science trickery which makes the cream lighter and easily absorbed by the skin. 

The tin is absolutely adorable and due to the design my eyes are drawn to it over the abundance of other lotions and potions I have. My tin is the Pink Diamond edition but there are so many others to choose from with new designs being added all the time, they also have collaborations with designers too. Due to the tin I tend to keep this in my handbag as an on the go fix as opposed to part of my every day morning/night routine. 

The cream itself is as they say rather lightweight and is really easily absorbed into the skin, not leaving any greasiness or stickiness behind. It does have a rather unappealing scent for me though, Lavender, my nemesis; I dislike this scent so much. But I must admit it isn’t too overbearing and there is Rose Absolute and Orange Blossom to counteract the old lady smell of Lavender so it isn't something that bothers me too much or for any great period of time - the scent doesn't transfer or linger onto your skin.

I have been using this mostly as a hand cream or on the little patches of eczema I get and it has worked really well at clearing up any niggling dry patches and leaving my skin feeling soft, hydrated and supple. It does not contain any SPF so if you are thinking of using this as a face cream you really need to think about your sun protection too (yes I know I sound like your Mother now). Overall I found this little tin of goodness worked really well and did what it promised, although at £12.95 for 75ml it is a little on the pricey side, but a great little tin to have in your bag as an all rounder.

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Thursday, 3 April 2014

Review | Creative Tops - Retro Treats Range

Over here at Tea Party Beauty we (by we I mean I, this blog ain’t no joint effort) love 
anything retro/vintage/kitsch, and when I say love I mean LOVE - them shouty capitals should indicate I have a slight obsession. Not only do I love these types of items but if they are a food based item I love them on a whole new level. As usual I went to pick up my parcels on a Saturday and as soon as I opened the box from Creative Tops, a full scale riot erupted over who was having what. It all got a little heated and I may or may not have had to nip a member of my family on the arm in order for them to put the items back. Also I may or may not have had to go buy ALL the Ice Cream. I am not proud of my actions, but it just had to be done. 

Anyway I digress... When browsing the Creative Tops website there is really something for everyone; from retro treats like these to Traditional English style pieces, and not just items for your kitchen or tea party; you can use these for all sorts. The Bon Bon jar will have a home next to a similar pot I have that stores my cotton wool pads, and will be used for Makeup brushes (as it quite tall) or for more cotton pads. They also have some adorable Cake Stands which you would need to buy two of, one for cakes and one to display nail varnishes, obviously. Don’t even get me started on the Teapots they have on offer. 

So here is what caused what will be now known as nipping-gate. 

Retro Treats Pink Ice-cream Sundae Glass 

How amazingly gorgeous is this? This is what seemed to cause the big family fight the other day. Using this makes me feel like I should be in Grease and wearing a T-Birds jacket (yeah, I would have been a rebel wearing the men’s jackets). Now listen carefully here ladies and gents, as this is the major selling point for this; it holds lots of ice cream, I managed to fit around 5 scoops in *hides face in ice-cream shame*. 

Retro Treats Pink Ice Cream Scoop 

So this is my snazzy new scoop that I used to fill my Sundae glass with. I have actually wanted one of these for ages but was only ever able to find childish ones or really boring plain ones. As you can see the scoop size isn’t small and by no means dainty, this managed to cope well under my heavy handed excitement. 

Retro Treats Pink Bon Bon Jar 

As I mentioned earlier this is going to be used in a totally different way from now on, but when I set up my little ice-cream feast the other day I put some sprinkles in this and it looked so purdy; everything was given a stunning pink hue. This is currently on the site in pink for £4.99* here.

Retro Treats Serving Tray 

What retro themed Ice-cream gorging session is complete without a serving tray? Yes, I know I was only serving myself but I got to pile everything on it and hold it above my head like I was a proper 50s waitress, and that girls and boys is the stuff dreams are made of. Ok, just my dreams then. This really sets off the other pieces and is great to have propped up behind the other items as a display (hands off display obviously). Not only that but I can also use it as a nail varnish display too. 

I am in love with all these pieces, and to get several members of my family - who all have different tastes might I add - fighting over them then they really must be amazing pieces. What’s your favourite item? Or have you picked one from the site yet?

Pssstttt - The Retro Treats range will be online soon for you all to snap up, but don't forget to check out the other ranges too, the Katie Alice Collection is another fave of mine.

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*PR Sample, sent for consideration of honest review - all views, words and images are my own. 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Review | Lush Easter Range

 I am a hoarder - there I said it - I am such a hoarder that I still have items from the Lush Christmas Range & Valentines Range too, but I just cannot resist. The seasonal ranges on offer from Lush are some of my favourites, don’t get me wrong I love the usual suspects on offer but sometimes a girl/guy just needs something a little limited/special edition. And for me this is where Lush hit the proverbial nail on the head each and every time, always wowing me & drawing me in. Plus it means I can hoard the goodies and use them whenever; Christmas in March anyone? Even if I don’t get round to using all the goodies before needed then they have worked as a great room fragrance in the mean time. So let’s have a little look at what the Lush Gods have given us this year for the season of Choccie Eggs. 

Don’t want chocolate eggs this Easter? Then grab a Golden Egg (£3.50)*, much prettier & kinder to the figure too; or why not just have both, you deserve it. This little beauty is an absolute stunner and I want one all the time to look at. This is inspired by Cadbury Creme Eggs so the shell is a harder bath melt whilst the inside is all lovely and fizzy. It smells so yummy and rather luxurious, this little bad boy is made with Organic Fair Trade Columbian Cocoa Butter which leaves your skin feeling super soft afterwards. 

I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconu-oh, carrots you say, a bunch of them? Yes please Lush; I want all the Bunch of Carrots (£5.95)*. How adorable are these, and great value for money too, as you get 3 carrots which is equal to around 9-12 baths. Bargain. These are a revamped version of the previous Carrot Bubble Bar, just more of them (no-bunny just wants one do they, see what I did there, huh, genius I am). As much as I love the Lush bath bombs sometimes I just want a bath full of bubbles to truly feel pampered so these are perfect for those times. The smell of this is right up my street as it’s Lemon-y which is one of my favourite scents; it’s also infused with grapefruit oil but my senses didn’t pick this up much. 

In keeping with the Easter and Carrot theme is the Carrot Soap (£3.95)*; which is, as you may have guessed Carrot coloured and shaped. But there is a little surprise as it has a lovely cute little white bunny running through the centre, which reminds me of Alice in Wonderland. This is scented the same as Bunch of Carrots - citrus - but also has added Organic Fair Trade Columbian Cocoa Butter to keep your skin all soft and supple. 

What are you favourite Seasonal ranges from Lush?

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*PR Samples, all images, words and opinions are my own.
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