Monday, 30 April 2012

Yay or Nay Jeffrey Campbell Shadow?

Ok serious question time! I recently pre-ordered the Shadow Spike & Stud by Jeffrey Campbell. If the image doesn't prove it, they're like the Rolls Royce of JC footwear. Priced higher than the regular range but still a steal when the design is comparable to much higher-end and 'impossible to purchase' style designers. The heel or lack of is of a similar shape to my Night-Walk although instead of a mary-jane these are a shoe-boot.
The main feature is that they are covered in spikes, everywhere! JC being so fabulous though have even incorporated flat studs to the inner sides of the boots, so you don't gouge yourself when walking! Previous to purchase, I'd googled endless images and reviews and after my usual stalking approach to buying, decided I couldn't live without them. I was unsure which size to order as many said they fit small and I was buying them in EU/UK size rather than US which further confuzzled me. In the end I went for the 6/39, a size-up and paid just over £200 for them. It was my last blow-out before I tightened the purse strings.

They were supposed to be delivered at the end of April, but last night I received an email saying it would instead be mid-May. I've now started questioning if I really need them. The email states I can cancel my order if I wish and I hate to say I'm considering it. I thought my life would be complete with these(!), but the practical side of me is pondering how often I'd actually wear them (keeping the price in mind too). I'm also worried that they won't fit and it's too expensive to return them (so that's completely out of the question) and I doubt I'd make my money back by selling them on eBay. I still think they are the bomb; the ultimate JC but should I cancel my order and save the money for something (dare I say) a little more wearable? Would love to hear your thoughts (especially as I've mastered how to add a poll to my post!), leave comments and click to vote below!

P.S. Google Image 'Jeffrey Campbell Shadow' and you'll want them even more, they look much better on the foot (but I didn't want to steal individual photos).

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Initial Thoughts-imPRESS Nails

Nails have gone crazy in the past couple of years haven't they? For the better I might. I love the choice of colours available, crackles, foil, wraps, nail pens, stick on nail art...I could go on! Just when you think you've seen it all, something new comes along. Broadway Nails have launched one such product-imPRESS nails, recently in the UK (fronted by Nicole Scherzinger).  A 'stick-on manicure', they basically fit somewhere between falsies and wraps.  
I was sent a pack to try; although haven't given them a go yet because my own manicure was looking too pretty to ruin! I kinda have a love/hate thing going on with manicures currently. As much as I love and always have painted nails, I'm growing to hate the application process! These could be the answer though, with no drying time (obviously), easy application, no separate glue and chip-free results for at least a week. There are 24 nails in each pack and I love the plastic 'bottle' like case they come in, so cute! I couldn't find a name for this particular colour, but they are a deep, browny red that I'd totally wear.  There's apparently plenty of colours and fancier prints to choose from.
On the back of each nail is a clear backing with a little tab and you pull this off to reveal the sticky bit underneath and just press them onto your nails. I would suggest it may be easier to lay all your imPRESS nails out first (having sorted the sizes) and peel the backs off as it could get tricky to pull the tabs once you've already applied several of the nails.
So far, so good, but I did run into a couple of problems.  First of all I'm not too keen on the shape. It's very square at the tip and I actually much prefer the softer finish at the opposite end (and that's regardless of the fact I've been partial to very oval nails recently). My biggest issue though are the lengths. There are 12 different 'sizes' in each pack and it might just be me (I do have large hands, fingers and nails), but I struggled to get a decent fit for the length when the width was perfect. For the past couple of years (since falling down the stairs-top to bottom and breaking all my nails!) my nails have struggled to grow and break when they get anywhere near a 'decent' length. Recently though I've managed to grow them quite long and when this happens I like to savour them...admiring and stroking, ooh-ing and ahh-ing, you catch my drift! Hence my reluctance to cut them purely so these nails fit.
Now it's not just my pimpin' long nails that are struggling here. My pinky for example broke recently and is just visible over the tip of my finger, but stuck out beneath the imPRESS nail. My middle finger (another break-opening the fridge door!) is not visible beyond the tip of my finger and it fared better as did the thumb on my other hand which is extremely short.
So my initial thoughts are, I love the concept. Love it! It feels like you can't go wrong with the application (much easier than wraps for example) and it seems like it would be a reasonably quick, stress-free process. It would be fab if you're pushed for time but need to...'impress'! Bad points are, I can't see myself cutting my own nails to fit under these-that just seems pointless. Maybe other hands would find a better fit or maybe your nails are always short, so these would be right up your street. The fact that they are reasonably short would mean they wouldn't bug you like false nails do and would probably feel very much like your 'own' nails. I'm definitely going to give these a go in the coming weeks and test out their durability and application for you more thoroughly. If you are interested in them and would like to try them yourself, they are available now priced £7.99 for the plain and £8.99 for the patterns.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Clarins GWP Offer & Haul

Here's me banging on about money being tight, then I go and splurge on some Clarins goodies this morning.  I felt this offer was just too good to miss, so it's only fair I share it too!  I think Clarins are a beauty brand that are a little overlooked.  Personally I used to work with Clarins (and Lancome) and used and loved both their products in my late teens/early 20's.  My general feeling back then was that Lancome had the edge on cosmetics and Clarins on skincare and the two brands were pretty much all I ever used (yes much to the envy of my friends).  If I'm completely honest, I still feel nostalgic about the brand but the counter doesn't excite me as I walk past and I haven't bought anything from them in years.  Unlike Lancome, which I visit every shopping trip and use a lot of their cosmetics and skincare products every day.  I did sign up to the Clarins emails though and they got a new (much easier to use) website, so it's piqued my interest in the brand again but without purchasing until today.  I have to say, the offers in the emails always look great-they have a lot of variety and deals to entice you. This email contained a special offer for their 5th birthday (5th birthday of the website perhaps as it's certainly not the brand) when you spend £60 or more, you get five free items;

Elegant Red Vanity Case
One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser 20ml
Instant Eye Make-Up Remover 30ml
Wonder Length Mascara (Black-mini)
Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector (Nude-mini)
Pretty fab huh? Well there's more! Normally with every order you get to choose 3 free samples (I can remember back 16 years ago and Clarins were always generous with their samples), but you're getting 5 with every order just now!  I have to praise them on their selection too; there's tonnes to choose from (skincare, bodycare, mens, fragrance, sun etc).  In comparison Estee Lauder have always been pretty generous too with their samples online and let you choose two with every order but usually from a selection of around 6 products.  There are 93 on the Clarins site!!  Plus all orders over £50 qualify for free delivery.  These offers run until 29th April, so don't dally and there's no codes required.
So what did I get?  I thought I'd try their Ever Matte Oil-Free Foundation (hoping 103 Ivory is light enough) and the Ever Matte Mineral Powder Compact in 00 Transparent Opal.  Their foundation was one of the products I used to own as a teen actually.  I also picked up this gem-Rouge Prodige Lipstick in 122 Nude, which I've googled and it looks glorious!  
As for the samples I went for;

Multi-Active Night Youth Recovery Cream 5ml (can't praise the MA range enough, it's fabulous)
Multi-Active Day Early Wrinkle Correction For Dry Skin 5ml (couldn't see an 'all skin' sample unfortunately)
Bust Beauty Firming Lotion 8ml (8ml probably gone in one application on these boobies!)
Pure and Radiant Mask 5ml (always looking for new masks to try)
Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate 3ml (luxury eye cream samples are my staple!)
Now the thrifty among you, will note I could have bought the lipstick with my next dose of Beauty Rewards from Debenhams and indeed the entire order (possibly twice over) off my Boots Advantage Points and it wouldn't have cost a penny-but where's the fun in that I say?!  My sister and I are of the mind-set that we'd spend anything for a freebie and/or points (!) and Clarins actually run their own reward system (1 point for every £1 spent).  You get 15 points for your initial registration and I earned another 67 here.  Once you have (only) 120 points you get a £15 reward voucher redeemable on your next online purchase.  Considering I'm halfway there already only with one order, I think that's a pretty good deal.  If only MAC offered half the free sample/rewards here!
If anyone is looking for recommendations; their skincare line as a whole is outstanding. Beauty Flash Balm, an instant radiance booster, remains one of their best-sellers (there was a statistic about one selling every 'x' seconds/minute that I've forgotten)! Sensitive skin will be amazed at the soothing qualities of the Gentle range and as I said the Multi-Active products are divine; they smell amazing and feel really indulgent. As do the body products; the Energizing Emulsion for Tired Legs cools and relaxes throbbing feet and legs. It's great for pregnant ladies and can even be applied over tights (I used to do this at work when I was particularly pooped). Their face oils have that luxurious 'spa-at-home' feel and as topsy-turvy as it sounds, the Lotus oil does actually work on oily skin (the 100% pure plant extract formula tightens pores and purifies). Eau Dynamisante is a heavenly fragrant treat; described as a 'treatment fragrance' rather than perfume, it can be worn by women or men and I grew to love the slightly masculine scent. It's a fragrance I never expected to like and I feel it shouldn't work on paper, but it's extremely inviting (and rather addictive!) and I love it. Finally, I used to always recommend the tanning range for pale ladies as it had a light shade that wasn't orange like other brands-although I think the whole range has been updated by then, so don't quote me on that and after receiving a sample a couple of years ago, I've raved about the Wonder Volume mascara, gorgeous fluttery lashes.  Once my products arrive, I will of course take lots of pictures.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Olivia Rubin For Dorothy Perkins

As if it wasn't enough that Photobucket completely changed last week, now Blogger has updated itself (I'd been putting it off until it forced me into the new layout) and I don't have a friggin' clue what I'm doing! If you don't use Blogger or blog at all you'll be wondering what all the fuss is about, but I'd become so used to the old layout (knew my way around and where to click etc) and this is just so strange and I'm having to read/hover over everything before clicking because I'm not quite sure what I'm doing. Needless to say, I don't like it...I may get used to it in time though. Anyhoo, the Olivia Rubin for Dorothy Perkins collection launched this week! The Central Saint Martins graduate is in her seventh season and the DP collaboration echos her love of simple, flattering shapes and distinctive prints.
Doesn't she look rather sweet in that last pic?  The whole collection has a real 'holiday' feel and is unashamedly flirty and feminine. If pink isn't your thing, I'd probably stay clear(!) There's shells, birds and a soft, floaty feel to every piece. That's not to say you couldn't incorporate the tops with denim or black leather to grunge it up and de-girly it (as Olivia has done herself), I could totally see that working.
I've pulled all the pieces together by print in this post, so it's easier to view. The collection comes in sizes 6-18 which doesn't reflect DP's usual variety and it's disappointing for curvier ladies because I actually think these designs would look fabulous in bigger sizes as the shapes look really figure flattering. I suppose it's something that it didn't stop at a 14 or 16 like other designer/high-street ranges though! Prices range from £25-49, which I think is very reasonable.
The collection has definitely grown on me since I first saw it and there's several pieces I could see fitting into my wardrobe (if only funds would allow). The grey bird peplum dress was my favourite from the preview (before I knew the prices) and naturally it's the highest priced in the range! Me and my expensive tastes!
I would wear the maxi dresses loads during the summer months though and the stone wrap pencil or shift dresses look really wearable.  The short, pink bird dress with it's nipped in waist and figure-hugging cut is definitely one of my top-picks.
The collection is on the site now and available in selected stores (only Glasgow in Scotland, so it's unlikely I'll ever see it in person). Does anything take your fancy here? And how much are we loving the hot pink hair on the model?!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Bonzer Bargains!

My income took a significant blow from last month and from now on I've definitely to watch the spending. Problem is, I'm a shopper, always have been; whether it's groceries or shoes and it can be difficult to break those habits. I enjoy it and there's no hidden, psychological 'trauma from my past' reason for it, I just like shopping and buying. I'm not going to deprive myself by going on a 'no-buy' because I have few pleasures in life as it is and I fear this would only make me depressed or want more. I'm just going to keep an eye on things and question whether I really, really need something before purchasing and try and get out of the 'more is more' habit of a lifetime! I have purchased a couple of mega-bargains a few weeks back, which I wanted to share. Seeing as I have a champagne taste on a lemonade budget, I should probably turn this type of post into a regular!
I've been banging on for ages about a certain Lancome lipgloss I wanted once my Debenhams points were converted into cash and I finally got it! It was a struggle, because I intended on going to Dundee for it, but haven't been there for weeks. I kept freaking out that it was going to sell out before I bought it! My sister was going to Edinburgh though, so said she'd look for it there. No luck. Then she was going to Glasgow a few days later and Debenhams happened to have 10% off all beauty and had just one of this colour left! It was £18, down to £16.20 and I had £15 of rewards, so got it for £1.20. Bargain of the century or what?
Seeing as I own tonnes of Color Fever glosses and on the whole they border on the sheer side, I have to admit I wouldn't have paid £18 for this, as stunning as it is. The colour 386 Green Petal is beautiful, but essentially clear on the lips with the faintest green tint and stunning green micro-glitter. What I love though is the minty scent, it's so strong (so if that's not your bag, avoid this) and this was my main reason for wanting it so badly.
I'm getting really into the Debenhams Beauty Reward card scheme, although it can be a little frustrating waiting until your points are converted at the end of the month. Plus the maximum payout in a month is £15 and I still have another 1600+ points (£15+) carried over, so have to wait until the end of April to get that.
My other bargain was this wee silver horse ring from Miss Selfridge. I'd spotted it full price and considering the amount of rings I have-again I wouldn't have paid £8.50 for it. I kept an eye on it and it was reduced to £4 in the sale but I couldn't see anything else I wanted and would have had to pay £4 delivery for it. Then it was further reduced to £2 (and still I didn't need anything from the site), so I looked in Debenhams next time I was in and of course, they didn't have it. There was one left in my size on the site and it was tormenting me, but I refuse to pay more for delivery than the actual item! My Mum and sister managed to find it in Edinburgh though and it so happened that on this particular day it was reduced again, to £1! Bargain!
Anyone else found some jammy bargains lately?