Wednesday, 26 September 2012

New Miu Miu Shoes & Love Moschino Brooch

Quick picture post of my new shoes that arrived yesterday. I bought them from Yoox on the 19th, they were shipped from Italy on the 20th and arrived on the 25th, which is excellent!
This Miu Miu box is slightly different to my older ones, with a brocade style lining, ooooh fancy!
You know you're onto a good thing, when you get branded tissue paper and dust-bags. Even more so if they put spare heel tips in a separate envelope!
The shoes are black suede, they sometimes look navy in certain lights, but are black. They have amazing embellishments all over and a softly rounded toe.
The heel is gold metal ('knitting needle' as my Mum would say) with the embellishment detail again at the top, which is just beautiful.
I also purchased a Love Moschino brooch, which was basically free as I had a 10% off and free delivery code which took the total back to the original price of the shoes with shipping!  I'm so crap at maths until it comes to working out discounts on purchases, then I turn into Carol Vorderman!  Who knew designer brooches even got their own dustbags? Lucky little lady!
No idea what I'm going to wear either with, but I'm sure they'll be working their way into an outfit post soon enough.  I'm still sulking after my disappointment over the Love Moschino bags I purchased and didn't purchase at the weekend! I'm stalking the site daily in the hope the sale comes back....and trying desperately not to spend the money I set aside for them! Anyway, glad my lovely shoes fit, have you bought anything this week?

Monday, 24 September 2012

When Shizzle Happens

If you follow me on Facebook, you'll realise I was in a bit of a dilemma regarding the purchase of a Love Moschino handbag. Brandalley were running a sale for a few days last week and there were tonnes of styles I liked, which I whittled down to the three that I thought I'd get most use of and that would work with my wardrobe. I've come to discover I'm kinda hopeless at being pushed to make a decision, at least when it comes to clothes, shoes, makeup and the like. I think it stems from not having a lot of money, so any 'big' purchase feels really indulgent and fills me with fear that I'll regret it..  So I asked you for your help as I trust you lot in these types of situations!
Any purchase I make, especially of considerable value has me in this sort of turmoil of will it be worth it/will I like it/will it fit/will I use it often enough? and so on and I always do my homework before committing. I must have spent at least three days going back and forth with my decision, researching the bags and eventually decided I would buy the striped one.  It was the cheapest and I thought it was quite the nude quilted one! My initial instinct was the black quilted, but a lot of you liked the nude and I came to realise it probably was better for me. At first I wasn't sure if I could afford both, but after working out my finances, I could.  It wasn't a tremendous amount of money for the two, actually it was a great deal, but it was still all the money I have right now!  So anyway, I couldn't believe I'd managed to hold my nerve until they had a free shipping day (extra bonus) and there was actually only 9 left in stock of the nude one (panic panic)! I was finally happy with my decision, used the paypal express checkout and in a matter of seconds my order was final. Or so I thought.
I found it strange that I didn't immediately receive a confirmation email. Then the next day (Sunday) I decided to check my paypal just to verify it had gone balance was still there as was my bank balance (part of the sale was coming out of paypal and the majority from my bank account). I felt sick immediately, I just had a feeling something wasn't right, so emailed Brandalley (not that there was much they could do about it on a Sunday).  When I logged into my account, there wasn't even any mention of the order, but because I'd used the express checkout, I wasn't sure if it would show up in my account anyway. So today I get an email back (very prompt reply) to say my order didn't go through and could I purchase the items again using a different method of payment.
Erm, GUTTED. I'm practically booking myself into the old folks home beside my Grandad now, because I can't for the life of me figure out what went wrong and I'm trying so hard to recall exactly the stages I went through. I can remember seeing the items in my basket (although I popped them in and out a gazillion times over the weekend), I remember checking out, selecting the express checkout and even signing into my paypal account as directed. I thought I paid and thought I was directed back to the Brandalley site afterwards, but can't be sure.  I can recall looking at the nude bag again though and noting the stock levels were now 8, because I'd bought the 9th! I was so excited that I'd managed to get my hands on two fabulous little bags even if I did have to wait a month for them to be delivered (yes I even recall seeing that at checkout)! With hindsight I should've taken a screen-cap of the order (not that they would've honoured it anyway, but for my peace of mind because I think I'm losing it), but to be honest nothing strange happened to make me think the order hadn't gone through and it was all over in a couple of seconds.  To make matters worse, the sale ended yesterday, so I can't even buy the bags again even if I did have to pay p&p this time. I'm just sooo disappointed about the whole thing-I emailed Brandalley back and they have sent me a £10 gift voucher as compensation, but I just wish I could magic back to Saturday and see what actually happened, before I make myself completely insane!
Normally with things like this, I figure they happen for a reason, but I'm still too gutted to have that outlook yet! I also realise that in the grand scheme of things, it's not exactly the end of the world, it's just been a waste of three days and I got all excited and happy for nothing!  I just have to hope that the bags pop up on the site again and that the ones I wanted are still in stock. In the meantime I have my Miu Miu shoes and Love Moschino brooch to look forward to!!  They are en route from Italy (makes me feel all fancy ordering stuff from overseas) and entered the UK today, which hopefully means I get them tomorrow (and also means people are home and I'll get 'caught' receiving my purchases)! Pretty aren't they?

Monday, 10 September 2012

Review: Oxy Seaweed Power & Clearlight*

I mentioned to you last month that I was trying out the Oxy Seaweed Power range and I've been so happy with the results that I wanted to share them with you. A little background on my skin, which some of you may know already; I have somewhat combination skin (slightly oily t-zone, but normal to dry elsewhere) and when I hit 25 I developed adult acne. It almost crippled me, after having blemish free skin all through my teens. I was at a loss as to what to do and tried many, many different remedies. I still suffer from the odd breakout and have to be very careful about what I put on my skin, but I'd like to think it's under control now (it's certainly nowhere near as bad as it was). I was using Clarins Multi Active day and night creams before Oxy and using Differin Gel (Adapalene) prescribed by my doctor every night on my problem areas (I have switched all of these to Oxy for the past month). I have to admit that in the past I've found product ranges that target acne usually quite harsh for the skin and now that my skin isn't quite so bad, I've been happy to leave those products behind! I'm concentrating on using good skincare products that I know don't aggravate the problem alongside the prescribed acne gel. So I was a little unsure of how the Oxy range would work for me, but intrigued at the same time.

I was happy to hear that the Seaweed Power range has been developed to target spots yet care for the skin. Their research into harnessing the healing power of nature led to an anti-spot range containing naturally active seaweed, purified in the cold waters of the Atlantic and harvested from sustainable sources. Seaweed is full of naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and trace elements and rich in antioxidant properties. This skin-friendly seaweed concentrate is at the heart of OXY’s unique formulations and has been rigorously researched to be scientifically proven in killing spot-causing bacteria, redness and excess oil production, whilst being gentle on skin. It is also free from parabens and SLS. The skin wash, exfoliant and balm all contain this seaweed formula, but the treatment gel and light device do not.
So firstly the Seaweed Power Fresh Skin Wash (£5.99); a refreshing, lightly fragrant, everyday wash with jojoba micro beads, to reduce spots, redness and blackheads. I've been using this in the morning on a damp face. I probably should have used it at night too, but to remove makeup I insist on using Lancome Baume Eclat and will not budge from that! I'm not sure how the face wash would perform removing makeup, but I can certainly agree that it's a refreshing cleanser every morning (and I've used it on nights when I've not been wearing makeup). I'm very critical of anything with a 'scrub' in it because I'm fussy about the texture (some are too harsh, some don't scrub enough, some are watery etc), however the micro beads in this don't bother me at all. They are mild and sparse enough to use daily and easy to wash off (the wash is also suitable for sensitive skin). There's no greasy or too tight feeling after using this wash and it's certainly something I would purchase again.
After cleansing, I've been using the Clearlight Light Device (£39.99). This was the item I was most intrigued by, because I've never tried anything similar before. A proven technology called blue light therapy has been used extensively for years by dermatologists for the successful treatment of spots, acne and blemishes. It has been scientifically proven that blue light at the specific wavelength of 415nm kills spot causing bacteria. OXY Clearlight harnesses the healing power of blue-light technology in a safe, convenient and hygienic device for home use. OXY Clearlight penetrates to the root of P. acnes, killing spot-causing bacteria and helping prevent spots from erupting. So on a cleansed face you use this battery operated device. As you can see from the images below, you press the button on and it makes a beep noise to start and the green light flashes throughout the 3 minute cycle and ends when the device beeps and switches itself off. You hold the device on the spot area, so to start with I generally had around three areas each morning and night to do this to. There's no harmful UV rays and no heat or discomfort or peeling.
Now I like this type of product that targets the actual spot, it gives me faith that I'm doing something specific to the problem! I'm not sure how effective it's been on it's own because I've been using it with the spot gel, so I'd like to combine my review here! I'll just add, my only gripe with the light device was the time it took. It's become second nature now, but when I was applying it three times every day/night that was an extra 9 minutes added to my routine each time, but worth it, if it's doing something good! The Emergency Spot Treatment Gel (£6.99) claims to reduce the size and redness of spots within 4 hours. You apply the gel to the slanted nozzle, then directly on the spot up to 6 times daily. I've tended to use it twice daily. I do feel a slight burn when using this, but felt that's to be expected as it's a concentrated spot treatment gel and I want to 'feel' like it's doing something. I like that it's handy to carry around for emergencies and I'd definitely purchase another one. In my first couple of days of using the Oxy products I had this almighty, red, sore, under the skin spot, right in the corner of my nose one night. Normally I'd freak and curse. This time though I was mega excited as I had a plethora of products to target this angry red dude and was determined to beat him (plus it gave me something meaty to write about here!).
I used the Clearlight and gel that night and awoke the next day astounded that I couldn't feel the pain of it, plus the redness and size of it had gone down. There was still a slight trace of it, so I applied both products again in the morning and a couple of hours later when I went to apply my makeup, the spot had completely disappeared. Honestly gone totally, no hint of it. I was jubilant as I had to go out that day and normally would have felt like poo with this wee bugger. Under normal circumstances I'd have had this spot for at least a week or two. Usually with those ones you can feel brewing under the skin, they take a couple of days to appear then last forever. Plus they're always massive aren't they? Aside from that spot, I've had some smaller ones, that have been quite dry or some that are just like bumps, not necessarily very red, but annoying nonetheless. I've just used the Clearlight and gel morning and night and the spots have disappeared within a day or two and none have developed into anything major.  I expected some sort of reduction in the redness and size, but to completely blitz the spot with no trace remaining in a day was astounding.

I had a breakout of around 4 spots on my cheek prior to using the Oxy range and although I didn't start out specifically targeting this area (the spots have gone but I'm left with dark marks), I'm now using the Clearlight on this to see if I can get rid of it.  I've only been using it for a few days and it is a tricky one as they really aren't raised, it's just marks I'm left with, so I'm keen to see if it can do anything to help.  *As of last night I realised the dark marks are diminishing, it's only the small marks where the spots were that remain and the surrounding area is back to it's normal colour.*  I don't really have any other spots currently as my skin has really cleared up over the past month, so I've found myself using the Clearlight less and less each week.

After using the Clearlight and before using the gel, I've been applying the Seaweed Power Deep Calm Balm (£5.99) which is an oil-free moisturiser. It harnesses the power of natural seaweed to keep skin soft and hydrated, whilst helping to prevent oily skin, spots and blackheads. I didn't expect to like this, as I was happy using my Clarins moisturisers prior to this and I also prefer to have a separate day and night cream, but have been applying this both morning and night. In the first few days my skin, especially around the chin felt very dry (probably just from changing my routine) and the balm texture of this felt like bliss. It's most definitely a balm and feels very soothing, which isn't something I'd expect from an acne range. The scent is soft, but I have to say I dislike that it tends to gravitate towards my lips throughout the night or morning and when I'm licking my lips I can taste something (which isn't very nice). The moisturiser works really well with the other products in the range and I'm amazed at the almost velvet like texture it leaves on my skin. There's no greasy film, shine or intense dryness, it's got a lovely finish and is great for wearing under makeup. I've definitely been using less powder (actually considering none some days) and I'm sure it's down to this moisturiser.
The final product in the range is the Seaweed Power Clear Pore Exfoliant (£5.99) which should be used a couple of times each week in place of the face-wash. It harnesses the power of natural seaweed to cleanse deep into your pores. It cuts through grease and oil, removing dead skin, clearing spots, blackheads and oily skin. This is the only product that I didn't like. It's not to say it didn't work to combat spots alongside the other products but it just didn't work for me. I found the texture far too runny, to the point that when I was applying it (usually in the shower), my hand was filled with gel when I only intended to use a small amount, You can even see that in the swatches below, I never intended to pour out an entire palm of product! It's very watery, so it's difficult (once you have your desired amount) to apply to the face as it just runs off it. I found it very scratchy on the skin and although I like a scrub to feel like it's actually scrubbing, this felt too harsh, especially as the base gel tends to disappear and you're left with the scratchy beads. I gave up applying it to the face after the first few tries and instead have been using it as a body scrub across my shoulders, chest, knees and elbows and my elbows have never felt better! I was suffering from dry skin there, but this had cleared that up, so it's come in handy for something at least! It's the only product reviewed here that I wouldn't repurchase though.
Overall my skin has looked and felt so much better since trying the Oxy range. There's been a massive improvement in the redness of my skin (it's gone totally actually) and I've found myself using less makeup each day and even contemplating going without a base on a couple of occasions. I was doubtful that an acne-targeted range could perform wonders for my skin whilst being gentle, but this one has. All too often brands target the spots and assume that the rest of the face is an oily mess that should be stripped too and I know personally that it's not just oily skinned girls and boys that suffer from breakouts. I usually end up in some sort of dry, flaky mess after changing to spot-treatment products and this hasn't been the case with the Seaweed range. I'm not saying I'll never suffer from another spot again, but surely with time this can only help my skin by targeting the problem deep down and I'm confident that I can blitz any persistent spots that force their way through.  You can find the Oxy range in most chemists, prices start at £5.99.  Does anything here tickle your fancy or have you tried the range?

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Review: AW12 Swan Clements Ribeiro Is Out!

I just posted about the latest Swan Collection by Clements Ribeiro for Evans last week, but now that I've seen the whole collection, I wanted to write another post on it as I'm kinda in love with it. As I noted in my last post, I actually ended up buying most of the debut collection, but I'd say this one has the edge for me and is much more suited to my tastes. I'll start with the dresses (the majority of the range) and again, they all have sleeves (which will please most curvy women) and having not tried them on/seen them in person, I can't tell if the hemlines are much the same as last time (which was quite long) or if there are some slightly shorter ones. The model is most likely tall and not a good indication for us shorter ladies! Possibly my favourite is the Grace lace dress £95. Ok, so I'm not 100% sold on exposed zips, so that would be my only gripe, although I've let my dislike for them slide in the past when I've loved the rest of the dress. I feel a lot of thought has been put into this one. You have the sheer detailing and I love the nude background on the bodice, however it's not got a strappy back where your bra straps will be exposed, it's a decent lining that will cover underwear (which curvier ladies are more than likely going to wear under something like this). The lace pencil skirt is sexy but overall the shape is demure too, so it gets a massive tick from me in all the boxes.
This style is also available in a skirt £55, more images of that later in the post. Next is the Salome print dress £65, which I talked about in my last post. It's made of jersey and I'm pretty psyched to see a print like this used on plus-size clothing, it gives it an edge. However I'm not entirely convinced I would look good in it. I think given it's shape, fabric and colour, I may look like I'm wearing a tent. I'm a busty hourglass and usually require definition around the waist and am not sure how this would look pulled in with a thick belt. One to try I think.
For those not overly keen on printed dresses, this one is a little more subdued. The Doris £65 is a subtle nod to the body-con and eye trickery way of dressing. The contrasting panels draw your eye to a slim, defined waist and away from a large bust, hips or tummy, while the heavy jersey fabric will smooth in all the right places. You'd get a lot of wear out of this one.
As you would with the Debra peplum number £75 below. Personally I'm a little over peplums (did we not just have that trend resurface a few years ago?), but this one is pretty nifty as with the addition of a skinny belt to the waist, it would look like a peplum top and pencil skirt, which would usually be a little tricky/uncomfortable for fuller figured ladies to pull off, but not so in dress-form. Did I mention it's plain black? Can't really go wrong with that can you?
The 21 dress is back (£75)! This time in a satin type fabric with the same black lace inserts but a much happier, brighter print in my opinion. I like the colours in this one and could definitely see myself in it.
Speaking of pretty colours and prints, I'm in love with this pansy one on the Betty dress £75 (another restyle). I would wear this to death, with bare legs, dark tights, contrast tights, anything! This is one I definitely want.
Celia £75 is another gal I'd get loads of wear out of. I love the little sleeves in this one and there's lace inserts on the shoulders which is a cute touch and again has thought, because it's not in the bra strap area. I'm not totally keen on the lurex threading throughout it, I personally don't think it needs it, yet I doubt it would stop me purchasing it.
I love the artsy feel of this large floral print Djellaba dress £75, but again with the loose shape, I'm not sure it would suit me. I also would prefer a collar, rather than the Grandad-style neckline (although I'd probably undo the top set of buttons to get past that), again it's just a personal thing that doesn't look right on me. Nice colour though.
Finally, this monochrome Kimono dress £65 would be very versatile, it would look great with bright accessories. It's got shorter sleeves and goes into dual sizing beyond a 20 as it has a bit of stretch to it.
Onto tops and I'm absolutely loving these looks. As I mentioned above the necklines aren't right up my street, but I just want to try it, because it looks so fabulous here. The metallic top is called Kimmy £55 and the printed is Lou Lou £60. Nice detailing with the lace inserts at the elbows.
Both are worn with the gorgeous grace lace skirt I mentioned earlier and the ultra-cool burgundy and black buckle belts £15 each, from this collection. I love this style of belt and had a hard time tracking one down that fitted after my trusty old one broke. These have an elasticated back and come in sizes S/M or M/L.
There's also a jersey tunic top Tonic £40, which doesn't look particularly interesting here. I suppose if you styled it like the other two, it would instantly make it more appealing.
There's another printed top Mimosa £45, which is dual sized beyond a 20 and it matches perfectly with the Mimosa trousers also £45, to make a jumpsuit. It's not a look for everyone as it could resemble PJ's which by coincidence is kinda popular right now. I actually think it looks alright here with the belt.
There's another pair of trousers £45, in the lovely pansy print, which you could wear with the plain tops or clashed with one of the prints as shown here.
Finally there are two cardigans in the collection. Personally I love a good cardi! The embellished corsage cardigan £65 with lined body is totally the type I would wear, although that colour has a tendency to not do very much for me!
The colour block clover cardi £55 doesn't have as fitted sleeves as I'd like and maybe generally isn't as fitted as I'd like, so I'd probably size down with this one. Those smaller than a size 14 would perhaps love this as a boyfriend cardi, designed to be worn loose. Both cardigans are dual sized past a 20.
The collection for me, all ties in really well together but still with room for interpretation. There's been a great deal of thought put into the fabrics and shapes, but it's not entirely 'safe', which is what I'm pushing for in plus-size ranges but is rare to find.  I'm finding myself both drawn to items that I know will suit me and those that I would perhaps desire to dabble in. Remember there's still another collection to come before Christmas, but is there anything taking your fancy here?