Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Murad Energizing


I do miss certain aspects of being a student. The fact that it is acceptable to drink wine out of a mug, or eat a whole garlic bread after a night out as ‘it is necessary to save me from a hangover, duh!’. Students party, and trust me, during the last month or so I partied hard, but boy does it show on my face. I just have lost that... pizzazz, that 21 year old glow I’m supposed to have. Right now I look tired.

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Walking around the counters in a beauty department, there are so many different types of cleansers, and creams, but there is a reason for that. You are supposed to tailor your routine to your current need. My current need? Radiance, Radiance, Radiance!

Cleansers play a hefty role in my skincare routine. After all, they are what get rid of all the nasties from your skin, and leave your skin feeling like it can breathe again. So as the foundation in terms of skin care, I needed a hefty dose of anti fatigue to try re-jig my skin into its 21 year old self.

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I am currently raving about Murad ever since going to their Leeds opening. I had kind of heard about them before, but nothing to get me racing out. However, honestly I am in love with their range. I was using a Clinique cleanser, but I’ve switched to Murad Energizing Pomegranate Cleanser as boy does it do what I need.

I know the smell shouldn’t be the big factor in skin care, but this just smells so sweet and fruity, which in a morning is so refreshing. I didn’t think I would be a fan of a foam cleanser; however it is so gentle on my skin.

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This dual-action foam apparently cleanses, exfoliates and tones in one giant step! Now being a tad lazy this is music to my ears.

I’ve been using this 2 times a day for half a week now, and while that is early days, I have noticed my skin has become softer, less red and just generally less… bleh. Yeah technical term, don’t you know?

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Now I’m not one normally for a lip balm, I prefer lipstick; however my lips started to crack, which I mentioned to my friend and she said was I using any lip protection in this heat wave? Err no, should I?

Well apparently, it’s a big fat yes. So out came the lip balm. I recently went to Amsterdam where it was 33 degrees, so I took this everywhere with me. Again, it smells divine, but most importantly the Energizing Pomegranate Lip Protector has SPF 15 in it.

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It reminds me of Lancome’s Juicy tubes, as it has that lip smacking texture in which I just keep rubbing my lips together. At £13 its cheaper than Lacome too. Plus my lips are lovely and soft for around a couple of hours AFTER it has worn off. Angelina eat your heart out. 

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Now talking of laziness, I will be the first to admit sometimes when I’ve got in from a late one (remember I was a student- this happened a lot) I just couldn’t be bothered to cleanse properly. My best friend Nessa berates me so much for doing this! ‘You’ll be old and wrinkly by the time your 30’ is the general gist of the telling off.

So when Murad sent me a couple of their New Clarifying Wipes to try, well it was like they just knew my dilemma. 

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They a handy cleanser in a wipe form, especially for fighting blemishes and spots, by clearing the pores of dirt and excess sebum, which yes I am afraid is caused by not cleansing! Damn!

These were ultra soft on my skin, and one wipe was the perfect size for my late night routine. I could feel the witch hazel tingle on my skin which when all you want to do is climb into bed reassured me I had done right by my skin. At £18 for 30 wipes they are quite pricey, so recommend only using them after heavy break outs or in emergency 'I need to sleep NOW' situations. 

Nessa, am I in your good books now?

Click here to enter my Thomas Sabo Giveaway? - ends 5th August. 
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Monday, 29 July 2013

Manicure Monday: Caviar Half ‘Moon'


Dita Von Teese once said there was nothing more classic than a half moon manicure. Well, I was never one for classics. My twist is instead of a half moon, do a triangle, and just to keep this thoroughly not classic, throw in caviar beads. 

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To recreate you will need:
  • The Saturdays Magnetism Nail by FashionistA: Rochelle
  • MUA Nail Constellation: Scorpio
  • A top coat.
Optional but handy-
  • A straight edge piece of card
  • Tweezers.
  • A container to catch excess beads.
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First paint all over your nails in ‘Rochelle’ and allow to dry.

Now carefully with your top coat paint a triangle at the base of your first nail. If you need to use the card as a guide you can, but at this stage, neatness doesn’t matter.

Pour over your triangle the Nail beads and shake off excess. Using the card, push diagonally against the edges of the triangle to neaten the beads.

If there are any gaps or stray beads use your tweezers to move into place.

Allow to dry, before adding a top coat over to set the beads.

Repeat with other nails. 

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I love Dita Von Teese, and I think she is the epitome of class and sophistication, but I just can’t help it, I am a thoroughly modern girl.

Well my dad did just tell me that ‘No, you do not look posh Laura’. Might as well not fight it then! 

Also if you are wondering how to remove caviar nails, see my post for a super easy trick.


Click here to enter my Thomas Sabo Giveaway? - ends 5th August. 
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Sunday, 28 July 2013

An Oxford Education Part 2


Having loved Oxford so much on the Monday, we decided to head back for a second visit a couple of days later. That’s the beauty of Oxford I found. While it’s hardly jam packed with activities, if you are someone who loves to take in the beauty of your surroundings, learn about the history of a place, and leisurely stroll for hours, then Oxford will provide days upon days of adventure for you. W2HAZE48EXWU

Having taken a whistle stop walking tour on our last visit, we decided to explore Oxford from a different view point this time... up high.

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Growing up my dad had a fascination with Church architecture and design, and so as children we were bundles into cars and made to trapes round church after church up and down the country. Not coming from a religious family, I found it rather tedious. However in my older and wiser years I think I finally get it. The design of churches is second to none, and St Mary’s in Oxford is no exception. 

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The church dates back from 1086, however the design has been redone countless times over the centuries. However currently it holds a Gothic feel that was stunning but haunting. 

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Yet it was the tower we were after. Inside is an extremely narrow and steep spiral staircase, which I had to say to mum to stop nattering to me otherwise I’d lose concentration and trip! However it was worth it (her huffing and glares, not the nearly tripping) as it provide the most gorgeous views over all of Oxford.

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Let me tell you, this is a very rare picture. My brother does not allow a camera to be usually anywhere in his vicinity (it took about 5 attempts for him to look up!)

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Having been stunned by how breath taking it all was, we decided to head back down to terra firma and seek out food. Me and my mum decided to part from the men, and have a girly lunch. Nestled down a side street we found a cute little pub which we feasted over wine and chatter.

I was rather surprised at my mum’s choice, as she is a woman of familiarity. It is nearly always a salmon based dish or hunters chicken, but I think coming back home and bringing my stilton love has had a knock on effect as a black and blue burger was her choice. 

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For me, I couldn’t resist pork belly with cider honey glaze on a bed of pak choi and a side of skin on fries.

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Fully replenished we met back with the men (the remainder of a Burger King drink in hand!) and decided to discover a little more about one of the colleges, or really satisfy my need to pretend to be a smart ass student). We chose Trinity College as we had been told they had beautiful grounds, and to satisfy my dad- an ornate chapel. 

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Trinity College dates back to 1555 and is one of the 38 colleges of Oxford. It was founded by Sir Thomas Poe, who had no children, and so in a bid to be remembered and pass on his legacy he founded Trinity College. 

A quick pop quiz question for you all. If you saw earlier this year The Great Gatsby, you might remember Jay Gatsby attended Trinity College.

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What? All this walking is tiring work!

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I couldn’t recommend Oxford enough as a place to visit. It is obviously better by the glorious weather, as the lawns made perfect picnic spots, but if you are as snap happy as me I am sure you would love it come rain or shine. 

I've already decided when I am old, and tired of living the London life, I am going to retire to Oxford, open up a bakery and feed the minds of the next generation of academics with pastries, cakes and sweet things... or just make them all fat. 

Click here to enter my Thomas Sabo Giveaway? - ends 5th August. 
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Saturday, 27 July 2013

An Oxford Education


On the Monday of our holiday in The Cotswolds, I begged for one special trip somewhere. Somewhere I had been dying to go for years. Somewhere that just captured my imagination due to its numerous film settings, and gorgeous architecture. That place was Oxford.

Famed for its University, I was neither clever nor rich enough to go for real, but for one day I could pretend I was an academic pounding the cobbles as I dashed from one lecture to the next, hoping I would run into Sergeant Hathaway... boy he could arrest me any day!

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Oxford lived up to my expectations, as there was just something about it that captured my heart. It is one of the most beautiful cities I have been to in England, with its outstanding buildings weaving around the city.  

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There are many ‘must see’ buildings, including the colleges, the Radcliffe Camera and The Bridge of Sighs- the most photographed building in Oxford apparently. 

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Of course doing all that walking built up quite an appetite , so I found a Pieminster! Ok, so not quite local Oxford cuisine, but seriously if you’ve had one of their pies before, you’ll know why I couldn’t say no. I went for the Heidi Pie; Somerset goats’ cheese, sweet potato, spinach & red onion, smothered in red gravy and minted mushy peas. 

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But soon we were back gawping at the buildings. 

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The  Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone hospital scene was filmed here.

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Of course, the colleges are one of the biggest attractions. Each one is completely an independent body, with their own traditions, customs and rules. My university was a collegiate system, but somehow I don’t think it quite compares, do you?

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Now before you think I’ve lost it, photographing a lamp post, this apparently is the very lamp post that inspired C.S Lewis in the Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Remember how the lamp post is the very first thing Lucy sees in Narnia? This is it! Pretty sweet eh?

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Oxford just took my breath away. It is a gorgeous city, with so much heritage, so much to see. Good thing we returned the next day then! More tomorrow on the blog! 

Click here to enter my Thomas Sabo Giveaway? - ends 5th August. 
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