Thursday, June 27, 2013

Holiday Scrapbook

Hi everyone, I'm back from Gran Canaria and suffering from a serious case of the post-holiday blues, so I thought I would share some of my favourite photos that I took on the trip with you. I know this isn't a typical beauty/fashion post from me but hopefully some of you might like a little lifestyle post for a change :)
My boyfriend Sean and I stayed at the Lopesan Baobab Hotel in Meloneras in Gran Canaria. It was literally the most beautiful hotel I have ever seen - every inch of the design was African-themed, from the river full of fish and turtles that ran on the floor beneath our room to the intricate bedroom furniture and balcony railings. I was so impressed and would definitely recommend this hotel whole-heartedly to couples looking for a romantic break in a seriously idyllic setting. The food was also fantastic - we've never been so well-fed in our lives, all-you-can-eat buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner are not the ideal way to keep your bikini body trim, let me tell you.
We had such a great week tanning by the beautiful pools, visiting a wildlife park, watching a film at the moonlight cinema, watching the turtles in the hotel and getting rather drunk!


my gorgeous fella


so much amazing food!
and amazing cocktails...

...which led to this drunken mess

Palmitos Park
I really love tortoises!

Amazing dolphin show, that would be my dream job


Crazy afro bird

Grand Italia, the restaurant on the seafront which we visited two nights in a row

The Moonlight Cinema where we watched Django Unchained until 3am with blankets

Sean making fun of my photo pose -_-

 And my favourite photo of us on our last night
Hope this wasn't too boring and I hope you're all having a lovely Summer so far!
Holly xo

Friday, June 21, 2013

Heel Envy

When these stunning ankle strap sandals arrived in the New Look delivery last week, the whole team went mad for them. 'Look at these!', 'Keep a size 5 for me!' - it was love. Since I bought my bargain Primark sandals (seen here), I knew I needed another pair of sleek, sophisticated heels but I hadn't found the perfect pair until I spotted these beauties. A total dupe for a pair that are currently being sold in Zara for £29.99 - these heels are slightly cheaper at £24.99* which is a total bargain for the quality and style if you ask me. I think these will look amazing with an LBD for a night out and will also be great for dressing up a pair of jeans or disco pants on more casual days.
As far as I can see, they are sold out online already but you can still pick them up in store and they're also available in nude on the New Look website here.
*I received 50% staff discount
Are you a fan of the ankle strap sandal trend?
Holly xo
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Crazy About Coral

I'm having a love affair with coral. That not-quite-pink, almost-orange, kind-of-red colour that just looks amazing on lips or cheeks. It's such a stunning shade that suits most, if not all, skintones and hair colours and these are the coral toned beauty products I've been reaching for over and over again:
For lips, my top pick has to be Mac Vegas Volt. This lipstick is described as a 'full power coral', and that description is spot on in my opinion. It's a stunning bright orange/pink/red hue that really brightens the complexion and perks up a low-key makeup look. The amplified crème formula is one of my absolute favourites from Mac as they are so creamy and smooth to apply, yet seriously pigmented and opaque which is exactly what I want from a lipstick.
I'm also a massive fan of Mac Ravishing, which is a 'clean light peachy coral' (as described by Mac) so it is essentially a lighter, peach-toned coral and it's cremesheen finish means it is slightly less opaque but equally soft and creamy, and it's certainly still pigmented. This was my latest lipstick purchase from Mac, and certainly won't be my last.
At the cheaper end of the scale, the Rimmel Kate Moss Matte Lipstick in 110 Vibrant Coral is less than half the price of the Mac offerings and is a fairly good dupe for Vegas Volt, though it is slightly redder. For a matte finish lipstick, it's not at all drying and actually applies really nicely. I'll be taking this on holiday next week to satisfy my coral cravings!
For cheeks, I have two products that I think fall into the coral category and they are YSL Blush Radiance 02 - a seriously cute, but pricey (£31.00) blush quad containing light and mid-toned coral shades, which mixed together give the perfect peachy glow to the cheeks, and Bourjois Cream Blush in 01 Nude Velvet - my new favourite cream blush which I've raved about countless times in my last few posts, a stunning peachy pink blush and a total bargain for £7.99.
Finally, I had to include a seriously bargainous nail offering. The new Collection Hot Looks nail polishes are only £1.99 each and come in cute little 8ml pots, which are the perfect size if you ask me as who ever uses a full bottle of nail polish? I picked the shade Fruit Salad which is just the perfect coral nail shade and has a lovely shine to it. These nail paints are supposed to dry in only 60 seconds, now I can't vouch for that yet as I've only applied it on my nail wheel and not on my own nails but let's be honest, for £1.99, who really cares?
Can you recommend any other coral beauty products?

Holly xo
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Friday, June 14, 2013

The Summer Series // Makeup Essentials

Well ladies, here is the last post in my relatively short Summer Series. This is my holiday makeup bag (the clear bags featured in this series are from Superdrug and cost £5.99 for a set of 3 in different sizes), and I'm going to give you a quick run-through of all the products I am taking with me to Gran Canaria on Monday - yes there are quite a lot but I'm a beauty blogger so it's allowed, don't you agree? Let's spit this into face, eyes and lips to make things easier!


I decided to go for mainly highstreet/drugstore products as I'm a little wary of taking expensive things on holiday with me since an incident when I was younger in which my family's case was broken into whilst travelling and our digital camera as well as all my jewellery were stolen! So I'm taking my Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation for a not-too-heavy, illuminating base, as well as the Rimmel Stay Matte Powder which will be essential for keeping shine at bay on hot evenings. For cheeks I'm taking one powder option - the YSL Blush Radiance 02 and one cream option for a more radiant, dewy finish - the new and already much-loved Bourjois Cream Blush in 01 Nude Velvet. Both of these blushes are a gorgeous peachy pink colour which is my favourite shade for cheeks at the minute. I'll also be taking the Nars Laguna Bronzer for evening contouring (although I may skip this step as I haven't been into contouring so much recently), and my new favourite highlighter - Mac Mineralize Skin Finish in Soft and Gentle - I think this is the perfect Summer evening highlighter, it adds a stunning golden toned shimmer to the cheekbones. And of course, I purchased a new Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in 02 Light to cover pesky blemishes and dark circles - and who knows, if I'm having a good skin week, I might skip the foundation and opt for concealer only! (Yeah right, if only...)


I've really been loving cream eyeshadows recently, so I'll be taking my Mac Paint Pot in Bare Study, which is a stunning champagne shadow with shimmer, as well as the highstreet's answer to paint pots, the Maybelline Colour Tattoo in On and On Bronze, which I'm sure you can tell is a bronze/gold shimmery shadow. These are perfect for a fuss-free eye makeup look or as a base for a more detailed powder eyeshadow look. To create the latter, I'm taking this L'Oreal Color Riche Quad in E2 Nude Lingerie which contains four versatile shimmer shades in champagne, gold, pink and taupe. This will save me taking my bulky Urban Decay Naked Palettes and contains enough colours to create at least three different looks should I feel the need for a smoky eye. I'll also be taking a trusty brown eyeliner (still haven't switched back to black kohl girls!), my eyeliner of choice is the Bourjois Kohl & Contour 16h in 78 Brun Design because of it's silky smooth application and the fact it does not budge as well as the Barry M Shimmering Eye and Lip Crayon  in 4 for a pop of colour on my lower lashline. Finally, I'll be taking my all-time favourite mascara YSL Mascara Volume Effect Faux Cils (false lash effect) but this time I'm trying out the waterproof version. I'm so excited to see how this compares to my beloved original faux cils and I'm expecting great things from one of my favourite high-end brands!


Ok ok I know this amount of lip products for a week away may seem extensive but I've rediscovered my lipstick obsession recently and I just can't cut out any of these lovely picks! If I was going somewhere in England I would be taking my favourite Mac lipsticks, but since they are notorious for melting and I'm going to be in a very hot country, I didn't want to chance it. So I went searching for a highstreet dupe of my current Mac favourite 'Vegas Volt' and decided on Rimmel Kate Moss Lasting Finish in 110 which is a stunning coral shade, extrememly pigmented and also rather creamy for a matte finish lipstick. I also wanted a pinky-nude shade so decided on Rimmel Kate Moss Lasting Finish in 03, which is the perfect 'my lips but better' shade for me. For a touch of peach, I chose Sleek True Colour Lipstick in Barely There which I just love as it's a totally opaque true peach colour on my lips which is perfect for brightening up the face. Of course I needed a pink shade and the glossy Topshop Lip Crayon in Wave Goodbye is perfect and finally, for a full-on red pout which I think will look great paired with my cream lace sundress, I'm taking the Pixi Tinted Brilliance Balm in Rosy Red. And of course I couldn't go without a lip balm, so my Nivea Lip Butter in Raspberry Rosé will be a welcome boost of hydration.

So that's that! I hope you enjoyed this peek inside my holiday suitcase. I'll be sure to post some photos of my trip on the blog when I get home for you all to peruse if you're interested! :) I'll also try and schedule a couple of posts to go up whilst I'm away.

Have a fantastic week girls!

Holly xo

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Summer Series // The Beauty Bag

Hi girls, it's time for the next instalment of the 'Summer Series'. This time I'm showing you all the beauty products (not including makeup - that will be the next post) that I'll be taking with me on holiday on Monday! This includes sun protection, hair products, body products and skincare essentials that will keep me feeling my best during a week in the sun.
Firstly, and probably most importantly - here are the products that will be protecting my skin from the sun's rays. Nivea has always been my go-to brand for sun protection because it's always been my mam's favourite brand. She laughs at all my expensive skincare products pointing out that the original Nivea moisturiser is all she's ever used - and I must say her skin is great and everyone does comment on how young she looks. So their sun protection range was always a staple in my childhood. This year I am desperate to get a decent tan, but also know how important it is to stay safe in the sun, so the Nivea Protect & Bronze range sounded perfectly suited to my needs! This water-resistant sun cream claims to support the skin's natural tanning ability - whilst containing no trace of fake tan - using a plant extract that stimulates the body's own melanin production (the natural pigment that determines skin colour). I'll be using the factor 30 for the first couple of days until my pale skin has hopefully developed a base tan, then I'll move onto the lower factor 20. Sticking with Nivea, I also like their after sun range. I love the packaging of their products as the spray nozzle makes application so much easier and prevents waste. So I picked up the moisturising after sun spray, but also the after sun lotion for more intensive moisture if I burn. Both of these products contain aloe vera to soothe and cool the skin after sun exposure. I'll be keeping these in the fridge for an extra refreshing feeling.
Finally, I am taking my favourite face SPF product - the Clarins Sun Wrinkle Control Cream in SPF 30 which is perfect for daily use in this country and abroad, as it is non-greasy, smells lovely and protects against UVA and UVB rays. This was a highly recommended SPF product by Caroline Hirons (my skincare crush), and I am loving it so far.  I'm also taking the Nivea Sun Protect Lip Balm SPF 30 which I forgot to photograph - BAD Holly.

 I always find my hair gets a bit dry and frizzy when I'm on holiday, so this year I thought I'd try some hair products that are specifically tailored for use on holiday. Cue the Charles Worthington Sunshine range. I'll be trying out the UV-Protection Shampoo and Conditioner as well as the Sunshine Protector Leave-In Spray to protect my hair from being frazzled in the constant heat. Hopefully these products, which contain moringa seed oil and added UV filters, will amp up the moisture and keep my long hair protected and refreshed (as the packaging promises). I'll also be taking my trusty Moroccanoil treatment to use every night after washing and before blow drying to keep my hair silky soft and help to keep split ends at bay.

I picked up this cute travel bottle set from ebay last week so that I could de-pot some of my larger skincare/bodycare goodies that I simply can't live without for a week. I'll be taking my absolute favourite bodywash - the Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Fresh and Foamy Body Wash. I just repurchased this after using up my first 500ml bottle, I can honestly say I never want to be without this stuff - the sweet citrusy smell is so refreshing and delicious, I've even purchased the Sugar Crush Body Butter to go with it. I'll also be taking my Bioderma Sensibio H2O for removing my makeup, my Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish cleanser, Vichy Aqualia Rich Moisturiser which will keep my skin hydrated throughout the day/night as it's a fairly heavy duty moisturiser and my Caudalie Beauty Elixir that I received in the Selfridges Beauty Box last month - this will be great for refreshing my skin throughout the day. I'll also be de-potting some of my Origins Drink-Up Intensive Overnight Mask to use a couple of times during the week to inject some much-needed moisture into my sun-parched skin - I think I'll take this in my hand luggage and use it on the plane too as aeroplanes are notorious for dehydrating the skin - and we don't want that on a 5 hour plane journey!
I'll obviously also be taking the boring stuff - mini toothpaste, mouthwash, a toothbrush and some deodorant (Soft & Gentle Lotus and Watermelon if you were wondering!)

Hope this post wasn't too boring ha! What are your holiday beauty essentials?

Holly xo
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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Summer Series // Fashion Haul

Hi girls, I don't know about you but it's really starting to feel like Summer to me now! We had a couple of gorgeous sunny days earlier this week, I actually wore shorts and applied sun cream - I don't recall many days last Summer when I was able to do that and considering it's only the first week of June, hopefully things are looking good for the rest of the season!
I'm off on holiday on the 17th with my boyfriend, we're going to Gran Canaria for a week and I absolutely cannot wait, especially since I didn't go on holiday last year. I've also got a 5 day holiday next month with my dad, his girlfriend and my sister so I've been in desperate need of updating my wardrobe with Summer clothes and new bikinis, so I thought I would show you all the things I've been buying recently for my holidays in a series of posts that are imaginatively named 'The Summer Series', starting with the fashion bits and pieces I've acquired over the last month or so.
Playsuit - New Look £16.99
I better point out that I work at New Look as a sales assistant (or customer care expert as we're now known) and we are lucky enough to get a very generous 50% staff discount so I did get this playsuit for only £8.50! It looks quite red on the pictures but it's actually a gorgeous burnt orange colour and I think the elephant print is adorable. The drawstring waist makes it so flattering too as it emphasises curves, I think it will look gorgeous with a tan belt and some wedges.
 Maxi Dress - Primark £10.00
From the front this looks like a plain but pretty black maxi dress, but from the back it's a lot more than that. It's hard to tell from the pictures but the back of the dress has two large panels of cut out floral detail which just adds something different to the dress. This could be dressed up or down and I know I'll get a lot of wear out of it. A total bargain at £10.00 too!

 Dress - H&M £14.99
This isn't the kind of thing I usually buy, it's very girly and cutesy but I just loved it when I tried it on. The flying horse print is a bit quirky and the capped sleeves and loose material make it so comfortable and easy to wear. This will be a gorgeous day dress paired with some sandals or it could be dressed up with heels and a slick of bright lipstick for a day/night in a beer garden.

 Dress - H&M £19.99
I bought this dress quite a while ago now but I've been saving it for my holidays. I just think it's the most beautiful sun dress. Stunning mint green colour and the lace detail makes it so feminine and pretty. I'm normally an 8-10, but I actually bought this in a 6 and it fits perfectly. This is definitely one of my favourite purchases, I can't even explain how pretty it is - so pretty in fact that I went back and bought the cream version... And so did my sister...

 Dress - H&M £19.99
The only thing with these dresses is that the skirt is slightly see-through so a pair of nude knickers is a must!

Maxi Dress - New Look £19.99
I already had this dress in the beige and cream striped version from last year and it's still one of my favourite maxis for nights out so buying this stunning teal and turquoise version was a no-brainer for me. It has splits up the sides which make it a little more dressy than your average maxi dress and I just find the fit to be so flattering. It looks gorgeous with some chunky heels and a necklace (p.s. who can spot the beautiful Ian Somerhalder on my wall - my boyfriend bought this calendar for me for Christmas reluctantly ha, I LOVE a bit of the smolderhalder)

 Dip Hem Dress - New Look £22.99
It got a bit dark while I was taking the photos for this post so I had to use the flash for this dress ha! It's a lovely paisley print dip hem dress in a chiffon material (obv with a cami dress underneath to avoid unnecessary bum flashing). This was a total sell-out when we got it in a month or so ago so I'm not sure how easy it would be to get hold of now, maybe they will re-stock it since it was so popular!

Playsuit - New Look £16.99
I thought this Aztec print playsuit would be a great cover-up to wear around the pool during the day as it's elasticated and stretchy so it will be easy to whip on and off as well as being comfy and not too hot. The neon pink colour is on trend for the Summer season too so that's an added bonus!

Now for bikinis..

Bikini Top - H&M  £9.99 // Bikini Bottoms - H&M £7.99
This bikini is fairly simplistic with a triangle shaped top and a three-toned pink pattern.

Bikini Top - River Island £15.00 // Bikini Bottoms - River Island £10.00
River Island bikinis are a little bit more expensive but I always think the styles are so pretty. I have a gorgeous red one from last Summer that I'll be taking away with me too. This one has quite a sporty feel to it, with bronze zip detail and shimmery silver and coral colours. I love the shape of the top and the fact that it comes with detachable straps - I prefer a strapless bikini top on holiday to avoid unsightly tan lines but sometimes it's nice to have a bit more support.

 Triangle Bikini Top - H&M £3.99 // Strapless Bikini Top - H&M £3.99 // Bikini Bottoms - H&M £3.99
This bikini is so stunning and SO CHEAP that I had to buy both styles of the top - which is great as it means I kind of have two different bikinis to wear! I'm sure these bikinis must have been priced wrong as they were from the new Beyoncé swimwear range and were so much cheaper than all the other styles - yet I thought they were the nicest ones! They have a beautiful green and white tie-dye pattern and silver toggles. So pretty, I'm in love with this bikini.

Just realised how much H&M stuff I have bought! I never normally buy much from them but they've had some great Summer bargains recently! And obviously it's hard to resist New Look clothes when I get them half price ha.

Hope you enjoyed seeing my recent purchases and I hope you're all enjoying the warmer weather!

Holly xo
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