Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Wardrobe Staples: Casual Dresses

Even when I was really young I remember disliking wearing jeans or trousers, and that hasn't changed to this day. Skirts and dresses are much more my thing, and for as long as I can remember my wardrobe has been made up of mainly casual, versatile dresses. To me, grabbing a dress in the morning is a no- brainer; they can be dressed up or down depending on what you're doing, and if like me you don't function well in the morning (understatement of the century) there's no need to spend time matching tops to bottoms. In the summer I wear them with sandals or flats and a light cardigan, and in winter with leggings, boots and jackets. One thing I love about plainer staple dresses is that you can go with pretty much anything when it comes to accessories without it looking too much.- here are three ways I'd accessorise a plain dress for winter daytime wear!

1. Bright Accessories
It could be anything from a colourful scarf to a bright cinching waist belt or bag. I really like this red tartan scarf, not only would the large blanket style keep you warm over the winter but the bold colour and design would really brighten up a simple outfit. I can't imagine wearing this with other colours and patterns, but would be ideal with a plain dress.

2. Fur Sleeveless Jackets
I'm a huge fan of sleeveless jackets, they were a big trend over the summer which is set to continue over the autumn and winter. Great for layering over knits and basics, I think fur ones like these look so cute and cosy- they could easily overwhelm a busier outfit but no worry of that happening with your trusty staple dresses.

3. Statement Jewellery
As long as you don't go with something too sparkly and 'evening-y' I think statement jewellery is a nice way to add some interest. Just one piece can transform a plain outfit and immediately make it look more put together. The red in this one would be a good choice for this time of year, over the spring and summer I'd go with pastels and brights.

Having outfits that are comfortable, easy to wear and look flattering are the most important things for me when it comes to choosing clothes, and I know I'll never go far wrong with a nicely cut dress. It saves my wardrobe becoming full of fussy tops and bottoms that don't go with anything and hardly get worn, and mean I'm never stuck for something to wear. 

What are your wardrobe staples?

Monday, 23 November 2015

Urban Decay Vice 4 Palette: Review and Swatches

The two new palettes from Urban Decay really stand testimony to how versatile they are as a brand. From the mainly neutral mix of the Gwen Stefani collaboration palette (reviewed here) to the Vice 4- at the opposite end of the spectrum bursting with bold, bright colours. As a self confessed neutrals lover you'd think the Gwen palette would be the easy favourite, but I have to say I'm completely obsessed with this too. Having twenty gorgeous shades in one palette makes it extremely versatile, and I've been enjoying amping up my usual neutral smokey eye with a bit of colour. It's definitely inspired me to change up how I do my makeup!

Sticking with their 'Urban Decay' theme, the angular cracked glass design on the outer case is actually inspired by an oil slick meaning you get the duochrome/ rainbow kind of effect with the colours. All of the shades have never been seen before, and there are good mixture of shimmers, glitters and mattes. This palette would of course be a bold makeup lovers dream, but even if you usually go down the all neutrals route like me there's plenty you can do with this palette. While you might look at some of the brighter shades and feel like you wouldn't get your wear from them, you can easily run a small amount under the lower lash line or as a wash of colour on the lid and smoked out with a more neutral shade for a look thats still really wearable. There's a massive mirror in the lid which would make it your ultimate travel palette; while this is not a small product it's still thin and light enough that it wouldnt take up too much space and the huge range of different looks you could get from it would make it well worth bringing along. There's even an double ended blending and shader brush in the lid which is surprisingly good, and could be used without any other brushes if you needed to.

Even if you're all about the neutrals, don't disregard the Vice palettes by thinking they only contain shades you wouldn't wear, you really can get a huge range of looks from these; they allow you to go either completely bold or just add a fun twist to your usual look. As with all Urban Decay shadows the formula is top notch, I was especially impressed with how silky the mattes are in this palette but every one is just gorgeous.

Do you have the Vice 4 on your wishlist?
check out my Platinum advertiser, Carly's Beauty Blog

Friday, 20 November 2015

Temptation Days at Yves Rocher

Looking to do any sale shopping this week? One site that should definitely be on your list to visit is Yves Rocher, the all natural beauty brand is offering huge discounts starting from today with a massive 60% off some of their best selling products from the 23rd to the 30th November. I'm a huge Yves Rocher fan, and some of my most loved products ever are from the brand. From cosmetics to haircare to skincare and fragrance it's a beauty lovers dream, their prices are always very reasonable but their big discounts and sales like this mean you can pick up some amazing quality products without spending a fortune. 

Another exciting announcement is that they're also running a huge online giveaway, with 170 winners and £10,000 worth of prizes. It's free and easy to enter so well worth trying your luck, I'll definitely be getting my entry in! Whether you're already an Yves Rocher customer or new to the brand there's loads to try out, some of my personal favourites include their redensifying hair mask (completely restored my hair after bleaching it), their Sumptuous Colour eyeshadow quads which come in the most beautiful gold packaging and their Serum Vegetal moisturisers to name a few. 

Will you be entering the Yves Rocher giveaway?

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani Limited Edition Palette

If there's one brand that knows how to do a good eyeshadow palette, it's Urban Decay. They never fail to cause an absolute storm with their new releases and this is no exception, this limited edition piece has already generated massive interest in the beauty world and it's not even available to buy yet! But I can promise you it's 100% worth the wait, this collaboration with Gwen Stefani features stunning packaging and a beautiful mix of shades- it's certainly one to pop on your Christmas list if you're after some new eyeshadow to play with. It's a joy to look at and even more of a joy to use, Urban Decay really have nailed it with this!

Known for her signature neutral eyes and bright red lips, I think this palette is the perfect reflection of Gwen Stefani; it's a neutral eyeshadow lovers dream but has a couple of really fun brights thrown in for good measure. It contains fifteen shades, twelve of which are new and exclusive to this palette which is always nice to see and means you're not stuck with a tonne of repeat shades from previous collections. The exclusive shades were chosen and named by Gwen after aspects of her career. For example 1987 after the year she started No Doubt, Bathwater after the song and Pop, Blonde and Punk for obvious reasons. Anaheim is the name of the city she grew up in, and where No Doubt used to rehearse in their early years. Some of the standout shades for me are Steady, Baby and Pop which make the most beautiful lid colours, and I also especially like 1987 which is an unusual gold with almost green undertones but is still very wearable as part of a neutral smokey eye. In true Urban Decay style the shadows are soft and blendable with amazing colour payoff, and and there's a good mixture of mattes, satins and more shimmery shades making it extremely versatile for both day and night. Gwen was influenced by a piece of art that she owns, and worked with the founder of Urban Decay to create the swoon worthy packaging. The metal-look plastic is weighty, sturdy, has a big mirror in the lid and a magnetic closure. I love the gold trim around the outside and it just looks and feels really well made.

This palette will retail at $58 (around £38), so the same price point as the Naked palettes. I actually think this is a great price seeing as not only is it limited edition, but you get more shadows than in the Naked palettes. While the palette is dominated by light and mid toned neutrals, you can see from the swatches that the finishes are all different giving you a good mixture for a wide variety of looks- especially when paired up with the deeper and brighter colours. All in all you can tell that this is a really well thought out collaboration, you get something that's truly been designed by Gwen and isn't simply a name stamped on the front. The palette will be available HERE, you can also sign up to be notified as soon as it's out.

Will you be buying the Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani palette?

Monday, 16 November 2015

My Cold Weather Essentials

Everyone gets excited about the change of season when autumn rolls back around- but it's not all pretty leaves, cosy nights in and scented candles. The reality is that it's freezing getting up in the mornings, it's grey and drizzly pretty much 100% of the time and walking anywhere means battling mud and giant puddles! Luckily there are ways of making life easier, and wrapping up warm definitely makes everything more bearable- here are my cold weather essentials for both inside and out of the house.

Dressing Gown
A couple of years ago I used to set the heating to come on half an hour before I woke up, and as nice as that was I found it made getting up out of bed a million times harder- I'd be getting ready while feeling like I was going to fall back to sleep. While it's not exactly great getting up when it's cold, I find if I shove my dressing gown on before going downstairs it's not too bad; I have it hung on the back of my door ready to put on as soon as I'm up. I'm sure I'm not alone on this but I practically live in my dressing gown in the winter, and whenever I'm at home I've usually got it on. Come spring time this means they're usually tatty and in holes where they've been worn and washed half to death, and so I have a new one on my winter shopping list every year. For me Primark is the place to go for them, they're almost half the price you'd find them elsewhere and the quality is surprisingly good. 

Following on from my love of cosy dressing gowns, for me slippers and fluffy socks are also a winter must have. We've recently replaced the carpet in our living room with laminate flooring and so I know these will be even more of an essential this year. My personal favourites are boot and 'full back' (as opposed to slip on/ mule) type slippers shown above because they actually stay on your feet, admittedly they look like something a little old lady would wear but I doubt any style of slippers look catwalk ready! Putting on pyjamas and fluffy socks in the evening after a hot bath is just the best thing ever.

If you go walking or have a dog, then wellies are an absolute must have. No other shoes will stand up to the puddles, mud and flooded fields that you have to deal with when walking them in the winter- and there a few things in life worse than wet shoes and socks! My previous wellies have all been cute patterned and colourful, which are ideal for festivals and things but do tend to attract some funny looks when you're traipsing to the field at 7am in the morning; these plain black ones look a lot more like regular boots and are just much more my style these days. I like layering up with warm socks underneath, it's nice knowing that your feet will stay completely warm and dry while you're out.

Scarf/ Gloves
I don't tend to wear hats that often because having fine, static-y hair, hat hair is a very real thing for me. So I prefer to wrap up with a scarf and gloves instead. Scarves are one of my favourite accessories, I love that they can add colour or pattern to a plain outfit (especially when this time of year I'm in a black coat, black leggings and black boots the majority of the time!) Despite living in my handbag all year, come winter I usually find that one of my gloves has mysteriously gone missing and so they do tend to be a yearly purchase. I go for inexpensive leather style gloves from ebay, I currently have the ones above which are fleece lined and so comfy. I'm a bit funny about regular stretchy woollen gloves as I hate the feeling of the material around my wrists (especially if they get wet/ rained on!) but that's not a problem at all with these.

What are your cold weather essentials?