30 Apr 2013

My new stripey louis armchair from outthereinteriors.com

Welcome to my hallway.  Fancy a sit down in my snazzy new chair?

I've long admired gorgeous vintage-esque, shabby chic, french furniture, and particularly wanted a beautifully ornate and eye-catching chair like this one.  This chair is actually destined to be a bit of a showpiece in my bedroom, but until we redecorate in there it's adorning the hallway and greeting all of my guests with its smiley stripes.

*The chair is called Bethany and she's really striking as well as being sturdy and well made.  My boyfriend keeps calling the chair a throne when I sit on it - if he's insinuating that I'm a princess I won't argue... 

The only thing that's slightly disappointing is that one of the arm covers has almost no stripes on it, so it looks a bit like it doesn't match - it's because there's an extra wide purple stripe in the pattern though, and I guess each chair is unique.

The company has quite an amazing array of beautiful products like this chair - I could have spent hours browsing everything.  This chair comes in other colours, plus I fell in love with some gorgeous patterned mannequins and a fabulous ornately framed mirror.  If I was re-decorating my house with an unlimited budget I could do some serious damage!  

What's your home decor style?  Does french style furniture appeal to you?


28 Apr 2013

Little updates

Happy Sunday everyone!  I'm not sure why I'm so cheerful today - it must be all of the sunshine we've been getting in London.  I love Winter but it went on far too long and I'm so pleased Spring is here and I can stop lugging around a big winter coat!  I hope it's sunny where you are too.


1 - playing with some fab new makeup from Cargo - I love the blush - blogging about this soon
2 - One of my favourite glossybox themes ever 
3 - I finally posted my big Canadian / US goodies giveaway so go ahead and enter here
4 - I also have another giveaway on the go to win a Soak Yourself Love Soak kit - enter here


1 - I love these beautiful trees on all of the streets where I live - it's a shame they only look like this for about two weeks a year
2 - Trying out the new Everriche shampoo and conditioner
3 - Searching for cures for shiny face
4 - Bathtime product overload


1 - speckly beige nails with L'Oreal and Topshop polishes
2 - Essie nice is nice from glossybox
3 - Nails Inc Hobart Place
4 - Illamasaqua paranormal nails
5 - Models Own Hed Kandi polishes 
6 - My bestie's pretty glitter mani


1 - back into loving graze boxes
2 - fruity treat as I'm now doing Slimming World
3 - these pancakes are much healthier than they look - they're made with bananas!
4 - I tried making my own houmous - to be honest it wasn't that great
5 - one of the best Slimming World recipes I've tried so far - meatball pasta bake
6 - pasta salad lunch at work


1 - Testing out a rainbow cake recipe in preparation for a special first birthday party
2 - teapot cake I helped my bestie make for her Nan's 80th
3 - my cupcake production line
4 - One of the neatest cupcakes I've ever iced!

Lately I've been totally addicted to Prison Break - I never watched it when it was on TV but I've been catching up with it on Love Film.  I'm just starting season 3 now and I love it.  To me it's as good as 24 or Lost and Wentworth Miller is a total hottie, so that helps.  I need to find a new equally amazing show to watch when I finish the last season.  

As I mentioned I've started Slimming World - I'm in my third week and it's going really well so far.  I'll probably do a post about it in the next week or two as I know some of you may never have tried that diet and will be interested to know what it's all about.  

Don't forget to enter my USA goodies giveaway and my Soak Yourself giveaway - I have another giveaway coming up in May too! xx 


27 Apr 2013

Baby botox review - before, after and 3 months later - So Be Beauty London

I freely tell anyone who wants to know that I have botox.  I know some people find it a bit weird, or a bit taboo, but for me it fixes one of my major beauty hang-ups - deep frown lines - and it makes me feel so much better when I look in the mirror.

Frown lines have been my enemy since I was 18 or 19, so they're not so much about age - generally some people are more prone to them than others.  I guess I must spend a lot of my time frowning and scowling to have such deep lines on my forehead!  Looking at my Mum, who's 27 years older than me, she has fewer lines on her forehead, but my brother, who's 5 years younger, has them about as bad as me, so I guess we were just made that way.

I had baby botox for the first time back in 2011, and I was really pleased with the results and surprised about how easy and painless the whole process was.  I blogged about that here - baby botox before and after.

The only reason I didn't get it done again straight away was probably the cost - I kept meaning to put a bit of money each side each month, but then spending it on something else.  When I went to get baby botox done again in January this year I actually thought it had only been six month since the last time - not sure how I got that so confused but it had been 18 months!  Possibly it's because the effects of the botox last really well on me, so I thought that's what I'd tell you about this time, rather than doing a straightforward before and after post again.

So this is me on 26 April - I had baby botox on my forehead on 29 January, so roughly three months ago.  I'm only just now starting to notice the first signs that the botox is wearing off.

One of the first signs that time's up, is my eyebrows.  This is going to sound weird, but I naturally have one eyebrow higher than the other, but baby botox seems to fix that.  The first time I had botox done I felt it made my brows super arched and I didn't really like that, but I then realised when I went back a second time, that it could be to my advantage.  I went to the So Be Beauty salon in South East London to get my treatment and Doctor Anand worked his magic in a way that evened my eyebrows out and made them look the most symmetrical they've ever been.  To me this is a perfect two for one bonus - gone are the craggy lines and I have better brows!

I think I'll probably book in to go back within the next month or so as having a line free forehead (and fairly even brows) gives me so much more confidence.  Without the botox treatment I feel like the lines on my forehead are so obvious and make me look old before my time.  When I look in the mirror they're literally all I see.  I'd forgotten how much better having botox made me feel about my skin until I had it done again for the second time.

I took some 'before' photos which I lost when I had my big laptop death episode recently, so I've zoomed in on a photo from one of my other blog posts which shows my botox-free forehead.

As this photo wasn't taken specifically to capture the lines, you can't see them in their full glory, but you can certainly see the ringleader - the biggest and meanest line right in the middle.  You can also see some other 'before' pictures in my previous botox post here, they're older photos, but I was doing some extreme frowning!  

And now the after - and bear in mind this is three months after.  

I have quite enlarged pores on my forehead I know, but in terms of lines, we're all smooth.

So just to cover off a few things you might want to know about baby botox - 

It's a lower concentration than actual botox - it's like botox light.  I can move my face, smile, frown, raise my eyebrows etc.  

Nobody really notices I've had it done (other than perhaps thinking I look a bit better but not being sure why) and when I tell them, they say they wouldn't have realised because I don't have that 'frozen' or 'plastic' look that they expect people who have botox to have.  

The treatment I have costs £200 and that covers the whole forehead area and between the brows.  If you're wanting botox in the same place as me you have to have the between the brows area done too to avoid any drooping.  

Botox doesn't really hurt - it's no more or less painful than having a vaccination in your arm.  My skin doesn't bleed or bruise and it only takes about 15 minutes to have it done.  I think the Doctor injects about 10 times at defined points on the skin.  The effects come on gradually in the week following the treatment.  

The salon I go to is called So Be Beauty and it's in South East London - you can find their website here - sobebeauty.com  The treatment is performed by a qualified professional called Doctor Anand - he's a really nice guy and makes you feel very much at ease and talks you through everything as he does it.  

If you sign up to So Be Beauty's mailing list you'll get an email when they have special offers and discounts and the offers change each month - they don't just do botox either so there might be another offer you'll be interested in.  This isn't a sponsored post and I paid for my treatments - I'm just really impressed with the results and the service from Doctor Anand and So Be Beauty.  

If you have any questions about baby botox that aren't covered here leave me a comment and I'll do my best to answer, or you can tweet me - @fluttersparkle 

How do you feel about botox?  Would you ever get it done?


Neom scent with love body care gift set

If you're new to Neom, or are thinking about introducing a friend to the brand with a gift, *Neom's Scent with Love gift set is a great place to start.  It comes presented in a pretty gift box and you get to sample several fragrances at once as well as a great variety of Neom's body products.

The scent with love gift set includes three of Neom's different fragrances to try - Complete Bliss, Sensuous (fab floral scent) and Tranquility and four different body products - hand cream, body lotion, body wash and bath oil.  

I love Neom firstly for their candles, but their bath oils come a close second and this one in the tranquility fragrance is amazing.  When I use this oil in my bath the scent fills the whole house and you only need a few drops so this 30ml size would last for ages.  

This is the perfect gift set for a luxury bathing experience.  It costs £35 and you can get it from neomorganics.com

Have you tried any of these Neom fragrances or products?  Which is your favourite?


26 Apr 2013

April Glossybox - the Pearl Lowe edition

Ooooh looky here, another conended for prettiest glossybox ever!  Like lost of people I keep all of my glossyboxes for storage, so this is a super lovely one to add to the collection.  The contents ain't half bad either!  

In this month's box I received Model Co cheek + lip tint in Rosy red, Yves rocher france so elixir purple eau de parfum, NIP+FAB dry skin fix body butter in Pistachio sundae, Sunsence daily face SPF50 and Essie nail lacquer in Nice is nice.

I didn't expect to see an Essie polish in the glossybox, so this was the first excitement when I lifted the lid.  It's a lovely playe greyish lilac colour and I posted a swatch of it on my Instagram here.

My next favourite product in the box is the NIP+FAB pistachio sundae body butter - it smells gorgeous and I'm currently using it as a hand cream on my desk at work.

The other three products are ones I'm not familiar with but I'm keen to try.  Although I'm usually a bit critical of perfume samples in beauty boxes, So Elixir sample is a fair size for travel and it smells really lovely too.

*Glossybox costs £10 per month plus £2.95 postage and you can subscribe here - glossybox.com

Did you get the Pearl Lowe glossybox?  What was in yours?


24 Apr 2013

Illamasqua Paranormal collection - first look and swatches

Last night I was lucky enough to get to pop along to see the lovely and inspriring people at Illamasqua and to share in the launch of their latest collection - Paranormal.  A little unexpected for this time of year perhaps for a slightly 'spooky' collection, but Illamasqua love to be not only a step but massive great lunges ahead of the rest.  I also love how the theme lends to everything having a quirky and otherworldy name.

The Paranormal collection is all about different and unexpected colours and textures.  Colour junkies will love this collection for its brights and its slightly obscure shades that push the boundaries of what we're used to.  For me, the draw is the amazing innovation.  I'm a neutrals girl at heart and can't pull off a full on intense, immense Illamasqua look, but I go to them for their groundbreaking products that really work, and there's one of those in this collection that I'm just a teensy bit crazy for. 

From left to right here we have a UV top coat (glows a white blue and can be applied over any other shade),  a bright green called Omen, a hot pink called Ouija and a gorgeous purple called Seance.  £13 each.

I had my nails painted in Ouija and Seance.  Sorry the photo's not the best quality - I sadly smudged one or two nails after I took this - but you can see the shimmer / super fine and soft glitter effect texture these polishes have and the almost irridescent sheen they pick up in the light.  I didn't get a photo of these under a black light but I did try them out and the glow a neon white hot version of themselves.  Have a look at Leanne's post to see what Omen (green) looks like on and under a black light.

Next up is what I has to be the stand out 'wow' product of this collection - Hydra Veil.  I spent ages bending the ear of Illamasqua's Director of product development - David Horne - about how and why he created this product because I was just so fascinated by it.  He gave me lots of tips on how to use it for my skin type so after I've tried it a few times I'll do a post with all of the information.  So far I'm very, very impressed!

What you need to know that this is a revolutionary primer for dehydrated areas of the skin.  If your makeup dissapears during the day on dry areas of your face - even if you have oily skin - this will sort those dry patches out and leave behind a smooth and levelled surface for your makeup to grip onto.  It's also a whole lot of fun to play with as the self-leveling gel squirms and slides back into a perfectly smooth blob in it's tub no matter how much you stir it up!  This will be £27.50 - a lot less than I expected actually.

As much as I shy away from wearing a lot of colour on my eyes, I was totally 'getting' the beauty of Illamasqua's new palette.  The colours are so gorgeous next to each other - they're soft and they're bright all at the same time and have an amazing silky formula which is said to really last.

Left to right the colours are Paranormal, Aura, Possesion and Trance.  The palette is £34.

And this little beauty is a new Gleam hi-light product in a lovely warm bronze shade.  I wore this today and really liked it on my skintone as a beautifully sheeny blush - it really does make you gleam.  It's called Supernatural and I'll share proper swatches of this asap.

Finally I snapped Illamasqua's new take on a classic lip.  I love how they encourage us to break all of those traditional rules.  Instead of a red lip, go purple, or switch up your nude lip for lilac!  The lilac sounds a bit crazy I know, but even little miss neutral over here is coming around to the idea the more I look at it.  My only remaining reservation is that I think it might show up my stained teeth!  

The lilac shade is called Posture and the puple / violet is called ESP - these will be £16.50 each.

The last product in the new Paranormal collection is one that I can;t wait to rush out and buy, so I'm really annoyed I didn't get a photo of it.  It's a precision gel eyeliner in a blackest of blacks shade called Infinity.  Illamasqua's precision ink is my favourite black liquid liner, and some people were saying the new gel liner might be even better as it doesn't dry as fast (time to correct those mistakes!) but will be waterproof.  It sounds like perfection to me and I'll be first in line to buy it when the collection launches on 30th April.

Whilst I was squeezing David Horne for all of his oily skin tips, these too were busy musing out on one another.

The amazing Alex Box (Illamasqua Creative Director) and the fabulous Jayne Read (Illamasqua super fan).

Look out for the Paranormal collection launching at Illamasaqua.com from 30 April.  

After all, why be normal, when you can be Paranormal?  

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