Last Friday I was lucky enough to be invited up to London by the lovely team at Alex Silver PR, for a fabulous afternoon of cocktails, nails and lash treatments, and hanging out with none other than Pixie Lott! Rocking up at The Cuckoo Club in Mayfair, I had literally never felt so cool in all my life. Despite blogging for years, I’d never made it to an event, with my anxiety usually convincing me to stay home; but not this time!

I’d been chatting to fabulous fellow blogger Natalie in the run up to the event, and agreed to meet her and Charlotte outside the venue. Once inside we wasted no time in whipping out our cameras and snapping everything we laid eyes on. The whole place looked stunning, with musicians, nails, lashes, and henna tattoo stations, a huge chocolate fountain, and a bar lined with gorgeous cocktail creations.

After a bit of mingling, I decided to hop in the queue to get my nails done, opting for a gorgeous gold & glitter combo. As for lashes, I chose the gorgeous Lily lashes; super fluttery, dainty, and perfect for achieving everyday glamour. The team were absolutely fantastic and so knowledgeable, I came away having learnt lots of new beauty secrets and clever tips.

I was a wee bit starstruck meeting Pixie Lott, having been a big fan of hers for years. As KISS’ Brand Ambassador, she was around all afternoon taking pictures and chatting to everyone. Natalie, Charlotte and I got some gorgeous photos with Pixie from the photobooth, before heading back to the dance floor for the last few minutes of the event!

Overall, it was a fabulous day, perfectly organised and without a dull moment; I was gutted when the clock struck 3pm and it was time to go home! I loved meeting Charlotte and Natalie, who both have gorgeous blogs worth checking out! When it was time to leave, we were handed goodie bags crammed with all of the nails and lashes in the range (not all lashes pictured!). All the products simply ooze luxury, whilst remaining no-fuss and affordable. You can find KISS cosmetics’ in your local Superdrug, and I would definitely recommend them!

 

Thanks again to to the team for having me, and thank you to everyone who made the day so enjoyable!

 

Aileen x

 

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If you haven’t heard all the drama surrounding a certain Advent Calendar this week, where have you been?! Beauty & Lifestyle Advent Calendars have exploded onto the shelves in recent years; it almost feels as though every brand is coming out with an Advent offering! In this post I’ll share some of my favourite calendars with you. I’ll try to keep these affordable for those of us on a budget! Personally, I don’t think I could ever justify spending over £100 on an Advent Calendar, as a student, and as a generally picky person when it comes to selecting my own products!

Morrison’s Gin Advent Calendar!

This is perhaps my favourite one offering this year! For £60, Morrison’s are offering a 24 door calendar, with a new gin inside for each day! Each bottle is 50ml, the equivalent of 2 shots. I feel like this is pretty reasonable, and fairly good value for money, with just enough gin included to give you a decent taste of it!

This is perfect for the (over 18!) gin enthusiast in your life. Are you even a blogger if you haven’t squealed over pink gin?!

There are similar calendars to this one on the market, but none this affordable, or offering such a wide range of samples!

Asda’s Cheese Advent Calendar!

SORRY haha, I will move away from food & drink ones soon, but hear me out! For a mere EIGHT QUID, you can snap up a very cheesy 24 door calendar from your local Asda!

Again, this is amazing for anyone who drools over their computer watching videos of cheesy snacks (just me? okay). Or just someone looking to be a bit adventurous, and have a bit of fun with the Advent Calendar trend!

I suppose the only gripe I have with this is that you’d have to keep it in the fridge! No displaying it neatly in your home for the best part of a month like your other calendars!

Ciate Mini Mani & 12 Days of Ciate London Calendars

See? I promised I would include non-edible calendars! For all the beauty lovers, Ciate have hit out with not one, but TWO gorgeous calendars to choose from this Christmas! At almost identical price points, you can choose the calendar based on the contents you’ll use the most! The packaging for both calendars is stunning, and I am kinda trying to convince myself not to buy both!

The Mini Mani Calendar sells for £50, and has 24 doors, hiding 23 mini nail polishes, and 1 nail file. Again, I would say this is excellent value for money. I’d also say that all the shades look really lovely and wearable, there’s not one pictured that I couldn’t imagine myself reaching for. But rather, a perfect mix of shimmers, glitters and everyday faves.

On the other hand, you could opt for the 12 Days of Ciate London Calendar, priced at £49. This calendar has 12 doors as opposed to 24, but don’t be too quick to judge, as the treats look really rather fab! The calendar contains every eyeliners, mascara, lipsticks, cleansers, highlighters, and more. Basically, by the time you’re done you’ll have a whole new make up bag!

Johnny Loves Rosie Jewellery Advent Calendar

I stumbled across this gorgeous jewellery calendar whilst on yet another ASOS binge! Packaged beautifully in the shape of a Christmas tree, this calendar has 25 pretty jewellery bits hidden inside, and is reasonably purse-friendly at £38!

If you go for this calendar you can expect 25 gold & silver toned necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and Christmassy charms! I’m extremely tempted to get this calendar as a gift, but also know they’d have to prise it from my chubby wee claws as this calendar is just perfection!

Johnny Loves Rosie is one of my favourite jewellery brands of all time, for dainty wee necklaces, dazzling earrings and pretty hair accessories; they got ya!

Bomb Cosmetics Advent Calendar

Lets just start this wee section with; Bomb Cosmetics are amazing. (No, they did not sponsor me to say that)

This is a brand I have grown up adoring. See, they stock Bomb Cosmetics’ gorgeous soaps & candles in my parents’ favourite garden centre, so whilst my parents pottered off to look at some plants, I would spend a good 30 minutes just prancing round ooh-ing and aah-ing over their products.

Back to the calendar! Bomb Cosmetics have hit out with a super affordable, but crammed to the brim calendar! This beauty will only set you back £19.99, and contains 24 soaps & bath blasters! If you, or someone you love, desperately needs some relaxation in the form of a gorgeous bubble bath, here ya go xo

 

Thank you so much for reading! Will you be picking up one of these this Christmas?

 

Aileen x

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With the new season in full swing, my make up bag was desperately crying out for a refresh. So what better time than when Boots are offering 3 for 2, eh? Boots in Winchester is much smaller, but so so much better than my local one, and yes, I am still offended that my local Boots still doesn’t stock NYX Cosmetics.

At the time of writing this post, I have tested a few of these products in my daily make up routine, so I’ll include some first impressions where I can!

Eyes & Brows

This whole haul stems from my desperate search for a new brow product. After falling head over heels in love with New Look’s Brow Pen, I was pretty devastated to discover that after a night out frantically jumping around to Mr Brightside, my brows were looking pretty terrible, even with setting. I picked up NYX Cosmetics’ Tame & Frame Brow Pomade, the gel formula will hopefully be much longer lasting than brow pens.

I haven’t used a brow pomade in several years, so going from a quick swish of a brow pen to actually having to get a brush and even out my brows required a fair bit of effort. However, having done my brows with this nifty wee pomade twice now, I can confirm your attempts do get better with practice, and I’m so happy with how my brows look! The brow pomade offers a more natural, but still polished look.

Keen to expand my cruelty-free make up brush collection, I couldn’t resist picking up an Eco Tools brush duo to help with my mission for perfect brows! This set is perfect for achieving neat, well groomed brows.

Finally in this category, I’ve been in denial that my favourite mascara was on its last legs for over a week now, and decided to opt for NYX Cosmetics’ Full Figured Lush Lashes Mascara. This mascara is waterproof and lengthening. On application of the first coat, I have to admit, I wasn’t too in love with it, however when I applied another coat I did find my lashes looked so much longer and fuller. This mascara may even become my new favourite!

Lips

You’d think the cool Autumnal weather would inspire me to pick up some deep reds or purpley shades, right? Wrong. Instead I’ve opted for a shimmery metallic rose gold shade from Soap & Glory. With the party season right around the corner, for me, a pretty sparkly pink is essential!

I’ve only worn this once so far, but the formula doesn’t seem too drying, a problem I keep having with matt lip creams. This winter I pretty much have a tin of Vaseline welded to my palm at all times, oh the struggles!

Face

Last, but by no means least, I popped across the road to Superdrug to pick up one of Make Up Revolution’s new liquid highlighters, in the gorgeous shade, Liquid Starlight. It’s a gorgeous pink / silvery shade that blends absolutely beautifully into your cheekbones. I am loving the liquid highlighter trend at the moment! Fellow make up addicts will appreciate the perfection of having a little row of these beauties neatly lined up on your dressing table, but also when I apply my highlighter using this I do kinda feel like some beauty scientist type, ya know?

I’d say these are more intended for evenings, events, or any time you just want to look a bit glam! They may be ever so slightly OTT for the daily grind, but if that’s your thing; you do you gal!

 

Got any new cruelty-free beauty recommendations? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

 

Aileen x

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You all know I recently moved to Winchester to complete my university studies, and have wasted no time in footering about the city centre. With my local expert best pal Phoebe, I’ve been out exploring what Winchester has to offer, in food, drinks, fashion, and general sights!

I’m starting the series, When In Winch, to document some of my wee adventures round this pretty wee city, and hopefully inspire some of you to pay it a visit, or at least ooh and ahh over some of the most Pinterest-worthy meals ever created.

Kicking off the series, I have to start with Josie’s, a cosy but sophisticated cafe in the heart of the city. Everything about the place just oozes cool, from the sleek decor to the beautifully presented coffees and mouth watering menus.

The ultimate brunch destination, Josie’s was top of my list as soon as I heard about it. Once inside, I poured over the menu for the best part of 15 minutes, deliberating over several varieties of pancakes and breakfast muffins. I finally settled on an eggs benedict and fried chicken breakfast muffin, with a delicious mocha on the side to satisfy my coffee addiction.

I feel like the pictures pretty much say it all. The food was absolutely fantastic, the portions were huge, and I have to admit I did end up taking home almost half the portion for my dinner!

I’m determined to make these two years at university a time when I learn so much more than just my course syllabus; I just want to fill my brain and get better at life-ing (its a word, okay?). One thing I’m really keen to learn about is coffee. I am an absolute sucker for a well made cup of coffee, and I think to improve my knowledge, I ought to consume as many gorgeously presented cups of coffee as I can, right?

Our whole afternoon at Josie’s made my heart so happy. We had a good girly giggle over some absolutely top nosh, what’s not to love?

 

Until next time!

Aileen x

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Any accustomed blogger over time will accumulate a collection of props, bits and pieces to spruce up and accessorise their blog photography. If you’re a new blogger, or are just changing up your photography game, you may be feeling pretty overwhelmed by seeing all these bright and beautiful flat-lays up and down your feed. Do not worry; you most likely don’t need to go out and buy items, as you may find that many of the things on this list are already lying about your house, or otherwise can be bought for a very small cost!

 

Photo Backgrounds 

  1. Wallpaper samples
    You can pick up wallpaper samples for free at your local B&Q or other shops of the like!
  2. Coloured paper
    Overlaying different colours of paper in a geometric pattern adds a pretty pop of colour to single-product photos.
  3. Wrapping Paper
    We’ve all got that box / drawer stuffed with wrapping paper and gift bows!
  4. Maps
    Travel bloggers; I gotchu!
  5. Rugs / Other Textiles
    Perfect for adding some texture to the image or creating a beautiful contrast, for example, between a wooden floor background and a soft furry rug.
  6. Marble Backdrop
    A blogger favourite! You can pick these up on Amazon for around the £5 mark.

Props:

  1. Plants / Flowers
  2. Notebooks
  3. Ribbon
  4. Confetti
  5. Washi Tape
  6. Stacks of magazines / books
  7. Candles
  8. Trays
  9. Your Starbucks cup! (Oh so very Instagram-worthy!)
  10. Sunglasses
  11. Your Laptop or Tablet
  12. Jewellery
  13. Food! (Some cute wee macarons or your gorgeous smoothie bowl creations)
  14. Polaroids
  15. Your camera
  16. Paint swatches (Again, freeeee from B&Q, Homebase etc!)
  17. Christmas Baubles (Please, not yet though!)
  18. Make Up Bag
  19. Gift Bag (I guard my Chanel and Ladurée bags with my life for blog photos!)
  20. Prints (Support your favourite designers and small business owners with some pretty prints!)

 

I hope that you found this useful, and if you have any other ideas for perfect blog photography feel free to leave them in the comments to help others!

 

Aileen x

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