Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Have yourself a very MULBERRY Christmas...

... well I did that's for sure!

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and are looking forward to 2012. I have so many posts to try and cram in before the Xmas holidays are up and after my post-Christmas sales dash, I couldn't wait to share my very Mulberry Christmas with you!


Pictured above is: the Daria Mini Satchel in Oak, the Heart Friendship Bracelet in Black and the Frog Pin from AW11.

I was a very lucky girl this year and received the bracelet from my best friend for my recent Birthday (a week before Christmas) and the frog pin from my boyfriend for Christmas - the strong hints obviously paid off! And then I treated myself to the Daria Satchel in the Sales.

I love the bracelet, my friend knows me so well, and I've worn it loads, although it is a little tricky to put on yourself to start with! It is a pale gold metal heart with a keyhole cutout through the middle and the Mulberry tree stamped on the side. It is held onto the wrist with a black waxed cord with sliding knots to loosen/tighten as desired. It is still available on the Mulberry website at £60 RRP. The Frog Pin I've had my eye on for ages, I wear the leopard one from last year a lot and wanted to expand my collection, so this pressie went down very well on Christmas Day. It is made of pale gold metal, has the Mulberry tree stamped on the side and green/blue jewel eyes. This doesn't seem to be available any more, as each season they bring out a new style of pin - check out the Peace and Luck ones for SS11 - very cute!

Now the bag is (in fact Mulberry bags in general) my Achilles heel. Oh my god! I'm in love with this brand! They always use the most fabulous leathers and each piece is so well made it will last you for years and years! My purse is over two years old and has been used every day but still looks almost new.

Last January sales a close friend bought herself the larger Daria Satchel in Oxblood and I adored the design! But having only recently bought myself a Somerset Hobo and Alexa Satchel, I couldn't spare the expense. Then during the Summer, I was really looking for a cute small, but not tiny, across the body satchel in a Tan leather. Could I find one? No. And then I spotted the Mini Daria in Black.

To cut a long story short, basically Mulberry weren't and then were, going to do it in the Oak (Mulberry's answer to Tan). And back in November, I found out that my local House of Fraser Mulberry concession were finally stocking the Oak version. I ummmed and ahhhhhed but couldn't justify the £475 price tag at this time of year, so I held off in hope that the January sales would be good to me and on Christmas Eve I got the sales email of all sales emails... the Mulberry sale had started... and yes! The Mini Daria Satchel was included! Woohoo!

Yep, out loud, I literally "Woohoo-ed".

So in I flocked to House of Fraser after Christmas and snapped up my very own Mini Daria for £332. That saved me £143 by just hanging on a month!! It is a gorgeous soft spongey leather, with a big gold metal plaque on the front with the Mulberry tree stamped out. It has a long detachable strap which is partially plaited and clasps onto gold metal rings on either side of the satchel. It is still on the Mulberry website, in the sale, if you're interested, but only in black. For some reason, it has never been available in Oak online, despite it being in Mulberry stores??! I can't wait to wear it out, although it does feel more like a warmer weather bag, so I might hold off until late Spring for it's first outing. In all for me though, 2011 ended on a very happy (albeit expensive!) note!

Have you ever bought anything Mulberry? Did you get anything in the Mulberry Sales? What was your first ever Mulberry purchase?

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Besotted with BuyaPowa!

Oh dear, I think I'm in love... and have spent way too much money already! Oops! My latest obsession is the co-buying website BuyaPowa. Ever since reading about it on Makeup Savvy back in November, I've been hooked.

If you've never heard of BuyaPowa before, basically it's a website that has bulk lots of certain products for sale; the more people that commit to buy a product - the cheaper it becomes. And if you refer the most people to a product, you can even get your one for free! If you're still unsure what I mean, check out Fee's blog post or the BuyaPowa website (both linked above) and take a look yourself.

Fee highlighted the fact that BuyaPowa were due to do an Urban Decay special, which initially sparked my interest, and they've since done a MAC one too. So I thought I'd share with you my little haul from the last 4 weeks of BuyaPowa indulgence...

In total I spent £149.50 including P&P (would have been £237.99) which saved me £88.49!!
Now I can argue until I'm blue in the face that I needed everything listed below, but if I'm honest I really didn't! However, I'm still going to detail all the items I bought, with some initial thoughts, and justify them as much as possible - well if I can convince you guys that I needed them then I can convince everyone else!

First of all, a couple of presents, which I can wholeheartedly justify! And thus not reviewed or swatched as they are a gift. Not pictured (as it's wrapped and already under the tree) is the Urban Decay Pocket Rocket Lipgloss Duo in Kirk and Doug - I paid £7 for these - yes, £7!!!! That saved me £15 off the RRP! They are a perfect little Xmas pressie for my sister-in-law who is Creme Brulee obsessed (which these taste of) so I hope she doesn't read this post! And secondly, Burt's Bees Baby Bee Getting Started Kit which cost me £6 (from £13 RRP) and makes a fabulous little something for my friend who is due to give birth any minute. It contains a buttermilk soap 20g, nourishing lotion 25g, shampoo and wash 50ml, diaper ointment 20g and a nourishing baby oil 30ml.

Now onto a few things for me... First up, a popular co-buy, which is also live on BuyaPowa again at the moment - but hurry they go quick! - OPI's Best of the Best ultimate nail lacquer set. For £17.50 (RRP £27.50) I got 10 mini OPI nail polishes (3.75ml) in their most popular shades. My favourite is Lincoln Park After Dark, bottom right, a dark plum purple shade. Having never tried OPI before, I thought I'd treat myself to this little collection to try them out first. Watch out for my review of this set on my sister blog brushupandpolishup.

I was very excited when I saw that YSL's Touche Eclat went live a couple of weeks ago, and snapped one up straight away. I always use this as a highlighting concealer so it made sense to stock up - especially at £14, saving £10.50 off RRP - it was cheaper than Duty Free! I also bought a NARS Holiday 2011 Eyeshadow duo in Mandchourie for £15 (RRP £23.50) but I can't find where I've put it, hence, no photo. It's a very richly pigmented eye duo in a silvery grey and navy blue which looks really nice as an alternative smokey eye. Having never tried NARS before, but heard lots of great reviews, I thought this would be a good start to my collection. But, yes, OK, it wasn't really needed!

Next up, as well as the earlier lipgloss duo, I also invested in some Urban Decay goodies for myself. Long ago I lost my Benefit Browzings and really needed a replacement so the Brow Box in Honey Pot fitted the bill perfectly. It was £10, saving me £6 off the RRP and definitely a cheaper alternative to replacing the Benefit one. Now the shades are slightly too light for my colourings - as although I'm pale I have dark hair - so I ended up mixing these, with my new MAC eyeshadow (see below) which works quite well! I also picked up the Lip Primer Potion for £7 (£13 RRP) as I have never used a lip primer before and I have to say I'm quite impressed. I've only used it a few times, but it has definitely helped keep my lipstick and even lipgloss stay put for longer. Justified? Check!

My favourite BuyaPowa purchase though, has to be my MAC haul! Last week, they were offering a MAC five piece collection for as little as £45! RRP was £74.99! And naturally, I purchased one straight away. Now I can honestly say, this purchase I did not need, but having only bought MAC eyeshadows/liquidliners in the past (and that was yonks ago) I wanted to freshen up my make-up collection a little. For an average of £9 per item (bargain!) I got (swatches from L to R):
Powder Blush in Dame, Mega Metal Shadow in Top of the Posh, Lipglass in Madcap, Eye Kohl in Smoulder and and Eyeshadow in Embark.

I love the lipgloss, I've worn it the most so far out of all my BuyaPowa purchases, it's a really soft beige/gold shimmer gloss that just enhances your lips without adding too much colour. And it smells fab too - of toffee I think?! I've yet to try the eyeshadow, it is very metallic, so I'm wondering how to wear it best at the moment.  The kohl is just a simple black kohl eyeliner which will probably wait to be used until I can no longer sharpen my Lancome one. The blush is a very matte pink tone which I have never worn before and am looking forward to trying, and the eyeshadow has been used as, well, an eye-brow-shadow as I mentioned before! It's the perfect dark matte brown that if I'm honest, will probably never get used anywhere except my eyebrows!

Now my last purchase actually wasn't the most recent thing I bought but it was by far the most disappointing. Benefit's POREfessional had intrigued me after reading Milly's review on her Pearls and Poodles blog. So when it popped up on BuyaPowa, I thought, what the heck! But I really wish I hadn't. Many bloggers have been impressed with Benefit's efforts to conceal pores but I found that mine were still visible and my make-up didn't hold that great on top either. Now I don't know if I just have particularly cavernous holes in my face or uber greasy skin (eew! That sounds gross! My face isn't that bad honest!) but I would rather my regular primer any day. I really struggle with oily skin and thus open pores, but I felt that this didn't live up to it's claims for me. I didn't like it's texture, which felt too silky (if there can be such a thing) to the point where it started to feel almost greasy and my make-up didn't seem to hold over the top of it. I didn't even attempt to touch up with it, over my make-up, having experienced bad times by doing this with similar products in the past. I wouldn't consider the £17 price tag for this product, let alone the RRP £23.50 but I think it is something you should try before you buy to see if it suits you. After all, everyone's skin is different and what doesn't suit me, won't necessarily not suit you either.

So that's my little lot (or rather large lot now I look at it in full!). I have to say, I cannot believe I'd never heard of BuyaPowa before, I know it's new (launched in September) but I'm sure many others aren't aware of it's existence and you can save so much on your make-up essentials - take for example me and my Touche Eclat! I particularly love the fact that they take recommendations for what co-buyers want to see listed as co-buys and they honestly do listen! There isn't just make-up for sale, for example, a VW Golf is on the list of 'Coming Soon' co-buys (I'm actually quite intrigued to see what kind of saving they'll have on it!). But it is definitely worth signing up to the newsletter and checking in every day or so, to see what's gone live.

There is only one warning I will give you though, and that is to really think "Do I need this?" before you purchase. Because, as I've found out, the temptation to get something because it is such a bargain can cost you more in the long run. I really didn't need my MAC purchase, or the OPI set and I found myself almost automatically trying to buy yet more OPI and MAC products, just because they were cheap. If you are sensible, you can truly find some excellent deals that suit you and your budget.

Have you heard of BuyaPowa? What have you bought from them? What are you waiting for to go live?

Saturday, 3 December 2011

I ♥ StylistPick!

Upon reading one of the glossy weeklies a few months ago, I heard about Cheryl Cole's upcoming shoe collection for the website StylistPick. I'd not heard of this site before and decided to check it out.

So what is StylistPick and how does it work?

It's a subscription website for shoes, handbags and jewellery that are tailored to you and your look. To start, you take a style quiz to help their team of 'A-list Sylists' to specially select items for you. This team of stylists then 'handpick' items from the store's stock and create your 'bespoke' showroom for you to shop from. Every month you will then have a new showroom available, again, suited to you style. Each item in the showroom is £39.95 and they offer free delivery and returns - an added bonus!

When you first sign up, you are free to browse your custom showroom, with no monthly charge until you buy your first item. But all is not lost, because once you make your first purchase, you are still under no pressure to buy each month as you do have until the 6th to 'skip the month'. This means that you won't be charged for that monthly period and you aren't limited on how many times you can do this either - phew!

The difficult bit is remembering to 'skip the month' before the deadline. But even still, if you forget, they give you one 'store credit' for you to use at any time in the future, against any item in the showrooms.

If you are thinking about joining StylistPick then check out their T&Cs and FAQs to make sure you fully understand the process first.

My StylistPick goodies...

I set up an account by taking the quiz and sure enough, got my 'bespoke' showroom - not all of which was to my taste (but thankfully you can still access all the items that didn't make it into your showroom).

At first I didn't purchase anything as nothing seemed obviously worth the £39.95 price tag. But last month, after reading Ekaete's Tangerine Dreams post on her Red Lips and Roses blog, I spotted the Rio shoes from Louise Roe's Collection...

...and I had to take another look!

As I had registered and not purchased straight away, StylistPick were a little keen for my custom and I had quite a few emails offering me my first purchase at a discounted rate. I was tempted, but my fate was sealed with another email offer of any item for £15 - that's cheaper than New Look!

Rio shoes - SOLD! Now, I originally ordered a size 5 that then went out of stock, so I re-ordered in a 6 and they also gave me a 30% off code, so I purchased the Miami jewellery set too and I have to say I am very pleased with my StylistPick bargains!

When they arrived in the post 3 days later, I was even more amazed at these beauties! The whole lot came in a big brown box, so I just thought it would be much like how ASOS package their deliveries. Oh, how wrong I was! Inside was a big black glossy StylistPick shopping bag and inside that was two beautifully wrapped up black glossy boxes. The shoes were wrapped in a black satin like ribbon and the jewellery in a glitzy gold one. I think I actually let out a small squeal of excitement! I have never had anything delivered like this before and brownie points have to be awarded for the sheer luxuriousness of it all.


I had to calm myself from literally ripping open the boxes.

The jewellery and shoes were both from Louise Roe's collection and style she definitely has! She's been spotted wearing all of these on the red carpet.

The Miami jewellery set consisted of three items - a gold/cream mosaic effect cuff, a gunmetal double flower jewelled ring and a gold chain and purple stone ring. The gunmetal ring is my favourite and got worn out the day it was delivered. It strikes me as being very French Connection, as does the cuff. I'm not sure if the purple ring is to my taste as much, but I have lots of outfits it will go with for upcoming Christmas parties. The cuff is lovely, but disappointingly a little tight on my chubby wrists. £27 is definitely at the upper end of what I would have paid for the set and I would argue they are not worth the original £39.95. The quality just isn't elegant enough to pay full price.

The Rio shoes definitely weren't a disappointment in any way! So worth the £15 but again, not the £39.95. In life, they seem more pale terracotta than the light orange/coral pictured on the website, which suited me better and went perfect with one of my Warehouse print dresses. They are suedette (not real suede) and made in China, which made me sceptical, but looking them over, they look pretty well made and seem to match all over - consistent colour, no glue seepage from any seams, even shaped toes etc. These also got worn out the day they arrived and I have to say, are one of the more comfortable pairs of heels that I now own. They may even get another outing for the second weekend in a row next week!

So in conclusion, I don't think I'll be buying from StylistPick at full price in the future, in fact, I've skipped December's already. I'm going to wait and see if I get any more offers through by email first or if they were purely because I was a first time buyer. Annoyingly, Cheryl Cole's collection isn't launched until December the 6th, so I suppose they are holding out on people not skipping this month in order to see what she has to offer.

I do doubt how 'A-list' their stylists are, and how much of your showroom ends up being randomly pre-selected as opposed to 'handpicked', so 'bespoke' might not be entirely accurate. But I am in love with the idea of the site and I have had a very pleasant shopping experience so far. How likely am I to purchase from them again? Very likely, I adore some of the shoe designs, but as I said, not everything is worth the full price tag.

Will you be taking the StylistPick quiz? What do you think of Louise Roe's collection? Will you be tempted by Cheryl Cole's?
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