Sunday, 29 September 2013

Handpicked Media's London Fashion Week Suite 2013

Earlier this month I was invited along to the Handpicked Media London Fashion Week event at the luxurious One Aldwych in London. Each year, Handpicked Media host a suite during London Fashion Week for their lucky bloggers to meet with lots of brands and try out new products and launches.

Having never attended any blogger events prior to this, I was a little unsure as to whether to go and if I could fit it in amongst being back to school. But I took the plunge, and trained it down to London early on the Saturday morning for a fantastic day of meet and greets with a whole load of pampering thrown in too.

After meeting the lovely Krista (@beautyanthedirt), founder of Handpicked Media, I explored the rooms and met with some amazing brands and fellow bloggers.

The magpie in me was drawn to the Anna Lou of London stand immediately. An abundance of shiny jewels were laid out for our perusal, showcasing the new Luxe collection - I am in LOVE with the Jade Bracelet - and the gorgeous Anna herself (@annalouoflondon) was there chatting to us about their unique personalisation service. They offered bloggers a chance to design own own piece of personalised jewellery and I can't wait to show you the necklace I ordered...

Photo courtesy of Handpicked Media Facebook

The wonderful Superdry PR girls (@SuperdryPR) were there too to talk us through the new Superdry Beauty launches for 2013 and their amazing new collaboration with Timothy Everest. I used the mobile mirror (above) to try a few of the coats on and I loved the luxurious feel of all the fabrics and small attention to details of each piece. The shorter blazers were my favourite and there will be a post very soon dedicated to this collection...

Photo courtesy of Handpicked Media Facebook

Bourjois (@bourjois_uk) was also on hand, fresh from doing the make-up for the Zoe Jordan show, recreating the look for us bloggers. Lisa gave me the lowdown on some amazing new Bourjois products and touched up my make-up with the theme 'skater girl grown up, with a cyber glow' from the runway show. And after Karen glammed up my Shellac manicure with one of the new nail polish launches for Halloween, Rachael (@Rachie_22) gave me a little goodie bag crammed with Bourjois that I can't wait to share with you all!

I was extremely honoured to have the talented Errol Douglas (@ErrolDouglas1) squeeze me in for a quick Moroccan Oil (@MoroccanOil) hair makeover too. As I enviously watched Errol work his magic on fellow bloggers Alice (@Super_Gorgeous), Helena (@Beaut_Chic) and Hannah (@lippyinlondon) I chatted to the lovely Natalie (@NataliJaconelli) and she talked me through some of the products. When it was my turn in the hot seat, Errol decided to volumise my hair with some bouncy curls. He used straighteners to create the curls, carefully pinning them to my head as he went, to let them cool and hold their shape for longer. He liberally sprayed some Moroccan Oil hairspray to hold the style and add some shine.

I also found some time to fit in a super relaxing hot stone massage with the talented therapists from Mandara Spa and a chat with the HD Brows girls who gave me some of their new make-up launches to take away.

Along with the brands that I have already mentioned, there was a whole host of other products that I hope to share with you guys over the next few months so stay posted because there's so much to share and so little time...

Disclaimer - this event was organised for bloggers by Handpicked Media and I was gifted products from various brands from the day. Any future posts that share these items with you will clearly state that they are PR products given to me for my review and consideration and thus not purchased by myself.. And trust me, there's a lot of free stuff to share with you!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

astrid & miyu September Secret Box

Earlier this month - and I mean very early on this month - my latest astrid & miyu Secret box plonked itself through the letterbox. If you haven't already read my previous posts (December, March and June) about this amazing little subscription jewellery box service then check out their website or in a nutshell:

  • Subscribe for £39 per box (with free UK and EU delivery) and cancel whenever
  • Every 3 months you will receive a box filled with astrid & miyu jewellery worth twice the value
  • Items are handpicked for you based on your likes from a style survey completed on sign-up 

This month for me, was the best value for money yet, just feast your little magpie eyes on this box of goodies...

Make Me Lucky bracelet £29
First up is this dainty little silver Make Me Lucky bracelet. It's the first time I've received silver items in my secret box, and this surprised me somewhat as I'm sure I put down my jewellery preferences to be gold or rose gold. But due to it's delicate appearance, I quite like the way the chain almost disappears when worn - it's classic, chic and understated. The horseshoe charm and chain is made from oxidised silver plated brass and the tiny horseshoe, less than 1cm in size, is encrusted with sparkly cubic zirconias. They also do a matching necklace and earrings in this style if you fancy the whole set - I'm quite taken with the gold horseshoe earrings though!

Sunny Side necklace £29
Oh, another silver item! But this one I'm quite taken with. It's a very white-silver, almost like white gold in appearance and oh how the crystals sparkle! This Sunny Side necklace is part of the astrid & miyu signature charm collection and is also made from silver plated brass with cubic zirconias. The charm is small (about 0.8cm) which adds to its subtle appeal and the chain length is around 16 inches - so it sits nicely around collar bone height.

Silk Charm in Black bracelet £19 (Navy)
I have a thing for the astrid & miyu little black bracelets. Having already purchased the Silky Stuff in Black (no longer available) and Charm It in Black corded bracelets, this one adds perfectly to my collection. Made from wired silky thread and boasting a sweet little gold ball encrusted with cubic zirconias, this is a more refined, sleeker version of the Charm It style. And due to the little gold chain, it is adjustable for most wrist sizes too which was an added bonus for my chubby wrists! Unfortunately the black is no longer available - the closest I can find is the navy version - but you can still get this in a range of other Summery colours like fuchsia, lime or tangerine.

Summer Heat in Coral necklace £29
So from three quite dainty pieces, to one rather chunky, in-your-face, boldly colourful statement necklace... and I LOVE IT! This is the Summer Heat in Coral necklace, but you can also get the same style in turquoise. I absolutely love the chunky gold curb chain (which is gold plated brass) and the tribal-esque resin stones and crystals add an injection of edgy bling that can't help but draw your attention. I've had so many comments when wearing this that I'm now finding outfits to go with this necklace and not the other way round! It looks amazing paired with a silk camisole and blazer or layered over a chunky knit, and is just the right length to sit over the collar of most sweaters.

As far as the September box goes, I am pretty darn happy with my collection. Although the silver items wouldn't be my first choice, I do like everything that was picked out for me this month and I am ecstatic with the Summer Heat necklace most of all.

And if my maths skills serve me well, this box came to a grand total of £106... not bad for a £39 Secret Box eh?! I have noticed though that astrid & miyu have dropped their box value once more - they now claim that it will be worth double the value whereas before it was around £100 and when the Secret Box first launched it was up to £200 in value. So I think this may be the last time I get a box worth quite so much but if I'm honest with myself, it's the surprise factor that has me hooked every time!

Disclaimer - I have not been sponsored for this post and I purchased the Secret Box out of my own monies. For the terms and conditions or further information about astrid & miyu's Secret box then please check out their site here.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

GlossyBox - September - The London Edition

Oh how I've been looking forward to this box! The London edition GlossyBox was designed to coincide with London Fashion Week and for the first time, they also introduced the GlossyBox Magazine. On first impressions this box looks pretty impressive, they seem to have got the right mix of makeup, fragrance, skincare, haircare and extras. So what exactly did I get?

Elizabeth Arden Untold - 5ml sample size - full size 30ml £35.00 50ml £48.00
Now this is how you do a perfume sample! A good size that you can get at least 3 or 4 uses out of. This was love at first sniff for me, I'm not really a fan of many Elizabeth Arden scents but this one just hit all the right notes (pardon the pun). According to the description, Untold is a 'luxurious and modern floral fragrance', now I'm no expert but to me it just smells bloody amazing. It's not too strong, quite delicate in fact, as I find most floral scents quite heady, and it has the slightest sweetness to it but not enough for it to scream 'fruity' at you. This one has gone straight on the Christmas and Birthday list, fingers crossed I get a little spoilt later this year!

Eylure 190 Pre-glued Lashes - full size £5.50
It's been a while since we saw some falsies in a GlossyBox - 2012 in fact - so it's nice to stock up with these. I've never tried pre-glued ones before though, I tend to always use glue on ones, so it will be good to trial these on an upcoming night out with the girls. These ones are the 190 version that are lightweight and don't look too heavy, so they should appear more natural and 'fluttery' when on - just with a little extra length.

Toni&Guy Classic Shine & Gloss Serum - full size 30ml £7.19
Serums are not something I tend to use in my daily haircare routine, I try to steer clear as my hair loses volume and looks greasy if I use the teeniest bit too much. I gave this a little go though and it's actually not too bad. It smells pleasant, and the formula is quite thin so a little goes a long way. Once smoothed through my dry hair it leaves a soft scent and my locks feel smooth and silky but not overly so. This is great for those days when I don't want to straighten as it calms down that post-blowdry-frizz that my barnet seems susceptible to.

Be A... Bombshell Cosmetics Eye Liner in Onyx - full size 3g $14
Be a... bombshell is new to me, it's an American brand that started in 2011 and so far doesn't seem to be available in the UK. This month's box provided a full size eyeliner in Onyx (black) which is highly pigmented and stays put throughout the day (although it's not waterproof). The eyeliner is a thicker felt tip style, which is great for creating that 'flick' and is easy to hold and apply. There's not much to not like but until this brand is able to be purchased more easily in the UK, I will probably look to more readily available high street brands for this style of liner.

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips - 3ml sample size - full size 15ml £11.50
I have to admit I had to take a double take when I read this, I wondered why I'd been sent a nipple balm (??!) and then I read it a little more closely and realised that it is advertised as a lip balm... that is multi-purpose and can also be used on dry cuticles, dry skin patches, burns and abrasions, severely chapped lips, sore nipples, split ends, eczema, babies' bottoms and loads more. Dr. Lipp's balm originally started out as a nipple balm for breastfeeding women, but then quickly turned into a cult beauty must-have because it is ruddy good for sore lips! It kind of reminds me of Elizabeth Arden's 8 hour cream, but without the weird smell.

A very good box from Glossybox in all this month, not quite enough to rival my favourite box of all time (April 2013 Pearl Lowe Edition) but a good contender. Three full size items, plus a very generous fragrance sample, make this a worthwhile edition in terms of value for money.

If you like the idea of subscribing to GlossyBox, then use this referral link to sign up today.

Disclaimer - I have subscribed to GlossyBox out of my own choice and money (damn the fanciful idea of mystery beauty products delivered every month). It was my choice to review the products above and I have done so in a 100% honest manner. I am not compensated for my reviews but if you use my referral link to start a subscription then I can get points towards a free box next time... well who doesn't want free beauty stuff?!!
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