Thursday, 30 April 2015

April in Instagram




1. An afternoon spent eating cake with the girls was had in Cackleberrys in Fareham which I posted about last week! If you're on the South Coast you must visit!

2. Easter Sunday arrived and I well and truly stuffed my face. Lindt bunny massacre.

3. Fresh Spring flowers to brighten up the room, beautiful bunches from my Mother and Nan.

4. My Rollerlash selfie ended up being shared by Benefit Cosmetics UK and they made me their Benebabe of the week! 

5. The perfect quote to sum up the last seven weeks of my life.

6. I had another surprise package from Thierry Mugler in the form of their beautiful Summer fragrance, Angel Candy. The giant jar of bon bons are yummy too. 

7. I went to the #SLBloggerBash with Chan, Karis & Tanya and spent a fun filled day in London eating Nandos, Cupcakes and drinking cocktails after the event. 

8. I've been enjoying the glorious sunshine we've been having here in Southampton, I've tried to spend every waking second in it. 

9. After losing 17lbs with more to go I'm finally starting to feel confident about myself again. 

Want to follow me on Instagram? Just click here - alicespake


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Wednesday, 29 April 2015

April Empties




  • Soap & Glory Peaches and Clean
  • Garnier Micellar Water
  • Along Came Betty bath soak
  • John Frieda Sheer Blonde shampoo
  • John Frieda Sheer Blonde conditioner
  • Espa Cleansing milk
  • Garnier Ultra dry roll on 
  • Along Came Better body butter
  • Bamford body wash
  • Marc Jacobs Daisy 
  • Miners Fresh Faced powder 
  • Benefit Roller Lash
  • Smashbox Photo Finish primer
  • And a whole lotta samples from Clarins, The Pharmacy Company, Lancome & Bioderma!

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Monday, 27 April 2015

Yves Rocher Summer Essentials







Yves Rocher has featured on Annie Writes Beauty few times now and with the sun finally making an appearance I thought it was time to show you what you need to pick up to get Summer ready. I had a small collection of products sent through from Yves Rocher, two hair products and two items from the Monoi de Tahiti range. We all know how damaging the sun can be for our skin but I think we forget about our hair sometimes, so the Raspberry Rinsing Vinegar* has come in very handy the last week to inject some added shine into my mane. I have spent the last week sat in the sun so I didn't have happy hair but this has really helped. It smells good enough to eat, it's silicone and paraben free and a little goes a long way to give you super shiny locks.

The second hair item is Low Shampoo Delicate Cleansing Cream* which I'm really not a fan of. It's designed to leave your hair feeling light and silky but mine just felt quite weighed down. I have long, thick hair so I'm not sure if this is why I didn't get on with it even though it's meant to be for all hair types. I wasn't overly too keen on the smell either, I just found the floral smell too potent.

The last two items are from the Monoi de Tahiti range and are definitely my favourite. The exotic fragrance is so similar to the award winning body oil from Elemis, Frangipani Monoi Body Oil. I haven't used the Lagoon Hair & Body Wash* in my hair as I didn't want to throw too many different products in at once but as a body wash, it's pretty perfect and the scent stays on the skin for such a long amount of time. Partnered with the Precious Body Oil*, it's an exotic match made in Polynesian heaven. I've been mixing the body oil with self tanner to give myself a really nice glow and I haven't stopped using it! Plus it smells incredible. So if you're looking for some new summer body products, get yourself on the Yves Rocher website and treat yourself! 


*PR Samples
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Sunday, 26 April 2015

Lush Cosmetics Shampoo Bars






It's been a while since Lush have appeared on Annie Writes Beauty but with the additions of new shampoo bars I had to try them. At first, the whole concept of products without packaging baffled me but after using and falling in love with Lush Cosmetics massage and exfoliating bars, I've almost got my head around solid shampoo and conditioners. I've previously used Trichomania and Jungle after being given them by a friend who couldn't get on with them and quite liked them so I picked up Jason and the Argan Oil and Honey I Washed My Hair

Jason and the Argan Oil smelt incredible, just like Rose Jam which is one of my favourite bubble bars. It's for stronger, shinier and softer hair and it delivers! Unfortunately I left it on the side of the bath to dry which I thought was a pretty normal thing to do but when I went to move it the following evening it just crumbled and went everywhere so I only ended up getting one use out of it! I'm going to re-purchase it soon so I can give it another go. 

Honey I Washed My Hair also smells pretty amazing, toffee scented and full of honey, wild orange and bergamot oils. Bergamot is really uplifting and it gives an extra swish to your hair. Honey I Washed My Hair left my blonde locks super soft and shiny which when you put your hair through a bleaching session every now and then, it's just what it needed. 
I definitely recommend you pick on of these bars up for yourself and give them a try. I've seen that you can get anywhere between sixty to eighty washes from one bar which I can't confirm at the moment but you'd hardly know I'd been using mine if you looked at them. 

If you've already tried the Lush shampoo bars, I'd love some more recommendations as I've only tried these two so far. Let me know in the comments below or tweet me on @alicespake. Happy shampooing!

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Friday, 24 April 2015

Tan Organic Self Tanning Oil






Spring is in the air, the sun is finally starting to show and shaving season is almost upon us which means one thing, time to get out those pasty pins. Thankfully I had a bottle of Tan Organic Self Tanning Oil* waiting in the wings for when the time was right. Tan Organic is an Eco Certified self tanning brand made from all natural ingredients which means no nasties, no parabens, no artificial drying agents and no fake tan smell! Nothing worse than smelling like a dodgy biscuit. 


The Tan Organic Self Tanning Oil* comes in a slim, glass bottle and smells like Barbados in a bottle. Containing eight different plant oils, the orange peel oil is the one that really shines through and it stays on the skin for a while too which adds to that holiday feel. Designed to add a glow to the skin to make you look sun kissed and bronzed, it develops over eight hours leaving you looking like you've just stepped off a plane.



Now I don't tan that regularly, I was told to embrace my paleness a few years back and I've done just that so I'm not a tanning pro and unfortunately Tan Organic and I didn't get on all too well. It's a dry oil which you can apply with or without a mitt. I did both and both times didn't quite get the blend to colour ratio right. I like to be able to see where I'm putting the tan but this is a clear oil that develops gradually so I did the "put some on, add a little more" thing. I exfoliated, moisturised and did the whole tan prep but I ended up patchy in parts and just generally looking a little dirty. Thankfully the Tan Erase Ultimate Exfoliator* came in really handy when it came to showering the following morning and sorting out the mess I'd created. 



Tan Organic have won numerous awards for this tan and I've read some excellent reviews on it too so I'm a little disappointed that we weren't a tan match made in heaven but you can't have them all. My tan loving friend will have to give this a good go instead and let me know her thoughts! It'll be interesting to see if she gets on any better with it than I did. I'd love to know if you've tried Tan Organic and had the same problem or loved it and can tell me what I did wrong. 
*PR Samples
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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Cackleberrys - Fareham










When Good Friday rolled around, myself and the girls made it our mission to meet up and eat cake somewhere new. Amy had mentioned about visiting a new place in Fareham called Cackleberrys and as soon as she shared the photos on Instagram we pretty much decided we had to visit. Situated at the end of the high street in Fareham, Cackleberrys is definitely Fareham's hidden gem. If you've been to Fareham then you'll know what I mean. Cackleberrys is a Pinterest lover's dream, from the tiled walls, to kitsch home pieces placed around the eatery and the chaise lounge in the corner. 

When you walk in, you're hit with the smell of freshly baked cakes and pastries that are made on the premises. We managed to fit in on some tall tables as it was pretty full when we arrived and I think we all spent the next five or ten minutes oooing and ahhing over the place while going straight into blogger mode with our phones and cameras. There were photos uploaded to Instagram before you could say cheesecake. 

The cakes and pastries on display were incredible. I opted for the Lemon Meringue which tasted so good I was half tempted to get a second piece to take home with me. The girls had a mix of White Chocolate Cheesecake, Shortbread slices and Victoria Sponge. As we'd already had lunch else where we didn't get to try any of the savory items on offer so we're going to be making another date soon and booking so we can definitely get a table to try everything. If you're based along the South Coast make sure you check out Cackleberrys in Fareham, you will not be disappointed and if you are.... what's wrong with you?

Ps. A Cackleberry is slang used for eggs from the 1950's.
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Sunday, 19 April 2015

#SLBloggerBash



On the 10th April, Karis and I set off from Southampton Central to meet Tanya at London Waterloo for the #SLBloggerBash hosted by Scarlett London and Search Laboratory. After battling our way through Waterloo and making it to Tottenham Court Road we jumped into the nearest Nandos to fill up on Peri Peri Chicken while we waited for Chantelle's train to get in. The event was being held at One Alfred Place which was right round the corner from where we were so after we met Chantelle we headed over to the venue.
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Friday, 17 April 2015

Bath time with Along Came Betty





Having a bubble bath is one of my favourite past times, just ask Southern Water. From our water bill you'd assume I spent every waking second having a soak with lots of bubbles and the odd glass of Pinot. I'm a Lush Cosmetics and Soap & Glory girl when it comes to having a pamper so I couldn't wait to see how Tesco's budget bathing range, Along Came Betty compared. The similarities between Along Came Betty and one of my favourite companies was uncanny. I'm sure you know who I'm on about. I'm a sucker for pretty bath products to have displayed and this range definitely pleases my obsession. Plus everyone likes a pretty Instagram opportunity don't they? 

I've been using the So...Much Bubble Heavenly Bath Soak* in Very Berry. 500ml of bubbly goodness with a mix of fruity red berries, juicy apples and creamy vanilla. The first time I used this, I used a lot more than needed and ended up in a bubble mountain. Turns out just a cap full of this fruity stuff provides you with enough bubbles for a long soak. So...Much Bubble also contains lemon balm and mallow to leave your skin feeling really moisturised thanks to the super silky bubbles.

For a double moisturise I used the Butterly Divine Body Butter* also in Very Berry. This comes in a 300ml tub and contains Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Rosehip Oil & Coconut Oil. It soaks in well but I did feel like I had to flap around for a bit before I could get dressed, something I hate doing. For a budget beauty range Along Came Betty is fab and I'm going to give the Say You Scrub Me skin buffer a try next and see if that's competition for another one of my favourite products. 
*PR Samples
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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Thierry Mugler Angel Eau Sucrée 2015





Thierry Mugler design fragrances that make you feel powerful, confident and like you can take on anything and their new Angel Eau Sucrée* is no exception. For Summer 2015, Thierry Mugler have released a new version of Angel to really get your fragrance buds watering. The packaging is inspired by vintage confectionery with it's pink and blue candy stripes and the bottle adorned with frosted glints making it look like it's been sprinkled with sugar. 


The original scent of Angel is very much present but with new additions of Red Berry Sorbet, Caramelized Meringue, Patchouli and Vanilla making it the perfect Spring transition fragrance. I have not stopped wearing this since it arrived, it's lighter than the Original Angel and not too over powering which is one of the reasons why I love this perfume. Marc Jacob's Daisy, my usual Spring perfume has been firmly pushed back in favour of this sugary scent. Angel Eau Sucrée also lasts really well on the skin, I was still getting notes of it hours after first applying and I don't think I've ever had so many people ask what perfume I'm wearing. It really is as beautiful as the bottle it's in. 



Angel Eau Sucrée is available in stores from 1st May and will be retailing at £45 for a 50ml non refillable bottle. For more information on it and Thierry Mugler's other fragrances, visit www.muglerstore.co.uk.


*PR Sample
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Monday, 13 April 2015

Yves Rocher Smokey Eye Essentials







Yves Rocher are a company I've spoken about a few times on Annie Writes Beauty now, from make up to skincare. They've been around for a number of years and I always remember my mother using their products when I was growing up which makes it a little difficult when some new products arrive because she is usually there waiting to get her hands on them. Having used Yves Rocher's make up before I knew the quality would be fab. The Quad Eyeshadow Sumptuous Color* in Deep Grey is a smokey eye fans dream. Just a shame it's one of the things I'm most crap at. Each shadow is 1.2g, comes with two applicators, a good sized mirror for on the go and a handy tips guide which is perfect for me. I'm determined to make this the best smokey eye ever. The shades range from a silky, pearl highlight, to two smokey greys and a matte, jet black. 

To help keep the shadows in place the Fixing Eyelid Primer* has been doing a fab job. Infused with Camellia Oil, this reminds me much like Benefit's Porefessional in appearance and texture. It sinks on to the lid leaving a smooth, matte base ready for your eye make up. To give that extra bit of intensity, the Intense Kajal 100%* was smoothed and buffed in below my lash line and along my upper lash line. It's shaped like a cone which was quite odd to use at first but as it's quite creamy it didn't drag along the lid which is always my downfall when applying eye liner. I'm not patient enough. 

The last item is the Mascara Volume Vertige* which is known for it's unique brush and botanical extracts which leave your lashes looking incredible. I'm a big fan of brushes like this, I much prefer them to separate and lengthen every lash while giving volume than just giving volume. It coated every lash perfectly, but it did smudge a little come the afternoon. It wiped away easily but I need my mascara to last as often I'm jumping from work to dinner and having very long days. If you're yet to try Yves Rocher, head over to their website now. You'll be so surprised at how many products they do and really good prices. 

If you've tried Yves Rocher before let me know you're favourite products! I'm always looking for recommendations. 

*PR Samples
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Sunday, 12 April 2015

Afternoon Tea // Ebb & Flow








A few weeks ago I posted about Amy and I's first visit to Ebb & Flow in Southampton and now I'm back again with another post on our favourite new hangout in Southampton. A few Sunday's ago the blogging girls and I booked in for Afternoon Tea and spent the day eating cake and chatting all things blog, make up and gossip. 


Once we'd all arrived, we were served tea in beautiful crockery and the milk came in teeny tiny milk bottles, even the cutlery was in pastel coloured watering cans. Ebb & Flow is definitely a Pinterest lovers dream. We were seated in one of the beach hut booths at the back and it was perfect. If we shut our eyes we could of been in Cornwall within seconds. The music played softly in the background with a real mix of genres and we were surrounded by quirky 1950's style art work and floral bunting. 



We each had our own cake stand to munch through and they supplied gluten free alternatives for two of the girls. The stand was full with sandwiches, mini tapas, fresh scones and little cake pieces. It really did look yummy and I had to take pictures super quick so I could get stuck in. The best thing about Afternoon Tea for me is definitely fresh scones, clotted cream and jam and Ebb & Flow's offering was to die for! They offer Afternoon Tea for just £10 per person and booking isn't necessary but it does get quite busy so I'd definitely recommend to book if you're a table of more than two. 



Like I said in my last post, if you're in Southampton, make it your mission to check out Ebb & Flow. You will not be disappointed. 



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Friday, 10 April 2015

Tatler for Birchbox







When this little beauty dropped through the letterbox I couldn't help but do a little squeal. Just look at how beautiful the box is! This is definitely one I'll be keeping to store my ever growing beauty collection in. Birchbox know how to pull out the big guns with limited edition boxes and Tatler for Birchbox* does not disappoint. The theme is Best of British, celebrating great British brands from around the country from Liz Earle to Percy & Reed and Aromatherapy. As always there's a handy card inside with a letter from the Tatler's Editor Francesca White and a map showing you were each brand began and some more details on them. 

There's six awesome products from six well known brands inside that will really get the beauty junkie in you tingling. First up is Aromatherapy's Rose Body Cream. Known for its rejuvenating and softening qualities, this body cream contains Rose, Geranium, Shea Butter and Evening Primrose for a deeply moisturising treat for the skin. The Bamford Geranium Body Wash is the great British countryside in a bottle, containing Geranium, Lavender and Peppermint. It's a really uplifting scent and as it's a hand and body wash I've popped it into the soap dispenser in the bathroom. Ciaté are one of my favourite nail polish brands and I have a fair few already, the slim bottles and pretty bows just look so perfect on my dresser. This shade is called Maybe Baby and is a beautiful truffle shade, perfect for transitioning into Spring. 

Dr Jackson's Natural Products is a company I've never heard of before, bottled and packaged on a farm in Somerset and full of ingredients from around the world. The face oil contains Baobab oil, Marula oil, Calendula flower extract and Arnica flower extract to help dry and dehydrated skin which is exactly what I need at the moment. Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish needs no introduction, I've gone through countless bottles so I'm happy to have a back up now. Lastly is the Percy & Reed London, Big, Bold & Beautiful. I've used their shampoo and conditioner before and it left my hair feeling so good, so I can't wait to give this a go tonight and see what it does! 

Overall, Tatler for Birchbox have killed it with this limited edition box! I am one happy customer. You can be too by clicking this link - Tatler Limited Edition Box to bag yourself your own for £25! If you do, let me know your thoughts!
*PR Sample
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Thursday, 9 April 2015

BD Trade Secrets







I'm not going to lie, I'm a real make up snob. I know what I like and I think nothing of spending £30 on a foundation or nearly £50 on a palette. I do try with drug store make up but the majority of the time I prefer more high end so when an email came through about trying some items from Tesco's well known bargain make up brand BD Trade Secrets, I was skeptical but thought why not?

I had some items from their Trade Secrets range sent through, a Light Effect Concealer*, Dream Shine High Lighter*, Va Va Boom Mascara*, Flawless Primer* and the Nude Berry Lip Liner*. I've been using the Flawless Primer in place of my beloved Smashbox Photo Finish recently and I'm actually really impressed. The consistency is much like Benefit's Porefessional and a little goes a long way. I apply this along my T-Zone and it's definitely helped keep my make up on for longer but not quite as long as Photo Finish. 


The Light Effect Concealer comes in a handy pen applicator which isn't overly hygienic but it makes it much easier to apply than a dough applicator. It's really light and blends in well, brightening up my under eye area and red patches around my nose. Mixed with the Dream Shine Highlighter, it's the perfect dewy pairing. The highlighter dispenses through a pump which makes it so simple to control and there's also a see through panel so you'll know exactly when to re-purchase. I have the shade in Lustre which is a beautiful champagne gold, very similar to Benefit's Watts Up! which is a new favourite of mine. 



The Nude Berry Lip Liner is big competition for MAC Cosmetics Soar at a fraction of the price. It's super creamy and is the perfect partner for Urban Decay's Naked lipstick. The only downside is that it's a bit of a pain to sharpen as the nip isn't set in a typical pencil. The last product I tried was the Va Va Boom Volumising Mascara which I HATED. I Really didn't get on well with this. The brush is shaped like a smile, the bristles hurt and the mascara was really wet and took forever to dry. As for the volume? I'll be sticking with Smashbox Full Exposure in future. 



This make up range really does have some hidden gems and next time I'm in Tesco I'll be making the effort to have a good look at the stand. I've read a fair few reviews on the Base Daily Foundation and for the price, I have to try it. Am I a total drug store convert? Not yet but BD Trade Secrets has definitely sparked my interest. If you have any recommendations I'd love to hear them in the comments below.

*PR Samples 
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