Monday, 29 February 2016

February in Instagram

  1. This incredible package from Urban Decay landed on my doorstep this month. The whole UDXGwen collection is so dreamy and I love every single product. Feeling so lucky & grateful.
  2. I went in to Dermalogica for a complimentary treatment with their fabulous therapist, Amy. I spend a blissful hour being pampered and I learnt so much about the brand. 
  3. Lush Southampton held their annual blogging event where I was able to catch up with the girls once again. Lush was followed by dinner which was then followed by a catch up with Brogan at mine. The perfect Friday night. 
  4. I booked myself, Rachel and Jessica in for a consultation with Jo Malone London to learn more about their fragrances and add even more to my wishlist. 
  5. I spent a wet and windy afternoon in Southsea with my best friends eating cake, trying to take outfit photos and shopping. 
  6. Valentine's Day this year was spent how we'd spend every Sunday, eating breakfast at Mettricks followed by a cosy afternoon watching films. He also surprised me with a beautiful bunch of roses. 
  7. Galaxy Golden Eggs. If you follow me on Twitter then you'll know full well I have a slight issue with these golden mounds of goodness. 
  8. February has been a fabulous month when it's come to blogging. I've been able to attend incredible events with some of my favourite people, I've had so amazing parcels arrive from companies I've loved for years and I'm feeling incredibly grateful for the opportunities I get. 
  9. February has well and truly been the month of food, catch ups with friends and spending it with the most important people in my life. I'm feeling pretty content right now.


Sunday, 28 February 2016

Feeling Grateful

When I started my blog I didn't know I'd make friends for life but I've done just that. We grow up being told to be careful when we talk to people online and for god's sake never meet up with them; But what do we all do? Meet up with strangers online. It's mad to think that some of these strangers are people I now count as close friends, friends I speak to about anything and everything and people I'd trust with my life. It's a pretty big statement to make but it's 100% true and one I never thought I'd be saying. 

This blog is two years old, it's still a baby blog in my eyes but it has brought me amazing opportunities and the most incredible group of friends. After just three months of blogging I set up Sotonbloggers, a network for bloggers on the South Coast to meet and attend events. It was through this network that I was able to meet these lovely people and I'm so grateful that an idea thought up during a blogging chat has resulted in something quite special. 

2015 was a pretty crap year, a lot went wrong and I wasn't happy. I'm lucky in that I've always had a great support network around me with my family and my best friend so I was extra grateful that I also had these girls there to support me. Blogging introduces you to people you wouldn't usually meet. If you'd told me two years ago that I'd meet this crazy, lovely and hilariously funny group of talented bloggers, I'd of probably laughed and said "Nah, I'm okay". Fast forward to now and I don't go a day without speaking to at least one of them, our whatsapp group chats are always pinging with notifications and there is always one of them at hand for a last minute date to Mettricks for coffee and cake. I'm very lucky that I have these people in my life and I'm even luckier that not one of them is a self righteous bloggy type. You know the ones I mean, we've all met one or two.

Blogging isn't just what our friendships are based on. We don't just sit there and talk about our mutual hobby, our friendships are now much more than that. I think it's important to make blogging friends as it's a hobby that's still quite misunderstood, others don't understand the time and work it takes to maintain a blog and the active presence you need to have. They know not to drink their coffee or touch what we're eating until I've taken a photo for IG (My best friend also knows this) and they know that sometimes I'm late because the lighting is good and I need to take photos. They're also the ones who hold me up after one too many free proseccos. True friendship right there. 

I'd be completely lost without these girls in my life, it's strange how people that were just strangers a mere two years ago can make such a huge impact on your life, such an impact that your life would be a little lonely without them now. I'm so happy that I get to call these girls my friends and I can't wait to see what adventures and experiences we have this year. 


Friday, 26 February 2016

Top 5 Lush Products

Take one look at my Instagram feed (alicespake) and you will kind of get the idea of how much I love Lush products. I've been buying their products for years so it was only right that I did a post on my Top five Lush Products. I've tried to include a bit of everything from some old favourites to some newbies from Oxford Street. These are five items I would never be without. 

Lord of Misrule shower cream -
My favourite bath bomb is Lord of Misrule but with it being limited edition I can only get hold of it when their Winter range comes out. When Lush opened their flagship store in Oxford Street, they introduced Lord of Misrule shower cream. I quickly bought one and use it religiously, packed full of patchouli, peppercorn and black pepper with a subtle hint of vanilla, it's a real treat for your senses and one I love as it's so distinctive, I could sniff it out blindfolded. 

BB Seaweed fresh face mask -
There is nothing I love more than laying back in a hot bath with a fresh face mask on. I've tried a few different ones from Lush now but I always go back to BB Seaweed. My skin has changed a lot as I've hit my mid twenties and this calming face mask is everything my skin needs and more. With fresh seaweed, ground almonds, rose absolute and aloe vera, it's perfect for anyone suffering with dry or irritated skin. 

Cyanide Pill bath bomb -
Cyanide pill is a Lush Oxford Street exclusive and comes in the shape of a capsule. Whenever any friends go to London, they always bring one back for me as they haven't been rolled out in all stores yet. Containing lemon, cedarwood, rosewood and almonds oils, the scent is smoky with a hint of citrus which I find quite uplifting. The bath bomb fizzes away really quickly leaving acid yellow bath water, a hint of silver lustre and the sound of popping candy. Cyanide Pill leaves my skin soft, supple and smelling of woody essentials. I really hope this is available in all stores soon. 

Hottie massage bar -
This little gem has been doing the rounds for a while and for good reason. Hottie plays a big part in a couple of the Lush spa treatments as it contains ginger and black pepper oils to help with circulation and any knotted areas. I love using this when I've had a full on pamper evening as it's extremely moisturising and always leaves me feeling more relaxed and less stressed. Thanks to the added cocoa butter, Hottie moves over the skin really easily and the bumps on the bar also work well on any knots. 

Golden Handshake hot hand mask -
The final product is one of their newest launches, Golden Handshake, a hot hand mask perfect for treating hard working hands. I have to pop and blister a lot of medication at work so using this once a month is the perfect treat for my mitts. Avocado, argan and castor oil help soothe each nook of your hands, leaving them soft and happy. The product does take some time to dissolve but it's worth the wait. You can either soak your hands in the treatment for twenty minutes or massage into hands and rinse. I always look forward to my monthly hand treatment with this stick of goodness. 

What are your favourite Lush products? Do we have any of the same?

Post also appeared on the wonderful Emily Knott's blog, British Beauty Addict. 

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Makeup Tutorials with Dior

I've been a lifelong lover of Dior, my mother used their products when I was growing up and I'd always ask her to put them on me so when an invite to an event with Dior landed in my inbox I had to say yes. I went along with Jess for an evening of pink bubbles and make up tips by the lovely girls at John Lewis, Southampton. The event was showcasing their new Spring make up collection, Glowing Gardens which is utterly gorgeous. 

I had my make up applied by Gemma on the night using the Dior Forever foundation which I'm so in love with. The look was also created using the Dior Glow Max Primer, Diorshow mascara and their five pan eyeshadow compact. I also had the Rouge Dior lipstick in Rouge Pimpant and Rouge Dior Brillant in Brise Brise applied to my lips from the SS16 collection. I wish I'd manage to get a photo of my finished make up look as it wasn't something I'd usually go for but I really did love it. 

Each of the products used from the skincare to the make up were beautiful and as luxurious as you'd expect. I've compiled a little list of products I want to try ready to hit the counter on payday. It was lovely spending the evening with the Dior girls and Lauren from West Quay's PR team. We were gifted goodies from Dior and Hotel Chocolat on the night which were very appreciated. 

Have you used anything from Dior? What is your favourite make up counter to visit in John Lewis, West Quay?


Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Getting the most from your Micellar Water

Micellar cleansing water has completely changed my skincare routine and I wouldn't be without it now so I thought I'd compile a few tips for getting the most out of yours. Some may seem obvious, others not so much and if you have any tips yourself I'd love to know...

  • Use micellar water as a make up remover or as part of a second cleanse. If I'm being really lazy then I'll just soak some cotton pads with my micellar water, splash some water then slap on some moisturiser. Other times I'll do a full cleanse followed up by some of this. 
  • If you've had a heavy night, pop your micellar water in the fridge before you go to bed. The next morning soak two cotton pads and place over your eyes/face for an instant refresh. Also works for crying fits, emotional breakdowns, soppy movies etc. 
  • Try and always give your face a splash of water after using a micellar water, as much as it feels like cleansing your face with just water, it still contains chemicals to slice through any dirt on your skin, it's not pure and it's why it sometimes feels like there is a slight film on your skin. 
  • I always keep a travel bottle to hand for wiping away swatches after a blog photo session. It's not necessary but it find it easier having one for my face and one for my swatches, plus the Garnier bottles are usually £1 in Boots. Better than scrubbing your arm with a brush or facewipe. 

Do you always keep a bottle of micellar water to hand? What are your top tips?


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Lush Southampton Valentine's Event

There ain't no party like a Lush Cosmetics party and that's exactly where myself and a handful of bloggers spent our Friday night a couple of weeks ago. Lush are renowned for putting on fun filled events and their Southampton store and staff did not disappoint.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Seaside Adventures

Told you I'd come up with another little fashion post for February, this time featuring my ever so faithful Topshop coat, new boots and my bucket bag from Dizen Clothing. I spent last weekend in wet and windy Portsmouth drinking coffee and eating cake with some of the girls and spotted these pastel beach huts, the perfect backdrop for some outfit photos.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

30 Facts About Me.

1. I'm from Southampton and have lived here almost all my life, apart from the five years I lived in Alicante, Spain.

2. I've never watched Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or the Star Wars films. I've seen The Phantom Menace, but that's it. Apparently 2016 is the year I am being made to watch them all. 

3. I've recently entered the world of Jo Malone and I'm obsessed. Wood Sage & Sea Salt, Mimosa & Cardamom and Earl Grey & Cucumber have fast become new additions *winces at bank account*. 

4. I want a Ragdoll cat. Google them, they're beautiful and SO FLUFFY. 

5. So Chaud is by far my favourite MAC lipstick ever. 

6. My favourite animal is a penguin. I have fluffy penguin stuffed animals, snow globes, socks, pyjamas, the whole works. My best blogging friends have very kindly paid for me to go and feed the penguins at Marwell Zoo for my birthday present too! 

7. My favourite Lush Cosmetics bath product is the bubble bar, Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds.

8. I have a stationary issue and can't seem to go anywhere without buying a new notebook which then sits in the box I bought for all my new notebooks.

9. My go to cocktail is a Long Island Ice Tea.

10. I'm a huge fan of Tiesto and have always wanted to see him live in Amsterdam. 

11. I make the best Victoria Sponge cake, even if I do say so myself. 

12. I've re-watched Friends and Sex and the City more times than I want to admit. 

13. My real life job isn't in beauty as many think, I'm actually a pharmacy dispenser. 

14. I'm terrified of the tube but I'd never let on if you're with me unless you catch me chugging down rescue remedy. 

15. I will occasionally forget my age, go out and drink like I'm still 18 and then spend the following day wishing death would just take me because it would probably be easier than my hangover. 

16. I don't wash my make up brushes every week like I mean too. The intention is always there but sometimes it's quite a bit longer. It's a tedious task and Netflix is usually more interesting. 

17. I can't walk in heels to save my life. I just look like Bambi being electrocuted.

18. I HATE avocado. 

19. I've spent more time staring at my laptop screen thinking of facts to write than actually writing facts about me. 

20. My favourite smell/fragrance/ingredient is Bergamot. I'm practically a Bergamot Bloodhound because I can sniff it out of anything.

21. I'm stubborn, blunt, sarcastic and won't take shit from anyone. I'm old now and I have zero time for it anymore. 

22. I have more eyeshadow palettes than I know what to do with. I buy them to complete the 'set' and then never use them. It's a genuine issue. 

23. My favourite perfume is Narciso by Narciso Rodriguez. 

24. I'm not a morning person until I've had a coffee. I've been likened to a Banshee when woken by something or someone. 

25. I want to see the Northern Lights SO BADLY. 

26. I eat too much smoked salmon. I'm addicted to it. 

27. I know where I want to get married and I will not let anyone change my mind, (he's aware and happy about it so it's a win win situ)

28. I love trance, electronic and deep house music. Not the shitty house music that's been realised in the last five years.

29. I'm a little obsessed with Justin Bieber now he's of an acceptable age.

30. I'm terrible at just doing nothing. I have to busy all the time and then I'll moan about being busy and needing a break. Vicious circle.


Friday, 19 February 2016

The High-End Fashion Wishlist

One of my guilty pleasures is browsing for bargains online whether that's Asos or something a little more high end. I've mentioned before how I get shoppers guilt so if I'm buying something pretty pricey that I probably shouldn't be then I need to make that purchase quick and get out. I've discovered a website called Hardly Ever Worn It which is packed full of designer bargains. I've been compiling little wish lists for sometime with some of my favourite products. The best thing about Hardly Ever Worn It is that you can cut your search down to size, item and designer.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Dermalogica Skincare Treatment

There is something about finishing your week with a hours treatment with skincare specialists Dermalogica that sets you up for the weekend. A couple of weeks ago after the most hectic week ever I visited my local counter in John Lewis, West Quay for a consultation with Amy. During the consultation I learned so much about my skin, what I can do to combat my problem areas and I was able to just completely relax for what felt like the first time this year. 

After taking a seat at the consultation area, Amy asked me to fill out a questionnaire on my skin, what I'm currently using and what I think my problem areas are, she then lead me through to their treatment room which they have at John Lewis Southampton until the end of June. After getting changed, I got myself comfy on the table. With relaxing music playing in the background, Amy started by giving my skin a double cleanse. Firstly with PreCleanse and their Soothing eye make up remover followed up by the UltraCalming cleanser and Skin Resurfacing cleanser. I asked Amy to talk me through what she was doing as I'm completely new to Dermalogica and I wanted to learn as much as possible. The last half hour or so I became so relaxed that I probably could've nodded off and I appreciate the fact that Amy realised this and just let me drift into a silent lull. Sign of a fabulous spa therapist! 

During the treatment Amy performed a face mapping skin analysis on my face which was so interesting. I came away with a skin prescription with all the information on and what products were used so I can spend up a storm on what I want to try next. The whole experience was very spa like which I wasn't expecting, I've always seen Dermalogica as a company for problematic skin and it's so much more than that. I'm lucky to of never suffered from problem skin or acne so that's why I thought Dermalogica wasn't for me but now I have more of an understanding I can't wait to head back in. The products used were soothing, smelt incredible and very natural. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and would recommend it to anyone. The two products used that I liked the most were the UltraCalming Mist and the Skin Hydrating Masque, both are currently sat on my wishlist. I was sent away with some products to try as well so I have some lovely Dermalogica products to keep me going for a little while. 

The Dermalogica treatment room will be in John Lewis Southampton until June 2016. You can ring 02380 216347 to book in for a treatment. Dermalogica also provide free face mapping skin analysis throughout the year so make sure you pop along to your nearest counter to find out more.  

Complimentary treatment.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

UD X Gwen Lipsticks

Today is the final post in my mini Urban Decay X Gwen series. I received six of the UD X Gwen lipsticks from Urban Decay and then I bought the online exclusives, Phonecall and Plaid because a girl has got to have the full set right?! I'm not even going to lie about how excited I was and how much it killed me having to wait and use these babies but I can confirm I haven't stopped wearing them and Ex-Girlfriend has taken up permanent residence in my bag, swiftly replacing my failsafe nude, Brave by MAC Cosmetics. I cannot praise these lipsticks enough, I've posted previously about my love of Urban Decay lipsticks and the quality of these beautifully packaged gems is no different. 

Each lipstick comes encased in a gold and black design, I'm a huge fan of whipping it out and reapplying because it's pretty damn gorgeous. As I said in my post on the eyeshadow palette each product was developed closely by Urban Decay and Gwen Stefani, each product and shade reflects that perfectly, each and every lipstick screams Gwen. There are eight lipsticks in total with two being online exclusives. The shades range from the perfect nude right through to a mega matte red and they're all dreamy. The formula contains Urban Decay's Pigment Infusion System which delivers a super creamy texture with an incredibly rich colour pay off. If you're a lipstick addict then this is your dream collection. 

Each of the shades are quite glossy bearing one which is UD's first lipstick to have the mega matte formula. They all have a smooth and light texture that are an absolute dream to apply. 714 and Ex-Girlfriend are my favourite shades so far and I'm half tempted to purchase them both so I have back ups. Problems of a lipstick addict right there. I have a pale skin tone and slightly pinky lips so each of the shades above may vary on different skintones but there is definitely a shade for everyone. Each of the lipsticks have incredible staying power something I usually don't find with glossier lipsticks so I'm pleasantly surprised. I cannot praise this entire collection enough. I don't think I've ever come across a limited edition collection where I love every single item. Urban Decay and Gwen Stefani have absolutely killed it with this range and I am a huge fan!

PR Samples.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

UD X Gwen Lip Liners

(T-B Ex-Girlfriend*, Firebird*, Wonderland*, 714*, Rocksteady*)

I've started to appreciate lip liners a lot more over the last year. They are the ultimate make up tool for the perfect red pout and are really worth having as part of your make up collection. I've only ever owned lip liners from MAC Cosmetics so using Urban Decay's was an absolute first for me but I may of found a new favourite. I have the five lip liners from the UD X Gwen collection each in beautifully gold and black wrapped packaging. Each of the shade names are printed on the end of the pencils alongside the coloured tips. I store my pencils upside down so I can just grab the colour I need without having to lift up each one, super handy! 

There is a lip liner for almost each lipstick with six available in total. The only one I don't have is Phonecall, the online exclusive but I've found that Firebird works really well with the Phonecall lipstick. Rocksteady also works well with online exclusive lipstick Plaid. Each pencil is slim and light to hold which makes applying the perfect line really easy. They all come in Urban Decay's renowned 24/7 waterproof formula meaning you get a creamy long lasting, super pigmented line of colour. UD are actual geniuses for creating this formula as it's as incredible as it sounds. The liners are the perfect companion to the oh so beautiful UD X Gwen lipstick range and keep my lips looking fabulous for hours!

Have you bought any of the lip liners from the collection yet?

*PR Samples

Monday, 15 February 2016

UD X Gwen Blush Palette

Ever since the first photos started circulating on this blush filled beauty I'd made the decision I needed it, it was just a case of being ready and waiting for when it finally hit the Urban Decay website. It sold out within minutes and I unfortunately missed it so you can imagine my complete surprise and excitement when the most amazing package arrived from Urban Decay with this inside. Having to wait for the weekend to roll around for good lighting to take some photos was actual torture but it was 100% worth the wait as the blush palette is everything I expected and more. 

I've used Urban Decay for many years so I know I can trust the quality of their products. The Naked Flushed in Streak is one of my most used face palettes so I knew the shades in this would be my cup of tea. The palette is the same size as the eye shadow palette and the same design but in white and gold. The mirror is hinged so it opens out wide and it also has the quote 'Magic's in the Makeup' in the corner. It was pretty much love at first sight.

Inside the UDXGwen blush palette* there are six pans with 2.8g of product, each are such a fab size and more than enough to keep you going if you're a blush addict like me. I wouldn't say this palette is for everyone as not all the shades will suit all skin tones. There are two powder blushes, three powder highlighters and one powdered bronzer. Each super soft and long lasting with next to no fall out. Each of the shades are so wearable for day or night, I've been using Lo-Fi for a subtle bronze, Easy on the apples of my cheeks and Angel as a highlight and together they make me feel and look more alive than I usually would at 8am. I really do love them as the pigmentation and longevity is incredible. Urban Decay and Gwen Stefani have absolutely killed it with this collaboration, the design, shades and products are fantastic and I won't be touching another blush for a while. Make sure you catch tomorrow's post on the UD X Gwen lip liners.

*PR Sample.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Candle Belle Subscription Box

You can just about get anything in a subscription box nowadays so when I first discovered Candle Belle were releasing a mega melt monthly box, I was ready and waiting for it to drop. The Mega Melts Box* includes nine melts from their selection of 55 for £11 a month including postage which is a pretty sweet deal. 

The subscription period runs for three months where you'll receive 27 various melts, you then get a decision to continue the subscription after the three months or cancel. As the mega melts on their own are £2 each and huge, the candle hoarder in me is very happy! I now have an incredible melt collection going on at home and my favourites so far have been Lemongrass, Clean Cotton Sheets and Parma Violets. 

Candle Belle also sell twin wick candles and all the melts individually and if you use the code ALICE20 you get 20% off your order, Happy shopping! 

*PR Sample.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Valentine's Date Night Beauty Essentials

It's Valentine's day on Sunday and with that in mind I thought I'd share what my make up picks would be for date night. I do believe Valentine's is just another day but it is nice to have an excuse to get a bit fancy. I'm going with a smoky bronze eye with a helping of Chanel on my cheeks and lips. My fail safe base for evenings out is MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix which I also reviewed recently the blog. I then pat on my concealer by Collection with the Dior Backstage Blender (I'm trying to love it, I really am).

Chanel Rose Petale blush is dusted on the apples of my cheeks with The Balm Mary Lou Manizer along my cheekbones, the bridge of my nose and cupids bow. The Glo & Ray Mariposa shadow quad in Golden Dunes* has been my go to on a number of nights out because the shadows last so long and don't crease. I used the two bronze shades on the inner and outer corners of my eyes with the Skybreaker Eyeliner* in Burgundy along my lash line. Lashings of mascara complete my eye make up thanks to Maxfactor False Lash Effect, my favourite mascara. Finally, I apply a slick of Chanel La Fascinante to give the perfect red pout. You can't go wrong with red lips on Valentine's day after all. 

Do you have plans for Valentine's? What make up will you be wearing?

*PR Samples.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Sleek Lip VIP Lipsticks

Flaunt It*, Night Spot*, Guestlist*, Backstage*, Private Booth*, Reserved*.
(I'm wearing Flaunt It.)

If there is one product  I love, it's lipsticks and when Sleek Makeup announced the release of these I was ready waiting in the wings to get my hands on them. Six lipsticks in six must have shades in my favourite finish, what more could I ask for? They 100% have my heart. Each lipstick delivers an intensely pigmented colour with a velvet soft finish. I'm a huge lover of matte lipsticks, they're my failsafe and for these to go on so smooth, have incredible staying power and pretty much do exactly as promised for £5.50?! Well... I'm very impressed. 

Each lipstick contains vitamin e, shea butter and coconut oil so your lips stay nourished throughout wear. I usually find this is where cheaper matte lipsticks go wrong but Sleek have nailed this. I'm able to wear these for the majority of the day, with little to no re-application and still have soft and hydrated lips. My favourite shades to wear have been Flaunt It, which is a reddish orange and Private Booth, a soft nude. 

They're fab lipsticks and they do exactly what they're meant to and more. As I've swatched them I've noticed each shade is pretty similar to some of my MAC Cosmetics collection and you can't beat a MAC dupe for just £5.50?!

Flaunt It - So Chaud
Private Booth - Brave
Reserved - Snob
Backstage - Crosswires
Guestlist - Saigon Summer 
Night Spot - Viva Glam Rihanna 

*PR Samples.
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