Thursday, 30 June 2016

June in Instagram



1. So the huge news has to be our engagement! On the 4th June, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife and I said yes! We're so grateful for all your wonderful and heartfelt messages. They really do mean the world to us both. 

2. The same weekend of our engagement was spent having a barbecue with friends to say farewell to another friend off to work in America for the Summer. It was full of laughs, mocktails and icecream. 

3. We celebrated our 4th anniversary together as well as our engagement with food at Mettricks Guildhall and excited talk about getting married. 

4. I bought my first set of bridal magazines! It felt so weird doing it but I spent hours flicking through for inspiration. 

5. My best friend bought me a new MAC Cosmetics lipstick in Faux and I'm totally in love. 

6. The same best friend and I also headed to Orange Rooms in Southampton to try their latest menu addition, Freak Shakes! They were incredible but we couldn't finish them, not surprising with the size of them. 

7. After the tragic events in Orlando this month, Southampton gathered to pay tribute to the victims in Guildhall Square. It was beautiful, emotional and just went to prove love really does conquer all. 

8. Rachel & Dann finally welcomed Baby Bee aka Henry and I'm so smitten. 

9. Engagement party planning is in full swing and I collected my late Grandfather's old suitcases to use for our engagement party. They're exactly what I wanted for what we have planned and I can't wait to show you all what I'll be doing.

June has pretty fabulous, there's been some hard days as I'm still unwell but all the above has definitely made it that tiny bit easier. 

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram - alicespake
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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Shopping with Octer




As a blogger I spend a lot of my time browsing sites for beauty bargains and fashion staples for my wardrobe and occasionally it gets a bit too much. Especially when you're 47 pages deep on the ASOS dress page and still no nearer to finding the perfect one. I like shopping to be easy to navigate, easy to filter and when shopping for make up, I like to be able to shop by brand so Octer.co.uk has been a god send recently, for me more so than my bank account. 

Octer's main aim is to simplify shopping across all devices and with 8000 top brands alongside 200 of the biggest UK stores it meant I could buy the Urban Decay Naked Skin foundation and concealer I've been lusting over forever with ease. Download the app on your phone or tablet or you can also use the website. Easy, efficient and an even better way to spend my hard earned dollar. 

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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Estée Lauder Gift with Purchase at Harrods





The one thing I love when making high end purchases is the occasional gift with purchase when you get a bit spendy. Estée Lauder are renowned for their incredible gift sets especially at Christmas when they release the limited edition beauty box filled full of desirable products. Over the next four weeks at Harrods online this gorgeous gift with purchase will be available to anyone spending £75 or more on beauty and skincare products from Estée Lauder at Harrods. 

The products come inside a grey shoulder bag which is pretty similar to one I've been looking to purchase from Zara, there are pockets inside making sure there's space for your keys and phone plus it comes with a faux crocodile passport cover which I love. The next best bit are the products - 

  • ReNutriv Hydrating Creme Cleanser, 30ml
  • ReNutriz Ultra Lift Age-Correcting Creme, 15ml 
  • Deluxe Eyeshadow Compact with 9 shades
  • Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick in Pinkberry, full size
  • Sumptuous Extreme Mascara, 2.8ml
  • Little Black Primer, 2.8ml 
  • Double Wear Stay In Place Eye Pencil in Onyx
The products included make for such a fab gift with purchase and as it's not hard spending £75 with Estée Lauder on some of their best known products such as Double Wear Foundation, Bronze Goddess Bronzer and the Pure Color Envy Matte lipsticks, the gift is an awesome bonus! 

Press Sample.
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Monday, 27 June 2016

Coconut Oil Beauty Hacks




I have read so much on the benefits of coconut oil over the last year and regularly use it within my beauty routine so when Birchbox set me a little challenge it was only right I said yes. I was asked to use coconut oil in my routine for four weeks and document what I'd been using it for and why. It's been six weeks now and I thought I'd share with you what I've been doing. The Vita Coco Coconut Oil is 100% raw, cold pressed extra virgin oil. The purest of pure. It comes in a glass jar with a handy screw lid because if it wasn't I'd have real difficulty getting the lid off with oily hands.

I use coconut oil once a week in my hair to give my locks an intensive treat. Half a teaspoon melted into the palm of my hands is enough for my mid length thick hair. I just leave it on for twenty minutes then wash out with shampoo and leave to dry. Coconut Oil leaves my hair feeling so much softer, well nourished and I'm forever being asked what I actually use on my hair to get it in the condition that it is.

Not only do I use it on my hair, I also use coconut oil to remove my makeup. As the oil melts in my hands and on my face, it helps remove any dirt and grime I've picked up during the day. The oil doesn't irritate my eyes and I'm able to soak my lashes to take all traces of mascara away, even waterproof mascara. After washing it away with warm water I occasionally apply another layer for ten or so minutes as a mask if I have the time as I just love the way it makes my skin feel. 

It's also great for dry skin especially on knees and elbows before and after fake tanning, shaving your legs and as an added little bit of luxury, in your bath. Sometimes it pays to give your skin a treat seeing as it's your largest organ and you kinda gotta take care of it guys! I've been using coconut oil in my routine for the last six weeks and the change in my skin, hair and even nails is pretty impressive. As I've said I've always used coconut oil within my routine but not daily and the results are pretty awesome, plus I constantly smell like I'm holiday even if it is pouring down outside. 

There are so many uses for Coconut Oil, when I googled it to see what would come up I was a bit dubious of some of them but the majority I can see working. It's also proven that people who have coconut as a main staple in their diet are some of the healthiest in the world. If you're yet to give this natural pot of goodness a go then what are you waiting for? Just make sure it's extra virgin, if it's refined you will not get the same benefits. 

Have you used Coconut Oil before? If so, what for?

Press Sample
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Sunday, 26 June 2016

Spanish Drugstore Haul







When on holiday it is only fair that you head to the nearest perfumerie or chemist to find out what beauty products were on sale and I did just that after the all important food shop. I visited Marvi Mundo which is where I use to buy my beauty products and perfume when I lived in Spain and the one in Murcia was huge. I didn't bother with any of the standard brands I could get in the UK, instead I found myself in front of the Wet n Wild stand for what felt like half a day. I've never tried anything from Wet n Wild, as far as I'm aware you can't get it in the UK so I stocked up as the products were so cheap. 

Everything I bought was from Wet n Wild apart from the W7 Banana Dreams Powder which was €2.50, it's £4.99 here so who knows who worked out that exchange rate. We always get the rough end of the deal where make up and exchange rates are concerned in the UK. Pfft. I'm yet to try Banana Dreams out but in a recent Cosmo comparison it came out better than Ben Nye's original banana powder so I definitely bagged a bargain. 

Wet n Wild is completely new to me but I've read countless fab things about the products so I bought a bit of everything. The Mega Length Waterproof mascara was €4.69 and separates every lash, I don't usually wear waterproof as it's a struggle to get it off but this is painless to remove. It's a deep jet black and makes my eyes so wide and open. The Color Icon Brow & Eyeliner pencil was €1.99 and glides so easily on the eyelid leaving a creamy line of colour. It's double the size of most standard pencils so hopefully I won't run out of this for a while. 

I'd just run out of my Collection Lasting Perfection concealer so I bought the Cover All Liquid concealer for  €3.49. It's my exact shade and it doesn't gather under the eye or in fine lines. I use my beauty blender to dab this on and it's incredible. I wish I'd bought a couple more. Marvi Mundo had the limited edition summer collection on sale which included the Mega Last nail polish, €2.99 in Breeze on By, a powder blue shade and the Geometric Blush Palette in Sun Ceremony, €4.99 which I've been using for a golden shimmer on my tan.  I also grabbed one of the single pan shadows in Nutty for €1.99 as I love taupe shades, it's super creamy and highly pigmented. 

Lastly, I stocked up on the Mega Last lipsticks as they were just €2.99 each. I bought the shades In The Flesh, a rosebud nude, Sand Storm, a muted brown, Mocha-Licious, a mauve, brown and Cherry Bomb, a berry purple. Each of the lipsticks are long wearing, highly pigmented and come in a semi matte finish. They don't bleed or feather and they're easy to apply. I wish I'd bought more but I stuck to shades I'd definitely wear as my lipstick collection is getting way out of hand. 

I'm really happy with what I did bring back, I had to be a bit careful as I only had hand luggage and lipsticks counted as liquids and I bought eight in total as four were for friends. I'll be making sure I use a suitcase next time! 

Have you tried Wet n Wild or Banana Dreams before? What did you think?

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Friday, 24 June 2016

June Birchbox Unboxing





With the sunshine finally showing its face and temperatures getting higher, the Paradise Found box from Birchbox for June is perfect timing. Full of treats to make sure you get the best out of your skin and beauty routine this summer. This months boxes come in gorgeous tropical prints of palm trees or pineapples. Plus, unlike usual boxes this months is a pull out draw which is perfect for beauty storage. I kinda wish all their boxes came like this so I could stack them and keep all my products neat and tidy. Here's hoping, eh Birchbox! 

I was really impressed when I opened the draw with Percy & Reed and Laura Mercier peeking my interest first. I've used Percy & Reed products for years and love how they make my hair feel. I don't like hairsprays that crisp or make my hair tacky and as this is really light, it doesn't do either. It smells amazing too! The Laura Mercier Souffle Body Creme is a super rich, whipped moisturiser that adds a little luxury to your skincare routine. The Ambre Vanille scent makes it smell heavenly and I'm now trying to justify purchasing the full size pot for £45. 

The full size product this month is by Jelly Pong Pong, a pigment pot for lips and cheeks. Paradise Pigments is intense colour which can be blended to however you desire. I have the shade Cake Pop which is a pretty cerise pink. Absolution's Le Nettoyant Purete cleanser gel is also included which promises to remove dirt and grime without the tight after cleansing feeling you get wish some products. Lastly is the item I'm not too fussed on, James Read Overnight Tan Sleep Mask scares me a little. I've faked tanned lots of times in the past but I tend to go for the more natural look now as I can't be bothered with the tan prep. The natural look for me leaves my skin looking pretty white so I have images of this going horribly wrong. We'll see, I may get the guts to use it one day. 

I really like this months box and it's great to see some different brands included. I would also love for Birchbox to switch the classic boxes to draws! What was your favourite item from this months box? 

Press Sample
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Thursday, 23 June 2016

Book Haul






I've found myself with a lot of spare time recently to find myself again and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to start reading again. I've spent many a day lost in a book and with life just getting in the way the last few years, I couldn't tell you the last time I properly sat down and read a one. I trawled around local charity shops to pick up a pile of books to get through and after being gifted a West Quay voucher, I headed into Waterstones to buy even more. I don't really have a certain type of book or author I go for, if I like the sound of synopsis then I'll buy it and that's how I ended up with this mixture of a haul. 

Jo Moyes Me Before You was bought on the recommendation of Jess from www.thelifeofjks.co.uk, I've heard so much about it so I can't wait to get stuck in. Sticking with the chick flick book theme I bought the The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern, I've read a number of her books over the years and love her style. Lastly was one from Dawn French, According to Yes is her newest novel and I've since been back into Waterstones to buy Oh Dear Silvia. 

The Girl on the Train  by Paula Hawkins has been everywhere recently and with it being on offer for half price I went ahead and popped it in the basket. I'm yet to read this but I've heard really great things about it. The Amber Shadows by Lucy Ribchester is one I've already finished, I love books that our set during the great wars and as much as this is a fiction, a lot of it is based on things that happened during the war. The ending is also a twist I never saw happening! 

The final book is Calm, this has been all over my Twitter and Instagram feed and while I'm trying to introduce a calmer aspect to my hectic life I thought this would be a great way to start. I've only flicked through so far but I can see it being thumbed pretty quickly. 

What have you been reading recently? Do you have any recommendations?


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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Willow & Honey Candle Collection







If there is one homeware item I've loved for as long as I can remember, it's candles. My mum always use to burn them and my sister and I would stick our fingers in the wax after she blew them out, I still do it now sometimes but as I've grown older my candle taste has changed. I like very soft, scents with the occasional musk thrown in so when browsing the Willow and Honey website at what they had on offer I stepped out of my comfort zone and chose the Fruitful Collection*. I love the smell of fig but that's as far as my fruit loving goes but the sound of Sweet Orange & Chilli paired with French Pear & Freesia really pulled me in. 

The Fruitful Collection comes in a beautiful box with each candle enclosed inside. The presentation made it really special and would make the perfect gift for someone for a birthday or even new home. Each candle weighs 60g and comes in an internally painted glass container, they're also handmade with soy and have cotton wicks. The scented candles are beautifully scented, filling the whole room with a fresh aroma. I thought the Fig & Cassis would be my favourite but it's actually the Sweet Orange & Chilli although all three would be candles I'd purchase again. My bubble baths with candles have just become a whole lot fancier! 

Have you tried Willow and Honey before? What are your favourite scents?

Press Samples.
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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Get Glowing with Natural Collection





I've been a long time lover of Natural Collection ever since my eldest cousin took me into Boots and helped me choose my first make up products to try. The Tinted Moisturiser and blush in Peach Melba were my favourite products whether I knew how to apply them correctly or not. Fast forward a good fifteen years and I still have some Natural Collection products in my collection. Natural Collection have been on the shelves of Boots stores for over 25 years and they're as loved now as they were when they launched. With a range of staple pieces at amazingly low prices, it would be hard not to find something to buy. 

With Summer fast approaching, Natural Collection are concentrating on helping you achieve a natural radiant look with some of their bestsellers. In three easy steps you can look glowing with their base, bronze and blush, all priced at £1.99. I tried the less is more look while shopping recently, using the Tinted Moisturiser and Pressed Powder followed by the Golden Glow Bronzer and Pink Cloud Blush. They really are a great collection of products that give a natural glow and finish to the skin, more so than some higher end products I regularly use. They're make the perfect holiday products too. 

Head to your local Boots to see what Natural Collection have on offer and let me know what you picked up. 

PR Samples.
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Monday, 20 June 2016

Scrub Love Coffee Scrubs






I've been using coffee scrubs for a few years now and always love how they leave my skin feeling refreshed, soft and more radiant. Scrub Love is the latest coffee scrub I've been trying out from a company based in the UK. The products are organic, fairtrade, Rainforest-Alliance approved and ethically sourced which is pretty impressive and exactly how I like my products. 

Coffee scrubs are highly beneficial to the skin helping hydrate, soften, moisturise, nourish and polish skin. With ingredients such as argan, baobab, coconut, sweet almond, sweet orange, tea tree and peppermint oils, Scrub Love couldn't be anymore skin loving if they tried. I have all three scrubs available, Original Lovin'*, Coconut Affair* and Mint Temptation*, with Coconut Affair being my favourite of the bunch because it smells so incredible. 

I just jump in the shower, grab a handful of coffee scrub and get to work! It's a messy business what with the coffee and water but the skin benefits outweigh the nuisance of having to give the tub a good scrub down after. With coffee scrubs fast becoming the body loving product of choice, I can see Scrub Love helping lots of babes keep their skin soft, smooth and glowing which is exactly what we all need ready to show off our tanned arms and pins this summer.


*PR Samples.
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Sunday, 19 June 2016

Little Italy at Enoteca



Grabbing dinner with friends is one of my favourite things to do, there's nothing better than catching up over great wine and even better food and that's exactly what myself and the bestest did recently. We headed to Enoteca* which is in Bedford Place, Southampton, the newest Italian on the block.
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Friday, 17 June 2016

Necta Perfecta by Bee Good






I always like to keep various masks to hand as I like options and with Necta Perfecta* being a 4 in 1 face and body enzyme mask, it's one I've been reaching for regularly. Looking at the packaging you wouldn't even realise this was from Bee Good with its sleek gold design and transparent pot but a product this fab needs packaging that's a little more fancy and Necta Perfecta is just that. 

The multi tasking beautifying mask is suitable for all skin types while improving a whole list of skin issues. Necta Perfecta helps with revitalising and brightening skin, rehydration, calming and de-stressing. Thanks to its blend of five natural fruit acids, camelina oil and vitamin E oil it aids cell regeneration, minimises skin imperfections while improving skin elasticity and luminosity. 

The natural ingredients of British honey and beeswax keeps in moisture, plumps skin and minimises the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while the British propolis aids the skins natural healing process. It's a pretty impressive product and one you can use on your face, scalp, hands or feet and any rough areas you may have. I've been using the product as a face mask while I have a long soak. The texture is thick, luxurious and very rich, it leaves my skin feeling smooth and well nourished. You don't need to use much as once the product warms it almost becomes much like an oil balm as it's massaged into skin. As it's bursting full of natural ingredients, it also smells beautiful. 

The 100ml pot is priced at £39.95 and is available via Beegood.co.uk

*PR Sample
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Thursday, 16 June 2016

Your 5 with West Quay









Over the next few weekends in Hammerson shopping centres you will find the Your 5 event, an event to help you find Your 5 beauty or fashion staples. I headed to West Quay, Southampton the weekend with my mum and sister in tow so we could all find our own key pieces and beauty staples. Your 5 were concentrating on finding five key comfort pieces to inject into your wardrobe with the cropped trouser, silk pieces, trainers, jackets and tops being the main show. Rachel showed me around the stands to find my favourite bits which were then just emailed to me so I can then head into the stores and buy what I fell in love with, Thankfully four of my items were from New Look but the jacket I loved was from Reiss and I'm not about to drop £200 on it unfortunately. One day. 

After my fashion shake up I was paired with Sally Rowe, a make up artist to the stars who talked me through what colours were good for my skintone. Sally also re did my make up for me using products from The Body Shop which I've ever used before. I had a really enjoyable few hours with the Your 5 team and it was great for my mum and sister to experience it too. We all walked away with a pricey wishlist ready for our next shopping trip. 


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