24 December 2013

REVIEW: Nails inc. 3D Glitter Polish

As Christmas is upon us I've found myself reaching for sparkles in all directions, and especially for my nails. So as you can probably imagine I was uber excited when I saw this set of 3 Nails Inc polishes in TKMaxx for just £10 (RRP £33). I will do a review of the other 2 colours at some point but for this post I'm going to concentrate on this charcoal grey 3D glitter pictured above which is called "Sloane Square".

I was really impressed with the product the first time I used it. It's really good quality and for the photos above I didn't need to use a colour underneath the glitter. In fact I think it would be pointless even putting a colour underneath as it possibly wouldn't show through. I'm pretty sure I used 2 coats but to be honest 1 coat would have been enough. It's not a glitter that you would use to add to another colour as it's too thick and you wouldn't be able to use it for an accent nail either, unless you found an exact shade to match! 

It's not a bright, sparkly glitter. It is more a thick texture for the nails with a glittery quality to it. Personally I really like the colour as I like silver and grey tones in nail polish. I was very impressed with the quality of the product and I got lots of compliments when I wore it. 

The polish dries pretty quickly and lasts amazingly well without many chips. To be totally honest it's a bit of a nightmare to remove even after having soaked my nails in nail polish remover. However, I would really recommend this polish and it's definitely perfect for the festive season! 

Izzy x

13 December 2013

Christmas Jumpers

Christmas jumpers are enjoying a bit of a fashion revival this year. Every store I've walked past recently has been displaying piles of the cosy, silly (or not so silly) festive knitwear. Now that the once novelty garments are no longer bottom of the fashion food chain, the only question is how garish do you dare to go?
Seeing as today is Christmas Jumper Day in the UK to raise money for Save the Children, I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some of the gems I've seen around this season.

I couldn't resist the ASOS chunky roll-neck decorated in Christmas Llamas (who needs reindeer & camels?) & ordered one this morning. It will make a perfect Christmas Eve/ Boxing Day outfit with some ripped jeans & converse!

Did you take part in Christmas Jumper Day?

Harriet x

Xmas Gift Guide for Boys

Thought I would compile a list of purse friendly gifts for a boyfriend or friend whist I was mainly just getting inspiration for gifts to buy others. Surprisingly for me I haven't left it until Xmas Eve to do, which believe me, is a first! 

1. Lovely Winter Bobble Hat - Urban Outfitters £18
Every boy needs to stay warm this winter and you can help them do this is style with this cute, festive bobble hat. Personally, I think Urban Outfitters has the best selection of winter warmers on the high street this year. 

2. Tartan Scarf - Asos £12
On trend, useful and a bit of a bargain!

3. Unique Illustrative Print - greatlittleplace.com £40
A charming illustration by artist Chris Davis of all the greatest little spots in London. Comes unframed, I just added this for effect.

4. Live Lounge CD - iTunes £10.99
In my opinion, one of the better albums released this Xmas. A real eclectic mix of songs and artists, there's got to be something for everybody. Plus you can upload the songs to your own computer before giving it away! Sneaky ;-) 

5. Plectrum Maker - notonthehighstreet.com £22
A great, quirky little gift for budding musicians or long legged guitar picking men. Plectrums can be made out of any old credit cards and store cards. 

6. Men's Travel Buddies - Origins £25
A great introduction for boys to the world of skin care! Contains 4 minis including Blade Runner Energizing Shave Cream, Save the Males Moisturiser, Skin Diver Active Charcoal Body Wash & Fire Fighter Face Soothe (all 50ml). This is a seasonal offer and a total steal.

7. Classic Casio Watch - Watch Warehouse £31 (RRP £40)
I don't think you can ever go wrong with giving a boy a watch for Xmas, and totally not a cop-out with this uber cool Classic Casio Watch. Hurry up, get one quick as I've learned that WatchWarehouse.co.uk have some mega offers on at the moment including a Christmas Discount Corner, 10% off when you sign up to their newsletter and a 20% Off Everything Flash Sale!

Hope you enjoyed,
Izzy x

12 December 2013

Review: ORIGINS Clear Improvement Mask

I haven't bought a good mask in years! With winter upon us and as my dry, wind blustered skin calls out for some TLC I decided to splash out on a trio of masks from Origins. Each mask on it's own costs £22 for 100ml. However, at the moment, you can buy 3 different masks (all 75ml size), packaged prettily and branded as the Origins Mask Marvel Set. For just £25 which makes this set over double the amount of product for just £3 extra! The set contains Drink Up Overnight Mask, Drink Up 10 Minute Mask & Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask. Not only is this a bargain no-brainer, this set would also make a lovely Christmas gift for a beauty loving friend. 

So far I have only tried the Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask but I plan to write a review of the others when I get a chance to try them. The 3 key ingredients in this mask are Active Charcoal, White China Clay & Lecithin which Origins claim to "draw out pore-cloggers", "absorb environmental toxins" & "dissolve impurities". All 3 naturally occurring substances are well known for their beneficial cosmetic properties. Clinical studies of Lecithin have shown it to benefit acne. White Clay has been used for centuries and is particularly good for sensitive skin because it is so mild. 

I have used this mask twice now and can already say I have seen some improvement to the congestion of my skin. My skin feels smooth and pores superficially clear. Obviously problematic areas and stubborn spots still remain but I would hope after consistent use these might be reduced quite substantially. As I find with all Origins products they last a long time, so once a week use should not be a problem.

Directions say to first open pores with a warm, moist towel, however, I just had a long soak in a hot bath which is hopefully good enough. I have found I need a couple of layers of product in order to cover the whole face as it spreads quite thinly. It has the texture of something like acrylic paint rather than a thick clay which surprised me but isn't unpleasant.  It has a fresh, clean, light and distinctly "Origins" smell with a slight clay-like after note. Very pleasant.

It takes about 5-10 minutes to dry and I wash it off as soon as it has dried with help from a muslin cloth. It dries with quite a soft & smooth texture, not like the usual flakey and cracking texture of a charcoal or clay mask. I have quite dry skin, especially in winter months, so I feel tightness immediately after I have washed it off and have to run straight to my room to moisturise. I notice my skin looks quite red after using the mask which I think is to do with the properties of the White China Clay that stimulate circulation. The redness goes down pretty quickly and the biggest difference I notice in my skin is even tone and a smoother complexion. 

Despite the pretty hefty price tag I would really recommend this product and in fact all Origins products are really worth the bucks for their natural & pure ingredients. 

Hope you enjoyed this review. Let me know your thoughts about this product if you have tried it in the comments below.

Izzy x

30 November 2013

Protein Apple & Walnut Cake

Whoever said eating healthy had to be boring? This easy protein loaf cake is the perfect thing to whip up in advance & have for breakfast, pre/post-workout or just as a nutritious snack. 

It provides you with slow-release carbs, protein, good fats & contains no added sugar.

This recipe makes two 1lb sized loaf tins, but if you just wanted to make one simply halve the quantities.

125g of wholemeal spelt flour
100g of vanilla/natural protein powder
(I use Sunwarrior vanilla protein & really recommend it for baking)
1 tsp baking powder
100g of stevia
1 banana
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp of cinnamon
100g butter
50g Greek yoghurt
250g sliced apples
50g walnuts

Set oven to 180°C
Blend the half the walnuts, banana, butter, yoghurt, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon & stevia in a food processor.
Add the sieved spelt flour & protein powder.
Line the tin with greaseproof paper (I use these hassel-free cases).
Evenly place half the cake mixture inside the tin.
Place half the sliced apple on top of cake mixture, then add the remaining cake mixture on top.
Top with remaining sliced apple & walnuts.
Place in the oven & bake for 50 minutes - 1 hour.

The cake is really moist & sweet due to all the apple in the center. It will keep for 4-5 days in an airtight container.

Pop a slice into your gym bag to have after a workout, or serve warm with yoghurt as a delicious healthy dessert.

Let me know in the comments if you would like anymore healthy reciepes.

Harriet x

Brunch at M1LK

Last week I made a slightly hungover trip to M1LK in Balham with a couple of friends. 
I'd already been wowed by the breakfast menu back in the summer, after from Suzanne from i make it fashion suggested we try out the new addition to the Hildreth Street Market. 
I've been raving about the place & the vibrant original food ever since so this return visit was long overdue.

The seating inside is quite limited, which combined with the amazing food & artisan coffee on offer can create pretty big queues, especially at busy weekend times. 
The decor is eclectic & a little bit hipster but there's always a really nice mix of people eating there. 
I love that you can see the tiny open kitchen from the dining area, seeing the chefs whipping up all the delicious food just adds to the laid-back friendly environment.

Drinks-wise I went for a hot chocolate (I needed the sugar otherwise I would have got a flat white, as the coffee here is GOOD) whilst the others went for English breakfast tea.

I love how they serve the teapot, cup, saucer & milk in a little stack like this.

The brunch menu reads like my idea of food heaven, I could eat breakfast food all day long! 
This time I opted for the baked eggs with butternut squash & feta, Chris went for the Young Betty (poached eggs, drycure bacon & burnt butter hollandaise) & Christina got the Young Betty with salmon instead of bacon.

As well as an excellent cooked brunch M1LK also have an amazing selection of homemade cakes, which they display along the counter. One day I will try the strawberry milk cake!

The distressed cosy interior is covered in hung artwork, shelves & framed pictures all of which contribute to the happy vibe exuded by the Aussie diner.

The baked eggs were absolutely delicious, they were cooked & seasoned perfectly. 
Butternut squash & feta makes a lovely light addition to the dish that doesn't leave you feeling overly full. 
The toasted sourdough was crispy & tangy, perfect for dipping in the bright orange Burford Brown yolks.

The salmon on Christina's Young Betty looked amazingly fresh & tasty. She said it was incredible.

Even Chris who is pretty hard to impress loved his bacon with poached eggs & hollandaise. 
I appreciated the flowers garnishing his dish even if he didn't pay them much attention. 
Definitely an Instagram worthy plate of food!

We left M1LK happy & full, all traces of a hangover gone.
One of the best brunch spots I've found in London & it only set us back a tenner each.

M1LK are open 8am - 5pm Monday - Friday
            9am - 5pm Sunday

They do not take reservations, first come first served.

Harriet x
Square Meal Square Meal

29 November 2013

Shopping '& Other Stories' and 'Zara'

Seeing as it's payday-week I may have given in to shopping temptations & broken my self-imposed spending ban.

First of all I discovered the amazing store that is & Other Stories. It's just round the corner from Liberty on Regent Street & is the luxury counterpart to H&M.  In keeping with the Scandinavian fashion powerhouse that is H&M & COS, the store is a veritable treasure chest overflowing with beautiful clothes, accessories, lingerie & beauty products. I couldn't justify them on this occasion but I LOVE this black bustier, gold ring, wine coloured tassel sandals & grey mohair beanie.

Instead I treated myself to a couple of staple jewellery pieces that will go with everything & have been adorning my hands & wrists ever since. 

The gold ribcage ring & silver wave bangle came in at just £10 for the ring & £12 for the bangle, for the quality I think the price is amazing. Across the store they have definitely made an effort to keep prices as affordable as possible.

My next purchase was this pair of Zara boots.

I've been on the lookout for a new pair of heeled ankle boots for ages & I actually prefer these to the Ash Jalouse boots I was toying with buying. The fact that they were £29.99 was just an extra bonus!

I wore them to the Grazia event at the Harrods Fashion Lab earlier this week & they are far more comfortable than the four inch heel would suggest. They also come in black & sand but I'm glad I went for the khaki colour. The sludgey green is really versatile & neutral, working well to break up the all-black outfits I gravitate towards during the winter.

Have you made any new purchases? I love seeing what other people have been buying so please leave a link to your shopping posts or a comment below!

Harriet x

Harrods Fashion Lab

On Wednesday evening I was lucky enough to attend the Grazia event in Harrods new Fashion Lab. Stepping off the escalator & into the monochrome chic room of wall-to-wall fashion, the huge new department certainly makes a big visual impact. We were promptly handed a glass of champagne & a welcome pack to explain the evening.

The people from Black Score were in attendance & providing guests with their amazing signature illustrations in the form of temporary tattoos.

Having already eyed up the new Cara Delevingne illustration on a T-Shirt I went for the tattoo equivalent. I may have got a few raised eyebrows in the gym the next day, but I love the simple style of the fashion line drawing!

The girls both went for the Black Score makeover on My Little Pony. 

In the welcome pack we each received a four digit code that was used to try & unlock the padlocks of six caged designer gems. I'd actually spied this beautiful Victoria Beckham jacket on a previous visit to the department & was a little bit excited to see if my code would set it free. Sadly not, but if it goes into the sale I may have to buy it as a Christmas present to myself...

Harrods waiters were constantly circling, handing out treats from each brand. These Ted Baker macarons went down very well amongst us all. 

Our next stop was the Bumble & Bumble pop up salon, we got a mini hair makeover & a bag full of samples to try from the makers of the cult product- Surf Spray.

A quick mirror selfie with our tattoos & newly styled hair.

One of the many items I fell in love with on the night, was this Karen Millen leather jacket, the oversized faux-fur collar works some serious luxe factor into a what is such a staple, classic black biker. They also had some gorgeous dresses for the party season on display. I have my eye on this colour-blocked velvet dress & also this floor-length number.

After sipping some mid-week champagne, the INVO coconut water stand was a welcome (healthier) discovery. I was given a couple to take home which made a lovely pre-workout treat the next day. I'm so impressed with this coconut water- it tastes fantastic, really fresh with a subtle nutty flavour. If you haven't liked coconut water so far, I recommend giving INVO a try as it tastes quite different to other brands I've come across. On a side-note the packaging is lovely too, completely hand-illustrated giving a natural beachy feel to the bottles.

After spending a couple of hours looking round the shiny new Fashion Lab, it really does live up to expectations. If you're are looking for a step-up from the high-street without going high-fashion (& high-spending) then you will find all the best contemporary labels here, fabulously stationed just meters apart. 
To name just a few; The Kooples, Ted Baker, Zadig & Voltaire, Wildfox, J Brand, Pinko, Joseph & Whistles.
So amongst the capsule edit of ball gowns & crystal encrusted shoes, expect to find grungy leather biker jackets, perfect skinny jeans & ankle boots.

The atmosphere itself is very conducive to a happy shopping experience, the layout (being over 30 000 square feet) is very spacious & minimalistic, creating a contemporary, luxurious environment reflected in the style of clothes on offer. 
There is even a very sleek new Salad Kitchen discreetly nestled amongst all the fashion if you fancy a healthy pit stop.

Finally it was time to say goodnight, collect our bulging goody bags & head home.

Thank you for a lovely evening Grazia & Fashion Lab.

Harriet x

*all photos taken by me except the photo of the gold Karen Millen shoes which is the property of Josie at Fashion Mumblr & the #fashionlab T-shirt which was taken by Grazia UK.