31.10.12

Nunfish jewellery

My obsession with jewellery and accessorising is going to get me into trouble one of these days, but for the time being I'm just enjoying adding to my collection on a daily basis. I do love an indulgent purchase, but equally I love rummaging around in Primark to find some bargains. My latest discovery though is Nunfish, an independent and young online business which sells unique and statement jewellery for prices that don't seem to do them justice. You can pick up one of these beautiful and fabulous necklaces for as little as £9.00. I was kindly sent a selection of jewellery and wasn't holding out very high expectations, but was very pleasantly suprised with what arrived - each in their own branded silver pouch, these stand up to pieces three or four times their price. One of my favourties is this diamond 'chainmail' silver and gold collar which goes with everything, while creating a relaxed statement. I also love the gold swirl design which has been my new 'go to' piece that adds something extra to a dull black t-shirt or even over a plain dress. They don't just offer necklaces though, as their bracelets rings and earrings are all equally as fabulous, for equally as fabulous low prices. I did attempt to take photos of these pieces, but they just didn't do them justice - it's safe to say that this is a site definitely worth checking out on a regular basis, especially before you splash out on that £40.00 spiked number from ASOS.


Diamond link metal necklace £9.50  Lattice collar pendant £9.00  Spike triangle necklace £15.00  Cream glamour ring £5.50  Wing charm bracelet £6.50  Bunny ring bronze £4.00
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30.10.12

Lush Halloween shower goodies

The time has come to dress in your ghoulish best, bring out the fake blood and walk the streets begging for sweets. Halloween is upon us once again, so it's only right that we channel our inner vampire and bust some ghosts with a helping hand from Lush. Every year they release some spooky products to enjoy and 2012 is no exception - headless ted would like to introduce you to Twilight shower gel and Calagas shower jelly. (Don't ask why I have a decapitated teddy.) Twilight shower gel is perfect pre-snooze as it contains relaxing lavender and malt notes to help you drift off and relax; no trickery is needed here as the delicate purple gel helps you to lie back and enjoy the twinkly lights of the night... Just look out for Edward Cullen coming to bite you. The Calagas shower jelly may have a strange name, but its wibbly wobbly fun that Slimer from Ghostbusters would be proud of. It's lime jelly bean scent is a little more aspirational than mould and snot, but you can have hours of fun chucking it at unwanted trick-or-treaters when you run out of Starburst. If anyone knocks on my door tomorrow night in search of sweet things, I probably won't answer - I'll be playing with slime and goo in the bath tub.




Twilight shower gel £4.25 for a 100g bottle
Calagas shower jelly £3.25 for a 100g pot
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Dove Crème Mousse Body Wash

Shower gel isn't the most exciting part of a beauty routine, but it is an essential one. I have to admit I don't pay that much attention to the shower gel I use, preferring to go for something that smells good over any other real skin benefit. However, Dove have just launched their new look Crème Mousse Body Wash which brings a little more luxury to a basic daily routine. If you're frustrated by runny gels that end up on the shower floor rather than your limbs, then this fabulous non-drip formula could be the answer you're looking for. The Dove Crème Mousse Body Wash has a superior formulation, creating a thick swirl in the palm of your hand and a meaty blob to drop into your loofah. The cream creates a really rich and delicate lather which brings added moisture to skin.


Both variants contain NutriumMoisture technology, which addresses protein and lipid damage to the skin caused by regular shower gels, leaving skin nourished deep down and feeling softer and smoother for longer. I've been using these body washes for around a week and really like the rich and nourishing formula they provide. I haven't noticed an overwhelming difference in my skin, but my limbs do feel less dry and don't need so much moisturiser before bed. The classic Dove scent is a pleasant addition to my morning shower and the formula is enjoyable to use. The bonus is that you don't need to use as much either, as you're actually getting the mousse on your body rather than dropping half of it straight down the plughole!

The two variants are:
-    Dove Deeply Nourishing Crème Mousse Body Wash, RRP £3.71 200ml
-    Dove Brightening Crème Mousse Body Wash, RRP £3.71 for 200ml
SPONSORED POST ON BEHALF OF DOVE
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29.10.12

Stella and Dot jewellery

Ever since Elodie from Elle Yeah showed me her latest arm party a few months ago, I've fallen in love with Stella and Dot jewellery a little bit. The brand hails from New York and is only available to buy either online or through 'trunk shows' - think Ann Summers parties with less underwear and no dodgy games. I had a trunk show at my flat this week to show off some of the fabulous bling to my friends and introduce them to the hottest accessory brand on the planet right now. The jewellery is amazing quality, beautifully designed, unique and blingtastic; there's something for everyone, every occasion and every style of accessorising. Although some of the pieces are more expensive than what you'd expect to find on the high street, the quality and feel sets the whole brand apart - it's well worth the extra tenner to find something you'll love for years and has no chance of turning green. I quite often find that I'm wearing the same ring and bracelet as five other people in the room, so with Stella and Dot you can wear something that few other people have (and feel a bit smug about your finds.)





I adore their long jewelled necklaces, their blingy bangles, cool friendship bracelets and chunky earrings... I've spent a fortune on buying half the collection and will unashamedly continue to add more! Here are a few of my favourites from Stella and Dot, including some items that are winging their way to me as I type. If you want to make a cheeky purchase from my online trunk show then you can do so by visiting here... I dare you!

Necklaces L-R: Andrea Pendant Necklace £65.00 Lucky Charm Necklace £32.00 Ever After Necklace £40.00 Signature Dot Disc Necklace £55.00
Bracelets L-R: Hope Rose Gold Bracelet £25.00 Sidewinder Bracelet £25.00 Robyn Bracelet £32.00
Rings L-R: Suzanne Cocktail Ring £32.00 Alice Temperley Fox Ring £45.00 Sidewinder Ring £55.00 Odyssey Ring £45.00 Aurora Cocktail Ring £40.00
Bangles L-R: Bakra Bangle £65.00 Carrie Bangles £45.00 Emerson Bangle £45.00






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28.10.12

MUA Pro-Brow Eyebrow Kit

Filling in your brows is the most important thing in your makeup routine. Without well shaped brows to angle your face and open your eyes, you're just fighting against the tide. There are many eyebrow kits, pencils, crayons and palettes around to choose from (some much more costly than others,) but this Pro-Brow kit from MUA is only £3.50 and stands up amongst the best of them. Within the palette are four shades to choose from, enabling you to blend the powders together to create the perfect shade or shaded angles. The dark shade is perfect for my brunette brows and the powder really helps to bring out the shape, without being to flat or overpowering. It's easy to get the colour from pan to brow and it stays put all day without touching up - something I struggle with a lot of other products with. The other three shades can be used for contouring and highlighting, but if you've really dark brows like mine they're not as much use as they just blend into the skin too well. However, the angled brush and tweezer that comes with the pack are really handy and incredibly useful; considering I usually throw away any applicators that come with products, these are pretty great quality. There's no way on earth it makes sense that this is only £3.50, but alas MUA have done it again and produced something affordable yet fabulous.





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27.10.12

New: Clinique in Selfridges

This time last year I wrote about Clinique's new 'as you like it' service, where they provided the unpressurised experience people had been lusting after for years. This was the first step in their customer service revolution, and this week I popped down to their flagship stand in Selfridges to see the second phase being rolled out. I was pretty impressed with what they'd achieved a year ago, but this new experience takes customer service at makeup counters to a whole new level. As soon as you approach the stand you'll realise that it's much more open and airy than previously, encouraging you to wander around at your pleasure and have a look at the products on offer. Everything is now at eye level and gone are the strict display cabinets, with all products being set out in a way that encourages you to pick them up and have a play. The whole design of the stand has been constructed to bring the products to life through the senses - touch, sound, sight, smell - so there's plenty to keep you occupied. Each stand has an iPad where you can flick through to find product info, as well as answering a few questions about your lifestyle and skin concerns in order to provide you with a personalised product prescription. You can print this off to take it home, or in the build up to Christmas just email it to a loved one to ensure they get a gift that you really want!




The most fun element of the stand is the 'touch and play' centres - you can touch a button to change the appearance of the product image to illustrate the benefits it brings, press the dispenser button to release product into your hand with a sound effect to bring to life the key result, as well as hands-on 'experiments' with sponges to show how your skin absorbs product and how to ensure it's most effective. The new Clinique counter makes shopping fun again, rather than an intimidating and confusing experience that most people dread; you don't even have to talk to a sales rep if you don't want to, although they're available with giant smiles and fab advice if you need them. It's nice to see that everything has been thought of, from the way the foundations are displayed in a foundation bar, to the fact that the lip products are around the edge so you can have a quick swatch and be on your way. I really admire and respect the brand for creating a stand-out experience that really is second-to-none - you only have to walk around the rest of the Selfridges beauty hall to see how different the Clinique experience is. Even if you don't know the products, I'd thoroughly recommend you pop down and have a play... You never know, you may discover a new favourite!




The new experience is currently only available in Selfridges London, but elements will be rolling out throughout the country over the next year.
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25.10.12

Rekorderlig's Winter Forest Bar

I like a tipple, I do. I spend most of my weekends sitting in a pub sipping on a flavoured cider and Rekorderlig is my go-to favourite tasty brand of choice. Tonight they open up their Winter Forest Bar which takes over East London's Truman Brewery for two whole weeks, literally transforming an abandoned factory into a Swedish forest. It has to be seen to be believed, but it's one of the most amazing experiences I've ever been privileged enough to step into (and this is coming from someone who got back from NYC less than a week ago!) There's a huge welcoming bar to greet you with a Rekorderlig cocktail, tasty Swedish food treats on offer and even little stools amongst the trees to enjoy a beverage while imagining you're in the midst of Scandinavia. Tickets are only £5 and included is a sample of cider and canapes to enjoy. A must-see this weekend!







Tickets are now sold out, but if you walk up to the door after 8pm there will be space available to pop inside. All the details are on their Facebook page.

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24.10.12

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Stains

The launch of the Chubby Sticks caused quite the stir in the beauty world, so it was inevitable that copies would follow. I'm a massive fan of the Clinique versions so when Revlon offered to send me their very own Balm Stains to try I was intrigued to find if they were as good as the Chubby masters. The Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains may have a long name, but they come in seven delicious shades and very handy pen-style packs. Everything I love about the Chubby Stick has been followed through to this version - the correct colour pack, the twistable end, the pointy-yet-round tip and even the added moisture. The colours are all very wearable and cover off the pink/red spectrum well, providing shades that will suit every skin tone and occasion. Each shade is quite sheer and creates a shimmering sheen on lips, rather than being an intense colour result or stain. These do provide added hydration and act like a balm, but they're not half as moisturising as the Clinique ones - they don't melt onto the lips, but have to be almost dragged to get the product to apply as well as you'd like.




Whereas the Chubby Sticks provide long-lasting moisture and colour, I found these wore off quite quickly and needed to be re-applied regularly. However, the news isn't all bad as the colour result for these is stronger and gives a more intense pigment to lips! These are half the price of their Chubby friends, so for those on a budget they're a perfect option if you want a daily balm and a splash of colour. The shades available are a lot more 'on-trend' than their Clinique counterparts (which are classic colours) so perfect for a seasonal change or in-between Autumn and Winter. If you hadn't tried the Clinique Chubby Sticks you'd be pretty impressed with these, but as an avid fan I'm always going to draw comparisons and be mildly dissappointed when others don't quite match up. However, for £7.99 each these are really quite well priced and perform at a level that's more than acceptable to 99% of makeup lovers.




Available nationwide for £7.99 and available in 7 shades.
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23.10.12

Sephora's Cinderella compact mirror

While I was in NYC I popped into Sephora and was greeted by a display of fairy-tale proportions to celebrate their new Cinderella collection. It includes eyeshadow palettes, nail polishes and some cute accessories like this amazing compact mirror. I couldn't resist picking the last one up (the shelves were pretty bare and apparently had been selling out within 24hrs of them being stocked) because it just made me feel like a princess when I held it. The details are fabulous, with the design being a pocket-watch style that stays very close to the theme of the film, and it opens up to reveal the message 'time for your moment'. How very apt. The mirror is such great quality and really rather heavy, so I've spent hours holding it in my hand fascinated with the little details that tell a story and take you some place far, far away. This was possibly the best $20 I spent in New York, including that tasty last cocktail in Garage that tasted of passionfruit.







The compact mirror is available from Sephora for $20.00, although it's out of stock at the moment. Here's hoping they get more deliveries from Neverland!
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22.10.12

Competition: Ask Her Friends

If you've ever struggled to find the perfect gift for your mother, sister, best friend or work colleague (if you're a man reading this wife and girlfriend are also included!) and needed a helping hand, then AskHerFriends.com could save you an awful lot of bother in the future. This new and innovative service makes shopping and buying gifts 'for her' much easier, as you can literally ask her friends and family for advice on what you're picking. According to a survey conducted on AskHerFriends.com, only 60% of women were happy with presents picked by their partner for Christmas last year and 64% said their friends would pick them a better gift. What better solution than to have a browse on the site and send your picks to her friends, through the power of social media, to make sure she ends up with the perfect present? All you have to do is log in with Facebook, browse the 1000s of gift on offer and add your favourites to your wishlist; you can then send the wishlist to the friends and family of your loved one for their direct feedback, so you can place blame across multiple people if you still get it wrong! To make it even easier there's an 'Idea Map' on the site too, so you can even whittle down gifts by the type of person you're buying for and the kind of things they like. They have everything from shoes, to bags, cushions, home furnishings, perfume, jewellery, candles and some fabulous prints to decorate your home. You'll never lack inspiration again.


To celebrate this fabulous service, Askherfriends.com have given me a £50 voucher to give away to one of my readers to spend on whatever you want - it could be a gift for a mate, a birthday treat for granny or even something nice for yourself. All you have to do is be a GFG follower of LBQ and leave a comment below, telling me who you'd spend the £50 on and why. Good luck!

T&Cs: Must be a GFC follower of LBQ and leave valid contact details below. Only one entry per person and only open to UK residents. Winner will be chosen at random after the closing date of 11.59pm on 31.10.12 and contacted using provided details; if they fail to respond within 48hrs another winner will be chosen at random. Prize is provided by AskHerFriends.com and they are responsible for delivery. No alternative available.

SPONSORED POST ON BEHALF OF ASKHERFRIENDS.COM
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Dr Jart's skincare: Moisture Mask

Since launching their BB Creams in the UK last year, Dr Jart have firmly established their position as a skincare power brand and one with firm roots in Asian markets. The brand have been selling millions of BB Creams to ladies across the globe, and now they're expanding their presence into day-to-day skincare products. Within the new range are three subcategories - Most Moist, Pore Refine and V7 for dark spots and uneven skintone - which all target specific problem areas. Some of the products are really quite unique and revolutionary, but the favourite so far of mine is the Most Moist Water-Max Sleeping Mask (catchy.) This preservative, alcohol, colourant and fragrance free gel-like mask is applied prior to sleeping and left on skin overnight to provide intensive moisure while you slumber. It forms a protective layer on the skin, while the combination of 9 essential such as lavender, rose, orange and chamomile leads to sound sleep. It gets to work replenishing moisture and vital vitamins that can get lost from skin in the day, while providing an anti-ageing and lifting effect to improve the surface appearance of your face. When you wash it off in the morning skin does feel fuller, fresher, refined and bright - it's a great injection of moisture for dry skin once a week, with very little effort required. I used this two nights in a row after my flight to NYC and it really did help replenish the moisture I lost, although it did also give me a couple of pimples so be careful not to use it too regularly! It's great value too, at only £26 for this 50ml tube, so it's a great investment for a weekly injection of goodness into skin.



The mask is available online and from Boots for £26.00 for 50ml
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21.10.12

Lush gets FUN!

If you've ever gotten to bathtime and thought "you know what I need... a really big bar of playdoh!" then Lush have come to your rescue. Introducing 'Fun', their latest innovation that comes in five colours and scents to revolutionise your cleaning experience. These squishy bars of playdoh-esque dough can be pulled apart, moulded into shapes and used to clean body and hands. It's quite a strange sensation using a lump of squishy stuff in the shower or bath, but they do produce a light lather that leaves body and skin feeling soft. Each of the colours have their own unique ingredients and scent, from the blue which contains relaxing lavender, to the pink which is full of childhood-memory-evoking candy. These are perfect for kids (and even big kids like me) and I can totally imagine this making bathtime a little easier for parents across the world! At £5.00 a bar they're also really good value and make a perfect little present or stocking fillers. Like playdoh itself, it does get a bit messy so it's not really for displaying as a hand wash on the side of the sink, but getting them out for a relaxing soak is more than fun enough. You can apparently even use these bars to wash clothes, but I can't say I was brave enough to wash my smalls with a giant blue bar of squidge. What's even better is that for the first year, 10p from each bar sold will go into a FunD to be given out in grants to projects providing fun and recreational activities for children living in challenging environments. Fun for all then!





Available in five colours. RRP £5.00 for a 200g bar. www.lush.co.uk/fun
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20.10.12

Glasses and Contacts from Lensway

I'm not fortunate enough to have good eyesight, but I am fortunate enough to realise it's not the end of the world. I've worn glasses since I was 15 and I've been using contacts since I was at Uni, so they've become a fundemental part of my day-to-day life. If you're gonna put a bit of plastic on your face you may as well make it a stylish piece of plastic, so the glasses on offer from Lensway are perfect. Bold, bright, chucky, funky, these glasses bring geekdom to the forefront while making a striking statement. I love these glasses, even more because you can grab them for as little as £89 (or free if you order contact lenses over £99.) Lensway also offer some of the leading brands of contacts, delivered straight to your door, including Acuvue, Focus Dailies and Splash. If you want to buy in bulk there are some great savings to be had, so make sure you check out what's on offer when you're in need of a top-up.


Check out the glasses from Lensway or even grab yourself some contact lenses too.
Visit the Lensway website: www.lensway.co.uk

SPONSORED POST ON BEHALF OF LENSWAY
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19.10.12

LBQ's Top Tips for New York

So now I'm back in the UK (and already missing NYC like mad) I thought I'd share some of my top tips for visiting the city. There seems to be a lot of people planning a visit for this Autumn, so here are my top ten tips for ensuring you have a really enjoyable and easy trip...

1. Don't book a hotel. Book an apartment from airbnb.com for a proper New Yorker experience. It works out a lot cheaper (try £400 vs £1000 for 5 nights) plus you get to stay in some awesome parts of town that give you a completely different appreciation of the city. I stayed in the West Village and can honestly say it was so much better than staying in any touristy parts of town - especially as it gives you the freedom to get takeaway pizza without stinking out your hotel room.

2. Get a Metro card. For only $29 you can get unlimited travel on the New York Metro system, which works out a little under £20. Like an Oyster top-up travel card, this is the most cost effective and easy way to travel the city, allowing you to hop on and off without worrying about how many dollars you have left. Although the Metro is pretty dull, dreery and depressing compared to the London Underground, it's definitely effective at getting you from A to B.


3. Download the Trip Advisor app. This was literally the best thing I did in preparation of my trip - not only does it have information on all the sights, experiences and restaurants in the city, but it also has a feature to tell you how to get there and an in-built compass to point you the right way. You can even use the functionality to look up locations near to you, so you don't even have to plan where you want to go - this is how I managed to find so many brilliant spots that would've otherwise remained undiscovered.

4. Download a NYC Metro app. Their system is a lot more confusing than the Underground, mainly because their tube lines don't just go in a straight line, but fragment all over the place into various numbers and letters. Trying to get across town when there's not a clear connection is not easy at all (especially if you don't really know where you're going,) so this app shows you where to go. Unlike the Underground too, there aren't maps freely available so you have to come prepared!


5. Use your legs. Walking around town is the best way to find out where you are, see things you didn't know were there and navigate your way around the streets. Everything is pretty close together, so instead of walking from Times Square to Central Park, use your feet and take a stroll via 5th Avenue. On the way back to your hotel/apartment, why not get off a stop early and see what you can find on the way? Honestly, you'll take in many more of the sights this way. (Second point here - make sure you have a good WiFi connection or your phone is set up with Google Maps - you'll need it!)

6. Remember which way to turn a key. Sounds simple and silly, but this caused me so much trauma during my first night. I couldn't for the life of me get into my apartment block, having to buzz up all the other flats so someone could let me in. I then spend 15mins struggling with the apartment door lock, before giving up and asking for help. It seems the problem was simply they turn all their locks the opposite way to us in the UK... Simples.


7. Don't get a cab between 4pm and 5pm. I tried to get a cab back to the airport just after 4pm and after hailing 8 cabs and being told 'no way', I started to wonder what the hell was going on. NYC cabbies aren't the same as British ones, mainly meaning they don't own the cars and have to return them to the depot between 4pm and 5pm for the shift change. This means during this hour slot they don't want to take you any further than a block as it extends their working day. There's no way to know this unless you ask a local, so make sure you check your watch before trying to flag down a yellow cab!

8. Don't ask for a 'takeaway' in Starbucks. This confuses them no end. I didn't understand why my orders were getting them all in a tizz until one inquisitive lady asked 'do you have to specify you want a paper cup in the UK?' Why yes, yes we do. They didn't understand what I was asking to take away, so my orders were getting delayed and all mixed up - it's strange how such a small thing makes such a big change between cultures. FYI everything that comes out of Starbucks in New York comes in a paper cup!


9. Familiarise yourself with the currency. The one great thing about the British Pound is its colourful and varied format - you can tell the difference between a £5 and a £20 in a millisecond, but all the US dollars look the bl**dy same. I gave up trying to work out what the pennies were and stuck with notes, meaning I've got a purse full of heavy coins and nowhere to use them. I also went out one day with what I thought was a wad full of cash - in fact I had a bunch of one dollar bills and not much else. Clever. Try organising your bills in order of value, $1s at the front and $50s at the back, to give you a better chance of handing over something that vaguely resembles the check value.

10. Don't buy from the guys on the street. Wherever you go, whatever you do, you'll be faced with a load of guys selling tickets to tours and attractions on the street. Don't trust them because half don't have any tickets and the other half will charge you over face value. Book online or wait until you get to the attraction so you know you're buying a valid entrance and only paying the amount you should. Beware, because they'll spot a camera at 100yds and will whizz over to you faster than you can say 'half fat caramel latte.'


So those are my top ten tips to ensure you make the most of New York City. Do you have any other top tips that helped make your trip extra awesome? 
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