Wednesday, December 2

Christmas Party LookBook

Make them Green with Envy at the Christmas Party



Motel Rocks Gabby Sequin Plunge Back Dress in Iridescent Green - £48.00
                                       Top Shop Pearl Spinner Ring £7.50 
                                        Top Shop Glass Stone Ring £6.50 
            CARVELA KURT GEIGER JESSIE Black High Heel Sandals - SALE £59.00

                                            ALDO Black Clutch - £22.00

                Soap And Glory Glow Getter Instant Sunkissed Bronzing Spray - £9.99

           Mac Mineralize Eyeshadow Smutty Green - £15.99

Marc by Marc Jacobs Logo Charm Earrings - £45.00
Very Oversized Faux Fur Collar - £11.00

Tuesday, December 1

I am now a Master of Science and can go back to being a Blogger!

Dear lovely readers, 

As I'm sure you've noticed I've been rather quiet on my little blog for the past few months. 

I'd started a Masters you see, in Strategic Marketing. I'd started it whilst working full time, studying Saturday and Sunday 9am to 4pm, squeezing in research and essay writing into my evenings and early mornings. I also decided to change jobs to a management role and move house at the same time!! 

So, something had to give :( I hope you'll be able to forgive me hehe 

But the great news is that, after all that hard work, pain and tears (oh yes, plenty of tears!) I am BACK and jumping around like a looney as I am now a Master of Science with DISTINCTION, my research paper was also awarded distinction and has been put forward for academic publication.... so I'm pretty much going to burst with happiness!!

A photo posted by Beauty & Lifestyle Blogger (@laura_claire88) on




A photo posted by Beauty & Lifestyle Blogger (@laura_claire88) on


A photo posted by Beauty & Lifestyle Blogger (@laura_claire88) on

Along my part-time study, full-time employment journey I've had so many people ask me why I would ever put myself through it and tell me that they could never do it. It was a long hard slog for me, I replied to every single one of those people that I didn't know either why I was putting myself through the pain and warned them with full conviction NEVER to do part-time study (in fact, in my stressful state I'm pretty certain I told a few people to never learn anything. ever. again. haha). 

But I was wrong. Looking back on things now, basking in the glory of my own effort, has made me realise that you put into life what you get out of it and so, if you're ever thinking of taking the leap into any form of learning I say with an open heart that you should get up and do it! 

...now to find all those people I told otherwise and set them straight. hehe

LOVE 
LauraClaire

Friday, May 1

Personalised Products from Online Marketplace Minted

Hi Beauts,

Pinch, Punch, First day of the Month!! Hope you’re all having a very happy 1st of May 
J
Mine has been particularly exciting… I’ve just accepted a new job! It’s quite a big step up for me too which is fab. As such I know that the rest of my 2015 is set to be filled with the challenge of getting used to new responsibilities…. I love change though, you’ve got to embrace it right?
I’m smiling for another reason too though, because I’m waiting for an extra special and unique package from Minted to arrive in the post.

Minted is a marketplace of independent artists founded by Mariam Naficy back in 2007. They have a very cool concept which I love; Artists submit their work, everyone is allowed to vote for their favourites and the winners are sold! 

The best thing about that idea is that pretty much every item on the website - from stationery to artworks - is a visual feast… I WANT IT ALL! Minted's community of independent artists and designers are located across the globe in 43 countries.

The creative crew over at Minted got in contact with me and gave me free reign to pick out all the most gorgeous designs I wanted from their stationery marketplace. Yep, I’m very lucky indeed!

So What Did I Choose from Minted?

Personalised Journals

To capture my USA road tripping memories I personalised this beautiful design entitled ‘Oh the Places’ by Grace Kreinbrink. I’m going to the USA on the 4th of July this year for a 2 week adventure… seems very apt that my travel journal to document it all should come straight from there too.. perfection! Isn’t the design amazingly cute? And I was able to personalise the inside page too, so so reasonably priced for just over £10!
inside coverfront cover

inside coverfront cover
I loved so many of the journal designs in the artist marketplace that I also personalised this one entitled ‘Pink Lemonade’ (even the name is gorgeous!) by Haley Mccoy. You even get to choose the type of paper of the journal. I think for this one I opted for totally blank pages… My latest sketch journal is too cool!

Adding Awesomeness to Celebrations

frontinside

front
I love this wrapping paper!

So after being totally selfish and picking to journals for myself I thought I should show a little love to others. First I personalised this gorgeous wrapping paper for my boyf Jason and I’s anniversary later in the year. He is going to love it! And then made him an extra special anniversary card to go with it. How cute is that? Both the wrapping paper and card are plastered with photos of us both together…. Just in case he forgot what I look like hahaha.
 frontinside
insidefront
I then made two Birthday cards for my two besties born in June.  These personalised Sweet Blossoms and Vintage Eyelette Birthday Cards are beautiful as well as personal and cool. Again inside I’ve put photos of us both together… cheesy grins galore! I can’t wait to give their cards to them J

front
Finally I chose to personalise some stationery notes so that, after my Birthday in September, I can’t thank people for their gifts by putting pen to very stylish paper. I love these little note designs… on the Minted website there are so many edible choices. I love the foil designs too. The design I picked is called Lace and Kraft and retails at around £23 for 15 sheets. It’s taken the chore out of writing thank you’s that’s for certain!

What I chose and how much it retails for

Pink Lemonade and Oh the Places Spiral Bound Blank Notebook for $16 (that’s just £10.52)
Bold Love Personalized Wrapping Paper, 5 sheets for $15 (that’s £9.87)
Lace and Kraft Personalized Stationery, 15 sheets for $35 (that’s £23.03)
Personalised Sweet Blossoms and Vintage Eyelette Birthday Cards and a You and Me Anniversary Card with envelopes for $5.99 each (that’s £3.94!)

Such Cheap Postage to the UK

Although Minted kindly let me pick these items free of charge I did pay for my own postage. I was a little hesitant on just how much that would  cost coming all the way from the US.
However, when I got the shopping cart and found it to be £6.56 ($9.95) I was more than happy to pay that for my goodies to whisked half way across the world!

I’ll certainly be using them again. Their fine art prints marketplace is a treasure trove of beautiful images. 

Check out Minted and see just what I Mean! Keep an eye out for my Haul YouTube Video of me opening my Minted package :) 


Love 
LauraClaire


P.S. If you refer a friend you get 25 dollars to spend… each! Uuummm, sooo who wants to be referred? xxxx hehe

Monday, March 23

Adding the finishing touches with eframe

Hi lovelies,
So just over a year ago I bought my own flat! I’d saved and saved and scrimped and become a hermit to do it… three years later I had just enough money to buy a little one bed flat just within the M25. I was so proud you wouldn’t believe it. I still am very proud indeed if I do say so myself J
When you live on your own and have a mortgage and bills to pay it’s hard work. I had a little money to buy essentials like fridge/freezer, sofa, bed covers and so on but couldn’t get the luxury of finishing touches I really wanted.


Photo Framing Service - eframe

So I thought myself very lucky indeed with the lovely people from eframe offered to help me out – they even let me use their new online framing tool to design my own dream frame for a piece of artwork one of my favourite artists MissLed had done of me!

Firstly I wanted a photo of me and my boyf to hang. I met him pretty much the same time as I moved into the flat so I suppose I should hang a photo or two up of us by now! They recommended I use their ‘upload, print and frame’ service. It was so easy and simple to use.  I went through the tool step by steps. I uploaded my photo, got the paper it would be printed on, the frame, size of photo, the image mount as well as its colour. I was really impressed by the amount of customisation and, most importantly, that the system worked flawlessly. I didn’t need to sign my life away and login with lots of details, nor did it crash once on me! Within minutes I had my photo and my frame and was ready to go!
Next, as I’d mentioned before I wanted a special frame with specific dimensions for a piece of brilliant MissLed artwork. I’d scoured the shops for ages looking for the right frame but couldn’t find one. Either the mounts were wrong, the frame was too large/small or it just wasn’t pretty enough (very important is prettiness right?). With these tricky specifics they recommended I design my own in the Frame Studio!




The idea of it filled me with delight… I was always the kind of kid attempting to sew skirts and customise tops.. I like designing things my way… this was my dream! So many options to choose from but all so simply displayed and explained it was lovely working through the colour schemes and style to create a frame of as good a quality as the art that would sit in it.
The best feature of it all… the running total that reminds you of the final cost. It shows you the cost of each customisation too so that you won’t let your ideas grow too big for your pocket. Very helpful indeed for me who first subconsciously picked out the most expensive frame I could find! Huuuum
And now for the best bit.. my beautiful frames hung up in my beautiful little home! Go on, have a good nosey hehe
Next time I need a present for a friend or some more photos hung up I won’t fuss around with getting the prints and the frames separately… far too much hassle. Get the prints and the frames together and design your own! Thank you eframe!
Love
LauraClaire

Monday, March 2

Top Ten Tips for Spa Quality Relaxation at Home

Hi lovelies,

It's the start of not only a new week but a new Month, Happy March Monday everyone!

Hope your day hasn't been too stressful? Monday's always seem to be the worst don't they! My life is insanely busy at the moment.. I'm doing a part-time self-funded Masters whilst working full time. I have an essay deadline next Monday. I have no money because I'm paying for it myself and I have no weekends because I'm still working full-time so my lectures are Saturday and Sunday full day.

It's one of those things you just have to suck up and get on with I guess, but when the cracking people at Utopia Group sent me this gorgeous luxury hamper filled with Champneys, Baylis and Harding and Spa goodies to inspire me to relax a little I actually took note!



Utopia Group are all about luxurious relaxation. They specialise in setting the perfect scene for spa-like bliss with their bathroom ranges.  They're a UK company (you know I love supporting UK business!) with over 25 years experience too so they're pretty much the experts!


If I've had a hard stress-filled day I tend to do one of two things:


Stick in my earphones, play some happy tunes and go for a long run. The exercise gets my endorphins going whilst the happy music calms me. I always feel ten times better after a good long run!

Or...

I do the complete opposite and remain near stationary as I wallow in a hot deep-filled bath mixed with sumptuous smells whilst I apply copious lotions and potions to myself.

I'm a bath kinda girl you see. Even if it's a quick 'wash before bed' it's always got to be a bath for me. I just love having half hour to myself to ease away the aches of the day whilst the heat sleepifies me for bed.. gosh I'm feeling more relaxed just thinking about it!

It's always been the same ever since I was young. If ever I was in need of a de-stress I would run or I would wallow! That action plan has got me through some tough times I'll tell you. It's been tried and tested! hehe


So here's my Ten Top Tips for Spa quality relaxation 
in the comfort of your own home: 


1. Don't skimp on the ambiance. 

We're talking all of your senses here. Turn off that ceiling light and enjoy the soft warm glow that only candles can provide. My favourites are Yankee Candles in any of your favourite scents. They'll do a double duty too.. their gorgeous scent will also please your nose and, if you choose lavender, Jasmine or Rose it's likely to ease you into relaxation mode all the sooner.


2. Lotions and Potions and something Indulgent.


Raid your bathroom cabinets for the facemask, body scrub, bath oils and any other of your favourite bathtime potions. Make sure you strategically place them close at hand... you don't want any reason to have to get out of the tub once you're in!

I'd also recommend having something that's a little more indulgent. I love Neom bath oils and also keep a bottle in the cabinet to make my home-spa relaxation time just that bit more luxurious.


3. Towel Please.


Get those towels out of the hall-way cupboard right now! you don't want to be doing the run for them later on... and pop them on the radiator too so they're nice and warm for later. Don't forget your bathrobe too if you've one.





4. No phones allowed. 




Just like a spa treatment you've got to imagine this time as 'me-time'. Lavish yourself with your own company... you don't need to look on Instagram... you just don't!







5. Find the perfect temperature for you. 

If you look online it says that warm water is the best for relaxation... around 92 degree Fahrenheit. Firstly... who is going to bother to measure the water temperature.. pppftt! And secondly, I think it depends on you.. I like my baths scolding! Just make sure, whatever you're preference, you take some time to get it just perfect.



6. Be you're own beautician. 



Aching shoulders? Give them a massage. Blemishes on your face? Do your own mini facial. Dull looking skin? brighten it up with exfoliation gloves. Don't forget the scalp massage whilst you're washing your hair! It's important to take some time to pamper yourself... even if it is you whose doing the hard work.. the effects are still the same.

Check out this article from the Daily Mail on how to give yourself a relaxing head, neck and shoulder massage.


7. Just breathe. 



So, I don't know much about meditation or 'emptying your mind' but I do like to focus on my breathing every so often to help me unwind. Close your eyes and consciously focus on breathing in all those delicious fragrances - immediate relaxation!








8. Leave it as it is. 

You've wallowed long enough and it's time to come out. But the bath needs cleaning now? oh and I should really just clean the sink whilst I'm at it too, perhaps whilst I should just give the lounge a quick hoover? No, no, no. Leave it until tomorrow, it can wait... and bed is calling...



9. Bath then... 

It's something that reminds me of my childhood. Bath then bed was a common phrase in our household. But bed is just as important as bath. Don't ruin your bliss-like state with an unmade bed and harsh ceiling lights! Candles and even some soothing music will keep you chilled out ready for a deep refreshing sleep.

Try this YouTube link for 3 hours of relaxing spa-quality music


10. Keep scents in mind for a perfect slumber. 




Camomile and Ylang-Ylang are just two of the fragrances that will help you drift off quicker and having a lovely fragrance in your room will add a bit of luxury to your night-time ritual. I recommend pillow sprays just like this one from This Works which contains Camomile, Lavender and Vertivert which comes from the root of an Indian Grass.





Now I'm going to spend this evening doing just that with my lovely hamper!

Love

LauraClaire




Saturday, February 28

Salon Review: The Beauty Lounge Ewell Epsom

Hi Lovelies, 

So, I rushed out of work mid-week to indulge in a much needed bit of pampering at The Beauty Lounge in Ewell Epsom. It’s not a salon I’d been to before so was looking forward to a new experience.

I’d booked  a package treatment; an hour Elemis facial with head massage, leg and foot massage and an OPI manicure… Bliss!

Salons in Ewell Epsom - The Beauty Lounge 

Enjoying my final cup of tea for the evening whilst I stare happily at my OPI polished nails... Who needs TV!

I’d darted out of the office and dodged the traffic but was running tight for time so the choice of on street parking spots and the ‘2 hours free parking’ sign picked up my spirits before I entered the salon. The reception and nails area was clean and  minimalist in white. The gorgeous staff were all very friendly too which makes a huge difference.

Within a few minutes I was led to my treatment room. I was so impressed with the ambiance of the room. They’d obviously taken the atmospherics into consideration; the room was spacious and filled with tea light candles giving a lovely low light, the decoration was modern and slick, relaxation music was already playing and the faint scent of delicious Elemis products permeated the air!  The second I got onto the bed and under the warm cover I felt the stress of the day melt away and the treatment hadn’t even begun yet (easily pleased I know!).

My facial was divine and for the next two days I noticed a really improvement to my skin.. I’d been having some mild blemishes cropping up and I just couldn’t seem to ban them however much I tried. The head, leg and foot massages were equally luxurious and topped off with a cup of tea and a OPI polish were perfect. I literally floated out of the salon with my new Vanilla colour OPI polished nails!

The Beauty Lounge is a haven of serenity and luxury tucked in between the bustle and busyness of Ewell. Well worth a visit and first class treatments. My beautician Chloe was fantastic. Thank you Beauty Lounge <3

Love 

LC

Thursday, February 5

Indeed Labs Set of 3 Sampler Kit Review

Happy February lovelies,

We can all relax now… January blues are finally over! And, with a new February skip in my step I thought I’d try out a few new products for you. The product in the spotlight today is Indeed Labs Set of 3 Sampler Kit. It contains 5ml size tubes of some of the top products; Nanoblur, Snoxin and Hydraluron. RRP £12.99




The packaging is appealing. I like its minimalist, sleek and clean branding with just a pop of bubblegum cute colour on each product. However, It’s also a little wasteful… The packaging in way larger than the three little samples inside it. A lot of buffering has been done to make this sample kit look bigger and of more value that it probably it. Of course you’re paying for the luxury of testing three items here but the packaging could probably squeeze in all three full sized items too.

So what does each product do?
‘Nanoblur is an advanced optical diffusing cream that instantly minimises the appearance of wrinkles, crow's feet and enlarged pores.’ You can apply nanoblur as the last step in your skin care regime or ideally apply after Liquid foundation or before Powder foundation in a "patting" motion, do not rub. Each application lasts until the product is rinsed off so it is similar to a primer.

‘Snoxin is a multi-peptide anti-ageing wonder serum.’ Apply a small amount twice per day as the first treatment after cleansing and toning. This serum does not offer surface hydration. Follow with Hydraluron and a moisturiser.

‘Hydraluron is a superb hydrating serum that gives your skin the moisture boost it needs from below the surface. Created to plump up the skins texture and increase elasticity and firmness.’ Apply a small amount over the entire face before applying other moisturising creams. This serum provides below the surface moisturising creams.



My Review of Indeedlabs Sampler Kit


A photo posted by Beauty & Lifestyle Blogger (@laura_claire88) on


I bought this kit so that, as well as trying out a few new products, I had some little mini skincare products to take away with me on a long weekend away with hubby. For this purpose they were perfect as they complimented each other well and gave me added space for hair straighteners! (always important). Each morning I applied Snoxin serum followed by Hydraluron to give my skin a moisture boost before finally applying Nanoblur just before my foundation, which worked like a primer although they comment that it is NOT a primer hehe.

There are mixed reviews on Boots online for this kit but most revolved around the small amount of product rather than the products themselves. I would have to agree with this.. I would have liked at least 10ml as by the end of the weekend my samples were all but gone! The full size products are 30ml so 5ml really is a tiny test.

My final word… the kit is overpriced for such a small amount of product but a good way to test all three and perhaps find a new favourite.

Love
LauraClaire

p.s. So lusting after the new The Canon PowerShot N2! Perfect for a #selfie 

Sunday, January 25

Review: Organic Chocolate Hair Care Set from Faith in Nature

Hi pretties,

I’ve been very spoilt of late with lots of lovely beauty goodies to test out for you. Recently the delightful people from Faith in Nature got in contact with me to review a shampoo and conditioner set of my choice. From a tantalising range – Aloe Vera, Coconut, Jojoba and many more, I went for what I suspect many of you might have picked… Chocolate! I’m not going to lie, it was tricky… I wanted them all!

My package came in the post Monday and I’ve been using them all week so… here are my thoughts J

The shampoo and conditioner retail at £5.50 each for a 400ml bottle. Although a little more pricey than my usual Shampoo (I get through shampoos extra quick.. one of the downsides of long hair!) I didn’t think it was overpriced for products that boast being natural, organic and made in Britain. They’re also a luxurious blend of not only Cocoa but Vanilla too and a hint of sage. Faith in Nature describe them as ‘A sumptuous treat for your hair and scalp’ and they’re not lying!


The reviews on their website from faithful users commented on how gentle the product is and how gloriously shiny it makes your hair. I have to agree with both of their comments here. Everything about the shampoo is soft and gentle – the smell is chocolatey but not in a ‘sickly sweet E numbers’ kind of way, it lathers easily with gentle rubbing into the scalp and I was very happy with the silky smoothness of my hair.



Also, It’s nice to know that for once I wasn’t putting a concoction of chemicals onto my scalp. Everything is natural and organic… and when your scalp and hair have to suffer numerous blow-drys, straightening and dying sessions it’s probably a good thing to give them a break!

You can also buy them at Holland & Barrett’s but if you don’t have one close by then delivery on the Faith in Nature site is free over £35.00.

Head on over to www.faithinnature.co.uk now to see they’re other great products and inspiring scent pairings.

Love 

LauraClaire

Tuesday, January 20

Indeed Labs retinol reface™ retinol skin resurfacer Review

Hi beauts

As part of my ‘New Year, New You’ plans (which, yes I do make and tend to fail at every year!... who else is with me?!) I have decided to up my skin care routine. When I say ‘up’ I also mean start… I kinda don’t have one. Eeek I’m sorry, I know, I know, a beauty blogger with no skin care regime.. sacrilege! But I’ve always been a little lax in truth.. I do remove my make-up, cleanse, tone and moisturise. Unfortunately though, often not all one after another or even on the same day!  

I’m also lacking in the right kit and so I started researching on what products I want to try out to help motivate me into skin care health! A big buzz word I noticed when scouring Google was Retinol. Retinol is one of the animal forms of vitamin A which signals your body to produce collagen and new cells for firmer and smoother skin while also reducing hyperpigmentation. All sounding good so far. My research sounded promising so I searched for a fairly priced product that came up top in customer reviews…. Indeed Labs retinol reface™ retinol skin resurfacer




The Low Down…
Night serum
Contains 3 forms of Retinol
Pump dispenser tube container
30ML
Best for oily/combination skin – dry skin will get dryer with this serum
RRP: £19.99 (but you can grab it for £13.33 on offer at Boots if you’re quick!)

Swayed by the stunning reviews on Boots.com I opted to try out this one. It has so far received an impressive average of 4.5 stars from 123 reviews. All of the reviews comment on the improved softness and smoothness of their skin after using Retinol Reface so I was keen to see the effects for myself.

The packaging and container are all very scientifically branded (no pretty pretty here) but do the job. The pump dispenses a perfect amount of serum to use on your whole face.. I was surprised how little I needed. The serum to silky soft to touch and lovely to apply. It absorbs into the skin beautifully without being clammy.

So the results. I was really surprised at the softness and smoothness of my skin! Definitely after using it after a few days I noticed a difference in the feel of my skin. As my skin is quite oily I haven’t yet suffered from any dryness or peeling but that was a common negative from some of the reviews I read. I am really quite impressed with this serum and would happily recommend it if you’re looking for silk-smooth skin.

Improvements: A treat for my nose as well as my skin
The only improvement I thought of, which a few of the boots reviews also brought up, was smell. We all like something that smells nice when you’re applying it. The product is sold as fragrance-free and the smell of the serum is far from bad but is a little odd I thought. A natural oil scent added to the serum would really help I think and finish off an overall great product!

Tip: Works best when paired with a moisturiser for added hydration

Love 
LC

Sunday, January 11

Happy New Year!

Well lovelies, Happy Happy New Year to you all!

Gosh it's 2015 already... when did that happen??

Hope you had an amazing Christmas full of being spoilt rotten and an equally party-filled New Year!

Here's what I got up to...


 New Years in Lapland

 The slopes were full on New Years Eve
 Christmas Jumpers galore!

 Husky sledging in Lapland 

 Ice Sculptures
 Skiing 



Wishing you happiness, health, beauty and wealth 

Love

LauraClaire
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