Sunday, 30 November 2014

What I wore: naturals and nudes

Top - Topshop | Skirt - Primark | Boots - H&M | Hat - Primark

Today I braved the 'no coat look' which for the end of November is pretty spectacular. To be fair, it wasn't that bad (despite how angry the grey cloud behind me looks) I was chilly but I just couldn't find an over garment in my wardrobe that would pair with my outfit (oh, those winter problems) so I went without. I love wearing natural and nude toned clothing, especially my beloved camel colours. I think it always manages to make you look fresh and chic without you actually trying. When I purchased these beautiful H&M boots I knew exactly how I was going to style them. This is the first time I've worn my favourite Primark buy to date (doesn't this skirt look so much more expensive than it was?) and paired with a clean white roll neck oversized blouse completes the look I was aiming for.

How has everyone's weekend been? Did you manage to grab many bargains in the Black Friday sales? I might have bought a little too much. I kind of go crazy when there's 20%+ discount codes, it persuades me to buy things I don't even need which I suppose is the aim of the game so well done merchants, you win. On the brighter side, I managed to get the last of the Christmas presents which are all ready to be finished off wrapping. With it being December I think it's acceptable to be in the festive spirit now. I just have no idea where this year has gone, one minute I was welcoming in the new year and now I'm saying goodbye to it. Time goes too fast for my liking!

Bridie x
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Friday, 28 November 2014

Life: Black Friday arrives in the UK


The Black Friday bonanza is a new experience for us Brits. We had a minor sample of it last year but to be quite honest, I didn't really take much notice. This year however, it seems we've become bigger and better and taken up the opportunity to seize all of America's ideas and strike the shops with tons of deals. Okay, so it might not be as crazy and dramatised as the U S of A (update: with manic videos going viral around the internet I may be wrong here) but when there's a sale, us shopaholics will go out of our way to grab up the best bargains, especially when it makes us look relatively normal for one weekend of the year. 

I can see both sides of the 'why is the cyber weekend now publicised in Britain' debate. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving, so it doesn't make much sense and as days go on it appears we're Americanizing society in small but sturdy steps (see what I did with the 'z' there). BUT on the other hand, a huge bargain is a positive one, right? When Christmas is just around the corner, it's the perfect chance for us to purchase the last bits and bobs (or the first presents for some) as well as a sneaky treat for ourselves. However, as much as I'm going to take advantage of the discounts I won't be going to the extremes and preparing as though I'm going to war (to be fair most purchases will be done from my home comforts with the magic they call online shopping). I just can't see the joy people get out of waking up at the crack of dawn, queuing in the freezing cold and trampling on each others feet to dive for the first bargain in reach, but I am all for the games to begin. 

I have done my best to list the majority of deals available in the UK starting from Friday and lasting a good few days (and I've categorised them to make it easier) just so you lovely lot have a place to look down the list and for myself to check back if I've missed any stores out, of course.

FASHION
Adidas: 25% off
All Saints: 20% off selected styles using code 'CYBER' (ends Monday)
All Sole: 30% off with code 'BLACKFRIDAY' (ends Monday)
American Apparel: biggest sale ever, starts midnight Friday
Anthrpologie: 20% off each and every item you wish (ends Monday)
Ark: save up to 50% off
Armani Exchange: 30% off
Asos: 20% off everything, enter code 'CYBRWKND20' at checkout (ends 8am Tuesday)
Banana Republic: Black Friday special plus 30% off on December 1st + free shipping with code 'CYBERTREAT'
Bershka: 20% off for one day only
Boden: 30% off sitewide and free shipping (ends Sunday)
Boohoo: 30% off selected products and free next day delivery (ends Monday)
Brooks Brothers: 15% off plus free shipping (ends Saturday)
Calvin Klein: 50% off sitewide
Chiara Fashion: Black Friday deals added every hour
Club Monaco: 30% off cashmere styles and many more massive product discounts
Coast: 30% off everything online and in store with code 'JUST FOR YOU'
Coggles: 30% off with code 'BLACKFRIDAY' (ends Monday)
Cruise Fashion: 30% off selected lines
Daisy Street: 40% off everything with code 'BLACKF40'
DKNY: up to 50% off
Dorothy Perkins: up to 30% off + an extra 10% off using code 'EXTRA10' at checkout (ends midnight Monday)
dvf: 15% off sitewide with code 'FRIDAY15'
F&F: 25% off everything and free delivery (ends Sunday)
Flannels: 30% off brand event for one day only
Forever 21: receive £15 off when you spend £60+ with code 'SAVE15' and receive £20 off when you spend £80+ with code 'SAVE20'
French Connection: 20% off selected lines
GAP: 15% off full priced styles
Get The Label: get an extra 20% off over 1100 lines with code 'BLACK'
Harvey Nichols: enjoy 25% off Autumn/Winter 2014 fashion and accessories (ends Monday)
Hollister: 30% off entire purchase with code '35406' (excludes fragrance, body care, underwear and clearance)
House of SHB: 20% off everything and 6 hidden items with 50% off
H&M: 20% off purchases over £75 with code '2607', 15% off purchases over £50 with code '2618', 10% off purchases over £25 with code '2629'
In Love With Fashion: 30% off code with 'ILOVEBLACKFRIDAY' (ends Sunday)
In The Style: 25% off with code 'BLACKFRIDAY'
J Brand: 30% off sitewide (ends Sunday)
Jack & Jones: 25% off everything
JD Sports: 20% off selected offers (ends midnight Sunday)
Juicy Couture: 50% off sitewide with code 'JCBLACK' (ends Sunday)
Kate Spade: 30% off sitewide with code 'DEALME' (ends Sunday)
Kurt Geiger: 20% off everything with code 'F&FKG20'
L.K Bennett: 30% off sitewide with code 'LKBBF' (ends Sunday)
La Redoute: 30% off your order
Lavish Alice: 25% off all items all weekend with code 'BLACKFRIDAY25'
Lily Lulu Fashion: 30% off everything with code 'BLKFRI'
M&M Direct: 3 new deals all day up to 5pm
Mary Jane Fashion: 20% off everything online with code 'BLACKFRIDAY' (ends midnight Sunday)
Matalan: up to 50% off
Miss Selfridge: up to 50% off everything (ends Monday)
Missguided: 20% off (ends Monday)
Monsoon: 30% off all knitwear and up to £40 partywear
Motel: 25% off everything using code 'CYBER25' (ends Monday)
New Look: up to 50% off and 25% off party (limited time only)
Nike: 20% off plus free delivery on clearance items for Friday only
Office: 20% off online and in store plus free standard delivery with code 'SNOW'
Oh My Love: 30% off everything with code 'BACKTOBLACK'
Pretty Dame: 30% off with coupon code 'BLACKFRIDAY' (ends midnight Monday)
Quiz: up t0 70% off (ends midnight Sunday)
River Island: 20% off everything from 11am-3pm on Friday using code 'TREAT28'
Schuh: up to 40% off selected styles (Saturday and Sunday only)
Sugarhill Boutique: 25% off everything with code 'WOWZA'
Sunglasses Shop: 25% off with code 'BFD25'
Superga: 20% off
Tommy Hilfiger: 40% off sitewide with code 'BFREWARD' (ends Sunday)
TOMS: 25% off excluding core classics and sale items with code 'CHEER' (ends Monday)
Topman: 2 for 1 on all clearance and 30% off coats and jackets (ends midnight Sunday)
Topshop: up to 50% off on selected lines instore and online (ends midnight Monday)
Ugg:
Urban Outfitters: up to 50% off online and in store 27 Nov-1 Dec (one day only) #UOBLACKOUT
USC: up to 50% off in mega sale
Very: amazing deals starts 7am sharp
Warehouse: 25% everything with code 'CYBER25'
We Run This: 40% off everything (ends midnight)
Whistles: 30% off sitewide for one day only
Zara: 20% off outerwear, sweaters, t-shirts, cardigans and boots #zarablackfriday
Zatchels: 20% off with code 'FESTIVE20'

BEAUTY
All Beauty: daily deals for one day only
Beauty Bay: up to 50% off selected items
Bombs Away Cosmetics: save £5 on orders over £15 with code 'SAVE5' and save £10 on orders over £25 with code 'SAVE10'
Boots: 50% off luxury beauty
Ciate: 30% off all products for today only
Cult Beauty: £10 off £60 with code 'SHIMMER10', £20 off £100 with code 'SHIMMER20', £45 off £200 with code 'SHIMMER45', £75 off £300 with code 'SHIMMER70'
Debenhams: up to 30% off and 10% off all beauty and fragrance
Feel Unique: 15% off everything with code 'CYBER15' plus 50% off selected products
Fragrance Direct: free delivery on orders over £20 with code 'FDTREAT' (ends Sunday)
Fragrance Expert: free gifts for Black Friday
Heyland and Whittle: 15% off everything on orders over £30
House of Fraser: brand event up to 40% off
Liz Earle: 20% off 20 customer favourites plus free UK delivery on every order (ends midnight)
Look Fantastic: 20% off your order with code 'BF20'
Love Aroma: up to 25% off selected fragrances
Makeup Revolution: get a free gift worth £25 when you spend £25
mypure: 20% off Christmas gifts
Nuxe: 20% off on all orders (ends Sunday)
Selfridges: 20% off Christmas shopping & 10% off other items for 4 days online and in store with code 'SELF14'
Superdrug: multiple deals all weekend
The Body Shop: save £25 when you spend £50, £10 when you spend £25, £5 when you spend £15 with code 'TREAT'
The Fragrance Shop: 15% off all gift sets with code 'CYBER15' and over 50% off selected items
The Perfume Shop: over 50% off on some items

Yankee Direct: 10% off your entire purchase when you spend £50 or more with code 'xmas10' and save 25%


OTHER PARTICIPATING COMPANIES
Amazon
ao.com
Apple
Argos
Asda
Asda Direct
B&M Bargains
B&Q
Butlins
BuyAGift
Cath Kidston
Co-Operative Electrical
Currys
Dixons
Dyson
eBay
Ebuyer
EE
Expedia
GAME
Game Stop
Groupon
Halfords
HMV
Hobbycraft
Homebase
hotels.com
John Lewis
JTF
Lakeland
lastminute.com
Laura Ashley
lowcostholidays.com
made.com
Marks & Spencer
mobiles.co.uk
Monarch Airlines
Mothercare
My Protein
notonthehighstreet.com
O2
Ocado
Papa Johns
Paperchase
PC World
Rakuten UK
Sainsbury's
Screwfix
Simply Games
Sky Digital
Smyths Toys
Sports Direct
Tesco
Tesco Direct
The Book People
The Disney Store
The Game Collection
The White Company
The Works
Thomas Cook
Thomson Holidays
Toys R Us
Travelodge
Travelodge
Vistaprint
Vodafone
Waitrose
Wilko
Wowcher
xbox.com
Zavvi

I'm sure there's a fair few I've missed so be sure to comment if you know of anymore so we can all make the most of it! It's gone past midnight which means everything I've listed are officially active. Happy shopping!

Bridie x
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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Life: Lush White Rose VIP Opening Party

*caution - extremely picture heavy post*

When I received an email from the lovely Urika I very nearly jumped for joy and I replied faster than you count to three. I was very luckily invited to the VIP Opening Party of Lush in the White Rose (a local shopping centre of mine) last week. Since I first started blogging and discovered the magic of Lush events, I've wished to attend one and spending a night in the presence of every luxury you could hope for exceeded all my expectations. Lush speaks out to me as nothing but scent heaven, marvelous bath treats, skincare goodness, and a whole lot of super friendly faces. It's the unique products and the fun, busy atmosphere where you feel as though you genuinely belong which stands out for me. Wrap that up and times that by a thousand and here you have this fabulous event.


As the queue began to form outside (yes an actual queue behind a red roped barrier, I certainly felt like a top banana!) I spotted Jess and Claire - two gorgeous ladies that I met previously at an event and we shared our mutual excitement until the doors opened and were let in one by one. We were instantly greeted with open arms and a glass of bubbly which I treated myself to as I usually pass on the drinks (ooh get me being all naughty) and without hesitation we all joined in with the exhilaration and the admiration of the fresh, new, amazing store.


The three of us made our way through the store anti-clockwise (almost like a personalised tour) and wherever we ended up, there was a member of staff thrilled to show you more and give you a detailed insight on everything that was on show. That's what highlights the Lush vibe for me, I think so many people love going in there because the employees have so much knowledge and dedication to their role, and are always inviting, even when you just bob in for something specific, you leave with a mood boost. 

First on the agenda was the selection of soaps, bath bombs and bubble bars; admittedly my favourite part of Lush. It doesn't hurt to swoon over the oldies and the newbies (even if it is for the billionth time, you can never get enough) so that's what I went ahead and did. Except this time, we were given demonstrations on how certain bath goodies worked. The Luxury Lush Pud and the Golden Wonder were up first, both an absolute swirling dream. Not only is the Luxury Lush Pud made to look appealing, it also does the job of providing relaxation and a zesty pamper as it frizzes, froths and forms into a sea of pastel prettiness. Same goes for the Golden Wonder which is possibly the best Lush invention with its glittering greatness and the rattling miniature vibrant gifts inside that are revealed as it's soaked in the bath. The soft, citrus scent is so soothing and refreshing, setting off a spark as you settle down to enjoy feeling amazing.

If, like me, you are a sucker for anything cutesy with character to it which also allows you to be indulgent, then the entire Christmas range is perfect. Another assortment I was introduced to were the delicious and well crafted soaps. I never really consider buying soaps as I don't feel like you can venture too much into them but spending time experimenting with them changed my conception completely. My favourites were the Yog Nog, Baked Alaska and Reindeer Rock. Yog Nog was described by the staff as "not up everyone's street" I was on the half of people whose street it was up. I love anything with a fudgy, toffee smell, like the almost too good to eat kind and this ticked all the right boxes, not to mention the scent matches the carefully printed Christmas novelties. The Baked Alaska is a big whirl of bright colours against a blue background that is only truly appreciated once sliced. It has such a clean, calming citrus scent to it and is bound to give you a refreshing satisfaction. The Reindeer Rock was not only adorably festive, it also smelt divine - almost identical to the Comforter, a sweet, uplifting, Ribena like smell. Mmmm.


The gifts were up next, something I often stroll straight past around the busy Christmas period but something I also realised I was missing out on hugely! They aren't just your ordinary sets, each one has its own individual creation, either in a neon box or a beautiful knot wrap and are full of treasured treats. We had a sneak peak of a couple of the wacky boxes and as the big one says, I was wow'ed! The Jingle Bells released my inner child with it's tambourine lid, and then there was another one which I can't quite remember the name of but as you opened it you were greeted with a crinkled, jack in the box inspired surprise and it was like I was allowed to be 6 years old all over again.


Just as I thought I couldn't love Lush anymore, they'd brought in two professionals from the Lush Kitchen especially for us. Throughout the night, the attendees were given an opportunity to get their hands dirty and make their very own Comforter Bubble Bar. As the three of us were asked if we'd like to make one, we made no hesitation and jumped straight up to the artsy table with giddiness and got cracking. It was much simpler and quicker than I thought it would be; as we slipped on our gloves and were instructed to swirl the pink and white dough to form a cone and then squish down as hard as we could - we were then presented with our masterpiece in a matter of minutes. I think we did a great job and were pretty proud of the final outcome. I can't wait to use mine, knowing I've made it will make me savour the moment even more!

The challenges kept arising as time ticked by and it seems the freedom of being able to rekindle back to your primary school days was in full swing. Laid out near the ballistics was a tray full of creations and equipment. We gave building our own snowman a go with the Snowman Kit. I felt like I took this a little too seriously as I went all out and used the cookie cutter to recreate The Melted Snowman but I must have done a good job as one of the lovely Lush ladies thought it was a genuine bubble bar (cue the proud laughter). Jess's fabulous and well thought out German Techno/Nordic Pop snowman inspired by the theme of the Christmas gift sets is to the left and Claire's traditional snowan is next to that. I think we made quite the trio (did I mention we're all in our 20's?!)


The shelves were packed with all the beloved lotions and potions which were all so neatly organised and displayed. I love how hands on it is inside Lush! As we followed the trail and moved on we had a feel and a sniff of so many products. A new discovery for me was the dusting powder. I tried the Lustre, although the assistant said it is more suited for darker toned skin, we both had an "ah, let's try it anyway" moment and she sprinkled a smidgen on my hand up to my arm. I was pleasantly surprised by how lovely it felt and the aroma it gave. It left me golden, glistening and the glitter made my skin stand out for the rest of the night. I think this would be perfect for when you catch a tan on holiday! The second one I tried was the First Snow, a sensual shimmer that mattifies your skin and gives it a subtle glow.

Lush Skincare is up there with my preferred winners and being invited to my dream, exclusive Lush event allowed me to try out the products I've always wanted to try but never got round to snapping up. The Angels On Bare Skin Cleanser is something I've heard so much about and as we were able to analyse the texture I found it to be just as nice as it's stated to be. When crossed with water it is a paste like formula but one which works deep into the skin and leaves you feeling brightened and squeaky clean. A definite gentle pamper product filled with a sufficient amount of nourishing ingredients ideal for my skin type.

I had a good wander round the section of cosmetics and realised a good proportion of them were made to look edible (seriously how much does the Movis Face Soap look like chocolate flapjack?!). That also applied for the shampoo bars, they were built up to imitate macaroons and oh how pretty they were. That is next on my list for my collection of Lush buys, I'd like to venture into the world of their hair-care, hand-care, and foot-care after hearing so many positive remarks about them.


Lush face masks are without a doubt my idea of paradise. The presentation of both the masks in storage and out in the open were so delightfully intriguing. Decorated with fruit, eggs and flowers gave off the whole organic sense. It was great to see my all time favourites on show; Cupcake, BB Seaweed, Mask of Magnaminty and so on but it was also great to discover some unfamiliar products and hear all about their perks. They're all so revitalizing and jam packed with goodness!


Massage bars are my most recent Lush introduction; I've only tried Therapy which I was highly pleased by but by the time I left the embracing experimental area, that tripled and I desired the entire range, not just one. As per I was greeted with smiles as I was ushered over to pick out and be spoiled with my choice. Obviously with my love for dainty products, I picked the hyped favourite, Snow Fairy Sparkle. The lovely Lush lady sat me down and gently rubbed her magic. I was left with super soft, shimmering and sweet smelling skin and of course I couldn't leave without picking one up and plonking it in my basket. I managed to lecture myself when thinking about buying more as it is coming up to Christmas and I can't afford to be over spending but the others were just as appealing. I adore how nourishing the massage bars feel, the buttery oils sink right into the skin giving you a velvety finish.


The perfume and makeup range in Lush is something I'm a stranger to, I didn't realise how large their selection was and I was eager to find out more. As usual, the unique and individual packaging from Lush was highlighted. As for the fragrances themselves, a tantalising jasmine scent is one I find charming so Lust was the one that stood out for me. A close joint was Furze, I seriously can't resist any hint of coconut and vanilla, it's such a light and refreshing smell. 

How gorgeous is the array of makeup? It's displayed with colour coordination in mind and is so fetching. I'm hoping to try some of the makeup when I save up some pennies, I'm always on the lookout for something that will enhance my boring features. I can't find faults with any of the lip scrubs either, I tried them all and although Popcorn remains my favourite, Bubblegum is filled with candied caster sugar which smells like a sweet shop and Santa's Lip Scrub reminds me of Cola Bottles, such a nifty addition to the Christmas range - I may just have to invest.


Towards the end of the night, Jess, Claire, and I were gathered up to have a small taster of the Lush Spa treatments available. This was the most surprising and bizarre moment of the night, just a minute or so of the experience was mind blowing. Our Lush representative used meditative tuning forks which are available in The Sound Bath along with ear candles, singing bowls and a facial massage. The forks were held up to and moved around by our heads and we even got a sample of it being placed on our chest aimed at the heart chakra. The vibrations passed through your upper half and created such extraordinary yet amazing relaxing sounds and sensations. I'm being truly honest here when I say this simple treatment transports you on a journey to another world. The shop was busy, loud and people were everywhere but as you were sat in that chair you were fixated in your own soothing bubble. The treatment was almost spiritual, capturing every detail. Extremely strange but also remarkable - I'd have never of thought something that looked like an ordinary metal tool would make such a difference. As the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover, ey?!


As you can see the staff were on hand making and offering out some luxury cocktails inspired by their Gorilla perfume range all night long. There was so much enjoyment and entertainment in the air, everyone were constantly on their feet but the energy never died. To spend two hours in a Lush environment was an absolute dream come true (and an honour) and it was lovely seeing Jess and Claire again. Thank you so much to Urika for inviting me and the Lush team for putting on an awesome night. I had the best time and now can't wait to get cracking with the kindly gifted goodie bag (an insight and review will be up as soon as a day bright enough to take photos sails by!)

 Has anyone else ever been to a Lush event before?

Bridie x

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