Thursday, 30 June 2011

Weekly Love - Week 72

+ This weeks Hummingbird Bakery cake book experiment: Sticky Toffee Cupcakes - I think these are the best ones I've tried so far!

+ Finishing my A Levels. Such an amazing feeling - my 18th birthday bottle of champagne I've been saving was the perfect celebration!

Sophie has written a fantastic guide to cleaning out your makeup bag.

+ Long Island Iced Tea.

+ Defining success for your blog.

+ Clinique Bonus Time - i love freebies! (For those of you who don't know what Bonus Time is, I've explained it here!)

+ These photos make me wish I lived in California.

+ Homemade scotch eggs, fresh and still warm!

+ Gala Darling gives us a rundown of Los Angeles' hottest vintage stores.
17 Nail Bar In A Bag - free
+ If you buy any two '17' products in Boots until the 12th July you'll receive a free summer nail art kit bag - make sure to pick one up in store or online!

+ The new Wildfox lookbook.

+ Trying out the amazing new mexican restaurant in town with my friend Kathryn.

+ Spending hours on Tumblr looking at pretty pictures and not feeling guilty about it, because I no longer have any exams to study for!

+ Sally has written a fantastic guide to looking polished.

+ There is a new Maroon 5 song called 'Moves Like Jagger' featuring Christina Aguilera. There are not words to describe how happy this makes me!

+ Forever 21's possible lawsuit against a California blogger makes me suddenly interested in my studies of the American Constitution, and makes me love the first Amendment...

+ Waking up with the instant thought of 'what exam do I have today?' and realising that I'd finished them and I don't have anything I HAVE to be doing today!

Trust Katy Perry to create a totally wacked out mini film/ music video for Last friday Night (T.G.I.F)  -she's even got some of the Glee guys and Rebecca Black in it!
+ Chilli and tomato baked haddock with Mediterranean couscous. 

+ Benefit has launched a new mascara - I can't wait for this to hit the UK!

+ Getting away with chocolate pudding for breakfast because I'm on holiday. 

+ Reading Parisian Chic by Ines de la Fressange - and absolutely incredible book - I'll post a review soon!

+ Suze reminds us bloggers that we're not in high school anymore.

+ Waking up and going to bed without looking at the clock all day, having no idea what the time is because there is nothing I need to be doing.

+ Andy Torres has filmed yet another film showing us her favourite chic spots in Amsterdam!

+ Long, country, family walks.

+ More from Gala, she's written three fantastic posts on body image among fashion and style bloggers (one, two & three)

What have you been enjoying this week?

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

French Photo Diary #2

Here are the second half of the photos from my trip to France last week. This pretty much covers everything else we did, except for our trip to the town of St Malo, my favourite place in the region which I think deserves a special post all to itself!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Introducing: Boudoir Privé

You only had to be following a couple of beauty bloggers on Twitter yesterday to hear the disappointment following the second GlossyBox we all received. You'll remember by very happy and excited review I wrote for the first box, which was fantastic (Nars Orgasm Illuminator and Alterna hair spray are now both part of my daily routine), but I also was not so happy with yesterdays box (mini O.P.I, body exfoliator, perfume sample, Batiste mini dry shampoo, anti ageing serum) and after hearing about the price rise I subsequently cancelled my subscription. The problem is, though I don't wish to continue receiving GlossyBoxes, I'm quite sad next month I won't be getting a pretty pink box of samples through the post - as proven by the first box, the concept of getting introduced to new products in a convenient way does actually work. However, a few weeks ago I heard about Boudoir Privé, another exciting new start up launching in July with a very similar concept to GlossyBox.
1 box Boudoir Prive
As you can see, a similar pretty pink box, this time filled with 6 samples instead of 5, and also costing £10 - I really can't wait to get my hands on one of these now!

Reading about Boudoir Privé I also think their feedback rewards system is much, much better than that of GlossyBox. Something else that has caused a lot of people to cancel their Glossy subscriptions is that the Glossy Dots you receive for leaving feedback are now worth less. When we all signed up for the initial May box you needed to collect 20 dots for a free box. They later announced that you would need 100 dots for a free box, which would take you over a year to collect. Boudoir Privé, however, give you discounts to spend in their online store of the full sized products of the samples you received in return for your feedback - much more instant, useful and gratifying!

You can sign up to get an email when registration starts on the Boudoir Privé website, and you can also follow them on Twitter!

Who here is going to sing up for Boudoir Privé? Was anyone else disappointed with their June GlossyBoxes?

*edit* You can read my review of my first box here!

Friday, 24 June 2011

French Photo Diary #1

So, everyone, I'm back! I had a lovely time staying at my house in France over the last week, and after looking through all of my photos, I've decided to split my photos into three posts: a post about the town of St Malo (one of my favourite places) and two photo diaries. Enjoy the first diary!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Un Affaire Très Français

So, now I've finished my exams, and school forever (though I'll be going back for fun end of term things and graduation), and because I've been stuck in England studying for ages, by the time you'll be reading this I'll be almost home. Not home being the house where I grew up, but home in rural, Northern France - one of my very favourite places in the world and that I have not seen since December. 
As regular readers will know, our house there is almost finished, and I've been holidaying there since late 2008. I've really started to get to know the area now, so rather than my usual roundup post of photos from my trip each time when I get back, I'm going to try and write some little features on some of the really beautiful historical sites and lovely little French towns in the area. That's if I don't end up sitting on the patio drinking wine and catching up on my reading every day that is! I'm lucky to live somewhere so interesting and so beautiful, so I'd love to be able to share it with you all! 
This will be the first of my two trips this summer, as I said I'll be coming back for school gradation and the big blowout with my friends, then I'll be back in France for another week. I'll have my grandparents in tow on the second trip, so I promise I'll get some of the 'places to visit' in the area to write about on this visit, because most likely I'll be revisiting sites that fall more into the 'been there, done that' category!

I've scheduled some posts to go up while I'l gone, but I'll see you all next week! (While I'm gone, why not vote for me in the Missguided Blogger Social Style competition by liking my entry on Facebook? (If I win Missguided will give me £20 to spend in their store to give away to my lovely readers!)

Friday, 10 June 2011

Weekly Love - Week 71

+ My recent Lush haul - thanks to my friend Kathryn for picking it up for me from a shopping list! I guest posted reviews of all of the products over at Star Violet Beauty

+ My new blog tagline: Enhancing Your Everyday Life. I was walking through the supermarket car park with my mother and we were discussing my blog, what sort of things I write about and what I hope my readers take away from my posts. I explained to her that I wanted it to be things that 'enhanced your everyday life', and then I realised that it would make the perfect headline!

+ Lily Melrose talks about her blogging birthday to celebrate her 2nd blog birthday!

+ Stuffing myself with all of my Mothers incredible home cooking - I special mention has to go out to her bread!

+ Will bloggers start using QR codes? (This post is also great in finding out exactly what QR codes are!)

+ That feeling when you open an exam paper and realise that you had gone over the answers to all the questions that morning.

+ Natalie's blog is my favourite source for food and restaurant porn.

+ Getting so many great freebies with this months magazines - I'll be posting about them on Monday!

+ Lulu Guinness is launching a T Shirt collaboration with Uniqlo!
+ These vanilla cupcakes are the best tasting recipe I've ever tried - this week's adventure with my Hummingbird Bakery cookbook! 

Amanda makes Red Velvet Whoopie Pies. I might try this recipe as I already have all the ingredients - I need to get my hands on some Marshmallow Fluff to make the ones in my Hummingbird book.

+ Launching my Dear Rachel feature! If you have any questions you'd like me to tackle, you can drop me an emailsend me a Tweet or ask me a question on Formspring

Ella shows us how to make a vintage camera illustration necklace - such a cute DIY - this girl is so talented!

+ Aero chocolate biscuits.

+ There is a Gossip Girl style list on Fashionlista - this makes me very happy!

+ Lady Antebellum's album 'Need You Now' is just incredible.

+ I love the black dress Andy wore to the L'Autre Chose party in Bologna!

+ This fantastic Favicon generator for your site that Kirsten linked me to. 
+ Receiving my first package exchange parcel from Kate packed with some of my favourite American candy, Essie Nail Polish, Moleskine notebooks and some other goodies for me to try out! I feel the need to inform you all that I'm totally in love with Milk Duds. (You can see the Essie 'Coat Azure' nail polish in this outfit post!)

+ My Mum & I have posted some items on from our wardrobes on eBay if you want to take a look - there is some stuff from Karen Millen, quite a few evening dresses and some vintage pieces on there!

+ There is going to be a new Red Hot Chili Peppers album on August 30th after a 5 year wait - beyond excited!

+ Insects and animals made out of Louis Vuitton bags!

+ Linguini with crab, cherry tomatoes, chilli, capers and lemon.

+ Who'd have thought Topman had such great jewellery?

+ Homemade iced tea!

+ I want to try out this bracelet tutorial!

What have you all been enjoying this week?

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Dear Rachel: How To Get Clearer Skin

Recently I've been getting a lot of emails asking me different questions about things like blogging, makeup and asking for fashion advice, so I thought instead of emailing people back individually, I'd make my answers into blog posts so everyone can benefit! So, without no further preamble I'd like to introduce you all to my newest feature, Dear Rachel!
Dear Rachel,

You have such clear skin! What products do you use to get such a flawless finish?

I actually keep things really simple with my skincare routine: when it comes to your face I'm a big believer in less is more. 
All of my products are by Clinique or Benefit, both brands developed of hyper sensitive skin, it's important to find something that works well for your skin type. 
First is my makeup. I know a lot of people don't count it as part of their skincare routine, but I do because, after all, it's something that you put on your face! I'm lucky that I don't need to wear foundation, just a bit of cream concealer now and again, but I'd apply the same theory to foundation that I do to my concealer, work to find a product that does not either dry out of break out your skin. I use Boi-ing by Benefit. This way, your skin is not being affected by the makeup you're using. I know a lot of my friends with problem skin use Bare Minerals powder foundations so their skin can still breathe without being caked in heavy foundation.
Next, what I wash my face with. I only use makeup remover when I'm wearing waterproof makeup, because makeup does have to be removed, but I find regardless of the brand I use it burns my skin. Water is harmless, so usually I just flush my eye makeup off over and over again with water, its usually easier to do this in the shower using a couple of cotton buds to make sure that it is all removed. Then you need to find a good face ash that works for you. I like a scrub that exfoliates my face so I use Clinique's 7 Day Scrub Cream which is fantastic, but I'll soon be switching to Benefit's Refined Finish Facial Polish because I prefer the size of the exfoliating beads in it, the smell and the fact it gives my skin a brighter finish. Play around with samples of different products and see which one works for you, then use it every day.
The final step to my routine is when I step out of the bath or shower I pat my face dry with a soft clean towel and apply my face cream. Since I started using eye cream on a daily basis I've found I don't get dry skin around my eyes anymore. I'd really recommend Clinique's All About Eyes. Then, on the rest of my face if I'm going to bed I use a heavier moisturiser, I love Benefit's Total Moisture Facial Cream, but if I'm going to be putting makeup back on or just seeing people but without any makeup on, I go for the lighter Clinique Moisture Surge.
I deal with problem areas of my skin like redness, sores created by bad reactions to products I've tried or just general dry skin by using Clinique's Comfort On Call Allergy Tested Relief Cream. I remember reading about this a few years ago when in first launched in Vogue on the train to London and thinking that it was the perfect product for me, specially formulated for skin that reacts to stress and allergies. It's got a hefty price tag, even for Clinique products, weighing in at £35 a pot, but after about 2 years I'm only just coming to the end of my first pot and it works absolute wonders.
Finally I eat well and drink lots and lots of water - these things do make a difference! I love fresh fruit, so thats usually all I snack on, I avoid fatty, fried and high sugar foods because I don't really like them, and every evening I flush my system out with about 6 - 8 mugs of water. During the day I mostly drink fruit tea, or homemade iced tea.

I hope that helps!

*edit* 7/06/11: A lot of you in your comments have said that you'd love to try Clinique products but their really expensive, but your mothers use them, if she does, you should utilise Clinique Bonus Time to get free samples - I've written about it in my How To Save Money On Makeup post!

If you have any questions you'd like me to answer, be they on blogging, beauty or books, you can drop me a quick email, contact me on Twitter or leave me a comment on Formspring

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Weekly Love - Week 70

+ Receiving the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. My Mum and I baked these chocolate fondant cupcakes on Friday afternoon, and they taste delicious, with chocolate fondant centres!

+ M. Robot talks about sexism among style journalists.

+ There is going to be a IFB conference in London. BEYOND excited!

+ Making these blueberry pancakes while I watch The Andrew Marr show. I can only really cook properly in my Mummy's kitchen.

+ Very important now the summer is almost here: How To Pack For A Holiday

+ My Tumblr has basically turned into a resource for food, fruit, flower and palm tree porn.

+ IFB's recap of their first ever Twitter chat about promoting your blog.

+ Eating home produce. At the moment I'm enjoying cherries, strawberries and lettuce.

+ How to appeal to your blogging audience: most of your readers are non bloggers - this is a really thought provoking read with some really useful tips!
+ This packaging my Mum's new maxi dress from Presis came in!

+ I need a Laduree macaroon wall chart in my life!

+ Pink Port.

+ A fashion writer does not wash her hair for six days, all in the name of research, and there are some very surprising results.

+ Another Pokemon related link to make us nostalgic of our childhoods, eggs painted to look like Pokemon - so cute!

+ Following and joining in with the Sunday night Beauty Bloggers #bbloggers hash tag chat.

+ How to wear pigtails without looking like a Lolita style stripper - I love the title of this article!

+ Finding half an unopened packet on Strawberry & Grape Wonka Nerds in one of the bags I was using in San Francisco - my favourite candy!

+ Andy Torres takes us on a tour of her favourite spots in Amsterdam.
+ My bird skull necklace from JWLRY - they were sold out so I asked Lily if she was getting any more in, and it turned out she actually had one left!

+ Nubby Twiglet has put together the most incredible, beautiful and stylish press kit for Kat's Rock 'N' Roll bride blog!

+ My Mum's super tasty and super healthy rice, chicken and fish meals - and her salads - I feel so good for what I've been eating since I've been home!

+ Amy explains Book Crossing.

+ Watching The Good Wife.

+ Mari has made this fantastic video with ideas of how to wear a Little Fille Headband. I can't wait to wear mine!

+ Wagamamas and lunch time clothes shopping with my friend Kathryn. Also, Kathy coming over to hang, swim, eat cupcakes and, unfortunately, study.

+ Shelling fresh peas as study snacks.

What have you been enjoying this week?

Friday, 3 June 2011

Outfit Post: Yellow Lady (My DIY Block Yellow Wedges)

So many of you wanted to know what I was going to wear my DIY yellow colour block wedges with, I ended up wearing them to the cast lunch for a play I worked on earlier in the year!

Jumper - Boden
Tank Top - Topshop
Black Skinny Jeans - French Connection
Clutch -Zara
DIY Wedges

Has anyone tried the DIY yet? How have you/ how would you style these shoes?