Thursday, 28 August 2014

Damn Fine Coffee? Kind Of

After being ridiculous at Christmas and giving my dad a Tassimo coffee machine - not realising the true powers of owning my own coffee machine - I have been lusting after one of my own for a good while. I expected all coffee machines to be the same really, and couldn't work out why one would be more expensive than the other. This confused me endlessly if only for the fact that obviously the same brands would use the same pods so how could one be better than the other? Well. It turns out brand to brand the coffee produced is the same, but its the settings on the machine that differs. Yes, I am a dumb dumb for never actually knowing this haha. But if, like me, you were ignorant to the ins and outs of coffee machine settings then an example of the features on my dad's Tassimo (which cost around £150) is that it automatically stops the hot water coming out after you pressed the button, whereas with with Dolce Gusto machine (which I paid £35 for from Makro) you use the lever on the top and manually control the water. This is a pro and con within itself, as most people like using larger cups than those damn Italians (if that is where coffee comes from?) and we found that with my dad's machine, some varieties of coffee were literally giving a dribble in the bottom of the cup. So you have to be aware that when the box says 'small cup' it probably means something the size of a thimble (or actually an espresso cup). So at least with a manually controlled machine you can add more water yourself and also water down some of the ones which taste like actual rocket fuel. 

Another good factor of my machine is that it's a lot smaller than the one I gave away, so fit's nicely in my kitchen with all my other gadgets. I do love a good gadget. But I do think the coffee's themselves lack a little. The flavours don't seem to be as authentic as the ones you have from the Tassimo machine - which also has Costa coffee branded packs within the range. I personally never really like Nescafé coffee's you find on the shelf, apart from Gold blend, and there's something about these Dolce Gusto pods that tastes a little cheap. Especially ones like the Mocha, which has a really weird fake chocolate flavour to me. I don't feel that most of the varieties deliver a good shot of real coffee either, and I often found myself adding an extra pod of Café Au Lait to which ever flavour I chose! I guess these machines and the coffee they produce is like the difference between Starbucks and Costa, but in this case, with Dolce Gusto being the Starbucks of the two taste wise. 

Over all though, I am really pleased I invested in a machine. When I was working at my old job I would spend £3 at Marks and Spencers or Cafe Nero for a coffee in the mornings, and with this machine you're paying £3.77 full price for a box of either 8 or 16 coffee's. So after a few weeks it pays for itself. There's always an offer on them too. It's also certainly better than faffing about with a caffetiere in the mornings and tastes better than instant coffee.

Have you got a coffee machine or do you think they're a waste of money?

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

If I Was A Rich Goth

There's nothing like being part of your own personal credit crunch to put you in the mood for some serious online window shopping. When I moved in to my own flat I was so excited to make it all my own and put my own personal vibe on it, but due to lack of funds I never really got that far. Alas, it's probably a good job I didn't as my tastes have changed quite a lot in the past 2 years! I used to love a clean white and bright colour scheme with a splash of duck egg blue, and whilst I do still enjoy that kind of vibe I am becoming more and more drawn to a darker and more 'gothic' style. Now the nights are a little colder too, it always feels a bit warmer to be surrounded by darker shades - whether it's a snuggly brown blanket or some amazing furniture and home accessories like I've featured above. The bed and oh-so-awesome dressing are from the Moulin Noir range which you can find online here from tradefurniturecompany. The seat on the dressing table set is also completed with black velvet material on the seat and just looks so beautiful, like something from the set of a horror film or something. In a good way of course. I've always had a thing for antlers and this aluminium antler wall piece is the dream, especially when you continue the ol' macabre style through to those skull bookends, although for that price I'm not sure if I would prefer them to be real skulls or made of some kind of precious metal! Another factor to take in to account when you're renting is that you can't really decorate the place to your personal tastes by painting the walls, so this kind of furniture would really compliment a plain white bedroom, especially if you finished the bedroom with a nice fluffy deep red rug, oh la la.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Attack Is The Best Form Of Defence

Make Up Revolution Skin Care Review

Defence Antibacterial Primer + Attack Anti Bacterial Face Wash

Make Up Revolution Skin Care Review  Defence Antibacterial Primer + Attack Anti Bacterial Face Wash

Another day, another release from the Make Up Revolution range. This time they are dipping their toes in to the ocean of skin care, in the form of this anti bacterial spot fighting duo. When it comes to anti blemish and spot reducing products my skin is very temperamental. I have a dry complexion which somehow still manages to be spot prone and I generally find that I need to avoid cream based face washes and any moisturisers which are targeted at spot prone skin. I find skincare for spot prone skin really strips all the moisture from my face and ultimately make me more spotty as my skin's oil is over compensating for erm, well, having non left. Because of this I opt for gel formula cleansers and face washes combined with an oil as a moisturiser. People who do have spots should really not be scared of oils and since using them I've found my face has been clearer than ever. But I digress. Back to the Make Up Revolution Skincare range. The idea behind these two products is simple: You use the Make Up Revolution Defence Anti Bacterial Serum and Primer (which you can buy online here) to moisturise your face both in the evening and in the day time. and then the Make Up Revolution Attack Anti Bacterial Face Wash (here) to wash and cleanse your face. In the day the Serum and Primer is perfect to be used as a primer under your make up and I found it to be non sticky, smooth and makes your skin slightly more soft. I did find that due to the creamy-ish serum formula I didn't see any reduction in spots, but in the same breath I didn't 'grow' any more. It simply left the nature of my skin the same really. I've no complaints over the product, but it didn't do anything too exciting with regards to my spots. The face wash I unfortunately found to be very drying, after only one usage of both products I found I developed a really dry chin and forehead. This is due to my skin though, as I have seen good reviews of these products from people with oily skin. I did have a bad experience with the Glam Glow face mask a while ago because it stripped my skin, yet everyone else found it to be amazing, so I do think that my face does lean on the dry side naturally. Personally, I couldn't recommend this duo but I could fully recommend a number of other make up products from the Make Up Revolution brand. This includes pretty much all of their eyeshadow palettes, and I use the Iconic 1 palette on a daily basis now after not using eyeshadow at all in the daytime previously! I do prefer the serum to the face wash and have continued to use it as a primer on occasion, but I won't be using the face wash in future and have donated it to an oily skinned friend to see what she thinks. So if you'd like an update from that tweet me.

UPDATE FROM THE OILY SKINNED FRIEND:  She's really enjoying both of these products and is using them on a daily basis. Her skin went really horrible after over dosing on La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo - which seemed to dry her skin completely out and give her all these little weird spots in replacement of the old spots. After a few days using both the Attack and Defence products from Make Up Revolution, her skin is already a lot clearer and healthy looking. So it just goes to show that what does work for one doesn't always work for the other! Interested how your FACE works isn't it?

Have you tried these two?
What are your favourite Make Up Revolution products so far?

Monday, 25 August 2014

Leeds Festival 2014

Leeds Festival 2014 Roundup

Ahhhh, Leeds Festival 2014, my favourite festival to attend. So far this year my little wellie bobs and I have ventured to Sonisphere, V Festival and Leeds; and although Sonisphere was the most fun time EVER TO BE HAD and the adventure involved gate crashing an Iron Maiden party, throwing chairs around the guest area and verbally abusing the guy from Dragonforce - Leeds just has that special little place in my heart. Being the first festival I ever attended in 2006, and one which I have attended around 6 times since, it just always seems to be the festival I miss the most for the rest of the year. This year I managed to win tickets via Popcorn Outdoor and I could not be more thankful! Starting my new job tomorrow I couldn't of imagined a better or bigger blow out party time to have in preparation to be all 'business business business, numbers numbers numbers' on my first day.  This year again I went with my blogging buddy Victoria and we had so much fun, even more so than last year when we thought it was a great idea to 'work' the weekend (and we ended up not working anything and just getting drunk and losing our deposit, whoops).

The weather wasn't the best, but it certainly was not the worst, and the mud was nothing compared to last year! Thanks to Cloggs I managed to keep my feet sassy and stylish with these absolutely beautiful Joules wellies. I know wellies aren't exactly the most glamorous part of any wardrobe, but with their cute little bows on the back they made me feel a little bit more fancy for the weekend. Although saying that, whoever decided that a textile bow on footwear you only wear when it's wet was a good idea is a bit nuts, I'm quite sad the bow didn't stay tied, but they still looked nice dangling about. I also bagged a new rucksack (see what I did there?) and kept it simple with a plain burgundy. I had a floral version of this Mi-Pac backpack last year and they're just the right size for lugging about your pants and your make up. I always use a backpack to keep my 'important' things in then a bigger back for actual clothes. 

Speaking of clothes, I think I only wore two different outfits during the weekend, which we only managed to snap in the glamorous car park as taking pictures by the tent was a little too cringe to manage. Thankfully the HTC One M8 has a pretty good camera on it, so I didn't need to take my actual camera. It only rained a few times and we managed to miss that by sitting in the car and drinking copious amounts of vodka and eating pringles, but it was quite warm when the sun actually came out. Leeds is always a nice relaxed festival where there's actually a distinct lacking of floral headbands and shorts which reveal the ass, so you don't ever feel the need to do your own personal fashion show. I think this is one of the reasons I love it, because everyone is having way too much fun to be a cliché fashionista. 

The best bands I saw were Gogol Bordello, The Hives and funnily enough, Paramore. I'm not a 'fan' of Paramore, but I suppose they are a bit of a guilty pleasure and I found myself dancing about to all of their songs. I've been a big fan of Gogol Bordello for yeaaaaarrsss now and I have seen them before, but their performance at Leeds this year was amazing! They are one of those bands that just look like they're having the most fun ever up on stage and you can dance to every song even if you don't know it. Maybe I just have a soft spot for them because the singer Eugene Hutz is Ukranian and my great gran was from the Ukraine, but either way just give them a little listen on Youtube (here) and absorb the gypsy punk for yourself. If their music isn't your kind of thing then Eugene was also in Everything Is Illuminated, which just so happens to be my favourite film ever too so give that a watch! The Hives never fail to put on an amazing show and their singer is the best front man you will ever experience, although it probably wasn't the best time I've seen them as the atmosphere just wasn't as good on the main stage as in smaller tents, I still enjoyed it. A lot.

The best night of the Festival, as usual, was down at the Picadilly Party near the main camp sites. I have some pals that DJ there and it is always amazing. Watching how crazy people go down in the field and how hard they party despite the rain and cold is just awesome, every time. Me and Victoria gave it the big one (hence that video down there, haaaahhaaaa) and pretended we were Beyonce's backing dancers for the evening whilst trying not to throw up bouncing around after a great deal of vodka. Somehow we managed to escape hangovers too. That alone makes me feel like life is such a success right now.

Leeds Festival 2014 Roundup

Leeds Festival 2014 Roundup

Leeds Festival 2014 Roundup

Leeds Festival 2014 Roundup


So, that was my weekend! How was yours? 

I'll also be doing a blog post all about the Freshers events Popcorn Outdoor are putting on this year soon, so if you're starting University this year keep an eye out for that. 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Beauty Bargains: Wilko Kiss Range

Budget Beauty Buys: Blog review of the Kiss range from Wilko stores including Primer, BB Cream and Radiance Balm.

At the moment I am procrastinating in between organising my flat and packing for Leeds Festival which I go to on Thursday. When you're soooo busy and rushed what better time is there to do a blog post, huh? Aaaaah. I wanted to blog so much this week, but alas, I simply haven't had the time, so I hope you appreciate this super quick post to tell you even more about that budget beauty range called 'Kiss' which you can find at your local Wilkinsons store. It seemed my last blog post which was a review of the Kiss Light Reflecting Primer from Wilko tickled a few of your fancies a bit, so here's a sneaky peak at the rest of the range. Each product is priced at the super affordable cost of £4 per product, and I didn't see anything which was more than that. I managed to get each of these for £2(!!) each though, as they had mislabelled the shelf, whoooops. I only went in to buy the Kiss Blemish Balm, as when I cheekily tried it on the back of my hand on a previous visit it seemed like the perfect colour match for my slightly pale face. When I've got home and tried it, it definitely is a good colour match, but the coverage isn't quite what I would have liked it to be. It's OK for work days as a daily alternative to a heavy foundation, and you can build it up slightly. Oh, what can I even complain about? It was £2! It's just nothing to write home about and if you've tried any BB cream in the past then you can expect the same from this - it's moisturising, simple to use for a light coverage and also contains SPF.  

I then couldn't resist the Kiss Good To Glow Radiant Energy Balm.  This is just like Soap and Glory Hocus Focus, but less shimmery and thick and more light and dewy (and definitely more of a runny liquid than a balm). Once again, this contains SPF so perfect as a base for your foundation or used alone to provide you with a nice radiant complexion. It's really nice under your regular foundation to add an even tone and can be used as a primer on it's own really, but I have been layering it over the Kiss Primer and then using the Blemish Balm alongside some dabs of concealer. For someone who has gone from heavy coverage foundations, which I always used to 'set' with another foundation powder, I almost feel like this is an accomplishment to go for such a lightweight selection of products! Whilst I was there I also grabbed the Kiss Foaming Cleanser, which is pretty much what it says on the bottle; a face wash, which foams and removes your make up. I was sceptical about whether or not this would remove eyeliner and mascara and the likes, but it works a treat! I also did a quick swish around my chops with a micellar water soaked cotton wool pad and there was little to no trace of make up left. Which can't be bad for £2 can it? Since using this combination of products (which is just over a week now) I've not had any spot break outs and my skin has been incredibly soft. As they are budget products I'm not 100% sure about what 'experts' would say about the ingredients, but I've pictured them below so you can just judge for yourself. 

At the end of the day: If you're after an affordable range of beauty products in pretty packaging which (for me) make your skin fresh, soft and also contain SPF then the Kiss range from Wilkinson stores is gonna be your kinda thing. And for £2-£4 a go, there's really not much to lose. You can find them all online here.

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