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Latest Purchases #88 – Sephora Haul

Possibly the visit I was most looking forward to making whilst we were in America, I had a list and was a woman on a mission when I went to Sephora in Georgetown, Washington! I am so surprised this store hasn’t made it to the UK but I think that just makes it a little bit more special when you do get to visit one. I picked up a range of make-up and beauty items, some I had been lusting after for a while and others I grabbed on a whim. I also bought two lipsticks which have gone missing since returning home…I’m still hoping they will turn up one day soon!

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First up, a little bottle of Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray that I bought as a present for Ian. I don’t use anything like this in my hair but I’m told this stuff is the best so like the good wife that I am, I popped one in my basket.

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Next, a bronzer from Sephora’s own make-up range in the shade Aruba. This formula has some serious shimmer so gives a lovely glow when used. It is quite dark but with a light hand, gives a beautiful golden sun-kissed look.

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I had to pick up another one of the Instant Nail Polish Removers when I saw it. It is one of the best I have used and my nail varnish was so badly chipped, I used it as soon as we got back to our hotel room! I was toying with this and the ‘white chocolate’ version from Ciate but it was such a tiny pot for the same price, I thought the Sephora one would last a bit longer.

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Next, a Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in the shade Trooper. I had been after one of these eyeliners for so long and they are raved about in the beauty world. I have used this a couple of times and am pretty impressed. The staying power is the best I have seen in a liquid eyeliner. My only complaint is that it isn’t as deep a black as I was expecting but you can build up the colour quite easily. The tip is really unique too – very fine but you can get a thick or thin line from it. I now wish I had picked up a couple of other items from her line as the packaging seems just as beautiful as the products.

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A bit of a less glamorous purchase now – deodorant! I have read a lot lately about how harmful aerosol deodorants can be so decided to try a more natural version and see how I get on. I had read recommendations for the Pure Vanilla Healthy Deodorant from LaVanila so picked up a stick.

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I picked up these Sephora Sleeping Masks for gifts and really wish I had bought myself one too!

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Next, a cleansing oil to try out from Boscia (another one recommended by beauty bloggers). I use these type of cleansers every evening and keep finding gems so hopefully this one will prove as good!

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One reason I love/ hate Sephora is how easy they make it for you to spend more than you had planned! I wanted to try out the First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads (a favourite of Lily Pebbles) but when I saw this lovely kit with their Face Cleanser and Ultra Repair Cream included, I decided to try out a bit more from the range.

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A real treat now from Tarte. Their Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blushers are raved about but quite pricey. After not buying one the last time I was on holiday, I decided to try out the shade Tipsy, a gorgeous bright coral-pink shade. I also love products that are embossed and this pretty jungle path means I will be really reluctant to use it too much!

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I have saved the best for last as this was the purchase I was most excited about trying. I love the ‘Sephora Favourites’ boxes where they select the best items from different brands based on a theme such as ‘bronzers’ (which I have bought in the past). I picked up the ‘Time to Prime’ box which contains a variety of amazing primers. Included is a Formula X Base Coat, an Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, an Urban Decay Subversion Lash Primer, a Smashbox 24-Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer, a Bite Beauty Line and Define Lip Primer and a Living Proof Prime Style Extender for Hair. I think you’ll agree, this is a pretty awesome collection!

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Travel Diaries – Washington DC

Washington was our fourth and final stop on our East Coast road trip – you can read Part One and Two of our New York trip and all about Atlantic City and Philadelphia by clicking on the links!

Day Eleven – Thursday 6th August

I couldn’t have left Philadelphia without running up and down the ‘Rocky Steps’ so I dragged myself out of bed early, put on my trainers and ran out to the art museum, up those famous steps, posed for a quick pic with Sly then headed back to our hotel room to pack our bags again.

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We caught a bus to Washington which was fine (it had free wifi!) then taxied it to our hotel – you know it’s going to be an interesting ride when you tell the taxi driver your hotel address and he asks you “Where’s that?”

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We stayed in Hyatt Place and we loved the room. It was a pretty new hotel and had a lovely little lounge area to chill and watch TV and a really modern, cool bathroom. We weren’t that impressed with the area our hotel was in. NoMa is apparently very up and coming but I just don’t think it was quite there yet and although it seemed quite vibrant in the daytime, it didn’t feel the best place to be walking about at night.

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We decided to head out and do some exploring that afternoon so walked down to the Capitol Building (which was stunning but covered in scaffolding!), wandered through the parks, saw the Washington Monument and had a great dinner of prawn, crab and lobster rolls – yum!

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Day Twelve – Friday 7th August

After breakfast at the hotel, where I tried my first ever ‘biscuits and gravy’, we spent the morning at the Newseum, a museum dedicated to the media. Outside, there is the front page of every main US State’s newspaper as well as some from the UK, Spain, Brazil, China, France and so on.

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This was a fascinating museum and there was such a good variety of exhibits including the Berlin Wall, the history of comic strips in newspaper, a huge archive of the most important headlines over the past two hundred years, a September 11th exhibition, the challenges journalists face in different parts of the world, the dogs of the White House (loved this one!), the Washington Nationals and my favourite which was all about the Vietnam War and the influence the media had on changing public support for it. There was also a section where you could record yourself as a news anchor on screen which was really fun! This was probably my favourite museum of the whole trip (OK, maybe joint favourite with Ellis Island in New York and the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia!)

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We refuelled with some chicken wings and pizza before a wander through the Sculpture Garden on our way to the Museum of American History. On paper this place looked cool but it was very much aimed at a younger audience so we only did a couple of exhibitions…obviously the one including food and a visit to Julia Child’s kitchen!

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That evening we caught the metro over to the Nationals Park to watch a baseball game. This was so much fun especially the firework display at the end of the game.

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Day Thirteen – Saturday 8th August

After a few days in Washington DC, we started to realise how huge and spread out it was so in order to cover it all and not add to our blister count, we bought tickets for another hop-on/ hop-off tour bus. Whilst it wasn’t as good as the Philadelphia one as it was a recording and felt a lot less personal, it did take us everywhere and also to places and memorials we probably wouldn’t have gone otherwise such as Arlington Cemetery and the Pentagon which are over the water in Virginia.

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Lunch was my first ever Shake Shack and was as good as I had hoped! That afternoon we visited the Vietnam and Lincoln memorials before heading to Chinatown for happy hour cocktails and an amazing Mexican meal where our waiter made our guacamole at our table…I grilled him for his recipe!

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Day Fourteen – Sunday 9th August

Our last full day in America! It was Liverpool’s first match of the new season and I read about a Liverpool supporters’ bar not too far away from us. We spent the morning there and it was such a good atmosphere and a chance to chat with some locals too. We left a bit tipsy and realised it was still only about midday!

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That afternoon we went to Georgetown, one of the oldest parts of Washington and one I’d heard was a bit less touristy and cool. I loved it here and wish we could have spent longer wandering around the shops and trying out the bakeries and bars. We had a really nice lunch here (ribs!) before hitting Sephora where I got so excited running up the stairs that I tripped and fell! I was so embarrassed and ended up overspending to hide my shame – like in that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie falls over in Dior and ends up buying loads to make up for it!

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We spent our final night packing, eating doughnuts and watching Sons of Anarchy and I also cracked open my new Essie polish to try out!

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Luckily our flights home were a lot less stressful than when we left the UK, although I suffered with horrendous jet lag for the next few days and was a bit zombie-like most afternoons!

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So that is the end of this ‘Travel Diaries’ series. I think you can probably tell we had an absolutely incredible couple of weeks and I feel a bit lost now I don’t have something to spend my spare time planning for…I may have to get our next trip booked soon! x

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Sunday Catch-up #31 (US Edition)

This is my first Sunday Catch-up since our holiday and I was going to fill you in on what I’ve been up to this week but then realised I could sum it up in a few words – jet lag, naps, running, unpacking, laundry. Done.

Seeing as I missed a couple of weeks of this feature, I thought it would be much more fun to do a version based on our holibobs!

This fortnight I have been…

Making: the most out of every day

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Going: running in Central Park

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Wearing: my playsuit

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Eating: a ridiculous amount of chicken wings (buffalo, medium spice, blue cheese dip)

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Drinking: some amazing craft beers

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Reading: To Kill a Mockingbird

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Watching: the Washington Nationals

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Buying: a lot in Sephora

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Planning: as much as we can fit into each day

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Cooking: nothing

Baking: ditto

Writing: in my diary each evening

Favouriting: the Trip Advisor app – so handy when you’re away and don’t always have wifi

Working on: my tan

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Trying to decide: which shoes will give me the least amount of blisters each day (we did A LOT of walking and my poor feet suffered!)

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Wishing: this trip never ends

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Enjoying: exploring new places

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Needing: to fit all our new purchases in our cases

Feeling: like my thirties will be awesome

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Giggling at: Ian being flipped upside down in a particularly big wave!

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This Week’s Nails – Daisy Print

Despite the weather turning rather autumnal lately, I decided to do a very fresh and summery bit of nail art this week. I actually managed to do this design freehand but only on one hand I’m afraid!

I have a mini hamper of nail varnish and one colour I never wear is the bright yellow shade I own. I saw it again this week when I was trying to decide what to paint on my nails and decided the only time I think I would wear yellow would be when drawing a flower. Henceforth, the daisy design idea was born! Am I alone here…would yellow look good on nails?!

Anyway, this is the kit I used for this look:

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  • Sephora Nail Varnish in Jacuzzi
  • Missguided Nail Varnish in Misslead
  • Dotting tool
  • Thin nail art pen in white (this one is from Primark and is perfect for thin, intricate work)
  • Nails Inc Top Coat

I began with three coats of Jacuzzi as, although I love the colour, this formula isn’t great.

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Next, I dipped the end of my dotting tool into the yellow shade and made some dots on my nails.

Then , I carefully painted on the white leaves using the nail art pen.

The final layer of topcoat sealed the look and also blurred the edges slightly which was great for any ‘wobbles’ I had when applying the white!

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This is a really easy and fun nail art and one that you could easily use different colours with.

We are off out for another tasting menu tonight, at our local pub this time, so there will no doubt be a foodie review coming up soon! x

This Week’s Nails – Matte Dogstooth

Dogstooth, Houndstooth…I’m not really sure which is correct but I do know I am in love with this autumnal manicure!

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As I mentioned previously, when Ian and I went to Palma for the day, I tracked down a Sephora and treated myself to a few sets of their nail wraps.

Over the years I have worked my way through several brands of wraps and the Sephora ones are by far the best I have ever tried. They don’t pucker, they are really easy to apply and seem to last as long as a normal manicure without any peeling.

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Here is a really quick nail tutorial on how to apply these wraps:

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  • Select a nail wrap that is the correct width for your finger, remove the top film and the peel the nail wrap (sticker) off
  • Place it on your nail, smoothing it down from the cuticle upwardsdog8
  • You can use scissors to trim the wrap but I like to use a nail file and file off the excessdog7
  • If you have tiny nails like me, you can also make one nail wrap stretch to two nails, doubling your manicures from the pack!dog2
  • Finish the look with a generous layer of top coat. I couldn’t resist using a matte top coat for this look and I think it really goes

I even persuaded Ian to let me have a go at applying one on his big toe so I could see what it would look like as a pedicure….ahhhh the things my husband does for me.

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I love this print on clothes and like it just as much on my nails. I think this would also look great as a statement nail paired with a deep jewel-toned autumnal colour.

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If you are ever in Sephora, I highly recommend these wraps – in fact, I am kicking myself for not investing in a few more designs!

Latest Purchases #56 – Holiday Buys

Happy Bank Holiday Weekend! Back in my college and uni days that would automatically equal Reading Festival but this year it looks to be a washout so we are just going to chill at home with a new box set and I will no doubt potter about in the kitchen too…how times have changed!

We have had a lovely weekend so far. One of my best friends Lucie arrived on Friday afternoon and we spent our evening up the pub, cooking and devouring a big bowl of spag bol followed by a hilarious game of Cards Against Humanity!

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Yesterday, we headed out to meet the newest member of our friendship gang, beautiful baby Ivy. Ian was a natural and it was enough to make any girl broody! Haha

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Today I wanted to share a few things I picked up when we were on holiday last week…it already feels like ages ago!

My weakness is duty free shopping. Another blogger summed up airport shopping perfectly when she said that it’s like spending Monopoly money…I thought that was quite funny as all of my airport purchases were things that I probably wouldn’t have bought had I just popped in to Boots one weekend.

Anyway, I’ll start with the booze which makes you realise just how expensive spirits are to buy in the UK. We got some vodka (for Bloody Marys) and a bottle of brandy which I may have to hide from my Dad as it’s his favourite tipple!shop16

On the way there, I treated myself to a new perfume; Eau des Jardins by Clarins. I know most people associate this brand with skincare but I have another perfume by Clarins (Eau Dynamisante) which is lovely and lasts well.shop15 shop14

I think this perfume is a summer release but I will definitely wear it all year round as it has fresh and uplifting citrus notes with a slightly musky rose base.

When we went to Palma for a day trip, I hunted down a trusty Sephora. I managed to find a nice little haul there although I didn’t have too much time as Ian was doing that man-thing where I could tell he just really didn’t want to shop!

I picked up a new nail file which kind of looks metallic but is similar to a glass nail file – always handy.shop8 shop7

Also on the subject of nails, I remember buying some nail wraps from Sephora when we were in the States last summer and they were the best I had ever used so I was keen to try a few more from here. I picked up two sets; a bright pink design with some arty squiggles on and a dogtooth print which I am dying to try out!

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Finally, I wanted to try and keep my tan for as long as possible once we returned home. I use St. Tropez on my body but had just run out of a Champneys facial tanner so decided to try out Sephora’s Tinted Self-tanning Face Gel. It said on the box that it came with a brush which I was expecting to find separately but I was intrigued when I opened up the packaging and found the brush to be attached to the tube. I think this will make application easy and hopefully nice and even too. It also has a handy ‘on/ off’ click cap to avoid any make-up bag disasters.

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On the way home, we happened to have a Duty Free right next to our flight gate so I was wandering through and found a little bargain in the form of these Clinique Chubby Sticks.

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These are the Moisturising Lip Colour Balms and I bought a box that contains three of their most popular shades; Super Strawberry (07), Two Ton Tomato (11) and Mighty Mimosa (13).These lovely pencils are super moisturising with a sheer colour and being a chunky lip pencil, are really easy to apply on the go.

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I have had a quick swatch of each one and they feel amazing on the lips and I like the subtle wash of colour too – I think the red shade is probably my favourite at the moment.

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So, a few nice treats which will remind me of our lovely week away! x

This Week’s Nails – Matte Pastels

Hello and long-time no see! Quite literally for me actually as I have been in bed for the past week suffering with a hideous eye infection (hence my absence on here.) My body seems to have punished me for working and playing too hard over the last few weeks so I have spent days in bed catching up on sleep and working my way through several books and a good quantity of eye drops!

Today was the first day I felt like myself again and I have so many cool things to blog about in the next few weeks so I thought I would start my recovery with a little nails post.

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This manicure is so summery and the matte topcoat gives it a bit of a twist.

First of all, I narrowed down five of my favourite pastel-coloured nail varnishes:

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(From left to right: Eternal Optimist by Essie, Jacuzzi by Sephora, Bloomsbury Way by Nails Inc, Pistachio Ice Cream by MUA and Prickly Pear by Barry M.

Then gave my nails 2-3 coats, depending on the formula.

There are lots of good matte top coats available now – I used ELF’s Matte Finisher which only needed one coat and lasted for about 5 days until some slight wear appeared at the tips.

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Wearing different shades on nail varnish on each finger has been a bit of a trend recently and I think this is a really easy way to wear it…my only problem was narrowing it down to 5 shades!

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Finally, I had to mention the immense delight I took in hearing that Michael Gove has been reshuffled out of Education today…I think a glass of champers is definitely in order! x