Seriously Sexy Serum

I’ve always been a moisturiser kinda gal. My skin tends to be on the dry side, so I slather myself top to toe in cocoa butter after every shower (un-fragranced, if you must know), and for years and years I was a slave to the old ‘day’ and ‘night’ facial moisturisers, feeling quite parched and stiff in the cheek if I ever had to go to bed without.

Recently though, I’ve got in to serum in a big way. Well it’s all the rage nowadays isn’t it? I like the way you’re supposed to press it firmly in to your skin like some sort of ageing Hollywood diva, and a little always seems to go such a long way.

I’m not very loyal when it comes to beauty products. Actually, that’s a big fat lie. I’ve used Soap & Glory’s Hand Food since it came in to existence, and I wouldn’t dream of cheating on the pink Johnson’s Makeup Be Gone facial wipes– they are, quite simply, the best. But I haven’t been very loyal to facial serums thus far, purchasing, it seems, whatever I’ve felt I’ve been able to afford at the time.

But all this might have changed now I’ve found Soap & Glory’s Make Yourself Youthful Super Serum.

serum

I mean, look at it. That is one seriously sexy serum.

Ok, so I may have fallen for the packaging, but what packaging! Four inches of glossy, mirror-effect steel (plastic) that sits snugly in your clenched hand and feels expensive. The lid clicks firmly and satisfyingly in to place, and I like the way it stands on it’s head, proud and erect like a… peacock. (Ahem.) One pump and a perfect face-sized dollop of serum is released in to your palm, ready to hydrate your skin in a seriously sexy way.

Does it work? You’re asking the wrong blogger. How do beauty experts actually judge these things?? I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now and the fine lines that appear around my eyes when I smile still appear around my eyes when I smile, but it’s a lovely consistency, absorbs quickly in to my skin and makes my face feel soft, dewy and hydrated which can only be a good thing.

Do you have a facial serum of choice? Are you a sucker for sexy branding?

Sama xxx

P.S. I was blown away by the response to my last post. To everyone who read, shared, left a comment, sent me a tweet or felt something… thank you.

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Win A Seafolly Bikini With Coco Bay!

Hands up who has a rather special holiday coming up this year?

Hands up who will be purchasing a bikini (or three) for said special holiday?

And hands up who’d like to win a free bikini of their choice, courtesy of the lovely team at Coco Bay?

Mmm hmm, I thought so.

cocobay cropped

See, I get the odd company contact me from time to time hoping I’ll promote their product, but I usually politely decline. Largely because, more often than not, the product isn’t right for the blog, but I also must admit to getting a little humpy if the person writing the email has made no effort to a) find out my name or b) read anything I’ve written. So when Jane from Coco Bay sent me a lovely personal email complimenting the blog and referring to a particular post she’d read, I was naturally intrigued to see what she had to offer. And very pleasantly surprised I was too.

All Aboard Beach Bag by Baku

All Aboard Beach Bag by Baku

Coco Bay is a mail order beach wear company set up by three sisters with one mission: to provide sophisticated, well cut beachwear that not only looks great on the model but actually flatters ‘real people’. With a wide selection of brands including Seafolly, Baku, Banana Moon and Havaianas to name but a few, the company offers a vast selection of stylish, reasonably priced beachwear, from swimsuits and cover ups, to beach bags and hats.

Seafolly Kailua Beach Cover Up

Seafolly Kailua Beach Cover Up

Now I’m not gonna lie, the website is full of stunning models who will make you feel VERY inadequate, but with handy size guides, styles right up to an F cup, and a free UK returns/exchange policy, you’re practically guaranteed* to find the perfect swimwear for you.

*my guarantee, not theirs

So what’s this giveaway you mentioned then?

Well, the nice people at Coco Bay would like to give one of you ‘orrible lot a bikini of your choice from the Seafolly at Coco Bay collection. Perhaps you are honeymooning this year, or nipping away with the girls. Maybe you have a local lido you like to frequent, or simply have a bikini fetish you can’t control. Whichever option, the competition is open to one and all… except for me. Which is a crying shame, as I’ve gone a bit funny over these bikini beauts:

From L to R: Seafolly Seaview Coral, Seafolly Goddess White. Seafolly Summer Garden Black

From L to R: Seafolly Seaview Coral, Seafolly Goddess White. Seafolly Summer Garden Black

A Seafolly bikini of your choice could be winging it’s way to you very soon if you do the following:

1. Head over to the Seafolly at Coco Bay page to view the bikinis available

2. Leave a comment below stating your bikini of choice and where you’ll be wearing it (my nosiness knows no bounds)

3. Follow Coco Bay on Twitter (@cocobayswimwear) and retweet this giveaway.

Simples! I shall pick a winner at random this Friday 31st January at 5pm, so you have until then to enter.

Oh sweet lord, this is exciting.

Good luck!

Sama xxx

I Dream of Tulle

I do.

Specifically big, pouffy, swishy tulle skirts paired with a casual top and a pair of skyscrapers à la style icon, Carrie Bradshaw.

A tulle icon. Image via Groove Girl

Image via Groove Girl

Worn badly the tulle skirt is the epitome of tackiness, with nasty prom dresses and those fluorescent-pink mini tutus we all crack out for eighties nights springing to mind. Worn well, like these fashionable so and sos below, and you have the height of style and femininity; a nod to 1950’s elegance combined with modern day, urban rock and roll.

Image from top left: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Image from top left: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

In the wedding world, I adore tulle skirts when worn as a statement piece like the hipsters above. I’m not a girly girl; I wouldn’t wear a tiara unless it was for a fancy dress party, and if Paul ever dared to call me ‘his little princess’ I’d poke him in the eye, but in another life I dream about donning tulle on my wedding day.

Whether it’s worn short and sweet with a leather jacket and glittery Kate Spade heels like this gorgeous bride…

Image by Levi Stolove

Image by Levi Stolove

… Or rustic and romantic with full-length tulle and a casual lace top like the Swedish beauty below…

… there’s no denying it; tulle rocks.

But here’s the sticking point. You have to be slender and delicate up top. I’m talking a diddy waist and a small bust; neither of which I have, hence why I dream of tulle rather than actually wearing it. Sigh. In another life maybe.

If, like me, you would love to wear tulle but don’t have the body for it, or if you do have the body for it (lucky sod) but don’t have the confidence to step out in such a bold look, then I implore you… find a small child and put her in a vest top and a massive tulle skirt.

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANYTHING CUTER?

Sama xxx

PS. I have actually have photo evidence of the one time I have ever successfully worn tulle. I was 5.

 

Bridesmaid Style: Skirts and Stripes

Skirt and top combos have been around for a while in the wedding world, but have never really taken off enough to be labelled ‘a trend’. It is, however, a bridesmaid look (and bridal look- but that’s a whole other blog post) that I absolutely, hands down adore. Why? Because it’s different. Because it’s effortless. Because it’s fun. Because, when done well, like in that corker of an image above, it’s back-to-basics-bohemian-chic-made-modern. Because it’s a brilliant way to add a splash of colour. Because it’s ruddy cool, that’s why. Just look at this lovely lot…

Image via Anjou Clothing

Image via Anjou Clothing

Pencil, floaty, maxi, floral, pleated, tulle, vintage or hand-made… the list is endless when it comes to choosing the skirt to put your maids in. The key is to make the skirt the statement, and team it with a simple, neutral top (white being the colour of choice in the majority of these images, although the black vests are my favourite) and the necessary accessories.

My personal feeling is that the floatier the skirt, the better when it comes to this look. The fluidity provides romance, youth and a bohemian elegance. It’s a look that I would LOVE to wear as a bridesmaid… but it doesn’t always work so well if you’re fuller on top. Hello boobs.

But you know what other bridesmaid look is all kinds of awesome?

Image via One Fab Day

Image via One Fab Day

Stripes! A bold, much more modern choice but one that packs a punch and can look super-chic. I particularly love the colour combination in the Stacey Hedman image above… but then I’m a sucker for a colourful bouquet. Unlike the floaty maxi skirt, I don’t think you can get away with flat shoes in a stripy number- it’s heels all the way  for this Parisienne-chic look- but when done well it’s a very cool statement for your bestest mates, wouldn’t you say?

Man! If only there was a bridesmaid crew who rocked stripes AND a floaty skirt…. oh hello!

Rock and roll. I LOVE it.

Would you put your maids in a skirt and top combo? Or would you dare to go statement in stripes?  Come on brides-to-be, tell me what your bestest girls wore or are wearing.. I’d love to know!

Sama xxx

 

Party Frock Time

Despite it being summertime all of five minutes ago, Christmas is only six weeks away, folks. I know- it’s ridiculous. And although I think it’s way too early to be putting up the paraphernalia, it is that time of year when I start thinking about treating myself to a nice party frock to see me through the festive period. With a couple of Big Nights Out planned for the next month or so, and a wardrobe full of work wear and pyjamas, it’s definitely time to splash the cash.

I’ve spent the last hour sifting through the usual fashion retail websites and I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed with this year’s crop. Too much black and not enough sparkle, in my humble opinion. And when is the bodycon trend going to go away?? I. CAN’T. WEAR. BODYCON.

I did find three pretty fitties though which I’ve aptly named the Cutie, the Beauty, and the… You-Can’t-Afford-Me. (Rhyming’s not my forte.) Wanna see?

The Cutie

Dress #1 is probably a little casual to be labelled as a Party Frock, but it’s ever so cute, don’t you think? Although my husband would rather I dressed entirely in top-to-to Jane Norman circa 1999 (short, tight and tarty), I’m much more comfortable in something loose and a little more relaxed. I LOVE the crew neck on this ASOS dress which frames the collarbone perfectly, and the black lace panel adds just the right amount of cheekiness. And I’d make it ‘party suitable’ by donning bare legs and black stiletto shoe boots. In fact, I may already have this little baby on order… well, at £34 it would be rude not to!

The Beauty

You simply can’t go wrong with a sequinned tshirt dress, and the fact this one has the word ‘tinsel’ in it’s name means it was made for Christmas! The sleeve length and high neckline are very on-trend (and more flattering than you think), and manage to relax what is essentially a fully-sequinned mini dress. And I love the mix of black and champagne shimmer. If the white smock dress above is no good, I will be making a trip to Topshop later in the week to try this on.

The You-Can’t-Afford-Me

Party Frock #3 is from French Connection, which means you take the price of what an item should be and then you whack on an another £100. Daylight robbery aside though, they do make beautiful dresses and this particular frock is fit. Fact. I’m a sucker for a top/skirt combo, and the colours in the skirt are just gorgeous. I’m not 100% sure on the neckline… it’s very retro and I love the beadwork, but if it makes the model above look a bit butch, what on earth is it going to do to me?! It’s super pretty though. Well done French Connection.

Anyone else currently on the hunt for a fabulous frock?

Sama xxx

The Search For The Perfect Cape Coat

It’s not really necessary for me to tell this tale, but I will anyway.  I was meeting an industry acquaintance for lunch the other week when I had a momentary lapse of confidence in what I was wearing. I was sporting my usual smart-casual attire of skinny jeans, ankle boots, and this grey blazer when I caught sight of myself in a shop window and suddenly felt a little bit… shabby.

Now I am NOT a fashionista and I am DEFINITELY not a trend-setter, but I do take pride in what I wear and how I look… particularly when I’m meeting people for the first time. I had a sudden urge to look a bit chicer then my khaki/leather-sleeved Zara jacket and jean ensemble was emitting, so despite my bank balance being practically empty I found myself darting in to a nearby Zara to see if there was anything that would make me feel a little less shabby and a little more suave.

I completely surprised myself by walking directly towards what I can only describe as a camel-coloured-cape-type-overcoat-thing. (See? NOT a fashionista.) There were no sleeves, it wrapped right over the coat I was already wearing like a giant, tailored shawl, and added an air of sophistication I never knew I had.  I liked it very much, but at over £100 and my inner voice screaming ‘PANIC PURCHASE!’ like a wailing banshee, I put the camel-coloured-cape-type-overcoat-thing down and went to meet said industry acquaintance in my perfectly adequate smart-casual outfit.

(I would share an image of said item at this point, but I can I find the damn thing on the Zara website? No. No, I can’t.)

The lunch date was lovely, my safe-but-boring outfit wasn’t scrutinised (I don’t think) and my bank card was cartwheeling with gratitude following it’s survival from a near-death experience, but the fashion seed had been planted and it is now, with payday tomorrow, that I am on the hunt for The Perfect Cape Coat.

Cape coats of wonder. From L to R: 1, 2, 3, 4

A selection of caped beauties from Pinterest.

Worn well (see images above), the cape coat is the epitome of cloaked glamour. This isn’t something you throw on to walk the dog; this is a high fashion item worn with the obligatory high heels, large tote bag, skinny pins and big hair as the images above show. Worn badly, and you have the potential of looking like a superhero. Or a yeti.

My case in point. (Source)

My case in point. (Source)

I feel a shopping trip coming on soon, but in the meantime I’ve done a quick flash-shop of the internet to see what’s out there and whet my appetite. Here are a few of my faves…

L: Melton Cape from Warehouse, £75 R: Dark Grey Cape from Next, £35

L: Melton Cape from Warehouse, £75
R: Dark Grey Cape from Next, £35

L: Green Cape from Geeks & Stitches, £193 R: MANGO Military Cape Coat from ASOS, £90

L: Green Cape from Geeks & Stitches, £193
R: MANGO Military Cape Coat from ASOS, £90

L: ASOS Biker Cape Coat, currently reduced to £52.50 R: Elissa Oversized Belted Cape from Boohoo, £25

L: ASOS Biker Cape Coat, currently reduced to £52.50
R: Elissa Oversized Belted Cape from Boohoo, £25

I fear I’m not nearly glamorous enough to pull this look off, and I realise I’m about 2 years behind (cape coats are so 2011, dahhling), but this is most definitely a look I’m currently coveting.  I think the Mango Military Cape is my favourite… but I may be being swayed by the pretty model.

What’s your favourite? Can you rock a cape coat with the best of them? Or has the yeti woman just put you off completely? Do share…

Sama xxx

 

Mascara Melt-Down

Help. Me.

Last week I bought a new mascara to replace one that was on it’s way out. Now I may currently have a make-up bag full of Clarins and Bobbi Brown products thanks to my recent nuptials, but I’m not so fussy when it comes to mascara. Unlike products like foundation and skin creams, I don’t believe you need to pay full whack for a tube of black gloop. Or not when you’ve found a product that just works.

mascara3

‘Good eggs’ in the mascara world.

My mascara brand of choice for the last goodness-knows-how-many-years has been Maybelline. I was an advocate for the Great Lash mascara for a while, before ‘upgrading’ to the Colossal Volum’ Express mascara which I’ve stuck to for a good few years now. I love the Colossal. I love the plump, wide, oval brush, and more importantly I love what it does to my eyelashes. Thicker, longer, even, natural-looking lashes; the Colossal Volume Express mascara is one of my most trusted friends.

What possessed me, therefore, to ‘shake things up’ last week, I don’t know. I didn’t go completely off course- I trust Maybelline to give good lash after all- but bamboozled by the HUGE array of similarly named items by this mammoth make-up brand (and slightly hungover and therefore not able to think properly), I ended up taking home the Colossal Volum’ Express Cat Eyes mascara.

Big mistake. Big. Huge, in fact. This mascara is most definitely not my friend. My heart sank as I pulled this spindly, pathetic-looking brush out for the first time, and as I brushed black clumps through my lashes and watched them curl and harden un-naturally (and in completely different directions), I knew this was going to be a very short-term relationship.

So I turn to you, oh wonderful readers. Before I go running back to the old faithful with my tail between my legs, I’m curious to know… which mascara do you use?? Have you tried others in the past and always returned to a particular favourite? As much as I love Maybelline this recent debacle has unnerved me and I’m up for trying something new, so do leave me a little note and if there’s a common theme I will give it a try!

I’m a woman currently sporting spiders legs around her eyes, people. Assist me.

Sama xxx