Monthly Archives: April 2017

Beauty: Paul & Joe Limited Edition 15th Anniversary Makeup Collection

Posted on April 28, 2017

Hi Guys!

If you know Paul & Joe beauty, you’ll know they’re all about the cute and kitsch – and of course cats. Their new limited edition 15th anniversary collection has just arrived at TSNC HQ and it’s simply BEAUTIFUL.

The 15th Anniversary Makeup Collection brings together some of Paul and Joe’s best selling beauty products in one handy collectible set – of course featuring their iconic feline design throughout, contrasted on a pretty floral background. The set includes a selection of colours for the eyes in pretty spring shades, as well as a couple of other lovely treats…

The large outer box opens to reveal a pretty pink and gold two tier vanity case, with a flip lid on the top and a drawer below. Paul & Joe haven’t skimped on the details here. The box itself is of high quality and even features a gold cat head as a drawer pull. This could easily be used as a trinket or jewellery box if you so wished.

The top of the case lifts up to reveal a six individual 3D cat shaped eye colours. They all have a pearl finish and come in a range of pretty pastel shades. There’s a mint green, metallic copper brown, shimmery pink, a yellow gold, deep purple and a light pastel pink. They’re so cute and so perfect, I can’t bear to touch them!

In the below drawer, you’ll find a Lipstick in Petit Princess – this is a soft peachy coral shade that was originally seen in the Spring 2012 collection, and of course the bullet has been moulded into a super cute cat head shape with a hat – I would expect nothing less. There’s also a mini Face & Eye Colour Case tin, which opens to reveal an eyeshadow brush and three spaces to house your top three kitty cat pearls from the eye colours, making them both portable an easy to use.

And as if all of this wasn’t enough, the outer box also contains a cat head shaped makeup bag pouch, with a floral cream and pink pattern to match the design on the vanity case.

In my opinion this is a collection to be loved and cherished, and definitely not used (even though everything included is of course fully functional). This collection has been designed to the finest detail to make it as special, and precious as possible. As a child that always collected ‘special things’, like little trinkets and shiny stones, and kept them safe in a little tin – so this collection just really appeals to me. This is a truly stunning set that makeup collectors will absolutely love. I just want to sit and look at the cats forever!

The Paul & Joe Anniversary makeup Collection is £55.00 and available at ASOS now.

I hope you enjoyed my post xxx

 This post contains press samples

Hair: The Beautiful Miranda Wig from Joseph’s Wigs

Posted on April 27, 2017

Hi Guys!

You may or may not know by now that I regularly wear wigs – I know I don’t often share pictures of myself, but when I do I’m usually wearing a wig. I love them! It’s been a while since I’ve tried any new ones though, and I always seem to gravitate towards the same ones in my collection. So when Joseph’s Wigs asked if I’d like to review one of their wigs, of course I jumped at the chance.

They have a great selection available, but I went for the Miranda Wig by Amore at Renee of Paris as it just looked so effortless and natural…

Well I have to say it didn’t disappoint when it arrived! The Miranda wig was just as beautiful as I was hoping, and I’m SO happy with how well made it is – it literally needed no styling and zero effort. With this wig you can just throw it on in under a minute and you’re ready to go.

I should probably point out that some wigs require a lot of work before you wear them – they might need cutting, styling, adjusting etc. All I did with this before wearing it was spray a bit of dry shampoo through the lengths, which helps to dull down any shine so it looks more like real hair.

This wig comes with a wefted back and sides and a double monofilament top, which basically means the parting isn’t set in one place, and you can move around it to suit your style. I love that it’s so versatile and and the monofilament top also makes it look very realistic as it allows the hair to fall more naturally.

The cap itself is very lightweight, and made of soft, breathable materials. If you haven’t worn a wig before, they can really make your head quite hot, so it’s important that the cap is as light as possible. You can also adjust the sides on the inside of the cap for a really snug fit – there’s no chance of this falling off!

You can see the style is long and layered, and doesn’t feel heavy at all. And considering the hair is non-human, it really is fantastic quality, both in terms of the texture and the colour. There are a massive 24 shades to choose from for the Miranda wig, and I went with Toasted Brown which is a lovely warm toned light brown, with natural looking highlights.

You can probably tell by now that I’m absolutely thrilled with my new wig – I think it might be my new favourite! I’d love to hear what you think? And do let me know if you’d be interested to see more wig reviews on TSNC moving forward. I hope you enjoyed my post xxx

This post contains press samples

Skincare: Multi Misting with Pixi Beauty #MultiMisting

Posted on April 24, 2017

Hi Guys!

Ok so we’ve all heard of multi-masking? Well now Pixi Beauty are taking things one step further with multi-misting! Which as you can guess, is all about layering up your favourite mists, and using them together in a way that suits your skin.

Pixi Beauty have just added a couple of brand new mists to their ever-expanding collection of products, including the Vitamin Wakeup Mist and the Sun Mist. I have the new Vitamin Wakeup Mist (£16.00 at M&S) – which is described as a boosting toner mist to revitalize and awaken the complexion. It has an orange blossom water base, which is blended with skin-loving citrus fruit extracts, lavendar, and arginine for a wonderfully zesty scent that instantly refreshes the skin on contact. You can use this any time of day just to cool the skin and give it a bit of a boost, though I prefer a spritz first thing in the morning. It also works well to freshen your makeup during the day, giving skin a shot of hydration and protection.

The Hydrating Milky Mist (£18.00 at M&S) is another favourite of mine. This is a featherlight mist that provides an instant surge of hydration to help plump up the skin. It contains hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, and a blend of black oat, provitamin A, and linoleic acid to soothe and calm, and add moisture to the skin before you apply serum or makeup. My dry and sensitive skin just loves this – it gives an instant boost of hydration leaving my skin feeling happy and plump.

The Glow Mist (£16.00 at M&S) gives you a dewy, luminous and smooth complexion, which works to set makeup whilst hydrating and protecting the skin. Out of the four mists I’ve been trying out, I’d definitely say this one is a must have for everyone. It contains 13 natural oils, plus propolis which has has antiseptic and antioxidant properties, and aloe vera and fruit extracts which help to hydrate, protect and nourish the skin, all together leaving you with a radiant, healthy looking glow.

And lastly the Makeup Fixing Mist (£16.00 at M&S) – as you would expect, this mist prolongs your makeup and prevents it from sliding down your face as well as melting and settling into fine lines. It contains rose water and green tea to hydrate, protect and balance skin, giving you a fresh looking complexion with a soft-focus finish. You can also spray this directly onto your makeup brushes before applying product, to help your makeup last longer still.

I’m actually really struggling to tell you which is my favourite out of these mists. I love the Vitamin Mist to ‘wake up’ my skin in the morning, I love the Hydrating Milky Mist and Glow mist equally for an instant hit of hydration, whilst leaving my skin feeling rejuvenated, and the Makeup Setting Mist does exactly what you’d expect. So I think there really is something for everyone here!

Have you tried any Pixi Mists? I’d love to hear what your favourite is!

I hope you enjoyed my post xxx

This post contains press samples

Beauty: Kiko Less Is Better Limited Edition Capsule Collection

Posted on April 21, 2017

Hi Guys!

Can you believe Kiko is 20 years old this year! I really would never have guessed that it’s now pretty much 20 years since their very first store opened way back in September 1997.

To celebrate their birthday, KIKO have teamed up with Vogue Italia, who have chosen seven international designers to create their own limited-edition capsule collections for the brand. The designers will each interpret a make-up trend and use it to celebrate KIKO’s most important values: colour, creativity, talent and of course an all-Italian style.

The Less is Better limited-edition capsule collection has been created in partnership with the designers of SuperDuper Handmade Hats, a brand that I personally haven’t heard of, but they’ve won many awards for the design and quality of their hats.

The Less is Better collection focuses on the “no make-up” make-up trend which emphasise natural beauty using nude and neutral colours to accentuate the features and cleverly play with light and shadow.

This limited-edition collection includes products for highlighting the face, concealing small imperfections and also putting emphasis on the eyes and lips. The colour palette is warm, natural and elegant, and all of the products come in nude and neutral shades.

Starting with the Less is Better Matte Lipstick (£6.90 at Kiko) – this mini collection of matte liquid lipsticks contains four beautiful nude shades, offering a quick drying ultra-matte finish and high coverage. They have quite a moussey texture, similar to the Burberry Lip Velvets, which feels lightweight and velvety on the lips. The formula is also enriched with peach extract and Brazil nut oil to help provide exceptional coverage. I have shades –

  • 02 Silky Cashmere – a light nude beige
  • 03 Essential Rose – a light petal pink
  • 04 Impeccable Rosewood – a deep nude brown

The Less is Better Fluid Highlighter (£11.90 at Kiko) is a lightweight highlighting fluid that’s perfect for fans of subtle strobing. The formula contains pearls and pigments to give a light sheen to the skin, rather than a full on intense highlight. If you’re looking for glowy skin, this is the perfect product to mix in with your day to day foundation to give a radiant complexion. This is available in two shades and I have shade 02 Mild Golden Sand, which would best suit medium skin tones.

And the Less is Better Cream Blush (£8.90 at Kiko) – this is a water based cream blush, combining the softness of a mousse with the fresh feel of a lightweight emulsion. It contains soft-focus powders that blend and build easily, and the water in the formula leaves the skin feeling refreshingly cool. You can’t see it too well but it is swatched on my hand above, I love that the product sheers out nicely for a flush of colour that’s easy to wear. This is available in two shades, and I have 02 Tenuous Mauve, which is a beautiful muted mauve shade.

The Less is Better collection is available now at Kiko Cosmetics.

I hope you enjoyed my post xxx

This post contains press samples

My Experience Using an Instagram Bot…

Posted on April 20, 2017

Hi Guys,

Ok so before you start losing your mind. Let me tell you the story from the beginning… (sorry it’s a long one)

A few weeks ago I was talking with a friend about blogging and social media in general, and the conversation turned to Instagram and bots. This was before the whole thing blew up on Twitter over Easter, I’d heard of bots but never really given them a second thought. From the little knowledge I had, I understood they were one step away from buying followers and really not a good idea. My friend actually made them sound quite appealing though and came up with quite a few positive sounding points…

So this got me thinking. Could this actually be a useful way to help your Instagram grow? Is this like an electronic PA, working on your behalf to get your profile out there and noticed? I don’t use Instagram very much. Apart from the fact that I’ve been unwell recently, I’ve never been a big user, I often go weeks between posts and don’t have a big following, so I decided to sign up and trial one of the services to see if it actually works, and if it could give my profile a boost. It’s not like I was buying followers, so what could go wrong??

I should point out here that there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of sites offering a combination of paid for followers (across all social channels, not just instagram) as well as different bots. I was quite surprised at how big a business it really is.

I went to the site that was recommended to me and considered signing up – but it felt wrong. It felt like cheating… or was it? The site told me I’d be growing my following organically, so it can’t all be bad, right? I thought it was worth a shot.

I just want to point out that didn’t intend this to be malicious. I didn’t want to follow and unfollow thousands of accounts every day in order to gain a zillion followers like some people have. I was just curious and wanted to see if this could be a useful tool for bloggers to help grow their Instagram following in a genuine way.

So I signed up, and once I got the hang of using the dashboard I was extremely impressed with how sophisticated the technology was. You could literally specify what you want to do in terms of following accounts, liking posts and commenting, down to the finest detail. You could select which hours you want the bot to run, which hashtags you want to target, wether you want to like, follow, unfollow, comment, or a mixture of all of them, and how many per hour. You could also specify the location of the users you want to target, how many followers they have, and which of their posts you want to comment or like. So just for an example – you could say you want the bot to run for two hours on a Saturday morning starting at 9am. Where it will comment on 10 posts per hour which it randomly selects from hashtags that you input to the system, and like 20 posts per hour. You could also further drill down so it only chooses people in a specific country, and with specific followings too.

It really was very clever. So I set up my dashboard, input some hashtags that I use, which are mostly beauty ones, and let it do its thing by following and liking new accounts. This didnt really do much in terms of gaining more followers, though I did get a few more likes where people reciprocated, but nothing noticeable.

I then decided to try the comment feature. You’re advised to use a ‘neutral’ comment that can be applied to pretty much any instagram image. I went with ‘Love! Your feed is fab!’ which I though is friendly and positive but still quite generic. I then let the bot do its thing again.

This is where I really saw a difference. People notice comments. This definitely drove new users to my profile, and suddenly my followers started to increase, and so did my likes and comments. After my initial ‘yay this is working’ reaction, I looked at my profile and saw I had quite a few responses to my generic ”Love! Your feed is fab!’ comment – and I felt terrible.

These people were thinking this was actually me commenting on their profiles. I received some lovely replies, and this is when it first hit me that bots really aren’t a good idea at all. I felt so bad and that I’d basically duped these people. I try to be a straight up, what you see is what you get type of person, so when I realised this was happening, I just had this terrible feeling of disappointment (in myself) and guilt.

And sure some of these accounts were actually great, and had I had the time I’d definitely have commented on them myself. But plenty also weren’t, or just weren’t to my taste or wern’t of interest to me, and this bot was running around pretending to be me, telling all these accounts that I loved them – it just felt very wrong.

I have to say, there’s no doubt that the way I used this bot did give me real followers. Those that followed me decided to follow me (and / or comment) off their own back – BUT – the method you use to get people to notice you in the first place just didn’t sit right with me. Commenting on random posts, following accounts you’re not actually interested in – and of course there’s f/uf (follow / unfollow) which is something else that people have been using bots for (this is following and instantly unfollowing accounts, with the hope that those people will follow you back) It’s just all quite dishonest at the end of the day. My bot was originally set to unfollow but I changed this partway through my trial to follow to see how it changed the results. I found I received a higher rate of followers when I stopped unfollowing others – surprise surprise.

In terms of stats, overall the bot did over 6000 likes for me, nearly 2000 comments, nearly 2000 follows, and nearly 500 unfollows, all within a couple of weeks. This resulted in just over 1000 new followers plus plenty of comments and likes received (the bot didn’t give stats for these) I can’t even begin to imagine how much time this would have taken if I was doing all this manually.

To conclude, do I think Instagram bots are a good idea? The answer is no I don’t. To make new users discover you, your bot is acting as you, following, liking and commenting on random accounts, and this deceptiveness has definitely left a bad taste in my mouth. It feels wrong and dishonest. Bloggers treat themselves as businesses now – could you imagine if businesses used bots to leave generic comments on customers profiles? Its one thing having a real person work for you and represent your brand to follow and leave genuine comments on relevant users profiles, but bots completely remove the human element, they feel false, repetitive and deceptive, and after trying this one out I don’t think they can be used in a positive way at all.

So where does this leave things? Well my trial is now over, and even though my account technically did receive a boost, I’m now left waiting to see who unfollows me, when they realise that I won’t be liking or commenting on their posts anymore. As well as this, I also now need to go through my profile and unfollow all the accounts that I’m not actually interested in, so in the long run it’s actually made me more work.

In terms of Instagram as a whole though, I’ve learned that it’s pretty much a full time job to grow your account yourself. You need to be constantly on there posting new content, following, liking and commenting on new accounts that you’re interested in and that are relevant to you, as well a liking and commenting on the current accounts you already follow. Who has time for this? Definitely not me at the moment. But if you do, I applaud you and you definitely deserve success after putting in so much work. After this experience (and ending up feeling bad about the whole thing – I’m still receiving replies to my generic comment) I’m happy to just let my account sit there and not do much like it always has done.

I hope you enjoyed my post – please do let me know your thoughts xx

Food: Easter Unicorn No Bake Rainbow Cheesecake!

Posted on April 14, 2017

Hi Guys!

I’ve had a lovely couple of weeks off for Easter with my son Freddy, and I know I don’t really do food on the blog, but I REALLY wanted to make a unicorn cheesecake and thought it’d be fun to share it with you guys. Moving forward I really want to include a bigger variety of posts sharing more of the things that I’m interested in, so I decided to give this a go – I think it came out pretty well!

Also – I’m not the best cook, so I love that this is super simple to do. So even if you’re not that great in the kitchen, there’s not much that can go wrong here! This is what you’ll need –

Ingredients:

  • 2x 280g tubs of Philadelphia or other brand soft cheese
  • 300ml Double Cream
  • 100g Sugar (I used half granulated and half soft brown sugar)
  • 200g Digestive Biscuits
  • 100g Unsalted Butter
  • Vanilla Essence
  • Your Choice of Food Colouring

To Decorate:

  • Sprinkes
  • Mini Eggs
  • Anything else you like – e.g. mini marshmallows, sweets etc

First of all you need to make the cheesecake base. The easiest way to do this is to put your biscuits in a sealable plastic bag, and smash them up with a rolling pin. While you’re doing this, put the butter in the microwave to melt it (or do it in a pan on the hob if you prefer) then just mix the butter in a bowl with the biscuit crumbs until they’re well blended together.

I then grabbed my new Traditional Round Master (£24.99 from Delicake) which is basically a clear perspex ‘cake tin’ for making no-bake cakes and desserts. You just need to press the biscuit / butter mix into the base and try to make it as even as possible. You can always use a traditional cake tin for this too. Then just pop it in the fridge while you make the filling.

For the actual cheesecake, get a large bowl and add your soft cheese, sugar, and a couple of drops of Vanilla Essence and blend until it’s thoroughly mixed. Then pour in the cream and mix until it’s quite stiff nd stands up in peaks when you’re stirring.

Then you need to divide your mixture into smaller bows, and stir in your desired amount of food colouring into each bowl. I’d recommend starting with a couple of drops as a little goes a long way. You can always add more if you want a more intense colour.

Grab your base from the fridge and splodge in each colour randomly until you’ve used all the mixture up. Then grab a knife and spread it around, mixing the colours slightly whilst flattening it down against the sides and filling in any gaps.

Then you just need to add your sprinkles and toppings – I went for some cute edible iced flowers and of course mini eggs because Easter! In case you were wondering, I thought I’d include an exact list of the sprinkles and food colourings I used too. I got pretty much everything from eBay as I wanted specific colours that I couldn’t find in my local shops –

Then leave in the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours to set, and voila! It was SO much fun making this, Fred had a great time and so did I, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. It looked so awesome and also tasted amazing too!

I’d love to hear what you think of this, and if you’d like to see a bigger variety of posts on TSNC moving forward? Let me know!

I hope you enjoyed my post xxx