Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Bronze Powder

31 January 2013

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I wont lie to you - I am partial to a bronzer. My DNA says that I'm more of a bronzer woman than a blush woman, and sometimes it bugs me that I don't get excited by blush, but in all honesty, I love the warm tones of bronzer and the feeling of having a glow. The curse of bronzer however is the possible orange look if you're too heavy in application. Fortunately for me, I have quite olive toned skin so I can get away with bronzer more than some fairer people could, which means a very happy Tamsin. Near me, there's an independent department store which does some great deals in the sale - this is one of my fav things about independent stores - you can get makeup items in the sale, unlike bigger department stores. I picked up this particular bronzer in the sale the other day - unfortunately as it was released last Summer, it may be difficult to get your paws on, but it may sway you to a similar bronzer in the long run.

Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Bronze Powder in Warm Radiance was part of the Rose Aurora collection. With the popular Rose Gold packaging, it made people stop at the Elizabeth Arden counter who may not have been regular customers, so gold star to them for a good merchandising game. I, too am a sucker for nice packaging and aesthetics do feature a lot for me. The compact is solid and pretty, and added mirror is always a bonus if you're on the move. The bronzer itself is a mix of shimmer and glow - don't be put off by the shimmer - there's not a lot there to speak of and it just gives a bit of a shine if the sun catches your face. Silky smooth to apply too and pigmentation is great - my only blip is that the powder can be a little wayward when applying and can get over the compact, but it's deal-able. Warm Radiance is the middle shade and if you have olive skin, this would be perfect for you - it's not subtle but not over the top.

A good dupe for this bronzer may be the classic Nars Laguna Bronzing Powder, so if you can't get your hands on this lovely Elizabeth Arden one, maybe that is your calling? However, you can still pick it up from Feel Unique for £21.25 which isn't bad as it did retail for £25. As a bronze bambino, the Pure Finish Bronze Powder ticks all the boxes for me, with a few extra points for the seriously hot packaging. If you love a bit of a glow, maybe this is one for you to try and get your hands on why you still can!

-Tamsin xxx

NARS 'TV Party' from the Andy Warhol Collection

28 January 2013

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Believe me when I say I used to detest the colour orange. I disliked its tones and thought it clashed with my skin tone and hair - it was just a definite no-go for me. Last Summer however, I went a bit mad for orange shades on my nails..talk about an episode of 'change your mind'! I loved the way it gave you a bit of a glow after a day in the sun or just with a basic outfit, it stood out a little more. When the Andy Warhol collection for NARS came out last Winter, it was this nail polish that caught my eye.

'TV Party' which is described as a 'vivid orange' is quite a toned down orange shade - compared to my fav Orly 'Melt Your Popsicle' which is a bright neon slap bang in the face orange, this is a lot more subtle, but still packs a punch. You can tell there's some red undertones in there which I think is what makes it a little different from other orange shades out there. Application is creme smooth and it's opaque within two coats, which I do love from a nail polish. I always apply a top coat after any nail polish application, but TV Party had such a glossy finish that it may not have been necessary. Lasting power is worth every penny - I wore this on my holiday to Cape Verde and it lasted the whole week beautifully, and that's complete with dealing with sand, sun, sea and chlorine - the end result is me feeling smug that I don't have to waste precious holiday time applying a new colour to my nails. Win.

You can still buy TV Party and the other colours from the Andy Warhol collection for £14.00. My love affair with the colour orange continues - I'm still not perfectly comfortable with wearing it in the form of clothing or shoes, but bags and nails I am very much overly comfortable with. Thumbs up to TV Party - you're helping me in my conversion process!

-Tamsin xxx

Pub Night

26 January 2013

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What is nicer than finishing work, wrapping up warm, brisk walk to the pub and a nice pint or three? Thursday is my official pub night and I'm at my fav pub in the world, the Digby Tap with my dog and a few colleagues without fail. It's the one weekday night I have a drink and I enjoy it every time. It's teeny tiny from the outside, and even smaller on the inside, and you'll be greeted with no nonsense old fashioned West Country interior. Pints are cheap, the three open fires they have are always blazing, and you sit on traditional pew style seats. Plus, they allow dogs which means my Max is always sitting on the pew with me, eating a pork scratching or two. A 'quick pint' always turns into a merry meet with all the locals, fresh in from their day out shooting or just in from a hard day at work. It's the sort of pub I love - no frills, certainly no commericalism and always a nice atmosphere. This Thursday was no exception, and I had a lovely evening with Max and my fav colleague Nina.

We've actually just come back from the said pub just now after a nice walk, and I've now got the oven on cooking a whole duck - Max is definitely interested!

-Tamsin xxx

MAC Sunny Seoul

23 January 2013

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I'm partial to a MAC lipstick, and partial to peachy pink tones...so on Sunny Seoul, I was sold from the minute I swatched it. Sunny Seoul was part of the Cremesheen and Pearl collection that was out around last September time and all the colours were to my liking - lucky for us, the collection is permanent! The collection is 'infused with crushed pearl for a shimmery formula' but don't fret about major shimmer lips because it's actually not at shimmery as you'd think. For me, Sunny Seoul gives that perfect ratio of pink and peach mashed together (it's slightly more toned down than Everhip for example), and as it's a cremesheen formula, it's smooth and silky to apply. Staying power can be hit and miss with cremesheen formulas which is their one downside, but I've found Sunny Seoul to be a real trouper during the day. I truly can't wait to wear this in the spring months.

I think my favourite thing about Sunny Seoul is that it's like a normal cremesheen formula but with a slight twist of a pearl iridescent. Other than that, it's the fact I feel I'm able to attempt to sing Gangnam Style whilst pretending I'm Korean...the lipstick is basically telling me too!Also added is a photo of Max jumping into the camera. He always has to get involved and try and photobomb me whilst I'm taking blog photos, and although it's a bit blurry, it's cute, AND you can see how nice Sunny Seoul is again. Does anyone else have any photobombing dogs? Rascals!

-Tamsin xxx

Panache Lingerie and St Tropez Bronzed Bust Challenge

21 January 2013

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Today's post is a bit of an 'ooh-la-la' lingerie one. Personally, I've always found finding pretty bras quite difficult as a lot of high street shops don't really go up past a D cup, and I'm of the fuller bust party at a size E. If I'm honest, I've always hated having a bigger bust as I'm only little, and I won't lie in saying I've considered breast reduction as I feel totally top heavy. However, I'm trying to deal with my insecurities and embrace my natural bust. If I had a pound for every time a girl has said to me 'I wish I had your boobs!' I would be a millionaire, so hey, I'm trying to make the best of what I've got. However, that still makes finding pretty bras a problem. Fortunately, there are a number of websites which are now catering for specific bust sizes, with Panache Lingerie being one of them. They sell an array of gorgeous bra sets by different companies from a D cup upwards, and they also have a great advice page for people who are unsure about bra fittings etc. Recently, Panache set me a challenge. One of their top tips for optimising and enhancing the chest area was by using fake tan/bronzer and they wanted to know my thoughts on this. Armed with my new Masquerade Balconnet Bra, some St Tropez and some exfoliating mitts, I got to work on my challenge.

Firstly, exfoliation - I used the mitts in the shower as suggested and they worked as expected. For people less used to fake tan, exfoliating before application is really important otherwise you will likely get a patchy or streaky tan due to build up of dead skin cells. The fake tan I would be using was from the St Tropez gradual tan range. I'm no stranger to this range and have been using these products since I was about 18. It's one of my favourite gradual tanners ever - no streaks, no dodgy smell and it gives a gorgeous natural glow, which is just what I want from a gradual tanner. I always apply my gradual tanner before bed after my shower and by the morning it gives a lovely glow. I usual top up this tan every 2 days to keep it looking fresh, and as it's gradual, it never looks too orange.

So, did I see a difference after applying the gradual tanner when wearing the bra? Self esteem wise, yes. I'd never noticed before how different I felt when I had gradual tan on my body. I'm a huge tan baby and love nothing more than holidaying and being tanned, and I get a real buzz off feeling good about myself when I'm tanned - I'd never noticed I had a similar feeling when I wore fake tan. I just had to step back, take a look at myself and have a think. I don't think I noticed any particular 'enhancing' effects from using the tan, but personally, if my self esteem improved because of it, then it's a total winner for me.

For any ladies reading this who may have had a similar situation like this, where you may not be entirely comfortable with your body or bust, then I'd like to promote this challenge to you too. Bras are important - spend the time to get fitted, treat yourself to one of the nicest bra's you've ever owned, apply the gradual tan if you would like (I would truly recommend St Tropez Gradual Tan) and take a step back and take the time to appreciate your body and your assets. Beauty really does start from within and self esteem is hugely important. I'd love to thank Panache Lingerie and Best British Bloggers for offering me this opportunity - it has really helped me more than I thought it ever would!

-Tamsin xxx

Maybelline The Falsies Volum' Express Black Drama mascara

19 January 2013

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Recently, my Boots points card was telling me to go and buy any mascara and I'd get lots of points..so seeing as I was practically being forced, I did. After liking the last Maybelline mascara I'd bought (Colossal Cat Eye), I decided to pick up 'The Falsies Volum' Express' in Black Drama. Seeing as mascara is something I use every day without fail, an affordable, high street priced mascara is always on my list of 'must haves.'

As with most of the Maybelline mascaras, the tube is pretty much the same as the rest of the collection. Aesthetically, I love the bright fuchsia tube and the lace detailing, but we all know it's the formula that counts ladies. The wand is slightly bigger than I usually go for. I love plastic wands, but this is a fuller brush (although not huge) with extra fibres on to help emphasize length. Maybelline call this wand a 'spoon wand' because it's slightly curved to help fan out lashes. Using the wand was easy as pie. I have naturally long lashes so I have to be careful when applying mascara as it can end up on my eyelid, but with careful application I had no problem with this. From first coat, you should see a good mascara coating - if you like a minimal day/work look with natural mascara, one coat would do it with this mascara I think. However, in the photo above, I'm wearing 3 coats because I do like a full 'va-va voom' effect with my lashes. I found that you have to let the mascara dry slightly in between coats or you will get a little clumping, but just take your time, as I found the results to be great and true to the 'false look' claim. Cons? I did find you get fall out as the day goes on which is one of my hates about mascaras. However, despite the fall out, my lashes stayed lifted, curled and full throughout the majority of the day.

I've decided that this mascara is actually a great alternative to false lashes, so Maybelline, I'll give you a gold star for your 'false effect' claim. However, the fall out is a bit of a thumbs down for me. This mascara has a firm place in my mascara draw for the future and I would buy it again but only if it was on offer or if Boots forces me to buy it again (oh Boots you bad influence you!). I'd love to know if any of you have tried this mascara? People with shorter lashes might want to look into this mascara I think! You can pick it up at Boots for £7.99.

-Tamsin xxx

Montacute House

16 January 2013

Currently, we've had no or limited snowfall in Dorset and Somerset compared to the rest of the country and bright blue skies and sunshine have been gracing our doorsteps which is a nice treat in these Winter months. This only means one thing to me, and that's to wrap up warm and take the dog on a nice walk somewhere.

On my doorstep is a lovely place called Montacute House. It's an Elizabethan country house which is now owned by National Trust, and houses some beautiful paintings from London's National Portrait Gallery. The gardens are fabulous and extensive, and it's the perfect place for dog walking. Once you're outside the gardens, you're greeted by endless fields adorned with various livestock and this is where my dog Max becomes very happy as I let him off the lead. Montacute House itself is closed during the Winter, but from March, it awakens and there is a variety of things to see and do at the house - it has an orangery, tea rooms, a shop and lots of exhibitions.

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The old pavillion which now houses a giant chess board

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Gates to the fields

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Max looking onto the grounds

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What's in there?

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The front of the house

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If you're ever in South Somerset, I'd recommend a visit to Montacute House, whether it's to visit the house and gardens or just for a nice dog walk. It's a couple of minutes off the A303 and really easy to get to. I feel very lucky that I can walk Max in such a lovely place..it's well worth the visit, although remember to take wellies and a towel to rub the dog down..Max prides himself on getting as dirty as he can whenver we go..fabulous. 

Also, this is my first kind of outfit post..if you'd like me to do more of these and include the details of what I'm wearing, please let me know!

-Tamsin xxx

Hair Resolutions 2013

15 January 2013

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I'm not huge on New Year's resolutions, I will admit. Not because I can't achieve them, but because I don't think we should wait till the turn of a new year to do something new or make a change. However, I'm making a few 'hair resolutions' for this 2013 in a bid to keep my locks long and luscious (check out the alliteration overload!) The photo above is of me in December, on the day my boyfriend returned home from his deployment, and yes look at my little dog Max with his personalised Royal Navy knitted jumper (looking rather stunned and excited that his daddy had returned after 6 months!) ;) I'd just been rained on and my hair wasn't happy to say the least, complete with blurry eyes and a cheesy grin..what a great day it was! So without further ado, here are my Hair Resolutions for 2013.

001: Try not wash my hair so much - I know, I know, I knowww it's not good for your hair and natural oils etc, but I've always been a bit of a hair wash freak and my hair is always freshly washed every day. I'm trying to lower it to every other day at the moment, but I've already achieved a 3 day stint whilst using trusty dry shampoo to aid this. Any tips for how to continue with this is greatly appreciated, as I think this is my biggest challenge!

002: Always make an effort, even for work - It's easy to do isn't it ladies; you wake up, deal with the 'hair situation' in front of you whilst applying make up, watching Daybreak and eating Oat So Simple all at the same time. My hair is one of my pride and joys, and even I get lazy in the mornings and just cram it into a ponytail or a bun. Well that is going to change. Every day, I'm going to make my hair look presentable and spend some time on it..even if I'm only popping out to Tesco. When my hair is looking good, I always feel better about myself so it would be silly not to really.

003: Try some new styles - It's easy to get stuck in a pattern with your hair and do your same styles over and over again, and I'm a key offender of this. Changing a style doesn't mean drastic changes like cuts and colours though. I'm meaning trying a new updo, or just genuinely sitting down one Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea and experimenting in front of the mirror. It's refreshing and inspiring.

004: Love thy Tangle Teezer as you would your hair - Just like cleaning makeup brushes, hair brushes have to be cleaned too or you get a build up of hair follicles, grease, old hair and other nasties. I'm usually good at cleaning my hair brushes but I can sometimes get a bit lax, so I'm incorporating my hair brush washing into my Sunday evening pamper routine. This way, it's always done and my Tangle Teezer is always raring to achieve its best.

005: Eau natural can be 'eau so nice' - Step away from the hairdryer, GHD's, Enrapture Jumbo Waver etc ladies..it's time to give the tresses a break. Think of the stress the hair is under when you're using heat, so when I know I'm not necessarily going out on a Saturday or Sunday, I'm going to let my hair dry naturally, use some styling serum and let it do it's thing.

006: Colour TLC: - My hair has been changing colour since I was 12, yes 12..always professionally but my hair has still been through some rough seas. I've been blonde now for 7 years and it takes some serious maintenance, so I'm going to make sure it gets the TLC it deserves. Maybe this will be splashing out a little bit on a deep conditioning treatment at my hairdressers, or it may be having a long bath with my fav Aussie 3 Minute Miracle conditioner and leaving it on for 30 mins. My locks deserve it.

Our hair is battered and bruised daily from weather, to brushing, to vigorous washing, to colouring and styling. I'm determined to look after my hair even more than before this 2013.

-Tamsin xxx

Cape Verde

12 January 2013

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Last week I returned back from a gorgeous holiday to the Cape Verde Islands. Most people have since asked me where these islands actually are, and they're off the west coast of Africa, further down from the Canary Islands. This means you can go any time of year, January to December and be guranteed 30 degree weather, and textbook beaches and there's no jet lag...it was a total win in my eyes. I stayed on the main island of Sal - there's not much there, but the scenery is beautiful and the people are lovely. The islands also have good winds so if you like watersports then you're sorted for windsurfing and the like. Hopefully you get a jist of the what the islands are like from the photos above. If you need a holiday away to genuinely do nothing but read, relax, get a tan and enjoy yourself, look into Cape Verde...I'd recommend it!


-Tamsin xxx



Parks London

11 January 2013

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Today I'm indulging in one of my new favourite companies called Parks London. I've always been a candle person since I was about 14 (despite my Mum's fears that I would burn the house down) but expensive candles never reached further than large Yankee Candle jars, which are still very much a favourite of mine. I only dabbled with the much raved about Diptyque and they were beautifully luxurious but wouldn't be a regular in my living room unfortunately because of the high price. However, I decided to splash out a little on this candle from Parks London as a treat to myself. Parks London pride themselves on 100% natural wax using all vegan ingredients from renewable sources, so you can make yourself feel good about yourself by burning a nature friendly candle whilst breathing in gorgeous aromas..win! The candles come in a lovely gift box too which is always an added bonus. The candle I have burning is part of the 'Nature's Own' range in the scent 'Rejuvinating'. All the Nature's Own range have 6 natural and essential oils as part of the formula - 'Rejuvinating' includes Orange, Cedarwood and Black Pepper which seems to create one of the best smelling fragrances I've ever come across. The candles burn for approximately 60 hours which is on par with the top candle companies also.

Parks London candles will set you back £30 so it's still a bit of a splash out, but is cheaper than a lot of Diptyque candles so this could be one for your living room. My candle currently has pride of place on my mantlepiece, and I will be buying another when this one starts to run out, as well as possibly getting one for Mother's Day possibly. You find Parks London candles at their website www.parkscandles.com where they do a huge range of candles and diffusers - definitely worth a look!

-Tamsin xxx