Thursday, 22 June 2017

My first experience at Rush hair salon

Howdy,

It feels like I have always been on a quest to find a hairdresser who can do me fabulous curls, I'm not expecting to come out with a mane as fabulous as Beyoncé but to just have wonderful curls that do not go fluffy! My hair is quite fine and curly, it is not knotty or hard to handle. When washed and left it feels like hair of a child as it is just so soft. So now you have an idea of the type of hair I have, lets move on to my first experience!

I popped into the shop and asked to make an appointment, the lady on reception was polite and professional and got me an appointment for the next day. I turn up to my appointment the next day another lady on the front desk this time showed me to my seat and asked if I would like a drink, again super polite and professional.

My appointment was due to start at 4 and my hair dresser came over just before ten past, ten minutes who cares. I had a drink and was offered a magazine etc, I am fine with that.

My hair dresser came over, shook my hand and introduced herself to me and asked what I would like today, so I said I was after getting a wash, cut and I would like my hair styled with some product so that I can go home without my hair being a fluffy mess (I cannot go with out product on my hair). I said my hair is like that of a child and I worry that I will end up a fluffy mess. I also said I do not use oils and serums as my hair is so fine it weighs it down and I don't benefit from using them. As long as I don't go home fluffy I am happy to leave the products up to you? After this discussion it was over to the sink to have my hair washed.


The hair washing was just a basic shampoo twice and then condition, no massage or comb through with the conditioner, it was just rubbed in and off pretty quickly. Not sure of the products but they smelled lovely.

Back to my chair to have my hair cut and there wasn't much conversation, I spoke a few times but it didn't go anywhere. My hair dresser said she was going to place some leave-in conditioner cream in my hair as this would keep my curls from going fluffy and by using the heat ring instead of a dryer it would work well together. I have never used this product before so trusted what she said, when my hair was dry I was asked how did I feel my curls looked I said very nice as they did, she said ok you are done then. I asked do I not need anything else on my hair, spray etc as it doesn't feel like it would last in the wind. I was assured then that the conditioner was enough and was also told that a little serum was added too (I did not know that and had asked for no serums or oils to be used, too late now though).

I then went off to pay, after paying I went back to my car to go home which is just a couple of miles away. I looked like the picture below when I got home! I would never leave the house with fluffy hair, I find it very embarrassing and child-like. I will for sure be washing my hair soon, I can feel the oily product in my hair, its looks dull and slightly greasy. Also I will need to apply some product to it before leaving the house again, if I don't wash it soon.

Not sure if it is the type of gowns used but I have come home to lots of hair over myself, I don't usually have that problem, I feel a bit itchy so will have to take this top off and shake it outside.




Overall, my experience of the ladies on reception is great, they were polite, professional and very welcoming. My hair dresser did listen to my needs but I guess thought she might know best when still adding in the serum etc.

I feel like I have just had a basic shampoo and cut,  I will not be returning to pay £55 for this service.

I am sorry Rush it is a big thumbs down from me!

Thanks for reading

Kara xx 
































Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Eye Shadow Primer, Urban Decay V Nars

Howdy,

If you do not use an eye shadow primer then WHAT are you doing? As the average person blinks between 15-20 times a minute how on earth do you keep that colour vibrant, in place and most of all not creasing and basically being blinked away. Anyway enough of me moaning at you *rolls eyes* ok, now I'm done! ;-)

Here are two eye shadow primers that are really good and will give you long lasting vibrant eyeshadows. They wont budge or crease, even if you are using a cream eye shadow, powder or liner. They will bring even the most basic £2 shadow to life.

Urban Decay, £17 for 10ml of product. 

This is going to last you for such a long time, so don't be put of by the fact there isn't a lot of product. You seriously just use a tiny amount each time. 
It has a 6 month shelf life, if you are unsure how to find out the life of a product just look for the little round tub with the lid off it, it with contain a number like 6 or 9 it stands for how many months your product is good for.
This product blends into your eye lid and does not give off any colour, I personally prefer one without colour. I don't have any redness/veins showing on my lids so no need for a base colour, it soaks down into almost nothing, you do not feel like you have a product on your lids. I can go all day and night without my eye shadow creasing!
I find that sometimes you can get a small amount of watery liquid come out first which is really annoying. I do keep my products out of the sun, so not sure why this happens! As the tube is air tight you can't really mix up the product by squeezing it and if you tried to do it whilst the lid was off you would end up making a mess. The latest versions of the primer come with a doe foot applicator which will be much better, as the product will mix up every time you use it and it is easier to distribute the primer as you can apply the exact amount you need.






Nars, £19.50 for 8g of product.


It has a 12 month shelf life and you get less in the tube compared to Urban Decay. I do like the doe foot applicator, it makes it much easier to apply a little to your eye lid then blend in with your ring finger. You get much more control of the of the amount you are using too, making it easier not to waste any product. This products also drys down to nothing on the eye lid no colour and pigment left, I find this one to be just slightly less shiny in texture when applying to the lid. It gives a slightly more matte effect on the lid before applying your eyeshadow. I don't have oily eye lips myself but I have heard if you do this is one of the best to combat that and to stop oil breaking down your shadows.


So after me saying I do love them both, which I honestly do, which one do I prefer????

Well...... I prefer the Nars. For the fact in dries down to a matte finish and basically disappears completely on my lids. You are left with no trace of a product on your eye and are set for pencil or shadow to be added. As I said earlier this is great for oily eyelids which I don't have but I have been using it during our last "heat wave" or should be call it our English summer lol temp got up to 28oC and I spent the day outside and it worked a treat. No sign of a crease or smudge at all, even though my face was glowing (sweating) in the heat.

Urban Decay can be found at most Debenhams stores now or online here If you are in London, I love the the shop just off Covent it carries a large selection of their products and always have friendly staff to help. The flagship store which will offer the most selection of products is down Carnaby street.

Nars can be found to look at over the counter at places like Selfirdges or John Lewis or their own shop which again is just off Covent Garden about 2-3 doors down from the Urban Decay store. For their full selection it can be purchased online

Does anyone recommend any other primers? preferably not in a pot, I'm not into MAC's paint pots that have been a massive hype for the last 8 or even more years. I don't like the thought of sticking my finger into a pot! brrrr shudders lol

Thanks for reading
Kara xx















































Sunday, 11 June 2017

Byredo Gypsy Water

Howdy,

Now this perfume I had on my wish list, it is very different to my usual BAM that's Chanel eau fraiche. You can spot that straight away, it is very popular and a lot of people have it or at least recognise the smell. I tried Gypsy Water on my bare skin a few months ago and loved it, it is always a good idea to try a perfume out on your naked skin first see how it works with your body chemistry. I work with someone who wears Chanel No.5 and it smells amazing on her, I put it on and it smells like cat pee :-/

I have the 100ml bottle, which is not cheap but when the 50ml bottle isn't far behind in price, it is worth paying a little extra and getting twice the amount. I must have mentioned this perfume quite a lot, as my husband surprised me with it for my birthday, Thanks Chippy xxx (don't ask about the name lol)

I really do like the very clean and none fancy packaging, the box is sturdy and with the infamous B logo on the top. Inside your perfume is presented to you with a small note in an envelope about the history of Byredo. I am sure if you took out the centre of this box you could easily reuse it to store small things in. I would say keep the box for travel but this 100ml bottle is not one you would travel with, it is just too big and heavy. It looks great on my vanity though! I have said before in many posts how I am a sucker for packaging and it's usually something fancy and shiny, but with this packaging I think the fact it is just so clean looking and not in your face at all, is why I love it. Plain is sometimes good.

I really do recommend Byredo as a brand and remember, don't take a perfume at first sniff, everything smells different on the skin compared to how it smells in the bottle and right after spraying. This perfume is unlike any I have had before and I am loving it, I sprayed some before writing this post. It is in no way heavy, floral or in your face smelling, I am loving it and I won't try and describe it to you cause I have no idea how to. Click this link if you are interested and what to read the notes in this perfume.

If you are in London go in Selfidges or Liberties and have a little sniff. Never know you might find a scent you love and suits you. I said in my wish list I love that this fragrance as is not available everywhere, you cant just jump into boots and purchase it. A lot of my friends on IG have a perfume by this brand and know all about it, but my friends in real life (like IG is make believe, maybe it is a joke to some lol) haven't heard about this brand. So its good to know I will smell different when I am out with them.

Thanks for reading
Kara xx












Wednesday, 7 June 2017

It's all just a bit werid!

Howdy,

There really is no reason behind this blog post, so why carry on reading you may think? Well its just a bit of an update if you like to know more then keep reading...

I haven't posted on here in a couple of weeks, not sure why to be honest. I've had the in laws stay for a while, then I took a trip away to see my family and I guess it was just a little break from social media. I think we could all do that once in a while! I do have a couple of posts that I will finalise and will go live in a few days and have some exciting ideas of what I'd like to blog about next!

I think with having some time away and with all the awful things happening recently with two attacks in London and one in Manchester you feel a bit, meh about life! Part of you thinks be grateful it wasn't you or anyone you know and then you think well it could happen again so you never really know how safe you are. My thoughts really do go out to those effected. Also found out today that a person I follow in Instgram, same age as me has died. Awful car crash, so shocked, RIP Jo.

Another crappy thing in life right now is loosing my job I guess you could call it that! nothing I had done wrong may I add lol I'm guessing its just my time to change roles and move on! Move on to what though? I have soo much nursing experience I feel companies look at me and think shes not suited for this role at all! As long as I get to work with people that would be ideal for me, I really crave job satisfaction. I love coming home knowing I have done my best and helped someone out for the good.

We shall see what happens, I have a new shiny updated CV (thanks to the husband for helping me), hopefully someone will find the good in me and hire me. I find make up and skincare so interesting, I am playing with it or using it everyday. But who would take on someone in their 30's with no experience, hmm not many. but saying that must stay positive and you never know what could happen, I will get back on track with my blog and carry on posting all the things I love and enjoy.

In terms of home life, it's all good, I am very lucky there. More work starting on the house soon which will be messy but fun. With this house I feel we were in the right place at the right time, we ended up buying a 3/4 bedroom fully detatched house with a large garden. I just love it here so much, really felt right getting this house. I have also just had the all clear for 6 months from my specialist. YAY, hopefully now I can stay away from needles for at least those 6 months please.

Thanks for reading and if you have got this far well done you! I'm not normally one to post personal things but thought why not!

Thinking more about it, I would love to be able to work more in social media too. I use it everyday why not work and get paid to do it, if you can. I will just continue to blog as I love it and see what happens. Everything happens for a reason, right? I wonder what is next in life for me? What ever it is I am ready for you, come get me now.

Bye for now
Kara xx















Sunday, 21 May 2017

La Dauphine Bracelets by HRH Collection

Howdy,

 La Dauphine bracelet in the colour Who's the fairest

 
Here is my La Dauphine Swarovski crystal bracelet. Pictures do not do this beautiful bracelet justice, it is hand made by Alex of HRH collection. Alex is known for her YouTube channel plus running her own business full time.

I have never seen anything like this, it reflects the light and just sparkles away. It is a rare and vintage stone, I'm not sure of the year though.  I love that it’s not widely available making it unlikely I’m going to bump into someone with the same. That is the beauty of buying from this collection and that they are made in the US.

The chain feels like a good quality metal, it is not sterling silver but still looks great next to my silver and white gold bracelets. It has a good weight to it  and is comfortable to wear, the stone always remains upright on my wrist.



I have really enjoyed this bracelet and you do catch people having a glance at it, it last happened whilst on the tube in London.

I have had this bracelet for a few years now, I still love and do wear it. I am not usually one to go for costume jewellery but this collection is different, my wrist is not going to turn green and the stones used are honestly so pretty.

To understand just how pretty they really are you need to see these bracelets in real life. They change colour with the light. Even my husband was impressed with them and he is not into jewellery like I am at all. The other thing that sets these bracelets apart from your usual costume jewellery is the fact that they are made with Swarovski crystals. Some very rare and vintage.


La Dauphine bracelet in the colour Acid Zelda

Well... I purchased another one, here is bracelet No.2, this bracelet is called HRH Acid Zelda and this one changes colours more than the last. In some lights it looks purple and then blue, then you see red, it honestly is a mixture of many colours. This is what I love about them, they are comfortable to wear,  no need to be careful with it either. It is a sturdy little bracelet, I wouldn't go wearing it in the shower but normal everyday wear is fine, I've never had a problem with them. One thing I do avoid is spraying perfume on them, just because of the chemicals found in perfume can tarnish jewellery.




This bracelet is from the 1940's and you really need to see it in person to see how the colour changes all the time. I can't wait to wear this, it will sparkle so much in the sun (if it wants to come out anytime soon).

If you are into crystal jewellery, leather bracelets, long necklaces or chokers then go check out the range Alex has. She makes everything to order so you have to wait  a couple of weeks to receive it, which is fine by me.  By having everything made to order it also give you the chance to change anything if you need to. Some people might want an item made larger or smaller. You can have it made to suit you. Also she ships world wide YAY, I did have my order shipped to a friend's house in the US to save on postage and I could track it the whole way.

Alex has also just launched a new line called Privé, if you if you are into rings, maybe check them out too. I am really happy with the pieces I have and will continue to enjoy them. If you fancy a look at what Alex makes then click here and don't blame me if you make a purchase. I follow her online and love looking at her new pieces but she's right, until you have it in front of you you will never know how truly pretty and colourful the jewellery is.

Does anyone else wear decent costume jewellery? I mean the kind that lasts not a £4 bracelet from Topshop! I'd love to know where you buy it from.

Thanks for reading
Kara xx






















Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Products not worth the hype or money

Howdy,

Have you ever tried a product that has just been so bloody awful from the first use? Well, a couple of these products have been like that for me! Here are a few things I don't recommend trying. These products have caused something horrible to happen to my skin or have just done nothing and are really not worth the money or the hype that they have.

1. Bioré, Blemish clearing scrub. 

 

Awful AWFUL product, it is meant to clean your pores deep down and remove any dirt. It is meant to help to keep your skin blemish free too. I tried this just the once, followed the directions and after I came out of the shower and got dressed my skin was so incredible dry. My forehead had gone white, honestly white, with how dry my skin had gone. Never will I be using this again, I had good hopes for this product as I love the nose strips this brand makes. RRP £5.24



 




2. Living Proof, Full shampoo & conditioner. 


Now for me this product was not awful, it just didn't do a whole lot for my hair apart from making it clean, which to some is the desired effect of shampoo. But, when your hair is fine, curly and dry like mine, I need a little more in a shampoo and conditioner. The smell was clean and reminded me of a spa, the shampoo was clear and took a little bit of effort to make it foam up. As I do use products in my hair I want something that will foam up and help remove them (I always shampoo twice, once to rinse everything out and again to then clean my hair). The conditioner was ok but I really did need to give an extra spritz of Its a 10 after, as my hair still needed more moisture. Also, the really big reason for these being mentioned is the price... Are you ready?... The shampoo and conditioner cost £22.00 EACH for just 236ml. Just so you don't think I have money to burn, which I do not, I got these in a set with one other item for a lot less than this. I don't even think they were worth the price I paid for them, overall not worth the hype at all.

3. Garnier BB Cream, in the colour medium.


OOOOO this is horrendous, there was nothing about this I liked at all. I took a risk with the colour but when you don't get a tester, you have no choice but to guess your colour. I washed and prepped my face for this BB cream, as soon as I put it on it felt almost grainy and very thick, like a horrible sun cream. It did not soak in very well just smeared colour round and round my face, the colour did not blend in very well and was orange. Horrible! Who has this skin colour orange? It would have been perfect for a part in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I would have made the perfect oompa loompa! Even though I only used a small amount, it felt cakey on my skin and I had to get it off straight away. I will just stick to what I know and love which for sure is not this! Yuck! RRP £9.99

4. Swisse women's multivitamin. 


I have tried quite a few vitamins over the years and felt like I wanted a change, so I opted for this brand. My specialist told me to take certain vitamins every day. Shop own brands don't seem to do an all in one, which I need, so I have to spend a bit more and get a brand name! I am REALLY not a fan of the way they smell and taste. Yes, I do chuck it in my mouth and swallow but, eww, you can still taste it. Foul is a word that describes it well, also not that I have trouble swallowing tablets but these are like bullets, see pic, I'm not joking. So if you are put off by horrible smells and can't swallow a tablet the size of a suppository then don't buy this brand. I know I won't be buying anymore from this brand. I have a box of 30 and I think I'm on day 4, Boo! RRP £9.99

It is the size of a pound coin, just fatter.











 

5. Unani, il-luminate milk cleanser. 

I tried this a couple of times to really test it out, but after every use my skin felt tight and very dry. It was like I had taken my make up off and taken any moisture my skin had too. I didn't find it to be gentle in any way and I would not recommend this at all. You can get much better results from a £3 L'oreal miceller water. My skin was not happy with it and I was scared it would break my skin out as it would turn greasy trying to find that moisture that had been taken away.  This product contains Linalool, which if you didn't know is found in flea and cockroach insecticide, WTF I put this shit on my face! Never again! RRP £13.60




Luckily with all these products I got them all on offer and didn't pay full price.

Do you have any products you have had high hopes for, or any bad experiences? Let me know, I'd love to hear.

Thanks for reading
Kara xx







































Sunday, 14 May 2017

Yves Saint Laurent, volupté Tint-in-oil

Howdy,

This product has been out for a very long time (at least a couple of years). I picked mine up last year, but as of late I have been reaching for it most days and I will tell you why.

I have the oil in No.8, it's a really pretty pink/purple.

Firstly, have you seen the packaging? If there is one thing YSL know how to do, its how to do lovely packaging. It is totally eye catching and I like the fact that the colour round the tube reflects on the colour that is inside. So if you were to own a few you wouldn't have to go opening them or picking them up to see what colour they were.
I very much love the doe foot applicator as it is easy to give a precise application of this product and with the water melon scent it has it doesn't give you a funny taste in your mouth.

I wanted to try this oil before buying it to make sure I would like it, it is not greasy like a Vaseline and messy like you would imagine a body oil to be. After first applying, your lips are incredibly shiny which I quite like, it gives your lips a very subtle wash of colour. The oil is very moisturising so if your lips are dry it will soak in within half an hour, but what you are left with is a slight tint on your lips. By applying the oil again the tint then gradually gets darker so apply it as many times as you wish.

One of the things I love about this oil is the tint you are left with, it is not like some of the lip stains you can buy where it leaves a wash of streaky colour across your lips and quite often isn't even and you need to apply the product again. I find with the YSL, after a couple of applications I have a wash of colour for the whole day and all I tend to do is then apply a lip balm just to keep my lips hydrated. This is perfect if you are at work or out for the day on the go, no need to keep checking your lips. It is a very moisturising and easy way to have pretty looking lips all day.


Here are my lips with no product on them.

I am not wearing any make up and have not used a scrub or balm on my lips.












My lips straight after one coat of the lip oil
















Two hours later, I have eaten and drunk something too. It just keeps your lips moisturised and not sticky, I love the light wash of colour. Just helps to even out the natural colouring of my lips.












It looks so natural and a little goes a long way, I really enjoy using it. If you are not into bright colours or hate the feel of Vaseline or some balms on your lips then you may really enjoying this. I bought mine in Boots, on Oxford street where the selection is huge.

Thanks for reading
Kara xx



















Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Nobody's Child Clothing

Howdy,

I have seen so many pairs of culottes around on blogs and instagram and I must say I have taken a shine to them. I remember wearing and loving them back in the 90's (woo what a throw back), the pair I had were black and ribbed and I just loved them.

So whilst doing a little online research for some culottes, I came across a website called Nobody's Child, I had never heard of them before, so checked out their website and found a black pair of culottes I liked the look of. I rarely order clothes online as you never know about sizing and the faff of sending them back etc etc, just takes the fun out of it! I had a good feeling about these so I just went ahead and ordered them. Best part of the order was that they were only £7. Yes! £7! :-)

I made the order at almost 21:00 and two days later I had it. Super quick! The package came in a black plastic sealed bag and inside that was a very thick brown paper bag closed together with stitching (reminded me of a hessian sack). Inside the brown bag your item comes in a see through plastic bag. So obviously my order was well protected! Your order form comes in a white envelope which I think is such a nice touch and not normally what you would receive from a high street brand.

The trousers feel like good quality with well sown fastenings and sit nicely on my hips, I am excited to wear these trousers this spring and summer. I shall be wearing these dressed up and down, I think they are suitable for any occasion. I just need to see how they wash up, I shall follow the instructions and hope they come out well.

This is my first time buying from this brand and so far so good, they do cater a lot for younger people but still have a good selection of clothing that I think would suit anybody of any age. If you are a student, they offer a 15% discount if you register your details.

Here is how I plan to wear these trousers during the day and for night just pop on a pair of strappy heels. Yay to returning fashions as these are so comfortable and fun to wear. As my clothes are very dark I like to brighten it up with a pop of colour with my shoes or some sparkly jewellery.

Top: Dorothy Perkins Shoes: J Crew

Bag: Mulberry Bracelet: BCBG Necklace: custom made

I think I will go back to Nobody's Child when I want to purchase some more spring/summer clothing. They do have some fun pieces on their website right now, it fun to branch out and try something new.

Thanks for reading
Kara xx













Sunday, 7 May 2017

GlossyBox X La Mer Product Review

Howdy,

As soon as I saw Glossy box were going to do a collaboration with La Mer, I knew I wanted to try it. It was going to be available in February so I signed myself up to preregister straight away. This would be the first time I applied for one of Glossybox's exclusive limited edition boxes. Before the box was released to the general public I found out that there were only going to be 2000 available! Now why is it when something is limited edition, do you want it ten times more?

From the hype on social media about this box I knew it was going to sell out quickly and it was being talked about a lot. My friend and I were desperate to get a box of our own, the day before it was being released an email was sent out to say it was going to be released at 09:00AM to Glossy box subscribers and then from 10:00AM for those that don't subscribe. It might sound a bit crazy to some but I had my emails on refresh from about 08:30, you could only purchase the boxes from the link in the email that was sent out to you. The email came I ordered like a crazy woman and then phew, confirmation was in and I had managed to get a box of my own. I was super excited, to say the least!

I really do love skin care and it is so important to have some sort of a routine and look after your skin. As I am in my 30's and have been pretty good with skincare over the years I don't think my skin looks too bad. It's always best to start young, prevention is better than cure, right? But it's never to late to start, I remember using a face cream that said it gives you skin of a 21 year old. I laughed and said I don't want that I was only around 19 at the time. Oh... to have that wrinkle free skin back.

I'm not going to rate these products, just tell you if I enjoyed or recommend them or not. As for the question, "Are they worth the money?" I shall leave the prices below and let you decide that for yourself. The largest amount shown in ml are the amounts and costs of what you would pay if you purchased these products. The smaller amounts are what you get in this box.







The Cleansing Micellar Water
A 200ml bottle costs £70, which works out as 35p per ml
The Glossy Box bottle is 30ml, so at 35p per ml, this works out as being worth £10.50

This works well and removes all make up, even stubborn mascara comes off easily. I don't like the slight alcohol smell but it doesn't sting my skin or eyes at all. I would prefer to use Bio Derma as it is far cheaper and does not have any alcohol scent to it. Or for an even more affordable option you can save £65 compared to this and go buy Loreal's Micellar water.

The Treatment Lotion
A 150ml bottle costs £100, which works out as  66.7p per ml
The Glossy Box bottle is 5ml, so at 66.7p per ml, this works out as being worth £3.33

I enjoyed using this, it works very nicely when used before your moisturiser. It is one of those steps in your skin care routine where I am not sure if it really is necessary but I still tried it and my skin seemed to soak it up and enjoy it.

The Revitalizing Hydrating Serum
A 30ml bottle costs £145, which works out as £4.83 per ml
The Glossy Box bottle is 5ml, so at £4.83 per ml, this works out as being worth £24.17

I am not a fan of this as it has a very strong alcohol scent, it did soak in quite quickly but left my skin feeling slightly tacky. I would not ever purchase this and am so pleased I got to try these product first as £145 is a lot of money to spend.

The Eye Concentrate
A 15ml tub costs £150, which works out as  £10 per ml
The Glossy Box tube is 3ml, so at £10 per ml, this works out as being worth £30

I LOVE this, it is extremely moisturising and not irritating at all. My eyes never watered or stung from using this product. My eye area is definitely more hydrated and I feel it has smoothed out some of my lines and has even helped to somehow take some of the blue of my bags. The skin feels more plumped up and concealer glides on and stays better than before I started using this.

The Intensive Revitalizing Mask
A 75ml tube costs £115, which works out as £1.53 per ml
The Glossy Box tube is 15ml, so at £1.53 per ml, this works as being worth £23

A very nice and very hydrating mask, I love the fact that you only have to wear this for 8 minutes and just a simple wipe off when it is done is all you need to do. My skin loved it and a lot of it is absorbed into the skin. If your skin is dry or looking dull, this mask really does help bring your skin back to life and restore some of the moisture back into it.

Creme De La Mer (The Moisturizing Cream)
A 30ml pot cost £115, which works out as £3.83 per ml
The Glossy Box pot is 7ml, so at £3.83 per ml, this works out as being worth £26.83

I LOVE this cream, it is a very thick and moisturising. Take just a small amount and warm it between your finger tips and pat it on to the skin. It will soak in and just leave your skin extremely hydrated and not oily in the slightest. I would not use this during the day as it would be too thick and you would find make up application very difficult. But as a night time moisturiser it is perfect and I really recommend it. A little does go a long way and a small tub would last you a few months.

If I had to pick a single product to recommend I think it would have to be between the moisturising cream and the eye concentrate. I am not sure I could choose just one as I really do love them both. I have enjoyed trying these products so much and the small amount I have had to try has lasted me a few weeks. So La Mer products do last a long time and a little goes a long way.

Will I end up making a purchase from this brand? We shall see, doesn't help when your husband sends you picture of the La Mer counter from the airport (ahhh someone hide my cards from me). Awesome collaboration GlossyBox! I shall be keeping my eyes peeled for the next, this one was amazing and worth every penny.

All the Glossy Box La Mer products added up together are worth a total of £117.83 and I paid £35 plus the P&P.

If anyone fancies joining Glossy Box I could not recommend it enough. I honestly LOVE receiving a box every month and getting to try new products. I have found some staples I use everyday from these boxes, by joining up you you will be the first to be able to get these limited edition boxes before they go on sale to the general public.

Depending on if you want to pay monthly or purchase a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription you have the option to choose what is best for you. You can cancel the pay monthly subscription if you are not enjoying it, so it is not as if you are signing up for a year and and are bound in a contract. I have the years subscription as I have already said I love it that much and also it does work out slightly cheaper.
Click here to check out the website and see if you fancy joining, use the code GB50 to get your first box for just £5. The products inside are always more expensive than the cost of the box, in one box I received had 5 products one being a full size face mask that retails for £26. That alone covered more than the price of the box, what can £10 buy you in the shops now? Not a lot, so go treat yourself, you may just love it.

Thanks for reading
Kara xx


























Wednesday, 3 May 2017

The Truth about Outlet Shopping!

Howdy,

We all love a good shopping trip and you can't beat the excitment of going to an outlet, the excitement of going round your favourite shops in hope to get a good bargain.

Well..... you might not be getting so much of a bargain as you may think. It's wise to keep your wits about you and if you have things in mind you would like to purchase from previous seasons, take a picture or two of these items in order to compare them.

What I don't think some people know is, many of the shops in the outlets don't always sell what is sold in their high street stores. You may find a very similar product and they may look roughly the same but when your get up close you can notice differences.

For example, Michael Kors, a bag purchased in the high street or from online will quite often come with leather straps, a zip closure, a dust bag and quite often a michael kors tag on their larger bags. When you look at a very similar bag in the outlet some of the straps are plastic, there is no zip, dust bag or MK tag on the bag. So overall you are still getting a genuine MK bag it just might not be up to the same quality as you can see on the high street. So when you are thinking to yourself excellent this bag is half price compared to the high street, that is quite often because the quality of "leathers" used are not the same.

One thing you can do is ask the sales assistant which products are end of season stock and which have been made just for the outlet!

I myself have purchased a MK bag from the outlet and the leather is amazing, the bag has worn very well, it just shows signs of wear on the handles. Which is a shame but they do take the strain of the bag especially as I seem to quite often fill my bags up. I didn't get a dust bag as I said earlier I guess this is to keep down costs in an outlet too. I do think if you are spending £150 + on a bag I would like a dust bag to keep it protected in when I am not using it! So me being me on my next trip to London I went down to the huge Michael Kors shop on regent street, whilst wearing my MK bag and asked the lady in the shop if I could please have a dust bag to protect my bag as I didn't get one. I just had to show my receipt of my purchase and the lady kindly got me one from the back of the shop. Yay to asking and getting one. Ask and ye shall recieve!

Another key thing to look out for when purchasing clothes, lets say a pair of GAP jeans, is the quality of the jeans themselves. There is a difference in quality, from outlet made jeans, these have the design stamped around the inside of the waitband and on the shop bought ones you have a white sown in label. Outlet jeans do not have many rivets on the pockets and you wont see the infamous 1969 GAP info found printed on the inside of a front pocket. I have used GAP as an example as I have experienced both buying them from an outlet and from a GAP store on the high street, so I can see these differences for myself. The jeans are also not as thick, it is a more relaxed softer feel of denim, so if you prefer that then maybe the outlet version are perfect for you. They don't last as long but I loved the fit and comfort and would buy another pair for sure.

Just remember when you go into a shop, think to yourself, are you are getting the same quality as you can on the high street for every item? Just be a bit more observant and check the labels. Not everything in an outlet is value for money and making you a saving.

Even with everything I have mentioned above, I still LOVE going to outlets and I will continue to go, you just need to be aware that if a pair of trousers are £30 in the outlet and on the high street they cost £35 and are better quality and will last longer, then I'd suggest going for the high street version. The moral of this blog post in three words is "do your research!"

Some shops are very crafty with how they promote and sell their items in the shops, just be aware and outsmart them before they take your money and outsmart you.

Thanks for reading
Kara xx














Sunday, 30 April 2017

Bras for Comfort, Style and Feeling Pretty

Howdy,

I feel super excited to share with you some of the best bras around on the high street, in my opinion. If you are a lady with an ample bosom like myself then you may find this post really helpful. Down below I have some of my favourite tried and true bras that I really can recommend to you, all are perfect to be worn everyday but some are more specifically designed to be worn under a white shirt or a strapless dress. Did I say they are all from Marks and Spencer? I do shop around for bras but always end up back at this shop. They have a great selection and really do think they cater for the younger audience to.

I found it really hard to find a "nude" bra because all of the shops have nude bras that just look cream on me, and I have brown skin.  It is also hard to find a strapless bra that you are not forever hoicking up. They seem to either be so tight so they don't move, you that you get that nasty roll on your back or loose where they tend to gape. What's with that useless rubber glue they place around the cups? That is just a big hot itchy no no! If the bra is fully cupped there is no need for this glue. I have also had a hard time with wonder bras, I found them the most over priced and ill fitting bras yet! Just my opinion of course.

Anyway lets jump into a few I recommend and why....

My first bra I am showing is The racerback full cup bra from the Marks and Spencer Collection and it just £16
Matching knickers available and it comes in sizes 32-38, A-E.



It is an underwired full cup racer back bra. As this bra comes with the usual eye lit closure on the back it won't ride up. I have found that with most racer backs they tend to ride up, especially if you have the weight of your chest at the front then the back tends to ride up. By having a normal eye lit closure you avoid this and have a very pretty almost butterfly like racer back. Quite fun to wear under a baggy T-shirt maybe flash a little of this design off.

All over lace bandeau strapless bra from Marks and Spencer Collection £20
No knickers available with this bra but it does come in three colours Almond, Black and White,
sizes 30-40, A-E.



Now this is the bra of all bras, the first bra I have owned to not show under a white shirt as it matches my skin colour so well. Also the first bra I have worn strapless and would happily choose to wear it strapless on an regular basis. If you put this on, wear a tight T-shirt, you will not know its strapless. No pinching at the top of your chest to hold you up/in. This is my magical bra of wonders, I own the almond and white version. Who knows might even go back for the black, of all my bras in this post. If you were only getting one I recommend this, £20 well spent in my opinion. Also it actually looks very pretty on and the cups are incredibly soft. Also by changing the straps you can wear this 4-5 different ways, perfect for those one sided/ bardot tops that you can see everywhere at the moment.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley first brought out her underwear line with Marks and Spencer around 2012 and I have loved pretty much every piece she had brought out. If you fancy a comfortable yet slightly sexy piece then look into her line. Here are a few of my favourite pieces.

Silk and lace padded beau plunge bra from the Rosie Huntington-Whiteley Collection £27.50. Bra comes in 5 different colours and the matching knickers are available. Bra sizes 30-38, A-E.



This picture does not do the bra justice, it is a pretty petrol green colour. It is super pretty and will give you a tiny amount of cleavage, but nothing too crazy. This is one of the more delicate bras in the line and like all of the bras I own from this collection they are made so well and contain a certain amount of silk. This is why they are so soft and look so luxurious, just take care when washing (I will get on to that later). This is my oldest bra in this collection and I think in time it has faded slightly but I take care of it and I feel it still looks pretty good. On the inside of your right cup with all Rosie bras you will find her signature. Whys its there i don't know. But obviously was a small touch to the collection that she wanted to add.

My last bra I am going to show you is probably the prettiest and most sexiest of them all, it is a Balcony bra made with luxurious silk and french designed lace. Its is £27.50 and available in sizes 30-40, A-E knickers available.



This bra is made up of mostly silk and it is slightly more padded than the rest, saying that its still nothing crazy just a little thicker than the rest. The cups are structured but very comfortable and its almost a shame to cover it up with clothing ;-) It has a slight vintage feel to it and reminds me a bra a burlesque dancer would wear.

All of these bras would look fantastic on everyone so go treat yourself and I hope it helps someone out there who is still on the hunt for a strapless bra or just a comfortable bra that will last and does not cost a fortune. I have a job where I have bending up and down a lot and I would wear all of these bras to work, even the plunge bra.

As for washing these bras, I always wash them on a synthetics 40°C wash with all my other laundry the only thing I do is to place them individually in a delicate laundry bag first. Here is a link to the ones I use, they are the best and I use them for many other items of clothing too. All these bra are machine washable which is a big plus to me, you wear a bra once and wash it. Who would be running to the dry cleaners every few days with bras and what an extra expense that would add up to be!

As I have enjoyed wearing the Rosie H-W range of bras for the last few years I will most definitely be checking out the new swimwear range she has out now too. Some of the pieces that I have seen look fantastic and I feel would be very comfortable when on holiday in the sun.

Yay to Marks and Spencer for offering quality pieces at affordable prices, its always nice to boost your ego with some nice underwear pieces. Everyone deserves to feel pretty.

Thanks for reading
Kara xx










Sunday, 16 April 2017

How I Prepare a New Bag

Howdy,

If you have recently bought a new bag or are planning on getting a new one then I think a few of these tips will help you to prolong the life and colouring of your bag. I know this is extra expense on top of the bag itself but when you are investing in a bag I don't understand why you wouldn't want to protect it.

The tips I have below are suitable for all leather and suede bags. I have done lots of research on what to use and followed the guidelines in my care booklet that came with my bag. This has worked well for me and I recommend following your care booklet before your first use. However desperate you are to use the bag, protect it first, it only takes one accident to have a stain forever (I would want to cry if that happened). First read the instructions on all of these products before using them and follow the guidelines you are given from the company you are buying from. If your item doesn't come with a care booklet, you can usually find all of this info on their website.

What I used:

Collonil leather gel 
Collonil 1909 Supreme protect high quality waterproofing spray
Super soft lint free polishing cloths

I used one of the lint free cloths to just dust over the bag, I know it had not been used but fluff is still everywhere.

Then I started with a new cloth and used a small amount of the gel in an inconspicuous place first. After I knew it was fine I lightly rubbed in circular motions gel over the bag doing the back first. Once the gel was dry I used another cloth (this is why you need a pack of them) to then lightly buff the gel. By the time you are doing this the gel will have been absorbed into the leather so there really isn't much to bluff but I did this all over the part I had gelled just to ensure it had all gone. I then repeated this for all leather areas.

By using this gel you are going to help keep the leather in good condition. Like our skin, leather will dry out if it not kept moisturised. By using this gel it will keep the leather looking bright in colour and subtle for a lot longer than if it wasn't treated.

I then let the gel completely dry, then moved on to the waterproofing spray. The spray is going to protect all leather and suede materials, this is going to help it be water resistant and keep the colour as vibrant as possible, like an SPF for your bag, as things fade in the sun. Also the spray works extremely well on the suede too. It will help to also keep the bag free from as much everyday dirt and pollution as possible.

As this was the first time I was using my new bag I decided to use the gel twice then the spray twice too, I read that if the bag was brand new then they suggest doing the above things twice. It also should work well as a base layer to keeping it well cared for.

The gel and spray had no no bad effects on the leather or the suede of my bag and I feel very happy to continue using them, there was a squeaky bum moment when I first tried these products out on my bag, but not anymore. I shall be repeating this process in a couple of weeks time and as I know it will prolong the life of my bag I am all for it.

Tip: When using the spray, shake the can well and only use in a well ventilated area. I opened the doors and windows to my conservatory and closed it off to the house and that worked well. No smell got into my house and the smell faded from my conservatory after a few hours. I would have gone outside but in typical UK fashion it was raining! 


I have been loving this bag SO much. You can tell who is a Mulberry fan as I have had people spot it and walk up to me knowing what it is. I had a work colleague say this was her next bag and I can see why she wants it, she is a big Mulberry fan too.

Thanks for reading
Kara xx





































Tip, never use a duster the material used to make to make up dusters contains small fibers that will shed.


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Vitamasques- Manuka Honey Sheet Mask

Howdy,


This is a mask that came in my Glossybox and as I always say, sheet masks are some of my favourite to use, so let's give this a go. I cleansed my face as it suggests and placed the mask on for the 20 minutes recommended, the mask was very cooling and smelled slightly fruity, nothing strong or over-powering.

After the 20 minutes were up, I rubbed in what was left on my skin. My skin was very cool but felt hydrated. After 5 minutes my skin felt sticky to touch, you wouldn't want to go to bed straight after this, putting your face on a pillow would have felt awful. As time went on the moisture that was left did sink in and my skin seem to enjoy the mask. Hour or so later my skin appeared bright and had no bad reactions to this mask at all.

The next morning my skin felt soft and I didn't feel that it looked any different. I still needed to apply a moisturiser first thing to my face. It was quite a nice mask to use, I wouldn't use it in preparation to a night out though, the sticky feeling may make applying make-up a little tricky.

My rating: 7/10

Recommend/ worth the money: Yes, the mask costs £3.99 each or a box of 4 for £12.99 making them about £3.25 per mask. 

Pros: It is quite moisturising and feels very cooling, I bet this would be lovely to use on a holiday if you had been out in the hot sun all day.

Cons: Not readily available but you can order them from Vitamasques or Look fantastic.

Thanks for reading
Kara xx


























Sunday, 9 April 2017

When Good Things Happen For No Reason

Howdy,

You know when nice things happen occasionally for no reason? Well, that just happened to me.

I have the day off work tomorrow and a friend is coming over with her children, so as promised to her eldest I thought I would do an Easter egg hunt for them in my garden. Being the 30 year old child that I am I tweeted "So excited to do an Easter egg hunt" and about 5 minutes later I had a tweet from Tesco. I had a short conversation with them on Easter eggs and Easter egg hunts, they then sent me a link for Easter egg hunt ideas and asked me to DM them. They replied to my DM with a voucher for some Easter eggs from their Finest range! I never asked or hinted at this and I never even tagged Tesco in my tweet, how cool is that!

I can now use this voucher and go get us some more Easter eggs and make the hunt even more EGG-citing (I couldn't resist that)

Here is what Tesco had on their shelves available to buy from the Tesco Finest range



All the eggs range in price from £3.00 up to £9.00 and to be honest they all looked YUMMY! Tesco Finest Eggs also have a selection of eggs in the "free from" range, these eggs are free from milk, wheat and gluten.

The one on the left is Belgian dark chocolate and butterscotch and on the right Belgian milk chocolate and caramelised hazelnut. If I was going to just buy one egg, the one on the right would have been it. It sounds amazing, mmmmmm.
This egg looks like it belongs in a Harry Potter movie, the bronze shimmer effect looks fantastic and really does fool you into thinking it isn't really chocolate. It is again Belgian (the whole range is) and comes with a hidden milk truffle inside.

I'm sure with this one it would be all over your lips like sugar from a doughnut, still so fun though. Who doesn't want shimmery lips? ;-)





I decided on getting these three eggs. Cheeky little mint one for me, an orange one (as its his favourite flavour) for the husband and also a large Belgian chocolate for the girls to share. As after all this Easter egg hunt is all for the children..... mostly.



Here are a few little eggs that I hid round the house and garden.

The mini Lindt eggs are perfect for hiding round the house and the larger Milkybar eggs are a good size to hide out in the garden. Not so small they get lost in the plants.
I also previously purchased little baskets, some masks and a little game, where you can create pictures on felt eggs.

These little bits all come from The Range, they had the best selection of Easter goodies for children and all for £1 each.

The Happy Easter sign is made out of wood also from The Range and cost £2.

You don't need to spend a lot to enjoy these little treats.





Making felt eggs.

What we made.

Who wouldn't want a basket of eggs, mmmm.

Thank You Tesco for your random act of kindness, you really added a nice touch to our Easter Egg Hunt. The girls got to take home a larger egg to enjoy. I don't think I could have hidden that very well in my garden. My husband and I will enjoy our little eggs very soon I'm sure, even though it isnt quite Easter yet.

Here is a link to some Easter Egg Hunt Ideas that Tesco sent me, it might give you some ideas of a new game or two to play this Easter.

I have had such a great day and the weather has been amazing, I may even have got a little tan. All this running around my garden has worn me out. The girls had a great day too so I think it will be early nights all round!

Happy Easter everyone,

Thanks for reading
Kara xx









Wednesday, 5 April 2017

INGLOT Fusion Blush & Illuminator

Howdy,

This is the first make up item I have ever tried from Inglot, I was running low on my Laura Mercier blush so it was time to try a new one.

You can buy Inglot products either from the shop or online, and you have the option to just buy the product or you can buy the magnetic case to go with it. When first buying from them it might cost more as the cases for the products do add up to be about 2/3 of the cost of the blush itself. But as they are magnetic and re-useable you will only need to buy them once.

I purchased the Fusion blush and illuminator in the colour 203, which retails at £9.

The magnetic blush holder palette retails for £6.

The blush come in this black packaging.


The blush comes sealed and the packaging is magnetic.


The blush is also magnetic and can be changed easily.



It is very compact and perfect for travel

This blush works out to be £15, which is not pocket change but isn't up there with the likes of Laura Mericer, Chanel or Dior. As I said earlier, you do pay the extra price for the case, so when it runs out or you wish to replace it you only have to pay the price of the blush itself.

It goes on nicely and is really pigmented so you need a light hand when applying it, I think this is going to last a long time. Check out Inglot if you are interested, they have a shop on Oxford Street too. Inglot have quite a large selection of products and the larger eyeshadow palettes look interesting, especially as you can design your own palette. We all have a few colours we don't use in a palette, this way you design it and pick all the colours you would use.

Thanks for reading
Kara xx










Sunday, 2 April 2017

Labiotte, Whitening Sheet Mask

Howdy,





I really laughed when I saw this mask, "whitening sheet mask" but I'm brown can I use it??? haha Maybe not quite so politically correct to some but then if you know me I'm the first to not be politically correct. I like to push the boundaries of skin colour, being that I'm smack bang in the middle of colours is the only way I get away with it, I think. ;-)

Anyway back to this mask, firstly thank you to my bestie Katherine (Chops) for finding some sheet masks for me all from TK MAXX and all only £1. xx

I cleansed my face as usual then applied this mask and left it on for the 20 minutes as it suggested, the mask felt so full of moisture. The mask looked like it had been dipped in a jar of white cream as it wasn't the usual clear liquid you find on most of the masks I have tried. It smelled quite strongly of lily.

After the 20 minutes were up my skin felt very oily and greasy, I wasn't too worried as usually what ever is left on your skin gets absorbed. After an hour my skin still looked oily and felt sticky too.
The next morning I woke up with super oily skin and SPOTS, I have those annoying little red spots/bumps on my chin and across my forehead. My skin feels horrible, I cleansed my face as I usually do and applied a little make up. It looks awful, my skin is clammy and sticky to touch and my make applied awfully.

I have only had my make up on for a couple of hours and I am going to take it all off and try and get my skin back to normal! I have a lot these red itchy spots all over my chin and forehead, my skin irritates and itches. This is horrible and the worst mask I have ever used bar none.







My rating: 0/10

Recommend/ worth the money: No way, even if this mask was offered to me for free I wouldn't take it.

Pros: Price, its very affordable even when not on discount it only costs around £1.50-£2.00

Cons: Smell, after effects of greasy skin, gave me spots.
Thanks for reading
Kara xx

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

My Product Empties

Howdy,

Everyone is a bit of a Nosey Parker to some extent but some more than others. For the Nosey Parkers who have tuned in to read this, then let me show you my empties. I know a lot of people make these empties videos on the likes of YouTube but I am going to doing a blog version. I love a good empties video, so lets see how well this works in blog form. 

Here are things that I have used up and I will tell you if I loved them and if I would recommend them. Links for everything will be below, also does anyone else find that everything seems to run out at once?

Boscia, Black Peel Mask- Love this, I recommend this product and I already have a back up of this to start. Works great all over the face, just avoid any hairy parts of your face ;-)









Origins VitaZing- Gives just a light amount of coverage to just even out skin tone, my back up already opened. I recommend this as long as your skin colour is not along the lines of Casper the friendly ghost.






 
Emma Hardie travel size pot- There will be a full review of this going up in the near future, little spoiler alert, I like it a lot. This is just a mini that came with the full size. It melts away your make up and best of all does not sting your eyes.





 


Laura Mercier Blush in Lush Nectarine- I probably have had this longer than the recommended time oops, but this is by far my favourite blush. I have not found a colour I like more than this one. You can build the colour up and it lasts all day (Tip: Set it with a setting spray) I find more orange toned blushes suit my colouring better.


Bee Good Cleanser- Excellent very natural cleanser, you do need to double cleanse to make sure all mascara is off but I like it and have enjoyed using it. It leaves the skin feeling a little tight but not dry and it is gone as soon as you moisturise.








Bee Good Moisturiser- Really nice moisturiser, kept my skin hydrated, I would use this again if I purchased another set from Bee Good. There are moisturisers out there I like more but I did enjoy using this everyday. Only down side would be, I could only use this at night unless I planned to not wear make up. Its quite thick and doesn't sit well under make up, so unless you are happy to wait quite a while for it to soak in, then stick to just night time use.





Chanel Chance, Eau Fraîche- I love this perfume, I won't attempt to describe how it smells so you will have to go to a counter and smell it. I found this perfume so much nicer on the skin than what you smell from a bottle off a shelf. It lasts really well and this small size is perfect for travelling, I do have a back up ready to be opened.






L'Occitane Hand Cream- This is one of many tubes I have used up, its very moisturising and not greasy. For this reason it is great for your handbag and for the car. This is the 30ml size, I also have a few of the 10ml size that fit perfect into the smallest of bags. I found I could only get the 10ml tubes in either America or from an outlet shop in England.






Burt's Bees Pumpkin Lip Balm- As with most lip balms, they take what feels like years to use up and if you are like me and keep several in your bags, car and around the house then it feels like it takes even longer. I do love Burt's Bees and recommend them as a brand. This pumpkin spiced one I picked up in the States and it was limited edition, if I ever find this scent again I would buy it. Although any scent from this brand works just as good.





Dior, Dior Show Iconic Overcurl Mascara- This mascara is lovely, super dark and you can easily do 2-3 coats. I loved using this and it still gives you very long and thick lashes even after a few coats. It did not smudge on me at all and I got next to no full out.
Down side to this mascara is after 4-5 weeks it showed signs of slightly drying out, which is not what you would expect from a mascara of this price. I won't lie, I would try a different one and see if it happened again, the mascara really is that good. Also look at that packaging :-)



Nicky Clarke, Volume shampoo and conditioner- This shampoo and conditioner are really nice, it is the first Nicky Clarke product I have tried and really liked. You do end up smelling of sage which is quite strong but I actually quite liked it and the smell lasted a few days. I wouldn't pay full price for these products but if they were on offer again, I would pick them up. I have tried to find a link to this shampoo but I think it is discontinued, so maybe I won't be trying it again after all!




Burberry, Weekend- I have been buying this perfume for more than 10 years, I always have a back up of this, I call it my "work perfume" I have had people say to me I knew you were in as they must have smelt me (in a good way I hope). You can pick up a 100ml bottle for around £25 which will last you a long time. This perfume must work well with my body chemistry as it is by far the most complimented perfume I own. I really recommend it.





I have blog posts of the Boscia mask, Origins moisturiser and the Bee Good Cleanser mentioned, so go check it out if you want to read a more in depth review and see why I keep repurchasing these products.

Now you have read about empties, I can chuck it all away. I hope you liked it? You read a lot about products from advertisements on TV, online and when you go round shops. But you can never fully tell if you love something until you use it all up.

Anyone got any staple products they keep repurchasing? I would love to know.

Thanks for reading

Kara xx