Wednesday, 29 March 2017

My Product Empties


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

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Mulberry Clifton Unboxing


This is going to be a new type of blog post for me, I know the video could probably do with a bit of work and improvement but I don't think it is too bad for a beginner. Let me know what you think. I was so excited to share with you my new purchase, that I just had to film it ASAP.

I have spent weeks doing research, looking at reviews, seeing what was available and what I really want out of a bag. To some people I am sure they are thinking what a waste of time and why bother? But when you love bags like I do then its no bother at all, it is part of the fun and build up to getting a new bag. My collection of bags, clothes and just my possessions in general have got smaller and smaller as I have gotten older. But I am ok with that and I really agree with the saying less is more. I want a collection I love and will use it all.

Just a little info on why I decided on this bag. I wanted a bag I could use everyday, one I could put on, go out and be happy with it day or night. Also a bag big enough to hold my purse, SLG's and essentials too, lip balm etc. I wanted a bag I could wear cross body mainly or just over my shoulder in a hurry. So many of the bags I loved would not work for me as a cross body. They hit me right at the chest! The Lily, the Cara both hit me at that awkward poke in the boob angle or the handles of the bag remain up right and cause the same problems. This is not to say I would never own one as I do own the mini Lily and that has the perfect cross body length on me. (I'm 5'7" / 1.7m for reference). Also with the Bayswater new and old varieties, it would not be suitable for cross body and is mostly carried over the shoulder. As the bayswater bags are quite structured and quite heavy too, I fear I will fill it up and then it would just become a heavy pain!

Also just to note, I mention that it feels heavy but this is due to the fact I have a glass jar of leather cleaner in the bag too. The Clifton itself is not too heavy at all.

If I could change one thing about the bag, I think it may be to change the hardware to silver as that is the colour I prefer, as the gold isn't the super-bright-in-your-face yellow, it hasn't put me off the bag at all and I do think it goes really well.

Wow what an intro to a video, bet your thinking do I waffle like this in the video and you will be pleased to know I don't. So if you have a spare few minutes and want to see my excitement of what I purchased then go watch the video.

Thanks for reading and watching.

Kara xx

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The difference between shopping at Outlets, Consessions and Stand alone stores.


In this post I am going to talk about three experiences I have had in the last couple of weeks visiting Mulberry shops, as the title states one is an outlet shop, one is a concession and the other is a stand alone store.

Here is my experience of one brand (Mulberry) being sold in three different ways.

Outlet- Now this experience I had the other day it is unlike any I have ever had, but still thought it was a good idea to document this down. I went into the shop at the Bicester outlet village and was asked if I needed any help, I said I'm ok thanks and was happy to just have a browse around. Even with me saying this the shop assistant would not leave me alone, I thought maybe she just wanted to show me a few details about the bag? But it turns out that she wanted to be my shadow and follow me around the shop, every time I spoke to my husband about a bag or reached out to touch one she had to either tell me a few facts about it or that she wanted to set it up for me. I don't think she did this to stop me touching the bags, I feel she just wanted to constantly show and tell about each bag. Although this was done with good intentions,  I found it SO ANNOYING! I couldn't move without her being there and as I had said I was ok browsing she didn't need to be my twin. We moved on to the second part of the shop and luckily she didn't follow, her presence was relentless and almost to the point I felt I didn't get a good look at the bags without having her glued to my side. The other end of the shop was great, we were free to roam around at ease and enjoy looking. I have been in this shop before and made purchases, the customer service has always been excellent, but this one SA would not leave me be. Sounds super dramatic as I write this but at the time it really annoyed the shit out of me.

Concessions- ie a brand that is sold inside of a larger shop- for example Mulberry is sold in Selfridges. So I entered Selfridges and OMG you can just lose hours in that shop. It is like you have entered an adult playground of goodies! You just want to touch everything and buy everything. Anyway, I walked into the small concession that is in the far corner, I got greeted by a sales assistant who was very pleasant and helpful and allowed me to try on bags.  She answered a few questions I had and even brought out bags from the back that I asked to see. One bag I liked had a couple of scratches on it so I asked if I wanted to purchase this bag do you have anymore? she said I have a couple so could bring them out for me to compare. I thought to myself if I am buying a new bag I want it pristine not lightly scuffed condition, I'm not buying from the second hand market, thank you. It was only this one type of bag that came like that, I found out later on that day why it may have been like this (I shall reveal all below) So overall the service here was great, super friendly and helpful staff and I did get an idea into what I liked and what I didn't.

Stand Alone store- A store that is solely occupied by one brand and will only sell this one brand in that shop. The stand alone store I visited was on New Bond Street, everything is spaced out and easy to see and touch. Staff were friendly and asked if I needed help but I wanted to browse then ask for help if I needed it once I had had a good look around. I wandered round and was left alone to look and take everything in which I loved. When I wanted to try a few things on I asked the sales assistant for some help and she got down or out everything I asked for. Nothing was too much trouble and she brought down different colours without me asking to see what I preferred, I also asked her lots of questions regarding wear and tear of different bags and about the different types of leathers which she answered straight away without hesitation. She also helped me change strap lengths and gave her opinion which was helpful as I was shopping alone and didn't have anyone with me to ask. This sales assistant let me take pictures as I said I wanted to show my husband, there was no rush in me making a sale she never pushed me once and it has honestly made me want to go back. Customer service (to me) makes up a big part of when you are making a purchase. You don't want to think back to buying this lovely dress for eg. and all you remember was the bitch in the shop who was rude and no help. I guess when spending a decent amount of money (even though spending 50p in a shop warrants polite customer service at least) you want to remember it as being an enjoyable experience.

As I mentioned earlier, the quality of a bag from Selfridges was not exactly being up to scratch. I asked to see the same bag in this store and the difference was incredible, it was like looking at a brand new pair of shoes compared to a 6 month old pair. Also I asked why was there a small price difference between Selfridges and all of the Mulberry shops. It turns out that what Selfridegs is selling is all old stock (pre-Christmas), so not bad stock just not brand new as in its only just arrived at the shop. Weird, but true.

This post is in no way to bash this brand, I love Mulberry and will keep buying from them. These experiences can happen with any brand, I have just used Mulberry as an example as I have recently experienced all three ways of shopping with them. I love the quality of the products and I love everything I own so much. I would still happily go back to the outlet and concession shops but if you really are after a full on luxurious experience with Mulberry then I recommend visiting the New Bond Street shop, which is Mulberry's flagship store in London, or the one in Convent Garden where I have also received the best service. I recently ordered online too which has also been very good as they ship super quick and use my favourite courier DPD. I have a video, and hopefully also a blog post at some point, to come on my new Mulberry bag I purchased. Pop your email address in the top right section if you would like to sign up to recive a notification on my blog posts, or follow my Instagram @Kara1818 where I am no doubt going to be posting many pictures of this bag and other fun things I love.

I know this post does not contain any lovely pictures and it is very wordy but I just wanted to share my experiences. What shops have you reveived the best customer service in? I would love to know.

Thanks for reading
Kara xx

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Glam Glow Supermud Clearing Treatment


I am a big fan of Glamglow and was really excited to try this product out, this is the GlamGlow Supermud Clearing treatment. I got this as part of a set, the main product in the set was the thirsty mud treatment. My husband picked this out for me from Sephora in the US.

As you can see this mask looks super sexy on (jokes) but clearing it certainly is. I'd like to think I keep my skin pretty clear and hydrated but this mask will pull out impurities from deep down inside your pores.

After using this mask I broke out and had two spots, they didn't last long and were gone in a couple of days. My skin felt and looked great apart from the spots, this really works to give you a deep down cleanse of the skin without the use of scrubs (which I hate) or harsh stripping chemicals.

I wouldn't suggest using this mask on a Friday if you have plans on a Saturday as be prepared for that break out.

I tried this mask all over my face as you can see, but it also works great as a spot treatment. Place a little of this treatment over the spot or entire face, leave for a minimum of 5 minutes or up to 20 minutes depending on how your skin feels. I did the full 20 minutes. If you put this over a spot then it probably is going to make it bigger, but it is also going to go quicker too which I think is more important. This mask has very weird lumps, almost like pieces of leaf inside of it, the texture is quite strange for that but it's not enough to put me off using it. Also the scent is a cross between menthol, cut grass and aniseed, so if you are not a fan of this then maybe you wouldn't like to use this mask.
After the very first use my skin did feel very clean, I think with regular use of this mask you could keep those horrible spots away. 

My ratings: 8/10

Recommend/ worth the money: Yes, for £39 they say you should get 17 full face mask applications which works out to just over £2 a mask. If you use it just as a spot treatment, it will obviously last longer.

Pros: Tightens pores, helps rid your skin of daily dirt and impurities. The main ingredients in this product are Glycolic, Salicylic and Lactic Acids that work to heal damaged skin and smooth pigmentation, excellent if you have ever suffered with spots and have scarring.

Cons: It isn't the cheapest mask if you are only out to spend a few pounds but it works very well. If don't like Aniseed then the smell may put you off, like it does my husband.

You can purchase this mask or find more info on it at GlamGlow, Lookfantastic and Boots. Also don't forget to use Quidco first if you are making an order online. For new customers, Quidco are offering up to 8% cash back from Boots at the moment and 7% for Lookfantastic.

Thanks for reading
Kara xx

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

My Current Wish List


I'm sure everyone has a list of things they would really like to own. I can't be the only one with a list, can I? Here are 5 things I would really like to own, this is only a wish list so no harm in saving a few pennies up for these treats or maybe to ask for one as a birthday treat maybe? 2 months to go *cough cough*

Anyway here are things I keep thinking about and maybe one day will get to own or try.

1. Woodwick Candles. I have had a few of these over the last couple of years and I just love them. I haven't had a bad one yet, I have found they also last the longest of any brand I have purchased. They have a pretty good scent throw too, these are a few scents on my wishlist I'd love to try.
Citrus Zest

2. Byredo, Gypsy Water. I had heard a lot about this brand but never smelt it, so I went into Liberty to smell it and I really liked the smell from just a sniff of the bottle. I had to do the perfume test, does anyone else do this first before buying a perfume? The perfume test is when you go to the shop with no fragrance of your own on and the spray it on yourself, go away and go about your day. Sniff it during the day a few times and see what you think of it. If, by the end of the day, you either don't notice it is there or you can only smell it when your wrist is under your nose then you know that fragrance works well with your body chemistry. I loved the light scent it left on my skin and it was a big thumbs up from the husband too. It is quite an exclusive perfume range so you can't get this at your local Boots or Superdrug, I like this, as I know its not going to be worn by many and its nice to smell different.

3. Mulberry, Clifton Bag, A Mulberry bag has potentially been in the pipeline for a while and on my latest visit to London I went into Selfridges and the Mulberry shop on New Bond Street.  I have done a ton of research online and read/watched so many reviews and narrowed it down to just one or two bags I love. From all of the research you can do online nothing beats physically holding and seeing a bag, the Clifton bag in pictures does look quite plain. But when it is in front of you the quality and the feel of the leather and suede is amazing. The bag contains, zip and snap closures, so it is practical and secure. It is a small but very roomy bag that can keep your essentials organised and safe, the sales assistant in the New Bond Street shop was amazing, she was so helpful, friendly and answered all of my many questions without hesitation. (on this visit I found out the perks of visiting a stand alone store compared to as concession, but that's for another blogpost). I feel a trip to Bicester should be made first and if no luck there, then back to London I might go, as I feel this might be the bag for me.

4. Stackers, I have a large version of the jewellery stack to hold all of my jewellery and I love it. I have no regrets buying that at all, my jewellery is all kept safely, in one place and easy to get to. When we go away I tend to use a little bag of some sort to hold extra jewellery and keep it in my hand luggage. It's not always the best idea if you want to take a necklace, so I think I would get good use out of a small travelling box. When it is not being used it fits into the large 11 section stacker, so it is neat and tidy and easy to pull out again when you are ready to take it on your travels.

5. Sarah Chapman, skinesis ultimate cleanse, I am a sucker for a good quality cleanser. I have tried so many ways of cleaning my skin from wipes (cringe) to scrubs, face washes and now cleansers. My skin responds well to being cleansed daily and I have found it helps shrink pores and smooths out my complexion. As most cleansers I have used are best used with a muslin cloth I think this has helped too and it is a light daily exfoliation. Again, from seeing things advertised online and from me being a geek and doing research online, I think this Sarah Chapman cleanser could be a real good one to try. It does cost a pretty penny so that has probably been holding me back from this purchase, but as all shops have sales I'm sure there will be a deal to be had one day.

Well, above are 5 things I have been lusting over, maybe I will own one or two of these one day in the future. What things are you lusting over? Tell me, I'd love to know.

Thanks for reading
Kara xx

Sunday, 12 March 2017

How to Extend Candle Life


If you are a bit of a candle freak like me then you may already do a few of these tricks to help make your candles last as long as possible and to try use up as much of the wax.

As I am sure everyone is aware, candles can range from being pence in price up to hundreds of pounds, as I know it will eventually burn out and the glass is recycled I can't bring myself to spend a lot on a candle.

If money was no issue I would LOVE to have the diptyque candle in the scent Rosa Mundi, I smelt it in Liberty's and it is amazing. But at £48 for a 190g candle, I feel my husband may have a few choice words to say about that, along the lines of "You are wasting your money!" :-/

Anyway, frequent trips to TK Maxx and my husband travelling to the States have resulted in me trying lots of candles of all shapes and sizes and different types of wicks.

My favourite brands that I have used and recommend are:
Bath and Body Works

I have included links for all these candle brands so you can check out the range. I buy all my Glade candles from Wilkos as they can go down in price to as little as £1.68, Bath and body works are strictly US only but candles made from anywhere round the world can be found in TK Maxx.

Here are 3 tips to help prolong the life of each candle:

  1. Trim the wick. I have always done this but only since Christmas have I had a really nice wick trimmer (Thanks Lorna xxx). This should help to eliminate the chances of black soot marks on the glass of the candle and the black smoke it gives off when first lit.
  2. The first burn is the most important. Don't light a candle for the first time if you know you are going to have to blow it out in half an hour. You want to let it have a really good first burn. By doing this the whole of the top of the candle should have melted. If you do not melt it right across you run the risk of never getting an even burn which will leave you with a lot of wax being left up the sides and quite often wasted.
  3. If you find a candle you love and you have the choice to have it in a single or a triple wick, then I would always pick a triple wick . This is also another way you are likely to achieve a more even burn. 

Three very simple things to do, but I have found make all the difference and can get you an extra day or two from each candle you burn. He is a picture of a candle a few days in and the burn is very even.

Thanks for reading
Kara xx

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Quick and Easy Jam Tarts


I have a super quick and really easy recipe to make jam tarts. As only a few ingredients are needed and they do not take long to prepare or to cook, I think this would be a great snack to make with children. Learning how to make things from scratch are always worth the extra time put in, it is also more rewarding knowing it has not come straight out of a packet. This way you are in full control of the ingredients you are putting into your food also.

If your preference is to have organic, gluten free or maybe vegan ingredients, then all these ingredients can be purchased in your preferred food type.

What you will need:
  • 3oz of Stork
  • 6oz of Self Raising flour
  • Jar of jam
  • Salt (optional)
  • Mixing bowl
  • Rolling pin
  • Milk
  • Cake cutter or any circular object that has a circumference larger than the cake tin holes
  • Shallow cup cake tin
Pre heat the oven to 200ºC or maybe less if you have a fan assisted oven. Using a small amount of the butter, grease the cake tin.

Rub Stork and flour together with your finger tips until it becomes like bread crumbs, I like to use a little of each at a time until the whole thing is done. I add a pinch of salt, this is totally optional.
Run the cold tap and make sure the water you use is very cold, add a few drops of water in the bowl at a time. Use a knife (maybe a wooden spoon for a child) and mix the ingredients together. Keep adding water until the ingredients becomes a ball of dough, do this gradually as you do not want the dough to be too wet and soggy.

Sprinkle some flour on a cold work surface and also rub a little on the rolling pin, place your dough in the middle of your flour and roll away. You don't want them to be too thick, so roll the dough out evenly and thin.

Cut each of your tarts and place them down into the cake molds. Add a small tea spoon of jam, remember the jam will spread as it heats so a little goes a long way. I use a little drop of milk round the edges of my tarts to get that golden pastry.

Place in the oven for around 15 minute depending on your oven and preference to how dark you like your pastry, once cooked leave on a rack to cool down and then the best part...... enjoy!

I bet they are not fully cold before you eat one. :-)

I think as people have very busy lives, the thought of extra cooking on top of all the meals you have to cook daily is off putting. But with this recipe, in half an hour you can have tasty treats for the family for the whole week.

I always think home made food (made with love) tastes the best.

Thanks for reading
Kara xx

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Garnier Moisture Bomb Tissue Mask


I have seen this mask float around the Internet for months but never thought about trying it, as I do have a few masks to be using up first! But with my willpower being non-existent and it being just 99p I thought why not. I picked it up from Boots, the packaging is pretty eye catching and before I knew it, I had in in my hand and was standing at the till to pay. ;-)

This mask claims it will work wonders on your skin and within the first 15 minutes, skin is intensely hydrated, it looks smoother and your complexion will be radiant! After one week of using this mask, fine lines appear reduced, skin looks plumper and radiance is revitalised. With all these claims let me see if this is true. I have cleansed my face with the Bee Good facial cleanser and then applied this mask as per the instructions on the back of the packet.

After the 15 minutes: My skin does feel very hydrated and smooth, the mask was very cooling and I like the texture of the mask itself. It was easy to apply and so far I love the results. I'm not sure this will last a week but we shall see. I think this would be fantastic to use before a night out or a wedding. For the next week I will not use a single mask of any kind, just my usual cleansers and moisturisers. Lets see if it lasts the week.

The next morning: I got up and washed my face, my skin felt very hydrated, so much so that I didn't even apply a moisturiser, I didn't have a need to. This is the first sheet mask I have ever used that has given my skin so much moisture. I did not apply cream that night either. The following morning I did need to use moisturiser, my skin started to feel dry.

After 1 week: As I went back to using my moisturiser on day two my skin now doesn't feel any different. It still feels hydrated from everyday moisturiser not from this mask. Saying that I have never gone a day without putting moisturiser on and from using this mask just the once, I did exactly that.

This mask would be fantastic to use before a flight. Any plane ride, even the short haul flights, still dry out your skin. By giving it a boost of moisture before hand, it saves having to take any creams on board the plane. By not drying your skin out also you are less likely to get any break outs.

My Rating: 9/10

Recommend/ worth the money:Yes 100% I loved using this mask and would not think twice about recommending it and buying more for myself in the future.

Pros: It costs 99p and is suitable for all skin types. It is ok to be used on sensitive skin. I got a good two days worth of miniaturisation from just the one mask. It smells pleasant.

Cons: Errrr, it didn't last a week! I think that is the only con to this product.

Thanks for reading
Kara xx

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Mulberry Card Holder


I do love small leather goods and here is my latest piece. A lovely calf leather Mulberry card holder in the colour Oxblood. The interior is made of a soft but durable nappa leather.

As always with Mulberry the leather and stitching is lovely and of very good quality. I have filled the purse with my store card and ones I don't use often. I have been using this everyday since I got it for Christmas and it still looks the same. You can fit so many card in this small purse, I think if you were on a night out, this would be perfect. If just took the cards you need, I am sure you would be able to fit notes and some change in here too. It is the perfect size to fit into pretty much any small bag, this fits perfectly into my Mulberry Mini Lily.

Here you can see how it looks with and without cards. This purse has lots of room. I wanted a card holder that could hold a good 10-12 cards and this one holds at least that. You can see that it fits comfortably in the palm of your hand, it is very compact.

My rating: 9/10

Recommend/ worth the money: Yes and even though it cost £145, which is not exactly pocket change, it still looks the same as the day I first got it and I am sure it will for many years to come.

Pros: Calf leather is very hard wearing, the quality of the stitching and leather is fantastic.

Cons: It is quite expensive.

Thanks for reading
Kara xx