Friday, September 28, 2012

Hello Holland

When I spotted the chance to win a couple of days break to Amsterdam, I couldn't not enter. Couldn't.

Something you might not know about me is that I have a borderline obsession with Miffy- y'know, the cute little bunny line drawing who wears super cute outfits? Well in the same way that many fall for the Hello Kitty charm, I fell for Miffy. The thing is, Miffy isn't a Japanese or Chinese creation- despite the styling. She's Dutch (and called Njinte in Dutch).

So, the chance to visit Miffy's home? Bring it! But what does one wear to visit the home of this iconic little bunny, to spend a few hard earned pennies (erm Monki, Cheaper H&M, and have you SEEN Dutch street style vintage?!)

Well... this is my Amsterdam shopping break look for the easyJet holidays competition...

Dress, Ted Baker

Coat, Topshop

Feather Cape, Topshop

Shoes, Bertie

Boots, New Look

So... Pretty dress- CHECK. Day time shopping calls for thick tights, these gorgeous boots for a lift and a trend, and to keep my feet warm and dry, and this cosy cosy coat.

And because I'm lazy like to keep things simple, wouldn't these gorgeous Bertie flats and statement feather cape be fabulous to take my dress from day to night for drinks- this bar, House of Bols would definitely suit for a post shopping drink- I'm a bit of a cocktail fiend, truth be told...

And at the end of it all, I can think of nothing better than heading back to a hotel room. Despite having partly grown up in a hotel (SO not as glamorous as you'd think), there's something about a hotel room that excities me, that it's only my haven for a short while, that it's almost always more luxurious than my own surroundings... and that what goes on in a hotel room, stays in a hotel room!!!

This hotel is super modern and I imagine it would look just beautiful at night on the wander back from dinner- or stagger back from aforementioned cocktails... with it's colour and waterside location. And this hotel really captures a bit of the old. I don't know huge amounts about Dutch history, but would love to learn more, and the building just captures my wish to learn more about the Netherlands. Ohhhh... and did I mention part of the prize is to stay in one of these (or a number of other) FOUR STAR hotels?

So Amsterdam, I'd love to see more of you than just Schipol, Miffy.... I need more of your memorabilia, Cocktails- be warned. Shops of Holland- My. Euros. Are. Coming.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

How Much Is Your Face Worth (And How To Reduce The Numbers)

No doubt you will have seen plenty of people totting up the cost of their make up recently- how much their daily face actually costs, and I'll be honest, I find it fascinating, mostly because it reminds how many products it takes to look fabulous each day.

I could do a post of how much my everyday (and to be fair, most of my other looks too...) face costs, but instead, I thought I'd do it differently- How you can save some money on your much loved products and looks.

SO, first up: FACE:

I use:

Bare Minerals Foundation- RRP £24
E.L.F Mineral Boost- RRP £7
Bare Minerals Blush- RRP £19

Yeah... £50 is quite a lot isn't it...Thing is, I have never and would never pay £50 for this bunch

Tip one- Keep your eye out for sales and use them to stock up
I used bought my foundation in the sale, it cost £18.I didn't need a new one when I bought it, but I also knew I'd need it before another deal this good came along.

I bought my E.L.F. Mineral boost during a 50% off event, and even though E.L.F don't break the bank, they have such good deals, and they come around really frequently, that it's worth holding off, then stocking up if you use something regularly.

Tip two- Look out for alternatives
Sticking with my E.L.F. mineral boost for a moment... it's worth looking into lower cost alternatives for some items. Bare Minerals produce a similar product, designed as a finishing powder and I also use it as a base, it costs £20. Not only do I get twice as much product in my E.L.F. version, it's also just as good.

Be wary though, sometimes a cheaper alternative might not be good value if you have to replace it more often, or you're not happy with the result.

Tip three- Don't dismiss gift sets
It can be easy to look over gist sets as something you don't need, but for some brands and products, they offer excellent value (although be sure to check that you'll use all of the products, if not for yourself, as part of gifts or swaps) on products you know and love, as well as giving you the opportunity to try something new.

This blush came as part of a 5 part set, and all 5 products were things I knew I would use, the set cost £35 and the value of the items within was at least £70 RRP. Oh- and I never would have picked the shade, but it has ended up being one of my favourites- not bad for £7

So from £50 to £28.50... heading towards the half way mark... Next: EYES

I use:

Bobbi Brown Ultra Nude Palette- RRP £39
Bare Minerals Prime Time Brightening Primer- RRP £16
Eyelure Naturalites False Lashes- RRP £5.49

Tip four- Stay in the good books
I'm fortunate enough to have a beauty obsessed Aunt, if there's a new product, she has to try it, but often she ends up with things that she doesn't use/like/want. Lucky for me, my Aunt also doesn't have an internet connection or any IT skills, so we swap. I hook her into the latest discounts and dupes, she passes on things like this Bobbi Brown palette, which she had used just two or three times. It cost me a £7 E.L.F. Mineral Boost and a glass of wine. The moral of the story- keep in with friends and relatives who enjoy their beauty products, whether it's a costly product or a budget one, swapping with each other can reduce the cost of errors or trials, help recycle and freshen up your made-up bag at low cost.

Tip five- Shop around and outside of just your usual haunts
These eyelashes I spoke about recently, and they were a great deal, the pack was a BOGOF deal and therefore each pair cost £2.75 each. I only found them because I was on an emergency run, but it reminded me to keep my eyes peeled everywhere I go.
This theory applies on a number of products- it's always worth a scout in your local Pound Shops, BodyCare, discount stores, supermarkets and beauticians if you're in the vicinity because you never quite know what you're going to find.
BUT- be wary- do you really need 2 of something/another one because it's cheap/one just in case/solely because it's on offer? Cheap cosmetics can be fab, but buying something you don't need/won't use/have nowhere to keep is wasteful of both money and product, and isn't good value.

So... Eyes total £60.49 RRP, actual cost: £14.75 (Primer as with blush, from gift set)

Total actual cost so far £43.25 On to: LIPS

I Use:

Boots Lipsalve- RRP £1.01
MUA Lipstick- RRP £1

Tip six- Budget brands
Cheap make-up can be awful, I recall the nasty nasty sticky lipsticks and orange pressed powders many girls in my year were using aged 13/14/15. But budget make-up has come a long way in the last few years, and not just in providing a low cost look-alike for the products the big boys market on. The likes of MUA have really outdone themselves here, and this lipstick is a favourite, and one of the first I've ever used. I looked at the MUA stand purely because it had been well stocked in a local Superdrug and the selection of lipsticks was great, as well as there being testers for all shades, and have never looked back. Budget brands provide some fab products, so don't turn your nose up, dive in and have a try!

And finally, Tip seven- Use your loyalty
Lots of shops now have loyalty schemes, Boots have been doing them for years. I use my Boots card to save up for something expensive (at the moment, perfume), and make sure I purchase anything I need when I get my extra points vouchers, and then team it up with 3 for 2/£5 off/5 million points with the purchase of any Swiss made hair removing dog feeding contraption etc. So whilst I might have spent £1.01 on my lip balm, which is a daily essential for me, it all goes towards the bottle of Gucci perfume I have my eye upon, which should cost around £50, but will in fact cost me the free money earned by spending on things I need anyway.

So the total cost of my daily face? Well, based on RRPs it should be £112.50. That's a number that makes me wince a bit, and it certainly would if that's what I had paid. Total ACTUAL cost of my face....

Less than half! I'm impressed with that as someone who hasn't always been financially savvy and who never thought of themselves as thrifty particularly. 

If you have tips on how you save money whilst still having the products you love, I want to hear them!

PST- E.L.F. Currently have 50% off your order using SEPT50 at the checkout

*goes to check what needs stocking up up on*


Monday, September 24, 2012

Recently I'm Wearing

Another week, Another 500 or so miles clocked up on the commuter trail. I'm looking forward to being stuck in the flat, on my own with the Gossip Girl DVD's I've just order, a stack of magazines, a well stocked Kindle and the rather nice looking sausages I've just unpacked from the shopping.

Another week with a few outfits for you too... the WIWT addiction continues...

A few cold wet days...

Primark T-shirt dress- the cheap version of THAT Topshop one, Primark tights, Draven flats, Nica handbag, Spanish pashmina scarf, Topshop ring
Topshop jumper, Primark denim leggings, Clarks flats, Ministry of Sound wristband, Ring a gift from my grandmother

A few less cold but still wet days...

Primark polka dot tights (ancient), Primark t-shirt dress as above
Topshop jumper, Primark denim leggings, Clarks flats, Nica handbag, Spanish pashmina scarf, H&M biker jacket

And when it's as cold and miserable as this, and you're exhausted and full of cold, and having to ponder what on earth to wear for a Skype interview....

Topshop Cat Slippers (last year)
Topshop Cat Scarf

Seriously- the cat scarf was worth every penny of the full price £20 (I bought it with my very last student discount for £18). It's super fluffy, bang on the perfect length, and it looks as though I have a cat draped over my shoulders. SERIOUSLY, what's not to love.

I'm off to continue pondering my wardrobe in order to find something that will look good on webcam, and that clearly says 'employable, competent, personable, professional'.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

High Brow

A couple of cheeky beauty buys to share with you today. I show them off a bit sooner but life is a bit hectic at CLTT HQ so I've really only had time to play today having been told to have a guilt free day off by my parents... (still trying to fathom why...)

Anyway, a little while back I indulged in an offer on lash extensions, I opted for some very natural lashes, and they were great whilst they lasted, but I couldn't justify the long term cost of keeping them up all the time. The downside- now they've all come off, my eyelashes are looking a little.... bare.

I do have one set of false eyelashes, but they're very much occasion lashes, and I'm not sure I'm ready to be an everyday eyelash kinda girl, but I haven't yet found a mascara that does length and lift and volume to my satisfactory level WITHOUT costing half a months pay.

So when I realised I'd forgotten aforementioned occasion lashes when going out last weekend, I happened across these in an emergency Boots run... and I think I've found a reasonable part time solution. Behold.

This pack cost £5.50 (ish) which I didn't think was too horrific for a full priced set of Eyelure lashes from Boots at Kings Cross station. Normally I'd hunt around in Bodycare/Pound Shops/Home Bargains etc to find a better price for these, but it was an emergency and bright parks may have noticed the Buy One Get One Free element (the other pair are about, just not in the pack).

Reasons I love these- they're not in your face, true to their name (Naturalites) they are subtle, they give some extra volume, they have a nice lift, they also don't run the full length of my own lash line meaning they don't irritate the inner corners of my eyes. In short, pretty good for £2.75 a pair in an emergency. I'm not sure they'll be an everyday solution, but they're good for girlie practice and a few days/the weekend.

Second beauty buy was a bit more considered. I'm not hugely 'in to' eyebrows, but I have realised that making even a small effort to keep their natural shape tidy, and using a pencil to define them does help to frame my features, and although it's subtle, it's a worthwile 30 seconds.

My problem this far is that I'm not exactly great at making an even shape, so I don't wax/pluck very much at all to avoid disasters- and I quite like my natural shape anyhow. I also have had a go at using a handed-down-from-my-mum-who-is-10-steps-ahead-of-me HD Brows pencil, but I'm not that sold on it, and when I saw this on the ELF website (whilst having a stock up during their 30% off event) I thought it might be good to try something new.

E.L.F Eyebrow Collection, £6.00

Stencils for my not so steady hands and slightly dodgy eyes, tweezers a decent brush to use with wax and powder, and a setting gel. I thought this was a pretty good deal, as the powder and wax are the main components of the Studio Eyebrow Kit which does have the benefit of being a bit more travel/handbag friendly (and something I'm considering purchasing at £3.75, for my travel makeup)

The stencils and products are great value- they work, they're easy to use, they do what they say.

Face, Bare Minerals foundation (medium beige), Bare Minerals Ready blush (aphrodisiac), ELF Mineral Booster (sheer)
Lips, MUA Cosmetics x Love Hearts lip balm (kiss me)
Eyes, Eyelure Naturalites lashes

Subtle is how I like it... and subtle is the effect with my limited skillz. I couldn't bring myself to spend big bucks on an HD Brows product such as their palettes, but for me, £6 -30% was worth it to get the stencils alone to help me steady my hand and the brush is fabulous- exactly the right size with a handle that really works for controlled movement, and at £3.75, for a subtle help in defining my features, I think the wax/powder palette would be world a repurchase at a later stage.

So there we have it, in my expert words.... if you like your beauty to be a subtle enhancement, these are both products I'd recommend, I also think both were good value- in particular the lashes, and I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for BOGOF packs when out and around.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chloe Likes To Eat

Winter has arrived in the North. I really really do know this because I needed the heating this morning- actually needed. The upside is the COMFORT FOOD!

Vegetable Broth at work... the flask has. Come. Out.

Spaghetti with homemade rocket pesto & parmesan.

 Fresh cod with rocket pesto, mashed potato, balsmic cooked cherry tomatoes & broccoli

My dad and I are flying solo at the flat for just over half of the week, the upside is that he finds it way more appealing to cook for 2 in the.... limited kitchen

I say this.... after our 4 hour trip back North this weekend, we sat down to beans on toast (which was actually epic and exactly what we needed)


Monday, September 17, 2012

Put Your Hands Up

I spent Saturday night at Ministry of Sound for their 21st Birthday, Calvin Harris and Michael Woods were on the bill to keep everybody moving. And did they!

This was my excited face before trekking into London on Saturday afternoon...

Bare Minerals Face, MUA Lipstick & no eye make up for the first time in ages!

I finally stumbled off a DLR and into bed at 0800 on Sunday morning and I can safely say I burned off the A-Mazing Lamb Kofti I ate before we hit the club. Crazy dancing doesn't even begin to cover it. 

If I could have stayed in bed all day Sunday, it would have been perfection, sadly both T and I had to get back to Cambs for various things, so the sum total sleep for 48 hours was just over 2 hours...

Pretty much says it all...

Hope you all had a great weekend, I'm now back to it- work, washing, ironing, groceries, a little delivery of beauty goodies (ahem.... more to come on that after testing!)


Friday, September 14, 2012

Always Take The Weather With You

A couple of new purchases to show off, and once again, complete lack of proper places to take appropriate pictures in the flat, and too much going on in the house to take any there either. 

Lamenting the sunshine I got to see in the South last weekend, as in Cumbria it's really chilled down, the only really good thing... HELLO JUMPERS! 

 Topshop jumper (see below), Primark denim leggins and shoes, Shaun Leane Ring
Topshop flecked tee and ponte leggings, Clarks flats

Zara tee, Uniqlo city shorts, Clarks flats, ring a gift from my grandmother
Topshop studded jumper, Primark denim leggings, George at Asda flats, Spanish watch

My 'it's COLD hurry up' face... Bare Minerals Face, Bobbi Brown eyes, MUA Lips- outfit as below
Topshop flecked tee, Primark denim leggings, Clarks flats, Wendy House Rocks necklace*, Ring from local jeweller

The Topshop studded jumper.... seriously the cosiest thing I own, in fact I'm writing this post whilst wearing it over my PJ's.... I used the very last day of my student discount and included it in my order mostly because I'm really struggling for easy things to pull on over jeans/leggings. Speaking of which, the aubergine ponte ones... also MAJORLY comfy, and very heavy weight- they remind me of jodhpurs in fact, and again, a purchase I'm pleased I made.

A word of warning however, after buying a top in store last month, and therefore trying something on in an actual changing room (RARE) I found that Topshop have made their sizes HUGE all of a sudden, the studded jumper is an 8, and truthfully could have been a 6 and would still have been oversize, the leggings equally I ended up ordering an 8 where normally I'd expect to be 10. Don't say I didn't warn you...

I'm back on the commuter trail this weekend, but with a twist, I'm heading to the house, the onwards to the big smoke- Ministry of Sound celebrate their 21st birthday this weekend, and yours truly has sweet talked her way onto the guest list and after a minor panic where T decided to head to Scandinavia with the Army, and nobody else wanted to come, but it's all pulled together in last minute fashion, and then he didn't go to Scandinavia and I had to scramble to sweet talk him back on the list... and now... I need to find something to wear! Wish me luck, expect many excitable tweets.. Calvin Harris is one hell of a way to celebrate 21!

Happy weekend folks, hope you have exciting or enjoyable plans.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Snow Patrol

I've been meaning to buy white polish for ages, mainly so I could do this...

Ft Models Own
Snow White- Passion Pink- Lilac Dream- Juicy Jules- Baby Blue- Jade Stone- Black Nail Pen

I quite like this for an alternative for leopard print nails, they also seem to be getting a lot of attention. I just feel I probably could use some more practice...

Just a heads up ladies- I bought my Snow White polish from Boots, who are currently doing a freebie deal- spend £10 on Models Own and get a free nail art pen. I also bought Utopia, and got me a free white nail pent, so there may be a bit more nail art to come.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Recently I'm Wearing

My WIWT addiction appears to be escalating continuing, and so I bring you some more outfits. I'd really like to do some proper outfit posts at the moment, but unfortunately I'm struggling a bit for space with living conditions at Chloe Likes To Talk HQ being.... compromised, more on that next week. In the mean time, it's been a casual and comfortable week here, but a couple of favourites and a new purchase are in the mix.

H&M Shirt, Topshop leggings, Primark shoes
George at Asda Top, Primark denim leggings, Topshop cardigan & ring, Clarks Aintree Jump shoes

Topshop Jumper, F+F Jeans, Ring unknown, Clarks Cadiz flats
Topshop Flecked Tee, F+F Jeans, Clarks Cadiz Flats, Shaun Leane ring, Necklace- gift

Topshop Flecked Tee, Primark Denim Leggings, Clarks Cadiz Flats, Nica Handbag, Ring- gift (it was my grandmothers

Primark Tee, Denim Leggings & plimsols, Wendy House Rocks necklace*
Topshop Top, F+F Jeans, George at Asda flats

DIY Studded Jumper, F+F Jeans, Clarks Aintree Jump shoes
Primark Tee, Topshop Jeans, Primark Shoes, Ring from Glasgow Trip

Presently in house move hell- the house my parents just bought turned out to have all sorts of nasty surprises, and somewhere in the mix, the business still has to function like normal, the dog has to be pandered to, and I still have to find a proper job. The phrase 'keep calm, carry on' is one uttered in the confines of my grey matter often. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012


If you’ve read the guest post that I wrote for the lovely Maria of Frills n Spills, you’ll know that recently I had to face up to a less than comfortable appointment with my doctor about some unusual bleeding, and face a fear I didn’t realise I had- the unknown.

Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t quite as simple as ‘you’ll be fine, off you go’ and this week I had to attend a hospital appointment for adult gynaecology, and I’m not going to mask the truth- I was pretty terrified. Not of having to have someone poking around where I’d prefer only one other person to be, or of what they might do, but more a fear of what ifs and I’m sorry.

My GP referred me because she felt it would be better for someone more expert to check that my bleeding didn’t indicate anything more serious, and I’m grateful that she did, but it hasn’t stopped me spending the days running up to my appointment wondering what the hell to do if actually, I didn’t want to hear what the consultant would have to say.

Fortunately for me, all I needed was some relatively simple outpatient treatment, which was able to be carried out on the same day whilst I was there. I’ll be brutally honest and say having my cervix frozen with gas at -60 degrees isn’t the nicest or most comfortable thing in the world, but it’s nothing major in the grand scheme of things.

But by far the best element of my appointment was the consultant, and something I’m beginning to recognise as the greater part of good medical treatment. I had to attend my appointment alone, in a hospital I’d never been to, with little indication of what was going to happen. I was nervous. Having a doctor who not only realised very quickly that I was quite nervous,  but also didn’t treat me like I was stupid made a big difference to my experience.

My consultant was very reassuring- explaining what the problem was most likely to be, how it could be dealt with, and any implications. He was also very sensitive to being male, asking if I’d be more comfortable being treated with a nurse present, and if I was happy for him to perform the procedure that day or if I’d prefer to return another time.

Hospitals can be scary and infuriating places and I’ve had medical care that ranges from mediocre to slow to appalling before now, so I was sincerely grateful to have left the hospital feeling that I had been listened to, treated properly and that my needs and views had also been respected.

Being unwell or injured is tough, but this week I learned that it doesn’t have to be scary. If you are brave enough to take the first step, there are people- not just your own loved ones, who can and will reassure you, listen to you and respect you as both a patient and a person. And more than that, it’s ok to be a bit nervous, or even to be frightened, but be honest about that, allow your nerves to be settled, your fears to be allayed, and yourself to be reassured.

Lastly, something I have to reiterate from The Fear. Don’t stick your head in the sand. There are lots of big bad nasty diseases that can cause unusual bleeding, pain or other symptoms in women young and old, the sooner you make and attend a GP appointment about your symptoms, the sooner you can be treated, or referred to a consultant or reassured that there’s nothing to worry about. Whatever the case, it is not only far better for your stress levels to know, but it’s also far better to catch anything and everything early on. 

Be Brave. Face The Fear. You might just surprise yourself. 


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Flower Girl

I have somewhat of an obsession with taking pictures of flowers. I can't really have them in the house much as they make me sneeze like fury, but I love to look at them, and seeing as I was surrounded by so many beautiful ones when visiting my grandparents this weekend, I thought I'd share the floral love.

I have no idea what these are or where they originate from, I just thought they were gorgeous....

Given that by the time this is live, I'm likely to be knee deep in stuff that's come out of a storage unit, I'm looking back quite wistfully on these pictures... I'm moving house (again) and would give pretty much anything to roll back to the warm weather and serenity that my bank holiday consisted of!

P.S. I have close to home guest post up HERE