Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stains

31 July 2014

As a true lipstick addict - seriously, they're practically one of my greatest joys in life - who eagerly anticipates the launch of new lippies and runs to buy them as soon as they hit the shelves, I can't tell you how lucky I felt to be invited to the Revlon event - here - and to be the proud owner of lip products that aren't even out yet. It has been positively dreamy.

I don't know about you, but I'm quite protective of my pennies and never frivolously splash the cash unless I'm 95% sure that I'll like a product. Maybe it's a habit of reading beauty blogs since the age of fourteen, but I read through countless reviews and Google swatches of products so that I can decide which shade(s) I want to add to my ever-expanding family of lipsticks. So, here are my two cents on the 'globe-trotting, gorgeous, glossy colours' that are launching in the UK this August - the new Revlon ColorStay Moisture Stains!

This photo is very representative and true to how the colours look in 'real life'
Top to bottom:
'Barcelona Nights'
'Parisian Passion'
'Miami Fever'
'Cannes Crush'
'India Intrigue'
'Shanghai Sizzle'

On first impressions, I thought these were drop-dead gorgeous. With chic, sleek black packaging that's satisfyingly weighty and even more satisfying to line up in a row, I thought that they could easily pass for a YSL or Dior classy lip offering at a fraction of the price. 

Promising "intense pigment with a non-drying formula", the formulation is a gel-stain hybrid that's like nothing I've ever tried before and these most definitely pack a punch in the colour department. Even the lightest shades such as 'LA Exclusive' and 'London Posh' are densely pigmented and leave your lips drenched with opaque, glossy colour. I'm a big fan of the fact that there isn't a shimmer particle in sight with these and despite not being too big on gloss, these (along with the L'Oreal L'Extraordinaire Liquid Lipsticks) have totally converted me. And you know why? Because they're balmy. Whilst the Moisture Stains offer a 'glass-like shine', I prefer to swipe on then pat things out with my ring finger to 'take the edge off' and tone things down to more of a balmy hint of colour. Balmy. Great word. 

The colour range is really up my street, are we in agreement that Revlon covered every base with this range? You've got corals, pinks, reds, nudes - the gang's all here! 'Barcelona Nights' well and truly hit the spot for me as pink lips are my thang, not to mention how pretty darn smoking Olivia Wilde is looking whilst sporting it in the oh-so-glam visuals. 

'Barcelona Nights'

'Parisian Passion'

'India Intrigue'

My only gripe is that the application process can get a little streaky and if you aren't armed with a mirror, a minute to apply your lippy and a smidgen of patience, maybe these aren't for you. Despite having one of the best-shaped wands for getting a clean line even with the brightest reds and no linerI still had to work quite hard to get an even finish. The trick, however, is to apply one coat and then go in with a second for a polished - not patchy - finish. Loaded with nourishing Vitamin E, these feel so comfortable and smooth on the lips that I've been wearing them around the house instead of lip balm. Wild, I know.

We've established that the Moisture part of their name is justified, but what about the Stain claims? I've heard a few people say that their staying power isn't on par, but I have to disagree. Here's why. Not thinking much apart from, 'ooh, pretty shade', I applied 'Cannes Crush' and went about my day - drinking litres of water, eating copious amounts of chips and dips, living life in general - and when it came to removing my makeup some seven hours later, to my surprise and astonishment, 'Cannes Crush' was still there. I kid you not - the stain lived through guacamole, people - that's saying something. Impressive stuff.

For some reason I expected these to smell like sweet vanilla à la MAC lipsticks but in actuality they smell a little... alcohol-y. To me, anyway. It isn't overpowering and the scent doesn't transfer onto the lips - nobody will think you've been knocking back the vodkas or anything - but in the tube, I can detect a faint hint of what I can only describe as 'spirit'.

'Cannes Crush'

'Miami Fever'

'Shanghai Sizzle'

Priced at £7.99, these babies will be stocked in Boots and Superdrug as well as their corresponding websites from August. With 12 shades in total, the remaining 6 are 'LA Exclusive', 'London Posh', 'Milan Moment', 'New York Scene', 'Rio Rush' and 'Stockholm Chic'. To see the Revlon 'Jet Set Beauty' preview event that I attended in July, click here. 

Will you be picking up one of the new shades? Which one(s) do you have your eye on?


These products were gifted to me by Revlon. All views are 100% my own and honest.

Sugar Tips

29 July 2014

A slightly crude post title today but it's just what springs to mind whenever I look down at my digits, which are currently coated with Rimmel's 60 Seconds nail polish in 'Ethereal'. On a recent Boots 3 for 2 expedition - you know the ones - I threw this into my basket after spotting it and thinking, "you look like Euphoria's pink sister". 'Euphoria' is another truly beautiful little oyster number from Rimmel that I always reach for when I'm in a hurry as it does exactly what it says on the tin (dries in under a minute and all that jazz), goes with everything and looks like the inside of those mother-of-pearl shells you find on holiday.

I'm currently in a transitional phase between wanting bright, fun nails but thinking 'what would Olivia Palermo wear'. It's a dilemma; cute vs. chic, the age-old battle. I tried 'Ethereal' last week and it sits perfectly somewhere in the middle of the two - understated and feminine but with a little summin' summin' courtesy of the pearly iridescence. Ballet pink with a silver sheen and the same shell-like lilac shimmer as my well-loved 'Euphoria'? Yes, please. It's a little sugary, but I'm partial to a bit of girly prettiness from time to time and personally, I think this is one of those shades that everyone needs in their collection as it's so easy to wear and makes you look that little bit more 'put together' and polished. 

The application is a doddle with the conveniently wide brush and although I don't think this is a 'one coat-er' as Rimmel claims, who's complaining about applying two for £3.69? I've been using the notoriusly hard to find - see Ruth Crilly's thoughts here Rimmel Whitener as my base as it works excellently to prevent staining under any colour and I love it lots.

If you're after something extremely pretty that you can wear any day of the week to any occasion with the added bonus of being priced under a fiver, head to Rimmel and check out their range - or alternatively, click here. Bold statement coming up: I think I want my bridesmaids to wear this when I get married. Anyone else think that being bedridden for the last few days has made me think a little bit too much about nail polish? Yep, me too...

What's your favourite go-to nail polish? Have you tried any other shades from Rimmel?


Five Lessons I've Learnt About ME/CFS

28 July 2014

This time last month marked the sixth year of being an ME sufferer and one year to the day of my official diagnosis. I had the date marked in my calendar, but how do you go about such an 'anniversary' - do you let the 24 hours pass without recognition? It's not like people get together to raise a glass to chronic illness, toasting to poor health.

I wanted to make a positive occasion out of a negative situation and so I wrote this post about how I was diagnosed and a handful of the most notable things I'd come to realise after over half a decade of illness. As I've been having a bit of a rough ride with my ME lately and feeling like I've taken steps backwards after a couple of better months, I've decided to revisit those little pearls of wisdom and I'm no longer wallowing. Enjoy!

 #1 You have to create your own light at the end of the tunnel
Living with ME is a rollercoaster, and not in a fun Ronan Keating you just gotta ride it way - in an unfair, unkind, undeserved, frustrating, cruel way. I remember my doctor saying to me on the day I was diagnosed, "I'll help you in any way that I can, but there isn't anything more I can do for you". I'd read endless amounts of information on ME and knew what she meant - she could prescribe medication to ease pain or offer advice on how to improve various symptoms, but ME is incurable and untreatable. I wanted to hear, "two years maximum, and you'll be in the clear", but there's no time scale and no guarantee that I'll ever get better, so I turn to positive thinking and see my recovery as a fact, an eventuality - one day, I will be better. Maybe not this year or the next, but one day.
#2 ME will make you feel like giving up. One word: don't
Having ME will push you, physically and mentally, to your absolute limit. There are no two ways about it - it's a devastating illness that can turn your world upside down and suck the life out of you. You can be as good as gold, following every 'chronic illness law' in the book, and ME still won't thank or reward you for it - and if it does, it has the habit of pulling the rug out from underneath you just when you think you're getting somewhere. It's hard and disappointing but you can't give up hopeEvery day you might wonder how much more you can takebut your hope is the only thing stronger than your fear. And if you can't be your own cheerleader, I'll be yours for you - personalised chants available on request*.

*gimme a J, gimme an O, gimme a K, gimme an E...

#3 Spoonies are some of the best people on the planet
Fact. Aside from the priceless comfort of my family, friends and other half, I've received an unbelievable amount of support from people I've never met and who I now consider friends. Perhaps it's because we're all in the same boat, but there's something comforting about speaking to someone who knows exactly what you're going through and I just can't say enough good things about the wonderful individuals I've met through having ME. I love 'em.
P.S. If you're unsure what a spoonie is, read Christine Miserandino's spoon theory here.

#4 Adjust to your limitations and don't look back
My ME became severe two months into university, and I felt bitter about being forced to give up something I loved. Being bedbound, my days quickly felt listless and pointless until I realised that I needed to actively give them a purpose. If I couldn't do my degree, what could I do instead? Upload a photo every day to my Instagram account? Yep, done. I couldn't attend lectures and write essays, but what could I do instead? Start writing blog posts? Yep, slowly but surely and sentence by sentence. My happiness and success grew as soon as I stopped being sad about what I couldn't do anymore, adjusted to my new circumstances and focused on what I could do. Looking forward is the way... well, forward.

#5 Recognise progress, find joy in the little things and focus on the good
It would be easy to focus on the negatives, and it would be easy to grumble. Being in pain 24 hours a day 7 days a week and never feeling like you have the energy to hold your own head up gives you a lot to be unhappy about. It's really, really hard and I don't think I'll stop having days where I lay in bed and think, "I can't stand this". It frightens me far too much to think that I might go through the rest of my life feeling this unwell every day, so I consciously choose to focus on the good - and the best way to do this is to recognise the progress I've made and to be proud of how far I've come. Some days I can't open my eyes, yes, but every day used to be like that. I've got a whole lot more to be grateful about today compared to a year ago. I can walk! I can talk! I can feed myself! I used to take those things for granted, but never again will I walk ten paces and not be smiling. As Pam Beesly put it best - "there's a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn't that kinda the point?"

Which life lessons have you learnt through difficult times or challenges you've faced?


Revlon ColorStay Moisture Stain Preview Event, London

22 July 2014

If you saw my post about the Indeed Labs launch of their brand spanking new hydraluron moisture jelly in Mayfair here, you'll know that the next day I hotfooted it back onto the London Underground to attend the Revlon preview event for the gorgeous yet-to-be-launched range of ColorStay Moisture Stains. My favourite drugstore brand and lots of new lipstick prettiness? Swoon. I felt so lucky to be invited, here's what I got up to...

On arrival, I was greeted by a glamorous air hostess who, handing me my baby pink passport, welcomed me aboard 'Revlon Airways' and sent me through not a normal door, but an aircraft plug door. I was feeling the 'jet set beauty' theme already and I hadn't even entered the venue yet! Held at Disco in Kingly Court, Soho - where "70s Manhattan is reborn" - the club had been decked out with Revlon prettiness from the floor to the ceiling. With a cocktail in hand, I was given an around-the-world tour of the new ColorStay Moisture Stains, created with global art director and all-round babe, Gucci Westman.

The prettiest balloons by Bubblegum Balloons

As the products 'take inspiration from the world's hottest cities', the event had been designed to suit that vibe perfectly and the dance floor held twelve different stands, each representing an iconic destination with miniature versions of famous landmarks and props that epitomised the city. Here's me in true patriotic style with the shade 'London Posh' and the cutest miniature Big Ben, red phone box and Union Jack - adorable! In our Revlon passports was a page for each Moisture Stain and space to collect stamps from our globe-trotting adventures - my favourite was 'India Intrigue' with a little Taj Mahal. Even the e-mail invitations were travel-themed as Revlon Airways boarding passes. Love!

After my tour around the world and hearing about ASOS and their exclusive collection that's launching in celebration of the ColorStay Moisture Stains - keep your eyes peeled for that one - one of Revlon's talented artists led me to her chair and did my makeup, applying the lip colour of my choice - which was 'Rio Rush', a bright and peppy hot pink. Having a chat over our cocktails with the lovely Nisha Grace (find her on Twitter here), we snapped photos of each other making good use of the fancy dress box - think feather boas, plastic pink flamingos and hats of all shapes and sizes - and uploaded them to Instagram with the hashtag #jetsetbeauty so that they could be printed out on Revlon's photo booth. Be sure to search for 'jetsetbeauty' on Instagram to see all of our pictures!

Upon leaving the venue departing from the airport I was given a glossy black Revlon goodie bag as a thank you for attending, which contained a selection of the beautiful Moisture Stains and to my surprise, a gorgeous passport cover from Aspinal of London. Talk about generous?! I couldn't thank them enough for inviting me, I had a truly amazing time and am so in love with the new lip products - and I'm sure you all will be, too! I then caught the tubes to London Liverpool Street and headed home after a whirlwind two days, feeling extremely worn out but extremely appreciative after such a fun trip.

On Friday I had to giggle, as I was in my pyjamas watching re-runs of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares with my hair in a pineapple and the day previously I'd been at an exclusive event for one of the world's biggest beauty brands rubbing shoulders with the likes of ELLE magazine - the life of a chronically ill blogger, hey? Keepin' it real.

I'll be writing a full review of the ColorStay Moisture Stains (with swatches!) very soon, and - calling all lippy lovers - they'll be launching in August 2014. Let the countdown begin!

Will you be trying the Moisture Stains when they launch in the UK?


Pictures are a selection of my own personal photos and the @Revlon_UK Instagram page

The Fortnightly One #8

21 July 2014

"Apply" - The Products
If you've read any of my beauty posts before - actually, scratch that - if you've read anything about me on any of my social media, you'll know that I'm a total lip product addict. It doesn't matter if it's a lipstick, a gloss, a balm, a liner - if it's not on my pout, it's out. You can imagine my excitement when I was invited to the Revlon event for their new Colorstay Moisture Stains - details coming in tomorrow's post! - and I've been obsessed ever since. Hydrating, sheeny, super pigmented and long-wearing? Heck to the yeah.

"Watch" - The Films, Series & YouTube
Okay, Orange Is The New Black. Q. Why did I say 'eh, I'll give it a miss' and fall asleep when Will started watching Season One a few months ago? A. Who knows, but I'm a fool. I'm now on the last episode of Season Two and I'll be honest, my binge-watching is the reason that this post is going up today instead of last Saturday. Addicted. Also, was I alone in thinking, 'does the intro need to be this long, it's like Dexter all over again' and then belting out 'the animals, the animals, trapped trapped TRAPPED 'til the cage is full' three hours later? It's a good thing I like a bit of Miss Spektor as it's in my head 24/7.

The only film of note I saw this fortnight was What Maisie Knew which is beautifully shot, darkly funny and includes Alexander Skarsgård being all playful and cute with a child. Insert joke about exploding ovaries here. My parents have been happily married since their early twenties so I'm unfamiliar with divorce and I found it an eye-openingly moving watch.

I was on YouTube in the last two weeks - a concept previously unknown to The Fortnightly One! - talking all things M.E. with the two beauties that are Hayley and Jazz.

"Eat" - The Food
I've been eating quinoa practically every day recently, yet I've never actually cooked it. Nope, it's not sorcery, it's The Food Doctor and their bio-organic 'easy grains'. As a foodie who loves to be in the kitchen but is limited to making meals that don't use up too much of my precious energy, these handy sachets are perfect as you simply tear open the packet then sprinkle on, or they can be microwaved first if you prefer it hot - I've heard that some like it that way* - easy peasy.

'Easy grains' in action - see Meg Says Eat for this recipe

"Read" - The Books, Blogs & Magazines
I finished Criminal by Karin Slaughter last night and although I'd been getting a little bored with the series, I quite enjoyed this and thought it was one of her better novels. Despite it being a little too slow-paced for my liking, once I started reading a few chapters each night I soon got into it and began to enjoy the choppy-changey (technical literary term) narrative that switched from the 70s to the present - a well-layered thriller with a satisfying ending.

"Wear" - The Style, Sleepwear & Loungewear
Emma Miller's Paris Style Diary has been giving me life over the past week and I have a serious case of wardrobe envy - oh and skin envy, her complexion is like peaches and cream - take a look for yourself, and don't tell me that you're not in utter awe of this gal!

"Listen" - The Music
Ed Sheeran's new album x makes me feel so nostalgic and has been played non-stop on my Spotify since its release, as was Loose Change in my first year of college aged seventeen. Ed pulled a Taylor Swift of his own with Don't, and Thinking Out Loud has me crooning "take me into your loving armssss" constantly. Nice pipes, Suffolk Sally.

"Inspire" - The Quotes
True dat, A.P.W.B.D.

What have you loved this fortnight? And more importantly, *will you forgive me for that bad Marilyn Monroe pun?


The Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Jelly Launch, Mayfair

15 July 2014

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to the highly anticipated launch of Indeed Laboratories' latest skincare saviour and first ever moisturiser; hydraluron moisture jelly. The event was held at Leica Studio-S in Mayfair, London and the studio had been transformed into what I can only describe as a 'fluorescent pink igloo' to match the bright packaging of the hydraluron range. As soon as I walked in, I thought one thing: "if Elle Woods were a scientist instead of a lawyer, this is what her lab would look like"...

Indeed Laboratories, as the name would suggest, is a 'high-technology' incorporation that aims to deliver us product junkies with 'real results as cost-effectively as possible'. The studio was in complete accordance with the Indeed Labs philosophy and full of equipment that you're likely to remember from your high school chemistry lessons - Erlenmeyer and volumetric flasks, test tubes, beakers, graduated cyclinders, burets, funnels - I felt like donning a pair of (pink) plastic goggles and lab coat, and truly loved the scientific theme. 

I'm a sucker for beautiful packaging but when it comes to my skincare I want something that is proven to work - without all of the 'marketing hype' and the high price tags, please!

So, you've heard of the hydraluron moisture boosting serum - and if you haven't, where've you been?! - but what about the new product, hydraluron moisture jelly? Here's the lowdown. Suitable for daily use on all skin types and claiming to leave skin 'soft, supple and more radiant than ever before', moisture jelly has an innovative formulation designed to deeply hydrate and plump the skin. I was kindly given samples to take home with me, so once I've 'judged the jelly' - apologies for that one - I'll give you my verdict in a review.

With the incredibly lovely Olivia from Beauty Seen - find her on Twitter here - giving me a tour of Indeed Labs' history and an explanation of the science behind the products (after we'd expressed our love for skincare queen Caroline Hirons, obviously), I was given a fantastic insight into the brand and their ethos. The launch was really cool and I can't wait to put the new moisture jelly to the test - baby soft and luminous skin, here I come.

What's your favourite Indeed Labs product? Will you be trying the new moisturiser?


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These photos are courtesy of the Indeed Labs Facebook page - here - I did snap some of my own to show you but the low lighting meant that they all came out super blurry, as you can see in this post!

A Weekend Away at The Westleton Crown

8 July 2014

Will and I are both in agreement that we enjoy experiences more than 'things' and prefer sentimental, 'memory-creating' presents over expensive and lavish gifts, and so last December I planned a little trip for his Christmas present so that we could get away, just the two of us, and spend some quality time together in the new year.

I'd heard glowing reviews of The Westleton Crown from various family members and friends, and after reading that Prince William and Kate Middleton had chosen to spend their first wedding anniversary there - see how their trip went here - I was even more certain that it was the ideal place for us to visit. Set on the Suffolk Heritage Coast between Southwold and Aldeburgh, The Crown is a traditional coaching inn dating back to the 12th century that combines chic and contemporary decor with a cosy and rustic atmosphere.

As soon as we arrived in the village of Westleton - passing a village store, a pub and a chapel that had been converted into a bookstore and vinyl shop - we were 'aww'-ing at how idyllic, quaint and downright lovely the place was. We'd packed a picnic and so after a cheerful welcome at reception, we asked if there was anywhere we could walk to and were directed to a nearby green around the corner, which was the perfect spot to have our lunch.

The Crown itself is stunning and we couldn't have chosen a warmer, sunnier day to see the inn at its best. The Garden Room, their modern and fresh restaurant, looks out upon a well-kept terraced garden with plenty of space to sit and enjoy a drink (or four)... 

Our room was situated inside the main building and was spacious and gorgeously furnished with (to name a few) - Feather & Black furniture and Lloyd Loom chairs, a comfortable double bed with duck down duvet and pillows, a luxurious en suite kitted out with the softest, thickest towels and The White Company toiletries, cafetières plus fresh coffee and white, fluffy bathrobes in the wardrobe - that we put on immediately, of course. 

Not realising that our room would also come with a TV, it was a nice surprise to be able to watch Wimbledon whilst drinking tea and eating the homemade biscuits that were kindly put out for us on our dressing table. With our dinner reservation booked in an hour or so we started getting ready - I wore a Missguided dress and sandals as the weather was still really warm - and then headed downstairs where we were warmly greeted by a waiter, who kindly allowed us to choose where we wished to sit and continued to give the most brilliant and attentive service throughout our meal. The restaurant itself uniquely incorporates stylish features with more classic furniture, and the open plan layout worked excellently for the fantastic weather as even at 8pm, the doors leading to the terraced garden were still open and the Garden Room was well-lit with a summery, pleasant and bright atmosphere.

After hearing people rave about the food, we were excited to taste it for ourselves and weren't disappointed in the slightest. Ordering a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, Will went for the 'Parma ham wrapped Blythburgh pork neck fillet, broad bean, peas, potato, chorizo, green salsa' whilst I chose the 'pan-fried gnocchi with asparagus, tomato, mushroom, broad beans and parmesan'. Also opting for the spring vegetable fricassée and hand-cut chips to share, we had more than enough to eat and both of our meals were perfectly cooked, professionally presented, tasted wonderful and Will's green salsa? Out of this world.

We weren't planning on having dessert until we got major food-envy after seeing other tables receive theirs, and so we ordered the 'Suffolk strawberries, strawberry sorbet, lavender panna cotta and strawberry daiquiri' and the 'raspberry parfait with poached apricots and honeycomb', which brought on some Eddie Murphy impressions - "parfait's delicious, parfait may be the most delicious thing on the whole damn planet"...

We both slept like babies and woke up early in time for breakfast, which came included in the price of our room. Held in the restaurant where we'd enjoyed our meal the previous night, we chose a table near the window as even though the weather was quite grey and drizzly, the amount of windows in The Garden Room meant that it still felt light and airy. 

Ordering a pot of tea and a cafetière of coffee so that we could share, we helped ourselves to fresh juices and the selection of homemade mueslis. We were brought warm, fresh bread and our breakfast order was taken - Will chose the Suffolk cooked breakfast and I had the nicest buttermilk and vanilla pancakes with berry compote and creme fraiche. 

Sad to be leaving but certain that we'd be back again in the future, we checked out and made the drive home where Will had to get a train back to London as he was flying to South Africa the following day. We had such a memorable trip, our stay at The Crown truly surpassed our expectations and it was the best way to say goodbye for six weeks.

Visit The Westleton Crown's website here to plan your stay, view their gallery, see their offers and read reviews from other guests and the press. You can also read more about Westleton on the village's website here and on the Suffolk Tourist Guide here.

Have you ever visited Suffolk? Which English hotel would you recommend?


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