Maggs London

25 February 2016

Something I really love is discovering a brand that I completely fall in love with, whether that's down to design or concept or execution - and with Maggs London, it's everything. From the attention to detail to the time invested to ensure that each piece is handcrafted with love and care, I adore every aspect of the pieces that they create and think its such a wholeheartedly lovely business.

Founded by Hannah Maggs (of The Michalaks with her husband Stef, who's weekly vlogs you've no doubt heard me rave about countless times!), Maggs London was born in 2014 and has bloomed into a beautiful collection which mainly consists of makeup bags with some recent new additions.

One of the things I love most about each piece is that it has its own meaning behind why it was brought into existence - we're taught to consciously acknowledge all The Little Moments, to Cherish our loved ones and to Let Go of unnecessary pressures and remind ourselves of what really matters. All handmade using Liberty fabric, any item would make the perfect present whether you want to show someone how much you care with a sentimental gift or feel like treating yourself.

The makeup bag I own is dedicated to Hannah and Stef's gorgeous little boy and is called The Grayson, lovingly sewn with the most stunning animal-print fabric. As soon as I received it in the post it felt significantly more 'special' than any other makeup bag that I own thanks to the high quality and 'extra touches' - the luxurious scent of Jo Malone as soon as the package was opened and the way it was charmingly wrapped with a tag handwritten by Hannah saying 'do more of what you love'. You really get the sense that undue care and attention has been put into what you're holding and, if like me you're someone who enjoys makeup and the process of applying it, it's something that you can use daily. I tend to keep my everyday makeup in here, with my everyday brushes in...

...the High Hopes brush roll, which is a new addition to the Maggs London family. Made with a quilted Liberty print that matches The Grayson, the portable brush roll holds up to fourteen brushes and I've found it to be the perfect companion to my makeup bag whether I'm at home or away. I recently travelled to Budapest with Will (post coming soon!) and it was a nice comfort to know that my tools were safely nestled away and protected along the journey. You also get the same feeling when you're at your dressing table rather than a plane, as we all know how expensive makeup brushes can be and you eliminate any danger of them being scratched or damaged - not to mention just how pretty the brush roll is!

I'd wholeheartedly recommend looking into Maggs London if you haven't already - love truly is stitched into every product. Hannah has also launched a gorgeous range of inspirational prints here and you can follow Maggs London on WantFeed here.

Introducing MegMail

17 February 2016

Sending and receiving handwritten letters is one of my 'things' in life. It makes me really happy to put pen to paper, card in envelope and warm fuzzies in postbox - it's something you see less of these days but for me, there's nothing quite like opening a note as opposed to opening a text. Maybe it's because a little more care and attention has been paid, or maybe it's simply that it's heartwarming to physically hold something that was once in the hands of another in this busy, digital world.

My love for letters combined with my love for the people who watch my videos brought a new idea into existence that I've called MegMail. It began during Vlogmas as I sent ten viewers cards, giving them the choice between Christmas or thank-you, and I found it so enjoyable and downright cute that I've decided to make it a regular thing. Reading and replying to comments is one of my favourite things to do and I really feel like I've gotten to know a lot of you as individuals - it's at the point where someone could say your name to me and I could reel off facts about your life, pretty much!

So, it was truly lovely to sit down and write cards to people who I've gotten to know as friends and I can't tell you how exciting it was to march into the Post Office with a stack of cards to send off all over the UK as well as around the world - Belgium, Sri Lanka, USA, Sweden, Japan etc! - knowing that you'd be able to open them and have a piece of me with you. It felt so much more personal and meaningful, and I knew I wanted to carry on spreading the happiness.

Meg says, "enter!"
All you need to do to enter is comment on any of my YouTube videos - I pinky promise that I see every single one of them! - and that's it. I wanted to keep this simple and I know that the majority of you comment anyway, so as this is an ongoing 'giveaway' if you like, this seems like the easiest way to do it. You don't need to mention MegMail in your comment, just leave one as you normally would and that way it's no extra fuss for you or for me.

Meg says, "win!"
On the first of every month I'll go through the comments and choose one winner. Then, I'll contact you by sending a message to your YouTube inbox (click Creator Studio then Community then Messages) and you can let me know your address so I can get writing and posting. Please be sure to check your inbox around the 1st of each month if you've entered, as I won't have any other way of contacting you privately and I'll have to choose a runner-up if I don't hear back from you.

DISCLAIMER: I do have one small request regarding MegMail which is that if you receive one, please keep its contents to yourself - and by 'contents', I mean what I've personally written inside. I've absolutely loved seeing people post the outside of their cards on social media, we've been using the hashtag #MegMail and it really has made my day to know that it got to you safely so feel free to snap a photo of the front. I hope this makes sense, and thank you in advance to MegMail winners for respecting my privacy.

And that's it! If you have any questions about MegMail please leave them in the comments section below and I'll do my very best to get back to you. I'm really excited about this new tradition and hope it's something we can continue doing for years to come!

The Only Scarf You'll Need This Winter

16 February 2016

You know how sometimes you pick up an item on a whim and it ends up being one of the most-loved pieces in your entire wardrobe? Will and I decided to go on a city break to Budapest recently and whilst I was packing the realisation sunk in that, wait for it, I didn't have a scarf. With the knowledge that we were travelling somewhere us Brits would consider rather chilly, my ASOS Premium account saved the day by offering up this beauty of a scarf along with next day delivery. You can't beat it.

In dove grey on one half and white on the other, it went perfectly with my pale pink Warehouse coat and, unexpectedly, perfectly with Budapest. It turns out that Hungary is indeed very photogenic and very white/grey/marble/pink - the blogger's dream, essentially - I pretty much matched our surroundings and my Instagram theme was everything.

Let's make no bones about the size - it's pretty darn huge and I was feeling those Lenny Meggy Kravitz vibes, but you know what? It just meant that when my ears were feeling the cold whilst crossing the Elizabeth Bridge and I'd left my bobble hat at home I could wrap it around my face and embrace the snuggliness. So much sweet, sweet snuggliness. I even remember exclaiming "do you know what I'm really happy about? THIS SCARF!" on a couple of occasions, because it really was a lifesaver - it kept me completely toasty during our entire trip and even doubled up as an extremely soft blanket/pillow on the flights there and back. Basically, it's really nice and it's £14 and it goes with everything and I'll probably never need to buy another scarf again and I just like it a whole lot!

My First Venture Into KIKO Cosmetics

15 February 2016

You hear about some beauty brands on the reg - their lipsticks crop up in people's monthly favourites and you read countless rave reviews of their bronzers - but for one reason or another, you never find yourself adding items into your basket. KIKO Cosmetics was one of those brands for me and recently I decided (probably after watching yet another Best of Beauty 2015 video that featured KIKO) to make my first ever order. The fact that they had a big sale on might've played a part, also!

Starting with eyeshadows I picked up a couple of the Water Eyeshadows in 'Champagne - 200' and 'Taupe - 228' despite these not being in the sale, simply because I've heard so many good things about these and I haven't tried many wet/dry formulas before. Two pot eyeshadows that caught my eye were the Cream Crush Lasting Colour Eyeshadow in 'Pearly Silver Rose - 05' (already a firm favourite in my daily makeup bag) and the Metallic Shine Eyeshadow in 'Dynamic Taupe - 06'. The latter doesn't seem as pigmented on first swatch, but I get MAC Club vibes from this one and can't wait to test it out properly.

Then things went a little lipliner crazy, as their Smart Lip Pencils were down to £1.20 each. £1.20! I plumped for 'Light Sienna - 700', 'Brick Red - 704' and 'Rose Mauve - 712', all of which have that whole 90s brown/nude/dark pink thing going on. I was really after the Automatic Precision Lip Liner in 'Mauve - 504' solely because Lydia from Fashion Influx wears it all the time in her Instagram photos and looks flipping amazing, but as there was no stock I got the Intensely Lavish lip Pencil in 'Mild Sangria - 04' and 'Heavy Cherry - 05'. I think these must've been part of a collection as they're no longer on the website, but the shades can be duped by the Endless Love Lip Pencils from the new 'Best Friends Forever' range.

After a little browse around the rest of the site I thought I'd leave base products for now and try something from their limited edition 'Rebel Romantic' collection. Loving the look of the Rebel Bouncy Blushes I opted for 'Treasure Rose - 03' and am already infatuated with it, which is probably down to it being lightweight, natural looking colour delivered in pretty yet sturdy copper packaging! Very up my street.

I'd recommend taking a look now whilst these items are still in the sale - everything I've tried so far has a thumbs up for being high quality and affordable! My only gripe is that only the number of the shade is printed on the packaging and not the name, and as a beauty blogger it's nicer to be able to say 'Rose Mauve' rather than '712', but apart from that I've loved delving into the world of KIKO!

Do you have any favourite products from KIKO that I need to try? See me talking about these products in more detail and getting all swatchy in this video!

LUSH Valentine's Day Collection 2016

10 February 2016

Ah, LUSH - you really know how to do a seasonal collection! As we're approaching the day of love LUSH Cosmetics have released this year's Valentine's Day range, and as I'm quite a Lushie myself I went the whole hog and ordered every item. I thought I'd run through the products so that you can see if anything takes your fancy, whether to give yourself a big hug or to say 'love ya!' to someone special in your life. 

First up we've got the Lover Lamp Bath Bomb which is my personal favourite, as when you drop it in your tub you get the calming scent of Fair Trade vanilla and skin-softening organic cocoa butter and, wait for it, LITTLE LOVEHEARTS. Yep, tiny red lovehearts that float around in the white bubbles. Could it get any cuter? Well maybe, because here comes the Unicorn Horn Bubble Bar - a candy-coloured star-dotted little thing of wonder that's sure to brighten anyone's day! I use a bubble bar every time I have a bath and especially love ones that are packed with natural oils, and this has lavender, ylang-ylang and neroli which create a really relaxing, soothing scent designed to boost your mood. 

In keeping with the Valentine's theme we've got the Roses All The Way Soap which isn't something I'd normally buy for myself, but I've really been enjoying using this thanks to its soft rose scent and creamy lather. I'd describe it as 'soft' on the skin and nose as it's delicately fragranced and leaves your skin feeling petal-smooth. If like me you're more of a shower gel person there's the Prince Charming Shower Cream - and this is some good stuff, let me tell you! Containing marshmallow root and fresh organic pomegranate juice, it's definitely on the sweeter side and comes in the most gorgeous bright warm pink ever. For £4.95 the 100ml bottle is kinda small, but with LUSH you get what you pay for and the ingredients are natural, vegan, Fair Trade and not tested on animals.

I'd never tried any LUSH makeup before but there's a first for everything, hey! I've been using The Kiss Lip Gloss for the past couple of weeks and would personally describe it as more of a lip balm due to the shea butter, Japan wax and mix of organic oils inside. It gives a balmy finish with a slight frosted sheen and a pretty hint of light pink, but personally this one missed the mark for me as funnily enough it makes my lips look more dry and the formula is so soft that I find it hard to twist up and the application can only be described as 'crumbly'. A product that's more up my street (because I adore Lush lip scrubs, go figure!) is The Kiss Lip Scrub, a sugary-sweet blend of conditioning cocoa butter and exfoliating sea salt presented in the prettiest bubblegum-pink formula! It also contains teeny edible lovehearts but I found that these tasted slightly soapy and didn't 'dissolve' like I thought they would, so I've fished those out and have been thoroughly enjoying having the world's softest lips since!

Aside from these individual pieces the collection also comprises of gift boxes which would make a lovely present! I'd go for the Lots of Love set which includes six of LUSH's most popular products and is really prettily packaged. Well done, LUSH - you did it again!

See me talking about these products in more details over on my channel in this video.