Sunday, 30 October 2011

sparkling in milan

No 7 Stay Perfect Nail Colour - Milan
I have a love/hate relationship with this polish. I love the colour, the finish and the glorious glitter, I hate the fact that it is impossible to photograph accurately. Believe me, it is much prettier, and paler in real life! It is an intriguing iridescent pink with silver shimmer running through it - perfect for getting your fingers festive as the Christmas season approaches.

I bought this varnish in a moment of mild panic as I realised I had an expiring No 7 Boots voucher and no real need for any of their products. I wouldn't normally peruse the No 7 (or Ruby & Millie) counters if it wasn't for those pesky, enabling vouchers, so I thought I would have a quick look and was drawn in by this particularly sparkly polish.

I wish I could say these are my real nails but I owe all their loveliness to Elegant Touch fake nails. They are the french manicure ones I wore to the Cosmo Blog Awards. I was impressed they were still intact by the weekend so, before they all flicked off, I seized the chance to give them a speedy swatch of this new polish. I only needed two coats to achieve a deep opaque finish and the glitter is really fine, so doesn't leave you with a gritty finish to your nails, which is always a bonus!

What products have you picked up recently with your No 7 voucher?
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Saturday, 29 October 2011

keep calm and carry on

Keep Calm and Carry On Necklace - Temporary Secretary

I actually won this necklace last week from the lovely Sarah who was running a little twitter competition. Ever the opportunist, and wishing to show some support for her cute, kitsch jewellery range, I entered and was chosen as the fortunate winner. It is such a sweet piece and I wore it yesterday for the first time, generating much swooning and admiration. If you are endeared by trinkets like this, then definitely have a little look at the collection.

I have forgotten to mention before now but Pearls & Poodles has skipped into the 21st century and is now on Facebook, perfect if you want to keep up to date with all my posts and general goings-on.
I hope you all have wonderful weekends, and don't forget the clocks go back tonight meaning we are treated to one more blissful hour of sleep! :)
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Thursday, 27 October 2011

cosmo blog awards 2011

Dress - River Island
Earrings - Primark
Shoes - Next
Nail - Elegant Touch French Manicure (short pink)
Rings - Vintage and Thomas Sabo
Bag -Accessorize

Last night was the highly anticipated, much mused about, Cosmo Blog Awards. The evening's festivities were held at 24 Kingly Street, in a maze of mirrors lined with Cosmopolitan cocktails, canapes and the obligatory cupcakes! It was a super occasion, mainly because I got to spend time with a bevy of brilliant bloggers who are just lovely ladies and a joy to be around. Despite the venue and sparkles on show, it was quite an informal gathering which was nice and meant we were at ease to mingle, play havoc in the photobooth and scoff cupcakes on the sly in the corner.

Luckily I had perfected my gracious losing face as sadly there was no trophy in tow this year, but all the winners were very worthy and I was so pleased for everyone, especially my fellow beauty blogging/vlogging nominees, Zoe and Anna and Sammi.
Here are some snaps from the night...

The girls pictured are:
Corrie, Lily, Zoe, Natalya, Fleur, Anna, Sabrina

One of the nicest touches to the evening was the showreel of our blogs projected on the walls of the venue, accompanied with a quote. This quote was one of the quotes that was submitted when our blogs were nominated. This was mine; it made me smile.

It read, "I love the way Milly writes her posts. She goes into great detail and her photos really pick up the essence of the products. Her style of writing makes it so easy to read, it is like listening to a friend. Her blog was the reason I decided to set up my own."
- To whoever wrote that - thank you :)

As I have said all the way along, I was just so happy, and honestly rather surprised, to be shortlisted and just thrilled for Pearls & Poodles to be recognised as an Established Beauty Blog. I would like to say a massive congratulations to all the winners - really well done. If you want to see all the winners, they can be viewed here. This whole occasion really highlighted to me how much blogging means to me. Not for the awards, the limelight or the fancy cocktails, but just for the sheer pleasure it brings me and the fact that I get to share that enjoyment with you all. So thank you.
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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

sky line pink

Revlon's new Sky Line Pink lipstick has been taunting me for several weeks now. Ever since I spotted it whilst doing my obligatory rounds up and down the makeup aisles on my lunch break, I figured I needed to add it to my ridiculously swelling lipstick collection. Yes it is pink, pale and pearlescent and well, a little Malibu Barbie like, but I am endeared. Worn on its own, it is a frenzy of frostiness, but worn over another lipstick, it really does add the perfect icing on top!

Revlon's Sky Line Pink lipstick is sheer and pretty and a little like MAC's Pretty Please. My plan is to wear it tomorrow night for the Cosmo Blog Awards - I wanted something subtle and sweet on the lips to counteract the lashings of lashes, statement earrings and colourful cerise dress on show.
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Monday, 24 October 2011

better late than never

48 hours until the Comso Blog Awards and I finally have my dress sorted! (cue shameless changing room shot!) River Island came to my rescue with this (brighter in real life) cerise, layered wrap dress. I think I am going to wear my hair up in some fancy, still to be decided, up-do and bling up the outfit with some gold chandelier earrings, glitzy heels and my fur jacket. Tonight signifies the start of my beautifying regime. Sadly I will need to slap on the fake tan for the first time since I returned from Egypt, and also treat my talons to some falsies as my nails are in a sorry state.

I sill honestly cannot believe I am nominated and am just so thrilled to be attending and sharing the evening with some wonderful girls. I promise to take lots of snaps and share the occasion with you, bringing you all the couture, cocktails and Cosmo champions from the night!
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Sunday, 23 October 2011

a salute to the sixties

Twiggy, the English fashion model, is synonymous with the swinging sixties, and remembered for her A line dresses, short boyish bob and over-exaggerated "twiggies" eyelashes. Her look was so iconic, I was desperate to try and recreate those infamous doll-like eyes using Eylure's upper and lower lashes duo. I received these at the recent event I attended and knew I had to give them a whirl. I used a Pixiwoo Twiggy makeup tutorial to help give me an idea on how to do my makeup, which I clumsily tried to follow using most of the same products. Her makeup was always quite simple, letting her famous freckles show through, but with the emphasis on the eyes, with a heavily defined crease, a light bronzing and a nude lip. 

These lashes are truly amazing, if not a little fiddly to apply. I had never used lower lashes before so didn't know how well I'd fare. You have to make sure they go under your bottom lashes, as close to the waterline as possible. I tilted my head back and used tweezers to navigate them into position. They weren't quite as perfectly placed as I would have liked them, but they sufficed. They just scream sixties wide-eyed beauty, and I love them! 

If you want to flirt with some seriously sixties-inspired lashes, I would recommend giving these a go.
Would you trial this Twiggy look?
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Saturday, 22 October 2011

fur the love of it

Faux fur stole H&M £12.99
Faux fur trimmed gloves H&M £6.99

The chilly Autumnal air is truly here now, therefore I wish to envelope myself in faux fur and woolly gloves and keep the cold away. I bought a faux fur stole last year from H&M and wore it to much so that it is actually balding now, so I needed to find a suitably furry replacement. I love the colour of this one and am especially smitten with the concealed clip with means to can clasp it together or attach it to your coat.

The gloves were a must-have purchase this week; I have been suffering the early mornings and the fate of the icy steering wheel gloveless for too long now. They also come in cream but I quite liked the rusty-brown colour. I am pleased the cold weather is here now - however much we I moan, there is nothing nicer than pulling on the layers, wrapping up warm and going on long, icy walks rewarded with a mug of piping hot tea on your return. Bliss.

What winter warmers have you been buying recently?
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Thursday, 20 October 2011

a bow to the brow

Sleek Makeup has created the perfect compact to answer the cries of many an unruly brow. Bold, furry brows are big this season and impeccably defined brows are crowning flawless faces everywhere down the AW11 catwalks. I love statement brows, I think they look fabulous and frame the eye beautifully, but sadly due to a spell of over-exuberant plucking, circa 2001, I have been left with quite sparse brows. I usually use mac eyebrow pencil in spiked and then comb them through with mac eyebrow gel, but was keen to give this new brow kit a go.
As you lift the lid you are greeted by a shaping wax and setting powder, accompanied by a pair of diddy mini tweezers, an angle brush and a blending brush. The kit comes in two shades; light and dark. I was sent the light one to trial, and it suited my eyebrows excellently as you can see below.

To achieve my defined brows:
1/ Tidy up the brows and tweezer any loose hairs away. Comb them through with a brow brush to prep them for application.
2/ Apply the shaping wax with the angled brush. This brush is great in creating the sharp, clean edges to your brow. Run the brush through your brow, following its natural shape.
3/ Apply the setting powder with the blending brush, sweeping through your eyebrow and filling in any gaps. This will help create a fuller, shapely brow.

I can't really say anything bad about this product; it does exactly what it sets out to do and is so easy to use with the brushes included. I love that everything you need is in one place and it is a definite makeup bag essential.

Sleek Makeup launch their brow kit (£7.99) on 26th October 2011 and it will be available online and in Superdrug stores.

Is this something that gets your eyebrows raising?
Do you like to boast a big brow?
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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

pillow talk

Pillow Talk lipstick - Topshop £9
I must confess that I hadn't given much consideration to the Topshop makeup range before now. I always feel a bit suspicious when fashion retailers branch out and introduce beauty ranges to their already brimming repertoire. When it first came out, I was rather dismissive - I was in Topshop for clothes, not lipstick. However, as the stands slowly started to dominate more and more of the floor space, it was hard not to be sucked in towards the cutesy polka-dot packaging and plethora of products. Obviously the first items I lurched towards were the lipsticks; and Pillow Talk seemed to be the obvious choice. It's pretty, it's pink, what more do you want?!

The consistency is lovely and velvety and gives a subtle, glossy finish to the lips. It reminds me a little bit of MAC creme cup; a soft baby-pink. It is a very easy colour to wear, nothing too daring and doesn't require careful execution and a handy mirror to apply it. One thing I really dislike is the scent of this lipstick. I think I have been living in a sweet vanilla-y cocoon of mac lipsticks for too long - this smells a little bit over-perfumed and old-lady-like. It is a nice lipstick, but nine pounds' worth of niceness? I am dubious.
Have you tried anything from the Topshop makeup range?
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Sunday, 16 October 2011

the cherry on top

Baking is such a simple pleasure of mine, but it has been far too long since I baked some sweet delights. Over the past few weeks I have been consumed by The Great British Bake Off with utmost glee and hungriness, and it made me determined to done my Cath Kidston apron again and get back into the kitchen. Mary Berry is pretty much my baking idol - she makes everything look so delectable, with the gentleness of touches, and seems to just love the comfort of home baking. Her elegant Battenburg looks like a dream.
Rob, knowing my adoration for Mary Berry and all things sweet and baked, bought me the 'How to Bake' book, which I have pretty much embraced as my baking bible. It has all the recipes featured on the shows, some simple, others a tad more technical. I have devoured it from cover to cover and wanted to give one of the recipes a go today.
I therefore present you with my Cherry Bakewell Cupcakes.

Ingredients: (makes 12)
150g unsalted butter, 150g caster sugar, 100g self-raising flour
3 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 60g ground almonds
1 tablespoon milk, raspberry jam
250g icing sugar, lemon juice, glacé cherries
Preheat oven to 190c/375f/gas mark 5

Firstly make sure you butter is nice and soft and then beat it in the food mixer until it is fluffy and creamy. Next add in the sugar, flour, baking powder, ground almonds, milk and eggs and combine together until you have a light, smooth mixture.
Place your cupcake cases in the baking tray and evenly divide the mixture between them, smoothing the mixture flat with your fingertip. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch. You can test your cupcakes are baked completely by skewing the middle. The skewer will come out clean once the cakes are done.

Let your cupcakes cool completely and then take an apple corer and gently remove the middle of the cakes, about two-thirds of the way down. The soft sponge centres make a perfect appetiser whilst you finish off making your cupcakes! 

Take 4 tablespoons or so of the jam and stir it separately in a bowl. This will make the mixture looser so it runs sweetly into the holes. Use a teaspoon to fill the centres up almost to the top, but be careful not to overfill them otherwise the jam will mix in with the icing.

To make up the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the lemon juice to make a thick, yet spoonable consistency. You could forego the lemon and just make the icing plain by adding small measures of water until the desired thickness is reached. Dollop the icing into the centre of the cupcakes and gently ease the mixture to the sides until the whole surface is coated. Let the icing harden for a few minutes before popping on the crowning jewel, the glacé cherry.

And there we have it, a perfect Sunday afternoon treat; quick, easy yet wonderfully indulgent.

Just as a little side note, it is the final few hours to place your votes in the Cosmo Blog Awards. I am honoured to be nominated in the Established Beauty Blog category. If you did wish to vote for Pearls & Poodles then you can just click here, enter your email address and then go to the Established Beauty Blog category. That's where you'll find me. 
Thank you to anyone who does vote for me, but as cliched as it may sound, I am just chuffed to be nominated and nestled amongst many other super duper blogs. The results are going to be announced at an evening do in London on October 26th, so I had better find me a dapper dress for the occasion.
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