Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Satisfying Samples? Ren Clean Skincare

After having a hard time trying to find a skincare range suited to my skin type and having a little rant on Twitter, Ren Skincare came to the rescue. They asked me a few questions about my skin type and what I was looking for in a product before sending me these three samples!

I have a really oily t-zone, and at the moment quite a few breakouts (I'm not sure whether this is pregnancy skin or what, but it's annoying!), oh and like most people, suffer with dry skin as well. 

So they sent me the ClearCalm 3 Clarity Restoring Mask, the Mayblossom T-Zone Control Cleansing Gel and the Frankincense Revitalising Night Cream to try. 
Each of these was a 5ml sample and are worth £6.54* overall. 

So what do I think of all these products?

Mayblossom T-Zone Control Cleansing Gel - I really enjoyed this. It had a really mild scent and felt extremely  cleansing on the skin. I'm not sure why I imagined it would leather up in my hands, but as this is a gel it doesn't. Although on application and massage on my face it did leave my skin feeling like I'd just had an invigorating deep cleanse which I feel I can only get from exfoliators. I'm really happy with this product and would definitely consider purchasing full size.
I'll give this a 4/5.

ClearCalm 3 Clarity Restoring Mask - The first thing I noticed about this mask was the overpowering fragrance that accompanied it. You could really smell the lavender and thyme and I thought this was a little too much for me (as other reviews recently, I'm not sure whether this is because I'm pregnant and my sense of smell is enhanced). The mask felt really warm on application which I wasn't used to as most of the marks I have used have had a cooling effect. I'm not too sure how I feel about this one really. I was a little upset as well as the mask didn't really tighten much, I know it's not detailed in the process but I really love when masks are tight and you have to crack them! There was just enough in this sample for one application so I'm not sure how well it would work on breakouts. After washing the mask of my face it left it feeling quite soft but a little bit oily as well. Normally I prefer a mask which dries out the skin. 
I'll give this a 2/5. 

And last, and least I suppose...

Frankincense Revitalising Night Cream - I'm not really sure what I was expecting from this cream as I've never used a night cream before. I did think the scent would be a lot stronger than it was, but maybe as it's a night cream the idea is not to be too overpowering. On application, this instantly left my skin feeling really oily and within a few minutes I had to wash this off immediatly as my eyes were stinging a little bit and very swollen, and all I could smell was burning, eep. I wasn't taken too much by this product which is a shame because I liked the idea of more radiant and hydrated skin. 
I'll give this a 0/5...

Overall I thought these products were okay, but I wouldn't be too sure about using them again due to the effects I had from the. I suppose it's a good job the sample sizes were quite small as I wouldn't want to invest my hard earned pounds into something that wasn't happy for my face!

Monday, 29 July 2013

Forever Unique*

There are few occasions that seem to demand quite as much intricate and considered preparation as a wedding and the enormity of the event means that it takes the efforts of numerous individuals to ensure all goes smoothly. Planning a wedding includes many different stages and it is certainly commonplace for those concerned to decide that a rehearsal dinner is both beneficial and something they desire. Carrying an air of class and elegance is something that should be associated with each person who attends a wedding and the same is most definitely true when it comes to the rehearsal.

A rehearsal dinner is a terrific opportunity for the bride and groom to meet with the rest of the wedding party and it is the perfect chance to run through some important details for the day itself. It is an extremely useful event to host because any areas of uncertainty can be addressed and it can set the couple’s mind at ease in a number of ways. From the bride’s perspective, although it is not the wedding itself it is still an occasion to make the most of and this includes picking out an outfit to leave your guests looking on in wonderment.

Cocktail dresses are very popular at rehearsal dinners and although the wedding dress is very much an exclusive element of your big day the rehearsal is still an event where you can pull out all the stops to look your best. An evening gown is also one of the outfit options you have and you can find a huge range of choice in the dazzling array offered by Forever Unique.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

My First Interior Post feat. John Lewis' Sanderson Wallpapers*

An interior and home post is something I haven't got around to do, and I think I might start a little bit of a wish list for my future home (hopefully next year!). At the moment I'm really stuck for space and with the little one on the way, space is even more of a desire. 

Lets all say welcome to my first interior design post!

Interior design is always something I've been interested in since a young age, and this goes hand in hand with my husband's profession so it's always something at the forefront of both of our minds. We are always looking at wallpaper, interior decoration, fabric and small spaces inspired furniture. 

The first room I've had a lot of thoughts about, and I know it's extremely selfish, would be a room for myself, my dressing room

There are some fabulous wallpapers over on John Lewis's Sanderson range, and for those of you who are regular readers of my blog, and know me well, these are right up my street! I've found it so hard to narrow these wallpapers down as there are so many amazing vintage style patterns that I absolutely adore

So I've attempted to narrow it down to five which are right up there in my favourite ones. As these wallpapers are so vivid and have a luxurious pattern, I think rather than kitting my whole room out with these, I would just have an accent wall. 

China Blue, £51 per roll. 

I absolutely adore this print. I have a passion for everything oriental and this reminds me of the blue willow pattern which is bang on trend as a print and can be seen on matching interior fabrics. 

Ottoline, £44 per roll 

        Lamorna, £26 per roll. 

I've found it really hard to narrow down the floral wallpapers. As a lover of vintage prints and florals, I've decided to chose the Ottoline in charcoal and rose. This is very similar to the wallpaper I have as an accent wall in my bedroom, but much nicer! And, as I had to go for two florals, I picked Lamorna as the second. Something light and neutral with lovely large flowers, always something to pick any room up, and well fitting with the shabby chic look.

Dot to Dot, £36 per roll. 

Another of my favourite prints has to be polka dot, and I'm frequently wearing a vintage inspired polka dot dress. With this print being very neutral and pastel shaded, I think it would be really good for the whole room rather than just an accent wall. 

And last but by no means least...

Omega Cats Wallpaper, £41 per roll. 

I just fancied a bit of fun with this one! I know I have been told I am a crazy cat lady, and animals on print are clearly another one of my favourites! This actually reminds me of my kitty as she is black, and I think this would make a stunning feature wall. You could also use the wallpaper to cover drawers and boxes just to incorporate it all into the room. 

What do you think of my line up? 
What Sanderson wallpaper would you choose?

Thursday, 25 July 2013

eSalon Review: Customised Hair Colour

I first saw eSalon advertised on Facebook, with them being an American company I haven't seen much of them in the UK yet. I was intrigued by what they offer: custom hair colour suited to your needs. So pretty much what you get in the hair salon yeah? But at a fraction of the cost. 

It's so simple to follow the steps on the way to finding your perfect colour. You choose your natural hair colour, your percentage of grey, if your hair has any colour treatments at the moment, the colour of your hair at the moment, and then let the eSalon specialists know if there is anything you want fixing or altering. 

So my hair is naturally dark blonde, lucky me has no grey, permanent dye, the colour was a horrid ombre with a reddish/auburn brown colour. What did I want? Well, I wanted a dark brown ash colour, and I asked specifically if there was anything they could do to remove the auburn and red tones in my colour. You can choose how often you want the dye to be sent as well, so whether you dye your hair monthly or three monthly, and it costs around $19.95 so roughly around £13 including postage from the USA. I was lucky to receive mine as a PR sample. 

Sure the cost is a little more expensive than what you would buy in the shop, but if you only need to dye your hair two monthly it works out the same price. But I feel you receive a lot more love and care with these hair colours.

So what did I get?
In the box I got a personalised note of how my hair colour was made up. 

Along with the colour and developer, I got an accessories kit. 

This contained:
Two pairs of gloves, a colour shampoo and conditioner, a stain guard (Vaseline) and a stain remover cloth - these were a really lovely touch to the kit. 

The little personalised note and the kit were a really lovely touch to the package. And I think I was lucky, it came within 3-5 working days as well which is pretty fast postage. Everything was in good condition and well packaged too so nothing was at all damaged. 

The instructions were pretty simple and as normal, mix and apply, leave for around 25 minutes and then wash off with the shampoo and conditioner for shine. The interesting part was when you wash your dye off, add a little water to the bottle which has remaining hair dye in and apply to your hair (in the shower of course). This helps to remove some of the hair dye from your scalp and leaves extra shine. 

The verdict
So what did I think?

The dye was normal, really good, but had a very strong smell which was a little too much for me. I'm not sure whether that's because I'm pregnant but I had to keep walking out of the bathroom (which was extremely well ventilated) just to catch my breath. 

You could definitely see the neutraliser and ash work, there was a tint of purple within the hair dye which was really useful. It's hard to see from the 'after' photo, but most of the red tones have been covered and are a lot less noticeable. My colour isn't quite the ash I would have liked it to be, there are still a few warm tones but it is definitely an improvement which I would not have been able to achieve with regular hair colour. 

I will definitely be giving this product 10/10!

I would definitely recommend this as an alternative to going to the hair salon and paying around £40-£70 for a full head of hair colour. 

EDIT: Since uploading this post: right now, eSalon has a special offer for new customers: Get your first custom colour kit for £6.45 (a 50% savings!) plus postage, with a satisfaction guarantee or your money back. Go here to give it a try!

This product was given to me as a PR sample, but doesn't affect the fact I thought it was amazing!

Monday, 22 July 2013

More Summer Wants!

More Summer Wants!

Cool minty/duck egg blue floral prints, with a minis satchel and a pair of JuJu jelly sandals. Brings back childhood with a whimsical twist.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Free Cath Kidston Bunting Printables

As part of my Charcoal Challenge, I jazzed up the garden slightly with a little paper bunting. I didn't want it to last a long time and wanted something quick and easy I could make. I had a look online and found a gorgeous crafty blog by the name of Sweet Greets, and came across this gorgeous Cath Kidston free printable bunting. I just knew I needed to have a go at this. I picked the really light summery colours. 

What did I do?

Well I printed off 10 copies of each of the pieces of bunting. 
Cut them out, such a laborious job, especially sat in the garden with a breeze blowing the paper everywhere.
Hole punched each flag at the top. 
Threaded twine through each one, and sticky taped the back to make sure it stayed in place. 
And there we have it, tied to my gazebo!

What do you think? 
I think I've been swayed towards the world of printables!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Money Supermarket's Charcoal Challenge

After being a little too late to apply for Money Supermarket's Big Night In, I was asked if I wanted to take part in their Charcoal Challenge. Who could say no? Being given £50 to show how I have a BBQ was the perfect idea, especially with the fabulous weather we are having, and it being my grandma's birthday at the weekend. 

So, I was given a rather generous £50 to show how I have a BBQ, and I definitely looked forward to spending that!

I bought lots of different pieces, mainly vegetables/fruits, lovely vintage style drinks, and plenty of meats for the BBQ. I have a 'no burger' policy for our BBQ, and normally have a 'no sausage' policy as well but decided for today I would let this slide. My family regularly have BBQ's and we aren't restricted to having them when the sun is shining either, we have been known many a time to be stood out in the rain with gigantic brollies! 

So what did I buy?
I spent £6 on some cute plastic plates and a plastic jug pitcher (for the Sangria!), along with some cute paper doilies and a cocktail straw selection which cost around £3. 
I spent a lovely sum of £25 on meats and fish for the BBQ - all marinaded in our not-so-secret BBQ sauces. 
The remainder was spent on fresh fruit and vegetables for the salads and fruit platter we had at the end. 
We already had bottles of wine in stock!

I made a lovely bacon and potato salad and a coleslaw mix too. Along with a jazzy looking salad and some fancily cut radishes!

I bought some lovely vintage looking drinks, which tasted divine! Who doesn't love a good bottle of ginger beer? We had these along with a nice home made Sangria. 

The BBQ itself was amazing! We had such a large array of food, from kebab skewers with different fillings, to lamb chops, king prawns, my famous Chinese inspired lamb skewers (with thanks to the husband), Cumberland sausages and rib-eye steak. Mmmmm. Steak is my favourite. 

We topped all this off with a fruit platter, with melted dark chocolate (which silly me didn't take a photo of!). Along with a large Victoria sponge birthday cake! Scrummy!

What do you think you would spend your £50 on for the challenge?

I would just like to say a big thank you to Money Supermarket for making my grandma's 84th birthday spectacular! Normally we celebrate by going out and having a family meal, but this was really lovely.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

1 Year/£100 Beauty Challenge

After seeing this post from A Thrifty Mrs, I decided I would definitely try giving this beauty challenge a go. I know that quite a few months back I was trying to do a spending challenge, and lets be honest, that completed failed before it got started. I fell back into my old ways of spending quite ridiculously and left it there really.

This time I don't really have much of an option of sticking to it, with Dumpling on the way in less than six months, I feel this challenge has come at a good time. I don't have much space myself and the majority of it is taken up by silly 3 for 2's on cosmetics from Boots and Superdrug. I think I have more Soap & Glory products than you can actually shake a stick at, so I really could do with having the extra drawer space for mundane things like nappies...

I did come back with China with enough Korean cosmetics and beauty products to probably last me the next year alone, so hopefully this will give me a good opportunity to start using them. Also, I've ended up sticking bundles of cosmetics on eBay as I have that much that I will never use.

So how will this work?
Well, I will end up with around £8.33 per month to spend on beauty products. I will let myself save this up so I might be able to 'splash out' the following month and have a little more to spend.

In this budget I have to include:
General beauty products
Skincare products
Shower gels and bubble baths (like I said, I have loads of these stacked up from my birthday and Christmas last year)
Beauty treatments - such as having my hair done, hair dyes, eyebrow waxing, nail treatments

I won't be including:
Any medication
Baby products - things like stretch mark cream and nipple cream
Sanitary products

I really feel like this is a challenge I can actually stick to. I have loads stock piled from last year which are unopened and I can make last for another several months. I still have plenty of products received from blogger meet ups and PR/sample products which I have not tested yet, so overall I think this will do me very good. It also gives me a lot more to blog about as I know I've been lacking on the old post front lately.

Hopefully, it might make me look at money from a different perspective as well as I know I can't be as silly as I used to be. Having my nails done every month for £30+ and a quick spend in Boots/Superdrug at around £40+ a go can't be done any more! If I total up my monthly spends on beauty products they will easily come to around £100, that doesn't include what I buy online!

I'll be keeping monthly tabs on myself too of what I spend, probably doing it in a mini haul way. So expect to see me this time at the beginning of next month with a lovely little update!

This is a scheduled post from, I did begin this challenge from the beginning of July.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Friendly Festival Attire

Friendly Festival Attire

It's all good and well wanting to look the belle of the ball and all that jazz. But lets be honest, it's festival time, in Britain, and it rains, a hell of a lot. The Download lot weren't so lucky, the Glastonbury lot were. But with more festivals on the cards, it doesn't look like the weather will be as lucky as we all hope. Although for the next week or so we might manage without the rain!

I'm a big fan of festivals, but unfortunately being pregnant this year I've opted out of attending any and stopped going to as many gigs, woe is me. 

Lets be honest ladies, prancing around in a pair of hotpants with wellies on isn't the best look. Sure it might be great wearing a bikini and shorts during the day, but it gets cold. I think people forget how cold it actually gets.  You need something sensible for your bottoms, albeit a pair of leggings under your shorts (along with about 10 pairs of tights and woolly socks), or a decent pair off skinny jeans. It's too cold at 8pm to be wondering around in a vest top, and probably a slouchy t-shirt for that matter, so a hoody will always come in useful. Along with a trusty pac-a-mac as lets be honest, we have no idea what that cloud up there is playing at right now. 

I think I'm pretty lucky not to have seen anyone wearing stupid footwear, such likes of ballet pumps, sneakers or flip flops. You need wellies. It will be muddy, and lets be honest, when you are using a portaloo, you have no idea what is on the floor... At least you can wipe wellies clean. 

I'm not a fan of camping whatsoever, and I get cold really easily. At least packing more means I can sleep in that soft, fluffy hoody when I can't sleep as I'm shivering too much. 

This post has shown what an old woman I've become! 

Monday, 1 July 2013

KC Beautique - 10% Code

Everyone knows I'm addicted to Asian cosmetics, especially those that come from Korea! My favourite brands are EtudeHouse and Tony Moly for their super cute packaging. I think this is what first drew me to their attention. But since then I've discovered some amazing brands such Skinfood, Missha (which do the best BB Creams) and Skin 79. I think I've been very lucky in my purchases as I get my cosmetics imported from Asia itself.

So lets welcome on the beauty scene KC Beautique! A new UK store stocking Korean cosmetics. For those of you on Twitter who are always asking where to buy authentic products from, this is the best site out there. I'm thankful to the guys at KC Beautique for collaborating with me and giving all my readers a 10% code until the end of July! 

All you need to do is enter the code SATCHELSANDPEARLS at checkout for your 10% off, you do need to spend £10 for this code to work. 

The store is currently only open for the UK, but they do have plans to expand with a European store, so all my European readers need not worry or wait too long! 

New items into the store, and my favourites at the moment, are:

I'm already of a big fan of Etude House's Wonder Pore collection and have recently bought and reviewed several of their items here

I hope everyone uses KC Beautique and feels more confident in buying Korean cosmetics, as there are a lot out there which we in the UK seem to miss out on, and I know a lot of bloggers are weary for using eBay too.

This is a scheduled post.