Handbag Love...Jocasi Shark Bag

Yoohoo everyone - please say hello to my BEAUTIFUL new handbag from Jocasi London!

There is a story here. Around ten years ago, I was quietly enjoying cocktails (bottles of Hooch) in a classy Newcastle establishment (I believe it was 'Flares' the '70s bar) with friends in an extremely civilised manner. That's how I recall it, anyway. I also recall suddenly realising, at the end of the night as the taxi left me outside my front door, that I was carrying my phone, my keys, a shoe....BUT NO BAG. Now, this is where I started to get a little hysterical, because this wasn't just any bag - this was my beautiful, prized, super-soft black leather Jocasi Clutch bag, the very one I'd climbed over people to snap up in Topshop a few weeks earlier. The next morning, I called the bar, crossing everything in the hope that my bag would come home to me. Not so - there was apparently no sign of it. I'd lost my beautiful bag (and a Rimmel lippie plus 76p that was inside) forever.

So, considering this, and the fact that I am a complete handbag fiend, I was very excited to learn that Jocasi, based in London, relaunched earlier this year (eep!), and even more excited when Jocasi offered to send me one of their beautiful creations to review here on the blog (double eep!).

I chose the Shark Bag in Tan as I've been after a nice tan day bag for a while. Now I'll come right out and say it: I am a handbag snob so the materials and craftsmanship of any bag I buy is important to me. Jocasi products are handcrafted using carefully selected materials by Balinese Artisans. Sound impressive? It is - the leather on my bag is beautifully soft and the smell....aaahh the smell! As soon as I pulled it out of the dustbag I fell in love.

The style of the bag is kind of like a doctor's bag, with a top zip and handles, plus a detachable strap so the bag can be worn across the body. It's big enough for all my essentials (and I have a lot of essentials - 'What's in my Handbag' post coming soon) and the colour is such a beautiful rich tan that it will go with LOADS. Because of how well made it is, I expect my bag will, with a little love and care, last me years. I am one happy bunny!

If you haven't heard of them or seen their bags, you can read an interview with the company's owner Simon here and browse their range on site, which not only includes bags but also their famous moon belts.

My Shark bag was originally priced at £105 but is currently in the sale for £69 which is a brilliant price for such a beautiful leather bag.

*Thank you to Jocasi for my bag, which I am currently totally obsessed with. As you may have noticed.*

What do you think of my new bag?


Happy Summer Fashion

Yes, I shop a lot. A LOT. But I have a shopping blog. It's like, necessary. I buy a lot of clothes. But once in a while, I buy something that makes me happy. Well, all shopping makes me happy really, but occasionally, one, or two -  or three in this case - items just make me feel like putting them on and skipping through the streets singing The Carpenters' 'On Top Of The World'.

Clarks Clovelly Way Loafers

The cutest shade of denim blue, the softest leather....AND THE TASSELS! Oh the tassels. They are white and orange and set these little loafs off so beautifully. I feel chic and playful wearing these and my mid early-thirty year old sensible-side loves the fact that they are so comfortable, it feels like I'm walking on clouds. I did actually skip along the Derwent Walk in these. Oh hang on, I haven't even told you the best bit! These were £40 full price, which I thought was already a good price for such lovely shoes, and then they went into the sale for £20. TWENTY POUNDS. Amazing. Sold out online, but still to be found instore, I'm reliably informed. Go, GO!

Boden Riviera Sleeveless Shirt

Dear Boden, please may I live in the pages of your catalogue? I love, love, LOVE the perfect mix of British style and quirky influences at Boden. This shirt embodies that perfectly. The print is original and pretty and makes me want to eat ice cream. And I can afford the good stuff, because this shirt is only £14 in the sale. Ben & Jerry's, here I come!

H&M Yellow Print Dress

I can't find this online, but they had quite a few in my local store. The shape, fabric and print of this dress are very Kate Spade, I think. I love the modern yet slightly vintage vibe it has. And it's super flattering. Looks like it cost way more than the £29.99 price tag. Also as much as I love yellow, or ochre, as this is, I can't quite pull it off head to toe. This dress has just enough colour to make me feel bright but not look like a misshapen banana. I don't think my photo does it justice, actually.

What are your happy summer buys?


#30sSkin - Eyes

Ok, I'm going to come right out and say it. I am officially mid-thirties. Someone cruel might even suggest I'm actually mid-to-late-thirties, however such a person would be met with a swift flick around the ear and a very dirty look. I'm only just getting used to the mid-thirties thing (hence why I keep typing it in italics. Also it makes me feel a bit faint).

Anyway, I'll get to the point. As I've gotten (gulp) older, my skin has changed, which is to be expected I suppose, after years of wearing inches of makeup, general manky air pollution and the occasional wild night out. As a result, I've had to forage far and wide to find skincare products that suit my skin as it is today. Obviously, these products won't be for everyone, but, I thought I'd share the fruits of my beauty-product-labour here on the blog.

The Eyes Have It

...or at least, they did have, before they got all old and baggy. OK, so it's not that bad, I am being a bit dramatic. Strange as that's so unlike me. Anyway, I've been on the hunt for a while for something to make my eyes that little bit brighter and less puffy when I wake up in the mornings. (I can't even blame the wild nights out for that anymore. Pfft.) I had my (tired, baggy) eye on Decleor Aroma Solutions Anti-Fatigue Eye Serum which I'd read was fantastic so I set about finding it for much less than the RRP of £32.50, as is my bargain-hunting way. Step forward www.clickfragrance.co.uk who stock the product (and have an amazing range of Decleor products) for £20.35, which is a third off RRP. Winner!

So let's talk product. The serum is targeted at 'mature skin types'. Hmm. I'll gloss over that for now. One of the key ingredients is Hyaluronic Acid (I still wince slightly at the idea of acid in skincare products, but this is one of the good guys. Honest.) which is supposed to have amazing moisturising properties and smooths and hydrates in one sweep. The overall effect is meant to be similar to the fresh-faced appearance of eyes after a good night's sleep. SOLD!

The product comes in a little pump bottle and is clear and smooth in texture. I've been keeping it in the fridge (much to the Husband's annoyance) so applying it in the mornings (especially at the minute when it's like an oven in my bedroom at night) is like the eye-skincare equivalent of drinking a tall glass of iced cloudy lemonade. Really refreshing, in other words. I pat it on with my finger and relax for five while I enjoy my Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. By the time I'm ready to start on my makeup, the serum has sunk in but still feels cool and refreshed.

It definitely makes the skin around my eyes feel soft and smoother, and actually, I've been using this for a couple of weeks now and I do think it's made a difference. I've not had any of those irritating 'You look tired!' comments from anyone for a while either so that's a bonus. Before and after pics are below -I think you can see the skin is a little smoother on the right. And the photos don't show it, but there's definitely less puffiness. This could become one of my new skincare staples.

Check out Click Fragrance for a massive range of skincare, fragrance and cosmetics at amazing prices! If there's one thing I love better than luxurious beauty products, it's cheap luxurious beauty products!

*Click Fragrance very kindly sent me this product to review. All views in this post are 100% mine, and mine alone :)


My gorgeous, (almost) free Oasis purchases

I think I've said this several times now, but y'know what? I'm gonna say it again. Oasis is by far and away my favourite high street clothes store. The dresses! The prints! (Oasis do the most amazing prints). So I was waiting with my fingers literally hovering over the laptop keyboard for their summer sale to start. And one morning, whilst getting ready for work, I got the happy email news I was waiting for: the sale was ON. In a blind panic (I only had five minutes before I had to leave for work and I'm not sure my boss would accept 'browsing Oasis's sale' as a reasonable excuse for lateness. I will ask him though, for future reference), I suddenly remembered passing a girl on the street in Covent Garden wearing a gorgeous biker jacket, wedges and floral trousers and LOVING her look. NEEDING it, actually. Hence I ordered this little beauty for £20. Bargain or what?

Anyway, it arrived the next day, as fabulous as expected, and I was so thrilled I went online and wrote a review about how in love I was with my new jacket. A couple of weeks later, I received a lovely email from a lady at Oasis saying that my review had been drawn to win a £50 Oasis voucher which would be sent out to me. Eeeeep!

Obviously I went online immediately and mentally started spending it. I am totally drawn to bird prints for some reason - I do like birds (not pigeons, they are evil, but that's another story) and as I said, Oasis do the most beautiful prints with lots of them involving birdies! The first thing I picked out was the Oriental Garden Print Shirt for £22 in the sale (sold out online) as it's a beautiful pale blue and I thought this would look nice with pale skinny jeans and some statement earrings.

Still on the bird theme, I spotted this Burgundy Bird Print Dress which I thought was cute, and it was £15 in the sale. £15!! Obviously I HAD to have it.

I knew I definitely wanted a kimono. I have a nice one already, but I wanted a dressier one that I could wear at night. Enter this - the Natalie Kimono. I love the black and pink print, and I think this is perfect for cocktails at the Quayside in Newcastle, which is where it will be making an appearance later this week! At £40, I thought this was a good price for such a lovely piece. It did take me slightly over my £50 limit, but who's counting? Practically free, right?

In fact, you could say I've saved money, as I'm pretty sure I'd have bought these items, even without my voucher. Yes. So, to celebrate, I think I'll treat myself. I've just spotted Melanie Sykes wearing this on tv, so....... :)

What do you think of my Oasis purchases?


It's a Hair Thing: Smooth, Shiny, Volumised? Right This Way....

A while ago I wrote about how much I love my Babyliss Big Hair brush, and how I've pretty much used it every day for almost two years. So imagine my horror when, one morning, whilst  singing along to 'Everybody Get Up' by 5ive (I'm just setting the scene here), my Big Hair suddenly whirred to a halt and the faint smell of burnt electrical wires filled my nostrils. Now I'm an optimist, so I tried switching it off and on at the wall and trying again - nothing. It was hard, but I had to accept it. My Big Hair had gone to the big electrical-hairbrush-graveyard in the sky.

So, fast forward a couple of weeks,( not gonna lie, my hair was BAD during this difficult time) and I am now the proud owner of Babyliss's New Big Hair.

So, what's different about this one compared to my old trusty original version? Well, for a start this one has a cool setting and two heat settings, compared to the one (often scaldingly hot) setting on my old brush. This means I can set the hair once I've curled it with a cool shot of air. And it feels nice.

This version also has ionic technology. When I've read about ionic hair tools, I just sort of assumed it was a made up thing, as it sounded so weird and complicated (I can't even begin to explain it here. No, really, I mean I CAN'T. As in, I have no clue). But basically, this is meant to make hair more shiny. It does, I think.

There are two speeds on the brush. Yesss! This means that when my hair gets caught in the bristles, I can use the slower speed to unwind it painlessly. As opposed to before, when I just had to sort of wrench the hair out, hoping it didn't come out in my hands.

So I've been using my new brush over the weekend, and it's safe to say I love it. LOVE IT! For anyone with medium length hair who likes a bit of body and bounce in your style - this is your saviour.

Have you tried the Big Hair or the newer version? What do you think?


Latest in Beauty Glamour Beauty Box

I have a turbulent relationship with beauty boxes. Since I am a total sucker for things wrapped in tissue in nice boxes, especially when there's an element of surprise as to what the box contains (this goes back to childhood. I'm still secretly hoping one day there's going to be a pony inside *crosses everything and wishes hard*). Anyway, as with lots of things in life, beauty boxes for me often turn out to be a big fat disappointment. Even though I love receiving them, excitedly ripping open the tissue paper and marveling at the little bottles of wonder that are inside, this fades around five minutes later when I realise I'll never use 80% of the contents, and they are promptly relegated to my 'One day I'll use these. No, really, I will' drawer.

I then vow to never buy another beauty box again. Until next month, when I see the #bblogger Twitter feed clogged up with instagrammed photos of the AMAZING boxes people have received. And so the cycle begins.

But putting all that aside, when I saw the Latest in Beauty Glamour Beauty Edit Box I knew I had to have it. Because, well, it's freakin' awesome, to put it bluntly.
I won't go through all the contents (you can see these on the link above), but I will say that I plan on using EVERYTHING in this little beauty. The Illamasqua lippie (I received the shade Rosepout) is GORGEOUS and very wearable. Plus I've wanted to try Illamasqua's lipsticks for ever. I'm really looking forward to trying the Magnifibres as I'm constantly on the lookout for anything that makes my lashes look longer and fluttery-er (and I'm too lazy to keep going to the salon for extensions). I haven't tried the Toni & Guy Glamour Volume Plumping Whip but am very excited to do so as - and I think I've mentioned this, oh, one or two times - I LOVE big hair. I haven't used Bourjois for years but the little cream blush pot in the box is so cute AND I've been after a nice peachy-nude shade for a while (I got Nude Velvet). So along with the other bits I will definitely (yes, DEFINTELY!) use, like nail polish, sun cream, cleansing oil etc, I am a happy bunny. My faith in Beauty Boxes is restored. Well, no it isn't actually, but I will be keeping an eye out for more of LIB's awesome boxes.

Have you ordered the Glamour Beauty Edit Box?