A (Frizzy) Luxe-Lover's Dream - Show Beauty Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner

Ahhhh, winter. Cosy knits, bobble hats and hot chocolate, I love. Frizzy, dry, dehydrated hair, I do not love.

You know the deal: you're up at some crazy hour, it's still pitch black outside, and you're doing your best to perfect your tresses for the day ahead: waving, smoothing and tszujing (yes, I did have to google that spelling). It looks okay... (from what you can see - why is it that lightbulbs nowadays are crazy-dim?!), then you head out into the icy winter morning to scrape the car, where of course you'll need the heating on full blast for the drive to work - because otherwise you'd simply freeze - then you get to work, look in the mirror and realise your shiny waves have disappeared and you now look like a power-ballad crooning rockstar from the '80s. And '80s rockstar hair certainly has it's place, but 8am on a Monday morning in the office IS NOT IT.

Party Perfect at Coast's New Concept Store, IntuMetroCentre

It’s not often I get invited to a fancy do, but when I have an occasion, I love to dress up. And if I need an outfit for such a do, my first port of call is always Coast.Since 1996, Coast has been the place to go for occasion dresses and wedding-guest-wear, as there really isn’t any other retailer like it. Beautiful designs in luxe fabrics that can’t fail to make you feel like a million dollars – and right on the high street. In the past I often popped in to try on dresses for an upcoming event then suddenly broken out into a cold sweat, worrying that someone else may turn up to the same event in the exact same outfit. This was a very real possibility; although it never happened to me, I have seen ladies frantically trying to avoid each other at parties because they were both wearing an identical Coast dress. Like I said, there really isn’t any other high street store like it.



Like pretty much everyone else in the world, I love a good Yankee Candle. I get excited when I spot new ones while out shopping, and dash over to have a smell. I buy them when I come across good deals, and then position them in various areas around my house and light them very occasionally when I remember/can be bothered. There’s no denying the appeal of a Yankee Candle. A tub of wax that smells like butter icing smeared on gingerbread with peanuts on top**? YES PLEASE I’LL TAKE TWO. So imagine my excitement when I found out we’d be visiting the Yankee Candle Village recently.

Foundation Sticks - Which One Wins?

Anything that gives me an extra five minutes in bed in the morning is a winner in my book, so when I read about the new wave of time-saving foundation sticks, I was ALL. OVER. IT. I mean, I don’t want to leave the house looking ill (as I apparently do without makeup – thanks Husband), but I don’t want to spend ages trying to make myself look half decent either. So I tried a couple out over the last few weeks.*

*At this point I need to add that I know foundations sticks aren’t a ‘new thing’ – I mean, I was using a Max Factor pan stick in my early teens – but I did favour the ‘pile it all on until you look like you’re going trick or treating’ look at that time, and now I’m after something slightly more subtle. Just slightly though.

My Visit To Kate Spade's Flagship Madison Avenue Store

Ah Kate Spade. You have this uncanny knack of making me buy things, because everything you make is just so purdy. Although, it's also pretty expensive, so when I visit the US I usually make a beeline for the nearest KS outlet, which often have amazing deals, particularly during big sales (I have two words: Black Friday).

The outlets are great for bargains, but often the decor is much plainer and they just don't have the atmosphere and quirkiness of regular Kate stores. One place I have wanted to visit for a few years now is Kate Spade's flagship store on Madison Avenue, New York, so when I knew I'd be spending a couple of days in the Big Apple during my recent trip to New England, I was like, yaaasssss!! 

Intu Metrocentre's Autumn/Winter #IntuFashion Event

On Monday night I took myself off to Intu Metrocentre for a night of Autumn fashion inspo in the centre's Style Garden at the main Town Square outside House of Fraser. As soon as I stepped into the garden I knew I was going to want EVERYTHING - the area was decked out with vintage style leather sofas draped in sumptuous fur throws and scattered with tweed cushions in rich, autumnal shades (courtesy of home decor store Baytree Interiors) - super cosy and inviting - and all around were gorgeous accessories from some of the centre's retailers. This Kate Spade lovely caught my eye immediately (predictable for me, I know - but isn't it a beaut?!)

Something New (and SUPER Glam) from Show Beauty

A while ago I wrote about my visit to Show Beauty at House of Fraser, IntuMetrocentre, where I was treated to the Show Signature bouncy blow dry just before I swished myself off to….errrr….a dark and dingy country pub in Northumberland (feeling super glam, though). I loved it, so when I got the chance to go back for another Signature blow dry to celebrate the launch of the brand’s new products a couple of weeks ago, I was like, HELL. YES.

I already have lots of love for the existing range, in particular the Premiere Dry Shampoo and Finishing Spray, both of which are unlike any styling product I’ve tried and totally justify the £30 (each) price tag.

Included in the new product launch are three shampoo, conditioner and mask ranges – Sublime Repair, Pure Moisture, and Lux Volume (this last one is not yet released), as well as a  Leave In Conditioner and a Body Oil, which I’ll talk about later on.

My stylist Marie had already given me a heads up that Show would be launching shampoos and conditioners on my previous visit, so I was super duper excited to try them out this time. As my hair is fine, and coloured, and basically everything awkward, I usually go for volumising products, but Marie suggested using the new Pure Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner, to give my over-processed locks a treat. As I’d hoped, the new products have the same delicious scent as the rest of the range – like warm crème brulee – and the ingredients lists are pretty impressive – both the Pure Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner contain White Truffle to balance moisture, Caviar, which is rich in proteins, Soy Protein to strengthen and Pro Vitamin B5 to nourish and smooth the hair, as well as Shea Butter to treat the scalp. Sounds good enough to eat!

I was treated to the full works with my blow dry – Marie used Thermal Protect and Lux Volume Mist on my hair while drying it with a round brush for plenty of bounce. By the time my blow dry was done I was swishy and glam once more.

Along with the Shampoo and Conditioner, there’s a Pure Moisture Treatment Mask which includes the ingredients above as well as Hydrolyzed Pea Protein – I don’t even know what this means but I’m going with it, because after using this my hair felt softer than it has in ages – particularly the ends which are often dry and prone to snapping off. 

All of the new hair products are paraben and sulphate free. I have to be honest and say that I’ve tried a few sulphate free shampoos before and been put off by the lack of lather – after years of massaging a head full of bubbles it felt a bit weird – but actually the Pure Moisture Shampoo does foam up enough to get a good lather going – and most importantly, the lack of nasties means that these products don’t dry out the hair and actually visibly brighten and prolong colour. I can vouch for this – my hair’s in that awful ‘can’t decide what I wanna do with it so I’ll just leave it a dull, brondey -mousey – pretty-much-nothing colour’ stage, but I was amazed at how the products brought out the warm tones in my hair and gave it an overall healthier look.

Another product in the new collection, as I mentioned earlier, is the Allure Shimmer Body Oil. I did think it seemed strange that a body product would be included in the collection since all of the other products are for hair, and I usually don’t go for this sort of thing anyway, body oils I’ve tried previously have been too greasy for my liking, but when I tried the product on my hand I was hooked – the oil is infused with delicate gold shimmering particles that would look stunning with a tan but even managed to make my pasty skin look glowing, and the smell…..THE SMELL! Yep, it’s the same signature scent as the hair products, and strong enough that it could be worn instead of perfume, but not overpowering. It also made my skin baby soft – I kept stroking my hand in an admittedly creepy fashion after trying it – that’ll be down to the Argan and jojoba oils, Aloe Vera and Vitamin E. Again, no parabens in here, either. This is about as luxe a body product as you can get – trust me, you NEED this!

Since my visit to Show a couple of weeks ago I’ve been alternating using the Pure Moisture and Sublime Repair ranges for my thrice-weekly hair wash and my hair is softer, smoother and shinier than it’s been in months – I’ve even put off dying my hair again for the time being as it looks so healthy – and I keep catching whiffs of the beautiful scent every time I move my head. I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve invited to smell my hair – and those who didn’t politely decline agreed that it smells delicious – even on day 2. I’ve even seen a difference in how easy blow drying my hair is after using these – previously I’d blast my hair then run straighteners over to smooth it – I can actually ditch the straighteners with these, as even after just my usual blow dry my hair is smooth and sleek, so there’s an extra five minutes in bed for me!

So, any negatives to the range? Well, obviously it’s a leeeeetle pricey – but in terms of how much I spend on, for example, body products, it’s not actually that far off. Admittedly it’s way more than I would have ever considered spending on hair products if I hadn’t tried them first – but that’s the great thing – you can book yourself in for a Signature Blowdry (£25 in House of Fraser) before your Saturday night out with the girls, get yourself a glam new coif and try out the products before buying. Win win!

Since I am of the ‘bigger is ALWAYs better’ opinion, I’m really looking forward to trying out the Lux Volume range once that’s available, but if. Like me, you have dull, coloured hair that’s just a bit ‘meh’, I totally suggest trying the Pure Moisture range to see a visible difference. I promise you’ll be swishing all over the shop!

Have you tried Show Beauty’s new products?

The PERFECT Autumn Ted Baker Dupe Skirt

If there's one trend from the last few years that I keep going back to, it's the full foral skirt. I bloody love a full floral skirt. Not only do they look chic, but they also hide a multitude of sins. I'll take them ALL.

Ted Baker make the most beee-yooo-tiful skirts. Like this:

And this:

But much as I love these, I rarely have occasion to wear them (hope you're reading this, Husband. I'm scowling as I type) so the chances of me spending 150 notes on a skirt are veeeeeery slim. So if, like me, your purse is crying at the thought of forking out so much for a (albeit gorge) skirt, then you might want to check out this skirty stunner:

Graphic floral print? Check.
Rich, autumnal colours that will look AMAZING this season? Check.
Full, swishy style? Check.
Less than a tenth of the price of the TB skirts? Check.

Yep - this little beauty is the grand sum of £15 from Boohoo.

Now, obviously it's not the same quality as TB's offerings - it's unlined, made of a stretchy scuba type fabric and is pull-on rather than zipped...but it hangs beautifully, and is a real bargain for the price, I think. Boohoo have several of these skirts in different prints, but they are going FAST! (Two others I was looking at are now sold out in my size. Stamps foot).

Thoughts?! :)

My Show Beauty Blowdry at House of Fraser, IntuMetrocentre

I've raved a fair bit about how amazing Show Beauty products are. If you're not familiar with the brand, then I can only describe it as the most glamorous, lust-worthy hair styling collection you'll ever see. That actually work. FACT.

I've been using the Pure Treatment Oil for several months now before blow-drying, and apart from leaving my usually frizzy ends smooth and sleek, it also makes my hair smell divine all day. (I can often be found discreetly sniffing my hair, and this is why.) I've more recently started spritzing the Premiere Finishing Spray over my finished style before leaving the house on a morning, and I love that I only need to use the tiniest amount to keep things in place without that crunchy, straw-like feeling some hairsprays give.

Pastel Perfection from Katie Loxton

As you know, I am completely in love with all things Kate Spade - it's the playful, girlie retro-chic styling that gets me. Oooh, and all the purdy colours. Everytime I visit a KS store I just want to lie down amongst all the handbag goodness and live there forever. Then I check my finances and reign things in a bit. I've had some mega bargains from KS outlets in the US, but UK prices are just like, 'WHAAAAT?!' So I'm always on the look out for similarly styled, cute accessories with a cheaper price tag. Step forward Katie Loxton.

Boden Town Hall Sale at Newark Showground

One of the most popular posts I've ever written was my trip to last year's Boden Town Hall Sale at Newcastle Racecourse. Now, you know me, I aim to please, so when I found out Boden weren't holding any sales in the North East this year, I knew I'd just have to find one elsewhere in the country and get myself there. Y'know, for the blog. For you. 

So on Wednesday I jumped on the train and headed down to Newark, where Boden were holding their sale in one of the huge Showground buildings. (Newark is 150 miles from Newcastle, so this was a 300 mile round trip. I am truly committed to the bargains blog, aren't I? Just saying). Once I arrived I had a short wait in the long (like, hundreds of Boden lovers) queue before we were let loose inside the sale armed with huge baskets handed to us at the door.

It's Back....#FenwickBeautyWeek at Fenwick, Newcastle

There's nothing I love more than skipping around the fabulous Beauty Hall at my favourite North East department store, Fenwick, checking out gorgeous new products from the dozens of beauty houses and leaving laden with iconic green shopping bags full of treats (and possibly a cake or three), so I always get pretty excited by Beauty Week. (See last year's post here). During Beauty Week, some of the most glamorous, luxurious brands in the Beauty Hall hold events and master classes to show off their newest collections - basically, it's a beauty lover's dream come true.

bareMinerals Surprise Collection

Recently, I've been trying to live frugally. I say trying, because, obviously, there are some things you just need, like shampoo, new socks and Warburton's Giant Crumpets. But on the whole, I've really cut down my spending. I haven't really bought any make up, for example, for ages, despite seeing piles of newly launched fabulous looking stuff I want to try, AND despite me running out of some of my favourite daily products. I'm trying to use up everything I already own (This should take -  ooooh -  around ten years, I'd think).

Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque

I've been in a bit of a skincare bubble recently, as I've been trialling some yet-to-launch skin products for a well-known cosmetic brand (all hush hush at the mo - I'll post more details as soon as I'm allowed!) and was told to use that and only that for the month of March. All well and good, but the range I was trying out didn't include a masque. And I love a good masque, me.

#IntuStyleGarden at IntuMetrocentre, Gateshead

I've written plenty of blog posts on the fact that I live conveniently close to IntuMetrocentre and can often be found dashing through the mall after work laden with emergency purchases. Not only is Metrocentre dead handy for me, but every once in a while they also put on UH-MAZ-ZANG events. Take last night, for example. It was the launch of Metrocentre's Spring/Summer '16 showcase, which is taking place this weekend.

Bargain Alert! Ugg Demi Boots

Look at the little pic just to your right here on my blog. What's it telling you? That's right, it's just a little mantra I like to remind myself of frequently - LIFE IS SHORT, BUY THE SHOES. Hey, I don't need convincing at the best of times, but when 'The Shoes' are investment-worthy Uggs which are not only well made and will last, but are also all kinds'a comfy. (Yes, yes, I'm back on the 'comfortable shoe' bandwagon - for now anyway. I'm sure I'll buy myself a totally inappropriate and highly uncomfortable pair of heels very, very soon).

Saying Goodbye To The Best Brows I Never Had

Not sure if I've mentioned this on the blog before but I've had more than a bit of brow trauma during my lifetime. When I was a kid, I had dark - almost black, bushy, unruly brows. Obviously the complete opposite of brow fashion at the time, which was of the 'oh, those two biro lines above my eyes? They're actually my brows, dontcha know' variety. Made worse by the fact that I was naturally light blonde, so I spent most of my school days being asked if I dyed my hair (I didn't - until much later), and, by one moron, whether I dyed my eyebrows.

So fast forward to the mid noughties, and I've pluck, pluck, plucked my way to thin, groomed brows. Phew! Finally my brows are the height of fashion! Errmm...for about a minute, until bushy brows came back. Darnit! S'ok though, I'll just grow them back out. Easy peasy! Except then there were horror stories about how some pluck-happy gals just could not get their brows to grow back, no matter what they did. Gulp. So for one whole year I did not pluck. (oh ok, I lightly plucked. Let's be real here - I want bushy, not mono-brow). And my brows grew back. Sweet Jesus! I was brow-happy once more.

Dermalogica Hydrablur Primer Launch at Fenwicks Newcastle

Recently I was invited to an event at Fenwick Newcastle held by the gals from Dermalogica. The event was to celebrate the launch of Dermalogica's new Hydrablur Primer which I was interested to learn is suitable for all skin types - I say this because I hadn't yet found a primer that works on my whole face (dry cheeks, oily tee - you know the score) so the prospect of one that could tackle all areas of the minefield that is my boat-race was appealing.