A Bit of a Giveaway

After what has felt like a very hectic summer, things seem winding down as we creep closer to winter. This has left me with some free time over the weekend, and I decided to finally carry out the big bedroom clearout I’d been planning for months!

Several bin bags and many hours later, I found that I’d managed to amass way too many beauty bits and bobs over the past few months, more than any one person could ever need…even for an addict like me. Instead of letting them go to waste, I thought I would have a little giveaway so that someone else can benefit from them!

So here’s the deal, simply follow me on twitter, then let me know by commenting on this post. That’s it! I’ll pick a winner in a week’s time on Wednesday 30th October  🙂

The lucky recipient will receive a goody bag packed with the following treats, all NEW and unused:

Grab yourself these goodies!

Grab yourself these goodies!

  • Anatomicals Spray Misty For Me facial spritz
  • Bamboo Style Boho Waves styling spray (smells amazing!)
  • MeMeMe Cherubs Blush lip and cheek stain
  • Cooling gel eye mask
  • Katy Perry Killer Queen perfume sample
  • LAQA & Co. fat lip pencil
  • Lee Stafford Matte Fat volumising styling powder
  • Tresemme Platinum Strength 60 second hair treatment
  • Viva la Juicy Noir perfume sample
  • Eva Professional Mystic Diamond Argan Oil sample
  • Aromatherapy Associates Revive Body Gel
  • The Chia Co. Chia Shots sachet

Good luck!

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

So thanks to the lovely Harley-Rose over at Lola’s Patchwork, I’ve been nominated for a Liebster’s Award; designed for bloggers who have under 200 followers. It’s purpose is to help build up your network as a beginner blogger and serves as a lovely little welcome to the blog community!

Here are the guidelines for the Liebster award:

1. Link back to the person who nominated you
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you by the person who nominated you
3. Nominate another 11 bloggers who have under 200 followers to pass the award onto
4. Come up with 11 other questions for your nominees
5. Notify the bloggers whom you have nominated
6. Some bloggers can also include 11 random facts about themselves, but this is optional!

My answers

1. What’s the best bargain item you’ve ever had?
A couple of times a year my friend and I plan a shopping spree, usually at Bluewater or one of the London Westfields. It mostly involves plenty of unnecessary purchases (the best kind), sushi for lunch, and quite a bit of talking each other into buying more! Despite our splurging however we usually manage to find some good bargains; and one of my best was a pair of gorgeous leather boots cut down from £140 to £25. When I found they only had one pair left and they were my size it was a done deal!

My Mulberry pride and joy

My Mulberry pride and joy

2. Are you careful with your pennies or an impulsive shopper?
I think my first answer above ^^ gives the game away here… definitely an impulse shopper!

3. What’s your pride and joy product/clothing/accessory?
I have a huge weakness for all things Mulberry; so I’d have to pick the lovely make-up/wash bag I splashed out on a couple of years ago.

4. What’s your morning beauty regimen?
I always wash my face with some sort of cleanser, and then use a tinted moisturiser or primer as a base for my foundation. I always moisturise my body too, currently using Lush Vanilla Dee-Lite which is one of my favourite scents.

5. If you could only have 3 beauty products what would they be?
Tinted moisturiser (with spf…is that cheating if it’s multi-functional?!), eyebrow pencil, and Chanel CoCo eau de parfum.

Lush Vanilla Dee-Lite6. What’s in your hand bag?
The quicker question might be what isn’t in my handbag! I’m one of those Mary Poppins-types with everything I could possibly need and lots that I probably don’t. Essentials though are my oft-abused wallet, bike keys, headphones, iPhone, glasses and a bit of makeup.

7. What’s your pet peeve when it comes to beauty/fashion?
I’m a strong believer in dressing for your own body type and style rather than following the latest fads and trends for the sake of it. I’ve never been one to spend lots of money on something that probably doesn’t suit me much and that I’ll only wear a couple of months; I’d much rather invest in some premium beauty products or a new handbag!

My beloved Bobbin Birdie bike, nabbed this in the limited edition watermelon shade

My beloved Bobbin Birdie bike, nabbed this in the limited edition watermelon shade

8. What/who made you start blogging?
Starting a blog had been on my long term to-do list for quite a while, but it was my friend (over at AprilTodd.com) that finally inspired me to get started.

9. What do you have on your desk when you’re blogging?
During the day I sometimes write on my lunchbreak at work, and my desk is littered with Paperchase accessories, scrawled post-it notes and lots of coffee. In the evenings I mostly sit in bed surrounded by magazines, my ipad, camera and a glass or two of red wine with a film on in the background.

10. What’s your advice to fellow bloggers?
Don’t underestimate the amount of time you have to be prepared to spend on your blog, and be sure to go for quality over quantity when it comes to social media. Choose the most relevant platforms for your site and not all of them, (whether it’s Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc), and use them as often as you can.

11. What’s your day job?
I’m a Marketing Campaign Manager working in Central London, close to St Pauls.

My nominations are…

  1. Beautiface
  2. Not Your Average Fairytale
  3. Fashion Galaxies XO
  4. Bethany Worrall
  5. Felice Mai Dopo
  6. Fashion Etc
  7. Pretty Little Things
  8. MakeUp Diary
  9. Costello Beauty Reviews
  10. Beautiful Sophia
  11. House of Nakashiima

And here are your questions!

  1. What’s your favourite cocktail?
  2. What five products/accessories could you not live without?
  3. What is your favourite song of all time?
  4. What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever received?
  5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  6. What’s your favourite shade of lippy?
  7. What’s the best thing you’ve bought in the last six months?
  8. What’s your favourite beauty brand?
  9. What’s the biggest beauty error you’ve made?
  10. How many hours do you spend a week on your blog?
  11. Who’s your favourite person from history?

My First Set of GlossyBox Goodies

After discovering them on Twitter, I have recently signed up to GlossyBox. The concept is pretty simple, for a small monthly subscription you’ll receive a box of five beauty treats to test out.

GlossyBox

Half of them are often full size, and the packaging is beautiful with the boxes themselves making lovely gifts; already making it great value in my opinion! When signing up you’ll be asked to complete a beauty profile, helping them choose the right kind of products for you depending on your preferences, skin type and so on.

The brands are quite varied with both new and long-established ones and a large price range. The leaflet that comes with each box explains each product and also the cost for a full size version (if you only received a sample size, which are still fairly generous), as well as where to buy them.

So with no further ado…onto the reviews! After opening my account the July box arrived quite swiftly, which arrived in a gorgeous blue and coral summer theme. Here’s what was inside…

July

1. Alterna Haircare: Bamboo Style Boho Waves Tousled Texture Mix (sample size received 25ml, full size is 125ml for £23.00)

Two stars

Verdict: Smells lovely, really fresh and summery. Tried it a few times but unfortunately it didn’t do much for my hair, although to be fair it my hair has been quite resistant in the past to other similar products. I did notice a slight wave to my stubbornly straight hair so I’ll give it a 2 for this reason.

2. Inecto Pure Coconut Refreshing Dry Shampoo (received full size 150ml, normal price £2.49)

Three star

Verdict: I’ll say straight off that dry shampoo is another of those things that doesn’t get on well with my hair! I’ve tried a few different versions of varying prices and it never seems to end well! However if dry shampoo is a staple of yours I’d say give this stuff a go, it smells divine and much better than the Batiste stuff I think. I’ll go for an even 3 for this one as it’s such a bargain.

3. Ciaté Paint Pot in The Glossip (received full size 13.5ml, normal price £9.00) Four stars

Verdict: Already a well known and quality nail brand, it’s a great treat to receive a full size paint pot in such a lovely coral shade, one of my favourite colours right now. Application is nice and easy with a good consistency, and the finish is high shine and pretty chip-resistant. Only downside is you will need a good two coats to achieve a solid colour, but other than that it’s a winner, 4 stars!

My two favourites from July's box; the Ciaté Paint Pot and Coola Organic Rose Essence Tint

My two favourites from July’s box; the Ciaté Paint Pot and Coola Organic Rose Essence Tint

4. Coola Organic Suncare Collection: Mineral Face SPF 20 Rose Essence Tint (sample size 7ml, full size 50ml for £29.99) Five stars

Verdict: As a member of the permanently pale crew if I find makeup products with SPF it’s always a plus. The consistency of this tint is fantastic, it goes on so evenly and would blend to most skintones from Snow White to dark olive. It smells nice and also acts a very effective base for my foundation. The full size is pricey but I would definitely consider buying it, and trying the rest of their range. Love it, fully deserving of 5 stars.

5. Anatomicals Spray Misty For Me Facial Spritz (received full size 100ml, normal price £6.00) Four stars

Verdict: Another well known brand, I’ve always liked Anatomicals whenever I’ve tried them. They have a fun image with cute designs and names, and their stuff always smells nice. This facial spritz claims to rehydrate and calm parched summer skin, and it does feel quite nice and refreshing. Probably more of a beach or travelling choice rather than for daily use unless you don’t wear much makeup, else you’ll be re-applying after each spray! All in all a nice little mist, if you’re looking for a holiday product I’d recommend it, at a good price as well. 4 stars 🙂

Brands I Love: Innocent Drinks

We’ve all got our favourite brands when it comes to consumerism, it can be a preferred cereal, a trusted skincare regime, a much-loved perfume, or anything else you can imagine buying. For each of these there might be different reasons behind your favourites, you might like the company’s profile and corporate ‘personality’, you might associate a scent with someone you love, or maybe you like to relive your childhood by having Frosties each morning.

I’m no different, and I thought I would turn the spotlight on some of mine; one of many being Innocent Smoothies.

humour

I love the little quirky elements of humour they throw in

First things first: their drinks are YUM. Really, really yum! I will admit they are a bit pricey, but if I’m honest with myself this is part of the appeal they hold for me. As my Dad often likes to tell me, I tend to ‘live beyond my means’ and often opt for the more expensive brands in all areas of life!

A typical newsletter from Innocent

A typical newsletter from Innocent

I’m a big fan of their website, facebook page, and generally the online personality they have created for themselves. I signed up to their newsletter a while ago, and in an inbox inundated with newsletters and promos (I love signing up for these things as a marketing geek), theirs is one I actually make a point to open and read.

They are already quite well known for having one of the ‘coolest’ office spaces in London, and I’ll readily admit I’d love to work there (free smoothies – who wouldn’t?!). You very quickly get a real sense of the company culture at ‘fruit towers’, and by referring to each employee regularly and on a first-name basis you feel far more engaged with them, and it humanises what would otherwise be just another faceless corporation; an approach I find really refreshing and appealing.

Of course I have to mention that a huge part of their company mission is to promote environmental responsibility and sustainability, and this is something we can all relate to. They are probably one of the most ethical companies that I can think of, and it’s inspiring to think how different the world could be if other companies aspired to be more like them.

Promoting sustainability

Promoting sustainability

Ethics in Advertising: The Fall and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch

“It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Warren Buffet

A&F have been having a hard time of it lately, even if it is admittedly a little well-deserved. But are they just being made an example of?

timeline

It all began last month, when an interview given to Salon magazine in 2006 with their CEO Mike Jeffries resurfaced on the internet. In the space of a couple of sentences, Jeffries managed to create a PR disaster with his comments about who their products are aimed at.

“Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

In this interview, he’s not just publicly acknowledging the hierarchy of beauty in society, but is admitting to actively aiming A&F products at the supposed beauty elite, encouraging the exclusion of anybody who is deemed to be not attractive enough.

What makes this approach so particularly repulsive however, is that they are targeting teenagers. We would all agree from experience that your teen years can already be incredibly awkward and painful, filled with issues about your self-esteem.

It didn’t take long for his comments to go viral, sending the internet into an uproar and kick-starting a stream of reactions, from the hypocrisy of Jeffries’ statement to all-out consumer activism, led by counter-campaigns like #FitchtheHomeless.

Blogger 'The Militant Baker' addresses the CEO directly with her own ad campaign

Blogger ‘The Militant Baker’ addresses the CEO directly with her own ad campaign

The internet responds to Jeffries' comments... (image source: buzzfeed)

The internet responds to Jeffries’ comments… (image source: buzzfeed)

#FitchtheHomeless  (image source: evansville.com)

#FitchtheHomeless (image source: evansville.com)

Despite their mistakes, I don’t believe A&F are any different from their competitor and numerous other retail giants. They’ve simply been caught off-guard and unfortunately for them, have become a scapegoat for what is an ever-present problem in the fashion industry as a whole. Other stores may not come out and say so, but if you think about the brand image associated with similar stores I’d bet you’d find the exact same target audience and exclusionary attitude.

Ethics in Advertising: Twitter

Nope, that’s not intentionally an oxymoron, although it can be easily mistaken for one.

There a number of subjects that can fall under this title, none more so than social media. Marketing and advertising are often at the forefront of boundary-pushing when it comes to challenging what society deems acceptable, and this has only become more common in recent years thanks to the emergence of social media and the power of the hashtag.

#fail: When Twitter Goes Wrong

There are plenty of examples of ‘hashtags fails’, and most of the time they can end up becoming a funny spoof version of the intended response. One example of this is Waitrose, who last year launched the trend #ishopatwaitrosebecause. Instead of comments about their ethical ranges and organic meat, the majority of tweets went along the lines of this…

#ishopatwaitrosebecause nowhere else can I hear the sentence ‘Orlando, put the papaya down!’

#ishopatwaitrosebecause Clarissa’s pony simply refuses to eat ASDA value straw

#ishopatwaitrosebecause buying food amongst the commonfolk tends to ruin one’s appetite

Sometimes however, the backlash can be a little more serious. Twitter has become a very powerful source for breaking news, and incidents such as the shooting of several film-goers in Aurora, Colo., during a Batman screening begin trending within minutes. Fashion retailer CelebBoutique jumped on the bandwagon with a spectacularly inappropriate tweet:

marketing  advertising  ethics ads waitrose twitter blog tweet celebboutique

CelebBoutique’s ill-advised tweet following the shootings in the USA

Their PR people quickly removed said tweet after being inundated with angry comments, and claimed that they were totally unaware of the shooting at the time of posting. There have, however, been other cases where hopping onto a trend with a bad taste tweet has been intentional, such as when President’s Choice (a Canadian supermarket) promoted their Halloween range using Hurricane Sandy:

marketing  advertising  ethics ads waitrose twitter blog tweet presidentschoice

President’s Choice taking advantage of the Hurricane Sandy trend

Another more recent example is the Boston bombings, where this unwise tweeter decided to promote a golf tournament:

marketing  advertising  ethics ads waitrose twitter blog tweet golf boston bostonmarathon bostonbombing

If we look at other channels used by companies worldwide to promote their products, we would quickly discover that they have several methods in place to check and double check everything that gets sent out to ensure it stays within the brand’s guidelines. When it comes to Twitter however, and social media in general, there often doesn’t seem to be much, if any, control over what is being sent out. An intern or inexperienced assistant at a huge global company can within minutes gain access to a corporate account and become responsible for that brand’s image on what is arguably the most powerful marketing channel available.

Should there be stricter controls put in place? You wouldn’t see a TV ad that uses a tragedy to their advantage, so why should Twitter be any different?