Sprig's Pages

Sunday, 22 November 2009

10% Off at Love Hearts and Crosses Jewellery

Thanks to the ever brilliant virtual friend of mine, Twitter, I came across the gorgeous jewellery shop that is Love Hearts and Crosses. If I could make jewellery or even design it, it would look a lot like some of the cute pieces they sell. From the adorable I Love You range - who wouldn't love to be given this necklace? - to the quirky earrings range, there's something for everyone and they make really heart-felt sentimental gifts at perfectly affordable prices.

The even better news: for any lovely person who reads my blog (hello!), you can get 10% off when you enter the code judyjay any time before 1st January 2010.

Ahem... just in time for my birthday on the 5th ;)

I'm waiting for the next lot of stock of the brilliant Alice in Wonderland Pocket Watch necklace (pictured) - love it!



Makeup Must Haves

It occurred to me this week that I am really quite fussy when it comes to makeup, and I also have a set bunch of products that I couldn't live without. I've worn makeup most of my life, from borrowing (read: stealing) my sister's clear mascara when I was ten to deciding that white eyeshadow was quite frankly the only colour to be seen in (for about three years - now it's green). 

So, no promotion, no saying that the same products work for everyone, but here are my top ten makeup must-haves that I just couldn't live without. Let me know if you agree or think I should be replacing it with something you love instead... I can be fickle too :)

  1. Urban Decay Eye Primer Potion - not only is this stuff in a gorgeous, Disney-esque bottle, but it works. Put on before eyeshadow and the colour will not crease or budge, and it intensifies the colour too.
  2. Bourjois Paris Ombre Stretch Eyeshadow in Vert - the ultimate green eyeshadow. I hated Bourjois' other eyeshadows in the small round pots - too hard and silky to actually get any on the brush. This one comes in a neat compact, complete with a brush which helps it glide on smoothly. It lasts all day and is super soft.
  3. L'Oreal Lash Architect Mascara - I think that like men, there's a mascara out there for everybody - you just have to find it. Mine is Lash Architect - it lengthens, it helps curl (buy an eyelash curler though, don't rely on mascara!) and separates. I usually use a separate mascara to add volume, or just line the top lashes with liquid liner to add depth.
  4. L'Oreal Superliner in Black Crystals - my favourite liquid eyeliner ever. For those who don't like the precision needed for a brush applicator but who hates those rubbish felt-tip ends which dry out, this is the answer. It has a softer, more flexible nib which delivers a subtly sparkly liquid black line and has the right shaped tip to be able to vary the thickness of the line easily. The best one I've found by far!
  5. 17 Hide Away Concealer Stick - this product has been a firm makeup bag staple since I entered my teens. The best budget concealer stick I've found, it's soft but not so soft that it melts off within thirty minutes, and provides good coverage for blemishes or redness.
  6. Benefit High Beam Highlighter - I adore Benefit (a sucker for packaging) but prefer not to spend on their pricey products - except this one. High Beam is a liquid highlighter that you brush on anywhere you want a healthy glow - I use on cheekbones, browbones and, after a tip from a friend who models, on collar bones for definition! Weird but true...
  7. New ID I-Smoulder in Charcoal - I got this through work (you can pick up new ID products in Burlingtons hairdressers) and it's my favourite black eyeliner. It twists to open so there's no sharpening needed, and the nib is angled so that varying the thickness of the line is easy. It glides on, stays on all day and last for ages. It also has a sponge applicator containing a cream shadow on the other end, which is great for creating smoky eyes. 
  8. Rimmel Recover Anti Fatigue Concealer - I had to buy this as they seemed to have discontinued my best ever under-eye concealer, the Renew and Lift Smoothing Concealer which was amazing. However, this one is pretty good and I couldn't live without it. There are so many under-eye concealers out there but again,they have hefty price tags. This one is great for a budget, lasts ages and provides fairly good coverage - you need to apply a bit more than usual as it's fairly thin, but it does work.
  9. L'Oreal Color Appeal Chrome Shine Eyeshadow in Dazzling Khaki - my absolute favourite eyeshadow for a night out, this glitzy shadow glides on better with a brush (it comes with a sponge applicator) as it blends very well with other metallics. I always get compliments for the colour when I use it and it has enough sparkle to make you feel glam, but not like a five year old!
  10. Bourjois Complexion Enhancer in Apricot - I discovered this product not too long ago, when looking for a good blusher. Instead of trying to find the right shade of pink for my cheeks, I decided to try this enhancer. It rubs on like a foundation, but is much lighter and gives a healthy, natural looking glow to make you look more radiant and awake. Another must for a night out or for winter days when you feel pale!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Book Review: Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

When I first heard there was a new Kinsella book out, I could not contain my excitement. But when I read the basis of the plot, I was disappointed. I was worried the acclaimed author was going in a different direction, away from her chick-lit genius; I also worried I'd hate it. But. In good faith, I pre-ordered a copy and put off all the books on my bedside table so that I could get into Twenties Girl as soon as it came through the door. And that I did.

Twenties Girl tells the brilliantly funny and heartwarming story (as with all Kinsella's books) of Lara, a hopeless romantic with a floundering start up company, an ex boyfriend she just can't let go of, and the spirit of her Great Aunt Sadie following her around demanding she help her find a necklace. 

I'm not a lover of supernatural genres but this kept to a rom-com style throughout and I was instantly hooked. Kinsella's lead characters are always endearing and I can personally always relate to them (shopaholic that I am), but Lara is perhaps the one I have most connected with; convincing herself she can make her ex love her, sticking her head in the sand yet having compassion for others and putting their needs first no matter how ridiculous they may be, all the while struggling with what will happen next. Lara and Sadie take us through hilarious incidents including fooling a room of professionals that Lara can read minds (until Sadie has a strop and leaves Lara in the lurch), plus some questionable '20s outfits and awkward dates. 

The bickering between the two girls is addictive, and yet it creates a page-turner as you hope they will bond and help each other with each of their plights; Sadie opens Lara's eyes to the false idea of love she has while Lara helps Sadie to see the love of her life was just that, and not someone to regret. Sadie's character is so irritatingly lovable, you wish she'd be your best friend, while Lara grows throughout the book to become the best that she can be.

As emotional as Remember Me? and as memorable as the Shopaholic stories, Twenties Girl is quite possibly my favourite Kinsella book so far. Read it.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Book Review: Remember Me? By Sophie Kinsella

In anticipation of the review I am yet to write of my favourite author's latest book, Twenties Girl, here is a review of Remember Me?  which I originally wrote for Flisolo.com. If you loved the Shopaholic series, give this one a go - it's equally brilliant.

Sophie Kinsella's Remember Me? is another bestseller that will make you laugh unashamedly out loud. ‘Chick-lit' doesn’t do it justice; Kinsella’s books are classics in the eyes of her widespread fan-base, with memorable characters who stay with you long after the book is finished.

In Remember Me? our heroine is Lexi, a twenty-five-year-old with dire career prospects at a carpet company, wonky teeth and a rubbish boyfriend, Loser Dave. But after an accident, Lexi wakes up in hospital to find that actually, it’s not 2004 as she thinks; it is 2007 and she has the life she’s always dreamed of. Perfect teeth, perfect millionaire husband, designer handbags, the lot.

Suffering from amnesia, Lexi has no idea what has happened in the last three years of her life. Her ever-helpful ideal husband draws up a ‘marriage manual’ so that she can learn the ropes of their relationship, but as she begins to find out more about her new self, Lexi realises her dream life is more of a nightmare. Her best friends no longer talk to her, she’s not allowed to eat crisps, her sex life involves something called a Mont Blanc which turned out not to be a cocktail, and an attractive man is causing problems. Lexi’s character is brilliantly crafted as someone we can all empathise with, and the plot has many twists and turns with some fun bumps along the way, making it impossible to put down. From her disastrous attempt at driving her Mercedes (she couldn’t drive in 2004) to knocking out a £300 fish at her husband’s ‘Loft-style Living’ launch, Lexi is adorable and worryingly real.

Filled with some fantastic lines of wit, Remember Me? will make you giggle, cringe and cry, perhaps all at once; a must read for all Sophie Kinsella fans and even more so for Sophie Kinsella virgins- this book will get you hooked.