August Things

August is birthday month in the Untold Blisses household.  And what do birthdays mean?  A trip to the…

Celtic Manor!
Our new birthday tradition – a trip to my favourite UK hotel which this year included afternoon tea, a trip to the spa, and much booze.  WIN.

We bought a car
I adore my car.  His name is Kasper and he is my favourite possession.   But he’s getting on a bit, and I feel like he needs to retire to a nice farm in the country, so Husband and I took a trip to the car shop to look for something new.

The new one won’t be here for a couple of months yet so I have plenty of time to find a name for it.  And also to say goodbye to Kasper.  Oh no, I can feel the tears coming already.

Jessica Jones
I have resisted Jessica Jones for such a long time, dismissing it as too similar to Veronica Mars, or too superhero-ey.

I was wrong about that – it’s amazing and there are not enough episodes.  We’ve now moved on to Daredevil to see if that gives me the same feels, after which we’ll get started on The Defenders.

Bicester Village
I do feel bad for Husband this year, as I haven’t really helped him figure out what to get me for my birthday.  We’re both still trying to do this mindful/purposeful shopping thing so he didn’t want to buy me something for the sake of it.  So we took a quick drive up the A34 to Bicester Village to see if anything took my fancy at the Liberty Outlet store.

It turned out to be the quickest visit I’ve ever made as we just dipped into Liberty and Kate Spade, I decided on a Liberty purse, then we were back on our way.  We’re nothing if not efficient.

Much skincare
I’ve talked enough about my first online Sephora order but this month I also managed to scoop up a silly amount of K-Beauty from TK Maxx, and bought the Net A Porter On The Go Beauty Kit which has an awesome amount of fun things to try.  I really do need to start using this all up (what was that I said about mindful shopping?).

You really can’t dance here, man

I hope that one day, I’m asked where’s the weirdest place I’ve watched a film (a common question), because after this week, I’ll be able to say in a sand filled room on the fourth floor of Liberty.

I haven’t really got into the whole pop-up immersive cinema scene.  I’ve seen friends get all dressed up to see Star Wars or Back to the Future and thought “meh, seems like a lot of effort to me”.  I love comfort, so sitting on a rug on the floor whilst straining my neck to see the screen doesn’t scream fun for me.

However, something about the Backyard Cinema screenings at Liberty appealed to me. It might have been the Miami theme (considering my recent visit), it might have been that it was being held in my favourite store, or it could have been the brilliant selection of films.  We’ll never know.

The whole summer, Backyard Cinema is based at the Mercato Metropolitano in South London, a place I have yet to visit but looks amazing.  They’re showing some absolute classics there – new and old, children’s, comedy, action – all sorts.  And as a little offshoot to their summer season, they set up shop in the Disappearing Store on 4 at Liberty.  
Tim and I got tickets for Footloose, and I really do recommend seeing Footloose with him as he is a world renowned expert on all things Ren McCormack.  The last time I watched it with him was at the Prince Charles Cinema at one of their overnight PJ parties, and I shamefully fell asleep midway through.  I’m not sure if he’s forgiven me for that.

We were given flip flops before we went into the room because they had filled the whole place with sand, sadly not Liberty print flip flops which was my only criticism.  There were about 20 deckchairs set up with little tables full of sweets and popcorn, and we were given a drink when we arrived.  It was so satisfying to sit in the deckchair and feel the sand between your toes.  Made me really nostalgic for Surfside.  I really can’t think of a better place to watch a film.  They did such a great job with the staging, and I’m tempted to visit their main location.  I’ll definitely keep checking in with them to see what new experiences they come up with.

Also, I became obsessed with the Liberty cushions.  Damn, they’re pretty.  Possibly just a wee bit outside my price range however…

Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar 2016 – week 1

Liberty Advent 2016_1Yes friends, it’s that time of year where I irritate you all by splashing my Liberty beauty advent calendar all over my Instagram.  I’m not really into the whole Christmas thing this year, so I debated about whether I’d invest in another calendar, but I’m glad I did.  I’m choosing to consider it a countdown until my week off work.

This year, Liberty have treated us with a gorgeous rose gold and blue box, and I’m already super pleased with the contents of week one. Lets see what I got:

Day one – Aveda Hand Relief moisturising cream.  Very much looking forward to using this.  Aveda is a new brand to the Liberty calendar, so we’re already off to a promising start.

Day two – Aurelia Refine and Polis Miracle Balm.  I did genuinely think this was a repeat of the cleanser that I’ve had many a time, so was happy to see it was something else from the brand for me to test.  Have used it once already – very luxurious.

Day three – Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Powder Pink.  I thought this colour was too dark for me, but it’s perfect!  Another new brand for the calendar – an excellent choice.  You just can’t go wrong with Bobbi Brown products.

Day four – Kiehl’s Amino Acid Shampoo.  It’s always brilliant to find Kiehl’s, and even though I had this last year, I love it so I’m more than happy.

Day five – Jin Soon nail polish in Coquette.  I haven’t heard of this brand before, but Jin Soon is apparently the Nail Guru of New York.  You bet I’m now researching her spas  for my February trip.  Coquette is a lovely cherry red colour.

Day six – Laura Mercier Hydrating primer.  Laura Mercier products are always fantastic, and I love a good primer so very excited to get this.  It provides an excellent base for my foundation and doesn’t get horribly drying.

Day seven – Co Bigelow Rose Salve.  I love Co Bigelow more than any other brand, and although we’ve had the rose salve in the past two boxes, this one is in a tube format so slightly different (although come on Liberty, there are so many other balms to choose from – give us something new!).   Don’t care though – love it!

And incredibly strong start to the month, and I definitely have no regrets.

I was thinking about shopping. As per usual.

Liberty1Day two of my Birthday Bonanza was spent shopping in London with my Mum.  She tends to go to London with my Dad, and he always has specific shops he wants to visit so she doesn’t get to wander around aimlessly.  This was my chance to give her a bit of an aimless wander.

We started at Cafe Nero in the Oxo Tower after a short train journey into Waterloo, where we sat and planned our route.  First up, we need to find an emergency short-sleeved top for Mum as it had suddenly got very warm.  Top purchased from a popular high street store, we walked up Regent Street towards Liberty, my favourite shop in the world.  After lusting after some beautiful bags (Hello Mulberry!), we went into the beauty hall as she wanted to buy me some Co Bigelow goodies for my birthday.

Every few months, I treat myself to the Mentha shampoo and conditioner as it’s the next best thing to my dream conditioner – their lavender and peppermint range which you cannot get in the UK.  I grabbed my substitutes, picked up some of their chapped hands remedy, and then very loudly gasped.  THEY HAD THE DREAM CONDITIONER.  Embarrassingly, I had gasped so loudly that I attracted the attention of the sales assistant, so I had to explain why I was acting like an immense dork.  She smiled politely, and I’m sure she very subtly started to back away.  I was happy though.

Liberty2All of these products are amazing, especially the Chapped Hands Remedy which has already fixed my very dry hands when every other moisturiser has failed me.  I wish I lived in New York as I would be in the Co Bigelow store every week.

We wandered around Liberty from top to bottom, wishlisting many items and planning my perfect home.  I was quite disappointed that I didn’t see anyone from the Liberty TV series, but it was good to see the rug department was just as it was on TV.  Chocked full of rugs.

After Liberty, I very quickly popped into Lush to buy some Comforter shower gel (fortunately, it’s right by the door, so I barely had to go in the shop), and we stopped by the Benefit counter in Boots for some eyebrow advice.  We then fought through the Oxford Street crowds to visit House of Fraser and Selfridges – I really don’t like Oxford Street and it’s a massive pain that Selfridges is located on it.

We decided to head back at this point, and I gave my Mum the option of Tubing it to Waterloo, but she was happy to walk so we nipped down one of the side streets for a bit of peace and quiet, stumbling across Fenwicks in the process.  After a brief browse, Mum decided she needed another coffee and fortunately we found an empty Eat in St George Street – despite the building works opposite, it was remarkably tranquil.

We managed to get all the way to Charing Cross station when it started to rain, so took the Bakerloo line the rest of the way.  I think that’s fair though – my Fitbit said we’d done 9 miles so it was only fair that I gave her a bit of a rest.  She did very well (although I’m sure she slept all of Sunday).

We wend our way through the longest part of the day

Green Room2

Thursday felt like an insanely long day.  It was the penultimate day of Ryan, Tim, Husband, and my Work Week Hustle Fitbit Challenge and I was determined not to be last (Tim and Husband were in a whole other league to Ryan and I).  As it turns out, the 20,000 steps I did on Thursday nudged me firmly into third place so I was happy with that.

The day started with a trip to the University of Winchester for a very productive meeting (and a productive 3000 steps).  In the afternoon, I jumped back on the train into London.  I wanted to go to Selfridges to visit Tatty Devine, but South West Trains messed me about so much that I ran out of time.  I did manage to make it to Liberty though where I visited my favourite section of the store, Co Bigelow.  I credit their Mentha shampoo with curing the mild alopecia areata that I suffered from a couple of years ago, so wanted to stock up on some more.  Plus, who doesn’t love a trip to Liberty.

Liberty CoBigelow

Super cute neon!

After my mini-spree, I walked back down Regent Street to meet Tim at Leicester Square and we walked over to our newest favourite South Bank restaurant, The Green Room.  Tim had found an offer for BOGOF burgers, so it seemed a perfect place for our Christmas gift exchange.  The restaurant is full of props and recycled items from The National Theatre, great food, and very happy staff, and I very much enjoyed spritzing my vinegar onto my chips!

We both bought each other a book and an item very much South Bank based, purely coincidentally but it shows how well we know each other.  I already started reading my copy of The Secret History of Wonder Woman on the train on the way back, and my Mini Moderns tea towel with a print of the Royal Festival Hall’s carpet (long story) has taken pride of place in my kitchen.  I also got a bonus gifty of Adam and Joe’s XFM shows – WOO!

Husband had already warned me not to let Tim walk too far (they were engaged in their own step battle) so we only did one lap around Waterloo.  Also because my beautiful Nike x Liberty trainers were killing me.

I had a very good night sleep after my 10 miles.  And we’re all taking the week off challenges now.  Maybe a month.

Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar – final review

Liberty advent4

I have opened the last drawer in my Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar.  Boxing Day will be a very sad affair.  This is what was in the last few days:

  • Day twenty-two – Kai by Gaye Straza body lotion. Not a great deal to say about this. It’s another body lotion.
  • Day twenty-three – Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser. I used this last night (I’m a rebel) and it smelt… really quite odd.  Left my face feeling lovely though.
  • Day twenty-four – Escentric Molecules Molecule 01 fragrance.   This is a proper sized item – aluminium case and glass bottle.  I think this is what was weighing the whole calendar down.  It’s supposed to smell different on different people, but on me, it smells musky and woodsy.    I used to work on a fragrance counter (because they dismantled my No7 counter and left me without a till).  I’m by no means an expert, but it’s very expensive smelling.
  • Day twenty-five – Diptyque Baies candle.  Husband was quite annoyed that I got a day 25 in my calendar and he didn’t in his Lego Calendar.  Obviously Diptyque are legendary in the candle world, but I haven’t ever tried them before (I’m more of a Yankee Candle girl) so I shall enjoy this one.

Overall, I LOVED the whole calendar.  Discovering new brands, finding new products – if they sell this next year, I’ll definitely be buying again.  That said, there were five cleansers and four body lotions (if my calculations are correct) so it did get kind of samey.  There were no hair products, no facial moisturiser or toner or exfoliator – it needed a tad more variation.  I think there needs to be a male version as well; I’m sure there are a lot of jealous men out there.  I’m glad they didn’t include too many colour cosmetics as they can be a bit hit and miss, and they made good decisions on the ones they did.  It was a really great selection of brands to include.

My favourites:

  • Co Bigelow Rose Salve. I would happily sell Husband for more Co Bigelow products.
  • NARS Deep Throat Blush. A colour I would never have looked at in store but looks fantastic on me.
  • Malin + Goetz rum body wash. This is all gone already!
  • Deborah Lippmann Call Me Irresponsible nail colour. Looks beautiful on my nails.
  • Kiehl’s Crème du Corps.  Iconic

Liberty advent5

Farewell advent calendar.  You will be sorely missed.  Although probably not by my brother who seemed irritated by my Instagram posts.

And now I’m off to enjoy Christmas.  Hope y’all have a wonderful day!

Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar – week 3

Liberty advent3For my third week products from the Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar, I dragged Tim around Fleet Pond to photograph them.  Because I’m a pretentious blogger.

  • Day fifteen – Weleda Skin Food.  This is a favourite of my Sister-in-Law’s so I was curious to try it.  So far, it hasn’t done anything for my weirdly damaged skin on my calf (to be fair, I don’t think anything would) but I’ll keep using it.
  • Day sixteen – Suratt all-in-one eye baton.  A lovely eye liner and eye shadow product.  Definitely one to keep in the make-up bag.  I’ve never heard of Suratt before, so it’s nice to find new brands.
  • Day seventeen – Dermalogica pre-cleanse.  Another facial cleanser.  Personally, life is too short for pre-cleansing but I’ll get some use out of it every now and again.  An odd product – an oil that turns into a milk.
  • Day eighteen – Omorovicza lip balm.  It’s a lovely lip balm (which I accidentally stuck my finger right into the middle of) but it doesn’t win against the Co Bigelow last week.
  • Day nineteen – voucher for 30 minute Sisley facial.  I had a bit of a whinge about the hair voucher in week one, but I think I’ll probably end up making the trip into London to use this one.
  • Day twenty – Laura Mercier Lip Glace.  It’s a lovely nude colour which actually suits me quite well, and doesn’t feel horribly sticky on my lips.  Not full size.
  • Day twenty-one – Dr Sebagh Serum Repair.  This is full size.  THIS IS FULL SIZE AND £70.  £70!!!  I used it this morning and wasn’t wowed by it, but it might be one of those slow burn things.  Regardless, THIS IS £70!  Well, if it’s good enough for Elle Macpherson…

Only 4 days to go!


Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar – week 2

Liberty Advent2Husband and I have just spent half an hour arguing over the best way to shoot this week’s Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar products.  You better appreciate this.

  • Day eight – REN Skincare Express Make-Up Remover.  I love REN.  When we stayed at a Room for London a couple of years ago, they had loads of REN products in the bathroom which pleased me greatly. I shall look forward to using this.
  • Day nine – Hourglass Cosmetics lip stick.  I’m not a lipstick person so have no opinion on this I’m afraid.  I’m sure it’s very nice (although it’s a tiny sample size so a little disappointing).
  • Day ten – ESPA cleanser.  Another cleanser?  How dirty do Liberty think our faces are?  The USP for this cleanser is you can use it as a mask as well.  I’ve used it once this week, and it left my skin feeling… a bit odd.  But then I do like cleansers that leave my face feeling completely stripped.  True story – I once went for a job at ESPA head office.  I did not like them, they did not like me.
  • Day eleven – Deborah Lippmann nail colour.  Now this is the motherload.  I have been lusting after Deborah Lippmann polishes for such a long time, but could never justify the crazy prices in the UK.  I was very annoyed with myself for not buying any in New York in March.  There were two colours available for the box (I think) and I received the Liberty purple-esque Call Me Irresponsible.  This is going on my nails tonight!
  • Day twelve – Decleor Aroma Confort body milk.  It’s a body milk.  I have no anecdotes for this brand.
  • Day thirteen – Malin + Goetz Rum Body Wash.  Malin + Goetz are one of those companies I want to get into.  I see their stuff at Space NK and almost very nearly buy some, so I’m pleased I’ll finally get a chance to use something of theirs.
  • Day fourteen – Co Bigelow rose salve.  Ahhh, my beloved Co Bigelow.  I fell in love with them a couple of years ago when we stayed at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas (yes, another hotel bathroom story) and was very excited to visit their store in New York.  Their rose salve is BEAUTIFUL.  It has an almost vanilla scent to is, the rose is very subtle.  I’ve just slathered this onto my lips and I instantly loved it.  SCORE!

So far, week two even better than week one!