My Favourite UK places to visit + WIN a Travelodge stay

Monday, 15 December 2014

So, I like to visit places. But usually, I don't end up going THAT far. A lot of travel talk I see on blogs seems to focus on going abroad, but there's plenty going on in our own fair lands. I'm really lucky that I've met some amazing people through this here internet, and I often go on 'mini adventures' (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?) around the UK to catch up, have a few drinks and generally experience the feel of a different city to my own. I love London, and living here is awesome, but sometimes it's great to have a change of pace - even other big cities have their own unique identities and atmospheres. When I go visiting, I always look to Travelodge for a place to lay my head - their hotels are cheap and simple, yet great quality and value. If you'd like to win yourself a two night stay for you and a partner/pal, just head to the widget below to enter the draw. And if you need some inspiration of where to go, here are some of my favourite places in the UK to visit!

Brighton

One of the things I really loved in Brighton was the amount of incredible street art on display. Not just reserved for the main 'visitor' areas, I took a short cut down an alleyway and saw some wonderful art there too, despite it not seeming like a well used route. Although super busy in the summer, it's an incredible time to visit as the beach is just lovely, and of course, the pier is a must-visit! It's also a wonderful place to find a huge variety of quirky and unusual clothing shops - with vintage outlets packing the streets, it's a great chance to find yourself a complete one-off outfit that no one else will be wearing. Plus, there's the quaint charm of The Lanes, a quaint and creative shopping area running through the narrow alleyways.

Canterbury

I went to Canterbury in Kent a few years back for a Uni trip, and absolutely loved the place. I spent most of the trip on my own (I was supervising students, so didn't actually know anyone on the trip), so just got to explore and potter around a bit. It's a really lovely, historical place, with some stunning architecture and amazing little rivers and canals weaving around the city. You can even hop on board a boat and see the small city from the water - a bit like a ye olde English Venice! It'd also be a great place to go as a family with plenty to do for all ages. I particularly really enjoyed the Canterbury Tales exhibit - it's like a much less scary version of the London Dungeons! There are also some lovely independent shops selling all kinds of unusual and handmade gifts, food and homewares. For somewhere filled with both heritage and fun, Canterbury's a great choice for a day out.

Isle of Wight

This post initially started off as my 'favourite cities to visit', but when I remembered how much I enjoyed taking a trip to this little Hampshire island with my parents, I had to change it! When we went there, we discovered a hop on and off type bus, which took a route around some of the island's attractions, including one of my favourites, Arreton Old Village - lots of craft, old memorabilia and catching some pirates at the Shipwreck Centre. Our journey led us to the iconic needles, where we braved the cliffs on the chairlift! On a seperate trip, I also visited the Isle of Wight Zoo, who do amazing work with the conservation of their animals. I've also been on a pub crawl in Ryde, where every pub was an easy walk apart!



Fancy a 'mini adventure' to one of these places - or somewhere completely different? Then enter my giveaway now to get your  acommodation sorted!

Win a 2 night Travelodge stay for two!

image credits: BrightonCanterbury, Isle of Wight

Getting Festive at Debenhams' Christmas Jumper Party

Sunday, 7 December 2014



This Thursday I was very kindly invited along to the Debenhams press office to get all festive at their Christmas jumper party! I was greeted by the lovely snowman above (and of course, the ace PR team), and enjoyed sipping on mulled wine, catching up with some blogging pals and hunting high and low for candy canes - unfortunately I didn't find a winner, but it was fun nonetheless! They also put on a tombola for us all, featuring fab Debs gifts. I won this silver stag's head ornament, which is meant to be a Christmas decoration but I'll be keeping it up all year round!

The team also provided us with jumpers to wear on the night, and I decided to opt for the most obscenely festive jumper I could, the Quiz Red Christmas Reindeer print jumper (£26.99*). Yep, those are googly eyes and a 3D tinsel nose! However, if you're looking for something more subtle, Debenhams have a huge range of Christmas jumpers in all kinds of styles. With Christmas Jumper Day coming up on Friday, if you haven't got one yet, now's the perfect time to find a fun festive jumper.

The evening definitely got me into the Christmas spirit - this weekend I had a Christmas party with a big group of friends, I'm having my department's Christmas dinner on Tuesday, with the proper work Christmas party next Monday.

What are your Christmas plans? Do you love or hate Christmas jumpers?

The Sassy Girl's Christmas Gift Guide

Thursday, 4 December 2014

I normally don't bother with gift guides at Christmas. Because, to be honest, it's a lazy post idea sometimes. It's easy to trawl your favourite beauty and fashion websites and do 'for him' and 'for her' gift guides. I know a blog is a space for you to do whatever you like, but at least try and put your own original spin on it - frankly, I know I can get my mum a hand cream set from The Body Shop - so why not use the done-to-death 'gift guide' idea and find a more fun and challenging theme? That's why any gift guides I do here, I'll try and do something different. And so I present to you...The Sassy Girl's Christmas Gift Guide. Got a friend who's so out there and fabulous that those cutesy Cath Kidston florals and sweet smelling candles just won't cut it? Behold, my gift guide for kick ass girls (and boys!) with attitude!

UK Beauty & Lifestyle Blog // The Sassy Girl's Gift Guide
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

Urban Outfitters' drinkware is pretty wonderful - I adore this cup, and it'd be great to take along to New Years house parties - and I pity anyone who steals it and deals with the owner's unleashed sass. If the person you're buying for is more of a tea drinker than a partygoer, this Go To Hell mug (2) is just on the right side of offensive for the office. If your chum's a bit on the gothic side, the Evil Bitch necklace (3) is a great find, and a warning to anyone who encounters them first thing in the morning...

Before I get a telling off for this one, obviously I'm not encouraging you to buy this and then go out and take ALL THE DRUGS - but I'm a little bit in love with this Hugs And Drugs pencil case (4). It'd also make a great makeup case, and I love the cutesiness of the design combined with the rather less-than-cutesy slogan. I also love the OTT tackiness of the Pony phone case (5) - it'll certainly polarise opinions, but for that friend who likes their accessories to stand out, this is an unusual and quirky buy.

Finally, one of my all-time favourite coffee table reads! Domestic Sluttery began as a blog, and eventually the amazing ladies behind it only went and wrote a book (6). And it's bloody amazing - less Kirstie Allsop or Martha Stewart, more the lazy girl who has a fabulous home/wardrobe/life and still gets time to party. Full of genuinely helpful tips presented in a fun, tongue-in-cheek and engaging writing style, you need this book in your life.

What kind of gifts are you buying your sassiest pals?

La Roche-Posay Effaclar 3-Step Anti-Blemish System

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

UK Beauty Blog // La Roche-Posay Effaclar 3-Step Anti-Blemish System: Purifying Gel Cleanser, Clarifying Toner, Duo+ gift set review
UK Beauty Blog // La Roche-Posay Effaclar 3-Step Anti-Blemish System: Purifying Gel Cleanser, Clarifying Toner, Duo+ gift set review
La Roche-Posay Effaclar  3-Step Anti-Blemish System, £32.50, Boots*

La Roche-Posay's Effaclar Duo + is hands down one of my favourite skincare products, ever. And earlier last month, I was about to run out and repurchase, when their awesome PR team offered to send me this three-step kit (including my fave product). Obviously, I was over the moon. The French brand are dermatologist-recommended, creating products with state of the art skincare agents to give you the best skin possible.

Effaclar Purifying Gel Cleanser is really easy to use. It's a foaming cleanser, which I know some people aren't 100% comfortable with, but it lathers up so easily, and feels very gentle when you're using it. I use a makeup remover first - as the name says this is a purifying cleanser rather than one to take your makeup off with, and I do feel like my face is thoroughly clean after using it. I've never actually been that into using toners, but I'm actually quite impressed with the Effaclar Clarifying Toner, which claims to mattify skin and tighten pores. My skin isn't usually particularly oily, but this did make a bit of a difference to my normally huge pores, especially when using it in the morning before my makeup routine. It's also pretty refreshing and makes my overall skin texture feel smoother. Win!

As I mentioned above, Effaclar Duo + is one of my skincare holy grails. Around a year ago, I had pretty bad skin - I wouldn't go so far to say I was suffering from adult acne, but my chin in particular was incredibly blemish prone. After discovering Duo +, my skin definitely improved a fair bit, to the stage where I was comfortable ditching my heavy coverage Double Wear for slightly lighter foundations. I still have very slight scarring on my chin, but Duo + has definitely helped remove the redness from them and they've definitely faded to the point where they're barely noticeable and easily covered, even with a light coverage base. As well as being great for dealing with spots, it also feels really hydrating and smoothing. As with the Clarifying Toner, it's made a difference to the texture of my skin, without being at all greasy.

Touch wood, I haven't had a new spot pop up since starting this routine about two-three weeks ago, and I love how clean and soft my skin feels after using the products. I never usually opt for skincare as gifts, but if you're buying for a beauty lover a little obsessed with skincare or a spot-prone teenager who wants to get into a simple routine for the first time, this boxed up trio is a nifty little buy. Or, y'know, as a Christmas present to yourself because you totally deserve it. At just over £30 for all three products (and information about the routine included too), it's a decent price to pay for some quality skincare that I feel really did improve my complexion.

Have you tried La Roche Posay?

Ingredient List:
Effaclar Purifying Gel Cleanser: Aqua / Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Peg-8 Coco-betaine, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride Peg-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Zinc Pca Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol Parfum / Fragrance Effaclar
Clarifying Toner: Aqua / Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Allantoin, Hamamelis Virginiana Extract/witch Hazel Extract, Potassium Alum, Zinc Gluconate, Sodium Citrate, Argilla/magnesium Aluminium Silicate, Silica [nano]/silica, Propylene Glycol, Copper Gluconate, Lactic Acid, Hexylene Glycol, Methylparaben, Saliculic Acid, Ci77947 [nano]/zinc Oxide
Effaclar Duo [+]: Aqua / Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Isocetyl Stearate, Niacinamide, Isopropyl Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Silica, Ammonium Polyacryldimethyltauramide / Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Zinc Pca, Glyceryl Stearate Se, Isohexadecane, Sodium Hydroxide, Myristyl Myristate, 2-oleamido-1,3-octadecanediol, Nylon-12, Poloxamer 338, Linoleic Acid, Disodium Edta, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 80, Acrylamide/sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Salicylic Acid, Piroctone Olamine, Parfum

*pr sample

Designer Beauty Bargains - Calvin Klein Delicious Luxury Creme Lipsticks

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

UK Beauty Blog - Calvin Klein Delicious Luxury Creme Lipstick colours swatch review Eros Sinful, Cosmopolitan, Henna, Delightful, Orange Too - Fragrance Direct
UK Beauty Blog - Calvin Klein Delicious Luxury Creme Lipstick colours swatch review Eros Sinful, Cosmopolitan, Henna, Delightful, Orange Too - Fragrance Direct
Calvin Klein Luxury Creme Lipsticks, £1.99 each, Fragrance Direct (RRP £13.50)
L-R: Sinful, Eros*, Cosmopolitan, Henna, Delightful, Orange Too

A while ago I was sent a lovely package by the guys at Fragrance Direct, featuring a Calvin Klein Luxury Creme lipstick in the shade Eros. It instantly became a regularly worn product, and after checking the rest out on the site, I instantly put in another order for 5 more - because at the bargain price of £1.99 (saving a huuuge £11.50 off the retail price), why not?!

The matte finish is something I really like - although I've often found matte lipsticks to be drying, something which certainly isn't the case with these. Although they're still not 'lip care' products that improve lip condition in the long run, they do feel very moisturising when applied, and don't end up flaky/chalky looking like some matte lip products. I'm also really happy with the shades I've selected.

The first two colours in this line up, Sinful and Eros, are both gorgeous and wearable reds, with the latter being slightly darker and vaguely pink-toned, where Sinful is more of a 'true' red. Cosmopolitan is a dusky red-pink that's really easy to wear for those who are new to bright lips, but still want a pop of color. Initally, I wasn't the biggest fan of Henna, a pale pink shade, but actually seeing it photographed on, I do actually quite like it - it's different from what I'd normally go for but I'm hoping I pull it off! If you want a brighter baby pink, Delightful definitely suits its name, and Orange Too looks a little less orange on than expected, but is a great coral-hued shade.

These aren't the most long-lasting of high-end lipsticks that I've found, but for the feel of them on my lips, price and shade range, I'm pretty okay with the need to reapply every couple of hours. Really wearable and available in a huge 19 different shades, I definitely plan on picking up even more of these in the future. Designer beauty on a drugstore budget, done!

Have you ever tried Calvin Klein lipsticks? What's your favourite shade?

UK Beauty Blog - Calvin Klein Delicious Luxury Creme Lipstick colours swatch review Sinful - Fragrance Direct
 Sinful

UK Beauty Blog - Calvin Klein Delicious Luxury Creme Lipstick colours swatch review Eros - Fragrance Direct
Eros

UK Beauty Blog - Calvin Klein Delicious Luxury Creme Lipstick colours swatch review Cosmopolitan - Fragrance Direct
Cosmopolitan

UK Beauty Blog - Calvin Klein Delicious Luxury Creme Lipstick colours swatch review Henna - Fragrance Direct
Henna

UK Beauty Blog - Calvin Klein Delicious Luxury Creme Lipstick colours swatch review Delightful - Fragrance Direct
Delightful

UK Beauty Blog - Calvin Klein Delicious Luxury Creme Lipstick colours swatch review Orange Too - Fragrance Direct
Orange Too

'Pin to Win' - How To Win Pinterest Competitions

Sunday, 23 November 2014

How to enter and win Pinterest competitions

As some might know (and some might not), I'm a little bit of a competition junkie. I enter lots of competitions and have won some great prizes, although with the majority of comps being 'prize draw' style, it means there are a lot of entrants and the odds are quite low. However, more creative and 'effort' based competitions tend to have far less entries and therefore your chances of winning are higher - especially if you're a creative type and the competition's being judged. One way I really enjoy entering more creative comps is through Pinterest, where you usually have to create a new pin board as your entry. I'm quite a big pinner anyway, and find putting the boards together really fun. I've won a few Pinterest competitions in the past, so thought I'd share some winning pinning tips (sorry). These are aimed at those already familiar with Pinterest, but if you're not, it's really simple to get started with - this guide to Pinterest should help.

As an example, I'm using a competition that's still running until the 30 November from fab clothing retailer NeedThatLook, to win £150 to spend there - a pretty awesome prize! The challenge is to create a pin board titled #NeedThatLook NYE, planning out your dream party outfit from NeedThatLook, alongside other images that sum up your perfect New Year's Eve!

Pick a theme
In judged entries, having a well-tied together board can get you major brownie points, and having a solid theme can give you a bit of inspiration for pins that look great together. As Pinterest is very visual, strong colour schemes are always good - for my Great Gatsby inspired New Year in New York, I've gone for black and gold.

Work out an order
Annoyingly, on Pinterest, you can't change the order of pins on a board. The best creative pin boards tell a story, so my tip is to hold back on your actual pinning and keep images open in tabs until you've decided on an order. For example, I've made it so that the NTL pins are in amongst the rest instead of all together, making the board seem like a real project rather than just a comp entry.

How to enter and win Pinterest competitions

Choosing your images
The whole point of Pinterest is a focus on great-looking imagery - so choose well-taken photographs and stylish/artistic ones for a really impactful board. I love this image from the Great Gatsby movie, taken at an unusual angle which makes it stand out from the many other images of 'couples at parties'.

Explain your pins
On each pin, you're able to edit the caption, and I like to use this space to describe my item and how it fits into my theme. For example, I've pinned a pic of Leo DiCaprio, with the caption 'My date for the evening!'. It shows you've gone to more effort than just pinning, and really thought about your entry - something certain to go down well with the judges.

Check you've followed the rules and share your board
Usually, brands running Pinterest competitions require you to pin a specific number of items from their own site to your board. Make sure you do this! I usually pin some extras, just to be on the safe side. Another common one is a requested hashtag on all pins - basically, just make sure you read the rules first! Finally, I always make sure I either comment on the competition pin or send them a Tweet/email/Facebook comment with a link to my board, just to make sure they're aware of it when the comp closes.

Feeling inspired? Fancy taking part in your first Pinterest competition? NeedThatLook's NYE competition to win £150 is running until the 30th November, and you can find all the information on their blog post here - just make sure you include at least five NTL products, then let your imagination run away with you. For inspiration, you can check out their board here, and mine here (as a cheeky plug, I'd totally love you if you gave us both a follow while you're at it...!)

If you take part, do share your boards in the comments section below, I'd love to have a nose at everyone's dream New Years Eve!

Coping With Rejection

Thursday, 20 November 2014


This post is something I've been a bit nervous about sharing, but it's something I really wanted to talk about. Rejection. Rejection is an absolute arse. Whether it's in your career, relationship or from society and people in general, pretty much everyone will go through the absolute crapbag of rubbishness that's being rejected in some way or another. Me? It's job interviews. I usually do alright at getting them thanks to my surprisingly not-too-shabby cover letter writing skills, and a few times I've been ALMOST there (and I do have a job now!). At the beginning, I took it incredibly personally, and felt like I was worthless and stupid and I'd never get anywhere in life. It actually really, really got me down, but I managed to pull myself back up and I'm a lot stronger for it, even if I do still have the occasional wobble. These are a few ways I've learnt to cope with rejection, hopefully they'll help anyone feeling like they're in a similar position.

Let yourself get upset
Rejection sort of feels like an emotional kick in the stomach, like you're about to vomit all the shock and disappointment out while you do a big snotty cry session. So let yourself cry. Moan, whinge, sulk, swear about the source of your rejection - but don't let yourself dwell on it for too long. Once after not getting a job I was desperate to get and felt really hopeful for, I went into the work toilets and bawled my eyes out (we're talking full on ugly-cry here). After ten minutes of wallowing in my own self-pity, I kicked myself in the ass that I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself and focus on the next opportunity. Plus, people might have thought I was doing a massive work poo.

Look to the future for a pick-me-up
One thing that really helps me after a job rejection is looking at how many other options and opportunities that are out there to take advantage of. Once I've done with self-loathing and suitably reapplied my makeup to cover my fat, puffy eyes, I get straight on to the job sites. Even if I can't apply there and then, knowing there are five more I could apply for that sound even more fun/rewarding/better paying gives me a boost that it's not even close to over, and it won't be until I succeed. This works in a relationship sense too - even if the last thing you feel like doing after being rejected by the love of your life (who barely even knows you exist *sob*) is dating anyone else ever, scoping out some eye candy on Tinder reminds you that when you're ready, there's plenty of hotness just out there waiting for your right-swipe.

Other people rock
I can't imagine how much harder it would have been without other people around me to not only help dissect everything that seems to be going tits up, and reassure me that I AM awesome and I WILL get there. Whether it's chatting to my similarly-boated twenty-something chums or my boyfriend taking me to eat steak and drink beer as a cheer up, it's a reminder that there are people out there who see the best and believe in me.

Learn from your rejection
As much as it seems cool to throw your rejection to one side with a Beyonce-style swish of your hair, it's important to also learn from it. It's pretty basic stuff, but if you've missed out on a job interview, send an email to the interviewer thanking them for their time and asking for feedback. Been overlooked for an amazing blogging PR campaign? Ask why! If it's something you can change or work on, getting that extra edge will really help when the next opportunity knocks - and as lame as this sounds, if you keep pushing and don't give up, something will definitely knock.

It's not me, it's you
Rejection is something that's incredibly personal - by being rejected, you instantly feel like it's a bad reflection on you. You're too boring for the cool people to invite you out, too stupid to do the job you want to do, too ugly for someone to like you back. As someone who's felt all of those things (and really been hit hard by them in some cases) on multiple occasions. The Dita Von Teese quote above popped up when I was looking for an image to illustrate this post, and it really stuck a chord with me. In the end, not everyone is going to like you, because not everyone likes or wants the same things. As long as you're being your best self and kicking life's ass with a smile, eventually something will click. So go, be that juicy, ripe peach that you are - and fuck the haters, because PEACHES ARE AWESOME.