Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Harem Tent Bedroom Drapes

So I wanted to have a neutral full length skirt to wear all summer but the only one I found that I liked was from American Apparel and cost over £50 (on my budget, ha! I wish). I decided to make my own - I will post about making it when I get round to it in the next week. I went shopping and bought some lovely fabric that drapes beautifully from the scraps basket. Only I couldn't stop buying and ended up with three 5/6 metre lengths of each (and each of those cost only £4 each, bargain!).

I've always liked bed canopies and thought I'd have a go at making my own. I dread to think how long it will last around my boyfriend and a cat...

Mine was basically hung from my light fitting around a metal hoop made from an old hanger. I draped the fabric around this and secured both ends to the bed knobs with hair elastic. It's only temporary but it will do for now until I can get ceiling hooks put up.

Here are a few images of it before it's destroyed

(First attempt before the metal hoop)

I put it up at 5pm... let's see how long it lasts...


Thursday, 21 June 2012

Topshop Makeup And Possible Cream Nars Orgasm Dupe

Today I have two mini reviews for you. One of a Topshop face art crayon and the other of a possible dupe for Nars's Orgasm blush, but a cream version.

First up is Topshop. I loved the face art crayon in 'Sun Shower' as it really does look like gold on your skin. I wanted to test how long it lasted before I bought it, so this review is all about that.

Here is how it looks when first applied, it gives a nice clean line but will smudge if you wipe it straight away. If you let it set on your skin for about 30 seconds then it pretty much doesn't smudge at all and will last ages.

This is after washing my hands:

This is about six hours and many hand washes later. Even though it has faded, it is still there and holding up quite well. I would recommend taking the crayon out with you for a touch up if you're wearing it all day / night. This way it will last longer and look just as stunning as when you first applied it.

I'm quite impressed with the crayon. Despite the colour fading it still looked nice. Perhaps using a makeup fixing spray may help it last longer. I haven't got any to try but if you do and you try it out, leave a comment about how that goes.

Ok next up is the possible Nars Orgasm (or perhaps the Super Orgasm?!) dupe. I came across this while buying food for my cat Tim in ASDA! It costs £4 and you get 12g which I think is pretty good. Mine seemed to be overfilled slightly which caused some of it to stick to the plastic cap inside and come off, which I wasn't too pleased about but I guess that means I have extra.

It is actually a highlighting cream stick but does give a hint of colour. If you have darker skin than me and want a stronger colour you could apply this over another blush for a more intense effect.

So here it is:

The cream itself is very thick so you won't need a lot and it will last ages. Blending is really easy and the colour can be built up (it doesn't show up very strong on the pictures of me below as I only used a tiny amount before running out for my maths class).

As you can see it does have teeny golden sparkles. These aren't very obvious on the skin, they catch the light and brighten the complexion rather than creating the look of a Christmas tree like I usually have after helping out at school with arts and crafts. I think it gives a nice lit up glow.

I think the real Nars Orgasm blusher would give a better colour without having to build it up but I must say, I do prefer a cream blush. Sometimes powder can be so drying and it actually makes me look a lot older. Cream suits my skin best and creates a fresh look.

Which do you prefer, cream or powder blush? Or do you use a stain / gel? I would love to know.

So there you have it, two great new products for you to try. Let me know if you do and what you thought of them.


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Emoitional Brilliance Preview Night

Emotional Brilliance is a new range from Lush and it's all hush hush for now. Yes, I do know what it is, but I can't tell you. You will have to wait and see. Don't worry, the launch is very soon so you won't have to wait too long now.

I've been invited to a special VIP preview evening at one of the stores and I am very excited. I will be able to see, smell and test out the new range in all its glory as well as learn all the background story behind it and hopefully I will be able to purchase a few things!

I will be asking to take a few photos but I don't think they will allow this if it's pre launch. If however I am allowed, please note I will not be posting the pictures until after the official launch as this would be unfair to everyone at Lush who have worked so hard on this project.

If I am able to purchase anything early I will test them out and hopefully be able to post a review after the launch for you.

To keep you going here is the teaser video from Lush:
(I absolutely love this song!)

Can you guess what it could be?

So excited!


Saturday, 16 June 2012

Cardamom Tea

A few weeks ago a friend of mine introduced me to the delights of cardamom tea. I find it is a very relaxing tea that for me at least, cools the heat of spicy food so I don't get stomach burn. It has a taste similar to pilau rice and is mildly sweet. It is made boiled fresh in a pan rather than a kettle and takes longer to make but you can reuse the cardamom pods again by freezing them after use.

Here's how my friend taught me to make it:

1. Pour a cup of water per person into a pan (hob off) and add a small handful of cardamom pods to the water. Usually 2-3 pods per cup / person.

2. Bring to a boil and continue to boil this for about 5-10 minutes to infuse the water with flavour.

3. Add one teabag per person / cup to the boiling water and continue to boil for a few minutes until the tea is as strong as you like it. With this tea the stronger, the better. You will notice the water will colour very fast, so keep and eye on it or it may turn stronger than you like before you can fish the teabags out!

4. Remove the teabags. At this point if you like your tea without milk, you are finished. Turn off the hob, strain the pods and serve with sugar (if you take it).

 If like me you like milky tea, leave the pods in and add your milk to the pan. Boil this until the milk froths up almost to the top of the pan, then take it off the heat, strain the pods and serve with optional sugar.

NB: If you like a 'thick' tea then use a fuller fat milk. Also, I tried this tea out on my boyfriend and he added a touch of vanilla essence to it which really enhanced the cardamom and made it taste more amazing. I also think in winter perhaps adding a clove to the pods in the water will work nicely but I have yet to try this.



Friday, 15 June 2012

Some Of My Art Work

You may not know, but I studied art for a few years. I still draw now and then but mostly do photography (I will do a separate post another time with my favourite photos). Since I have decided to start drawing portraits again I thought you might like to see a few pieces I have previously done over the years.

These pictures are only a small, very mixed selection of my old work. Some are sketches, some paintings, some are things I've made. A lot are unfinished. I was just like that, always moving onto the next project. Please bear in mind that some of these are from just after leaving school and are about 10 years old, so not very good (I will have a search around my older stuff for school art work another time).

In no particular order:

Please feel free to leave a comment, I'd love to know what you think.


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Arts & Candies Goodness

I speak to a lovely lady over Twitter who owns a company called Arts & Candies. If you haven't heard of her, you should know she is a very talented polymer clay artist who makes exquisite jewellery and accessories based on Lush products and various mouthwatering edibles. We recently did a swap; I sent plushie goodness and she sent me this:

How adorable is this! If you're not already a fan, you should be. Her work is amazing, she makes everything by hand and everything is so incredibly detailed. I've worn my ring all day since I opened the package and removed it from the beautiful purple and silver tissue paper. All day I have been looking at it and constantly showing it off. The glitter has been twinkling in the sun catching everyone's eye and I proudly tell people where it's from when they ask. I loved it so much I took all these pictures for you to look at:

The ring itself is a tiny adjustable blank with the Arts & Candies handmade adornment glued on. As you can tell from the pictures, it is a pink cased sponge cupcake with white frosting swirled on top and finished with a sprinkling of multicoloured micro glitter. There are also three of my favourite Lush products made in miniature placed on the cupcake. These products are Blue Skies And Fluffy White Clouds bubble bar, The Comforter bubble bar and B Love soap in the special heart shape (I actually have this soap in my stash!).

I am extremely pleased with my ring and I will definitely be purchasing from Arts & Candies in the future.

If you like what you see pop over to her Website, see her Facebook page, her Etsy shop, Ebay store, Tumblr and follow her on Twitter.

Read all about what she thought of the plushies I sent her Here!

Monday, 11 June 2012

A Day of Surprises

I sent a package off last week to Big Harry (Lush Times Editor) containing three little plushies of his favorite products; Big Blue ballistic, Amandopondo bubble bar and Geophyzz ballistic. I didn't really think too much of it apart from that they would be a nice little surprise for him.

I awoke today to this:

(Image from Lush Limited Facebook page)

One of Harry's work colleagues had given them their own photoshoot and posted the picture on the Lush Limited Facebook page (Here) and their Twitter account (Here). Very cheeky, but I approve.

There were over 400 'likes' and many complimentary comments about them, which really overwhelmed me. I have in the past received negative comments about Lushie Plushies in general since they're not everyone's cup of tea, but to see so many positive comments really made me smile. Thank you.

Another surprise today was receiving good news about some special guests for a summer fair I'm helping out at (all hush hush for now) and finding out that the tent I'm hoping to get will have free delivery. Very happy.

I'm going to be getting a Bell Tent for a few camping trips next year. Yes, I admit it, I fell for the looks but it's a good tent anyway. Here's an image of a bell tent with some pretty bunting - a feature I hope to recreate for my own tent:

(Image from

 This particular tent is by Strawberry Hills and is being sold for £450 Here. I love the clean lines and vintage cuteness of the tent in this picture.

For now I will day dream of  'Glamping'.


Thursday, 7 June 2012

My first YouTube video

I am Arayha on the Lush Online Forum and over the bank holiday weekend I ran the 'Guess the mystery product' competition in the VIP thread. The winner was Moonshadow and she won two tickets from me to go to Lush Fest (and later I found out she had won another four tickets by winning another two competitions! So very lucky - she will be picking my lottery numbers for sure).

I pulled names out of a hat to pick the winner and announced it via the following video:

Please take a moment to watch it and giggle at how I do the following:

  • Fail to notice I had started recording
  • The broken nervous speech from lack of practice
  • My voice - I had no idea I sounded so... well, posh
  • Not knowing how to finish and adding the classic cringe-worthy "byyyye!"
Oh Dear! I guess it can only get better for me YouTube wise from now on.

I also won two tickets myself as a thank you from Hilary for running a competition. I can't use them though. I am otherwise engaged on that weekend. You have no idea how 'gutted' I feel about that.

I am a nice person though, so I donated my two tickets one each to two other forumites; Jadeybum and Neonie.

I will have to try very hard not to look at any photos from Lush Fest 2012, I will be just too jealous.


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Lushie Plushies - what are they?

They are my creation. Cute plush characters that are both inspired by and based on the cosmetic company Lush's products. They are hand sewn by me and I've been making them since early 2009. I used to swap them in the Lush online forum's 'Swap Shop' for various Lush items (under licence of course). I must have made hundreds to swap and give away as prizes and presents.

Here is a selection of a few I have made:

Most recent: Sunnyside with added paintbrush and cupcake. Currently living at Lush, Bolton.

Here's the collection a made for a charity raffle:
So now you know :)

Well, I think that's enough for now. All I will say is, keep your eyes peeled for the summer edition of Lush Times (for those that don't know, it's a newspaper Lush produce to keep it's customers updated on their products - you can pick up a copy from your local store or read online Here).



Monday, 4 June 2012

Topshop Haul

I went to see Snow White And The Huntsman on Saturday and popped into Topshop while I was out. I was looking for a nice skirt but finding nothing I really liked I wandered into their makeup section instead. Before now I've never tried any of their products so I thought it was about time.

After giving everything a good once over I came across three products I liked. The smokey eye palette in 'Tawny', blush in 'Head Over Heels' and highlighter in 'Sunbeam'.

As you can see, the containers are very creative looking in a monochromatic style. They are plastic with decent size mirrors and the eye palette has a double ended sponge applicator (personally, I would remove this and replace it with either a lip brush so you can create a nice liner effect or possibly a cut down artist brush - I prefer these over makeup brushes as they are generally softer and better quality... and being an artist I am more used to using them, along with my fingers).

First, the Smokey Eye Palette:

1                                                     2

3                                                        4

       1                     2                         3                    4

This consists of four neutral eye shadow shades. They all have a slight shimmer and range from dark brown with a copper shimmer (1), onto a mid brown with a similar shimmer (2), next is a copper shade which has a dark red / brown tinge (3) and lastly, what looks to be a peachy pale tan colour in the palette but is actually a pearly beige on the skin. Application is smooth and they last a fair amount of time before fading. I find the copper is particularly good at making eyes 'pop' and seems to be the longest lasting of the four.

The palette was £12 for 8g and you can find it Here. It's a very handy size for popping in your bag or taking on holiday and the colours are great for everyday wear as the shades will suit most people. You can create a great natural day look and build it up with the copper and browns for a night out.

Ok, next is the blush:

This is a cream blush. I usually wear a powder but recently my skin has become dry and I'm switching to a cream for a softer look (as powder emphasises dry skin) until my skin settles down. I'm trying the Lush Ultrabland challenge to replenish the moisture and even out my skin again (more about this another time). The colour is a rather pretty peachy pink (although it says coral on the website) which seems to suit my pale skin better than the pinker ones I usually go for (this blush comes in four shades, all of which are darker and more pink than this one). Application is very smooth and it blends easily for a natural flushed look. I really enjoy using this, the colour lasts all day on me but that may be because of the drier skin soaking more of the product up. You could set this with a light dusting of face powder for during the day if going for a natural look or dust with a powder blusher for a stronger look if venturing out for the night.

This compact is £6 for 4g and can be found Here. Again a handy size for popping in your bag. It could possibly be used as emergency lipstick. For a healthy 'just exercised' flush, apply on cheeks and blend a small amount lightly across the outer sides of the forehead down to the temples, a little along your jawline and also on the tip of your nose. Very cute.

Blush                                Highlighter

Last, the highlighter:

 This is in a larger compact than the blush and is in powder form. This is one of the few compacts that doesn't include a mirror. When first applied to the skin it looks very gold but when blended it leaves a very subtle glow with a hint of shimmer. I chose this for when we get a bit warmer weather to make my skin look fresher and luminous without resorting to fake tan. I think it works well for this purpose but I must say, it doesn't last very long. Perhaps mixed into a lotion it may stick to the skin for longer. I would wear this mainly on my body with hints around my eyes. I know it's meant for the face but I think it suits body application better. Thinking about it, it would make an excellent liquid gold effect eyeliner if applied with a damp lip brush. Or you could try patting some onto damp mascara to create golden lashes for the evening.

I paid £10 for this compact in store but online it says £9 hmmm. I would still suggest buying it from the store so you can test it out first. I think it's worth spending an extra pound rather than wasting nine. You get 6.5g and you can find it Here.

All in all, I am very pleased with Topshop's range of makeup. The prices aren't that bad and the products do what they say, it's just a matter of staying power but there are tricks you can use to improve this. Out of all the products the blush is my favorite and I will definitely be buying it again.

There are many more products in their range and I hope to try a few more and review them here. In particular the lipsticks do look good. I did a swatch of one on my hand and even after rubbing my skin and washing my hands a few times the colour stayed put (albeit it slightly faded). I think the shade was 'Rumour Has It' (found Here) and the lipsticks are £8 so not a bad price. They also have eyeliners in gel and liquid that I have my eye on trying out.

If you find yourself popping into Topshop it's worth visiting the makeup section and trying out a few things, it seems like a good range and I'm sure you'll be pleased with the products too.