Perfect foundation for up to 15 hours?! Really?

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Well hello there lovelies,

Better late than never hey, I've now been using the much hyped new Benefit primer 'Stay Flawless' for a whole month, it's no secret that I am a lover of Benefit products, my go-to everyday foundation is Hello Flawless and I love love love They're Real, Cha Cha Tint and Sunbeam, sadly Porefessional and I never really hit it off, so I wasn't much of a fan of Benefit primer, up until now that is!

This post isn't my full review as I'm going to take a picture every hour on Wednesday (my longest working day, I put my makeup on at 6am! And don't get home till after 8, and that's if I'm not going out after work...) when I'll show how well it stands up to my long days!

I was lucky enough to be invited along by the lovely BeneBabes to the launch of Stay Flawless at Bar Hema in Edinburgh (where we had the Scottish Bloggers Speed Dating) I headed straight there after my first day at my internship for a lovely evening of prosecco, Swedish canapes, make-up and catching up with some of my lovely blogger friends, perfect right?

I don't know if I've got some Swedish ancestry somewhere (as I'm often asked if I'm Scandinavian, especially when I'm travelling, before people have heard me speak...) but I love Swedish food; the canapes were amaze! Happy Iona indeed.

I did take photos of my pristine unused Stay Flawless, new foundation brush and Hello Flawless foundation on my camera, however as you may know my old memory card went kaput... good bye pictures... Though I will retake some for the 15 hour super long day photo post, look out for that over the next week!

Till then I'll summarise why I've been loving Stay Flawless;

  • it's so simple to use.
  • it smells nice (I don't like to put anything on my face which doesn't smell nice...)
  • it works, trust me I've put this to the test!






Priorities eh? Food... 



The lovely Lisa Potter-Dixon Benefit head
make-up and trend artist and brow expert, mouthful hey ;)
 demonstrating how to use Stay Flawless. 


Myself and the lovely Andii from Andrew James Beauty Blog

'Showcasing dah-ling' ;) photo from the lovely Andii, andrewjamesblog.com
In a nutshell I love Stay Flawless, I'm so happy I've finally found a primer that works with my incredibly fussy skin and I'm so thankful to the amazing Benebabes for not only having me along to the event, feeding and wining, and sending me home laden with beauty products a plenty! I won the 'Primping with the Stars' kit in the quiz about Stay Flawless and I've already added a couple of the miniature items from it to my 'to-buy' list. Anyways I'm off to bed, as I've a long day of serving Sunday shoppers tomorrow and must get my 'beauty sleep'.

Till next time,
Iona

Stay Flawless is now available in all Benefit boutiques nationwide and online; £24.50.
CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE!





Into the Wild...

Friday, 28 June 2013

I'm a city/town girl through and through, as my mum often says "I need to live within a five minute walk of a good coffee shop" luckily for us we do, I live really close to town, five minutes away from my work, a one minute walk from a street filled with pubs and a nightclub, it's very convienent and I like it. I know living in a town isn't for everyone but it suits me, this past week I've been staying in the middle of nowhere, right out of my comfort zone at Center Parcs.

Now don't get me wrong, I've been camping, and in my first job I often had to go on wilderness camps with the pupils, I'm more than happy to spend time outdoors it's just I don't often get time to do so. Since I moved back from Australia nearly two years ago, I've not really stopped to have a proper break, last year I went to London and Amsterdam on mini-breaks but I didn't really 'relax' during them. I love working and completing my degree, but sometimes it is nice to just take a few days of relaxing and not rushing around.

There is so much to do at Center Parcs, there's a spa and lots of activites, but I've enjoyed not having to do too much, especially knowing from Saturday I'm working everyday till next Thursday, quickly bringing me back to reality; holidays always pass by far too quickly.

I tried an Aqua Zumba class for the first time, can't say I'll be rushing back in a hurry though as I didn't enjoy it all that much... Sadly not my cup of tea. I played badminton with my Dad and brothers, I've been for walks, lots of swimming and going on the flumes at the pool, and all in all I've enjoyed a break. Tomorrow we're heading back to Stirling and back to reality... I'm meeting some of my friends for dinner though, so I guess it's softens the blow a little before the 8hour Saturday shift I'm facing, I guess as they say all good things must come to an end, and I best get back to earning those precious pennies!

Till next time lovelies,
Iona

The 'Blondest' of them all... GIVEAWAY

Monday, 24 June 2013


Being a bottle blonde has its trials and tribulations, on the one hand I can't imagine myself having any other hair colour. I've always been blonde, my natural hair is very goldilocks though, as I got older it got a little darker and pre-dying it my hair was gold.

My natural hair colour aged 2.

Natural hair colour aged 16, just before I started dying it...
Looking back my hair wasn't actually that dark, but I started dying it anyways and I've never looked back. For a while my hair was extremely blonde, white blonde, with hindsight I hate looking at pictures when my hair was that blonde and it's a lot ashier now, I love it the colour it currently is and maintaining my hair colour is something I work really hard at.

Getting my hair cut and coloured is a costly business and anything I can do to increase the length of time between my visits (without my hair looking rubbishy in between) I'll have a go. When I saw an advert for the new John Freida Sheer Blonde shampoo and it's claims to extend the time between your colour for up to 12 weeks, I was instantly interested. And when I was contacted by the PR from John Frieda asking if I'd like to try out their new shampoo and conditioner I definitely wanted to have a try.

"NEW John Frieda® Sheer Blonde® Everlasting Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner is a truly innovative new system that effectively helps to lock in the salon fresh look and feel of blonde hair over an extended period.  Introduced as part of your regular hair care routine, the breakthrough colour preserving formula - containing safflower oil and bergamot extract – will maintain the bright colour and smooth texture of first day coloured hair for up to 12 weeks*, ensuring blondes can experience that salon fresh feeling again and again and again and again…"

*Based on 3 washes per week



I've used 'Everlasting Blonde' for a week now and so far I'm really impressed with them, both tick many of my 'important boxes' for shampoo and conditioner, e.g. leave my hair smelling amazing, leave my hair soft and shiny and my hair isn't looking brassy. So so far so good, I'll report back in a follow up post to let you all know how long I was able to leave it between my cut and colour, on average I get my hair coloured every six weeks, even if I could stretch that out to nine weeks that would save so much money! 

I think any shampoo and conditioner which can help to extend the time between getting your hair coloured is definitely worthwhile trying for me, maintaining blonde hair is expensive and damaging to hair. Very excitingly, John Frieda are providing me with 5 sets of the shampoo and conditioner (250ml bottle of each) to give away to five lovely readers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I'd love to know any tips for coloured hair you have?

*This giveaway is only available to entrants from the UK, sorry...*

I arrived at Center Parcs today on holiday, so might be a little quieter... but I hope to get some posts up in the evenings with some photos. It's so pretty here and thankfully I managed to get my camera up and running again, though I lost all the photos from my old memory card, sigh.

Till next time lovelies,
Iona

Pinching myself...

Friday, 21 June 2013

Well hello there,

Though strictly it's only Friday for another half hour this post is just a quick one, to say how excited I am about heading away next week... A holiday, I can't wait; we're only headed to CentreParcs alas, I'm looking forward to a week of no work, no college and just generally being lazy! I'm packing plenty of books, magazines, my swimming costume and trainers and I can't wait to read, swim and go for nice long walks; the little things in life really are the best.

On the other hand a pretty amazing thing (that will be featured in a post very soon) and something that when I say it out loud sounds a little unbelievable;

Drinking champers on a roof terrace in Edinburgh watching the sun set, it was beautiful and I had some of the loveliest company, so surreal but what a Thursday night. Today was mostly spent getting laundry done before going away on Monday and lazing about in my newest onesie (you may have seen it on my instagram) all in all a good wee Friday off.

Anyways I best be off and hope you all had a fantastic Friday :)
Till next time,
Iona

Dinner with Nick Nairn; Menu tasting at The Kailyard, Dunblane Hydro

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Well hello there,

So last month I was lucky enough to be invited along by Chris at DADA to an exclusive menu tasting at The Kailyard restaurant at the Dunblane Hydro with Nick Nairn and I took along my lovely friend Marge (follow her on instagram @breakhearts_not_nails). The Kailyard opened in 2009 as a partnership between Nick Nairn and the Dunblane Hydro; the Kailyard is one of the most visited restaurants in the Dunblane and Stirling area and will do at least 1000 covers (number of people served) each weekend.

The event was a unique and exciting opportunity to meet Nick Nairn, finally taste some of the food from The Kailyard (I lived minutes away from the Hydro for 7 years and have never eaten there, I now live in Stirling which is still pretty close, it was definitely time to visit!) and to get more of an insight into the workings and thoughts of a professional celebrity chef.

Firstly I must apologise for how late this post is, my memory card has corrupted (whatever that means) and I can't access any of the thousands of photos I had on it... So a massive thankyou to Kirstie from Coffee and Cakes for sending me over a few pictures to use for my post, she has saved the day for me!

I'm going to start by saying that I honestly enjoyed everything we tried, which considering that two things I usually don't like prawn cocktail and fennel were on the menu, is no mean feat. We sampled eight dishes in total, the first four we tried were starters the first being the aforementioned prawn cocktail. If you know me well you'll know I hate tomato ketchup, I can just about bare it on a Burger King Whopper (classy I know) but in anything else it makes me want to heave... Prawn cocktail sauce and I usually aren't pals, what with it containing such a large amount of tomato sauce, it's not usually top of my foods I like to eat list, the prawn cocktail at The Kailyard however, I was pleasantly surprised by it, the sauce wasn't overly ketchup-y and there wasn't too much sauce either and surprisingly I really liked it, I'd even consider going back and ordering it!

Shrimp cocktail with smoked salmon and avocado.

Smoked salmon with pickled fennel and apple and a watercress salad- I really liked the freshness of this and the way the apple and fennel was pickled (in lemon juice).

Glazed pork belly, crackling, apple sauce and crispy pulled pork fritters, so bad for you, yet so good! 
Confit pheasant terrine with celeriac remoulade, apricot puree and a pickled walnut dressing,
 this was really good Marge and I went back for seconds!

Braised featherblade of Scottish beef with mustard mash, truffled celeriac puree, kale and red wine gravy;
this was definitely one of my favourite dishes. It was comforting and rich and so good.

Salmon and Seafood risotto; my favourite dish of the night, I love seafood and this risotto was simply perfect, when I go back I'll be ordering this, I loved the crispy seaweed on top too.

Dessert time :)
Brioche bread and butter pudding with milk chocolate ice cream, this was really good but the brandy snap basket was a little tough, usually I wouldn't be bothered but I was trying not to make a mess of myself on this occasion... 

Nick Nairn's Berry Trifle, how cute do they look in the little glasses!
I was so impressed by the food at The Kailyard, from the risotto to the trifle, my favourite foods were on the menu, perfect. And I was even pleasantly surprised that I like foods I would previously turn my nose up at, Nick was lovely and chatted away to us about his Cook School and how "Scotland needs to change it's attitudes to food" I asked him a few questions afterwards which I'll be featuring in an article in my college magazine in August (I'll link it and feature the article on my blog but till then I don't want to spoil it!) 

I love that The Kailyard menu is respectful of seasonality and local produce, and I'll definitely be recommending it to my friends and family, after all it's only a 10 minute train journey from where I live, it'd be a crime not to go back!

Lastly here's a cheeky wee picture of myself and Nick Nairn :)

A little fuzzy but you get the picture.
Little fact about me and The Hydro, I actually had a job opportunity to work there when I was 17, it was my first ever job interview, I had no experience and was a little terrified, I didn't get the job but I guess it wasn't meant to be... 

Anyways I hope you're all having a lovely Tuesday, I'm busy working away at AJC PR today in my new position as a Social Media Intern, I'm really loving my second job doing what I love!

Till next time lovelies,
Iona


The elusive search for complexion perfection...

Monday, 17 June 2013

Well hello there,

When I was a teenager I had pretty bad acne, in the grand scheme of things it wasn't that bad; but I hated it. I was on medication and medicated creams for about 2 years, but I felt that they were actually doing more harm than good, my skin was really dried out from the cream and was super tender a lot of the time. My Granny is a doctor and after hearing my complaints (I was living in Australia at this time away from my regular GP) recommended I stop using the treatment.

Since stopping my medication I still get the occasional breakout and sore spots, but I've found that following a strict skincare routine is the best way to keep my skin relatively clear. My skin is very sensitive, I think possibly in part due to the strong medication I used to take for my skin, I don't for sure, but ever since I took the medicine a lot of creams and skincare hurt my skin.

I am a loyal user of Liz Earle products, they are gentle enough for my sensitive skin but keep spots at bay, I don't go out of my way to try new skincare as I've got something that works really well for me. But when I was emailed about trying out new Scottish skincare brand Ali Mac I knew I had to give it a go!




Ali Mac Skincare is a new organic and natural skincare brand which is ethically produced, organic, is free from synthetic and unethical ingredients and very importantly Ali Mac Skincare is cruelty free, I was sent the Camellia Cleansing Melt and Chamomile Anti-oxidant Face Serum to review and I've been really impressed with them so far.
Camellia Cleansing Melt £18.95*


I've been using the cleansing melt in place of my usual Liz Earle C&P for two weeks now, and have been pleasantly surprised by the results, most importantly for me the cleansing melt is gentle and doesn't irritate my skin, it also has a really pleasant kind of herbal scent. And though for some people the texture might be a little odd at first, I don't mind it. I usually start with a slightly damp face and rub it all over, similar to how I use C&P, then use a warm face cloth or muslin to wipe it off, before rinsing it all off with clean water.

I haven't experienced any breakouts since using it, so it's definitely been added to my limited list of cleansers I can happily use. I'll definitely be alternating between this and C&P, it's a nice change especially if my skin is feeling a little dry as I find it's quite a nourishing cleanser.

I was really excited to recieve the serum as my only past experience with serum is through the Lush serum bar, the Ali Mac serum is a little on the pricier side, but considering how big a bottle you get and how little product you need to use, I can imagine one bottle will last for a long time!
Chamomile Serum £34.95*

I've been using the serum after I've washed my face before bed to let it properly seep in to my skin, I've noticed my skin feeling noticeably less dry from this, which is definitely a positive. I love the dinky dropper on the bottle too, I love the scent of the serum as it lightly scented by the pure essential oils, the serum is rich in jojoba, rosehip and avocado. If you're not used to a serum it can feel a little greasy on the skin, but I only use it at night for this reason.

I'm really enjoying using the two Ali Mac products I was sent out and I'm really glad I've not discovered a new Scottish skincare brand, my Mum is really passionate about using products which aren't tested on animals and has been looking out for a new moisturiser so I think I might treat her to one from Ali Mac.

Have you heard of Ali Mac Skincare before? What are your essential criteria when trying out or looking for new skincare?

If you'd like to find out more about Ali Mac Skincare click here.

Till next time lovelies,
Iona

*These products were sent to me by Ali Mac Skincare for review*

Joanne McGillivary- One to Watch!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Well hello there,

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited along by Rachel at Hartmann Media to the launch of 2012 Scottish Fashion Graduate of the year Joanne McGillivary's inaugural collection. Joanne's collection is called Russian Revolution and features a rich colour palette and beautiful prints inspired by Russian tapestry.

Russian Revolution is an Autumn Winter collection, inspired by a trip to St Petersburg, Russia; Joanne was fascinated by the history in the city. I love the story behind the collection, especially as I long to visit Russia one day. Not usually the first choice on most peoples holiday wishlists, but I am fascinated by the vastness and history of Russia.

The launch was held at 29 Private Member's Club in Glasgow, it was my second time there I'd been before for an INAA Hair and Beauty Awards pre-event, this time my friend Ami and I had time to have a cocktail in the bar downstairs first, before heading upstairs for canapes and prosecco before the show.

Sadly my picture's didn't turn out as well I'd hoped they would, but I hope they give an idea as to how gorgeous the collection is, my favourite pieces were the dark teal palazzo pants and the mint crepe dress with brown leather waistband. I'm not sure if I could pull off palazzo pants, but they are so chic and looked incredible on the model. I also loved the styling of the hair and make up, all in all it was a really impressive show.


These trousers are stunning, sadly the blur-tastic picture doesn't do them justice!





The middle dress is my favourite, such a perfect style which would suit so many body shapes.

Cake Push Pops from Cake Cetera, we enjoyed one of these on the train home!


Joanne is definitely one to watch on the young Scottish designer front, her pieces are stunning! It was lovely to catch up with a few of the lovely ladies I know from blogging and enjoy a few glasses of bubbly whilst looking at all the prettiest dresses, a perfect Thursday night.

If you want to find out more about Joanne or her collection you should check out her website or twitter:
www.joannemcgillivary.co.uk
@Joanne_McG

SOURCE
Credit: Sandra Vijandi
My lovely friend Ami and I.
Till next time lovelies,
Iona




I've been a little quiet lately... OOTD

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Well hello there lovelies,

Sadly despite my promises (sadly broken) to be back into the swing of blogging after finishing my exams, it's not quite happened yet... What with still living in a room of boxes, working lots of overtime, birthday parties, blogger events and most excitingly starting a second job interning at a PR consultancy, life has been eventful. I wouldn't change it for the world though, I'm so happy with how things are going at the moment, even if I am a little tired.

So here's a little OOTD post to help me get back into the swing of things :) I wore this outfit to Joanne McGillivary's 'Russian Revolution' fashion show, a post about which will be posted very soon, a very exciting Autumn Winter collection.

Last Thursday when I attended the show was one of the nicest days, last week Scotland experienced some beautiful summer weather, sadly I was working a lot of the week, but I enjoyed the sunshine in Glasgow before the show with my friend Ami. I braved bare legs for the event and finished off my outfit with a flower crown, not quite sure how ready for flower crowns the people of Stirling are as I received many funny looks on my way to the train station...



Freshly coloured hair by my lovely hairdresser
Nicola at Frances Hunter, Stirling,
 it's a lot ashier which I'm loving.

Flower Crown, Primark £3
Top, H&M (really old)
Skirt, H&M old too- pretty sure Primark have similar ones though!
Bag, Primark £6
Shoes, Primark £12
Bracelets, Accessorize
(Just realised how much of my outfit was from Primark... doh)

Ami enjoying a cosmo at 29.

Perfect refreshment on a summer's day, a cheeky Mojito.
Yo Sushi dinner before we squeezed in two events, Joanne's show and
The Keep Calm and Go Shopping event at Hummingbird, a busy evening!
Anyways I best be off to get ready for a wee afternoon shift working at Accessorize, I hope it's sunnier where you are as Stirling is rather cloudy today, sigh...

Till next time lovelies,
Iona