Happy Halloween from the Escapologist’s Daughter!

Happy Halloween, folks! May it be a day of pumpkin carving, dooking for apples (I will not bow to you Southerners and say “bobbing”), dressing up, eating far too many sweeties and generally having the bejesus scared out of you.

I love that WordPress won’t accept “dooking” as a word, but has no problem with “bejesus”.

Halloween kicked off in style here at Escapology HQ, with some very stylish and not-at-all-competitive pumpkin carving.

Ready for their closeup…

Ready for their closeup.

The carvery!

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Warning: graphic content.

halloween pumpkin

He sticks his tongue out when he’s concentrating <3

halloween pumpkin carving

Looking far too happy to be disemboweling something. Also, say hello to the curls!

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Looking very chuffed that he finished first.

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A veritable masterpiece.

halloween pumpkin

halloween pumpkin

I told him to carve something scary…he came up with the scariest design imaginable. I tried to get fancy and carve fangs, but I cut one off them off by accident. So I have a little hillbilly pumpkin and I love him. Happy Halloween folks!

Are you guys carving pumpkins? SHOW THEM TO ME. Say hi in the comments, or at @EscapologistGl.

The Little Things

When I was depressed, one of the things that helped me most was making lists. I made lists of things that made me happy, things I was grateful for, things I was proud of. I took part in the 100 Happy Days challenge, taking a photograph of a happy moment every day for 100 days. This all sounds terribly unromantic. See, happiness isn’t something that’s supposed to be quantified, it’s supposed to just happen. That, if you’ll excuse my language, is bollocks.

If there’s one thing I learned from my depression, it’s that sometimes, your idea of happiness is all wrong. On paper, I should have been very happy indeed. This only made it harder for me to admit that I wasn’t, which in turn made me even more unhappy. If you take just one thing from my blog, ever, let it be this: don’t ever let anyone else tell you how you should experience your happiness. By making my lists and taking my photos and really, really trying to see the positives in my life, I allowed myself to take pleasure in things that I’d normally take for granted. Someone much clever than me once said to enjoy the little things, because someday you’d look back and realise that they were the big things. The truth is, that life isn’t made up of cocktails and parties and shopping sprees…those things are just the icing. Life is made up of the days that don’t make it to the blog. Beautiful, silly little days like today.

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Days where you can wake up in the dark and crawl back into the arms of the person you love. Where you can wrap yourself in your duvet and be sure that no one in the universe has ever been as comfy as you are right now. Where you eschew the bowl of cereal in favour of making pancakes, because some things are worth a little extra effort, and pancakes is definitely one of them. Take a long, scalding hot shower, even though you know it’s probably bad for your skin. Use a soap that smells so good that you forget you’re in your tiny, dingy little bathroom. Wear a brightly coloured lipstick that makes you smile. Pair your comfy shirt with a pair of heels that make you feel amazing. Hang out. Laugh. Kiss. Go for pizza and wine and put the world to rights. Meet someone new. Go see that film that everyone’s talking about. Don’t ever be afraid to be deliriously happy about something, just because someone else might dismiss it as trivial. The ordinary can be extraordinary, if only you take the time to notice. I hope you all have a very, very happy Sunday.

London Cocktail Week 2014

When I found out that this week was London Cocktail Week, I cleared my schedule. Or, I would have done if my schedule actually had anything on it. I figured it’d be a pretty awesome way to find fun new places in the city, and let’s be honest, I love a good cocktail. Armed with the Cocktail Week guide and a complete lack of knowledge about London, I mapped out my attack on the city.

Les Femmes du Bar Aperitif of Happiness

My first event was a party thrown in honour of the St Germain ladies at Happiness Forgets, a trendy underground bar in Hoxton. I know, an underground bar. I get to pretend like I’m cool. Anyone who has ever been for cocktails with me will know that I’m a sucker for elderflower anything, so this seemed like a good choice to start the week right.

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It only took me one and a half circuits of the square to find the right set of stairs, and I’m pretty sure it would have taken less time had I not been trying to play it cool and pretend I knew exactly where the secret bar was. My playing it cool was ruined anyway, when I nearly took the event photographer off his feet on the way down the stairs. And I don’t mean in a struck-by-lightning-be-my-new-muse kind of way, more in a bison-colliding-with-a-barn-door kind of way. Mr photographer, if you’re reading, my sincerest apologies.

Happiness Forgets is a seriously cool little place, just a few candelit tables tucked away, surrounded by dark wood, stripped furnishings and the inescapable feeling that you should be plotting something riotous. I pulled out my camera, ready to capture this wonderful ambience, only to find that it had switched itself on in my bag and run its battery to death. I was fairly miffed, seeing as how I’d carted it through two rush hour tube commutes and it weighs roughly as much as a small baby, but my nerves were soon soothed by the arrival of a complimentary St Germain cocktail.

london cocktail week st germain

The cocktail was sharp, sweet and refreshing, and the gorgeous St Germain elderflower was everything I hoped it would be. Refills were decidedly pricey, at £8 per cocktail, but I suppose that’s the Glasgow girl still getting used to London prices. I allowed myself to sample one more and then headed for home – it was a school night after all.

Art & Cocktails at Canvas Bar

Canvas is the kind of place that could really only exist in Shoreditch. Delicious cocktails served against a backdrop of smooth, old-school music and live art located just ten minutes from Shoreditch High Street station. The boyfriend was headed to a course all evening, so after a quick change and a swipe of lipstick in the work bathrooms (because I’m a classy lady), I pulled myself up a stool for the evening.

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london cocktail week canvas

The barman struck up a conversation immediately, and was happy to recommend cocktails for the uninitiated. I went for a fruity rum one to start with, and grabbed a seat at one of the high tables to watch the strange and beautiful creatures of Shoreditch go by. The barman having slightly overpoured, my cocktail came accompanied with a little refill, which immediately earns Canvas approximately a billion brownie points.

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I sipped away happily for an hour or so, watching the canvases for the live art being set up.

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The canvases were themed “The Story So Far” and “If I Could Time Travel”, and pens were left scattered in front for artistically inclined punters to use. I ordered myself another cocktail, going for what basically amounted to a very, very alcoholic chocolate milkshake. It came served with a Ferrero Rocher. Another billion brownie points for Canvas.

london cocktail week canvas bar

Again, as it was a school night, I checked out pretty early, the bravery afforded by two cocktails possessing me to add my own doodle to the “If I Could Time Travel” canvas.

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Photos of the blunt fringe to be provided on request.

If anyone has any photos of the canvases at the end of the night, I’d love to see them! Canvas was a fab little place, and I’d imagine it hotted up considerably as the night grew later, with live music, art and evermore cocktails being served. I’ll definitely be back on a non-school night.

Champagne Cocktails in the Sky

This, right here, shows how powerful a motivator having a blog is. I love people, and I love new things, but this is tempered by a hardwired shyness and anxiety that I’ve never been able to fully shake. I’ve been known to bail on events simply because I was too scared to go, and you’d better believe that going to an exclusive champagne tasting on your own, in a brand new city is pretty damn scary. If I wasn’t writing this up for the blog, I probably would never have bought a ticket for this.

altitude champagne bar

Lanson champagne were holding a champagne masterclass, complete with tasting, at the spectacular Altitude champagne bar in Millbank Tower. Infuriatingly, the weather turned before this event, so my photographs of the genuinely breathtaking views were marred by the smirry rain and fog.

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These don’t even begin to do it justice, so I guess you’ll all just have to go see for yourself.

We were given a quick history of champagne cocktails, and of Lanson itself, before being presented with three beautiful, but very different, cocktails to try.

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Being on my own, I was immediately adopted by everyone else sharing the sofa, and made some amazing new friends. Champagne glasses were clinked, entirely inappropriate jokes were sniggered at and names and email addresses were scrawled in the back of our champagne handbooks. In short, these people were nothing like the snooty, terrifying people I had expected to bump into at a champagne tasting.

We headed to the bar to sample each of the three champagnes on their own, and I now feel very fancy indeed to be able to say that Lanson Black Label Brut is my favourite champagne. It goes down far too easily, mind you.

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The service here was amazing, everyone was so friendly, the champagne was far too delicious and the views were just the cherry on an absolutely spectacular evening. This was exactly what I wanted from London Cocktail Week – something a little bit special, a bit out of the ordinary.

Unfortunately, after this evening, I caught a touch of the lurgy, which I fully blame on the man who spent the full 9 minutes between Highbury Islington and Euston spluttering and wheezing directly in my face, so I wasn’t able to make the second half of my Cocktail Week. Instead of drunken crazy golf (no really, this is a thing, and I am fully rescheduling) and bloody mary soaked brunches, I spent the second half of this week catching up on Bakeoff and watching Star Wars with the boyfriend.

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Not gonna lie, I like this as much as I like cocktail gallivanting. While I was slightly gutted to be missing some great events, it does mean that I have a few places still to visit, starting with Swingers cocktail and crazy golf club. Niall and I are currently tied on the crazy golf stakes, so I think it’s time to revive that old rivalry. Pass me that putter…and a daiquiri.

The Cake and Bake Show

Guys. I don’t know what to do now that the Bakeoff is over. I’m just not sure I can make it through a week without some sweet toothed, gingham laced, sexual punnery. And Richard. My lovely Richard, I’m still awaiting confirmation of when I can move in with you.

But fortunately, my appetite for stunning feats of cake and icing were quenched for a little while this week while I took in the delights of the London Cake and Bake show. If you’re already sitting in your living room surrounded by scones, weeping with Bakeoff withdrawal, feast your eyes on these beauties.

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I’m slightly worried that I might have jumped the shark by putting this one first, but really, there’s nowhere else to put it, is there? Behold Mary Berry riding a unicorn, eating a cupcake and being worshipped by Paul Hollywood. Because why the hell not? Just LOOK AT IT. A work of art indeed. As someone whose bakes always taste fab, but leave a little to be desired on the presentation front, some of the cakes on show left my jaw literally hanging open.

They ranged from the cute…

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Imagine being a kind coming downstairs to this on your birthday.

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Or this.

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OR THIS.

To the quirky…

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I’m sorry, but if you don’t love hidden troll cake, we can’t be friends.

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To the just plain terrifying…

scary cake decorating

scary cake decorating

Honestly, I’m not sure at what point in your career you go “Yes, I need to make a horrifying zombie mermaid cake”, but it’s happened.

And every single thing was made out of cake. Except for the enormous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, who was made out of white chocolate. And Fiona the Frog. She was made out of icing.

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Froggies <3

The show had loads of different goodies on offer, and had I been a bit more financially stable, I’d probably have come home with as many cakes, cookies, fudges, loaves, brownies and pastries as my little arms could carry. It was an absolute Aladdin’s cave of sweeties…perfect for a sweet tooth like me. And when I say sweet tooth, I mean likes-to-eat-spoonfuls-of-lyle’s-golden-syrup-sweet-tooth. Glorious. The only downside was that the stalls became pretty damn mobbed as the day went on, partly due to assholes like me elbowing people out of the way to take photos with their enormous cameras. When it hit lunchtime, everything became a bit Sauchiehall Street at 3am. But we’d arrived nice and early, so by the time the crowds got really bad, we’d made our rounds and visited everyone. Smashing. It was a lovely day out, and definitely hit me hard with the baking bug again. I’m definitely going back next year, and this time…I’m taking my pocket money.

How are you coping with the loss of the Bakeoff? Do you think the right person won? Have you ever attempted a horrifying mermaid zombie cake? Chat with me in the comments, or at @EscapologistGl.

Oh, and if you fancy getting your apron on this weekend, why not give my scones , my pancakes or my pecan pie a go? I promise, they’re bloody delicious.

Build-A-Blog Goodies: Miscellany*

Welcome back to the Great Goody Bag Trawl, 2014! Yesterday, we talked about the amazing workshop run by Antonia Mariconda, and the skincare goodies that I found in my goody bag. As a major skincare junkie, I was thrilled at the lovely face pampering products in the bag, but there were also loads of other things to play with, and today is the day to try them out!

Quick goody bag reminder:

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The Base Makeup

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Sadly, being the human equivalent of Casper the Friendly Ghost, the Beauty UK CC Cream and the Essence Soft and Natural Makeup were too dark for me, and I figured it’d be pretty unfair to show off a potentially great product by uploading a picture of me looking like Snooki. But be sure to follow me over on Twitter and I’ll retweet any reviews that my fellow workshoppers put up! Or, if you’d like to try them out yourself, give me a shout in the comments and I can send them to you.

However! The Rimmel Matte BB Cream in light was just about perfect for my skin, so I decided to give it a go. I’ve never tried a BB cream before, so was excited to try this one.

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This is me with absolutely no skin makeup on. I have fairly good skin, with no major breakouts, but as you can see, I have a pretty uneven skin tone, with red patches on my nose, forehead and cheeks, as well as shiny skin from worshipping at the altar of Dominos too much.

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This is me wearing the BB cream (and nothing else). I was pretty impressed with how much this evened out my colouring and generally brightened up my face. It also has SPF 15, which is a big, big plus for me – I pretty much never wear sunscreen, even though I know I’m going to end up with a face like Alex Salmond if I don’t start. To be honest, I’m not entirely convinced that BB creams aren’t just fancy tinted moisturisers, but either way, this would be great if you’re the kind of girl who likes a little coverage but doesn’t want the feeling of a face full of makeup.

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We were also gifted this Gorgeous Bronze self tanner, but due to aforementioned ghostiness, I decided that the medium/dark shade probably wouldn’t be very flattering on me. So again, keep an eye on my Twitter page, where I will be sure to retweet any reviews from my less pigmentally challenged friends. And if you guys would like to give this a go and tell me what you think, let me know down in the comments!

The Eyes

I’m a little nervous when it comes to eye makeup, I’ll be honest. Having deep set eyes means that a lot of the time, eye makeup will make me look like I’ve been punched in the face. But mascara is my absolute desert island must. I can take or leave foundation and lipstick most days, but you will seldom see me outside without a quick swipe of mascara, so I was excited to have not one, but two new mascaras to try out!

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In the name of science, and to avoid having more pictures of my face than absolutely necessary, I decided to try both mascaras at the same time and compare. In this photo, the So Susan Flutter Mascara is on the left and the Essence Lashes Go Wild is on the right.

This looks like the poster for some avant-garde theatre.

This looks like the poster for some avant-garde theatre.

I was actually glad that I put both on at the same time because I don’t think I’d have noticed the difference as much if I was looking at them separately, but looking at them side by side, it was obvious that the Lashes Go Wild gave me significantly more length and curl. Both mascaras went on beautifully, with no clumping and both are lovely and black. The So Susan Flutter mascara lives up to its name by giving you pretty, natural, fluttery eyelashes, but if you’re like me and like a little more oomph, I’d recommend the Lashes Go Wild mascara. Both products are also cruelty free, which is amazing for you animal lovers out there.

As well as the two mascaras, our goody bags also contained pretty eyeshadow duos from Essence in irresistible smoky eye.

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The palette contained two shades, a silvery-lavender highlight and a dark slate-grey shade, perfect for creating pretty smoky eyes. I had a bit of a heart attack when I saw the dark colours, but the shadows actually go on much softer than they look in the palette.

Swatches, dry.

Swatches, dry.

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Swatches, wet.

The shadows can either be applied as normal, or can be applied with a wet brush for more intense colour payoff. I applied the highlight all over my eyelid with a fluffy brush and then pressed the darker shade into my lashline and round the outer corner of my eye for a natural, girly look.

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The shadows were just dark enough to provide a bit of definition and bring out the green in my eyes, while avoiding that classic fist-in-the-face look. To my surprise, I actually really liked this palette.

The Nail Polishes

I am obsessed with my nails. I absolutely love painting them, and tend to let them grow until it becomes physically difficult to carry out everyday tasks before I cut them.

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This is the Ciate´ London Paint Pot in talent scout and oh my lord I love it. I mean, do I even need to say anything? Look how great that colour is. It’s the quintessential Daphne from Mystery Inc purple, and what more do we really need in life? The nail varnish comes with a nice big brush (small nail varnish brushes are a serious pet peeve), meaning the full nail can be covered in three strokes. It dried quickly and only took two coats to hit a glossy opaque finish. Go buy this guys, seriously, it’s great.

nail polish review

This is the Essence Colour & Go Polish in snazzy pumpkin (I didn’t know that was the name of it until right this second and I’m so damn happy), and was I ready to hate it. I took one look at this bottle and got ready to write it off. I mean, who wants nails the colour of a traffic cone, right? Turns out that I DO, all day, every day, for the rest of my life. This colour, which looks hilarious in the bottle, is absolutely beautiful on. It manages to be simultaneously funky and pretty and looks totally kickass with pale Casper skin. It also took ONE COAT to be totally opaque, in comparison with my Nails Inc orange, which takes at least three or four. I am in love. My nails are so very, very happy with this goody bag.

The Perfume

Well, there was bound to be something in the gift bag that I didn’t like, and I’m sorry to say, dear readers, that we have reached that point. I’m gutted that I didn’t like the Yves Rocher Quelques Notes D’Amour, because it came in the most adorable tiny packaging I’ve ever seen in my life. And I am a sucker for tiny packaging. The blurb for this perfume claims that it will recreate the feeling of falling in love through sensuous rose and patchouli. For me? Not so much. This perfume reminded me a lot of Dior’s classic, Poison, which I’ve also never liked, so if you love Poison, it might be your dream come true! I did like the scent better the longer I wore it, it softened and lost it’s sharpness, and the woodiness started to come through, but I don’t think it’ll be becoming a regular on my dressing table. As if I have a dressing table and not an unorganised box in my wardrobe.

The Miscellany

There are a couple of products that haven’t gotten a shoutout yet, because I think they’ll need more than one use to get to know them properly, including a genuinely terrifying tongue scraper.

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So if there’s anything you’re curious about from the goody bag that I haven’t mentioned yet, do keep an eye on my Twitter page, where I’ll be sharing more of my thoughts as they happen. All in all, this was a bloody amazing goody bag, and has done a great job of introducing me to new brands that I think I’ll be investigating in the very near future (hello, Essence!). Very happy, very pampered, very lucky.

What’s the best goody bag you’ve ever gotten? Did you all know about Essence already and now think that I’m super-lame? Should I just man up and get a Glossybox subscription? Chat with me in the comments or at @EscapologistGl.

*I was gifted these products for the purposes of review. All opinions are completely my own and completely truthful – promise!

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Build-A-Blog Goodies: Skincare*

Having spent a thoroughly glamorous morning learning the secrets of beauty blogging at Antonia Mariconda’s Build-A-Beauty-Blog event, I spent a thoroughly unglamorous afternoon making my way home in a monsoon. By the time I arrived back at the flat, I looked like this:

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Not ideal.

I was soaked, shivering and definitely ready for a bit of TLC. Fortunately, the goody bags at Antonia’s events are basically legendary, so I had plenty of supplies at my fingertips to play with!

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face masks skincare popart glossybox

Excellent point number one. The inclusion of a Glossybox meant that I had a box within a box to open. Seriously guys, there is nothing I love more than opening parcels.

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So then, when inside that box, I found another adorable little parcel, I basically lost it.

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I disapprove of straightening your hair more than once a day, so enjoy my big hair.

I have a whole lot of stuff here to talk about, so in the interests of shorter-than-Moby-Dick length blog posts, and because I don’t like to put makeup back on my skin after facialing it up, today, I’ll be looking at the skincare goodies in my bag!

(Obviously, I won’t be able to tell you about the long term effects of these products because I’m not magic, so I’ll do a follow up post at the end of the month to let you know how my skin is liking them. Follow up posts, woo!)

Exuviance Gentle Cleansing Creme

exuviance cleanser review

I’ve been having lots of luck with the Lush Ultrabland cleanser I got at Fashion’s Night Out, so it’s going to take a heck of a cleanser to knock that off its perch. The Exuviance Gentle Cleansing Creme boasts a conditioning ingredient list, including Polyhydroxy Acid, a supposedly gentler chemical exfoliant than our beloved AHA’s. I applied a small pump of the cleansing creme to my face, massaged in for a minute and then removed with a microfibre face cloth. Interesting side note: this cleanser smells exactly like Bailey’s. It actually made me grin when I squirted it onto my hand. I’m not sure what that says about my relationship with Bailey’s, or whether this will put you off, but I liked it. The cleanser took off my makeup without leaving that horrible squeaky clean, my-face-is-three-sizes-too-tight feeling. As someone with seriously dry skin, this is fairly rare and very much appreciated. The cleanser left my face clean, soft and glowy…which is basically everything that I’m looking for on first use.

Resurf.A.Stic Face

resurfastic review

The old school deodorant look of this stick initially put me off, but actually, this is one of my favourite things I tried today. For those of you who still like a bit of physical exfoliation, the resurf.a.stic face combines gentle microdermabrasion with moisturising ingredients. I know there has been a big step away from physical exfoliants in the skincare community, but my skin does pretty well with it. If you have really sensitive skin, or have had a bad reaction to physical exfoliants in the past, I’d maybe give this one a miss. The exfoliation is gentle, but you can feel it. To use, you simply wet this stick and rub it all over your face in circles. This felt pretty weird, I’m not gonna lie. And I could feel little pieces of skin collecting on my face, which was gross, but weirdly satisfying. BUT. When I rinsed the product off and felt my skin, my jaw actually fell open. It felt like I had been bathing in the blood of unicorns. But I hadn’t. I’d been rubbing a deodorant microdermabrasion stick on my face. I’ll keep you posted on whether my skin reacts to this throughout the month, but for now, I’m one very happy, very smooth bunny.

Etre Belle Liplift Peel

How scary does this sound?! But since I was exfoliating my face, I figured I might as well give my lips a go as well. Time to confess to my worst ever beauty habit: I bite my lips. I don’t mean in a cute, Anastasia Steele, aren’t I so sexy way. I mean I will literally gnaw pieces of skin from my lips. I’d love to say I do it when I’m nervous, but I do it all the time. I think I might have mild dermatillomania. This does not leave them in the best state: bleedy, chapped lips are not a good canvas for lipsticks. Despite this, I always thought that lip scrubs were one of those things everyone said you needed, but you don’t really. I am converted. One minute with this scrubby mixture sitting on my lips and they were as smooth as I can remember them being. Big thank you to Glossybox, who included this in their gift bags.

Timeless Truth Bio-Cellulose Apple Stem Cell Collagen Mask

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Anyone with an interest in skincare will have noticed the influx of Korean inspired skincare of late. From double cleansing, to snail gels, to the incorporation of essences and serums, Korean skincare is where it’s at. And sheet masks are no exception. Sheet masks are soaked in skin conditioning ingredients, which are then transferred into your skin. This particular one uses stem cells extracted from apples to help repair damage and moisturise unhappy skin. And if that didn’t convince you, you get to look like this for 20 minutes:

sheet mask review

Quid pro quo, Clarisse.

Scaring the everloving Christ out of your boyfriend is optional, but very much recommended. I put this on my newly scrubbed skin and relaxed with a cup of acai berry tea from Slimming Solutions. I’m not trying to lose weight, so don’t know how good my review of the tea will be, but it tasted yummy, is apparently a superfood and adds to my burgeoning tea collection, so I sipped away on it quite happily. After 20 minutes, I peeled off my mask (so much fun) and massaged the remaining apple serum into my face. Not being a skincare expert, I can’t vouch for the magical properties of the ingredients, but they left my skin looking plump, bouncy and healthy. Lovely. I’m saving the other two for my flight to Australia at the end of the year.

Nuxe Masque Creme Fraiche De Beaute

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This was another Glossybox offering – thanks Glossybox! This mask is a 24 hour moisturising mask from luxury French brand Nuxe. The mask smelled strongly of roses, so if you aren’t a fan of floral scents, I’d skip this one. I enjoyed it though, it made me feel like Mary Pickford. Not enough like Mary Pickford to actually eat a rose, but then, she was a gorgeous movie star, so what do I know? I massaged the mask into my skin and let it sink in for 10 minutes. I really liked the way this mask felt on my skin, it was really cooling and refreshing.

Rajeunir Moisture Serum

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I finished up my facial with a quick squirt of Rajeunir’s moisture serum. I don’t normally put this many products on my face all at the same time, but I was so excited to see all of them there! Although the Rajeunir line is primarily directed at women (and skin-conscious men) over the age of 40, I figured everyone could do with a bit of extra pep in their skin. This rich serum sunk into my skin pretty much immediately – although admittedly, I do have very thirsty skin. It smoothed out, plumped up and softened my skin, and left it looking bright and healthy. I only used a tiny squeeze of this serum, a little really does go a long way!

(Rajeunir have very nicely given my followers a 30% discount until the end of November with the code “escape”. So if you fancy giving it a go, now’s a good time! Click here for the serum.)

At the end of my routine, I was pretty darn impressed with how soft my skin felt. Seriously, I’ve been walking around stroking it, which, ironically, is one way to guarantee bad skin. Keep your hands off your face, people.

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Not looking too bad, for a barefaced girl. Check back in at the end of the month to see which products I’m still loving, and which ones have fallen off the cart. And I’m lazy, so I can guarantee there will be casualties.

Tomorrow, I’ll be tackling the rest of the beauty bag…wish me luck!

What’s you skin holy grail? Have you ever repurchased something you got in a goody bag? Tell me about your skincare routines and please send me sheet mask selfies either in the comments or at @EscapologistGl.

*I was gifted these products for the purposes of review. All opinions are completely my own and completely truthful – promise!

Build-A-Beauty-Blog Workshop, With Antonia Mariconda*

Today, I went to my first ever blogger event.

*Humorous sound effect of cherry being popped*

I put on my best beauty blogger outfit, packed my notepad and my grown up girl lipstick in my bag, and headed for the Soho hotel.

beauty blogger outfit

Apologies for the blurry photo – my mirror is dusty because I am a sham of an adult.

I arrived at the very chic Soho hotel, tucked away behind the hum of Oxford Street and was directed to the Indigo room. The Indigo room was basically the pinkest room I’ve ever been in, but I’ll forgive it since it boasted the snazziest wallpaper in the world.

beauty blogger gift bags

Get a load of that. The room was buzzing with beauty bloggers and industry professionals, all here to learn how to build a successful beauty blog from a serious beauty heavyweight.

I picked a table, and somehow, in a room of 40 people, in the middle of London, managed to pick a seat next to a fellow Glasgow girl. We chatted and got to know the other ladies at our table, all while tucking into some lovely breakfast goody bags.

goody bags

The bag contained loads of yummy snacks, and I wasted no time in scoffing a white chocolate and macadamia Clif Bar and a carton of pineapple coconut water. That’s right, I got to drink coconut water and pretend like I was fancy. Will let you know if I wake up looking like Beyonce tomorrow.

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I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the texture of coconut water, and I have to say, I kind of see what they mean. It’s almost oily in texture, but it tasted pretty good, plus, you know, Beyonce.

Then our host, the lovely, lovely Antonia Mariconda took to the stage, and spent the next 3 hours explaining, inspiring and giggling with us. With the help of tech wizard (official job title), Mark Bugg and freelance PR Jenny Pabila, Antonia took us through the basics of building a successful beauty blog from the ground up.

Confession time: I had a preconceived idea of what Antonia was going to be like. Despite absolutely adoring beauty products, spending far too much time reading beauty blogs and being a staunch lipstick feminist, I still had a harmless, but undeniably prejudiced idea of what she would be all about. And she absolutely blew me out of the water. By talking about her own experiences, as well as those of some inspirational women in the room, she reminded me that blogging is about growth and inspiration, about your journey through the world, and that sometimes, something as simple as a beauty product can turn everything around. She was so much more than the glossy, superficial beauty queen I had expected. And she reminded me that beauty and blogging can both be good for the soul. Yes, I got mushy. I went there. Deal with it.

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Mark doing his thang.

The trio covered every stage of blogging, from knowing when you’re ready to blog, to using WordPress correctly, from developing your voice, to managing your relationships with brands and companies. Antonia cut in with anecdotes of the things that she had done right, as well as things she had done very, very wrong. She was brilliantly, hilariously candid, and wasn’t afraid in the slightest to use herself as a bad example. The presentation managed to contain tips that were as relevant for bloggers just starting out, like me, as they were to bloggers with 5,000 followers who were looking to take it to the next level. All three speakers were warm, funny and I totally wanted to take all of them for a pint afterwards. I learned some amazing tips, but more than that, I left feeling like I could take on the world. I felt like everything was out there, just waiting for me to reach out and grab it. I wanted to write. I felt…oh god, I don’t even want to say it but there’s no other word…empowered.

antonia mariconda

To save this post from being approximately 4000 words long, I decided to chop it up into sumptuous little bites that you can peruse at your leisure. Stay tuned for the next post, what you all really wanted to know…what was in the goody bags (Part 1)(Part 2)?

What’s the best blogger event you guys have ever been to? Who gave you career changing advice? What inspires you to blog? Chat with me in the comments or at @EscapologistGl.

*I was given a complimentary ticket to this event for the purposes of review. All opinions are completely my own and completely truthful – promise!