Monday, 27 April 2015

The Beginning of Happily Ever After - The Engagement!

Aloha my lovelies! 

Wow, so it has been a long time without writing - scatter-brained, much?!  But there is a very good reason behind my absence, I swear! Let me do a quick sum up of what has been going on since August 2014 in lightning flash speed to explain - The man and I went travelling across the West Coast of the US back in the summer, I accepted my place on an MA course in American Studies (basically American History) which resulted in my move back down to my old university town, and finally, the biggest and most fantastic distraction has been... My engagement and subsequent wedding planning!! 

EEEEEEEEE!! I am so excited about this, especially as it is now less than a year until the big day! I've got complete 'Bride Goggles' on, frequently being distracted by the tiniest thought about wedding planning or losing hours trawling through Pinterest for inspiration on decorations to cakes to how I will style my hair and make up. But I've jumped ahead of myself, let me go back to the incredible moment that started all this wedding madness off... The proposal in Disneyland, California.

Main Street USA - pre-proposal
It all started on our three weeks holiday exploring  the West Coast of the US back in July/August 2014 (future posts on this adventure!), and we decided to end our exhausting but enthralling two weeks of constant trekking with a magical few days at the original Disneyland in Anaheim, California. I was beyond excited - imagine a puppy who is going for their first walk in a park made of doggie treats - that's the level of excitement I was at. I mean, it was the original Magic Kingdom, Walt's secret apartment was there! 

So, it was our first day. I had made us get up ridiculously early because I could not wait a single moment longer not to be running around Disneyland - the first clue a proposal was coming was my, now, fiancé (still not bored of writing/saying that) ironing a shirt and styling his hair. Now, my fiancé does care how he looks, but he does not iron and he certainly isn't inclined to wear a shirt around Disney. Yet my Disney blindness just excused this as preparation for all the Photopass photos I was going to make us get for this momentous occasion. 

A quick pre-Disney pose!
The second clue was the random disappearing act my future husband-to-be kept performing throughout the day - I'd be mooching around the Main Street Emporium or around the castle and poof! He would be gone, before surreptitiously appearing back by my side like Harry Potter in the invisible cloak. The excuse this time -  not feeling well. So most of the day was me spent going 'Are you ok? Do we need to go back to the hotel?' for him to spend the day convincing me he felt fine. Well, we spent the entire day running around Disneyland Park, and despite the heat as well as some mandatory queues, we were having a pretty awesome day. Apart from that one tiny, minuscule spat in the Pirates of the Caribbean queue when we lost each other... But we just skip over that part! 

I look so dorky in this picture - but there's Walt!

Finally, night was upon us and my fiancé was determined to see the 'Magical' fireworks spectacular, even though we had seen it the night before from our hotel balcony, so I couldn't understand his complete and utter obsession that at 9pm we had to be behind Sleeping Beauty's Castle for the fireworks. He was adamant, he had to see the fireworks on our first night. I know what you're all thinking now, 'Come on! Seriously, you can see something is going to happen!' but I was still in my little bubble of 'Oh ok, well I guess we can see Fantastic tomorrow if you're that desperate to see the fireworks!' which was sort of supported by my inability to find an engagement ring anywhere in his luggage (Yes, I am that nosy!)

Now the magic really began at 8.45pm. I had just taken a ride on the Matterhorn Bobsleds by myself as the man wouldn't come on (I was later to find out this was because he was getting the ring ready that he had previously hidden in an empty hair gel pot... The clever thing, him!), and he took me to the Storybook Land Canals. A children's ride. My thought process had jumped to, "Hang on, we're going on a kid's ride?! Fifteen minutes before the fireworks start?! Seriously man, why are we not getting good seats in front of the castle?!" but he told me that he had the best seats sorted and to just trust him. So, I trotted along, suspicious, but compliantly. We skipped the packed queue, and he handed over a clandestine slip of paper to a Cast Member who opened the exit gate and guided us onto our own private little boat... Yep, that's right a little rowboat that holds 8 or more people was filled with just my fiancé, me, and our lovely cast member. I couldn't fathom it - but oh ho, the sly cast member explained that as it was our first time in Disneyland they wanted to make it a special experience. I was gullible, and ate it all up, too excited to think anything more of it. A summary of the ride is it takes you through miniatures of all the Disney fairytales, with fairy lights and music - the epitome of romance...

Some poor pictures taken of us on the canal - proposal being imminent!
 I would highly recommend this ride at night - it was romantic, tranquil, and an experience - especially with all the fairylights (my favourite was the fairylight archway you go under) you felt like you were transported into the fairytales... But I have digressed. We were going around the canal, with the cast member explaining all the stories to us, when we stopped. I looked at the cast member, confused and thinking "Well we are never going to make the fireworks now...", but she explained that as the fireworks were going on, the ride had to stop, but we would get a great view of the fireworks from where we were. Within a minute, the fireworks were exploding in every colour and style above us. I was in my element, snapping pictures left, right, and centre, grinning like the cheshire cat, when I heard my fiancé trying to get my attention, "Stephie, Stephie just stop for a minute and focus on me." When I turned to him, I knew something was about to happen - I could feel it as he took my hands and said "Remember when we were first together and you gave me three wishes.." Here it goes... "well I am using my last wish tonight to ask you, Stephie if you will marry me?" at which point he was down on one knee. And that was it. The tears literally would not stop and eventually I managed to utter a 'Yes' between the crying, the kissing, and the disbelief. The other canal boats around us began cheering, and I couldn't stop smiling, like I physically could not stop, it was like my mouth had been superglued that way, with the fireworks above us. It was a moment taken straight from the stories or the movies, the perfect fairytale moment. Our cast member was the sweetest woman in the world, who took pictures of us and made that moment even more magical. 

 When we got to the end of the ride, after the fireworks had finished, every guest in the queue as well as the cast members were cheering us. I was still in complete disbelief (and still crying... all make up ruined by this point), desperately trying to reach my mum back in the UK on the phone. We were given a gift bag - bubbles, badges, fastpasses, and a glass slipper. After that moment, it is all a foggy haze of kisses, giggling, and wandering around on the phone telling anyone who would pick up (at 5-6am UK time) about the most incredible moment that had just occurred. The cast members were incredible, they made it so much more special than either of us could have imagined, we were incredibly grateful to our particular cast member who even went to get us the wedding Mickey and Minnie ears! 

So that's the story of the pinnacle magic moment of my life (thus far - I have a feeling the wedding is going to become joint first). I still find myself re-watching a Youtube video I found of the Storybook Land Canals, reliving it over and over again, still making myself believe that the most wonderful man in the world is going to be my husband. He really made it the perfect proposal, and every time I think of that evening I break out in a massive smile.

What romantic stories do you have? Any proposals to share? Keep an eye out for my Trek America posts about the trip prior to its spectacular end!


Stephie x

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Review: Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Skin Balancing Lotion

Ahoy there, my lovelies! I am segueing back into the world of blogging after returning from my adventures overseas in the West Coast of the U-S-A, bringing back some exciting news with me as well as my usual stash of crunchy Cheetos - but that's another story for another time... 

Today's post is shining the spotlight on one of my new skincare must-haves:

The Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Skin Balancing Lotion - Ta Dah! 

I received this sample when I attended the House of Fraser Christmas Press day, and I started using it pretty much the moment I got it in hand as I had been finding the moisturiser  I was using too heavy for my temperamental skin. Well, it was love at first swatch - from the delicious smell (like clementines) to only having to use a teensy amount to get the job done - two big plusses for a girl who spends at least 90% of her day thinking about food, and living on a beauty budget!

However, what made this attraction more than just a short lived infatuation can be noted in three points:
1) It's an oil-free lotion, resulting in keeping my combination skin well hydrated and super soft without making my face extra oily - no easy feat I can tell you (along with about 20 half empty moisturiser bottles)!
2) I love how simple it is to apply - it just glides on, soaks in, and poof! You are ready to apply make-up, no waiting around for it to soak all the way in.
3) I've saved a bit of money by being able to use this moisturiser as a 2in1 primer - It has kept my make up in place all day with minimal shininess breaking through.

This was my first try with Elizabeth Arden products, and I am impressed, so impressed I have ordered the rest of the Visible Difference for Combination Skin Starter Kit (£15 on look Let's see if the rest of the products can live up to the lotion...


Stephie x

Saturday, 19 July 2014

In Summer - FOTD

Hello my lovelies - my golly it's hot, isn't it?! I literally melted whilst chilling in a park in London yesterday, very much an Olaf-in-Arendelle moment (it was not as attractive on me as it is on Olaf). However, I shouldn't complain really as it is either this or downpour and I much prefer the sunshine!

Anyway, today's post is on my make-up look for this sweltering day as I headed out with my two best girls. 

 Products: Boots No7 Illuminating Instant Concealer; No7 Pressed Powder in Translucent; MAC Studio Fix Concealer; Urban Decay Eyeshadow in 'Sin'; Benefit Creme Eyeshadow in 'Bikini'; Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation; Benefit High Beam; Bobbi Brown Rose Shimmerbrick; Urban Decay Naked Palette; No7 Mascara; L'Oreal Eye Kohl in Brown; Real Techniques Core Collection Brushes; Benefit Dandelion Blush.

Lipgloss - Chanel Rouge

Generally in the summertime or on holiday, I will opt for this slightly softer look using a matte brown or slightly shimmery brown eyeliner pencil rather than my usual black liquid/gel liner as it tends to stay put more in the heat of the day and can be a softer framing of the eyes. I also experimented more with my blusher - mixing my standard light pink Dandelion with the Bobbi Brown Shimmer-brick to give my cheeks a gentle highlight. I love both of these products, but I really only use the Shimmer-brick when the sun is out as I find that sometimes in the winter (without the sun to bounce off of) the shimmery colours can emphasise some imperfections on my skin. What I really love about summertime and going more for this softer eyeliner look is the more adventurous I can be with my eyeshadow. Whilst opting for my usual black eyeliner cat flick I try to stick to more simple shades so as not to deflect from the eyeliner, but in summer I can try all sorts of combinations. Today's shade was 'Sin', one of my all time favourite shades by Urban Decay, I first fell in love with it when using my 'Naked' palette (all those years ago...) and have now stored up with an individual pot. It is just the perfect mix of a neutral shade with a shimmery touch which adds a bit of Hollywood Glamour, and a great base to blend more shades into to create a variety of day/evening looks. 

Do you have a summertime look or a favourite eyeshade? Comment below to let me know!


Stephie x

Friday, 18 July 2014

House of Fraser Christmas Press Day 2014

Hello my lovelies, I hope everyone is having the chance to enjoy the sunshine at some point this week rather than just suffer the consequences of said sunshine on the central line like I did yesterday...

Today's post is focusing on the House of Fraser Christmas Press Day which I was fortunate enough to attend this week at their Head Office (via an invitation by Dani) to have a snoop around what is being offered in their Christmas collections. Let me warn thee now, there are some seriously pretty Christmassy things ahead so avert your eyes if you are not prepared to begin to get into the Christmas spirit...

Even though I already have too many Christmas decorations, I know that I am going to be adding several of these pieces to my ever expanding collection this year - I mean, who says you can ever reaaaally have too many Christmas decorations - as long as you can still sort of see the tree, right?! The Christmas decor fell into five themes: Enchanted Forest; Black Magic; High Society; Frosty; Scandi Dining. I loved elements from all of the collections (especially the cute owl and Bambi-esque decorations) but there was one particular theme that I quickly became besotted with, suitably sharing the named with one of my favourite Grace Kelly films. Within the 'High Society' collection, by Linea, absolutely everything sparkled or glittered, from floating ballerinas who literally danced on air to a ruby slipper that the Wicked Witch of the West herself would want upon her Christmas tree. The entire collection just felt magical and elegant with a touch of whimsy.

But it wasn't just Christmas decorations that were on show...

Oh the pretty things! So many pretty things! Despite the fact that it is only mid-July, I have now already begun to compile my Christmas gift list... The dresses, skirts, make-up, and accessories were just too beautiful to turn away. The dresses were designed to appeal to a wide range of styles - from floor length sequin gowns to 60s style mini dresses by a range of designers, including some new ones to be announced in September - I particularly loved some of Therapy & Dickens and Jones pieces which had a 50s feel to them with lace or floral patterns. It wasn't just the dresses that caught my eyes (that's a first) I even found myself pawing through the suits thinking how they would suit the Boy. After dragging myself away from the clothes room, I moved onto cosmetics & accessories, drawn to the displays featuring Penhaligon's Gentleman's Collection and Artemisia Eau de Parfum - I just loved their presentation with the ornate and colourful tins. On a similar thread, I loved the 'Pretty Vintage' theme with Guerlain and Creme De La Mar which was mostly dominated by soft shell pink shades and shimmer, but it was the Bobbi Brown collection above some gorgeous dresses that caught my eye. I've always loved Bobbi Brown, especially their Long-Wear Gel Liner, so it was a nice surprise to see some shimmery shades coming out for the Christmas period. 

So after mooching my way around and making a mental of note of everything I need when these items are released in September, I reluctantly left a Christmas Wonderland but not before being handed a bag of goodies by the lovely women at House of Fraser's head office.

I can't wait to start trying these products out - especially the YSL Youth Liberator Eye Cream which I have been coveting for several months now...  

Thanks House of Fraser for a lovely afternoon, and bring on Christmas 2014! To check these items out for yourself, follow the link: House of Fraser


Stephie x