November GlossyBox

This post is super late because the postman didn't leave a 'we have something for you' slip after making an 'attempted' delivery over a week ago. Typical. But anyway that's another story. I collected it from the delivery office this morning, so here's what's inside this month's box:

1.NAIL ROCK Designer Nail Wraps (£6.65/pack)
2. ILLAMASQUA Freak Eau De Parfum (£59.00 / 75ml)
3. DEAD SEA SPA MAGIK Gentle Cleansing Facial Wash
4. ARBONNE FC5 Cooling Foot Crème (£19 / 118ml) 
5. PHILIP KINGSLEY Elasticizer (£52.10 / 500ml)

I've never used nail wraps before so this should be interesting. I've heard they can be a nightmare to cut and file to the shape and size of your own nails but I'll see how it goes. Will do a post when I attempt to put them on.
I've heard the hype around this new fragrance so I was eager to try it when I saw it in the box.
Top Notes: Black Davana, Opium Flower, and Belladonna <---whatever they are!!
Heart Notes: Poison Hemlock, Datura and Queen of the Night <--- never heard of them either. 
Base Notes: Frankinscense, Oud and Myrrh <--- Two out of three 'aint bad. 
I like the scent enough to consider buying it but it doesn't last as long on the skin as some of my other designer fragrances do.
I got a Dead Sea Spa Magik item in my November Boudoir Privé box so I'm becoming quite accustomed to this brand now. I'm a fan of facial cleansing products so can't wait to use this over the next few days.
 I actually have rough, dry skin on my feet so I'm keen to see if this product will work its wonders.
As I've stated before, when it comes to my natural hair, I strictly stick to the products I currently use (the Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil brand, for those of you wondering), but I'll give this to a friend to test out for me and review. "Elasticity, manageability, bounce and shine", eh? Sounds promising.  

I'll be testing out the products over the coming week and will do a YouTube mini review on them so look out for the video.

For more information on GlossyBox, head over to the website

What was in your GlossyBox? Were you happy with this month's box? What did you like/dislike? If you don't currently subscribe to GlossyBox or a beauty box, is it something you'd consider?

Photography by...Jerry Barnett

Every month I do a photography-related post because I love the art. Last month I wrote about my friend Catherine Doherty who took my wedding and maternity photographs (read the post >> here). If you read my blog yesterday, you may remember that a Nikon D5100 was on my End-Of-Month/ X-Mas Wish List. I definitely want to get involved in photography (as a hobby) in 2012 and enhance my blog with better quality images.

This month the spotlight is on a photographer whose work I've been following for about three years now: Jerry Barnett. I love how he captures people in their element. His photos are so natural, which makes a change from a lot of the airbrushed stuff out there.

Jerry Barnett is a London-based technologist and political activist who began taking a serious interest in photography around 2000, and has done professional photography work since 2007, when he has time to spare between running a small software business and engaging in political  activism. While in London, his photography is usually focused on music and musicians, along with portrait shoots and the occasional wedding. Africa has always been a place of deep fascination for him, and he takes his camera there when he can; he has carried out three trips to West Africa in the past three years, visiting six countries.

I asked him to compile a few of his favourites and I (cheekily) picked my favourite from his selection. Here it is:

Who better to tell you about the photo than the man himself?

"This was taken during a bike ride in Casamance, the southernmost region of Senegal. After a stay in the busy capital, Dakar, I'd travelled by overnight ferry to Ziguinchor, the Casamance regional capital, and spent some time travelling around the region. Casamance is sleepy, very scenic and friendly, a gently hilly landscape that becomes more marshy towards the coast. This shot was taken between Oussouye, a pretty inland town, and the coastal town of Cabrousse.

On a journey like this, I stop often to take photos of the scenery or people. This woman had been walking with friends, probably back from shopping at a market. It was taken a little before midday, as the sun was becoming hot (though this was in January, so the heat was comfortable), and presumably she was heading home to make lunch. I saw that her tall elegance (a typical look of Senegalese/Gambian women) along with the backdrop, the child on her back, and the large yellow golfing umbrella, could make for an interesting portrait.

I always ask if I want to take a close-up shot of a person - generally not if the shot is wider. Sometimes, especially in more touristy areas, people will ask for payment; I always refuse to pay for a photo. If you're travelling in a poor country, it's far better to spare your money for hard-working people rather than those who have become skilled at extracting money from tourists for doing nothing. Buying food and souvenirs from locals, trying to stay in locally-owned accommodation are far better ways of helping the local economy than giving money to touts and beggars. In less touristy parts like this one, it's unlikely people will ask for money; however, having a photograph taken is a relatively expensive luxury for many Africans (every town of any size will have at least one photo studio), and I often offer to email a copy of the photo (Internet cafés are becoming widespread in West Africa)."

I love the cultural/ethnic element to this photo. My eye is instantly drawn to the subject but without overlooking the calm scenery.

If you want to know more about Jerry's work or have a look at some more of his wonderful photos you can do so at: and;
You can also follow Jerry on Twitter .

Which photographer's do you follow and why?

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End-Of-Month/ X-Mas Wish List: November

So, December is almost here, and that means Christmas is upon us. Here are a few wish-list-worthy things that caught my eye.

1. Elie Saab- Le Parfume: I sampled this last week. It's slightly woody smelling, which I don't normally go for but the jasmine and honey rose overtones are what sold it to me. I like fresh, flowery scents.  

2. Rag & Bone Black Pleated Leather Skirt:  I actually don't have anything leather in my wardrobe despite it being 'so in' at the moment. The pleats make this skirt a bit more feminine and less biker chick. Love. 

3. Jinkksy Candy Grande Royal Blue Bracelet: This jewellery brand screams luxury to me. Bling heaven. 

4. Nikon D5100 16.2 MP Digital SLR- Black with 18-55mm Lens: - I've been saving up for this camera. Hopefully, I can get it at a reduced price during the post-xmas/ New Year sales, if not, I'll just have to be patient and save up a little longer. It's currently retailing between £500 and £600.

5. Urban Decay Naked Palette: As I tend to stick to more neutral colours and wear natural tones, this palette is perfect for me. These eyeshadows look as though they'll blend really well together too. 

6. Nails Inc. Magnetic Polish ( in Whitehall): Facinated with the physics behind this and the colour is hawt!!

What's currently on your wish list? Let me know by leaving a comment.

My Ensemble: Flora Butterfly

This is one of my simple autumnal outfits. It's warm (literally, because of the materials) and bright. My way of saying to the weather "Take your doom and gloom elsewhere".

Wool Dress (Krisp)
Red Cardigan (Bershka)
Black Turtleneck (Bershka)
Black Leggings (Topshop)
Black Riding Boots (Linzi Shoes)

I don't normally buy things with butterflies and flowers (I don't mean floral prints) because I think you run the risk of looking a bit school-girl-ish and that's just not my style at all. But when I saw this in Krisp about three years ago, I thought it was pretty and liked the croché detail around the chest area.
I love red and I think this cardigan really brings out the accent colours of the dress.

What bright autumnal outfits do you have? Or do you tend to just stick with the blacks and greys during this time of year? 

If you like this outfit, you can 'hype' it on Lookbook (link below).

November Boudoir Privé Beauty Box

This is my first Boudoir Privé beauty box so I was super eager to receive it this month. It arrived this morning.

As I always mention, I absolutely love the concept. It's like getting a box full of miniature presents every month. Who doesn't like getting presents?... Oh, the Helena Rubinstein quote above made me el oh el... Here's what was inside:

1. RAHUA Voluminous Shampoo (£27.00 - 275ml) & Conditioner (£28.50 - 275ml) 
2.VINIES AYURVEDA'S SOUL Luminous Skin Mask (£32.85 - 40gm)
3. DEAD SEA SPA MAGIK Silky Smooth Body Lotion (£7.70 - 350ml)
4. STUDIO MAKEUP Rich Hydration Lipstick (£12.25 each)
5. KORRES Wild Rose 24-Hour Moisuriser (£19 - 40ml)

I'm very strict about the shampoo and conditioner I use on my natural hair so I'll be giving this one of my friends to test it out for me. It's a shame, because I would have loved to have tried it myself. 
Guys, I'm not going to lie. This looks a little gross. Luckily, it smells OK. It's got an incense fragrance to it and is made with the "finest ingredients", including mint leaf, licorice root and magnolia extract. Despite how it looks, I'm really eager to try this tonight. 
I'm always on the lookout to try new body lotions so was chuffed to see this inside, especially as I've heard very good things about the Dead Sea therapeutic and cosmetic properties. 

The Studio Makeup lipstick is by far my favourite item inside. Being dark-skinned, I'm always very weary about red lipstick. If you remember, I did a post on red lipsticks that suit black women (read it >> here) and came to realise that plum reds suit my skin tone the best. Now, when I saw red lipstick in the box, I had mixed emotions. However, as soon as I swatched it on the back of my hand, I instantly, to much relief, knew it would suit me! Yay! It's gorgeous. Oh and I'm totally loving the undercover-agent-esque way it opens.

This face moisturiser has got vitamin C, grape seed and phytic acid in it and "helps repair fine lines and uneven skin tone". I thought "Great!" because I'm a gazillion shades of brown (not that I'm complaining). 

I'll be trying these products out over the coming week so watch out for my YouTube in-depth review on them. Really happy about my first box. 

***UPDATE (12/12/11)***

Here's the video!

For more information, head over to the Boudoir Privé website:

Do you subscribe to Boudoir Privé too? If so, what did you think about this month's box? If not, is it something you'd consider subscribing to? I'd highly recommend it.  Leave a comment below. 

Shu Uemura Cleansing Beauty Oil/ Skin Purifier

I got the Shu Uemura Skin Purifier in the goodie bag from this Monday's HPM Social event that I attended. 

I'd never heard of the brand before so was intrigued to find out more. It's a Japenese beauty brand founded by its namesake, a makeup artist and beauty pioneer. They offer skincare treatments, makeup and related accessories.
"the Shu Uemura brand was developed on the founder’s holistic philosophy that beautiful make-up starts with beautiful skin." -
Quite rightly so. 

The product description online reads:
"For ageing concerns.... #1 the world....A premium anti-oxidant skin purifier that thoroughly cleanses the skin while protecting it against the internal and external aggressions associated with skin ageing."  

It comes in a transparent plastic green bottle with a pump. I almost forgot it was oil inside and expressed the contents aggressively as if it was going to foam. Oops.

The instructions are simple enough:
1. Take 3 or 4 pumps into the palms of dry hands;
2. Smooth over dry face;
3. Wet face to emulsify cleansing oil; 
4. Rinse with water.

Initially, it felt a little strange washing my face with oil but I soon got past that. The aroma made using it a pleasant experience. 

For the ageing element, I would obviously have to use this over time to really notice it at work but as a cleanser, it's wonderful. I've used it every day so far this week and my skin feels very fresh and noticeably clean and smoother every time. 

The Shu Uemura Cleansing Beauty Oil/ Skin Purifier gets 8 pearls out of 10 from me. 

The 150ml bottle is £28 from Admittedly, if it wasn't in my goody bag, I'd be reluctant to buy it for two reasons: 1) because I prioritise what I spend my monthly fashion/beauty budget on and 2) I'm not into anti-ageing products. Yes, it's a little pricey but it really is a top quality product and works effectively so it's worth the cost. I'm definitely keen on trying some of their makeup products.  

Have you tried any Shu Uemura products before? If so, which one(s)? What did you make of it? If not, is it a brand you'd consider trying?

My Ensemble: Smart-Casual

Sorry I haven't done a 'My Ensemble' post in a while. Here's a smart-casual look I put together this week.

 Tailored Jacket (New Look)
Blue Striped Shirt (United Colors of Benetton
Silk Scarf (Tie Rack)
Brown Belt (H&M)
Brown Riding Boots (Linzi Shoes)
Red Lipstick (MAC: Viva Glam I)

The bottom half is casual while the top half, smart. Here, you've got your classic skinny jeans tucked into riding boots. I wore a matching (well close enough) brown belt to complement the boots and break the outfit colours down a little.  
I own quite a few shirts from United Colours of Benetton because I love the tailored fitting from there. This blue striped one is no exception. 
My favourite jacket (which you've probably noticed has featured in quite a few ensemble posts) is so versatile and pretty much puts the 'smart' in this outfit. 
I finished the look with an elegant silk scarf. Oh, and some red lipstick which I thought went well with the outfit's colour palette.  

If you like this outfit, don't forget to hype it on Lookbook >>> here.

What smart-casual looks have you rocked recently?

RM:BP- Weekly Roundup W/B 14th Nov 2011

Here's the roundup video for last week. Enjoy. 

Links to relevant posts:
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NOTD: Dotty Rust Using 'Nailed Polish' By Sleek

My eye caught this nail polish colour last month when I was shopping online at Sleek. It's part of their 'Nailed Polish' collection and is called Rust 37. Because I pretty much have all the basic colours in my personal nail varnish collection, whenever buying polishes these days I tend to go for ones with unusual colours, shades, finishes/effects. I was delighted when I spotted this. 

I recently bought a 5-pack of two-way dotting tools from eBay for £1.70- they come in different dot sizes- and thought I'd go for a different nail look today. 
As it was my first time using it (excuse the white polish still on it in the photo), I was uncertain about how much varnish I needed to put on or the amount pressure I had to apply but I got there in the end. The key is to not put too much varnish so the dot ends up looking like a big, fat dollop on your nail and on the other hand making sure you have enough to ensure more than just a round imprint is made. 

Now, as I learnt, it's important to apply the same amount of pressure for each dot otherwise some will be noticeably bigger/smaller than others, regardless of the fact you're using the same size tool. It's also a good idea to try and plan the dots so you don't get a cluster in one area and a massive gap elsewhere. 

I applied two coats of the 'Rust' -which glides on beautifully and dries super quick- before using my medium dotting pen (the blue one) to add on the white spots (with the white polish from a 24-colour nail art kit I also got from eBay- post on that next week). I really liked the polka dot look. It's cute and eye-catching because these two colours go so well together. 

You can buy the 'Rust' nail varnish at for £3.89.

Have you discovered any unusual nail colours lately? What new nail looks have you tried recently? Leave a comment below.

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Handpicked Media Gets Social (21st Nov 2011)

I went to the Handpicked Media Gets Social event yesterday and boy was I glad that I did. I got the opportunity to meet some lovely, like-minded lady bloggers who were just as inspirational as the guest speakers.  They were Nicole, the writer of, a blog for black brides-to-be; Madeka who writes, a fashion blog for ladies of colour; Also Caroline, the founder of, an Audrey Hepburn inspired fashion blog aimed at the elegant, contemporary woman.

The day consisted of breakfast, lunch, networking (or 'getting social') and of course, talks by some of the industry's most experienced bloggers, blogging experts and magazine giants.

A few brands were represented including China Doll Boutique, an online ladies fashion store which, up until yesterday, I'd never heard of. I totally fell in love with the lookbook and will definitely be making a few purchases from there in the coming weeks. I was quite keen on the Bourjois eyeshadows too.
If you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll know how much I love perfumes, so no prizes for guessing which section of the reception room I spent a huge portion of my time around. I so want the Jimmy Choo fragrance for christmas, so hubby *cough*, friends *cough cough* and family members *cough cough cough* reading this, heed note. Surprise me!

Regarding the talks, one word : Sháá. Well, it's a name. The name of THE MOST motivational speaker I've ever heard in my life. She gave me so much inspiration. Gah! I could talk about her (in a nice way, of course) all day, but I won't so have a look at her site If you're a blogger/entrepreneur and don't know about her, get to know.
We got a bag full of goodies and samples to take home as well. I luurve freebies (who doesn't?).
I left the event feeling even more high-spirited than I arrived and ready to actually get my butt in gear to take things (blogging) to another level.

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