Rings of the Day- Moonstone & Topaz

It was about two weeks ago that I first tried out this topaz and moonstone ring combo and I've worn it a lot since. I've always liked moonstones as they're so magical to look at, but I've had trouble finding one that wasn't either teeny tiny or so large (and expensive) that it engulfed my hand.
Moonstones (sometimes known as selenite) form part of the feldspar mineral group and are most commonly found in Sri Lanka and India. Not all moonstones are created equal, some are a glowy milky colour while others are more translucently blue and have flashes of blue and spectrum colours when moved under light- known as adularescence.

This 20mm Moonstone and Silver Oval Ring* (£25.99 from sits on a thick smooth modern silver band, and is adjustable to fit a range of finger sizes which is really handy. Pinched to fit my small-ish middle finger, the band overlaps which I think adds to the design, but with a bit of strength I'm sure you could force the open end underneath the other if you wanted to.
I think the flatness and width of the design contrasts really nicely against the blue topaz ring with its faceted stone and detailing on the thin band. The shade compliments the ethereal flashes of colour in the moonstone while the uniform translucence means it doesn't compete for attention on the finger.
I've been wearing these mainly with a cream coloured wool/alpaca cardigan from Matalan, which apparently has a bit of a dressing gown style but its the warmest thing I own and we all definitely need a bit of warmth at the moment!

TheJewelleryPeople sell some really beautiful modern silver jewellery from charms, to fossil and bone pendants, to gem set earrings. They also have a range of gold, silver and diamond body jewellery which would make a really nice change to the usual surgical steel or titanium and crystal. With First Class delivery starting from just £2.90, it's definitely worth checking out the website if you're looking for something new and beautiful to accessorise your outfits!


February Birchbox

I was really excited to receive the February Birchbox* this month and discover what was inside- this box has a style theme inspired by LFW, and gone are the days of finding your monthly beauty box rattling with tiny useless vials of the newest £100 moon dust infused eye cream! I'm already planning my purchases of a few of the full size products so this one is a bit of a corker- read below to find out my first impressions of what's inside.

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil Mini (Birchbox exclusive, full size £16)
This golden oil works to protect hair from heat and UV rays, and contains argan oil to condition. My hair is in need of a trim so my ends are a bit heat frazzled and dry, but I've been using the oil every day since I received the box and it makes the ends look healthy and shiny without leaving the hair greasy at all. It has a really lovely scent, like cocoa but also quite fresh (if that's possible), and it's quite thick which makes it easy to work with even if it doesn't pour out in drops. I also feel like it helps detangle my hair and gives it a bit of body, a lot of benefits from just one oil! The full size is £16 and (I think) about 100ml, which is likely to last for ages as I've barely made a dent in this vial.

This contains turmeric and fruit acids to cleanse and brighten the skin. I've only had the chance to try this once so far, but I like how creamy it is while still having the grittiness of an exfoliator and it made a nice first half of a double cleanse. It also smells exactly like a solid perfume I had when I was little which is nice!

To be honest I was quite excited to see some dark chocolate in my box, everyone loves chocolate right? I only eat dark as I don’t have milk, so I may have ripped the little wrapper off a bit too quickly after photographing my box contents. It reminded me that I've got some Green & Blacks hot chocolate in the cupboard, 5 teaspoons with hot water is the dreamiest thing you can fit in a mug.
I haven't given this one a go yet but to me shower gel is shower gel. In the bottle it has a really nice manly scent, but with the full size costing nearly £14 I can't help but think it's a little pricey for something that's just meant to wash off the days dirt!

This has pretty swish packaging and is full size. I like that the formula spreads easily and dries quickly but I always find light colours so difficult to apply and this one took about 4 coats until I was happy that it was opaque enough. The light peach colour is lovely and summery, but I think I might've had more luck with one of the darker shades.

Eyeko Skinny Mini Liquid Eyeliner Black (full size £12)
So far this is really one of the best eyeliner pens I've tried- it's dark in one stroke, doesn't need shaking, the nib doesn't splay, and it's really easy to get a thick or thin line. I've used it about 5 times so far and I'm loving it so it'll be interesting to see how long it lasts before drying out. The full size is £12 which I think is pretty reasonable if it's long lasting and I'm already eyeing it up on the Birchbox website's shop!

I was really impressed with this box, in fact probably as impressed as I've ever been with a monthly box, as the brands are affordable and these are all products that I actually will use up. Next month's box looks one to watch as well as its in partnership with designer Lulu Guiness, so it'll be interesting to see what everyone receives!

Each Birchbox contains 5 luxury beauty samples and subscription costs £10 plus £2.95 per month. 


7 Steps To Make The Most Of Your Eyelashes

I received some really lovely comments on here and on twitter when I posted the full face version of the below photo in a post about mascara and, as my lashes are the part of my face that I tend to spend a lot of time on when doing my make up, I like to think that I know a (vague) thing or two about making them look their best. There's a definite reason why the eyes are called the 'windows to the soul' and why we stare into them when having a conversation with someone instead of being transfixed on their lips, so giving them a little helping hand to make them look their best can really transform even a slightly dull make up look.
I love reading girl-to-girl make up tips, rather than makeupartist-to-girl which can sometimes come off as a bit preachy and judgemental, so I hope my steps give you a bit of advice and inspiration. But if you don't agree with the way I do things then I certainly won't judge!

1. REPLACE YOUR CURLERS- like many make up products, not everything works for everyone, and if your curlers don't seem to do anything then try another brand. Unless you have super thick wiry lashes its unlikely that no curler in creation will make a difference to them. I currently use these Ted Baker Eyelash Curlers and love them, but the previous curlers I tried were god awful and by the time I threw them away they were absolutely useless. Another point to remember is to replace your curlers or at least the little rubber cushions regularly; they can become hard over time which makes it more difficult to get a good curl.

2. PUMP FOR 10, HOLD FOR 10- nope we're not at the gym, I'm still talking about curlers! Sky high lashes really do transform your eyes and the way to get those peepers popping is to bend your lashes and keep them bent. Clamp the hairs about two thirds of the way down and keep pumping for 10 counts, then hold for 10 counts and apply mascara straight away before moving on to the other eye. This really injects a kink into the lashes and helps it stay.

3. LINE YOUR TIGHTLINE- now that your lashes are pointing to the ceiling (well, almost) it's a good time to make them look fuller and hide any fleshy tones that might be peeking through between or underneath them. I have trouble making eyeliner last inside my eye, but two I've tried that really do stay all day are the Zoeva Graphic Eyes Pencil and Avon Supershock Pencils, both of which are gel liner in pencil form that sets down and are available in a range of colours.

4. USE THE RIGHT MASCARA- I've noticed that in addition to personal preference, those with a particular type of lash tend to prefer a particular mascara formula- for example those with short or thick lashes seem to like the Benefit They're Real Mascara, but those of us with longer wispier lashes absolutely flipping hate it. Ensuring you use the right mascara for your lash type is imperative for making them look their best and keeping a hold. The one I always return to for brilliant hold is the Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof (review here), which lengthens, curls and defines brilliantly but needs more than one coat to add volume. Don't be afraid to compromise with mascara- if products that provide both length and volume make your lashes look stuck together and spidery, pick one that does just one job and change how you apply it to make it work best for you.

5. APPLY MORE THAN ONE COAT- Experiment with your mascara to find the optimum number of coats, applying more than one doesn't mean that you'll end up with clumps. My favourite mascaras can take up to four coats to look their best (obviously I only use them when I've got enough time), but taking that extra time really does make the product look amazing. If one layer isn't doing it for you, add another at the base or the tip to see how it looks. Lengthening mascaras in particular really benefit from this, and brushing sideways with a vertical wand over the end of the lashes means the product will really catch on those tips.

6. USE YOUR FAVOURITE WAND TO COMB THROUGH- instead of using a little plastic comb for your lashes, keep the wand of an old tube of your favourite mascara and wash it to use dry on your lashes. Because you like what it does when it's wet, you'll like what it does when it's dry even more- especially if you love a defined 'lots of lashes' look. Combing through is an essential step for me as my lash hairs are a bit unruly and tend to poke in different directions or have parties in random little groups unless they're tamed. 

7. DON'T TREAT THEM MEAN- being gentle and not pulling or rubbing at them too hard when taking off your eye make up means that you won't lose more than nature intended. It sounds like an obvious step, but at the end of the day when you just want to get your face clean quickly it's something really worth remembering.

What's your favourite thing to do to make the most of your eyelashes?


Just Singles 3 Dates 3 Months - Challenge One

The thing that puts me off writing about current longterm relationships is what to do when they end- do you go back through your posts and re-draft those with any mention of the person, tweet meaningless drivel until past tweets are pushed off the end of the twittersphere, or remove social media pictures in case they resurface as reminders? Some previous relationships have ended quickly and/or badly but, as they say, when life gives you lemons add some salt and down a bottle of tequila. Ok maybe they don't say that, but it's the lemon option that requires the least skill in the kitchen.
While longterm or recently passed relationships might be off the blog agenda for me, there's no reason why new ones should be, and when I was asked if I wanted to take part in the Just Singles 3 Dates 3 Months Challenge I thought it sounded like a good chance to have a bit of fun, do something with my lemons (and hopefully write some interesting posts!). The challenge is to use unusual ways of securing 3 dates over 3 months (with one of them being and to blog about each date-finding method. I've never had an online dating profile before but with over 2 million members across dozens of niched sites, it should hopefully be a doddle!

The ideas for the second and third challenges came to me easily but I had a bit of trouble with the first until my friend told me about a local company that had just launched a 'Green Scheme' and were having difficulty getting people to sign up. I decided to offer them my services for the afternoon, going door to door with their survey questions and trying to drum them up a bit of interest (all with an ulterior motive of my own of course). I'd basically be trying to chat people up in their own homes, and what could be easier than that..!?

Off I trudged on a rainy afternoon last week, armed with a green folder full of information (most of which I forgot almost straight away) and my phone so that I could live tweet my experience on the #3dates3mths hashtag. I had a list of questions to ask each person- some were very useful to know before you on go on a date- what to do you do for a living? Do you own a car? And (most importantly) are you married? Other answers I really could've done without, things like- how many wheelie bins does your house use? What do you recycle? And are your cavity walls insulated?
I had high hopes that meeting a nice sexy guy would be easy, but after I encountered married woman after married woman my confidence became a little dashed. About half way through the afternoon I was invited in by a very nice man called Jerry, who had the house to himself and owned a lovely fluffy ginger cat. Jerry was eighty three. We talked for a while but it was quite clear that Jerry was neither interested in the Green Scheme nor a date with me.
It was about half an hour before home time that a door was opened by a lovely looking tanned guy in a wifebeater, who shot me a bright smile after I asked if I could ask him a few questions in his porch. Josh turned out to be very nice (unmarried, renting, doesn't recycle batteries) and, while I didn't pluck up the courage at that moment to ask him on a date, he did agree to me texting him which I took as practically a yes to the date anyway. I went home feeling pretty chuffed with myself that I was well on the way to completing a successful challenge and decided that two days later would be a suitable time to send the first text. Unfortunately, it all went a bit downhill from there.

After a pretty general "Hi how are you, remember me?" type text came a reply calling me 'Kirsty crazy face', which was... well at least there are worse things to be called. After my Australian Dream Boy (his words) and I had chatted for a bit, I saw an opportunity to secure the date's date. Unluckily I was busy on both of the days suggested and this news was met with a weirdly angry rant- phrases like "Look whatever I don't really buy that", "if not then no problems I won't cry" and "I'll stop wasting my time" came through with a sentiment that's quite hard to capture in a blog post. I responded with a disgruntled message explaining why I was busy and, to be honest not too bothered about seeing him again by this point, I left it at that.
Our final communication came the next day in the form of an unexpectedly over-cheery message asking if I'd found myself a 'new Australian Love Bunny' yet and ending in "Let's not fight in front of the kids again :)". I was pretty baffled- one minute a cold outburst, next minute chirpy over-friendliness and god know where the kids came from! Honestly I couldn't be bothered to reply; I'm not one to bow to men's hormonal tantrums, especially from those I've only known for 5 minutes, so instead I decided to just put this one down to experience.

Unfortunately as you can tell Challenge One was a bit of a failure for me, but I've got much higher hopes for Challenge Two which involves pubs and costumes no less! And at least I've learnt one thing- men who don't recycle batteries just aren't worth my time.

This is a sponsored post in association with JustSingles
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