Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Beauty Without Breaking the Bank...

This is going to be a relatively short post, but I wanted to tackle it because so many people have been asking recently how I can afford so many beauty products all the time and I wanted to give some great tips on how you can try the latest products without spiralling into a pathetic mess of debt and only eating Pot Noodle for the rest of your life... S
o here goes! :)

1) Be a cheeky scrounger. I know that sounds terrible, but if you don't ask then you don't get and most department store beauty counters in particular have a treasure trove full of products that they can give away for free if you show an interest in their products. For example, my recent review of Clarins' Eclat du Jour range was entirely funded by free mini-samples which absolutely anyone can get! (That review can be found at Benefit will often dispense a little of their foundation or skincare formulas into a little pot for prospective customers to take home and try. Most make-up counters will give you a free make-over if you simply tell them your make-up bag is in need of a revamp, which means you can have a perfectly done Estee Lauder face in time for prom or a hot date without spending a penny. Even a store like Lush, where most products can be tried in-store anyway will give out a little free sample of a new product if you ask at the till as you're purchasing another product.

So you don't want to be cheeky? Simply say, 'I'm looking for a new product/range and I've heard great things about *INSERT BRAND* I was wondering if I could take away some sample-sized products to try/have a quick makeover before deciding if the brand is right for me.' With the makeover, don't feel pressured to buy as soon as the assistant is finished. Tell her that you are going to go and shop for a couple of hours to see how the products hold up (any beauty fanatic should understand this as our skin changes throughout the day and some products may break us out, or melt, or dry our skin) and that you if all goes well that you might be back later to purchase a couple of items.

I love when a company gives things away for free, because that tells me that they are confident enough in their product that they know that once I've tried it, I will come back. So as for those stingy companies that refuse to give out samples, they probably aren't the sort of brand you want to buy from anyway.

2) Enter competitions. Virtually all magazines, beauty brands and stores selling cosmetics run competitions almost every day whereby you can win beauty products. It's literally just a case of 'Like'ing their facebook pages and checking them and their websites frequently. I recently won a luxury sample-sized Burberry Body Eau de Parfum literally just by clicking 'Like' on their facebook page. For these last couple of days in September, is a good place to start. Devote half an hour a day to entering competitions and just wait for the wins to roll on in! Also, sign up for Free Stuff World's newsletter as they often advertise about free samples companies are giving.

3) If you are only interested in trying the latest products on the market and not a brand or product in particular, try subscribing to GlossyBox at or Boudoir Prive at These are two companies which have begun in the UK over the past couple of months, and basically the idea is that you pay a non-committal subscription fee of £10 a month (although I've heard rumors that GlossyBoxes may go up to £12 a month) and in return you receive a parcel of 5 or 6 luxury-sample-sized beauty products which are brand new to the market. It's great value for money and allows subscribers to build up their collection whilst trying out some of the hottest products before others can purchase them. Personally, I haven't subscribed to either just yet as I wanted to read a couple of reviews first. It seems like GlossyBox is better for getting better known brands such as OPI and Nars products, but Boudoir Prive tends to deliver more product for your money. Either way, £10 for five luxury-brand beauty products is an absolute steal!

4) Get the Boots magazine! Health and Beauty often has tons of discounts in the back which can be really useful. Also, make sure you have a Boots Advantage Card, Debenhams Beauty Club Card, Superdrug Beauty Card or the equivalent points card for wherever you usually buy your products. These cards offer you points in exchange for spending money with them. For example, at Boots for every £1 you spend, you get 4 pence worth of points. I currently have over £20 worth of points on my card which means I've spent A LOT of money in Boots. Oh dear.

5) Get a job in a high street pharmacy or department store beauty counter! At most beauty counters you are encouraged to apply a full face of tester products by whichever brand you work for, plus you'll get a discount as you would if you worked in Boots or Superdrug. Both are currently looking for staff for over the Christmas break as are most major department stores. Plus you are likely to get the first glance at any brand new products... result!

So those are my top five tips. I have a couple more but they take a little more effort...

6) Start reviewing products on a blog or video blog and once you've posted these to the internet, advertise them on the company's facebook page and email the company's inquiries department. This can usually be found on the 'Contact Us' tab of any beauty brand's website. Flatter the company and drop the hint that you'd love to try more of their products in the future and just see what happens! I personally haven't received any products after doing this although companies almost always reply saying thank you for taking the time to use and review their products and I guess if you get enough readers and followers and review enough of their products eventually they might send you some bits. Having said that, my friend and fellow blogger Vikki (who can be found at has been quite successful with it in the past.

7) Invest money in events where you are likely to receive a goodie bag. This is a biggie because it usually costs money to buy tickets to events, but it's good because not only do you get the experience of going to the event, but also a bunch of products you didn't have before. At the Marie Claire Inspire and Mentor events, so far the goodie bags have been worth around £60, which considering you often only pay £35 for the ticket is NOT BAD. It's a similar case with conventions such as IMATS, The Clothes Show Live and Britain's and Ireland's Next Top Model Live.

I hope that has been helpful to you all. If you have a beauty obsession like me, it really doesn't have to cost you a fortune at all. If it did, I wouldn't do it :) What are your money saving beauty tips? Let me know; I can do with all the help I can get!


Why Good Customer Service is More Important than Ever!

At risk of this turning into a massive rant-blog, I want to say one thing: I HATE BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE.

I don't know if it's because I've worked for numerous companies where customer service is key (FedEx UK and The Disney Company anyone?) or if it's that I treat customers as I would like to be treated if I was parting with cash. Whatever it it, all I know is I hate it and I refuse to be treated badly by people who are paid to be helpful and polite to me.

Firstly, let me say that I'm not under any pretense that I am some sort of royalty and should be treated as such. I know I'm nothing special and I'm not saying at all that I should be given more attention than any of my fellow customers. What I AM saying is that these days, when money is as tight as it is, staff need to work hard for their wage and prove to customers that whatever they are buying is worth the money they are spending.

This applies to shops, restaurants, salons, mobile phone companies and even my university to a certain extent.

Don't get me wrong, I am not 'tight' with money. I love spending money (just check out my Fall Haul video at if you don't believe me!) But when money is hard to come by for everyone, not to mention that I'm living a student lifestyle whilst trying to keep worries about the doom of my impending university debt at bay, it's not outrageous that I want to make sure that every penny is going towards something totally deserving.

That's why I feel like companies need to work harder to train staff to reassure us with their demeanor that we won't regret this spend and that it is completely worth it.

Think of it this way: Shops are still selling the same products as before, but with an inflated price in an economy where there is quite simply less money. They need to offer better deals, chase us with our best interests at heart, and just generally work hard to make you sure that we didn't make a mistake in choosing their store to shop in. What can they offer to seal the deal and show the consumer that they are doing the right thing? They need to make the entire transaction from beginning to end a positive experience, and one great place to start is by training the staff to treat the customer with interest and respect.

Whenever the following steps are completed, I am a happy customer;

1) Make sure your staff have a comprehensive grasp of at least basic social skills and good manners. During a trip to WHSmith recently, the shop assistant who was sat at the check-out was so much of a moron that I began to wonder if she actually suffered some sort of terrible debilitating social disability. I soon realized that she didn't when she was mouthing off to 'Maureen' about how she hates it when customers don't put items back in the right places. She didn't look me in the eye, didn't ask if I wanted a bag to put my purchases in (I'm hardly going to carry three magazines and two notepads in my clutch now, am I???) and merely grunted at me 'Twelve fifty.' I'm sure what she meant to say was, 'That will be twelve pounds fifty then please. Would you like a bag?'

I don't think it's too much to ask for staff to be polite, present positive body language and be professional whilst they are at work. For example, the extreme sharing of personal anecdotes at work offer nothing to the customer except for boredom. Why do I care that you're having to get the bus home from work at the end of your shift because your stupid 'partner' filled the car with diesel instead of petrol? Don't bore me with your life. If I was interested, I'd ask.

2) Employers should make sure that the staff to customer ratio is right. If I see only two people working at the pub when the bar is rammed with a crowd three-deep I immediately pity the staff and begin to marvel at the manager's stupidity. Human nature results in you being surrounded with subconscious concern and irritation which doesn't exactly provide a good start to what was supposed to be a carefree night of 'Drinks with the Girls', does it?

Furthermore, it's a nightmare if the few members of staff working don't actually know how to operate the technology they're required to use. At Topshop recently, I wanted to make a very simple exchange of one top to a smaller size. And yet, after ten minutes of waiting at the till looking around for someone to help me, the sales assistant that finally loped over with a face like I'd come and kicked her new kitten didn't know how to 'put it through'. She then looked at me as if expecting me to say, 'Oh alright then, I'll keep it, sorry for the inconvenience!' When she realized I wasn't going anywhere, out of laziness she 'radioed' her colleague who was only stood about five meters away. This colleague, or 'Kelly' as she was called, then demonstrated that her reluctance to help anyone far outweighed the assistant at the till by describing how to do the transaction in the dullest and least informative way possible. Eventually she skulked over and slowly made a palaver of the exchange whilst sighing and tutting. Of course I should probably feel sorry for them as they obviously struggle with that terrible condition; bone idleness.
3) Give the customer at least what they expect. Let me set the scene, I am about to buy a pair of wedges in Miss Selfridge for £75. This is a big spend for me, the most I've spent on shoes to date in fact, so I'm excited and a little nervous, but looking forward to owning such a luxurious item. The only pair they have in my size are the display pair, but I don't mind as they seem to be in good condition, so I take them to the till. The disinterested sales assistant drops them into a plastic bag which she slides across the counter and asks for my £75. I'm gobsmacked.
"Erm, excuse me, could I have a box for them please?"

"We don't have a box for them."

*Insert confused face*

"How were they delivered to the store then?"

"They were in a box but we threw it away."

*Still confused*

"That's odd... Why would you do that?"

"The boxes were cluttering up our stockroom."

This is the bit where I started to get angry.

"What... can I just get this straight, you just chucked £75 worth of shoes into a plastic bag because you can't give me a box, and you can't give me a box because of the state of your stockroom???"


"Why should I give one what your stockroom looks like? If I'm spending this much money on a pair of shoes, the very least I should expect is a box to carry them around in to prevent them from getting damaged. Is that an unfair or surprising request???"

"I'll go and find you a box."

Yes, you do that.

4) Presentation is vital. That goes for the staff as well as the shop floor. I don't want to seem my waiter's graying boxers, or my bank assistants black bra through her white shirt. Similarly, I don't really feel comfortable looking at my shop assistants lipstick-teeth or her pussing zit that she forgot to cover up that morning. By the same token, why would I was to eat in a restaurant if I know that I wouldn't make a pig urinate in their disgusting toilets? My table is sticky, I don't want to drink in this pub because if they are so unclean out-front where the customers are, can you imagine the state of the pot-wash room??? Is there a way I can try on a new pair of jeans without removing my shoes? There must be a way because there is no chance under the sun that I'm putting my bare feet on the dusty floor in your rancid dressing room. No-one has an excuse for being unhygienic. Surely part of what the staff are paid for is maintaining a clean working environment, (it's been part of every single job description I'VE ever received so it must be) so why aren't they doing it?

5) Go the extra mile! Usually if I'm spending my money in a shop, it is because I trust the brand and have certain expectations of how I will be treated there. I have chosen the brand because it has something extra which others don't have, it makes me feel special and the whole experience of purchasing there is a pleasure. I'm not only spending my money on the product but the entire experience, so I want it to be good. This means that pleasant helpful staff need to be involved; asking how I'm getting on when I'm in the dressing room, offering to order in an out-of-stock item especially for me and telling me I look gorgeous when I'm trying the item on. Approaching me when I'm looking at an item and recommending a similar item I might be interested in also, advising me on what would go well with the thing I have in my hand when I'm still looking around and asking if I found everything OK when I reach the till. Volunteering to show me how to apply a foundation I'm looking at, offering a free sample or telling me about an upcoming sale. Informing me about other services offered, recommending a favorite dessert or helping me to find a birthday present for my sister. These are all examples of how shop assistants themselves can help make me sure that my money is being well spent allowing them to be paid a fair wage.

As a consumer, I really don't think it's too much to ask for the staff to actually EARN their wage by following the above tips. And it's definitely not to much to ask the same of the managers, supervisors and bosses to ensure that these tips are adhered to. It's not hard.

Have any of you guys been experiencing any bad customer service recently? Where and why? Do you complain if a member of staff is rude to you? Do you send food back if it is cold or unappetizing (as I've done quite often this summer... International House of Pancakes and Pizza Hut are the main culprits)? You really should. In this day and age, we can't afford to waste a single penny on something that isn't entirely worth it. And remember, the customer is always right!


Are You A Feminist?

The past century has seen sexism come to be one of the top ways in which one can discriminate. This was brought into question through the fact that 'feminists' decided that they were being treated unfairly and that it should stop and hence has had much publicity over recent years and has resulted in fewer instances of a woman being judged or treated differently solely based on her gender.

So women are no longer campaigning for the vote, or burning their bras or chaining themselves to railings in order to get their message out and yet feminism is still active today, and what I was asked by a self-confessed 'feminist' friend of mine recently really got me thinking; "Are you a feminist?"

It's terrible, but certain stigma has been attached to those calling themselves feminists... Still to this day they are often considered unfeminine trouble-makers. There are even ignorant people out there who would call them 'men-haters', and in extreme cases 'butch' and other similarly derogatory names implying lesbianism because some assume women only fight for women's freedom because they 'love' women and 'hate' men. Of course, this is not the case.
Feminists are women who believe that men and women should be treated equally. It's as simple as that. So yes, I guess I am a feminist. It makes me angry that for the most part men are still on higher rates of pay than women who do the same jobs. It makes me mad that men are often chosen ahead of women for jobs purely because employers don't want to hire someone who may one day require maternity leave and pay. It makes me sad that there are still such negative connotations to various words used to describe women in comparison to the equivalent for men... if you don't believe me just consider the differences between 'bachelor' and 'spinster' or 'slut' and 'player', plus there are tons more examples out there. It confuses me that women are still considered as their father's property until they become that of their husband, demonstrated by the fact that most women take on their husband's names... Mrs Dr John Doe for example, why isn't she just considered as herself? It makes me shake with rage that some people out there, including Constable Michael Sanguinetti believe that a woman should be judged and hence treated 'accordingly' based on their appearance and the way they dress. The reason this makes me shake with rage is because this Toronto Constable actually suggested that 'Women should avoid dressing like sluts' in order to lessen the chances of rape. Shocking, right?

It's amazing that in this day and age people still go along with sexist conventions purely for the sake of maintaining tradition. So sexuality is being embraced more openly these days (in the past a man would have to secretly find a prostitute if he wanted to let off some steam, whereas now he need only buy a girl a drink before he has her in his bed... or in the club car park, depending on what that girl allows of course) and yet it still remains a taboo for a woman to explore her sexuality as openly. If we have become less 'prudish' over the years, then more power to us, but let's try and make the lack of judgement one-size-fits-all... Whatever the 'rules' are, they should apply to everyone!

Personally, I am not the kind of girl who wants to go on a night out and pull lots of guys, but I would like the option to if I so chose, without being concerned about how society would consider me because I'm a woman. That's the whole point of feminism; if you want to be a housewife, then that's fine! But the opportunity to be a politician, doctor or lawyer should be there too!
So that's one case where I don't want to go to the party but it would have been nice to be asked. And yet there are other cases where I do want to go to the party... and dress like a 'slut' if I feel like it, without being raped (SO THERE, CONSTABLE MICHAEL SANGUINETTI!) For
example, I don't want to be defined by the men in my life. I'm my own person.

Since I made this revelation I have decided to take on the less conventional 'Ms.' rather than 'Miss' or 'Mrs'. 'Ms' means I am a woman and you don't need to know whether I'm taken or 'belong' to a man for you to make your opinions about who I am and what I'm capable of. It's just a small change, but I figured, 'If men don't have to declare their marital status in paperwork, then why should I?'

Also, since the 'SlutWalk' campaign which took place on the 11th of June this year I have definitely decided that I will be attending the walk next year. Thousands of women took to the streets wearing the most provocative clothes they own, baring as much flesh as they wanted and marched in the name of the importance of sexual consent. Women who have been raped, or molested in the past walked with their heads held high and those who have been lucky enough never to have experienced something so terrible supported them anyway and marched carrying banners stating 'Cleavage does not mean consent', 'Short skirts don't cause rape, Rapists do' and 'Whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no'.
This made me realize that if women want to stand any chance of being treated as equals to men, we need to stand together. Just because we may not be affected by sexism right now doesn't mean we'll never face that barrier... Plus, I think feminism is cool, so we really have no

I'm not saying every girl or woman out there should go out and wear no clothes, apply for a high powered job and introduce themselves as 'Ms.' However, we really should be more aware and understanding to those sorts of examples...

I hope I've given you some food for thought. Hopefully I will see as many of you as possible at next year's SlutWalk which can be found at but until then, answer me this... Are You A Feminist?

Love and kisses

MS. gabriellasofia

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Marie Claire Inspire and Mentor How to Get into Beauty with Estee Lauder!

Monday night was one of those life-changing times when you have an epiphany and just KNOW what you want to do for the rest of your life. If that's not inspiring enough then I don't know what is! The How to Get into Beauty with Estee Lauder evening was a cut above the rest... The previous two Inspire and Mentor sessions I've been to with Marie Claire featured skin-care company founder, Liz Earle, and one half of the power siblings which dreamt up Premier Model Management, Carole White, both of whom I found incredibly inspirational, and yet neither of those seminars compared to this.

Marie Claire's Inspire and Mentor campaign basically encourages women up and down the country to get involved in their dream careers, from publishing and fashion to business and (in this case) beauty. A collection of seminars, lectures, networking opportunities, one-on-one mentoring sessions and frequent updates at have made the campaign a success so far with hundreds of women chasing after their career dreams and testifying that they have Marie Claire to thank for it. I really hope and expect that one day I will be one of them!

As a subscriber to Marie Claire's email newsletter, I received an email about two weeks ago, telling me that I could attend the Estee Lauder Inspire and Mentor session in Manchester for just £10 rather than the usual £35... Knowing how great these seminars have been in the past, I leapt at the opportunity, especially because I obviously have a massive interest in all things beauty. After roping my dad into accompanying me on my first motorway-drive to Manchester, I found myself sitting with a glass of sparkling rose wine in hand in the plush reception of Malmaison hotel at 6.30pm.

I got chatting to a couple of lovely girls including a fellow blogger Jessica Louise (who's blog can be found at as I nibbled at (ie. scarfed down) some of the yummy little smoked salmon and goats cheese canapes and made sure that my lipstick was still intact.

I decided to wear a little pink, black, tan and lavender watercolor-print skirt, (all items can be seen in my Fall Haul video at with the maroon colored sweater, gothic cross necklace, tan brogue heels and camel blazer from Forever 21 and as it was a little chilly out I also threw on my granite-like tights from Delia's. I'd curled my hair then raked my fingers through it for that 70's look and kept my make-up relatively simple with a neutral eye, rosy cheeks and wine-colored matte lips, courtesy of MAC Cosmetics... I felt super-comfy in my outfit yet also felt like I looked good; RESULT!

Anyways enough about that. Once the seminar started we noted the panel of super-chic, beauty royalty... Lisa Oxenham Beauty Director of Marie Claire, Anna Rozelaar Communications Manager for Estee Lauder and Alan Pan Global Make-Up Artist for Estee Lauder. Of course they all had perfect complexions and generally looks super healthy and happy to be there!

Lisa 'I-Want-Her-Job' Oxenham (as I so fondly refer to her) inspired me with her story of how she went from a History of Art student at Manchester University to the most influential beauty guru at one of the top magazines in the country. Initially wishing to become a fashion stylist, work experience at Cosmopolitan and More magazine (amongst others) fueled her interest in journalism, a passion which she initially pursued by working in the Beauty PR industry, writing and styling the odd photo shoot. Now, having worked her way up through More magazine, transferring to InStyle as Beauty Editor then transferring again to her present role, Lisa Oxenham has spent the past four-and-a-half to five years working for Marie Claire and seems to really love her job. Hence the 'I-Want-Her-Job' part :)

With a CV like that, it can't be argued that if there is ever going to be someone to trust regarding this season's beauty trends, it's her! That's why when she told the group about how Full-Bodied Lips (a trend I was already rocking during the seminar... 1 'Cool Point' for gabriellasofia :)), Chrome-Themed Eye Colors, 'Liner Love', Hair Buns, Red Nails and Hair Braids are going to be in for Autumn, I jotted all her tips down! Currently having a bit of a disaster with my camera, but once it's fixed I'll be posting pictures of me working these very same trends, so be sure to check back!

Of course Anna and Alan were very interesting too. Alan in fact was hilariously funny and is obviously very talented at what he does; the models one whom he demonstrated two different smoky eye looks (one natural, one drama for 'boogie nights'... his words, not mine!) looked absolutely beautiful. As for Anna, during these mini-tutorials she told us all about the products Alan was using, describing them in so much detail and with such passion that I now know that I absolutely NEED to try Estee Lauder! When someone refers to a lipstick as something 'Like a chocolate truffle, the outside gives you what you want in color whilst the inside gives you that added moisturizing luxury...' I really stood no chance... Pure Color Sensuous Rouge by Estee Lauder is officially on my Christmas list. Yes, I still write Santa a list. If you don't ask you don't get, right?

After the seminar there was an opportunity to ask questions, but I think everyone found the session so informative that the questions were very basic and there weren't many. And yet once it was all over, each of the speakers was surrounded by a gaggle of girls wanting more... Of course I was one of those girls, but rather than jumping straight into line with the others, I took a moment to write a little note with my details down for Lisa... At the beginning of the seminar she advised anyone interested in Beauty to have cut-outs, clippings, swatches, photographs etc of anything that inspires us to be creative with beauty. The fact that I've been doing that since I was a little girl is neither here nor there, because the nub of the story hinges on her following statement, 'I've still got all of my cut-outs although they really need organizing...' BOOM. Once I'd finished writing down my digits, email address and the title of this blog (Hello Lisa if you're reading :)) I approached her, introduced myself and told her that I would like to organize them for her if she'll let me. Lisa was as lovely in person as she had appeared during her presentation and asked me some questions about myself, my course and my plans for the future.

I explained as simply as I could with all my nerves sending my hearty a-flutter, that I want to be a Beauty Writer because I find a million things to say about every beauty product I use. I feel like I can find a story in every mascara, a culture in shampoo, a history in a vitamin supplement... I know I don't know everything about beauty, but that's what excites me, the fact that the industry is rapidly changing with new science constantly inspiring fresh ideas. All of which culminate in that sexy feeling which millions of women across the world experience when they step out wearing a new truffle-like lipstick (thanks again Anna Rozelaar!)
Anyways, the result of all that? Lisa urged me to keep contact with her which sounds like a good sign :) I am going to forward her a copy of my CV soon and hopefully get some work experience with her at Marie Claire... watch this space and wish me luck, Readers!

The whole point of this blog is for me to share with you the extra sparkle that I had in my smile after the Inspire and Mentor seminar. The panel really pumped me up, educated me on a topic which I adore, and made me realize once and for all that beauty really is for me! Beauty is for everyone. If you don't believe me, just refer back to the one theory which upon the humble beginnings of her company in 1946 inspired Estee Lauder herself; that every woman can be beautiful.

Thanks again Marie Claire, Lisa, Anna and Alan for a fantastic evening. I recommend Marie Claire's Inspire and Mentor seminars to everyone! So what are you waiting for?

gabriellasofia x

Haute Future - Fall Haul Video...

So guess what... I've been SHOPPING!!! Haha. Honestly most of these Fall items were purchased in the United States over the summer, but some of the bits have been bought since I've been home! The stores include Forever 21, Delia's, Urban Decay, MAC, Icing by Claire's Accessories, Carmex and Boots.

I would describe my look this seasons as collegiate chic what with the blazers and the A-line short-ish skirts. I would probably say that I've gone with a 1940's look for my make-up what with the deep wine colored lipstick and neutral eye shades, I might incorporate a flick with my eyeliner to give a more 'Pin Up' effect... Hmmm, so many options :)

Anyways, as usual all of the clothing items and beauty products were purchased them with my own money and I have not been encouraged by any company to do this tutorial... And yet I'm super excited about trying them all out and would say that most of the things were purchased from stores or brands that I have used for a while and trust with the quality of their products... hopefully they won't disappoint this time! Now for the painful part... This is how much they cost:

Gothic Cross Necklace - $4.80 Forever 21
Sweater Green - $19.90 Forever 21
Sweater Maroon - $19.90 Forever 21
Shorts Yellow - $34.50 Delia's
Brown Brogues - $24.80 Forever 21
Suedette Khaki Booties - $27.50 Forever 21
Heeled Tan Brogues - $25.80 Forever 21
Granite Coloured Panty Hose - $12.50 Delia's
Plum/Wine Coloured Panty Hose - $12.50 Delia's
Black Blazer with Tiny Blue Polka Dots - $32.80 Forever 21
Camel Coloured Blazer with Striped Lining - $27.80 Forever 21
Short Chiffon-y Nautical Skirt - $16.80 Forever 21
Autumn Leaf Coloured Skirt - $14.80 Forever 21
Pink/Lavender/Black/Tan Watercolour Skirt - $34.50 Delia's all available at
Blue/Gray/ Black Flower Dress - $22.80 Forever 21 all available at
Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Shadow Collection - $55 available at
MAC Sin Lipstick - £13.50 MAC
MAC Nightmoth Lip Liner - £14.00 MAC
MAC Frankly Scarlett Blush - £17.00 MAC
MAC Brun - £9.50 MAC
MAC Outre - £9.50 MAC
MAC Woodwinked - £ 9.50 MAC
MAC Blanc Type - £9.50 MAC all available at
ICING by Claire's Accessories Gold Glitter Polish - $4.50 ICING
ICING by Claire's Accessories Blue Glitter Polish - $4.50 ICING available at
Barry M Red Glitter Nail Paint - £2.99 Boots
Carmex Moisture Plus - £4.50 Boots
Boots Tea Tree Witch Hazel Spot Wand - £3.56 Boots all available at

Hope you liked the video, let me know what you've been buying for this season!

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Please rate, comment and subscribe and I promise there will be loads of beauty, fashion, lifestyle, culture and gossip material going up on here each week :)

Thanks for watching, angels.

gabriellasofia x

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

I've been a Naughty Little Blogger...

Hi guys... I feel as if I'm walking to the headmaster's office to receive a stern telling off for making the boys cry in the playground or something (which did actually happen once... I kicked Patrick Shaw in the goolies because he wouldn't leave me alone... moving on!)

I am so sorry I haven't blogged over the past couple of days! I went caravaning (can that be used as a verb?) in Wales with my grandparents this weekend, and as it is based in the butt-crack of nowhere, there was *insert dramatic music* NO INTERNET!!! I know, it was a traumatic experience, yet here I stand before you today, I stood in the face of adversity and came out the other side in one piece... "Thank you, thank you!"

So I got back from Wales on Sunday night, but was sick with some sort of pre-migraine type symptoms. Luckily they never developed into an ACTUAL migraine but still, feeling sick and dizzy with a kind of bruised feeling in your head is never good, so I went to bed super early.

Yesterday was Monday which I spent the entirety of getting ready for Marie Claire's latest in the Inspire and Mentor series; How to Get into Beauty with Estee Lauder. I did film a couple of videos for you along the way, such as my much-awaited (by all 20 of my readers...) Fall Haul video which I'm hoping to post up later today, and also a How I Do My Eyebrows Tutorial, which was kind of unplanned so I'm hoping to upload that later on in October, unless someone is having an eyebrow disaster right now and desperately needs the video... let me know in the comments box below!

Today I'm working for my parents at their milkshake bar The Hippy Hippy Shake from 1 until 5, then I assume I'll come home to have some dinner, get editing and posting that Haul Video, then I think I'll write a review of last night... I really had a fantastic time with Marie Claire, this is the third of this type of event I've been to, and each one has been really interesting so I urge all my readers to look out for future events of this kind at

Now, I'm going to go take a shower and get myself ready for work, once again I apologize for my recent absence but promise that all the material I promised you on the 1st of September will be going up very soon :)

What are you up to today? Let me know!

gabriellasofia x

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Review - Clarins Eclat du Jour Range...

When I was wandering through Boots in my hometown the other day, I was delighted when I was approached by a Clarins representative, telling me that I could claim three 'Mini-Treats' from Clarins' Eclat du Jour range and have my skin evaluated for free right then and there. Never one to give up a great freebie, my sister and I both went for it!

The lovely lady took a look at our skin and asked us a few questions; you know the sort, 'Are you prone to breakouts?', 'How would you describe your skin's overall health?' etc. So you know, I would say that I am prone to breakouts, around my chin in particular (she determined that this is hormone-based, and when I admitted that these breakouts arrive about a week before my period it was official). I also said that my T-Zone kind of alternates between being greasy and dry. And so it was decided - I have Combination Skin. Once my sister skin was described as falling into the 'Dry' the lady gave is a mini-catalogue each, circling the skincare routine (and hence items) which would be right for us on a daily basis. She then left us for a couple of minutes, and when she returned she had three mini-products for each of us; a cleanser, toner and moisturizer for me, and a cleanser, exfoliating peel and moisturizer for my sister. She showed us how each of the items work (the peel was particularly interesting... whilst I don't fully understand the science behind it, it basically dissolves and dis-attaches the dry skin from your face allowing it all to be rubbed off... definitely an investment I might make in the future!) It was as easy as that! In ten minutes we got three mini Clarins products that were specifically chosen for our skin to go and try in the comfort of our own home for FREE!!! Result :) The best part? The lady on the counter admitted that most Clarins counters provide this service all year round, even though they may not advertise it, so next time you're in Boots or a department store with a Clarins counter, just run along, say something like, 'I'm interesting in purchasing some Clarins
skincare products for my daily routine, but I'd like some samples to try first, could you please help me?' They should be willing and eager if my Boots-lady is anything to go by!

Anyways, so naturally we tried the range as soon as we got home and the mini-products have actually lasted me a whole week when I used them once a day. I can honestly say that the condition of my skin has massively improved. Here are the products I was given and a quick review on each:

Product name: Clarins Daily Energizer Cleansing Gel

Product claim: 'A refreshing foaming cleanser that leaves your face squeaky clean and super soft. Essential skin care for radiant young skin.'

Personal experience: Despite not usually liking foaming cleansers, I actually got on quite well with this. A pea-sized amount was enough for my entire
face and worked up a very rich lather, feeling really luxurious and creamy. Plus the product smells very refreshing and pleasant, although not usually what I would go for... I prefer menthol, or minty smells in my cleansers. Despite my anticipation during use that my face would feel quite moist following use of the product due entirely to the richness of the lather, I was actually quite disappointed as my face felt really quite tight after I'd rinsed it all off and dried my face. However, upon close inspection of my pores, my face was indeed cleaner than it probably had been for a while. I soon got used to the drying quality and I have had quite a 'clear skin week' since starting use
of the product. Also, my skin was super-soft after I'd used it and it was a great wake-up call in the morning Perhaps I'm onto a winner! 8/10

Price in store: £10.50 at

Product name: Clarins Daily Energizer Wake-Up Booster

Product claim: 'Recharges skin energy and revives a healthy glow. Its moisturizing action
ensure a soft, smooth look while its toning benefits refresh and provides a pleasant feeling of well-being. The complexion is radiant and luminous.'

Personal experience: I don't often use toners, and when I do I only use them in the evening to remove any excess make-up my cleanser may have missed. Again the scent was pleasant and the product did remove the remaining traces from the day. However, I did not feel that the action carried out by the product was 'moisturizing' at all, as again I experience the tight, drying feeling. Then again, maybe that is due to my skin being 'toned' as I assume 'toner' is supposed to do... I did like the product, but wouldn't use it every, perhaps only those when I wear make-up as I'm concerned it might dry me out a little too much and it's not very comfortable once it's been used. Again though, it did revive me when I tried it in the morning one day as it's a nice cool liquid with a refreshing smell. Not bad. 6/10

Price in store: £15.00 at

Product name: Clarins Daily Energizer Cream Gel

Product claim: 'A refreshing and light cream-gel that delivers ideal hydration and a matte finish. Non-oily, it’s also a perfect base for make-up. An innovative combination of plant extracts. An energizing cream-gel that refreshes skin, ensures a matte result and ideal moisture balance all day long.'

Personal experience: I can't quite decided how I feel about this product as I usually prefer a thicker, creamier formula. However in this case, the moisturizer is in fact a gel. This is in order to combat any oiliness that may reside in my skin, and I do understand that... And yet I still felt quite tight all over and didn't quite enjoy that sensation. When I was spreading it across my face I felt it turn powdery and matte almost instantly so I eventually worked out that patting it across my face worked better. That isn't to say I didn't like the mattifying effect - quite the opposite, it worked wonders during my foundation routine and I used way less powder than usual - I just didn't want it to dry before it had reached all areas of my face. I found it really interesting that a gel such as this could have as nice an effect as a thicker cream! Great success on the whole, plus I loved the smell. My face stayed pretty matte all day as the brand claims, so I was really quite impressed! 8/10
Price in store: £19.50 at

Overall I was really happy with Clarins. I love a brand which has enough confidence in itself that they provide product samples for free - they know that you'll come back and buy. I am almost positive that once my Liz Earle products are all run out I will be investing in the Clarins cleansing gel and the cream gel also.

So now you know how great my experience with the brand has been, it's up to you! Take care of your skin and don't stay with the products you already have, just because you're used to them. There may be better for you out there, so request samples whenever you can. Your face is on show every day, don't you think it deserves the right treatment? Make sure you make Clarins your first stop!

Take care and thanks for reading :)