Monday, 29 July 2013

Bloggers July London Meetup.

Saturday was the Bloggers July London Meetup. On the Friday night some friends and I had a big night at my favourite club, Roof Gardens, for some bankers event (the girls and I tagged along with the guys for the free entry and booze). I then stayed over at a friend's place who lives right by the club, and thought 'oh perfect I can just stay in London for the meetup and won't have to go home'. Idiot me then wakes up and realizes that I have nothing to wear for the meetup apart from heels and my LBD. Woops. Cue a mad dash back to Surrey to get changed into something more suitable! 

After my faux pas I arrived at the meetup a little late, which turned out to be quite a good thing as it was in full swing and everyone was chatting and enjoying the cocktails and amazing cake-pops. No awkwardness for being the first one there! It was absolutely lovely meeting Helen who organized the event, I've been a huge fan of her beauty blog Beautifully Superfluous since she first started it. She kindly mentioned me in one of her first posts, and I've been addicted to her awesome reviews and friendly tone of voice ever since!

As well as meeting Helen I also met some other fab bloggers, including Sam from sjmwell, April from A Pretty Wardrobe, Lauren from Laurenella, Vicky from Barefoot Days, and then three bloggers I've been following for a loooong time; Grace from All That Slap, who was even more lovely than she appears in her blog/twitter, and put a huge smile on my face just because she was so crazy and friendly! Ellie from Style and Starbucks, who is just as tall as she looks in her blog - so incredibly jealous of those long legs, and Islay from, who has the most gorgeous long dark hair, ever. Cue more green-eyed envy. 

We all chatted, took photos, and had eyelashes put on by Paperself, ate lots of cake pops, which tasted incredible, and drank some yummy cocktails! 

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The Paperself lashes experience was really good, you can see us all wearing them in the photo above! I was umming and ahhing whether to do it because of my sensitive eyes, but eventually decided to just do it. The lady was absolutely lovely, even when I asked the stupid question 'will it hurt when I remove them?'. You can see the photos below of her applying them, and there's a close-up of my ones - I just got corner ones rather than a full set.

Sam getting her lashes put on

Although I loved them and they're so so pretty, I could see them in the corner of my eye and it was really annoying me, I also felt like they were going to fall off. I'd never worn fake eyelashes before so I think it would have just taken a bit of getting used to, but I removed them after a couple of hours as I got all impatient and frustrated with them.

After a couple of hours we were all handed huge goody bags packed full of beauty products, and headed off in our little groups to go shopping. Our group consisted of Sam, April, Ellie, Islay, Ana and Lauren. We went to Boots and I had a spritz of the new Marc Jacobs Honey perfume (luuuush), wandered around, and then headed up Regents Street which was absolutely packed with tourists. The highlight of the shopping was definitely the photobooth at Topshop, we couldn't all squeeze in so broke down into two groups, here's the photo of me, Sam and April. My hair sort of managed to take up most of the space... :/ woops!

Lauren then left and the rest of us decided to just go for it and all squeeze into the booth...this was the result... (I'm at the back with April this time...I didn't want my hair taking all the limelight again...)

I had such a great day at the meetup, it was just lovely meeting so many bloggers who I've spoken to so often on Twitter and putting faces and voices to blogs. When I got home I emptied the goody bag and it was like Christmas! I'll do a separate post on that though, so keep an eye out for it over the next few days :)

Also if you're interested, the nail polish I wore was OPI 'Kiss me on my Tulips' from the Dutch Treats Holland Mini Collection. I'm pretty sure it was that shade, but it's quite bright on my nails and swatches on other blogs show it as being quite a paler pink. On my nails it's more of a hot pink, so it may be a different shade, I buy so many of the mini collections I can never remember which bottle is which shade!


Sunday, 28 July 2013

Lux Life's Two Year Birthday.

Gosh, I literally can't believe it's been two years since I started my wee blog. I'm actually getting a bit emotional thinking about how quickly the time has gone...however I always get emotional when thinking about how quickly the time goes lol. I didn't do a one year birthday post as I forgot (woops!), so this is going to be quite long and make up for that! 

It's so weird to think just how much has changed since I first started this blog. When I began it I wasn't in a very good place; I was at Uni just wanting to get out, I was in an unhealthy relationship that was about to end, and I was absolutely terrified of the future. I also used to cry, every day, without fail. Now, everything has changed for the better. I'm finally out of Uni and have my degree, I got out of the unhealthy relationship, and I've been focusing on me rather than someone else. It's been absolutely lovely having some proper time to figure out who I am, how I've grown up, and where I'm heading in my life and what I want. And boy, do I want to do a lot with my life!

I honestly think it's been vital to me maturing and finding myself. And this blog has helped me a huge amount. It gave me a focus when I didn't have a focus, it gave me an outlet to vent my frustrations of my final year of Uni (most of these have now been reverted to draft), and it gave me a space to write about all of the things I love. From friends, family, exploring new places, finding new restaurants, discovering new products, and everything in between. 

It took a while for me to really find myself in my blog. For the first six months or so I just blogged about everything that came into my head, and it didn't really have much of a structure...or many photos. But after some guidance from friends and fellow bloggers, I finally found myself, and it all fell into place. I also had the courage to fill every post with photographs...I'm still a bit confused about why I was so worried about posting photos on here before?! 

As well as having some wonderful experiences thanks to my blog, I've also met some amazing people, made great friends, and have been lucky enough to work with some great companies. It was also partly down to my blog that I got my job so soon after finishing Uni! So I just want to say a huge thank you, to all of you who have supported me and read my posts, I'm so incredibly grateful and really hope you've enjoyed them and found some of them useful. 

You can see my first post here, and you can see my 2012 yearly round-up here. I hope you'll stick around and continue reading, as I'm quite excited about the future now and can't wait to share my journey with you all, as well as the many beauty products, restaurants, bars, clubs and countries, that I still have to review! I promise i'll do a giveaway as soon as I'm back from my holidays, but in the meantime, I think this quote describes blogging perfectly.


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Lazy Weekend in the Country.

Last weekend was a rather lazy one, but it was absolutely lovely. I've been so busy lately that it was nice to just spend some time at home in the country relaxing, especially as I have a really busy weekend in London this coming weekend. 

On Saturday I spent the day with two of my closest friends from school. We've been friends for nearly 20 years, and even though Emma and I hadn't seen Beth for over a year due to her last year at Uni, it was as though we'd never been apart! We had a lovely day chilling in the hammock in the garden, gossiping, catching up, eating lots of yummy food, and taking the dogs for a walk in the surrounding fields.

Beth decided to play housewife and baked a cake AND bread for us! What a good friend she is! I'll do a recipe for this cake soon, as it's a pretty ingenious one!

Our ultra classy picnic - homemade bread with blueberry jam and camembert, with chicken, potato salad, and mini sausages, eggs and sausage rolls, Delish!

Tizer was very jealous of all of our food and sat next to me staring hungrily at it. When I'd finished my cake he sneaked a lick of the plate... naughty!

After lunch we went for a walk in the surrounding countryside to burn all of it off. *sigh* this is why I love living in the country and being a commuter! These views and open space are worth the 4 hour daily commute, no question.

 Emma and I found a fort in the woods, so decided we had to test it out!

We then headed back to the cottage to relax and make the most of the sunshine. Emma and I stole the hammock, so Beth got lumbered with the little chair...and Tizer on her feet.

 How cute is Tully!? You simply can't say no to this face!

I couldn't be bothered to get all the old photo albums out and search for an oldie then scan it into the computer, so an early digital photo from 2006 had to do. But how much have we changed in the past 7 years!? Crazy to think how fast the time's gone, and I didn't even notice how much we'd changed until we did this. I think it's safe to say we've blossomed from awkward 15 year olds with weird poses...into, well, reasonably normal adults who are now able to smile for the camera.

It really was a perfect Saturday spent with two of my oldest and closest friends!

On Sunday I headed down to the coast with the family to visit my grandparents and have fish and chips. I haven't told her yet, and she'll find out via this blog post, but I've come up with an awesome plan to include my Nanny in my blog ;) so Nanny, as I know you'll be reading this, I'll tell you all about my plan when I next see you!

Here's a photo of my brother limbo-ing under Nanny's old phone with a 'cable'! We found it hilarious that she stretches is across the room to sit down - surely it'd be easier to get a wireless phone?


Saturday, 20 July 2013

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution.

I've been hearing amazing things about the Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution for a long time now. It's a blogger fave, and everyone raves about it, so I was expecting great things. With my sensitive skin and eczema I have to be really careful with what products I use and what ingredients they contain, and luckily this product ticks all the boxes. I've been using it for about a month now, and so far I haven't had a reaction at all and I'm loving using it!

I got the 250ml bottle, it's a clear plastic bottle with a 'flip' cap for you to pour the solution out of. I just use a cotton pad, and pour enough on to cover most of the pad, then swipe around my face starting with my eyes.

 The Micelle Solution has no problem getting all make up off, in fact it gets an entire face of make-up off in just two cotton pads. The solution doesn't really smell of anything, but it's lovely and cooling and feels really nice to use.

You can see the ingredients in the photo below. This product hasn't affected or caused my eczema to flare up at all, which is the main thing I look for in a new product that I'm using.

You can buy the Bioderma Micelle Solution from Escentual, and you can choose which size you want. Price depends on size.

Have you tried this product?


Friday, 19 July 2013

Kusmi Tea Party with Birchbox.

Last week I was invited to a tea party at the new Kusmi tea shop and cafe on Marylebone High Street, to celebrate them opening their flagship London store, and also their collaboration with beauty box Birchbox. I took my friend Ursula along with me, as she's a huuuuge tea drinker and we'd both tried Kusmi tea together when we were in Paris back in March. As well as the tea tasting good, it was then that we decided it was the prettiest tea packaging we'd ever seen, so we were both very much looking forward to the evening.

We found the shop really easily, and straight away were taken away by the variety and colour! When in Paris we'd just tried some of the tea in a supermarket, but the actual shop is beautiful! There are different teas lining every wall in the shop! We were each handed a cup of the BB Detox tea, which is Kusmi's new tea inspired by 'BB creams', with the BB Detox tea doing essentially the same thing, but the BB stands for 'Beauty Beverage'. It contains ingredients that detox your body and beautifies you from the inside out. Now I'm not a huge tea drinker usually, however I absolutely loved this tea, and it tastes especially good as an iced tea! 

How cute are the cups and straws!?

As well as being able to sample the new tea, we were also treated to delicious canapes and pastries by La Belle Epoque Patisserie, and a mini manicure from the Pamper Puff Girls. I've never had a manicure before, and I absolutely loved the experience, so will definitely be treating myself every so often from now on :)

Ursula and I were also lucky enough to talk to the Kusmi Tea PR girls, who were over from Paris for the evening. Both were absolutely lovely and it really was fascinating listening to the history of Kusmi tea and how it originated from Russia, before the family relocated to France during the revolution, hence 'Kusmi Paris'. 

We left the shop a couple of hours later, relaxed, happy, and armed with a goody bag full of tea and other lovely bits! A huge thank you to Kusmi tea, Birchbox, and Sauce Communications for a truly wonderful evening!


Thursday, 18 July 2013

An Open Letter to TGI Fridays.

Dear TGI Fridays,

Now I'm not one for writing formal complaint letters, in fact, I've never done it before. I've complained on Twitter and expressed slight disappointment with a company, product or service on my blog, but I have never ever had an experience so terrible that it left me seething with anger and wanting to vent to everyone and anyone. Nor have I had an experience so bad I felt the need to take precious time out of my busy day and write a letter of complaint. However, I have now had this experience thanks to you, and therefore, am sitting here writing this.

On Monday I stupidly tried to make a booking on your website for your Covent Garden restaurant. I mean, what a silly thing to do! Really I should have automatically known that the huge button right there saying 'London Covent Garden Book Now' with a link to an online booking form, didn't actually work, as they don't take online bookings. But no, sadly I didn't know, so tried, and failed, to make a booking. So when the online form failed, I emailed the restaurant to ask if it was working, to which I had no response.

So then I turned to modern technology, and tweeted you guys to ask if it works. Now, being a community manager myself, I know a little about social media, first thing being 'always be clear with your answer to a question'. Your social media team failed at this. They told me that your Covent Garden restaurant don't take bookings. They didn't say 'they don't take online bookings, however you can call them to book', they just said 'they don't take bookings'. Once again you just assumed I'd read your company's mind and know that actually you do take bookings over the phone, just not online. So silly of me for not realizing this. 

At this point I was slightly frustrated as I wanted something booked in for definite. There were going to be 6 of us, it was for a colleague's leaving dinner, and I know how busy you get. So I replied to that tweet and said we were a large party. They then replied with...

I thought, 'Brilliant! God I love TGI Fridays! I can't wait now!'

So yesterday we all trundled along to the restaurant after work, starving hungry and looking forward to chowing down on a big fat rack of ribs. We get to the restaurant, notice that it's empty and rub our hands together with glee at the thought of all that delicious food going into our mouths in the coming minutes. 

But then, we were slapped in the face. 

Not literally. But the guy at the door told us as there were BOOKINGS, we would have to wait up to TWO HOURS for a table. TWO. HOURS. BOOKINGS. YES. BOOKINGS. You take bookings? You don't take bookings? You said you don't take bookings? Why are there bookings? WHAT. BOOKINGS?

After being picked up from the floor from the shock and realization that the TGI's we'd been looking forward to and discussing with happiness all day at work had just been taken from us, I asked about these mysterious 'bookings'. The guy replied with 'Oh yes we take bookings, just over the phone not online'. I stammered out an 'excuse me?', before giving him the look of death. 

Ha, just kidding, I'm more like 'bitch please'...

He then decided it wouldn't take two hours, maybe just an hour. As we didn't want you, TGI's, to ruin our night nor the ribs, fries, and american style burger goodness that we'd been looking forward to getting inside our stomachs all day, we decided ok then, it's fine, let's wait and just have a drink or two in the bar. We get handed our buzzer, and head to the bar. 

We notice that half the restaurant is empty, with a few large tables for large groups like ourselves, so I go back to this guy and ask about it, his response is 'Oh yes half the restaurant is closed because we don't have enough staff'. 

Um what? This is London, in summer, when there are bounds of tourists and hot and hungry city workers wanting an air-conditioned restaurant with calorific comforting fast food after work. Surely you would employ enough staff to cover the entire restaurant during this busy season? I used to work in hospitality, I know how busy restaurants get in summer.

So anyway, moving on, eventually, an hour and a half later, at 8pm, we're finally seated. We hungrily eyed up the menu and ordered garlic bread and some chicken wings to curb the gnawing hunger. The garlic bread arrived...then the chicken wings eventually arrived about 10 minutes later. 

*Sigh* this is where it went even more downhill. Our main meals took forever...we waited...and waited...and waited. The hunger was getting too much, I just wanted my fajitas and fries, apart from one slice of your dried out and tasteless garlic bread, I hadn't eaten since lunch time so as to save myself for gorging on your calorific heaven, and by this time I was feeling quite unwell.

At 9pm, an hour after we ordered, (Yes. NINE PM. A full 2 and a half hours after we had got there) we finally got our main meals. well, everyone else's came out, then mine came out later on, because your staff clearly don't think people want to eat at the same time. We tucked in, but the fries were cold, and my fajitas were just...bleh. The 4 minuscule tortillas were too doughy and just a bit damp really, and they weren't nearly enough to fit everything into. Although the chicken was good it seemed to be sitting on a bed of sodding sodden onions. There were maybe one or two small pieces of yellow pepper, but apart from that? Onions.

I don't know about you TGI's, but I'm not really a huge fan of eating a plate of onions.

We ate quickly, hoping to leave quickly. By this time we were fed up and just wanted to go home. Just like everything else the bill took a while to appear, so we eventually left the restaurant at 10pm, 3 and a half hours after we got there. Thank goodness it was over and we were finally outta there.

By the time I got home I was worn out and felt cheated that I'd paid for what was possibly the worst experience in a restaurant in my life. You ruined my colleague's leaving dinner with your incompetence, and didn't even apologize when I queried the lack of service in the restaurant, and that, is what has made me so angry. 

Our experience was so bad I think I'm slightly scarred by it. I've been a massive fan of your quick, fast, but pretty decent comfort food for years, but I think it's safe to say I won't be going back to TGI Fridays for a while, if ever. The service we received was unacceptable, so if I ever want American style comfort food in London again, I know where Hard Rock Cafe is.

Kind Regards,
Catherine Lux

PS: Also the Oreo Milkshake needs some ice-cream, it was far too runny. Pina Colada was good though.

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