Monday, 29 November 2010

Maggie Angus Are Putting The Fun Back Into Monday

Most of you will be dragging your feet with an expression of gloom, not even attempting to battle off the monday morning blues. So here's a little uplift from me...

Anna Hickman Evans, of Maggie Angus jewellery, is holding a 20% off sale today. The line is relatively new but already receiving great press. The quirky pieces are a fun slant on any outfit. With necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings featuring eccentric designs, such as a row of shoes, they're the perfect gift to our friends this Christmas or even, dare I say, ourselves. After all, who doesn't like to document the obsession, Carrie Bradshaw made so famous?

The already affordable line is holding the 20% discount for today only, so kick off your Christmas shopping with these ultimate items...

NOW £27.20
NOW £21.40

NOW £23.20
*all available at


To brighten your day a little further, I wanted to remind you all that Wednesday is the launch of my Advent Giveaway. A product a day to keep the winter blues away. The no.1 rule is that you must be a follower to enter. Some days a winner will be picked at random from my follower list and others I may ask for a physical entry, which again the winner will be picked randomly from. I've already got a bag stacked full of goodies including, Chanel, Bath and Body Works, Mac, amongst others.

So let's kick start this week in style.  Happy Monday Everyone!

*all images from

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Way back when...

As I sit here with my Christmas pudding slice and my cup of tea on this chilly night, I am reminded of the saying on my Starbucks cup today..."Stories are gifts to share..."

I am so lucky to have so many wonderful memories, including much loved friends and family, many jovial laughs, heartwarming moments and overwhelming feelings of contentment.  I have decided to make Way back when... a regular piece that documents moments I keep close to my heart.

Today is Thanksgiving.  In 2005 I was studying at Bridgewater State College, MA and I shared Thanksgiving with my good friend Jen Corey, her family and friends. 

It was a bitter cold night and we had rehearsals for our Lab Theatre Project, the "Theatre on the Edge" Festival, that was to take place the following week.  As we wrapped at 10.30pm, myself, Jen, Jamie, Mike and Alison made our way to the cinema to see Rent the movie.  It had just been released at the cinema and my friends were dying to see it.  I wasn't bothered either way, as had never seen it on stage anyway.  We were the last into the showing and had to take seats at the very front.  It was a late showing, I was exhausted and ten minutes in I fell asleep, only to wake just in time to see the final scene.  We hugged and said our farewells to Jamie and Alison in the car park.  Mike dropped Jen and myself back to her house. 

I had visited Jen's once before but only sat in the car.  We bundled into her home with her massive bag of laundry.  Both her parents were still awake, their Christmas tree was up and their home smelt of freshly baked apple pie.  The cinnamon was intoxicating. They were beyond welcoming and I truly felt as if I was part of their family.   I even remember their distinct candied apple hand soap from Bath and Body Works, perfect for such a holiday. The following morning Jen and I headed out to Mary Lou's for coffee for everyone later and then prepared for the rest of the day.  A multitude of relatives arrived to a feast of turkey, mashed potato, meatballs, amongst other delicious foods. 
As the day drew to a close, numerous friends appeared for dessert.  Some bringing their own but either way Jen's mum had prepared enough for all.  Baklava, pumpkin pie, apple pie, brownies, cookies...the list goes on.  Us college lot headed down to the basment, ate, chatted and generally laughed until late.  Friends for dessert, since 2005, has been a Corey Annual Thanksgiving Event and every year, depsite the large ocean that seperates myself from all of them, I am still invited via Facebook.  Next year, I hope to attend.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Oh the weather outside is frightful but my nails will be so delightful...

I'm starting to regret spending my "new winter coat" money on two L'Oreal advent calendars.  The weather hasn't quite turned yet but there is definitely an icier chill in the air, for my walk home from the station in the evening.  England, apparently, from Thursday onwards is set to look a little like this...

My sister and I Feb 2009
I may freeze to death with the "arctic winds" that are being threatened but whilst doing so I shall have the most perfect frost effect nails to match!

I used two coats of each of these two polishes...

To create this look...

To me, it screams frosted mint, which many a colleague has chuckled at me for.  The sparkle adds a snow globe quality to the metallic green, that is very much reminiscent of that Bath and Body Works snow globe, peppermint lipbalm I blogged about a few days back. 

I may not have a coat but style wise, I am more than ever prepared for the wintry week ahead.  Now if only they were scented too!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Something For The Weekend...

This year I have treated myself to two spa breaks.  Next year I plan to do the same.  I am a true believer in regular facials, however, until I've made my millions, I shall simply only stretch for a professional facial when attending Champneys.

If you follow me on twitter you will be very familiar with my "DIY facial" tweets.  If you do not follow me on twitter, then why the hell not, get yourself on over to here and make it happen!

I have an incredibly hectic schedule at the moment, so as soon as I wrapped teaching yesterday, I decided to just completely chill out.  So, for all those of you planning to do the same, here's my Something for the Weekend post featuring the DIY facial.

You Will Need:
Facial Scrub
Face Mask
Cotton Pads

My personal choice of products are Neals Yard's Orange Flower Water as my cleanser (not quite a cleanser I realise but I swear by it), Dark Angels facial scrub from Lush and Catastrophe Cosmetic face mask, also from Lush.

Firstly I place the cleanser into my fridge to cool.  The face mask, if using one from Lush, should always be kept in the fridge to keep the ingredients fresh, in order for them to perform their best. 

1.  Once the cleanser has cooled, using cotton pads, remove all makeup and any residue from the day.

2.  When confident that the face is completely clean, take a coin size of the Dark Angel scrub and mix with water to form a paste.  Now use the scrub across all of your face, concentrating on your t-zone.  I like to rub vigorously but you will know what is best for your own skin.

3.  Run the flannel under warm tap water to saturate and then squeeze to keep it damp.  Be careful to make sure you remove all the scrub. (Dark Angel contains rhassoul mud and charcoal, is completely black and can get very messy but is well worth it!)

4.  Because this is so messy, I like to cleanse my face again, to make sure every last part of the scrub is removed.

5.  Boil a kettle.  Once this is done take it to your bathroom sink, along with your rosemary.  Fill the sink with the boiled water and empty a large amount of the rosemary into it.  Using a towel, place over your head and sink to steam your face.  Do so for 5-10 minutes. (Also great to ward off any colds now we've reached this icy weather)

6.  Pat dry your face with a clean towel and apply your face mask.  This should have a cooling effect after the harshness of the scrub and the heat.  Leave your face mask on, as long as prescribed.

7.  With the opposite side of the flannel remove the face mask.  Then apply your moisturiser as normal. (This is very important as a facial, although leaves your skin feeling smooth, can actually dry it out also.)

This whole process is so beneficial to me, as after several weeks, my forehead begins to become bumpy from, I assume, a mixture of pollution, oily t-zone and moisturiser.  After my DIY facial, my skin always feels healthier, smoother and generally blemish free, as if by magic!

I plan to do my facial today, whilst partaking in my new obsession, watching Kelly Cutrone's reality show Kell on Earth (she's my hero), on the website Bunny With Fangs.  It's addictive, check it out.

Have a fabulous rest of the weekend guys!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The "To Elle and Back Advent Calendar": Otherwise known as, my first giveaway!

Whoever still doubts Social Media, take note, although anybody that does, is most likely not reading my blog.

Yesterday I purchased two items from Selfridges that were recommended by the lovely, British Beauty Blogger.  One was a Christmas present, that shall remain a mystery until further notice, as the person in question is one of a few family and friends that will most likely read this and the second is the most magical treat I could ever ask for...

The L'Oreal advent calendar has been blogged about repetitively, due to it's unique concept, exclusivity and hefty price tag (£60), considering we're talking about a Christmas countdown.  I first read about this on the blog mentioned above and then numerous entries appeared all over the net, which meant I just had to have it.  I know it's extravagant and I know I don't need it.  So of course, I bought two!

Only joking, ones for my mum, I treated her too.  Synchronise "Ahhhh!" 

The calendar includes 24 days of beauty goodies ranging from creams to perfumes, from Kiehls to Stella McCartney.  Quite frankly, I can't possibly wait until the 1st of December, it needs to hurry up!

Since bragging about my calendar on twitter last night, the lovely Pink Julep expressed her sensible restraint from purchasing it, despite her overwhelming desire to do so.  I decided this could be the perfect opportunity to run a giveaway on the blog.  I've been itching to do one for a while (although I do only have 12 followers)!  Before anybody gets ahead of themselves, I am not parting with my beast of a calendar, nor am I purchasing another one for a reader.  I do however plan to implement the, To Elle And Back Advent Calendar.  This will run for 24 days, as of the 1st of December and will include beauty products, most of the luxe nature (yes I am talking CHANEL) and the odd extra fun Christmas inspired gift, if something of the non beauty nature catches my eye.  I'm not entirely sure of all the logistics yet but I am willing to ship anywhere in the World.

This brings me to my next point quite naturally.  I am literally moving on from one festivity to the next.  My last blog post (here) featured Halloween and now I feel it is of the utmost importance that I declare To Elle And Back a Christmas zone.  Not only will my advent calendar giveaway begin in a few weeks but I will be blogging about festive events, cosy treats, must have party pieces, tasteful (and tacky) Christmas lights in my local area and I might even dabble in a bit of wintry themed nail art.  You heard it here first peeps!  I am also, very much in the market for Christmas lipbalms.  I have still never quite gotten over the snow globe lipbalm I bought from the ONLY Bath and Body Works in the UK, about 10 years ago (which proceeded to close down very quickly) and so would be grateful for any input as to any you may be aware of. Oh and FYI can I just express how excited I am over the Metro believing we shall be the recipients of snow as of Sunday.  If my house doesn't look like this....

I shall be inconsolable.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Some Hocus Pocus!

There are certain seasonal events which make me wish I lived in the States.  They really seem to go to town with their decorations and festive attitude.  Halloween is a prime example. I love it.  Ever since my mum bought home some Halloween decorations from a trip to the US, back when I was about 12/13, Halloween has been a major deal in my house.  Every year I buy a few extra decorations, replenish the black and orange candles and cook an autumnal themed meal.  This year was no different...

I hollowed out three pumpkins and looked for inspiration from Martha Stewart.  My favourite is the one in the middle, which is Martha's "haunted graveyard" jack o'lantern.  Instead of cutting into the skin like the other two, I drew the outline of the picture and then scraped at the skin, so that when a candle is placed inside it looks like this...
I also further decorated the inside of our house, although I focus mainly on our dining room, which you'll understand why just shortly...
For the autumnal feast, I made spiced pumpkin soup with toasted garlic pumpkin seeds, using the insides of two of my pumpkins, a sausage casserole and then these ghoulish treats...

These were Devils Food Cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook iced with vanilla buttercream, which I dyed with green food colouring.  The haunting cupcake toppers were purchased from Waitrose.  We finished the night with a showing of none other than our favourite Halloween themed film Hocus Pocus, which is made all the more apt by the fact that we have our very own black cat.

I was absolutely devastated that I discovered these gorgeous looking scrubs and creams, from Haus of Gloi too late to order in time for Halloween but still intend to give them a whirl soon.  For a full review check out The Gloss Goss which is where I initially found out about them!
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