Goldilocks Face Time – Benefit: Hello Flawless and The Porefessional

After some debate over which foundation to buy next, I was caught between two choices; MAC Studio Fix and the much hyped Benefit Hello Flawless. The decision was made when I went into Debenhams and the MAC counter was far too busy for me to find a match. After seeing my sister use Hello Flawless and with some hard earned tips to burn, I headed to the Benefit counter. After being matched up to the right shade, I also invested in the much loved Porefessional, Benefit’s most popular and infamous primer. Continue reading

Christmas Choices – Featuring Philosophy and H&M

Thanks to the usually frugal Tax Man and a generous rebate, yesterday marked the beginning of my mission of being the best poor Santa ever. A lifetime of adoring the festive season has prepared me for the queues of cynical old men, the impossible bargain hunting, and for getting sellotape stuck in my hair. As I know how poor we twenty-somethings are, I am sharing my best buys of the day. Now, I know you are eager to see everything, but some will have to wait or I’ll spoil everyone’s Christmas surprises, you cotton headed ninnymuggins! Before you go and sulk, here are my favourites from yesterday’s spree, and they’ll make you smell like baked goods. Continue reading

Urban Decay Black Market Review

Side note: Like previously stated, I do not brand myself as a beauty blogger. But I will share products that I believe are worth the money. All opinions are my own and I am in no way compensated for these posts.

Image my own

As anyone who’s taken a look in my make up bag knows, I am absolutely addicted to Urban Decay eyeliners. They’re always consistent and I know what I’m getting for my money. The colour glides on easily, with none of that scratching you sometimes get on the eyelid when you apply it. Not only is the application one of the smoothest on the market due to the creamy formula, the actual eyeliners last for months and you’ll probably only need to buy one now and then. After you’ve applied it, you’ll only need one or two touch ups on your bottom lash line throughout the day (and that’s only if you’re working). One of my favourite things about this brand, is that the selection of colours available is far superior to anything else out there, and they always launch a few limited edition shades in their gift sets. Urban Decay is also certified as being vegan friendly, meaning none of their products are tested on animals. This means you don’t have to think about poor sad bunnies being tormented in laboratories. Continue reading

Review: E.L.F launches first European store in Cardiff’s Royal Arcade, and it’s so shiny.

Side note: I generally do not post beauty blogs, I don’t brand myself as anything other than a blogger.  Unlike a mass of beauty bloggers, I don’t get boxes of free stuff so if I review something you will get my honest opinion. However, I know enough about makeup from a lifetime of compulsive beauty hoarding, and I  know people are excited about the topic I’m about to review. I think everyone should know about shiny new discoveries, which leads me to this.

Cardiff is the brand new home of e.l.f Cosmetics (Eyes, Lips, Face, for those of you not in the know). The new store in Cardiff city centre is the first to arrive in Europe. While many are already acquainted with the brand and have praised it for both it’s quality and it’s pricing, it is new to many British shoppers.The brand recently sponsored Cardiff Fashion Week, and it’s reputation locally is getting off to a glittering start.  I went along to the store opening this morning in the Royal Arcade, situated in the heart of Cardiff. The location of the store is one of it’s most appealing features. It is well known around Cardiff that some fear that “The Arcades” are losing their appeal since the arrival of St Davids 2 shopping center. The Arcades host some of Cardiff’s best known and loved treasure troves, and it’s about to get glamourous. The arrival of e.l.f should draw many younger female shoppers into the arcade, and it is great publicity tool for Morgan Quarter.
Continue reading

Places I Like to Hide: Coffee Barker

I’ve battled with myself over whether to blog about my favourite local places, but after quietly stewing on it for a few days I decided to do it- for the benefit of all you lovely people, obviously. I’ll be sharing my Cardiff secret hideaways with you as and when I find them.

After years of over exposure to Starbucks and Costa, and as loyal as I am to Starbucks and their red cups during the biting months of winter- the obvious draw back is that chain coffee shops lack the charm of locally established brews, along with the hefty price tag of what is actually an average tasting coffee.

Coffee Barker lies in the Castle Arcade of the City Centre, and I was brought to this coffee shop about a year ago with a friend. When I started working in the city in October there were few places I could go for a moment of reflection without the hustle of the city’s sometimes boisterous inhabitants, and I returned here for coffee. It is rarely empty, so choose your timing wisely.

With exposed brickwork décor and a delicately chosen pick and mix of plush leather seats, it incorporates the quiet charm of the arcade with the sophisticated edge of a corner coffee shop one might find in New York City. The exterior is adorned with quaint tables and chairs accompanied by homely tartan blankets, and the inside boasts a variety of lunch choices and sugary treats. Next on my Barker Bucket List is the Cherry Tiffin.

Coffee Barker has already established itself as a popular coffee shop in Cardiff City Centre, but I found that although it seemed as though every time I was there it was busy, that hardly anybody in my social circle knew about it. Both a blessing and a curse, as I can hide there when the world becomes to much- but a curse as I feel it would be a cardinal sin to not introduce everyone I know to this staple cafe. Letting you in on my little secret means I’ll no longer be able to avoid you all, but there is no mood that cannot be solved by the warmth of a hot chocolate from this place. So a top tip, if you’ve recently annoyed me and find me in there, buy me a muffin or I’ll bite you.

Going to Coffee Barker is like going home. You don’t need to talk to anybody, you don’t feel the pressure to be anything, you just need to be there.

Side note: Enjoy a White Hot Chocolate from Coffee Barker, but don’t forget who sent you there- I’ll accept flattery as gratitude.

Review: Race of a Lifetime


Race of a Lifetime
John Heilemann & Mark Halperin
Penguin, £9.99
Shelley-Marie Phillips
Race of a Lifetime is the ultimate and savage chronicle of an election that gave America it’s first black President, based on the 2008 election campaigns. Written by two political journalists whose resumes include TIME and New York Magazine, it provides a fast paced and almost gossipy account of the campaign. Based on hundreds of interviews, it provides the reader with exclusive revelations regarding the candidates who unlike many before them, had a celebrity stature. 

For a political chronical, it reads more like a compulsive novel and it grasps attention with the use of it’s gossipy components and occasional manifest into tragedy.  It is a thoroughly investigated and researched account of the 2008 election, and is saturated with detail on the events and personalities that shaped the ultimate result of the race. Race of a Lifetime takes the reader on an inside journey through the battle of the election and provokes us to wonder, who are Americans actually voting for?
Race of a Lifetime exposes the myth behind Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of 2008 Democratic candidate John Edwards,  almost ridicules Sarah Palin’s inadequacy and somewhat pities the doomed John McCain. It sometimes casts a harsh and occasionally cruel light on the real personalities that lay behind the well composed facade of key political players and their spouses. The Clinton/Obama rapor is the underlying love story of this book, as much of a journey it is of a campaign it is also a historic tale capturing the ultimately respectful relationship between these two key players in the race, with Obama telling Clinton ‘Your country needs you. I need you.’ 

The casualties of Race of a Lifetime include Bill Clinton, who appears as an undiginified and unruly cariacture, and those familiar with the novel Primary Colours will be familiar with the dysfunctional relationship portrayed in this book. Although Bill Clinton fundamentally appears to be somewhat of a loose cannon, his belief in his wife and her campaign is untouchable, and despite certain dysfunctionalities, the Clintons appear to be one of the most balanced couples,in comparison to others such as the McCains. It is portrayals such as this which gives the book its almost tabloid effect, as its based purely on revelations that insiders wanted to give.
This fly on the wall account of the events of the 2008 election provide a framework in which those interested in the upcoming election can base knowledge of Barack Obama’s previous campaign and the structure and schedule of which an election takes. It is interesting to Obama’s campaign in retrospect and wonder, does he run a better campaign than a presidency? It reads like a 2008 version of Primary Colours, except with sources that would make the egos of the Washington community shiver without the tactic of using an anonymous byline. The book is a definitive example of what political reporting should aspire to, the one exception being that the account may be told from the perspective of the sources themselves, as we may be left with political insiders with their own agenda. If the 2012 election is anything based on the 2008 account of a race that was savagely vicious, prepare for battle.

Race of a Lifetime is available from Amazon here, and the trailer for Game Change, the HBO movie under the book’s original name can be seen here.