Wednesday, 29 February 2012

How to spot fake OPI

Ebay and other such sites are rife with fake cosmetics. Now, I'm all for a fob off of, for example, a pair of Litas, or maybe the YSL Arty ring. Fakes can mean students like me can afford the latest trends. However, fake cosmetics is NOT something I endorse. Rubbing/painting substances onto my body which are claiming to be something they aren't scares me, quite frankly. 

This fear stemmed about 2 years ago when I had a run in with a fake MAC lipstick. Yes, I bought it from eBay, but I promise you, I was vigilant. I checked the packaging, the names, the pigment colour. I was so SURE I was purchasing real MAC. It was a good fake, the only thing that notified me was the clunky packaging (different size/width to real MAC) and the smell. The lipstick itself smelled like paint stripper. NOT something I wanted to be putting AROUND MY MOUTH?!

So, I'm going show YOU how to avoid eBay fakes. Todays subject? Fake OPI polishes.

Here is the subject- my (real) bottle of OPI's Big Hair.. Big Nails.

Firstly, check the writing on the front of the bottle. Does it have all the information there? Or is something missing? Is the size correct?

The second thing you should look for on a bottle of OPI polish is the serial number, which should be stamped near the base of the polish. If it doesn't have this, it ain't the real deal!

Next, look for the embossed 'OPI' on the top of the bottle. I've seen a couple of fakes floating around minus this attribute. So, ensure its there.

The sticker on the bottom of the bottle should have a green font with company information circling the shade name. The shade name should match the shade in the bottle. You'd think this would be a given, but some fakes pair names with shades that don't match the real deal. If you are unsure what colour the shade should be... google it.

The brush head should be large and smooth. OPI is known for its thick, long bristles so if a bottle has shorter, stumpier ones, maybe you should question its quality.

Real OPI bottles also have 'OPI' stamped onto the plastic part of the brush, near the lid. If this is missing, its not real OPI.

Finally, the bar-code should cover the product name sticker. If there isn't a sticker with 'peel here' on your bottle, question its authenticity!

If you are purchasing from eBay, and the seller hasn't photographed these attributes, you are well within your rights to ask them to do so and mail you the results. Better to be safe than sorry!

Good luck, eBayers!

Amy x

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Rêves Des Bois

This is my latest photoshoot. I won't tell you too much about it, as an upcoming post should go into more detail for you (more on that later!) This shoot is called 'Reves Des Bois' or Woodland Dreams. 

What do you think?

What feelings do these photographs evoke in you?

Amy x

Monday, 27 February 2012

Vamos a La Playa

From the 11th February to the 18th my friends and I were in Bansko, Bulgaria for a week of skiing. I'd only been skiing once before and it hadn't been the best experience, so I was apprehensive towards this trip at first, but as the holiday approached, I grew more and more excited.

After some initial issues getting to Bansko (delays at border control, flight delays and a very long drive) we arrived at our beautiful hotel in the small hours of Sunday morning. 

The weather was perfect, it snowed on Monday enough to give us a perfect fresh layer to ski on for the rest of the week. The skiing was great and I've found I'm actually not too bad at it. Infact, I won the award for the most elegant skier. How ever elegant I may have been, I was not as good as my friend Fran and my boyfriend Jimbo. They are ski ninjas! Zooming down the slopes with expert balance and no fear. 

The first few days finding my feet again on the slopes was hard and I was slightly scared of the red runs, but come the third day I'd realised the best way to learn was just to throw myself into anything and everything. If it went wrong, I learnt from it. If it went right, I had a blast. I'm officially a ski bunny convert and I'm already wondering when I'll next have a chance to go! 

Look at all that snow!

View from our balcony was stunning!

The local sweet shop had the biggest selection of Milka I've ever seen! From strawberry yogurt flavour to popping candy. I wish we had all that Milka back home, although it would not be good for my waist line.

Our pretty hotel at night after a night at a local pub for drinks and dancing.

Yep, thats me on the second to last evening, Ice Skating with a little push along penguin! We decided to push this activity back to near the end of our holiday in case any injuries resulted in people missing out on skiing. This was a good idea as we had two ice accidents sadly! 

Perun Mountain in all its glory.

Me and Jimbo on the last night at the special Bulgarian cultured evening. Sadly Jimbo was coming down with the flu at this point and wasn't feeling up to much.

I love skiing and would recommend it to most people. However, unlike I did, I would suggest training a couple of weeks prior to the trip because skiing is VERY challenging physically. 

Have you ever been skiing? Or would you like to go?

Amy x

Saturday, 25 February 2012

That was love and it's an ache I still remember.

Okay, firstly let me apologize for the lack of posts this week. As you all know, I went skiing in Bansko, Bulgaria last week. I had the best time and I'm officially a ski bunny convert! But, I did come down with what has been aptly named 'Bansko Death Flu.' Half our ski trip went down with it, including my boyfriend and I. Luckily -unlike some members of our party- I didn't have to miss any skiing due to it as the onslaught happened on the plane journey home. However, a whole week later and I'm still ill so I really haven't felt like posting or doing anything much at all! 

However, I did drag myself out of my sick bed for one of my best friends 18th birthday parties last night. Its become almost a tradition of his to have a hall party every year at the same hall so I could hardly miss it. I wanted to do a nice outfit of the night post for you, but my ill-eyes didn't clock the unfocused photographs until I went to edit them today. Shame but I'm going to post them anyway! Enjoy!


Dress: Lipsy
Shoes: New Look

I went for a simple look as the colours of the dress are quite bold! What do you think? Hopefully the foundation covered up the pasty ill face of mine....

Regular posting will recommence asap!

Amy x

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Lets Talk About: Lana Del Rey

In 2011 a new star was born. Lana Del Rey the throaty soulful songstress burst onto the scene with her single 'Video Games' which quickly gained a spot onto the prestigious 'Now' CD. Her follow up -'Born To Die'- saw a much higher budget video with tigers and and rather bloody Lana. The singer seems to be unstoppable.

However, Her quick rise to fame is also tainted with controversy and anger from the public. For starters Lana Del Ray is NOT her real name. In showbiz, having a stage name is no big deal, however, when its being used to cover up your past life of privilege and plenty, it becomes a different story. Lana Del Rey said in one of her first interviews that she had grown up with very little in a trailer park in New Jersey. The sad story gained her a lot of media coverage and it soon came out that in fact, Del Rays REAL persona Lizzie Grant actually grew up into a family of wealth and excess, her father being a multi millionaire. Fans were hurt that they had been conned into believing Del Ray's sob story. 

Looks like Lana got too caught up in her 1950s Hollywood-esque style and forgot that in the 21 century you can hide nothing, thanks to the wonders of the internet.

Then there was the total re-brand behind Lana's supposed 'debut.' Unbeknownst to most of her fans, Lana had previously attempted to enter the mainstream world of pop in 2009 with a single 'Kill Kill' using her real name- Lizzie Grant. Unfortunately it didn't make the -excuse the pun- killing Grant and her team had hoped for, so in 2010 she came back with a more professional outlook with a producing team behind her. She released her first album 'Lana Del Rey A.K.A Lizzie Grant.' But with the Grant name came speculation that her career was being funded by her generous millionaire father and the second attempt to launch Lizzie career was a failure. Not one to give up, Del Rey came back in 2011 without the name Lizzie Grant and with a much more individual look. With the re-brand and new name came a new face. Had she had surgery? Many suggest Del Rey's luscious lips were plumped between her two music debuts and others have suggested she has also had a nose job. Bigger lips, bigger hair, bigger eyes.... bigger star?! This caused up roar as journalists reported how the starlet had been specifically manufactured to suit the market. Like a Barbie Doll, almost. 

From there Del Rey blew up. Like marmite her throaty tones are either loved or hated but no one cane deny she is talked about (be it in a good or bad light).

The next round of controversy came in the form of Del Ray's Vogue interview and cover spot. Even people who love her music wondered how someone who had only been known about for a few months could've snagged such a prestigious place in the worlds most famous magazine. Many people were up in arms about it and twitter was rife with talk over whether she deserved this coveted spot.

As if ONE conveted prize wasn't enough for Del Ray, she has also gone and bagged herself another. Her very own mulberry bag design. To be named 'The Del Ray' Lana has been sporting a white version of her bag and is said to be thrilled with the news. However, fans of Mulberry and Alexa Chung are not so pleased. Many fans feel like you need to earn your stripes before you get a bag named after you and considering Del Ray is neither a veteran of music OR fashion, she is hardly a suitable candidate for a Mulberry bag sponsor.  

Lana with The Del Rey Mulberry in White Ostrich.

So as Del Rey continues to "trojan horse" her way into the limelight, will her music stay above the shaky grounds on which it was built? Or will the foundations cause the young indie stars fame to be short lived? Is she really just a puppet in an expensive game of managers, producers and reaserchers? However little we know about the truth behind Lana Del Rey, the facts remain that she is one of the most controversial figures of 2012, already.

How do you all feel about Lana Del Rey and the controversy surrounding her?

Amy x

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Photography Feature: Winter Warmers

Whilst I'm braving shock inducing temperatures of minus 18 degrees Celsius in Bulgaria, I thought I'd schedule a post of some lovely Spring/Summer images from Flickr. All photography is linked back to its original owner.

Tears in my Eyes

Felice Fawn

bed of roses


Please click the photographs and check out all the inspiring photographers other images too. They are all fantastic!

Missing you all,
Amy x

Friday, 10 February 2012

I'm longing to linger til dawn

calm blue
Click the photo to find the original source

Hello faithful followers, just a quick post to say I'll be M.I.A for a week as I'm going skiing! I'm going to try to schedule a post for halfway through the week but I don't want to fob you off with anything half hearted, please don't hate me if I don't post ;). I'm quite nervous as its only my second time (and the first time was 5 years ago) but I'm also excited. I saved long and hard to pay for this trip so I'm hoping it will be well worth it. I may be able to tweet during the week, so if you want to stay updated you can follow me here. Have a fabulous half term and I'll see you when I get back!

Amy x

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Valentines Day GlossyBox IN DEPTH review #2

Part Two Everyone!

Murad Skin Perfecting Primer (Full Size: £29.00)

What do Murad say?

'This 2-in-1 problem solver provides a shine-free finish that creates a smooth, resilient canvas while evening skin texture and tone. Now mask your skin concerns while you resolve them! Pore Factor-5 minimizes the appearance of pores while balancing oil productionAdaptive Shade Technology creates a perfect skin tone match. Light enhancing minerals create a radiant glow.'
                                                                       -Murad's Website

How does the product live up to its claims? 
I definitely saw a noticeable improvement in my pores (which I suffer with) when using this under my foundation. It didn't prolong my foundation wear more than other (cheaper) primers I've tried, however it did give me a very dewy glow and left my skin looking super even and so healthy. 

Whats the formulation like? 
Smooth and more liquidy than I was expecting. I like that it isn't too pigmented which means I don't feel like I'm caked in makeup after applying my foundation over the top. It dries quickly and I've found a little goes a long way.

What is the packaging like? 
Simple, black and quite flimsy. It certainly doesn't live up to it hefty price tag, however its not unattractive and the lid will ensure the pump doesn't expel primer all over your makeup collection. Can't complain too much.

Would I repurchase?
No, its a lovely product but I just can't justify the price tag. I can find a primer which produces similar results for a much less purse bashing price.

First Aid Beauty Body Moisturizer (Full Size: £18.00)

What do F.A.B say?

'FAB Body Moisturizer is the perfect everyday moisturizer. It hydrates and helps provide barrier protection for all skin types including sensitive, dry or scaly skin.  Fragrance-free formula does not compete with your favorite scent or irritate sensitive skin.  Infused with FAB Antioxidant Booster to combat free radicals.'
                                                                                                           -F.A.B Website
How does the product live up to its claims? 
It is a very hydrating moisturizer and has a long lasting effect. I'm not sure I like the scentlessness of the product but it is a good thing for people with sensitive skin.

Whats the formulation like? 
Quite thick and comes out in massive blobs, so beware! It does sink into the skin very quickly, however, so there is no need to wander around in your undies waiting for your moisturizer to dry before you can dressed!

What is the packaging like? 
Its a cute retro design, however the bottle is really stiff to squeeze and dispensing product is a nightmare! In fact, a few days ago, I was convinced I'd finished the bottle as I could NOT for the life of me, get anymore cream out. However, upon cutting open the bottle, I found a ton of product left, like HALF the bottle! To think I nearly threw it away....

Would I repurchase?
No, its a great product for people with sensitive skin, and unfortunately that is not me. I like my moisturizers to have a bit of scent to them so I'll be sticking to my Body Shop Body Butters from now on. I highly recommend this to anyone with sensitive skin though.

I hope you enjoyed my Glossy Box break down! Did you enjoy your boxes?

Amy x

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Valentine's Day GlossyBox IN DEPTH Review #1

Okay, So I know pretty much EVERYONE got the Valentine's Day Limited Edition Glossybox.... AND blogged about it. BUT I waited a few weeks and really put each product through its paces. Think beauty product bootcamp, ladies! The categories I was testing: how does each product live up to its claims? Whats the formulation like? What is the packaging like? Would I repurchase?

As I want to go in depth on these reviews, I've decided to split this post into two parts, so its not too text heavy, enjoy. On with the box!

Hot pink for Valentines! Glossybox, you sure know how to make the beauty bloggers swoon, don't cha?!

Yes, I entered! *Crosses fingers*

Heart sticker too? Boy am I a sucker for gimmicks. ^.^

Here is what I received: Clarins Extra-Firming Day Cream, Clarins Extra-Firming Night Cream, Murad Skin Perfecting Primer, F.A.B Daily Treatment Body Moisturizer and Eyeko Skinny Eyeliner in 'Plum.'

A GlossyBox sweetie?! TOO. FRIGGIN. CUTE. (and yummy, I ate it 3 minutes after opening my box).

Clarins Extra-Firming Night and Day Creams (Full Sizes: £48.00)

What do Clarins say?

'A rich night-time cream replenishes, lifts and tones very dry skin. Works while you sleep for a firmer, more luminous complexion upon waking. Clarins’ intensive skin renewal complex—including soothing Rosemary, firming Alfalfa and nourishing Moringa—helps smooth lines and wrinkles, and define facial contours, promoting noticeably younger-looking skin'

'A firming day cream that contains revitalising White Tea and Succory Dock-Cress, clinically-proven to help visibly reduce the signs of ageing—lifting, toning and smoothing. Infusing skin with firming benefits that are immediate and long-lasting. Day after day, skin appears younger as facial contours are tightened and look more defined. Lines and wrinkles are noticeably minimised'
                                           -Clarins UK website

How does the product live up to its claims? 
I can't vouch for the smoothing lines claim (at least I hope not), as a young woman, but I can vouch for the 'luminous complexion' claim. My skin, upon awakening, didn't look its usual 'I-haven't-seen-sunlight-for-12-hours' blotchy self and it made putting foundation on, a much less needed step in my day to day routine. In fact for the first time since summer, I left my house wearing tinted moisturiser INSTEAD of foundation! Pigs have flown, people.

Whats the formulation like? 
creamy, smooth and applies like a dream. I found pea sized amounts would cover my entire face and neck area and it sinks in really quickly. They smell nice (not too over powering) and provide an excellent foundation base.

What is the packaging like? 
The real products themselves come in classy, frosted glass pots which would look pretty on anyone's dressing tables.  

Would I repurchase?
I genuinely would, if I had £96 to spend on a day/night cream combo. Unfortunately being a student means money is tight, I'll keep this on my 'when I'm rich and successful' list.

Eyeko Skinny Eyeliner in Plum (Full Size: £9.50)

What do Eyeko say?

'Eyeko SKINNY EYELINER Pencils for precise definition and intense colour. Line and define for long-lasting colour. The wax based, creamy formula allows for smooth application.'
                        -Eyeko's Website

How does the product live up to its claims? 
This pencil needs a lot of warming up on the back of your hand before it will apply smoothly, without tugging. Definitely NOT a waterline pencil, however, once its on it IS long-lasting and definitely intense pigmentation.

Whats the formulation like? 
Fairly difficult application. quite touch on the lower lash line. However, it seems to last a good 7 hours and doesn't fade.

What is the packaging like? 
The eyeliner comes with a long, silver plastic end for you to hold when you sharpen your eyeliner down to a nubbin. At first I thought- 'cool idea, why has no one else done this?!' I soon discovered why. The end makes it difficult to fit the pencil in makeup bags or my divider in my makeup storage drawer. It also knocks against my mirror when I am applying it. This is irritating, but once I've sharpened the pencil down with use, I'm sure it will become more of a help than a hindrance. Patience, Amy, patience. 

Would I repurchase?
Yes, I like the colour and the long wear makes it good for long working days and part'a'ying. However, if it was more than a tenner, I'd probably go for a MAC pencil over the Eyeko one.

Tune in tomorrow for part 2 kids!

Amy x

Monday, 6 February 2012

Spring 2012 shoe trend: Wedges

Guest post by Zoe from Jane Shilton

The wedge is making a comeback and has been seen on many a catwalk for the Spring 2012 collections. Wedges are here to stay, so it's important to know how to wear them.

Comfort As Well As Style 
Many fashionistas will be happy to hear about this shoe's reappearance on the fashion scene, as wedges are invariably easier to walk around in than standard spike heels. They offer the same leg lengthening height as other ladies shoes, but make walking and dancing a far less painful experience. 

Wedges are made from a wide range of materials, with each material offering certain pros and cons. Wooden or cork wedges tend to be quite low maintenance and work well with most light colours. However, they may not be the best choice of wedge material to pair with that little black dress. Suede wedges look beautiful and offer a more sophisticated look for when you want to dress up and look glamorous. They do have their pitfalls, however, as they need to be treated with suede shoe care products regularly and can be difficult to keep clean.

 Not all wedge heels are alike, so make sure to find the right one for your particular foot shape and ankle strength. Whilst slip-on wedges with no straps can look great, those who need extra support around their ankle may be better off choosing a wedge shoe that has both an ankle and a foot strap. Wedges work well with virtually any outfit, but do bear in mind that they may not be quite as 'dressy' as a standard high heel. They do, however, look fabulous with both skinny and flared jeans. With flared jeans, they give a very 'seventies' vibe to an outfit and with skinny jeans, the chunky wedge heel can balance out one's proportions. A bright, coloured pair of wedges, in red for instance, can really liven up a plain pair of dark jeans. Day and Night For the upcoming warmer months, try pairing wedges with some shorts or an A-line skirt. Thicker, cork wedges look great with summery clothes and are a breeze to walk in as well. They're perfect for daytime shopping or taking a casual stroll through the park on a sunny day. For nighttime glamour, a wedge heel in a suede material would go perfectly with a slinky skirt and a small clutch or handbag. 

A Shoe For All Seasons 
Wedges are not just for the summer, though; although open toe wedge shoes look great, closed toe wedges in darker colours are good for anyone who wants a pair of shoes that will take them from summer to winter. Closed toe wedges look terrific with bare legs and a skirt in the summer and just as fabulous with tights and a dress come wintertime. Wrap dresses are another wardrobe item that work brilliantly with a wedge heel. Wrap dresses are a great way to look stylish, but can look overdone during the day if worn with standard high heels. However, a wedge will give that bit of much needed height to this outfit, without making you look overdressed.

Thanks to Zoe for this great post!

Amy x

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Valentines Day Gift Ideas #2

Lads! (Ooh I hate that term!) Listen up. Stressing about what to get your significant other half? Or perhaps you are the other half, wanting to leave a subtle hint for your boyfriend to 'stumble across?' In that case, I suggest you leave this post up on your laptop for him to read! 

1. Handbag! (Mischa Barton Melrose Tote £75.00)
This soft, seductive leather bag will be the star of any romantic demonstrations. Durable and large enough to fit in all your makeup. Lust worthy.

2. A Dozen Red Roses! (Dramatic Dozen £44.99)
A classic declaration of love and adoration. Receiving flowers from the opposite sex can be a really touching experience and will make all her friends swoon in envy! Deliver them to her yourself, or be cheeky and leave them for her to find somewhere, with a heartfelt card attached.

3. Bath Products! (Lush Lots of Love Gift Set £24.50)
Pamper your missus with this luscious set full of skin delights. The best part is its already wrapped!

4. Bracelet (Pandora Sterling Silver Bracelet £70.00)
This is Pandora's Valentines Day offering and I think its stunning. A twist on the classic Pandora charm bracelet, with the original Pandora clip. Stunning.

5. Quirky Notepad (Urban Outfitter's Sweet Nothing's Pad £4.00)
A cute little pad for you two to leave fun, sweet notes for each other to find. All you have to do is tick the appropriate boxes and sign your name. Guaranteeing a smile from your other half.

6. Perfume (Viktor & Rolf FlowerBomb EDP 30ml £47.50)
A treat for both your noses and the bottle is shaped like a PINK grenade! A bouquet of floral notes and a dressing table worthy bottle will leave your better half smiling like a Cheshire Cat.

7. Candles (Urban Apothecary Scented Candle In a Jar, Vanilla Flower £25.00)
This candle not only looks stunning and classy, but smells good enough to eat. Great for unwinding to or setting the mood. What woman doesn't like candles?

Click Here to read my gift guide for what to buy HIM.

Amy x

Saturday, 4 February 2012

100 Follower MAC Giveaway!

WOW, I can't believe I've reached 100 followers on GFC. Thank you so much everybody! I think its only fair I offer you something in return for your enthusiasm and loyalty. This is my 100 Follower MAC Giveaway! 

Being in the beauty blogging industry can be hard on our bank balances, and I know when I first started out, I had a few MAC items, a small collection  Bobbi Brown and of course a Benefit Benetint. But, that was as far as my high end products stretched. Seeing people blog daily about new MAC purchases made me want to spend my entire pay check on high end products which certainly isn't a good thing for a student!

So, for my giveaway, I will be giving away 3 MAC products to ONE lucky reader: 1 Eye Kohl, 1 Studio Fix Fluid Foundation and 1 Lipstick. All three of these items will come to you in ANY SHADE YOU WANT. So, If you win, you can pop down to your local MAC stand and be matched up to a foundation, choose your favourite Kohl colour and your PERFECT lipstick shade. Once I have all the details of your preferences, I will send over all the prizes in your chosen shades to you!


To enter YOU MUST follow by GFC and comment below saying 'Please enter me.'
The winner will be drawn via number generator on 1st March 2012.


1) Follow me on twitter and tweet: "Have you entered @thisdystopia MAC giveaway yet? #bbloggers"
2) Follow me on Bloglovin'
3) FOR 2 EXTRAS ENTRIES you can Blog or Tumblr about my giveaway and link me to your post below.
3) 'Like' this post on Bloglovin'

Please add your extra entries to your comment and leave an email address so I can email you should you win!

Good Luck!

Amy x

All giveaway prizes will be purchased with my own money. 

Friday, 3 February 2012

Tell me, did you sail across the sun?

This was yesterday's outfit. It features four new things, because I'm one of those girls who gets so excited about new things she throws them all on at once, the very next day! Don't judge me. I purchased three of the items with a Topshop gift card I received from my boyfriend's lovely parents. So thank you! I managed to get two things at a sale price too, which always helps!

The first of my new things is my Topshop jumper. I saw these jumpers floating around a while ago and fell hook line and sinker for the teal one. However, one of my close friends also saw the allure of it and purchased it on a separate occasion. Therefore, I put the jumper to the back of my mind for a while. But when I saw this lovely burgundy version on sale for just £12 I had to snap it up! Its so soft.

The second purchase made was the gold collar necklace, also from Topshop. This cost a mere £2.50 in the sale! I'd been look for a collar necklace for a while so I'm very happy to have this baby in my life

Lastly, I purchased this Topshop nail polish in 'Worlds End.' I have to admit, I was initially drawn to the name of the polish as I'm a massive Pirates of The Caribbean fan. However I also love the colour. It goes opaque after two coats and dries quickly. If you have any doubt of the colour, it is literally like BluTack on your nails. Luckily I like the colour of BluTack! This costs £5 and is well worth the money. However, I do advise a top coat to avoid chipping if you are applying two coats of the polish.

Finally, my last newbie is the charming gold flower bracelet, gifted to me by Megan from her jewelry shop.You can read my post on her darling jewelry, here. I love how the gold looks against the burgundy jumper.

I love shopping with vouchers, its practically guilt free and I love showing the person who gifted me, kindly with the voucher, how I put it to use! Have you guys made any sneaky purchases recently? 

Amy x