Photo Diary-City Break in Switzerland (Day1-2)

Sooo, I left the shores of London (not technically) and whizzed my way into Basel, Switzerland on Sunday. I feel so happy to be having a little break because it seems to me like it has been a moment since I went on a proper holiday and no, my trips to Nigeria don't count because that's my home country *shrugs* Anyway, I went through Heathrow (as you do) and I decided to go early because I wanted to have a nice wander through duty free and purchase some makeup there but alas! that did not happen as security took longer than I imagined. However, I managed to sneak in a purchase of MAC MSF because that's my holy grail powder! Seriously, that was all I picked up from duty free but I am not too sad because......I am also going to Sephora in Paris and I am absolutely excited because I have never been to Sephora although I have visited Paris. 

The Airport in Basel is called Mulhouse Airport but I think it has other names because apparently Basel is the city where the France, Switzerland and Germany borders meet so the airport has one or two other names. The airport was nice and it had two exits; French exit and Swiss exit so you have to take the right one. I was in the airport for a little while because I was waiting for someone so I thought it would be nice to explore and get some WiFi. I went to the French exit and the Swiss exit just to get a feel of both and they are essentially the same but they use different currencies in the two exits; Swiss Francs in the Swiss exit and Euros in the French exit although you can use any currency you wish. They had some nice artistic monuments/statues (i really don't know what to call them) but I took a few snaps. They even had a Flower/Bouquet Dispensing Machine which dispenses bouquet of flowers and I thought that was really clever and convenient so Gents, you have no excuse now for forgetting to buy your lady flowers. The weather was amazing and I was actually really shocked because I thought it would be super cold but it was rather sunny and warm and perfect for pictures although I felt a little shy taking pictures or even (silly me)

I bought a few bites which were ridiculously expensive and I had been warned anyway that things were super expensive here and they sure are. I was happy to be carted away to my Hotel (Best Western Stucki) which was amazing and strategically placed near a shopping mall with over 100 shops so I am a very happy bunny. It is also close to the River Rhine which I look forward to going to. I am here for a few days and then I would be off by road to Paris and I am very excited;  I would try and bring you guys along with me via pictures and possibly a vlog... The next day I went to the Stucki Shopping Mall (I was told pictures were not allowed *sad face*) which was so beautiful and I vlogged a teeny weeny bit.  I didn't buy much because they were quite expensive when I did the conversion but I bought a few things like an NYX concealer and a Hama Star 05 Tripod which I had been hunting down for a long time. I would show all that in a bit.I ventured into town via Tram and I have to say their transport system is really impressive and easy to understand; you cannot go wrong or get missing here at all. I went to Claraplatz and MarktPlatz and a couple of other places I can't remember but I will be showing you more pictures in my next post. Basel is such a beautiful city which shares borders with France and Germany which makes it the perfect choice to visit if you intend to see a few Schengen countries. I love how the buildings look ever so architectural a la Paris and my lovely Glasgow. So, I am leaving you with a few pictures from my first two days and I would be posting more soon. See you in my next post...x

....and the Winner of the RAVpower Giveaway is.....

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for entering the RAVpower Giveaway and I was completely blown away by all the entries and responses. I really appreciate it. A winner has been chosen through on Rafflecopter and the winner is


... a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations!!! I have sent you an email already and I hope to hear soon but if I don't hear within three days, I would have to choose another winner. Thank you so MUCH!!!! I am currently away on holiday in Switzerland and I would be popping over to Paris later on so expect some blog posts/photo diaries of these lovely places and maybe a vlog..just maybe...Enjoy the rest of your week and see you in my next post

Maybelline Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencil

I have seen the Maybelline Color Drama Lip Pencils making the rounds on blogs and YouTube videos and I was quite intrigued. At first, they seemed to be only available in Superdrug and Boots during London Fashion Week but I wanted to wait it out a little to see if it was really worth investing in. I finally gave in a couple of weeks agoand purchased a few in Boots during their 3 for 2 offer. A lot of people have compared these pencils to the NAR Velvet Lip Pencils which have two finishes-Matte and Gloss but I have not tried the NARS version so I can't really compare and seriously the NARS Lip Pencils are ridiculously expensive so I am giving it a nice miss.

Well, there's not much to say about the packaging; it's just a Lip Pencil but I would say it is a little shorter in real life than I expected and I feel it may not last too long after a couple of uses (especially as I have to sharpen it). What I like is that it is a chubby little stick which means you get a little more product than an average lip pencil. They are compact and easy to just pop into your bag. I also like that the little colours at the bottom of the pencil are a good description of the actual colors of the lip pencils.

The formula of these pencils are a little different to any lip pencils I have tried. It is a little in between matte and velvety. I know they are called Velvet pencils but I don't quite think it is a perfect velvet finish but it is not matte which is good as that means it's not drying. On application, they apply really well for a drug store lip pencil but it drags a teeny weeny bit across the lips on application so it goes without saying that your lips need to be well moisturised. Other than that, I think they are amazing. The pigmentation is really impressive and it shows up well on my lips and lasts for a couple of hours before I need to reapply. It feels super light on the lips; I don't feel a thing at all and many times I forget I have anything on my lips.

Shades/Colours I chose
As always I picked up really safe colours as I am not a huge fan of wearing really bold or bright or dark colours although I am experimenting a little with vampy lips but that's another post for another day. Anyway, I picked up shades I knew I would get a lot of use from especially for work and every day wear. I purchased 630 Nude Perfection, 140 Minimalist and 130 Love My Pink and I know they all look similar in the pictures but they are different in real life, I promise. They come in a variety  of shades ranging from demure nude and pink colours to downright bright and bold colours and for that, Maybelline get a massive 5 star from me.

630 Nude Perfection: This is a brownish pink shade which I really like because it is very flattering on my lips. It is definitely not a perfect nude for my pigmented lips but it gives my lips such a soft natural look which I have been rocking for a while now. I don't even need to line my lips when using this and I really like it.

140 Minimalist: This is more of a light pink  shade with warm undertones which I love to pop on my lips when I want to switch things up. I am always a little weary about light pink lipsticks but this is really perfect and I think this shade would suit many people.

130 Love My Pink: I picked this up as an after thought but I totally love this because it is more of a brighter pink shade but a wearable one. It's perfect for Fridays when I want to just chill even when I am at work.

They retail for £4.99 each which I think is affordable only because they always have deals in Superdrug and Boots so you never really have to pay full price per say. I got this on a 3 for 2 offer so it worked out like around £3 for each which is a really fair price I would say. I am impressed with them and I am so tempted to pick up brighter and bolder colours because I have been enjoying the ones I have. The only con I can think of right now is the size of the pencils as they are a little bit short but then they are chubby so it balances it out.

I really like them and I would definitely recommend them if you are looking to try affordable lip pencils with good pigmentation and formula. Although it is not the longest lasting pencil out there but the formula is really nice and I don't mind reapplying these after a couple of hours. That's it folks; I hope you enjoyed this little post and I would see you in my next...x

Shopping Tips: How to Find Bargains, Deals and Discounts

 If you are a regular reader of my blog, I am sure you would have noticed I am a massive bargain hunter and I have always been way before I started blogging. I just prefer to find a bargain while treating myself as it helps save some money and it has made me smarter with my money and spending habits. I am not ashamed to say I hate buying anything full price if I can help it. I owe everything I have learnt from Bargain Hunting to my sister who is a massive bargain hunter and she honestly has the best eyes for all the deals in town. You can literally go to the same shop with her and find nothing while she has her hands full of bargains that make you wonder in shock. The easiest way to find bargains is to understand various shopping systems and arm yourself with information. Of course, this is an ongoing process and it may appear tedious to some but if you are a bargain hunter, you would definitely enjoy the process. Now, I am only sharing tips based on my experience and I am definitely not a full time shopper/personal stylist (I wish I was though) so don’t take my word as gospel, it is important to do your own research and find what works best for you.

Where is the best place to shop?
Personally, I find that shopping in places outside the city, outside London in my case,  ensures I get more deals than I can ever find in popular stores/shops in the city. I prefer to shop in South West London which is where I live and I find that the shops on the outskirts have the best deals (even though they may not be the latest season). I once had to do some work in Woking near London and the high street stores there had so many amazing deals that I knew I could never ever find near where I lived in the city. It is rare to find outstanding deals in  popular/busy touristy areas such as Oxford Circus because all the tourists go there so there is a lot of demand and less sales/deals although you would always find the newest releases and latest season items there. I am not saying you can't find deals there, you certainly can especially if you look well and hard but it is easier to find deals in less busy/popular places.

When is the best time to shop?
Based on my experience, I would say the best time to shop on the high street is in the morning between 10am-1pm on weekdays (Mon-Wed) and I know this seems almost unattainable if you work full time. When I was a student and had plenty of time and money, if I might add, I had a part time job in the morning and when I got off work, I went straight to the shops on the high street and I got the best deals because the shops just got their deliveries in. They were also less people in the shops so I had ample time to shop to my heart’s desire. I also had student discount (If you are student reading this, just know I am very JEALOUS of you and your student discount right now, cherish it!!) which meant I made massive savings; sometimes up to 25% discount. Shopping during the weekend is always crowded and I always try and avoid these periods as they give me a headache and I can’t deal. If you love Boots and Superdrug, the best time to shop in Boots is on Wednesdays as they rotate their deals then and add in new offers, so pop in there on a Wednesday morning for the best picks. I think Superdrug updates/refreshes their offers on Wednesdays and sometimes Thursdays. While you are there. check out Boots Clearance section (they seem to have removed some of them this Christmas season) because it has the best offers ever but for some reason, they keep it well hidden. I once bought a camera in Boots Woking for £20 and it was lovely, in perfect condition with just a little scratch on the body..

When is the best time to shop online?
If you love shopping online, the best time to shop is between midnight and 2am (I know, very ungodly hours) but that’s when many online stores update their websites because they assume they will be less traffic/less people shopping at that time. Although, sometimes it may not be the most ideal time because sites may also be down for maintenance so you just have to be careful and observe.  I have found so many Zara deals around this time especially beginning of this year during the January sales. If you are shopping online, ensure that you check for discounts codes online because many online stores always have this and if all fails and you don't find any, then you can sign up to their newsletter as many stores usually offer at least 10% if you sign up to their newsletter.

Where can I find discount codes and deals?
There is never a straight answer to this because there are a variety of sites that offer discounts and deals. The obvious place is to sign up to newsletters of various stores as they would always email you any latest deals or discounts. Debenhams, Cult Beauty and House of Fraser usually have a 10% discount ever so often (usually in March and September and some other random times) so it is important to sign up their emails and I recommend having a separate email for this if you don’t want your personal email to be spammed because these companies send loads and loads of emails. . I also noticed that John Lewis usually follow up with a 10% discount when Debenhams and House of Fraser have discounts in their "brand match" deal so it's always good to check them out as well. I have a separate email dedicated to newsletter signups and discount codes which I do a quick search on if I need to purchase something to see if I have any emails with discounts or offers for a particular store.

I use Voucher Codes which is so amazing as it shows you the latest discounts to nearest your location for both online and in-store offers and I think it is brilliant. I use it every time I want to purchase something and I have made a lot of savings. I also use O2 Priority Moments which is one of my favourite apps which is similar to Voucher Codes but it is mainly for O2 customers. I cannot tell you how much discounts and freebies I have got with this app ranging from free lunches, free drinks, free sweets, sandwiches, bike pumps, free massage, £1 Pizzas (Yasss!!), free iPhone cases and skins, etc. It also uses your location to search for the nearest deals to you. I also have the Boots App which is relatively new but nevertheless still amazing. I would do a separate post on it soon but you get amazing offers in this app which is tailored to you and with just a click on the offer, it loads straight to your Boots Advantage need to carry around loads of vouchers any more. I am sure there are so many discounts out there but I love these ones and use them more often than others. Sometimes, some magazines like Elle, Glamour, Look, etc offer discounts as much as 25% and money off (up to £20 gift cards) to some stores like Whistles, Urban Outfitters, H&M, New Look, Aldo, etc. Glamour UK currently has one for 20% off H&M and a free Body Shop Gift Card. 

Shop in less known Department Stores
I love to shop in lesser know Department Stores like Bentalls, Elys and Morleys and this is because they have better deals. Bentalls can be found in Fenwick and Kingston while Elys can be found in Wimbledon and these shops make my heart skip several beats any time I am in there because I know I would find a good deal. I have found a lot of bargains in Elys that I thought I could never find anywhere. I got my Longchamp LM Metal Tote for just £60 and it currently retails for £86 everywhere else and I was so pleased. I also bought my Lulu Guinness Makeup Pouch for £19.50 in Elys when it retails for around £55-65 in Harvey Nichols. I just love these stores and they have the best samples and sales. Their sales are straight up 20% off almost everything including items already on sales. I am sure there are similar stores like these in various cities so it is always best to do some research and identify them.

I could go on and on because I have many more tips but this post is already long enough and I hope you have learned one or two things from here. I am always keen to learn more shopping tips/ways to find bargains so leave some tips in the comment box and links if you have a similar post...see you in my next post...x

Favourite Clutches and Makeup Bags

I have a thing for small accessories preferably card holder, cosmetics bags and clutches; I think they just looks so pretty, delicate and chic all at the same time and I love to collect them. I thought it would be nice to do a little round up of my favourites. Majority of them were free as they were gifts with purchases or just freebies handed out in stores while others were purchased by me. I just love them and I have quite a few of them as you can see from the pictures...

Specsavers Oyster Card Holder
Oyster Card is the London travel card which enables you travel on the Tube, Rail, Buses and virtually most modes of transportation. I am not sure people actually buy Oyster Card holders per say; I know I have never. I get given different ones in trains stations (free) usually a brand trying to do some kind of promo although I have seen some on sale in some shops though!! I got this from Specsavers and I think it’s so cute. It depicts various aspects of London including Big Ben, Westminster, London Buses, etc. It is such a lovely bright and cheery design and I often get asked where I purchased it from only for me to say it was from Specsavers. It has two sections so you can store your oyster card in one and maybe a tube map in another.

Accessorize Card Holder
I just loved this card holder the moment I set my eyes on it and I am not sure why because it is not anything exciting. It’s just a simple card holder which initially housed my Oyster card in the past. It is surprisingly good quality and I have had it for almost a year and it still looks the same way it was when I first purchased it. It also has two compartments so I now store my Gym pass and my work ID in it.

Whistles Card Holder
This has been talked about on this post here so I won’t go into too much detail. I love how this looks and feels and I reserve it for outings in the evening when I am not taking my wallet with me and it is now my oyster card holder. It has three compartments so you can store your ID, Oyster card and Bank card in here and it’s so handy as everything is kept in one place. I have a review on this here.

Lancome Cosmetics/Makeup Bags
How gorgeous are these pouches? I love them so much and I switch them up as my makeup bag every now and then especially when I am trying to streamline my makeup. They are slim and sleek and can fit into majority of my handbags and even clutches without any issues. I love that it comes in black and red which are some of my favourite colours...well black is an all time favourite while red is my favourite for Christmas as expected. It has one zip at the end embossed with the Lancome rose and it has some faux gold plating. I got this free as a gift with purchase along with some Lancome makeup brushes and other goodies last year and they have served (and still serving) me well.

Elie Saab Le Parfum Clutch
I received this a little while back as a Gift with Purchase when I bought the Elie Saab Eleganza perfume back in June. Would you believe I have still not used it? I just feel it may get stained but I don’t know for sure. It holds a fair amount of essentials but you really don’t want to stuff it as it may look to bulging and it’s not as sturdy as the Whistles clutch but it looks lovely. I may take it with me when next I travel as I love the colour or maybe I need to wait till Spring.

Zara Wristlet Pouch
I still adore this lovely Zara Wristlet/Pouch which I purchased during the January Sales for only £4. It was my makeup bag for so long until I got other makeup bags. Now, I use it as a casual clutch during the weekend when I am not ready to lug around a heavy bag. I love how spacious it is and I fit in quite a few things inside and it still looks chic. The wristlet detail is superb as it gives a good grip and control of this lovely clutch.

Whistles Shiny Croc Clutch (Small)
You all know how I feel about Whistles accessories so I won’t rave further but this small clutch has been my favourite and go-to clutch for the weekends and evening outings. I can see it getting so much use during Christmas when I hope to go for more parties. It holds more things than you would imagine judging from its size. A mini review can be found here.

Lulu Guiness Makeup Bag
Again, I am sure this has made several appearances on the blog simply because I love it. Although I use it mainly as a makeup bag, it can be used as a clutch because it is really roomy. I just love this so much and its zipper has the signature Lulu Guinness Lips at the end. I always feel so happy knowing that I only got it for £20 when it currently retails for £65 on Harvey Nichols. I guess it’s because it is limited edition so it’s a little pricey but it is made from patent leather and it is well lined inside so it is really good quality.  That’s it folks. I hope you have enjoyed this little peek and I hope to catch you in my next post...x

Photography Gear/Kit for Blogging

My last post on photography tips was well received so I thought it would be nice to do a little sequel to it. Today, I would just talk about my photography equipments because I think there are interesting especially for entry level/amateur photographers like me. I think it's important to note that it is not necessary to have any fancy equipment to create lovely pictures; you can get nice photos with basic cameras, good lighting and a love for photography. While I bought most of these equipments this year, some of them were purchased a few years ago....rambling done...

Camera: I have a few cameras but my favourite camera is the Canon 600D DSLR camera which is a basic entry level DSLR camera and a favourite among bloggers and YouTubers. I love everything about it and I wanted it for a long time ever since I heard about it back in 2012/13. It has a flip screen which is really useful for getting lovely shots at different angles because you can tilt it and you can change the lenses as you please. I just love it!! It's not very heavy but it's not the lightest camera out there. I also use this to film my YouTube videos and the flip screen is really useful to see if I am in shot/focus or not.

Lenses: I have two lenses which I love for various uses. The Canon 600D came with the kit lens which is the Canon EFS 18-55mm lens which I used for a couple of days before buying my second lens. I love using this for outdoor photography as you can zoom in and out and it's truly amazing. I took most of the shots with it on my recent trip to Scotland here. My second lens is the Canon 50mm 1.8 which I love so much as it is amazing for blog photos and portraits. Due to its low aperture, it is perfect for low light situations and I just love using it as it illuminates my photos really well. It's also perfect for taking pictures of beauty products as it zooms in and makes it stand out against a blurry background. I use this to film as well but I would talk about this in another post.

Camera Bag: I got this cute little bag from Curry's and it was on sales for only £4.97...yes, please!! I just spied it on the rack and I was pretty sure it was an error but thankfully it was not. It is from a brand called Goji and it holds majority of my equipment when I am out and about. It has three sections which are padded to protect a camera and two lenses. I store my camera body and two lenses in here. The zipped section contains my remote, lens wipes, memory card, etc. It is really compact and light even when my camera is in. I also like that the velcro dividers in the bag can be removed to adjust the space inside the bag to fit a bigger or smaller camera. The straps are also adjustable and that's so amazing!

Remote Control: If you are a beauty blogger who also does makeup, say hello to your new best friend. I know everyone says a remote changes their "camera life" and I can relate. A remote allows you take selfies without your arm showing and it also allows you take pictures of your makeup for a tutorial because let's face it; not everyone has a standby person willing to help them out with their pictures. I got mine from Amazon and it's the Canon RC-6 Remote Control. When I went back home to Nigeria, I wanted to take a picture with everyone in my family and I was so glad I could. Thanks to this nifty remote and my tripod; I was able to create lovely memories.

Tripods: If you want to take photos which are sharp and non-blurry, you may need to invest in a Tripod. While I don't use a tripod every time I take a picture, I use it for some blog photos and portraits especially in low light situation. I have two tripods and I bought them over three years ago and they are going strong. The first /smaller one is from Jessops and I got it for my smaller camera and camcorder and it's really useful. I also use this with my DSLR and it is surprisingly sturdy. My second tripod is from Hama and I bought it off Amazon and I love it. This is my main tripod and I use it for videos and also taking blog photos. It can be adjusted to various heights and angles and it comes with its own bag so it's easy to travel with although it is slightly heavy.

Memory Cards: I am sure I have gone through quite a few memory cards at several points but my favourite brand is the SanDisk memory cards bought from reliable sources like Amazon or Curry's/PC World although Amazon is way cheaper. I feel SanDisk memory cards are more durable than other brands. It's important to check the write and read speed of a memory card before your purchase it. I prefer ones with a write/read speed of 45MB/s as it means it can be processed faster on my camera and on my computer. Also, the class of the memory card is important and I choose ones with Class 10 on them bought from reliable sources. At the moment, I have 3 memory cards which are all 16GB each and they are for various purposes. The SanDisk Extreme one is for videos because it is records/writes and reads data really fast while the other cards (PNY and a smaller San Disk) are for blog photos.

Memory Card Reader: This was a really random purchase but one I really love; it's the Apple Memory Card Reader which basically allows you look at your pictures directly on your iPad especially if you are on the go. This is really amazing for editing picture son the go or with iPad apps from the App store. For a long time, I toyed with editing my pictures with AfterLight which is an amazing photo editing app that's really popular and with good reason. Now, I just use this to look at pictures on my iPad and upload to Instagram and other social media channels. I love it!!

Camera and Lens Cleaning Kit: One good advice I can give is-----> Don't clean your camera and/or lenses with your sleeves or anything else dodgy...just don't. It just makes it look very gross and it may have a long term damaging effect on your camera (Ok, I am exaggerating but you get my drift!!). First day I got my DSLR, I got the Lens Cleaning Kit which was very inexpensive. Inside the pack, you get a two lens pens for cleaning your camera lenses and filter if you have one. You also get a Microfibre Cloth for cleaning your camera's LCD and it does such an amazing job and you also get a Lens Air Blower which cleans your lenses and LCD as well. This kit has really helped my camera and lenses stay in the best condition.

Editing Software: I now only use Adobe Photoshop CS6 and I am honestly such a novice but I learn a few things everyday and I think that's good enough. I also use PicMonkey for creating collages because I prefer their collages to any other editing software. I may do a beginner's guide to Photoshop if you want but honestly, I know little to nothing on it; I can only share my editing process and if you would like that, let me know in the comment box below.

Others: I have a few other random equipments like a Camcorder which is from Samsung and it is ideal for vlogging although I have not been doing much of it. I also have my Nikon CoolPix Digital Camera which I absolutely love and it takes amazing photos. I also have a couple of battery chargers both for my Canon DSLR and my Camcorder and I take them with me because I don't want my batteries to run out on me. I am looking to purchase an extra battery for my DSLR as it comes in handy especially when I am out and about and I can't charge it.  I also recently purchased a Rode Videomic and some external lighting for my videos which I would be touching on in another post... that's it folks. I am happy to answer any other questions and I would see you in my next post....x

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