Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Beauty Unboxing: December Birchbox 2015

From the sneak peaks I'd seen on social media and in emails from Birchbox this month, I knew we were in for a treat! As soon as I saw that it was a Birchbag this month, I got even more excited! The cherry on the top was definitely the two Benefit products that would be inside!!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Monthly Edit: Christmas Beauty Wishlist

With Christmas just around the corner (and also my birthday on the 22nd), I thought I would include a wishlist post. *hint hint*

Christmas Beauty Wishlist

If any one actually wants to see the full list, just click the link here. But I'm going to run down some of the beauty related gifts I'd like to see under the tree this year!

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Is it worth the hype? Revlon Colorstay foundation review

Colorstay is a product well talked about in the beauty world, and even if you haven't tried it you know that it has a good reputation among bloggers and vloggers - which is one of the reasons I wanted to try it for myself.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Beauty Unboxing: Makeup Swap ft. Serenitys Door | Part I | Youtube

This week I posted a video on Youtube - something I haven't done in months! Some of you may know that I've been planning a makeup swap with Laura from Serenitys Door, and this is me explaining what I go for her and why.

The second part will but up next week so subscribe to my channel to keep up to date!

I'll also share Laura's videos on my social media accounts, so be sure to check them out below!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Beauty Unboxing: November Birchbox 2015 - Skinny Dip x Birchbox

This month Birchbox* teamed up with Skinny Dip in there Squad Goals box for November. This box came in two colours - blue and pink, like the one I received, and purple and blue. I love the design of this box, it's super cute and I can't wait to re-use it!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Review: Sleek Au Naturel I Divine Eye Shadow Palette

If you read my previous posts, you will have seen this featured in my October Buys post, in which I said I would review this palette. So here it is.

Sleek Au Naturel I Divine Eye Shadow Palette

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Festive Lush Haul

I know that Halloween has now been and gone, but I picked up a few of the Autumn/Winter limited edition pieces from Lush a couple of weeks ago, and thought it fitting for them to have their own post!

As you may know, I am quite inexperienced when it comes to Lush (my first haul here), so I've never actually had any of the limited edition products before - so why not start now! 

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Monthly Edit: October's buys

October was a busy month for me. I got back into my final year at university, I was collecting items for a makeup swap with the lovely Laura (Serenitys Door), and it was also my boyfriend Alex's birthday at the end of the month which we had a trip to Liverpool for.

This has meant I have collected a number of items this month that I wish to show you. So this post will basically be a collective haul of this month's purchases. (NOTE FOR LAURA: Caution - this post contains spoilers! Read at your own risk!)

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Is it worth the hype? Strobing

Strobing is a word that is getting thrown around lately - from fashion magazines to my best friends - but I just couldn't quite wrap my head around it. "Is it the same as highlighting?" I kept asking myself if there was anything new about it at all.

Now, I still don't even know how to explain exactly what strobing is, but it turns out I've been doing it for a while! The trick is to give yourself a really healthy looking glow that you might get after a week long beach holiday.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Beauty Unboxing: Brichbox October 2015 - Back to Basics

So my Birchbox* was a little later than usual this month, so I haven't had much time to try out all the products yet, but I will try and say as much as possible about them as I can!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Confessions of a Shopaholic: My very first Lush haul!

I've had products from lush in the past, such as when the store first opened in my town yeeears ago, and for Christmas and such. But for years and year, the initial hit of scent gave me a headache and set my allergies off.

I stayed away for years, and now, looking back, I feel like I've missed out on A LOT! I slowly got over the sneezing fits, and after watching multiple Lush hauls on Youtube, I really wanted to try somethings out for myself.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Additions to my MAC collection

Now, I can't really call this a haul, as I only bought two items - but I thought I would update you on the new additions to my Mac collection. I only started it a couple of months ago, so it is still very very small. If you'd like to see what I started with, click here.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Manchester style sparks fashion week that is set to rival the Capital’s | #LFW

Walking through the city centre, it is clear Manchester has its own sense of style. With the strange outfits of the street performers on Market Street, to the proud drag queens found frequenting Canal Street’s pubs and clubs, it’s safe to say that people will wear whatever they please and feel comfortable while doing so.

The fashion found in the streets of Manchester is unlike any other, and don’t conform to the trends of the high street, rather, people have their own individual style, and don’t let the runways dictate that either.

There have always been style icons in the city, whether it is Morrissey, the Gallagher brothers, or Helen Flanagan, Manchester has always been a hub of fashion, alternative to the capital.
However, the most recent increase of the Manchester fashion scene could also be thanks to the multitude of fashion bloggers that are based in the city. Beki Smith, a 23 year-old blogger, who runs, a style and beauty blog, shared her views on the increase of fashion bloggers in the region, and their influence on the fashion scene.

“Bloggers are practically taking over the fashion industry when it comes to influence. They or we rather, are real people, with our own personal style, honest opinions and familiar shopping locations.”
She also added, “Readers can relate more as bloggers are normal people with normal lives, we just post about it on the Internet!”

With fashion and events coming to Manchester more and more frequently, it’s clear why bloggers are always receiving invites, with influential bloggers, such as Lily Kitten ( and Victoria Magrath (, who has thousands of followers on her social media accounts, and are based in the city. Their posts have familiar local backdrops, they shop in the shops you shop, and go out to the restaurants and bars you love. As a reader, it is easy to relate to and follow their style.

Other style muses are soap stars Michelle Keegan, Tina O’Brien and Samia Ghadie, along with other young actresses from shows such as Coronation Street that are filmed in the city. These young icons fill up not only the style pages of the Manchester Evening News, but also the national style magazines, ultimately placing Manchester style on the map and showcasing our local trends and fashion all over the county. This in itself shows the growing influence our city has in the fashion world.

In her five years of living in Manchester, Beki has found the fashion choices just as varied, with her saying, “Manchester has a collective mix of unique styles, that's what makes it so great! Everyone seems to have their own personal twist on both vintage and high street style.”

Her personal style also takes inspiration from street style found in the city centre. She said, “Sitting in the local coffee shop and people watching is the best way to style spot and see how other girls are putting together their outfits.”

She also added, “The best places to style spot are those near independent fashion shops in Manchester NQ as the style around there is a creative collective mix of old and new fashion trends.”

Getting your fashion fix in Manchester has never been easier, with the high street shops of Market Street, and the Arndale and Trafford centre shopping malls, to the high end Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, along with the array of independent clothing stores that can be found throughout the Northern Quarter. These all add to the different array of styles, as each area brings its own sense of identity.

“You can venture over to Spinningfields and find clean cut, minimalist styles, over to the heart of the city centre to find that effortlessly relaxed chic look or venture into the Northern Quarter for a quirky mix of vintage and high street,” says blogger Beki.

One of the main sources of independent fashion is Afflecks Palace, with over 60 stores containing clothing, tattoo shops and even barbers, it is a huge place for indie fashion and trends in the city, and can be found in the Northern Quarter. It has grown such a cult-type following, that you can now even shop online, allowing for others outside of Manchester, and the region, to shop the styles found there.

With fashion brands such as Missguided, boohoo and newest kid on the block, Pretty Little Thing with their roots firmly placed in Manchester, there are obvious reasons why the Fashion Industry is ever growing in the region.

Boohoo describes themselves as being “Manchester's best kept fashion secret to one of the fastest growing international etailers” and with boohoo Boutique being designed in house, it’s not just a representation of British fashion, but also Mancunian. With brand new clothing brands setting up shop in the city, it just goes to show that Mancunian fashion is a hot topic, and that there is a gap in the market for it in the industry.

Both boohoo and Pretty Little Thing are run by different members of the same family, and just goes to show that Manchester fashion runs in people’s blood. The two brands are very different however. Pretty Little Thing, which is based in the Northern Quarter, has a completely different style to its older counterpart, boohoo, and is aimed at the fresh and fierce woman who isn’t afraid to experiment with her style.

One half of the brotherly team that runs Pretty Little Thing, and who’s father owns boohoo, Adam Kamani said to the Manchester Evening News of the two companies, “Boohoo is an all encompassing fresh brand for the girl next door, whereas Pretty Little Thing is for her rebellious sister. It’s much fiercer, it’s about attitude, it’s feisty and it’s edgy,” he said.

He also added, “We’ve decided to focus on the girl who is bold and wants to be noticed.”

When it comes to influential brands in the city, Beki feels that, “Blue Rinse, Oi Polloi, Missguided & Ted Baker all have a huge impact on Manchester's style. They each offer individual distinguishable pieces that are easily recognisable from one to the next.”

The fashion industry in the city is not only growing with brands. Manchester Fashion Week took place for the first time this year, which sets to showcase designers, both newly established, and veterans of the trade. Not only did local designers get to showcase their lines, but highstreet stores too.

With big name brands such as international House of CB and Jigsaw claiming spots at Manchester Fashion Week, it just goes to show that this city is the place to see and be seen. Blogger Sally Akins ( said on her website “The event aims to put the city firmly back on the fashion map.”

Manchester Fashion Week organiser and editor of Lifestyle Magazine, Amanda Moss, said of the event, “As I have successfully run Liverpool Fashion Week for five years and built it up into one of the biggest fashion events for the city, I was asked several times to come to Manchester and hold a similar event. So here I am!”

On the subject of the fashion found in Manchester and the surrounding areas, Amanda said, “I am still learning about Manchester fashion. I think the North West on the whole is labouring an immense creative talent, which is largely unfollowed by London and is a force to be reckoned with. Why should London get all the interest, the media needs to shift their attention to the North.”
She also added, “Fashion is diverse and adventurous and people aren’t afraid to experiment. It certainly isn’t grim up North!”

The show included recent graduate and local fashion designer Sammi Jones, 23 from Chorley, who presented her debut womenswear collection at Manchester Fashion Week. Sammi takes inspiration for her own personal style from vintage shops such as Cow, saying, “I always find something that I go on to wear for ages.”

She also spent a lot of her teenage years in Afflecks Palace due to its alternative status. “[I] still go there occasionally if I’m looking for something a little different,” Sammi admits, and also loves local style and fashion blogger Victoria from InTheFrow.

 She said before taking part in the show, “I’m really excited to be showing. I think it’s a crying shame that London is considered the be all and end all of British fashion, we can do it just as well up here and I hope this event will prove it.”

Blogger Beki said of the event, “It's the biggest opportunity to be introduced to local designers and retail brands, to instantly get a feel for their style and overall character of the brand in a social way. It's also great for new models, bloggers and interns to have the opportunity as a stepping stone into a career.”

The style in Manchester, not only inspires other Mancunians themselves, but also people in surrounding areas of the region. The vibrancy and diversity found in the fashion sense of the people of this wonderful city is undeniable. It will always be the home to people who aren’t afraid to think outside of the box and wear what shows not only Manchester, but also the world, who they are as an individual. 

Nicole ♥

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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Beauty Unboxing: Birchbox September 2015 - Birthday Box

This month Birchbox* is celebrating their 5th birthday, so this month's box is extra special. All the products featured in the box have come from their "birth place" - USA!

There was a choice of two box designs, which were both created by two subscribers. I chose this design as it was more my taste. I also like to reuse my boxes for makeup and skincare storage, so a pretty box is a must!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The Melt Crowd Review

I'm not sure exactly how popular this subscription is, but as soon as I heard about it, I had to try it. This is a wax tart/melt monthly subscription by the candle company Flamingo Candles.

Flamingo Candles is a brand that I've been following for a while, so when I knew I could try out a number of their fragrances for £10 a month, I jumped right on that! You also get a free wax burner with your first month.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Beauty Unboxing: Birchbox #BeautyJunkie August 2015

It's that time of the month again! Birchbox* time!

This month's theme was #BeautyJunkie, which had the box covered in Birchbox's own emojis! I love it! How cute is it?

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Using my Birchbox points: Stila One Step Correct Primer review

If you're a regular reader, you'll know that I love my Birchbox*, and have been receiving it for a fair few months now. I've dipped into the whole Birchbox points system only very slightly, so this post will be an explanation to what it is and how it works.

There are a number of ways to earn Birchbox points - the first being, simply receiving your box every month. The second is reviewing the products in your box every month. Other ways include buying full sized products from the Birchbox website, reviewing the products you buy, and also recommending friends.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

TheBalm's Balmsai Palette review and tutorial (video)

As soon as I laid my eyes on this palette I knew I needed it! It's just right up my alley!

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Is it worth the hype? Benefit Hoola Bronzer review

This product I mentioned a couple of months ago in my April favourites, and I've decided to write a quick review of Benefit's Hoola* for you!

The reason why I have, is because from the first time I saw this at about 14 years old, I wanted it. The only thing that put me off was the price (£23.50) and that I had never tried it and knew that I liked it, so I could justify spending all that money on one thing, when I could just do a whole shopping spree in Primark instead.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Beauty Unboxing: July Birchbox 2015

I know that I don't end up posting about last month's Birchbox*, and to be truly honest, I'm not sure why I didn't... I had the post pretty much written up!

Anyway, I personally think it's too late now, and I would much rather talk about this month's as it's too good for it to be too late as well!

If you've already received your's, you'll know that this month's box was very different to any others you've seen or received. That's because (for those of you who haven't already seen) this month it was a Birchbag!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Skincare and Makeup Drugstore Haul | Youtube video

As you may have been able to tell, I've not gotten into full swing again after my unplanned blogging hiatus, and last week I thought it was time to share another Youtube video! However, I completely forgot/didn't have time to share it on here as well.

So here it is - very late, but none the less, still here!!

It's a short but sweet haul video (if you haven't guessed already, I'm a shopaholic), but I hope you enjoy it all the same!

Best sure to subscribe to my Youtube so you never miss a video again!!

Much love!

Nicole ♥

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Travelling: Amsterdam (We Are Forever Holidays)

Firstly, I need to apologies for the unplanned hiatus I have taken for the past month! Life got in the way, with exams, a spontaneous holiday and a house move all in the mix, it was a little hard for me to find time to sit down and write.

Secondly, I apologies for how long it has taken me to finish this post! So without further adieu, the real writing will begin...

As some may know, in April I came back from an amazing trip to Amsterdam - if you follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook that is! I've posted the odd photo here and there whilst on the trip, but wanted to save the bulk for this post. Now it's taken me a long time to gather all the photos, pick the best ones, edit them and also to write this long a** post, but hopefully this all will have been worth it, and you will love it!

So grab a cup of tea and some biscuits, and get comfy!
(On our way to Amstel)

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Beauty Unboxing: May Birchbox 2015 ♥

This has to be the best Birchbox* I've had yet! I think I said this last month... But I just love everything I got inside!!

This month's theme was "Free your mind" and based around creativity. The products came in a white box with patterns all over it (as pictured). I will go into further detail about this further down the post, but I really love the style of the box and the whole concept around it!

Friday, 15 May 2015

What's in... my everyday, morning skincare routine (for dry skin)

Hey guys! This post is a bit later than I'd usually post it, but I wasn't actually planning on posting anything today due to deadlines at uni.

 I did, however, have a Youtube video on the back bench in case I needed it, so after finishing and submitting my assignment early this morning, I thought I may as well upload it!

So here is it, my dry skin skincare routine! I noticed a lack of these on Youtube, as I've been searching and searching for ways to combat my awful dry skin. This is my morning skincare routine that I do everyday.

If you're interested in the night time routine, then feel free to comment down below! That's much more intense and I feel is what has changed my skin from super dry, to almost normal skin!

I hope you enjoyed this video! I'm loving making these, so I'd love to know your thoughts!

Nicole ♥

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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Is it worth the hype? Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade review

If you've seen my Lust List, then you'll know I've been wanting this for a fair few months now! I've spoken about this in my April Favourites as well, so I've had over a month to try it out and see if it actually is worth the hype.

Friday, 8 May 2015

My first MAC products!

You may have noticed me asking questions and looking at posts in the blogging world recently on the subject of MAC Cosmetics. And, this is all because I have decided to finally take the plunge into the world of MAC!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

My April Favourites (on Youtube)!

This Wednesday, I thought I would do something a little bit different and post up a video of my April favourites!

Now, I know I'm a little late, and I would usually like to keep videos for a Friday, but seeing as we're already on the 6th of April, I thought I better get it uploaded as soon as possible!

There will be a post on Friday this week though, so keep an eye out on my social media for that!

Let me know if you enjoyed this video in the comments below and like the video on Youtube!

Nicole ♥

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 Nicole Lauren Blake



Nicole Lauren Blake

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Bargain Buy: 30 years of L'oreal Color Riche lipstick swatches

I was scrolling along Instagram a few weeks ago when I came across a few pictures advertising an offer I just couldn't refuse!

Friday, 24 April 2015

Is it worth the hype? Micellar Cleansing Water review

It seems that every skincare brand is coming out with their own versions of these at the minute, and I've heard so much about them online that I felt I needed to try it out for myself!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Mini Essence haul and review

I'm unsure if I've even mentioned this, but ever since I started blogging, I've been dying to get my hands on some Essence products.

I'd seen them in Wilko's and even seen there own stand alone store in the Arndale, but I just thought they were some cheap brand that wouldn't be any good.

However, after reading reviews on other blogs, my estimation in them grew, and I needed to own something of their's!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Beauty Unboxing: April Birchbox 2015 ♥

As you may have noticed (or not), a little something has changed on my site today... That's right, I finally went out and bought myself a domain name! You are now reading!!

Any who, on to the actual post! I got an email while I was away telling me my Birchbox* had been dispatched! So I was so excited to get home and find it waiting for me! I couldn't help but open it up and see what was inside!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The Liebster Award

I got tagged to do this by Liliana ( - thank you by the way! I love these tags as it's a way for you guys to get to now me a bit more, as I feel when I'm just writing about products that I like etc, you don't get to see my personality as much as I would like!

Liebster Award Rules:
♥ Answer the questions that are sent to you
♥ Nominate 10 bloggers who have under 200 followers on twitter
♥ Ask them 12 questions of your own
♥ Notify them that they have been nominated

Friday, 3 April 2015

Get ready with me ♥ Everyday makeup

This week I filmed another Youtube video!

Instead of a haul, I thought I'd quickly share with you the makeup routine I've been using for the past week! I love these products and I have to say, they are all my monthly favourites (which I don't think I'm writing a post on this month!). I would also include the Maybelline Dream Satin Liquid in there too (an old favourite of mine that I've recently rediscovered!)

Check out the video below, like, subscribe, SHARE THE LOVE?! ♥

Thanks so much for watching guys!

Nicole ♥

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Nicole Lauren Blake

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Beauty Unboxing: Dream Box III

This is Jane Cunningham, or British Beauty Blogger's latest collaboration with the beauty box Latest in Beauty. This post isn't exactly an unboxing, as on buying this, I knew the exact products that I was going to get, just some of the colours were a surprise!

I received an email about this box and had to check it out, as the previous ones, I have seen good things about, so I didn't want to miss out this time around! I've had it for a week and a half now, so had a good chance to try nearly all the products.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

New Ventures: My First Youtube video!

If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I've been thinking of starting making videos on Youtube to accompany this blog.

I have, finally, dipped my foot into the water and made my first video! I'm still unsure if this will be a full time thing like the blog, or whether it will be an as and when.

Anyhow, my first post is now up! It has taken me all day try to upload it and make sure it was in HD, etc. etc. so the (sometimes) Friday post did not come, sorry!

This video was a Drugstore haul from Boots and Superdrug!

I hope you enjoy it guys! Let me know what you think in the comments, on twitter, or on the video!

Look out for reviews for these product on here. If you like this enough I might post another one!

As always, thanks for reading!

Nicole ♥

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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Bargain Buy: Rimmel Apocalips lip lacquer

About two weeks ago, I was in Tesco at around midnight. And, if you've ever been in a supermarket at such a late hour, like me, then you will know the glory of the reduced foods section! 

 So me and the fella where looking through all the cheap rubbish that was going out of date, hoping that we'd find a nice sandwich or ready meal, when I spotted, tucked away at the back of the shelf, a Rimmel Apocalips!

Now when I saw that yellow sticker I grabbed that tube and couldn't believe my eyes... I was already shocked at the fact it was reduced in the fridge section of the supermarket, but the price it had been reduced to was amazing!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Boohoo clothes haul

So I went a little bit crazy on! I did send some things back, but these are the things that I kept. I love them all and I hope you enjoy this post!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The Versatile Blogger award

So I got nominated to do this by Amber (thank you!), so I thought it was a good way for people to find out more about me as a person! What I have to do is share seven facts about me and then tag 15 blogs that I have been loving or recently started following! Now as I'm very new to the blogging community (this is my 8th week), I was very surprised, and delighted to be nominated by Amber to do this tag, however, I may struggle finding 15 people to tag back!