When it comes to eyeshadows and the best quality eyeshadow palettes, Urban Decay is a bit of a fail safe for me. Their eyeshadows are often that lovely soft, almost buttery, kind of powder which makes blending and application an absolute breeeeze.

Urban Decay Cosmetics are probably most known for their Naked eyeshadow palettes - a range of wearable neutrals in different warm/cool tones, but what about their more creative, adventurous colours?

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21 Eyeshadow Swatches! Urban Decay Full Spectrum Palette review

It's that time of the year again - the credit card comes out, the ridiculous self-justification starts ("I need these shoes because... I HAVE FEET") and the scramble to get a deal leads to you spending an hour glued to your computer, in the hope of saving a few pounds.

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Spend to save? My pick of the best Black Friday /Cyber Weekend deals

It's official! With temperatures falling into single digits, winter is here. Although I'm sad to see the end of Autumn, there is one reason for me to be please. It's a reason that's been hanging in my wardrobe for a few months now. Yes friends - it's time to wear my new coat!

I bought this navy wool and leather trenchcoat from The Kooples when on my summer holidays in France. The fact that The Kooples is french, coupled with a dip in foreign exchange meant that I saved almost 20% on the British retail price.

It still cost me £400 - which is basically the most I've ever spent on a coat butI'd just spent the week reading 'The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying' by Marie Kondo and her mantra of only keeping and buying things that 'inspire joy' just... inspired the purchase?

In addition to inspiring joy, I figured that
1) It's a timeless, classic shape
2) I don't have any trenchcoats 
3) I'd earned a bit of money reporting from London Fashion Week and I figured it may as well go back into the industry
4) It was 20% cheaper than buying it in the UK

All of the key points that led me to justifying that I would buy this as an investment (and then probably eat beans for the rest of the month). Will it pay off? Let's find out if I'm wearing it in a couple years time..

As an accountant, you know I'm all about value so my wardrobe is definitely not all designer labels. Today's outfit sees me mix this high-end investment coat with some $19 Levi's that I bought on sale in New York and a £15 Cluse watch that I bought second-hand from Depop.

Outfit Details

M&S Suede Footglove Ankle Boots £59: The heel is the perfect height, they are comfortable enough to wear all day. They come in Khaki too.
Meli Melo Utility Bag  approx £200 - now discontinued but more details and pics here.
Levi's 501 CT jeans - £16 - Found these in the clearance section I'm going to be creating some more rips in my jeans myself soon. Should I do a DIY rip your jeans vid maybe?!
Cluse Imitation Watch £15 - second hand found on Depop (my fave)

If you're messy and a bit of a hoarder, I recommended reading the Marie Kondo book. I certainly approach buying things a bit differently now!

Previously, I'd always be about a bargain - but sometimes spending to save means you still spend. I now spend if I need to spend, and they end up being things that I really enjoy using and enjoy looking after now. Definitely recommend the book.

Are you ready for winter? What was the last "investment piece" that you bought? 

Tweet me your thoughts @FaceValueBlog or send me a comment on Facebook!

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Winter What I Wore To Work: 50 Shades Of Blue with The Kooples Trenchcoat

When did you first start learning about money? Chances are it was the first time that you lost a tooth and put it under your pillow, in exchange for a shiny 50p (back when they used to be huge). That 50p would then probably go on a bag of 1p sweets and a couple of Freddos which, unfortunately, are probably about 50p each these days!

I certainly didn't learn much about money in school though and it was mainly thanks to my parents efforts that I picked my first current account. I remember that particular account included a sponsorship of a rare breed of monkey. You received colouring pencils and a certificate through the post - and that was me hooked on personal finance since then.

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Money Monday: Should Personal Finance Be Taught In Schools?

New Makeup alert! Sleek Makeup have launched a new collection and of course I've got my hands on it to review for you. Even better, you get to win some of it too. Keep reading, dear readers.

The Sleek Rockstars collection launched in store the other week and it is definitely something you'll lust after.  I attended the launch event and I've got the lustful lowdown for you all.

Consisting of an eyeshadow palette, a strobing souffle and a lipstick, it comes in two colourways. Diamond in the Rough, available online at Boots and Hidden Gems,  available online at Superdrug.

Both are metallic and gorgeous but I'd say one is more day/neutral and the other more festive and glamorous. Which one will you pick? Both? Why not.

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Sleek Makeup Beauty Launch & Giveaway! The ROCKSTARS Collection

Fright night is here! Although I'm a big fan of fancy dress, I'm getting a bit bored of the usual blood and gore of Halloween makeup. For once, I just want to look NICE, y'know? Like somewhere in between a Mean Girls playboy bunny, and Lindsey Lohan's Bride of Frankenstein.

So I came up with a red-eyed look which is dramatic but still very different from my everyday going out look. The good news is that it's EASY PEASY. All you need is a lipstick and a  fluffy brush to blend. 

Check out the video for the full how-to and let me know what you think!

Stuff I used

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar in Black Metal Dahlia - I actually picked this up in New York but the original Black Dahlia is here

If you buy anything from any of the links above, I get commission - so click away guys!

What do YOU think of this look? Tweet me your thoughts @FaceValueBlog or send me a comment on Facebook, I love hearing from you.

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Youtube Video: Halloween Makeup Tutorial - Blood Red Eyes & Lips

What is my favourite thing about blogging? Well, other than somehow justifying my ridiculous collection of makeup, one of the things I love about blogging is getting to find out about new product launches before they hit the store. Even better, when I get to TRY the products before they're available on sale.

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NEW Beauty Launch! Giorgio Armani Lip Magnets Review & Swatches

Growing up in the 90s, it will come as no surprise to you that I was (and am still) a huge Spice Girls fan. Who was my favourite Spice? Posh of course. It's been amazing to watch Victoria Beckham go from plastic WAG fantastic to eternally-chic fashion designer and general style inspiration (via that song that she did with Dane Bowers - what a gem) And..... although I'm a lot older now, I'm still partial to a bit of merchandise.

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Victoria Beckham x Estee Lauder : What To (Calmly) Buy

Food blog alert, here we go! I've raved on and on about my wonderful weekend at Wilderness and this is one of the biggest reasons why. One of my fave things about Wilderness Festival #1 – the food is GREAT. 

I’m not just talking about foodie stalls and vans that they have. Seeing a mac and cheese van or a crab shack isn’t such a surprise at a festival anymore (although still very welcome) Wilderness went next level with REAL London restaurateurs and chefs, hosting REAL feasts and banquets throughout the weekend.

I mean, look at this Banqueting Tent! (One of many)

My personal highlight, was one of my London favourites - Mark Hix. I’m a big fan of Tramshed in Shoreditch, where they do a whole roast chicken served with the feet flamboyantly in the air – I know it’s mainly for show but Chinese people like me have a lot of time (and teeth) for that! Also Mark’s Bar has fantastic cocktails and chicken popcorn (not KFC popcorn chicken, I’m talking chicken flavoured popcorn) and the classic Hix Soho does a fabulous, under-hyped Sunday brunch – again, accompanied by fabulous cocktails. Basically, in the real world, I can’t get enough of Hix restaurants.

In the festival world, nothing changes. The food was equally as good but with the added bonus of being served in a lovely rural setting. The fact that it was about 24 degrees also helped.

First, we started with cocktails (of course). Since Mark's Bar in Soho has an extensive and exciting cocktail list, so we knew we were in good hands. The Bloody Mary's in particular are fantastically savoury and spiced without being overpowering. Bloody love a Bloody Mary.

The only downside is that due to the usual festival no-glass policy, they were served in little plastic cups which are fun for no oneIt's not full festival lockdown though. Like Business Class meals onboard an airplane, you actually get metal cutlery with your meal. Living the high life!

Here's me, looking a bit bedraggled on the last day of the festival and about to sit down to a full Sunday feast in the Hix tent.

Now the concept of the feasting tent is that you share between 6 people. As we were only a two, our meal was shared between old and new friends and it was truly great. Being honest, I'm not usually one for inter-festival mingling  (I'm shy! Cough.) but the people we met were bright and charming and all kinds of interesting. 

Seriously, one of our new companions was a high-end milliner and another foodie couple had travelled here from Singapore and were an accountant and a journalist (ie. basically me as two people, but much more lovely)

But enough about the social starter, what did we eat?

Pickled late summer vegetables

Woodall's Black Combe Ham

Heritage beetroot salad with toasted walnuts and Cashel Blue

First of all, the English equivalent of a delicious slice of Serrano ham. The Black Combe ham we were served was made in the heart of Cumbria. Hand rubbed with a dry cure mix and then cold smoked in oak for 5 hours before being left to air dry for at least 6 months. 6 months?! I've had relationships shorter than that. 

As a huge charcuterie fan, this did not disappoint. Fragrant and savoury with those deliciously satisfying melty bits of fat - y'know, the sort that turn people into vegetarians.

Moving onto a different kind of cocktail, we were treated to Atlantic Prawn Cocktail, large juicy prawns served on fresh lettuce with a tangy Marie Rose style dressing. The portion size was generous, I had at least four. My surprise favourite though, was the heritage beetroot salad. Never anything I'd pick off the menu normally but the beets were colourful and fresh, with the perfect amount of crunch. Perfectly offset with crumbly Cashel Blue and toasted walnuts, it's genuinely got me considering adding a beetroot to my supermarket shopping basket next time. (Hey, it can look pretty on my kitchen counter)

The Main Event

Roasted Dorset Blue Lobster with garlic butter

Glenarm Estate beef on the bone

The mains did not disappoint either - my eyes were literally on stalks as I watched boards of roasted lobster make their way into the tent. Lobster and garlic butter, can you get any better than that?

Well, apparently you can. Wood-fired ribs of beef on the bone. The picture tells you EVERYTHING. Beautifully tender and fully flavoured, these perfectly cooked ribs had us all in bits. (To get a similar beef fix, I recommend the Sunday Roast at Hix Soho) This meal was without a doubt, the best food I've ever had a festival. The only question was, who got to nibble the rest off the bone?

Of course, I can't sign off without mentioning the dessert. Raspberries fresh from the farm, with delicious clouds of meringue and rich chocolate mousse. As soon as I mentioned Hix Restaurants on my Facebook page, everyone was like "YOU HAVE TO TRY THE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE". (all the capitals as well) It's basically a London foodie rite of passage, sorry but I don't make the rules.

Oakchurch Farm raspberries with Peruvian Gold chocolate and meringue

A perfect end to a fantastic few days at Wilderness Festival - I really recommend treating yourself to a feast if you go next year. If not, check out the Hix restaurants dotted around London. They do bottomless brunches, oyster happy hours and even late-night lock ins. That, plus delicious no-nonsense food and interesting cocktails - what else could you need?! (though let's be honest, I had you at bottomless brunch didn't I?)

For the full Wilderness report, see my Wilderness Festival Highlights here and my Yahoo Style article on The Rise Of The LIfestyle Festival here.

What do you think of this festival feast? Have you been to a Mark Hix restaurant? Tweet me your thoughts @FaceValueBlog or send me a comment on Facebook!

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Festival Food Blog: Mark Hix Knows How To Do A Feast

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