Friday, 31 January 2014

High Street Makeup Favourites

Recently, I've been loving the high street for makeup; my makeup routine is made up totally of high street products, so I thought I'd share my current favourite high street products with you. Every single one of these products is under £10 and 3 out of the 5 are under £5 so these really do suit everyones pocket and you could buy some of them with the loose change you find at the bottom of your bag!


Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm £7.99 - I only just wrote about this a few days ago and I had to include it in this because I think it's such an amazing lip product. The look and feel of this is incredible, and for less than £10 you'd be mad not to at least swatch a few in store.

Maybelline Brow Drama £4.99 - My brows can be so unruly at times and this really is a great product to tame them. I use this on a daily basis sometimes as the only product I use on my brows, it's great for setting any brow look and keeping them looking good for hours.

MUA Heaven and Earth Eyeshadow Palette £4 - I was raving about this on the #bbloggers hashtag on Sunday night saying that if I could choose one high street product for under £5 this would be it. It's only £4 and the 12 shadows make it one of the most versatile, affordable palettes on the UK high street market. When I first started blogging it seemed like everyone was going mad for this, it's very much like the first Urban Decay Naked palette at a fraction of the price.

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder £3.99 - I featured this earlier this month because its the powder I go back to again and again, I've tried other ones but I always seem to come back to this one no matter what. It sets my makeup, finishes the look off and controls oil beautifully.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Eye Liner £3.99 - A line of black eyeliner on the waterline really finishes a night time look off for me and this Rimmel one does it perfectly. Not quite as waterproof as it claims to be, I don't think, but it glides on without dragging and looks really good.

Are any of my high street faves in your collection?


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Thursday, 30 January 2014

Nude Nails - Essie Topless & Barefoot

I bought this some time ago, but I've just rediscovered it after going through all my nail polishes the other day. Essie Topless and Barefoot is actually from the 2011 spring collection and it's a really pretty, nude pink opaque nail polish; perfect for every day wear for work/school/days out. It's been quite a while since I actually painted my nails, simply because I haven't had the time or inclination but I'm really enjoying wearing this nude colour because it's totally understated but makes plain nails look that bit nicer. 

essie topless and barefoot
Essie Topless & Barefoot £10.95 Look Fantastic

My nails are a little bit on the short side at the moment (mainly due to being stressed, resulting in biting and picking at them!) but I think Essie Topless and Barefoot looks really nice; I applied two coats of it and as you can see it's completely opaque. The brush is regular size; I actually prefer wider brushes because they're much easier to work with but I'll overlook this minor detail because I like the shade so much :)

Do you have a favourite Essie shade?
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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Steamcream with Limited edition 'Thalia' packaging

It's not often you see me review a multipurpose cream, and there's a simple reason for that: I don't often find any that really float my boat. I was kindly sent Steamcream a couple of weeks ago, the pretty limited edition packaging was what caught my eye and their innovative concept was what pushed me to try it. Steamcream is made using the highest quality, natural ingredients, bound together with a shot of steam... hence the name 'Steamcream'. Key ingredients include cocoa butter, lavender oil, oatmeal infusion, chamomile blue essential oil and neroli oil among others. It is an all-in-one cream meaning that it is suitable for use on your face, body and hands; I haven't personally used this on my face because I am currently happy with my skincare routine. 

steamcream

steamcream
Steamcream* £12.99 

Photos can't possibly do this product justice in terms of showing what the cream is really like, on face value it looks like a regular cream, although to me it's very white, I usually find that most other creams are off-white in colour. Upon application this feels incredibly light, I couldn't believe how light it was and it absorbs into skin quickly and without leaving a greasy residue. Despite the fact that this feels amazingly light upon first application, it also feels very nourishing and left my skin feeling silky smooth, even particularly dry parts like my elbows. Cocoa Butter containing products tend to leave a bit of a greasy feeling behind after use but I believe that the way this is made, with steam, means that it is easy for the skin to absorb. The scent is quite a strong one, the stand out fragrance for me is the lavender which could mean that some people will hate the smell but I personally don't mind it at all. I thoroughly enjoy using this as a body product and would recommend that you give it if you ever see any tester pots, you won't believe how lightweight it is!

If you're reading this wondering what to buy your loved one for Valentines, why not treat them to a tin of Steamcream?
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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Revlon Lip Balm Stains

It's been quite a while since I was excited by a high street makeup release, but when I saw Revlon's new Colorburst Lacquer and Matte balms pop up on a few blogs I knew I had to try at least one of each. I went to Boots the other day armed with my £30 worth of advantage card points and blew £16 worth on 3 Revlon balm crayons, a shade from each type; Kissable Balm Stain, Colorburst Lacquer and Colorburst Matte Balms.

revlon lip balm stains

revlon balms

revlon lip crayons

Left to right: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in 'Crush' £7.99, Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in 'Sultry' £7.99, Revlon Colorburst Lacquer Balm in 'Flirtatious' £7.99

Revlon Colorburst Balm
Top to bottom: Balm Stain in 'Crush', Lacquer Balm in 'Flirtatious' and Matte Balm in 'Sultry'

Revlon-kissable-balm-stain-crush
Lipswatch of Kissable Balm Stain in 'Crush' 

The Kissable Balm Stains were released quite some time ago now but they just never caught my eye, now I know why because this is my least favourite of the three types of lip crayon by Revlon. It's not as pigmented as I would like, given the fact it's called a 'stain' I expected to see a much better colour payoff when in fact I had to go over my lips several times to get a good colour. It also seems to sink in to the dry parts of my lips, as you can see towards the middle the darker bits are where it has clung to the dry skin. As for longevity it did stain my lips for a good few hours but it didn't take long for it to lose its sheen, it's not easy to reapply either because like I say I had to go over it quite a few times to get the look I wanted.

Revlon-colorburst-lacquer-balm-flirtatious
Revlon Colorburst Lacquer Balm in 'Flirtatious'

This is newly released in the UK and I assumed that the lacquer formula would be my favourite out of the two new Colorburst products but now I've tried them I'm a little unsure. Application is so smooth, it goes on like a dream and is really pigmented, the crayon makes it so easy to get a great shape around your lips (something I sometimes struggle with when using regular lipsticks). 'Flirtatious' is a pinky red shade which I think is what kind of puts me off this one, in my local store they didn't have any plum kind of shades in so I went for this one which isn't what I'd normally go for. 'Enticing' looks like a better colour for me so next time I'm in store I'm going to get that shade because the formula of the lacquer balm really is gorgeous and if you like lips with a sheen then you should definitely try one of these. 

Revlon-colorburst-matte-balm-sultry
Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in 'Sultry'

This one has really surprised me, I didn't expect to like it as much as I do but everything about it I absolutely love; the colour, the formula, how it feels and ease of application. I always assume that 'matte' means dry and hard to apply but this crayon is such a velvety formula, it just glides onto your lips effortlessly and has a really strong pigmentation. Longevity is amazing without drying out your lips and the shade is such a gorgeous muted plum/brown shade which is totally what I'm loving wearing at the moment. I would buy another one of these in a heartbeat! I've got my eye on 'Standout' as my next shade to buy.

I think Revlon have made a massive improvement on their Kissable Balm Stain with the new Colorburst crayons, they're both really nice to use and very reasonably priced. For me, these have really lived up to the hype, more so than the Lip Butters (which I also do quite like). Revlon products are on 3 for 2 in Boots at the moment so it's the perfect time to go and get some to try if you like the look of them.

Will you be trying the new Revlon Colorburst Balms?

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Monday, 27 January 2014

Beverley Hills Formula Black Whitening Toothpaste

You're probably reading this because you're wondering how a black toothpaste can possibly help to whiten your teeth; Beverley Hills Formula have released a new toothpaste which contains charcoal as the active ingredient which is known for its whitening properties. Although it does sound very strange, charcoal has been used as a whitening agent for hundreds of years, allegedly right back to Native Americans and even Hippocrates, and it's perfectly safe. 

black whitening toothpaste

black toothpaste

On the toothbrush it does look really quite scary, and not something you'd want to put on your teeth but I'd urge you not to let the colour bother you. It doesn't make it taste horrid or feel weird, it's exactly like any other gel toothpaste with regard to how it feels and tastes. 

The instructions say to brush your teeth with this for 5 minutes for best results, I don't know many people who have the time to brush their teeth for that length of time twice a day and aside from that I use an electric toothbrush so when I tried for 5 minutes my gums started to really hurt. I have been brushing for 1 to 2 minutes twice every day, which is enough to see some results just not 'best' results. Obviously any home treatment isn't going to give the same results as cosmetic dentistry but I like this toothpaste. It hasn't worked miracles but I never expected it to; t keeps my teeth looking and feeling clean whilst keeping my breath fresh. This is ideal for anyone who is looking to whiten their teeth gradually or help maintain a cosmetic whitening treatment. 

Are you intrigued by this black toothpaste?
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Sunday, 26 January 2014

Cute iPhone 5 Case

You might have seen me tweet a few days ago that I was officially tweeting from my brand new o2 iPhone 5S, aside from the fact that it was quite a wrench to leave Orange after 5 years I'm really happy with my phone and the last thing I wanted was for it to get smashed or damaged! I don't like spending a fortune on phone cases because I like to be able to swap and change them regularly. 

eBay is always my first port of call when looking for a phone case; I wanted something simple but cute and nothing bulky, my search came up with this beauty...

cute iphone 5 case
Cute iPhone 5 Case £2.69 eBay

My iPhone is the white and silver version so I figured that white was the most sensible choice but they do other colours such as lilac, pink, turquoise, black and blue. I just love the design with the laser cut out design for the apple logo and the heart shaped cut out for the camera. This doesn't cover the front the phone but you could always get some clear screen protectors for that. Perfect vintage style chic I think, and who can grumble at less than £3 with free delivery?! They also do the same case for the iPhone 4.

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Saturday, 25 January 2014

Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Mind Bath & Shower Oil

Around this time last year I went to Professional Beauty in London and came away with a set of mini Aromatherapy Associates bath oils I tried each and everyone one of them and that's where my obsession with bath oils began. An email arrived in my inbox the other day to tell me that Aromatherapy Associates had a sale going on on their website; I've been quite good this year and resisted most sale stuff but I couldn't pass this up. I've been waiting and waiting to be able to buy a full size bottle of one of their bath oils so this was the perfect opportunity. 


aromatherapy associates bath oil

This is the only full size bath/shower oil available in the sale but luckily it was one of the ones I would have chosen anyway out of the ones I tried in the minis set. Just recently it's been a really stressful time in my job with end of year self assessments among other things so an oil that claims to de-stress your mind is perfect for me. De-stress mind helps to focus the mind and ease emotional stress and confusion by adding one cap full to your bath or smoothing it over your body in the shower; I've never used it in the shower, I always use it in baths because I find it much more relaxing. 

The prominent scent is frankincense but this is toned down slightly by notes of cammomile, it is a strong fragrance but I think this is key to it being so relaxing, this poured into a hot bath with the lights turned off and a candle burning is the one of the most enveloping experience you could have at home. 

I really, really enjoy using this bath oil especially when I've had a really stressful day, it helps me relax and aids in a more peaceful sleep. 1 full size bottle will give you 20 gorgeously relaxing baths/showers which works out at just under £2 per bath (if you're working on full price); this is cheaper than most products you find in lush so although it sounds expensive at £40 a bottle I don't think it's too bad and I've definitely got a bargain at less than £20!

aromatherapy associates mini bath oils

When you get to the checkout on the Aromatherapy Associates website you get the choice of three samples, I chose a small version of de-stress mind, support equilibrium and support breathe. These are the same size that you get in the minis set and they're a great way to get customers hooked on Aromatherapy Asssociates products. Support equilibrium is supposed to aid in balancing your emotions and uplifting your mood, I really like the smell of this; it's actually similar to turkish delight as daft as that sounds which is probably to do with the rose element of this. Support breathe is for when you're feeling a bit bunged up if you have a cold, I got this one in the minis set and used it when i was feeling rubbish and it was really gorgeous, the eucalyptus and peppermint really helps to clear your airways and make you feel a bit more normal.

I also got an extra 10% off my order because I signed up to their newsletter when prompted on their website so in total my order cost me £17.55 which I think is a bargain!

What's your favourite bath oil, from any brand?


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Friday, 24 January 2014

Is the January 2014 Glossybox really THAT bad?

So this month Glossybox have caused another stir with their January box, and upon first impressions the contents don't look to be very impressive but I wondered... is it really that bad in comparison to previous years? Each box has obviously been different every month but for purposes of comparing I thought I'd use the boxes from the past 2 Januarys (2012 and 2013) to see how good (or indeed bad) the January 2014 box really is. 

Glossybox January 2012

January 2012 Contents:

Murad Skin Perfecting Primer 5ml (worth approx £4.95)
Weleda 2 in 1 cleanser and toner 10ml (worth approx 99p)
Eyeko Skinny Eyeliner Full Size (worth £9.50)
Orly Nail Lacquer in Ruby 5.3ml (worth approx £2.50)
FAB Body Wash (worth approx £2)
Total Box Value - £19.94

This is the only box in this comparison that I actually received, I was fairly impressed with this even though I don't think I've ever used the Eyeko eyeliner, it was in a plum shade which isn't the kind of thing I ever use. I do remember liking the Weleda cleanser/toner but I also remember thinking that the body wash was the most over priced body wash ever. Overall, in this box there was a good selection of different products from different brands, mostly from fairly luxurious brands. 

Glossybox january 2013
Photo Credit: Sailor Jennie

January 2013 Box Contents

Lacoste Perfume Sample (worth approx £2)
Monu Exfoliator 30ml (worth approx £4.35)
Murad Ultimate Moisture for eyes (worth approx £17??!!)
Sanctuary Active Reverse Thermal Transformation Mask 15ml (worth approx £5)
BM Beauty Dewy Finish Perfection Finishing Powder 1g (worth approx £2)
Glossybox Eye mask (value unknown)

Approximate box value: £30.35

This was named the 'Detox' box, obviously with a view to helping you detox in January. This box includes some names which I have seen crop up in Glossybox quite a few times, such a BM beauty, Monu and Murad... I thought the point of these boxes was to discover new brands not to keep repeating the same ones? Upon searching Google, I have noticed that other blogs got slightly better boxes with products from brand such as Elemis and Paul Mitchell... surely Glossybox should be making a note of what brands they've sent to who and try not to send them products from the same brand?

glossybox january 2014
Photo Credit: Freckles and Flaws

January 2014 box contents

2x Yu Be Moisturising Skin Cream (worth approx £1.63)
Balance Me Super Toning Body Wash (worth approx £2.05)
Vintage Cosmetic Company Tweezers full size (worth £8)
Anatomicals under eye patches (worth £6)
Vaseline Essential Moisture Lotion (worth approx £1)

Approximate box value: £18.68

So in terms of box value, it's quite similar to the January 2012 box but in terms of brands... what a joke. Vaseline? This box is called 'Back to Basics' but this really is bog-basic, Vaseline is a well known brand, I very much doubt that anyone wants to pay £10 for a sample box to receive something from a high street brand like that!! I can totally see why people are annoyed about this box, I've looked at other contents and I've seen a Beauty UK CC Cream in one of them... one of the cheapest makeup brands you can find in Superdrug. 

Over the past years I do feel they have got progressively worse if you look at this comparison, it's supposed to be all about discovery and it seems that Glossybox really don't care about the recipient, what they have tried before and what they might like to try. They used to do so well, they've introduced people to some really amazing products in the past but they are becoming very noncompetitive in the beauty box industry... I have some Glossy dots to redeem on my account but they are such a pain to redeem I don't think I'll be bothering especially if I receive a box like this January! 

What do you think of Glossybox's recent performance?


* P.S Thankyou so much to the lovely ladies Jennie and Emily for letting me use their photos for this post
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Thursday, 23 January 2014

Salcura Antiac Skincare Review with Before and After Photos

Hailed as 'Channel 4's Embaressing Bodies' Best Anti-Acne Product' Salcura skincare was sent to me to put to the test. As you probably know I have a bit of an issue with acne and have had since I was around 13, I've tried every single product under the sun claiming to be able to get rid of my spots; really strong chemical stuff and lots of other lotions and potions. Salcura prides itself on not containing any 'nasties', they contain only natural ingredients which are proven to deal with infection (what makes your spots go yellow), inflammation and tissue damage. Their 4 'star ingredients' are sea buckthorn, manuka, sandalwood and tea tree; I've heard of the advantages to using tea tree on acne but never combined with the other ingredients. 

There are two parts to the Salcura Antiac range; Daily and Activ, the severity of your acne decides which range you should use. In the daily range has two products a facial wash and face wipes if you have moderate to severe acne they also recommend using one of these products alongside the Activ Range. Because my acne is quite severe at times I have been using two products from the 'Activ' range alongside the face wipes.

products to get rid of acne


This is the targeted treatment, to be used on problem areas to help reduce inflammation and redness 'on the spot' within four hours of application. 


Sprayed onto a cotton pad, this is designed to be used all over the affected area to deal with flare ups and help prevent further acne attacks. 

How I used the range:

I have been using the products from the range alongside my ordinary skincare routine for just over a month now and I'm starting to see some the results. I cleanse my face with Caudalie cleansing water, used a daily face wipe (I wouldn't recommend using these for makeup removal alone, hence why I used cleansing water before) then I spray the Antiac liquid onto a cotton pad and wipe over particular problem areas, finally I applied the gel onto any active spots which were looking angry and red. I also used this throughout the day if needed to help reduce redness as quick as possible.

acne skin

As you can see, I had quite a few active spots and a lot of angry looking, red skin. This is a photo of my cheek which has been a particular problem area just recently and I had some really painful spots, the one in the middle that you can see was almost unbearable to touch so you can imagine what it was like trying to conceal it!

clearer skin

This is just over a month after beginning to use Salcura Antiac as part of my skincare routine and you can see that it isn't as red and angry and there aren't any active spots. Obviously I still have some redness and scarring but that's from years and years of battling with acne (and picking when I shouldn't!!). 

I really like the simplicity of these products and I don't worry about stripping my skin with chemicals, when I've used benzoyl peroxide containing products I've found that my skin has ended up quite dry whereas with this my skin is fine. None of the products leave a greasy residue which I did worry about when I first read about the ingredients, it just absorbs into the skin within seconds and you could put makeup straight on if you wanted. The only issue with the spray is the smell, some will like it, some will loathe it... I personally don't mind it but the overriding scent is tea tree which some people will find a bit strong. The spray bottle is ideal for dispensing just the right amount of product without wasting any, if I could get a spray cleansing water I would definitely buy it!

I don't believe that there are any 'miracle' products out there, I do think that diet and lifestyle contributes to the look of your skin but as far as acne products go, Salcura Antiac is a great place to start especially if you worry about using chemical containing products; these are 100% natural, reasonably priced and they do work!

Have you tried anything from the Salcura Antiac range?

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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

A Preview of S/S 2014 Fashions

Although we're barely halfway through winter, the fashions you'll be seeing this spring and summer will be showcased next month during the Mercedes-Benz S/S 2014 Fashion Week in New York City. While a few looks from 2013 will follow us into 2014, there will be many new trends budding this spring and summer. From tribal-inspired gear to floral prints, artistically-crafted pieces to metallics, street styles to more audacious wears, the spring and summer are sure to bring styles that are both feminine and edgy. Expect to see plenty of charming prints and bold patterns, feminine tops and dresses, and vibrant colours.

According to fashion forecasters, clothing bearing provocative cuts paired with feminine silhouettes and unconventional designs will be staples during the spring and summer. So whether it's brightly-coloured pieces or items featuring sophisticated graphics, there is a bevy of unique attire coming out in the first half of 2014.


Crafty Colours

While the previous spring/summer look was all about prints and patterns, spring/summer 2014 is going to focus on colors—particularly that of the bold variety. From warm pumpkin to brilliant shades of red, colours for the spring and summer will be striking and intense. Hues such as tangerine, terracotta, and honey will be used in everything from jeans and tights to pumps and hair accessories. What's more, these colours are great as they look good on everyone.

Those with a fair complexion can easily rock radiant reds, while those with more melanin enhance their sun-kissed skin tone with more golden colours. And unlike the prints and patterns of seasons past, these solid colours can be blended with just about anything. For instance, sleek, pleated shorts in a soft yellow can be meshed with any dainty beach piece. If you're looking to get started here, M&S provides customer reviews and ratings with their products so you can know what you're about to get into from other fashionistas like yourself. And that goes for whether you're seeking a bikini in a floral pattern (a popular option at the moment) or a kaftan in an abstract print. If you purchase some key wardrobe pieces in vibrant colors and you'll be set for throughout the spring and summer.

When it comes to unique colours, bright solids of reds and oranges won't be the only shades trending this spring and summer. While previous colder weather seasons have offered up cutting-edge metallics, the warmer months rarely give these shinny colours any exposure. This spring/summer will be a game changer for metallics, with everything from harem pants to light leather jackets getting a shine to them. Pastels, particularly pinks, are also getting the icy treatment.

Return of Prints and Patterns

Once again, effeminate pieces will take center stage and remain staples in the closets of the fashion forward. However, this spring/summer, girly prints and patterns will get even cuter. According to Glamour, designers such as Miu Miu will be adding delightful prints like cartoon cats along with polished, structured coats.

The brilliant colors noted above will also come into play with the upcoming seasons' prints and patterns as items like knit jackets and pleated, knee-length skirts. Even tights, leggings, and lacy, darling socks are getting a charming leg up with the help of floral prints and funky tribal patterns, making it easy for any fashionista to include fun designs.

Which trends are you looking forward to wearing this Spring/Summer?

*Guest post*
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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Do you care about your essentials? - Double Faced Cotton Wool Pads

I know this is kind of a 'boring' product, there's nothing pretty about them and you would think that one is very much the same as the other. But for me, there is definitely such a thing as a 'bad' cotton wool pad, and how do I define a 'bad' one?... Well imagine this, you're trying to apply makeup or take makeup off and you're left with bits of cotton wool on your face, the pad falls apart in your hand or it doesn't hold any product whatsoever - it just soaks through and drips everywhere. See, I told you there could be a bad cotton wool pad, so I thought I'd share what I find are one of the best kinds out there...

the best cotton wool pads

cotton wool pads

I'm not suggesting you have to spend a fortune on your essentials, which is why the ones I have chosen to feature are from Boots; they are the Cotton Wool Double Faced Oval Pads at just £1.89 for 50 (they're also on offer at the moment, buy one pack get one half price). They have 2 sides to them one with the wider circles is for applying lotions and creams, so maybe your moisturiser and the side with the small dot-like circles is for applying liquid products like Micellar waters because it doesn't leave fluff behind. They glide over your skin without dragging at all and they're really absorbent considering they are relatively thin, the fact that they are oval means they can cover a bigger surface area and therefore you use less to get the job done. I always have a pack of these in because they're a great multi-tasker!

What are your boring, but essential products?
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Monday, 20 January 2014

A Small Haul - Bargain Becca Cosmetics

Following on from my very brief post about the bargains to be had on fragrance direct, I thought I'd post about what I bought. Admittedly it wasn't a lot but I've really reigned in my spending over the past 6 months, so I don't buy stuff that I know I won't use but this bargain opportunity was far too good to miss. I would say that 80% of my friends haven't heard about Becca as a brand but if you know how much products normally are, you'll know that Fragrance Direct's prices are really cheap.




I got two products, neither of them have been heavily coveted by bloggers and magazines but I just liked the sound of them so I bought them blindly and hoped I'd like them! I got a Glossy Lip Tint in 'Cherry Bomb' £3.99 (Look Fantastic £9.60) and an Eye Tint in 'Vicuna' £4.99 (Space N.K £19.99) so in total I saved just over £20.

The Glossy Lip Tint is very sheer upon application, it doesn't give a strong colour upon application to bare lips but the formula makes it a real pleasure to wear; it glides on really easy and it's not sticky in the slightest. I have been wearing this during the day on its own because it's so easy to reapply, no need for a mirror if you don't have one to hand because the tint of colour is only very slight and therefore quite forgiving. I think this would be lovely if you wanted to add a gloss to a red lip look; glossy red seems to suit me better than a matte look does, so I'll be trying this for a more daring evening look. 

I bought the Eye Tint in the shade 'Vicuna' because out of them all it looked to be the most neutral, but upon application it was a lot more gold toned than I thought it would be and quite high shimmer. This isn't a problem for me as I happen to like shimmer eye products but it's important to note that the 'swatches' on Fragrance Direct aren't to be taken as gospel; always Google if you're unsure! Despite it not being exactly what I expected, I've used this almost every day as a base for my eyeshadow, it's quite thin in consistency but a little goes a long way. It glides on easily and feels quite wet but it quickly dries and doesn't transfer if you touch it, it stays put beautifully for hours but comes off easily when you need it to. 

I am absolutely made up with my purchases, I'm so glad I managed to get something when they had a wide choice of shades. You can still get some bargains from Fragrance Direct, the shade range isn't as big but I strongly recommend you at least have a look. I reckon Becca are preparing for a brand overhaul, that's what usually happens when product ranges like this go to outlet style retailers - so keep an eye out!

Have you snapped anything up from Becca on Fragrance Direct?
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Thursday, 16 January 2014

Shopping my stash #2


Last week I decided to start a weekly shopping my stash feature, this week I packed up some unloved products and took them to the log cabin we stayed at in Sherwood Forest (hence the change in scenery, theses past few posts). This week I've included products that are in my every day makeup bag but they still never seem to make it into my every day makeup routine. 

Lanolips 101 Multipurpose Ointment* £7.99 I used quite a bit of this when I first got it then it just kind of got lost in the bottom of my makeup bag until now. The product is really nice, I'll be aiming to use this more when I'm using lip stains because it gives your lips a real nice sheen whilst keeping them feeling smooth and moisturised. 

Benefit World Famous Neutrals Kit£23.50 I got this last year at the Benefit Fake Up event, it's a really beautiful eyeshadow kit, with the most perfect creme base in 'Bikini Tini', the powder shadows are equally as lovely, although not as soft and easy to apply as I would like. I need to start using these when I'm going for a night time makeup look, Blingo! is a really gorgeous sparkly silver, but for me it's only really wearable for heavier makeup looks.

Hugo Boss Nuit 50ml £48.50 My husband bought me this for Christmas in 2012, I had it in a travel makeup bag for ages until I found it when I was having a bit of a clear out. I use this as an every day perfume, despite its heavy price tag, because the scent isn't distinctive enough for me to wear it on a night. It doesn't smell as you would imagine it to, it's kind of a soft sandlewood/floral kind of smell which isn't my favourite but it keeps me smelling nice throughout the day. There's nothing worse than having several bottles of perfume with only a tiny bit left in, hence why this made it into this weeks shopping my stash!

MAC Blush 'Style' £18.00 I bought this way back in 2011 (I know what they say about hygiene and makeup but seriously, I'm not going to throw away a perfectly good MAC blush) and wore it every single day for a good 6 months because for me it's the perfect peachy blush, but of course other blushes come into your life and older ones get pushed aside. I do really like this because it's so wearable, I'm looking forward to bringing it back into my routine! P.S. Feel free to snigger at the old post I've linked to.

Nars Eyeshadow Trio 'Calanque' £33.00 I bought this at IMATS last year when there was 60% off everything (the most amazing discount, ever) and although I don't like posting about things that are no longer available, I couldn't help but include this because it's such a lovely eyeshadow trio for a gorgeous neutral eye look. When I first bought it, it kind of got shoved into my makeup box and forgotten about and I really don't know why because I've had a play over the past few days and I love it! I think it cost me about £13, bargains like this make me so eager to go to IMATS again this year!!



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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Bath Time; something No.7 doesn't do so well at...

Bath products aren't what you would necessarily associate with Boots own brand No.7 but I received one of their huge sets for Christmas from my dad and inside, among various skincare and makeup products, were some bath and body products. They were my products of choice when I was deciding what products to bring with me on my break away to the log cabin so I thought I'd tell you what I thought of them.


The Sumptuous Bath Soak and Blissful Body Wash both have a traditional 'soapy' scent, I can't put my finger on the exact fragrance but all I can say is that it isn't heavily perfumed, it simply smells like a bar of soap! The instructions say to 'lock the door and empty your mind, pour under running water and swirl to mix. Step in, lie back and enjoy', I did this, using 1/3 of the bottle doing so which makes it quite an expensive bath product considering it's £9.50 per 200ml bottle. It did smell nice but there's nothing 'wow' about this bath product, and it definitely doesn't warrant the price tag! If I'm not using an oil I want my bath to be bubbly, and this didn't really create many bubbles at all. 

Blissful Body Wash has a very similar scent to the bath soak, it has quite a thin yet creamy consistency. A little goes a long way in terms of how much you use each time you wash with this and it does feel nice on your skin; really silky. However, this comes with an equally heavy price tag at £9.50 for 200ml and again I don't feel that it is worth it. 

If these had been half the price they are, this review might have been a little different but I certainly wouldn't encourage anyone to go out and buy these as part of an indulgent bath time routine. I would much rather spend the best part of £20 on some nice bath oils or have a splurge in Lush. No.7 do some products really well, but unfortunately bath products aren't one of them!

Have you tried any No.7 Bath Products?
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Sunday, 12 January 2014

Current Must Have... Tartan Scarf

I've been looking high and low for a tartan scarf, I've seen so many nice ones I can't decide which one I want. I never thought I'd see tartan as a fashion but there's pieces popping up everywhere and I'm surprised how much I like them! I have to admit I'm a bit of a scarf fiend, the fact that I got a new coat at Christmas doesn't help my addiction in that I feel the need to buy another scarf to go with it... just a woman's logic though, right?




Woven Check Scarf £7.99 H&M

Vivien Check Square Scarf £8.50 Accessorize

Navy Check Snood £7.99 New Look

Someone please help me decide which one?!
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Saturday, 11 January 2014

Skincare Routine with Caudalie

French skincare took the UK industry by storm last year with brands like La Roche Posay, Nuxe, Bioderma and Caudalie emerging with some of the most popular products of the year. Caudalie was known best for its Beauty Elixir, bottles of the stuff flew off the shelves when it was mentioned by Victoria Beckham; I wasn't personally as blown away by it as some people seemed to be but my current skincare routine is made up entirely of Caudalie products, so they must be doing something right!



My routine is fairly minimal at the moment, mainly because I haven't had a great deal of time so I've just been concentrating on the essentials (for me) which is cleansing and moisturising. I've never used a different moisturiser for morning and night so this a new thing for me!

Caudalie Makeup Removing Cleansing Water £13.50 - I've only ever tried two Micellaire waters, this one and Bioderma. They make makeup removing so easy, just put some on a cotton pad and swipe over your face. It has been said that Micellaire waters aren't good enough for a 'proper' cleanse but I'm getting on with this just fine; maybe it's the laziness in me but it's much more convenient to use this than it is to do a cleanse with REN clay cleanser which is what I've been using previously. The Caudalie cleansing water is made with organic grape water and camomile leaves my skin feeling refreshed and clean, it doesn't sting your eyes and it smells lovely. It doesn't leave a greasy residue which some Micellaire waters do, this really does feel more like water on your skin. 

Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum £40.50 - I only have a 10ml sample which I received from Lusso when I went for a treatment recently but the full size is 30ml. I apply this before I apply my morning/night moisturiser and it's supposed to even out complexion and get rid of any dark spots to make the skin more radiant. I have seen a noticable difference in my skin since using this, I had quite a lot of redness on my cheeks from spots which have been and gone and this has started to help to even my colour out and my cheeks don't look as angry. A little goes a long way with this product, which is a good thing given the price! I squeeze the product up into the pipette and dispense a pea sized amount onto my fingers ready to smooth onto my face. My skin drinks it up almost instantly and I'm then ready to moisturise. 

Caudalie Vinoperfect Night Cream £34.20 - This is a really thick cream, which made me a little apprehensive about using it but I love it. It's a non-greasy formula which soaks beautifully into my skin leaving it soft and smooth ready to go to bed. This is also supposed to help smooth out imperfections and correct any dark spots.

Caudalie Vinoperfect Day Fluid £34.20 - There are two day creams in the Vinoperfect range, the fluid is the lighter one which I have been using because my skin is quite oily so I don't need a heavy cream for day time use. It's a great product for me because again, it smooths onto the skin and doesn't leave any greasy residue, just a really nice base for foundation. 

The Vinoperfect range is supposed to work together to produce radiant results, so far I am impressed. As with any new skincare routine, I always worry that it might break me out, but it hasn't. This combination of Caudalie products is working really well for me at the moment and I'm remembering every single step both morning and night. The price may put some people off; this routine would cost over £120 if I had full size of the each of the Vinoperfect products. This will have to continue to work for me and probably 'wow' me to the point where I feel I can't live without it for me to repurchase every single product. We shall see.

Do you have any Caudalie products in your skincare routine?


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Friday, 10 January 2014

Shopping my Stash #1

Adrienne from The Sunday Girl is one of my all time favourite beauty bloggers, her blog is amazing and she's one of the most down to earth bloggers I've ever come across. Her blog is famous for her amazing photography, informative posts, up the minute beauty news and the insane amount of times she posts (she's been known to do 4 or 5 in a day, seriously). One of the regular spots on her blog was 'Sunday Shopping the Stash', I always loved reading them so I thought I'd do a few of my own because I have so many unloved products sitting in various boxes and makeup bags scattered around my house!! Shopping my stash is supposed to help encourage me to break out of what I would normally use on a daily basis and get my moneys worth out of some of the unloved products in my collection.

(photographing that bottle was an absolute pain!!!!!!!)

Gucci Guilty Eau de Toilette 75ml £67.50 - I believe this was a Christmas gift which came in a set 2 years ago, there's a little bit left in the bottle which I really want to use; the bottle is all scratched and battered from being in my handbags and being taken away in overnight bags but it's obviously been replaced by one of my other perfumes at some point and I haven't used it. Silly really because I do like the scent, this has to be gone by the end of the month!

MAC Opulash Mascara £14.00 - This was part of a MAC set, I used it lots when I first got it then I think I discovered Benefit's They're Real and moved onto that. I know you shouldn't use products after a certain length of time but it's a MAC mascara for heavens sake, it hasn't dried up so I'm gonna get stuck in. It's not a 'wow' product but it's a lovely everyday mascara that I'm going to wear every day this week at least!

CND Vinylux Topcoat and Polish in 'Grapefruit Sparkle' £7.41 each - This is supposed to last a week on your nails and doesn't require any UV curing so can be done easily at home. I bought this at Olympia Beauty in September and haven't used this shade at all *virtual slap on the hand* I'm going to use this right now and do a post on it very soon!

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in 'Soft and Gentle' £22.00- I bought this within the first 6 months of blogging I think, it's kind of a cult MAC product. I personally regretted it a little bit when I bought it because I don't find it overly wearable, it's a bit on the overly shimmery side for me. However, I was going to buy a highlighter the other day then I remembered I had this! For me it's a product for more elaborate makeup but I'm going to wear this on Saturday when I go out!

Have you shopped your stash lately?!

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Thursday, 9 January 2014

High Street Must Have - Rimmel Stay Matte Powder

I can't believe that I'm actually sat here thinking that the majority, if not all of my everyday makeup is a high street brand. My all time favourite setting powder has to be Rimmel Stay Matte, I've tried MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural and yes its nice, very soft and slightly nicer packaging but it's almost £20 more expensive, not as easy to get hold of and, in my opinion, no better than Rimmel!

rimmel-stay-matte

rimmel-stay-matte
Rimmel Stay Matte Powder £3.99 Boots (silky beige)

I've lost count of how many times I've repurchased this, it just suits my skin perfectly. It doesn't cake or dry it out excessively but it controls oil and matches my skin perfectly. I apply this every single day without fail over my foundation base to set it and sometimes I use it on its own if I'm trying to go without wearing as much makeup because it does provide a very light coverage which can even out redness. It's so easy to load onto your brush and blends effortlessly, it's also great for using to touch up your makeup during the day. I struggle to find anything bad to say about this apart from the fact that the packaging is a little flimsy but who cares when it's only £3.99; I'm not expecting luxurious cases! The shades are a little restrictive, there's only 6 and there doesn't seem to be one which would match very dark skins unfortunately, there is a transparent one but I'm not sure how well that one would work. But if you have fairer skin and you're currently spending a fortune on a setting powder and you haven't tried this yet then I urge you to pick one up next time you're in town... it could save you a fortune in the long run!

Which setting powder are you currently using?

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Wednesday, 8 January 2014

J20 Glitter Ball

I know the festive season is technically over but there are some people (like me) that like to celebrate in January because circumstances mean that Christmas equals work, work and more work! So today I'm showing you a festive offering from J20 which you may have seen if you've partaken in a drink or two over the Christmas period. For the past couple of years J20 have brought out their limited edition 'Glitter Berry' flavour over the festive period, for those of you who don't know its a mixed berry flavoured juice drink but with tiny flecks of edible glitter in it... what's not to like? Well they only went and made an alcoholic cocktail with it aswell...





As you have probably already guessed, J20 Glitter Ball* is a sweet and simple cocktail to make just a bottle of J20 Glitter Berry mixed with a measure of Disaronno. The combination of grape and cherry with a hint of spice and the silky smooth richness of Amaretto creates a taste not dissimilar to that of a Cherry Bakewell tart... errm yum! 

Who wouldn't want to sit with such a gorgeous tasting cocktail, with a hint of sparkle aswell!? 

Have you tasted a J20 Glitter Ball cocktail?

ALWAYS DRINK RESPONSIBLY




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Becca Bargains at Fragrance Direct - £3.99 Beach Tint!

Becca-Make-Up

Just a very quick heads up, Fragrance Direct have some amazing bargains on Becca cosmetics at the moment, including the famous Beach Tint (Strawberry) £3.99; admittedly there's only one shade left at the moment but it's worth a look at only £3.99 each. There's lots of different products with some massive savings including Compact Concealer £3.99, Glossy Lip Tint £3.99, Eye Tint £4.99 and the Portable Lip Brush £4.99. I've treat myself to an eye tint and a glossy lip tint!

Have you snapped anything up?

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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

High Street vs. High End - Maybelline Great Lash & YSL Shocking Mascara

It's that age old battle, which is actually the best product overall... the high street or the high end one? I bought YSL Shocking mascara at the end of October and did a review in November and I bought Maybelline Great Lash the other week because I've seen lots of bloggers and heard lots of people raving about how good it is and that it is a staple product in many top make up artists' kits. 

If you read my review on YSL Shocking mascara you'll know that it was a bit of a 'meh' review, so I guess this comparison just enforces what I said in that with a few comparison photos thrown in for good measure. Obviously the main difference between the two is the price point, YSL Shocking retails at £23.50 whereas Maybelline Great Lash is only £4.99... a massive difference in price. YSL claim that their Shocking mascara 'thickens' and adds 'curve' to your lashes whereas Maybelline's Great Lash is supposed to 'perfectly define' lashes while making them look 'fuller without clumps'.





 Maybelline Great Lash wand


YSL Shocking Wand

I'll get it out there now, I prefer Maybelline Great Lash and to make things simple I'm going to list the pros and cons for each...



Pros:

- No clumps whatsoever, even after 3 coats
- No flaking after hours of wear
- Gives long, separated lashes
- You are in control of how much product goes on your lashes
- Applying to bottom lashes is easy because the wand is small
- Cheap and readily available

Cons:

- The wand may be a little small for some people
- The packaging isn't very pretty with the pink & green colour scheme




Pros:

- Gorgeously luxurious gold packaging
- Great staying power
- Adds volume and some length

Cons: 

- Clumps really easily
- There's a massive build up of product on the wand which I've had to wipe twice, wasting loads of product
- Really difficult to apply because lashes end up looking over loaded and clumpy
- Expensive


Overall

I know the two products supposedly give slightly different lash-looks I don't believe that the YSL Shocking mascara is worth the massive price tag. Now I've seen what you can get for just £4.99 I would highly recommend that you pick up a bottle of Maybelline Great Lash next time you see one. I've grown to really dislike the YSL mascara, to the point where I'm tempted to throw it away because it pains me so much to have to keep wiping away so much product! 

What do you look for in a mascara?



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Monday, 6 January 2014

Maybelline Brow Drama Brow Mascara Review

A couple of months ago I asked on twitter what item of makeup you would spend £5 on, the product which came out on top by far was Maybelline Brow Drama. I think it's become a bit of a cult in UK high street makeup, it's reasonably priced and works really well. My eyebrows aren't the prettiest, they are quite sparse and the brows I have can be unruly so I do need something to keep them in shape. 




The gel comes in 3 different shades; deep blonde, medium brown and dark brown. I went for medium brown because although I have fair hair my eyebrows aren't as light. The shade is perfect for me, meaning that it gives my brows shape and a more even colour. The brush is shaped with a bobble on the end to make it easy to apply with just enough product when you load the brush. 


Before - as you can see I don't have a very prominent arch, probably due to years of over-plucking and not looking after them properly. 


After - The arch is much better and the overall look of the brow is a lot neater. 

The gel keeps unruly hairs in place and means that I very rarely use brow pencils anymore, especially during the day because I find it gives me enough colour and I prefer not to have brows which look too drawn on. If you're looking for something reasonably priced to keep your brows under control then I can highly recommend this. I have used Benefit Speed Brow before but I much prefer Maybelline Brow Drama because the brush is much better and I think you get much more product for a fraction of the price. 

What brow products do you use?
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