Thursday, 21 August 2014

What's in my handbag - the carnival edition

This weekend I'm paying a visit to the annual Notting Hill Carnival, where I'm planning to soak up the atmosphere and check out the amazing costumes, performers and food. It's been a few years since I last went, so I'm really excited to be heading down. The Carnival is usually heaving with people, so I'm planning to travel light and pack my bag full of essentials for the day.

Top of my list is my camera! There are so many amazing things to take photos of at the carnival (in between eating the food) but I'm leaving my DSLR at home this time so I can use a much smaller handbag. Instead, I'll be relying on my LG G3 phone* to capture memories of the day - it's got a great camera and battery life, so I'm hoping it will do me proud.

I'll also be taking plenty of tissues and hand sanitzer. Not exactly the most glam of items, but Carnival is a bit like festivals - it's best to go prepared! My Body Shop Grapefruit Hand Sanitizer* smells amazing and is a good size to pop in your bag for emergencies.

A bold lippie is a must when it comes to carnival - I know it won't be much competition against some of the costumes, but it will definitely add a bit of colour to my overall look. I'll be using MAC's Happy Go Lucky, which is really long lasting, meaning I won't need to reapply too often throughout the day.

I'm hoping the weather will be good, so I'm taking my sunglasses with me. I bought these Dior glasses at Bicester Designer Outlet a few months ago for my birthday and I haven't worn any others since! I'm just hoping I won't need a rain poncho instead...

Last but not least is cash! I'm looking forward to sampling lots of street food during the day, so will need to make sure I'm armed with cash as most places don't take cards.

I'll be sharing some photos from the carnival after the weekend and if you're heading down there, let me know, it would be great to see you!

What are your carnival/festival handbag essentials?

*PR samples
Wednesday, 20 August 2014

GOSH AW14 new launches

As much as I hate thinking about autumn when it's still August, I do get excited when the new A/W makeup starts filtering through! High street brand GOSH have come up with another amazing collection and for the first time are introducing some larger scale eye shadow palettes along with lots of other great products!

GOSH AW14 new launches

GOSH to enjoy in New York eye shadow palette

GOSH to enjoy in New York eye shadow palette swatches

The palettes are something I think almost everyone will be drawn to. There are three to choose from and each one has been themed around a particular American city. 001 To enjoy in New York is a mix of 9 neutral shades in browns and soft purples; 002 To have fun in LA features aquas and lilacs and 003 To play with in Vegas is a bold mix of tropical brights that are definitely inspired by those of Las Vegas.

The palettes themselves are good sturdy plastic and feature a massive mirror inside to make application easy. I've been testing out the neutral New York palette and was really impressed with the colour payoff on the shades. Some of the lighter ones were a tiny bit glittery, but they all work well together to create a massive amount of looks. At £9.99 each, these palettes are amazing value and despite being a scaredy cat when it comes to colourful eye makeup, I'm tempted to buy the other two and get experimental!

I'm also loving the new Giant Blush sticks, which are a bit like giant chubby crayons made out of cream blusher. There are three shades to choose from and can either be applied straight from the stick, or using a finger. They're quite sheer, so you can build up the depth of colour you're after and wear well throughout the day. The only thing you need to be careful of is not to twist them up too high - I made this mistake and plopped out the entire blusher bit onto the floor. Massive fail on my part. £6.99 each.

GOSH are also launching their first mineral powder foundation, which I think will be a welcome addition to the high street - it's hard to find a good budget version of these. I haven't tested this one fully as the colour is too dark, but I love the special brush they've launched to go with it - it's super soft and great for buffing in mineral powder foundations. The Mineral Powder is available in 4 shades (I have the 04 Natural, 02 Ivory is the lightest) and costs £9.99. The Mineral Powder Brush will cost £7.99.

One thing that hasn't left my makeup bag since the launch is the new Defining Brow Gel. I'm horrifically lazy with my brows and very rarely colour them in. This has all changed since receiving this brow gel - the mascara-like wand makes application super quick and while you won't get a boldly shaped brow from this, what you will get is a naturally enhanced one. The gel only sits on top of hairs that are already there, so it's great for anyone after a bit of help to define their brows, without wanting to create a Cara Delevigne style look. There are 3 shades to choose from: 001 Brown is a warmer shade of brown; 002 Brown/Grey is the shade I've been using and is much cooler - great for blondes; 003 Black is the darkest of them all and is suited for naturally dark browns. At £4.99 I think this is a total bargain and I'm already planning to purchase a backup for mine in case it runs out!

Also in the new launches are five sparkling effect nail polishes in different shades of grey, eight new shades of their fantastic Velvet Touch Lipsticks and two new mascaras.

I definitely recommend a trip down to your local Superdrug to check these new launches out. All of them should now be in store and online.

Do you like the look of these new launches from GOSH? What's your favourite?

*PR samples
Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Antonia Burrell facial review

Facials have to be the ultimate in skincare treats – and up until recently, I was a facial virgin. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had mini treatments that lasted about 15 minutes, but for some reason I’d never made the jump to full facial. This all changed however, when I made my first ever visit to iconic facialist Antonia Burrell’s treatment room in the Urban Bliss rooms in Notting Hill.

Antonia Burrell is not only queen of the holistic facial scene, she’s also developed her own range of skin loving products which are all chemical-free, and 100% natural. She uses a mixture of her own products and a selection of other key ingredients during her facial treatments, ensuring your skin gets exactly what it needs. Each facial is personalised to the individual, so even if you choose a specific type from her treatment menu, you’ll still get a slightly different experience to someone with a different skin type.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from my first facial treatment*, but Antonia was really reassuring and talked me through the process as we went. She aims to treat skin complaints as well as the overall aesthetic of skin, and created the much coveted ‘Natural Face Lift Facial’technique.

Antonia Burrell

Antonia Burrell skincare
My facial started with a serious amount of cleansing, steaming and facial massage. I found the steaming part a little uncomfortable – not due to the heat, more just due to it being an unusual sensation and not something I’m used to. The cleansing part was lovely – this wasn’t your at home quick cleanse, but a luxurious process that got skin super clean, and yet relaxed at the same time.

Afterwards, Antonia popped on a face mask and while that was getting to work, she gave me a mini neck and shoulder massage. At one point I was slightly worried I’d nodded off as it was so relaxing (no-one wants to be the snorer on the spa bed…!) Once the mask was taken off, a moisturiser was applied and that was me all done!

The entire treatment took about an hour, and I honestly don’t know why I left it so long to have a full facial. I will definitely be booking another in the not too distant future. I left completely makeup free with slightly pink skin from all the massaging, but my whole face looked brighter and much more ‘awake’; the effects of which continued for several days after. My boss even commented on the fact my skin was glowing the next day, so it definitely must have done the trick!

After my treatment, I got the chance to ask Antonia a few skincare related questions. During my consultation she’d told me I had an oily skin type, which is something that surprised me as my skin is always dehydrated. She explained that really most skins are either oily, normal or dry, but things like dehydration are skin issues, rather than skin types, so can be fixed through proper nutrition and skincare treatments. Dehydration, for example, can occur through a lot of factors – environmental, lack of water, hot/cold weather etc.  and treated by re-hydrating the body, and also the skin.

Since my treatment, I’ve been using Antonia’s Pure Therapy facial serum*, which is a potent mix of natural oils designed to help balance irritated or reactive skin and give it a natural glow. The bottle is quite small, but this is really rich stuff, so a little bit goes a long way! I use one pump at night and press gently into my skin before adding a moisturiser on top. I think this has really helped my face to continue to see the benefits of the facial, but would also be great for anyone with slightly oily skin. It sinks in very quickly and every time I use it, I wake up to supple feeling, glowing skin. You can buy this, along with all of Antonia's skincare range from her website. The Pure Therapy serum costs £58.80 for 15ml.

Have you tried anything from Antonia Burrell before? What's your favourite facial treatment?

*PR samples
Monday, 18 August 2014

Bargain beauty: Collection Little Mix Loves palette review

Bargain beauty brand Collection have launched their latest collaboration with girl band Little Mix in the form of a cracking neutral eye shadow palette. 

No matter if you're a fan of the band or not, I think this palette is going to appeal to a massive audience - the shade range makes it wearable by anyone and the £3.19 price tag means it's affordable to even their younger fans.

Collection Little Mix loves eye shadow palette

Collection Little Mix loves eye shadow palette

Collection Little Mix loves eye shadow palette swatches

Inside the palette you'll find 6 complimentary shadows in a mix of mattes and shimmers.  They're a good mix of neutrals - an ivory base colour, some nice browns and even a super pigmented orangey bronze.

The formula tends to vary by shadow - I found the lighter ones to be a bit chalky and less vibrant in terms of colour payoff but some of the shimmers are packed full of pigment and are amazingly long wearing throughout the day. All of the shadows have a slight shimmer, so if you're a matte shadow lover this one won't be for you.

The packaging is made from cardboard so is a little flimsy (don't keep this one in your handbag!) but at this price point I'm not going to complain too much!

All in all I think this is a great little palette - it's got everything you need for several day tine looks and can be built up for a more smokey evening look if you want to.

The Little Mix Loves palette can be found on larger Collection stands and costs £3.19. Do you like the look of this palette?

*PR sample
Sunday, 17 August 2014

My unicorn wishlist

I may have turned 30 earlier this year, but in my head, I swear I'm still about 19. Whatever your age though, unicorns seem to be a big hit - I've recently just bought a unicorn print dress and can't wait for a good occasion to wear it! I've been putting together a bit of a unicorn wishlist over the past few weeks - here are some of my favourite items...

unicorn wishlist

Unicorn clutch bag - ok, how can anyone not want a unicorn clutch bag?! I saw a few of these early this year from Th White Pepper and I'm now kicking myself for not buying one. This little beauty is from an American site and costs $39, but I'm soooo tempted to place an order!

Bad Ass Unicorn print - Unicorns are usually seen as a bit soft and fluffy, but not this one! Bad Ass Unicorn comes in a choice of four colours - I'm leaning towards the pink, but have considered buying one of each and creating a unicorn feature wall; not quite sure what my boyfriend might say to that though. £20 each.

Lime Crime Lipsticks - I recently bought my first ever Lime Crime lippie at the recent IMATS show in London. I can't lie, as much as I love their amazing shade range, the unicorn packaging just seals the deal for me. There are tons of shades to choose from - my favourite is Countessa Flourescent, which is a matte hot pink. You can buy Lime Crime online from Cocktail Cosmetics in the UK and the lipsticks cost £12.50 each.

ASOS Unicorn Tshirt - ok, so this*might* have crept into my ASOS basket over the past few days and is now taking pride of place in my wardrobe. It's quite a simple design and the fit is nice and relaxed, so it's perfect for lounging in at the weekend. At £14, it's also a bit of a bargain!

This is just a handful of unicorn related things I've found - it's amazing how many there are out there! I've also got my eye on a slogan printed coin purse from It's Not Me It's You, but they've run out of the colour I wanted. *cries*.

Are you a unicorn fan? What's top of your wishlist at the moment?