Aldi Lacura Wrinkle Stop - the update

Can a £4.99 eye cream really do a good job? Especially when it claims to reduce wrinkles.

Well, I've now been testing out Lacura's Wrinkle Stop for over a month and can confirm that it's actually pretty good. I'm not sure if it will completely turn back time (sorry Cher), but it's done a better job than some more expensive eye creams I've tried.

The fine lines around my eyes are a tiny bit softer, the skin is hydrated and most of all, even my sensitive skin has had no reaction.

For me, it will definitely be a repurchase when I get to the end of my eye cream stash. Perhaps as time goes by and the fine lines get deeper, I'll need something stronger, but for now, at the very least, it's tiding me over until I win the lottery and can bathe in Creme de la Mer...


Magazine freebies coming soon

Just a quick post to let you know of some freebies on the front of next month's magazines.

Glamour features Percy and Reed shampoo, conditioner and oil, each worth around £10 each!

Also, on the front of Marie Claire there's a 50ml Neals Yard Bee Lovely hand cream worth £8.

Both of these launch in the next few days as April editions start to come out, so pop out and grab a bargain!

Re-starting my spending ban

As you all know, I started a spending ban. As you also probably know, I have been rubbish at sticking to it.

If I’m honest, I am really surprised at exactly how hard I found it. You’d think that not shopping would be easy, but the second you tell me not to do something, the second I want to do it even more.

This has resulted in two weeks of a lot of shopping. I’ve put up a couple of little hauls – one from a day out in Birmingham and another from the Pro Beauty show, and no doubt there are a few bits that have even been missed from these that I bought in my lunch breaks.

So I have decided to re-start my spending ban. This time it will run up until 20th March, as I will be attending the VitalityShow on 21st March, and having my birthday shortly after. I figure if I can’t make it 3 weeks without buying anything, I really do have a problem!

As an added incentive, here’s a photo of the stack of unused products in my bedroom...the shame...(there are also lots more in the boxes!)

I am hoping to make a big dent in these, plus cut down on spending on magazines, takeaway lunches and actually save some more money.

Sam from Pootles Papercrafts very kindly sent me a pocket size notebook set to keep track of my spending in, so I will be writing everything down for the next three weeks, even if it does mean recording a slip up.

I’ll need your encouragement, so please send me links to any spending ban updates you have, and wish me luck! 


Giveaway! Win a SPACE.NK gift card - now closed

I'd originally planned to launch my next giveaway when I reached 300 followers on my blog, however I've decided to do it a little early to celebrate reaching 600 followers on Twitter earlier today!

I'm so excited - thank you to everyone who reads my blog, all of your comments/tweets really make me smile.

This time I'm giving away a £25 SPACE.NK gift card. I thought this way, you could choose a product perfect for you, plus who doesn't like a little SPACE.NK haul!

To enter, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below.

This is for UK entries only - Space NK do ship to Europe and other parts of the world, but the postage costs will eat up most of your gift card, so I have decided to make this a UK only giveaway. I will do one in the future for all my international readers.

Entries close one month from today on 26th March. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pro Beauty show 2013

On Sunday I met Alice (Bright Town Girl) for a trip to Pro Beauty London. The UK’s largest beauty trade show, it took place at the Excel centre over 24/25 February.

The range of brands on offer were amazing – from skincare from Elemis, Bliss, Clarins, Aromatherapy Associates and more, to massive stands from nail giants OPI and Essie with some amazing discounts.

The giant Essie stand
We went early and arrived about 10.30am. It wasn't too busy and we popped to the NYX cosmetics stand to make our first purchases of the day. It was really good to see this brand in the flesh as I’m a bit wary about buying ranges online without getting to touch them first.

Some of the stands from the cafe

After NYX, we hit OPI where the cues were massive! Considering they were selling full size bottle for £6, I’m not really surprised. Instead of queuing, we decided to go to the Essie stand, which was a little bit quieter. I was pretty restrained and only bought 1 Essie polish, plus their matte top coat that I really wanted to try out.

Just a tiny selection of Essie polishes

I did get a little bit over excited at the Colour Club stand however, and bought 3 polishes – one holographic, one that changes colour indoors and another that looked like a good OPI glitter dupe.

The Elemis Spa bus

We spent quite a while perving over fan brushes at Crown Brush, and after selecting some more eye brushes, I bought a mini fan brush as it was too cute to resist (and only £2)!

Makeup artist working on model
AOFM makeup looks

Model having a makeover

I think my best bargain of the day was a giant bottle of Trilogy’s rosehip oil for just over £17. It also came with a free body cream, so an even bigger bargain.  

Man covered in body paint design
Body painting at AOFM

One of my favourite stands was the AOFM stand. They were performing some awesome makeovers, from total body art to face crystals and I couldn’t walk away without picking up their book for only £10. Both Alice and I were a bit dumbstruck at some of the stunning photos in there.

We left about 2.30pm after it started getting absolutely heaving (cue elbow pushing), popping back to Stratford Westfield for some lunch (note, eating and drinking at Excel will cost you a bomb).

Here's what I bought:

make up book
AOFM Makeup is art book
bottles of nail polish
Essie topcoat, polish and Colour Club polishes

face masks
Sheet face masks and Trilogy Oil

makeup brushes and blusher
Crown Brushes, NYX blush and lip liner
I had such a great day. I will definitely be going back again next, year, no doubt with an even bigger list as I know what to expect!

Did you go to Pro Beauty this year? What did you think? 


Salt spray wars - Toni & Guy vs Bumble and Bumble

I'm pretty lazy when it comes to my hair. I tend to either wear it straight or when pushed for time make the most of its natural wave and use a salt spray to give it more definition.

There are quite a few on the market, and I wanted to test out if using a high end brand or a cheaper one made any difference.

sea salt spray bottles

I'd been lusting after the Bumble and Bumble spray for a long time, but the hefty price tag put me off. Just after Christmas I decided to use my Boots points and buy a little bottle (£8.50, 50ml).

Bumble and Bumble market their salt spray as offering tousled waves, without drying your hair out. They've added sea kelp to their spray, which helps maintain the moisture in your hair. Unfortunately, despite having a bit of a wave in my hair anyway, this did nothing for me. It added a tiny bit of extra texture, but definitely no sexy, beachy waves.

Enter Toni & Guy's sea salt spray. Now, this is a totally different story. Coming in at just over £7 for a large 200ml bottle, this stuff really works. I spray it in to damp hair and then blow dry gently and am left with tousled, beachy waves. It is a little drying on the hair so not something for every day use, but in my opinion does a much better job than the Bumble and Bumble spray and for a quarter of the price.

Kat outside by a lake
Toni & Guy works! (forgive the windswept look)
Have you tried either of these sprays?


L'Oreal Confetti top coat - Illamasqua dupe?

As part of my recent Birmingham haul, I picked up a bottle of the new L'Oreal confetti topcoat  After seeing it on Alice's nails earlier in the day, I virtually pushed everyone else out of the way to secure the last bottle in Superdrug (oops).

The polish contains various shapes and sizes of black and white flecks, suspended in a clear coat. It goes on like a dream, with no faffing around trying to position the flecks - just an easy 2 to 3 swipes per nail like you would do for normal polish.

The finished effect is AMAZING. Even my boyfriend commented on how nice it looked. I first tried it over a nude/grey polish (Essie - Chinchilly), which I thought worked well as a daytime/work look.

I've also tried it over some pastel colours (L-R Barry M Prickly Pear, Barry M Grapefruit, M&S English Rose, Rimmel Tangy Tangerine and Essie Where's My Chauffeur?).

This is where I think this polish really starts coming into its own as a dupe for the Illamasqua speckle polishes that are out at the moment. The effects are slightly different, but for a £10 price saving, I'm happy to accept that. Like all glitter based polishes, it's a bit of a pain to get off, but nothing a soak won't shift.

I have a feeling this topcoat will be getting a lot of use over the coming months. I'm already looking out for an extra bottle so I have a spare!

The confetti topcoat retails for £4.99 and can be found in Superdrug and Boots stores. What do you think of this effect?


Vitality Show 2013 discount

I just wanted to do a quick post to let you all know about the Vitality Show and a little discount!

I've been visiting the Vitality Show for the past 3 years and have loved it each time. It offers a mix of health, beauty, fitness, food and more, with plenty of stands to buy some treats from, plus exercise classes, seminars and even VIP spa treatments.

It's definitely more aimed at the ladies, but I do see the odd man being dragged along too!

It takes place in London from 21st to 24th March at Earls Court 2. I will be there on the Thursday this year, and I can't wait!

If you fancy going along, as a Vitality Ambassador, I have a code you can use for cheaper tickets: £8 on a weekday and £10 at the weekend. Just enter AM15 at the checkout for the discount.

Let me know if you are going - it would be lovely to say hello!

You can find out more about the show by visiting the Vitality Show website 

(This is not a sponsored post, I love the show, however please be aware that as an Ambassador I will receive £1 for each ticket booked using my code.)

Green People scent free cleanser review

As a lover of natural skincare, I was really excited to try out Green People's sensitive scent-free cleanser*. 
An organic skincare company, Green People products  are free from SLS, parabens and synthetic fragrances. 

Green People cleanser bottle

The scent-free cleanser is a creamy, thick lotion that can be used to remove makeup and cleanse the face. 

They really do mean it when they say it's scent-free. I am quite fussy about using scented products on my face, as sometimes even essential oils can cause a reaction, but this super gentle lotion really delivered. 

Green People cleanser bottle pump

It removes makeup really well, and one pump does my whole face (I massage it in with fingers and wipe away with cotton wool). Because I wear so much eye makeup, I tend to use a separate squirt for my eyes, applied to a cotton pad and massaged off. It gets rid of all my mascara, and black liner, without leaving behind any greasy residue. 

cleanser on hand

I've been really impressed with this product. It retails at £18.95 for a 200ml tube, which I think will last a good 3 or 4 months when used twice a day. This might be a very kindly sent PR sample, but when this runs out, it will be a very close toss-up between this and my holy grail REN cleanser as to which one I repurchase. 

If you have sensitive skin, or just prefer a cleanser that is perfume free, then I think this would be perfect for you. 

Have you tried anything from Green People before? 

*PR sample - my views as always, are completely honest.


US beauty swap

When I found out that Naomi at Bewitchery was arranging a bargain beauty swap with US/International bloggers, I put my hand up faster than you can say Wet n Wild. 

Like a lot of beauty bloggers based in the UK, I have actual dreams about Sephora and the amazing US drugstores, so this was basically a dream come true. 

We were each paired up, and the rule was that we had to spend £10/$16 on beauty products for our swapee. 

I was paired with Nora who writes Live, Light & Beauty. We sent each other a few emails getting to know likes/dislikes etc and asked if there were any brands that we both wanted to try. I love EOS lip balms so asked if one of those could be included and also asked to try a Wet n Wild eye shadow palette. Nora was really keen to try out Sleek eye shadows, so I made sure to include one of their palettes in her package. 

My parcel arrived at the end of last week, and needless to say I was a little over excited. Nora sent me everything I hoped for, plus a little more! 

In the package was a melon EOS lip balm, 2 Wet n Wild eye shadow trios and a Cover Girl liquidline blast liquid effect pencil liner. 

I was so happy with what she sent! I really love both the eye shadow palettes and as they are completely different colours will get to create lots of looks with them. I'm also really intrigued to try the Cover Girl liner - it's a pencil liner but is meant to have a liquid liner finish to it. I've not tried anything like this before, and as an eyeliner junkie, it's perfect! 

I forgot to take a photo of Nora's parcel before I sent it (stupid), but will link up to her post when it's live. I really loved doing this swap and will definitely be signing up for another one in future! 


London Oil Company body oils

The London Oil Company are a small company that make handcrafted natural body and face oils. They contain no parabens, preservatives or artificial ingredients.

They kindly sent me two of their body oils to try out, Morning Glory* and Coffee Bum Bum* (love the names!).

Morning Glory is an uplifting oil scented with lemongrass and rosemary. It's designed as an all over body oil, perfect to use in the morning for an invigorating start to the day.

Coffee Bum Bum is aimed at helping with more problem areas (as the name suggests) and contains coffee oil, along with rosemary and patchouli.

Both of the oils are absorbed really quickly when massaged into the skin, meaning no waiting around in the mornings! They left my skin feeling really soft and moisturised all day, without leaving any residue behind.

The oils come in different sizes, starting at £3 for a 10ml sample to between £12 and £16 for a 100ml size, meaning that you can order smaller sizes to see if you like the oil before investing in a bigger bottle.

The only thing I found missing that I wanted from this product was a dropper to get the oil out. The bottles I received had open tops which made it a little tricky to dispense the right amount.

Overall I'm really pleased with these oils, especially the Morning Glory. I will be looking to repurchase this in the future for definite. The London Oil Company make a range of oils, which you can view and buy on their site here.

* This post contains PR samples - my review is honest as always.


My favourite perfumes

Like a lot of people, I am one fussy lady when it comes to perfumes! Over the past few years I've collected a few that I would rebuy again and again and I wanted to share these with you.

Marc Jacobs Dot - this is a recent launch from Marc Jacobs. A light, fruity, floral scent, this is one of my favourite daytime perfumes. It always makes me feel really uplifted when I wear it.

Trussardi Donna - Trussardi are a more unusual brand and I found this perfume on a trip to Harvey Nichols last year. It's quite a powerful scent and I often save it for the evening. It's described as an oriental floral with lots of fruity top notes, and was created to celebrate Trussardi's 100th anniversary.

Thierry Mugler Alien - one of my favourites since it launched, I think this is my third bottle! Again, a perfume maybe more suited to the evening, it has fruity notes to it but with a more sensual feel. I once saw a review of this perfume that likened it to a 'whore's boudoir'. not sure what one of those smells like, but nonetheless, I love it!

Marc Jacobs Lola (I like Marc Jacobs perfumes, what can I say?) - I'm onto my second bottle of this. Not only does it come in a beautiful bottle, but the smell is fab. Another fruity/floral scent, this one also features less common aromas such as pink peppercorn and tonka bean, along with the rose, fuchsia, and grapefruit.

Have you tried any of these perfumes? What are your favourites?


American Apparel nail lacquer - Galaxy

American Apparel are not somewhere I would immediately think of to go for nail polish. Trendy clothes, yes. Nail polish, no.

That assumption however was completely wrong, after I discovered their range whilst killing time waiting for a train in Kings Cross station.

They make a wide range of polishes, from pastels to brights, along with glitters, neons and even glow in the dark polish. 

I picked up Galaxy as part of a 3 for £17 deal (they are £7 individually). A clear polish with large, multi-coloured hexagonal glitter, it really spoke to the magpie in me. 

Like a lot of large flake glitters, this one requires several coats and a little bit of positioning in order to get a good glitter spread across the nails. It dries pretty quickly and still feels quite smooth to the touch. 

What I love about this polish is that each nail looks slightly different. This polish isn't for you if you want uniform nails! It will also work over all colours of base coats, making it a cost effective glitter for your collection (or at least, that's my justification!). 

American Apparel polishes are stocked in store and also online. Next on my list to try is a glow in the dark one - if that works, it will be amazing! 

What do you think of this polish? 


Birmingham haul

This weekend I went to visit some other beauty bloggers for a day out in Birmingham. It was my first time visiting the city, and that coupled with the awesome amount of knowledge between them all, meant I knew I would be having a day off from my spending ban. 

Our first stop was Harvey Nichols, which also contains Birmingham's Space NK. I picked up a re-purchase of my usual REN Hydra Calm Day Cream as mine has almost run out. After chatting to Jess and Andy (skincare gurus as far as I'm concerned), I also decided to buy a serum from Elemental Herbology. I'd heard a lot about the brand previously, but after hearing Jess rave about it, I decided to go for it and buy Cell Food - a serum to help boost radiance. It retails at £42, so I'm hoping that I will see a big difference on my dull, winter skin.

The lovely assistant in Space NK also added some other Elemental Herbology samples including a moisturiser and a cleanser, which I'm really looking forward to trying. 

After lunch, we popped over to Superdrug, where I picked up a new L'Oreal nail polish. They've recently launched a top coat collection called 'confetti' and this shade (when layered over a coloured base coat) looks just like the new Illamasqua freckle style polishes. 

The last item in my haul was one that Charlotte (Lilmisschickas) kindly got for me from Sephora on her trip to New York. As an eyeliner junkie, I'd been dying to try out the Kat Von D tattoo liquid liners, so she very kindly bought one back for me. 

Shopping aside, I had such a fab day, and it was great meeting up with a group of really lovely people. Go and check out their blogs! 

Jess - Spoilt Face
Charlotte - Lilmisschickas
Gemma - Button's blog


Sleek Rose Gold Blusher review

Sleek are a brand that I'm quite new to. One of those 'hidden wonders' that you can only find in Superdrug, the brand offers a really good range of products at reasonable high street prices. 

As part of a little haul last year, I picked up one of their blushes in the shade 'rose gold'. Notoriously hard to get hold of since it was reported to be a good dupe for NARS' Orgasm, when I saw it on the shelf I had to have it. 

The blush itself is a powder, with a fine mixture of gold and pink particles. Blended together, they give a soft warm look, although if you don't link shimmer in your blush, this one is definitely not for you. The formula is highly pigmented, so a little goes a long way. 

Like all Sleek products I've tried, this feels a lot more expensive that the £4.99 price tag. Having pink undertones in my skin means that I can't apply too much of this or I run the risk of looking a bit odd, but blended subtly it gives a luminous glow to my skin. 

If you're looking for a good blusher at a bargain price, I really don't think you can go wrong with Sleek. 

Have you tried any Sleek products? 



Marks and Spencer spring/summer beauty

I don't know about you, but for a long time I associated Marks and Spencer as a shop more suited to someone my mum's age (albeit with some delicious food!).

They seem to have been doing a lot of work to change this view of late, not least with their newly revamped beauty departments.

M&S has now become a place that you can pop in and pick up products from brands like Phillip Kingsley, Nuxe, Diego Della Palma and of course their own Limited Collection and Autograph lines. I actually spent a good hour browsing the Bluewater beauty section with my mum not long after it launched and she virtually had to drag me away!

Loving the colours! 

I was really excited to pop along to their Spring/Summer Beauty event earlier this week to see some of the new launches they had planned for the coming months.

Fab Hello Kitty goodies for the young at heart (or actually young)
The event was lovely - there were stands set up around the room with all of the new products on, plus opportunities to decorate some cookies, get a mini manicure or make your own fragrance. I had a go at making my own perfume with help from the team at Fragonard. It turns out scent-making is not my skill, but it was good fun nonetheless!

I wanted to kidnap this white rabbit...

Perfect Spring nail colours from Leighton Denny
Some of my favourite things that I spotted from the upcoming collections were a set of pink bristled travel brushes from the Limited Collection, an Autograph eye palette with some stunning colours, and of course, REN! M&S have started selling REN products in some of their larger stores, so you can imagine how pleased I am!

How can you not love a pink brush?!
New skincare ranges

Gorgeous Autograph palette

I want ALL of these lip crayons!
Hello Kitty lip gloss tins - how cute!!
All in all, I'm really impressed with the offerings coming from M&S Beauty. They've certainly made it into my 'beauty shops to visit' list!

What are your thoughts on the new collections?


Mac Archie's Girls Pearlmatte Veronica's Blush

To say I was a little excited about MAC's Archie's Girls collection is an understatement. I love vintage/retro styles and these really appealed to me. 

I had originally planned to buy some bits after my spending ban in March, but after finding out that the launch was happening early at Selfridge's last week, I pretty much ran down there after work to get my hands on them! 

The one item I was really longing for was the Pearlmatte powder in Veronica's Blush. This is my first powder product from MAC and I fell in love with the heart shaped design that was embossed into it.

Veronica's Blush is a pale pink, slightly shimmery powder with small darker pink hearts inside it. When mixed together, they form a lovely soft pink sheen.

I've been using this product as a highlighter. Although it contains a darker colour, this is quite soft and I don't think offers enough pigment to use the powder as a blush. 

The packaging is very different to MAC's usual black offering, and I know not everyone likes it. I actually love it! The powder compact is white plastic with the 3 Archie's Girls characters printed on the top, and has a good-sized mirror inside so is perfect for using on the go.

As part of the launch, if you bought any product from the collection, you also got a cute little Archie's Girls tin with some little sweets inside. This just made my day! 

Veronica's Blush is currently exclusive to Selfridge's and costs £21.50. I believe that the range will be launching across MAC stores/concessions over the next few weeks. 

What are your thoughts on this collection?
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