Post-Christmas sales haul

I love Christmas - I always spend Christmas Day and Boxing Day catching up with family, and then usually pop to the shops on 27th for a bit of sale shopping. This year was no different, and I headed off to Bluewater shopping centre for a bit of retail therapy. 

My first stop was Boots. I save up my Advantage Points for the majority of the year for a post-Christmas splurge, and managed to find the Clinique Party Nails set for a third off, a Toni and Guy Matthew Williamson travel kit at half price and last, but not least, a diamante covered computer mouse, also at 50% off (I know it's tacky, but I have a bit of a thing for sparkly things!). All in all, these cost me just over £23 of Boots points. 

Next stop was Marks and Spencer. I have quite wide feet, and they do a great range of shoes and boots that fit me really well. I found these plum coloured ankle boots which I'd tried on when they were full price (£55), and were now reduced to £25! I was quite tempted to get two pairs at that price...

I also went to Forever 21, which is one of my favourite clothes shops, and bought a new sweatshirt, emblazoned with a perfume design, and some hot pink and gold bracelets, which I'm planning to wear with my New Year's Eve outfit. 

I've also made a few online purchases which I'm waiting on, including a Zara tan leather handbag, and the amazing Nails Inc Nail Polish Diary, which contains 12 full size polishes and was reduced to £30. 

This is definitely the last of my splurges before my spending ban starts, and i'm really pleased with everything I bought. Did you head to the sales this year and buy anything nice? 



New Year's Eve nails

When it comes to New Year's Eve nails, my motto is generally 'the more glitter the better'. If you can't go for full on 'bling' on your nails at New Year, then when can you! These are my top picks for super sparkly New Year Nails.

Topshop Baby Blues* - I like to think of this topcoat as a 'mermaid' glitter. Full of blue and green glitter particles, this will work perfectly over the top of a silver or light coloured base coat. £6 from Topshop stores.

Barry M Gold Glitter* - one of Barry M's recent limited edition top coats, this is made up of fine gold flecks in a clear coat. Pop it over the top of a darker shade for a flash of glitter. Free with purchase.

Ciate Sequin Manicure - the ultimate in 'blingy' nails, Ciate's sequin manicure will be sure to make an impact. simply coat your nails in a coat of the 'glitter grip' that comes as part of the kit, and roll your nail in the sequin pot for a full coverage nail. You can also sprinkle a few of the sequins over the top of your chosen base coat for a more subtle look. £14 from Selfridges, John Lewis and other Ciate stockists.

Kiko Digital Emotion Intuitive Pink* - this is a solid glitter and will be opaque in 2-3 coats. It's slighlty holographic and looks amazing under twinkly lights - the ultimate disco ball nail! £4.90 from Kiko.

2true Pro Sequins Naomi* - with a choice of 5 shades, these sequin effect polishes offer a full coverage, matte glitter finish. They dry super fast, so are great if you've got to do your nails in a hurry before heading to your party, and also work well with a glossy topcoat over the top. £4 from Superdrug.

What will you have on your nails for New Year?

*PR samples


Real Techniques brushes review

Many years ago, my makeup brush collection consisted of several sponge applicators and a powder brush. How times have changed! Good brushes can really make a difference in how your makeup looks, but don't think you have to spend a fortune to get good results. 

Real Techniques are budget friendly, high-quality, cruelty free brushes, designed by makeup artist guru Samantha Chapman. They have a wide range of brushes, and can be bought either singly or as part of one of their handy starter kits. I've been building up quite a collection over the past year and they are definitely my 'go to' brush brand! 

Real Techniques makeup brushes
Real Techniques makeup brushes
L-R blush, stippling, setting, shading, fine liner
Real Techniques makeup brushes
L-R blush, stippling, setting, shading, fine liner
I've picked out some of my favourites, all of which can be bought as single brushes and wanted to give you the lowdown on each of them. 

Blush brush*: soft and fluffy with a slightly domed shape, this will work wonders for both cream and powder blushers. It helps to blend the product really well and gives a flawless finish. £8.99

Shading brush*: perfect for applying eye shadow, this is super soft, but small enough to apply with precision. I'm tempted to buy another so I always have one available when the other is being washed! £6.99

Setting brush*: this brush is great for applying a small amount of powder to set your makeup. The brush is quite small, so can be used in those more annoying to get to areas, such as the sides of the nose, and also doubles up well for applying highlighter to brow bones. £6.99

Fine Liner brush*: although I normally use a felt pen style liquid liner, I do occasionally use a cream one, and this fine liner brush is great for applying them. It has very slim bristles, which enables you to get a nice, thin line, right along the lashes. £6.99

Stippling brush*: - possibly my favourite of them all, this is a duo-fibre brush that feels so soft against the skin. It's perfect for applying all kinds of creams and powders and I often use mine for blusher, or to apply highlighter. For me, this is the perfect brush to give you a flawless look, as it almost airbrushes the products on to your skin. £9.99

Another brush that I couldn't live without  (I haven't pictured as it's only available as one of the starter kits) is the Buffing brush. Similar in size to the stippling brush, but with much more closely packed bristles, the buffing brush is perfect for all types of foundation and gives the most flawless base effect I've found. 

You can find Real Techniques online from Fragrance Direct, and also in store from Boots and Superdrug.

Have you tried this brand before? 

*PR samples



New Year, New Spending Ban

As the new year fast approaches, I'm giving a lot of thought to my new year resolutions. One of these is going to be to save more money. "013 has been a bit of an indulgent year for me and I've treated myself to a lot of lovely things. 2014 is going to be a big year for me as I'm turning 30 in a few months and I've decided to try to save up some money to (hopefully) buy myself a DSLR camera as a birthday gift to myself.

I'm going to be attempting a big spending ban in order to achieve my goal so I'll be cutting right back on beauty purchases, new clothes and expensive lunches at work - no more daily trips to Itsu! 

There are a couple of days off I'm planning, the main one being a trip to Professional Beauty in February, but i'm keen to get my spending back under control and really only buy things that I need, not that I convince myself I 'NEED'! 

I'll be keeping you updated on how I get on with my spending ban, and my other new year resolutions, and if you're planning a spending ban for the new year, let me know - I've found it much easier with a group of people to tweet/email when you get close to cheating! 


Jurlique Rose Gift Sets - last minute gift ideas

Christmas is nearly upon us, but I couldn't resist giving these fab Jurlique rose gifts a last minute mention. If you're still on the hunt for the perfect gift, then I think these will be gratefully received under the Christmas tree. If you're a savvy sale shopper, I'd also keep my eyes peeled for these post-Christmas in the beauty sales as they'd make a seriously good gift to yourself too!

Jurlique rose essentials gift set

Jurlique rose essentials gift set

Jurlique Rose body oil gift

Jurlique Rose body oil

First up is the Jurlique Rose Essentials set*. Packed full of three of their most popular rose products, this contains a 150ml Rose Body Cream, 125ml Rose Hand Cream and a 100ml Rosewater Balancing Mist. These all work fantastically together, and have the most amazing rose scent. This gift set should retail at £54, however if you’re speedy, you can currently grab this on offer at Marks and Spencer for £27!

The Rose Body Oil gift*, is a limited edition 200ml version of their cult body oil. Super moisturising and with a gorgeous rose scent, it comes with its own pump, which makes applying the oil so much easier. This would make a really luxurious gift, and can be found online from Feel Unique for £48.60.

Do you like the look of either of these?

*PR samples


Panache lingerie review

Party season is truly underway and while most of us spend hours choosing the perfect party dress, it’s important not to forget about what goes underneath it! The perfect underwear can not only help that frock look fabulous, but will also give you a bit of a confidence boost.

I’ve been testing out an underwear set* from Panache, a brand who specialise in lingerie for those with boobs that are D cup and upwards. They cater for a massive variety of sizes, going from a 28inch back, right the way up to a K cup size. As a pear shape, I’ve always had a smaller back measurement, which can make finding bras a bit tricky, but brands like Panache make life a lot easier!

Panache Utopia underwear set

Panache Utopia underwear set

Panache Utopia bra

The Utopia set is a simple, black satin bra and knicker set, which are trimmed with lace and feature a subtle diamanté flower on the front. The straps on the bra are removable, making it easy to convert it into a strapless style, so you really get two bras for your money! It feels really luxurious, and the balconette style of the bra gives good uplift, while still feeling like you get plenty of support. I found that the bra does come up slightly small in the cups, so it might be worth ordering two sizes just to gauge the best fit.

The knickers are a medium sized brief and although aren't completely seamless, don’t give you too much of a VPL if you wear them under a tight dress.

Lingerie is usually a more traditional gift around valentine’s day, but I think that simple styles like this would also be the perfect gift at Christmas from your partner. It would certainly make a nice change from the usual Christmas socks, and I know I’d love to see something like this under my tree.

The bra costs £40 and the knickers are £18.50. I would definitely purchase more Panache bras in this style, as I find it really comfortable and very versatile with the detatchable strap option. You can find lots more styles and sizes online from Panache.

Have you tried anything from Panache before?

*PR sample



Nails Inc SS14 launches

Nails Inc always hit the nail on the head with their seasonal collections, and I recently got to take a sneak peak at the new things they’re bringing out for the Spring. It might be winter still, however I guarantee these shades will have you longing for the new season already!

Nails Inc Spring Summer launches

Nails Inc Spring Summer launches Modern Art polish

Nails Inc Spring Summer swatches

Nails Inc Spring Summer swatches

First up is the launch of five new shades in their Gel Finish polishes. These mimic the hi-shine finish of gel polish, but without the need for lamps, curing or special removal. New to the range are:

Downtown – hot pink
Soho Place – aqua
Mercer Street – blue
Mayfair Lane – pale pink
Kensington Passage – coral

These apply beautifully, and last really well. I have found Nails Inc polishes to be a litte ‘chippy’ in the past, however these gel forumlas last so much longer and I easily get 5 days wear without any issues. My top picks are the hot pink and aqua shades and I will definitely be wearing these throughout the summer. £14 each.

If pastels are more your thing, then the new pastel collection will be right up your street. Containing 4 full size polishes in soft, spring colours the top pick from me is a soft eggshell blue shade called Sheraton Street. The set is £25, making it excellent value for money as the polishes are usually £11 each (launches January).

Next on the list is the new double ended effects polishes – one end with a trend led shade and the other with a glittery sprinkle topcoat to go over the top. These will be available in 4 different colour ways and will retail at £14 each. My favourite is the pink combination – the sprinkles are just calling out to be used as an accent nail!

Coming out soon are some new shades to the Modern Art polishes. I love the mixture of colours inside this topcoat. Bankside could also be layered up to be opaque, and I think would make a fab accent nail along with your choice of Gel colour. The Modern Art polishes are £12 each.

The new lines launch into Nails Inc counters and stores from March - which ones will you be buying?

*PR samples


Astrid and Miyu December Secret Box

When I got home last week to find the December edition of my Secret Box from Astrid and Miyu, I did a little squeal. Astrid and Miyu stock a range of beautiful jewellery online and their secret box is a bit like the jewellery version of Birchbox - each quarter they send you a surprise box of jewellery, tailored to a personal profile you fill out when you sign up.

My September box was a big hit, and I was really looking forward to opening this one and seeing what goodies were inside.

Astrid and Miyu secret box December

Astrid and Miyu secret box contents December

Astrid and Miyu secret box contents December horseshoe necklace

Astrid and Miyu secret box contents December rose gold necklace

I wasn't disappointed! In my box, along with my jewellery, I received two little extra gifts - a mini chocolate bar from ubuntu and also a Jelly Pong Pong eye shadow crayon. 

There were two items of jewellery this time around. First up, a super cute gold toned horseshoe necklace (£19), which I'd actually admired when I first had a browse through of their website.

Second of all was this beautiful rose gold toned Streams of Romance necklace (£59), a simple chain, inset with floating white crystals all the way round. This is definitely something I would have chosen for myself, which really shows that Astrid and Miyu do actually read the personal profiles you fill in at the outset! 

The Secret Box costs £39 per quarter (including delivery) and you always receive goods worth at least double that. I love the surprise element and have been pleased with everything I've received from them so far, so will definitely be keeping my subscription on for the March box. 

If you're still hunting for Christmas gift ideas, I think the secret box would make a lovely surprise (for yourself too!). 

What do you think of the secret box idea? 



Paul and Joe new launches

Paul and Joe make some of the prettiest makeup around. There's often a cat theme running through the brand and their recent cat shaped blusher sticks just looked far too cute to ever use!

Originally hailing from France, the brand gets its names from founder Sophie Albou's two sons (Paul and Joe), and prides itself on making quality cosmetics with a quirky packaging twist.

Paul and joe new products

Paul and joe new products

Paul and Joe liquid liner and glossy lip colour swatch

I've been testing out a few of the new launches from the brand, my favourite of which has to be the Liquid Eyeliner*. A felt pen style liner, it comes in two shades - True Black and Sepia Brown. True Black is an intense black and highly pigmented, and once applied, lasts all day without budging. Its soft felt pen nib makes creating both thick and thin lines really simple, and I've been using mine every day to create the feline flick I love on my upper lids.

It's really long lasting, and easily sees me through a 12 hour day without fading, cracking or smudging and is one of the best felt pen liners I've used in a long time. It costs £18, which may seem pricey, but when it's this long-wearing, it's definitely worth the extra few pounds.

Next on the list are the new Glossy Lip Colours*. Somewhere between a lip gloss and a lip stick, these offer a high shine finish and a vivid colour for lips. They come in 10 shades, covering everything from soft nudes, to brighter oranges and although super glossy, don't feel sticky at all on the lips.

I tried shade 05 Tunisia, which is a bright orange colour, and I think this would look beautiful worn in the summer. It's not the best shade for someone with my complexion, but I really like the feel of these and would definitely try another colour more suited to my skin tone. £20 each.

Last, but by no means least is the vintage inspired Rose Treatment Balm* from their new bath and body range. I adore the retro style packaging on these products and the rose balm smells absolutely amazing. It's designed to be used on dry patches on elbows, knees, cracked heels and any other parts that might need some extra help. It comes in a tin, making it perfect to pop in your handbag for application on the go. It can also be used sparingly to help smooth frizzy hair, making it a real multi-use product! £20.

You can find Paul and Joe online from ASOS, and in store at Harrods, Selfridges and Fenwicks New Bond Street.

What's your favourite piece from their new collections?

*PR samples


Last minute Christmas gift ideas

If you're a last minute gift buyer, don't panic! I've picked out a few ideas for all you last minute shoppers that I think would be gratefully received under the tree this year. All should be available online with speedy delivery, so you've still got time to get those orders in now if you hurry!
The Liz Earle and Real Techniques brushes will make a great gift for any makeup enthusiasts, and have cruelty free, super soft and really versatile. For skincare addicts, try REN's rose body set (it smells amazing!), Caudalie hand creams, or what I like to think of as the motherload of Jurlique's amazing hydrating skincare. Nails Inc's Snowflake polish has been a bit of a hit this year, so this little set is sure to please all nail enthusiasts, and the cute deer necklace from Little Ella is something I might have to treat myself too!

Have you asked for any of these this year?

*affiliate links


Kiko Digital Emotion eye shadow stick collection review

If you haven't heard of Kiko yet, trust me, it won't be long before you do! Hailing from Milan, Kiko are an Italian makeup brand that have hit the UK and have recently launched an amazing new store on London's Regent Street.

They have a huge range of products, and in a massive range of shades. Their nail polish selection is one of my favourites to browse through as they have so many choices of colours and finishes. The prices are all reasonable - around the Max Factor price range - and they often have lots of special offers in store on selected products. 

Kiko Digital Emotion eye shadow stick collection

Kiko Digital Emotion eye shadow stick collection

Kiko Digital Emotion eye shadow stick collection swatches

I've been testing out the eye shadow stick set* from their latest, limited edition Digital Emotion range, which contains 5 creamy eye shadows sticks in a variety of colours. 

The eye shadows sticks are super easy to use - drag the stick gently across your lid for quick application, blending with a finger or a brush if you want to soften the colour slightly. They blend really well together, and can easily be layered one on top of the other for a custom colour. 

Once set, they really don't budge, and I've managed to wear these for 12 hours without experiencing any fading or creasing, and that's without using a primer! 

The set contains:

45 - Pearly Shell
46 Pearly Shell Black
47 Golden Green
48 Pearly Lagoon Blue
49 Smokey Brown 

All of the shades are highly pigmented, and although blue isn't my usual choice of colour, it actually looks lovely used as an accent shade. 

I recently bought a By Terry eye shadow stick which is very similar to these Kiko ones, but costs nearly three times the price of a single Kiko shadow stick. I can honestly say that they are pretty much the same high quality! I will definitely be buying more of the Kiko shades in future. 

This set would make a gorgeous Christmas gift for any make up lover, and would also be the perfect introduction to the brand if you haven't tried it before. The set costs £22.90, and can be found online from Kiko and in their stores across London. They also sell single eye shadow sticks in over 30 shades for £6.90 each, so if the colour choices in this kit aren't for you, I definitely recommend picking your favourite shade and trying one out - the formula is amazing!

Have you tried Kiko yet? 

*PR sample



Antipodes Delight Hand and Body Cream review

Antipodes are a brand I've heard a lot about but never tried so when I was recently invited along to an event to find out more about their brand and some key products, I leapt at the chance. 

Antipodes hail from New Zealand and pride themselves on making quality organic and naturally based skincare and body care. 

Antipodes Delight hand and body cream

Antipodes Delight hand and body cream

They're sold in over 320 stores in New Zealand can be found in stores such as Whole Foods, Selfridges and Feel Unique in the UK. 

Delight hand and body cream* is a new addition to the range and is a beautifully scented, extremely moisturising lotion. You can use it on both the hands and body, although my preferred use is definitely as a hand cream. 

Despite its rich texture, it sinks in really quickly to hands, leaving them hydrated and supple for hours to come. I've found that this gives a similar moisturising effect to much heavier duty hand creams but it sinks in so quickly, there's no residue or waiting to do things while it absorbs. 

It contains macadamia oil, which is packed full of omega 7 oil, helping to keep hands soft, making it perfect for the colder weather. It's scented with gardenia flower and even my boyfriend commented on how nice he thought it smelled! 

My hands usually suffer quite badly in the cold weather, but since I've been keeping this tube in my handbag over the past few weeks, I've really noticed a difference. It is quite pricey at £24.99 for the 120ml tube, but having tried so many other hand creams that just don't deliver, I will definitely be re-purchasing this one once my tube eventually runs out. 

I've got a couple more Antipodes products to test out, so keep your eyes peeled for those in the new year. I can see myself becoming a bit of a convert to the brand already! 

Delight will be launching into UK stores very soon, but if you like the sound of Antipodes, why not check out their hibiscus scented Joyful Hand Cream in the meantime. 

Have you tried anything from Antipodes before? 

*PR sample


Unusual ingredients in skincare - would you use them?

There's been a sudden surge in strange ingredients in skincare over the past couple of years. No, I don't mean nasty parabens and whatever they put in face wipes to keep them moist for years, but things you'd never imagine putting on your face.

Snail slime for instance. Or how about some Bee Venom. Neither of those take your fancy? Why not try a synthetic version of temple viper venom?

We're all obsessed with keeping ourselves looking beautiful and it seems like there's no end of things we're willing to try in order to get the effect we want. Over the next couple of months I'm testing out products that contain all of the above ingredients. I'm intrigued to see if they have a real benefit, or if they're just another marketing gimmick, made to make us think they have some sort of skincare superpower.

Can Bee Venom really make the skin on your face firmer, or snail slime serum add lots of hydration? I want to believe that they do, as some of these products aren't exactly cheap, but keep your eyes peeled for reviews coming soon!

In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts on these more unusual ingredients. Do they put you off using the products, or would you quite happily slap on moisturiser that promised results, no matter what's inside?

What's the oddest ingredient you've ever come across?

Liz Earle gift with purchase and exclusive nail polish shade

There are lots of amazing gift with purchases around at the moment, but I wanted to share this Liz Earle one with you as it contains a very exciting, exclusive nail polish!

Liz Earle skincare
Liz Earle essentials kit - buy this to get the free gift below
Liz Earle gift with purchase
Get this gorgeous gift for free, including the exclusive Golden Celebration nail polish
When you purchase the December Essentials kit* for £43 (100ml Cleanse and Polish kit, Instant Boost
Skin Tonic, and Skin Repair moisturiser), you'll get a 100ml Hand Repair cream, plus two full size Strengthening Nail Polishes in Knockout (glossy red) and Golden Celebration (gold). Golden Celebration is only available as part of this offer, although I'm secretly hoping they will launch it into the normal collection soon as I love it!

Golden Celebration is a metallic finish gold polish, that uses the same strengthening formula as the rest of the Liz Earle polish lines. It's perfect for the Christmas season and actually looks gorgeous teamed alongside Knockout - the other polish in the free gift. It does need careful application as these foil type shades can look a little streaky if you're not careful, but once it's on, it looks beautiful, and is a nice change from the glitter polishes that usually come out this time of year.

If you want to get your hands on the free gift, you need to order your December Essentials kit direct from Liz Earle online before 22 December, and it will automatically be added to your shopping bag.

I'll be doing a post soon on new things coming from Liz Earle in the new year, but for the meantime, enjoy your free gift!

What do you think of this limited edition nail polish shade?

*PR sample


Christmas gift ideas - Elle McPherson aromatherapy foot spa

If you're on the hunt for a gift for someone who loves to pamper themselves and a sneaky spa treatment, then I think I've got just the thing for you! Supermodel Elle McPherson recently launched her own range of body tools, covering everything you need to pamper yourself at home.

This Aromatherapy Foot Spa* is part of the range and gives you an easy way to do a pedicure at home, and will also soothe tired feet after too many hours Christmas shopping.

Elle McPherson aromatherapy foot spa

Elle McPherson aromatherapy foot spa

Elle McPherson aromatherapy foot spa

The foot spa has both hydro massage and vibration functions and uses bubble jets to gently massage feet. There are also 4 removable massage rollers which are great for the soles of your feet and give a really relaxing foot massage.

It also comes with two pedicure attachments, which uses a fine and a more coarse pumice stone, so you can give yourself a mini spa treatment at home without needing to buy lots of other gadgets. There's also an aromatherapy function, which you can add a couple of drops of your favourite aromatherapy oil to, to get a gentle scent mist added to the experience.

I have quite ticklish feet, so I'm always a bit wary of these kinds of foot spas, but I found this really relaxing and is the sort of gift I know my mum would love. It fits up to size 12 feet, so it's not just for the ladies, and if you're trying to think of a gift for someone who works standing up all day, then I think this would be gratefully received!

You do need to fill the foot spa with hot water, as it doesn't heat it up itself, but it does come with a 'keep warm' facility, so it will keep the water warm while you're using it.

The RRP of this foot spa is £74.99, however Amazon currently have it on offer for just over £50, and the Co-op are selling it at £39.99!

Would you like to receive one of these this Christmas?

*PR sample



Bare Minerals Ready Convertible Eye Shadow Palette review

This month, I've fallen in love with a lot of eye shadow palettes. It seems as though lots of brands have saved up their best offerings for Christmas, and Bare Minerals is no exception! 

The Ready Convertible Eye Shadow Palette* contains 12 beautiful pressed mineral eye shadows, covering a wide spectrum of colours, from neutrals to smokey purples and greens. There's a mix of mattes and shimmer shades, and each shadow is labelled up with whether it's best used as a base, crease or liner colour. 

Bare Minerals Ready Convertible eye shadow palette

Bare Minerals Ready Convertible eye shadow palette

Bare Minerals Ready Convertible eye shadow palette eye shadows

Bare Minerals Ready Convertible eye shadow palette pop out palette

Bare Minerals Ready Convertible eye shadow palette pop out palette

Bare Minerals Ready Convertible eye shadow palette swatches

Bare Minerals Ready Convertible eye shadow palette swatches

What makes this palette a bit different, is that it separates - allowing you to pop out a travel sized palette from the main shape, taking an eye shadow trio with you wherever you want to go. All of the eye shadows pop in and out of the main palette, meaning that your portable trio can be customised to match with whatever shades you're using that day. 

The formula of the eye shadows is great - they apply smoothly and blend really well together. I find pressed mineral eye shadows much easier to use than loose ones as they don't product as much fall out when you apply them. They also last really well - I get about 10 hours wear without any fading (without a primer) and they don't crease. My favourite shades are Hot Commodity (medium metallic copper) and Embellish (glittery pewter), but I can easily see myself using all of the shades in here. 

The brush in the kit is ok - it's fine for an emergency touch up inside your portable shadow trio, but I wouldn't use it every day. I'd stick with my Real Techniques brushes for at home, and then use the brush provided when on the go. 

I think this would make a gorgeous gift for Christmas for any makeup addict. It's limited edition for the Christmas season, so if it does catch your eye. I'd recommend getting yours as soon as possible! The palette is £42 and can be found in John Lewis, House of Fraser and online from Bare Minerals stockists. 

Do you like the look of this palette? 

*PR sample 



Winter skin favourites

Now the weather's gotten colder, I've been changing up my skincare regime to help cope with inevitable dry patches, oily spots and unwanted red cheeks. Here are my current favourites to help keep my skin looking tip top throughout the winter months. 

S5 Neutralise Cleanser* – designed for normal to oily skin, this is also fantastic for those who suffer from a bit of sensitivity. It’s got a lovely gel texture, and is best used massaged directly into skin and then either washed off, or removed with a warm flannel. I find this really refreshing to use first thing in the morning, and it leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated, as well as a lot more balanced oil-wise. I’m slightly combination, but since using this is the mornings I’ve noticed a lot less shine in my t-zone midway through the day - *high fives S5*. Find it in Selfridges, £28 for 200ml

Aromatherapy Associates Rose Hydrating Mask – I really love Aromatherapy Associates products, so when I saw this mask on the front of a magazine a few months ago I stocked up. It’s a lightweight moisture mask, packed full of aloe vera and hyaluronic acid, which both help to calm weather-chapped skin and add back in moisture. I tend to use this as an overnight mask – adding a thin layer before bed, and then wake up with my softer, plumper looking skin. It’s a bit pricey at £36 for 100ml, but a tube will last for ages and is something I would re-buy over and over again.

Bloom Remedies Sensitive moisturiser* – Handmade in Cornwall, this moisturiser is great for anyone who feels like the cold weather is drying out their skin. I originally tested this during the summer, but found it a little too rich for me, but now that the weather has grown colder and my skin (especially my cheeks) is getting dehydrated, a couple of pumps of this at night, mixed with a few drops of face oil works a treat! It’s also designed with sensitive skin in mind and contains soothing calendula and rose oils. £11

Jurlique Herbal Recovery Anti-Oxidant Face Oil* - face oils are a must for me, and this Jurlique oil has been lovely to mix in with the Bloom Remedies moisturiser above. It’s packed full of antioxidants, and offers great hydration without making skin feel greasy. It does have quite a strong herby smell, so if that’s not your thing, this one might not be for you. £38 for 50ml

REN Hydra Calm moisturiser – a repeat purchase for me, this is my regular day time moisturiser. I love the fact is hydrates without making skin feel greasy, it sinks in super fast and helps calm stressed out skin. I think this is my 4th bottle of this now and I can’t see myself switching any time soon! £27 for 50 ml

Liz Earle Skin Tonic* – I’ve tried a few Liz Earle skincare products, but this is the first I’ve fallen in love with. Use it as a toner post cleansing to help refresh the skin and remove any final cleanser residue. It’s alcohol free so won’t dry your skin out, and has a gentle scent that smells very ‘fresh’. It comes in both a pouring bottle and a facial spritz, which I think will be fantastic when we finally get back to summer for a quick refresh midday. Definitely a repurchase for me! £13.25 for 200ml.

What are your favourite products for winter?

*PR sample


Tarte makeup to launch in the UK

Cult US brand Tarte are set to hit UK shores in March when they launch exclusively to QVC. I imagine there will be a bit of an online stampede once the collection goes live, as we'll no longer have to look longingly at the US Sephora site for the brand any more! Exact date to be confirmed, but keep your eyes peeled in March.

I love the look of the lipstick set (top left), which comes in the cutest floral packaging and will be £20 for the three lipsticks, and expect a review on the Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara very soon!

I'm hoping that their infamous Amazonian Clay Blushers will be part of the launch, although these weren't on show at the recent QVC press day. I think the demand will be so high for them, it seems silly not to, so I'll keep you posted.

Are you excited to see Tarte coming to the UK?



Christmas Gift Guide: stocking fillers under £10

There are some amazing gifts around this year for all budgets, and I've been so impressed with the selection at the cheaper end of the spectrum. These beauties are all £10 or under, making them perfect for secret santa, stocking fillers and maybe even a sneaky reward to yourself for braving the Christmas shopping crowds! 

Studio Essentials Kit* - currently on offer for £7 - this lovely kit contains everything you need to create trend led looks at home. It's packed with 4 nail polishes, nail file, four eye shadows, lip gloss, blusher and bronzer, and comes in a handy travel case so is easy to pop in your bag and take away with you. Find it in Superdrug stores.

So? Rock n Roll body spray set* - £3 - So...? body sprays take me back a few years (ok, a lot) to my school days. They've moved on a lot since then and I love the range of fragrances in this new set. There are 3x 75ml  body sprays, and for £3, this is a great stocking filler.

Lacura French Manicure set* - £4.99 - an Aldi special buy, this kit is only available for a couple of weeks before Christmas, so stock up now! The Lacura range is excellent value and for under a fiver, the manicure set would make a lovely gift for any nail enthusiast. Check out the middle aisles at your local store as this is where it will be hiding!

So? fragrance set* - £5 - containing 3 x 10ml So...? EDTs, this makes a perfect fragrance kit for teenagers. Inside, there's So...? Kiss Me, So...? Sinful and So...? Sexy. They're the perfect size to pop in your handbag, and will work well with the body sprays you can also pick up in Superdrug.

Coca Cola Lip Smacker lip balm* - £2.99 - perfect for all you Coke fans out there, this cola flavoured lip balm is sure to be a hit! It smells just like the drink and comes packaged in a heart shaped cardboard decoration that can be hung off your tree. Find it in Superdrug.

Dermalogica UltraCalming mini set* - This cute little Dermalogica set is a great stocking filler to test out the range and see if there's any full size products you might like next time! The UltraCalming range is great for this time of year when the cold weather can make skin drier and more sensitive. Find this kit, and lots more like it online from Dermalogica specialists Beauty900.

Barry M Natural Glow palette* - £6.49 - inside this palette you'll find 6 gorgeous eye shadows, a blusher and a set of applicators. The neutral colours will work for all ages and looks a lot more expensive that its  £6.49 price. There are also two other palettes in different shades, so if neutrals aren't right, try the more purple themed Glamour Puss or grey toned Smokin Hot instead. You can find all the Barry M palettes at Boots and Superdrug.

Eco Tools relaxing sleep mask* - £4.99 - super soft, and eco-friendly, the sleep mask from Eco Tools is something i'm tempted to buy myself for a Christmas pamper session! Why not add this to a bottle of bath oil for a really relaxing gift? Pick one up in Boots.

Which one would you like to see under the tree this year?

*PR samples


Green People 12 days of Christmas day 4 offer

Another day, and another cracking offer from Green People! This time, it's the turn of Green People makeup artist Amy to showcase her favourite product: the Volumising Mascara*.

Guaranteed to give you volumised, but natural looking lashes, this super black mascara is vegetarian and certified organic and contains Vitamin E and natural plant oils to nourish and condition lashes while your wear it. It's also great for sensitive eyes as it's made from over 98% of natural origin ingredients and uses mineral pigments for a gentle, but intense colour.

Today only, you can get this mascara for only £10, saving £4.75 on the usual price. Buy yours from the Green People website, and keep your eyes out for the next few days of special offers!

*PR sample


Christmas gift guide: £25 and under presents

Christmas is approaching with a scary speed, and now's the time to get serious about gift buying. I've picked out my top picks for the girls that are all under £25 each, so whether they're a skincare buff or a makeup fanatic, you can guarantee one of these will go down a treat! 

Real Techniques Limited Edition Duo Fibre kit* - £23.99 - Real Techniques make some of the best high street makeup brushes, that all have the added bonus of being cruelty free. This limited edition set contains 3 duo fibre brushes, which will work perfectly with creams, powders and liquids. Inside the kit, there's a face brush (great for powder application and bronzers), a contouring brush and an eye shadow brush. Find them in Boots and online from Feel Unique.

Too Faced Jingle All The Way kit* - £20 - This pocket sized kit is the perfect introduction to the Too Faced brand and features a cute little palette, filled with 11 day to night eye colours, a bronzer and a blush and comes inside a removeable iPhone 5 case. I think this is a gorgeous gift and is the perfect size to pop in your handbag. Too Faced are stocked in larger Boots stores and also Boots online.

Soap and Glory Face Time Starter Set* - £25 - Full of 4 full size Soap & Glory skincare favourites this kit is sure to be a hit. Inside you'll find Off Your Face 3 in 1 cleansing cloths, Feel Good Factor moituriser, Smooch Operator lip balm butter and Puffy Eye Attack moisturising eye gel. It's also included in the 3 for 2 Boots offer until Christmas, so an even better bargain!

Roger + Gallet hand cream set* - £17.50 - Roger and Gallet make a gorgeous range of bath and body products and this hand cream set has a mixture of three 30ml hand creams. Inside, you'll find Rose, Creme Sublime (an orange scent) and Fleur D'Osmanthus scents, all of which also contain an SPF 15. Roger + Gallet are stocked in the M&S beauty halls, as well as certain chemists and this gift is currently on offer for £14 at M&S.

Elemis Indulgent Treasures* - £25 - One of my favourite brands, Elemis gifts will always be welcome under my tree! This set has everything you need to help you relax, and contains a full size Quiet Mind Temple Balm, 100ml Skin Nourishing Shower Cream, 100ml Quiet Mind Bath Elixir and a 20ml Pro-Radiance Hand and Nail Cream. Find it in John Lewis and online from Time To Spa.

Body Shop Plum Smokey Eye kit* - £15 - I did a post last week on the Body Shop's Christmas gift offering, but wanted to include this palette again as I think it's fab! There's 4 perfectly matched eye shadows and 2 mini brushes inside and it also comes in a bronze colourway. They're limited edition, and would make a lovely gift for all ages.

Which one would you like to see under the tree?

*PR samples


Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette review and swatches

When the rumour mill started a few weeks ago about the possibility of a third Urban Decay Naked palette, I got excited. Urban Decay make some of the best eye shadows out there and the thought of yet another amazing selection got the beauty blogger community into a bit of a frenzy.

Luckily the rumours turned out to be true and the new Naked 3 palette is set to launch into UK stores on 16th December.

Urban Decay Naked 3 palette

Urban Decay Naked 3 palette eye shadows

Urban Decay Naked 3 palette eye shadows close up

Urban Decay Naked 3 palette eye shadows close up
Urban Decay Naked 3 palette eye shadow swatches
Strange, Dust, Burnout, Limit, Buzz and Trick swatches
Urban Decay Naked 3 palette eye shadow swatches
Nooner, Liar, Factory, Mugshot, Darkside and Blackheart swatches
Naked 3* is another amazing selection of neutral shades in a variety of matte and shimmer finishes, all based around a rose gold colour palette. They’re all unique to this palette, so no repeat performances here!

The shades:

Strange - pale, neutral pink matte-satin
Dust - pale metallic pink shimmer with iridescent micro-glitter
Burnout - light pinky-peach satin
Limit - light dusty rose matte
Buzz - metallic rose shimmer with silver micro-glitter
Trick - light metallic pinky-copper shimmer with tonal micro-sparkle
Nooner - medium pinky-brown matte
Liar - medium metallic mauve shimmer
Factory - pinky-brown satin
Mugshot - metallic taupe shimmer with slight pink shift
Darkside - deep taupe-mauve satin
Blackheart - smokey black matte with rosy red micro-sparkle

All of the shadows are highly pigmented and blend really easily. There are so many daytime looks you can create of the shadows in this palette and the addition of the Darkside and Blackheart shades means it’s also possible to create a darker, smokey eye too.

Like Naked 2, Naked 3 comes in a hard metal tin, complete with its own double ended brush (which is pretty good!), making it easy to carry around with you. There’s also a primer potion selection pack inside the box, with four different types of Urban Decay eye primers, each with enough to last you about a week.

You might be thinking, ‘do I really need a third Naked palette?’, and I have to say, my answer would be yes! While Naked was full of warm toned shadows and Naked 2 had a cooler colour palette, Naked 3 has yet another take on neutrals and I can see myself using this just as much as my beloved Naked 2.

Now, Naked 3 doesn’t launch nationwide until 16th December, but if you happen to be near central London, head down to House of Fraser Oxford street from 12th December, you’ll be able to get an exclusive preview and the opportunity to buy one 4 days earlier. They’re having a special pop up shop between 12th and 19th December where you can test out the new palette and be made over by the fab Urban Decay team. Naked 3 will be £37, and I have a feeling it will be very popular!

So what do you think of the new palette? Will Naked 3 be on your Christmas list?

*PR sample
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