Top Blemish Busters

Spots. We all get them, and no-one wants them. I've put together a selection of my top products to help bust those blemishes, and keep skin looking spot-free as much as possible.

Spot treatments

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+* - Effaclar Duo has been a popular spot treatment for many years, however this new version not only helps to tackle blemishes, but also cares for skin after the spots have gone. It contains Procerad, a patented ceramide that helps the skin to rebuild and reduce the appearance of scarring. If you suffer with acne, this may be the treatment for you, as over time it will help soothe the inflammation and make the skin's pigmentation look more uniform. £15.50

Body Shop Tea Tree Oil* - this little pot of tea tree oil (£7) is one of my favourite things to use on spots. I've been buying it for about ten years now! Dab a small amount onto the spot using a cotton bud, and the natural antiseptic properties of the tea tree oil will help to clear away any bacteria, dry out the spot and reduce its appearance.

Boots Spot Wand - a two in one treatment, this has one end with a clear gel in that can be used in the day time, and another, thicker treatment to use at night. Both ends contain tea tree and witch hazel to help reduce the spots, and for £3.59 would be my choice if you're on a budget. 

Dermalogica Clear Start skincare* - designed for younger, more spot prone skin, the Clear Start range has a massive amount of choice of products. As someone a bit older who's less prone to acne, I still get those annoying spots that pop up, and find the Emergency Spot Fix (£13) great for a targeted treatment. The Cooling Masque (£16) helps to calm down breakouts while also helping to clear them up, and I tend to use this when several spots crop up together to help minimise the length of time they last for and to soothe the skin. 

What are your top products for beating those blemishes?

*PR sample


Too Faced Sweetheart Peach Beach Blusher review

Too Faced's spring collection is packed full of some of the cutest packaging ever! The Haute Chocolate range features everything from a Chocolate Bar shaped cocoa infused eye shadow palette, through to five creamy, candy  inspired lipsticks.

My favourite piece from the new collection has to be the Sweetheart Blusher*. Inside the vintage inspired heart shaped box, you'll find three shades of baked blusher, that can be used together for a soft flush of colour, or used individually to create a personalised look. 

Too Faced Peach Beach Sweetheart blusher

Too Faced Peach Beach Sweetheart blusher

Too Faced Peach Beach Sweetheart blusher swatch

Peach Beach contains a mix of soft peach and pink tones and looks really natural on paler complexion. The lighter colour also works really well used alone as a highlighter across the cheekbones, so you get multiple uses out of one product. Bonus!

I apply mine using a Real Techniques blusher brush, and find this gives a really nice, blended look. Once applied I get around 8 hours wear before needing a little top up, so if you've got a long day ahead, you may need to take it with you for a little touch up. 

The packaging is really pretty to look at, however I don't think the cardboard box will last too long if you do decide to carry it around in your handbag, so for me, this is a stay at home product. The upside of this is that I can put it on display on my dressing table instead. 

If peach isn't really your colour, there's also a pinker shade to choose from, which has the same three-colour look. The Sweetheart blushers cost £24 each and launch into Debenhams stores later on this month. 

Do you like the look of these blushers? 

*PR sample



The Samsara Skin Skype Consultation

Samsara Skin is a natural and organic skin clinic set up by two skincare superstars Andy and Jessica. Having met both of them via the beauty blogging world, I was so excited to hear that they were opening their own clinic in the trendy Custard Factory in Birmingham.

Samsara Skin logo

Andy and Jess Samsara skin

Samsara work on the premise of 'skin reborn'. The treatments they offer are tailored to each individuals' needs and products stocked at the spa are all hand picked for their efficacy after personal research and testing. They don't believe in just masking skin issues, but aim to cure the problems at the root through a holistic approach of nutrition, skin treatments and at home skincare programmes. 

Now, for all of us that don't live close to Birmingham (me included), they've set up a fantastic service so that you can make the most of their knowledge and have a skin consultation via Skype. 

The consultations last around an hour, and will discuss any issues you've got with your skin, plus things that might be affecting it, such as diet and lifestyle. As part of the consultation, you'll also get a follow up email with their recommendations, diet suggestions and products that will work well for you.The best thing about it is that it's completely tailored to you, so no two sessions will ever be quite the same.

I had my own Skype consultation recently and found it so interesting. I have a keen interest in skincare but the knowledge of these two is just amazing. Before the consultation, I sent over a few makeup free photos so that they could get a closer look at my skin beforehand, in case the web cam quality wasn't very good on the day. 

After talking about wanting to reduce the redness in my skin and also make it look less tired, Jess recommended some products from the Cosmedix range that would help to strengthen and calm my skin at the same time. We also spoke about how dehydrated it was, despite me drinking plenty of water every day. Hyaluronic acid was recommended as an ingredient for me to try, but because this doesn't seem to sit well on my skin in gel form, I was recommended a supplement that will help my body hold on to some of its water, rather than just flushing it all out. 

She also gave me a list of foods to help strengthen my skin from the inside, which was really useful, and i'm trying to increase my consumption of these as well as reducing the amount of sugar in my diet (that bit is slightly harder, but I'm giving it a go!). 

If you'd like to learn more about how to solve your own skin issues, I can't recommend this service highly enough. The hour session costs £35, which I think is a great investment and a total bargain given the knowledge of the people giving it. I'm already planning a trip to Birmingham just so I can visit the clinic in person and have one of the red light treatments recommended for my skin! 

You can find out more about Samsara and all the treatments over on the Samsara website. Make sure you also have a read of their blog, it's skincare gold! 

*my skincare consultation was provided free of charge, 


Illamasqua Glamore Collection review

Illamsqua's new Glamore collection is an exciting new selection of products from the creative makeup company. Glamore is completely different from their usual brand of edgy, theatrical makeup, focusing instead on timeless textures, bold shades and pink. Lots of pink. Inspired by the old school glamour of the 1920s, this collection is super easy for anyone to wear, and will open up Illamasqua to a much wider audience.

Illamasqua glamore advert

Illamasqua glamore collection

Illamasqua glamore collection lipstick swatches
Glissade and Luster
Illamasqua glamore collection nail polish swatches
Fire Rose and Marquise
Glamore sees two new lines launch and also the re-promotion of some old favourites. Top of my list is the new Shattered Star nail polishes*. Each of the three shades is packed full of multi-dimensional glitter, in a slightly textured base coat. They're designed to be worn opaque, rather than as a top coat and each one only needs two thin coats for full on coverage.

Out of the three nail polishes, I think my favourite has to be Marquise, which is a firey orange and looks amazing as a matte all over polish. There's also Fire Rose - a hot pink, and Trilliant - a champagne shade to choose from. £15 each.

Next on the list are the new Satin Finish Glamore lipsticks*. These are a fab new satin finish formula, which are highly pigmented, creamy to apply and really long lasting. Illamasqua's normal lipsticks are very matte, and if I'm honest, are a little too drying for me. These are the perfect solution, as they blur the lines between a matte and a shiny finish, but don't leave your lips feeling dry and uncomfortable after a day wearing them.

My favourites of the three shades is Luster - a blue based, bright pink. There's also Soaked - an orangey coral, and Glissade - a cherry tinged red to choose from. I really hope that Illamasqua bring out more shades in this formula as I think they will be really popular! £16.50 each.

Glamore launches on 27th February into Illamasqua stores and counters. Will you be trying anything from the new range?

*PR samples



Top tips for looking after bleached hair

A couple of weeks back I fulfilled my ombre hair dreams and took a leap into the land of bleach. Bleached hair needs a bit of extra attention as it can really dry it out, so here are some of my top tips and products for looking after your ombre. 

Products to look after bleached hair

Add moisture - bleaching can make hair feel very dry and look a bit frizzy. By adding a regular injection of moisture, this will help keep the ends of your hair in good condition for longer. Using an intensive conditioning mask once a week will help keep your hair feeling soft and stop those ends from breaking. My favourite is Macadamia Deep Repair Masque, which is packed with macadamia oil to help repair hair, and leave it feeling soft and manageable. Using a hair oil on the ends after styling will also help to add a bit of moisture, and make your hair look smooth and shiny.

Avoid SLS - SLS is a cheap foaming ingredient used in lots of shampoos, hand soaps and shower gels. Oh, and Fairy Liquid. It's used to help clean things, but can be very harsh and strip away natural oils on your hair and body. To help preserve any coloured hair, step away from the sulfates and try a more natural foaming agent instead.

Be gentle - nobody wants split or broken ends and bleached hair is quite fragile. My Tangle Teezer has become my new BFF, as it gets through knots without snagging and can be used on wet hair without breaking those precious locks.

Protect it from heat - all hair needs a bit of help when it comes to the heat. I like to think of my hair like I do my super pale skin - it doesn't do well in the heat without protection! As well as trying to reduce how often I use my straighteners, I always make sure I use a heat protector spray before blow-drying and styling. At the moment I'm using one from Toni & Guy which does a great job, without making hair feel sticky or weighing it down.

Step away from the elastics - regular elastics can snag hair and make it break off, leaving you with the 'broken hair halo'. To protect hair while still being able to create up dos, I use these non-snagging bands from Popband*. Not only are they kind to hair, but they work in a really clever way that doesn't leave you with a big kink at the back of your head when you take your ponytail down. Bonus.

What are your top tips for looking after bleached and coloured hair?

*PR sample


LFW AW14 - what I wore

It’s been a while since I posted an outfit post, so what better than to take one at London Fashion Week!

Having been warned by other bloggers that it’s pretty intense and involves a lot of standing, I went for comfort over style, and the changing weather meant I had to take a bag big enough for an umbrella!

LFW outfit of the day

LFW outfit close up

Gary and Osbourn bag

In the end, I decided on my trusty black ankle boots (M&S), black jeans, and a black and white floral top from Forever 21. One statement necklace (New Look), several rings and my trusty vintage faux fur coat later and I was set to go.

All of my essentials were crammed into my new snakeskin print bowling bag from Gray and Osbourn’s Maria Carla line*, which is a great shape for cramming in an LFW survival kit (I really did test it to its limits!). The bag itself is really light, which is a bonus when you’re filling it up with water, camera, kindle, notepad, phone, makeup, purse, tangle teezer, keys, cards and goodness knows what else. It was definitely a nice finishing touch to my monochrome outfit.

I also went as far as white nails with a black accent detail – this look is set to be a big trend for the summer, so grab your white polish now! This one is Essie’s Blanc and I was pleasantly surprised by how nice it turned out (unlike when I tippexed my nails back at school).

What would you wear to LFW?

*PR sample



London Fashion Week Autumn Winter 2014

London Fashion Week is not only a great place to see what we might be wearing for the coming season, but it also gives great insight into future hair and beauty trends. I was really excited to attend my first season last week, and popped along to a couple of the shows courtesy of The Body Shop and Schwarzkopf.

This February, we were looking forward to the AW14 styles, and a trip backstage at the Zeynep Kartel show at Fashion Scout revealed lots of ombre lips in dark berry colours, with a flush of colour on the cheeks and very simple, bare eyes.

London Fashion Week face chart
Jo Sugar's face chart for Zeynep Kartel - credit Lolo Creative

Jo Sugar
Jo Sugar - head makeup artist
Model backstage at london fashion week

Model backstage at london fashion week

Head makeup artist Jo Sugar showed us one of her face charts that was used across all the models and some of the Body Shop products used to create this.

I loved the hairstyles from this show. The models had a simple braid at the front, with lots of backcombing at the roots, creating almost a mini-beehive, but without pinning the hair up. It looked like a merger between a vintage 60s inspired style and a Grecian look, and is definitely something I can see working well off the catwalk in a less dramatic style.

The clothes were also beautiful – lots of slinky evening dresses, trousers suits and sequins, with everything looking so elegant and perfect for the parties AW usually brings.

The second show I went to took a completely different approach. Jason Garvida’s ‘Ethologie’ line had a Spanish influence to it, and before the catwalk show started, we were treated to an amazing flamenco dance, accompanied by a traditional Spanish guitar. The 'Una Vida Bien Vivida' show was inspired by the story of Carmen by Bizet, taking traditional Spanish costume and patterns and turning in into a contemporary collection.

Model having hair done backstage

Model having hair done backstage

This show also has a retro feel to it, but blended with the Spanish influence. There was a lot of lace, bright prints and cute dresses in this line up, and while the makeup was kept quite simple, the hair played a larger role.

Using Schwarzkopf products, the styling team had created soft, finger waves at the front of the models’ hair to frame the face. The rest of the hair was pinned back, and secured with beautiful lace veils, giving another lean towards the Spanish influence.

I can’t wait to see how both of these looks translate into products for the autumn – which one of the two is your favourite?


Elemis Top to Toe collection

Elemis are one of my favourite brands - traditionally developed for use in spas, their products are just a treat in a bottle! They've launched a special edition collection of some of their top selling products for February, at a bargain price.

The Top to Toe collection* consists of 5 of their star products, containing two full sizes and three very generous travel sizes. Inside the purple wash bag, you'll find a full size Skin Nourishing Shower Cream, full size Papaya Enzyme Peel, 30ml Pro Collagen Marine Cream, 35ml Frangipani Monoi body oil and a 30ml Pro Radiance cream cleanser.

The Papaya Enzyme Peel is one of my favourites - it's a chemical exfoliating mask, and uses fruit enzymes to break down dead skin cells, leaving behind a refreshed complexion. I also love the Skin Nourishing Shower Cream, which leaves skin feeling super soft, even without moisturising afterwards.

This kit contains products worth over £110, but is on offer at £55. Considering the Papaya Enzyme Peel is usually £29.50 on its own, I think this is a great deal! It's a great option if you've not tried much from Elemis before and are looking to test out a few products, or just if you fancy stocking up on a few favourites and getting a couple extra thrown in for free!

Have you tried anything from Elemis before? What's your favourite product?

*PR sample


REN new launches and special discount offer

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know I'm a big fan of the REN skincare brand. They make fantastic products, without any nasties in and offer really good value for money. 

February sees some exciting new launches from them and they've also given me a special discount to share with you all (details coming at the bottom of the post).

new REN product launches

new REN product launches

Top of the list of launches in the new Rosa Centifolia Hot Cloth Cleanser*. Part of the Rosa Centifolia cleanser range, this contains Vitamin P, cocoa seed butter and damask rose petals to cleanse and nourish the skin at the same time. It's a gentle, creamy cleanser, and works best rubbed into dry skin, and then removed using hot water and the face cloth provided in the box. It's quite rich, but leaves skin feeling non-greasy, supple and does a cracking job at makeup removal. I normally use a separate eye makeup remover, however this removes even my multiple coats of mascara easily, and with no stingy eye syndrome. 

A 150ml pump bottle and face cloth set (buy some extra face cloths, you need a clean one every day) costs £16, and is making its way into REN counters as we speak. 

Next up in the new V-Cense range*. Primarily focused on a day cream and a night cream, V-Cense is designed to keep skin looking energised, protected and radiantly healthy and uses extracts of Frankincense oil, Calabrian oranges, arctic cranberry seed oil and rosehip seed oil. The Day Cream is slightly lighter than the Night Cream, and sinks in much quicker, giving a good base to apply makeup on to. Both help to stimulate collagen synthesis and protect against free radical damage to skin. 

To celebrate the launch of these fab new products, the lovely team at REN have given me a discount code to share with you all. You can get 20% off across all their products until 16th March, simply by using the code below. I recommend stocking up! I know I will be. 

Discount code: 
Use: PALEFACE20 for 20% OFF the entire REN website

*Offer available exclusively with online orders until midnight on the 16th March 2014 BST or while stocks last. The offer cannot be exchanged for a product in the REN range as part of this promotion. Offer not to be used in conjunction with any other online offer. REN Skincare reserve the right to amend or withdraw offers at any time.

*PR samples



Heal Gel Face review

Heal Gel Face is the latest in a line of products from skincare specialists Heal Gel. Heal Gel popped up on the market a few years ago and is the brainchild of a group of leading plastic and cosmetic surgeons who wanted to created products that helped them with their work and provided truly effective skincare.

The newest product to join their line-up is Heal Gel Face*. Designed to be used in place of your regular moisturiser, it can be used morning and night, and will help to smooth and replenish skin, plumping out fine lines.

Healgel face

It’s packed with a combination of omega oils, hyaluronic acid, arnica and Madecassoside, all of which help to soothe unhappy skin, and take it back to a happy, plumper place.

I’ve been using this in place of my regular moisturiser for the past 6 weeks and have to say, I’m really impressed. The formula is incredibly light and sinks into skin easily, but doesn’t leave it feeling parched. Two pumps is enough for me in the morning, and at night, I add a couple of drops of face oil to the mix for an extra moisture boost, as the cold weather is playing havoc with my skin.

Initially I didn't really see what all the fuss was about, and hadn’t noticed a difference to the way my skin looked, but as time’s gone on, I’ve noticed a lot a more even skin tone, less dry patches and less visible fine lines. It’s also seemed to help get rid of some small red scars left from spots that were around my chin much faster than usual, which is an added bonus!

The packaging is great, as having a clear tube means you can see how much product you’ve got left, so no nasty surprises when it runs empty one morning! I think the only thing I’d like to change is the price. At £48 for 50ml, it’s not cheap, but I would be very tempted to repurchase when mine runs out. Working on how much I’ve used so far, I estimate my tube will last about 10 weeks in total, so in weekly terms, it’s not too bad.

I’m planning to test out Heal Gel Eye once I’ve finished some of my current eye creams as I’ve heard great reviews about that too, and as 30 fast approaches, I’ll try anything that makes the fine lines less obvious!

You can find the Heal Gel range online from http://www.healgel.co.uk/ and Cult Beauty.

Have you heard of Heal Gel before?

*PR sample


Spring 2014 International Beauty Swap

With Christmas well behind us, and summer a long way off, I thought now would be a good time to set up another international beauty swap. Getting a parcel through the post is always a nice surprise, especially when it contains beauty products! 

The swap is simple. Simply leave your details in a comment if you'd like to take part, and once sign-up has closed, I'll email you the details of a blogger to swap goodies with. Agree your budget between you (£10-£15 is usually good), find out a bit about their likes and dislikes, then go shopping! Post your parcels on an agreed date and enjoy the goodies you receive.

To make this swap as smooth as possible, please follow the guidelines below:

- You must be over 16 to take part
- This swap is open to bloggers only - this is purely to allow you both the secruity of knowing you'll post about what you received and makes it easier to find out what products they like
- Post your parcels recorded delivery! No-one wants a lost parcel, so getting a signed for deilvery is a much safer option
- The swap is open internationally - I will do my best to pair you with an international swapper if you would like one, it all depends on numbers (you can choose UK only if you'd prefer)
- I love setting these swaps up and will help as much as possible, but I'm not responsible for missing/lost parcels

So, if you'd like to join in, please leave me a comment below with:
- your name
- your blog name
- your email address
- your Twitter handle
- your swap preference of UK only or international

Sign up closes on 2nd March and swap partners will be emailed out soon after. 

Happy swapping! 



Mavala Mavalia lipstick review

Mavala have always been one of my favourite nail polish brands – their 5ml bottles are the perfect size to take with you wherever you go, and the nail care range is second to none. When I heard they were bringing out a range of lipsticks, I couldn’t wait to see what the Swiss nail masters would come up with.

The Mavalia Style Lipstick* collection features 6, easy to wear colours, in a slightly sheer finish. The shades are pretty classic – you’ll find everything from an orangey-red to a delicate rose and even a hot pink for the more daring.

Mavalia lipsticks

Mavalia lipstick swatches
Rose Vintage, Poppy Red, Glam Pink

Mavalia lipstick swatches on face
Wearing Glam Pink
The formula is really creamy. They glide on easily, and I found them a little like nail polish when it came to building up colour – one swipe for a sheer finish and two for a brighter colour punch. All of the lipsticks contain shea butter, vitamin E and aloe, which help to nourish the lips while you wear them.

I tested out three of the shades: Poppy Red, Rose Vintage and Glam Pink. My absolute favourite has to be Glam Pink – I’m probably a bit biased as I love a hot pink lip, and this one is so wearable! It’s a little softer than other bright pink shades I own, which I think is down to the creamy formula, and there’s also no horrible dry feeling left on my lips at the end of the day after wearing it.

The packaging is sturdy, although nothing too exciting to look at, but I’d highly recommend testing one of these lipsticks out. At £11.95, they’re mid-range price-wise and can be found in John Lewis stores and other Mavala stockists.

What’s your favourite shade?

*PR samples



Getting my ombre on at Bleach London

If you’re looking for the perfect place to get your hair coloured, let me introduce you to Bleach. Originally hailing from Dalston, they’ve also got a salon tucked away in the basement of Topshop’s flagship Oxford Street store and are THE place to go if you’re looking for a colour specialist.

I recently paid them a visit for a bit of an ombre makeover. I’d been considering doing it for years (no exaggeration), but being a natural ginge always put me off for some reason. After seeing the results on a friend with similar hair colour, I knew it was time to bite the bullet and get myself booked in.

Bleach bibles

Bleach london salon

Bleach london salon

Bleach london salon product wall

My hair post Bleach visit
The final look - taken at my friend's wedding the next day
After chatting through what I wanted to do with the lovely Grace, and using some photos for inspiration, she got me sat down and gowned up. The plan was to darken my roots up with a coppery shade, fading down through my natural colour and into a light bleached blonde at the ends.

To ensure there’s no harsh line between colours, Bleach use a mixture of techniques including back-combing and a blending lotion, giving a really natural finish throughout the hair. I had my dye and bleach applied, and sat reading my Kindle for a bit while it worked its magic. The salon is handily close to both the EAT concession and the loos that are hidden away in the basement. I did get a few funny looks walking to the toilet in my gown and pink plastic bleach bib, but hey, it had to be done!

After the dye and bleach was washed off, a toner was added to the bleached ends to get rid of any brassiness, and my hair was given a lovely blow dry that left it feeling super silky. The whole process took about 2 and a half hours, so I definitely recommend taking a book or something with you, but to me, it was definitely worth the wait! It’s also quite pricey, but I felt much more confident letting a professional do my hair than I would’ve done trying to bleach it at home. I was given a few tips on how to look after my newly bleached hair (lookout for a post on top products coming soon), and swished my new hair all the way home.

I can’t recommend Bleach highly enough – they cater for everything from a standard dip dye, right through to hot pink hair, and I’m so pleased with the results. For all the details and price list, visit the Bleach website.



L'Oreal SS14 Les Blancs and Topcoats new launches

It might be freezing cold outside, but as far as nail trends go, Spring is most definitely here. I managed to get a sneaky look at what L'Oreal nails will be bring out over the next month or two, and let me tell you, it's going to be good! 

Loreal ss14 nail polishes

Loreal ss14 nail polishes

Loreal les blancs nail polish swatches

Loreal top coats nail polish swatches

First up is 'Les Blancs' - a set of four polishes inspired by the sweet pastel shades seen on the SS14 catwalks. They all have a white base, with just a touch of colour added, giving that perfect pastel look. In the collection you'll find Lemon Meringue (yellow), Nouvelle Vague (lilac), Pistachio Drage (green) and Peach Neglige (peach). 

They all work well alone or together (I even alternated all four colours at once across my nails) and apply to an opaque, streak-free finish in two coats. I was really impressed with the glossy finish of these, as pastel shades can often look a little streaky, but there's no sign of that at all with these. 

The Les Blancs collection will be launching into stores in March and will cost £4.99 each.

Next up, the Topcoats. This is another set of 4 polishes to add to their already successful top coat line (black and white pebble effect anyone?). This season it's a bit of a mix and match, with a few different styles to create different looks. My favourite of these has to be the Gold Leaf - a series of cut gold pieces in a clear top coat, this works well across any colour polish and makes nails look really luxurious. The gold is quite random in size, so gives a nice effect, however does need a clear top coat to stop it feeling a little rough on your nails. It's also not a total pain to get off, which is a bonus where glitter is concerned! 

For all you glitter lovers, the new Disco Ball polish will be perfect for you. Full of silver glitter in varying shapes and sizes, this can be built up in several layers for a full on 'bling' look, or used as a single coat for a hint of sparkle.

Last, but not least are two polishes called 'The Tweeds'. These remind me of the feather effect polishes that came out a little while ago and are made up of fine fibre strands suspended in a clear coat. Choose from either 'Jackie O' - a mix of pastel colours, or 'Coco Chanel', in classic black and white.

The Topcoats collection will be £4.99 each and launches into stores later this month. Which ones will you be buying? 

*PR samples



Models Own and BeautyMart haul

Posting a haul while *technically* being on a spending ban is probably a bit of a contradiction, but hey, I like living on the edge.

Two recent sales made it near impossible for my spending ban to remain intact and after seeing both Models Own and Beauty Mart offering 50% off their entire stock, I used it as an opportunity to stock up on some old favourites and try out some new products.

Models Own hyper gel polishes

Models own nail art pens

Beauty Mart haul

My Models Own haul consisted of 6 of the new Hypergel polishes, in the shades: Coral Glaze, Cerise Shine, Blue Glint, Turqoise Gloss, Naked Glow and CornflowerGleam. I’ve had Coral Glaze and Cerise Shine on my fingers pretty much constantly since they arrived and they really do live up to their gel counterparts. Super shiny, even without a topcoat, these are a dream for someone like me who loves the look of gel polish, but has the same attention span as a 4 year old and changes their nail colour at least 3 times a week.

I also bought 3 nail art pens, as I love the fine nibs on the Models Own ones and the gold and pastel shades will be perfect for some WAH nail designs I’m going to try from the book my little brother bought me for Christmas.

Next up was my BeautyMart haul. Their sale lasted for 24 hours only, but had a massive 50% off everything on their site. So yes, I did sit up until 12.45am placing my order, even though I had to be up at 7am the next day. It was too good to miss out on!

I used the discount as a perfect opportunity to lose my Daniel Sandler makeup virginity, going straight for the kill with a Beyond Sunset eye shadow quad, hot pink Gigi lipstick and Watercolour blush in Pretty. After re-stocking my trusty DHC liquid liner pen, EOS lip balm. EOS hand cream and Seche Vite, I also added a strange looking Japanese exfoliating cloth to my basket to push it over the threshold for free delivery (seemed rude not to).

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with all my purchases and have satisfied my shopping cravings for the next few weeks. I’ll be posting reviews of some of these items over the next few weeks, so if there’s anything you’d like to see me review first, let me know!

Did you buy anything from the Models Own or BeautyMart sales?


Links of London Valentine's wish list

Jewellery is always a popular choice for a Valentine's gift and Links of London are giving everyone the chance to win up to £1000 of jewellery from their collections. I think that Links of London make some really pretty pieces - I recently bought a simple silver chain from them on a trip to Bicester Village and I'm looking forward to adding some charms to it after my upcoming birthday.

To enter the competition, all you have to do is put together a wishlist post of your favourite pieces up to £1,000 and if you're the lucky winner, you'll receive the items from your wishlist! If you don't have a blog, you can also enter by creating a public Pinterest board with your wishlist items. Once you've created your wishlist, you'll need to share it on Twitter, making sure you use the hashtag #myvalentinewishlist, and one lucky person will be drawn at random on 14th February.

I couldn't resist putting together my own entry, although it took me quite some time to narrow down my choices as there were so many lovely things I wanted to go for.

Golden Shores Yellow Gold Ring - £390
Sweetie Chain Necklace - £295
Silver Lining Charm - £55
Aurora Link Bracelet - £95

This competition is open to the general public, for more information follow this link: http://blog.linksoflondon.com/2014/01/win-valentines-day-list/ 

What will be on your wishlist?


The Blogger Love tag

Its been a while since I did a tag post, and I thought that this one would be a great way to start the year off, and spread some positivity. Thanks to Fee from Makeup Savvy who started the tag. I hope you enjoy it.

What was the first blog you ever came across?
The first blog I remember reading is The Sunday Girl. I read a lot of her reviews before buying products!

Favourite beauty blog reads
I love British Beauty Blogger for all the latest beauty news, The Sunday Girl for beautiful photos and the latest releases and Caroline Hirons for skincare. I also read a lot of fashion and lifestyle blogs, some of my favourites being Le Happy, The Girl Who Stole London, Chambray and Curls, Mademoiselle Lala and Raining Cake.

Best blogging friend
I would have to name Grace from All That Slap and Alice from Brighttown Girl. I wouldn't be without either of these amazing ladies and I'm so grateful that blogging gave me the chance to meet them. As well as enabling each other to buy more makeup, we also have a lot of fun catching up over cake.

Name a blog that enables your purchases
Probably British Beauty Blogger. Jane is my first source to go to for the latest beauty news and often makes my wishlist get bigger by the minute.

5 blogs everyone should be reading!
Laura Lou Makeup (the girl can pull off blue eyebrows for crying out loud!), Chambray and Curls, Caroline Hirons, Pampered Prince and The Sunday Girl.

Your favourite way to read blogs
I use a mixture of the GFC reader inside blogger and Bloglovin. I also like to click through via Twitter links when I'm out and about on my phone although that does make commenting a bit more tricky.

Bloggers that inspire you
I find Sandra from The Black Pearl really inspiring. I love the mix of beauty, food and lifestyle type posts she has on her blog, and her photography always makes me want to try harder at mine!

Favourite blog design/look
There are so many blogs I love the look of. For me, it's the ones with simple designs, clean layouts and good photos that are my favourite.

What is your favourite thing about blogging?
I love the creativity of it all. Writing is a part of my job, but not about anything I find interesting! blogging has given me an outlet where I can express myself and share my passion for beauty, fashion and everything in between. I've also made some fantastic friends through blogging which has to be the biggest bonus of all.

Name a blogger you would most like to see write a book in the future!
I think I'd love to see both Jess and Andy of Samsara Skin write a book together. They both have their own blogs, but recently opened their own treatment rooms, and are amazing skincare experts. I'd definitely buy a book sharing all their secrets!

I hope you enjoyed this post and found some new blogs to read through. I'd love to hear your answers to this tag, so if you decide to do it, please pop me your link over.


In focus: Makeup Atelier Paris

One of the things I love about blogging is that you often get to discover new brands that you wouldn't necessarily hear of otherwise. Makeup Atelier Paris is a brand that I'd read about on other blogs, but had never tried myself, so was really excited to test out a few products from across their range. 

Makeup Atelier Paris is a professional makeup brand made in France and exported all over the world. The brand was created by Helen Quille, and prides itself on offering a wide range of professional quality products, in numerous shades, catering for every skin tone. 

The products fall into the mid-price range - HD liquid blushers are £14, eye shadows start at £8.50 and foundations cost around the £20 mark. 

I was really impressed with the eye shadow* I've been using, the pigmentation is excellent and it blends really well with other shadows in my collection. There are 72 shades to choose from in total, in a range of matte and shimmer shades, so not matter what colour you're looking for, I reckon they'll have the one you want! 

The HD blushers* take a little bit of getting used to. Again, these are highly pigmented and come in 11 shades, but the liquid formula and pump bottle means that it's quite hard to dispense the right amount to use. You only need a tiny amount to get a lovely soft flush on the skin, so be gentle when pushing the pump down as it's very easy to get enough out to last you an entire week. That aside, the finish to these is fantastic and they last really well throughout the day. I've applied the blusher with both a stippling brush and my fingers and they both work well, although I do find that the stippling brush gives the more flawless finish. 

Another product I've been testing is a cake liner*. Cake liners are traditionally meant for use in between your lashes to help make them look lovely and thick, but without an obviously lined eye. Now, I found this one pretty tricky to use on myself as the application method involves brushing the product on right at the roots of your lashes. The colour was jet black and definitely filled in the gaps between my lashes nicely, however it's not one for me as I just can't seem to apply it without ending up with it all over my face! I'll be sticking to my trusty felt pen liners instead...

Last, but definitely not least on my list is the pigment pots*. These are pure pigments and can be used over the top of cream or powder shadows or on their own on top of a primer. These are really versatile and i'm also tempted to see how these might work added to a clear nail varnish to create a custom shade. They come in metallic, fluorescent and super sparkly shades and will be great for experimenting with. 

At the moment Makeup Atelier Paris has a few counters dotted around the UK, but for many of us, ordering online will be the easiest way to buy. You can order direct from the Makeup Atelier Paris website

Have you tried anything from this brand before? 

*PR samples



Getting figgy with it

When it's freezing cold outside and the thought of summer seems a long way off, I think I've got the perfect solution for you. The Roger & Gallet Fleur de Figuier collection is a fruity set bath and body products that pretty much smell like summer in a bottle.

Roger and Gallet fleur de figuier collection

Roger & Gallet are a French brand that have been around since the 1860s. They make a range of fragrances and body products that use natural essential oils, all extracted for their quality and perfume. They've recently popped up in the beauty mecca that is the Marks and Spencer beauty hall (seriously, if you haven't been, get yourself to your closest one!) and I've been testing out a few of their products.

Fleur de Figuier is a fresh, fruity scent, inspired by the figs that grow near the Esteral mountains in Provence. It's one of those really summery smells that makes me think of sitting in the sunshine, drinking a glass of wine, eating a sneaky Magnum.

The range is made up of a shower cream, a soap and a fragrant water spray (body spray). I've been using the shower cream (£9.50 200ml)* every morning for the past few weeks as the scent is perfect for waking me up in the mornings. The formula is really rich and creamy and it definitely feels like a bit of a treat first thing in the day.

Also in the collection is a fresh fragrant water (£32 100ml)*. This is a lightly scented body spray, in the same fragrance as the body wash. Although it's not the longest lasting of scents, the smell is lovely and complements the shower cream really well. It's got a hint of grapefruit in it, so doesn't have the slightly too sweet smell that I've found with some fig scents in the past.

All in all, these are the perfect products to convince yourself that summer is definitely coming, and give yourself a treat.

Have you tried anything from Roger & Gallet before?

*PR samples



Getting rid of the shine - my top five powders

When REM wrote ‘shiny, happy people’, my guess is that they weren’t trying to describe how it feels to have an oily t-zone. If, like me, you have the delight that is combination skin, keeping things matte can sometimes be a bit tricky.

Before we get down to the nitty gritty on five fantastic powders, let me tell you, blotting papers are your friend. Not only do they help soak up the oil in a handbag friendly package, you can sometimes get them with cute designs on the front, a la the Paul and Joe dolphin ones I’ve got stashed away.

Anyhow, on with the actual topic of this post: face powders. These five made the cut for different reasons and work for different budgets, but all will help you keep the shine at bay, and become a non-shiny, happy person.

Green People Pressed Mineral Powder* – a pressed powder with organic credentials, this gives a light dusting to help mattify skin, without looking cakey. It comes in 5 shades, and the handy compact means it’s easy to apply on the go. It's also got an SPF 15 in, giving some added protection from the sun. £20.95

Bourjois Java Rice Powder – based on their iconic powder product from 1879, this is a loose powder with a translucent finish. It can be a tiny bit messy getting it onto your brush, and I find the best way is to tip a small amount into the lid and then to apply with a large, fluffy brush. It will leave skin looking radiant and doesn't cake. £9.99 from Boots, Selfridges and Superdrug.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Pressed Powder* - this pressed powder compact from Urban Decay is something I slip into my handbag on a regular basis. The powder is ultra fine and gives skin a slightly luminoius quality, as well as helping to keep the shine at bay. It comes in a range of 5 colours (mine is the lightest) and caters for pretty much every end of the skin tone spectrum. £22

Laura Mercier Foundation Powder* – technically part of their foundation range, I’ve found this Laura Mercier powder to be great for when you’re wearing a lighter base, such as a BB cream, as it can help to build coverage in those areas you need it most. It can also be used for top ups throughout the day, and comes with a handy sponge tucked underneath the powder compact. £32

Ben Nye Fair powder – Ben Nye’s Banana powder has been a bit of a cult favourite ever since Kim Kardashian let loose that she loves it. While Banana might be a great shade for her, for those with a lighter or more pink skin tone, try the Fair powder instead. It’s got the same great formula and really helps to set makeup. This one is a bit mesy to get out of the pot for application, but the final effect will be worth it. You’ll need to track this one down online – try PAM (also visit their London store if you can, it’s amazing) and the small size pot (pictured) will set you back £6.10

What’s your favourite powder product?

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