Beauty basics - what's your skin tone?

Choosing the right makeup shades can be a bit of a minefield, but finding out your skin tone can make a big difference. I'm not just talking in terms of whether you're pale as a ghost or sport a lovely looking tan, but referring to the undertone of your skin which plays a big part in how different colours look on you. 

Have you ever wondered why your friend looks fabulous wearing a certain shade of red lipstick that just washes you out? It all comes down to you having a different skin tone to her - you might be cool, whereas she could be warm.

We tend to refer to skin tones in two main camps - warm and cool. There are also neutral toned people who are lucky and can get away with wearing shades from both sides of the camp. I've put together a quick guide to help you workout whether you're warm, cool or neutral toned and some colour ideas that will work well for you. 

Warm - yellow, peachy golden undertones
Cool - pink, red or bluish undertones
Neutral - a mix of both warm and cool

How do I tell what tone I am?

Warm toned skins usually:
- Look better wearing gold jewellery
- Will look as though their veins are slighlty green (check on the underside of your arm)
- Usually tans in the sun
- Look good in ivory and off-white clothes
- Have golden brown, green or hazel eyes

Cool toned skins usually:
- Look better wearing silver jewellery
- Will look as though their veins are blue
- Usually go pink in the sun (you may also burn and then tan)
- Look good in pure white and black clothes
- Have blue, grey or green eyes

Neutral toned skins tend to have a mix of both traits and can get away with wearing colours from both spectrums!

What shades should I wear?

When it comes to picking makeup shades, don't be afraid to experiment. I have a mix of cool and neutral tone attributes, so while I normally stick to the blue based pink and red lipsticks I know that suit me, it doesn't mean I can't give something a little more orange toned a try once in a while.

Foundation is often the hardest, and yet most important thing to get right. If you're looking for the right shade, some brands, such as MAC, sort theirs into cool and warm shades (think NC and NW). Other brands aren't as helpful, but the general rule (not always!) is that cooler tones usually need a slightly pink toned foundation and warmer ones tend to have a slightly yellower shade. If in doubt, get colour matched by a professional. Just make sure you check the shade in natural light - you shouldn't be able to see it! If you can, it's not right for you.

What's your skin tone? Are there any products you recommend for warm or cool toned skin?



Bobbi Brown bright raspberry art stick review

A few weeks ago, I popped down to Selfridges for an appointment at Face Gym (read that post here). After my face workout was finished, I popped into the beauty halls for a bit of a browse (always dangerous!) and came across the new Bobbi Brown Art Sticks which had launched a few days before.

Bobbi Brown's new Art Sticks sit somewhere between a lipstick and a lip liner and are the hottest thing in matte finish lips at the moment. The Art Sticks look a bit like a giant crayon - a thick wooden pencil with a highly pigmented lipstick running through the middle. I decided it would be rude not to buy one (ahem), so after a long swatching session, finally settled on Bright Raspberry.

Bobbi Brown Bright Raspberry art stick

Bobbi Brown Bright Raspberry art stick swatch

Bobbi Brown Bright Raspberry art stick swatch on face
Wearing Bright Raspberry on my lips
The pencil shape makes getting a precise application really easy, and there's a perfect sized pencil sharpener provided inside the box of each art stick which I think is a nice touch - most brands would charge you extra for this. The Art Sticks can be used as a lip liner, all over lip colour or even softly blended out as a blusher. I've been wearing mine non-stop since I bought it and have totally fallen in love. 

Although these are a matte finish, I haven't found them to be too drying to lips, however I do recommend applying a tiny bit of balm first for a little extra hydration. Lasting power is really good - I get about 5 hours of wear and it even made it through dinner without disappearing. 

The shade range consists of a lot of pinks and browny/nudes with a few bold shades thrown in. It would be nice to see a slighlty wider variety to be honest - there are 8 to choose from at the moment, and I'm hoping they will expand the shade selection in the future. I'd love to see an electric pink added and maybe some more trend led shades, but I think these current colours will make it easy for you to find at least one you love. 

The Art Sticks are currently exclusive to Selfridges stores and cost £19 each. 

Do you like the look of these new lip crayons? 


May blog sale

I had a little makeup sorting session over the bank holiday weekend and thought it would be a good time for a blog sale. I've added as much info as possible by each product and all are sold as seen.

Postage to the UK will be £2.80 for up to 5 items. All items will be sent second class - if you would like first class or recorded, please let me know and I will calculate how much extra this will cost. If you would like to buy something from overseas, please contact me. 

All items will be reserved for 24 hours - leave a comment with any items you'd like (first come, first served) and I'll send over an email invoice. Please pay via PayPal within 24 hours. 

Any questions, please just ask :)

Urban Decay Smoked palette - unboxed, but comes with the little lookbook. Some shadows used 3-4 times, others swatched, Eye liner has been used 3-4 times and will be re-sharpened before posting.  £20

Laura Mercier Colour To Go Cool Neutrals - £15 - contains 4 eye shadows, 1 blusher, 1 bronzer, 1 lip glace - all swatched

MAC Russian Red lipstick - used 3-4 times - £9
Dainty Doll It's My Party Lipstick - used x2 - £1 - pending
MUA One Direction Kiss You lipstick - swatched - £1

Sleek Rose Gold Blusher - new, sealed - £3 - pending
Bourjois Java Rice Powder - used x2 - SOLD
Illamasqua Galactic Gloss - swatched - £5
Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lip Balm Stain Cherish - new, sealed - £3
elf Hypershine Gloss Vixen - new - £1
Mirenesse Velvet Lip Moisture Shine - swatched - £1
Chantecaille Luminous Gloss mini Guava - swatched - £3

Dainty Doll Purple Hills eyeshadow - swatched - £1
Rouge Bunny Rouge Bejewelled Skylark eyeshadow - swatched - SOLD
Inika mineral eyeshadow 1.2g - new - £3
Wild About Beauty Polly eyeshadow - swatched - £4

High end or high street: lipsticks

In the latest instalment of my ‘High End or High Street’ series with vouchercodes.co.uk (see the first post about mascaras here), I’m comparing three bright pink lipsticks of different budgets to see which one performs best. Will it be everyone’s high end favourite MAC, or will a high street alternative win the top spot?

17 Stay Pout Delinquent, Revlon and MAc Candy Yum Yum lipsticks

17 Stay Pout Delinquent, Revlon and MAc Candy Yum Yum lipstick swatches
L-R 17 Stay Pout, Revlon Super Lustrous, MAC Candy Yum Yum

Under £5
It’s been a long time since I tried a  17 lip product – they remind me of my teenage days when I was permanently wearing either Rimmel’s Heather Shimmer or a cappuccino brown from 17 (neither of which looked good with ginger hair, let me tell you!). I’m pleased to say that 17 have moved on a lot since then and Delinquent is a gorgeous bright pink shade that has a slightly glossy, creamy finish. I was impressed by its pigmentation and although it wasn’t quite the hot pink shade I’d imagined (online swatches aren’t always true to colour), it still made a statement on the lips. It lasted about 3 hours before needing a top up and didn’t leave my lips feeling dried out at the end of the day. All in all, a pretty good result!

Under £10
I was initially a little disappointed with this lipstick - in the tube, the colour looked amazing, but it just didn't quite match up on my lips. Rather than the hot pink colour I was expecting, I got something a lot softer and much more natural. The formula was very creamy and although it had a matte finish, it wasn't drying and actually felt like something I could wear all day. I would definitely try another of these lipsticks in a different shade - the formula definitely didn't let it down, it just wasn't quite the colour I'd hoped for. I think it's a good value lipstick for the price and I'll be looking out for one in a bright red shade next time there's a 3 for 2 offer on in Boots. 

Under £20
This is possibly one of the most iconic bright pink lipsticks out there and the pigmentation really didn’t disappoint me. It’s almost electric pink in colour and this really does translate to your lips. The formula is super matte and a bit drying if I’m honest – it can be unforgiving if you have any patches of dry skin on your lips and you’ll need a slick of balm underneath to stop them drying out completely. That said, it has the longest wear time of all three, lasting an impressive 4-5 hours without needing a top up. I wish they made this shade in a formula that’s less drying to the lips – I adore the colour, but it loses points from me because of the way it makes my lips feel after a few hours of wearing it.

The result for me is a tough one to call. If I could get the colour of Candy Yum Yum in a 17 Stay Pout formula, I would have to vote for that! All in all, I was very impressed with the high street offerings - the formulas are fantastic and I will definitely be buying more from them in the future.

What's your favourite lipstick brand? Do you prefer high end or high street? 

*PR samples



Spring beauty swap with Kim

A little while ago, I set up a beauty swap to enable lots of bloggers to receive a surprise parcel of goodies from another blogger. I was paired up with the lovely Kim from Call Me Kim and after a few emails discussing likes and dislikes, we went away and started shopping!

A few weeks later, I received an amazing gold box (she really put me to shame with her packaging) and I lasted about 5 seconds before tearing into everything that was wrapped up inside.

I'd mentioned I love eye liner, and Kim sent me two colored MUA liners in gorgeous blue and purple shades. I'm trying to be more experimental with the colours of makeup I wear, so these will be perfect to help me do that. 

Inside the box there was also a MeMeMe cosmetics blusher, which reminds me a lot of Benefit's boxed ones, a Barbara Daly eye shadow and a heart shaped tin full of Nivea lip goodies. Nivea's blue lip balm stick is my favourite, so it was great to see one of these in the tin, along with two of their lip butters which I haven't tried before. 

Last, but not least, was a massive bottle of Treacle Moon bath and shower gel in an amazing lemony scent - citrus scents are my favourite, so this will be getting a lot of use over the next few weeks! Kim has also put lots of chocolate and cake in the box (yum), although my boyfriend devoured the Milkybar bunny before I had chance to! 

I really enjoyed swapping with Kim. I got a lot of brands in my box that I haven't really tried before, so I'm really excited to get testing. You can see what I sent Kim over on her blog. 

I'll be arranging another beauty swap in a month or two, so if you'd like to take part, keep your eyes peeled for a future post.

Have you done a beauty swap with another blogger before? What was your favourite thing you received? 



Caudalie Polyphenol C15 skincare range review

Radiant looking skin is top of most people's beauty wishlists, but it's not always easy to achieve. Caudalie's new Polyphenol C15 skincare range is designed to help you achieve just that. It promotes healthy skin, protecting it against potentially damaging free radicals, leaving you with healthy, radiant looking skin.

Polyphenol C15 combines Polyphenol and Vitamin C which when combined give skin amazing protection from free radicals (one of the main causes of wrinkles), as well as helping to protect you from external factors such as pollution.

Caudalie Polyphenol C15 skincare range

For me, the hero product has to be the Anti-Wrinkle Defence Serum*. A lightweight, oil-free liquid, this is packed full of skin enhancing goodies and two to three drops used twice a day will really deliver results. It's enriched with hyaluronic acid and olive squalane to help plump out the skin and is hypoallergenic and non-pore blocking. The serum is very light in texture and sinks in easily and works really well with either the C15 moisturiser or your regular day cream.

I used this serum continuously for over a month and after just a few days started to get comments on how radiant my skin was looking. After a month's use, I really noticed my skin has that natural glow we all look for and hope products will give us. At £35 for a 30ml bottle this is about a three month supply, so it works out to be pretty good value. 

Also in the range are an Anti Wrinkle Lip and Eye Cream and a  Broad Spectrum SPF20 Wrinkle Protect Fluid (day moisturiser), all of which can be used together for maximum impact. The entire range is free from parabens, mineral oils, SLS, and animal based ingredients, making it a great choice if you're looking for a powerful, yet more natural skincare solution. The moisturiser costs £29 for 40ml and lip and eye cream £26 for 15ml. 

If you like the sound of this range but aren't quite ready to commit to the full sizes, Caudalie are offering a trial box* of all three products for £15. They're luxury sample sizes and should last around two to three weeks so will give you a really good idea on whether or not these are for you. 

You can find the Polyphenol C15 range from Space NK, Cult Beauty, Caudalie online and also in their amazing new Covent Garden boutique. The shop also has a treatment room in the basement which I highly recommend checking out - the massages are amazing! 

Do you like the sound of this range?

*PR samples



MAC lipstick international giveaway

It's been a while since I ran a giveaway that was open internationally, so I've decided to bring this one forward a little! The MAC Alluring Aquatic collection had some of my favourite packaging for years, and after choosing a lipstick for myself, I promptly went back and bought a second one as a giveaway prize!

As part of the giveaway, you can win a MAC Alluring Aquatic lipstick in Goddess of the Sea, PLUS a second MAC lipstick of your choice from their permanent collection.

Goddess of the Sea (yours will be brand new and unopened)

This giveaway is open internationally, and will close on 15th June - one winner will be chosen shortly after. To enter, just complete your chosen Rafflecopter entries using the widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Bumble and Bumble Quenching hair care review

Finding the perfect hair products can prove tricky, especially when you're trying to balance dry ends with fine hair. It's taken me a while, but I think I've finally found my perfect solution in Bumble and Bumble's Quenching range*.

Bumble and Bumble Quenching hair care range

Designed for the 'terribly thirsty', the quenching range provides a serious moisture hit for parched hair. My ends have become quite dry and delicate since bleaching them and so I've been looking for a solution that will add back in moisture without weighing my hair down. 

In the Quenching range there's a shampoo, conditioner and intensive conditioning treatment. The shampoo and conditioner are perfect for use every wash, making hair feel soft, supple and moisturised. I use the mask once a week for an intensive moisture boost and have been really impressed with how soft this makes my hair, without making it look at all greasy or flat. 

The Quenching range uses vitamin E plus a lipid blend to add moisture back into the hair and although it's definitely a luxury buy, I would definitely recommend these if you suffer from dry hair. My top pick of the three products has to be the mask, so if you're looking to invest in a new one, definitely give this one a try. 

Quenching costs £23 for the shampoo, £25 for the conditioner and £30 for the mask. You can find them in Space NK, larger Boots stores, Selfridges and selected salons. 

Do you like the sound of this hair range?

*PR samples


La Roche Posay new anthelios SPF launches

We all aim to buy skincare that's tailored for our skin type in order to get the best results. La Roche Posay have taken this to the next level with their new range of SPFs which are tailored to match different skin types, ensuring you get the best protection from the sun and also look after your skin at the same time.

They've launched three new SPFs that are targeted towards dry, combination and oily skin. Facial SPFs often have a reputation as being pore-clogging and heavy, but by removing the 'one suits all' approach, you can be pretty much guaranteed to find your perfect match.

La Roche Posay anthelios xl ultra light fluid and spf50 tinted compact

la roche posay anthelios tinted spf compact

I've been testing out the Anthelios XL Ultra Light SPF 50*, which is aimed at combination skins. My skin can be quite dry in winter, but in summer it gets a little more oily and this super light liquid is perfect to help balance combination skin, while still giving it a high level of sun protection.

This lotion is incredibly lightweight, and once applied, you won't know it's there. I've been wearing mine under my makeup, and noticed no difference in the application or finish of my foundation at all. It's non-sticky and has been formulated to work with even very sensitive skin. I've even managed to convert my Dad who suffers with very sensitive skin to La Roche Posay SPFs and I will be pointing him in the direction of the SPF50 Comfort Cream (for drier skin).

The three new launches cost £16.50 each for 50ml and can be found in Boots stores. There's a third off most La Roche Posay SPFs in Boots at the moment, so stock up while you can!

Also newly launched from La Roche Posay are their Anthelios Tinted SPF compacts*. These look like cream foundations, but instead are tinted SPF50s that not only give you a natural looking colour, they also promise to be waterproof, making them the perfect poolside companion.

These are available in two shades at the moment, and do seem to be a bit on the dark side. If you have pale skin, I'd recommend avoiding these and sticking with one of the standard liquids, but if you have a medium toned complexion, then these will be perfect for you. The compacts will cost £19.50, but are currently on special offer in Boots for £13.

Do you like the look of these new SPFs from La Roche Posay?

*PR samples


Workout your face with Face Gym

Late last week I popped down to Selfridges to test out Face Gym - an exciting new treatment that promises to give your facial muscles a workout, leaving them more toned, lifted and radiant.

Part of the six week long Beauty Project, Face Gym is the brainchild of Inge Theron - the woman behind Spa Junkie - and who has tested out a serious number of anti ageing treatments over the years. 

We often focus on working out the muscles in our body, but most of us don't pay much attention to those in our faces, relying on anti ageing creams to hold back the ageing process. Face Gym provides an alternative, using a series of massage techniques that work to firm, tone and lift the 50 muscles in our faces. 

I have to be honest, this is a treatment like nothing I've ever tried before and sitting in a chair knowing you're about to be voluntarily pinched, slapped and tweaked is a bit unnerving, but I actually really enjoyed the whole process. 

It starts off with some stretching and the removal of your foundation, and then for then next 20 minutes or so, the therapist works their magic with a series of different massages exercises. Some feel like gentle pinching, others like slapping and then there were some that I honestly had no idea what her fingers were doing but it seemed to do the trick! At the end of the treatment your muscles are given a gentle cool down with a jade roller and the. You're all set to go. 

After my treatment I definitely felt as though my face was a lot tighter and I noticed a definite lifting and de-puffing effect around my eye area. The effects last a good few days, although I think to see a long term impact you'd need to have regular treatments and start to incorporate some facial exercises at home - you wouldn't expect a six-pack after one day of crunches, after all. 

I really enjoyed my treatment - it's not relaxing at all, but it felt good to know my facial muscles were getting a workout and I was really pleased with the results. 

Face Gym is in Selfridges until the end of the Beauty Project in June and a standard treatment cost £35. I really hope it becomes a permanent fixture in the London store; I will definitely be heading back again! You can book a treatment by emailing facegym@spajunkie.com

Do you like the sound of Face Gym? Have you tried anything like this before?

*This treatment was provided to me free of charge, my opinions are honest as always.


Deborah Lippmann She Drives Me Crazy review

Bright nail polish is must have for the summer and the latest collection from Deborah Lippmann has definitely got this covered. 80s Rewind is a collection of six 80s inspired nail polishes, all named after some of the top songs of the 80s. Not only will the polish names make you want to sing along to long-forgotten tunes, but the colours will see you through summer without a pastel in sight.

Deborah Lippmann She Drives Me Crazy nail polish

Deborah Lippmann She Drives Me Crazy nail polish swatch

In the collection you’ll find:

She Drives Me Crazy* (pictured) – teal
Walking on Sunshine – vibrant yellow
Whip It – hot pink
Don’t Stop Believing – a bright orange-red
Video Killed the Radio Star – bold blue
Maniac – bright purple

It’s hard to choose my favourite from the collection, but She Drives Me Crazy might just take the winning spot. A creamy, glossy teal colour, it’s bright, bold and definitely stands out. I think it’s a shade that will work well on both fair and darker complexions and will no doubt look fab with a summer tan! 

I used two coats for an even, opaque finish and topped it off with my trusty Seche Vite top coat. Lasting power wasn’t the best I’ve tried at two days without chips, but they do tend to show up a lot easier on these kinds of bold shades. Blues are very much the in thing at the moment, and I have my eye on Video Killed the Radio Star for an alternative pedicure colour.

Each polish in the 80s Rewind collection is £16 and can be found at Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, as well as online from Look Fantastic. 

What do you think of this collection?

*PR sample 



BAFTA Red Carpet Masterclass tips and tricks

Red carpet events always have that special feel to them and the BAFTA's are no exception. I was recently lucky enough to pop along to a pre-BAFTA masterclass to find out all about what hair and make up looks we'll be expecting to see on the red carpet their, as well as some top tips to try at home. We were shown a variety of looks by some of the team who'll be on hand to get the celebs ready, and Rebecca Butterworth from MAC, hairdresser Mark Hill, House of Fraser and Carat London shared their thoughts with us.

giant BAFTA award

BAFTA dresses from House of Fraser

BAFTA jewellery from Carat London

BAFTA jewellery from Carat London

Mark Hill BAFTA hair demonstration
Mark Hill demonstrating one of the key hair styles for the red carpet
MAC makeup ready for the BAFTAs
Some of the MAC products that will be used for the BAFTAs
MAC makeup look for the BAFTAs
Rebecca Butterworth talking us through one of the MAC makeup looks
Completed BAFTA look
A finished red carpet look
Completed BAFTA look
A completed red carpet look
Make up:

Trends - eyes are less smokey this year, moving to more of a softer look, and will reference a 50s/60s inspired lined eye. Cherry red is the top pick for lips, using a lipstick with a semi matte finish. For a glowing look, a small amount of MAC's Strobe Liquid will be applied over the top of the finished makeup look, adding radiance without a lot of shimmer.

Top tip - to help foundation last all day and right throughout the ceremony, top MAC makeup artist Rebecca Butterworth applies a very light dusting of loose powder not skin before applying foundation. Not only does this help the foundation to last a lot longer, it also stops any shine breaking through while the stars are on the red carpet.


Trends - Celebrity hairdresser Mark Hill will be preparing a lot of vintage inspired styles, but with a twist. Think soft waves, loose up dos and a look that's been tailored to work not only with the celebrity, but the dress they choose to wear on the night (which apparently can be very last minute!).

Top tip - make sure you prepare hair well before you start styling. Don't just use products at the end of the style to hold it in place, you need to prime hair in the same way you would before applying your makeup.

Clothes and accessories:


A mix of shapes and colours, featuring everything from Grecian folds to straight column styles. Key colours will be bold brights, metallics, inky shades (think dark navy and charcoal rather than black) and creams. Jewellery will be focused on colour - statement pieces with brighter stones than perhaps seen in previous years. Large pieces but with emerald and sapphire coloured stones set in gold. Think large, vintage style bling.

I can't wait to see what the celebs will be wearing at the Awards on Sunday - will you be tuning in?

Rainy days and May Showers

This month has been somewhat cold and wet so far (until now, yay!), and a horrible cold has kept me indoors a lot more than I've wanted. Usually it's April Showers, but this year they seem to have moved on a few weeks! I've been keeping busy indoors with a few activities that stop those gloomy days from getting too dull and keep me ticking over until the sun pops out again.

Board games:
I get a *tiny* bit competitive over board games, so usually avoid them like the plague, but a game of good old-fashioned Cluedo definitely makes the afternoon go quicker. I've had friends over for a group game, which definitely made it more fun, and unlike Monopoly, doesn't involve any arguments over who gets to buy Park Lane...

DVD marathon:
We've also been enjoying a bit of a marathon True Blood session while having a girly pamper afternoon. Nothing cheers up a rainy afternoon like slapping on a face mask, chomping down on some Maltesers and watching Eric parade around in some sort of semi-naked state. *ahem*

I gave up smoking a long time ago, but for a few friends that still do, we've got umbrellas on standby for when it's time to take a True Blood break and pop out into the garden for some 'fresh air'. I'm hoping at some point I can convince them to quit or take up an e-cig instead so at least they don't have to brave the elements any more!

What are your top tips for beating the rainy days?

*collaboration post



Illamasqua Skin Base Mixers review

Finding the perfect shade of foundation is somewhat of a challenge, especially when you fall at the lighter end of the shade spectrum. Illamasqua have created the perfect solution to this problem with the launch of their new Skin Base Mixers*.

Skin Base Mixers are pure pigments that allow you to create your perfect foundation shade. They're designed to be mixed with a Skin Base foundation and come in four shades to help get the right tone for you.

Illamasqua skin base foundation and skin base mixers

Illamasqua skin base mixer swatches
L-R Skin Base Foundation 3.5. Skin Base Mixer White, Skin Base Mixer Amber

White* - will lighten foundation and also lift skin tone and add instant brightness

Amber* - reduces redness and balances an uneven olive skin tone

Terracotta - adds warmth and blurs any unwanted dark pigmentation - apply around the eyes, mouth and hairline

Chestnut - adds more depth and can be used to create a chiseled contoured finish

All four shades are highly pigmented - you really only need to use a tiny amount with your foundation to get the desired effect. I've tested out the White shade and Amber with my 3.5 Skin Base foundation and have found they really do make a fantastic impact. You can use them underneath your foundation in key areas that you want to lighten/darken or alternatively add a drop to mix a custom shade - perfect for adapting your foundation for the seasons.

At the moment, Illamasqua are giving away one free skin base mixer with every purchase of a Skin Base Foundation at all of their counters. I'm hoping that in the future these will be for sale separately as I know they will be a massive hit. The tubes do look pretty small, but you honestly need such a tiny amount, that even if you use the sample daily, you should easily have enough to last a few months.

You can claim your free Skin Base Mixer (with purchase) at an Illamasqua counter from: Beak St London, Selfridges London, Illasmaqua Leeds Victoria Quarter, Illamasqua Liverpool Met Quarter, Selfridges Trafford, Manchester Exchange and Birmingham and Debenhams Cardiff, Glasgow, Sheffield and Belfast.

Do you like the sound of the new Skin Base Mixers?

*PR samples


BECCA Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle Lychee Review

BECCA Beach Tints are one of my favourite cheek products, and I was so excited to hear that they were launching a new product that combines the Beach Tints with their cult Shimmering Skin Perfector.

Beach Tint Shimmer Souffles are just that - a hybrid between a cheek tint and an illuminating highlighter and together they create a beautiful wash of colour for the cheeks.

Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle Lychee Opal
How the final packaging will look
Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle Lychee Opal
In test packaging, final formula
Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle Lychee Opal swatch

Unlike the Beach Tints which come in a liquid format, these are somewhere between a powder and a gel. They feel quite squishy in the pot - a texture that reminds me a little of the Dior cream blushers that launched last year. They are best applied with fingers for a very natural finish and leave your cheeks with a lovely wash of colour and also a bit of a glow.

There are six colour combinations to choose from (Beach Tint/Skin Perfector):


Inside the pot, these look so pretty - there's hints of gold coming through the blusher, which when mixed together with you fingers blends into a shimmering cheek colour.

All of the shades are water-resistant and free from parabens and talc and each one has a unique fruity scent - just like the original Beach Tints. They do apply quite sheer, but are easy to build up, allowing you to customise the depth of colour you want.

I've been testing out Lychee, which is a light pink shade shot through with the Opal Shimmering Skin Perfector. I really love the finish this gives me. It's like using a blusher and highlighter together, but it doesn't look overly shimmery or at all unnatural. It lasts well throughout the day, only fading after about 8 hours wear.

They will be launching into Space NK later in June and will cost £22 each. I have a feeling that these will be very popular, especially over the summer and I have my eye on the Guava shade once they've launched!

Do you like the sound of the new Beach Tint Shimmer Souffles?

*PR sample



The Body Shop Body Sorbets review

The Body Shop have come up trumps with their latest launch - a range of five Body Sorbets* that promise to keep you cool from the summer heat.

Body Sorbets are lightweight body lotions, which hydrate with skin without leaving any sticky feeling behind. They feel very different from anything I've used before - almost like a melted ice lolly - and have a really light texture that sinks in almost immediately to the skin.

There will be five flavours available when they launch in July - Strawberry, Mango, Pink Grapefruit, Satsuma and Moringa. All of them smell good enough to eat, but Pink Grapefruit has to be my favourite of them all. It's super citrusy and will be the perfect lotion to use first thing in the morning when you need a bit of a pick me up.

These will be a great product for summer - The Body Shop recommend popping them in the fridge and applying when cold for a full on cooling effect and I can definitely see this working for me (it's too cold outside at the moment to test this out properly!).

They contain organic Community Fair Trade Alow Vera from Guatemala, which helps add to the cooling properties of the Sorbets, and will no doubt be super soothing on skin that might've seen a little too much sun.

I highly recommend picking one of these up when they launch on 16th July and taking it with you on your summer holiday. The Body Sorbets will cost £7 and will be available in Body Shop stores and online from their website.

Do you like the sound of the new Body Sorbets?

*PR samples


Dr LeWinn's Renunail Triple Strength Nail Colour review

Dr LeWinn's Renunail is a bit of a cult product in the nail strengthening world. It's been a firm favorite of mine to help keep my nails strong and healthy, so I was really excited to hear that they were expanding their line to introduce a range of Triple Strength Nail Colours.

Renunail Nail Colours* combine glossy finish polishes with three key strengthening ingredients - keratin, bamboo and calcium. These promise to help protect the nails and promote growth, ensuring nails stay stronger for longer.

Dr Lewinn's renunail triple strength nail colours

Dr Lewinn's renunail triple strength nail colours pomegranate and graphite swatches
Pomegranate and Graphite swatches
As a bit of a nail polish addict, my nails can sometimes get a bit flaky, despite my best efforts to look after them. I feel pretty naked without painted nails, so it's great to hear that there's now a range of polishes that will not only fulfill my need for painted nails, but will also help to protect them at the same time.

At the moment, there are five shades in the Renunail Colour range:

Pomegranate - pink-toned red
Marshmallow - pale pink
Graphite - dusky grey
Cashmere - creamy beige-nude
Black Plum - deep, dark purple

I've tested out Pomegranate and Graphite and while both needed two coats, I was impressed at how smoothly the polish went on. It dries pretty glossy, however I'd recommend adding a top coat of the new 3D Top Coat* - which has an extremely glossy, almost gel like finish. Both shades lasted well, and I stayed chip free for about 3 days, which is just above average for me. 

All of the launch colours are pretty classic and I can see them selling well. I'm hoping that over time a few more trend led shades will pop up - I'd love to see some more brights, for example and maybe a bold blue. 

The Renunail Triple Strength Nail Colours will be launching in mid-June and will cost £14 each, with the 3D Top Coat costing £11. You'll be able to find the collection online from Dr LeWinns

Do you like the sound of these strengthening nail polishes? 

*PR samples



Smashbox Camera Ready CC Cream review

CC creams have become the latest rage in beauty, but Smashbox's CC cream is the first one I've really fallen for.

CC creams are designed to give you an even looking completion, provide a light to medium coverage and also correct the colour of skin - hiding redness and evening out skin tone.

Smashbox camera ready CC cream

Smashbox camera ready CC cream

Smashbox camera ready CC cream fair swatch
Applied straight from the tube - shade Fair
Smashbox camera ready CC cream fair swatch on face
Blended out on face
Smashbox's latest launch is a lightweight feeling liquid that comes in 8 shades. Despite a lightweight texture, this offers a great medium coverage, and I find is best applied with a buffing brush for a flawless finish. 

A lot of BB and CC creams I've tried are little more than glorified tinted moisturisers, however this one banishes all sign of redness from my cheeks, gives an even looking complexion and gives my skin that lovely glowy look. It also promises to help correct dark spots and post-blemish marks and contains an SPF 30. 

With a primer, I get about 7 hours of good wear out of this. It definitely benefits from a light powder dusting to help set it in place, especially across my t-zone, but once on it doesn't move. 

The lightest shade Fair is a perfect match for me, which is pretty amazing as so often these types of products are either too dark or too yellow toned. There are 8 shades in total and cater for a wide variety of skin tones so I definitely recommend getting colour matched at your local Smashbox counter. 

For me, this is the perfect summer base and I will be using mine a lot throughout the warmer months. 

You can find the Smashbox CC Cream on Smashbox counters in larger Boots stores and online from the Smashbox website for £29. 

Do you like the look of this CC cream?

*PR sample


Introducing Jinn - the app that delivers

Picture the scene. You wake up after a night out feeling slightly delicate and there's nothing you want more than a McDonald's. Except you can't face going to get one. Or how about being stuck in the office when a limited edition MAC collection is launching in Selfridges with no way of getting to the store? Enter Jinn - an app that will send a courier to go and get whatever you want, and bring it to you in one hour.

It sounds almost too good to be true, but I put Jinn to the test last week and was incredibly impressed. My office is smack bang in the middle of central London, but sometimes there are days when I barely have time to leave the office to go and grab some lunch, let alone anything else I might need. I decided the set Jinn a few tasks throughout the day to see if they really managed to live up to their promise.

Jinn app screenshot

Deliveries from Jinn app

First task of the day was a trip to Selfridges. The MAC Alluring Aquatic collection was launching that day and I really wanted one of the lipsticks from the collection, but had no time to get to the store. I also needed a new Konjac Sponge and some chocolates for a gift, so typed in my description to the app, added my address and that was it. About ten minutes later I got a text from my Jinn courier to say that they were on their way to Selfridges, and about 35 minutes after that, got another text to say they were waiting in the reception of my office. They'd managed to get everything I wanted and in less than an hour. Yay! 

Next up was lunch. I had a craving for Pho (the best noodle soup ever), which do takeaway, but don't normally deliver, so placed my order through the app and waited for lunch to arrive. Again, I got updates from my courier about the status of my order, and this one arrived piping hot, and just within the hour time frame. 

My last order of the day was for a pair of shoes. I thought this would be quite a challenge, only sending a text description of what I wanted via the app. About half an hour later, I got a text with the photo of my shoes, making sure these were the ones I wanted. Talk about good service! Ten minutes later, they were waiting for me in reception at my office. 

I was seriously impressed with the service from Jinn and they managed to fulfil all of my random requests without any trouble at all. Jinn will get you pretty much anything you ask for - whether it's a McDonald's breakfast, or a birthday present - and do it for a reasonable fee.

A Jinn delivery costs £5.95 plus 10% of the cost of your order. If you're ordering takeaway food, it might be worth doing a group order to make the most of the delivery charge (get a group of you in the office to order lunch for example), but I think it's pretty cheap for things like birthday gifts, or an outfit emergency - who else do you know will deliver to you in an hour?! 

At the moment Jinn are only operating in central London, but they're looking to expand their delivery areas. If you fancy ordering via Jinn, you'll need to download their app, which can be found in the various app stores. For me this is a fantastic service, and one I know we will be using in the office again. The only thing I'd like to see from them that I don't get at the moment is a place in the app where I can see what I've ordered. Once the order has been placed there's no screen to check what you ordered and this is something I'd like to see added in the future. 

Do you like the sound of Jinn? Is it something you'd consider using?

*Jinn kindly provided me with some free deliveries to review their service.


Nail polish haul

It's been a while since I last let myself shop for nail polish after my collection got a bit out of control. It's still massive, but there were a few things I've had my eyes on and I couldn't resist them any longer!

First up were 3 polishes from the Models Own Polish for Tans collection. I don't tan, but have it on great authority these make pale skin look a little more 'alive', and I absolutely love the neon shades. I went for Sun Hat, Shades and Bikini and have a feeling these will be making regular appearances on my nails throughout the summer. Bikini is a terrifyingly bright yellow, but I think this will look fab painted on toes with some flip flips. These were 3 for 2 in Boots and I'm quite tempted to go back for the other two shades in the collection!

I also bought a Collection polish in Sonic Blue, which is a bold blue colour and is one that I don't really have in my collection. The formula of these is fantastic and for £1.99 a total bargain.

Last but not least, I bought Elegant Touch's Rapid Dry spray. This was a total impulse purchase, as I always use Seche Vite rapid dry top coat after I paint my nails, but I was intrigued to see what sort of effect this would have. I have a feeling I'll need to use it somewhere with an open window, but I will report back very soon on how this works.

Does anything catch your eye from my haul?


A weighty issue

I’m currently having one of those moments with my body. You know, one of those ‘fat’ days. My weight hasn’t changed since yesterday, or in fact from a few weeks ago when I woke up feeling great about myself, so where is the difference coming from?

As women, we’re often conditioned that we should look a certain way. I’m not just talking about the latest hair trends, or a penchant for bright lipstick, but an unachievable body type that we see regurgitated over and over in magazines and online. Yes, I might have issues with that state of my thighs, but even if I existing solely on protein and green vegetables for months, I would still have a bigger bum than I do chest – it’s just the way my body is supposed to be.

I’m all for people celebrating their own bodies – they’re amazing things after all. But I think we need to stop comparing ourselves to other people, and instead focus on our own well-being and promote positive thoughts about ourselves. You wouldn't walk up to your best friend and say ‘god you look like a right state today – do you think wearing that dress makes your bum look smaller? Think again fat ass’; which is exactly the conversation I had with myself this morning.

My relationship with my body has always been a little fragile – I’m not happy with it how it is at the moment and want to make some changes, and yet, when I was two stone lighter and slipped into a pair of size 8 skinny jeans without trying, I still felt fat. That’s the problem – fat for me is more than a physical thing, it’s a state of mind.

Over the next few months, I plan to focus on eating better, doing some exercise and most importantly of all, falling in love with my body. It might never look like Blake Lively unless they invent some sort of stretching machine, but it’s healthy, strong and it does a good job.

I’m making a promise to myself to stop being my own worst enemy and instead of insulting what I see in the mirror, saying something positive instead. It could just be celebrating a good hair day, or the fact I haven’t had a spot for a month; but I’m trying to speak to my own body the way I would speak to a friend’s. No more insults required.


Beauty bundle giveaway with Baobella

I've teamed up with beauty site Baobella to give you the chance to win a great bundle of beauty goodies. Baobella are a online beauty community that feature tutorials, beauty trends and also offer access to great beauty deals in their Baobella Boutique.

They've given me a great beauty bundle to giveaway to one lucky reader. Simply complete your chosen entries in the Rafflecopter widget below (some are mandatory) and that's it. One winner will be selected at random after the giveaway closes on 18th May.  This is a UK only giveaway and your prize may be sent to you direct from Baobella.

The prizes:

L'Oreal Colour Riche Red Passion Lipstick
Paul Penders Aloe Vera and Lavender Moisturiser
Yuko Phitenbella Shampoo
Yuko Phitenbella Treatment

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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